Students Promote Slave Dwelling Restoration

MADISON—Some Rockingham County teens will literally walk the path of history this month to raise awareness of the historical servitude of African-Americans.

050714-SlaveDwelling1The McMichael High School History Club is partnering with the Museum and Archives of Rockingham County
(MARC) on May 9-10 to host Joseph McGill and The Slave Dwelling Project. McGill started this project in 2010 not only to raise awareness, but to encourage property owners with existing slave cabins to restore and/or maintain them.

First, the club will host a History Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 9, in the McMichael Media Center that will feature presentations by Joseph McGill, as well as display booths prepared by the Madison Historic Districts and Properties Commission, author Charles Rodenbough, Rockingham County
Historian Bob Carter, the “Madison Colored School” Restoration Group and other local historians.

The history students will participate in a series of activities as part of the project including a traditional meal of corn meal mush, pinto beans, turtle soup, and other dishes so that the they and the
historians alike can truly experience history first-hand.

The general public is invited to join The Slave Dwelling Project and the club members later that day from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Old McCollum Farm, located on 400 McCollum Road, Madison. There will be a presentation and demonstration from Joseph McGill and Bob Carter on the history of not only the farm, but the project itself and the reasons behind it.

Joseph McGill and others will stay in the slave dwelling that night to symbolically represent the
conditions of slavery. McGill, local historians, and the History Club will meet at the MARC located
at 1086 NC Hwy 65 in Wentworth, NC at 10 a.m. for a closing program and departure that is also
open to the general public.

Posted in Archive | Leave a comment

“A Celebration of American Music” Set For February 23, 2014

(Wentworth, NC) – The Museum and Archives of Rockingham County (the MARC) is proud to present “A Celebration of American Music,” to be held at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Reidsville Senior High School Auditorium, 1901 South Park Drive in Reidsville. Admission for adults is $8 and students $5. Tickets are available at the museum, located in the former Rockingham County Courthouse in Wentworth, or you can complete the Order Form Below. The proceeds from this event will be used to support the work of the museum.


The program will present selections from a diverse group of musical groups and artists from throughout Rockingham County, including choirs from First Baptist Church, First Christian Church Youth Choir, Jones Chapel Baptist Church, Mount Sinai Baptist Church, Zion Baptist Church, and St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church. School groups such as the McMichael High School Phoenix Singers, Morehead High School Jazz Band, Reidsville High School Chorus will also perform along with the Rockingham Community Band. Solo performances by singer Anthony Hearn, who has played at the Kennedy Center on several occasions, Native American flutist Carol Leach (A Song of Sunday), and instrumentalist and singer Wayne Seymour will also be featured. Master of ceremony Wayne Seymour, is a renowned musician, story-teller, composer and music director for the Touring Theatre Company of North Carolina, and Rochelle Tucker, a prominent choir director and well-loved member of our community insure an enjoyable afternoon.

“This program promises to be an exciting and entertaining evening of great music presented by a diverse group of outstanding local artists. It is or pleasure to host this event,” according to Kim Proctor, Director of the museum.

For more information, call the museum at 336-634-4949 or by email at, or visit the museum web site at

In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held on March 2, 2014.


 • Choose Ticket Type and Quantity Below

ADULT Ticket Quantites


STUDENT Ticket Quantites

Posted in Archive | Leave a comment

Step back into the mid-19th Century and see how people celebrated Christmas in Rockingham County

The Museum & Archives of Rockingham County (MARC)

Proudly Presents

An 1845 Piedmont Christmas at Wright Tavern

Saturday-Nov. 30, 2013 from 1-4pm


Step back into the mid-19th Century and see how people celebrated Christmas in Rockingham County. Enjoy the festive season at Wright Tavern (est.1816), the MARC at Rockingham County’s Historic Courthouse (est.1907), High Rock Plantation (est. 1808) and the museum at Madison Dry Goods in the former Penn Hardware building (est. 1908).



♦ Start your afternoon at Wright Tavern Historic Site, adorned with 1845 period decorations. Enjoy the music of the season, take a self-guided tour and share in a variety of homemade, seasonal sweets and drinks. (Learn More)




♦ While you’re in the historic village of Wentworth, cross the street and learn more about the County’s history at the MARC, located in Rockingham County’s historic courthouse. 


Next visit either or both of the following locations.


90px-HighrockFarm♦ From 2-5pm, tour High Rock Plantation, dressed in all its holiday glory, where you’ll be treated to roasted chestnuts and hot apple cider.

(Learn More)


90px-MadisonDryGoods♦ From 3-8pm, stop by Madison Dry Goods where you’ll be guided through the museum located upstairs, which is renowned for its exhibit based on the Lawson family tragedy. The story is depicted in the non-fiction books Bloody Christmas and The Meaning of Our Tears. Homemade hot chocolate will be served for your pleasure. (Learn More)

At every stop, step back in time and explore the past


 Each Ticket gains you entrance to all four sites on the tour.


