Friday, December 22, 2017


A Mill Town Depression Story

         Ambrose, needing a haircut badly and knowing he did not have the money to pay for it, decided to approach the barber, Albert "Abe" Thompson, with a novel payment idea.
     "Hey, Abe, would you cut my hair for a cabbage?" Ambrose asked, holding out the best cabbage he could find from his garden.
    "Sure, I can do that," Abe replied. 
     "Thanks, Abe," Ambrose said as he was walking out the door after the cut job.
     "Wait a minute." Abe stopped him. "You forgot your change." 
     Ambrose turned with a puzzled look and Abe handed him a cucumber and a squash.

Image taken from the Stumptown Blogger, "Great Kodak Moments of Barber Shop Past"
(This story was told by Kermit Paris, son of Ambrose. Both men worked for Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Sad Tale of the Perquimans County Sheriff

A Sheriff Gagged and Robbed.

            It is stated, that Sheriff Jno. H. Cox, of Perquimans county, was met on the road two miles out of Hertford, the county seat, by two masked men, one armed with a double barrel gun and the other with a pistol, who gagged and tied him to a tree and robbed him of $1642 in money. He was thus found two hours after by some one passing. No clue to the perpetrators.
            Sheriff Cox was taking the money to Edenton [Chowan Co.] to express to Treasurer Worth.

[The Chatham Record (Pittsboro, NC) 20 Feb 1879]


            Sheriff J. H. Cox—This gentleman reached this city (Raleigh, Wake co.) Thursday night. He is the sheriff who had the misfortune to be robbed a few days ago in Perquimans county of $1,642. The foot-pads took him from his buggy at the point of a double-barreled gun and pistol and despoiled him of his tax money. He says that being tied for two hours to a tree is all very fine for boys to read about in a yellow-back novel, 4 for a dime, but devilish poor fun for a sheriff who has got to devote his term of office to
retrenchment in order to get even again.

[The Charlotte Democrat (Charlotte, NC) 21 Feb 1879]


Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1879

night session.

            Bill for the relief of Jno. H. Cox, sheriff of Perquimans county. Passed

[Observer (Raleigh, NC) 22 Feb 1879 and 27 Feb 1879]


            Robert White has been elected Sheriff of the county of Perquimans to succeed Jno. Cox [who] resigned.

[The Weekly Economist Elizabeth City, NC) 9 Sep 1879]

Monday, November 20, 2017

Halifax County Archaeological Find

            Ancient Americans.—The work men engaged in opening a way for the projected railroad between Weldon (Halifax Co.) and Garysburg  (Northampton Co.), N.C., struck, about a mile from the former place in a bank beside the river, a catacomb of skeletons, supposed to be those of Indians of a remote age, a lost and forgotten race. The bodies exhumed were of a strange and remarkable formation.
            The skulls were nearly an inch in thickness; the teeth were filed sharp as those of cannibals, the enamel perfectly preserved; the bones were of wonderful length and strength, the former being probably as great as eight of nine feet. Near their heads were sharp stone arrows, some mortars in which their corn was brayed, and the bowls and pipes, apparently of soapstone. The teeth of the skeletons are said to be as large as those of a horse.
            The bodies were found closely packed together, laid tier on tier, as it seemed. There was no discernable ingress or egress to the mound. The mystery is who these giants were, to what race they belonged, to what era, and how they came to be buried there. To these inquiries no answer has yet been made, and meantime the ruthless spaces continue to cleave skull and body asunder, throwing up in mangled masses the bones of this heroic tribe. It is hoped that some effort will be made to preserve authentic and accurate accounts of these discoveries, and to throw some light, if possible, on the lost tribe whose bones are thus rudely disturbed from their sleep in the earth’s bosom.—Raleigh Republican

[The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) 26 May 1874]

Note: I wonder what happened to these artifacts?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Sweet It Is—Molasses

