Theodore was affectionately referred to by those who knew him as "Uncle Dorry," and all who knew
him spoke of his kindness to others and that he had a very strong love and devotion to his family as well as his
neighbors. Dorry did odd jobs for folks around Stanley as a means of supporting his family. He and Julia lived
about a half mile from town. One of his odd jobs consisted of gardening and slaughtering hogs for the Thomas
Cannon family. He also kept an eye on things around their home for them when they were away.
When Stowe Cannon was around age 12 the state of North Carolina was in the process of building a new
highway (Highway 27) through the center of Stanley and on up to Lincolnton. A lot of young boys in town,
Stowe Cannon included, got jobs with the road construction people to make a
little money. They did such
things as carrying water and hauling sand. Stowe's job one day was to get water for the workers. He went
down to the Abemethy spring on the north end of town, where the road construction crew was then working,
and passed Uncle Dorry's house on the way. Uncle Dorry was sitting on his front porch and saw Stowe as he
After some time went by and Uncle Dorry did not see Stowe return from the Spring he went to look for
him and found the young boy overcome from the heat and unconscious at the spring. He carried Stowe to his
home and Stowe's mother wrapped him in cool wet sheets. Stowe remained unconscious for two days, but
everyone felt that he would not have lived had he not been found by Uncle Dorry.
Dorry and his family continued to be held in high regard by the Cannon family and when he was working
at their home he was always welcomed to sit at the table with them for meals instead of being served out on the
back porch as was the custom in those days.
Stowe Cannon grew up and moved away from Stanley to Connecticut where he married and raised a
family. However, all through those years Stowe never forgot about the kindly old man who had saved
In 1990 , at the age of 83, Stowe got in touch with Uncle Dorry's only living child, Mrs. Zettie
Friday, age 92, and told her he would like to do something to commemorate her father's heroic act
before any more time passed.
On Sunday, September 23, 1990 a ceremony was held in the Springfield Baptist Church Cemetery at
which time a monument was placed in honor of "Uncle Dorry." Along with Stowe Cannon were members of
his family including a grandson, Glenn McGuire, who spoke to the people gathered.
Theodore Abernethy's daughter, Zettie, also spoke to the crowd and said, according to the Gaston
Gazette, "My father was a wonderful man. He didn't smoke, drink, or chew. I may go home pretty soon, but
I thank God for this today."
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