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Brightwell Research Notes and Misc.

Brightwell Newspaper Articles

{handwritten date:  "1950"}


Why Stop at 94 Asks Hard
Working Mrs. Buck Agee

By John Steck

Mrs. Byron William Agee was 94 and hearty, July 31, and she claims there are good reasons.

"Three good, regular meals a day, plenty of hard work and coffee,' she says have kept her in good health through that long span of life "without ever being sick, and never any disease greater than a cold."

Those who know her add two more factors:  a life full of Christian kindness and a zest for living{.}  More than one centenarian has been noted for these same characteristics.

Still Works Hard

Even at 94 the hard work formula possesses magic for her.  In the past twelve months, she's turned out ten quilts.  She's been making and selling them for 30 years now.  "Guess I've made over a thousand," she figures.

Ninety-four years is a long span of days, especially for one with a knack of filling each with memorable experiences, but for one who views life pleasantly, memory has a happy trick of remaining vividly fresh.

As Minnie Clay Brightwell, a child of nine, she remembers the three days two Yankee soldiers hung around her family home in Prospect, after the surrender at Appomattox.  She was aware of the tricks the family had to pull "on those handsome Yankees."

Yankee Soldiers

They never did find the pot of meat, which was stuffed up the chimney whenever the soldiers got close.  They buried cans of lard in the garden and the soldiers pierced holes in the tops, but never uncovered the contents.

She remembers how the troops kept coming along for two weeks after the surrender.  When the stragglers stopped coming, all that was left were a peck of meal, two pounds of meat and one hen.

Somewhere about that time she had her first experience with paper money.  A Yankee soldier killed the speckled hen her mother had given her.  She cried so the soldier took pity and gave her fifty cents -- in Confederate money.

Hide From Soldiers

One thing the Yankees didn't get was their horse.  Whenever soldiers approached, her father and young brother led the animal into a gulley, over which they had built a roof of brush for concealment.  Every time mounted soldiers rode by they would keep feeding the animal to keep him from braying out at the clattering hoofs.

Father Sheriff

The years passed on and her father, Henry Barnett Brightwell, became sheriff of Prince Edward County, a position he filled for 35 years with honor and the respect of the people of the county.  Later, with his wife, Elizabeth Forrestt Moore Brightwell, he farmed in their native county.

There were the early days of school when she stayed with an elderly aunt in Charlotte County.  Still later as a young woman of 25 she married Byron William Agee, better known as "Buck" Agee, of Buckingham County.  He farmed in Buckingham and they devoted their time and efforts to that pursuit and the rearing of a family.

Eight Children

They had eight children, six of whom still live:  Mrs. R. F. Gilliam, of Lynchburg; Mrs. E. E. Cook, of New Store; T. H. Agee, of Andersonville; Mrs. R. M. Gilliam, of Lynchburg; Mrs. J. E. Brown, of Madison Heights, and Mrs. J. W. Glover, of Andersonville.

The years passed by, her beloved husband died, the children matured and took up lives of their own.  Today at 94 she can count 45 grandchildren, 60 great grandchildren and seven great great grandchildren.

Now she looks back over those years with the pleasantest of memories, for they were filled with the labor and devotion to her home and family.  The days and years were filled with fruitful activity, the "hard work" she believes in so firmly.  That brings its own reward and, for those who question it today, there are the Minnie Brightwell Agees to prove it.

{handwritten date: "Aug. 26, 1962"}

Brightwells Hold
Get-Together At
C. W. Harris Home

Relatives visiting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Harris during the past week end were Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Brightwell and daughter, Nancy, of Wilmington, Del.; R. H. Brightwell, of Bristol, Tenn.; Miss Myrtle Brightwell, of Washington, D. C.; Mrs. T. J. Lee, Mrs. V. F. Murray, and Vincent Murray, III, all of Norfolk.

Also, Miss Leah Brightwell, of Lynchburg; Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Floyd and children, Bobby and Betsy, of Petersburg, and Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Brightwell, of Richmond.

Submitted by:  Avlyn Dodd Conley
Note on 1st page of copies "From Mrs. C. W. Harris notebook"

Online transcriptions by Susan Shields Sasek.

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