As early as 1913, North Carolina municipalities were empowered to collect local taxes by issuing license plates. The most recent I’ve seen: Blowing Rock 2010.
Most only named the town, but some took the opportunity to self-promote. Take that, Wilson and Tarboro and Rocky Mount!
“[George] Washington’s complaints only increased in the southern states [during his first-term tour of all 13 states]. Instead of comfort, he experienced martyrdom, at least in the small towns along the road.
“In April 1791 he crossed into North Carolina from Virginia hoping to find an inn where both he and the horses could recover from an unpleasant day of traveling in the rain. He had no luck. The single tavern open for business was so repellent that Washington could not bring himself to suffer a single night’s stay. The inn, he explained in his diary, ‘having no stables in which the horses could be comfortable, & no Rooms or beds which appeared tolerable, & every thing else having a dirty appearance, I was compelled to keep on to Halifax.’
“Tarboro, North Carolina, offered ‘a very indifferent house without stabling.’ There followed a series of ‘indifferent’ inns, a description that in Washington’s rating system apparently meant barely tolerable….”
— From “George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation” by T.H. Breen (2016)
“Indifferent” may have been Washington’s pejorative of choice for North Carolina inns, but he was more memorably dismissive of Charlotte — and Greenville — as “trifling.”
On this day in 1994: Pat Crawford, last surviving member of the famed “Gashouse Gang” — the 1934 world champion St. Louis Cardinals — dies at a Morehead City nursing home at age 91.
Crawford had been the top pinch-hitter for the Gashouse Gang, named for the club’s rambunctious style. Unlike such teammates as Pepper Martin, Leo Durocher and Dizzy Dean, however, Crawford held two college degrees (Davidson and Ohio State), abstained from tobacco and alcohol and preferred to turn in early.
The Gang’s next-to-last survivor, Tarboro native Burgess Whitehead, died two months before at his home in Windsor.
“Just after one midnight last week 200 masked men drove up to the Edgecombe County jail in Tarboro, N. C., gained admittance by pretending they brought a prisoner. Silently they drew revolvers, covered the deputy sheriff, brought out Negro Oliver Moore, 35, who was being held for trial in September on a charge of attacking Ethel and Lucile Morgan, white sisters aged 7 and 5.
“In a motorcade of 50 cars without licenses the 200 took Oliver Moore 15 mi. to his home in Wilson County, there strung him from a tree. As his body twisted and writhed, all shot at it until he was dead; first lynchee in North Carolina since 1921, twelfth in the U. S. for 1930.
“Said North Carolina’s Governor Oliver Max Gardner: ‘I am horrified. It is a black spot on a fine record … of nearly a decade. … A disgrace to North Carolina! The State will do everything in its power to find the guilty parties and bring them to justice.”
— From Time magazine, Sept. 1, 1930
Despite Gardner’s promise, investigation of the lynching was cursory at best, and no arrests were ever made.