John D. Bridgers M.D.
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Chapter 4 - My grand-parents, their young children, and Greenville

Unfortunately for an avid researcher, though perhaps fortunately for his readers, I know little of the courtship or early years of the marriage of our grandparents.

I never heard of their living anywhere except as described.

I know not where David Jordan Whichard purchased or had it build.

The property included land on Ninth Street behind the house which extended for the entire block.

When the house was obtained it must have been on the south edge of town.

Greenville's nearest neighbors of comparable size were Tarboro to the north, Washington to the east, Kinston to the southwest and New Bern more or less to the south.

Tarboro was upstream along the river, pretty much at the upper limit of navigable water, and Washington was downstream at the point where the Tar became the Pamlico.

Evans Street was the main north-to-south thoroughfare, and Fifth Street the road to Washington.

Dickinson Avenue, early on the main road from the west, entered the Evans and Fifth corner at an angle and the resulting Five Points intersection became more-or-less the hub of the town .

The main business district was on Evans between Five Points and Third Street with a few business houses on the intersecting  street adjacent to Evans.

Evans and Third had at one time marked the town commons and the various courthouses had been on that corner since the town had been laid out.

West out Dickenson Avenue centered "Tobacco Town," embracing the auction warehouses and tobacco re-drying plant which were the backbone of the community's economy.

Here then was the community and the neighborhood  therein which this branch of the Whichard clan put down its roots and from where its fledglings took wing.


Our Aunt, Hennie was the first born to our grand-parents, arriving in 1890.

Her given name being her mother's nickname, for the purpose of verbal sorting, those in my mother's generation called her "Little Hennie," as which came down to out generation and even extended beyond the family circle.

From early childhood she suffered from severe and frequently recurrent bronchial asthma, with some symptoms evident daily, occasionally interspersed the dire bouts of status asthmations.

Symptoms were brought on by over-exertion, respiratory infections and the ingestion of eggs, to which she was violently allergic.

In the years I remember she was most relieved by inhaling the acrid fumes of a burning powder which she usually needed at least once daily.

My mother told me that in their earlier years the medical advice was for the family to move to the southwestern states.

Her parents were agreeable, but "Little Hennie" herself demurred, not wanting to leave her hometown friends and surroundings.

Thus she made peace with her misfortunes, carried on as best she could, led a full and productive life which was obviously fulfilling for her and meaningful to her family.

My mother came along three years after Hennie.

She was named for her maternal aunt, Estelle Sutton Sheppard, but was called, and always called herself, Essie.

Extrapolating from things said in their later lives it's presumed these sisters were quite close as youngsters.

However, they were also quite different.

Essie was always comely while Hennie was somewhat physically plain.

Hennie was usually outspoken and tended to aggressiveness whereas Essie was quiet and sensitive to the point of self-depreciation.


Hennie's energies went into work while Essie's went into music and study.

Hennie was nigh ready for school and Essie a toddler when their brother David Julian came along in 1895.

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John D. Bridgers M.D. by Carl Bridgers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Copyright ©