Monday, May 30, 2016

Neighboring Counties

   Gates.—Mr. A. F. McCotter has decided to attend the Centennial. His beard is 43 ¾
 inches long.

[The North Carolinian (Elizabeth City, NC) 29 Mar 1876]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Military Notice.

            The commissioned officers of the Atlantic Guards*, Camden Guards and Pasquotank R. & R. L. Dragoons**, are hereby ordered to attend a Court Martial of the Regiment, at Elizabeth City, on Tuesday the 23d April next, equipped as the law directs. All persons having business before the said body are hereby ordered to attend, as judgment final will be entered up against all that were fined ni si at the last Court Martial, without they attend and offer such an excuse as will be accepted by the Court Martial.

By order of the Col.       
WM. E. MANN Adj’t.
March 9th 1850

* The Atlantic Guards were authorized as a corps of cavalry in the militia of Currituck county on Jan. 15, 1847. The commander was Tully L. Dozier.
**R.  & R. L. Dragoons were the “Rough and Ready Light Dragoons.” This corps of cavalry was authorized by the North Carolina General Assembly as part of the Pasquotank militia on 16th of January, 1847. 

[Taken from The Old North State (Elizabeth City, NC) 9 Mar 1850]




Mr. Elmer Walker’s recent imitation of a malicious and spiteful spinster at a sewing circle does me a grave injustice.
            There is just enough truth in part of what he says to make it dangerous. He approached me on the 12th inst. and stated that he had put my name on a ticket, the week before at the court house, to run for county surveyor. I told him that I did not want the place and could not run, he insisted, even after I told him that the chances were that I would be unable to qualify if elected. He stated that if I did not qualify they would take care of that. He stated that the ticket had already been sent to the two papers in Elizabeth City. I made myself as plain as is usually necessary when talking to those having human intelligence. … to the average man that would have been sufficient. … done without my knowledge. If he did not state the truth, then he slipped one over on me by making me believe that I was being notified and not that I was being asked if I would run on a ticket that was being “slated” by him personally. …[H]e bears malice toward Mr. John Walker, the present county surveyor, and wished to use me to work an injury to him, even if it left the county without an official surveyor.
            … [I]f the majority of the members of my party want me then, that way, I will be proud to serve. If they do not want me I will not whine, whimper nor “sling mud.” Politics is not my way of making my living right now. I was trying to follow my profession and quietly attend to my own business, and not meddle with others, when Mr. Walker, as it appears now, appointed himself “dictator” of our county and decreed that I run for county surveyor. …
            … Elmer Walker, who was only a short time ago very anxious to “affiliate” his name with mine, so anxious that he put his name with mine without my consent. There is one truth he utters, my name has been taken off his ticket. I took it off.
            I voted for Mr. Elmer Walker two years ago and for that reason alone feel that maybe I am “mentally inefficient.” This suspicion began to dawn on me about a year ago, when I found that Mr. Walker was “swallowing whole” everything the manufacturers said about the desirability of tractors for road building. I was mentally efficient enough awhile ago to keep Mr. Walker from influencing the road commissioners to buy a tractor they did not need and could not use. Even when he was so “morally strong” for one that he objected to my being considered for road superintendent, because I was opposed to the tractor deal, before I could state that I did not want the job.
            … [I]s he trying to imitate the former leader of “the Bull-Moose” and hold that all men who do not agree with him are liars? I am willing to let the public judge who has lied in this case.
Snowden, N. C.
September 30th, 1916

[Elizabeth City Advance [Elizabeth City, NC] 5 Oct 1916

To Pension Ex-Slaves.

         The Secretary of State yesterday granted letters of incorporation to “The National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief Bounty and Pension Association of the United States of America in North Carolina.” The incorporators are Elijah Dudley, Edmond Hicks, Cornelius W. Jones, Peter Bragg, Sophia Brown, Catherine Bellamy, Abraham Forrman, Edward W. Pritchard, A. W. Rogers and Horace Brown. 
            The principal office and place of business of this association is to be Washington, Beaufort county, and the first meeting at which officers are to be elected will be held on January 15th  [1900].
            The object of the association is to render assistance to its members in good standing, and to devise and provide ways and means for the care and nourishment of ex-slaves, their widows and orphans, and to unite the efforts of all friends in securing pension legislation in favor of ex-slaves.

[Taken from News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 2 Jan 1900, Page 6]

This medal was worn by ex-slaves who joined this Association attempting to obtain reparations in the late 19th century. It is a two piece medal with a simple top bar below from which hangs a crescent moon and star on which are printed: "National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief Bounty & Pension Ass'n of the U.S.A.
National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief bounty and Pension Association
Of the United States of America

By the 1890s there was some movement to enact legislation to provide pensions for ex-slaves. The idea was modeled after the pensions provided for Civil War veterans. Walter R. Vaughan of Omaha worked for many years to get such legislation passed. He published a pamphlet, Freedmen’s Pension Bill: A Plea for American Freedmen which circulated in the black communities. According to Walter B. Hill, Jr. in an article published in Negro History Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 4, 1996 Special Issue on Black Genealogy, 10,000 copies of the pamphlet were sold at $1 each, and other editions were published. One person who read the pamphlet was Callie Guy House.

