Caswell County Genealogy
1912 - 1970 (58 years)
||Ham, William Cogbill |
||19 Dec 1912
||23 Dec 1970
||Oakwood Cemetery, Martinsville, Virginia
||23 Sep 2023 |
||Foege, Elizabeth Virginia, b. 22 Jun 1915, Virgnia d. 29 Jan 1983, Martinsville, Virginia (Age 67 years) |
| ||1. Living|
| ||2. Ham, Barbara Anne, b. 11 Jan 1948, Richmond, Virginia d. 16 Sep 2014, Martinsville, Virginia (Age 66 years) [Father: natural] [Mother: natural]|
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||23 Sep 2023 |
- Industrial engineer.
He purchased the famous 23-star mantel and other interior trim items from the Dr. Jacob Thompson house in Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina.
See: Dr. Jacob Thompson House (Leasburg, North Carolina):
Find A Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136570520/william-cogbill-ham
A Treasure House: Bid at Auction Opened New Life
By Dorothy Cleal (Special to the Times-Dispatch)
Martinsville, July 23, 1957 --
"Virginians say that native Richmonders, wherever transplanted, never seem to lose an inborn love of the South's proud memories. The William C. Hams, who moved to this south-central Virginia city in 1949, are proving the point by planning a home that will be a blend of two centuries, complete with its own built-in memories.
"Born and reared in Richmond, Virginia and Bill Ham have always enjoyed country antique-hunting, and found the Virginia-North Carolina border area an especially happy hunting ground. Las year they discovered a venerable Leasburg, N.C., house about 60 miles from Martinsville which they have dismantled and carried across the border piece by piece for incorporation in the Williamsburg-style home to be built this fall.
"When the first saw 'the old Thompson place,' an original bid of $2,000 -- merely to secure one of the four fine mantels -- had already been made. However, taking advantage of a North Carolina state law stipulating that a first bid may be upset within 10 days, the Hams boldly offered a tentative $2,500.
"'I'm not very familiar with auctions,' said Mrs. Ham, 'but before the gavel had descended on the last going . . . gone, 'going . . . gone,' we were suddenly the owners of an ancient house, one acre and one-tenth of land, one smoke house, one chicken house and two outhouses.'
"Their proudest acquisition is a massive hand-carved mantel, said to be the only one of its kind in the United States outside of the White House.
Heart Pine Used
"The Hams have spent many hours getting the mantel's surface down to the original solid heart pine. The mantel is painstakingly hand-carved in beautiful detail and centered with the American emblem of eagle and shield, surrounded by twenty-three stars.
"'I couldn't resist consulting my daughter's history books to date the mantel,,' Bill Ham confessed. 'I would tentatively say it must have been made in the year 1820.' This date is substantiated by a fragment of an old letter found in the house, as wall as a piece of a ladder with the same year scratched in it. A door taken from a later addition to the house gave up a was of yellowed newspaper date-lined Milton, N.C., 1836, wherein the editor described a trip to Washington where he met but did not admire Daniel Webster and Andrew Jackson.
"'Every single part of this house was laboriously made by hand to stand for centuries,' commented Ham, pointing out the handmade clapboards, and the four-inch beams joined together with wooden pegs.'
"'Most people think the prefabricated house is a new idea. This is the original 'prefab.' They used L-shaped pieces to form the corners of the house and all cross pieces are mortised and held with wooden pegs.' When his workmen called his attention to some odd marks, the found that each joint, where the pieces came together, and been identified with Roman numerals for matching purposes.
"It is obvious that whole trees must have been sacrificed to secure some of the beams -- floor beams are 4-by-12 inches, as compared with the usual modern 2-by-6's.
"'I should like to use the random-width floor boards and random width _____ boards,' Ham said. 'We'll probably not be able to use the fan-shaped transom windows, though their hand-blown glass with its characteristic bubbles is certainly worth preserving.'
"The old buried treasure fever dormant in most breasts cropped as a result of countryside rumors, Ham commented. 'It was hard to tell who got up the stairs first when one of the boys shouted over the discovery of a blackened and moldy leather saddle-bag upstairs.' Though it produced only the yellowed daguerreotype of a lady of some by-gone era the find meant another addition to a growing collection of mementos of Leasburg in its heyday.
"Dr. Jacob Thompson, a surgeon in the Confederate Army and beloved general practitioner in the North Carolina community for many years, owned the house until his death, when J. A. Wade bought the place. When he died 40 years later, it was sold at auction.
"Virginia Ham is an accomplished portrait painter, is also a lover of antiques, and with his complete wood-working equipment, her husband plans someday to make furniture, using some of the wainscoting removed from the old house; single boards two feet wide were used. A beautifully detailed dining room breakfront on which he worked over a period of two years will doubtless be the subject of admiring comment as an heirloom of future generations."
Historic Find -- "The William C. Hams will have an historic mantel centerpiece in their Martinsville home when they complete dismantling the old house they bought in Leasburg, N.C. This beautifully carved emblem, once almost obscured by countless coasts of paint, is said to be almost identical to one over a White House fireplace. The 23 stars suggest it was made about the time of Andrew Jackson's presidency."
Rustic But Not Rusty -- "Carefully salvaged from the century-and-a-quarter-old Thompson home in Leasburg, N.C. and refurbished for use in a Martinsville residence is this handmade hardware. The hinges, locks, nails, even the hammer, were made in the 1820s."
Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), 24 July 1957.