Bison in North Carolina

The Natural History of North Carolina, by John Brickell, 1743.
The Natural History of North Carolina, by John Brickell, 1743.

On January 30, 1919 the French Broad Hustler reported the shipment of “six head of buffalo –three males and three females –to Hominy, Buncombe County” by the American Bison Society. Their arrival in North Carolina marked the reintroduction of America’s largest big game animal to the state. The experiment was short-lived. Despite the birth of two calves and the addition of bred heifers and a bull, only two members of the herd remained a decade later. The reestablishment of bison into the wild in North Carolina was a failure.

Two centuries earlier, North Carolina was home to a robust number of bison. In 1709, English naturalist and explorer John Lawson described North Carolina as having “Plenty of Buffalos” in his A New Voyage to Carolina. A few decades later, Irish-born explorer John Brickell included an illustration of a “Buffello” in his Natural History of North Carolina. Brickell describes Native Americans’ many uses for the buffalo, including for food, bedding, clothing and housewares. Writing in 1748, German explorer and botanist Pehr Kalm noted, “The wild Oxen have their abode principally in the woods of Carolina, which are far up in the country. The inhabitants frequently hunt them, and salt their flesh like common beef, which is eaten by servants and the lower classes of people.”

Bison disappeared from North Carolina almost a century before they were wiped out in the American West. Joseph Rice, an early settler of the Swannanoa Valley around Bull Creek, is known for shooting that area’s last buffalo in 1799. A plaque at milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway marks the location.

Bull Creek Valley, Milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bull Creek Valley, Milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The second edition of the North Carolina Gazetteer includes more than 40 entries for places that bear witness to the once ubiquitous presence of buffalo in North Carolina. They include Buffalo (a community in Cherokee County), Buffalo Creek (a waterway in Ashe County, one of many in the state named after buffalo), Big Lick (a place so named in Stanly County for the salt that attracted deer and buffalo in droves), Buffalo Cove (a place in which many buffalo were killed), and Buffalo Ford (a buffalo crossing along the Deep River in Randolph County).

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers...
An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers…

In May, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the country’s national mammal. The next time you picture a wild buffalo, think of it here in North Carolina, grazing in the state’s woods and grasslands and drinking from its streams.

The Remedy of 100 Uses

Nineteenth century newspapers advertised a host of treatments for illnesses, including one called catarrh. The term is one rarely used today, but in the 19th century catarrh referred to an excess of phlegm or mucous. Although nasal or sinus congestion is frequently caused by fever or allergies, it also accompanies pneumonia or other afflictions of the immune system that were often deadly during that time period.

Among the products promoted for treatment of catarrh was one from North Carolina—Vicks VapoRub.

A new way to treat catarrh. The Daily Times, February 11, 1922

The Vicks brand was created by pharmacist Lunsford Richardson in Greensboro in the early 1890s.

There are several stories offered for why Richardson chose the name Vicks. Some suggest that Richardson considered putting his own name on the product, but then rejected the idea because his name didn’t fit on the label. Others say that Richardson chose Vicks to honor his brother-in-law, Dr. Joshua Vick. Vick was a respected and highly in-demand physician in Selma, N.C. He turned to Richardson, who had a love for chemistry, for help with dispensing medicine. Another account suggests that Richardson borrowed the name from a seed catalog with a listing for Vick Seed Co.

In the 1890s, twenty-one home remedies were patented and sold under the Vicks name. Each of these claimed natural ingredients, including nutmeg, thyme, camphor, and eucalyptus oils, imported from around the world. Many newspapers routinely published ads for Vicks tonics and ointments similar to the one shown below from The Watauga Democrat.

The Watauga Democrat, February 9, 1922

The best-selling Vicks product was a salve that Richardson created for croup, a product that he marketed as Vicks Croup and Pneumonia Salve. The ointment included menthol.

The Henderson Gold Leaf, December 24, 1907

The operation became Vicks Chemical Company in 1911. At that time, Lunsford Richardson’s son Henry Smith Richardson suggested renaming the product Vicks VapoRub. The company advertised the product as “the remedy of over 100 uses.”

