Tuesday, March 29, 2016


In getting up a party to visit Lake Drummond [in the Dismal Swamp*], you will always find more or less of the party who are afraid of snakes. On this occasion the party consisted of only three—Smith, Jones and Brown—all citizens of Suffolk [VA].
“They prepared themselves with the necessary outfit and started for the canal. Their boat being ready they embarked and soon were on the way. Smith being the most expert took the wheel, Brown placed himself at the bow, so that he could ward off approaching danger, and Jones, who was the timid one of the party, was put amidship the boat, with his back to Brown.
“I knew the parties well; they are all living, and I will narrate the snake story as I was told by Brown, who will vouch for its authenticity.
“They had not passed the great terror to all who go to the Lake (Paradise Old Fields), where can be seen everything that is hideous; a place that is dreaded, and if it could, would be shunned by every one who visits the Lake. Things of most unquestionable shapes have been seen by persons when passing it.
“No one has ever given any account of the history of the Field, which you are compelled to pass going to Lake Drummond, and which has deterred many from venturing to it. Owing to the many snake stories that has been told by persons who said they were born to see spirits, there can be no doubt that there is a legend connected with that Field. Some have argued that the Field was at one time filled with grottos, and that the fairies of Lake Drummond would leave their realm and by a subterranean passage into it to bask in the beauties which surrounded it. Profane history informs us that it was at this place that Pluto and Proserpine left for the infernal regions. That will make no difference about the snake story that I will relate.
Taken from Gunna Fish Oz at http://gunnafishoz.com/stories/snakes-on-a-boat/ 

“A snake is a wonderful reptile, and it is not necessary for one to be seen that one should be frightened. The very mention, in some instances, is sufficient to scare those who are the least timid. So it was in this instance. Jones, as I have said before, was one of a party that were going to the Lake. He was afraid of snakes. Smith and Brown knew it and they determined to have a little sport at his expense.
“Jones was highly delighted with the grandeur of the scenery by the side of the canal, as they rode along, and was expatiating upon the wonders of nature. Smith was charmed with the romantic effusions of Jones, and paid no attention to Brown, who was sitting at the bow of the boat, here looked toward him, and seeing that he was intently searching for something, asked what was the matter.
“Brown answered that a snake was in the boat and that he was trying to find it. Here Jones commenced to twist and squirm.
"Hallo!" said Brown: "here's another!"
“No sooner had he said another when Jones sprang into the canal. He made several lunges and, Peter like, looked as if he was walking on the water. Smith added more steam to the boat and Jones was overhauled and taken into the boat, very much frightened.
“They had not gone very far when Brown said: "I believe that snake is in the boat yet," and at the same time threw at Jones a piece of rattan, which is good to scare one with—it's a veritable snake.
“He was again taken into the boat, quite exhausted and cold from his ablutions. Brown prepared some ciderberry juice for him, with some pepper and other things that they had along which, after taking, Jones became more quiet.
“Brown says that when he thinks about that snake story it fills him so with laughter that he has to buckle a strap around him to support his physical organization. Jones has not ventured to the Lake since that time, and Brown is afraid to tell him that the snake in the boat was only a piece of rattan. If you want to see snakes come to Suffolk and get Brown to go with you to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp, and he will amuse you to your heart's content.”

*The Dismal Swamp lies in Gates, Pasquotank and Camden Counties, NC and southeastern VA between Norfolk, VA and Elizabeth City, NC.  The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1973, contains over 112,000 acres of wetland forests. North Carolina added to this the Dismal Swamp State Park which protects 22 square miles of wetlands. This park features 20 miles of wilderness trails.

[Taken from The Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond:Early Recollections, by Robt. Arnold, 1888. Another story taken from from this book is "Bear Hunting in the Dismal Swamp"]

Miss Harriett Tilghman.

A heroic girl.

She climbs on a house top and fights fire like a steam engine.


            Roanoke News: We learn that the fine large dwelling house near Garysburg [Northampton County] owned by J. J. Long, Esq., and at present occupied by Mr. J. B. Tilghman and family, caught fire at an angle of the roof from the chimney spark (it was supposed) about three o'clock on the afternoon of Friday last. There was no male assistance nearer than a quarter of a mile. Mr. T. and his sons were absent, and nearly a mile distant at the time. Mrs. Tilghman and her two daughters Misses Harriett and Ella, Mrs. T's little grand daughter, and the school children, were the only persons in the house.
Very soon after the alarm was raised, the point of danger was ascertained, and Miss Harriett Tilghman procured a ladder which was in the yard, some twenty five steps from the back door, and with it hastened to the house, and then up a flight of stairs to the second floor and by means of it, after being placed in position, reached the scuttle.
Here she encountered a volume of smoke. Nothing daunted, however, and knowing no time to be lost, she acted without hesitation, and finally reached the burning roof through the trap door, raising the door with her head and turning it over so that she could get on the roof and make her way to the fire. On the roof a double danger awaited her in the risk of falling to the ground thirty-six feet or more, and of her clothing catching fire from the quivering flame, pressed towards her by the high wind prevailing at the time.
Buckets of water had been drawn, and carried to the second floor by the school children, and some colored friends on the premises, and soon as circumstances would permit, though Miss Harriett was on the roof ten minutes or more before aid reached her. The buckets had all to be gotten up the ladder, and Miss Harriett to reach them, had to go to and from the trap door, probably twenty feet of more, and sometimes walked upright on the highest part of the roof with a bucket of water in her hand, at others crawled along to the fire as best she could. Determined to subdue the flames she succeeded and thus through her heroic exertions and great daring, the property was saved from destruction and (perhaps) some insurance company or other from a large sum.
The young lady descended in safety and suffered no inconvenience beyond a few bruises.

