Your Life Story in a Beautiful Book – Personal Biography

The Attic Lesson: Finding Pres Freeland’s Songs

The trove from the attic looks like the boxes hiding in everyone’s attic (if you’re lucky enough to have both), and like the stuff in everyone’s storage, its greatest value is to my family only.

At first I thought I had found Grandaddy’s music when I found the CD entitled: “Pres Freeland’s Natural Songs from 1955”. First I played it (here’s a listen)

and then I called my uncle to figure out how I am related to Pres Freeland, who has the name of my grandfather but not his voice.

“That’s Preston Freeland who was your grandfather’s first child by his first marriage out in Reno, before he met your grandmother,” he says, and then I remember the long-lost half-sister who emerged from nowhere, a Mormon in Reno seeking her roots and her relatives, telling us that my grandfather, a North Carolina native, had an entire life, and entire family, in Las Vegas, before he had a stint in Georgia and then became my grandfather here in North Carolina. Thank you, Jill, for spreading the family legacy. Here’s to Grandaddy, Preston Troy Freeland.

Finding legacy items can spur days of writing about your personal history, tracing where your ancestors lived and imagining who they were by what they left behind. Dig into the attic soon, while you still have living ancestors to help you sort out the lineage.

I will post more about my grandfather at another time, but in the meantime, here is my granddaddy’s father’s obituary, from The Christian Advocate.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 10.26.41 AM
1944, Charlotte, NC. In chairs, Maribelle Walker Freeland and Preston Troy Freeland, Jr. On floor: Alan Freeland and my mother, Troyanne. At the fireplace: Jimmy and Robert Freelandfrom “The Christian Advocate”

Obituary for Preston Troy Freeland, Sr.

January 23, 1922

FREELAND   – A life more than ordinary was that of Preston Troy Freeland, whose passing away I think deserves more than an ordinary obituary notice: hence it will not be too much to ask of the columns of the Advocate to give a little space to say a few things about this good man, being said by one who knew and loved him for a number of years, and in whose fellowship we had sweet council.

Born in Alamance County, N.C., January 10, 1860, son of George and Isabella Freeland. His father was clerk of the court in his native county for 40 years.

The family moved to Charlotte, N.C. or near there, living on the Freeland farm near Newells. His mother’s maiden name was Troy. Her brothers, Rev. L.L. Troy and Capt. R.P. Troy, were well known Methodists of their day and wielded a large influence in shaping Methodism of that time. Their grandfather was John Troy and a son of “Tibby” Balfour, a daughter of Colonel Balfour, who lost his life in a very cruel manner while defending his home and country.

Preston grew to manhood on the farm and when he decided to marry he was most fortunate in securing the hand and heart of Miss Roxie E. King, of Mecklenburg County. She has been the inspiration of his life of great usefulness.

Early in life Preston joined Tryon Street Methodist Church of Charlotte, and while a member there he began his Christian work. The Freeland brothers Joe and Preston were known far and wide because of their indomitable Christian courage, and many were added unto the Lord by their faith and works. Much of his work was purely of a missionary type. The poor, the outcast were blest and led to Christ. He had a distinct talent owned by but few for reaching the lowest ones and leading them to the Saviour. He did much work in the slums of the city. The bleary-eyed drunkard, the outcast and the harlot were often the beneficiaries of his labors. No life was too low for him to seek its salvation, and many of the worst were led and safely piloted through the “City of Hope.”

In 1896 he organized a church three miles west of the city of Charlotte; a beautiful neat brick building, made possible by his labors, now stands upon this spot where an evergreen Sunday school and prayer meeting continues. Here he did much of his evangelilstic work, and many souls were saved there through his labors. The day previous to his death, he spent part of the afternoon here teaching a Sunday school class.

When the Brevard Street Methodist Church was organized, he became a charter member, and remained in its fellowship until God said: “It is enough; come up higher.”

Duncan Memorial Church is another monument to his untiring labors. All those who are acquainted with conditions know the transforming influence his church has had in that section of the city of Charlotte.

The last effort to establish another church was two miles north of the city of Charlotte in a much-neglected section and was much encouraged as he held cottage prayer meetings out there (meetings in homes). A lot was procured and arrangements were being perfected to build a church.

His health had been feeble for a number of years, and many were the times when it seemed nothing but a special Providence brought him back to health that he might continue his labors for the Master.

There were more than 250 professions of conversions during the last year of his labors. The day before he went home to heaven, he was at his post of duty in Brevard Street Church; in the afternoon he was at the chapel, and visited ten sick people on his way to and from the service. This writer has never known a man more incessant in labors especially in the state of health in which this man of God did his work.

When Joe and “Press” Freeland met in heaven the 23rd of last January, there was joy unbounded, and no doubt a group of those who are now in the “City of God” joined in the welcome of their earthly saviours. – L.A. Falis