— Jamestown rifle was made for “the Joseph Taterdiggers and Thomas Cornshuckers of the 19th century.”
— Goodbye, Vance-Aycock. Hello…what? Edwards-Easley?
— Every town should have a Rose Post. Salisbury did.
“Virtually forgotten today, Joseph C. Price was once internationally celebrated…. W. E. B. Du Bois, who as a college student heard Price lecture in Boston’s Tremont Temple, pronounced him ‘the acknowledged orator of his day.’…. After Price’s untimely death at the age of 39, Frederick Douglass lamented that ‘the race has lost its ablest advocate.’…
“In 1881… a speaking tour of Britain… raised the $11,000 necessary to found Zion Wesley College (later Livingstone) in Salisbury, North Carolina. He served as president until his death of Bright’s disease in 1893….
— From “Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900,” edited by Philip S. Foner and Robert J. Branham (1998)
“Du Bois and others felt that it was the leadership vacuum created by Price’s death into which Booker T. Washington moved, and that had he lived the influence and reputation of Price and of Livingstone College would have been as great as or greater than that achieved by Washington and Tuskegee.”
— From “Dictionary of North Carolina Biography,” edited by William S. Powell (Price entry by John Inscoe)
Price was significantly less accommodationist than Washington, as suggested by this incisive observation in 1890: “The Confederacy surrendered its sword at Appomattox, but did not there surrender its convictions.”
Pictured: A pinback button marking Livingstone’s first 25 years. “A Price Builder”? Maybe a donor.
“They had ridden all night in open flatcars, without a particle of shelter or fire. It was . . . a bitter cold, damp night, and, scantily clothed as they were, they had suffered beyond account. Three had died during the night, and were still on the train. Not one of them had a whole garment on, while nearly all were destitute of shirts or coats. A ragged or patched pair of pants, and a piece of an old blanket, constituted the wardrobe of the majority. Their faces were blackened by the pitch-pine smoke from the fires over which they had cooked their rations, while traces of soap and water were lost altogether. Hair and beard in their natural state. Yet all of this was nothing compared to their diseased, starving condition.
“In short, no words can describe their appearance. The sunken eye, the gaping mouth, the filthy skin, the clothes and head alive with vermin, the repelling bony contour, all conspired to lead to the conclusion that they were the victims of starvation, cruelty, and exposure to a degree unparalleled in the history of humanity.”
Tom Vincent, records management analyst at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, is the latest historian to take on the task of tallying the state’s Civil War monuments (and the first to have compiled a searchable database).
Tom, how many “standing soldier” Confederate monuments have you recorded?
Fifty-four, out of a total of 110 Confederate memorials. Seven are in cemeteries; the remaining 47 are at more public locations such as courthouse lawns.
The database also includes the monument to the United States Colored Troops in Hertford, a monument to Union troops in Hendersonville and the monuments in the National Cemeteries in New Bern and Salisbury.
Where did these statues come from?
Many were ordered from catalogs. Companies such as McNeel Marble Co. (Marietta, Ga.) and American Bronze Co. (Chicago) often advertised in “Confederate Veteran” magazine.
Cooper Bros. of Raleigh supplied some of the stone bases. I’m not sure if Cooper Bros. provided any of the actual monuments.
Was marble the predominant material? Cast concrete? Bronze?
I have file folders full of newspaper articles about the dedications, but I haven’t really collated what the monuments were made of. I think more were granite than marble. Some were bronze, and some were hollow metal skins on a frame (like the Statue of Liberty, I guess). Some of the more inexpensive ones were cast concrete.
How long ago was the last standing soldier dedicated?
Are you still turning up statues?
I’m reasonably confident I’ve found all the standing soldier monuments in North Carolina, but the database is a work in progress, subject to change. People are still dedicating memorials, though, usually of the “slab” type, like an oversize gravestone. Here is one from 2000 in Surry County.
And the General Johnston monument, on private land near the Bentonville Historic Site, was dedicated on March 20, 2010.
There have been protests against the Confederate monument in front of the Pitt County courthouse in Greenville.
