Caswell County Genealogy

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Gunn, John Oliver

Gunn, John Oliver

Male 1892 - 1992  (99 years)

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  • Name Gunn, John Oliver  [1
    Birth 27 Dec 1892  Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Fraternal Organization Yanceyville Rotary Club 
    Name Johnnie 
    Reference Number 5868 
    Death 18 Feb 1992  Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial Yanceyville United Methodist Church, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5791  Caswell County
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2024 

    Father Gunn, Richard Griffin,   b. 13 May 1857, Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 7 Mar 1909 (Age 51 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Rudd, Nancy Elizabeth,   b. 25 Jan 1860   d. 14 Jan 1948, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 87 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Marriage 25 Feb 1884 
    Reference Number 42782 
    Family ID F3001  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Newman, Annie Warner,   b. 3 Sep 1898, Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 11 Mar 1996, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 97 years) 
    Marriage 5 Jun 1930 
    Reference Number 42773 
    +1. Gunn, Ann Newman,   b. 27 Feb 1936   d. 10 Sep 2020, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 84 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
     2. Gunn, John Oliver Jr.,   b. 25 Jul 1939, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 7 Jul 2010, Palm City, Martin County, Florida Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 70 years)  [Father: natural]  [Mother: natural]
    Family ID F2998  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2024 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 27 Dec 1892 - Locust Hill Township, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 18 Feb 1992 - Danville, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - Yanceyville United Methodist Church, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    John Oliver Gunn
    John Oliver Gunn
    Johnny O. Gunn, Henry W. Hooper, and Robert Lee Brooks
    Pictures from the Past, The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC), 22 Dec 2021
    Looking Back, The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC) 13 Feb 1980
    John Oliver Gunn (Young Man)
    Handbook For Patrol Leaders Boy Scouts of America Golden Jubilee Edition 1 Jan 1979
    Crowell Motor Co. Employees 1927
    Norman Upchurch, Sheffield Abell, Billy Hunt, Johnny Gunn
    Gunn Memorial Public Library Groundbreaking 5 June 1965

    John Oliver Gunn, The North Carolina Mason, 1 July 1968
    Yanceyville Rotary Industrial Committee, The Caswell Messenger, Thursday, 22 September 1938

  • Notes 
    • John Oliver Gunn (1892-1992)

      #12 Sanitary District Board Members



      Pictures From The Past, The Caswell Messenger 8 Dec 2021

      Handbook For Patrol Leaders Boy Scouts of America Golden Jubilee Edition 1 Jan 1979

      John O. Gunn The North Carolina Mason, 1 July 1968

      (click on photograph for larger image)

      Photograph appeared in the February 13, 1980, edition of The Caswell Messenger. Left-to-Right: John Oliver Gunn, Assistant Superintendent of Caswell County Schools Dr. Lawrence Calvin Walker, Boy Scouts Cherokee Council Executive Billy H. Brackett. Gunn is being honored for his more that fifty years of service to youth through Scouting with the presentation of the book: Handbook For Patrol Leaders, Boy Scouts of America, Golden Jubilee Edition (January 1, 1979).

      For more photographs go to Yanceyville Water Plant 1953.

      Johnnie Gunn When a Young Man

      John Oliver Gunn at Caswell Motor Company

      John Oliver Gunn at Caswell Motor Company

      Crowell Automobile Company

      In 1921, Johnnie Oliver Gunn began working for the Crowell Auto Company of Danville, Virginia. When Crowell opened a tractor and automobile dealership in Yanceyville, North Carolina, Johnnie Gunn became a salesman. He was promoted to Manager of the Crowell Yanceyville dealership in 1926. During the Depression years Crowell was forced to sell the Yanceyville business, which Johnnie Gunn purchased in 1936. Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 247-249 (Article #282 "Johnnie Oliver Gunn" by M. Q. Plumblee).

