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