Homefront, too, endangered Confederate soldiers

“Some [Confederate] states passed ‘stay laws’ to prevent confiscation of soldiers’ property in their absence or postpone it until after the war. But creditors would have none of it…. Jonathan Worth — a North Carolina slaveholder, cotton planter, mill owner and speculator [and future governor, 1865-68] — complained that the stay law ‘disorganized Civilized society.’ A fellow member of the North Carolina elite, B. F. Moore, called it ‘radical, unwise, demoralizing, disgraceful.’

“Many such men simply used their influence with local magistrates to ignore the stay law and continue taking land. In North Carolina, they succeeded in having the stay law repealed after only four months. The result  was that tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers returned home to find their families destitute and their land gone.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)

Jane Fonda, free range lecturer in political science

“If you understood what communism was, you would hope and pray on your knees that we would someday be communist. I am a socialist, I think that we should strive toward a socialist society — all the way to communism.”

— Jane Fonda, speaking at Duke University in 1979


Fun and Worship in the N.C. Mountains

Ridgecrest Worship Hour postcard
Lake Junaluska postcardStunt Day at Montreat postcard

As summer winds down, some children and families are returning from sojourns at their respective churches’ assemblies in the mountains. Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists have been congregating at their mountain resorts since the turn of the 20th century. Presbyterians chartered the Mountain Retreat Association in 1897 and shortened the first two words of their organization to give name to their Buncombe County community, Montreat. Elsewhere in Buncombe County, Southern Baptists began working on Ridgecrest in 1907. And, inspired by summer assemblies they had attended at Chautauqua Lake, New York and Winona Lake, Indiana, Methodist leaders George R. Stuart and James Atkins pushed for their church to create a place for spiritual gathering in the South. The Southern Assembly, Inc. was formed in 1908 and shortly thereafter plans for Lake Junaluska, in Haywood County, were drafted.

In recognition of the long history of church assemblies in the N.C. mountains (and the recent addition of a number of postcards of Montreat and Ridgecrest to North Carolina Postcards), we present you with a few postcards recalling the early days of such gatherings.

What didn’t work in 1925 hasn’t worked in 2011

Rick Perry’s entrance into the presidential race has renewed attention to his ambitious if fruitless prayer for rain  in drought-afflicted Texas.

But Perry certainly isn’t the first governor to seek such divine meteorological intervention. In 1925, reacting to a brutal drought across the South, N.C. Gov. Angus McLean proclaimed “a day of humility and prayer to God who sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. . . . ”

Among those responding was the Rev. A.A. McGeachy of Charlotte’s Second Presbyterian Church, who prayed for rain for 30 minutes before the Sunday service.

Relief was minimal. The summer of 1925 remains the driest on record in many areas of the state.


Governor’s wardrobe changed with the times

On this day in 1879: Winds of 135 mph and tides 4 feet above normal hit the North Carolina coast. “Beaufort and Morehead City are classed as ruined . . . completely wrecked,” reports the Raleigh Daily News.

Only two lives are lost, both in rescue attempts, but the storm destroys Beaufort’s landmark three-story Atlantic Hotel. Among guests whose belongings are swept away: Gov. Thomas Jarvis, who returns to Raleigh two days later wearing a sailor suit.


Link dump shrugs off Iowa straw poll, heads to N.H.

— Captured battle flags returning to N.C. coast  (and not everybody is happy about it).

— Tidbits of Tar Heelia tucked in David McCullough’s latest.

— For Colored Agricultural Fair, “The whole city participated, just like Bele Chere.”

Nitrate negatives yield a (slow-loading) gallery of “Old Wilmington Mystery Photos.”

— Who would steal Mitch Easter’s storied guitars?


An Insult…Or A Well-Kept Secret?

Say it ain’t so! There are no North Carolina towns listed in the latest version of CNN Money’s Top 100 “Best Places to Live“? Should we take it as an insult? Should we ask for a recount? Should we ask for a recalibration of the scales? Should we assume that it is some nefarious plot to return us to “Rip Van Winkle State” status? Should I swear off my daily habit of scouring www.cnn.com for news and North Carolina-related tidbits?

