“….In their reactions to last week’s call by the Pasquotank NAACP to remove a Confederate monument from the county courthouse property, several Pasquotank commissioners said the Civil War was fought more over the issue of states’ rights than slavery.

“That’s just not so, said Michael Hill, a historian with the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, who called the states’ rights justification for the South’s secession a ‘bogus argument’….

“ ‘That debate was long settled among historians,’ Hill said in a phone interview. ‘Slavery was central to the debate that preceded the war.’

“Hill said that when Southern states declared their causes for seceding from the Union, many said point-blank it was because of the North’s perceived hostility to slaveholding. Shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, he said, many Southern leaders and writers tried to redefine, and even rename, the Civil War — one of those names was in fact the ‘War Between the States’ — but he said there’s no doubt about the ‘centrality of slavery’ in causing the war…”

— From “Historian: Slavery, not states’ rights, caused Civil War” by Jon Hawley in the Elizabeth City Daily Advance (July 4)

Of course, this misconception isn’t limited to northeastern North Carolina.


” ‘I suppose you have already heard of the woman’s rights convention a few weeks ago in Worcester, [Mass.]’ Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick of North Carolina told his fiancee, Ellen Thompson. ‘I used to think all that was said about such things was mere talk. But there are a number of persons now in Cambridge who were at that the other day.

” ‘The members and delegates are mostly of that peculiar class, called sometimes for distinction “old maids.” These individuals abound more at the North than at the South. What is the reason I cannot tell.’ ”

– FromConjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860″ by Michael O’Brien (2004)


“The ‘Seattle’ phenomenon spawned a series of imitators in the music press…. For some time, Chapel Hill appeared to enjoy frontrunner status and a spate of pieces appeared touting central North Carolina as the place to watch….

“The most notable of the Chapel Hill pieces was certainly Mr. Eric Konigsberg’s for Details…. Konigsberg does yeoman’s work in fabricating a Chapel Hill to suit his fantasies: ‘In the Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham triangle of sleepy, left-leaning college towns, English lit students argue structuralism on their front porches while listening to hardcore songs like “Wheel-chair Full of Old Man.” ‘

“Yes, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham are in fact replicas of the same town…. Amazing that the fiction of them being distinct municipalities endured so long. And never mind that structuralism has not been a topic of compelling academic interest for 30 years, because state law does in fact mandate that the graduate stipend for studying literature include a house with a front porch….”

— From “Brain Dead in Seattle: A Jeremiad” by Eric Iversen in the Baffler (1993)


On this day in 1985: A 20-year-old Kill Devil Hills man pleads guilty to 48 counts of misdemeanor theft — of license plates. After receiving numerous complaints from victimized vacationers, police deduced the thief’s quest to collect all 50 states and successfully baited him with a Hawaii plate attached to an unmarked car.

h/t On This Day in Outer Banks History by Sarah Downing (2014)


“The Chapel Hill [town council’s post World War I] report commented that ‘No single thing showed the patriotic spirit of the people of Orange County during the war than the cheerful way in which they carried out the irksome rules and regulations of the Food Administration’….

“The report describes how the county food administration decided that no farmers would be allowed to thresh their wheat before July 1. Although most threshermen acceded to this directive, one or two did not. The report calls this a violation of the law and states that the men pled guilty but then voluntarily contributed to the Red Cross, so charges were dropped. Since not even Herbert Hoover, the head of the federal Food Administration, could issue edicts with the force of law, one wonders what exactly the two threshermen had been charged with….”

— From “Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South” by Jeanette Keith (2004)

The July 1 restriction surely has something to do with maximizing production — does anyone know exactly what?



We see a lot of interesting images here at North Carolina Historic Newspapers, like this sheep advertising the Chatham Manufacturing Company of Elkin. My interest was piqued, and I set out to learn more about the company behind the ad.

Founded in 1877 through a partnership between Alexander Chatham and his brother-in-law, Thomas Lenoir Gwyn, the company evolved from a single wool carding machine operation to the largest single unit woolen mill in the world by the 1950s.

In 1890, Alexander Chatham bought out Thomas Lenoir Gwyn’s share of their company, which at the time was named Elkin Woolen Mills. In the same year, Alexander Chatham’s eldest son, Hugh Gwyn Chatham, assumed leadership of the company.

In the 19th century most of the company’s raw material came from the area surrounding Elkin, with local farmers bringing their wool in to have it spun into blankets. Eventually Chatham Manufacturing acquired wool from such distant locales as New Zealand, Australia, and South America as production demand exceeded local supply.