With the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the popularity of VapoRub skyrocketed in the U.S. Sales climbed from $900,000 to $2.9 million from 1918 to 1919. Advertisements provided detailed instructions for using Vicks to fight the flu.

The High Point Review, November 7, 1918

Richardson’s company is today a part of Proctor and Gamble, but the Vicks brand remains. VapoRub, in its familiar blue jar, continues to be sold around the world, with users claiming the salve is a cure-all for countless maladies, including sunburn, toenail fungus, cough, warts, chapped lips, dandruff and mosquito bites. The records of Richardson-Vicks Inc. and the papers of Henry Smith Richardson are available in Wilson Library’s Southern Historical Collection.

The Gold Leaf: “Clean news and some lengthy essays”

Masthead of Gold Leaf

From time to time, North Carolina Miscellany features short histories of North Carolina newspapers included on Chronicling America, a website produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). By August 2016, the North Carolina Collection and its partner, the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, will have provided 200,000 pages of historic N.C. newspapers for inclusion on Chronicling America. The Henderson Gold Leaf is among the available titles. This history was written by Ansley Wegner, Research Historian and Administrator of the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program in Raleigh.

The Gold Leaf, a Democratic weekly newspaper in Henderson, North Carolina, was owned and edited by Thaddeus R. Manning (1856-1915) from 1882 until March of 1911. The paper was four pages with eight columns each. The Gold Leaf‘s masthead included the quote, “Carolina, Carolina, Heaven’s Blessings Attend Her.” Only scattered issues of the early years of the Gold Leaf have survived. The paper ran agricultural and household advice, editorials, local and social news, and many public notices and advertisements. Syndicated articles were reprinted from such newspapers as the Baltimore Sun and the Raleigh Post and Wilmington Messenger in North Carolina. Such articles contained state and national news, as well as farming and medical advice. The content of the Gold Leaf changed little throughout the 29 years of Manning’s tenure. Other papers published in Henderson at this time include the Henderson News and the Hustler.

By the 1900s, the share of local (vs. syndicated) material began to increase, and Manning occasionally wrote local historical pieces for the paper. Historian Samuel Thomas Peace described the Gold Leaf as carrying “clean news and some lengthy essays.” Its pages remained filled with a large amount of agricultural content, including advertisements for fertilizer and farm equipment.

On Thursday, March 30, 1911, the front page of the paper proclaimed, “Thad Manning has sold the Gold Leaf! Ah well! Time has a way of getting in its work, and he has held on for many years.” The article went on to say that Manning “loved his paper and sought to make it vital with his personality” and that “one could see the man in the very pages of the paper.” Upon hearing of Manning’s retirement, the editor of the Durham Daily Sun wrote, “[Manning] has elevated and brightened journalism. He has served his town, county, and State with superb devotion and zeal.”

The Gold Leaf was sold to a company called Gold Leaf Publishing. Within a few weeks, it no longer ran the catchy quote, and the name of the paper was changed to the Henderson Gold Leaf. The new editor and manager was Preston Taylor Way (1869-1920). Way had previously published and edited the Waxhaw Enterprise in Waxhaw and another newspaper in Jonesboro, North Carolina. The Gold Leaf remained largely the same under Way, although there was a stronger political edge to the editorial page.

The Henderson Gold Leaf became a semiweekly publication in 1913, and, during World War I, a daily edition was added. In 1914, the daily paper was renamed the Henderson Daily Dispatch, and the Henderson Gold Leaf returned to a weekly publication. A fire at the Henderson office in 1946 destroyed much of the newspapers’ archival material. The Henderson Daily Dispatch is still published today.

The Baird Family of Western North Carolina


In 1912, the Asheville Gazette-News reprinted a letter (A portion of which is above. Click on the image to sell the full letter), originally from 1858, from Bedent Baird of Watauga County to Zebulon Baird Vance, who at the time was a very young Congressman. Bedent Baird describes what he knows about his family lineage and wonders if his Watauga County Baird clan was in any way related to the Buncombe County one represented by Vance. The paper itself adds a little bit about the family’s history for context. Unfortunately, the matter could not have been settled with this information, because the family tree described in the article is wrong.

