North Carolina Maps

I’m excited to announce the release of the beta site for North Carolina Maps, the historic map digitization project by the North Carolina State Archives, UNC-Chapel Hill University Library, and Outer Banks History Center.

The site currently includes over 750 maps, primarily from the State Archives and the North Carolina Collection. Maps from the Outer Banks History Center will be added in the fall. There is an impressive variety of maps on the site, including many of the earliest maps of North Carolina, state highway maps, Coast and Geodetic Survey maps, and — my personal favorite — soil survey maps. North Carolina Maps also includes at least one map for each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

New maps and features will be added to the site on a regular basis over the next two years. North Carolina Maps is made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act grant distributed through the State Library of North Carolina.

Wonderland Trail and Mayview Park

A few weeks ago I added a blog entry about Wonderland, North Carolina. Well, there are Wonderlands popping up all over the place now. The cover of In Cloudland, Mayview Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina (a promotional item for W. L. Alexander’s Mayview Park development, near Blowing Rock) recently caught my attention.In Cloudland
When I flipped through the pamphlet, I noticed that there were several images of “Wonderland Trail,” one of which I’ve included below (notice the cut-and-fill method of road construction).
Wonderland Trail
The pamphlet is full of wonderful mountain scenes, information on the Mayview Park resort and development, details on local attractions, and recommended travel routes.

Rock Springs Camp Meeting

At the end of July 2008 thousands of people gathered in Denver, North Carolina, for the annual Rock Springs Camp Meeting. The oldest continuing camp meeting in North Carolina, Rock Springs traces its roots to a meeting held at Rehobeth Methodist Church in Lincoln County in 1794. Camp meetings grew out of the isolation of life in a frontier area and the strong revival spirit of protestant Christianity. Often churches of different denominations would combine to sponsor the meeting, and families would come from miles around to the campground for a series of preaching and singing events which lasted from several days to a couple of weeks. Some families have been returning to the same tents – actually small cabins – at Rock Springs for generations. The accompanying illustration, from our post card collection, shows the permanent “arbor” at Rock Springs. [Thanks to loyal NCM reader Kevin Cherry for this suggestion.]

“Who Has Not Heard Of Shocco Jones?”

Shocco Jones
I am sure Joseph Seawell Jones, a.k.a. “Shocco,” would be astounded at the numerous negative answers to the question posed above. For those of us “so far behind in the spirit of the age-the march of mind-the progress of science…,” never fear. The author “through sheer compassion for [our] ignorance” provides us with a description of Shocco’s campaign through Mississippi in The Mammoth Humbug: Or, The Adventures of Shocco Jones In Mississippi, In The Summer of 1839. It is here that Jones recaps the story of this “historian of North Carolina-the chivalrous defender of southern honor” and his dealings in Mississippi after fleeing from the law for dueling with Mr. H. Wright Wilson of New York.

For a more unbiased look at this infamous hoaxer try Edwin Arthur Miles’s article “Joseph Seawell Jones of Shocco- historian and humbug” in the North Carolina Historical Review. There is also a chapter on Joseph Seawell Jones in Dr. H.G. Jones’s Scoundrels, Rogues and Heroes of the Old North State.

Happy birthday, online catalog

Twenty-three years ago today, the online catalog was introduced in UNC’s Davis Library. This image shows several library employees happily exploring the new system, with the old card catalog hanging out in the background.
We’ve still got our trusty card catalog here in the North Carolina Collection, though most (about 90%) of our holdings have made it into the online catalog.

August 1920: North Carolina and the Women’s Suffrage Amendment

This Month in North Carolina History

12 Reasons Why Women Should Vote pamphlet
12 Reasons Why Women Should Vote pamphlet

When the Nineteenth Amendment came before the North Carolina legislature in August 1920, it was not the first time the state’s leaders had considered allowing women to vote. In February 1897, a bill for women’s suffrage had been introduced in the state senate by J.L. Hyatt, a Republican from Yancey County. This bill died after it was referred to the committee on insane asylums, of which Hyatt was the chair.

