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Recent Estate Gifts to Louisburg College Total $1 Million

January 30, 2017

Louisburg College has received generous estate gifts worth more than $1 million in 2017.

Allen de Hart, 90, who died Oct. 14, 2016, and Mattie Pickett Edwards, 98, who died Dec. 22, 2016, each made the college a part of their estate plans.

"As we celebrate 230 years, we recognize that the College has been sustained by the faithful legacy giving of people like Allen de Hart and Mattie and John Edwards," said Dr. Mark La Branche, Louisburg College's president.

At de Hart’s passing, his house, land and personal belongings, worth more than $700,000, became part of his legacy to his beloved Louisburg College. In his will, de Hart specified that the money be used for upkeep and maintenance of De Hart Botanical Gardens and completion of the museum on the property.

De Hart, one of the most influential people in the college’s history, was a professor emeritus of history, a full-time faculty and staff member for 36 years and an active advocate for the arts and the outdoors. He started the concert series that now bears his name, as well as a lecture and foreign film series. He helped establish the predecessor to the Franklin County Arts Council, as well as the Franklin County Historical Society. He wrote books about hikes in states throughout the Southeast. And he mentored students, showing them opportunities for service and careers.

In 2012, the De Hart family gave Louisburg College 91 acres about 5 miles south of Louisburg, a treasure of forests, gardens, trails, lakes and historic sites. His final gift, from his estate, ensures that the gardens will be protected, maintained and cherished in the years to come.

The estate of Mattie Pickett Edwards, whose husband was a Louisburg College alumnus, provided the college with a magnanimous gift of stock, estimated to be worth $300,000. Edwards died 13 years after her husband, John Lee Edwards Jr., who graduated from Louisburg College in 1938 and Elon College in 1940.

His sister, Mary Louise Edwards, attended Louisburg College with her brother and met Enoch Dana Dickens, the man she would marry, at the college, too. “Louisburg is in the family,” said Priscilla Hill, the Edwards’ daughter.

Her parents met at Elon College. In 1941, with the war escalating, John Edwards joined the Air Force. Just before he shipped out, Mattie took a train to Louisiana, and the couple were married. He flew 22 missions, transporting gasoline over the Himalayas in World War II. During Edwards’ 22-year military career, the couple lived in Europe, then returned to the United States, where he taught military history at Emory University in Atlanta.

The Edwardses eventually moved to Goldsboro, N.C., where he raised and trained Brittany spaniels. He was the third-largest breeder of Brittany spaniels in the country. Mattie Edwards, a Red Cross gray lady, also spent many hours volunteering with her church, St. Paul Methodist. She was quite adept at following the stock market and made shrewd investments that are helping Louisburg College students today.

John and Mattie Edwards generously helped students who planned careers in Christian education by providing scholarships at Louisburg College and Elon University. At Louisburg, the couple established a music scholarship, the John and Mattie Edwards Scholarship for Christian Education. Their estate gift will be used for those scholarships.

“They always knew that’s where they wanted to place their money,” their daughter said.

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