And J. Peder Zane in the Feb. 22, 2009, News and Observer [sorry, link eludes me] called for removal of the Confederate monument in front of the Capitol.
“In 18th-century America, a time when large families living in small spaces made home life cramped, taverns served as communal living rooms….
“Records show that in 1755, of the seven or eight houses in the town of Salisbury, North Carolina, four were taverns or inns. One Rowan County clergyman summed up the situation succinctly when he lamented that the tavern seemed to be faring far better than the church in the competition for men’s souls.”
— From “America’s most impressive historic survivors just may be our taverns…” by Stephen Beaumont and Janet Fortran in American Heritage, June/July 2003
“The most famous photo of the [1952 presidential] campaign came in Salisbury, North Carolina, when a crowd gathered around the train at 5:30 a.m. and began chanting for Eisenhower.
“The general and his wife woke, groaned, put on their bathrobes and groped their way to the rear platform, where they waved back at the crowd. Ike had his arm around Mamie’s shoulder; they both had big grins spreading across their faces. The photograph, as [press secretary] Jim Hagerty said, was ‘dynamite.’ ”
The image can be seen on the following Corbis Images page: Dwight D. Eisenhower Wearing a Bath Robe
— From “Eisenhower: Soldier and President” by Stephen E. Ambrose (1991)
Dept. of Coincidence: Although North Carolina ranks only eighth in frequency of the surname Eisenhower (Pennsylvania is first), it is easily No. 1 in Isenhours — and Salisbury accounts for more of them than any other N.C. city.
“When longtime resident Fred Helms, a 93-year-old lawyer, turns onto Queens Road West, he draws an appreciative breath and announces, ‘We are now entering … the most beautiful residential street in the world.’ ”
— From “Charlotte’s Magnificent Mile” (Sept. 17, 1989)
(Beautiful, but not indestructible. Less than a week after this story appeared in the Observer, Hurricane Hugo littered Queens Road West with snapped-off willow oaks. And since then the boulevard’s aging canopy has endured “Hugo on Ice”  and continuing assault by cankerworms.)
My own short list of North Carolina’s great streets tilts toward the less pristine and preserved, even the somewhat seedy. This weekend in Salisbury, for instance, I enjoyed wandering the idiosyncratic old storefronts of Main and Innes — antique shops, election headquarters, coin shop, hardware stores, wig shop, used book stores, wine shops, famous hot dog stand, drugstore, shoe repair shop, lots of restaurants with no apparent dreams of being franchised — and not a Crate & Fitch or Abercrombie & Barrel to be seen.
So what’s your idea of a great street?
“The funeral train plunged through the darkness [on April 14, 1945], changing engines and crews again at Salisbury, North Carolina, where 8,000 people (including 145 honor guards from Fort Bragg), stood in silence — and presented still another floral wreath. Sometime after midnight, the train rumbled through Greensboro. The countryside between the big cities was land that one journalist [Jim Bishop] later termed ‘Noplace in the Carolinas.’ With a schedule to keep, the funeral train simply could not stop in such locales….
“The exception was a place — never identified — where the railroad tracks slipped into a narrow cut of earth with farm fields abutting the crevasse on either side….. The locomotives chuffed to a halt beneath a tall wooden water tank….
“As the fireman wrestled the filling spout over the hatch of the first tender, an elderly black sharecropper — awakened by the hiss and clang below — wandered over to investigate. He peered down and saw the train paused in the ghost light, its windows all dark except for those of the last car, where he saw the flag and knew what it meant.
“Shocked and humbled, the man began to sing ‘Hand Me Down My Walkin’ Cane.’ His sonorous baritone boomed across the moonlit fields, drawing other farm hands out of their shanties. One by one they added their voices to the chorus. One of the engineers looked up, certain he could hear singing from somewhere above and away….”
— From “FDR’s Funeral Train” by Robert Klara (2010)
Klara’s book is authoritative and engaging, but I was disappointed he didn’t make use of reporter LeGette Blythe’s deadline account of the funeral train passing through Charlotte. I’ll post an excerpt tomorrow.