Saturday, January 19, 2019



Nos. 81 and 84, Both Through Trains, Meet at Full speed Near Norlina—Locomotives Splintered Yet Sleeping Coaches are Left on Rails

By W. Bost

            “Norlina, Nov. 19—Nos. 81 and 84, the fast through trains of the Seaboard [Railroad], tore into each other’s crew below Granite this morning at 3:54 o’clock and both have a toll of eight lives. [Granite was the first crossing south of the VA line. It no longer exists.]
            Drawn by the Union Pacific type of the mightiest passenger engines, they charged each other a few yards this side the Virginia line, upon the high fill about half a mile beyond Granite. [Fill was material such as dirt or rocks used to level the ground for the track to cross.] Each with a weight of 216,000 pounds, pulling a string of ten cars, bore down up the grade and met where the strain was the heaviest. Railroad men estimate a million and a half pounds behind each engine when they came hurrying to the center of the fill. There is no piece of mechanism, however small, left on these beauties of iron and steel. The very numbers by which the machines are identified have been effaced.”
            Amazingly, although the front of both trains was totally demolished, passenger cars remained on the track, completely intact. No passengers died or were seriously injured.      
            “Leaning low to take the grade upon one of the sharpest of curves, the engines met apparently well steamed. The very sight shows the fury of the plunge. The six-foot drivers, lying close to each other, mark the spot of earth upon which the lunge of the locomotives took place. They had a steam poundage of 200. They were keyed for a pull over the two hills. They met at the maximum of pressure down grade. The wheels alone are left of the wreck. They are but little hurt.”
            The demolition of the engines was so complete that it was impossible to see how they ended up placed as they were found. However, two men “declared that they saw the Beckham boiler rise to a height above the pine trees and fall fifty yards from the culvert over which the two trains appear to have met.
An Early Seaboard Airline Railroad Engine
Taken From Seaboard Airline Railroad History
            “Both trains, very long and heavy, must have gone furiously at each other. What prevented demolition to every day coach … no man can say. Not a passenger was actually hurt and some of them thought that the brake had merely dropped and that passengers on the Pullmans were aroused by the excitement of outsiders rather than damage to insiders.”
The Northbound’s Blunder.
            Engineer Beckham, in charge of northbound train No. 84, was supposed to have pulled off the track at Granite, a short way to the south of the accident. Engineer Faison, in charge of southbound train No. 81, had the right-of way. So, instead of meeting at Granite, the two trains met on the track a half mile from Granite.
            The misunderstanding probably occurred because of a misreading of the orders, leading the northbound crew to believe they were to continue to Grandy.  “Whether he read the orders for meeting at Granite or Grandy, nobody now knows. The officials do not hesitate to say that their operator at Norlina, young Watson, gave the orders correctly and that they were read wrong by the northbound crew.
Engineers Beckham and Faison, killed in accident
News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 20 Nov 1912
            “The body of the engineer [Mr. Beckham] was beneath the wreckage of two engine gears, the twelve big drivers and four trailers, a baggage coach and piles of timbers. The bursting of the steam pipes turned the water into the fill and flooded the place.….”
People Flock to Place.
            “The killing of only eight persons was the marvel of the people and there were a thousand there at any period of the day. Twenty-seven automobiles were seen in the road at one time, and the fields abounded in horses and buggies.
            “Two hoboes escaped. They are worth while to show the element of miracle that crept into every play. They declined to give their names, but took up collection and, walking to Norlina [Warren County], paid their way to the next point. They were riding the blinds between the first and second day coaches. They were battered against the wall, but barring dirty faces and bruised foreheads, they were none the worse for wear.
            “The railroad men declare that the steel cars saved the passengers. Their weight kept them on the track and their strength prevented telescoping. Crashing on a curve, one sees no explanation for their standing up. But all were left intact and taken back to the stations.


