Thursday, March 19, 2020

     General Jeremiah Slade was born in 1775 in Martin County, NC. He served in the state House of Commons from 1797 to 1800 and as a state senator from 1809 to 1815. He was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812. He commanded the Fifth Brigade of the Seventh NC Division of Militia which included recruits from Martin, Edgecombe, Halifax and Northampton Counties. Slade died in 1824.
    Beginning on June 27th, 1819, Gen. Slade traveled from Martin County, NC to Nashville, TN. His daily diary of the trip seems to present a curmudgeon who found fault with many things along the way. We will not go all the way with him, but will follow him until he reaches the University in Chapel Hill.
 Dined at John Griffin's, stopped at Wilson Sherrod's, fed and rested my horse, bill 25cs., and arrived at Tarboro [Edgecombe County] that evening.
After arranging some private business and visiting my friends with whom I had some agreeable conversation on the subject of my journey, set out about 10 o'clock, bill Mrs. Gregory $1.50, McWilliam $1.20. By 121/2 arrived at Mr. W. Parker's to dinner, spent about 2 hours in very agreeable conversation with him and his amiable lady; bill 50cs. Set out at 3 o'clock, stopped at Daniels a few minutes to have my horse watered and get some grog, went on, met very unexpectedly an old acquaintance, Mr, James Blount, from Georgia. After usual ceremonies went on and arrived at sundown at the well known stand in Nash County, Mr. J. T's, where I put up the night. Went to bed supperless. Saw there all the features of uncivilized life and that Mr. T 's daughters though unmarried all had separate names, as Polly H , Ann B &c. 
Set off from T 's before sunrise. Bill 50cs. Memo. a lame man with a blind horse staid last night at T's who had been eight days traveling from Raleigh there, only thirty-five miles. Arrived at Major Alford's to Breakfast, where I met with every attention, and treated very hospitably. Bill 50cs. Arrived at Raleigh [Wake County] at 12 o'clock, at Col. Cooke's. After dinner having dressed strolled out to stroll up and down the principal streets without appearing to notice one of the puffed little great men of the city, being resolved to observe as little ceremony towards them as they are usually in the habit of showing to all strangers, and after visiting my cousins at Mrs. Pullum's, conversing with them for a while, I returned to my lodgings. In course of the day had occasion to call on the deputy clerk of the Federal court on business, was ushered into his office with all the hauteur of a French exciseman, and treated with every mark of supercilious pride and haughty arrogance and finally dismissed with contempt. After supper I retired  to my room where I was visited by J. B. Slade, my relation, who staid with me all night & we pass the time much more agreeable than I had done during the day. 
Left Raleigh at Sunrise, Bill $2.00 with a perfect confirmation of former opinion "that the citizens are a perfeet set of blood suckers who prey upon the vitals of the State and wallow in luxuriant indolence." Arrive at Jones' to brkft, ; bill (60cs. Arrived at Chapell that evening in a severe shower of Rain ( which tho' not so agreeable to my situation was most acceptable to visitors to that part of the country, as it was and had been for some time so dry as to endanger the crops of corn in all the upper country. Wheat crops uncommonly good, price 25cs per bus. & and little or no demand for it at that or even any price). At Mrs. Mitchell's Hotel was met and greeted as soon as arrived by cousin Jeremiah and Thomas B. Slade, dined, after the shower was over went with Cousin Thomas to Mr. Mooring's Hotel, was introduced to several collegiates of respectability & to Mr. Mark Henderson, attorney at law, whom I found particularly agreeable, polite and attentive, & as we returned to Mr. Mitchell's invited us to his father's, Pleasant Henderson's Esqr. to sup & spend the evening, which we accepted, (Cousin Thomas from an inclination to be with the young ladies of the family & I for the gratification of an acquaintance of so respectable a family). On entering the house I was introduced by Cousin Thomas to a Miss Kittrell & to Miss Eliza Henderson, only daughter of Mr. P. H., who, take her all in all (tho' not a Venus di Medici in form & feature) is as pretty, agreeable, and desirable as is rarely to be met with. She was easy in her manners, gracefull in her actions & movements, condescending and affable in conversation, still modest and unassuming. We spent the evening till late bed-time in very agreeable conversation, when we retired to Mrs. Mitchell's & rested for the night.
[As that appeared in The Raleigh Minerva (Raleigh, NC) 2 Jul 1819. This was about the time that Jeremiah Slade passed through.]
Thursday, July 1st.
After breakft. visited college which appeared almost deserted, except now and then a solitary Bachelor silently gliding across the long passages. The Dialectic Hall appeared much improved since my last visit, the library has received a large acquisition of books to the amt. of five hundred dollars within the last year. Met there Mr. Thomas Green, ov Va., late of the senr. class. He appeared very much reserved, and tho' we had been formerly acquainted he seemed not disposed to renew it. Returned to Mrs. Mitchell's to dinner and shortly after set out for Hillsboro, accompanied by Cousin Thos. Bill with Mrs. Mitchell $2.00. We arrived at Thompson's Inn in Hillsboro at sunset, disappointed in our expectations of meeting Mrs. Doctr. Pugh & others on their way to Louisiana, nor did they arrive during my stay in Hillsboro.
Lef Hillsboro after Breakft, Bill $1.80. Crossed Troliner's Bridge about 12 o'clock: had a smart words with Mrs. Troliner about the toll, paid 20 cs and parted in friendship.

