What’s in a Name?

Fulton Heights has a wealth of stories, anecdotes and colorful characters that have been associated with the neighborhood over the past 100 years. We know that some of the streets in our area, laid out by the Southern Development Company, were named after the original investors. We see their names on street signs each day and probably don’t think much about who these people were—these men of Salisbury who were the cornerstones of our community. But in some cases, the stories of their lives have the makings of a good novel! One such man is William Wiley.

Captain William Murdoch Wiley was a native of Salisbury born in 1863, the son of Samuel Wiley (founder of the Davis and Wiley Bank) and grandson of William Murdoch, the old Scotchman who built the Murdoch-Wiley house on the corner of West Bank and South Church. William moved into this house with his family when he was about 5 years old, and grew up in a home that had the first running water in Salisbury and its own sewer system. But his health was not good as a lad, so his father took him on a Mediterranean cruise to Marseilles, Genoa, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and North Africa. He surely developed his love of travel and foreign places at that time and later studied at the University of Austria in Vienna. In 1887, he married Miss Marion Patterson in Glasgow, Scotland, and brought his bride back to Salisbury. He came by his title, Captain Wiley, because he spent his younger years as captain of a sailing vessel, traveling extensively throughout the “Old World and South America.” He had a wide knowledge of exotic places and was fluent in several languages.

In 1902 at age 39, Captain Will Wiley was the most widely traveled man in Salisbury. “As a linguist, he was the equal of any in the state,” read the Post. He was also a financier with the Southern Development Company and one of the initial investors in Fulton Heights, so his name is with us today. Captain Wiley also became a mining engineer, an intellectual expert whose opinions were sought out by mining companies, and then Director of the Proprietary Mines Company of New York. He spent much of his time at his offices in New York, and also traveled extensively to Mexico, overseeing the actual mining operations of the company. The Salisbury Post often mentioned his comments in letters to family or friends about the rain, drought or cold he endured at his Gregorian Mine or at Zacatecas in deep snow at elevations of 8,500 feet. By 1910, his worldly adventures had begun to take their toll on him. He was becoming ill more often and had “overtaxed himself in giving his mining interests the attention they required.” He died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1915 at the age of 52. He left his wife Marion, and one son, Samuel, in Salisbury. In his life, Captain William Wiley was absent from Salisbury a great deal, but in death and in Fulton Heights, he is always with us.

(Written by Doug and Leslie Black of 629 Mitchell Ave.)

The Roses Bloomed on Elm Street

You may have noticed some warehouse-type buildings on Elm Street, or some of you may even remember the glass greenhouses or a beautiful rose bush that bloomed on an abandoned lot in that vicinity. These are remnants of the once thriving floral business that belonged to the Hanford family on the edge of Fulton Heights.

It all started back in 1888, when John Wilbur Hanford and his wife, Emma, settled in Carbondale, Illinois. They owned a mercantile and were accomplished musicians in the community. John W. was also an avid gardener and horticulturalist, and his hobby grew into the operation of two prosperous greenhouses.

Their son, John Van Hanford, was born in 1893, and in 1899 the family moved to Grand Junction, Colorado to operate a fruit ranch. They resided there until 1905, when Mrs. Hanford was advised to move to a different climate because of her poor health.

John W. had read an article in a national magazine that was written by Colonel William H. Neave, extolling the virtues of the music programs, cultural levels, and climate of the North Carolina Piedmont in general and Salisbury in particular. The Hanfords promptly moved to Salisbury, and they built three greenhouses and auxiliary buildings on Elm Street to serve the floral needs of the area.

John V. entered the business in 1910 at age 17, expanded production and growing facilities, and opened a retail florist shop, J. Van Hanford, Florist, at 125 West Innes St., acclaimed as one of the finest stores of its kind in the South. John V. married Mary Ella Cathey in 1917 and they had two children, John Van Hanford Jr. (1923) and Elizabeth A. (1936) – we all know the history of Elizabeth A. Hanford Dole!

In 1924, a new group of greenhouses was added to Elm Street, more than doubling the production facilities. Florists in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee were buying flowers from JVH, and in 1930 he started the Salisbury Florists’ Supply Company, with warehouses and offices also on Elm Street – it was a huge operation! Their logo trademark was “Pioneer Brand” and their motto was “First in Dixie.”

After World War II, John V. brought his son, John V. Jr. to the business, and changed the name to J. Van Hanford & Son, Wholesale Florists. They made use of air service, refrigerated trucks, and provided floral delivery as far out as 150 miles!

In 1948, they opened a branch office in Charlotte. For the next three decades, John Van Hanford Jr. led the business in expansion and growth that included floral design, artificial flowers, holiday ornamentation, gift-ware and decorative home accessories, importing live flowers and products from around the globe. In 1978, J. Van Hanford & Son, Wholesale Florist was sold to Gregory Damron of Charlotte.

