Caswell County Genealogy
1909 - 1995 (85 years)
||Blaylock, John Burch |
||6 Jun 1909
||Caswell County, North Carolina
||Caswell County, North Carolina
|Junior Order of United American Mechanics |
||Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina
|Rotary Club |
||2 Apr 1995
||13 Oct 2023 |
||Coward, Isla Mae, b. 5 Jun 1916, Wake County, North Carolina d. 21 Feb 1963, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina (Age 46 years) |
||18 Dec 1942
||Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||13 Oct 2023 |
||Gordon, Mary Ethel, b. 7 Dec 1917, Osawatomie, Kansas d. 14 Apr 2000, Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina (Age 82 years) |
||6 Nov 1966
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||13 Oct 2023 |
- John Burch Blaylock (1909-1995)
(for larger image, click on photograph)
The above photograph of John Burch Blaylock at his desk in the Caswell County Courthouse can also be found at: John Burch Blaylock at Work
For a mini-biography published by the Rotary Club of Yanceyville in 1942 see Wheel Tracks
Last Photograph: Bartlett Yancey High School Class of 1928
The Blalock/Blaylock family has not agreed on the spelling of their common surname. Most of the Blalock/Blaylock descendants use the Blalock spelling. Why John Burch chose to use Blaylock is unknown. However, because he was both a genealogist and historian without equal, his decision to use Blaylock should be carefully examined.
"Burch" by Dale Williams
John "Burch" Blaylock is well-known in Caswell County and will be well-remembered after he is gone also. He will be remembered because of his kindness to people but also for the valuable and helpful records that he is leaving behind.
Mr. Blaylock was elected to the Office of Register of Deeds in 1934. He held that office until 1976 when he retired. His duties in that office were to record births, deaths, and marriages but he went much farther than that. "Beginning in 1945, I started collecting and recording in four deed-book size books about 675 Family Bible records and hundreds of other records that dealt with people, such as cemetery records for the county." These records are located in the Register of Deeds office in the Caswell County Courthouse. There is a wealth of information to be found in these books, everything from death and birth certificates to articles about Caswell County and the people of the county.
The books are a valuable asset to the Caswell Register of Deeds office, Mrs Mary Lee Carter, current Register of Deeds, tells of the usefulness of these books. "We are very lucky to have these books. You can't find other records like these. They are valuable records because many times Family Bibles are lost and cemeteries get vandalized. These records are the only place to go to find out about their families." She added that people use Blaylock's research frequently.
Carter also remembers an occasion when Mr. Blaylock rescued school records that were about to be burned. "Before there was a law that said the schools had to keep the records, the school decided to burn old school records. They brought them to the courthouse to be burned. Mr. Blaylock realized they were valuable. He salvaged them and stored them. We have the school records here now. They are very important records for finding birth dates and parent's names."
There is also a large collection of delayed birth certificates for people who had no record of their birth. To obtain a delayed birth certificate, a person had to have two proofs of birthplace and one for parents' names. Blaylock tells that making the delayed birth certificates led him to a lot of research. "In 1945 the idea came to me these records are here so why not record it. There are a lot of things in them for future generations."
Blaylock noted that the job was filled with long hours but was enjoyable. "I tried to be as accurate as I could I worked a lot at night. For the first 25 years I worked night and day with no help except for a few hours. It was hard but it was pleasant. It was not a chore, time went by fast."
Blaylock explained that he collected family histories and information for future generations. "Whatever I have recorded is available to anyone who wants it. I don't get a penny for it. I did it for two reasons. One was to save records for future generations. The other reason was by way of thanks to people for being so good to me."
Even though Mr. Blaylock has retired from office, he is still actively working on his books. "My main job since I have retired is indexing all of the material I collected." He has already over 40,000 index cards on file and is still not finished.
Blaylock was born on June 6, 1909 in Hightower township of Caswell County where he lived until he moved to Yanceyville to take the job of Register of Deeds. In October of 1917, Mr. Blaylock's legs became diseased and were removed. He tells of being pushed to school in a wagon by cousins. "I have not forgotten these boys for it meant a lot to me. My father would have carried me if the boys had not wanted to push me. The children in the neighborhood accepted me as a playmate as if I had two feet."
He graduated from Bartlett Yancey High School in 1928 and then attended Elon College to study business for one year.
In 1937 Blaylock met Miss Isla Mae Coward, who came to work at the Welfare Department of Caswell County. They were married in December of 1941. She died in February of 1963. In 1964 Mr. Blaylock met Mary Ethel Gordon from Greensboro and on November 6, 1966, they were married. He feels that he has been luck in his choices. "I have been blessed with two wonderful wives."
Blaylock tells that he likes meeting and talking to people. "People would come to talk. I like people. I don't know anybody I don't like. I just appreciate living. If you put all my friends in one group and gold in another pile. I don't think I would look at the gold. I value the friendship of lots of people. After all we're all kin when you go back to Noah."
Mary Lee Carter commented that people still stop by the office and ask about him. "Nearly everyday someone comes by and asks about him. He will never be forgotten. He has helped so many people through the years."
In addition to the family records, Blaylock has collected and recorded church histories of many of the Primitive Baptist churches. Both he and his wife are Primitive Baptists.
In talking about his years as Register of Deeds and his life in Caswell, Blaylock feels that it has been good. "When I grew up and came before people for office they were wonderful in electing me. They permitted me to work there 42 years without anyone running against me. Caswell County has and is full of warm-hearted people. I'm just thankful to the Lord for letting me live this long."
