History of Virginia - Joshua A. Hedgecock

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Joshua A. Hedgecock

JOSHUA A. HEDGECOCK began the manufacture of brick in Virginia thirty-eight years ago, and is one of the veteran masters of that industry. His home is at Martinsville in Henry County, where he is a member of the firm, Williams & Hedgecock. They have a large modern brick plant at Fire Stone, Virginia. Their normal output is sixty cars a month, and the brick is shipped all over Virginia and also is extensively used in the coal fields of West Virginia.

Mr. Hedgecock is a native of North Carolina, born January 22, 1860, son of Anderson and Susanah (Linville) Hedgecock. His father was a wheelwright by trade, and had his shop at Winston. He entered the Confederate army early in the war, and died in the third year of the struggle. He left a widow and seven young children, Joshua A. being then about four years of age. There were six other children: John W., who died at the age of fourteen; Robert W., who is a brick manufacturer at Winston, North Carolina; James E.; Christian Louis; Elizah F.; and one sister, Elizabeth.

As a boy Joshua A. Hedgecock had few advantages either at home or in school. He attended a few terms of school at Winston, but at the same time was helping his mother at home, and at the age of twelve he began performing the heavy labor in a brick yard at twenty-five cents a day and his dinner. Finally he reached the wage of sixty-five cents a day. Much of this he contributed to the support of the family until his mother died in 1881. He was then twenty-one years of age, and during the next two years he saved a considerable part of his earnings and at the age of twenty-three entered the Oak Ridge Academy to supplement his limited early education. Mr. Hedgecock's first partner and financial backer was Joe Mastin, of Wilson, North Carolina. Mr. Mastin loaned him the money to start a modest brick plant at Martinsville, Virginia. From here he moved to Stuart in Patrick County, where he conducted a brick yard, and following that he was a brick manufacturer at Henderson, North Carolina, then again at Martinsville, Virginia, and also at Pulaski, Gate City, and Richlands, Virginia. He finally returned to Martinsville, where he has developed one of the most efficient brick making plants in this section of the state. Much of the brick used in buildings in Martinsville was manufactured by Mr. Hedgecock. He has been unusually successful in the management of his employes, has built a number of homes for them, and at all times has been kind acid just in his relations as a manager. He is a deacon in the Baptist Church of Martinsville.

In 1885 Mr. Hedgecock married Miss India Powell, of Stuart, Virginia, daughter of Charles A. Powell. Seven children were born to their marriage. Roxie A. is now an employe of the War Risk Bureau at Washington, D. C. The second child, Samuel A., began helping his father when only six years of age, was given a good education, and was associated with his father in business until his death at the age of thirty-one, in March, 1919. The third child, Oscar, is owner of a chicken farm at Fontaine. Miss Lucy is at home. Emery, who is an ex-service man with a record on the battle lines in France as a lieutenant, is now assisting his father in the brick business. The sixth child, Alonzo, is at home, and the youngest, William A., died in childhood.