Tabitha Anne Holton was a 22-year-old woman who became North Carolina’s first female attorney after successfully passing the bar examination, alongside her brother, Samuel Melanchthon Holton, in 1878. Her success was published in both Northern and Southern newspapers and drew a variety of comments, including some about her appearance. She practiced with her brother in Yadkinville and conducted research for their firm. Tabitha Holton died of tuberculosis in 1886. She is buried at the Springfield Friends Church in High Point, North Carolina.
On this day in 1935: Just days after Sen. Josiah Bailey of North Carolina helped filibuster to death a federal anti-lynching bill, a black man is lynched in Franklin County.
The lynch mob — unmasked and in full daylight — takes Govan “Sweat” Ward from the custody of Sheriff John Moore and two deputies and hangs him from a scrub oak with a cotton plow line. Ward, 25 years old, was accused of decapitating a white farmer with an axe.
The sheriff will claim later that he recognized none of the two dozen lynchers and failed to note the license number of the car that carried away his prisoner (“I wish we had,” he says).
In spite of Gov. J.C. Ehringhaus’s calls for action, Ward’s murderers will remain anonymous. About 100 lynching deaths occurred in North Carolina after 1882; Ward’s will be the last in which the killers go unpunished.
And whom did Steven Spielberg cast as the “Jaws” mayor? Why none other than North Carolina’s Murray Hamilton, who both was born and died in coastal (Little) Washington. Hamilton’s lengthy character-acting credits also provide the answer to the eternal headscratcher “Who played Mr. Robinson?”
“Players [in 1960] found in these small Carolina cities what they were wont to find. New Yorkers first found them oppressive, too tranquil, and lamented their inaccessibility to Coney Island….
“Drive-in restaurants where one could get a a variety of sandwiches and beer abounded in this era predating most national fast-food chains. The downtowns all had small cafes, some of them run by snuff-dipping, middle-aged women who looked after a regular clientele but doted on the local ballplayers as well….
“Some store owners offered prizes to players who excelled. A four-hit night, a key home run, a well-pitched game, could bring a new shirt, a couple pairs of underwear, some fancy new shoes…..
“The civil rights movement had not yet gained ground in the Western Carolina League cities…..Black players roomed in homes in the black section of town and seldom associated with white players off the field.”
The Western Carolina League was constructed to provide players for the Continental League, Branch Rickey‘s unsuccessful attempt at forming a third major league. It comprised Gastonia, Hickory, Lexington, Newton-Conover, Salisbury, Shelby, Statesville and Rutherford County (Forest City).
Author Buhite, now professor emeritus of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology, played for the Rutherford County Owls before retiring to academia.
Here’s something for you to contemplate over the weekend.
In her trek through North Carolina in 1939, famed documentary photographer Dorothea Lange captured the photo above in Pittsboro. Lange offered no details other than those that appear in the above caption. So it’s hard to know why she decided to turn her camera toward the sign. But I’d hazard a guess that it’s the term pickle low party. Is pickle low merely a misspelling of piccolo? Or does pickle low have something to do with pickles? We’re vexed. And in a quick search around the web, it seems that others who’ve seen this photo are also confused by the term. Can anybody offer some clarification?
“The great barrier islands of America’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts have been moving for centuries. Of Hatteras, North Carolina, it has been said: ‘This island is nothing fixed. It has transience, shiftiness, built into its very existence..’ In the 1980s, Hatteras ‘houses well back from the beach [were] sold on the basis of “Ocean Front Property by the Turn of the Century.” Even erosion can turn a buck’….
“It is only when barrier islands are fixed in place that they are breached and eroded. Prevented from moving, they literally die, shrinking in size and viability…..
“The reason we continue to ‘fix’ coasts only to destroy them is not hard to fathom. We have allowed people to build right up to the edge of the sea, creating property that for coastal communities in economic decline is the principal tax base.”
“North Carolina is a world leader in producing student theses about underwear….
“[One author] begins by saying: ‘Although my name is attached to this thesis I must admit that God has been the true author; because every word, table and figure have only been made possible through Him.’
“She finishes with these words: ‘Of the 67% of respondents that were dissatisfied with underpants, most (35%) wore a size large.’ ”