The Praise House

“ In 1830, just after sunset on Daufusky Island, South Carolina, a slender black soul would light a fire outside the door of the weathered clapboard ‘Praise House.’

They came quietly to this only gathering place they knew, to sit on the backless half-log benches outside and inside along the wall. At first there was silence…then one person, probably a woman, began softly to hum a well known tune that had it’s origin in Africa and would eventually become the basis of a well known spiritual, that would express their primitive religious faith. As others joined in, and the music escalated, hands clapped and feet began to stomp.

This setting was the forerunner of the First Union African Baptist Church on Daufusky Island, South Carolina.”

Praise House

The Battle House, Rocky Mount, NC

The Battle Home was constructed in 1835 by Benjamin D. Battle, a son of Joel Battle, founder of Rocky Mount Mills. Rocky Mount Mills was a major supply of material for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1863 Federal cavalry burned the mill but the officer in charge spared the home because he and the superintendent of the mill were both Masons. The home is now used as the mill’s main office. It has been carefully restored to preserve all of the old detail.

This painting is on display at Bel Arts Center, Rocky Mount, and is available for sale.

The Battle House

A Lifetime Ago

Can you see it? The old mill village?

About one hundred years ago a little girl and her family lived in the house.

Look on the front porch and see she and her brother playing while their father worked in the mill. Mother shews the cat on to the porch and begins to sweep the porch with a well-used broom.

I see the family walking a few blocks to the mill church and a closer listen rings the melody of neighbors singing “The Old Rugged Cross.”

I see it. Images from a lifetime ago.

abandoned mill house in Rocky Mount, NC

Watch Out For Snakes

This cabin was built in 1934 It was constructed by the WPA for the mayor of Rocky Mount, NC, J.Q. Robinson. It was used as a quiet retreat. Mr. Robinson had a pet black snake. Apparently this snake liked to shed her skin on the mantle of the fireplace. This routine of the snake continued until the cabin was relocated from the deep woods to a new location by a pond on the edge of the woods in the 1950’s. Unfortunately the little snake was killed by falling fireplace rocks while the cabin was being moved.
Last year a new tenant or maybe two have begun using the cabin. Yes, the snake skins have returned to the fireplace mantle.

Many thanks to our friends Chuck and Carol Taylor for the use of this cabin and this delightful story.


She grew up in a house like this. The last of seven children and the only girl in the family. He passed away when she was still young and all she had were her memories. Her parents were educated at Harvard and her father a professor of English. Both parents were committed to education, love of family, and providing a warm and loving family environment.

Thanks to David McGirt for this reflection from his past upon viewing this painting.


Growing up in Savannah, Georgia holds many memories of being in nature. Weekends afforded me the luxury of boating on the Wilmington River sailing with a friend; fishing for shark; and attempting to water ski ( I never mastered that). Last year we had a delightful ride with old friends on that river. While enjoying lunch on the boat we encountered this familiar site; seagulls having lunch.

Old Cars

I enjoy old cars.  It reminds me of my youth and the hours I spent helping my dad, in the driveway, on most Saturday mornings do routine maintenance on the family car.   Back then it was easier to do service and repair small things gone wrong than it is today.   Old cars also remind me of the model cars I used to put together from a trip to K-mart or hobby shops I would visit.   We called it “airplane glue” down where I am from.  I would usually smell up the back of the house and have a few days of dried glue on my fingers when putting together my model cars.  

Time marches on and I have come to that realization upon my last birthday.   Next year will be a big one for me and fond memories are just a part of getting older.  So, I take the time to sketch a few cars from the past; most of them are older than me. 

1947 Cadillac
1958 Ford Edsel
1940’s Chevrolet