(By James A. Parham.)
            Norlina, Nov. 19.—…
Where the Collision Occurred.
            “…north of Granite station, which is about seven miles north of Norlina on the Seaboard’s trunk line from Richmond south. The scene is about one and a half miles south of Roanoke river and nearly twelve miles south of La Crosse, where engineer Faison receipted for his last order. Granite is the nearest station to the State line on the North Carolina side and the next station, less than five miles distant, is Bracy, in Virginia.”

[Taken From The Farmer and Mechanic (Raleigh, NC) 26 Nov 1912]

The Track and Curve.
            “Going north from Granite the track is straight for a half or three-fourths of a mile. Right on a fill perhaps twelve feet high, the track begins a fairly sharp curve which extends through a rather sudden cut. It was right about the beginning of this curve that the engines plunged into each other. Mr. Beckham’s engine was just ready to take the curve or was taking it, while Engineer Faison was on the curve just ready to leave it, and had just passed through the cut. The collision occurred right over a small culvert in the center of the hill. On account of the curve and the cut, a very sudden stop would have been necessary to avoid the collision at best, after the engineers could possibly have seen each other’s engines. Moreover, the shafts of light shot straight forward from the headlighter of the engines evidently crossed each other as the two approached almost at the very second the collision occurred.
Masses of Wreckage.
            “The two engines and tenders and three cars—all combination passenger and baggage or express—were demolished completely. The engines were of the Seaboard’s heaviest type, weighing 108 tons each. Both boilers exploded, both were completely stripped of engines, tenders, trucks, smoke stacks, steam chests, cabs, bells—nothing left but tubes of sheet iron, shredded and torn at both ends with sheets of iron sealed off from the sides …. They landed on opposite sides of the track. The engine driven by Mr. Beckham was carried by the contact and the explosion fully 100 feet back down the track and fell at an angle of about forty-five degrees with the track, its nose apparently and strangely having struck the ground first. It settled on its right side, which was buried a foot or so in the ground. The other boiler, that drawing train No. 81, settled nearly upright in running position and close beside the embankment and parallel with the track. Its back was split lengthwise by the explosion.
            “… This huge mass contained also the flattened, crushed remains of a tender, supposedly that of the northbound engine, which was battered and crumpled like an old tin pan, while the other tender, in the same condition, lay on the opposite side of the track. Fifty feet from the track lay one of the huge cylinders from one of the engines. Three hundred feet in the forest, on the east side lay large Y-shaped iron pipe that would weigh hundreds of pounds. It apparently had been blown over the tree tops and had fallen, without striking trees and half buried itself in the ground.”

Expressage Scattered.
            “Most of the chests and safes and strong boxes from the express cars were left intact, but the packages of merchandise, many of them, were demolished. Scores of dead chickens were scattered among the debris, while dozens of fowls that escaped with their lives, gaining liberty, were hanging around the scene of the catastrophe looking for food. Dozens of boxes of fresh fish and lettuce and other vegetables were demolished and scattered; also pork, beef, sausage, millinery, clothing, etc. etc. One dog was killed.”
[News &Observer (Raleigh, NC) 20 Nov 1912]

Wreck Hurls Woman Into a Man’s Berth

Her Head Makes Clean Hole in Thin Partition—Headache Her Only Injury.

            “Boring a clean hole through the partition between two Pullman berths, a middle-aged woman hurtled into the berth in front of her when the two Seaboard trains crashed into each other Tuesday morning near Norlina. In the berth which the woman so unceremoniously entered was Lee Reinheimer, a cigar salesman, from Richmond, VA. Mr. Reinheimer was too courteous to ask the woman her name.
            The only unpleasant result of the woman’s plunge was a headache. The partitions between compartments of a sleeping car are made of light, but tough, material. The partition was not knocked down in the crash that sent the woman through it, but a space the size of her head and shoulders was jammed through. Her entrance was the first Mr. Reinheimer knew of the crash. He was slightly hurt, having a sprain on the little finger of his right hand.
[News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 21 Nov 1912]

William Jennings Bryan, Biography
Of Engineer Beckham, Killed in Wreck
To Mr. Bryan Monday—Fine Basket of Tomatoes—Nebraskan Orders Flowers

