Jeff Harvey

We continue down the south side of Vermillion Street as we look at the notes of the late Ella Holroyd as printed in the 1987 edition of the Mercer County Historical Society’s “History of Mercer County.”

“Scotcote”, the Williamson home, had the distinction of being the only home on that side of the street between the Robinson and Vermillion homes prior to the 1910 Athens Normal School fire. During Ella’s childhood, a Mrs. Matthews and her son Walker lived there. Walker Matthews used to study the Bible to debate pastors. His mother was the only Presbyterian in town and awaited visits from Presbyterian pastors from Bluefield and Princeton.

James Holroyd, Ella’s father, said Walker Matthews deserved a scholarship to Harvard or similar level university because of his mind. He later married a Bailey and became a top Mercer County teacher.

After others lived in the cottage, retired physics professor Sam and his wife Umen (Woods) Williamson bought it and grew a garden and shrubbery around it. Sam Willamson kept the college clock going and fixed Ella’s 100-plus years old German dolls. Umen sent Ella applesauce frequently, they both helped out whenever needed, Sam was a highest degree Mason and both were Presbyterians who attended Princeton Presbyterian Church.

Behind that lot, a two-story house with stairs on the outside stood. Miss Effie Martin, an early babysitter of Ella and her siblings, lived there with her family. Dr. Robinson , a dentist, lived there.

After that house was pulled down, Dr. Robert Gatherum, the first Dean at Concord, had a brick house built. He first was married to Maude Martin, then married Nannie Dangerfield, another Concord faculty member. He was a mathematics professor and she taught English. They had three sons, all physicians.

Dr. James “Jim” Riley Gatherum inherited the home. He served Athens and Concord as a physician and stayed very busy. Dr. Robert Gatherum, Jr., lived at Bluefield and worked as a surgeon at Bluefield Sanitarium. Dr. David Gatherum was the anesthesiologist at the Bluefield Sanitarium.

The Grimm home was where the Gatherums lived before building their brick home. Spencer and Ora Ring Grimm lived there in 1969. She was hostess at the Concord Student Union Lodge.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at

Trending Video

Recommended for you