In 1830s, state’s arrivals were no match for its departures

“During the first third of the Nineteenth Century… thousands of North Carolinians moved to the new territories and states beyond the mountains every year. The 1830s was the decade of heaviest migration; 32 of the states 68 counties actually lost population, and the increase for the whole state was only 2.5 percent, despite the fact that North Carolina had one of the highest birth rates in the nation….”

— From “Letters From North Carolina Emigrants in the Old Northwest, 1830-1834,” edited by James W. Patton, in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review (September 1960)

Nor was this North Carolina’s final era of outmigration — the 1980 census was the first since Reconstruction to report more people moving into the state than moving out.

Addendum: For a very different reason — ever-increasing urbanization — 43 of North Carolina’s 100 counties lost population over the past two years. 


Peddler found no relief in antebellum justice

“A Yankee peddler [was] usually regarded with deep suspicion. (He might be an abolitionist spy “tampering” with the slaves.)….

“In 1839 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, one Charles Fife from Connecticut was suspected of trading with blacks. The offense could not be proved in court, so some young men of the village gave him a pole ride through town, follow by the tar-and-feather ritual. When the peddler, claiming innocence, refused to leave town, the rowdies repeated the ceremony the next Sunday.

“Fife then sued his enemies before Judge John L. Bailey, a young planter, but in the midst of the proceedings the ruffians leaped on the plaintiff and his lawyer and beat them up before the bench. Judge Bailey acquitted the defendants and fined Fife  $100 — without evidence or prior indictment — for trading with Negroes. Fife, at last, left town.”

— From “Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South” by Bertram Wyatt-Brown (2007) 


Who inspired Faulkner? Researchers take a second look

Did a Mississippi plantation diary acquired by J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton for the Southern Historical Collection in 1946 inspire William Faulkner’s depiction of Yoknapatawpha County?

So posits the author of “Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Plantation Diary,” who spoke at Wilson Library in 2010.

Now, however, Sally Wolff-King’s much-praised book is being labeled a “hoax.” Further literary color — as if it were needed! — is provided by the debunkers’ claims of having been bullied for making their case.

Tip ‘o the Miscellany Mortarboard: Maria Bustillos at The Awl.


Grab a basket and a blanket, it’s National Picnic Day!

The weather is perfect so get out there and celebrate.  Here are a few ideas to stuff those baskets.

Menu for back yard picnic - The Charlotte Cookbook

Back Yard Picnic from The Charlotte cookbook.

Southern Fried Chicken-Just Like Grandma Used to Make

Southern Fried Chicken from Just like Grandma used to make.

picnic pickle - Dixie Dishes - Copy

Picnic Pickle from Dixie dishes.

Scotch eggs for picnic - High Hampton Hospitality

Scotch Eggs from High Hampton hospitality.

A Picnic Loaf-Summer Food

A Picnic Loaf from Summer food.

Deviled eggs - Soup to Nuts

Deviled Eggs from Soup to nuts : a cook book of recipes contributed by housewives and husbands of Alamance County and other sections of state and country.

Chocolate Picnic Cake - Pass the Plate

Chocolate Picnic Cake from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Lemonade Deluxe - Cook Book

Lemonade Deluxe from Cook book.

A magazine dies, its High Point readers move on

“My wife, Hadley, started receiving [the Wilson Quarterly] when she was 15 or so, a gift from her grandmother Ruth, who had read the magazine, I believe, since it was founded, in 1976. In the early ’80s, she and several other women were part of a book club, in High Point, North Carolina. As Virginia Fick, another member, told me, they’d attended a symposium at High Point College called ‘Shakespeare and Women,’ and wanted, Fick said, ‘to read, think about, and discuss new ideas.’ Ruth suggested using the Wilson Quarterly as a basis for their discussions, and so the Wilson Quarterly Study Group was born….