      Yanceyville Postmaster: 1916

      Mr. Barzillai Shuford Graves (1854-1942), agent for the surety bonding company, has designated his first cousin Mr. Robert Sterling Graves (1870-1962) Yanceyville postmaster, until an appointment can be made by the government. The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), 1 February 1916, Tuesday, Page 6.

      This interim appointment was necessitated by the January 26, 1916, death (pneumonia) of Yanceyville Postmaster Henry Williams Perry (1869-1916). When the "government" did act, it appointed Mrs. Sallie Willie Graves Perry (1880-1960), wife of deceased Postmaster Henry Williams Perry (and sister of the Robert Sterling Graves mentioned above). She owned the building in which the Yanceyville Post Office was located.

      The next year (1917) she sold the building to Crowell Automobile Co., which eventually established a Ford dealership in Yanceyville. In the 1930s this dealership became Johnny Gunn's Caswell Motor Co.

      In 1918 she resigned the postmaster position because she had married D'Arcy William Bradsher (1853-1929) and moved to Roxboro, Person County, North Carolina.

      Rotary Industrial Committee Caswell Messenger Thu 22 Sep 1938

      (click on photograph for larger image)

      Caswell County's John Oliver (Johnny) Gunn (1892-1992) was forced to end his formal education after the 7th grade because his father died.

      In 1943, Yanceyville's John Oliver Gunn was elected Secretary of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association at the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the meeting an issue of great concern was the rationing of used cars.

      The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 29 June 1943.

      Rotary Industrial Committee

      The Rotary Club of Yanceyville took the initiative to begin the industrialization of Caswell County. In 1938, when the club was just in its second year, an industrial committee was appointed under the chairmanship of John O. Gunn, and it reported some specific plans to the club. The result was the organization of the Caswell Development Company with Gunn, T. E. Steed, and S. A. Malloy as incorporators. When the company was organized C. C. Cole became president while T. E. Steed and Hubert H. Page were vice president and secretary-treasurer, respectively.

      An intensive campaign was begun to raise funds to construct an industrial building, and with the full cooperation of the Rotary Club and other citizens in the county a substantial sum of money was raised to begin construction. Additional money was borrowed and construction was completed very early in 1939 so that the Caswell Knitting Mill opened in late February. Artie Glenn Holt of Burlington (Company Shops) had recommended this particular type of industry and he became the operator of the mill, which gave employment to around 150 people. This was a significant beginning and it was symbolic of the future.

      Source: "When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977," William S. Powell (1977) at 304.

      Newspaper Article:

      Four members of the Rotary Industrial Committee are pictured above, as follows: Jn. O. Gunn, chairman, upper left; T. E. Steed, upper right. Clarence L. Pemberton, lower left; Dr. S. A. Malloy, lower right. This committee, with the cooperation of the entire club and other county citizens, has been working on plans for the industrial development of Caswell county, and it is expected that an important announcement concerning this activity will be made at an early date.

      The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina), Thursday, 22 September 1938.

      Caswell Promotion Unit Stockholders Vote to Dissolve

      Yanceyville, Sept. 19 -- Stockholders of the Caswell Development Co. have voted to pay off the shares of the stockholders and dissolve the corporation, according to J. O. Gunn, secretary-treasurer. The company was organized here some 20 years ago to promote the industrial development of the county. Shares were sold and the corporation erected the building for the Caswell Knitting Mills here, which later purchased the building from the corporation. The company then erected the building for Atwater Hosiery Mills. Shares of stock were sold to finance the operation.

      Later, Gunn [John Oliver Gunn] and Clyde C. Cole bought the mill and changed the name to Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mill. During the past 10 years the company absorbed the taxes and other expenses connected with the building and paid the stockholders of the Caswell Development Co. six per cent on their investment.

      In bringing two new industries to Yanceyville, the development company has aided in doubling the population of the town and bringing thousands of dollars of extra income to the county.

      The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina), 20 September 1957, Friday, Page 36.

