SUBMITTED BY: Joseph R. Suggs
(Originally posted July 27, 2016; corrections made July 17, 2020)
Lewis Osborn Sugg was born September 6, 1845 in Randolf County, and he was the son of Merritt A. Sugg and Tempy Spinks Sugg. The family story maintains that Lewis’s father, Merritt Sugg, left his home in eastern North Carolina and headed westward. He settled in the Brower Community (now known as Erect) and met a pretty young girl named Tempy Spinks, whom he married. The young couple obtained land from Tempy’s father, Lewis Spinks, and had a log house constructed near the crossroads, which became Lewis’s childhood home. He was one a four Sugg children: His siblings were Gorrell Wesley, Mary Eleanor, and Merritt Taylor. The Sugg family’s life revolved around community involvement in church, school, and, later on, in the Masonic Lodge.
The declaration of war in 1861 disturbed all community activities. According to the secretary’s notes for the Masonic Lodge, no meeting was held due to the great state of excitement in the community. Lewis’s eldest brother, Gorrell Wesley, born March 23, 1838, was the first to enlist. He served in the Confederate Army and constantly wrote home, discussing the illness of the troops, forced marches, and his growing concern for having to leave his wife and young son, “Capers.” In a letter dated September 7, 1863, Gorrell Wesley asked his father Merritt to come to the Wayside Hospital in Gordonsville, Virginia and bring him “some kind of nourishment.” Gorrell wrote, “Bring some blackberry wine, some brandy, some lemons, anything you think proper to bring. Come as soon as you possible can,” signing the letter, “Your sick son, G. W. Sugg.” Merritt left for Gordonsville only to learn on his arrival that his son had already died. Preparations were made, and Gorrell Wesley’s body was returned for burial to Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Randolph County.
Lewis Sugg enlisted in the Confederate Army in Cumberland County on October 7, 1863. He was assigned to the local defense unit, “Company B.” In his letters home, Lewis repeatedly warned his younger brother Taylor to “stay at home.” The young soldier was assigned to the North Carolina Arsenal at Fayetteville. In 1863, Lewis wrote to his “Pa” and “Ma” to let them know that he was all right, but complained that he nearly froze while on guard duty at the Arsenal. Lewis also discussed the rumors that the cannon were to be moved to the fort at Wilmington (now known as Fort Fisher). Eventually, Lewis was transferred to the Outer Defense Guarding at Fort Fisher. Later, Lewis’s Company was ordered to join General Johnston’s Army for the skirmish at Averasboro and the battle at Bentonville. Afterward, his Captain reportedly stated, “The war is over; go home.” Lewis’s long journey back home was by way of Pittsboro, where he exchanged his rifle with a young lad for a cold drink of well water.
Once back home, his life began again. He resumed his usual duties of family responsibilities, pottery-making, church participation, and attending the Masonic Lodge. He often told stories about the War. His pottery business flourished. Lewis was fortunate that his uncle Russell Massey Sugg had given him a “lifetime” right to a clay hole near Waddell’s Ferry on Deep River. He used that clay to make his pottery.
In January, 1902, Lewis Osborn Sugg and Annie Tyson were married. They had five children: Nellie, Elizabeth Tempy, Lewis Clay, Wayne Tyson, and Mary Sue. Throughout his life, Lewis remained active in the Confederate Veterans Association and attended reunions in Richmond, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida. He was a prominent Randolph County citizen.
On February, 10, 1936, at the age of ninety, Lewis died. His funeral was conducted at Mount Olivet Methodist Church where he had been a member for over sixty years. His descendants carry on today in state and local affairs as farmers, bankers, teachers, and other professional people.
Source(s): Joseph R. Suggs – From personal remembrances and conversations with L. Clay Sugg, Wayne & Nellie Sugg Teague, Donald Sugg, Gorrell S. Sugg, Golda Tyson, Charles S. Sugg, and Earnest K. Gatlin. Information also obtained from Spinks and Allied Families, by Jackson K. Morgan. Furthermore, special credit must be given to Steve Suggs for his expert help and many courtesies.