The Buggy

Mr. Blake Gilbert lived at his old home place where J and R Clothing is located today across from where New Hope Road runs into Highway 85. He was born in 1863 during the "Civil War". He was the owner of a lot of land in and around Fayetteville and could have lived a very comfortable and financially secure life had he been willing to part with some of it. He remembered the days of the “great depression” when land held more value than money and he felt secure having the land. Huie Bray, one of his neighbors who tried to help him in his old age, was one of the few people he ever trusted and he sold some of this land to him. On it Huie developed Blakely Woods.

John Lynch, one of Fayette County’s true historians, told me the following story about Mr. Gilbert:

When Mr. Gilbert was a fairly young man in the late 1800’s, he decided to try his hand at courting the ladies. He bought a buggy, which was the only transportation appropriate for courting at the time.

According to Joyce (Banks) Nipper he only went courting one time. After his first date he came home and took his buggy apart and stored it in his barn loft. No one knows what went wrong but he never went courting again.

About 50 or 60 years later when Highway 85 was widened it was necessary to take his barn out of the way. Joyce’s father Mr. Raymond Banks knowing about the buggy stored in the barn asked Mr. Gilbert what he was going to do with it. Mr. Gilbert told him he could have it if he would get it out of the loft. Mr. Gilbert told him how to put it back together and let him take it home.

Mr. Banks stored it in a barn on his property for several years. During Fayette County’s sesquicentennial in 1971 he showed it off at the Fife House Museum.

Some years after Mr. Raymond and Mrs. Effie Banks died a tree fell on the barn and demolished it, but the buggy was unharmed. John approached Bobby and Joyce Nipper about donating it to the Historical Society and they agreed. It is now stored at a garage behind the old city hall awaiting a suitable outbuilding to house it at the museum.

John added that someday this will be a good story to tell the kids when they visit the museum.

Lowell Crawford, a famous local artist, sent me this email after reading this story:
Thanks for the story about "The Buggy" and I look forward to seeing it
someday. I had no idea that barn was where it was stored on Banks Road.
In April 2003 I took photographs of the farmhouse and the big tree for a
watercolor painting. Three weeks later the tree split and fell on the
barn, and the other part a week or two later. Now that big monarch oak
is gone....and the barn.

Attached is an image of that painting. Currently it is on display at the
BB&T on Jeff Davis in Fayetteville.