Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Northampton Celebration - 1894

From the Jackson,, NC website:

Jackson, the county seat of Northampton County, NC, got its first railroad in 1894. It served Northampton and Hertford Counties. The formal opening of the new rail line took place in Jackson on January 18 of that year. The following is an that occasion.

The Banquet
At six o'clock a banquet was served at the Burgwyn Hotel, which is a model country inn kept by Mr. James Scull. The banquet hall had been beautifully decorated with evergreen and bunting, and banners with appropriate inscriptions and monograms adorned the walls. Among these was a German flag displayed in honor of Manager Kell who is a native of that country. The tables were covered with snow-white linen and groaned beneath the load of good things thereon. I did not hear the tables groan and do not know why they should have done so, but I use the regulation phrase to be in fashion. I will remark, however, that I slept in the room that night with some of those who feasted at the banquet and I heard them groan in their sleep, and I knew why.

The menu consisted of Lynnhaven oysters, salads, cold meats, escalloped oysters, ice cream, cake, fruits, nuts, and raisins, together with a delicious article of champagne. The decorations, the arrangements, and the menu were the work of the ladies and their work was simply perfect. These ladies were Mesdames M. M. Randolph, R. A. Weaver, W. P. Moore, John E. Moore, J. A. Buxton, S. N. Buxton, B. S. Gay, James Scull, H. W. Lewis, and Misses S. E. Peebles and Pattie Peele.”

The Toasts
Mr. John Burgwyn MacRae was toastmaster and very gracefully and intelligently did he preside. The toasts and responses were as follows:

Our Guests; response by Mayor C.G. Peebles; the Northampton and Hertford Railroad; response by Dr. H. W. Lewis. The Ladies; response by Mr. J. Burgwyn MacRae, Gumberry; response by Captain R. B. Peebles; the Press; response by Mr. H. B. Hardy of the North Carolinian and Mr. W. S. Copeland of the State. President Clark. Superintendent Whisnant of the Seaboard Air Line, and Mr. T. J. Anderson, general passenger agent of the same line, were also called for and gracefully responded. Everything went off without a hitch and the management was admirable. The committee in charge were Messrs. H. W. Lewis, J. A. Buxton, J. B. MacRae, W. W. Peebles, B. S. Gay, G. P. Burgwyn, W. P. Moore, J. S. Grant, S. J. Calvert, R. A. Weaver and D. A. Jordan.

Borjes orchestra from Norfolk furnished delightful music for the occasion.

The Ball
After the banquet, a grand dress ball was given at the hotel and the belles and beaux of Northampton and adjoining counties were seen in all their glory. Mr. George S. Urquhart, who was, until Mr. Kell came, the “King of Gumberry” (if Captain Peebles is authority) was master of ceremonies and those who knew him needed not to be told that his management was superb. He was well assisted by Mr. E. J. Peebles, who has always been a general favorite with the young folks. Captain R. B. Peebles and his handsome wife and his charming daughter also contributed their full share to the enjoyment of the dance.

Among the ladies present were Mrs. Dr. Moore, in lilac china silk; Mrs. R. B. Peebles, black silken train; Mrs. J. W. Weaver, white bengaline silk, pearl trimming; Mrs. J. T. G. Gooch, terra cotta silk; Miss Kate Prescott, old rose silk, cream lace; Miss Eliza Grant, cream cloth; Miss Nita Selden, blue and white crepon lace; Mrs. Charles Gay, cream cloth; Miss Wingfield of Portsmouth, cream crepon cloth; Miss Wilson, of Portsmouth, pink cashmere; Miss Mabel Picard, pink cashmere, lace, pearls; Miss Sallie Peebles, cream cashmere and ribbon; Miss Sue Urquhart, cream cashmere and ribbon; Miss Dancy, pale green crepon; Miss H. Peebles, cloth and fur; Miss Annie Sancell, pink crepon, lace; Mrs. F. Kell, black silk; Mrs. Phil Meisel, black silk; Mrs. A. L. Bundy, cream silk; Miss Bena Gay, figured organdy, lace; Miss Mamie Lee, rose colored silk; Miss Hazeldine, steel silk; Miss Kittie Hazeldine, black silk; Miss Drewett, steel silk; Mrs. R. F. Keeling, brown henrietta and velvet; Mrs. B. H. Mock, black silk; Miss Lillie Grant, blue silk; Miss Annie Peebles, becoming dress of black.

Mr. George P. Burgwyn, Mr. S. J. Calvert, Mr. B. S. Gay, Mr. Faison Calvert, Dr. Rob Stancell, Mr. William Barrow, and other citizens exerted themselves to the utmost to give everybody a good time, while Mr. R. A. Weaver of J. P. Yancy & Co., and Dr. W. P. Moore fairly outdid themselves in acts of generous hospitality.

