Annie Eliza Basnight Spruill
Featured Character – The Home Front
Map of the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, Showing the Theatre of
Operations of the Burnside Expedition, Harper's Weekly,
March 1, 1862
Courtesy of the Museum of the Albemarle
October 13, 1837, up-and-coming Tyrrell County
Basnight married Rachel Meekins. Less than a year later, she
to their first child: a daughter named Annie Elizabeth
Basnight died giving birth to another daughter in 1841. Two
Elijah Spruill remarried. His surviving children went to live
sister, Sarah Brickhouse, and her husband Jesse Brickhouse.
Basnight worked as a domestic servant for the wealthy
lived with them until her marriage in 1867 to William Richard Spruill,
couple moved to a farm in rural Alligator Township.
R. Spruill ultimately made the decision to give up farming, and the
moved into Columbia,
the courthouse seat of Tyrrell County.
He opened a hotel so
well-known for the quality of its food that William R. Spruill acquired
nickname “Potlikker Bill.” At the urging of Annie Spruill,
allowed missionaries from the Disciples of Christ to preach from the
1884. The Spruills eventually joined the domination, and
and land for Columbia’s
Disciples of Christ Church. In addition to hotel proprietor,
Spruill operated several other businesses. In 1899 and 1901,
his son received two patents for their designs of vehicular ball
bearings. The 1900 Census also lists William R. Spruill as a
“jeweler.” After her husband’s death, Annie Spruill continued
to live in Columbia,
son William R. Spruill Jr. now ran the family’s businesses.
with Bright’s Disease, she left Tyrrell
live with her daughter in Enfield, North
Carolina. She died there
on March 26, 1920.