            “ … Hon. William Jennings Bryan* … was detained here for several hours on account of a wreck on the Seaboard near Norlina…. Yesterday morning he expected to leave Raleigh for Savannah on the 5:40 a.m. train, but the serious wreck near Norlina, in which Engineers Faison and Beckham were killed detained him in Raleigh all day, and he did not leave until last night.”
            “On Monday morning, shortly after 11 o’clock, Engineer Beckham called at the home of Josephus Daniels to see Mr. Bryan. He was a great admirer of the Nebraskan, and called to pay his respects and carry a basket of fine tomatoes. “I thought I would like Mr. Bryan to have something nice,” he said to Mr. Daniels, “and as good tomatoes are scarce at this season I brought you these.” Then he remained for a visit to Mr. Bryan, chatting pleasantly and happily, and left with hearty good wishes to Mr. Bryan, expressing the hope that he would one of these days see him in the White House.”

            “’I am greatly shocked and distressed,’ said Mr. Bryan when he learned of the catastrophe which resulted in Mr. Beckham’s death. ‘His splendid physique, his cordial manner and his geniality pleased me greatly, and as he bade me good bye yesterday morning, I little thought he would so soon be called from a world which he made happier by his cheerfulness.’”
            “Mr. Bryan ordered some lilies of the valley sent to Mrs. Beckham with expressions of deep sympathy to his wife and family. Later in the day Mr. Bryan called in person with Mr. Daniels at the home of both the brave engineers to add his sympathy to that which was felt and expressed by the whole city.”

*Willliam Jennings Bryant was an orator and politician. He ran three times for the Presidency of the US. He is well known for his participation in the Scopes Trial in which he opposed Clarence Darrow, arguing against evolution.
[News &Observer (Raleigh, NC) 20 Nov 1912]

Monday, January 7, 2019

Moving Picture Health Car
Every County Had One

In 1916, movies rattled into rural North Carolina communities in the back of a souped-up Studebaker “auto-truck” called the Moving Picture Health Car.

Warren Booker, working for the Health Department, and W. C. Crosby, working for the Education Department, had created an all-in-one vehicle that could deliver lights and movies to any location, and the Moving Picture Health Car was born. Their goal was to bring health education and entertainment to poor, isolated farm families in North Carolina.

The truck was outfitted with a movie projector and a canvas screen. A gasoline engine coupled with a generator provided sufficient power for lights and the “moving picture machine.”  A Victrola offered a musical interlude to begin the entertainment and supplied suitable dramatic accompaniment to the silent films. Black-out curtains darkened the hall. A switchboard allowed the show to be run from a central location, and there was a fire extinguisher. Camping and cooking equipment were included for roughing it.

Taken from The Health Bulletin, Vol. XXXI, No. 2; May 1916
The car had a two-man staff. H. E. Hamilton, a “mechanician,” took care of maintenance and kept the Health Department up to date.  Roy Tatum, knowledgeable about medicine, instructed the audiences in good health practices.

In the November 27, 1916 News and Observer, Booker reported that it took  twenty to thirty minutes to set up for a program.  This included hanging the screen and running the cable through a door or window to the motion picture machine in the hall.

It was a big deal when the car rumbled into small out-of-the-way crossroads communities bringing “real” motion pictures and offering “intensely interesting” health information. The promise of dazzling lights and moving pictures flickering across a canvas screen inevitably drew a crowd. It was magical for isolated people, some of whom would have no electricity until after World War II.

Fairview, a tiny Wake County community, got an early look at the Health Car show. According to the April 3, 1916 Greensboro News, it was the “first moving picture show ever given in the country in this State.” The show ran for over two hours.

Each show featured five or six reels of film—about sixteen to twenty minutes each. An opener might be an uproarious slapstick comedy, a film depicting a scenic landscape in a faraway land, or perhaps a western with fast riding cowboys and lots of action. This was followed by several movies offerings health information. The conclusion was usually a comedy—maybe Charlie Chaplin in The Tramp or Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in The Butcher Boy.

