Family legacy chiseled in brick

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 18, 2006

AHOSKIE – Native son Dr. Douglas Jones purchased a large section of bricks in “No Man’s Land” Park in downtown Ahoskie in memory of the Jones-Robbins family’s long legacy in Hertford County.

The bricks are part of the “Brick Paver” fundraiser organized by the Ahoskie Beautification Commission in order to generate funds for beautifying Main and Church streets.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jones, who now lives in San Antonio, Tx., was unable to attend the ceremony, but several members of his family were in attendance.

“This speaks to the heritage of this family,” Ahoskie mayor Linda Blackburn said.

“I am thankful that someone had the forethought to put this together,” family member George Reid said.

Reid was joined at the ceremony by other members of the Jones-Robbins family, including Joyce Fleetwood, Marion M. Chavis, Walter Gerald Jones, Ruth Henderson, Tupper Jones and Paul and Annie Mountain.

Reid, a veteran of the United States Navy, spoke of his service to the military and highlighted the military service of many of his family members over the years.

The bricks include names of many family members dating back almost 300 years and they highlight contributions from the family to the area.

The bricks tell a story of farmers, educators, diplomats and military service and the diverse ethnicity of the family.

“This is a sample drawn from the descendants of storied multitudes who settled the Chowan-Meherrin River basin to Ahoskie,” one marker reads. “They provided food and fiber, toiled in crafts, professions and services for the common defense and well represented this community.”

“Doug did a lot of the history,” Paul Mountain said. “Talking about the bricks created an enormous amount of dialogue between family members.”

Tupper Jones, a 1936 graduate of the former Water’s Training School in Winton, shared an interesting mix of stories and tall-tales of his days growing up and living in Hertford County and reflected on the many changes that have occurred over the years.

“We took the train from the old store in Cofield to Ahoskie for 12 cents,” ninety-one year old Jones recalled during a lunch following the ceremony. “It was the thing to do on Saturday.”

Jones also told of voting for Franklin D. Roosevelt and seeing Ladybird Johnson when she came through the area on the train.

“Purchasing a brick paver for “No Man’s Land” is a wonderful way of honoring or memorializing someone special to you,” Ahoskie Beautification Commission Chairman Meryl Brown said.

The brick pavers are available for a $50 donation and an eight inch by 24 inch granite marker is available for a $500 donation.

“The markers can be custom engraved with the message of your choice,” Brown said. “All donations are tax deductible.”

The commission is planning to make improvements on Main and Church streets such as lighting, benches, trash receptacles and planters for their next project and is dependent on donations and fundraisers for their projects.

To find out more about the brick pavers, call the Ahoskie Town Hall at 332-5146.