Bethel Collection


Bethel Collection


This large collection consists of numerous photographs, documents, and other materials associated with the Bethel Community and its residents.

This very large collection is being processed in stages. Information regarding various series in the collection will be updated as they are added online.

Series 1 consists of 151 black and white photographs, mostly taken by Johnny P. Greene, Sr during the 1940s. The images show Greene's time spent in basic training at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. The series also includes images of Greene, his fellow soldiers, and locals in Kunming, China, during World War II.

Series 2 consists of three items created by J.P. Greene and Johnny P. Greene, Sr. The first item is a black and white photograph of Hattie Alice Greer Greene from the late 1960s. The second item is a collection of stories titled, "Between the Wars: Growing Up on Beaverdam Creek." These stories, based on Johnny P. Greene, Sr.'s childhood, feature locations all across Watauga County. The last item is a family tree starting with Dudley Farthing Greene and Hattie Alice Greer Greene.

Series 3 consists of 27 items made up of black and white photographs, color photographs, and a family tree. The items range from the early 1900s to the late 1990s. Of note within the collection are the portrait prints made from the plate glass negatives taken by James C. Shell (seen in Series 9), a Farthing family tree, and an image of the congregation at Bethel Church circa 1900.

Series 4 consists of 32 items, made up of black and white photographs, a document, and one scrapbook page, created mostly by James C. Shell and Johnny P. Greene, Sr. The images range from the 1890s to the 1990s. This series features images of the Shell, Farthing, and Dougherty families. Of note are the images of baptisms in Watauga River, churchgoers at both Bethel and Beaverdam churches, and a Dougherty family reunion circa 1952.

Series 5 consists of 229 items, made up of black and white photographs, color photographs, newspaper clippings, and calling cards. These items were created by a variety of individuals such as James C. Shell, Johnny P. Greene, Sr., J.P. Greene, and Dorothy Farthing Greene, ranging from the early to late 1900s. Of note within the series are a variety of images of the Greene and Farthing families, shots of the old Bethel School, and a couple old-fashioned holiday cards.

Series 6 consists of 192 images and documents mainly featuring portraits of unknown people either taken in a studio or at what is believed to be a home in the community. Special attention should be drawn to the memories booklet from Bethel School for the class of 1940.

Series 7 is around 48 black and white images primarily located in Banner Elk at Lees-McRae College. Many of the images feature football players posing in uniform.

Series 8 holds six items focused on Hattie Greene. One of the images has a handwritten note indicating it was taken on her 90th birthday in 1972.

Series 9 consists of eight plate glass negatives likely photographed by James C. Shell, a local, amateur photographer who lived in the Bethel area.

Series 10 consists of 192 images and documents featuring members of local Watauga families, mainly the Greene and Farthing families. Additional newspaper clippings detail events in the county, particularly the one listing prior superintendents of Watauga County Schools from 1885-1955.

Series 11 consists of 128 images and documents about Johnny Preston Greene and his time overseas in the Pacific Theater during World War II. There are many images of Bethel, NC in this series, likely images saved for Greene upon his return home as there are some captioned with remarks on his absence.

Series 13 focuses on the Dudley Farthing family. The seven items in this series range from letters to sales receipts to family reunion booklets. One item to note is the apparent sale of "George" on May 4, 1805 to William W. Farthing.

Series 14 consists of four items, all images of a locket pocket-watch believed to feature Paul Farthing. Farthing was a first lieutenant in the Watauga Minute Men, a local militia company during the American Civil War. He was captured in the raid on Camp Mast in February 1865 and later died as a federal prisoner of war at Camp Chase in Ohio.

Series 15 holds over 540 items, mainly black and white photographs of the Shell family. Dates are mainly circa late 1800s to mid 1900s.

A formal finding aid will be forthcoming when the collection is complete.


J. P. Greene


J. P. Greene of Watauga County, NC, has generously agreed to share these images with Digital Watauga through a digital use rights deed of gift. Any reprinting, redistribution, or other use of these images outside of Digital Watauga requires written permission from J. P. Greene. Contact Digital Watauga for additional details.

Collection Items

Snowy Cabin in the Woods
This image shows a larger cabin the snowy wooded area. There are steps from the woods to the home to the left of the cabin. There is someone standing on the lower porch looking towards the camera. There is a brick chimney on the left side of the…

Secret Boca Raton Field Orders
This group of documents show special orders for men stationed overseas on July 3, 1943. Lists of people who would ship out are listed in the following pages. Johnny P. Greene is listed on 127-d.

Restricted Soldier Commands
This image shows a document regarding the commands given to specific groups of military personnel in July of 1943. It is not clear how this is related to Johnny P. Greene, Sr. or any of the Greene family.

Good Conduct Medals, Johnny P. Greene, 1943
This image shows a document listing men who were awarded the Good Conduct Medal in September 1943. There are 5 copies of this document in the collections. Johnny P. Greene is on the list.

Restricted Assignments for Johnny P. Greene
This image shows a document regarding the positions of men in the "23rd Airways Det" and their specialties. Johnny P. Greene is listed as an Airplane Mechanic.

Air Transport Command Promotions
This image shows a document regarding this promotion of men in China in October of 1943. Those to be officials were hidden by a pasted piece of paper over their names. Johnny P. Greene is listed in the "To Be Sergeants" column.

Johnny P. Greene Change of Beneficiary
This image shows a change of beneficiary for Johnny Preston Greene in February of 1943. He married Dorothy Farthing Greene and made her (and his father, the co-principal) the beneficiary of his national life insurance through the military. They would…

Johnny P. Greene Soldier's Copy of Documents
This image shows a slip of paper that was stapled to the top left of the change of family allowances for Johnny Preston Greene as well as the documents related to naming Dorothy Farthing Greene as the new recipient of family allowances. The slip of…

Johnny P. Greene Report of Change of Status and Address
This image shows a document from the War Department that shows the change of marital status of Johnny Preston Greene. He was married on February 13, 1943, to Dorothy Farthing in Boone, NC. There is an official copy stapled to this original document.

Slip of Paper Stapled to Applications
This image shows a small clipping of paper that was stapled to the application for national life insurance seen in Bet-Col-11-118. The writing on this paper reads "Soldier's Copy FL-D." The back of the paper has small print from a different document.…
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Doris Stam

Are you sure it is not the SHULL have SHELL


Shell is indeed correct. James E."Sip" Shell was son of James C. Shell of Bethel, later Banner Elk.


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