Taken from The Raleigh News (Raleigh, NC) 18 May 1876

Sunday, March 27, 2016



His Strange Conduct Accounted For.


            A young man named Arthur Spruill located in Snow Hill somewhat over a year ago for the purpose of practicing law. Coming well endorsed, of pleasant address, he soon gained the confidence and esteem of all good citizens. Reports damaging to his integrity have recently gained circulation and among these was a charge of forgery. Soon after, Mr. Spruill disappeared from Snow Hill, and nothing was known of his whereabouts until the following item appeared in the Washington Progress of last week: 

An Insane Man Captured.

           From Mr. W. S. Dickinson, who resides in Chocowinity township [Beaufort County], about six miles from town, we gathered the arrest and confinement of Mr. Arthur Spruill, a young lawyer from Snow Hill, Greene county. Mr. Dickinson was in his field at work on Friday last, when he heard a voice calling in pitiful accents to an imaginary friend to come back and not leave, then pleading with a supposed enemy, begging not to be shot, that he would surrender. Mr. Dickinson’s curiosity was aroused and he proceeded to a piece of woods from whence the sounds proceeded, and there found a man acting so strangely as to leave no doubt of his being insane. The stranger wrote his name, Arthur Spruill, and from his incoherent talk, it was learned that he had been practicing law in Snow Hill. It was also surmised that a slander suit recently tried in Greene county was the cause of his present demented condition. Mr. Dickinson cared for the maniac at his house Friday night, and on Saturday morning brought him to this town and lodged him in jail. We believe Mr. Spruill originally came from Washington county, and is connected with the best families in that section.—Washington Progress.

[Taken from Goldsboro Messenger, (Goldsboro, NC) 3 May 1886 and The Daily Journal  (New Bern, NC) 30 Apr 1886]

A Kind Deed.

     Corporations are said to be "soulless", and it is quite the fashion to denounce railroad corporations especially. However much cause there may be for this we will not now argue, but we are pleased to know that many of the officers of these much abused corporations have souls and hearts that should put to blush their traducers. We copy from the Raleigh News and Observer the following notable illustration of how some railroad officers care for their employees:
     Mr. Alexander Bailey is a section master on the Raleigh & Gaston road. He was a soldier during the war and was severely wounded in the leg, which wound never healed. During the life of his good wife she nursed and kept the wound soothed to such an extent that it never interfered with Mr. Bailey's duties as section master.
Map found at Southern Specialty Maps

     Some time since he had the misfortune to lose his wife, and being always busy with his duties as the only head of the family and overseer on the road he could not give the wound proper attention. This neglect, which was unavoidable, caused a severe inflammation to ensue which soon became so bad that Mr. Bailey could not use his leg in walking. He procured a strap which he suspended from his shoulder to support the lower part of the leg after being bent a the knee and substituted a wooden leg from the knee and went on with his work from which he had not missed but one day in twenty years, on that day a sheriff summoned him to appear at court as a witness.
     Not long since President Robinson of the Seaboard Air Line, Maj. John C. Winder, general manager, and Capt. Wm. Smith, superintendent passed over the road on an inspection trip. Their train stopped at Neuse*, which is on Mr. Bailey's section, and he with his force was there at the time. President Robinson noticed that Mr. Bailey's leg was suspended by a strap and asked the cause. Mr. Bailey told him all about it. Mr. Robinson then asked why he did not have it amputated. Mr. Bailey replied that he would like to have it done but was not able. He could not afford to lose the time and pay the bill. The inspection train then came on to the city.
Help For Mr. Bailey
     There was some consultation among the officials and a short time after Mr. Bailey was sent for to come to Raleigh. He was provided with comfortable quarters at St. John's hospital. Mr. Bailey did not exactly know what this business meant. Soon after he arrived some prominent physicians called upon him and consulted him about his wound. It was found that he was not in a condition to undergo the operation of amputation then, and he was put upon treatment for the case.
     In a few days his leg was amputated, which of course confined him to the hospital for some time. A nice awning with cot, &c., was provided for him in the hospital yard where he could get the benefit of the fresh air with comfort and convenience when he was weary of the house. A nurse was employed for him, and he was made to spend several weeks there as pleasantly as possible.
     He has just returned to his home, but is as yet unable to work. When he returned a check was sent him for full time work, as though he had not missed a day from duty, and in addition to this a bill for medicine and attendance has just been paid, amounting to about $300. All this was done by the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Company for an employee whose services they knew how to appreciate. Mr. Bailey is not at work, but his salary is paid him regularly by the company, and a man is employed in his place at a full salary until he small be able to resume work.

