[Editor: In Part 3, Howard Hewett writes about the Hewett family history, and the building of the their family homes that still exist in Kure Beach, 76 – 78 years later. After Howard Hewett submitted the Watermelon Patch article (Part 1), we followed up with these clarifying questions (blue italics).] Read Part 2 – for the earlier questions.
Do you have any knowledge of the commercial market for watermelons in Wilmington / Federal Point at that time period?
I am not sure if there were others but dad’s patch was the only one south of Kure Beach. Now, the Ryder Lewis Jr. (FPHPS Oral History) family may have done some farming along Snow Cut.
As you know, during and after the depression making ends meet was tough. Wages were depressed all the way up to the mid 60’s. Most folks had some type of garden.
Ryder Lewis Jr.’s father was Ryder Lewis Sr. Senior’s father was Samuel Lewis; his father was George Washington Lewis. George Washington Lewis was my grandmother’s Grandfather (Addie Jane Lewis Hewett)
Another Footnote: The Hewetts (Grandfather Albert and Grandmother Addie Jane) settled on the east bank of the Cape Fear River in 1911. The general location is on the river just to the right of the main entrance to the Air Force Radar Station. This area is now used as a military recreational facility. Dad (Howard Curtis Hewett Sr.) and Aunt Virginia (Virginia Hewett Bell) were both born in this location. Long after the house was torn down, as late as the 1970; grandmother’s flowers still could be seen in the spring.
After a fire at the original river home; located where the military recreational facility is now, Grandmother Addie Jane & Grandfather Albert lived in the Lewis Cape Fear River home (FPHPS Oral History) for a period of time while the new house was being built. The new house was about 150 yards from the Atlantic.
Grandfather Albert died (1935) before the house on the Atlantic side was completed so dad and Uncle Crawford Lewis completed grandmother’s house.
One other side note while I am thinking about the old home place on the river:
A Quote from Col. William Lamb, Commander of Fort Fisher: Concerning the Powder Vessel
“I watched the burning vessel for half an hour … Returning to my quarters, I felt a gentle rocking of the small brick house … which I would have attributed to imagination or vertigo, but it was instantly followed by an explosion, sounding very little louder than the report of a ten-inch Columbiad … The vessel was doubtless afloat when the explosion occurred (as opposed to grounded), or the result might have been very serious.”
The interesting side note about this quote is Dad showed me the remains of a brick building that he referred to as the Lamb House, which was maybe 50 yards north of Grandfather and Grandmother Hewett’s home on the river. At the time, I was possibly eight to ten years old.
Dad started construction on his house on the beach front in 1932 and it was completed before Mother and Dad were married in 1938.
The house was located directly across the highway (421) from Grandmother Addie Jane’s house. Dad was working at Ethyl Dow so there was little time for house construction and money was very tight.
The Lewis family home was on the river and was still being lived in by Uncle Edward when I was just old enough to remember. They later moved to Kure Beach and opened a grocery-service station. Isabel Lewis Foushee is Edward Lewis daughter, (FPHPS Oral History). Tom Foushee is Isabel’s son.
Uncle Crawford had built a home next to Grandfather Albert and Grandmother Addie Jane’s house about a hundred fifty yards off the beach.
The family continued to do what they could to provide for the family by farming, raising cattle, pigs, chicken for eggs & food and fishing. Actually Albert Walker provided vegetables for Grandfather Roebuck Grocery Store in Wilmington. Albert spring pole beans were the first to market because of the location of the farm on the river. The Castle Hayne farms were several weeks later because of northern location.
My remembrance of my grandmother Addie Jane was she was a hard-working Christian woman not unlike most women cut from the same pioneer cloth.
Her days consisted of gardening, preparing chickens for dinner (this was not running down to Kroger or HEB to grab chicken from the meat case.) Preparing chicken started by selecting the right bird from the chicken yard and placing it’s head on the pine stub. You know the story of someone running around like a “Chicken with its head cut off”.
Albert Walker also did carpenter work to provide for the family and he and Dad built the Hewett family home. (above, right, across Hwy 421 from Grandmother and Albert Walker Hewett Home).
Our complete farming acreage was lost when the government annexed land on both sides of the river for the buffer zone for the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point near Southport.
The Government buffer zone came just behind Grandmother’s house. It actually encompassed the family garden.
When Grandmother died in 1986 at age of 95, the remaining property was split between my Aunt Virginia Hewett Bell and my Dad. At that time, I think there was only about 3-4 acres left. Dad had sold the ocean front property shortly after we left for Texas in 1956.
After the property was sold, Grandmother’s house was moved to Kure Beach.
[Editor: The author’s family home described in this article, still stands today (after 76 years) in Kure Beach. It’s located at 833 S. Ft. Fisher Blvd, Kure Beach, NC – (Google Maps)]