["Slade Genealogy" at ;

Monday, March 16, 2020

Remarkable escape.

     By a dispatch received here on Monday, we learned of a terrible accident on the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road near Whitaker's Station (Nash, Edgecombe Counties).
     By our exchanges, we learn the following facts.
     While proceeding along on schedule time, and when just over an embankment some twenty feet high, the engineer observed that a rail was misplaced on the track. He immediately blew his whistle and shut down the engine, but could not check its speed sufficiently to prevent thee accident. The engine and tender, second and third class cars, and ladies' coach all were tumbled down the embankment and literally smashed. The sleeping car alone remained on the track, and to this the ladies' coach was held by the coupling pins and greater damage prevented. The engine was turned wheels in the air, and is seriously damaged. The engineer, Mr. John Hewett,
escaped without injury, how it is unknown. Captain Geo. Morrison, the Conductor, was in the second class car, and also escaped unhurt. The passengers and train hands also escaped as by a miracle, no serious injury having been sustained by anyone. On the whole, the escape of all on board is the most miraculous thing on record.

[Whitakers, NC Train Station 1966
Piedmont and Western Railroad Club ]
     To Capt. Morrison, the passengers unite in ascribing great credit for his attention to them during the whole affair,—he speaks in high terms of the assistance rendered him by his engineer and the sleeping car conductor.

[The Tarborough Southerner (Tarboro, NC) 4 Jun 1868]

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Captain Swain's Body Cast Up by the
Sea—No Light Thrown on the Affair