Or, should we, as one of my colleagues suggested, simply thank our lucky stars that we can remain a well-kept secret?

‘The Help,’ 1919: Woman’s Club takes new look at problem

“If the activities of the white Charlotte Woman’s Club are any indication, interracial contact within public health campaigns had borne fruit. By 1919 white women had moved from the isolation of discussing racial issues with each other to interracial dialogue.

“That year, the Woman’s Club embarked upon a course of study to better understand the ‘perplexing and disquieting’ problem of race relations. The white women… kicked off the year by discussing the well-worn servant problem, but this time the lecture’s title reveals a twist: ‘Service in the Home — Workers’ Viewpoint’….

“The white women did not simply argue among themselves; they reserved time for discussion with ‘Negro race leaders.’ This activity drew a mild reproach from the editors of the Charlotte News, who suggested that the real danger to society lay in the [increasing opportunity] of black women to  find employment outside white homes.”

— From “Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920″ by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore (1996)


Artifact of the Month: Mantel clock given to 1922 School of Pharmacy alumna

This Artifact of the Month post highlights a mantel clock given to School of Pharmacy alumna Adeline Bush Bradshaw Pegram. The Bulova clock’s face features a metal relief of the Old Well circumscribed by the University’s name. The donor believes that this clock was given to Addie Bradshaw at the time of her graduation in 1922; however the name plate at the base of the clock includes the recipient’s married name, which seems to indicate that the gift was presented at a later date. The clock’s original mechanics have been replaced with electric parts.

In the 1922 Yackety Yack, Adeline Bradshaw of Lenoir, North Carolina is described as “a regular good sport.” According to Anderson’s 1983 Heritage of Caldwell County, Volume I, Bradshaw played on the University’s first female basketball team, which was “only allowed to play on an outdoor graveled court” (p. 457). The volume also alleges that Bradshaw was the only girl in her class and the first woman to graduate from UNC’s School of Pharmacy, which could have possibly inspired the presentation of the mantel clock. The Yackety Yack appears to contradict this claim though since Beatrice Averitt of Fayetteville was also a member of the School of Pharmacy’s class of 1922. Averitt and Bradshaw served together as Pharmacy School representatives in the UNC Woman’s Association during the 1921-1922 school year.

After graduating from the School of Pharmacy at the age of 21, Addie returned to Lenoir and worked in Ballew’s Pharmacy. She met a recent State College graduate who worked at the Caldwell Creamery and married Calvin Winchester Pegram in 1923; they had four daughters. The family moved to Blacksburg, Virginia where Calvin was a professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (commonly known as Virginia Tech). At some point, the family returned to North Carolina and lived in the Triangle area. Calvin was appointed chief of the dairy division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture by Governor Kerr Scott, and Addie owned and managed a drug store in Apex. Anderson’s book claims that “many farm families came to her for medical advise [sic] and assistance” (p. 457). Addie passed away on October 17, 1987 at the age of 87. The true origin of her mantel clock remains unknown, but her contribution to the University’s legacy carries on.

What’s summer without a summer reading controversy?

“Can a peaceable literary vegetarian from Brooklyn bring together what a bloody Southern basketball rivalry has torn asunder? That was surely the hope of administrators at Duke and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, when they chose Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals’ as the joint summer reading for this fall’s incoming freshmen.

“So far, the carnivore-unfriendly choice does not seem to have elicited any complaints from the local barbecue industry, though the state’s educators have courted controversy before. In 2002, conservative pundits and state legislators howled when U.N.C. assigned Michael Sells’s ‘Approaching the Qur’an,’ calling it an insult to the memory of Sept. 11. In 2003, a student group called The Committee for a Better Carolina denounced that year’s choice, Barbara Ehrenreich’s ‘Nickel and Dimed,’ as a ‘classic Marxist rant’ and  ‘intellectual pornography with no redeeming characteristics.’ ”

— From yesterday’s New York Times Book Review 

The Times’ spelling of “U.N.C.” is uncommon these days (though not as uncommon as its spelling of “Nascar”).