Garden Tea with Descendants of Five Row Residents

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Garden Tea with Descendants of Five Row Residents

By Kim Mayes, ZSR NPIP Community Outreach Intern| @LearnReynolda

The opening performance of Peppercorn Children’s Theatre’s “Five Row: Growing Up With Reynolda” was attended by several of Five Row’s former residents and descendants. A tea was held before the play to celebrate the people who lived there and had a relationship to the place.

Sarah “Sackie” Hamlin and daughter Mandeline Hamlin Shepperson are the widow and daughter of Sam Hamlin, a former resident of Five Row. Although neither of them lived in Five Row they fondly recalled Sam’s stories about Five Row and working on the property. Mrs. Hamlin believed that he really enjoyed living there and was proud of the village. Mrs. Hamlin played an instrumental role in making Five Row’s histories available.


Pictured (Left to Right): Nadiyah Quander, director of Delta Arts Center; Eugenia "Gigi" Parent, manager of BEM Internships at the Wake Forest University School of Business; and Anthony Parent, professor of history at Wake Forest University.  

After the demolition of Five Row many of the residents ended up living on Thurmond and 25th Street, an area of land owned by the Reynoldses. Former residents formed a tight knit community and were hesitant to talk outsiders, but Sarah Hamlin opened up her doors so that Eugenia “Gigi” Parent, a historian of Five Row who also attended the tea, could record oral histories of the citizens. These oral histories were instrumental in her archival exhibition “The Spirit of Reynolda: African-American Contributions, 1912-1962.”


Pictured: Don Galloway, Harvey Miller's grandson

Brenda Miller Galloway and Don Galloway also attended the play. They are the daughter and grandson of Harvey Miller, head butler at Reynolda for several decades and a central character in the play. Brenda Miller never actually lived at Five Row, but recalled her father’s stories. As a boy Don remembered playing at Reynolda House and swimming in its pool. Shirley Eaton, niece of Harvey and Rosalie Miller, also attended the tea. Wayne Lash, also present, lived at Five Row early in his life and remembered playing at Five Row.

Although they did not attend the tea and opening performance, other Five Row descendants attended the play the following weekend, including William Wharton who lived at Five Row and was a son of Monroe Wharton’s, one of the first men to bring their families to Five Row. William Wharton served as chauffeur to the Reynoldses. Also in attendance at later performances were Harvey Miller’s niece and great niece. These people remind us that Five Row of “Five Row: Growing Up With Reynolda” was not just a story but a real place, with real people and a real history.

See the complete photo album on Flickr.

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