     Four lives were lost at the wreck of the three-masted schooner, M. and E. Henderson, on the coast of North Carolina, about a mile and a half south of Station No. 17, 6th District. The circumstances attending this disaster were singular. It appears from the evidence taken, that on the 30th of November, 1879, patrolman Tillett, who had the morning watch on the beat south, returned to the house a few minutes after five o'clock in the morning, lit a fire in the stove and called the cook, then went upstairs, and looking with the marine glass from the south window, perceived, at some distance in the clear moonlight which lay upon the beach, a man whom he at first thought was a fisherman. Presently noticing that the man was without a hat, it at once occurred to him that he might have been washed ashore from a wreck. He immediately aroused the keeper and the crew, and starting out in advance, soon came up to a haggard and dripping figure, a sailor, tottering along very much exhausted, and only able to feebly articulate, "captain drowned—masts gone." The patrolman's surmise had proved correct, and this man was one of the three survivors from the crew, seven in number, of the schooner M. and E. Henderson, which, as was subsequently ascertained to be probable, had struck and gone almost immediately to pieces within an hour before.
     The survivor come upon by patrolman Tillett was at once conducted to the station and put in charge of the cook, and the keeper and crew started for the beach. They had gone about a mile and a quarter south of the station when they came upon a great strew of debris from the wreck, and saw, at the same time, some part of the vessel rising and falling upon the sea in the moonlight, about 300 yards from shore. Continuing on three-quarters of a mile further, searching for bodies among the fragments of wreck stuff with which the beach was strewn, the arrived at New Inlet, where they met some fishermen who reported having found one of the sailors floating in the channel, whom they had rescued and taken to their camp on Jack's shoal, a small island back in the inlet. They were now looking for others, and were joined in the search by the life saving crew, except the keeper and two of his men who boated over to the camp on Jack's Shoal where they found the sailor rescued by the fishermen. In crossing the inlet to the camp they saw what appeared to be a sitting figure upon the beach behind them, and the keeper, upon reaching the island, sent back the twoo men to discover what this object was. They found it to be another sailor, the third survivor. He was quite insensible, but although far gone, still breathing, and no time was lost in conveying him to the camp, where restoratives from the station medicine chest gradually revived him. The man first found, nearly dead when taken from the water by the fishermen, having been given hot coffee and rubbed and wrapped in bedclothes by them, was already so far restored as to be out of danger.
[May be Metropolis wrecked on Outer Banks in 1878. Taken from "Shipwrecks are still seen on the North Carolina Outer Banks," by David Rolfe, Winston Salem Journal (Winston Salem, NC) 29 Nov 2015. ]

    Of the four men lost from this vessel, the bodies of two only were recovered. The first came ashore on the 16th of December, and was that of the master, Silas Swain. The hair and face were gone from the skull. The body was identified by certain marks upon it, and also by articles found in the clothing. On the 29th of December following, another body, much decomposed, came ashore and was buried, like the other, by one of the station keepers. This body could not be identified.
     The names of the four men drowned, as reported to this office, are Silas Swain (the captain), Hess and Prentice (probably the two mates), and William (which would seem to be the first name of the cook). The names of the ship's company, excepting the captain, were unknown to the owners, and were obtained from the survivors in imperfect form given the three men being Spanish … .
     They constituted the crew, and this circumstance combined with their survival as a body when their officers all perished … gave rise to the belief, held particularly by some of the owners, that they had murdered the officers and run the vessel ashore. This suspicion of foul play subsequently caused their arrest and imprisonment in Baltimore, MD, but after a long detention they were released, no evidence of criminality having appeared.
     The cause of the loss of the vessel remains mysterious. She had been seen at sunset working along the coast in a northerly direction, and had attracted attention by her nearness to the shore. As the disaster involved loss of life, it was made, as is usual in such cases, the subject of special investigation, in the course of which the fact was established that the patrolman had left New Inlet on his return beat a little before four and reached the station a little after five o'clock, encountering no wreck upon his way. It is certain, therefore, that the vessel must have grounded on the bar where she went to pieces about the time when the patrolman reached the station, a mile and a half distant, and it is equally certain that she must have been almost immediately demolished by the surf, since a short time after the patrolman's return to the station she was found in pieces on the beach, the rottenness of her fragment also showing that a vessel in such condition of unsoundness, heavily laden beside with phosphate rock and pinioned on a bar, could not have held together under the blows of the breakers.
    Although the surf was heavy and a stiff breeze blew, it was a clear, moonlight night, and how a vessel could have stranded when the atmosphere was lit to the horizon is unaccountable, except upon the supposition that she was navigated with the grossest carelessness or purposely run ashore. The unintelligible English spoken by the three survivors made it impossible for the life saving crew to obtain from them any explanation of the disaster.
[Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880; The Raleigh News, (Raleigh, NC) 2 Jan 1889]

Friday, March 13, 2020

Chowan Association
Report on Temperance

            Rev. B. B. Williams submits the following report on temperance:
            “At the session of the Association held at Gatesville [Gates County], 1874, we find adopted the following recommendations:
1.     When drinking houses are kept by church members that they be earnestly and faithfully admonished by the churches to abandon the wicked traffic, and that when the admonition of the church is rejected, the church withdraw its fellowship.
2.     The association earnestly recommends that the churches withdraw fellowship from those members who visit and drink habitually at tipling shops.