            Before World War I, molasses, known as treacle in England, was the main sweetening agent throughout the United States. In the South, much of what was called molasses was really sorghum syrup, made from the juice of the sorghum plant. People bought it by the gallon and used it in many different ways.
            The production of sorghum syrup aka molasses was often a community affair. Usually, one or two people had a reputation of being good molasses cooks and they would be in charge of how everything was done. The residents of Goose Creek Island[1] in Pamlico County grew sorghum and produced their own sorghum molasses. The process is described in the book The Goose Creek Islander 1879-1974.
            In the fall, the sorghum stalks (similar in appearance to corn) were stripped of their leaves and “stalks were cut and piled heads and tails together. The heads were cut off and when dried, children parched them like corn and ate them.”
            The juice was removed from the canes by a press. It takes about 10 gallons of juice to produce 1 gallon of syrup. “The press which was used to squeeze the juice from the cane was turned by a horse or mule which was harnessed to a twelve or fourteen foot pole and operated clockwise. The horses had to be changed frequently because they became drunk from walking in circles. The prepared cane stalks were fed into the press, small end first, by men and as the juice was squeezed, it ran into a bucket, lard tub, or any available container.”

This is a picture of a sorghum press in the mountains of North Carolina.
Taken from Digital lHeritage Organization -

            The sorghum syrup was produced by boiling it several times. “A furnace, which was approximately six by four feet, was used to cook the molasses juice. The furnace, fired with wood, contained seven cooking vats. The raw juice was poured into the first vat and as it cooked, it was stirred with wooden paddles. After some of the water was cooked from the juice, the juice was let out of this vat through a trap door into the next vat. This process continued until the juice was syrup or molasses.”
            As the juice boiled down, a greenish foam formed on top. “Parents made wooden paddles for their children to use to dip the foam off the juice as it was cooking. That was a great treat for children, because they didn’t get the sweets our children get today.
            “The cooked molasses was stored in wooden barrels and used for sopping, baking cakes and cookies, making candy, and as a sweetener. If overcooked, the molasses turned to sugar, but was still used in baking and as a sweetener. If undercooked, the molasses tasted green."
            Each of Goose Creek Island’s communities had a molasses cooker.[2] “The earliest known resident of Lowland to operate a molasses cooker was Benajah Carawan (1825-1892). Benajah’s son, Jesse Carawan (1858-1935), operated the molasses cooker on a road that branched off the Middle Prong Road and led to the Jesse Carawan Landing. At Jesse Carawan’s death, his son, John Carawan, (1886 -1962) operated the molasses cooker. John Carawan moved the cooker to … the main road in Lowland."

Located long Lowland Road (SR 1230) just west of where this route and SR 1232 intersect, is this two-story frame house and barn where Jesse Monroe Carawan (1858-1935), son of Benajah Carawan once lived.  The old cistern, used for the family’s water supply, can be seen at the corner of the front porch.  
Pictures taken in January 2002. William Odell Spain Photographic Collection 
            “The first known molasses cooker on Hobucken was purchased new by the Farmer’s Alliance members in 1890. It was operated by Simeon Sadler (1854-1914) on the Steve Jones property across from the present Virgil Carawan home site. Louis Goodwin (?-1908) took over the operation of the molasses cooker from Simeon Sadler and moved the cooker to a site behind the Wade Barnett home. After the death of Louis Goodwin, the cooker was moved around the community so each cane farmer could use it.”

 [Taken from The Goose Creek Islander 1874-1974]


[1] Goose Creek Island is at the northeastern point of Pamlico County, cut off from the mainland by the intercoastal waterway. In 1874, the residents of Goose Creek Island’s two communities —Hobucken and Lowlands—voted to become part of Pamlico County, rather than Beaufort. The island is a magnet for fishermen and duck hunters and is home to a unit of the U.S. Coast Guard, which is located on the Intracoastal Waterway. The book, The Goose Creek Islander 1879-1974, was compiled to commemorate the centennial of Goose Island in Pamlico.
[2] The event of making sorghum syrup and sorghum molasses would typically see the ladies of the community as skimmers while their men brought the cane in from the fields and ran it through the rollers of the cane mill. However, only the "syrup master" could pronounce the end compartment ready to be "poured up." It was his practiced eye and keen sense of taste that told him when it was time. Fain’s Sorghum Molasses

