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From the Asheboro, North Carolina, Courier-Tribune:

Family reunion ... at graveyard

By Kathi Keys
Staff Writer, The Courier-Tribune

ASHEBORO - On top of a hill at Doul Mountain, about 30 people gathered Friday afternoon to view the graves of their ancestors.

They came from throughout the United States to see the cemetery where Revolutionary War patriot Col. Andrew Balfour was buried - not far from where he was murdered by a band of Tories on March 10, 1782.

The Balfour family is holding a reunion this weekend in Asheboro - their headquarters is the Hampton Inn - with more than 50 taking part. They've gathered from as far away as California and the state of Washington.

For many reunion participants, Friday's visit to the colonel's grave was the first, while others were returning for another viewing, some having been at the cemetery when a family reunion was held in Asheboro in 1976.

Why did some of them come?

"It's because it's the millennium. We're going back to our roots ... way back," said Teresa Norevil of Gage, Okla.

She's attending the reunion with her mother, JoAnna Peard of Vici, Okla., a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Balfour.

Jane Claggett of Little Rock, Ark., had never seen the grave, but her mother, now 92 and unable to attend this year's reunion, had been there before, as had an aunt and uncle.

The reunion has also attracted four generations of one family. They're cousin descendants of Andrew Balfour.

There's Marjorie Emmons of Lakewood, Colo., who's regent of her Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter, along with her daughter, Sharon Lloyd, and granddaughter, Beth Boisseau, both of Plano, Texas, and both DAR members. The fourth generation includes Beth's two sons, Nick, 14, and Jason, 5, and daughter, Jessica, 6.

Reunion participants were led to the Doul Mountain Cemetery, where Balfour is buried, by retired Col. Guy Troy of Liberty, who has been Balfour Family Reunion president for the past year. One of Balfour's daughters married Guy Troy's great-great-great-grandfather.

"When I first came here in the '30s, there were two cedar trees," Troy told his relatives who had made the nine-mile trip from town to the cemetery Friday afternoon.

Two blooming crepe myrtles and two deciduous trees now stand over the cemetery around which a stone wall has been erected.

"I don't know where the house was," Troy continued, "but it was probably on higher ground ... the cemetery wouldn't have been near it."

He pointed northeast to a possible house location, toward where Asheboro Municipal Airport is now. The City of Asheboro owns the tract on which the cemetery is located on Doul Mountain Road, off Tot Hill Farm Road.

"It wasn't Tara he (Balfour) lived in. It was a pretty rough life for them and he spent a lot of time away because he was in the militia."

Troy said he believes the family's spring house was immediately to the east because he found bricks there in the past, near Bettie McGees Creek.

"There may have been other people buried here," he said about the cemetery.

Now, five tombstones are prominent at the cemetery.

In the center is Col. Andrew Balfour's which states "murdered by a band of Tories at his home."

It's flanked on one side by the grave of his second wife, Elizabeth Dayton, who died in 1818, and their son, Andrew Balfour, Oct. 22, 1776-Dec. 31, 1825.

On the other side are the tombstones of the colonel's sister, Margaret Balfour, who died in 1816, and his daughter from the second marriage, Margaret B. Hughs, 1775-1820.

Following the Doul Mountain Cemetery visit, Troy led family members to the grave of Balfour's daughter from his first marriage, Tibby, who married into the Troy Family - hence the Troy connection to the Balfours.

This grave is at Bethany Baptist Church on Shiloh Road, Liberty, on a tract given to the church by the Troy Family.

Balfour Family members started gathering in Asheboro Thursday evening for the reunion which continues through Sunday morning.

They met Friday morning to discuss their family relationships before visiting the cemeteries. And they met again Friday night to socialize and review a 15-family chart of descendants of Andrew Balfour.

Today, family members are gathering at 10 to discuss setting up a website for Balfour descendants and once again exchange genealogy information.

Tonight, the family will enjoy a catered dinner at the Hampton Inn and hold their business meeting - electing new officers, discussing old and new business and where to meet for their next reunion.

Balfour reunions, begun in 1969, have been held annually since 1973 throughout the U.S., including Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Illinois and New Mexico. Only two have been held in Asheboro - this year's and in 1976.

Who's selected president will determine the location of next year's reunion.

"We're all kissing cousins," Guy Troy said about his relatives as they gathered for a family photograph at the gravesite of Col. Andrew Balfour.

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The Balfour Family website will be <www.andrewbalfour.com>. For further information about the family, contact historian Beverley Estlinbaum, 3732 Princeton, Edmond, Okla. 73034.

 


Copyright 2000, The (Asheboro, N.C.) Courier-Tribune

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