Because gelatin molds are always a conversation starter.

Limey Cucumber Salad - Classic Cookbook of Duke Hospital

Limey Cucumber Salad from Classic cookbook.

Date-grapefruit globes - Carolina Cooking

Date-Grapefruit Globes from Carolina cooking.

Fantastic Shrimp Molds - Count Our Blessings

Fantastic Shrimp Mold from Count our blessings : 75 years of recipes and memories / Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Ham Mousse - Southern Cookbook

Ham Mousse from Marion Brown’s southern cook book.

Mayonaise ring - Soup to Nuts

Mayonnaise Ring from Soup to nuts : a cook book of recipes contributed by housewives and husbands of Alamance County and other sections of state and country.

Congealed vegetable salad - Carolina Cooking

Congealed Vegetable Salad from Carolina cooking.

Tuna Fish Mousse -  Progressive Farmer

Tuna Fish Mousse from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

In colonial North Carolina, paper money didn’t have the strong institutional backing it does today, and it was remarkably easy to counterfeit. Our July Artifact of the Month is a paper note from 1729 with a value of forty shillings… But was it real?

handwritten note

Our July Artifact of the Month: a 1729 handwritten paper note.

The preferred money of the time was coins of silver, gold, and copper. But Great Britain’s mercantilist colonial policy kept the flow of coins to the home country, and the colonies’ supply was always inadequate. To fill the need, all of Great Britain’s American colonies issued their own paper money. These notes were usually issued with little more than faith in the government as backing.

In 1690, Massachusetts became the first colony to issue its own paper money. North Carolina first issued paper money “bills of credit” in 1712 to finance a war against the Tuscarora Indians.

Unlike any other colony, North Carolina’s first four issues of paper money were produced without benefit of the printing press — they were all handwritten. The issues of 1712-13 and 1715 have no known surviving examples, but a few examples of the 1722 and 1729 issues are known. Our Artifact of the Month is an example of the last handwritten issue.

The note states “This Bill of Forty Shillings Shall be Current in North Carolina According to an Act of Assembly Made Nov 27, 1729.”

handwritten note detail

The note is serial number 730 and has a paper seal. It bears the signatures of John Lovick, William Downing, Cullen Pollock, Edward Moseley, and Thomas Swann. The back, originally blank, displays a couple of endorsements of bearers as the note circulated, a common practice with early North Carolina bills.

Back of note

Back of note

Handwritten paper money was highly susceptible to counterfeiting. The squiggly lines at top of this note were a simple means of counterfeit detection. If a note was brought to the proper governmental authority, it could be compared to the paper stubs with the top half of the squiggle with the same serial number.

Experts believe that most surviving examples of handwritten North Carolina paper money are counterfeits made by colonists (numismatists call these “contemporary counterfeits”). Some examples of these have been preserved in early court records of the prosecution of counterfeiters.

But what about our note? Is it a counterfeit? It was apparently condemned as counterfeit at the time, witnessed by the word “Counterfeit” penned at top.


One way to investigate would be to compare the signatures on the note with known-genuine signatures that are likely in the North Carolina State Archives. All five signers were prominent in local government and business, and it is likely that many of their documents have survived. As far as we know, no one has yet conducted this test, so we may attempt it ourselves.

Whether genuine or an early counterfeit, this is one of few survivors that attest to the severe money problems of early North Carolinians.

Those interested in learning more are referred to the excellent Money and Monetary Problems in Early North Carolina by Alan D. Watson, a 1980 publication of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History.

“In the years after Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, the beloved, moral patriarch Atticus Finch became a cultural icon. Some people were inspired to become lawyers because of Atticus. And some named their children after him…. So how do parents who named their kids Atticus feel [now]?…

“[When] John Edgerton and his wife Shelagh Kenney, both criminal defense lawyers in Durham, North Carolina, chose to name their son Atticus…  ‘It represented some ideals that both my wife and I believe in pretty firmly about how people should be, and how they should treat each other,’ Edgerton said. He certainly did not expect 72-year-old Atticus to say things like ‘The Negroes down here are still in their childhood as a people.’