      For a mini-biography published by the Rotary Club of Yanceyville in 1942 see Wheel Tracks

      From the Political Graveyard: Gunn, J. O. (b. 1892) - of Yanceyville, Caswell County, N.C. Born in Pelham, Caswell County, N.C., December 27, 1892. Member of North Carolina state house of representatives, 1964-. Methodist. Burial location unknown.

      Caswell County History: Tobacco Curer, 1946

      In 1946, Caswell Motor Company (owned by Johnny Oliver Gunn) sold "The Leggett" tobacco curer, described as:

      "A unit that will turn your oil into a gas and then burns the gas. The up-draft feeds the flames and the down-draft fans the flame into a level fire in the middle of the flu, assuring equal distribution of heat throughout the barn by use of two burners at no additional cost.

      "Lower fuel consumption due to up and down drafts. Absence of carbon automatically assures efficient operation. No sitting up all night.

      "Our price covers the cost of two burners with all operating parts installed at $150.00. This applies to all barns from 16x16 to 22x22."

      The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 18 February 1946, Monday, Page 26.

      Cuba Trip

      Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Caviness Cole and Mr. and Mrs. John Oliver Gunn returned home Saturday from a week's visit to Miami, Florida, where they attended the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association. On Thursday they flew from Miami to Cuba by way of Key West and spent the day in Havana.

      The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 20 January 1951, Saturday, Page 5.

      Caswell County History

      In 1973 Yanceyville's John Oliver (Johnny) Gunn (1892-1992), a charter member of the Yanceyville Rotary Club, was singled out by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow. At the time only 2,480 of the world's 727,750 Rotarians had received the coveted award named for one of Rotary's three founders.

      The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 17 March 1973.

      Obituary of Johnnie Oliver Gunn

      John Oliver Gunn, 99 of Yanceyville, NC died Tuesday in The Memorial Hospital of Danville, Virginia. Born in Pelham, NC he was a son of Richard Griffin Gunn and Nannie Rudd.

      He was a farmer and an automobile dealer for 46 years and spent four terms in the N.C. House of Representative from Caswell in 1945-1957, 1965 and 1967. He was the chairman of the Caswell County, Democratic Executive Committee from 1942-1945 and served as treasurer for Caswell County from 1936-1940. He also served on a number of other committees in Caswell County. He was a charter member of the N.C. Automobile Dealer's Association and the Yanceyville Rotary Club, where he served as president.

      He served as secretary of the Caswell Development Company as director and secretary of the Royal Hosiery Mills, and vice president and member of the executive committee of the Bank of Yanceyville. He was also a member of the Caswell Brotherhood Lodge No 11 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Oasis Temple Shrine, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemansonry, the Order of the Eastern Star No 239 and the Junior Order United American Mechanics. He was also active in the Boy Scouts and was a national and regional representative. He was a member of the Yanceyville Methodist Church.

      Surviving include his wife of the home, Annie Newman Gunn; one daughter, Ann Gunn Everrit of Yanceyville; one son, John Gunn, Jr. of Sebring, Fla.; also two grandsons. The funeral will be conducted 3 p.m. Thursday from the Yanceyville United Methodist Church by the Rev. Joel Cambell and Rev. George Johnson. Burial will be in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends today from 7-8:30 p.m. at Hooper Funeral Home.

