1906 Industrial Issue - Contentnea Neck Township  

Contributed by Allen Barwick


Contentnea Neck Township comprises that portion of Lenoir County, which forms a neck between Contentnea Creek or Moccasin River and Neuse River. It is a fertile portion of the county, and is rather closely settled. There are more Negro polls in this township than there are white polls, there being 143 of the former and 133 of the latter. But white citizens own all except a small part of the land of the township. The total acreage according to the tax books, is 21,162 acres, 415 of which amount is given in by Negroes and 20,747 by white people. There is considerable valuable timber in the township and at least 5,000 acres of swampland, capable of being made highly productive under a proper system of cultivation. The township is rich in marl only a few feet below the surface of the ground, and large deposits are to be found in the lowlands along the rivers.

Contentnea Neck is said to have been the last home of the Tuscarora Indians, before their emigration to Oswego County, New York, prior to the Revolutionary war. The remains of one of their old forts may be seen on John H. Barwick plantation.

Grifton, one of the progressive towns represented in this publication lies partly in Contentnea Neck Township; and Grainger's station on the A. C. L., six miles from Kinston, is also in this township. There are about 100 miles of roadway in the township thus making all parts easily accessible from the outside.

The township has five white churches and one colored. Rev. S. W. Sumrell, the minister at the Bethel Disciple is LIM minister at the Bethel Disciple Church, which enrolls about 125 members. The superintendent of the Sunday School is John Jones. Rev. B. W. Nash is pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church, which has a membership of about 25. The Methodist Church at Sharon has about 125 members. It's on the Grifton circuit, which is served by Rev. L. S. Ethredge. The Free Will Baptist Church at Sharon has about 76 members; and a Sunday School is maintained in connection with the Church. Rev. L. S. Ethridge pastor of Edwards Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. There is an attendance of 75 members, and Mr. W. P. Harper is superintendent of the Sunday school.

There are six white and two colored schools in the township. Children from two districts of the township attend the Grifton Graded School, which town lays partly in Contentnea Neck. The school at Bethel is taught by Miss Dwilla Heath, and has an average of 25 pupils. The school at Barwick's schoolhouse has two teachers - Jennie Barwick and Annie Rhodes. It has about 40 pupils. So also has the school at Hugo, which is taught by Miss Bessie Moore and Mrs. Joseph Rouse. Miss Bessie Harvey teaches the school at Sharon; and the one at Graingers is taught by Miss Rebecca Pope. The two colored schools enroll about 150 pupils.

Bethel Academy, Just one mile from Grainger's station, was one of the first institutions of learning in the State. E. J. Brooks, A. G. Coward, W. H. Rountree, M. Spivey, J. L. Ives, R. M. Abbott, Benjamin Phillips and C. T. Barwick established it. J. D. Murphy a graduate of the University of North Carolina was the first teacher.


One of the leading citizens of the county is J. H. Barwick, of Contentnea Neck. He was born in that township one mile South of his present home; October 9, 1869 his parents were Craven Tull Barwick and Nancy Ann, daughter of Edward and Mary Brooks. Mr. Barwick's father was a Master Mason and was Worshipful Master of Bethel lodge at the time of his death.

John Henry Barwick attended Bethel Academy and was preparing to go to college at the time of his father's death. Circumstances then compelled a change of plans. He went to farming and has been a farmer all his life with the exception of one year, which he spent in the sawmill business. He now owns 617 acres of land with 250 cleared and under cultivation. He has an excellent range for hogs and raises about 150 or 200 for market each year.

Mr. Barwick has always been a staunch Democrat, and received a large vote for Register of Deeds at the last primary. He is a Mason, and a member of the Christian Church, and a member of the township school committee, of which he is secretary. He is enthusiastic in his support of Schools, considering them essential to the healthy material and social development of any community.

Mr. Barwick's brothers are Joseph F., a merchant of Ayden and Allen J., superintendent of schools of Albany, Ga. His sisters are Mrs. Fred Brooks, of Kinston, Mrs. Susan Griffin, of Goldsboro, Miss Jennie, a teacher in the public schools, Miss Nancy, stenographer and typewriter for Einstein Bros., Kinston, and Miss Maggie, who attends the State Normal and Industrial at Greensboro.

Mr. Barwick married Miss May, daughter of A. G. and Nancy Stanley Coward. The children are Ruth, Mary, Ethel, Sam, Rodney, Rachel, and Susan Winifred.


D W. Hamilton was born in Greene County, near Ormondsville, May 23, 1861. His parents were William and Rebecca Elizabeth Hamilton. During the Civil War, his father was in the Confederate service and was detailed to work in the navy Yard at Wilmington. He was a contractor, a Mason, and a great believer in education.

For two or three years after leaving the neighborhood school that he attended, Mr. Hamilton worked on the farm. Then he left the farm and went to Lizzie, Greene County, to clerk. In the year 1890, he went out to Texas and Mississippi on a prospecting tour. But he returned to North Carolina during the latter part of the same year and come to Lenoir County where he entered the mercantile business. He has been postmaster at Graingers for seven years. He has there a general merchandise store and owns some lots near the station. He owns residences in Kinston, one on Caswell, one on Washington and one on Bright Street. He is a stockholder of the Orion Knitting mill and of the Bank of Kinston. He went to Graingers before it had become a station, and established the first store there.

