Memories of Parley Golding, Surry County, North Carolina

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Parley Golding and his line is a YDNA-tested descendent of William Golding (1704-1782) and Elizabeth Foster (1704-1775).

His parents were William Robert “Robert” Golding (1851 – 1915) and Sarah F. Hawks (1860 – 1888).

Memories of Parley Golding
by grandson William “Bill” Golding (2014)

Golding - Parley - 1883 to 1966
Parley Golding, 1883 to 1966,  somewhat broke the naming mold as gggggrandson of William Golding,1704-1782, via descent from his son William M. Golding, 1730-1812, and his son William Golding, 1766-1824, and his son William Thomas Golding, 1786-1803, and his son William Thomas Golding, 1826-1903, and his son William Robert Golding, 1851-1915.

Parley Golding besides being my grandfather, was one of the most unique men I have ever met. He had somewhat of a colorful past ranging from coal miner, tobacco farmer to deputy sheriff. He used to keep prisoners in his dirt root cellar at night. He told them if they behaved, he would feed them breakfast in the morning. Moon shiners once killed two of his hunting dogs and he went on a revenge destroying every” liquor still” in the community he could find. Finally, some of the moon shiners asked Parley to declare a truce.

He could tell you every type of tree and most plants. He could identify which branches of a certain tree could be used as a toothbrush. He could make a flute or “whirly gig” with just his pocket knife for a child to play with. One of my most memorable recollections was the day he and I cut a wild bee tree on his farm with a 2 man crosscut saw. At that time, he was near 70 years of age and I was only 8 or 9. Parley would have been just as comfortable in the 1700’s as he was in the 1900’s. He always walked with a limp resulting from a tree falling on him that he had cut. He lay in the woods all night with the tree still laying on him until rescuers found him the next morning. Parley chewed tobacco like many of the older men in that country. He and Lula first started out in a 1 room log cabin with an open loft that he built. It had no electricity, water, or heat other than a fireplace. It was extremely primitive, but well built. Parley’s mother died when he was 5 years old, he was raised by his stepmother, Ruth Marshall. Parley’s father was a school teacher also a farmer. His father made Parley quit school at the age of 12 to work the farm, however the father taught him his school lessons each night by coal oil lamps. Parley was a well read man. He would get up each morning around 4:00 am and read until it got daylight, then he went to feed the animals. For some reason he would call me by the biblical name of Isom, I never ask why.

Note: Troy Seal of Mt .Airy informed me that Parley had once told him long ago about how he used to” hobo” his way to the coal mines in West Virginia where he worked for $5.00 a day digging coal. This is where he got the money to buy the farm. He further stated Parley got free room and board there by keeping boilers fired up at night. Parley told me that he had also driven a horse and wagon to West Virginia, and it had taken him 2 weeks to do so, which today would be about 2 hours by car. He never owned a car or any type of motorized farm equipment. He always drove a horse and wagon. On Saturday morning Parley would set at the kitchen table and do his weekly shave with a straight razor. I can still remember him stropping the razor on a heavy leather sharpening belt. He normally went to town on Saturday’s. You could usually find him around Market Street. Claude who was Parley’s executor stated that some years Parley’s annual income was only $300.00. He always made due with whatever he had or could raise. Parley’s dress attire was always the same, Sunday thru Saturday, a bowler hat, overalls and brogans. I can still remember him cutting his own shoelaces from a piece of cat hide. Talk about being frugal.

Lula Dawson Golding
Lula Dawson Golding

Lula, his wife, was the daughter of Robert Franklin Dawson and Sally York. I can remember seeing Sally York several times when I was a very young child. She was bed ridden at that time, and that intimidated me.

Lula was a small petite woman who never gained an ounce of weight. She dipped snuff every day. She had long hair that came down her back. She always tied it into a bun, but would comb it religiously at night. She wore a pioneer style bonnet whenever she worked outdoors. She preferred doing field work, milking and feeding chickens than cooking or keeping house. She washed clothes each week by boiling them in a large iron pot with a fire underneath. I can still remember the food she prepared for meals. She cooked country ham for breakfast every single morning. I could never eat her eggs though. She would break an egg in the pan and then scramble it. She didn’t take the time to cut biscuits out, instead she would bake “pone” bread and you would simply break off a piece. Monday through Friday’s lunch and dinner was basically the same menu, navy beans and boiled potatoes. When she reached retirement age, her Social Security was only $10.00 a month. She left the farm the day Parley was buried, and lived in a small trailer behind Maude Golding Smith, (her daughter ) until she died. As a young boy, I stayed with her and Parley every summer also Christmas time that I could.

I never remember Parley Golding speak of his sister or brother. I attribute that to the length of time that had expired since their demise. His sister Pearl married Sidney Jarrell. Pearl died at an early age in 1912 from childbirth at the age of 28. She is buried in the Golding, Marshall, Coalson Cemetery on Maple Grove Road in Mt. Airy, whereas her husband and children are buried in the Ivy Green Cemetery at Round Peak. The reason for two different cemeteries was because Sidney Jarrell remarried a short time later and lived a long life with his 2nd wife and their children. Most of his stepbrothers and stepsisters all died during the 1920’s except for 1 sister.

Lula and Parley Golding in their later years
Lula and Parley Golding in their later years (pre 1966). Photo courtesy of Bill Golding.

The one relative in our genealogy who had been missing until recently was Parleys’ brother, Harvey Golding (B: 11/19/1886- D: 5/9/1945). The reason he was missing from local records is because he had moved out of Surry County to Quinwood, West Virginia which is located in Greenbriar County. Some ancestral records had inadvertently listed his name as Harry Golding also there was another Harvey Golding who died in 1913 and this muddied up the ancestral tract. Harvey is buried at End Of Trail Cemetery in Clintonville, West Virginia. He married Luvena Mace in 1911. I have spoken with his grandson, Chad Golden. Mother, (Mary Hope Golding, age 92) remembers daddy and some of his brothers going to Harvey’s funeral in the mid 1940’s.

Bill Golding
November 8th, 2014
Surry County, North Carolina

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden,

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.