Third Generation

19. Serena HOOKS9 was born on 14 September 1817.10 She died in 1892 at the age of 75.14 "Serena Aycock was a solemn and benign woman. Although she could not read or write, she exercised a stronger influence in the home than did her husband. Her manner was characterized by brevity of speech, gentleness, and affection. She was 'remarkable for her fidelity to duty and vigor of mind and body.' [Judge Frank A. Daniels] A family friend, Jonathan Thomas Hooks, stated that Serena had full control of the farm during the eight years that Benjamin served as clerk of court in Wayne County. 'Her responsibilities were great, but she met them with courage,' Hooks wrote. Serena 'never left the farm, and handled it successfully. She was firm, never known to be in a hurry or to lose her temper, but moved steadily and thoughtfully along, and with her discipline was inflexible, yet she was always kind and accomodating [six].... And it was to her that Charles gave the credit of being what he was." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.6) "Serena Hooks was a remarkable woman. She possessed intellectual gifts that, in a large degree, made up for her lack of early education. During the years in which her husband's public duties took him away from home, the entire management of the farm and the training of her sons, then at their most impressionable age, fell upon her shoulders. She met her responsibilities with great success. Firm and inflexible in her discipline, she was always kind and affectionate, never in a hurry and never known to lose her temper. In the evenings, during the school term, it was her custom to gather her children around her for an hour or two of study, after which she required them to recite their lessons to her; and although without any education herself, she had no trouble in telling by the expressions of their faces whether or not they knew their lessons. Charles Aycock once saw his mother make her mark when signing a deed; and his incident, as he often declared to his intimate friends, impressed him so forcibly with the failure of the State to do its duty in establishing and maintaining a public school system, that he resolved to devote whatever talents he might possess to procuring for every child born in North Carolina an open schoolhouse, and an opportunity for obtaining a public school education." (Connor & Poe: Life and Speeches of C.B. Aycock, p.7)

Serena HOOKS and Benjamin AYCOCK were married about 1840.9,14 "They settled in a house on the fifty acres of land that Benjamine had inherited from his father in 1836. This house became their permanent home." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.5) "Benjamin and Serena Aycock had ten children, of whom Charles Brantley was the youngest." (Connor & Poe: Life and Speeches of C.B. Aycock, p.8) Benjamin AYCOCK9, son of James AYCOCK and Charity WILKINSON, was born on 2 March 1817.10 He was elected as State Senator in 1864/5.15 "His service in the State Senate was not without significance and interest. There was nothing of the politician about him. He performed his duties in the same straightforward, uncalculating manner, and with the same unyielding courage of conviction--as a single instance will illustrate--which so strongly characterized the public career of his more distinguished son [Gov. C.B. Aycock]. In 1864 the relations existing between the State Government and the Conferderate Government bordered upon open hostility. The passage of the Conscript Act by the Confederate Congress had aroused intense opposition in North Carolina. Governor Vance, though determined to enforce the law, was known to believe it unconstitutional. A majority in both Houses of the Legislature not only believed it unconstitutional, but were resolved if possible to prevent its enforcement. In the Senate the anti-administration forces were ably led, bent upon embarrassing the Confederate Government and intolerant of opposition. Moreover, they had the moral support of popular sentiment. Timid men bent before the current of public sentiment, and politicians trimmed their sails to catch the prevailing winds. Senator Aycock was neither the one nor the other. He did not sympathize with these views, and came forward as one of the most active leaders in opposition to them. As chairman of a committee to report on that part of the Governor's messsage, which related to the Conscript Act, he declared that while he lamted the necessity for it, he did 'not consider the present to be the proper time or place to decide upon the constitutionality of that measure.... Shall the noble-hearted men,' referring to those in the army, he exclaimed, 'be suffered to call and die in vain, while a man is left at home who can or ought to render aid.' In spire of intense opposition, and in the face of popular sentiment, on every vote taken in the Senate his 'name always led the list of those who sought to uphold the Confederate administration, and although that part was in the minority in the Senate as well as in the House, he never flinched in the performance of his full duty to the soldiers in the field and to those who were making such Herculean efforts to achieve Southern Independence'." (Connor & Poe: Life and Speeches of C.B. Aycock, pp.5-6) He died in 1875 at the age of 58 in Wilson County, North Carolina. Benjamin was a Clerk of the Superior Court for 8 years in Wayne County, North Carolina.15 "Benjamin Aycock, a man of great reserve and dignity, was a fine product of that sturdy, law-abiding, industrious rural population which has always formed the backbone of North Carolina, and has given to the State her most marked characteristics. He loved the simplicity and independence of rural life, and inculcated in the members of his family habits of economy, thrift and industry. His neighbors esteemed him for his honesty, his fine common sense and practical wisdom, and for his great strength of character." (Connor & Poe: Life and Speeches of C.B. Aycock, p.5)
"The collapse of the Confederacy led to the diminution of Benjamin's wealth but did not deplete it. He lost slaves, equipment, and intangible property, and in 1865, he planted his crops largely by hand. 'Eighteen sixty-five is known to this day as a wonder year,' Charles Aycock said later. 'Crops grew without cultivation and the harvest of abundant. We struggled through the spring and summer with scant food and less clothing, but with the fall came a bountiful crop.' After 1865, however, Benjamin Aycock began once more to prosper. While many large planters lost their property, Benjamin enlarged his farm. In 1869, he bought 254 acres and, by 1870, he valued his personal property at $1,500 and his real estate at $8,000. His wealth permitted him to hire a housekeeper to live in the home to help Serena with the housework." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, pp.11-12)
"Benjamin Aycock had no fondness for politics, but, like his son, he considered it the duty of every good citizen to participate in public affairs to the end that good government might be established and maintained; and he neither sought, nor, when called upon by his neighbors, refused to accept public office. But it was as a private citizen that he served his country best. A law-abiding citizen, a good farmer, a God-fearing Christian, he impressed himself strongly on his family and his community. He was, as one of his former pastors tells us, 'an excellent member and deacon of the Primitive Baptist Church; and while opening a conference at Aycock's Church in Wilson County (1875), he dropped dead of heart disease, thus falling at his post of duty as did his distinguished son'." (Connor & Poe: Life and Speeches of C.B. Aycock, pp.6-7)

Serena HOOKS and Benjamin AYCOCK had the following children:



Piety Melvina AYCOCK was born on 22 July 1842.14



Francis Marion "Frank" AYCOCK.



James Robert AYCOCK14 was born on 16 April 1845.14 He "engaged in business in South Carolina." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.12)



Jesse Thomas AYCOCK14 was born on 20 May 1847.14 He devoted himself "almost exclusively to farming." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.12)



William Butler AYCOCK14 was born on 11 April 1849.14 He "went to Florida and entered the turpentine business." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.12)



John Wilkinson AYCOCK14 was born on 10 November 1850.14 He devoted himself "almost exclusively to farming." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.12)



Benjamin Franklin AYCOCK14 was born on 11 February 1853.14 He "farmed in the Nahunta township, established a lumber mill in Whiteville, and participated extensively in politics." (Orr: C.B. Aycock, p.12)



Catherine AYCOCK14 was born on 8 January 1855.14



Bardin H. AYCOCK14 was born on 16 January 1857.14



Charles Brantley AYCOCK.

Copyright 2014 Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.