Library Notes: New resources for learning about the olden days

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 6, 2020

By Gretchen Witt
Rowan Public Library

A new batch of genealogical and historical research materials has arrived for the history room. Among the new additions to the states record collection is “Humphreys County Tennessee Records of Tax Lists, 1837-1843 and Marriages, 1888-1900.” Humphreys County is a portion of upper Tennessee that used to be part of Rowan County in the mid-1700s. An appendix in this book contains the following amusing memorandum about a marriage license that was applied for in December of 1899 — the clerk writes “Not Executed — Girl married another fellow” — must be a story there.

The history room also received five additional volumes of records from the court of Elbert County, Georgia, ranging from the year 1800-1850. These records illuminate daily life of Americans in the 1800s describing sales of land, guardianship bonds, deaths, debts, imprisonments, assaults and employment. They can be extremely important to anyone tracking their genealogy through these parts of Georgia.

Other new items include a biography on North Carolina’s own aviatrix “Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier” by Jennifer Bean Bower. Born in Rockingham County, Viola learned to fly in 1924 and completed her first solo flight the following year. Remembered as an adventurous child, Viola first took a ride in a plane whilst staying with relatives in Florida. At the close of WWI, she found herself in California employed by the Red Cross.  She then trained to be a telephone operator but after witnessing a stunt show by Ormer Locklear, her fascination with aviation was rekindled and she signed up for flying lessons. After a brush with death in a flying accident with John W. “Jack” Ashcraft, she concentrated on advocating for women pilots.

Even closer to home are “Ghosts of the Yadkin Valley” by R. G. Absher and “Confederate States Military Prison at Salisbury, NC” by Dr. A.W. Mangum. Absher’s book includes stories about the historic Brown-Cowles House of Wilkesboro where orbs of light have been captured on film at the old slave quarters as well as the ghosts of Elkin Creek Vineyard who often turn on the lights at the mill. Dr. Mangum’s book, while slim, will be of interest to those who research the Salisbury Confederate Prison. Dr. Mangum obtained a doctor of divinity degree and was a Methodist minister before the Civil War. He was chaplain to the prison in Salisbury during the war and describes first hand some of the activities and conditions at the Salisbury Confederate Prison.

Rounding out the selections is “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet and Your Genealogy Computer Program,” by Karen Clifford. Organized as a workbook, the guide takes the reader through the steps of researching and organizing your family information. Suggestions for websites and databases to use as well as explanatory notes of terms encountered in genealogical research are sprinkled through the pages.  Examples of pedigree charts, documentation and citing will be helpful to a beginner and humorous cartoons keep it light. Drop-ins are welcome but space is currently limited in the history room; reservations are encouraged.

Gretchen Witt is history room librarian and supervisor at the Rowan Public Library.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post