      Crowell Auto Company Employees

      (for larger image, click on photograph)

      Crowell Automobile Company employees in 1927:

      Johnnie Gunn, Manager (seated to left with white shirt)

      Lynn Bowe, Utility (seated beside Johnnie Gunn) [Probably Lucza Bowe (born c. 1905)]

      Standing, Left-to-Right:

      E. L. Poteat, Salesman [Earmine Lee Poteat, Sr. (1898-1979)]
      Otis Powell, Mechanic [Otis A. Powell (1900-1960]
      T. H. Hodges, Salesman [Thomas Hiram Hodges (1882-1972)]
      Woody Lillard, Shop Foreman [Woody Lillard (born c. 1893)]
      Pattie Gunn, Office [Pattie Griffin Gunn (1895-1956), sister of Johnnie Gunn]
      Hubert Page, Stock Room [Hubert Hodnett Page (1897-1974)]
      Harry Bradner, Mechanic [Harry Bradner (1898-1980)]
      Loyd Johnson, Mechanic [Loyd Johnson (born c. 1883]

      History of the Crowell Automobile Company/Caswell Motor Company Building

      The structure is approximately 12,750 square feet on three floors.

      1. 1856 Clinton Masonic Lodge # 107, Yanceyville, purchased lot # 1 on public square, Sept. 26, 1856 from William P. Brown

      2. 1894 Masonic Lodge hall erected

      3. 1906 Lot and building deeded to H. W. Perry for $1200

      4. 1917 Mrs. Perry deeded property to Crowell Auto Co. in 1917 for $3,000. Used by Crowell to sell Ford automotive products; later became Caswell Motor Company

      5. 1936 Building and dealership purchased by John Oliver Gunn

      6. 1970 Building no longer used as a Ford dealership

      7. 2015 Building demolished

      A number of well-known Caswell residents appeared as "ladies" in the Womanless Wedding held at the Caswell County Courthouse in December 1932, with Sheriff John Yancey Gatewood (1893-1954) as the bride, Dr. Steven Arnold Malloy (1872-1944) as mother of the bride, John Oliver Gunn (1892-1992) as sister of the bride, and Samuel Murphey Bason (1894-1986) as bridesmaid. It was about the only fun one could afford during the depths of the Great Depression when the Bank of Yanceyville failed (but reopened), Caswell County defaulted on its bonds, many lost their farms because they could not pay the real estate taxes due, and starvation stalked the county. The motto of The Caswell Messenger was "Buy at home and save Caswell!"

      Richard Griffin Gunn Family

      (for larger image, click on photograph)

      Left -to-Right: (front row) Pattie Griffin Gunn; Nancy Elizabeth Rudd Gunn; Alice Wilson Gunn; (back row) John Oliver Gunn; Bernard H. Gunn.

      In 1948, Atwater Hosiery Mill was established through the sale of stock by the Caswell Development Company and operated by Roy Vincent Atwater and William Bennett Atwater. Initial financing was provided by T. E. Steed. The debt purportedly was repaid in three years. Presumably the building (across from Cole Chevrolet) dates from 1948. Building construction probably was part of the original financing. The product was ladies’ hosiery (seam up the back). Unknown is whether brothers Roy and Bill Atwater were the sole owners at the time. Presumably the business was organized as a corporation. Around 1955, the Atwater Hosiery Mill was sold to Clyde Caviness Cole, Johnny Oliver Gunn, William Bennett Atwater, and David Johnson, and the name was changed to Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mills, Inc. In 1958, Cole-Gunn Hosiery Mills, Inc. was re-purchased by brothers Roy Vincent Atwater and William Bennett Atwater, and the name was changed to Royal Hosiery Mills, Inc., and production was shifted to ladies' seamless hosiery. William Bennett Atwater may have been continuously part of the ownership from 1948-1974.

      Grad 1957 inside.tif

      (for larger image, click on photograph)

      Bartlett Yancey High School
      Class of 1957
      Class Day Program

      Gunn Memorial Public Library 1965

      (for larger image, click on photograph)

      Gunn Memorial Public Library Groundbreaking 1965

      Thyra H. Smith (wife of Junius Cecil Smith)
      James Yancey Blackwell, Jr. (1928-2020)
      Thomas Harrison Whitley (1910-1997)
      John Oliver Gunn (1892-1992)
      Charles Franklin Murphy (1933-2011)
      Erwin Duke Stephens (1904-1991)
      Mary Johnston Oliver Kerr (1896-1982)
      Samuel Murphey Bason (1894-1986)
      Mabel Frances Stephens Long (1896-1984)
      George Irvin Aldridge
      David Flick (Librarian, Danville Public Library)
      Charlotte Louise Homewood (1903-1985)