The purpose of the Health Car was to teach disease prevention, sanitation and hygiene. Programs highlighted topics like tuberculosis, typhoid fever, venereal disease, oral hygiene, and cleanliness. One film focused on a campaign against flies and included directions for making a fly trap that were distributed to the audience.

The lessons were embedded in dramatic action stories. One popular show was The Man Who Learned.  The herky-jerky, black and white, silent film projected onto canvas with scratchy Victrola music as the background taught a lesson about typhoid prevention through sanitary milk production. The story was gripping and the Victrola played music appropriate to the scene—intense, foreboding, or jubilant as needed.

The audience is enthralled by the action. Hearts are thumping. Eyes are wide. At the end, the important lesson has been learned.

The shows were a rousing success. Care-worn farm women in faded dresses, men in shabby bib overalls, and children bouncing with excitement and anticipation arrived at places like Pikeville (Wayne County), Mount Mourne (Iredell County), or Lemon Springs (Lee County) on movie night. They came in wagons hauled by mules or worn-out horses. One man declared it was better than a Methodist camp meeting.

The car circulated around the state visiting each of the 45 counties that existed at that time. It remained in one area for three weeks, visiting up to twelve locations each week. The vehicle carried enough films to present a fresh line-up for each return visit.

The price of the truck was $750; its extra engine and generator went for $360. It cost $90 a week to operate the car, which was paid for by the communities hosting the exhibit—usually by the local government or generous donors.

 People turned out in huge numbers. One report placed daily attendance from 450 to 900. There were times when the evening productions were moved outside because no venue of adequate size was available.          

In 1917, the state legislature appropriated $25,000 to provide a Moving Picture Health Car for each county. The cars would turn rural schools into community centers, provide health information, and bring communities together in ways they had never been before.
The cost of an outfitted car was $3,000 with $2,000 paid by the county. By late 1920, every county had a movie car.
African Americans had little access to modern innovations like movie cars. However, in 1919, black teachers joined the North Carolina Tuberculosis Association in the sale of Tuberculosis Christmas Seals to finance a movie car. Every county had a quota, and, in almost every county, the quota was met. Over $5,000 was raised; this was used to purchase a Dodge panel truck, a Delco lighting system, and an Atlas projector. A new movie truck hit the road.

Dr. E. T. Ransom operated the car on a circuit of one week visits around the state. Each week, he presented six to ten programs. In addition, local doctors were sometimes brought in to treat people who came to the show. In some instances, Dr. Ransom also made home visits.

During the first six months, Dr. Ransom visited twenty-five counties and recorded an attendance of 34,148. The car met with such enthusiasm that a second car was added the next year.
A hundred years ago, it took a vehicle loaded with equipment, driven miles over terrible roads, with electricity furnished via generator, for a farm family to see a movie. Today, we can watch whatever we want, in real time, on devices we hold in the palms of our hands. We’ve come a long way since days of the Motion Picture Health Car!

Sunday, January 6, 2019


            The town of Plymouth (Washington County) has had more than its share of legends of buried treasure. The following story appeared in Norfolk: The Marine Metropolis of Virginia and the Sound and River Cities of North Carolina by Geo. I. Nowitzky, published in 1888.

            “Black Beard, the notorious pirate who made Plymouth a frequent resort, it was generally presumed, buried a great deal of his quickly acquired wealth within the limits of the town to keep it from being as quickly lost; and about the time that everybody concluded it was buried beyond all hopes of being found the Civil War came, and with it not alone the army, but also more reports of secreted treasures.
            “Among the many stories of this nature, and the one most generally believed, is that a sutler (a person who followed an army and sold provisions to the soldiers) who sold the Federal army very few goods for a great deal of money, fearing that the soldiers would sometime raid his premises, concluded to secrete his gains in the quaint old grave-yard, and before he found use for it or thought it wise to recover it, he was taken sick, died and was also consigned to a grave-yard.
            “This led to one of the most stirring episodes connected with the history of this historic town. Two gentlemen, well known as able jurists and statesmen, concluded that they had discovered a clue to the whereabouts of the sutler's buried treasure, and naturally concluding that it was doing no good where it was, and brought to
light might be made useful, with the assistance of a mate of a steam-boat which made Plymouth one of its landings, organized themselves into an expedition for the special purpose of unearthing this treasure, which they had reason to believe was buried in a part of Grace church-yard which at that time was not used for cemetery purposes.
            “The night selected was dark and dismal, and as they walked down to this resting place of the dead and alleged safe of the sutler, the only way they could keep up their spirits was by reflecting what a vast amount of good the money, now useless, would do by relieving the wants of the poor and distressed, and educating worthy fatherless children; and, to their credit, be it said, that each made a firm resolve that half of the restored wealth should be used for these purposes.
            “No time was lost, for as soon as they reached the little cemetery the digging commenced. It must have been a weird scene; the light (all that could be forced from an ordinary stable lantern) had just sufficient illuminating power to shed a faint, ghastly glimmer on the time-honored tombstones and vaults; a fitting one, however, to act as an accompaniment to the dull but continued thuds of the pick. It is generally believed that the same dim substitute for the sun never had its rays forced back by the reflecting force of the sutler's hoarded gold.
            “But this appears to be the only effort in which this party has ever been unsuccessful; for one of these gentlemen has been Governor of the great North State, is loved by all her people, and to-day worthily represents the greatest nation on earth (ours) at an imperial court, vested with unlimited power, as the rank Minister Plenipotentiary signifies. The other is also well loved and trusted by the people, for having represented his District in Congress once, his constituents urged him to accept the position again, and his return by an overwhelming majority proved his popularity. As for the mate, the last time I heard of him he was still treading the deck of a steamer that displaces the waters of Chesapeake Bay, the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal and legendary Roanoke River.”

[Taken from  Norfolk: The Marine Metropolis of Virginia and the Sound and River Cities of North Carolina by Geo. I. Nowitzky: 1888.]

Saturday, January 5, 2019


U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service
        Buffalo City.—Cuppy, the well known favorite bear of Buffalo City (Dare County), is no more. Cuppy has of late been in the habit of slipping her collar so as to have more freedom, ramble about as she pleased and pay a visit to the store. A few days ago Cuppy slipped her collar to make a survey. She was gone three or four days, but afterwards was found in the swamp near by. The searching party coaxed her with candy but of no avail. She was too much for them and before they could capture her she had to be shot. Cuppy’s death has been a severe blow to some of her admirers.

[The Weekly Economist (Elizabeth City, NC) 10 Feb 1893]

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Famous Visitor
Marquis de Lafayette

            Marquis de Lafayette, a 19 year old Frenchman, eagerly offered his service, at his own expense, to fight in the war for American Independence. Although discouraged by Benjamin Franklin, our minister to France, Lafayette bought the ocean-going Victoire and left France on March 27, 1777. The young man fought courageously for the Americans and Washington Irvin wrote about him: “Lafayette from the first attached himself to Washington with an affectionate reverence… it is a picture well worth being hung up in history—this enduring alliance of the calm, dignified, Washington, mature in years and wisdom and the young, buoyant, enthusiastic Lafayette.”[1]    
            He was wounded at Brandywine, but after a short period of time, he was able to accept the command of a division of Virginia light infantry. It was a time of brave men, swords, muskets, horses and intense suffering. Lafayette is best remembered, along with Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne and the Comte de Rochambeau, for defeating Cornwallis at Yorktown. The heroic young Frenchman played a noble part in our fight for independence.
Triumphant Return
            In 1824, Lafayette returned to America to make a triumphant tour which included several stops in North Carolina. Much loved by the American people, he was met by thousands of people wherever he went. He was accompanied by his son George Washington Lafayette and Auguste Levasseur, his personal secretary.
            In planning Lafayette’s journey through North Carolina, the sad state of the roads between Richmond and Raleigh forced the party to travel east through Suffolk, VA and Halifax, (Halifax County) NC. His first stop in NC was in Murfreesboro (Hertford County) where he spent the night of February 26, 1825 at the Indian Queen Inn. The difficult journey to Murfreesboro was recorded by Levasseur in Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: Or, Journal of a Voyage to the United States.
            “After stopping a few moments among the citizens of Suffolk, we continued on our route to Murfreesborough, where we were to lodge. Our late arrival had the appearance of a nocturnal journey. The bad condition and length of the road had tired our horses, and we thought for a while that we should be compelled to sleep at the foot of the hill on which the town is built. An enormous bonfire, lighted on a neighbouring mountain, whose light displayed our distressed situation; the illuminations of Murfreesborough, which exhibited the appearance of a city in flames; the noise of cannon resounding on our right, with the effect of battery on our flank; the cries of our escort; the whipping and swearing of our drivers, all was insufficient to stimulate our horses, which, sunk in the mud to their knees, appeared to have taken root, refusing to make the least exertion to draw us out of this sad situation, in which we remained about an hour. At length we arrived, and were very amply compensated by the cordial hospitality of the inhabitants of Murfreesborough, who neglected nothing to prove to General Lafayette that the citizens of North Carolina were not less sincerely attached to him than those of the other states.”[2]
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program- Murfreesboro, Nc

