“The China National Tobacco Corp. is by far the largest cigarette maker in the world. In 2013 it manufactured about 2.5 trillion cigarettes. Its next largest competitor, Philip Morris International, produced 880 billion. …

“Last year, China National opened an office in suburban Raleigh to facilitate its growing purchases of American tobacco…..

“A few years ago, a delegation from China National showed up at the farm of Thaddeus ‘Pender’ Sharp III, whose family has grown tobacco near Sims, N.C., since the late 1800s. Wearing business attire and bearing gifts, they told Sharp they wanted to buy some of his tobacco. Sharp says China’s cigarette market reminds him of the U.S. of his childhood, when ‘people smoked everywhere but church’ and the government didn’t care much about tobacco’s effects. Inevitably, he says, China will strengthen its antismoking laws….For now, though, China National represents a way for the Sharp family to prosper.

” ‘It’s not like we are going to quit because 50 years from now everyone might not smoke,’ says Sharp, who hangs his gift from China National, a hand-painted scroll, near the door of his office. ‘Hell, no! We are going to make a living for 50 years.’ ”

From “The Chinese Government Is Getting Rich Selling Cigarettes” b at businessweek.com (Dec. 11)


“Ministers from mainstream Southern denominations preached pro-war sermons, such as the one delivered by the Presbyterian minister in Dunn, North Carolina, in January 1918 and headlined in the Raleigh News & Observer: ‘Teutons Cannot Win, Proof from Bible.’

“Other Christians had different views. In March 1917, before the declaration of war, a group of ministers from Littleton, North Carolina, wrote to [House Majority Leader] Claude Kitchin that ‘War entered into until every effort that can be made to avert it is made is murder.’… ”

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


Curious about how often the New York Times has referred to “Tar Heel” over the past century and a half, I applied the Chronicle tool and was surprised to see a prominent spike in 1970. A big year for politics in North Carolina, perhaps? Or sports?


Of the 73 citations I found — only .06 percent of all Times articles — no fewer than 65 reported in agate type on harness racing results from Yonkers and Roosevelt tracks. Mentioned in all: a horse known as Claire’s Tar Heel.

Note to self: Remember to look skeptically at small sample sizes.


Chili and Beans - A Taste of the Old and the New

A Heritage Recipe Chili and Beans from A Taste of the old and the new.

chili - Progressive Farmer

Soybean Chili from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

Chicken Chili - Nightingales in the Kitchen

Chicken Chili from Nightingales in the kitchen.

White Chili - Count Our Blessings

White Chili from Count our blessings : 75 years of recipes and memories / Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Sherman's 'You'll need a Zantac' Chili - Heavenly Helpings

Sherman’s “You’ll Need a Zantac” Chili from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.

Chili II - The Charlotte Cookbook

Chili II from The Charlotte cookbook.

Black Bean Chili with Jalapeno - Flavors of Fearrington

Black Bean Chili with Jalapeno from Flavors of Fearrington : the village where neighbors care and community is alive.


Advertisement for Bike

Mr. E. J. Stephenson likely used the newly developed “safety” bike for his travels. Image Credit: The Durham daily globe. (Durham, N.C.), 02 June 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


In 1889, Mr. E. J. Stephenson made an arduous journey from Henderson, North Carolina to Newark, New Jersey via bicycle. At times, Stephenson was unable to ride his bike and resorted to walking along dusty and bumpy roads, sometimes for twenty to thirty miles. At one point, the roads would have been so difficult to travel on that he was advised to take a brief train ride.

During his two weeks of travel, he wrote about his journey documenting the sights and his expenditures as he made his way to New Jersey. He observed the Blue Ridge Mountains, crossed the Shenandoah River, and gazed across the Susquehanna River. In addition to this, he stopped for a day in Washington D.C. to visit many of the sights that are still popular destinations today. Notably, he visited the Washington Monument stating that it “is 500 feet high and took the elevator 8 minutes to get up.”