Tickets are available for purchase by using the Purchase Button below and at the MARC. Pre-Order Tickets for adults (ages 12 and over) are $15; children (ages 0-11) are FREE.

Tickets will be available at the door for $17.50, on the day of the event.



Ticket Quantites

Your PayPal receipt serves as your event ticket. Please bring it along to the event.


For more information, contact the MARC at 336-634-4949 or send an e-mail to

MARC-logo-200pxMuseum & Archives of Rockingham County 1086 NC Hwy 65, Wentworth, NC 27375

Posted in Archive | Leave a comment

Digging for History

ROBERT UNDERWOODDEMONSTRATINGDuring the Madison Heritage Festival on October 5, 2013, Jordan Cabin was one of the attractions. Under the leadership of local artist, historian and chair Kitty Williams, Madison’s Historical Properties Commission opened the Jordan Cabin site to the public with exhibits and an artifact search demonstration. Robert Underwood and Tim Key represented the Old North State Detectorists Club. They were assisted in their artifact search by members of the McMichael High School History Club.

1799JORDANCABINThis was not the first time that the Old North group held an artifact recovery search and demonstration at Jordan Cabin. In November 2012, the detectorists uncovered more the forty artifacts, including an intact wheat scythe, a utility button from the art noveau period (1890) and a locket from the Victorian Era. Mr. Underwood gave a demonstration of the process of reverse electrolysis for cleaning oxidized iron relics from the cabin site.

These items were on display at Jordan Cabin, a late 18th/early 19th century clapboard-covered log house that may be the oldest surviving building in Madison, for folks to view during the Heritage Festival.

An article on the event, authored by Robert Underwood, is scheduled for publication in American Digger magazine in the near future.

Kitty Williams is a member of the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County (MARC) Board of Directors. Robert Underwood and Tim Key are members of the MARC, as well. Photographs provided courtesy of Tim Key.

Posted in Research | Leave a comment

Join the MARC Family!

Saturday, October 26, 2013 10am-2pm

Join the MARC Family!

Family reunion Table

The MARC family reunion is happening Saturday October 26 from 10am-2pm and we’re inviting you! Come and get to know our family, grab a bite to eat, and visit the museum and historical site on us. You’ll have a chance to meet local artists, work on your genealogy with our expert team, watch craftsman demonstrate historical practices, enjoy the exhibits, meet new friends and connect with old ones.

See what we’re all about. If you like what we do, we hope you’ll become a member. We look forward to meeting you! Admission is free; donations are appreciated.

The picture of the family reunion table was photographed by Carol M. Highsmith, “America’s photographer” and a hometown girl. Doesn’t it make your mouth water? Doesn’t it remind you of a dying tradition? Let’s keep it alive!

Posted in Archive | Leave a comment

Are you working on your family tree? Let us help


Bob Carter, Rockingham County native and our County Historian, and Debbie Dunlap Brown, Rockingham County native and a professional genealogist with a Certificate of Genealogy from Boston University will be glad to use their resources and the MARC’s to assist you.

Bob is at the museum Wednesday-Friday from 1-5pm and Debbie is in Wednesday afternoons from 1-5pm. If these hours do not work with your life schedule, they both are available by appointment, too.

We welcome you to spend the afternoon learning more about your history with these knowledgeable people dedicated to the preservation of the history and genealogy of Rockingham County and her people.


Posted in Featured-HomePageSlider | Leave a comment



Memories of trains around the Reidsville Passenger Depot and the American Tobacco Factory

By Garfield Withers

I grew up on a tobacco farm on Lick Fork Creek Road near Ruffin in the late 1940s. We children were seldom taken to town due to farm work and chores. But occasionally, about four or five times a year, an exciting event occurred. Mama and Daddy would take my older sister and me to Reidsville. When we were told about this exciting trip, we were outside in the car thirty minutes before Mama and Daddy were ready to go.

When we arrived in Reidsville, Daddy would always park the old “38” Ford in the grove of oak trees near the Governor Reid house and the railroad tracks. From this vantage point, I could look down the tracks towards the passenger depot and the American Tobacco factory.

Mama and Daddy would always take us across the tracks to visit Roses 5 & 10 Cent Store, as well as J.J. Newberry, United Department Store and Sears Roebuck. We wished for many of the toys and other goodies we saw while browsing behind our parents.

As the day went on, Mama would buy a loaf of bread, a half pint of mayonnaise, a pound of bologna and some soda and take us back to the car for a snack. (Fast food restaurants were not an option at that time.) Mama made bologna sandwiches for everybody and then she told us to remain in the car while she and Daddy went across the railroad tracks to do “some trading.” Remember, this was back in the day when parents could leave children in the car, tell them to stay, and expect them to stay there without worry for the children’s safety. For the next hour, with the bologna sandwich in my hand and my nose pressed to the car window, I watched for trains to pass.

trainwhistleWhen I could hear a whistle in the distance, my excitement grew! I could feel the ground vibrate as the massive steam locomotive thundered into sight. I loved the south bound locomotives because when one stopped at the American Tobacco Factory, the locomotive would be positioned on the track just across from where we were parked. What a sight for an eight-year-old farm boy who seldom saw such a massive piece of machinery! The huge 70 inch drivers were much taller than me. Steam bellowed out from beneath and I breathed that strong smell of burning coal. The engineer would lean out of the cab window to look down the long string of freight cars as he watched for a signal from the brakeman. In my mind, I imagined that a man driving a machine as big as this must be on a par with Superman.

After a while, the engineer would wave his gloved hand toward the brakeman and turn back inside the cab. Suddenly a dense plume of black smoke would bellow out of the smoke stack and then turn almost white. I could hear the clanking of the couplers as the slack was taken up between the cars as the big locomotive moved forward.

The engineer would give several long blasts on the whistle and then I could see him reach for the throttle. Those big drivers would slowly begin to turn. Sometimes the drivers would slip (spin on the rails) as the locomotive strained to move forward. The engineer would give a blast of sand to the rails in front of the drivers and they would grab hold so the locomotive could slowly move forward. With several more blasts of the whistle, the train’s speed increased and made the dense smoke thin out as the locomotive moved along. The wheels of the cars could be heard click clacking over the rail joints as the long string of boxcars, flatcars and gondolas sped past me.

CabooseThe names on the cars gave some indication of their origin, such as Western Pacific, Milwaukee Road, Southern Pacific, Texas & Pacific and Vermont Northern. I wondered what would be their destinations as the train continued to gather speed heading south.

One car that I really loved finally came into view at the rear end of the train – that red caboose. The stove pipe chimney always had a little wisp of smoke coming out of it. As the caboose moved past, I could see some of the train crew milling around inside. I guessed that they were preparing their evening meal and I often wondered if they were having bologna, too.

RailPictures.Net Photo: X201 Southern Railway Caboose

As an adult, Garfield Withers love of trains continued. When the Reidsville Depot was demolished, Mr. Withers salvaged some of the materials. He wrote to Southern Railroad and requested a copy of the engineering drawings for the depot and they obliged. Using these items and other materials, he created a model of the original depot. It is on display at the MARC. 

Posted in History | 3 Comments

MARC Volunteer Guild Training Sessions

MARC-logo-200pxIf you believe in the importance of preserving our history, enjoy working with people, have some spare time, and are looking for a way to make a difference, we have the perfect opportunity for you to serve our community and enjoy yourself at the same time. Volunteer at the museum !

We cordially invite you to attend our next Volunteer Guild Training Session Wednesday, October 30, 2013 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm and find out what we offer and how you can help. The session will be held at the MARC located at 1086 NC Hwy 65, Wentworth, NC 27375 (the former courthouse).

If you are interested in attending, please contact Vonda Allen at or 336-634-4949. We look forward to seeing you there !

Posted in Featured | Leave a comment

Saturday, November 2nd – Storytime at the Museum

Looking for something to do with the kids on Saturday morning?

Ward-Story-TimeBring the kids to the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County Saturday, November 2nd from 10am-12pm to play American Indian games and listen to stories of American Indian life with Ward Triche.

Ward Triche taught school in the Wentworth community for thirty-eight years. He led the Rockingham County’s award-winning Tarheel Junior Historian Club and earned the titles of TJHC Teacher of the Year and the DAR NC American History Teacher of the Year. Ward volunteers at Hanging Rock State Park and is on the Board of Directors at the MARC.

Over the years he has collected American Indian stories from various sources and studied the Saura Indians of Dan River Valley, highlighted at the MARC.

Ward is known for his high energy teaching style that engages, entertains and educates.

Admission to the program is $5 for adults, $3.50 for seniors & students. Entrance to the museum is included in the program price.


Posted in Archive, Featured | Leave a comment

Spooky Stories Saturday Hosted By Wayne Seymour

Looking for something to do with the kids on Saturday morning? The MARC can help.

Seymore-Story-TimeSaturday November 9th from 10am-12pm, bring the kids to the MARC where Wayne Seymour, storyteller & musician, will be hosting story-time at the museum. It’s spooky stories Saturday! So be prepared to be scared.

As a retired educator with 41 years of experience, he has worked with every grade level from Pre-K through high school. His stories come from many sources; classic traditional stories with Wayne’s personal twist, books, his family, other storytellers, sometimes even from children.

In addition to being a storyteller, Wayne is a musician, who plays a variety of instruments and involves audiences through sing-alongs, hand-clapping and often, giggling.

Children of all ages will find something that will amuse and delight them. Never fear, this program is geared towards all ages.

Admission: $2.50 children, $3.00 seniors & students, $5.00 Adults

Museum entrance is included.


Posted in Archive | Leave a comment