Williams, Dale. "Burch," The County Magazine, May-June 1984. Courtesy Frank G. Carter, Jr.
"J. Burch Blaylock, popular Register of Deeds for Caswell County and Miss Isla Coward, both of Yanceyville were married in Greensboro on Dec. 18 . Immediately after the ceremony the couple left for a trip to the Gulf States."
Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), 4 January 1942.
After Isla Mae Coward Blaylock died in 1963, John Burch Blaylock married Mary Ethel Gordon in 1966.
John Burch Blaylock (1909-1995)
Isla Mae Coward (1916-1963)
Mary Ethel Gordon (1917-2000)
Caswell County Register of Deeds from December 1934 to June 1976. In addition to his formal duties as Register of Deeds, Burch Blaylock assembled Caswell County genealogical and historical records into what is known as the Burch Blaylock Collection, which is housed in the Caswell County Register of Deeds Office at the new courthouse in Yanceyville, North Carolina. The materials in the collection can be searched by the person's name in the card catalogue. Copies can be made for a reasonable charge.
Source: The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 115 (Article #59 "John Burch Blaylock" by Mrs. Mary Gordon Blaylock).
John Burch Blaylock was Caswell County Register of Deeds when many needed a birth certificate. This was caused by several reasons, but principally due to New Deal legislation of the Depression Years (including social security). To obtain a "delayed" birth certificate a person must submit whatever evidence existed with respect to that person's birth. This included family Bibles and various other non-official "records." However, people brought all kinds of "stuff" to him. Burch transcribed these secondary records as necessary for a delayed birth certificate. However, he became fascinated by the other "stuff" brought to his office and recorded it all, including church cemetery records. Want to see his efforts? They are available to the public at the Caswell County Register of Deeds Office in Yanceyville, replete with a very useful card catalogue.
"Speaking of popularity, it is generally conceded that Burch will be Caswell County's Register of Deeds as long as he lives, if he wants to be. He was first elected eight years ago, and he has had a walk-away ever since. He is uniformly courteous and efficient. He is a charter member of our Rotary Club and its competent Secretary. He is politically a Democrat, and I believe, denominationally, he follows the tracks of Elder John I. Stadler [Primitive Baptist]. Burch is a shining example of the truism "Cheerfulness is good medicine" and of the philosophy of life that the will to surmount obstacles in unconquerable and invincible."
Henderson, Thomas. "Wheel Tracks," Yanceyville Rotary Club Biographical Sketches (1942-1943).
John Burch Blaylock retired in 1976, after serving as Caswell County Register of Deeds for 42 years. In 1976, he was 67 years old. As the Register of Deeds served a four-year term, he served 10.5 terms, and in 1976 would have been in the middle of a term. Had he reached mandatory retirement age?
"In the  local primary for registrar of deeds, a post to be vacated by the retirement of J. B. Blalock [sic] after over 40 years in the office, Blalock's [sic] assistant Mrs. Mary Lee Carter won the Democratic nomination with 1,965 votes. Buddy J. Terrell, a businessman, finished second behind Mrs. Carter with only 719 votes, followed by Jo Ann Upchurch, 218; Andy Pleasant, 140; and Carlton Kimbro, 66."
The Danville Register (Danville, Virginia), 18 August 1976, Wednesday, Page 7.
Name: John Burch Blaylock
Date of Birth: 6 Jun 1909
Birth County: Caswell
Parent1 Name: William David Blaylock
Parent2 Name: Sarah Delilah Stadler
Roll Number: B_C020_68001
Source: Ancestry.com. North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000 [database online]. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005
Name: J. B. Blaylock
Last Residence: 27379 Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina, United States of America
Born: 6 Jun 1909
Died: 2 Apr 1995
State (Year) SSN issued: North Carolina (1954 )
Source: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2006
Yanceyville Boarding House
The Reverend Samuel Hill Williamson (1859-1930) was somewhat older than his wife, Sarah Brooks (Sadie) Wharton (1876-1953), and left her a widow in 1930. She married as her second husband Dee Gee Watkins (1895-1969).
At the time of the 1940 U.S. Census, Dee Gee Watkins and Sarah Brooks (Sadie) Wharton Williamson Watkins were living in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina, and operating a boarding house on East Main Street. However, Dee Gee Watkins was shown with no occupation, while the occupation of his wife Sadie Watkins was described as what appears to be "Lodging House Keeper." Note the interesting list of boarders.
1940 United States Federal Census
Name: Dee Gee Watkins
Birthplace: North Carolina
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Home in 1940: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
Street: E Main Street
Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 30
House Owned or Rented: Owned
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 5000
Highest Grade Completed: College, 1st year
Weeks Worked in 1939: 0
Income Other Sources: Yes
Household Members: Name Age
Dee Gee Watkins 44
Sadie Watkins 54
Bertha Wilson 49 (Teacher/Yanceyville High School)
Margaret Montgomery 24 (Teacher/Home Economics)
Allen Watson 21 (Teacher)
Robert Standfield 22 (Teacher/High School)
Burch Blaylock 30 (Register Deeds/County Office)
J E Zimmerman 31 (Farm Agent/County Agent)
Clyde Rhyne 22 (Manager/5&10 Cent Store)
Query the location of the boarding house on East Main Street in Yanceyville, and whether Dee Gee Watkins is the person of that name who served in World War I, being gassed and physically disabled as a result. There was a Mr. D. G. Watkins who served in World War I, was poisoned by nerve gas (mustard gas), was thereby disabled, and lived on East Main Street in Yanceyville in the 1950's with the John Lewis Satterfield, Jr. family.