Six Sons Served and Six Survived
Blackledge Harper, my great-great-grandfather, was born on April 20, 1813. He was a farmer from Deep Run, North Carolina.
His farm, in excess of a thousand acres, was worked primarily by family members, but when additional help was needed, he hired slaves from neighbors whom he paid. He refused to own slaves. This information can be verified in The Heritage of Lenoir County, North Carolina, published in 1981.
Blackledge had six sons who fought for the Confederacy: Sergeant Simpson Harper (Company D, 66th NC Troops); Corporal Windal Harper (Company K, 61st NC); Sergeant Zachariah Harper (Company D, 27th NC); Second Lieutenant Cornelius Harper (Company D, 27th NC); Sergeant Jesse Harper (Company E, 61st NC); and Private Bright Harper (Company E, 61st NC).
Private Bright Harper was captured March 8, 1865 at the Battle of Wyse Fork. My great-grandfather, Thomas Harper, who was ten years old at the war’s end, was able to see all six of his older brothers survive their war experiences.
My parents moved our family to the Wyse Fork community in 1964. I found my first artifact from the Civil War battle that year — a perfect Williams Cleaner — in our front yard. Since that first find and the deep interest it created, I have continued to search for remnants of the Civil War and have found close to 15,000 artifacts on the Wyse Fork Battlefield, many of which are on display at the Lenoir County Visitor Center.