Sunday, July 23, 2017


.— There was a party in Northampton county, near Thomas’ store on the second, which several of our Weldon gentlemen attended. The party was large, the house hardly holding all who were present, and the ladies even exceeded the reputation which they have hitherto enjoyed. Everybody danced until sunrise and went home after breakfast. If we mistake not some of our young men left their hearts behind

Godey's Lady's Book October 1880

[Story taken from The Roanoke News (Weldon, NC) 8 Jan 1880, Page 3]

Injured by a Runaway.


   Selma, N. C., Jan. 1.—(Special.)—This morning while Messrs. H. D. Hood and W. H. Hare were out driving the horse became frightened and bolted, and in jumping from the buggy Mr. Hare sustained very painful injuries. Mr. Hood escaped with only a very slight shock.;drawing;illustration;art;1800s/

[News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) 2 Jan 1900, Page 1]

Thursday, July 20, 2017

PARLOR CAR —The Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad company has put on its road a handsome parlor car. It runs only between Portsmouth and Weldon. Mr. Ghio always consults the comfort and convenience of passengers over his road and he and his road are deservedly popular.

An early Pullman Parlor Car
Public Domain,

[Taken from The Roanoke News (Weldon, NC) 8 Jan 1880, Page 3]

Jollification in Gates.

            We learn from a reliable source, that the Conservative citizens f Gates (County), are perfecting arrangements for a grand Jollification in that county, in celebration of their recent political success, to be held in the course of a couple of weeks. Gov. Vance and other prominent speakers are expected to be present upon the occasion. The services of a Brass Band will be secured to enliven the time and no effort will be spared to render the occasion equal in every way, particularly to the most sanguine expectations of those who may be present. Three cheers for old Gates. She is strictly conservative, and among the first of those counties, who are manifesting their readiness, to join expressions of joy over their political triumph. May other s imitate her example.

Gov. Zebulon Baird Vance

[Taken from The Albemarle Register (Elizabeth City, NC 25 Aug 1874]

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Curiosity

           “A railroad velocipede, the first ever seen here, will be brought here from Weldon (Halifax Co., NC) tonight.”[1]  After the curiosity arrived in Raleigh, the News & Observer further commented on it: “It is in charge of Mr. Doyle, linesman. He made the run from Raleigh to Cary in twenty-five minutes. The odd looking machine attracted much attention there, as well as at the depot here. It is now at Merry Oaks[2] but will be brought here in a day or two.”[3]
The History of the Velocipede
            “After a long work week, George Sheffield didn't really want to walk home. But it was the 1870s, and trains didn't run on the weekend when he needed to make the 10-mile commute from his job in Three Rivers, Michigan to home in Burr Oak. So he walked, but as he did he pondered how to make the trip easier.
            “The answer came in his invention of a ‘velocipede’ or three-wheeled, hand-powered vehicle made for travel on train tracks. Without the railroad company's knowledge, Sheffield began driving his velocipede between work and home.
            ‘One night while driving, he discovered a broken rail and alerted railroad officials in time to save a train from derailing. His unique mode of transportation, now known to the officials, piqued their interest and they requested he build several more.
            “The velocipede proved useful for track inspection and maintenance and in 1879 Sheffield patented it.”[4]

The velocipede was propelled by the rider who pulled the handle back and forth.

A Tale of a Velocipede Journey
            “Capt. Wm. Clarkson, the veteran conductor of the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railroad, found himself in charge of his train at Statesville (Iredell Co., NC), last Saturday night, and desiring to spend Sunday with his family in Charlotte (Mecklenburg Co., NC), he decided to mount the railroad velocipede and run down. “His friends remonstrated with him and tried to persuade him from undertaking the journey, but he insisted upon it, and taking his seat on the three wheeled concern, took a firm grip on the crank and waved the boys adieu. The distance before him was 44 miles and he calculated on making it in six hours. At the expiration of eight hours he made the depot here a few minutes before the 1:15 A.M. train came in.
            “It was noticed that his lantern was smashed all to pieces and the skin was torn from the palms of his hands in pieces as large as gun wads. The Captain did not like to talk about it at first, but by and by let it all out to the boys and told them of his hardships. The velocipede jumped the track once and shot him down a fifteen foot embankment, landing him in the briars and breaking his lantern.
            “(Back on the track,) he soon pegged out entirely, the skin commenced pending from his hands and he was about to founder, when he met an able bodied darkey, who accepted his offer of 50 cents to get on the thing and pull him to Charlotte.
            “Captain Clarkson rode back to Statesville, but he didn’t ride the velocipede. He took the cars and went via Salisbury. To a man who is not practiced in the art, riding one of those velocipedes is like standing at a pump and working the handle all day, and Captain Clarkson says he believes that if he had his choice, he would take the pump next time.”[5]

[1]News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 24 Mar 1883
[2] Small community in Chatham Co., NC, long inactive
[3] News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 31 Mar 1883
[5] The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) 1 May 1883

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Railway Notes

            Maj. John C. Winder says that the rock crusher to be used in breaking up stone with which to ballast the track of the Raleigh and Gaston RR has arrived and is being put in position just this side of Franklinton (Franklin Co.). It will be able to do rapid and effective work. It is proposed to abate no effort to put the road-bed of this excellent line into as nearly perfect condition as possible. Mr. Albert Johnson is in charge of the crusher, which is at a large quarry. The stone will be broken by the powerful machine to a proper size and then will be placed as ballast all over the ties, making a solid, firm, dust-free rail-bed. The work will be thoroughly done, and it will probably take two years to complete it.

[News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 28 Jun 1883]

Rock Crusher Patented in 1883

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Seven in Contest at Aviation and Automobile Meet are Led by Buchanan Lyon of Durham in Thomas Flyer Five Miles in 7 Minutes 9 Seconds

The Contest Was a Spirited One and There Was Intense Enthusiasm Among the Thousands as the Fast Racing Machines Swept at Terrific Speed Around the Half Mile Track at the Fair Grounds, the Various Drivers and Mechanicians Showing Daring and All Possible Skill in the Control of the automobiles, Which Made Time Fly as the Course Was Covered in the Dash For the Laurels.

            With swiftness almost incredible, seven automobiles dashed at terrific speed around the race track at the Fair Grounds yesterday afternoon while thousands looked on and cheered, the enthusiasm being great, the hazardous racing against time being conducted without a single mishap, and records being made which set the pace in this section. And there will be more of this today.
            It was at the News and Observer Aviation and Automobile Meet that this swift racking of machines was seen to the delight of the many thousands who filled the grandstand, occupying every seat in the many stands erected about the race track and crowded in great numbers about the railing which shut in the race track. It was a speed contest of the perilous kind with men half hanging from the car to balance these annihilators of space as they swept around the curves and with increasing speed seemed almost to fly along the straight stretches. And though the sport is a perilous one, there was not a tremor on the part of the drivers who forgot all of self in the mad rush to be first in the contest.
            The surroundings and the enthusiasm were such as to spur on men to their best endeavors, and not once in the great speed contest but who rose to the occasion and almost forcing his own will and determination into the machine in which he rode made it almost human in the fight to stand first among its fellows, each being in the rush to be hailed the victor.

Let the races begin

            It was at 2 o’clock sharp that the automobile races were begun, each car in the contest having as the work before it a dash of five miles, which is ten times around the half-mile race track at the Fair Grounds. Each car made a fine record, and only one, the Vellie, driven by R. Wayland Yates, fell by the wayside and this car, which was making the fastest time in the two miles it kept going, ended its course in the fifth lap, the car carburetors failing to act fast enough in the use of the gasoline. If this car, entered by the W. H. Brewer Garage of Raleigh, had kept the speed of its first four laps it had every prospect of being a leader.
            From early in the day the crowds had begun to assemble at the Fair Grounds for the automobile racing and the aeroplane flights in Curtiss machines by McCurdy and Ely, and with from seven to eight thousand people present the automobile racing was begun sharp on time at 3 o’clock. Raleigh had a great representation, while from all the surrounding towns there came hundreds to increase the thousands. Men and women were here o see the action in the air of the marvels of the age, the gathering being representative one of the very best life in North Carolina, while in the great throng, there were many who came to study the scientific side of the Curtiss flyhing machines, as well as to see to how great a speed an automobile could be driven. It was a great crowd, and all in it were eager for the events of the day.
            In the judges’ stand the gentlemen in charge of the racing were all kept busy in making the time of the speeding automobiles, the judges being Mr. R. D. Godwin, Mr. C. B. Barbee, Col. Joseph E. Pogue, Maj. R. M. Albright, and Mr. M. W. Colcock, of Cleveland, Ohio, the latter being on the race track, and acting as the starter. As each machine started and ended its race, its name, driver and time were announced from the judges’ stand.
            The rush of the automobiles around the race track was a sight to set the nerves tingling. As the machines went at terrific speed the dust arose in clouds behind them, while on the turns of the track the assistants to the drivers would swing themselves way out towards the inner rail of the course in order to help the turn and would then crouch back on the side step awaiting the next turn. As the machine would pass the judges’ stand there was great shouting from the crowd.