* Neuse was a crossroads in north central Wake County, named for the nearby Neuse River. It was probably located near where the railroad crosses the Neuse River.

[Taken from The Chatham Record (Pittsboro, NC) 18 Aug 1887]

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fatal Duel

Taken from The Raleigh Register (Raleigh, NC) 9 Oct 1847

The Rest of The Story

On October first, 1847, H. F. Harris, a member of the legislature, fell in a duel with E. C. Yellowly. Both were young lawyers of the Greenville [Pitt County] bar. They were close friends, rivals at the bar and also for the graces of an only daughter of a wealthy planter.
According to Henry King in Sketches of Pitt County, a case in court caused the first difficulty. Harris had the first speech to the jury and severely criticized the management of the case by Yellowly. In his reply, Yellowly more severely criticized Harris.
After court, Harris made an attack on Yellowly. Friends prevented anything serious then. Harris challenged Yellowly to meet him on the field of honor, which challenge was accepted. However, both were arrested and put under heavy bonds to keep the peace one year. On the day the bond was out Harris renewed the challenge, which was again accepted.

The story that appeared in Lytell’s Living Age was somewhat different. As Lytell reported it, Harris was an impetuous, ill-disciplined, passionate man. He was the Whig representative last year, from his district. Mr. Yellowly, who is amiable, yet resolute, opposed his nomination. Harris was returned by only fifteen majority, when the party could have given him hundreds.
Stung by the smallness of the return, he [Harris] said, after the poll was over, to Yellowly—“You damned scoundrel, you are the cause of this. If you had not opposed my nomination, I should have had the usual majority.”
“I opposed your nomination,” replied Yellowly, “as I had a right to do, but I supported you at the ballot-box.”
          Thereupon Harris struck him—they clinched, and were separated. Many supposed this would end the matter. But Harris retired to the room, armed himself with a double-barreled gun, pursued Yellowly, swearing he would shoot him the first place he met him. The citizens here interfered, and bound both parties to keep the peace for twelve months.
          Whichever story is true, both reporters agree that though the letter of the law was kept, its spirit was violated. Every day, and often by moonlight, Harris was out practicing, until he had perfected himself. Lytell and King agree that on October first, 1847, Harris and Yellowly met on the North Carolina and Virginia State line, on the Dismal Swamp Canal, about four miles from the "Half-way House."*  Before fighting, Yellowly sent his second to see if the duel could then be stopped. Harris was obstinate and demanded that the duel proceed. 
In the first shot, Harris's shot went wild, and Yellowly fired up into the air. Again Yellowly attempted a reconciliation, but Harris said he went there for blood and would have it before he left. In the second shot Harris's shot again went wild. This time Yellowly's shot went true and Harris fell, pierced by the ball, nearly in the center of his forehead, a little over the right eye. 
Seeing Harris fall, Yellowly said to his second, "Go to him for God's sake, for I don't want to kill him." Harris was dead when the second reached him. Yellowly and his party left at once, but was arrested in Virginia, though the magistrate did not hold him.**
          According to King, "both Harris and Yellowly were brave, fearless men. Harris was an expert with the pistol. Both had practiced for the occasion, though Yellowly did not want to fight. Dr. J. Blow was Yellowly’s second, and also surgeon to both."

* Half-way house was another name for the Drummond Hotel which was on the Virginia/North Carolina line on the shore of Drummond Lake in the Dismal Swamp. By stepping to one side or the other, you could move from Virginia to North Carolina or North Carolina to Virginia. [Camden County, NC]

**  J. E. Wilkins, an eye-witness to part of the duel, gave this writer the following account of the affair. He said: "I was a srnall boy on a visit to my uncle, William Wallace, who lived at Culpepper Locks, on the Dismal Swamp Canal, in Virginia. I was in possession of my first gun and with a crowd of boys, some larger, my cousin, W. T. Wallace, son of my uncle, being in the crowd. Returning home, we came up the east bank of the canal and ahead of us saw two carriages and several men, walking about mixed up. A man came running meeting us, stopped us and told us to remain where we were. We were then about one hundred yards from the men and carriages. Soon there were pistol shots and again the men were busy getting about. Soon there were other pistol shots and again the men stirred about. A tall, small man and two or three others got into the carriage and drove off. The boys were much excited, and passing on up the canal bank -by where the shooting had taken place, they saw a man lying next the woods on the bank, with a red handkerchief over his face. The boys went on to William Wallace’s and told that a man had been killed on the canal bank and gave particulars. William Wallace was a magistrate. A warrant was issued and the party in the carriage containing the tall, small [sic] man were arrested at Deep Creek and had a hearing before three magistrates. After the hearing all the parties signed the paper and were released and left. The trial was held in the little inn at Deep Creek, kept by Major Sam Foreman. The body of the dead man was taken to Deep Creek and a coffin got from a wheelwright who kept them.”