Monday, October 16, 2017


Shoots Through The Air, 17 Miles To Wake Forest In Lieut. Maynard’s Plane


            Governor Thomas W. Bickett climbed aboard Lieutenant Belvin W. Maynard’s De Haviland airplane yesterday afternoon shortly after two o’clock and in less than ten minutes was swooping in dizzy circles above the heads of a welcoming crowd gathered on the golf links at Wake Forest, seventeen miles away, to greet the winner in the trans-continental air race.[1]
            The short field prohibited a landing, and the ceremonies which had been planned in honor of Lieutenant Maynard were postponed until last night when Governor Bickett and President W. L. Poteat, of Wake Forest, plus hundreds of Meredith College and Oxford College girls and the normal Wake Forest contingent heaped on Maynard the delayed honors.
            Society Day at Wake Forest and the exercise for Lieutenant Maynard, who matriculated there this year to complete his course, were combined, with Dr. J. B. Turner, the master of ceremonies. It was after the orations in the Wingate Memorial Hall at night that Lieutenant Maynard talked to the crowd in a reception in the gymnasium.
            It was by the Governor’s insistence that he took his first air flight. Arrangements had been made to carry him over to Wake Forest in the afternoon in readiness for the arrival of Lieutenant Maynard, Sergeant Kline and “Trixie” in their plane a few minutes later. But the Governor insisted on flying, and Lieutenant Maynard was willing. Mrs. Bickett, it appears, was not consulted, but the Governor was careful, after he donned Sergeant Kline’s tight-fitting coat, his helmet and goggles to remind someone to tell his wife how pretty he looked.

North Carolina's Governor enjoyed his airplane ride with Lieutenant Maynard immensely yesterday afternoon until the flyer reached Wake Forest. The Governor confesses that he considered the aviator somewhat reckless in skimming down into the classic groves of the College and then gliding quickly up again. Governor Bickett is on the right in the picture standing beside Lieutenant Maynard just before they started for their "Joy Ride."

Regards To Max.
            “Give my regards to Max Gardner and tell him go make the best Governor he can,”[2] the Governor called out as he crammed himself down in the seat that Sergeant Kline and Trixie usually occupy. “Trixie” was a not a bit impressed with the honor of having a mere governor occupy her accustomed place, and she put up a merry little piece of disorder as the plane took off. Then she found that Sergeant Kline had been left behind also, and took the loss philosophically.
            It was an ideal day for flying. A slight wind was blowing, but the sun was warm and the sky entirely clear. For thirty minutes or more, the Governor was in the air. With Lieutenant Maynard, he circled about Raleigh, then made a straight course for Wake Forest, coming into the golf links first from the east. Around and around the plane soared, the powerful motor roaring.
Landing Field Too Short.
            The landing field selected by Lieutenant Maynard Sunday afternoon, was that part of the golf links composing a sort of level valley between two sloping hills half a mile from Wake Forest. On either side of the embankment the crowds were thick. Eagerly they watched the plane as it swept around coming low over the tree tops and then darting upward. Several times, the pilot plunged downward, as if to land, and then took off skyward again. Finally, there was a yell: “Here he comes.” The big plane shot down over the tree tops, almost kissed the earth, ran parallel with it for twenty-five yards and then as Lieutenant Maynard shook his head vigorously in negative fashion, pointed its nose at startling angle and Maynard was leaving Wake Forest.
            He explained last night to a disappointed crowd that his inability to land was due to the face that the wind was blowing from the north and it was necessary for him to enter the field from that direction. Under such conditions, the field lacked much of being long enough to make a safe landing.
Didn’t Like The Swooping.
            Lieutenant Maynard made a perfect landing at Raleigh on the return trip and the governor climbed out of the car, having completed another during his administration of varied happenings.
            “That flying was great,” the Governor said. “The only thing I didn’t like was that swooping down over the tree tops. That made me nervous.”

[From The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 4 Nov 1919]

[1] See “ ‘Flying Parson,’ Sampson County, NC Pilot Made Aviation History” posted on March 17, 1916
[2] Max Gardner was Lieutenant Governor in 1919. He lost the nomination for governor in 1920, but was elected in 1928.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ancient—Cashie River—Natural Beauty—An Appropriation Needed—Bertie Railroad—Harding Manufacturing Co.—What the South Needs
[By Our Special Reporter.]
Windsor, Bertie Co., N. C.
Nov. 1st, 1879.

