Shirley Simmons & James Stephens

Varina Branch meetinghouse built 1896, sold in 1942 for $95 when no longer used.

The Varina Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in the very southern part of Wake County and met in the very northern part of Harnett County in the years 1895-96. The church was the result of Elders William H. Ingham and Joseph A. Jorgensen, who were both missionaries from the Southern States Mission assigned to the North Carolina Conference (specifically Wake and Harnett County) as a field of labor. The church records detailed accounts of missionaries and their assignments during this era.

The other half of the story comes from the life of Durham Hall Smith. One of eleven children of William Smith and Susannah Hall, he was born October 22, 1829. Smith was a Confederate Veteran who had enlisted in the North Carolina Thirty-first Regiment, (one source says Company D; another source says Company C of Andrew Betts known as “the Chalybeate Guards”) Born in Orange County, he was then married and residing in Wake County. In 1861 he took his brother Thomas’ place leaving the younger brother to run the family grist mill and care for their mother.

Smith married Mary Winifred Whittington, daughter of Allen Whittington and Elizabeth Smith in Cumberland County. In 1895, they lived and farmed in the area off Wagstaff Road where they raised their eleven children.

Podium crafted by Durham Hall Smith

Durham Hall Smith “ had had a dream in which he saw two men coming up the path to his house bringing a book with them,” according to the church history. When Ingham and Jorgensen arrived that day, Smith recognized them as from his dream. They invited him to a meeting that evening in the local school house which some members of the family identify as the Rawls School. The elder Smiths, in their 60’s, walked to the meeting and home again that night. Smith told his wife this was what he had been waiting for from his dream.

According to church history, Smith dug out the little creek which flows under Wagstaff Road and members of his family were baptized there on September 15, 1895. The record also says that several hundred people witnessed the baptism out of curiosity about the new religion.

The Elders confirmed them as members of the Church. Other members were added to the Church. There was heavy persecution of this new religious group as they met in the schoolhouse, other places, and ultimately in the corn crib. As a result, John Gardner of the Rawls Community, whose daughter had married into the Smith family, donated an acre of land for a building in 1896.

Timber was cut by the Smiths on their farm and hauled to the Harnett County site to construct the building which housed 90 people. D. H. Smith served as Elder there until he died in 1899. He carved the podium which the family donated in the 1990’s to the church. His daughter-in-law, Corenna Smith, wife of Vivian Smith, donated an organ and served as organist. The family made a quilt to raise money to purchase hymnbooks.

Home of Vivian & Corenna Smith on Depot Street. Picture with some of children not dated. Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al.
Vivian & Corenna Smith about 1911 Retha, Daron, & Netha are three oldest children Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al

Vivian I. Smith, the seventh child, married Corenna Alvin Baughcom of Raleigh. He and his bride moved home in 1907 (the town was incorporated as Fuquay Springs in 1909). Vivian was a building contractor, well known in the area, who retired and operated a jewelry store with clock and watch repair over what was Elliott’s Pharmacy for some years.

Depot Street: V I Smith’s Watch shop sign Photo may have been from Fire of 1946 clean up (Fidelity Bank photo)
Congregation: Picture of the entire congregation circa 1920 Info on congregation: 1920-21 Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al.

Meantime out at Rawls, “The little building became the central headquarters of the state” for a time, according to their church history. When membership declined, the church missionaries would use the home of Durham’s son, Vivian, as a meeting place. Located at 301 Depot Street in Fuquay Springs, the missionaries received mail there and often they say 15-18 persons spent the night sleeping on the floor when the family did not have enough beds for the visitors.

Children of Vivian Smith 1915-16 front: Naera (left) Callis (right back: Daron, Netha, Retha Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al
Children of Vivian Smith 1922 Netha, Retha, Daron, Callis, Naera, Blanche, Thelma Taken on Depot Street in Fuquay Springs , Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al

Eventually, the family of Vivian Smith comprised the total membership in the Varina Branch and more members lived in Raleigh, so church activity was moved to Raleigh, circa 1939. On November, 25, 1942 the Varina Branch building was sold for $95. The land reverted to the Gardner family in Rawls and the church at Salt Lake held the money for a future permanent meeting house. The small building, located adjacent to the then Rawls Community Club, was used for storage until a developer demolished it for a new housing project in 2009. Mattie Rawls and others of the community remembered services when the church met there.

Vivian and Corenna Smith seated Probably dated circa 1922 Courtesy Blanche Keith, et al

The home of Vivian and Corenna Smith was demolished on Depot Street in 2004. Members of the Smith family, especially Blanche Smith Keith, donated many records, pictures and family and church history to the Fuquay-Varina Museums.

The Fuquay Independent of 1980’s recorded some of this history. Especially noted were the difficult experiences of the family members because of their beliefs. However, the little church, called the first LDS Church in Wake County, was actually located in Harnett County for most of its history.

LDS Church on Johnson Pond Rd., Courtesy Gail A. Woolard several wards meet here
LDS Church at 2540 Highway # 55 West, Courtesy Gail A. Woolard several wards meet here

In the 1890s, the Varina Branch was the only LDS congregation in all of Wake and Harnett counties. As of 2023, there are now 29 congregations meeting within 11 meetinghouses. Since 2011, the church has built two new meetinghouses in Fuquay Varina, with one being on Johnson Pond Road and the other on Highway # 55 West towards Holly Springs. These meetinghouses currently host five congregations (Fuquay-Varina Ward, Sunset Lake Ward, Lake Benson YSA Branch, Swift Creek Ward, and Holly Springs Ward).

Sources: Scrapbook of Smith Family in Fuquay-Varina Museums Collection
Alan M. Smith, “Durham Hall Smith’s Conversion and the Missionaries That Baptized Him and His Family,” database, FamilySearch, Durham Hall Smith (29CP-QB5), Memories.
Alan M. Smith, “Durham Hall Smith’s Experience in the Civil War,” (printed copy from family research)
James Stephens, a Church Historian for the Raleigh South Stake.
Fuquay Independent, 1980’s article without author,
Notes: Fuquay-Varina History from Mattie Rawls, Gardner family, Rawls Community Club, et al.

Pictures courtesy Blanche Keith and family to the Fuquay-Varina Museums collection.
Current Church Pictures: Courtesy Gail A. Woolard


Shirley Simmons

Fuquay Mineral Springs now has an old hotel sporting new paint and trim, shining and bright as she never was! This, the Barham Hotel, was said to have been built around 1904 but some sources say maybe as early as 1900. When the hotels catering to the Fuquay Mineral Spring visitors became a thing of the past, this building became an apartment house in 1925.

Early hotel as it appeared with Lizzie Barham Ballentine and guests. Courtesy the Lane Family
Hotel at present being restored to splendor. Courtesy Gail Woolard

The great great grandson, Dr. Donnie Lane, is restoring the property and is just now giving it new life. While the hotel is not being restored per original, the structure is being saved as one of our two remaining hotel buildings.

The first Barham House, located on Spring Street, became derelict and was demolished in 1984. That first boarding house had as an early tenant, Lexie McLean’s grandfather, who ran the hackney which brought passengers from the depot into the town. The Barhams were originally from North Hampton County according to Margaret Lane (Lizzie and Joe Ballentine’s daughter) She recalled some of the history for the Independent in 1984.

Romulus Barham, a railroad man with wife Adriana, first turned their home into a boarding house and then built this grand hotel across the street from the mineral spring. The Barhams hired several hotel managers one of whom, Mrs. Champion, was advertised as operating the “finest hotel.” The last hotel operators were the Monroe Bullock Family who came to Fuquay Springs because they believed the mineral waters would help Mrs. Bullock’s arthritis. She was known to get about in a rolling chair when she arrived. Many testimonials from customers declare that the waters cured stomach problems and relieved rheumatism.

Mattie Bullock and nine children ran the hotel while Monroe helped the Barham daughter, Lizzie. and her husband, Joe Ballentine, who ran Varina Mercantile. Because of their long operation tenure, the hotel generally was known as the Bullock Hotel in its latter years. After it closed, Mrs. Bullock resided there in one of the apartments. The report was that she drank the waters every day as long as she lived.

Bullock Family Courtesy Bullock Family Monroe & Mattie (50th Anniversary.) L to R: Henry, Eva, James, Mildred, Bennett, Sue, Ed.

