“Two of the most gallant of Burke County’s fifteen hundred Confederate soldiers were Joe Allman and his younger brother Noah, who were affectionately known by the community as Uncle Joe and Uncle Noah. They served in one of North Carolina’s most heroic combat units, the famous Sixth North Carolina Regiment. Uncle Noah was a teetotalist, but Uncle Joe sometimes succumbed to the temptation to imbibe a little too freely.========
Uncle Joe’s devotion to the Confederacy intensified as the years passed. He attended all reunions of Confederate veterans, arrayed with the badges and ribbons denoting his attendance at previous reunions.
Shortly after our wedding trip, my wife and I met Uncle Joe on a Morganton sidewalk. He was enroute to the forthcoming reunion in Memphis, bedecked with all his badges and ribbons. Uncle Joe extracted a bottle of booze from his hip pocket and invited my wife and I to drink with him.
At that time North Carolina was bedeviled by the hysteria of prohibition, and the courts rarely extended any mercy to anyone who was apprehended in the possession of intoxicating beverages. In declining his invitation, I gave Uncle Joe this warning:
“Uncle Joe, please put that bottle back in your pocket. If the police catch you with it, they will take you to jail, and you’ll miss the reunion.”
“Don’t you worry about that,” Uncle Joe said. “Before the police could even lock the jailhouse door, Sue Tate and the Daughters of the Confederacy would set me free and send me to Memphis.” Knowing cousin Sue as I did, I am convinced that Uncle Joe was right.
After the Good Lord called Uncle Joe hence, a former resident visited Morganton, met Uncle Noah, and asked him about Uncle Joe. “Brother Joe died last year,” Uncle Noah informed him. “If he hadn’t drunk so much mean booze, he might have lived to a ripe old age.”
How old was Uncle Joe when he died?” the former resident inquired.
Uncle Noah replied, “About ninety.”
(Humor of a Country Lawyer, Sam J. Ervin, UNC Press, 1983, pp. 46-47)
Uncle Joe of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment