Historic Documents Found in Forgotten Seagrove Bank Lockbox

SEAGROVE, NC — A mystery which had surrounded the contents of a safe deposit bank lockbox in Seagrove was solved on Thursday.

Mayor David Fernandez found old documents, some yellowed. He was hoping to find the town’s charter.

The box at CommunityOne Bank in Seagrove was drilled open because the key had been lost years ago.

A fragile, yellowed warranty deed from Frankie and Mattie Auman showed the sale of land for a cemetery to the town of Seagrove for $300. The document was signed on April 16, 1921, and was filed with the Randolph County Register of Deeds on Oct. 22, 1922.

Someone had written on the deed, “This plat of land only to be used as a cemetery.”

The survey had been neatly folded into an envelope with a 3 cent stamp on it, dated March 22, 1939.

The historic documents will be given to Seagrove Christian Church, which recently purchased the cemetery from the town.

Phyllis Lawrence, a member of Seagrove Christian Church who has been directly involved in the recent purchase of the cemetery from the town, expressed her gratitude for the deed and survey.

“I could hardly believe it!” she said. “We are celebrating our 100th anniversary and have been looking for historic documents. We’ve had to start from scratch.

“We’ll be able to save this for future generations.”

Another deed, dated Dec. 10, 1998, showed where the town had used a grant from the N.C. Community Foundation to purchase land for the Clay Presnell Park.

Fernandez found titles from four police cars and a Bill of Sale for a storage trailer. It is used to house such things as the town’s Christmas decorations.

The saga of the safe deposit lockbox started when CommunityOne Bank sent the town a bill for $110 in September 2012. Some members of the town board and Mayor Alan Hale were unaware that the town had a lockbox. The bank had never charged for it.

Former Commissioners Ruby Mullin and Barbara Luther knew there was a box, but had no idea what was in it. Since the mayor said the key could not be located, the bank wanted $200 to drill the box open. Mullin made a motion to spend the $200, but town funds were unavailable. There was discussion about private donations being used to open the box, but the discussion was eventually tabled and was not brought up again until this year.

Former mayors David Garner and Mike Walker were unsure when the box was actually obtained from the bank. Minutes from the October 2012 meeting of the town indicate that it had not been accessed since 1987, but obviously it had been. The car titles were from 1986 to 2002.

Former CommunityOne Bank employee Ann Moffitt said that there were no safe deposit boxes at the old bank, which was located where the town hall is today. She said that perhaps the town had a box at the main office in Asheboro. The current CommunityOne Bank, which started as First National Bank, opened in the mid-1980s.

Garner suggested that perhaps former Mayor Wade Harris, now deceased, may have been the one to obtain the box.

Staff at the Seagrove branch of CommunityOne Bank are researching to find out who opened the box and when.

Article found here.