Peas or Peanuts: What’s Going On?

"Pea picking near Goldsboro" postcard
This postcard was recently added to our North Carolina Postcards online collection. Although the title reads,”Pea Picking Near Goldsboro, N.C.,” at least one North Carolina Collection staffer (hint: a proud Haligonian) thinks the pictured individuals are actually picking digging or, maybe, dusting peanuts. The foliage of pea and peanut plants is similar so we can’t rule out the Haligonian’s theory based on that distinction. And we’re starting to wonder whether he might have a point. That’s a massive field of peas. Did anyone grow peas on such a large scale in North Carolina? We’re still searching the stacks for a definitive answer. Care to weigh in?

Death noted: William Styron’s roommate

“Am now rooming [at Duke] with Art Katz of Memphis and Claude Kirk of Montgomery, Ala. Both are transfers from Emory, and they’re good guys.”

— Letter from William Styron to his father, March 12, 1944

“[Florida Gov. Claude Kirk] rises to the challenge, occasionally with a fine and almost classic use of the language… ‘Styron taught me about language, about balance and words and how to put them together and get the most out of them.’ ”

— Harper’s magazine, 1968

“Styron settles down to his second Bloody Mary, made with lemons sent him every year by his college roommate….”

— Yale Literary magazine (Fall 1968)

Hard to imagine odder roomies than the saturnine man of letters and the “spectacularly colorful” demagogue…. also hard to imagine that Kirk absorbed such an appreciation of the language while bunking with Styron — couldn’t have been more than a semester or two. I think I once asked Styron about their relationship but can’t find any evidence thereof.




Glitter of gold once pulled Cabarrus together

In 1949 the 150th anniversary of Conrad Reed’s discovery of a 17-pound nugget in Little Meadow Creek — which predated the California gold rush by half a century — was celebrated locally with pride and enthusiasm. Events in Concord included an outdoor drama, a beard-growing contest, a Miss Cabarrus Gold pageant, an air show, a midway, a performance by massed choirs and a visit by Gov. Kerr Scott.

In 1977 Reed Gold Mine opened as a state historic site — an idea envisioned and advocated by H. G. Jones during his tenure as state archivist.

By the gold bicentennial in 1999, however, Cabarrus County had more than doubled in size. Age and emigration had diminished the pool of those who claimed deep roots, and newcomers lacked their sense of place. Though spirited, celebration at Reed Gold Mine paled beside the ambitious community undertaking of 1949.

Pictured: From the collection a silk (I think) ribbon from the Sesquicentennial.