by Hortense Poyner Parkerson


December 10, 2010. GRANDPARENTS

Joachum B. Jones B-31 Aug 1857 D-6 Dec 1939
Arsenth Smith B-12 April 1857 D 20 July 1925
They are buried in the JONES CEMETERY

Both my father’s parents died well before I was born. Grandfather P., (Alma Edmund) fought in the Civil War, survived wounds inflicted, returned home to Currituck County, N.C. and to his wife Hortense. They were blessed with two children before his death in the early 1870’s, of complications from battle wounds. My father A. Jarvis P., born in 1867 and his sister Carrie born 1869 were both "babies" when my grandfather died. A widow with children, "Hortense" married John Hampton and had at least one other child, Ernest. Hortense Jarvis, my grandmother`s maiden name, was a direct descendent of Thomas Jarvis, first deputy governor of North Carolina.

So much for these grandparents, my "real" grandparents, my mother‘s parents were living, breathing individuals and they had a positive influence in my life. Grandfather Joachim was a successful farmer and the postmaster of the little post office at Knotts Island most of his married life. When he reached around seventy years of age he "arranged" for my St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery aunt, who was back home after her stint of city living, to take over as post-mistress. He was no male chauvinist!

Grandfather J. believed in education. He was well read, could write a clear cursive hand. He was efficient in his duties at the post office. He was an exemplary citizen in his little community, active in his church, he led a good life. At church I remember he sat in the "Amen corner," not with his famlly. I’ve often wondered about this practice.

The story is told that Grandfather was a descendent of an English sea captain whose ship came in through the open Currituck inlet. In the late 1600’s Captain Jones stayed on and made his home on the south end of Knotts Island. For several generations their south-end property was cultivated and enlarged even up to the time of my great grandparents' home.

My mother told me of her visits to their- home. She often said that her grandparents must have been weII-to-do by local standards. She spoke of vlslting the big home, the big keeping room with big fireplaces at either end. Floors smelling of wax, were polished to a shiny glow. Her grandfather took her to a mlll nearby on their land where they had their corn ground into meal. A big windmill generated the power for grinding. The ferry from Knotts Island to Currituck docks near the site of the old windmill so my mother told me.

Grandfather J., as I have said, staunchly believed in education. Two of his daughters attended Blackstone College in Virginia. My mother received her "higher" education at Leigh Sheep School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She boarded with the "Judge Albertson famiIy" while attending school there. On completion of her "schooling" at Leigh Sheep School she took an examination at the county courthouse, passed and became the teacher in the one room school at Knott's Island. I have a wonderful picture of her and her stair-step students in front of the school house.

Grandfather J. was a good provider, surrounding his home and family with the best fruits, vegetables, pork, good family cured hams, and always milk cows. I remember delicious fruits from his orchard; apples, peaches, pears, cherries and figs. Fruit bearing trees and bushes were selected with care and planted in the rich soil. Fruits were used in season, preserved, canned or dried for year ‘round use.

A speciality that I sometimes yearn for is pear presenres. Nice crisp slices of pear preserves turned a burnt orange color with a slice or two of lemon peel for just the right sweetness, made a wonderful snack between a buttered biscuit.

Grandfather J. had stables - a row of them side by side where five or six work horses were kept. Some times I helped him put big ears of corn in the box inside the stall for the horses. They all had names. I only remember one, Nell.

To the northern end of the barnyard there was a big barn, with a hayloft corn bin in the high steep roof; on either side of roofs slanting down, were big sheds housing farming equipment, plows, rakes, all pulled by single or doubled horses. Hired hands were carefully selected and treated well - they all respected my Grandfather J.

To the east, the barnyard was separated from the house yard with a whlte picket fence. On the house side there was a deep well from which all water for everyone, people and animals, was drawn. On the barnyard side a big trough rested - convenient to the well, the water from the big oak bucket could easily be directed toward the trough where the horses drank.

The rest of the barnyard was surrounded by a fence. This enclosed space was used for exercising the horses, hltching them to plows, allowing them to drink and hitching them to the buggy or surrey to travel.

Many times we came from our Island home to spend Saturday night and Sunday so that we could go to the church with my grandparents. Late Sunday afternoons my grandfather would hitch-up old Nell to the buggy to take us to the wharf at the South end of Knotts Island where my father would await us for our ride across the sound to our home. My faithful father never left the island unoccupied for long.

Later my grandfather J. bought a Model T Ford. He never learned to drive but Charlie C., one of his faithful hired hands, drove him wherever and whenever he wished to go. Later my Grandfather J. gave this car to Charlie C. who used it for years.

Charlie C. became the gatehouse keeper for Mr. Joseph P. Knapp, Millionaire philanthropist, whose property adjoined that of my Grandfather J. Now all of what was my grandfather’s land plus much more ls the "Mackey Island Wildlife Refuge" and a pleasant refuge it is for the wildlife visiting or living there. My parents retired on part of this land.

Grandfather lived to be 82. A quiet unassuming gentle man who never uttered an oath except in taking his marriage vows to my grandmother.

Grandmother Asenath (Sena) was a distinct contrast to my grandfather - small, five foot two or three compared to grandfather’s six feet. Soft spoken, gentle, goodness personified, she dld everything to please my grandfather. Her face was so pretty, a short clipped nose, blue eyes with a hint of a smile around her mouth. Fair skinned, she always wore a bonnet out of doors. When Grandmother S. visited us in our Island home on Swan island she would catch up on all my mother‘s mendlng chores. Socks, shirts, underwear were beautifully stitched or darned and folded for us to use. She cooked for us too on her visits. We loved her spoonbread and "clabber” biscuits.

Next to my mother and his children, my father loved my Grandmother S. the very most, I believe. A great tea drinker, he and Grandmother S. would sit with a cup of tea - a brown teapot filled for seconds, and enjoy each other’s company and tell tales of other times. She would tell tales of her childhood when the "yankees" came through and slaughtered her famiIles' livestock. Or of when they "burIed" hams or put valuables "down the well" for safekeeplng from maraudlng soldiers.

My grandmother died of tuberculosis at age 65.

Before her death I was able to show her a little gold medal prize that I won in Miss Ward’s piano class. A cousin who always seemed to steal the limelight from me was standing close by watching when my Grandmother S. looked at him and said, "Where's your prize?"

So ill and yet she knew how great this would make me feel.