David Andrew STURGILL
Editor's note: Individual family sketches have been included in the hope that they would make it more interesting to all who read it and give us all a better understanding of what kind of people we are. I have enjoyed writing these sketches, when there was enough information to compose one, but now that my turn has come, I find myself at a loss for words. What would people like to know about me?
I, David Andrew Sturgill, was born in a two room homesteader's cabin on the prairies of Chateau Co., Montana, in the middle of a January blizzard. At the age of five, I returned to North Carolina with the family, and I grew up here on a mountain farm. At fifteen, I graduated from the local high school and set out to see the world on a bicycle. I could not remember having ever seen a town larger than our local county seat, but I rode through Washington DC, and Baltimore, Md., to my grandfather's farm in Harford Co., Md. I spent my first winter away from home working on my uncle's dairy farm, milking 50 cows by hand.
When spring finally came, I picked up my banjo, stuck out my thumb, and set out to see the rest of the USA. For the next five years, I followed the same pattern: I spent the winters in CCC camps, where I took corrspondence courses in electronics, and the summers I spent rambling across the country with a banjo or a guitar, making music for my livelihood, working occassionally a few months at any job that was available. As those were the worst years of the Big Depression, not many jobs were available for a teenage boy.
In the fall of 1938, I managed to borrow enough money to take a year course in Electrical Engineering at the Bliss Electrical School in Washington, D. C. Upon completion of the course, I was employed by the Western Electric Co., later transferring to the Bell Telephone Co. When I finally decided I had a secure job, I took a weekend trip to N. C. to propose to my boyhood sweetheart, Alice Marie Halsey, who had already completed college and was teaching school. To my surprise, she accepted, and six months later we were married.
During my 29 year career with the Telephone Co., I served as a central office repairman, central office foreman, technical instructor in the plant school, and as a General Engineer. During my last five years, my wife also worked for the company, in the accounting department. In 1968, we both terminated our careers with the company and returned to the farm we had bought in N.C. to be where she could care for her 80 year old father, who was going blind, and, to take care of is five aged, single brothers and sisters.
After returning to N.C., I went to Nashville, Tenn., to take over the management of a guitar manufacturing plant in which I owned an interest, commuting to N.C. on weekends. In 1970, I came back to N.C. to stay. After building a new house and a shop, I founded the Skyland Musical Instrument Co., for the purpose of producing the best in hand-crafted musical instruments. Two sons joined me in this business, which is still a going concern twelve years later.
During the first four years in N.C., my wife's father and all her uncles and aunts died, and she returned to teaching school. Recently she retired, and I have, more or less, taken a leave of absence from our business to take time to revise and rewrite this History of the Sturgill Family.
When I left the Telephone Comany, after so many years service, most of my relatives thought I was out of my mind, and several of them said so. They reminded me of the benefits and pension I had thrown away, but I had long since concluded that there was more to living than just making money or the prestige any job could offer. The measure of anyone's success in life depends entire upon the yardstick one uses to measure it. I like that named by Ervin S. Cobb: 'The true measure of a man's success is how long he is remembered afte he is gone.' I am sure that long after the last one has forgotten that I ever worked for the Bell Telephone Co., some will still remember that I made violins and wrote a history of the Sturgill Family.
I live in a small house, drive a small car, and have a small bank account. I also have a lovely wife, five wonderful children and fourteen noisy grandchildren. Best of all, I have over 60 years of happy memories to look back on and some to look forward to. Each day, as I walk these peaceful hills, where Sturgills have walked for more than two centuries, I thank God for the many gifts He has given me. Yes, I think I am a successful man.
Note, 1993, There are now 16 grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Hurricane HUGO was the first within memory to pass through these mountains. It did so much damage to our shop, equipment and musical instruments that the Skyland Musical Instrument Co. never reopened.
DAS -p 230
When David Andrew Sturgill died from lung cancer at home in Piney Creek, on April 7, 2004, he left behind 32 great grandchildren and 3 great great-grandchildren. And I have taken up the task of moving his genealogy books to the net. THS
James STURGILL, Jr James David STURGILL| | |Susan Hewlin David Bruce STURGILL| | | Dr. Charles Grannison FOWLKES | |Tobytha Amanda FOWLKES| | |Amanda Melvina TOLIVER David Andrew STURGILL| | Nathan WEAVER | Benjamin Andrew WEAVER| | | |Eleanor WARD |Annie Ruth WEAVER| | Robert? GAMBILL |Nora Caroline WHITTINGTON| |America ELLER