Taken from  Sketches of Pitt County: A Brief History of the County 1704-1910 by Henry T. King, 1911 and Lyttell’s Lving Age. Vol. XV. October, November, December, 1847



            When I was a boy many interesting stories were told of the time when the British Army marched through our county [Person County] during the Revolutionary War, under the command of Lord Cornwallis.
            One of them is to the effect that, in 1781, when he was moving east from Caswell or Alamance county through Person county on the way to Yorktown he passed what is now known as Roseville, four miles southwest of Roxboro. A man living there by the name of Rose, whose smoke house was near the road side, had a large lot of provisions cooked up and put under lock and key. When the army arrived he handed General Cornwallis the key, saying as he pointed to it: "Here, my Lord, is the key to the smoke house. It is full of provisions, open it and help yourselves." This man Rose was what was called a Tory, a member of a political party that was opposed to the war, and was in sympathy with the British.
            The soldiers took the provisions and went on to old Paines Tavern, two or three miles, and stacked their guns, "Flint and Steel" muskets, and spent the night in camp. A big white oak there was ever afterward known and pointed out as the "Cornwallis" tree. The writer has often seen this splendid old tree and it as not been so long since it died and was cut down. "Paines Tavern" was then a place of note, a popular camping ground for emigrants from a large section of the country, moving to the West to seek new homes. Paines, a man of some wealth, owned the place and kept a house of entertainment for the public called a "Tavern," a name perpetuated even today.
            This writer remembers, when a boy, seeing a few of the old Revolutionary soldiers of Person county, who had land warrants as an extra bounty given for service in helping to free our country from the British yoke. These land warrants conveyed to each of them 160 acres of Western land, a quarter section. Very few of them ever went out to occupy their land, but sold their claims to land speculators.
            Roxboro, N. C.
                        October 30, 1915
Taken from Encyclopedia Britannica
[In the early 1900s, A. R. Foushee [1839-1929] wrote a series of letters to the Roxboro Courier recording his memories of Roxboro and Person County in earlier days. These letters were later published in Reminiscences: A Sketch and Letters Descriptive of Life in Person County in Former Days by Alexander R. Foushee: Roxboro, NC 1921. This story was taken from that book and was previously published in The Connector, Newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in Vol. 7 Number 3, Summer 2003 on page 18.]

Friday, March 25, 2016

Among the Country High Schools

(Excerpts From Principals' Preliminary Reports for the Fall Term, 1913.)


Principal A. W. Davenport, Pantego High School.
     Library and office room added. Betterment Association has made about $20.00 and bought six new stools, cost $50.00. Prospects are very bright for good year.


Principal J. B. Thorn, Jr., Aulander High School.
     $12,500 worth of bonds voted for a new building to be erected next year.
     Prizes offered for best piece of needle work and also handicraft. Two literary societies. School in a flourishing, prosperous condition


Principal, W. G. Gaston, Dover High School
     We need a dormitory very badly and we expect to have on in the near future. This is a find location for a High School. We have a large field to draw from. With little effort the attendance could be increased 50 per cent., I believe. We have had to turn down numbers, because we have no place for them. Our present capacity is reached. Our school has never been in better shape. There is no finer school community in North Carolina than Dover.

Dover High School, Craven County
Wikimedia Commons


Principal L. L. Hargrave, Battleboro High School.
     Spelling, writing, drawing, nature work, and sight-singing are taught throughout school course. Twelve pupils take typewriting. Physical culture is given free to school.
     Three more recitation rooms have been added this fall, one of which is fitted up for science. Sixty-five dollars has been contributed for apparatus for science classes.
     Within two years the school has about doubled in pupils, has doubled in teachers, and has more than doubled in classrooms. We now have two flourishing literary societies. 


Principal R. P. Crumpler, Knap of Reeds High School.
     We have a piano and a music department this year.


Principal John T. Cobb, Enfield High School.
     There exists the heartiest co-operation between the school and the community. The Betterment Association is an active factor here and does great good. The trustees have ordered the fourth year to be added to the high school course, making the school run as a four-year high school.

Consolidated School, Halifax County
Taken from Eastern North Carolina Where Prosperity is Perennial INVITES YOU! http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/ncencyc/ncencyc.html


Principal S. E. Leonard, Kenly High School.
     School has use of dormitory free. Superintendent rents out rooms, employs a matron and runs a regular boarding house. He either makes or loses as the funds are his and not the school's. Five of the teachers and a number of pupils live in dormitory.


