Rarely do I find a story outside these county lines that I feel compelled to share with readers. The relevance has to be there for a local newspaper to publish a story and interest the audience, but there are some things worth sharing anyway. It was an ordinary Sunday for my husband and me. We’d just been to visit my parents in Wrightsville; we rode our side-by-side to see my dad. While we were at their house, we played catch-up. He mentioned to me a moving situation, one almost too unbelievable to be true. The photos with this story probably say more than my words ever could, but the details follow nonetheless. I left his house dumbfounded by what he had told me, but I didn’t really think about it any more. Chris and I left a little while later and went on about our ordinary Sunday afternoon. We took a different way home than usual, none the wiser that as we drove nearer to our house, we would see the remarkable sight my dad described earlier. When I saw it myself, I told Chris to stop. I snapped some photos and knew right away this would be a piece in The Chronicle at some point in the near future. After all… God is everywhere, right? County lines don’t matter.
Just like Chris and I were having an ordinary Sunday afternoon, the Blizzard families were having an ordinary Monday night—until they weren’t. Harvey Blizzard awoke to a 12 a.m. phone call on Monday, January 11. His brother, Donald, on the other end of the line delivered the news that their beloved family homeplace outside of Kite was on fire. Harvey and his wife, Tommie, rushed from their house about 15 miles away to the scene of the fire on S A Attaway Road. By the time they arrived, the fat lighter house was on the ground. The heat from the fire was sweltering hot, and the blaze was unbelievable. Just visible through the bright flames, however, stood a beacon of hope: a cross that read “Faith Not Fear.”
According to Tommie, their granddaughter, Charlie, put the cross up months ago as part of a feel-good trend when the pandemic started. When she erected the cross at her grandfather’s 100-year-old homeplace, she put it firmly in the ground and leaned it against the wood of the front porch. She, nor anyone else for that matter, had no idea that months later, it would be the only thing left of her paternal family’s estate.
Built by William Harvey Blizzard and his father-in-law, Alexander Mayo, the first occupants of the now burned-down house were William Harvey Blizzard himself and his wife, Evelle Mayo Blizzard, Alexander’s daughter. Harvey Blizzard and his brother, Donald Blizzard, both grew up there, of course, but in time, they found homes of their own and eventually, under shared ownership, turned the house into a place just for family gatherings as needed. No one lived in the house at the time of the fire, so there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown. By the time officials arrived and by the time the event came to a tragic end, the heat of the fire had destroyed any evidentiary signs to determine the cause. Even more puzzling is how the cross survived since there was absolutely no effort made to save the it—but most people chock it up to divine intervention.
“The house burned very hot, very fast. By the time we got there, it was gone. When we saw the cross still standing, we could hardly believe it. It was made out of wood, too. Even though it wasn’t inside the house, it was right next to the heat of the fire,” Tommie said. “The back is black now, but the front, where it says ‘Faith Not Fear,’ is untouched. Everything around the cross burned to the ground. Everybody who has seen the sight or heard about what happened can’t believe it, but it’s true.”
Today, the cross is lying next to an old cedar tree in the yard. The family took it out of the ground because someone is coming with a bull dozer in the near future to clean the place up… But the Blizzards say they’ll find somewhere special for the cross to live once more.
On Monday, Tommie posted another unbelievable update related to the house fire. Her sister-in-law, Shannon Blizzard, was working through the rubble and found the Blizzard family Bible among the wreckage. The Holy Book laid open to show passage 2 Samuel 7:16-18, which ironically mentions the word “house” twice—once in Verse 16 (“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever”) and again in Verse 18 (“Then went King David in, and he said Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house…”) The burned Bible has since been collected for safekeeping.