The original hotel boasted 16 rooms, with bowls and pitchers of spring water delivered to each daily. According to Sue Bullock Fuller guests usually stayed about two weeks and guests were able to walk down the muddy street to “take the waters at the spring.” Mrs. Bullock and her oldest daughter ran the kitchen and dining hall located in the hotel basement while others of the Bullock children ran up and down three floors tending the guests.

Sue Fuller recalled that guests “converged upon the spring hill so that there was not even walking space.” Early photographs in the museums verify this appearance. Fourth of July and Easter Monday were the largest events and usually required extra police forces from the town. All the hotels were reputed to have served numbers of guests.

Original Barham House Postcard photo

This wonderful old hotel should re-open soon as an apartment building affording many tenants outside entry, a balcony and modern living conditions. Truly she appears a “lady in her new spring outfit.”

Source: The History of Fuquay-Varina, The Independent, January 18, 1984. Information from Sue Bullock Fuller and the Lane Family., The Independent 1995 interview of Sue Fuller.


Tombstone at Wake Chapel Cemetery

Our interest in this family came from a request from Eleanor Howard who wanted to know what we could research about a “Jake” Siegfried and wife. Betsy Gunter, one of our docents, remarked that she had heard her parents mention the name but did not know what Jake did unless he was a handyman around town. While in the process of searching, Dan Turner and Donald Cotton mentioned knowing the gentlemen. Thus, we submit what we have been able to research about an interesting family from our past.

According to an interview done by Frances Walls in the June 25, 1953 Independent, “Jake” shared his story to that point. At that time, he appears to be living in the caretaker’s house at the American Legion building on Johnson Pond Road.

“Jake” was named John Jacob Siegfried when born in Mainz, Germany in 1883. He completed eight years of school but found himself an orphan in 1897. At fifteen, the young man began as a apprentice seaman, paid $5 per month on a ship sailing from Hamburg, Germany to Sidney, Australia. Injured by a broken cable, he endured 3 weeks before medical attention could be obtained, resulting in 22 weeks in a Hamburg hospital to recover.

Returning to the sea, Jake made 18 trips across the Atlantic, seeing the United States first in 1902. He deserted the German oil tanker in 1905 to board a U. S. freighter hoping that the American sailors had better food. He was quoted as saying, “I soon found out that the American ship was the hungriest ship I had ever been on.” That trip he went to Puerto Rico to pick up molasses. “We went into a hurricane and the molasses broke loose. So for three days we pumped molasses out of the hold of the ship. I know there was a trail of molasses four miles long trailing in our wake.”

Disillusioned with this career, Jake quit the sea in 1908. In Petersburg, Va. he became captain of the William Penn dredge on a channel around Petersburg. From there he moved to the Norfolk and Portsmouth area working in shipyards.

Enter a lady from Varina, North Carolina. Floy R. Neal, the daughter of Atlas Neal, was born May 11, 1882. Floy was living with her brother and sister-in-law in Raleigh in the 1900 U. S. Census and was employed at 18 years of age as a cotton mill winder. The 1910 U. S. Census lists her as married to Jacob Siegfried and live in Norfolk, Va. That record lists them as having had one child born but not living.

There is a marriage record from Warren County, NC of Floy R. Neal and Fabio Siegfried with a date of June 5, 1916 which appears to be theirs; however, the name and date do not quite appear correct as transcribed. In his interview, Jake clearly says that he married Floy Neal of Wake County. (Mrs. Siegfried was alive and living with him at the 1953 interview time.)

Jake related that they came to Fuquay Springs in 1918 where he opened a bicycle shop. He had learned sign painting is Norfolk and stated that he put up a lot of signs in Fuquay Springs. Jake was also an artist and won first prize at the fair for a landscape painted on cardboard in 1922. He was fond of Indian motorcycles and told of riding with A. G. Elliott through Eastern North Carolina. At one point he said he rode his motorcycle to Niagara Falls.

The Siegfrieds were living in Fuquay at the time of the census in 1930 and again in 1940. Eleanor Howard remembered that the Siegfrieds lived on the street behind the Howards when Beth Howard was killed. She recalled Mrs. Siegfried coming to visit her and their sharing the grief of the loss of a child. Eleanor did not share further details of the Siegfried child.

Jake’s interview continued with their moving to Fort Bragg in 1941 and subsequently to Camp Davis in Wilmington. The are residents of Wilmington, North Carolina in the 1950 U.S. Census. Jake had opened a sign painting business there and stated that he had served in the U. S. Coast Guard. Without more specific data, we have not accessed his records. Mrs. Siegfried does appear to have a nephew, James Milton Sandy, age 50, in their household that year. Sandy appears to have been born in Holly Springs, married and divorced. At one point he is listed as employed by K. B. Johnson and Sons of Fuquay Springs. His family were residents of Wilmington where he is buried. He died in S. C. in 1962.

In December of 1951, the Siegfrieds moved back to Fuquay Springs at the request of American Legion Post 116. He served as caretaker of the clubhouse known as the Beale Johnson Mansion located on the Johnson Pond in 1953. We have asked the Legion for any data they might find. Donald Cotton, a member of Post 116, recalls Siegfried.

Floy Siegfried died on April 30, 1963 and was buried at Wake Chapel Memorial Gardens in Fuquay-Varina. Jake lived until 1970 and is buried beside Floy.

During one of our Board meetings for the museums, Dan Turner mentioned that he remembered Jake. Jake did talk about his sign painting business in his interview which Dan remembers vividly. When asked to tell us what he recalled of Siegfried, Dan submitted the following article which we have decided to attach here exactly as he penned the material. Dan states the purpose of our “Historically Speaking“ collection so well.

by Dan Turner
April 29, 2023

I recall vividly riding along with my father in 1958 to go and see Mr. Jake Siegfried. He owned a circa 1920s gas station building on Old Highway 15A – just north of Five Points. The rectangular brick building had a hip-roof with a portico extending from the main block of the station. The roof of the portico was supported by two square brick columns facing south. On the right and left of the front door were two tall rectangular glass windows. This gas station design can be found all across the South and now has become almost extinct.

Mr. Siegfried was a slightly stout man of average height, and sported a well-kept beard. Having a beard in 1958 was an usual thing for the times. Possibly that may be what made me remember that fact. Mr. Seigfried was of German descent. He spoke with a slight accent and seemed to have a pleasant nature. My father found him to be an interesting character. Mr. Siegfried always had an interesting story to tell about his growing up years and life experiences. I have always wondered how he came to live near Fuquay-Varina. Nowadays, I think of questions I should have asked earlier in my life. For example, when did Mr. Siegfried’s family come to the United States from Germany? I only wish I could have listened more intently to his stories. As a child I thought he was an “old man.” I knew he was much older than my father by far and that was “old” to my eight-year-old eyes.

Mr. Siegfried was a meticulous sign painter according to my father (Mr. L. E. Turner) . My father was a very particular man when it came to executing any project, no matter how small or large. He wanted every job to be executed at a professional level. I recall my father saying we were fortunate to have such an excellent sign painter was living near Fuquay Varina.

I do not know for sure if Mr. Siegfried lived inside the gas station building. However, I recall going inside the building during cold weather when my father was ordering additional signs. I just assumed this must be Mr. Siegfried’s living quarters since it looked like a cozy nest with a wood heater, chairs, tables, and so forth..

I spoke with my older brother, Thomas Turner, this afternoon to confirm his recollections of Mr. Siegfried. They are the same as mine. The Fuquay Varina area had so many interesting people – genuine characters – during my growing up years. I have often thought Charles Dickens would have enjoyed writing about these folks. During my growing up years, almost no one moved-in-and-out of the area. Families appeared to be stable and so many of the elders enjoyed telling stories about these most interesting people.

I can see Mr. Siegfried now in my mind and only wish we had photos of him along with more information about him. It is difficult for me to believe that I knew so many interesting characters born in the 19th and early 20th centuries… Now my generation are the ones who must strive to save these individual memories for posterity. That is the reason the Museums of Fuquay Varina are so important to the citizens of the town — past and present. Without the dedicated service of volunteers manning the Museums and volunteers working with local family members to secure artifacts and recollections of our citizens from the past, so much of our united history would be lost forever. So please consider checking any hidden gems from your family and share them with the Museums.

The Bookers: Part II

K. B. & Ethel

Mr. & Mrs. K. B. Booker

Five of the children of Kater Brown Booker and Ethel Louise Jones Booker shared their life and memories in a video dated 2018. Their father came, with his mother, back to the Holly Springs area from Johnson, South Carolina where he was born. Their mother’s family lived in the area. Both parents are buried among her family in the Jones-Turner Cemetery
on Sunset Lake Road.

K. B. and Ethel also had a brother and sister who married each other, so that their children grew up with double first cousins all about the same ages. They described themselves as a big happy family, who got along well together and still do. Evelyn characterized it as, “We are always here for each other.”

They teasingly called themselves “the magnificent seven” as children. All of them were born at home in Needmore. Actually, the couple had nine children; however, a set of twins, which none of them remembered, were lost at birth. Dorothy Booker (Killian) the eldest, spoke of being the family baby sitter. Ralph K. Booker is deceased. Elijah, Harold, Evelyn, and Lee all recorded their thoughts on their life, while Brenton preferred not to speak.

Booker Siblings as pictured Christmas 2019. Center: Dorothy Left to right: Lee, Evelyn, Brenton, Harold, Elijah

K. B. was described as an astute businessman, who bought two farms in the Needmore area and another in Apex. The children recalled the good white friend who helped their father, a black man who could not generally buy land, purchase his first farm. Thereafter, hard work enabled K. B. to teach them land was a valuable asset. Consequently, he was able to provide a piece of land for each of his children when they were grown.

Discovering a need for workers in the tobacco re-drying plant in Varina, K. B. extended the store and garage he owned into a cafe. All the Booker family pitched in to get the cafe ready to serve lunch to the workers. Dorothy came home from college to assist her mother with the cooking.

The importance of education was instilled by both parents. Ethel had only finished the 7th grade and K. B. the 3rd, yet every child got a college education. Dorothy and Harold described walking to Providence School, three miles there and three miles home. Sometimes they could stop off at the minister’s home to warm up on cold days. Once they were abused by some white boys. Elijah noted the respect given their father, who when he went to see the father of the white boys, was assured that that would never happen again. It did not.

The later children attended the Fuquay Consolidated School and all graduated from high school there. Dorothy graduated from Shaw University and taught school in Hickory, North Carolina. Ralph chose a degree in chemistry from A T & T in Greensboro and a career with the postal service. Elijah worked as a tobacco grader and a magistrate, but also taught math at Fuquay Consolidated and Cary. His alma mater was also A T & T. Harold graduated from NCSU and was an engineer for IBM. Evelyn Booker (Wicker) took her nursing degrees from the Lincoln School of Nursing at NCCU and a PHD from Duke University. Her career was as Director of the Hospital. Brenton got his education at Shaw University and Lee is a graduate of NCCU.

The Booker home was a Christian home. K. B. served as a deacon at New Providence and taught Sunday School. Ethel served her church as deaconess. Dorothy recalled that after Sunday lunch, her father. would talk to the family about the day’s sermon. All the children noted that having Christ was foremost in each of their lives.

Ethel was called “Queen of the House.” Quiet and unassuming, she was a “sharp lady” who supported her husband and put in time with her children. Dorothy described her as telling the best stories, from ghosts and haunts to Cinderella. She worked in the field, leaving to go prepare lunch for the family. She played the piano for family hymns and made sure the children memorized their poems or speeches for church and school. They recalled her saying “feel good, look good, and be good.”

Family time together was important. At lunch the children had an hour off to go swimming in the pond. Recreation was riding into the country to look at the fields or a Sunday drive to the Raleigh airport. On the way back from farming in Apex, K. B. would stop and buy honeybuns as a treat. Every activity involved being together and helping each other because family was important.

Booker Grandchildren

Their first home was more sparce but the home place which remains today gave them running water, an inside bathroom, and heat. While T.V. was not yet available they recalled being entertained by the radio show “Stella Dallas.”

Finally, the delightful recalling of memories summarized their father as a good husband, a good father, a good provider, and a role model for the community. He was termed God fearing, hardworking, loving, and kind. K. B. “made life better for everybody.”

Booker Great Grandchildren

These five siblings emphasized something every parent would envy. They expressed such pride in parents who did so much from a humble beginning. They are indeed “children who are the image of what they were taught.” as Elijah phrased it.

Source: Video disc of five Booker siblings, 2018; Interview Evelyn Smith Booker and Lee Booker, January, 2023. Pictures courtesy of Evelyn and Lee Booker.


Lee and Evelyn

Evelyn and Lee Booker

On February 1, 2023, the museum staff was privileged to interview one of our area’s outstanding African American couples, Lee and Evelyn Booker. We share from our notes of this interview which will become part of our audio-visual collection in the Fuquay-Varina Museums archives.

The Booker Family of Fuquay-Varina originated with Kater Brown Booker and Ethel Jones Booker. The couple raised seven children in the family homeplace on Sunset Lake Road.

Siblings were: Dorothy Booker Killian b. 1934; Ralph Booker b. 1936; Elijah Booker b. 1939; Harold Booker b. 1941, Evelyn Pearl Booker Wicker) b. 1943; Brenton Booker b. 1945 and Lee Booker b. 1948.

Kater came into the area from South Carolina working at odds and ends, pulpwood and timber according to son, Lee. He opened a restaurant in Varina across from the town’s tennis courts location today. From there, the enterprising father arranged to purchase land which became the original Booker Farms on Sunset Lake Rd. Other purchases added to the farm over time. Besides tobacco, the family added market produce to the family enterprise. Generally the older brothers, Ralph, Elijah, and Brenton, were responsible for the farming operation, according to Lee.

Lee was able to confirm the location of the Providence School on the site of the New Providence Church today. Earlier we had been able to identify that this was one of the Rosenwald Schools in Wake County. He further detailed the founding of Providence Church under a brush arbor in l860, the oldest African American Church in our area.

Lee began school at the Fuquay Consolidated School in 1954. He recalled the traumatic day when Hurricane Hazel graced Fuquay with her winds and rain. Mr. Booker came to the school to pick up his children and they experienced the car being flooded out in water over the roads as they tried to make their way home. By the 1960’s the children were able to have bus transportation to Fuquay Consolidated High School.

When asked about sports, Lee told us that Mr. William Freeman introduced football to Fuquay Consolidated High School in 1967. The school already had baseball, basketball, and track teams. Band was also an outstanding student activity.

The couple met when both enrolled at North Carolina Central University. Lee, a senior, managed to date, Evelyn, a freshman, and their romance became a lifetime affair. They are proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Millicent and Yolanda.

Lee’s college major was business administration. Upon graduation, Lee first worked for Central Carolina Bank in Durham and then Insurance USF& D. Eventually, Lee moved to the State Insurance Department as an Examiner and Auditor.

Evelyn hailed from Nakina, North Carolina, in rural Columbus County. The daughter of Henry Roland Smith and Eulah Belle Long Smith, she was eighth in a family of ten children. Born in a pattern two years between each: Esther & Ethel, Henry & Rufus, Archie & Roy, Clara & Evelyn, and finally ending with the last two boys, Ervin & Jerome.

Evelyn attended Oak Forest Elementary school, an all black Columbus county school. However, when she was ready for high school, the laws allowed student choice. She and her older sister, Clara, decided to integrate the Nakina High School. She remembers being told by white students she was not wanted, to which she replied, she did not want to come but it was the closest high school to her home and choice was allowed. She was encouraged by two neighbor white children with whom they played as they rode the bus together to high school, Within the year, these two brave Smith ladies proved themselves as straight “A” students. Unfortunately, when graduation time arrived, the top three students of the class were ranked, Evelyn 97, a white girl 95, and another black cousin of Evelyn 93. The administration decided not to award her the valedictory distinction but to have three honor graduates. So comes more understanding for the title of her recent book, “A Winner In Spite of…”

The first semester Evelyn enrolled at North Carolina Central University, she had to withdraw to help care for her sick mother. Upon her return as an advanced freshman in September of 1970, Lee Booker, as a big-time senior, began his courtship of the freshman beauty.

Evelyn was graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Education. After their marriage in 1973, she began her career with CP & L as a programmer. After staying home with her girls until they began school, in 1980 Evelyn became a copywriter for WRAL. From there she moved into TV sales. By the time of her retirement, she was General Sales Manager at Fox TV in Raleigh. Her March 11, 2011 retirement party after 30 years in her remarkable career culminated her “Winner in Spite of….” Evelyn had overcome all her racial and feminine obstacles and emerged the ultimate Christian lady, professional, wife, and mother.

Evelyn with daughters, Eulonda and Millicent

This amazing couple instilled a love of education into both their daughters. Millicent is a pediatrician in Winston-Salem. Eulonda heads the cheerleading program at Delaware State University where she also tutors athletes.

Millicent Booker Ford & family live in Winston Salem, NC.
Eulonda Booker Pfister & family live in Delaware.

Our interview ended with our wishing Grandpa Lee and Grandmama Evelyn a wonderful trip to see grandson Nathan compete in the State of Deleware’s spelling competition. They will also be attending the basketball games of Millicent’s son in Forsyth County. Grandparenting brings a gleam into both their eyes.

In retirement, Evelyn is a vital role model within her church, a part of Healing Transitions, and a leader in the Cultural Arts Society of Fuquay-Varina. Evelyn has begun a term of service for the Board of Supporters of the Friends of the Fuquay-Varina Museums. She has also trained as a docent for the Friends of the Museum’s staff. Earlier, Evelyn had became a supporter of our museums effort while serving on a committee with the Fuquay-Varina Centennial of 2009.

Their contribution of an interview and of the family history is exactly what the museums staff hopes to replicate with many families and individuals as we preserve our area history. The Booker Family produced a video of family recollections and history in 2018 which they have graciously shared with the museums. Part II of the Booker family will include more of the life of this remarkable family.

Source: Interview of Evelyn Smith Booker and Lee Booker, January, 2023., A Winner in Spite of… Evelyn Smith Booker, White Way Pub, 2021.

Salute to: The Fuquay-Varina Arts Festival History

by Shirley Simmons

His honor, Mayor Blake Massengill and family joined Martha Smallwood in opening the Fuquay-Varina Arts Festival 2023. This Proclamation of Fine Arts Week began with Mayor John Byrne and is a good example of the club and town cooperation.

The Friends of the Museums are honored to salute one of our members, a non profit called the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club and to acknowledge that the GFWC Junior Woman’s Club is likewise a loyal member. The recent Fuquay Varina Arts Festival sparked an inquiry to us regarding the history of the Arts Festivals in Fuquay-Varina. Our research has led us to share this amazing record.

The Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club was chartered as the Varina Woman’s Club in 1926 and Federated with the GFWC NC in 1927. As such, it is the oldest civic organization within our town’s area. The GFWC Junior club is younger and the second such organization within our town. The former club’s motto is “Service;” the latter gives a lot of service to our town.

This craft winner came from a Harnett Central High School student who was a yearly participant throughout her high school days.

The Woman’s Club began their association with the Arts early in their existence. Historically, the national GFWC Arts Department began first awarding prizes to clubwomen in 1910. Officially in 1944-45, Art became one of the department’s of the GFWC. Clubwomen were first the persons whose work was entered for judging across the state. By 1960-61, we know that Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club (it had adopted that name in the 1954) had its first student Sallie Southall Cotton Scholarship Winner in the District, Joanne Payne (Norris).

GFWC-NC held Arts Festivals in all the districts in 1964. In the first recorded winners we have located, the Fuquay-Varina Club boasted of three blue ribbon art winners sponsored in 1978- 1979 under President Agnes Egsegian. Mrs. Agnes won silver for her visual arts entry that year. This would mean that Fuquay’s association with the Arts Festival is at least 45 years old, possibly older.

Helen Smith and daughter, Cherry, were responsible for the display boards and a great advance in the festival presentation. Since then there has been a storage partnership with first Joe Ashworth and now Jim’s Storage for which the club is grateful.

Arts Festivals were organized by the Districts (now there are nine districts in N. C.) and hosted in our District VIII by individual clubs when Fuquay-Varina took their turn in 1982-83. President Joanna Proctor declared that the one hosted here was one of the largest held in the districts with over 145 persons in attendance. GFWC-NC budgeted money for student prizes that year.

Attendees would have been club women and certainly candidates for scholarships. By 1986-87, Fuquay’s candidate for Sallie Southall Cotton, Gary Adkins, was our second District winner. We did not find records of arts and literature winners but can assume there to have been continuing participation.

At that point our annual local Festival was held in our clubhouse on Ennis Street. Again, these were local festivals without public attendance but exhibiting work from students in arts and craft categories and in literature. In 1998-2000 our local club extended invitations to join our Arts Festival at Harnett Central Middle and High Schools. During those two years, the students and club won 13 blue ribbons at the state level. Mary Lou Kendall served as Arts Chairman under the Presidency of Shirley Simmons. The festival was outgrowing the clubhouse space.

When GFWC encouraged joint efforts with the Junior Clubwomen, President Dot Mays led the expansion to a joint festival by both clubs. In 2001-2002 the Arts Festival moved to the Community Building. Such a successful effort earned chairmen, Pollyanna Sheets and Helen Smith the departmental award. This was the beginning of public festivals and many students and parents came to view the displays.

Graphics category on display with judging ribbons. First places for Jr. WC and FV WC advance to District in 2023. Schools are invited to enter a number of categories and crafts and visual arts.

The 2003 Festival was first hosted by Windsor Point in their auditorium. In 2004-2006, President Debbie Semple led an expansion of the Arts Festival to include community artists along with clubwomen and a total of 13 schools. Truly, this had become a COMMUNITY service event.

During the next administration of President Vicki Currin, Chairman Helen Smith proposed a new vision. Windsor Point welcomed the Arts Festival to their auditorium and Helen and her daughter, Cherry, procured wonderful display boards. Helen had come from a background of Art in Birmingham museums and led the clubs into elegance of display during 2006-2008.

By 2009, the Fuquay-Varina Arts Festival had grown to 350 entries under President Pam Booker. Chairman Ann Hull and Beverly Anderson won the departmental award for a great show featuring clubwomen and students. The 2010 festival featured over 400 entries.

Pollyanna Sheets became President and added her expertise in Art to that of Chairmen Vickie Cardin and Stephanie Wallace. The 2010-12 festivals continued to expand and the art department kept being winner among our departments. During these years several student winners in sewing and music advanced to state competition levels.

This student advanced to the State Festival to perform in music. Over the years student music, sewing, arts and crafts and literature winners have been proud participants. Music was dropped from the State Festival in 2023 because the dates conflicted with other student music competitions. (Ducoste: 2016)

Presidents Marilyn Gardner and Emily Cox found their administrations of 2012-2018, still exulting in the arts. Beth Barlow, Chairman, won department honors in 2013. Student winners in all levels of Literature, Visual Arts, and Music advanced in record numbers. Southern Wake Academy students were added. Clubwomen won awards in quilting, crocheting and other crafts. Then in 2014, the Festival reached a peak of 651 entries.

The public invitation to the Fuquay-Varina Arts Festival hosted by Windsor Point exemplifies the Woman’s Club: Service to the Community.

In President Patty Bryne’s administration, Martha Smallwood took the Co- Chairman’s reins. During the 1917 Festival there were a grand total of 619 entries When the 2018 festival found everyone braving snow and ice, the festival was reduced to a one-day event. Even with all the confusion, there were still 462 entries.

President Julia Yeargin’s second festival in 2020 fell victim to the covid pandemic. No festival was held in the state that year. In 2021 the State managed a virtual festival. This found Co-Chaiman Smallwood, viewing the entries by committee only with judging in the clubhouse. This continued when covid prevented a return to a public festival in 2022 at the very last minute. Smallwood and CSP still collected entries. The winners were declared at District and State for President Nancy Randolph’s administration in its final year.

Hurrah! In 2023, Windsor Point again welcomed the Fuquay-Varina Arts Festival. President Jeanette Moore Burlock and faithful chairman, Martha Smallwood, managed to showcase a total of 410 entries from students and clubwomen. Martha has, over time, worked the Festival into an art itself with her computer skills, preparing forms and reports.

Each student has received a Certificate of Participation for the past 20 years, almost universally done in calligraphy by Debbie Semple. Jeanette Moore-Burlock has printed and supplied certificates, flyers and programs gratis of Fairway Printing. A “Best in Show” award also has dated from the beginning Windsor Point Festivals. Finally, Mayor John Byrne began a Proclamation of “Fine Arts Week” in Fuquay-Varina for every Festival which the new Mayor Blake Massengill continued in 2023.

Visual Arts are a major part of the show every year. This is a close up of one winner in 2023 which is advancing to District.

A SALUTE to the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club, The GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Fuquay-Varina, and to Windsor Point for the wonderful Art Festivals which recognize our student Visual Arts, Crafts, and Literature. An even louder SHOUT OUT to the staff of all the area schools who work to collect and submit the student entries which have enlarged what began as a clubwomen festival into this showcase for our young artists.

Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club: this long history of support for the ARTS is just one example of your motto: SERVICE. The Friends of the Museums are honored to recognize your leadership contribution to and recognition of our students, clubwomen, and community!

What do we know about the names of our town: Fuquay & Varina

No, we are not named for two families who “fought” each other. While we have been getting that “tale” from newcomers in the museums, we have not been able to find the origin of this “Hatfield & McCoy” tall tale. HOWEVER, here we will try to give you the “rest of the story.” (Shirley Simmons)


The Fuquay name is definitely from the family of William Fuquay who purchased 110 acres from Jesse Jones according to a deed of 1804 “in the 28th year of American Independence.” The story has long been that he owned 1000 acres which we cannot confirm. When land was deeded to the sons of David Crockett, the acreage does amount to more than the original figure. Therefore, the Fuquay family did accumulate more acreage at some point.

This family did give their name to the town because they were the owners of the land on which they literally “plowed up” and thus discovered the Mineral Spring in 1858.

From where did our Fuquay family originate? There appear to be three versions or stories told over time.

First story: In 17th century, Lewis and William Fuquay came to New York from France, living first in New York, then in Virginia. Lewis went west and William came to our Fuquay area.

This is told by Fuquay family in several writings, generally attributed to Lula Fuquay Sessions. Lula recounts that she is the daughter of Stephen Sampson Fuquay II. “ He was the son of David Crockett Fuquay and the grandson of Stephen Samson Fuquay I who was the son of William Fuquay,” Lula wrote.

Second Story: A book entitled From the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Maui by William Benton Patterson , published 1991 gives another story we have recounted at he museums. Two brothers came with the French in 1780 and were present at the Yorktown victory of Washington. His claim is that Guillaume Fouquet (William) landed with Count De Rochambeau and married Mary Hall in 1790 in Virginia. A second brother, John Louis Fouquet came with Lafayette. William came to North Carolina, Louis went elsewhere. He dates this Wake County arrival as 1810 which does not agree with the Wake County Deed.

Current Story: Research by the Huguenot Society of Virginia under taken by Martha Fuquay Cummings states that Guilluame Fouquet, a French Huguenot, settled in Virginia. He died circa 1698 in Henrico County, Va. His descendants, leading to our Fuquay Family, are numbered below. We have added the known descendants from William, all names of which agree with the accounts of Lula Sessoms and other Fuquay descendants in our area and with Patterson’s record.


1. Guilluame Fouquet (settled in Virginia)
2. Ralph (youngest son of Guilluame ; born circa 1684 in Virginia; brother of Martha’s ancestor who was named William)
3. Ishum (son of Ralph)
4. William (born circa 1755) m. Mary Hall bought 110 acres in Fuquay (recorded in Wake County 1805) 3 children: Isham, Luisa, Stephen
5. Stephen Sampson (born circa 1787 ) m. Sarah Ausley (3 sons, 3 daughters) William, Isham, David, Cynthia, Polly, Charity
6. David Crockett (born 1818) m Louisa Partin (had 6 sons) Stephen, Nathan, David, Alrich, James, Benjamin
7. Stephen Sampson m. Mary Sorrell (9 children) Lenna, Mattie, Beadie, Alpha, Lula, David, Alrich, Emma, Stephen

The museums docents detail the three stories; the repetition of family names is telling.

In all three stories, the names of all those known in our town remain identical.

However, there appears to be veracity in the Huguenot origin. NCSU has a professor who is researching North Carolina Huguenot families and has visited us to incorporate our Fuquay family information. We await his research to confirm this lineage. Martha is listed officially with the Huguenot Society of Virginia and has done much research for her line of the family. She, too, has visited our town while researching.

As to Fuquay home sites in our town, the children of Stephen Fuquay said:

1. William and Mary (Molly) lived at the end of Pine Street about where the house built by Dr. Wiley Cozart was located.
2. David Crockett and Louisa lived on Main Street in a house located about where later was erected the Fuquay Branch Bank.
3. Stephen and Mary lived about the juncture of Vance Street and Angier Rd where the Wells house was located. We do have a framed photo of this Fuquay house in the museum donated by the family.

Alrich Partin Fuquay: This son inherited the acreage on the west side of Main Street, including the mineral spring from his forebears. He taught in the Ballentine School House before deciding to move away. Dr. J. A. Sexton who purchased this Fuquay land, planned and divided the area into lots for sale.
Stephen Fuquay Home: The only picture the museums have acquired of the different generations of Fuquay Homes. Beadie Fuquay (Wright) one of the daughters is holding the horse, along the Angier Road side of the house. Stephen Fuquay divided his inheritance on the east side of Main Street intolots for sale.
Daughters of Stephen Fuquay pictured from left to right: Emma Fuquay Betts, Lula Fuquay Sessoms, Beadie Fuquay Wright and Mattie Fuquay. (Courtesy Patty Fleming)


The “Varina” portion of our name originated with a pseudonym chosen by Virginia Arey of Fayetteville, N. C. in writing to James D. Ballentine during the Civil War. She is assumed to have “borrowed” the name of the wife of Jefferson Davis. As a proper lady, she was writing to a gentlemen to whom she had had no official introduction.

There are two versions of her use of the name. The widely held one is that she wrote morale building letters to Ballentine; however, Linwood Stephenson penned an article stating that she knit the soldier socks and included her name in the gift.

Ballentine Home: J. D. and Varina lived in this house, located at what is now S. Main and Wagstaff Road. Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Perry, who had hoped to restore the old dwelling, provided pictures of the original Ballentine home.

Ballentine is said to have looked her up in Fayetteville, courting her and marrying her on December 3, 1867. As far as anyone could remember, he always called her “Varina.”

In 1880, when Ballentine applied for a post office on his property to replace one known as “Old Shop,” he asked to name it “Varina.” This post office could have been in his house but was believed by the Rawls family, whose ancestor carried the mail, to have been located near the Ballentine home at S. Main Street and Wagstaff Rd.

From 1880-1900, the “Varina “post office became the one serving all citizens from the Willow Spring area south into the Rawls Community of Harnett County. The post office served a postal route via horseback into Harnett County. The first Church of The Later Day Saints, organized in the Rawls community, was known as “The Varina Stake.”

Circa 1899, Ballentine renamed his family store, now located in the new brick building at the mineral spring, “Varina Mercantile.” The rail line coming from Durham, through Holly Springs, destined eventually for Dunn, North Carolina, identified its new depot, Varina Station, by the post office. This depot it built where the line crossed the rail running south from Raleigh. Thus the name “Varina became associated with the area along what is now Broad Street.

Varina Mercantile: The oldest brick building in town was located at the Mineral Spring by J. D. Ballentine, his brother William, and nephew, Joe. This use of the Varina name would actually be located in Fuquay Springs.

Mr. B. G. Ennis, who owned the rail crossing area, toyed with the idea of a Town of Varina which never materialized. We do have his proposed drawing of same.

While Ballentine’s Varina post office was renamed Sippahaw in 1901 and then renamed Fuquay Springs by Hattie Parker in 1902, the name “Varina” remained with the now Durham and Southern rail depot and the Ballentine store. The official name for the town became Fuquay Springs when incorporated in 1909. The Varina Station was not within the original town limits along with several other areas such as Cardenas and Blanchard.

By 1913, when Hattie Parker moved her post office up town to Depot Street in Fuquay Springs, residences and businesses now located near “Varina Station” decided it inconvenient to have to pick up mail over on Depot Street.

Varina Station: This depot, built on the line by Durham and Southern Railway, would be the beginning of the “Varina” community along Broad Street. This picture would be taken while it was still in use before 1977.

Mr. Gregory petitioned for a new U. S. Post Office to be named “Varina.” Located just across from the depot on what would become Ennis Street, he provided the first building for this second “Varina” post office in 1913. This cemented the name for the area radiating outward from Broad Street as “Varina.” Eventually, “Varina” post addresses would extend into the country on a rural route as well.

Local Presbyterians officially organized their local congregation as “Varina Presbyterian Church” in 1913.

Other businesses would use the name “Varina” as well. W. L. Johnson led the incorporation of a “Bank of Varina” on September 26, 1914. Alonzo Averette and A. V. Autry named their business “Varina Garage and Machine Company” in 1918. Both these businesses were located along Broad Street. On January 24, 1924, Herbert Akins and N. H. Hopson opened “Varina Supply Company” in the building now called “The Brick.” There was Varina Brick Warehouse opened in 1914; Varina Knitting Mill in 1931 and Varina Farmer’s Exchange of the 1950’s and various other uses of the “Varina” name over the years.

Eight women, led by Mrs. Bessie Hopson, organized the Varina Woman’s Club in 1926. This club met over the Bank of Varina until they built their clubhouse in 1936.

The community called “Varina” gradually became part of the Town of Fuquay Springs as the town limits extended northward. The “Varina” post office would relocate along Broad Street, moving several times. There would be a Fuquay Springs policeman assigned to patrol the streets of “Varina” as well as one assigned to “Fuquay.”

Rail Crossing in Varina: Heulon Dean’s 1957 photo captured “Varina”. Note the original Durham & Southern Depot in the middle. the buildings of Varina Supply and Varina Brick Warehouse behind the depot, and the Norfolk and Southern freight station on the left with the rail car. No picture of the first post office located here by Gregory has been found; however, the last post office called “Varina” in on the right with the striped awning.

Numerous organizations would begin to incorporate both “Fuquay” and “Varina” into their names. The Fuquay Varina Woman’s Club officially changed its name in 1951 and published their first cookbook, “Fuquay Varina’s Favorite Recipes.” They organized the first Fuquay Varina Garden Club in 1954. The Presbyterians changed their name to the Fuquay Varina Presbyterian Church. Many ads referred to Fuquay Varina.

When the idea of changing the town name to Fuquay-Varina became a movement, many people already referred to Fuquay Varina. Officially, in 1963 the General Assembly rechartered the municipality as Fuquay-Varina, using the hyphenated town name. The Mayor Alfred Johnson touted our being “one of two hyphenated towns in North Carolina.”

The Varina post office, located in a building now belonging to the Aviator at the junction of Ennis and Broad Streets, remained open into the 1970’s to serve businesses in that area, even after the main post office was changed from Fuquay Springs to Fuquay-Varina. The Class of 1967 became the first graduates from Fuquay-Varina High School.

Many older families still will proudly claim to have been “residents” of “Varina” or of “Fuquay Springs. ” Roughly the Varina area encompassed streets from near the First Methodist Church to the FV Presbyterian Church and all the area north on Broad and Main and west on Wake Chapel Rd and Highway 55, plus some surrounding rural area.

Our two names do have their definite history which we recount with pride.

We hope that everyone now knows more of the story! However, today, we know that our hyphenated name establishes for the world that we are “A Dash More.”


“An icon from our past”

Shirley Hayes

On a 1934 morning, a bundle of joy which they named Shirley Ann arrived at the home of the Mudge family. Belle Bass Mudge, an employee in the commercial department of Southern Bell Telephone in Raleigh, had married Leon Augustus Mudge, a sub agent of Standard Oil of Varina, NC, on July 1, 1929.

L A. Mudge was in the Insurance business on Main Street for many years.

Belle’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. John Willian Bass, were residents of Raleigh. The parents of L. A., Mr. & Mrs. G. O. Mudge, hailed from Blowing Rock, NC.

After first residing in Raleigh, the Mudges became residents of Fuquay Springs, first living along S. Main Street in the area of the Mineral Springs. Other residents like Eleanor Aiken (Howard) remember the young Shirley as one of their playmates in the small town of Fuquay Springs. In 1945, a little sister, Nancy arrived, completing the Mudge family.

These little tykes were enrolled in Fuquay Springs High School, which eventually served them grades 1-12 years. Shirley became one of the “fifty-two” members of the graduating class of 1952 according to her fellow classmate, Willa Akins Adcock.

Prom for Class of 1952. Courtesy Willa Akins Adcock

During those years, Shirley honed her skills as a wordsmith which would become her trademark for life. A member of the Beta Club, she was also Chief Marshal of her Junior Class. She was voted the “Most Intellectual” female in Senior Superlatives. The 1952 Greenbriar was published under the leadership of Editor, Shirley Ann Mudge.

Shirley Mudge (Hayes) in Class of 1952. Yearbook: Greenbriar

A review of editions of the Greenbriar reveal that she was a member of the Future Homemakers of America which provided a fireplace and picnic tables in the new Falcon Park across from the high school. Not surprising, she was outstanding in the Book Club, the Student Council, and the French Club. Her interests even included membership in the Future Teacher’s of America, although she never actually entered the teaching profession.

Girls were first admitted to Wake Forest College during World War II, and Shirley, along with fellow classmates, Willa Akins (Adcock), and Portia Vann Mitchell (Newman) enrolled there in the Class of 1956. These three ladies and five other members of the FSHS Class of 1952 established themselves as the “Crazy Eight” who have enjoyed fun-filled reunions annually for many years and in many locations.

Shirley Mudge, Willa Akins, Barbara Thomas, and Frances Clark from high school days.
Willa and Shirley on a beach trip from school days.
The Crazy Eight on Trolly Trip in Wilmington, 2000. Front L to R: Frances Poe Tyndal, Jane Holland Riley, Willa Akins Adcock, Shirley Mudge Hayes Middle: Betty Beck Norris, Frances Aiken Back: Betsy Johnson Gunter, Portia Mitchell Newman Courtesy Willa Adcock.
Five of the Eight: Betsy, Jane, Shirley, and Frances at one of their gatherings. Courtesy Willa Adcock.

At then Wake Forest College, Shirley’s literary skills were front and center on campus. She worked on the Old Gold and Black (student newspaper) her sophomore and junior years. However, her greatest achievement was becoming Editor of The Student during her senior year. Established in 1882, this was the oldest of four student publication avenues on campus. Shirley was the lone female member of the Publications Board which advised not only the newspaper and literary magazine, but also the Howler (yearbook) and WFDD (campus radio). According to the Howler of 1956, these four student publications “covered the campus like the magnolias.”

Shirley Mudge, the Editor, at Wake Forest is surrounded by office materials. Yearbook: Howler photo.

Shirley’s interest was not limited, however. She was a member of the Woman’s Recreational Association (along with Willa and Vann), the Sigma Pi Alpha Chapter (for French, Spanish, and German scholars) and the distinguished Philomathesian Literary Society. The latter featured mock student debates, drama, extemporaneous speaking, and contests every spring against their rival literary society.

Following graduation from Wake Forest College in the last Class of 1956 on the old campus in Wake County, Shirley began her professional newspaper career. Her daughter remarked that she bravely went to Norfolk, Va. where she knew no one. She lived in a rooming house and walked to her job as a reporter for the Virginian Pilot By the census of 1957, Shirley had moved back to Sanford, North Carolina and was employed at the Sanford Herald. Next she was found working on the staff of The Raleigh Times. At the Times she amassed a treasure of articles on a multitude of subjects.

While a member of the Raleigh Spinsters Club, she met Charles “Chuck” Harrison Hayes, a member of the Raleigh Bachelor’s Club. On February 5, 1965, the two were wed in Raleigh, N.C. Capt. Hayes, USMC of Quantico, Va., a graduate of the Citadel, had served as assistant officer in charge of Marine Recruiting in Raleigh prior to being transferred to Quantico, Va.

Shirley continued to work at the Raleigh Times while “Chuck” did a tour in Vietnam. After her husband returned, they left the states for his assignment in England, where Chuck served under Admiral John Sidney McCain, Sr. Their only child, Elizabeth, was born in England and spent her first seven years of life in her military family, stationed both in Fayetteville, North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia.

Fortunately for us, Shirley never lost her dream of returning to her hometown of Fuquay-Varina. When Chuck left the service, they were able to settle back in Wake County in 1976.

Shortly thereafter, Shirley began her career with the Fuquay Independent. In the August 19, 1976 edition, owner Ted Vallas announced his leaving and her new role. “Shirley Hayes will continue as editor of the paper and will do a much better job and I ever could. I consider myself fortunate to have someone of her caliber to leave the news side with.”

While Elizabeth established her Fuquay roots at Wake Chapel School with her second grade classmates, Shirley became reporter extraordinary at the Independent. One need only search a few issues to marvel at her immense talent for interviewing and reporting. Story telling ran through her veins. As Elizabeth stated it best in a Facebook post, “She respected and saw the story in every person.”

Shirley Mudge Hayes, the Editor was always professional in her work.

In reviewing the subsequent Independent issues for 1976 alone, we found quite a collection of articles by Shirley Hayes. She detailed Dottie Harden’s life from England to Fuquay-Varina on September 2. On September 9, she visited Helen Senter’s Resthome and on Sept 16, she gave an account of the Talley Family and the tobacco market in Fuquay-Varina.

Chuck served as Interim Fuquay Town Manager from June 1976 to January 1978. The Independent of September 9, 1976 pictures Chuck at well 13, stating it was really the fifth in operation for the town.

Among the memories most notable in Fuquay-Varina, was Shirley’s reporting on the Fuquay Town Commissioner’s meetings and official town business. Her insight, wisdom, and thorough journalism kept citizens informed about the proceedings within municipal government as they had never been before or since.

Over time, the Fuquay Independent underwent several changes of ownership and editorship. Circa 2000, when Biff Eller left to establish a small newspaper called Neighbors in Fuquay-Varina, Shirley moved over from the Independent to assist in the effort. It was after this venture closed, that she retired from official journalistic coverage of Fuquay-Varina.

Shirley & Chuck Hayes with Joe and Elizabeth Saint at Fuquay’s Gala 2009

In 2009, Shirley Mudge Hayes was named to the Centennial Commission for the town. Among her responsibilities, she helped organize the first scan day of pictures from individuals. Success and cooperation from the public in this endeavor has resulted in our continuing an archive of photos. Shirley Hayes then joined with Shirley Simmons in the writing of a History of Fuquay-Varina. Each of these ladies undertook chapters or subjects which are distinctive within the published book. Shirley chose the pictures for the cover of the edition, selecting those subjects which she found most representative or appealing. This publication has become a major source of historical preservation within our town, Copies are used constantly by the museums staff and are available for purchase through the museums.

Classmates at Gala: Willa, Jane, Shirley, Betsy, Portia, Frances

Unfortunate health issues resulted in Shirley and Chuck leaving Fuquay in February of 2017. Shirley suffered a stroke while on a family visit to Florida. Her rehab needs made it necessary for Elizabeth to move her to Connecticut where she could become their temporary caregiver. When Chuck developed macular degeneration and Shirley suffered a fall with resulting surgery, their return was delayed. Eventually after Shirley endured a bout with pneumonia and then the installation of a pacemaker, the couple agreed with Elizabeth that they should remain in Connecticut.

Sadly, they sold their Fuquay home, but Shirley was able to move her most prized possessions to her new home. Elizabeth notes that Connecticut fell in love with her mother
just like North Carolina. In Elizabeth’s words, “She was good with people.”

Shirley spent her last years in an apartment attached to Elizabeth’s historic 1753 home. Elizabeth reports that she thrived on visits with her granddaughter, Olivia, attended her grandson’s baseball games, and loved her backyard trees, newspapers, books, dogs, and people. In the week before her death she enjoyed a visit with Nancy’s daughter and husband and was an avid spectator at her grandson’s ball game.

This gentle soul left us on June 16, 2022. A service was held at First Church Fairfield. Connecticut on June 25. Elizabeth hopes to arrange a memorial service in Fuquay-Varina at some future time.

History of Fuquay-Varina cover pictures selected by Shirley Hayes.

Implicitly the spirit of Shirley Mudge Hayes remains very much alive within her hometown of Fuquay-Varina. Appreciation of her award winning journalistic skills and acknowledgement of her legacy of work endure. The history of our town would not be so rich nor thorough had she not lived and worked among us. The Friends of the Museums are honored to salute Shirley Mudge Hayes, one of our own!

Our acknowledgment of the following: Willa Akins Adcock provided pictures and memories. Elizabeth Hayes Saint (herself an editor) shared historic details of the family and admiration for her mother. The Greenbriar and Howler yearbooks, the Independent files, and the Federal census were invaluable sources. Shirley Simmons, September, 2022.

Celebration of 100th Anniversary: American Legion Post 116

by Shirley Simmons

American Legion Post 116 built this log cabin on S. Main Street, dedicated in 1927. Museums Collection

The oldest organization of citizens chartered in Fuquay Springs is the North Carolina American Legion Post 116. Their charter of November 3, 1920 lists 15 members. The museums have located descendants and family members of 10 of these gentlemen known to have connections to our area today. The other five were veterans of World War I who resided in the area at that time. Our archives would welcome further information.

The American Legion “dedicated its original club house and set about living in it” on April 17, 1927. Located just north of the Fuquay Mineral Spring, the building quickly became the headquarters for visitors to the spring on Easter Monday and other occasions. This building, known as the Log Cabin or Log Bungalow, occupied the properties of the present Crazy House Brewing at 330 S. Main Street.

According to research of deeds, the American Legion under Commander W. S. Cozart sold the property to J. C. Tilley, Adjutant (Secretary) on March 18, 1946. Post 116 then purchased the property known as the Beale Johnson House and the Old Mill Farms from the State Board of Education of North Carolina on April 1, 1949.

Since that time, American Legion Post 116 has resided on Johnson Pond Rd, presently occupying their own buildings across the road from the original Johnson house at the mill on Johnson Pond. After the Legion moved to Johnson Pond, many residents documented using the American Legion house for family reunions, parties and special occasions.

One of the early BBQ events held at the chamber showing unidentified serving of plates. Courtesy of Proctor family.

The story of the original log building is colorful and touching. In 1922, Commander W. W. Seawell undertook to begin building a house for the American Legion. Seawell and the Legionnaires began collecting money to finance the construction and people began to offer logs. The members went into the woods, cut logs, and hauled them out. This became slow business during the 1920’s and they ran out of money. Seawell came down with disease and was hospitalized at Oteen near Ashville, NC. From his hospital bed, he continued to urge the men to complete the log structure.

The BBQ events were fundraising events attended by the town, at least the male population, it appears. Photo was undated but appears to be early in the history of the log cabin. Courtesy of Proctor family.

The newspaper record gives glowing praise to the townspeople for materials contributed and wholesale prices given them, until finally “after five years,” they managed completion of the log cabin. The American Legion Post 116 declared this structure “a community center” in recognition of the contributions of wonderful local citizens.

On the dedication day, a barbecue “as good as can be made” was served and the public was invited to help celebrate. Officers then were L. Bruce Gunter, L. E. Stevens, and P. K. Honeycutt. Dr. W. S. Cozart took charge of the BBQ. The speaker was Colonel John Hall
Manning, head of the Veteran’s Loan Fund and Oliver Smith of Raleigh. S. T. Proctor recounted the building saga deemed “a right heroic story.” The Fuquay Springs Baptist Church Pastor, Rev. J. P. Harris gave the dedicatory prayer. The Woman’s Auxiliary was in charge of music. Sadly, Ex Commander Seawell was not well enough to be present.

The Beale Johnson house on Johnson Pond Road was purchased by the American Legion Post 116. This post card version of the “Southern Mansion” is part of the museums collection. The house was owned by government agencies for a period of time. Courtesy Tim Carroll.
This photo of the Beale Johnson House was taken by the Fuquay Springs Questers for their video. The house was then in possession of the Lynwood Turner family. It has recently been sold to another private owner. Courtesy Fuquay Springs Questers.

Over the museum’s research history, many citizens recount the building as a USO center during World War II. Former residents of the Ben Wiley recall events across the road especially the use of the building as a polling place for elections. Others have related that the Cozart family tore down the building and used the logs in construction of a log home on Angier Road. Since the Legion’s removal from S. Main Street several persons have owned the property and other buildings have been constructed thereon.

True to its origins, the American Legion continues today to cook and serve BBQ dinners either for political events or as fundraisers for their organization. Their organization has remained a major player in school and community activities within Fuquay-Varina and Wake County. Want a fish plate? Or a Christmas tree?