“But while it’s sad to lose the starkness of the original’s Atticus righteousness, Edgerton said, ‘it also provides some depth that wasn’t necessarily there before. Real life is not at all black and white.’ He explained that once his son (now 8 years old) was born, he became the most important Atticus—whatever happens to Atticus Finch, Atticus Kenney will still be Atticus Kenney. ‘Once you have the real child in front of you, that governs your perception,’ Edgerton said. ‘Not what somebody wrote in a book.’ ”

— From “How Parents Who Named Their Kids ‘Atticus’ Feel About Learning He’s Now Kind of Racist” by Laura Bradley at Slate (July 13)

Atticus, though still uncommon, has been steadily climbing the given-name popularity chart.


“As punishment for losing civil wars go, the South got pretty lucky. It got to honor its military leaders with bronze statues. It got to name its streets and schools after Confederate leaders. It even got to keep symbols of the war, like the suddenly at-issue Confederate flag.

” ‘The Southern losers were treated with extraordinary leniency,’ said Harry Watson, a history professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill….

” ‘In most of the civil wars that I know anything about the losers were subject to much more serious repression…. They were sent to camps or they were shot or put in jail or any number of horrible things like that.’

“Two high-profile gruesome examples: The French Revolution in the 1790s that popularized the guillotine, and executions during and after the end of the 1920s Russian civil war that reached genocide levels.

“The losing sides’ flags in these cases were most certainly destroyed. In the case of the Russian civil war, Watson said, ‘If you flew the czarist flag after that war was over, or in Communist-controlled territory while the war was going on, you’d have been in very big trouble.’

“Watson thinks the North didn’t have the political will to remake Southern society after the war. He sums up the North-South peace deal this way:  ‘ “As long as you [the North] give us the right to rule these states,” said the South, “we will not demand national independence.” That was essentially what it amounted to. And the North said “OK.” ‘ ”

— From “Why is the Confederate flag still a thing even though the South lost the Civil War?” by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post (July 10)


“….Moderate, fraternal-minded or skittish Klansmen… had no stomach for the vituperative anti-Catholicism promoted by Klan lecturers…

“Even some hooded officials harbored reservations about the bigoted logic of white Protestant nationalism….In 1927, Imperial Wizard [Hiram Wesley] Evans tried to force North Carolina Klan officials to place bills before the state legislature invalidating ‘prenuptial agreements regarding education of children’ in mixed Catholic-Protestant marriages and outlawing membership in the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. Tar Heel Klansmen rebelled against the directive, and some cut their ties with the national organization….”

— From “One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s” by Thomas R. Pegram (2011)


It’s summer in the south and that means fresh fruit!  So run to your local farmers market or grocer, grab your favorite fruit, and try out a new to you recipe.

USED 7-9-15 Fruit cocktail poem - Kitchen Kapers


Fruit Cocktail poem from Kitchen kapers.

USED 7-9-15 Fruit Cocktails - Nightingales in the Kitchen

Fruit Cocktail from Nightingales in the kitchen.

USED 7-9-15 Cantaloupe Pond Lilies - Heavenly Delights

Cantaloupe Pond Lilies from Heavenly delights.

USED 7-9-15 Blueberry Pineapple Float-Cooking with Berries

Blueberry-Pineapple Float from Cooking with berries.

Watermelon Ice - Pass the Plate

Watermelon Ice from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

USED 7-9-15 Pear Relish - A Taste of the Old and the New

Pear Relish from A Taste of the old and the new.

USED 7-9-15 Broiled Grapefruit - Given to Hospitality

Broiled Grapefruit from Given to hospitality : a cook book.

USED 7-9-15 Cold Peach Soup - Pass the Plate

Cold Peach Soup from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

“Black codes and slave courts in the North American colonies, like those in the Caribbean, focused intensely on protecting the bodies of slaves while masking the extremities of mutilation….

“In John Haywood’s A Manual of the Laws of North Carolina (1808), a person would be judged ‘guilty of willfully and maliciously killing a slave’ except when the slave died resisting his master or when ‘dying under moderate correction.’

“To style the ‘correction’ of a slave that causes death ‘moderate’ is to assure that old abuses and arbitrary acts would continue to be masked by vague standards and apparent legitimacy.”

— From “Cruel and Unusual: The end of the Eighth Amendment” by Joan Dayan at Boston Review (Oct. 7, 2004)


“….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)


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