“Vann Jasper (Jap) McArthur, son of William Odum McArthur and Mary Ann Vann, was born 19 February 1846 in the Red Hill community, Taylors Bridge Township, Sampson County [North Carolina]. Jap grew up on the farm and attended local subscription schools. He enlisted in Company F, 20th [North Carolina] Regiment, Sampson County, on 9 May 1861 when he was only 15 years old. He had the bone shattered by gunfire in his lower right arm while fighting in Virginia, and was given six weeks at home to recuperate. A few months later while crossing a stone fence at Fox’s Gap, Maryland, his gun accidentally discharged and blew away his left hand, and he was discharged 21 February 1863.
In the spring of 1864, the school having closed at Warsaw, Jap returned home. Catherine (Cattie) Boney, his stepsister, born 24 April 1848, also returned home from Greensboro Female College, which had burned. This threw Jap and Cattie together again and rekindled the “puppy love” they previously had for each other. Cattie’s mother soon detected the feeling between them and devised every possible means to keep them apart. Things became so strict that Jap and Cattie, living in the same house, communicated by writing notes to each other and leaving them in a certain hollow-place in a fence post. Cattie’s mother didn’t want them to marry because she believed Jap, with no left hand, would be a poor provider.
Finally, the young pair decided to get married in spite of her mother, and Jap bought the license. They set a certain night to run away together, but Cattie slept through the planned midnight departure. The next night, she tied a string to her toe, draped the end out the window, and a midnight tug by Jap led to a successful getaway. They were married about one o’clock in the morning, 9 June 1864, she sixteen and he eighteen years of age. Jap eventually inherited some 700 acres from his father’s estate. They built a house that is still standing…and started raising children, livestock and crops. Jap learned land surveying…and practiced this profession and farmed during his early years. Jap was appointed postmaster at Clinton [NC] on 12 October 1906 and served until his sudden death on 12 March 1914. On one occasion, Jap’s post office records were out of balance by one cent. He worked all night to find and correct the mistake.”
(The Heritage of Sampson County, North Carolina, Oscar M. Bizzell, editor, Sampson County Historical Society, 1983, pp. 499-500)