      Industrial and Agricultural Development of Caswell County by Tom Henderson

      The present Bank of Yanceyville is the only banking institution in the county today and carries the slogan, "The only bank whose first interest is Caswell County." It has a capital of $30,000 and resources of $1,250,000. During the peak of the tobacco sales last fall its deposits reached an all-time high of a million and a half. Samuel Murphey Bason, a native of Alamance County, is the friendly president and the acting cashier. The position of cashier is being held open for Staff Sergeant Earl J. Smith, who is on leave of absence in England, helping Uncle Sam in his accounting. John O. Gunn is vice president, while Webb C. Yarbrough, a former president, is chairman of the board of directors. Three attractive misses, Bernice Carroll, Marguerite Kelly and Doris Foster, help Sam in running the institution, balancing the books and in otherwise adorning the bank.

      Source: The State (A Weekly Survey of North Carolina), 22 July 1944.

      1966 Election

      North Carolina had just redrawn its legislative voting districts. Caswell County was placed in the new 17th NC House District, along with Granville County and Person County. Two representatives would be elected from the district. Gunn had offered to withdraw from the race, allowing Granville County and Person County to select one representative each if those counties would agree to "give" Caswell County a representative in two years (next election). While this agreement may sound odd, a similar one had been in place for years for the State Senate, with Caswell County being able to select the senator every third term.

      However, two candidates were running from each Granville County and Person County. Gunn offered to withdraw if one candidate would withdraw in both Granville County and Person County. This would leave only two men running for two slots, thus assuring their election. One candidate from Person County did withdraw, but both candidates from Granville County remained in the race. To protect Caswell County's interests, Gunn continued to run, came in second, and thus returned to the NC House of Representatives.

      In 1947, Johnny O. Gunn served as Cherokee Council of Boy Scouts Vice Chairman, Leadership Training.

      The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, NC) March 15, 1928. First sport model A Ford roadster received by J. O. Gunn at Crowell Auto Co. and sold to W. B. Horton, who placed order 2½ years previous.

      S. M. Bason Is Elected Yanceyville Bank Head

      Yanceyville, Jan 20 [1940] -- (Special) -- S. M. Bason was elevated from cashier to president of the Bank of Yanceyville at a meeting of the board of directors here this week. For several years Mr. Bason has been cashier and vice president of the local institution. He was elected to the presidency to succeed the late J. A. White [James Ansel White].

      W. C. Yarbrough, who has been chairman of the board of directors for several years was reelected, and E. J. Smith was named assistant cashier, a position he has held for some time.

      Preceding the election of officers a shareholders meeting was held with a large attendance. Officers of the bank reported one of the best years in the history of the bank. The usual four percent dividend was declared and more than 38 percent was added to the various reserves accounts of the bank.

      The old board of directors was returned to serve for the coming year as follows: W. C. Yarbrough, H. W. Hooper, J. M. Pleasant, D. W. Swicegood, Jno. O. Gunn, and S. M. Bason. E. A. Allison was elected as new director to fill the place of the late J. A. White.

      The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina), 21 January 1940.

      1930 US Census
      Name: Jno O Guynn [Gunn]
      Age: 37
      Estimated birth year: abt 1893
      Relation to head-of-house: Son
      Home in 1930: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina

      Death Record
      Name: John O. Gunn
      SSN: 241-05-4918
      Last Residence: 27379 Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina, United States of America
      Born: 27 Dec 1892
      Died: 18 Feb 1992
      State (Year) SSN issued: North Carolina (Before 1951 )
      Source: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Provo, Utah:, Inc., 2006

  • Sources 
    1. Details: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 637 ("The Gunn Family").