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Archive for the ‘On This Day’ Category

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 […]

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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 […]

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On this day in 1972: In one of the most memorable phrases of the Watergate hearings, Sen. Sam Ervin refers to himself as “just an old country lawyer.” Sen. Edward Gurney, a Florida Republican, accused Democrat Ervin of “harassment” in his persistent questioning of Maurice Stans, chief fund-raiser for President Nixon’s reelection campaign. “I’m just […]

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On this day in 1918: Future senator Sam Ervin, in infantry training, writing his “Dearest Mamma” in Morganton: “Today is Mother’s Day, and according to orders from General Pershing it is to be most fittingly observed by each member of the Amixforce [American Expeditionary Forces] writing a letter to his mother. No order heretofore given […]

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On this day in 1937: “Brave New World” author Aldous Huxley, spending several days at Black Mountain College while driving cross-country, tells an Asheville reporter that he finds western North Carolina “wonderful country,” the rise of Duke University “most extraordinary” and the South “livening up.”  

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Edward R. Murrow, a native of the Polecat Creek community in Guilford County, died 50 years ago today. As the New York Times observed in his obituary, Murrow’s  “independence and incisive reporting brought heightened journalistic stature to radio and television.” Today he seems to be remembered most often by critics of his successors in the […]

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On this day in 1955: I. Beverly Lake Sr., assistant attorney general of North Carolina, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that the state should be given no deadline to desegregate its schools: “Race consciousness is not race prejudice. It is not race hatred. It is not intolerance. It is a deeply ingrained awareness of […]

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On this day in 1930: A throng estimated at 30,000 to 50,000 is on hand for Charlotte’s first air mail delivery. The carrier is Eastern Air Transport, later to be Eastern Air Lines. The story in the next day’s Observer begins: “Roaring out of the darkness of the south, Gene Brown, intrepid air flier of […]

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On this day in 1793: Samuel Spencer, justice of the state supreme court, dies as a result of wounds inflicted by a turkey gobbler. Spencer was sitting on the porch of his home near Wadesboro when he became sleepy and began to nod; his bobbing red cap apparently provoked the turkey to attack. The 59-year-old […]

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On this day in 1879: Workers approaching from both sides complete 1,832-foot Swannanoa Gap tunnel, longest in western North Carolina. Master builder Thad Coleman wires Asheville that the “grades and centers met exactly.” Later the same day, however, a slide at the tunnel kills 21 laborers. (In all, some 400 workers, most of them misdemeanor […]

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