            We suppose the Association adopted these recommendations because she believed that the retail of spirituous liquors encouraged intemperance. This leads us to ask what is intemperance? Mr. Newcom defines temperance to be the “moderate use of things useful, and total abstinence of things pernicious.” Is intoxicating liquors pernicious? The assertion [sic] has more than once answered the question. Elder Babb calls it (in his report on temperance adopted 1876), “This more than Lernaean Hydra **** that has blasted the fondest hopes and laid waste the fairest fields of our Zion.”  Elder Overby says (report adopted 1874): “It is the bane of our churches.”—Both these reports the Association adopted; thereby declaring that Intoxicating drinks are pernicious, hence its use as a beverage is intemperance. Your committee instituted such inquiry as they thought would enable them to obtain the information necessary to report how the churches had received and acted upon the recommendations of the Association. They addressed letters of inquiry to nearly all the pastors in the Association’ for some cause unknown to your committee, the information sought has been by a large majority of the pastors withheld, only six responding. We are therefore unable to make a satisfactory report. So far as we have been able to learn, there are eight members now selling this “more than Lernaean Hydra” in quantities less than a gallon and it is frequently drank in their stores.
            Two have been expelled during the past year for refusing to abandon the sale of spirituous liquors. One has reformed. About seven-tenths of the entire male membership use intoxicating drinks as an occasional beverage, and a majority of these drink at tipling shops.
            It is a great pleasure to your committee to be able to report one church that all her members abstain from its use as a beverage. We believe that reform is greatly needed, and would recommend all lovers of Christ and sobriety to use every tenable means in their power to use every laudable means in their power to crush this many headed monster.”

[Biblical Recorder (Raleigh, NC) 19 May 1875]

Thursday, March 12, 2020

How Col. Pulaski Cowper Lost his bet on Uncle Tom's Shooting.

     Some years ago Col. Pulaski Cowper … was reading law in the town of Jackson, the county seat of Northampton county. In the vicinity of Jackson lived Uncle Tom Wheeler, who was as well known in Northampton as Col. Cowper is in the State. It is said that Uncle Tom was possessed of considerable means though somewhat miserly, at any rate, very few people saw him spending money.
     One characteristic of Uncle Tom was, when away from home, he was never seen without his gun. "Old Betsy," as he always called it, as well as his dog, always accompanied him. And though he never went anywhere without his gun, no one ever saw him with any game.
     It made but little difference in what direction Uncle Tom started from home to take a "little hunt," it was always nearer to go via Jackson; and some of his neighbors insinuated that the "wet groceries" had some attraction for him, as it was almost a daily occurrence for him to be seen in town' and while he was ever ready, if drinks were proposed, he was never known to "set 'em up."
     This reminiscence occurred during a court week in Jackson, and, on account of an important case to be tried, there were a large number of people in attendance, estimated by some at five thousand. Near the court house was the store of Mr. John Randolph … .
     Randolph's store had a very large piazza on which were seated some fifteen or twenty men, including Uncle Tom. He had set "Old Betsy" inside the store and near the door, and he was setting in the porch, about midway between the two front doors of the store.
     Col. Cowper …walked out of the court house over to Randolph's store, where he found the crowd in the porch teasing Uncle Tom about always carrying his gun and never having any game, and some intimated that they did not believe he could kill anything. Col. Cowper, seeing Mr. John Calvert, who was inside the store, take up the gun, and draw out the shot, leaving only the powder in, and set it back where Uncle Tom had left it and being confident he had a "sure thing" on the old man, joined in with the others in teasing him. 
     Col. Cowper proposed to bet treats for the crowd that Uncle Tom could not hit his hat, it placed on a large oak stump about fifteen feet off. (Col. Cowper had on a fine silk hat, for which he paid $5.00 the day before.) Uncle Tom said, "Well, Laski," (that's what he always called the Colonel) "I don't want to hurt your new hat, but as you insist upon it, and propose drinks for the crowd and as I feel a little dry, if you will let me take a rest, I'll see what Old Betsy can do."
[From FineArtAmerica Website: ]
     The Colonel said, "All right, you can take a rest, and sit down too, if you like."
     The Colonel sent five or six boys around town to tell everybody to come quick around to Randolph's store, there was going to be a "free treat." He and Uncle Tom then went to the oak stump to put the hat in position. It was some little time before Uncle Tom could place the hat exactly as he wanted it. While all this was going on, John Calvert took up the gun, which was near to the shot pouch, and filled her about half full of shot and set it back in place.
     Everything in readiness, Uncle Tom took up his gun, remarking, "Old Betsy, you have never failed me, now do your best." Seating himself in a chair he rested the gun on the railing, took aim, pulled the trigger, and — Uncle Tom was picked up at the other end of the piazza, and the gun went cavorting through the air, and landed on the other side of the street. The hat, not a piece of it as big as a ten cent piece, could be found in the whole town. "Snaked, by jings," exclaimed Col. Cowper. "A conspiracy, someone has played fool on me; but I'll set 'em up," and all were invited to a saloon nearby where he arranged with the proprietor for drinks for the crowd. The Colonel then went to the hotel to get his dinner. The line was formed, and the drinking commenced. They would go in at the front door, get a drink, and pass out at the rear.
     About sunset the Colonel went over to settle the bill, when, to his astonishment, the drinking was still going on; the line had resolved into a ring, and was repeating; and ever and anon there would go up a yell, "Rah for Cowper." He called a halt on the bartender, who, knowing the Colonel's ability to pay, was keeping the glasses filled. He asked for the amount of the bill. The proprietor told him, "It would take some little time to count it up, as he had chalked it down on the side of the house."
     The colonel asked how many barrels they had drank, and was told about two. He said he would pay for it at wholesale prices, and it was compromised for $117.50. 
     Disgusted with Jackson, he took the next train for Raleigh (Wake County).

[The Smithfield Herald (Smithfield, NC) 15 April 1897]

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

By Kemp Plummer Battle
     Those who have tried it say that there is no better courting time and place than in a light buggy drawn by a spirited team. But let the amatory youth take a waning from the mishap of a friend of mine. He borrowed of his grandfather a barouche and pair and took his lady-love on a four mile ride, determined to bring love matters to a focus. After skirmishing around with preliminary sweet speeches, he turned his head to gaze into her face while he asked her to share his life. As he did so he discovered that the boy, whom he had employed to hold his horses at the house of his girl, had jumped up behind and was listening with grinning delight to all tender words. The shock was so great that the opportunity was lost—and as matters turned out, lost forever. My readers need not weep over this story. "Mrs. Grundy" said that the young lady would have refused him. 

     Another "smart" young man driving over Franklin street saw a cow lying contentedly in the way. He thought he would show his skillfulness as a driver by running one wheel over her side. Much to his grief the animal suddenly rose, upset the vehicle, and turned him and his lady-love sprawling into the sand.
     Unfailingly courteous, too, were the beaux of fifty years ago. I give one specimen of this: A lady friend of mine was taking a ride with a student of the forties. The buggy wheel ran into a deep rut on his side of the road and threw the lady with some violence on him. She said, "I beg your pardon, sir!" He replied with evident sincerity, "Not at all disagreeable, madam!"

Kemp Plummer Battle was born in Louisburg, Franklin County, NC. He was valedictorian of the 1849 class of UNC. He worked at UNC as a tutor, as a lawyer in Raleigh, Wake Co., NC, and as a trustee to the University. In 1876 he became president of UNC.

[Taken from History of the University of North Carolina by Kemp P. Battle; 1907]

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Portis Gold Mine

            The North Carolina gold rush began nearly 20 years before the California gold rush. The first public notice of gold in Nash County appeared in the Weekly Raleigh Register 10 Nov 1831. It said: “A new Source of Gold. — In the land of a Mr. (John) Portis, in the vicinity of Ransom’s Bridge Post-Office, and near the place where the Counties of Nash, Franklin, Warren and Halifax join each other, a very rich deposit of Gold has been discovered. One piece weighing several pennyweights has been found and smaller pieces in great number. It is said to be quite common to make $5 a day, and there are nearly twenty different places where the precious metal can be obtained in sufficient quantity to reward the searcher for it.”
Gold Nugget
Taken from Minerals Education Coalition website:
            The State Chronicle, Raleigh, NC 29 Jan 1893 told the story of the Portis mine’s beginning:
            Years ago a peddler stopped at the mud-thatched cottage of a poor shoemaker in the County of Franklin. The shades of evening were falling and he enquired if he could obtain food and shelter for the night.
     "We are very poor, stranger," said the old cobbler, "but if you can put up with such accommodations as we can give you, we bid you welcome."
     The peddler accepted the hospitality, and after a scanty supper of plain and coarse food, laid himself down on a straw bed on the floor to sleep. When he arose the next morning, the family was astir and he asked if they had a pan or bowl in which he might bathe his face and hands.
     "No," replied the cobbler, "we have neither. When we bathe, we usually … go down to the spring and remove a little sand in the branch and wash."
     The peddler took a towel and went to the spring, used a little sand to wash his face and hands. He was struck with the appearance of numerous bright, shining particles in the water. He took a handful of the sand with him to the house and asked, "What is this?"
     "I don't know. Some says it's gold and some says it ain't."
     “Why don't you have it tested? I believe it's gold."
     The old cobbler, John Portis, had the test done and sure enough, it was gold. …

            John Portis, a shoemaker, knew nothing of mining, but it is believed that he was able to find enough gold to support his family. According to the Henderson Gold Leaf, Henderson, NC 26 Oct 1911 Portis leased the property to Plum Austin for ten years. Austin worked the property by moving the dirt with ox carts and wheelbarrows, and removing the gold by rocking and “long toms.” In ten years he was said to have found $500,000 of gold. [A rocker box was a wooden box with riffles along its bottom. Water was poured in from the top and as the box rocked the gold would settle behind the riffles and lighter elements would wash away. A “long tom” was similar except longer and using running water in a stream to wash the gold out.]
Gold Panning
            John Portis died in 1850, and Thomas K. Thomas acquired the mine. He worked it for about 15 years, still using the most basic of tools and methods. Nevertheless, U. S. mint records showed that the Portis Mine sent $1,000,000 to the Charlotte mint before the Civil War. Other records indicate that another $1,000,000 was used in trade, making the output, according to estimates, at about $2,000,000. Most of the gold that North Carolina had during the Civil War came from the Portis Mine.
            In 1868, the mine was sold to Stephen G. Sturges and William E. Sturges of N. J. An article in The Wilson News, Wilson, NC, 14 Dec 1899 mentioned that “Raleigh people now own most of the stock in the Portis gold mine.” Over the years, various names were mentioned as having an investment in the mine, and the ownership seems to have varied. Each change in ownership brought changes in the methods of extracting the gold.
            An observer in 1866, described the operation this way: “Mr. Platt (an officer of the Portis Mine Company) had a steam saw mill in full operation in just three weeks from the day the machinery left New York, which, taking into consideration the distance from the railroad and the nature of the roads over which the machinery had to be hauled, is a remarkable feat. They had also completed a two story building, seventy by thirty, built from material sawed at their own mill since it was erected some six weeks ago.
911 Metallurgist
            “The machinery to be used in mining is a new invention recently patented by a Newark manufacturer, which, if as successful as the experiments promise, is destined to work an entire revolution in the process of surface gold mining.”  The process used quicksilver (mercury) to extract the gold. [The Daily Standard (Raleigh, NC) 20 Oct 1866.
            By 1888, a new process, the Wheeler process, had been invented and was being tried at the Portis mine. This process, according to an article in The Charlotte Observer 5 May 1888 increased the yield from .50 per ton to $2.52 per ton. This was because the Wheeler process did not allow fine gold to escape. Mr. Sturges, owner at that time, wrote that the process was really wonderful and that he could find no fault with it.
            The Wilson News (Wilson, NC) 14 Dec 1899 revealed that new owners had installed a 15-stamp mill. The oar was crushed and then washed by sluice. It was being proposed that a hydraulic plant be installed.
            There were plans, in 1912, to be able to process 1,000 yards of soil per day, with an eventual plan to process 5,000 yards per day. Mr. Elmo Weir of Philadelphia, who was one of the investors, said in an interview “North Carolina, which has hitherto been famed for its pitch, tar and turpentine, will shortly be famed the world over as a producer of the ‘yellow metal.’ [The Farmer and Mechanic (Raleigh, NC) 6 Aug 1912
            According to NCpedia, gold became difficult to extract from the red clay at the Portis by the early 1900s. A final effort was made by the Norlina Mining Company. Although the latest techniques were used, “the cost of the mining operation exceeded by one-third the value of the gold recovered, and the mine was closed in 1936.”