To make a somewhat complicated story (filled with many Zebulons and Bedents) short: the two Baird clans in Western North Carolina are indeed related. Their common ancestor was John Baird, born in 1665 in Scotland. He came over in 1683 and settled in New Jersey. He and his wife, Mary Bedent, had five sons: Andrew, John Jr., David, William, and Zebulon.

The Watauga County Bairds are descended from Andrew. Andrew’s son Ezekiel was the first of that line to end up in North Carolina. They have been quite prominent in the community, particularly for being some of the earliest settlers in Valle Crucis. Bedent Baird, author of the 1858 letter, was also a magistrate and politician, representing the part of Watauga that used to be Ashe County.

The Buncombe County Bairds are descended from John Junior. John Junior’s grandsons Bedent and Zebulon were some of the earliest settlers in Buncombe County, about 1793. The brothers had the first grist mill in the county and they played significant roles in the early days of what is now the City of Asheville. They bought a large amount of land, with Bedent settling on Beaver Dam and Zebulon near the French Broad. Zeb rose to some political prominence, serving as Senator for multiple terms. They also forged a friendship with David Lowry Swain, who helped manage Zeb’s affairs after he died in 1824. Swain also helped his deceased friend Zebulon’s grandson, Zebulon Baird Vance, attend UNC-Chapel Hill.

There are couple things that the article and letter in the Asheville Gazette-News get wrong, therefore muddying the process of answering the question about a common ancestor. The most confusing is in the listing of John Baird’s children. In doing so, they completely skip a generation. Bedent, Samuel, Obadiah, Borzilla, Jonathan, Ezekiel, etc. were the children of John Baird’s son Andrew, and therefore grandchildren of the patriarch. Bedent himself completely forgets to mention his own grandfather, Andrew, the actual son of John and Mary Baird, which is a bit of a glaring omission. The letter also claims that his uncle was the “first Bedent.” As is probably clear, the two Baird families in North Carolina did not seem to know much about each other, and therefore Bedent Baird didn’t know about his own cousin Bedent, son of William, over Asheville-way.

It is unclear if this relationship between the clans was resolved, at least not in the public’s imagination. The article is certainly curious for how much it got wrong. And for featuring a letter over 50 years old that quite possibly never made it into the hands of Zeb Vance. Most importantly, though, it shows the affection and curiosity the readership and citizens had for Vance and for the Bairds. Indeed, the significant roles that both families played in the history of Western North Carolina make them a fascinating study, and not just due to the predilection for naming children Bedent and Zebulon.

For further reading:

Arthur, J. P. (2002). A history of Watauga County, North Carolina : with sketches of prominent families. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co.

Arthur, J. P. (1973). Western North Carolina; a history, 1730-1913. Reprint Co.

Biddix, C. D. (1981). The Heritage of old Buncombe County. Asheville, N.C.: Hunter Pub. Co.

Blackmun, O. (1977). Western North Carolina, its mountains and its people to 1880. Boone, N.C.: Appalachian Consortium Press.

Dowd, C. (1897). Life of Zebulon B. Vance. Charlotte, N.C.: Observer Print. and Pub. House.

Edwards and Broughton Company (Raleigh, N.C.). (1890). Western North Carolina : historical and biographical. Charlotte, N.C.: A.D. Smith & Co.

Gaffney, S. R. (1984). The heritage of Watauga County, North Carolina. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Heritage of Watauga County Book Committee in cooperation with the History Division of Hunter Pub. Co.

McKinney, G. B. (2004). Zeb Vance : North Carolina’s Civil War governor and Gilded Age political leader. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Sondley, F. (1977). A history of Buncombe County, North Carolina. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co.


Episode and Interlude. (February 20, 1912). Asheville Gazette-News. p. 4.


The Business of Matrimony

Finding that special someone has always been difficult. So difficult, in fact, that individuals frequently resort to creative means to help them secure a future husband or wife.

In the 19th century, many brave souls placed independent advertisements in local newspapers at the potential detriment of their social standing. Often these suitors would be over the respectable marriage age, widows, or individuals looking for a wealthy partner who possessed a peculiar set of characteristics. Young people often sought to meet members of the opposite sex without parental interference.

The Charlotte Journal June 23, 1842

In his article “The cost of marriage and the matrimonial agency in late Victorian Britain,” Harry Cocks writes that these postings became so popular that matchmaking turned into a profitable industry. Following a trend in Victorian England, matrimonial agencies appeared in the United States. They were typically concentrated in urban centers, with fewer located in rural areas where probable matches were highly visible.  Cocks states, the matrimonial agency was frequently seen as the “antidote to middle-class formality,” because the actors were independent instead of being instruments of their families or future husbands. However, traditionalists believed the practice was a disgrace to the institution of marriage.

Individuals frequently felt some shame at their unmarried status, and they feared further disgrace if others learned that they had turned to a matrimonial agency. Consequently, the businesses marketed themselves as being discrete in collecting correspondence from hopeful men and women and relaying them to prospective matches. They allowed women a certain degree of relative respectability and safety, something that was increasingly difficult in the modern city.

Although many of these agencies had their own publications with hundreds of ads, they also posted personal ads in local newspapers on behalf of their clients such as the one mentioned in an 1880 issue of the Charlotte Democrat.

matrimonial brokers
“The Matrimonial Brokers” September 10, 1880

There were frequently unsatisfied customers and tales of jilted respondents. The statistics reported in matrimonial advertisements were unverified, self-reported, and frequently overblown. The success of these businesses relied on people believing the false claim that “a man who advertises extensively must be wealthy, and whatever appears in print must be true.”

North Carolina newspaper editors and publishers discovered that horror stories about matrimonial agencies made good copy. The papers were filled with horror stories from those clients who they claimed had been duped. This article from an 1857 issue of the Western Democrat provides some commonly held ideas about the “transactions” conducted within matrimonial agencies, stating, “the grossest deception is…frequently practiced, and the principle of the whole business is undoubtedly, essentially corrupt.”Others compared matrimonial agencies to bogus loan offices financed by  “the fees of the foolish.”

Many papers called for the abolition of such services, and published articles like this one from The Henderson Gold Leaf claiming that these agencies prayed on the weak, naive and desperate.

frauds in cupid's name
“Matrimonial Agencies That Swindle Trusting Innocents”  November 23, 1897

This 1906 article from the Semi-Weekly Messenger tells a familiar horror story of a fraudulent matrimonial agency. The agency’s beautiful widow with  a $100,000 sugar plantation (roughly $2 million today) was searching for a husband. According to the article countless eager bachelors paid the $5.00 fee to secure an introduction with the woman who didn’t exist.

“Wanted to Marry a Rich Widow” January 04, 1907

Although dishonesty was prevalent, there were surely some success stories, right?

consolations of marriage

Girls’ Tomato Clubs in North Carolina

Club Girls Hoe Tomatoes
From the February 4, 1915 issue of the High Point Review.

With this past weekend’s freeze, North Carolina’s tomato growing season has come to a close. In the early 20th century, you could still enjoy local tomatoes long into the fall and winter months thanks to the work of tomato club girls.

Marie Samuella Cromer founded the first tomato club in South Carolina in 1910 after attending a program of the South Carolina School Improvement Association. O.B. Martin, an agent with the Department of Agriculture in charge of boys’ corn clubs, outlined a plan in which girls would grow and can tomatoes. Seeing the success boys had experienced in growing and selling corn in corn clubs, Ms. Cromer took the charge, and organized 46 girls in her community into a tomato club. She and five other pioneering Southern women, including Jane S. McKimmon of North Carolina, worked to sprout tomato clubs throughout the southeast through their work as home demonstration agents. Girls aged 10 – 20 learned how to plant, harvest, can, market and sell their tomato crops. On plots sized one-tenth of an acre, girls grew and then canned tomatoes by the hundreds of pounds. The money they earned, McKimmon emphasized, was to be spent as they saw fit. Young girls previously entirely financially dependent on their families found themselves with pocket money and sometimes substantially more. The movement peaked from 1911 through the end of World War I.