In 1985, J. Van Hanford & Son Greenhouses was sold to William S. Holmes and Stephen Poteat of Salisbury. And in 1987, Hanford’s Inc. Creators and Importers, was sold to Montrose Capital of Durham, bringing to an end a family business that had operated for over 80 years in the backyard of Fulton Heights. Heights’

(Written by Doug and Leslie Black of 629 Mitchell Ave.)

The Avenues and Streets of Fulton Heights

Fulton Heights has three “avenues,” Mitchell, Maupin and Wiley. These streets were named for the men of the Southern Development Company who were the original owners. The other “streets” of Fulton Heights were dedicated to similar well-known or influential individuals of Salisbury, such as Colonel Archibald Henderson Boyden, who was a pillar of the Salisbury community for 82 years.

He was born in January 1847 in his home on the corner of Church and Fisher streets, which had been built in 1760 and is the current site of the Rowan Public Library. He died there in June of 1929. As a youth, he attended a private school in Alamance County until he was 15 years old. Then he ran away in 1863 to join the command of Major General Robert Hoke, becoming his personal courier during the Civil War. He followed Hoke through the battles of Cold Harbor, Five Forks, the Wilderness campaign, Petersburg, Fort Fisher and finally to Hoke’s surrender at Durham.

After the war, he went into the cotton business in Raleigh for a short time while he recovered from his war injuries and later returned to Salisbury, forming the Boyden and Overman Company. President Cleveland appointed him postmaster of Salisbury in 1885, a position he occupied for 17 years and off and on over the next 40 years.

“Baldy,” as his friends knew him, made his greatest contributions to Salisbury through its schools. He was elected mayor of Salisbury from 1901 to 1909, and he fought for better educational facilities on a very personal level—he borrowed $25,000 from the Wachovia Bank to build the first Ellis street school. (This note was eventually repaid with local liquor taxes.) From this humble beginning, the Salisbury school system grew to eight schools, including Boyden High school, considered one of the most beautiful and best equipped in the state for its time.

Boyden delighted in public service. He was elected to the N.C. Senate in 1911, served as vice president of the Fireman’s Association for 20 years, managed the Confederate Veterans Soldiers Home and commanded the first North Carolina Brigade. He fought for better education, modern public works systems and women’s rights. He was Chairman of the School Board for 32 years! He was a soldier, patriot, community leader, and a powerful factor in the City of Salisbury and the State of North Carolina. As the Salisbury Post reported at the time of his death, “He represented the forces that venerated the old South while building the new. He didn’t live with the past, but always remembered it.”

About a year before his death he looked back across the years and, with his characteristic bluntness, declared, “Short-sighted policy and stiff-necked conservatism have prevented Salisbury from being the leading city in North Carolina—Charlotte was once known as a town 40 miles south of Salisbury.” Few men in Rowan County’s long history left a deeper imprint on the community than Col. A.H. Boyden. How fitting that a small memorial to his great character is with us each day on the streets of Fulton Heights.

(Written by Doug and Leslie Black of 629 Mitchell Ave.)

On the Streets of Fulton Heights

Another well-known and influential individual who is still with us on the “streets” of Fulton Heights was Mr. James Daniel Heilig.

He was a native of Rowan County, born in 1857 near Gold Hill and moved to Salisbury as a child. He attended Roanoke College at Salem, Virginia and the University of North Carolina, but had to give up his studies because of eye problems.

He didn’t have any trouble being successful though. He was a salesman for the Brown Clothing Co. for many years, and eventually became a partner with G.A. Taylor in the Taylor Mattress Factory on South Main Street in 1905. It was a huge success, with “the finest materials and a machine for everything!”

The factory produced as many as 100 mattresses per day, which were shipped by railroad car all over North and South Carolina and Virginia. “Various grades were made from the cheap to the $15 grade. The better quality was very fine and a delight to the eye.” Heilig eventually became the owner and manager of the business, giving the operations continuous personal attention over the years. One 1907 Salisbury Post article stated that, “Salisbury needs more factories like this and more men of push like Mr. Heilig, when it would soon become the leading town in the South.”

Mr. Heilig was known as a jovial gentleman who was extensively involved in his community, prominent as a Rotarian, Mason, Knights Templar, Shriner and an officer in the Lutheran synod for over 37 years. He was on the Salisbury Board of Alderman and Chairman of the Street Committee. He was best known for “personally driving a snow shovel team over the sidewalks” to keep them clear for citizens after a big snowstorm.

It isn’t often that we learn about the ladies of this era, but Mrs. J.D. Heilig’s activities were reported quite often in the news. She was active in her church and as a Daughter of the Confederacy. Her home was a center for hospitality and entertainment.

She played bridge and was a bit of an entrepreneur in her own right – famous for her strawberries, tomato plants and “cream and sweet and sour milk,” which she sold.

Mrs. Heilig lived until 1946, but James D. Heilig died in 1929 at age 71 in his home at 507 South Fulton Street after an extended illness. Salisbury had lost another colorful character, but his name is preserved for the ages on the Streets of Fulton Heights.