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Sources of  Annoyance and Even Danger to Passersby, the Board Passed and Ordinance Monday Night Forbidding Children to Play These Games on the Street

     An ordinance has been passed by the aldermen prohibiting "snowballing" on the streets of Elizabeth City, also the game of "shindy" is prohibited by the same ordinance.
     The ordinance prohibiting snowballing came is as a result of some of last Sunday's capers of the boys and girls. They thronged the streets pretty much all day and pelted every pedestrian that came along. These young people did not seem to have any respect for age or anything else, but plied their sport to the discomfiture of the people who walked the streets.
School boys throwing snowballs.
Wellcome Collection
     The game of "shindy"* is a great favorite among the small boys and it's a dangerous one too. The wonder of it is that a dozen legs have not already been broken. The ordinance, if it is enforced, will be a great relief to parents.

*a game similar to field hockey

[Taken from The Advance (Elizabeth City,
Pasquotank County, NC) 12 Jan 1912]


Wednesday, March 4, 2020


[The Windsor Herald and Bertie County Register 
(Windsor Bertie Co., NC) 22 Nov 1833]

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Real Problem

            From the earliest days of our history, there have been temperance movements attempting to ban the production and use of alcoholic beverages — with varying degrees of success. Finally, in 1920, the 18th amendment made the production, transport, and sale of intoxicating liquors illegal. The temperance fight led to many incidents that we might find curious today. "Near beer" was supposed to have only a very small percentage of alcohol, but it didn't always work out! Below are a few examples of North Carolina's battle against “near beer.”

[Raleigh Times (Raleigh, NC) 12 Jun 1905]

Supreme Court Case
Is Licence Requirement to Sell Near Beer Legal?

     In 1909, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard a case challenging the right of Charlotte [Mecklenburg County] to require a $1,000 annual licence for the sale of near beer. Attorney general Thomas Bicket argued the case for the state, and he described near beer the starkest of terms.
  "What is near beer? The testimony in this case shows that it is a beverage that finds ready sale as a substitute for real beer. Our bibulous* constituents cry for it as children cry for Castoria**. It is made by the people who make beer, and drunk by the people who drink beer. It looks like beer, smells like beer, tastes like beer. … It is shoved across the old oaken counter, and the mirrored back bar, with the pictures of Aphrodite … springing from the foam, making the illusion complete. And sometimes in the gloaming the alchemy of a shadow projected from a policeman's expansive back and falling athwart the bar, works a transformation and suddenly, even as the thirsty one lifts the cup to his lips, near beer becomes the real thing.
     "And yet this court is asked to relegate this lusty beverage, this scion of centuries of vats, to the insipid level of soda water. Perish the thought! It proclaims itself in North Carolina as sole heir to and successor to the gaudy fluid. It boasts of its bubble, and sparkle and snap. It says to the disconsolate legions in an arid land, 'I may not be entirely wicked — but try me.' It capitalizes its kinship with Budweiser and Schlittz. It scorns soda water as Roosevelt scorns a mollycoddle, and lords it over grape juice like a mint julep over a milk shake."
     The state won the case and the lic
ence was enforced.
* excessively fond of drinking alcohol
** a laxative
[Taken from News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) 17 Nov 1909]