Principal W. H. Mizelle, Robersonville High School.
     Since the close of school the latter part of April of this year, our trustees have added to the school building one new room, enlarged two others, tinned the roof of the entire building, painted the walls and ceilings of two rooms, put in seven coal stoves, furnished nicely the one new room, and done considerable general repair work. They have also improved the school ground.


Principal Arnold W. Byrd, Mt. Pleasant High School.
     The dormitory is managed by a matron assisted by the principal and the assistant teachers.
     A Betterment Association has been organized and is doing valuable service for the school. Through its efforts we have secured a school farm.

Principal H. A. Nanney, Red Oak High School.
     The dormitory and mess hall are managed by a matron. Board is given at club rates, or at actual cost. A room rent fee of 50 cents a month is charged each student.
     We will vote on $10,000 worth of bonds Dec. 5 for the erection of a new school building. We hope to establish a Farm Life School next year in connection with the school. (Bond issue carried Dec. 5.

Principal J. I. White, Whitakers High School.
     Organized two literary societies, one for each sex. Have an excellent reading room. Increased our library. A very live Betterment Association, which employs and pays a music teacher. Attendance good. The first month we did not have any tardies and only seven absentees. Only eleven tardies last month.
Consolidated School, Nash County
 Taken from Eastern North Carolina Where Prosperity is Perennial INVITES YOU!


Mrs. J. A. Beam, Principal, Bethel Hill High School.
       We have had some work done on our building and have put in  some equipment, but we greatly need a dormitory. We could easily double our attendance if we had it.Several boarders are scattered through the neighborhood now.

Miss Allene Patton, Principal, Bushy Fork High School.
       The school building was painted during the summer.


Principal T. E. Story, Bay Leaf High School.
     The dormitory is run by Mr. H. P. Thompson, one of the trustees. The dormitory alone just cost $1,750, but the lot (4 1-2 Acres) and a storehouse that is on it all cost $2,750.

Principal M. B. Dry, Cary High School.
     Boys pay matron of boys dormitory $9.00 a month for table board, and they pay the school $1.50 for room rent. Girls pay $8.25 for table board and $1.75 a month for room rent in the girls’ dormitory.      We are putting up a new school building, which, together with the dormitories, will cost $33,000. The old school building will be converted into 40 rooms for dormitories for boys. We are now paying rent on the girls’ dormitory, but we are going to buy it and enlarge it so as to accommodate 60 or more girls.
     We have bored a 200-foot well on the campus which will furnish 20 or more gallons of water per minute.


Principal E. P. Dixon, Wise High School.
     We have a hotel here for dormitory, but we are not using it. We started to open it, but the county took the appropriation from us so we could not secure another high school teacher. We let it stop. The County Board promises to give us the appropriation this year. What will be done I do not know.


Principal C. O. Armstrong, Bock Ridge High School.
     We are now converting old school building into dormitory. A part of fund raised by private subscription, and for remainder an application was filed for a loan.

[Taken from The North Carolina High School Bulletin, Volume 5: edited by Nathan Wilson Walker. January 1, 1914: University of North Carolina]

Monday, March 21, 2016


[Taken from The Old North State (Elizabeth City, NC) 20 Apr 1850]