"Emancipation of Farmers Daughter" headline from Western Caroliina Democrat
From the August 20, 1914 issue of the Hendersonville Western Carolina Democrat and French Broad Hustler.

In 1914, a young girl named Ina Colclough won first prize in the Durham County girls’ tomato club contest for making $137.00 profit from her own one-tenth of an acre. This was at a time when $15.00 could buy a man’s suit and Stetson hat, $5.00 a lady’s coat and $4.00 a pair of Knox shoes. Newspapers nationwide reported on the success of the movement. An article in the New-York Tribune describes young girls plowing with horses, harrowing without them, and working in every way necessary to grow their tomatoes.

The state fair of 1915 featured an exhibition of the tomato club girls’ work, a description of which can be found here.

McKimmon began her career in 1909 with the Farmer’s Institutes, where she served as a lecturer and also director of its women’s activities. In this work she traveled throughout the state teaching women and girls cooking, baking, sewing and other homemaking skills. In 1911, she accepted the position of North Carolina’s State Home Demonstration Agent, and began planning and organizing the work of the state’s farm girls. Here tireless efforts and enthusiasm for the work of the tomato clubs resulted in thirty-two counties participating by 1914 with 1,500 members, 259,091 cans and $35,631.50 worth of canned tomatoes. McKimmon went on to have a thirty-two year career in home demonstration.

Portion of article on "Emancipation of Farmer's Daughter"
Excerpt from the August 20, 1914 issue of the Hendersonville Western Carolina Democrat and French Broad Hustler.

During World War I, McKimmon played a significant role in directing North Carolina’s food conservation efforts. Girls used the skills they learned in the clubs to make their own contributions to the cause. The work of the girls’ tomato clubs, as well as the boys’ corn clubs, was eventually absorbed into the broader work of North Carolina’s 4-H clubs.

Jane Simpson McKimmon
Jane Simpson McKimmon (1867-1957), in the Portrait Collection #P0002, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Visit North Carolina State University Libraries’ online exhibit Green ‘N’ Growing to learn more about the history of home demonstration and 4-H development and to view girls’ handwritten and illustrated reports on their tomato growing, canning and marketing activities.

A familiar name among Lusitania survivors

On May 7, 1915 off the coast of Ireland at 2:10 in the afternoon, on the final days of its trans-Atlantic journey to Liverpool, a torpedo fired by a German submarine slammed into the side of the RMS Lusitania. A mysterious second explosion ripped the passenger ship apart. In the chaos, many jumped into the water in an attempt to save themselves and were dragged down with the ship. Within 18 minutes the giant ocean liner slipped beneath the sea. One thousand one hundred ninety-eight of the 1,962 aboard died. The dead included 114 Americans.

Stories about the catastrophe and tales of the survivors soon appeared in North Carolina newspapers, including The High Point Review on May 13, 1915.
High Point Review article on Lusitania sinking, May 13, 1915

One of the passengers aboard the Lusitania was a native North Carolinian with a well-known last name. Owen Hill Kenan was grandson of Owen Rand Kenan, Confederate congressman; great-grandson of Thomas Stephen Kenan, North Carolina senator and United States representative; and great-great-grandson of General James Kenan, a military leader during the American Revolutionary War and an early senator of the state of North Carolina. He was also cousin of William Rand Kenan Jr., a scientist, businessman and benefactor of the University of North Carolina. Owen and William were roommates at UNC in the 1890s.

Owen Kenan, a physician and seasoned traveler, was aboard the Lusitania on the first leg of his journey to Paris, where he planned to meet his niece, Louise Wise. The young woman was in boarding school and Kenan was due to escort her home to the U.S.

Kenan described the sinking in a letter to relatives, reprinted in the Wilmington Star on June 23, 1915. When the torpedoes struck the Lusitania, Kenan had just left his cabin and was heading to the Boat Deck. Once on deck, he wrote,

I saw third class passengers piling into life boats without order or command. As the boats which could not be or were not lowered filled up the bottoms pulled out and this mass of humanity was spilled 40 or 50 feet into the sea. I looked over the rail and saw nothing but hands and arms in the water below. The air was rent with their screams but there was nothing one could do. The boat was sinking and all this was transpiring most rapidly.

Kenan recounted that he returned to his cabin, put on his life jacket, and then headed outside to the deck.

After a few minutes I realized that the good ship was going and I went to the starboard and jumped into the sea, only to be carried down to a great depth by a terrible and strong suction. It was in this plight that I barely missed suffocation by drowning and being crushed to death by two life boats and debris deep under the surface. When the suction subsided I realized that I was caught under something. I had a feeling that my head was expanding and the thought flashed through my mind that perhaps I was losing consciousness.

I can’t tell why but I put my hands up over my head and, as if walking on the wall, pushed myself along until I felt the edge and pushed myself from under and began to come up. I kept my eyes open and when I began to see the light through the water I felt I should be saved though I was nearly done for and could feel myself swallowing great gulps of salt water. I came to the surface and gasped for breath. I looked up and I was directly under the forward smoke stack which was sticking out of the water at an acute angle and I said to myself that this would finish me. I went down again almost at once and my memory is blank.

When I opened my eyes again the entire boat had disappeared and the scene surrounding me of dead, drowning and struggling humanity mixed with a great quantity of broken debris I cannot describe. After four hours in the water I was taken aboard a torpedo boat destroyer almost frozen and much maimed.

Kenan was aboard the Lusitania with Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, a member of the wealthy American family, and Ronald Denyer, Vanderbilt’s valet. Kenan reported that after the torpedo strike he saw Vanderbilt leaning against a door and calling out, “They’ve got us now.” Several accounts suggest that Vanderbilt, who could not swim, handed off his life jacket to a young mother and helped numerous women and children into lifeboats. Neither he nor Denyer survived the sinking.

The torpedo boat destroyer that picked up Kenan and other survivors left them ashore at Queenstown (now known as Cobh), Ireland. Kenan remained in the town for several weeks as he recuperated from a severe case of tonsillitis. Reports suggest that Kenan had been suffering from the ailment prior to the sinking of the Lusitania and that his time in the water exacerbated his symptoms. Eventually, Kenan headed for Paris, met his niece, and the two returned to the U.S.

As the fighting in Europe continued, Kenan headed back to France and volunteered for the French army’s ambulance corps. For his service at Verdun, he received France’s Croix de Guerre. Kenan later joined the American Expeditionary Force’s medical corps and eventually was awarded the rank of colonel. Kenan’s time in Europe included medical relief in Turkey and Russia during the Revolution. Upon returning to the U.S. in the early 1920s, Kenan devoted his time to providing medical care for Kenan family members and wealthy friends and collecting art. In 1931, he donated one of his art purchases, a wooden statue of Sir Walter Raleigh, to the UNC Library. The statue is on view in the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

During his life, Kenan maintained homes in Palm Beach, New York, Wilmington and Paris. He died at age 91 in 1963.

Owen Hill Kenan watch

Among the items to survive Kenan’s near-drowning on the Lusitania was his pocket watch. Its hands are frozen at 2:33, a short time after the initial torpedo strike. The watch is now in the collection at Liberty Hall, a Kenan family home in Duplin County.

Owen Kenan’s life and art collection was celebrated in “A Wilmingtonian Abroad, The Remarkable Life of Colonel Owen Hill Kenan,”, an exhibition mounted at the St. John’s Museum of Art (now the Cameron Art Museum) in Wilmington in 1998-1999.

North Carolina Celebrates 175 Years of Free Public Education

As many North Carolina public school students wrap up their first week back in the classroom, we salute the state’s 175-year history of providing free education.

North Carolina’s first free school opened on January 20, 1840. It was near the present-day community of Williamsburg in Rockingham County. Although the school no longer stands and its exact location is unknown, a highway marker southeast of Reidsville marks the vicinity of the school.

The first free school in North Carolina opens in Rockingham County on January 20, 1840.
The first free school in North Carolina opens in Rockingham County on January 20, 1840.

