Charles Lee Dalton

By Miss Nancy Woodburn Watkins [320227]

Rockingham County

Madison, North Carolina

[TR: No. Words: 1,165]

Ex-Slave Biography--Charles Lee Dalton, 93.

In July, 1934, the census taker went to the home of Unka Challilee

Dalton and found that soft talking old darky on the porch of his several

roomed house, a few hundred feet south of the dirt road locally called

the Ayersville road because it branches from the hard surfaced highway

to Mayodan at Anderson Scales' store, a short distance from Unka

Challilie's. Black got its meaning from his face, even his lips were

black, but his hair was whitening. His lean body was reclining while

the white cased pillows of his night bed sunned on a chair. His

granddaughter kept house for him the census taker learned. Unka

Challilie said: "I'se got so I ain't no count fuh nuthin. I wuz uh

takin' me a nap uh sleepin' (' AM). Dem merry-go-wheels keep up sich a

racket all nite, sech a racket all nite, ah cyan't sleep." This

disturbance was "The Red Wolfe Medicine Troop of Players and Wheels"

near Anderson Scales' store in the forks of the Mayodan and the

Ayresville roads.

In 1937 in the home of his son, Unka Challilie ninety-three, told the

cause of his no "countness." "I wuz clean-up man in de mill in Mayodan

ontill three years ago, I got too trimbly to git amongst de machinery.

Daze frade I'd fall and git cut."

I cum tuh Madison forty-five yeah ago, and I bought one acre, and built

me a house on it, an' razed my leben chillun dyah. My wife was Ellen

Irving of Reidsville. We had a cow, pigs, chickens, and gyardum of

vegetables to hope out what I got paid at de mill.

Nome I nevah learned to read an write. Ounct I thought mebbe I'd git

sum lunnin but aftah I got married, I didn't think I would.

My old Marse wuz Marse Lee Dalton and I stayed on his plantation till

forty-five years ago when I cum tuh Madison. His place wuz back up dyah

close tuh. Mt. Herman Church. Nome we slaves ain't learn no letters, but

sumtimes young mistis' 'd read de Bible tuh us. Day wuz pretty good tuh

us, but sumtimes I'd ketch uh whippin'. I wuz a hoe boy and plow man. My

mothers' name wuz Silvia Dalton and my daddy's name wuz Peter Dalton.

Day belonged to Marse Lee and his wife wuz Miss Matilda Steeples

(Staples). Marse Lee lived on Beaver Island Creek at the John Hampton

Price place. Mr. Price bought it. He married Miss Mollie Dalton, Marse

Lee's daughter. Dyah's uh ole graveyard dyah whah lots uh Daltons is

buried but no culled fokes. Day is buried to the side uh Stoneville

wiff no white fokes a-tall berried dyah. De ole Daltons wuz berried on

de Ole Jimmy Scales plantation. Day bought hit, an little John Price

what runs uh tuhbaccah warehouse in Madison owns hit now. (1937) His

tenant is Marse Walt Hill, an hits five miles frum Madison. I knose whah

de old Deatherage graveyard is, too, up close to Stoneville whah sum

Daltons is berried. Ole Marse Lee's mother was a Deatherage.

Ole Marse was kind to us, an' I stayed on his plantation an' farmed

till I kum to Madison. Dee Yankees, day didn't giv us nuthin so we had

kinduh to live off'n old Marse.

Fuh ayteen yuz I kin member ah de Mefodis Church byah in Madison. I

wuzn't converted unduh de Holiness preachment uh James Foust but duh de

revival of Reverend William Scales. William didn't bare much lunnin. His

wife wuz Mittie Scales an huh mother wuz Chlocy Scales, sister to Tommie

Scales, de shoemaker, what died lase summuh (July, 1936). William jes

wanted so much tuh preach, and Mittie hoped him. I'se been uh class

leader, an uh stewart, an uh trustee in de church. It's St. Stephen's

and de new brick church was built in 1925, an Mistuh John Wilson's son

wrote uh peace uh bout hit in de papuh. De fuss chuch wuz down dyah

cross de street fum Jim Foust's "tabernacle." But de fuss cullud chuch

in Madison wuz a Union chuch over dyah by de Presbyterian graveyard whah

now is de Gyartuh factry. An' Jane Richardson wuz de leader.

Yess'm I got so no count, I had to cum live with mah son, Frank Dalton.

Frank married Mattie Cardwell. You remembuh Mary Mann? She married

Anderson Cardwell. Day's bofe dade long time. Days berried jess up hyuh

at Mayodan whah Mr. Bollin's house is on and dem new bungyloes is on top

um, too. Uh whole lots uh cullud people berried in dah with de slaves of

Ole Miss Nancy (Watkins) Webster on till de Mayo Mills got started and

day built Mayhodan at de Mayo Falls. An' dat's whah my daughter-in-law's

folks is berried.

My leben chillun--Frank, one died in West Virginia; Cora married Henry

Cardwell; Hattie married Roy Current and bafe ob dem in Winston; Della

married Arthur Adkins, an' Joe, an' George an' Perry an' Nathaniel

Dalton, an'.

Yes'm mah daughter-in-law has de writings about de brick chuch, dem

whut started hit, an' she'll put it out whah she can git hit fuh you

easy, when you coun back fuh hit.

Nome, up at Marse Lee Dalton's fob de s'renduh us slaves didn't nevuh

go tuh chuch. But young Miss'ud read de Bible to us sometimes.

Here in the five room, white painted cottage of his son, Frank, Unka

Challilie is kindly cared for by his daughter-in-law, Mattie. A front

porch faces the Mayodan hard road a few doors from the "coppubration

line." A well made arch accents the entrance to the front walk. A

climbing rose flourishes on the arch. Well kept grass with flowers on

the edges show Mattie's love. At the right side is the vegetable garden,

invaded by several big domineckuh chickens. A kudzu vine keeps out the

hot west sun. Unka Challilie sits on the front porch and nods to his

friends [HW: , or] else back in the kitchen, he sits and watches Mattie

iron after he has eaten his breakfast. Several hens come on the back

porch and lay in boxes there. One is "uh settin" fuh fried chicken

later! A walnut tree, "uh white wawnut", waves its long dangly green

blooms as the leaves are half grown in the early May. Well dressed,

clean, polite, comforted with his religion, but very "trimbly" even on

his stout walking stick, Unka Challilie often dozes away his "no

countness" with "uh napuh sleepin" while the mad rush of traffic and

tourist wheels stir the rose climbing over the entrance arch. An

ex-slave who started wiff nuffin de Yankees gave him, who lived on his

old Marse's place ontil he wuz forty-eight, who cleaned the Mayo Mills

ontill he wuz too trimbly to get amongst de machinery, who raised eleven

children on an acre of red Rockingham county hillside, faces the next

move with plenty to eat, wear, plenty time to take a nap uh sleepin.

Charles Hinton Charles W Dickens facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail