Remembering a Village Family – Annie and Jim Casey – Part 1

                            History is the essence of innumerable biographies                                          Thomas Carlyle

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Through the eyes of a Daughter  – Mary Magaline Casey Langrehr  “Maggie”

I think all of us have wondered what will be remembered about us when we are gone. Hopefully, we have made enough memories with our siblings, friends, our children and grandchildren, to last a long time. This is why I know that Annie & Jim Casey would be pleased, though perhaps flabbergasted, that they are being written about all these years later. Wouldn’t they be delighted that “all the kids” remember their swing on the porch at 19 Carr St. in the Mill Village as far back as 1949. I hope you, my readers, have your own memories of playing outside as the mill children once did, unstructured, free to roam, able to entertain themselves without parental direction. Maggie, the Casey’s wonderful daughter, told me that as a child growing up in the Village, when the street lights came on, it was time to go home. Home, in this case, to Annie Pearl Davis who was from the Wilson, NC area. She met her future husband, Jim Casey (Goldsboro, NC area) at the Mill. They married, and had two children, Maggie, and her brother Jimmy Casey who is 8 years older.

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               19 Carr Street                                                                         17 Carr Street

Jim Casey worked at the Mills until he became ill in later life and died in 1980. He worked in the Card room where once trained, he remained. Annie worked in the Spinning room.  Jim, a quiet man, had a shed out back where Maggie said, “He piddled.” He made whirly-gigs and little houses that looked like out-houses. He was a funny man who cracked jokes and spoiled his daughter when possible. The family first lived at #17 Carr Street, but Annie was happy to move to #19 Carr with it’s larger kitchen. She was a fine seamstress making her own families’ clothes and many an Easter dress for the little girls in the Village. She worked at the mill, took care of her family, looked after the bills, and baked “the best chocolate cake ever.”  Like many of the Village families, Annie was proud of her garden from which the family ate. We must not forget to add chickens to the Casey backyard scene.

Maggie remembers the Mills picnics at Sunset Park where a band played from atop a wagon. People dressed up and gathered to enjoy abundant watermelon and summer picnic food. Do you remember this event? She remembers a log cabin with a porch up in the woods across from the Mills that people rented for family reunions. Do you remember this place? Maggie remembers her mother saying that Tommy Battle was one of the finest men she knew. A good man who knew the first names of all his employees. After Jim Casey died, Mr. Battle saw to it that Annie received $25.00 a month.  Here is the link to an earlier post I have written about how important the Battle family is to the Rocky Mount Mill story and beyond.

Tomorrow we will learn more about the Casey family.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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2 Responses to Remembering a Village Family – Annie and Jim Casey – Part 1

  1. Susan Alston says:

    I had the pleasure of spending time with Annie Pearl Casey when I was a teenager in the late 80’s. She was a caregiver for my neighbor, Norma Hundley. I recall chats with her on the front porch and loved to hear her share about the mill village – as my grandparents, too, had lived there in the 50’s. She truly was one of the most caring and loving people I have ever met. This is such a heartwarming tribute. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you for leaving this remembrance of Annie Casey which only adds to this tribute to this family. I would love to talk to you about more of your memories. Would you be interested? Wouldn’t Annie be amazed that all these years later here we are writing about her. In the mystery of things, I hope she knows.

      Like

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