Congratulations on 100 proud years! Help them Celebrate June 24, 2022!

(Source: unidentified news clipping) April 18, 1927. Oral accounts.


Currently the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Clubhouse sits proudly at 602 N. Ennis St.

The Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club is the oldest civic organization in our town. The only other organization which pre-dates this group is that serving the membership of military service men and women: Local American Legion Post #116.

In 1926, eight women, all of whom lived in the area of town known as “Varina,” met and organized themselves. Oral records tell us that the club began in the home of Mrs. Bessie Hopson (first wife of N. H. Hopson, a local businessman). Shortly thereafter, they moved into a rented room in the Judd Building on Broad Street. Calling themselves the “VARINA WOMAN”S CLUB” , they elected Mrs. Hopson as their president and adopted their motto, “Service.” In 1951, the Club became the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club officially as women from both areas had become members over the years.

This pictures was published in 1936 Independent just after the building was completed on Ennis Street.

The women who founded the Woman’s Club in Varina knew about two earlier levels of organization designed to unite women in support of causes important to their lives and families.

The earliest, now known as GFWC (General Federation of Women’s Clubs) traced its origins to Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist, who in 1868 had attempted to attend an all-male press club dinner honoring novelist Charles Dickens. Denied admittance based on gender, she formed a woman’s club called Sorosis. Across the nation other groups of women who had organized, attended a convention in New York City in 1898 to discuss the causes of their gender. From that came the official General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1890.

The more local North Carolina Woman’s Club is dated from 1902 when seven clubs held a convention in Winston Salem. North Carolina’s Sallie Southall Cotton was a leader in this movement to provide for the women of our state. From their meeting came the North Carolina Federation begun with 20 clubs federated in 1903.

The first Mrs. N. H. Hopson, Bessie, a teacher in the local high school, was first Varina Woman’s Club President.

Our Varina Woman’s Club voted to become a federated club with the North Carolina Federation in 1927. The local women enjoyed the support of Dr. J. M. Judd, whose wife Amorette Ballentine Judd was a charter member. The Judd’s gave the ladies a lot on Ennis Street on which Dr. Judd supervised the building of a clubhouse in 1936.

Amorette Ballentine Judd was a charter member.
Dr. J. M. Judd, husband of Amorette, supervised the building of the clubhouse.

The clubhouse was paid for with chicken stew suppers, oyster dinners and food booths at the State Fair. Construction began, and the lot was deeded to the club president on November 23, 1936. Accordingly the event prompted a story and picture in the Independent (which had begun publication in mid 1935). Their 1938-39 Yearbook notes that “members consider finishing (paying for) their new clubhouse as their best piece of work.” Keeping up the clubhouse, refurbishing it from time to time, have been major parts of the club history. The most consistent funding over the years has come from the publication and sale of five cookbooks.

The fifth cookbook was published in conjunction with the Centennial of FV. Featuring recipes reprinted from the five prior cookbooks , it is still available.

The Raleigh Woman’s Club followed by others led to a total of 31 N. C. clubhouse buildings owned by clubs in 1938. Over time, maintaining a building became quite an investment for many clubs. By 2004, only 15 individual clubs still owned their buildings. The Fuquay- Varina Clubhouse was listed on the National Historic Register 2007 and received Landmark Recognition by Wake County in 2010.

Over the years, the club has been served by 38 different women as president. Both wives of Hopson, Mrs. Bessie Hopson and Mrs. Myrtle Hopson served more than one term. Also serving two separate terms were Mrs. Helen Honeycutt, Mrs. Shirley Simmons, and Mrs. Marilyn Gardner. Nine women have served as District Presidents and numbers have held various State offices. Mrs. Lynette Walters led in establishing the first F.V. Junior Woman’s Club in 1963; Mrs. Kim Pearce organized the present GFWC Juniors in 1986. Mrs. Jeane Elkins organized the first Juniorette club for high school girls in 1970; Mrs. Stephanie Wallace organized the present juniorette club at FVHS in 2009. Mrs. Myrtle Hopson belonged to the club from 1938-2001; Mrs. Jack Senter, with 67 years work, became the longest tenured member of history at her death in 2016.

The second Mrs. N. H. Hopson, Myrtle, installs the officers in the clubhouse ceremony. Mrs. Myrtle Hopson was a force in the Varina and Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club as well as very important in establishing St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church.

The club history notes the contributions of every Presidential administration as the club has functioned to serve the world, nation, state, and our town. During the 1940’s the club work was organized into departments: The American Home, Literature, Music, and the Garden.

By the 1950’s, the departments featured the American Home, American Citizenship, Art, Education, International Relations, Literature and Music, and Public Welfare. By 2000 six departments worked: Art, Conservation, Education, Home Life, International Affairs, and Public Affairs. The recent reorganization calls for Community Service Projects (CSP’s) listed as Arts and Culture, Health and Wellness, Environment, Education and Libraries, and Civic Engagement and Outreach.

The clubhouse has undergone several cosmetic changes. This is the red-shuttered clubhouse of the 1950’s before the handicapped ramp was added.

Working through those various departments and CSP projects, the Club has organized two Fuquay-Varina Garden Clubs, the first in 1954 and the current one in 2007. A senior citizen organization, the Sippihaw Pioneers, was set up in 1971 and remained in existence many years. One of the outstanding projects of Women’s Clubs was founding of United States public libraries; the Fuquay Public Library was originated by the club in 1954 and remains a proud project of the club women under the Wake County System. Mrs. Helen Gunter from the club was the first librarian and member, Mrs. Robert Cotten , a town leader in the library’s development.

At one time a club sponsored Ceramic Center existed in Falcon Park, the special education program was originated at the high school, glee clubs were created at the high school, beautification and street lighting were led by the club and the FV Theater Arts Guild was organized. The FV Woman’s Club advocated for a Cultural Arts Center for decades .

Scholarships at the high schools of Fuquay-Varina, Harnett Central . Southern Wake Academy and now Willow Spring have been annually provided; administration of the FV Mini Grants for teachers and the FV Technical Scholarships are handled by the club in partnership with the Town of Fuquay-Varina. An annual Arts Festival dating from the 1950’s has been a proud program for clubwomen and for students, now reaching some 15 local schools with new ones added continuously.

Additionally, programs throughout the decades have received emphasis and support.
Among these were Infantile Paralysis, Cancer Drives, G.I. Bill, Unicef, Dimes for Liberty,
March of Dimes, N. C. Zoo, N. C. Aquarium, Operation Smile, FV Hospital Auxiliary, Boys and
Girls Homes at Wacamaw, Crysalis Club at Woman’s Prison, Fire Safety, Jaws for Life, Operation Christmas Child, Heifer, Wreaths Across America, and on and on as they wax and wane.

In 2008-09, major changes to the outside included the new brick walks which the club funded. The second Garden Club, organized by the FV Woman’s Club, provided landscaping in exchange for free rent for several years.

From a charter membership of 8, the club reached a high of 97 members in 1959-60.
Throughout the years, women of all interests, origins, and ages have served as members of this historic club. Volunteerism is alive and well at all three levels of GFWC in Fuquay-Varina.

With the current fight to overcome the interruption of life by Covid 19, the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club hopes to continue it proud tradition of “service” to the community of Fuquay-Varina. It’s clubhouse is still serving a vital need as a place for small dinners, baby showers, birthday parties, family reunions and even start-up churches.

The wedding of Jack Senter and Frances Ashworth is one of many events to take place in this building.

The Fuquay-Varina Museums hopes to archive the records of the Woman’s Clubs and all other civic clubs so that the history of our town is preserved and always treasured. Non-profits are invited to consider memberships in exchange for this archival support. In exchange for use of the clubhouse for Friends of the Museums Board meetings, the museums are giving a $100 annual membership of non-profits to the F. V. Woman’s Club.

Federation Day for the GFWC is celebrated each April 24th. On that date in 1890, 63 clubs officially formed the GFWC. Today we are one of nearly 3,000 clubs. Their general reasoning came from Julia War Howe, “It occurred to them that union is strength. Then they began to reach out toward each other.” Women of the Fuquay-Varina Women’s Clubs are still reaching out.

The museums staff, in conjunction with the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club Education CSP, has compiled this short historical record of our local club in recognition of Federation Day 2022.