“In 2012, the Wilson Quarterly released its last print issue. It was to become a digital-only publication, they said….  A writer at the Nieman Journalism Lab wondered, ‘If WQ’s readers are print purists — and the cerebral, dense content in the magazine suggests they’re more likely to carry AARP cards than fake IDs — then how likely are they to follow the quarterly into a digital realm?’

“The North Carolina group stopped reading the magazine. ‘They lost us,’ Patricia Plaxico told me. ‘We are from the school that makes notes and highlights.’ The group does still meet, however; members just select articles from other publications.”

— From “On the Wilson Quarterly: 1976-2014” by Paul Maliszewski at n + 1 (Feb. 10, 2014) 


Thanks to Sitton, new recognition for ‘Old Reliable’

On this day in 1983: Claude Sitton, editor of the News and Observer of Raleigh, wins the Pulitzer Prize for commentary — the paper’s first. .

Sitton made his reputation as chief Southern correspondent for the New York Times during the civil rights movement (his peers appreciated his inventing the “Sitton notebook,” a cut-down version that didn’t revealingly jut out of a hip pocket at a Klan rally).

In 1968 he moved to Raleigh to continue the liberal tradition of the modern N&O, which Josephus Daniels bought at auction in 1894 to serve as an organ of the Democratic Party.


Ratification of the 16th Amendment in N.C.

Clip from French Broad Hustler, February 16, 111
French Broad Hustler, Feb. 16, 1911

Lest you need a reminder, it’s tax day. And this year marks the 101st anniversary of ratification of the Constitutional amendment giving the federal government the power to tax your income. With Delaware’s ratification on February 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution.

North Carolina was the 20th state to ratify the Constitutional change. And the amendment’s passage through the North Carolina legislature in early 1911 was mostly uneventful.

Clip from Wilmington Morning Star, Jan. 25, 1911
Wilmington Morning Star, Jan. 25, 1911

Senator Barnes introduced a resolution supporting ratification of the amendment in the state Senate on January 6, 1911. The resolution emerged from committee unchanged on January 17 and came before the full Senate for a vote on January 24. After passing 42-1 in the Senate, the bill was sent to the state House for consideration.

Clip from Wilmington Dispatch, Feb. 8, 1911
Wilmington Dispatch, Feb. 8, 1911

Although the Wilmington Dispatch reported that the bill passed the state House by a 98-4 vote on February 8, the number of ayes was, in fact, only 88. Unfortunately, neither the House Journal nor contemporary news accounts provide further details about Representative Dillard from Cherokee and his failure to appear for the vote.

Clip from Raleigh Times, February 10, 1911
Raleigh Times, Feb. 10, 1911

With the bill’s enrollment by the House clerk on February 11, the 16th amendment was officially ratified in North Carolina.

Admittedly, there are some who question whether the 16th Amendment was legally ratified in North Carolina and elsewhere. But thus far those arguments haven’t stopped the I.R.S. from demanding its due on April 15.

They would’ve loved Don Draper in Durham

Lucky Strike [since appearing prominently in “Mad Men”]

THEN Once this best-selling brand in the United States (and the cigarette of choice for Don Johnson’s character on “Miami Vice”) was selling 23 billion cigarettes a year.

NOW Its seemingly omnipresent place in Don Draper’s hands may not be the direct cause, but sales have grown by 35 percent since 2007. Even Don’s public cri de coeur against ever representing tobacco companies again, published in a letter to The New York Times after Lucky Strike left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in Season 4, hasn’t put much of a dent in sales.

— From “A Lucky Strike, Indeed: ‘Mad Men’ Enters Its Final Season in an Altered World” by Lorne Manly in the New York Times (April 11)


Move to the back of the bus (but not the airplane)

“In Charlotte and the rest of the Jim Crow South [during World War II], inter-city travelers (whether by bus, train or airplane) were always segregated by race. On trains Negroes were segregated into separate cars, and on buses they were segregated at the back.

“On airplanes, however, Negroes had to sit in the front seats: the back seats were reserved for whites because, at the time, the back of the airplane was considered the safest place.”

— From “The Queen City at War” by Stephen Herman Dew (2001)