The Prize Winners

            As the result of the contest the three prizes were awarded for the time made in the five-mile dash as follows:
            First—Thomas Flyer, 60 horse power, entered by E. R. Lyon Motor Car Company of Durham. Driver Buchanan Lynn. Time: 7 minutes 9 seconds.41.95 miles an hour. $50.

1907 Thomas-Flyer

            Second—Jackson, 40 horse power, entered by Raleigh Motor Car and Machine Company. Driver, H. D. Mitchell. Time: 7 minutes 12 seconds, 41.7 miles an hour, $40.

1908 Jackson Touring

            Third—Hinson, 60 horse power, entered by Carolina Carriage and Machine Company of Raleigh.  Driver John Park. Time: 7 minutes 39 seconds 39.2 miles per hour.  $30.

        Men who have knowledge of other automobile races and the condition of various tracks say that the time made was most excellent and that as a half mile course the Raleigh track is excellent for automobiles. The great crowd was enthusiastic over the contest and it whetted up the appetite for the aeroplane flights of  McCurdy and Ely which came after the automobile races.

[News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 17 Nov 1910]

Friday, May 26, 2017



            At his residence, in Warren county, North Carolina, January 28, 1833, Philemon Hawkins, the last of the signers of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina in 1776. He was born on the 3d December, 1752; and, at the early age of sixteen, was sworn in as Deputy Sheriff for the county of Granville, and performed the whole of the duties of that office for his principal.
            He belonged to the troop of cavalry at the battle of the Allemance (sic), which was fought on the 16th of May 1771, and for the distinction he merited on that occasion, was presented by the commander-in-chief, Governor Tryon, with a beautiful rifle.
            Before he was of age, he was elected a member of the general assembly for the county of Bute. [Bute County was subsequently divided into Warren and Franklin Counties.] He continued as a member of the legislature, mainly from the county of Granville, with the intermission of two years only, for thirteen years. The last term of his service was at Fayetteville [Cumberland County], in the year 1789.
            He raised the first volunteer company in the cause of American independence, that was raised in the county of Bute, and which consisted of 144 men. In the year 1776, he was elected a colonel of a regiment by the convention at Halifax, and in that command performed many services; but ultimately left the army, and continued to act as a member of the legislature.
            He was a member of the convention which ratified the Constitution of the United States, and frequently a member of the executive council. He was a man of strong mental powers, which he retained to the last, and possessed an accuracy of recollection, which enabled him to be the living chronicle of his times.
[The American Register by Joseph Blunt, 1835.]


            ANY Democrat in Bertie couny, two years ago, if asked what was the paramount issue in Bertie county and in North Carolina, would have, without any hesitation, answered; “The maintenance of the present system of county government.” Now these same men, Democrats then, Third party people now, speak lightly of the present system of county government and are running candidates against Democrats pledged to its maintenance, …
            The Thirdites say that public lands, transportation and money are the only questions to be talked in the campaign. There is not a foot of government land in Bertie county. There is only a small portion of the county crossed by railroads. Nobody in the county has any money. If we confine ourselves to the text of the Thirdities we will talk about things we haven’t got and if we follow their advice, which we will never have.

[Windsor ledger Windsor, NC) 5 Oct 1892]