            Your reporter reached this ancient town on Sunday last, 26th ultimo.
            Steamers run on the Cashie (River) between here and Plymouth (Washington Co.) daily. The Cashie is a very deep, narrow river, being about 20 feet deep at the wharf here. It is impossible for the pen, or the brush of the painter, to do justice to the autumnal gilded foliage of the trees, which consists of every variety known to this climate, which so densely grow in their primeval wildness on the banks of this deep, dark and currentless little river. The river is very narrow from here for some eight miles below, and being very crooked, the overhanging limbs and fallen trees render navigation tedious and difficult in the extreme. An appropriation of $3,000 would be sufficient to cut away the limbs and trees and make navigation safe. The member of Congress from this district should attend to this matter as soon as possible and secure the above appropriate from congress. The people of Bertie pay their proportionate part of the governmental taxes, and their wants are entitled to substantial consideration. If Mr. Martin will not or cannot effect anything, perhaps some of his more energetic democratic colleagues may.
Cashie River:

            Bertie has a Narrow Gauge Railroad below here, which runs from the Cashie for five miles back to the highlands. This little road is owned and was built by Greenleaf Johnson & Son, of Baltimore, for hauling logs to the river, where they are made into rafts and tow boated to Norfolk and Baltimore.
            The Harding Manufacturing company are putting more machinery in their factory, preparatory for making “ply twist.” “Ply twist” is worth 20 cents per lb. in New York. It would take half dozen more such mills as this to fill the present orders. This factory has two Clement Attachments*, 612 spindles, uses about a bale of cotton per day turning out 300 lbs. of spun cotton from 1,000 pounds of seed cotton. All the waste cotton and cotton seed find a ready sale. The seed cotton is first put through a patent cleaner which thoroughly frees it from all dirt, is then placed on rolling tables which carries it to the “Attachments” from whence it comes out ready for the spindles. This factory cost, complete, $12,000. Mr. Hardin, the President of the company, says the enterprise is now paying 20 per cent. Less politics but more cotton factories is what the South needs.

[The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC) 6 Nov 1879, p. 3]

            Mr. Hardin, President of Harding Manufacturing wrote to Mr. J. R. Adams of Montgomery, Alabama in June 1880 describing his experience with the Clement Attachment:
            “We started last June, and have been running smoothly ever since. We are pleased with our mill and have already enlarged it, and are going to enlarge it to double the size it is in the fall. We are now running two attachments, 612 spindles. Our mill cost $11,000 as it now stands. We are averaging three hundred pounds of first class yarn per day. Our mill is paying 35 per cent on the investment, and we expect to make it pay 45 per cent as soon as our hands become expert. We have not got a hand that ever saw a mill before. We have met with no reverse, and had no mishap to stop the mill a day since starting. There is an unlimited demand for our yarns. We get the highest market price for our goods.”

[The Weekly Star (Wilmington, NC) 4 Jun 1880, p. 1]

Gin with Clement Attachment: Chicago Tribune(Chicago, Illinois)10 Jan 1880, Page 16

          *The Clement Attachment was invented about 1874 in by a Tennessean named Clement. He lived in Memphis where he had a small shop. He proposed to manufacture his attachment, but died shortly after making his invention, passing it to his heirs. Mr. F. E. Whitfield of Corinth, MS bought ½ interest from the heirs and built , patented and put it into operation. 
          Cotton bolls contain seeds that must be separated from the fiber before it can be used. Before Eli Whitley invented the cotton gin in 1794, this was done by hand. An average worker could only remove seeds from about a pound of cotton per day.
           The cotton gin—the word “gin” was derived from “engine”—had hooks that caught the cotton fiber and pulled it through a mesh too fine for the seeds to go through. Small gins were cranked by hand and larger ones were powered by steam engines. The hand-cranked machine could process 50 pounds of cotton per day.
            The Clement Attachment was explained by its owner F. E. Whitfield:
            “To convert an old into a new process cotton mill, little else is necessary than to get a cleanser of seed cotton…cost from $75 to $100, and to substitute an attachment, costing about $175, for the lickerin and feed rollers on each card.” As the cotton passes through the cleanser, dirt, dust and most motes, trash, etc. are removed. It is then carried by a revolving apron into the attachment where the lint is removed from the seed. As the filaments pass through the attachments, any remaining trash is removed and is combed out so that the filaments are delivered to the card and converted into yarns.[1]

[1] Our country’s wealth and influence, by Linus Pierpont Brockett and Henry Barnard: 1882; page 169.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Who was born in Currituck County, North Carolina August 3, 1859. My much beloved husband who was brutally murdered on August 18, 1879, by Chester Doggett, who died five days later and is buried three miles from this cemetery, and for whom hell is too good. Oh, that it might be made thrice as hot for him.