Representative D.M. Clark of Pitt County introduced a bill in 1913 that would have allowed individual municipalities to vote on local women’s suffrage, but it was eventually tabled. Women’s right to vote came before the Assembly again in January 1915, when bills were introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate. After a joint committee hearing, the House voted to table the issue indefinitely and a few weeks later the Senate followed suit.

Two years later, three separate women’s suffrage bills were introduced. A municipal suffrage bill introduced by Gallatin Roberts of Buncombe County received a favorable committee report, but was ultimately defeated on the House floor. G. Ellis Gardner of Yancey County submitted a bill to allow suffrage via a constitutional amendment, but it was tabled.

The third, which was introduced by state senator Thomas A. Jones of Buncombe County and called for limited voting rights for women, was defeated by a close 20-24 margin. In early 1919, women’s suffrage was a major issue both locally and nationally, and bills for municipal suffrage were introduced in both houses of the North Carolina legislature. This time the bill passed in the Senate (35-12), but the House failed to pass it by a slim margin (49-54).

Although women’s suffrage bills continued to be tabled or rejected, the issue actually had a great deal of support within North Carolina. Among those officially endorsing suffrage were a wide variety of well-respected women’s organizations, as well as the Southern Baptist Conference, Southern Methodist General Conference, and the North Carolina Farmers Union. Virtually all of the state’s mainstream newspapers were sympathetic by 1919, and the issue also had vocal celebrity supporters like William Jennings Bryan, former governor Locke Craig, Lieutenant-Governor O. Max Gardner, and newspaper editor Josephus Daniels.

In June 1919, the federal women’s suffrage amendment—also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment—was submitted to the states for ratification and by April 1920, 35 of the necessary 36 states had ratified. When the North Carolina legislature met on 10 August 1920, both North Carolina and Tennessee were considering the suffrage amendment and its ratification. It appeared not only that the Nineteenth Amendment would be ratified, but that North Carolina could be the final state required to do so.

Yet, on 11 August 1920, sixty-three of the one hundred and twenty North Carolina House members signed a telegram sent to the Tennessee legislature, promising that they — a majority of the House — would not ratify the amendment on the grounds that it interfered “with the sovereignty of Tennessee and other States of the Union,” and asking that Tennessee do the same. The impact of this telegram seems to have been minimal, however, since the Tennessee State Senate passed ratification on the 13 August 1920.

On the same day, Governor Thomas W. Bickett submitted a bill to the North Carolina legislature in a joint address to both houses. Although Bickett was against women’s suffrage on principle, he felt that it was inevitable and that a North Carolina vote against ratification would only postpone the matter for a few months. He had previously written to President Woodrow Wilson, who was a supporter of women’s suffrage, that he hoped Tennessee would ratify first, thus making a North Carolina vote unnecessary. In fact, the Raleigh News and Observer quoted the governor as saying to the Assembly, “I am profoundly convinced that it would be part of wisdom and grace for North Carolina to accept the inevitable and ratify the amendment.”

On 17 August 1920, state senator Lindsay Warren proposed that the Senate postpone the ratification vote until the next legislative session. Warren’s motion passed by a vote of 25 to 23, crushing any chance that North Carolina would be the final state in the ratification process. Two days later, the House openly rejected ratification by a vote of 41 to 71. Meanwhile, there was also ratification drama in Nashville, where shortly after the Tennessee House ratified the amendment, a motion was made to reconsider. By August 21, however, Tennessee upheld ratification by a unanimous 49 to 0 vote and, in spite of the objections voiced in North Carolina’s legislature, women officially gained the right to vote in the United States.

Although North Carolina technically did not reject the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 (because of Warren’s motion to table the bill in the Senate), it also did not ratify it until 1971, more than fifty years after it became law. The only state to wait longer was Mississippi, which ratified it in 1984.


A. Elizabeth Taylor. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in North Carolina,” The North Carolina Historical Review, January 1961 (Volume 38, no. 1) and April 1961 (Volume 38, no. 2).

The Journal of the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, at its Session of 1897 by the North Carolina Senate. Winston: M.I. and J.C. Stewart, Public Printers and Binders, 1897.

“Women Suffrage.” Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2006.

Image Source:

Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina. Twelve Reasons Why Women Should Vote. [Broadsides]. Raleigh: The Association, [between 1915 and 1920].