I’m sure that not everyone in eastern North Carolina is a genealogist, but those are not the people I encountered during my stay in Tyrrell County.
On Tuesday, October 14, women I’d met through the Tyrrell County Genealogy Facebook Group arrived at the courthouse, our starting point for a 10-hour road trip through local history. Both had driven two hours to convene in the place that grounds their research and imagination. Cathy Roberts had generously volunteered to be my field guide into the past; and Debbie Armstrong Cobb, an enthusiastic researcher of the Armstrong line, joined our expedition.
|Debbie Armstrong Cobb on the landing at Lake Phelps|
With Cathy at the wheel, we explored sites in the Riders Creek and Gum Neck areas, and traveled into eastern Washington County, where we stopped in Creswell and the Lake Phelps landing in Pettigrew State Park. We visited three cemeteries in the Riders Creek area: Henry Cooper, Malachi Chapel Free Will Baptist Church cemetery, and Paramore.
We visited with Buddy Brickhouse at his landmark country store. Like everyone else I met on my first trip to Tyrrell County, Buddy was a generous fountain of information and probably kin. He is also a storyteller, who brought out documents to feed our curiosity about the Armstrong family, and illustrated his stories with pictures and props!
|Buddy Brickhouse illustrates a story|
|Buddy's store, Doris'|
Back in Columbia, we made a brief visit to the courthouse, where Cathy provided an overview of the available resources and Debbie found a deed that added to her knowledge of the Armstrong clan. We ate dinner and regrouped at The Brickhouse Inn before parting. Their passion for the past was truly contagious. I was hooked.
|Malachi Chapel Free Will Baptist Church cemetery, late afternoon light|