Mr. J. W. Zeaver, Rich Square, was present with his bride, who was one of the prettiest women in the company.

Mr. Kenneth Barrow, an old Jackson boy, but now with the Norfolk and Carolina railroad, was on hand and received the cordial greetings of his friends.

Mr. J. S. Grant, proprietor of the Cleveland Hotel conducts the “Administration House,” which is as popular as its namesake.

Exactly forty years later on January 18, 1934 the current manager, H. O. Carlton, announced the intended abandonment of the Northampton and Hertford Railroad.

[Taken from Footprints in Northampton : 1741-1776-1976. (Rich Square, N. C. : The Committee), 1976.     http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/16815 ]

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Old Trap


THE NAME “TRAP” first appears in the Camden records after the Revolution and is said to have been given to the location by the women who became irked when their husbands, in their trips to and from the windmill on the river, formed a habit of stopping at a grogshop in the vicinity and tarrying overlong. After 1800 the Trap had become the “Old Trap” in contemporary references, and this was the name officially used when the post office was opened in 1881. The first postmaster, James Edward Burgess, received $9.76 for his services in that year.

Burgess was a farmer and merchant who was a native of the community. Besides being the first postmaster, as Camden's representative in the State Legislature in 1897, he initiated legislation which eventually resulted in establishing the present highway which leads through the Camden marshes to a point on the Pasquotank River near Elizabeth City—now a part of highways 170 and 158. This thoroughfare also eliminated Lamb's Ferry, which had been in operation near Camden Court House since colonial times. The act sponsored by Burgess reduced by one mile the distance at which a ferry might be operated from Lamb's Ferry. In 1901 and 1905, the county representative, Gideon C. Barco, introduced bills which further limited the Lamb franchise and authorized the newly formed Camden Ferry Company to erect a drawbridge over the Pasquotank River at Elizabeth City. Thus the road was established.

[Story taken from Three hundred years along the Pasquotank : a biographical history of Camden County by Jesse Forbes Pugh. Old Trap, N.C. :1957. ]

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's All in a Name

About 1915, Rev. Stephen Gardner took over the rectorship of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington, Beaufort County, NC.  A little later, one of his parishioners was sick and the Reverend set out to visit him. Gardner didn’t know exactly where the man lived, so he stopped a man who was walking alongside the road, and asked him.
Postcard, 1908
From East Carolina University's Digital Collections
“Can you tell me,” he inquired, “where Mr. Alligood lives?”
“Which Alligood?” said the man, “There’s hundreds of ‘em around here.”

“Joe Alligood.”
“Which Joe Alligood? There’s dozens of them in this section.”

“The Joe Alligood with a wooden leg.”
“Which one—there’s two of them?”

Mr. Gardner finally described the man and learned where he lived.
[Taken from The State Magazine, March 28, 1942, page 3.]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


It is customary in the fall season to have what is called bear hunts in the Dismal Swamp, and parties are frequently made up to go on such hunts. Before going it is necessary that some preparation should be made. Bear hunting is very dangerous, and is sometimes attended with difficulty. Before starting you should provide yourself with a cowboy suit, a good rifle, a pair of revolvers, a bowie knife (16 inch blade) and sub-marine armor. When thus equipped you can enter the Swamp. You proceed cautiously along listening to hear the bears lapping, when you go in the direction of the sound. Bears

Bear Family in the Dismal Swamp

move very cautiously, and you should be sure to keep a good lookout in your rear, as it sometimes happens that when you are going forward a drove of them are following you, and when least expected they make the attack, and if the parties should be the least separated, it often happens that all perish. I was told of a party that were out on a bear hunt in the Dismal Swamp, who supposed that they could face anything. The party consisted of eight good men. They had not proceeded very far in the Swamp when they heard in the distance the lapping of bears. Of course it is very exciting, and if one has any courage he is apt to show it at the time. A halt was made and the question asked, what should be done? They were not thinking of the danger that surrounded them. They did not think that bears were on their path. But it was too late. Whilst discussing what to do they were sprung upon from the rear, and six were badly lacerated, one rode off on the back of a bear and the last one retreated to the Lake for safety. Should you at any time go to the Dismal Swamp to hunt bears be exceedingly careful to have your rear well guarded.


The Dismal Swamp is located in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, between Elizabeth City, NC and Norfolk, VA. It includes parts of Camden, Gates and Pasquotank Counties in NC. When it was first discovered, the swamp may have encompassed as much as 1,000,000 acres, but after centuries of logging, which devastated the area's ecosystems, it is now about half that size. The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1974. It encompasses  about 112,000 acres with Lake Drummond, a 3,100 fresh water lake, in the middle of it.

[Taken from The Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond, EarlyRecollections, by Robert Arnold: Norfolk,VA; Green,Burke & Gregory, Printers, 1888.]