            The granddaughter of Ephriam S. Davis told the story: “On August 18, 1879, longtime friends Ephriam and Chester went fishing together. Ephriam’s highly prized dog, Bouncer … trotted along with them to the creek, a mile or so from the home farm.
            “At the creek side, Chester stumbled over the sleeping dog and fell hard on the sand. In a fit of anger, he jumped up and gave the dog two or three hard kicks, which greatly angered Ephriam. Hot words ensued, leading to a violent fight. Chester finally managed to draw his pocketknife and cut Ephriam’s throat from ear to ear.
            “Within minutes, Ephriam bled to death. Chester dragged the body to a fallen sycamore in a nearby swamp and covered it with sand. In a short while, he arrived at Ephriam’s home and told that his friend had walked into the swamp and disappeared, implying that perhaps he had perished in one of the pits of quicksand in the swamp.

A beautiful photograph of Currituck County swamp taken by Edd Fuller and posted on his blog  "Photography in Place." It can be seen at: 

            Over the next five days and intensive search was carried on in the vast swamp, without success. On the fifth day, the searchers took along Ephriam’s dog. When Bouncer reached the sycamore, the dog sniffed around and began howling, arousing suspicious of the searchers, who soon uncovered the body. The gaping slash of the poor man’s throat was still visible.
            Chester, who was among the searchers, quickly fled into the dense swamp, hotly pursued by angry neighbors. Late that day they found him badly swollen and delirious, in a clump of bushes where he had apparently tried to hide. Two large cottonmouth moccasins were found nearby. Apparently the poisonous snakes had bitten him after he intruded into their lair. He died within minutes after the discovery.
            “Before either body was buried, Chester’s wife confessed that her husband had told her the details of his crime. It has bothered her conscience night and day, and now that he was gone, she felt free to tell the story.

(Taken from Forgive Me, Father, For I Have Grinned, by B. N. (Bud) Phillips; pages 76-77: 2006)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

[ From Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC) Mar 2, 1853 

Many Living Picture Devices

            There appears to be no end to the varieties of projecting apparatus that are being placed on the market. Here is a list of a few which are already being exhibited at the various music halls and places of public entertainment: The motorgraph, the animatoscope, the theatrograph, the kinematograph, the projectoscope, the cinemetoscope, the vitascope, the cinematograph, the veriscope, the animatograph, the viveoscope, the eidoloscope, the cinagraphoscope, the biograph, the rayoscope, the magniscope.

 [Article taken from the Eastern Courier (Hertford, NC) 16 Sept 1897]

The eidoloscope, was first demonstrated in April 1895. It was built by the Latham family. In May 1895, the Lambda Company filmed a prizefight on the roof of Madison Square Garden in New York. Consisting of four rounds lasting one minute each and punctuated by 30-second breaks, the event lasted for about eight minutes. The Lathams recorded the fight in its entirety—rounds plus rest breaks—and projected the film for eight nonstop minutes. They’d solved the problem of tension on the filmstrip.[1] It incorporated a simple solution to the film breakage problem in the form of a loop in the film before it passed in front of the lens. The jerking of the intermittent mechanism thus pulled only on this inches-long loop, not on the whole reel. This innovation would become an integral part of the modern movie camera. It is called the “Latham Loop” but was actually invented by Eidoloscope Company employee Eugene Lauste, working for a salary of $21 a week.[2]

[2] THE FIGHT THAT STARTED THE MOVIES: The World Heavyweight Championship, the Birth of Cinema and the First Feature Film by SAMUEL HAWLEY (Nov. 5, 2016):

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]