            Lafayette was escorted from Murfreesboro to Northampton Courthouse at what is now Jackson, (Northampton County) NC and from there to Halifax. They crossed the Roanoke River by ferry and arrived in Halifax at about 5 pm on February 27 amid the firing of artillery and ringing bells. “The mounted escort, consisting of 24 of our citizens …, paraded to receive the General, and proceeded to the river accompanied by the deputation of the corporation and county of Halifax. … The citizens and members of the [Royal White Hart] Lodge were formed in front of the hotel … and a numerous collection of ladies occupied the piazza …. On the arrival of the General in front of the Hotel, he descended from the carriage, was introduced to the persons composing the deputation individually and was conducted through the line to the piazza of the Hotel. The waving of Handkerchiefs by the ladies, the Masonic salutation, the respectful raising of the hat by the citizens, and the universal murmur which ran through the assembly, ‘Welcome Lafayette,’ evinced the deep sensibility which his presence inspired.”[3]
            In Halifax, impressive plans were made for the reception of General Lafayette, including a dinner and a grand ball. The banquet was highlighted by 13 toasts, one for each state. This was followed by the ball after which the visitor spent the night at Eagle’s Tavern.
Eagle's Tavern
Small Town North Carolina

           The next day the party made a stop at the Grove Plantation to spend an hour with Mrs. Willie (Wylie) Jones and her daughter. 

Documenting the American South: Memoirs of a Southern Woman "Within the Lines,"  by Mary Polk Branch, Page 94
Rocky Mount   
        They then continued to the village of Rocky Mount at the Falls of the Tar River where they were entertained at Donaldson’s Tavern. The Battle-Evans Mill, built in 1818, stood on the north side of the river in Edgecombe County. The town, south of the river, was in Nash County.
            People from both counties were crowded in a nearby grove hoping to get a glimpse of the Revolutionary hero. A number of people waited in their buggies or wagons. At last, a shout, “He’s here!” and the genial Donaldson came out of the tavern with the postmaster and others who were invited to a banquet hosted by the tavern-keeper. No list of the guest has survived. They spent the night at the tavern.
Donaldson's Tavern Marker located in Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NC
Marquis de La Fayette - Memory Spaces

           They arrived in the Capital at about 12 o’clock on Wednesday. “They were met a few miles from this place by the well disciplined corps of Cavalry under the command of Col. Thomas Polk of Mecklenburg. The General and suite alighted from their carriages, and were introduced to the company individually, after which, preceded by the Calvary and followed by nearly an hundred citizens on horseback, … they proceeded to this city [Raleigh]. At the limits thereof, they were met by the handsome company of Light Infantry… which received them with military honors. Here the General again alighted, and was presented to each member of the company—the interest of which scene was heightened by fine martial music from an excellent band.”[4] 

 An Incident

           In his journal, Levasseur noted the following incident: “The morning of our arrival at Raleigh was near being marked by a very unfortunate accident. In one of the calashes [a light small-wheeled 4-passenger carriage with a folding top] which followed us, was General Daniel of the militia, and a young officer of his staff; their horses ran off, and, the driver not being able to guide them, dashed violently against the trunk of a tree. The force of the shock threw both the riders and the coachman to some distance, but the one most hurt was poor General Daniel, who lay almost senseless upon the spot.
            “Our progress was immediately suspended, and General Lafayette, who, at the time, was a considerable distance in advance of the procession, hastily returned to assure himself of the nature of the accident. General Daniel already began to recover, when the hasty zeal of his friend, General Williams, was upon the point of placing him in greater danger than arose from the fall. This gentleman insisted upon his being immediately bled, and already held the fatal lancet in hand to proceed with the operation, when Mr. George Lafayette besought him seriously to forbear, representing that we had just left the table, and that a bleeding immediately after dinner might be attended with injurious consequences.
            “After having rendered General Daniel the first attentions which his situation demanded, we had him carried to the house of a rich planter, whom we had visited in the morning, some miles off; and, the next day, our wounded friend joined us at Raleigh, entirely recovered from his fall, returning his warmest thanks to Mr. George Lafayette, for having averted the employment of the lancet.                      “I was, at first, much surprised to see this lancet drawn upon such an occasion, but one of our travelling companions informed me, that in the southern and western states, and especially in those where the population is widely scattered, the art of blood-letting is familiar to almost all the great planters. The difficulty of finding a surgeon at the moment of accident often makes it necessary to bleed themselves, which they sometimes do so profusely, that the most hardy phlebotomists of the French school would be alarmed at the sight.”[5]

            After this ceremony, the procession moved in the following order to the Government House.—First, the Cavalry— then followed the Infantry, succeeding which in an open barouche, drawn by four elegant iron greys, with out-riders, were Gen. Lafayette and Col. Wm. Polk—after which, in carriages, also drawn by four horses each, were George W. Lafayette, M. LeVasseur, the State Escort, &c. As the cavalcade proceeded, a federal salute was fired from cannon placed in the Capitol Square, on reaching which, the General was greeted with the cheers of the assembled multitude. Every door, window and piazza on the street, were crowded with ladies, who manifested their gratification by waving their handkerchiefs, &c.
Original State Capitol in Raleigh before it burned in 1831.
Image by W. Goodacre, Jr. 1831. Call no. OP-14, collection of the State Archives of North Carolina. 