An MRB&PA broadside features both Isaiah Dickerson, the general manager, and Callie House, a national promoter and assistant secretary of the association, with the emblem of the United States in the center.

        “Callie House is most famous for her efforts to gain reparations for former slaves and is regarded as the early leader of the reparations movement among African American political activists.  Callie Guy was born a slave in Rutherford Country near Nashville, Tennessee.  Her date of birth is usually assumed to be 1861 but due to the lack of birth records for slaves, this date is not certain.  She was raised in a household that included her widowed mother, sister, and her sister’s husband.  House received some primary school education.

“At the age of 22, she married William House and moved to Nashville, [TN] where she raised five children.  To support her family, House worked at home as a washerwoman and seamstress.  In 1891, a pamphlet entitled Freedmen’s Pension Bill: A Plea for American Freedmen began circulating around the black communities in central Tennessee.  This pamphlet, which espoused the idea of financial compensation as a means of rectifying past exploitation of slavery, persuaded House to become involved in the cause that would become her life’s work.  

“With the help of Isaiah Dickerson, House chartered the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association in 1898, and was named the secretary of this new organization.  Eventually House became the leader of the organization. In this position she traveled across the South, spreading the idea of reparations in every former slave state with relentless zeal.  During her 1897-1899 lecture tour the Association's membership by 34,000 mainly through her efforts.  By 1900 its nationwide membership was estimated to be around 300,000.  

“House's activism was not without controversy.  Newspapers of the time often ridiculed her efforts and the federal government attempted to arrest her and other leaders of the Association.  In 1916, U.S. Postmaster General A.S. Burleson sought indictments against leaders of the association claiming that they obtained money from ex-slaves by fraudulent circulars proclaiming that pensions and reparations were forthcoming. House was convicted and served time in the Jefferson City, Missouri penitentiary from November 1917 to August 1918.  Callie House died in Nashville at the age of 67 on June 6, 1928 from cancer.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016


            The Fall Term of Chowan superior Court, Judge Graves presiding, was opened on Monday. Mr. J. M. Forehand was sworn as foreman of the grand jury.
            The case of Richard Holley charged with careless driving upon a public road and, in consequence, running into the buggy of Dr. R. H. Wiinborn, was one of some importance, in that, it was calculated to teach the uninformed that the highway, although public, does not belong exclusively to the fastest horse or the biggest conveyance. Every man has rights upon the road which every other man is bound to respect. Upon a verdict of guilty, the Judge imposed a fine of $5.00 and cost.

[Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, NC) 7 Oct 1887]

From Raleigh Christian Advocate [Raleigh, NC] 9 Nov 1887



            Saturday, October the 1st (1887), was a big day in Windsor. The people of old Bertie turned out in full force to witness the laying of the Corner-Stone of the new Court House, a building (judging from the drawn plan we saw displayed) of pleasing proportions and excellent architectural beauty.
            The large procession, formed at the Masonic hall and led by the Edenton (Chowan County) Cornet Band, marched through several of the principal streets and then to the Grand Stand in the Court yard, where the exercises appointed for the occasion were had. The Grand Marshal opened the ceremony, making a few appropriate and well-timed remarks, which were followed with prayer by the Worthy Chaplain; after which the stone was slowly lowered to its destined place in the structure while the band played a soft and beautiful air. The stone dropped in its bed at 12 M. The Masonic fraternity then went through with the form usual on such occasions, that of depositing a box containing tokens, etc., of the present. The following are some of the articles deposited:

The oration delivered on the occasion by F. D. Winston. A copy of the Windsor Public Ledger containing resolutions of respect in memory of W. P. Gurley, late W. M., of Charity Lodge No. 5, A. F. and A. M. A copy of the Act of Legislature authorizing the rebuilding of the Bertie Court House. A photograph of L. S. Webb Esq., the oldest citizen of the town of Windsor. A photograph of the former Court House. The names of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States, the names of the officers of the State of North Carolina, the names of the officers of Bertie county, the names of the officers of the town of Windsor.

            Mr. Frank D. Winston, the orator of the day, was introduced and for some time held his audience wrapped in admiration of his eloquence as he spoke of the past, hailed the present and painted the future. The following facts from the address we noted with interest.

            The County of Bertie was established in 1722 by the General assembly in session at Queen Anne’s creek, near Edenton. It was carved out of Albemarle county and embraced all that part of Albemarle county lying on the west side of Chowan river, bounded to the Northward by the line dividing the government from Virginia and to the southward by the Albemarle sound and Morattuck (now Roanoke) river as far u as Welches’ creek and then including both sides of the said river and the branches thereof as far as the limit of the government.
            In 1741 a part of the upper boundary of Bertie was formed into the county of North Hampton. In 1754 the Northern end was made the county of Hertford, and all of that part on the west side of Roanoke river was added to the County of Edgecomb(e). 
            The County Seat of Bertie precinct in 1722 was established near St. Johns—now in Hertford county. In 1742 the seat of government for the county was located at Walfington, two miles north of Windsor on the Cashie river, at Wills’ Quarter Bridge. In 1774 Windsor was made the county seat—it having become an incorporated town in 1767. The old Court House was commenced in 1775 and work was suspended on it by reason of the R4evolutionary war. It was completed in 1788. The two wings were added in 1822. The contract for building the new Court House was let out in June 1887.