Sunday, March 20, 2016


          Murder and Piracy.Norfolk (Virginia) July 19.—On Saturday last, five seamen, who had come up from the beach near Currituck Inlet, stopped at a tavern a short distance beyond the draw-bridge, where they deposited their baggage, and came into town [Norfolk]. They reported that they belonged to an English brig bound from New Providence to Liverpool, which had foundered off the coast of North Carolina; but, among other circumstances, that of their having each a considerable number of Spanish dollars, which they carried about them quilted in belts, led to a belief that they had been engaged in some piratical enterprise; and yesterday our vigilant chief magistrate issued his warrant to have them brought up for examination, and accordingly Thomas Jones, John Radcliffe, Charles Rogers, alias Nicholas Wilcom, Philip Pierce, and Nathan Smith, were conducted into court. 
           Nathan Smith, a native of Belfast, State of Maine, was summoned as a witness in the case, and, being sworn, stated, that he shipped at New York, in the ship Curiazo, which ship was bound to Buenos Ayres, where she remained two months. He was then compelled (having no money) to enter on board the ship Union, a patriot privateer; remained on board the Union six months; was sent in a Spanish prize to Buenos Ayres. He then shipped in the Patriot brig General Rondeau, captain David Miles, and sailed on a cruise. He detailed the transactions on the cruise, which extended to the coasts of Spain and Portugal, and in the Mediterranean. They returned through the Straits, and proceeded to the West Indies. The witness then stated as follows:— “The captain (Miles) used the men very ill; and the day after we passed the island of Barbados, the crew mutinied, and rose upon the officers. I was below at the time the mutiny took place, being a little intoxicated. I heard a great noise upon deck, as of a number of people in a scuffle, and now and then the clashing of swords.
1821 map of the Norther Outer Banks showing New Currituck Inlet
near the North Carolina-Virginia border. Taken from OBX Connection:
            “It immediately occurred to me that the crew were engaged in massacring the officers, and on going on deck next morning, I had but too good grounds for suspicions. The deck was sprinkled with blood, and six officer, viz.—Captain David Miles, second lieutenant M’Sweeney, the captain of Marines, the serjeant of marines, purser, master’s mate, and four privates of Marines, were missing, and several of the crew on board severely wounded. I was informed, that the officers and marines who were missing, were sent away in a boat. This happened about 12 miles from an island, the name of which I was ignorant of.            
          “The crew then took charge of the privateer, and appointed Robinson the gunner, captain—hailed the prize-brig, which was still in company, and told the prize-master to go where he pleased. Shifted our course for the United States, and in two days made land; we then stood for Charleston, and, three days after, put three men on board an English brig, and paid the captain for their passage to England 20 bags of sugar. Three days after, spoke a sloop bound to New York; wanted to put some of our men on board of her, but the wind blew too hard: two days after, spoke an American schooner from Savannah for Boston, and put 13 or 15 more of our men on board of her, paying 20 bags of sugar for their passage. Next day made the land again, which proved, to be the coast of North Carolina, when 15 or 16 of the stoutest men remaining on board turned to and plundered the privateer of everything valuable, which they carried ashore with them in a boat, and abandoned the General Rondeau, leaving me and 13 more on board.           
             “Robinson (the captain) then proposed to run into Wilmington [New Hanover Co.], and give the privateer up to the United States, which was determined on. Off the bar we were boarded by a pilot, who remained on board two days, when he left us, and went ashore with Robinson, and five of the crew. We were then chased two days by an United States’ revenue cutter, and escaped in a heavy blow. The General Rondeau leaked very badly for two or three days after the blow, and as soon as we got her with 20 or 30 miles of land we scuttled her, and took to the boat, bringing with us only our clothes. We landed on Currituck beach at night, where we found lodgings, and the next morning proceeded on to Blackwater [River] in a boat, and there hired three carts to fetch us on to Norfolk.” 
            The money which these men had, they say, was taken out of one of the feluccas [two masted ship] captured up the Straits. One states the sum taken to have been 6,000 dollars, and another 14,000 dollars; but the whole was divided amongst the crew after the mutiny. A few bales of cochineal [red dye] were also taken out of the felucca, which were on board the General Rondeau when they abandoned her. The amount found upon the prisoners is 9,272 dollars, 25 cents, which has been deposited in the United States’ Bank. There are two more of the party who came ashore at Currituck, but they were left on the road from Blackwater, being too unwell to travel.                       
            After a patient examination of nearly five hours, the prisoners were all committed to gaol.            Smith, whose description is given above, is the only American of the party. The rest are all Englishmen. It is also stated that the crew of the brig was composed chiefly of English and Spaniards, or natives of South America.
            Robinson and his five companions, who left the privateer off Wilmington bar, have been apprehended at Smithville [Southport], North Carolina, and 4 of the 15 or 16 who had previously left her, are also in custody at Wilmington, North Carolina.

[Taken from The Annual Register: A View of the History, Politicks and Literature of the Year 1820]

Friday, March 18, 2016




Raleigh, Oxford and Rocky Mount




     This was the headline in the Raleigh Times on 24 July 1907. It referred to the expected arrival of the fierce prohibitionist, Carrie Nation. “’Good Morning Carrie’ will be the tune next Monday, when the invincible Carrie Nation, with her dangerous battle-axe, swoops down rough-shod upon this awfully intemperate town of Raleigh.”

Taken from Kansapedia at https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/carry-a-nation/15502

