Friday, August 23, 2013

Roxie White of Salem Fork

From Tar Heel Homemakers, 1975

Mrs. Roxie White of the Salem Fork community of Surry County has chalked up many “firsts” in her 81 years of living.

She lives in an area that was the first settlement between Kapps Mill and Dobson, formerly known as “the big woods.”

Mrs. White was the first person to play an organ in the new Salem Fork Baptist Church when she was 13 years of age. Her pump organ was carried to the church for her to play.

Her musical education is a story within itself. She confessed to being self-taught. Her father, James Long, could not read or write but could read shaped musical notes and often sat with a hymn book humming the tunes. This intrigued her as a child and as early as she can remember—around the age of five or six—she would get a hymn book and sit beside him, listening to the sounds as she followed the notes. By the time she was 13, she had mastered the shaped notes to the extent that she was asked to play in the new Baptist Church.

When the first Home Extension Club was organized in Surry County in 1936, she was a charter member and is still a staunch supporter of the Salem Fork Club, having a perfect attendance record for the past 14 years. She probably has the distinction of being the only living charter member in Surry County.

The sturdy brick Salem Fork Home Extension Club House is just a short distance from her home. She gave the land on which the building stands in addition to helping with the annual Harvest Sale and Auction fundraising event, which has provided the money to pay off the building debt. Before the Club House was built in 1952, club meetings were held in the homes.

Mrs. White is still very agile and enjoys canning and freezing plus sewing for herself and her daughter, Ruby White, who lives with her mother and is also an active member of the Home Extension Club.

The home of Mrs. White has served as the scheduled stop for the Surry County Bookmobile every two weeks for many years. She is an avid reader—reading around 150 books per year plus reading the Bible through once or twice.

She is the widow of Brady White and the mother of six children—five are living.

The Spotlight is beamed on Mrs. Roxie White for the place she occupies in the history of Salem Fork community, for her progressive nature and desire to make things better for those who come after her, and for the joy she has brought to others through her persistent efforts in learning to play a musical instrument.



  1. I am the grandson of Abe and Stella White. Were they related to Brady and Roxie White? I believe my grandparents and other family are buried at this church.

  2. Wally, I really don't know if they were related. Here's the obituary for one of Roxie White's sons. Does this help? DOBSON Mr. Roy Garland White, 88, husband of Mrs. Lela Agnes Sue Fowler White, of Dobson, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, April 25, 2010, at Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home surrounded by his loving family. Mr. White was born in Surry County on Oct. 21, 1921, to the late Brady and Roxie Long White. He was a retired farmer and a faithful member of Snow Hill Baptist Church. He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife, to whom he was married 63 years, Lela Agnes Sue Fowler White of the home; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Donnie and Elizabeth White of Dobson and Phillip White of the home; two grandchildren, Wendy and husband Chris Higgs of Dobson and Sandy White of Mount Airy; a great-granddaughter, Megan Hale; and a sister and brother-in-law, Opal and Richard Wells of Danville, Va. In addition to his parents, Mr. White was preceded in death by a sister, Ruby White; and three brothers, Claude, Kermit and Alton White. His funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at Snow Hill Baptist Church conducted by the Rev. Jason Johnson, the Rev. Mark Sumner and Rev. Jimmy Settle. Burial will follow in the Salem Fork Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Moody-Davis Funeral Home where his body will remain until taken to the church to lie-in-state 30 minutes prior to the service. Online condolences may be made at

  3. The obituary was in the Mt. Airy News. Of course there are many people named White. If you like, I could e-mail you a list of articles from my blog that includes the location, names of people mentioned, and a link to the article in the blog. It's long....125 pages long....but you can search it. Oh, and if you are kin to Agnes and Helen (Nellie) White, who immigrated to the America from England in the 1920s, you and I are related.