August 31, 1882 (The Commonwealth)
ENFIELD, Aug. 28, 1882 (Correspondence reporting for The Commonwealth)
Curiosity drew a large crowd to the tournament. All ages of both sexes were out. A greater number would have been in the way of the skaters. The ages of the skaters ran up the scale gradually, from the small boy, to the youth with a caterpillar of an undecided hue on his upper lip. Hobbledeboys mostly. Excepting the baseball shirts worn by some for comfort, there was no affectation whatever entering the list when called by their Christian names.
Henry Cuthrell made the two best scores 13 for himself, and 15 for Crawford Branch, out of a possible 18, winning the skates for Branch which was the main feature of the occasion. There was so much speechifying by the rink proprietor just before the presentation that, the somewhat confused and expectant recipient told him if he would “cheese it,” he might keep the skates. Then came the coronation, creating no end of mirth and laughter, because it was “too thin” on the part of the young man, and something of a joke on the astounded queen. Amid continued laughter and bursts of applause, the prospective queen would not allow the crown to be placed upon her brow, telling the young man to seek some “fair lady” whose age was more comfortable, but it would not work, for all saw him approach her, and the “dog was dead.” His excuse was that he had (jokingly) promised the lady to crown her in the event of his success, hence, could not go back on it. Suppose under the circumstances his finer feelings would not suffer him to crown the queen of his heart, which he has explained to her satisfaction, ere now, no doubt.
[There is a Crawford Branch in 1880 in Enfield, Halifax, NC, who lived with his brother, George W. Branch and their mother E. F. Branch. This Crawford Branch was born in 1862, which means he would have been about 20 at the time of this competition. He was a farm laborer (his father, S. W. Branch seemed to have had a significant farm before his death). However, there is also a C. W. Branch in 1880 in Enfield, Halifax, NC, who was born in 1864 (making him about 18 at the time of the competition). He lived with H. J. Branch, who was born in 1860. He was a printer. Given their proximity in age, I am guessing they are brothers. As far as I can tell, neither Crawford Branch nor C. W. Branch have a record on familysearch.org, yet, and I did not create one.
I believe Henry Cuthrell is John Henry Cuthrell who is on the 1880 census in Enfield, Halifax, NC. He was born in 1863, making him about 19 at the time of the competition. He was also living with his brother, Daniel Cuthrell, and they are the sons of Daniel Cuthrell and Martha Frances Hayes. He worked as a printer. He does have a record on familysearch.org; his ID# is K2N8-PML. I did not attach the story, however, because I like to have two points of verification, if possible.]