            Carrie had spent several weeks in western North Carolina and now she was headed east. The Times went on: “Carrie is coming in all her war-paint, and upon her arrival, will proceed to tell the jug-toters just what she thinks of them. It is rumored that certain red-nosed residents of this community have arranged for an extended fishing trip for next week, hence will be deprived of the illustrious visitor’s counsel.”
            In Raleigh, the temperance advocate was scheduled to speak twice at Pullen Park and to give street-corner lectures, not only about the evils of alcohol, but also the wickedness of tobacco and corsets.
was the headline in the News and Observer  on 30 July 1907 after Carrie’s arrival. The second line continued:  “Visited Pool Room and Dispensary—Spoke Twice at Park, Doing Her Revised “Smashing” Stunt to Saloons, Dispensaries, Tobac[c]o Factories.”
            When the train from Greensboro had pulled in and the stout, elderly woman with gray hair stepped down, the small crowd on the platform immediately recognized her. Promptly she began to speak about the 'good news.' Large amounts of tobacco had been destroyed in Orange County in a violent storm. “Rev. Mr. Carver had about forty thousand hills of tobacco…,” she read from a morning newspaper. “When the storm was over the tobacco stalks were left standing … .”
            “I consider the destruction of that tobacco as an answer to my prayers,” said Mrs. Nation. “North Carolina is cursed with a regular cancer in the American Tobacco Company. By the way, they are building a memorial church now to the old man Duke. I say they ought to put a memorial window in that church made of Bull Durham Tobacco and Duke’s Mixture.”
            Carrie Nation was especially well known for her habit of attacking taverns and saloons with a hatchet although she no longer did that. One way she raised money, however, was through the sale of miniature hatchets which she had ready on the platform in Raleigh
            As she waited for a street car or hack, she went on to say, “I am opposed to gay and expensive dressing, and I am opposed to balls—or hugging schools, I call them. I warn all boys against marrying ball room girls. I tell them if the girls practice hugging strange men before marriage they are likely to have the same taste afterwards.”

Interior view of a saloon wrecked by Carry Nation and her followers, Enterprise, Kansas.Taken from Kansas Memory at Kansasmemory.org
Carrie Nation on the Evils of Dispensaries
            In 1897, North Carolina had passed a law permitting the establishment of county dispensaries for the sale of alcohol. These dispensaries were a target of Carrie’s wrath. When asked if she was going to visit the local dispensary, she replied, “Yes, I am going there. … It’s a regular hell-hole. And these goody-goody church people put it here—so good that the devil loves them. They tell me that you have a church man, a Sunday school teacher managing the dispensary.” [This was a young man named Snelling.]
            Promising to visit the dispensary at three o’clock that afternoon, she went on to preach against distilleries: “The distiller is the worst murderer in the land.”
At The Park
            She had no set speech, but her theme was: “Carry A. Nation for the Home; Carry A. Nation for Woman.” She touched on sobriety, temperance, purity, virtue, true manhood and womanhood, and railed against the saloon, the dispensary, the pool room, the gambling den, and the places of impurity.
            Suddenly she exclaimed, “Look here, there is a man smoking.” Pointing her finger at him, she said sharply:  “Don’t you know better than to smoke in this audience, sir? They get into such a habit of smoking that they loose [sic] all their manhood and self respect.” Returning to the subject of the dispensary she described it as “a hellhole where rotten slop is dealt out to poison and damn men’s lives and souls and destroy the virtue and womanhood of woman.”
Nude Pictures On Display
            To a News and Observer reporter she told the story of her visit to Lewis’ pool room, giving it a verbal slap. There she saw on the wall a picture of women 'perfectly nude.'  Describing the results of viewing such profanity, she said, “They would bare woman of love, they would bare her of virtue, they would bare her of home, they would bare her of sons, they would bare her of clothing. O, this is a time of making women bare!”

Carrie Nation Hatchet Pin for sale on Ebay

Taxation Without Representation
            Carrie Nation even touched on the subject of women’s right to vote—which they didn’t yet have!  She noted that women who owned property were forced to pay taxes to support courts for the purpose of punishing crime caused by selling liquor which she [the woman] could not vote to stop. “This is taxation,” she declared, “without representation, and is unconstitutional.” She declared that women can’t vote because saloon men know that women would vote them out of business.
            Near the end of her speech, she told of going into the office of the Bull Durham tobacco factory in Durham. She asked ‘a man’ why nude women were pictured in cigarette advertisements, and wondered, if they were going to use pictures of nude women anyway, why he didn’t use pictures of his own wife and daughter. She was promptly ordered out of the office.
Carrie in Oxford in Granville County
            The Oxford Public Ledger reported briefly on August 2: The well advertised Carrie Nation, who is now taking in the North Carolina town ripping things up the back, struck Oxford Wednesday and lectured in the Courthouse at night to quite a good audience. She made her usual talk on whiskey, tobacco, cigarettes, and the dispensary. She jumped on the Oxford dispensary and said our nice granolithic sidewalks put down by dispensary money would not stand. Paid her respects to the tobacco trust, Teddy Roosevelt, Republican and Democratic parties, and was anxious to sell her little hatchet. The receipts were about $30.
And in Rocky Mount in Nash and Edgecombe Counties
            The Wilmington Morning Star noted on 6 Aug 1907—Rocky Mount, N. C., August 3: Mrs. Carrie A. Nation, who has been here for two days, left today for Lynchburg, Va., where she will continue her efforts for prohibition. While here she delivered lectures at the opera house, at Oakland Park and in every saloon in town. Her lectures were attended by very good crowds and aroused considerable interest, but not much enthusiasm.
North Carolina — First in Prohibition
            Prohibition had long appealed to many people in North Carolina. As early as 1852, a petition for prohibition was presented to the General Assembly and in 1881 a referendum was held on the subject, but neither passed and saloons and taverns continued to thrive. The Anti-Saloon League was organized in 1902 with J. W. Bailey, a Warren County senator as its chairman. Many towns were able to stop the sale of alcohol within their limits through special acts of the Assembly.
In 1907, the Anti-Saloon League began a strong push for prohibition. Perhaps that was why Carrie Nation was here. The Watts Act was passed in 1908 forbidding the manufacture or sale of alcohol. North Carolina was the first state in the union to have such a law. It was not until January 1919 that the Eighteenth Amendment was passed making Prohibition the law of the land.