When he arrived in Newark sixteen days after departing Henderson, Stephenson had traveled 533 miles and spent $13.00 (approximately $340.00 in modern day currency.) The current time from Henderson, North Carolina to Newark by bike is approximately 44 hours since roads can be more easily traversed by bicycles since the year Stephenson made his trek. Read about the adventure, including broken spokes and free pears from farmers, in the published pages of Stephenson’s diary in the September 26, 1889 issue of The Gold Leaf.



“Sara Dylan answered the door, gave me a blank look, and closed the door. About two minutes later Bob Dylan himself appeared and stepped out onto the small porched entry. He wore blue jeans, a white shirt buttoned all the way up and a black leather vest, and he was very friendly and relaxed.

” ‘Bland. What kind of name is that?’ ”

– From “Christmas With Dylan: A true-life pilgrimage” by Bland Simpson in Creative Loafing (Dec. 15, 2004)

I don’t know which I appreciate more about “Christmas With Dylan” — its unforgettable, out-of-left-field last line or its serendipitous parallel with Dylan’s own youthful pilgrimage:

“On the porch was Mrs. Lillian Sandburg. She didn’t seem startled. …. Dylan announced: ‘I am a poet. My name is Robert Dylan, and I would like to see Mr. Sandburg.’ She disappeared into the house….Finally, the poet appeared, a genial, slow-moving man …. He wore an old plaid wool shirt, baggy trousers and a green eye-shade over shell-rimmed glasses….Sandburg: ‘You look like you are ready for anything….’ ”

– From “No Direction Home: The Life And Music Of Bob Dylan” by Robert Shelton (2011)


“There is a newspaper published in Lumberton, which is the largest town in Robeson County and the county seat, named the Robesonian. It is an old paper — it was a hundred years old several years ago — that prints news from all over the county. Shortly after I came to New York City, I subscribed to the Robesonian, out of homesickness, and I still subscribe to it; it is as necessary to me and as much a part of my life as the New York Times….”

– From “Days in the Branch: Remembering the South in the city” by  in The New Yorker (Dec. 1)

In this second and apparently final chapter of Mitchell’s unfinished memoir, he happens onto the 1790 census and finds countless  names he still sees on trips back to Robeson County — “on the fronts of stores and filling stations and sawmills and cotton gins and tobacco warehouses and on the sides of trucks and on roadside mailboxes and on miscellaneous roadside signs.”

His deep dive into the minutiae-packed pages of the Robesonian will stir nostalgia in anyone who has ever subscribed to a small-town paper.

Here’s an excerpt from a previous chapter in The New Yorker.


“North Carolina, the best state in the South for Negro education, spends for a Negro pupil less than two-thirds of a dollar for every dollar spent for a white pupil; the worst state, Mississippi, spends for a Negro pupil less than one-seventh on every dollar spent for a white pupil….

“Even if funds were more abundant, better Negro schools would not be welcome to many white Southerners. A Gallup Poll has shown that only half of Southern whites believe that Negro school facilities should be equalized to those of whites.”

– From “A Negro Looks at the South,” collected works of Sterling A. Brown from the 1940s (2007)


Pie 2 - Progressive Farmer

Image from The Progressive farmer’s southern cookbook.

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie - Supper's at Six

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie from Supper’s at six and we’re not waiting!

caramel pecan pumpkin pie - What's Cook'n at Biltmore

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie from What’s cook’n at Biltmore.

I Can't Make a Pumpkin Pie-Dixie Classie Fair

I can’t Make a Pumpkin Pie from Dixie Classic Fair for Northwest North Carolina : favorite recipes from friends of the Fair.

Old river boat pumpkin pie - Good Eatin' from Duke Memorial

Old River Boat Pumpkin Pie from Good eatin’ from Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, Durham, North Carolina.

Low Sugar Pumpkin Pie - Heavenly Helpings

Low Sugar Pumpkin Pie from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.

Pumpkin Pie Dip - Cooking on the Cutting Edge

Pumpkin Pie Dip from Cooking on the cutting edge.

Who's a Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Pie Dessert - Auntie Bee's

Who’s a Country Bumpkin Pumpkin Pie Dessert from Aunt Bee’s delightful desserts.

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.

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