E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Pittsboro News

I was distracted yesterday by researching the person likely responsible for the absurdly large Confederate flag flying as one enters Pittsboro from the east. The shiny new flag is likely correlated with the county commissioners terminating their contract with the Daughters of the Confederacy and wanting them to get their statue off the courthouse lawn.

I'm not certain how this tactic will work but it does seem to try to run around the state law by making it clear the state (and the county?) doesn't own the statue. ( Found it: https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S22v4.pdf) I'm happy to see the statue leave it's place of prominence, and I'm happy the county first discussed "reimagining" the statue to recontextualize it. I am well aware that the historic courthouse itself is understood by some in the African-American community as a symbol of injustices -- lynchings. The statue doesn't help.

Finding the name of the property owner was no challenge, and a bit of a story or two unfolds in town government proceedings. I'll call him Johnny R. One story is that of trading one subdivision for another: Johnny R's family has been here for some time, and had a bit of land outside town. Johnny R apparently wanted to subdivide and sell lots in May of 2008. It appears it had preliminary approval. but a great deal of neighbor complaints about all the horrible development. 2008 was a bad time to start a project like that, and it looks like Johnny R sold most of his land to to the developers who are making the mega-development around the town called Chatham Park.

My sister and i exercised our eyes a good bit, rolling them around, considering folks who assume their neighbors aren't going to make changes with their land. I think again about the 60 acres to the east of our patch: i'm not sure if the hunting is worse for Christine than bulldozers. The county just recently zoned all unzoned property: that rilled people up, but it's those same folks who are indignant about cement plants and mining.

Back to Johnny R, deeds, cemetery records, and a genealogy all connect to point to the person being over 80 years old. I wonder about wives and children. A genealogy lists a wife, and she's since died. Her obituary mentions a daughter with the same first name as the daughter listed in the genealogy, two deeds list a woman with the same first name, Johnny R's last name, and the last name used in the obituary. There is no mention of a husband in the obituary: no husband predeceased or surviving.

I develop a story in my mind about a bitter divorce and a desire to strip Johnny R out of their lives.

Following Johnny R's deeds he remarries, and he and his second wife apparently stand in line together to give public comment at various county and town meetings -- often at the front. His second wife also has an obituary -- and again Johnny R isn't mentioned. His brother has an obituary: Johnny R isn't mentioned. Deeds record the second wife's daughters, as trustees of her estate, releasing property to Johnny R in reference to a court proceeding.

I'm getting a sense of Johnny R that doesn't seem to indicate a beloved family member. On the other hand, he performed in a local theater production (in keeping with his education and drama degree) and he's acted as an announcer at horse shows.

When i mentioned the flag to the town mayor at an event at Meeting last night, she exclaimed about Johnny R always getting into things, so it's clear he's a well known quantity in town.

Meanwhile, a Confederate "History" group is having a prayer and vigil rally in town today for the Confederate soldier statue. Mayor C asked us to keep clear: she's very worried about the possibility for a fracas. This after our little town had a hostage situation in the state credit union on Thursday.

The statue, flag waving, and local politics distress Christine. Given the distress the code bro culture of Silicon Valley caused her, i have to bite my lip when she talks about the benighted state of affairs. It's easy to see darkness at the edges (if not center) of much of what goes on in human life. There's light, too. It's easy to see one and ignore the other.

Well, then there's me. I'm off to ignore both and just mow down stilt grass.

[I'm sure i've written of Chatham county things before, but recent obsessiveness leads to retroactive adding the tag chatham back this far- 2019-09-22)

Tags: chatham, politics, speculation

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