[NCPedia at http://ncpedia.org/anti-saloon-league; Raleigh Times (Raleigh, NC) 24 Jul 1907; News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 30 July 1907; Oxford Public Ledger (Oxford, NC) 2 Aug 1907; Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC) 6 Aug 1907]

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tarboro and Edgecombe County 

Business in 1862

            On August 22, 1889, The Tarborough Southerner published a list of business enterprises in Tarboro in 1862. According to the article, there were fewer businesses in 1889 but “those here now are larger and much better equipped and none have gone down except those run by the Confederate Government.”
            The population of the town was about 750-1000 and contained the following establishments:
     A Court House, Jail and Town Hall.
     A branch of the State Bank—Robert Bridgers , President: Russell Chapman, Cashier.
     One newspaper office, The Southerner published by Wm. Howard & Co.
     Churches—Episcopal church, Rev. J. Blount Cheshire, D. D. Rector; Methodist, Rev. J. S. Simpson, Pastor; Missionary Baptist, Eld. T. R. Owen, Pastor; Primitive Baptist—4.
      Tarboro Academy—Male Department, F. S. Wilkinson, Principal; Female Department, Miss M. E. Thom, Principal.
     Private School—Elder T. R. Owen and lady, principals.
     Hotels—Edgecombe House, Dr. Joseph H. Baker, proprietor; Tarboro Hotel, by Geo. Howard—2.
     Lawyers—John L. Bridgers and Lorenzo D. Pender—2.
     Physicians—Drs. Joseph H. Baker; Reuben Cobb; Benj. F. Halsey; J. Wesley Jones; A. H. Mcnair and W. T. McNair—6.
     Stores—Austin, Norfleet & Co.; Dowd-Brown & Co.; Dozier & Co.; Jacob Feldenheimer; Hart, Wimberley & Co.; McNair, Bro. & Co.; Hoskins & Scay; D. Pender & Co.; A. A. Willard—9.
     Drug Stores—Wm. Howard & Co.; A. H. Mcnair—2.
      Confectionaries—Seth S. Hicks; John H. Deigh; S. E. Moore; James M. Redmond—4.

Ad taken from The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC) 22 Aug 1889

      Milliners—Mrs. M. E. Bond and Mrs. Nancy Hunter—2.
      Jewelers—William Davison and Theo. Brown—2.
      Sadlers—Robt. A. Sizer and James M. Spraggins—2.
      Merchant Tailors—James Mehegan and David Neal—2.
      Coachmakers—N. M. Terrell and Williamson and Stewart—2.
      Cabinetmaker—John W. White—1.
      Carpenters—Wm. Burnett, R. B. Bassett, C. E. Bennett and John F. Ward—4.
      Painters—J. H. Allen, Wm. Bassett, Ed Zoeller and A. Sorg—4
      Boot and shoemakers—T. C. Hussey and Theo Lane—2.
      Bricklayers—Philip H. Garnett—1.
      Livery Stable—Robert H. Rowe—1.
      Bakery—Lawrence Whaley.
      Gunsmith—Julius Holtzscheiter.
      Blacksmith—Isaac Palmountain.
      Hydraulic Engineer—Michel Cohen.
      Tarboro Ranch Railroad—R. A. Watson, Conductor; Thos. Oberry, Ticket Agent.
       Express Office—Thos. Oberry, Agent.
       Steam, Grist and Saw Mill—Oberry & Dunn.
       There is also a water-proof cloth manufactory carried on by T. M. Cook.
       An oil cloth manufactory by David Pender.
       A whiskey distillery on an extensive scale, by Michael Cohen.
       A Confederate Cap manufactory in operation by F. L. Bond.
       A Soap and candle manufactory, by R. B. Bassett.
       And, a Cotton Seed Oil Mill, connected with the manufacture and repair of Agricultural implements and repa[i]ring of machinery, in a state of forwardness by James P. Smith.
       Lodges &c.—Concord Royal Arch Chapter; No 5, James Mehegan, High Priest—regular meeting third  Saturday in each month,
       Concord Lodge, No. 58, Baker Mabrey, Worshipful Master—meet third Saturday in each month.
       Edgecombe Lodge, No. 50, I. O. O. F. James A. Williamson, Noble Grand.

[The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC) 22 Aug 1889]