The Williamsburg school opened a year after the North Carolina legislature passed the Common School Law, on January 8, 1839. County elections were held in the same year with taxes for schools on the ballot. Sixty-one of sixty-eight counties voted in favor of the taxes. Every county would have at least one publicly funded school by 1846.

Some North Carolinians questioned the viability of a system of public education. They asked where to find teachers? Was the $60.00 annual salary sufficient to draw farmers, merchants and mechanics into the profession? Was the three month term too short to be effective? How would children travel two, three and even four miles each way to attend? The letter writer Rusticus raised such questions in a letter to the editor in the August 7, 1839 issue of the North-Carolina Standard (excerpt below).

Rusticus writes a letter to the editor against free public schools in the  August 7, 1839 issue of the North-Carolina Standard.
Rusticus writes a letter to the editor against free public schools in the August 7, 1839 issue of the North-Carolina Standard.

On March 17, 2015 the North Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution commemorating the opening of the Williamsburg school “reaffirming the General Assembly’s continued support and advocacy for strong, innovative, and high-achieving public schools during the observance of the one hundred seventy-fifth anniversary of the first public school in North Carolina.”

Additional North Carolina Newspapers Selected for Digitization


North Carolina Historic Newspapers will digitize runs from 28 additional newspaper titles, totaling over 100,000 pages, over the next year and a half.

These pages will be added to the over 100,000 historic North Carolina newspaper pages already available on Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’ free 9 million page and counting newspaper website.

This phase of newspaper digitization includes such titles as The Fool Killer, the local paper of Boomer, Our Living and Our Dead, an important literary-historical periodical chronicling North Carolina’s role in the Civil War, and Die Suedliche Post, a short lived 19th century German publication out of Goldsboro.

Here is a complete list of the title runs to be digitized:

  • Western Sentinel, Winston
  • The Wilson Times, Wilson
  • Spirit of the Age, Raleigh
  • The Banner-Enterprise, Raleigh
  • The Robesonian, Lumberton
  • Orange County Observer, Hillsborough
  • Die Suedliche Post, Goldsboro
  • The Charlotte Journal, Charlotte
  • The Goldsboro Star, Goldsboro
  • The Farmer and Mechanic, Raleigh
  • The State Chronicle, Raleigh
  • The North-Carolinian, Fayetteville
  • The Weekly Intelligencer, Fayetteville
  • The Daily Confederate, Raleigh
  • The Monroe Journal, Monroe
  • The Journal of Industry, Raleigh
  • The Gazette, Raleigh
  • North Carolina Republican, Raleigh
  • Our Living and Our Dead, New Bern
  • Roanoke Rapids Herald, Roanoke Rapids
  • Goldsboro Weekly Argus, Goldsboro
  • Hillsboro Recorder, Hillsborough
  • Hickory Daily Record, Hickory
  • The Hillsborough Recorder, Hillsborough
  • The Durham Recorder, Durham
  • Burke County News, Morganton
  • The Fool-Killer, Boomer
  • Good News, Boomer

Project titles distributed across North Carolina can be found on this map:

North Carolina Historic Newspapers Available via Chronicling America
North Carolina Historic Newspapers Available via Chronicling America.


North Carolina Historic Newspapers has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: We the People. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities

North Carolina’s First State Park – Mount Mitchell

French Broad hustler and Western Carolina Democrat. volume (Hendersonville, N.C.), 10 Feb. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
French Broad hustler and Western Carolina Democrat. (Hendersonville, N.C.), 10 Feb. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


In March 1915, a bill was passed in both houses of the State Legislature naming Mount Mitchell as the first state park in North Carolina. The bill was largely encouraged by Governor Locke Craig, the 53rd Governor of North Carolina. He acted in response to concerns from the citizens of North Carolina regarding deforestation.

The namesake of Mount Mitchell was Dr. Elisha Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell, a science professor at UNC, measured elevations of the Black Mountain region until he met an untimely and unfortunate death after falling off a cliff over a large waterfall. Mitchell is buried on the summit of the mountain. Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The second highest point, Mount Craig, was named in honor of Governor Craig. Read more about North Carolina’s first state park in Chronicling America and on the website of the N.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. Additional information about North Carolina woodlands is available from The Forest History Society.