In the library attic I found the scrapbook of S.B. Denny, the former pastor of Wilson Primitive Baptist Church. The scrapbook covers the late thirties an early forties and is mainly concerned with politics and the impending war. S.B. Denny also had a thriving grave monuments business (there are clippings and pamphlets about it) and from the articles collected it didn’t look like he was too fond of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But he did include an article about a man voting for President Roosevelt. This piece was from the November 7, 1940 edition of the Raleigh News and Observer and it was concerned with the last Confederate Veteran of Wake county. Ninety-seven year old Robert L. Thompson said that he had always voted independently and not for any one party, and this time he had voted for a third term for FDR saying that “ordinarily, I would opposed breaking the third term tradition, but under the circumstances- well, I just think Franklin Roosevelt was raised for the purpose to be president…we need an experienced man.”
Mr. Thompson was wounded twice in the Civil War and credits his survival to being sick with typhoid and in a Tarboro hospital when his regiment took part in the ill-starred Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. Likewise he credits his longevity to drinking buttermilk three times a day and eschewing coffee, “I haven’t had a cup of coffee in 70 years.” He also drinks homemade muscadine wine occasionally and eats a possum dinner once a year.
The venerable Mr. Thomson had been following the election and the war very intensely. His granddaughter put up a world map in his room and reads him the News and Observer every day. But his daughter is glad that the election is over because “Now maybe he’ll get some sleep.” He had been staying up until midnight every night listening to campaign speeches.
Although the election was over, he was still acutely following the war saying, “Hitler is getting weaker every day. You will notice that he is dickering to get more help.”