            “On reaching the Government House, the Military filed off on each side leaving a space through which the General, suite and escort passed. In the vestibule, they were received by the Governor and Committee of Arrangements, and conducted to the reception chamber, where were the Heads of Department, Judiciary and other citizens. Governor Burton then welcomed him ….
            “After partaking of some light refreshment, the General was introduced to a numerous party of Ladies, assembled to pay their respects to him. Immediately after which, escorted as before, he proceeded to the East Front of the capitol, opposite Canova’s celebrated statue of Washington, where he was addressed …by Colonel Wm. Polk. …
Statue of George Washington by Antonio Canova
This is a copy. The original was destroyed by fire in 1831.
Located inside the State Capitol Building
Wikimedia Commons
           “At the conclusion, the veteran soldiers, Gen. Lafayette and Col. Polk rushed into each other’s arms, and again wept their gratitude, that they who had borne the brunt of battle together in their youthful prime, had been spared to meet again on peaceful plains and in happier hours. It was a sight which warmed the cold heart of age and made the youthful spirit glow with brighter enthusiasm, and a simultaneous expression of feeling burst forth in a lengthened huzza from the attendant crowd.”[6]
          Back at the Government House, an elegant dinner was provided. The dinner was accompanied by numerous toasts and band music. The company separated sooner than they normally would have in order to prepare for the evening ball.
            “In the evening, a Ball was given complimentary to the General, and also held at the Government House. The pillars in the Ball-room were tastefully wreathed with evergreens. In the centre of the room, surmounting the pillars, appeared in large golden characters, the name of Lafayette. Though no military trophies adorned the walls, no splendid ornaments excited admiration, yet there were two objects which spoke to the memory and feeling—a large full length portrait of Washington and the living presence of his great co-adjutor in the work of glory. There was no need of artificial embellishments, for the ‘human face divine’ shone in all the beautiful variety with which Nature’s cunning hand has painted woman.
            “When we compare the simplicity and plainness with which Gen. Lafayette was received here with the splendor and high wrought scenery of our sister States, we acknowledge that our externals are by no means to be compared—we will contend that in our Republican reception of the man whom all delight to honor, there was as warm a welcome, as pure a spirit of patriotism, as though our walls had been tapestried with cloth of gold, and our floors painted by the first artists of the country.”[7]
            “The next morning, (Thursday) the General, his suit and escort breakfasted with Col. Polk, where he was introduced to three or four old revolutionary soldiers. At 11 o’clock, he took leave of Col. Polk (whose health would not admit of his proceeding farther) in the same affectionate and feeling manner as on his first meeting with this old revolutionary brother officer; and, at about 1 o’clock, took his departure for Fayetteville, attended by the governor, the State escort, and Col. Thos G. Polk’s Calvary.”[8]
            The Lafayette party arrived in Fayetteville (Cumberland County) on March 4, after a rainy day. This was the first town named for the general after the Revolution.
            “He was met 10 miles from town by the Fayetteville Flying Artillery …. The whole cavalcade proceeded thence, amidst the discharge of artillery, to the Town House, where the troops formed lines on each side of the street, and the carriages, containing the General and suite, passed between them to the east door of the House. Here, alighting from his carriage, with the gentlemen accompanying him, he was met by Judge Toomer, who, in behalf of the Committee and citizens of Fayetteville welcomed him.”[9]
            “After General Lafayette had expressed his gratitude for the reception given him by the citizens of Fayetteville, … we were conducted to the residence of Mr. Duncan M'Rae [sic], where, by the attentions of Mrs. Duncan, our lodgings had been prepared in an elegant and commodious manner. The general was there received by the committee, appointed to supply all his wants.
            “ ‘You are here in your own town,’ said the chairman of the committee to him, ‘in your own house, surrounded by your children. Dispose of all— every thing is yours.’

            “Every moment of our short stay at Fayetteville was occupied by festivals of gratitude and friendship. Notwithstanding the bad weather, which never ceased to oppose us, the volunteer militia companies, assembled to render military honours to the last surviving major-general of the revolutionary army, would not quit the little camp which they had formed in front of the balcony of the house, whence the general could easily see them manoeuvre. They were still under arms, on the morning of our departure, and we passed in front of their line on leaving the town. It was then that General Lafayette, wishing to give them an expression of his gratitude, alighted, and passing through the ranks, took each officer and soldier affectionately by the hand. This conduct excited the spectators to such a pitch of enthusiasm, that a great portion of the population, willing to prolong the pleasure of seeing him, accompanied his carriage a considerable distance on the road, and only quitted him when the sun was nearly set.”[10]

            Lafayette continued his journey into South Carolina.

[1] The Life Of George Washington, Vol. 3 by Washington Irving, 1856; p818
[2] Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: Or, Journal of a Voyage to ..., Volume 2 By Auguste Levasseur: 1829
[3] Halifax Free Press (Halifax, NC) 4 Mar 1825
[4] Weekly Raleigh Register, (Raleigh, NC) 11 Mar 1825
[5] Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: Or, Journal of a Voyage to ..., Volume 2 By Auguste Levasseur: 1829
[6] Weekly Raleigh Register, (Raleigh, NC) 11 Mar 1825
[7] Ibid
[8] North-Carolina Free Press (Halifax, NC), 18 Mar 1825, p2.
[9] The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh, NC) 18 Mar 1825
[10] Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825: Or, Journal of a Voyage to ..., Volume 2 By Auguste Levasseur: 1829