On the 24th of April 1895, he married Miss Ada Frances Speight, daughter or B. P. and Mollie Speight. She died in 1902, leaving two children, Roy Seth, and Berry Lee. B. P. Speight lives on the old Moore estate In Contentnea Neck Township. He was born Greene County, near Ormondsville, May 13, 1843. His parents were Blaney and Rebecca Speight and his mother was a daughter of James Ormond. His father was a contracting carpenter and was at one time a commissioner of Greene County. The subject of this sketch came to Lenoir County in 1895, located in Neck Township and has always been so counted a successful farmer. He now cultivates about 100 acres of excellent land.

During the civil war, he was a Confederate soldier. In 1863, he enlisted in Co. E., under Capt. D. W. Edwards in Col. Whitfield's battalion. He was detailed as a courier during a portion of his service and carried dispatches during the battle of Kinston.

Mr. Speight married May Eliza, daughter of William and Elizabeth Speight (nee Harrell.) The children are Delaney, Seth, Ada, Frances, (deceased) Daniel and Lucy Elizabeth. Their family group appears on previous page.


One of the Confederate veterans of the county, a Jeffersonian Democrat and a hard and earnest party worker is R. W. Pope, of Contentnea Neck township. He was a member of Co. E. 3rd. N. C. Calvary. He fought through the campaigns of the army of Northern Virginia. Mr. Pope was born in Greene County near Enfield, Jan. 17, 1835. His parents were Redding and Nancy Pope, his mother being the daughter of Lemuel and Nancy Byrd. Mr. Pope is a Master Mason and has been a Mason for 45 years. He is a member and trustee of the Sharon Methodist Church, of which he was a steward for a number of years. He was formerly superintendent of the Sunday school, connected with the Church and now holds the position of assistant superintendent. For four years, he served Lenoir County as coroner. At the last primary election, he was before the people as a candidate for county treasurer, and received staunch support, but not enough to nominate. He has for some time been a member of the Democratic executive committee of Contentnea Neck Township. He owns two farms of about 140 acres each-one in - Contentnea Neck and the other in Vance. He lives on his Contentnea Neck farm, which consists of about 75 acres of cleared land.

Mr. Pope married Miss Olivia C., daughter of ex-sheriff William Fields. The children are Miss Crissie Mrs. Julia Leonard, now in Fla., J. W. Pope, of Winston, Frank Bryan, now in Fla., Miss Rebecca, and Oppie R.

Mr. Pope stands well in his community and is respected by all, and has a comfortable home and hospitable family in Contentnea Neck.


C. J. Johnson was born in Contentnea Neck Township, September 28, 1854. His parents were Granville M. and Elizabeth Johnson. His father was an Odd Fellow, always a Democrat, and a deacon in the Baptist Church. Mr. Johnson has always been a farmer, is now and has been a school committeeman for some time, and has been a justice of the peace for eight years. He is a member of the Christian Church, a Mason, belongs to the Knights of Harmony, and is a member of the Farmers Alliance.

Mr. Johnson married Miss Mary S. daughter of N. B. and Sarah A. Johnson. The children are Ralph E., Addie L., G. Edward, Rosa, Verna and three who are now dead.


One of the oldest citizens of Lenoir county is Uncle Louis Kilpatrick, born in the county on the eighth of July 1819, in the section now known as "The Neck," and has always resided there. Mr. Kilpatrick now owns a tract of 150 acres, a part of the ancestral homestead of 500 acres. Although he is now in his eighty- seventh year, he is active on his farm; but his age and the scarcity of farm help together have caused him to move recently to Grifton, where he will reside for the future.

About 35 years ago, the subject of this sketch became a member of the Methodist Church and has been a Mason for 62 years, having joined the St. John's lodge in Kinston. He is now a member of the Rountree lodge near his home. Uncle Louis was a strong Whig before the war and when the Whig party died, he determined himself to die politically. However, when the race issue arose in politics he could restrain himself no longer, but became an enthusiastic Democrat. Two or three years ago, even at his advanced age, he walked from his home of twelve miles to attend a county convention, it not being so that he could ride, so great was his zeal in the cause.

Mr. Kilpatrick has been married three times. He was first married to Miss Patsy Newborn, of Lenoir County in April 1844. From this union were five children-John Lewis, Mrs. Elizabeth Rountree, Bryant Cox, now in Florida, Jimmie, also in Florida, and Levi, who is in Texas. His wife was Miss Ann Lane, of Craven County, whom he married in 1878. The children are Robert Lee, Mrs. Ada Wilcox, Ralph and Albert, all of whom are living and engaged in various occupations in the State. Mr. Kilpatrick's last wife was Miss Nettie Wortherington, of Pitt County, whom he wedded in 1894. There are no children of this marriage.

1906 Industrial Issue