            After the speech of Mr. Winston concluded, dinner was announced. There were two tables, one at the hotel for the ladies and one on the grounds in the rear of hotel for gentlemen. The Masons were marched to their hall by the band. After dinner the Lewiston (Bertie County) Band and Edenton Band occupied the upper porch of the American hotel and entertained the crowd for the evening. The whole affair was conducted in a most admirable way reflecting untold credit upon its managers and betokening a noble public spirit on the part of the entire people.

From Courthouse

[Fisherman and Farmer (Edenton, NC) 7 Oct 1887]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Home Made Coffins.

            Before the Civil War, and for some time after it, nearly all coffins used in this section were made at home and by hand. In nearly every neighborhood one or more men would keep some coffin lumber on hand. In very many cases old men would have lumber sawed and placed away under shelter to make coffins for themselves, their wives or any other members of the family who might die. In a few cases men had their own coffins made and sometimes several years before their death. We have heard of men lying down in their coffins to see if they would fit. The custom of making coffins at home has been abandoned around Smithfield (Johnston County). We have heard of only one case in the last decade.
            Mr. J. H. Rose informs us that the custom still prevails to some extent around Benson. Sometime ago he sold a burial robe and trimmings worth more than thirty dollars for a home made coffin. At another time he furnished a hearse to haul a home made coffin. Several years ago Mr. Lazarus Stewart, who lived in Harnett county, near Benson (Johnston County), decided he wanted his coffin made from a large pine which stood near his barn. Last fall Mr. Stewart died at a time to throw this work on Sunday. On a Sunday morning his neighbors met and cut down the large tree and hauled the timber to Mr. W. R. Denning’s saw mill. The sawing was done and the coffin was made on Sunday.— Smithfield Herald.
  [The State Journal (Raleigh, NC) 2 Feb 1917]

Monday, May 16, 2016

Disastrous Freight Wreck on the Oxford and Clarksville Railroad.

Dropped Through a Burning Trestle Over Neuse River.
Engineer Glenn, of Raleigh, Was Painfully Injured and Fireman 
Ferguson was Badly Burned.

            Sunday morning as the freight train was coming from Keysville over the O[xford] and C[larksville] road a most disastrous wreck occurred at the Neuse trestle, some twelve miles from Durham.
Early train at the Creedmoor, Granville County, station—one of 
the stops on the Clarksville and Oxford Railroad.
Found on the website of the City of Creedmoor:
            Just beyond the long trestle coming from Keysville there is a short curve and a downward grade. Upon rounding the curve and when in a short distance away the engineer discovered that the trestle was on fire. The engine was reversed, but it was too late and before the man at the throttle had time for a moment's reflection the train was on the burning trestle. The engine and the entire train of cars went down to a depth of some twelve or fifteen feet below carrying destruction as they went. Miles Glenn, one of the best and bravest men on the road, stood firmly at his post to the last moment and the wonder is that he and his fireman were not instantly killed. Mr. Glenn was badly bruised, but his physicians say no bones were broken. His injuries were painful though it is hoped not serious. The fireman was pretty well shaken up, but his injuries are not so painful as those of the engineer's. Irwin Wood, one of the force suffered a severe sprain of the ankle in jumping from the rear end of the train.
            While the crew escaped the fire raged on until every part of the train except what was iron was consumed by the flames. Fortunately for the railroad the cargo was not a very large or expensive one. There were six loaded cars, one of which was marked to a Durham firm, that too, went up in smoke.
            It could not be ascertained what the probable loss to the railroad will be, but it will likely be several thousand dollars.
            Thus far everything seems to be in the dark as to the origin of the fire. Hands were at work re-building the trestle and there was a quantity of shavings scattered around. A spark might have been dropped from a previously passing train or it might have been the work of the mischief-makers. No one has been seen who could tell anything about this part of it.
            A large force was put to work Sunday clearing away the debris and replacing the burnt trestle and it will only be a short time until the trains will pass over as usual. Now the train goes out from Durham and passengers, mail and express are transferred at the river.
            Reports from the wounded are to the effect that all are doing well. Mr. Glenn's injuries were not serious and his physicians report him in a pretty fair condition.

[Taken from The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 4 Aug 1896]

Tuesday, May 3, 2016



             Beaufort, April 22nd:—Large catches of TROUT and bass are being made daily in the vicinity of Beaufort and Morehead City.
            Beginning early April TROUT and BASS begin to run and a record season is predicted by the wily boat men and the guides of this vicinity.

Tar Heel (Elizabeth City, NC) 28 Apr 1911, Page 1

Book dated 1900.