The company is most widely known for its Chatham Blankets, of which it contributed millions for solders’ bedrolls during World War I and World War II. Chatham manufacturing also produced upholstery for cars, beginning in 1936 with fabric for the Packard Motor Company. Other products included baby blankets, men’s suiting fabric and sportswear woolens, among others. By the 1950s there was a United States Custom port of entry operating in Elkin to support the company’s volume of imports.

In 1988 Northern Feather, a Danish textile firm, bought Chatham Manufacturing and the company passed out of family hands.

To learn more about Chatham Manufacturing, its employees, and life in Elkin during the reign of this American manufacturing powerhouse, check out:

The Chatham Blanketeer

Chatham blankets : Chatham blankets, Chatham baby blankets, men’s homespun suitings, automobile fabrics, sportswear woolens

Our history : a photographic sketch

Mr. Chatham’s mill : a tiny textile plant four generations ago, Chatham Manufacturing Company is now a leading producer of blankets and other fabrics.

Thurmond Chatham Papers, 1898-1956

Summer has come to the Tar Heel State with a bang.  With temps in the upper 90s and heat indexes to the 100s, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk!

USED 6-25-15 Egg Dishes Poem - Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs Favorite Recipes

Poem from Favorite recipes.

USED 6-25-15 eggs in tomato cups - What's Left is Right

Baked Eggs in Tomato Cups from What’s left is right : what to do with leftovers when you’re desperate.

USE Chili puffed eggs - Buffet Benny's

Chili Puffed Eggs from Buffet Benny’s family cookbook : recipes, stories & poems from the Appalachian Mountains.

USED 6-25-15 Gourmet luncheon eggs - Classic Cookbook of Duke Hospital

Gourmet Luncheon Eggs from Classic cookbook.

USE Carassa eggs - Carolina Cooking

Carassa Eggs from Carolina cooking.

USE Vegetable Scramble - Love Yourself Cookbook

Vegetable Scramble from Love yourself cookbook : easy recipes for one or two.

USE Eggs with Olives and Cheese - Waldensian Cookery

Eggs with Olives and Cheese from Waldensian cookery.


“If you grew up in the Southeast like me, you may think (as I once did) that the spot on the front of your car for a license-sized plate is just for displaying your school pride, an advertisement from the dealership where you purchased your car, or a plate from another state that you frankly think is a lot cooler than the one you currently live in. As it turns out, however, most states actually require that vehicles display two license plates — one on the front, another on the back….

“North Carolina once required front and back plates, but the General Assembly amended G.S. 20-63 in 1951 to permit the DMV commissioner to issue only one registration plate for each motor vehicle if he or she determined that there was ‘an actual or threatened shortage of metal’…. Eventually, G.S. 20-63 was amended to simply require, regardless of the availability of metal, that only one registration plate be issued….”

— From “The License Plate Game” by Shea Denning at North Carolina Criminal Law (June 10)

Denning teaches at the UNC School of Government and knows everything there is to know about motor vehicle law — really!


“In the hours after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, American and South Carolina flags across that state dipped to half-staff….

“But the Confederate battle flag that sits on the grounds of the capitol in Columbia was left untouched….

“The Charleston Post and Courier explained that ‘Its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.’ ”

— From “Why the Confederate flag at South Carolina’s capitol didn’t dip for the Charleston dead” by Jim Galloway at ajc.com (June 18, 2015)


“A Confederate battle flag hung inside the old North Carolina State Capitol to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being taken down after civil rights leaders raised concerns.

“The decision was announced hours after the Associated Press published a story about the flag, which officials said was part of an historical display intended to replicate how the antebellum building appeared in 1863….”

— From “North Carolina taking down Confederate flag from old Capitol building”  by the Associated Press (March 29, 2013)


What a contrast! One state welds itself to official veneration of the flag, the other leaps to erase it from even historical display. 

Even so, North Carolinians who wish to share with the world their attachment to the Lost Cause do have options.

Update: That now-dead link was to an item listed on Amazon — a contemporary mashup of the North Carolina state flag and the Confederate battle flag. Like many other retailers, Amazon has now removed all Confederate merchandise.


On this day in 1864: Gen. Gabriel Rains of New Bern, whose use of land mines to stymie pursuing Union forces has already created outrage in the North, is appointed chief of the Confederacy’s newly created Torpedo Bureau. Under his supervision a variety of “torpedoes” (explosive devices he has patterned after a design by Samuel Colt) will be manufactured at Richmond, Wilmington, Mobile, Charleston and Savannah.

Confederate naval mines will sink about 58 Union vessels, some 1,300 land mines will be buried in the defenses of Richmond and two of Rains’ agents will detonate a bomb at the wharves of Ulysses S. Grant’s supply base at City Point, Va., that causes numerous casualties and $4 million in damages.


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