Memorial Day is just around the corner.  Flags will be flown, veterans remembered, and grills fired up.  Here are a few recipes to help you out with your weekend festivities.

Grilling - Progessive Farmer

Image from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

Balsamic Grilled Asparagus - Heavenly Helpings

Balsamic Grilled Asparagus from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.

Charcoal Roast - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

Charcoal Roast from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Linda's Marinated Turkey Breast for the Grill - A Dash of Down East

Linda’s Marinated Turkey Breast for the Grill from A dash of Down East.

Bacon-wrapped Pork Kabobs - Mario Tailagtes

Bacon-wrapped Pork Kabobs from Mario tailgates NASCAR style.

Grilled Barbecue Chicken - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

Grilled Barbecue Chicken from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Swordfish Kebobs - Flavors of Fearrington

Swordfish Kebobs from Flavors of Fearrington : the village where neighbors care and community is alive.

On this day in 1933: Sen. Josiah Bailey of North Carolina takes the floor to note that “Even the mules in the South wear shoes.”

Bailey’s is one of many indignant responses to Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins’ characterization of the South as “an untapped market for shoes. . . . A social revolution will take place if you put shoes on the people of the South.”


Our May Artifact of the Month is the state-of-the-art IBM Personal Computer AT, IBM’s second-generation PC.


While this computer may seem like a mammoth in comparison to the latest MacBook Air, it was IBM’s streamlined and state-of-the-art release in August of 1984. In fact, AT stands for Advanced Technology. Advanced, high-technology features of this computer include: 80286-based processor with 265k RAM, one 1.2-Mbyte floppy disk, and high-capacity diskette and fixed-disk drives. When it first went on sale, all this and more could be had for the low, low price of $3,995!

If the RAM-and-bytes jargon doesn’t make sense to you, we’ll simplify: this computer was pretty high-tech for its time, and it was designed for professional applications, office environments, and personal productivity. This computer in particular was used in an office in Davis Library during the first decades of automated record keeping and online searching.


To put technology growth into perspective: In August of 1984, the IBM Personal Computer AT was released with a memory capacity of 256K RAM. In 1995, the average RAM of most computers was 2 Megabytes. Modern-day RAM is anywhere between 4-12 Gigabytes. In other words, from 1984 to 2016 there was a million-fold increase in computer memory capacity. That’s pretty astounding.

UNC has close ties to IBM because of Fred Brooks, computer architect and founder of UNC’s Computer Science department. Brooks managed the development of IBM’s System/360 family of computers that revolutionized IBM computing, made advancements in capability, and allowed machines to be upward-compatible. Brooks also facilitated the transition of the 360-series from a 6-bit byte to an 8-bit byte. Simply put, a byte is the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer, and for that reason it’s the smallest addressable unit of memory in computers. The switch from a byte composed of 6 bits to that of 8 bits allows us to use lowercase letters.

If, like us, you’re thankful that computer text is not all caps and doesn’t read as if someone is yelling at you, give Fred Brooks a nod if you ever see him on campus.

On this day in 1980: Charlotte Motor Speedway makes the mistake of scheduling a Waylon Jennings concert on qualifying day for the World 600 stock-car race. Eight people are injured, 3 are arrested and 175 riot police are called out.

“We just got the wrong mix of people,” speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler will recall. “We had God-fearing, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue folks out there with the motorcycle boys.”


“[George] Washington’s complaints only increased in the southern states [during his first-term tour of all 13 states]. Instead of comfort, he experienced martyrdom, at least in the small towns along the road.

“In April 1791 he crossed into North Carolina from Virginia hoping to find an inn where both he and the horses could recover from an unpleasant day of traveling in the rain. He had no luck. The single tavern open for business was so repellent that Washington could not bring himself to suffer a single night’s stay. The inn, he explained in his diary, ‘having no stables in which the horses could be comfortable, & no Rooms or beds which appeared tolerable, & every thing else having a dirty appearance, I was compelled to keep on to Halifax.’

Tarboro, North Carolina, offered ‘a very indifferent house without stabling.’ There followed a series of ‘indifferent’ inns, a description that in Washington’s rating system apparently meant barely tolerable….”

— From “George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation” by T.H. Breen (2016)

“Indifferent” may have been Washington’s pejorative of choice for North Carolina inns, but he was more memorably dismissive of Charlotte — and Greenville — as “trifling.”


“On July 25, 1703, Thomas Bouthier filed a legal complaint… that Susannah Evans of Currituck, not having the fear of God before her eyes, but being led by the instigation of the devil, did devilishly and maliciously bewitch, with the assistance of the devil, afflict the body of [his wife] Deborah Bouthier with mortal pains that caused her death….

“Cornelius Jones, a well-known sea captain, served as foreman of the grand jury. Captain Jones had been well informed of the atrocities in Salem, Mass., during his travels to the New England colonies. He convinced the jurors to dismiss the charges of witchcraft. His political motive was to avoid the hysteria that had occurred in Salem [in 1692]. Even though Susannah was found not guilty, it was reported the townsfolk continued to keep their distance from her….”

— From “The Magic of Words: North Carolina’s First Witch Trial” by Hope Thompson at Candid Slice (Oct. 20, 2013)

Kevin Cherry points out John Lawson’s mention of another early — earlier? — witchcraft prosecution.


Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

“The change had taken place gradually, practically invisibly. Michael Jordan was no longer cool.”

— From “How Air Jordan Became Crying Jordan” by Ian Crouch in the New Yorker (May 11)


WALNUT COVE, N.C., Dec. 25 — Becoming suddenly insane, a Stokes County farmer today slew his wife and six children, and after laying them out for burial went into a patch of woods and killed himself with a shotgun. The body of C. D. Lawson, the 43 years old father and husband, was found about a half mile from his home….”

— From “Insane farmer slays wife, six children, self” by the Associated Press (Dec. 26, 1929) 

This 2008 story in the Winston-Salem Journal offers many details — including the crime-scene tours (at 25 cents a head) arranged by Lawson’s relatives.

The murders also have been recalled with a book,  a ballad and a documentary.

Lawson’s motive remains unknown, but one author blames an agricultural depression for making the 1920s “clearly the decade of the familicide.” 


“The tourist on horseback, in search of exercise and recreation, is not probably expected to take stock of moral conditions. But this Mitchell County [North Carolina], although it was a Union county during the war and is Republican in politics (the Southern reader will perhaps prefer another adverb to ‘although’), has had the worst possible reputation.

“The mountains were hiding-places of illicit distilleries; the woods were full of grog-shanties, where the inflaming fluid was sold as ‘native brandy,’ quarrels and neighborhood difficulties were frequent, and the knife and pistol were used on the slightest provocation. Fights arose about boundaries and the title to mica mines, and with the revenue officers; and force was the arbiter of all disputes. Within the year four murders were committed in the sparsely settled county. Travel on any of the roads was unsafe.

“The tone of morals was what might be expected with such lawlessness. A lady who came up on the road on the 4th of July, when an excursion party of country people took possession of the [railroad] cars, witnessed a scene and heard language past belief. Men, women, and children drank from whisky bottles that continually circulated, and a wild orgy resulted. Profanity, indecent talk on topics that even the license of the sixteenth century would not have tolerated, and freedom of manners that even Teniers would have shrunk from putting on canvas, made the journey horrible.

“The unrestrained license of whisky and assault and murder had produced a reaction a few months previous to our visit. The people had risen up in their indignation and broken up the groggeries. So far as we observed temperance prevailed, backed by public-opinion. In our whole ride through the mountain region we saw only one or two places where liquor was sold….”

— From “On Horseback”  by Charles Dudley Warner (1885)


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »