— In search of North Carolina’s lost kaolin mines.
— Him sign funny today: Looking over the shoulder of David Sedaris.
Reading your interesting account of Durham’s bull, I was reminded of a characteristic of the animal to which you did not point: On the bull’s side appears a map of the U. S.
The story as it reached me is that Durham & Co. imported this animal at a great cost from the Pampas, after search for a bull on whose side was a “perfect map of the United States.”
The bull, it is said, died on the Durham & Co. lot soon after importation. But not before artists had copied his “map” to paste on the nation’s billboards.
Could and would TIME verify this?
Des Moines, Iowa
American Tobacco Co. recalls no actual model for Bull Durham. The U. S. map on his side was purely accidental. When noticed it was touched up to be more apparent. —ED.
— Letter to the editor of Time magazine, July 18, 1932
“My first newspaper job was at a small daily in eastern North Carolina [the Washington Daily News] where my family lived. I worked there summers when I was in college….
“I had a month off one college winter and needed a study project for school. So, I went to the newspaper and proposed a Civil War history of the town based on a diary of a Union Navy officer I had found in the local library.
“In 1862, Lincoln sent Union gunboats to a number of small river ports in the Carolinas to keep Southerners from getting war materials. This was the case in my little town. But when I read the diary, my eyes opened wide.
“According to the author’s account, the town’s elders paddled out in a rowboat to greet their Northern captors with open arms. They were merchants who found that the Southern cause was bad for business, and they were treated to an elegant dinner with wine aboard one of the Yankee gunboats.
“Naturally, when my series was printed, it was not well received. One of my critics was a self-styled historian who would fit right in with the Sons of Confederate Veterans…. The experience taught me that anything written about so painful a period has to be undertaken with great care.”
— From “Why Southern history can be so dodgy” by blogger Peter Galuszka
“The most famous photo of the [1952 presidential] campaign came in Salisbury, North Carolina, when a crowd gathered around the train at 5:30 a.m. and began chanting for Eisenhower.
“The general and his wife woke, groaned, put on their bathrobes and groped their way to the rear platform, where they waved back at the crowd. Ike had his arm around Mamie’s shoulder; they both had big grins spreading across their faces. The photograph, as [press secretary] Jim Hagerty said, was ‘dynamite.’ ”
The image can be seen on the following Corbis Images page: Dwight D. Eisenhower Wearing a Bath Robe
— From “Eisenhower: Soldier and President” by Stephen E. Ambrose (1991)
Dept. of Coincidence: Although North Carolina ranks only eighth in frequency of the surname Eisenhower (Pennsylvania is first), it is easily No. 1 in Isenhours — and Salisbury accounts for more of them than any other N.C. city.
“At Wake Forest [W. J. Cash] became… a fan of H. L. Mencken, the acerbic Baltimore journalist who’d derided the South as ‘the Sahara of the Bozart’…. He wanted to write for Mencken’s magazine, American Mercury. In 1929 [it] published his Menckenesque dismantling of U.S. Sen. Furnifold Simmons…. ‘the stateliest Neanderthaler who ever cooled his heels on a Capitol Hill desk’….
“Other articles in the Mercury would follow, including an indignant portrayal of Charlotte as a citadel of bigotry and Babbitry, besotted by Presbyterianism and in love with Duke Power Co., a city where life for many consisted of ‘a dreary ritual of the office, golf and the church’ that is ‘unbearably dull even for Presbyterians.’
“To the 300,000 soldiers in the North Carolina maneuvers went the first of 38 carloads of Baltimore ice cream last week. Railroads had to pack this precious freight in dry ice and kapok blankets instead of the usual wet salt and ice.
“So important was the shipment considered that it was granted right of way in transportation over tanks, trucks and guns.”
— From Time magazine, Oct. 27, 1941
— Looking for the Lost Colony in all the wrong places?
— “Bear hunting highlights Asheville’s cultural divide”
— Who you calling “Buddy row“?
— How a Confederate veteran did right by five Union dead in Richmond County.
— Neogenealogists eager to shepherd black sheep.
— Can Vollis Simpson “put Wilson on the map”?
“When longtime resident Fred Helms, a 93-year-old lawyer, turns onto Queens Road West, he draws an appreciative breath and announces, ‘We are now entering … the most beautiful residential street in the world.’ ”
— From “Charlotte’s Magnificent Mile” (Sept. 17, 1989)
(Beautiful, but not indestructible. Less than a week after this story appeared in the Observer, Hurricane Hugo littered Queens Road West with snapped-off willow oaks. And since then the boulevard’s aging canopy has endured “Hugo on Ice”  and continuing assault by cankerworms.)
My own short list of North Carolina’s great streets tilts toward the less pristine and preserved, even the somewhat seedy. This weekend in Salisbury, for instance, I enjoyed wandering the idiosyncratic old storefronts of Main and Innes — antique shops, election headquarters, coin shop, hardware stores, wig shop, used book stores, wine shops, famous hot dog stand, drugstore, shoe repair shop, lots of restaurants with no apparent dreams of being franchised — and not a Crate & Fitch or Abercrombie & Barrel to be seen.
So what’s your idea of a great street?
Instead of (or in addition to) lamenting the shrunkenness of your Sunday paper, check out these digital destinations:
— Who knew that Charlotte as recently as 1931 was home to a post of the Grand Army of the Republic?
— Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Ralph Ellison… Jim Ross.
— Can’t see the Capitol for the trees? Here’s why.
— Preliminary pruning reduces North Carolina’s Civil War death toll to 36,000 tops.
— “Did German U-boat sailors see a movie in Southport during World War II?”
— Charlotte’s role in Solomon Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.”
The law proves no match, however, for the combatants’ creativity. Five years later the proscription must be extended to “the slitting of noses, the biting or cutting off of a nose or lip, and the biting or cutting off of any limb or member.”
In colonial North Carolina, the gentry favors horse racing and cockfighting, but the yeoman class prefers “rough and tumble” fighting and “gouging.” One contemporary account describes “two men . . . fast clinched by the hair . . . while several of the bystanders were betting upon the first eye to be turned out of its socket. . . . At length the uppermost sprung up with his antagonist’s eye in his hand!!! The savage crowd applauded.”
As late as 1810 the Raleigh Star will acknowledge the widely held belief “that a North Carolinian cannot salute you without putting his finger in your eyes” but insist that civilization has driven gouging to “to Georgia and the wilds of Louisiana.”