The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) 11 Aug 1888


Sells Near Beer on the Water.

     Deputy Marshall Wilcox returned from a business trip to Currituck county Tuesday night. While on the trip Mr. Wilcox discovered a floating near beer joint down in Currituck which presumable pays no state of county tax.
     The proprietor of this establishment has secured a house boat and located at a convenient point, and he was doing a good business.

[Taken from The Advance (Elizabeth City, NC) 23 Jun 1911]
[The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 28 Oct 1899]

Were Arrested By the Police During
the Month of February—
Banishment of Near-Beer Saloons May
Result in Decrease of Drunkenness.

[Taken from The Wilmington Dispatch (Wilmington, NC) 1 Mar 1911]


       The Board of Aldermen of Elizabeth City (Pasquotank County) passed an ordinance in April 1910 regulating the sale of near beer. It stipulated that dealers who sold near beer must pay the Trustees of the Graded School of Elizabeth City $500 to be used for educational purposes.
     In addition, stores selling the beverage were required to open on Matthews stgreet east of Martin and Poindexter street and north of Matthews. The beer had to be sold within ten feet of the front door and all screens, curtains and other obstructions had to be removed from windows and doors.

     It was believed that this ordinance would put near beer saloons out of business. It was noted that "a few days ago, the near beer saloons… were running wide open and they were thriving too."

[Taken from Tar Heel (Elizabeth City, North Carolina) 15 Apr 1910]
[Raleigh Times (Raleigh, NC) 21 Jun 1899]

Rocky Mount Closes Near Beer Saloons.

     Rocky Mount, June 4.— Every near beer saloon and firm selling near beer and like beverages was closed yesterday and for the first time in years a resident in Rocky Mount cannot get the real stuff, or the near article. All near beer applications were filed before the city aldermen last night, and it was this body that denied the privilege of selling, and this morning the proprietors of the four establishments were met at the door by an officer who informed them that they could not open, as the city had denied them license. 

     The problem was that in the four saloons, beverage was being sold that was making many offenders drunk. The proprietors were ordered to sample all their stock and send it off for analysis. State law said that over thee percent makes "near beer" into the real article, and it was found that every man in the business was selling the near article that contained at least three and a half and even up to five percent alcohol.

[Taken from The Daily Times (Wilson, NC) 7 Jun 1910]
[News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 7 Oct 1900]

Sunday, March 1, 2020


     My Ice Cream business has grown so that I have been compelled to materially increase the facilities for manufacturing, after a careful study of the Ice Cream business. A life time experience coupled with a special attention given to Ice Cream making I can safely assert that I am making as good cream as can be obtained any where.
Milk is supplied me in quantities from which I personally skin the cream. The fruits and other materials that enter into the composition of my Ice Cream are personally prepared and of the best obtainable. I can deliver Ice Cream at your home in packers especially made for the purpose on reasonably short notice, at prices as reasonable as possible consistent with the quality of Cream I use and service given.
Prices for Standard Cream:
Vanilla, Lemon, Orange, Chocolate.
In cans $1.50 per gallon
In cans $ .80 per ½ Gal.
In cans $ .40 per quart
In paper cartons per quart 75 ¢
In paper cartons " pint 40 ¢
In paper cartons " ½ pint 25 ¢

J. G. M. Cordon,
Tarboro, N. C.

The ice cream cone was first introduced at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904.
This Day in History - April 30 , 1904