History of Herman Barnes Aycock

by Herman Barnes Aycock

(from Barnes and Charity Aycock website)

 My father and mother was married 1 February 1883, and on 31 January 1887 there was a boy born to them and they named him Herman Barnes Aycock. I being the third child, and I was told by my parents that I was delicate. The chances of being raised to full maturity was slim. I stayed small for a long time.

The school in those days was very poor, and by the time for me to get my schooling, the county had built a school building at Nahunta, opposite to where the building is now. It was burned down and the nearest school building was at Pinkney, so there was where I got my first schooling. The county school board, which my father was one, got together and built a one room building that seated 75 or 80. Only one teacher taught there. That’s where I got my schooling.

I don’t remember very much of my father only he was a stout man and weighed 180 lbs. He was a working man and taken interest in improving things and had a great interest in his family. He was taken sick and his sickness was quite sever. He did not get over it and died 3 December 1897, leaving 6 children (4 boys and 2 girls). The oldest girl died in infancy, born 26 September 1888 and died 22 December 1888. My younger sister Alma was born after my father died on 8 February 1989.

We children being young had to take over with the farming. My father left a debt of $1,000 in land he bought from Uncle Albert Aycock. We, with our good mother’s help, managed to pay off the debt and purchase more land later on.

The missionaries (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) had been visiting the home before our father died. They continued to meet with us in the home, and my mother joined the Church. She was baptized on 29 November 1898. The persecutions were quite strong. The teacher sent a note home by way of the children warning her not to be baptized. I was baptized on 30 April 1899. Ralph and Robert was baptized 14 September 1899. The rest of the children were baptized as they came of age.

My oldest brother, Robert, went West with Elder Swinson (Swenson) to his home. Robert made his home there. Then Ralph and I carried on with the farm work and provided for the family. We go along very well and bought some more land. Along in the year of 1900 I went West with Ba . . . and Luther Radford to see my brother Robert. I stayed a few months and came back. My brother Ralph was going with Azzie Barden and they were married on 7 November 1909.

I took over the farming for the year. Then I was called on a mission and accepted it and was ordained an Elder and set apart for the Virginia mission on 26 November 1910 at the conference at Kinston. I left home to go on the mission on 6 December and went to Peterburg, VA. and stayed in the office and went tracting a few days, then went down the coast and met my companion Elder Sprag. . . and had quite some experiences. One experience I remember very well was we were looking for a place to stay and had been refused several times. We knelt in the woods and prayed. After, we went the opposite way we had planned and went to a house. They had a sick daughter; she had been in bed for sever days. In talking to the parents the subject came up about healing by the laying on of hands. They asked us to administer to the girl. We did. But it was not convenient for them to keep us so we went to the next house. We had a nice bed and a good night’s rest. The next morning we went back to see how the daughter was doing and found that she was up and eating breakfast. Her parents said she had not been up for several days. We had a good talk with the family and then went on our way.

Another experience: We had traveled all day and it was getting late in the evening, so my companion, Elder Thompson, was getting tired. He ask me if I would go up the hill to the house and ask for entertainment for the night. When I got up there, it was a small store. There was several men in there, so I told them who I was and that my companion and I would like a place to spend the night. Of course it was not convenient for any one to keep us, so I went back to my companion. I asked him if he thought he could go up the hill to this house. He thought he could, so we walked up the hill to the house. I saw that the man was at the store. Of course, Elder Thompson told who we were and our mission and ask if there was a chance of spending the night. The man put up an excuse. My companion sat down on his grip and said he was not going any further till he got something to eat, so I sat on my grip. We sat there awhile and talked. They finally took us in and gave us a good supper and a good night’s rest. We had breakfast the next morning and we were on our way.

A few nights after that, we were not quite so lucky; we traveled a lot, asking every place until it was late. We decided to take our rest in a bunch of small pines by the side of the road and had a pretty good night’s rest. We were able to get breakfast the next morning, so we went on our way. We did not have much success thereafter, as I was in a county where the Elders was driven out of the country a few years before. We were the first ones back in there. A few nights after this, we were unsuccessful in finding a place to spend the night. It had been raining that day. The ground was wet, so we traveled till we found a house beside the road. It was a church house, so we went in and slept on the benches. The next morning we were lucky to get breakfast.

This is just a few of the experiences I had while I was on my mission. I received my release from the mission 23 December 1912. I arrived home on the 24th.

When I came home from my mission, there were colored folks living in the Radford house, and mama had advanced them quite a bit of money. It added up to be a lot by the time the crops were housed, but we got straight with them, by me taking one of the mules allowed $365.00. A hired hand helped me work and we tended the land with the team for three years and made very good crops.

At the same time I corresponded with a girl in VA. That did not last very long; however, at the same time I was corresponding wing a girl at Colifax. We corresponded quite a while and finally was engaged, but she wanted to marry someone near her home, so we broke up. I went to see Hilder Harper who lived in Duplin Co. We finally decided we could live together, so we were married 19 October 1916, and on that day it rained the most I have ever seen. Elder Oliverson married us. He and I left here (Nahunta) that morning about noon and it slacked up some. We drove a Model T Ford down there, which was 43 miles. The roads was ruff–the water was up to the foot board. We got there in time and was married and came back that evening and had a reception. We lived with my mother until the old Radford house was clear. Then we moved there and tended the land and had Charlie Aycock live with us and help me work.

We were going along very well; however, the U.S. declared war with Germany, and I was the first the President drawed out, so I was drafted in the army 20 September 1917. I was sent to Fort Jackson, and was stationed there for eight months. My wife stayed part of the time at Sister Jorden’s, and I could get a pass once in a while and be with her. It became time to fill the Thirty Army (Division?), so they could be sent over seas. They took some of our men and put them in the Thirty Division. Then they moved us near Greenville to Camp Sevear and filled our outfit with new recruits, so my wife moved to Greenville. It was hard to get a pass to Greenville, so my wife got boarding in the country not too far from camp. We were in Greenville about two months, but a week or two before we were to leave my wife go sick. I went back and forth at night to see her. My captain was good to let me have the pass at that time. My wife had a miscarriage; it would have been a boy.

The day before the military company I was with were to leave they gave me a pass to bring my wife home. As we left Greenville there was a wreck on the road between Greenville and Greensboro, so we missed connections and had to spend the night in Greensboro. When I reached Princeton, the train that I was to take back had left, so I brought her on home and took the next train back to the camp.

That delayed the outfit from pulling out. So I got back in time to go with them to New York the next day. We spent a few days there. One night we taken the English ship for our trip. It was in a convoy of 18 ships, including one battle ship and one sub. We were on the water 13 days and we landed in Liverpool, England. We went across England on the train and went Across the English Channel.

We were in reserve for a while. Then we were put on guard up at the front for ten days. Then we dropped back. On the morning of 9 November, ON THAT LONG DRIVE, wading in water at night, we camped out and started the next morning on the drive. We were contacted by machine (probably machine gun fire or tanks or both) next, and about night we were relived by another outfit. We dropped back, pitched tents, and got orders to remain there for further orders. At 11:00 O’clock everything got quite on the front, so we remained there for a few days. Then we started on the long trip back through France.

We were there waiting for transportation back to the U.S.A., but during that time the flue was real bad in the U.S.A., and my brother Ralph died on 1 February 1919. The people back in North Carolina got a special discharge for me to come home, so I started the next day going from place to place till I got up with a bunch of casel outfit. After going through all of the inspecting, I finally boarded the boat that was taken from the Germans. It didn’t have enough balster (ballast) in it, so when we struck a storm we rode up and down, but after the 13th day we landed in New York. I was discharged 28 May 1919. I came home on the train to Pikeville and got someone to bring me home (about 8 miles). The next day I went down in Duplin Co. where my wife was, as she had been staying with her mother.

We stayed with my mother till 1 January and then moved into our house. We had only three rooms finished, and we finished others in our spare time. We bought two mules and paid $400.00 for one and $365.00 for the other one and went farming. By the time we had anything to sell, everything had hit bottom and things were cheap. I invested $1,700 in stock that I paid for which was not worth the paper it was written on. If my creditors had closed out on me, I would have lost everything I had. Along that time we had a baby born and we named him Denzel Wrenn Aycock. He was born 30 October 1921. We kept farming and paying interest and raising tobacco, cotton, corn, and chickens and eggs.

On 10 January 1924 a still-born baby was borned, which grieved us very much. On 24 July 1926 another one of our children were born, and we named her Dimple Aycock. On 5 November 1927 another one of our children was born and we named him Reed Vance Aycock. We were very proud of him. He was such a sweet and good child, but he was taken sick and didn’t stay with us very long. He died 24 July 1928. All was done for him that layed in our power. The Dr. stayed with him until about the last. He said that he had what people called Typhoid Fever. His temperature, just before he died, was 107 degrees.

We continued farming and struggling for lifehood. Then on 8 December 1929 another one of our children were born and we named her Delma. And this child before she was a year old had taken the Hooping Cough. She also had Double Pneumonia and was sick a long time. Dr. Smith was tending to her and he received a trained nurse to help out. Dr. Smith had to go to a meeting to the Wester States, so the next morning the nurse told me the baby was worse and needed attention. I went to Goldsboro to see it I could get the baby a specialist. The doctor was out, and I talked to his nurse. She said that she could not tell me when he would be back. I left word with her to have him come out to examine the baby. Dr. Crawford got there first and had her examined. By the time he was through, the Dr. from Goldsboro came in. The doctor from Goldsboro examined her. After he got through, the two doctors counseled. They came to the decision to make a pollis (poultice) made of flax seed and other things, which I don’t recall.

On 12 October 1942 Denzel Aycock was drafted in the Army, and that year we built the chapel, and along about that time we took Clifton Bell to raise, and about two years later we took his brother Braxton Bell to raise. That same year Denzel got his discharge. Clifton was born 23 November 1940 and Braxton was born 13 October 1942.

On 1 December 1946 Denzel, Helen, Delma, Mama (Hilda) left for Salt Lake City. There we met Dimple. All went through the Temple, and Denzel and Helen were married in the Temple. Mama and I were sealed to each other and all of the children were sealed to us. We also had our Patriarchal Blessing by Frank B. Woolburg on 6 December 1946. We visited around for a week and came back and had not car trouble. We had only a flat tire. The night of our arrival, Mama and I started after the boys. There were at the edge of the Duplin line. We had a wreck which damaged the car; it cost $500 to get it fixed. I had two broken ribs and Mama scared up her face a bit. Sister Ebbe Smith and husband brought us from town to home. We soon recovered and things went along very well for a while.

We got a chance to go out West again with Marland Harper and wife. We had a nice trip. We stayed with our daughters and had a nice visit. We went through a sealing session in the temple. It was quite an expense. We met a lot of our friends there is Salt Lake. Carl and Dimple brought us back home.