Carl, Andy, and Geneva Nunn Griffith in 1957.
Often at book events I will tell potential customers of Beyond Mayberry: A Memoir of Andy Griffith and Mount Airy, North Carolina, that “Andy Griffith’s Momma Was A Nunn.” The look on their faces never ceases to make me laugh. I then tell them, “She was a Kibler Valley Nunn, not a Catholic Nun.”
Several years ago, I found myself rummaging through the papers of the Patrick County Courthouse. As a lark, I looked up the last name Griffith and, lo and behold, there was a marriage license dated August 22, 1925, between Carl Griffith (1894-1975), a laborer, age 30, the son of John D. and Sallie Griffith of Mount Airy and Geneva Nannie Nunn (1899-1986), age 26, the daughter of Sam and Mary Jophina Cassell Nunn of Patrick County. The Reverend J. S. Rodgers of the Methodist South Church married the couple in Patrick County, probably in the town formerly known as Taylorsville, now Stuart, Virginia, on August 22, 1925. John Clark of the Circuit Court of Patrick County filed the document.
Mary Jophina (Jopina or Jossina or “Jo Pinney”) Cassell Nunn (1866-1938) was the daughter of Peter Cassell and Nancy J. Rogers. Samuel “Babe” Nunn (ca. 1850-1905) was the son of John and Scenna Phillips Nunn. Andy Griffith’s grandparents were married on February 14, 1886, in Stokes County, North Carolina, and are buried at Old Hollow Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Mount Airy.
In 1925, Samuel Walter Nunn owned 122 acres, nine miles from the courthouse in Stuart. The family cemetery is located near Virginia Route 631 between Kibler Valley, where the Dan River rolls off the Blue Ridge and Fall Creek.
Sam Nunn ran a sawmill on Fall Creek, a tributary of the Dan River near where the Mount Airy and Eastern Railroad, “The Dinky” ran from Mount Airy to Kibler Valley in Patrick County, Virginia. One story told me by the late Colonel James Love of Patrick County was that Andy’s grandfather murdered a man and made a deathbed confession about it. Fall Creek falls from the Blue Ridge Mountains before making its way to the Dan River near the Command Sergeant Major Zeb Stuart Scales Bridge on Highway 104, the Ararat Highway.
Geneva Nunn Griffith brought her Patrick County musical roots with her and she taught her son to play guitar. Andy Griffith was on the Crooked Road, the Virginia Musical Heritage Trail before anyone thought it up. This is just one of the many connections Andy Griffith had to Patrick County.
Colonel James Love told me that he had taken Andy Griffith around to visit family sites and cemeteries quietly. Sadly, Jim and Andy are no longer with us, but the family history and genealogy still survives.
Other Andy Griffith’s Patrick County Connections