Take me to Mt. Gilead please!



The morning started of rainy which was discouraging because the plans to complete today’s interview was in the town of Mt Gilead, NC the former home of former North Carolina Congressman Edmund Deberry who once owned the family of Mrs. Ruth “Pat” Davis”. I met Pat’s (as she likes to be called) son Brian Davis at the Mecklenburg Historical Society meeting a few months back. I explained to him my project and he “voluntold” his mother she would be participating. I’m not picky and will take them anyway I can get them. The rain let up as I met the Davis’s off the highway from interstate 485 south. I followed Brian and Pat to a gas station about 7 miles up the road and parked the car. By request Brian said “hey why don’t you just ride with us, you can interview while we are on the way”. I was at first skeptic about leaving my car there for a long period of time but we were close to the middle of nowhere so I didn’t believe it would be a bother.

13335720_10208272342920405_6784989211411331384_nAs I hopped in the car I heard some current day hip hop on the radio and seen this petite soft voiced, fair skinned lady with long white hair. Jokingly she said “now what does have Brian have me doing again”? We all laughed. She is very vibrant and hip. While driving, the road quickly went from a 4 lane road to a two lane street the closer we got to Mt. Gilead. I have a sincere genuine support for the advocacy of Native Americans and always wanted to visit the Town Creek Indian Mound, an area once believed to be home of the Pee Dee people in the same area in which we were going. Hopefully the rain stays away so that can be accomplished. This was just my second interview so I was thinking of additional questions to expound upon the pre-set of questions I had. I’ve always been curious about individuals with her skin complexion, especially when an individual has identified a history of slavery in their family. Leave it up to the good ole south for whites to still deny their ancestors tip toeing down to the slave cabins and African Americans swearing by the sweat of their brow to have “Indian in my family” to prove where that “long hair and light skin comes from”. Nothing like oral history passed down in one’s family. However, DNA testing now proves a lot of the “Indian” claims are not valid.

Mt. Gilead is a sleepy town, I’m sure everyone there is related in some form or fashion and “downtown” is a ghost town after a certain hour. Small towns like this seem to keep former traditions where people still sit down and eat with their families for dinner. As we pulled up the sign which marked the home of Edmund Deberry we all took inconsideration the blessing of knowing at least where their ancestors were located after the middle passage. Many aren’t so lucky. Hello Mt. Gilead!!

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  • Natasha says:

    She is such a beautiful lady. I just traced my maternal grandfather x 3 to Mt. Gilead, NC per the census. His name is Clem Deberry.

    I plan on traveling there soon when I am en route from VABch to MS to visit my parents.

    Keep doing what you are doing. Our history is important. The more I discover mine, the more overjoyed I am…both sides of my family. They really made a name for themselves.

    • Frederick Murphy says:

      I reached out to her to see if she has a direct connection. You should definitely visit the plantation home ( it still stands). Unfortunately the slave dwellings were knocked down about 10 years ago. The marker is literally in front of the home which is now private property. Thank you for reading!

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