(Written by Doug and Leslie Black of 629 Mitchell Ave.)

Fulton Heights streets named for original investors

Fulton Heights began as a residential suburb of Salisbury in 1902 when the Southern Development Company purchased about 100 acres of property on the west side of South Fulton Street. The original investors, J.M. Maupin, H.B. Crosby, William M. Wiley, William A. Blair and W.E. Mitchell, were wealthy and sometimes colorful characters. Each of them had a street in Fulton Heights dedicated to them, and so their names remain with us on every corner of our neighborhood today. One of the most flamboyant men who led the Southern Development Company was Mr. J.M. Maupin. He was one of the three “Maupin Brothers” who owned large real estate, rental, insurance and loan businesses in Salisbury. His real estate advertisements read: “If you have property FOR SALE and enlist them, they can sell it – Salisbury Realty & Guaranty Co., J.M. Maupin, Manager.”

He enticed customers to land sales in Fulton Heights and Spencer by offering free carriage or trolley rides to the sale. He also gave away dinners, music and cash to those purchasing a lot (usually $10 in gold for the first lot sold and $5 each after that until all the lots were gone). Sometimes he sold as many as 80 lots. That was a lot of money in 1907! The motto for J.M.’s real estate company was, “Savings Lead to Wealth. Good Investment Lead to Riches. Prosperity Fosters Contentment. Own a Home and Be Happy – Ask about The Maupin Way.”

J.M. was known, among other things, for his heroic act of stopping a runaway horse and wagon on Main Street. His friends suggested that he “be elected Alderman of the West Ward for his brave act.” He was also quite the baseball enthusiast , holding meetings in his offices to recommend the Salisbury-Spencer team (called “The Fats & The Leans”) be admitted to the Carolina-Virginia League. Maupin was known for doing things “in a big way.” As Chairman of the House Committee for the Order of the Elks, he organized a party and “bought 25 ‘possums, 20 rabbits and a 50 pound shoat (pig) which he will have barbecued and served with other refreshments…to all Elks, regardless of religious or political opinions.” He was an influential and impressive figure in the community of Salisbury. J.M. Maupin and his family came here from Roanoke, Va., but like other successful entrepreneurs, he eventually sold his home in Salisbury in 1909 and moved to Washington City (D.C.). There, he established the lucrative Potomac Heights Land Company. But in 1912, he and his family returned to Salisbury to take up residence on Ellis Street, much to the delight of the business community. J.M. was, as the Salisbury Post stated, “one of the very liveliest real estate men in the state, socially one of the best fellows, and it is a pleasure to have him back in Salisbury where he rightly belongs.”

But J.M. Maupin is also one of Salisbury’s mysteries. The last item found in research of the Post that mentions him is from December 1912 when he advertised for a new development, Round Knob Park near Asheville, N.C. His two brothers remained in Salisbury and died in 1941 and 1949. Maupin Avenue is with us today, but J.M. must have gone elsewhere in his later years, for we don’t know when or where he died. Whatever happened to J.M. Maupin, the great financier of Fulton Heights?

(This article includes excerpts from extensive research done by Kristine Rapp regarding the Maupin Family history. Leslie and Doug Black of 629 Mitchell Ave. write Heights’ History. If you have a story idea, please email them at mapa…@bellsouth.net).

Fulton Heights Families – The Newmans

Judy and Hank Newman at 604 Maupin have a long history of family here in Fulton Heights. Judy’s grandparents, Sam and Bessie Carter, lived first in the Rusher house in an two-story brick apartment house that the Rushers maintained across the street from the gray house at 516 Mitchell ). Judy’s uncle, Sam Carter, was born there. Then the family moved into the house at 516 Mitchell and their 3 other children were born: Judy’s mother, Julia in 1920; uncle John in 1921 (they were 17 months apart); and uncle Paul in 1924. (Incidentally, Kelly and Sandy Alexander lived at 516 Mitchell as well before they bought their current home on Mitchell!)

Sam Carter was a partner in Carter and Trotter Drug Store, which was located where OK Wig is on “The Square.” Grand- mother Carter started and operated Salisbury Business School at 516 Mitchell (the school and those 2 adults and 4 children were in that tiny house!). Salisbury Business School became Salisbury Business College and operated until sometime in the 1980s.

In 1927, Sam, Bessie and their 3 children moved from 516 Mitchell and purchased the Dutch Colonial at 629 Wiley, current home of Steve and Cindy Martin.

Judy was born in 1947 and they lived with her grandparents at 629 Wiley from before she was born until 1951 when she, her mother, father and sister moved to High Point. Grandfather Carter lived in the house on Wiley until his death in 1959 (Grandmother Carter died in 1945, two years before Judy was born). Hank and Judy married in 1983 and moved to 604 Maupin in 1984.

Thank you, Judy, for the great story and fun pictures! Do YOU have a story about your family and Fulton Heights?