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New Materials from the New Bern-Craven County Library

By-Laws Governing District Councils of the Improved Order of Red Men of North Carolina, page 5

By-Laws Governing District Councils of the Improved Order of Red Men of North Carolina, page 5

Thanks to our partner, the New Bern Craven County Public Library, DigitalNC has published nearly twenty items from several chapters of the Improved Order of Red Men in North Carolina. This fraternal order, based on the images of Native Americans used by the Sons of Liberty during the Boston Tea Party in 1773. This batch contains many materials surrounding groups based in New Bern, Greenville, and Raleigh.

Reasons Why You Should Become a Member of the Improved Order of Red Men

Reasons Why You Should Become a Member of the Improved Order of Red Men

Included in the batch are six minute books that cover nearly forty years of the groups’ activities. These could be useful for researchers interested in genealogy, especially within the New Bern area. The print materials also include information about the club’s structure and activities, including the “Department of Death Benefits.”

Perhaps the items from the Improved Order of Red Men offer us another alternative to a rather dramatic election year with a suggestion from their By-Laws, mentioned in the image above.

To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or the website.

Undertaker’s record book and other resources now available from New Bern-Craven County Public Library

Undertaker's Record Book, page 15

Undertaker’s Record Book, page 15

Thanks to our partner, the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, DigitalNC is happy to publish several new items that could be extremely useful for our users.

Researchers may find use in the Undertaker’s Record Book, a unique source that documents the business and financial interactions of Merritt Whitley & Sons funeral home. The funeral home was an African American owned family operation which appeared in town records as early as 1890. The owner, Merritt Whitley, was also appointed as the County Undertaker in 1897. His sons, William O. Whitley and Hugh L. Whitley operated the funeral after their father’s death in 1910.

The record book offers a variety of unique data, documenting the years 1923-1925. In addition to the products and pricing of funeral items, such as caskets, burial clothes, embalming fluid, and cemetery transportation, the ledger also social and demographic information about the deceased. Including everything from family relations and presiding clergy to cause of death and grave location, this resource could be a wealth of information for genealogists or historical researchers.

At the links below, you can view all the new additions to DigitalNC from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, including the multiple impressive sources from the Female Benevolent Society of New Bern:

To access more resources and manuscript items like this, please visit the North Carolina Memory Collection. To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their contributor page or check out the website.

Craven County Materials Now on DigitalNC

1958 The Bruin yearbook New Bern

Students in Industrial Arts at New Bern High School hard at work, 1958 The Bruin

Over 40 yearbooks and other published materials from Craven County are now online on DigitalNC, thanks to the New Bern-Craven County Public Library.  The yearbooks and catalogs come from schools across Craven County and include:

Drawing from the 1924 Mill Stream,,from the Craven County Farm Life School

Drawing from the 1924 Mill Stream, from the Craven County Farm Life School

City directories for New Bern covering 1904-1915 are also included in the batch from Craven County.  To view more materials from across North Carolina, visit DigitalNC.

50 Years Later, “Carteret County News-Times” Headlines Aren’t All That Different

Black-and-white photos of commercial streets flooded.Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like the problems of today are unique to our time and place, but this latest batch of the Carteret County News-Times (1960-1963) demonstrates that people have been working through similar problems for at least 50 years. One issue, from March 16, 1962, somehow touches on big storms flooding the area (and the difficulty of insuring coastal property), U.S. House elections, and redistricting—almost as if it were printed in 2022.

Luckily, no one died in the nor’easter that hit Morehead City and the rest of the coast in March 1962, but the storm did cause quite a bit of damage. A paper from the preceding week (March 2, 1962) pictures flooding along some of the commercial streets and describes buildings that were not up to code to withstand the storm. One commissioner reported that an insurance firm in New York abstained from insuring the area because of the building code problems. A week later, a headline reads (perhaps unsurprisingly): “Red Cross Says Best Way to Help Dare Is Give to Local Red Cross.”

Another front page story describes a bid for the 3rd Congressional District by Morehead City resident S.A. Chalk Jr. Chalk Jr. ran against incumbent David Henderson in the Democratic primary (though in a much different Democratic party than we think of today). He accused Henderson of voting for “policies that are bound to cause even further trouble,” saying, “He claims he’s conservative, but his voting records do not bear this out.” Chalk Jr. still lost the primary, apparently, as Henderson went on to represent the district until 1977.

Aside from the familiar arguments of House elections, the article also mentions that Harnett County was added to the district in 1960. And while the headlines haven’t changed much over the last 50 years, the list of counties included in the 3rd District certainly has. In 1962, the district included 10 counties: Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, and Wayne. In 2023, the district will expand and morph to contain parts of 15 counties: Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt (partly), Sampson, and Wayne (partly). For visual thinkers, an interactive map of NC’s congressional districts can be found here.

You can see the full batch of the Carteret County News-Times here and explore all of our digital newspapers in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. You can also explore more materials from the Carteret County Public Libraries on their partner page and their website.

West Craven Highlights Newspaper Now Online

Masthead for West Craven Highlights newspaper.

West Craven Highlights, April 21, 1983.

Thanks to our partner New Bern-Craven County Public Library, DigitalNC is proud to host over 600 issues of the new title, West Craven Highlights. Serving Craven County, N.C., these newspaper additions span the years 1978 to 1989. The West Craven Highlights printed weekly on Thursday, documenting local happenings and celebrating Craven county residents.

Photo of farmers sitting in a row on the back of a plow planting bright leaf tobacco in a field.

Tobacco farmers, April 19, 1984.

The articles reported on issues pertinent to the area, such as the state of tobacco cropslocal elections, and society news. This newspaper also covered the annual Strawberry Festival, which first started in 1983 in on Main Street, Vanceboro.

Article from the West Craven Highlights asking four children if they think T.V. is good or bad for kids.

Question of the week, July 29, 1982.

Article asking four Vanceboro residents what changes they would like at the newly relocated Vanceboro Library.

Question of the Week, July 8, 1982.

Sporadically, the second page of each issue would save space for opinions and staff writer interest pieces. These stories were often narrative and personal; even a story on a new cat made the second page. Notably, Lela R. Barrow wrote her opinion piece “I Remember” for the West Craven Highlights for three years before her passing in 1986. Gail L. Roberson continued in her place with her opinion articles which were later titled “Eastern Echos” and then “Gail Winds”.

Article titled "The Art of Doing Nothing" in the West Craven Highlights newspaper.

The Art of Doing Nothing, May 5, 1983.

DigitalNC is thankful to our partner New Bern-Craven County Public Library for this new addition to our digital collection. To view all digitized issues of this paper, click here. For more information about New Bern-Craven County Public Library, visit their partner page here or their website here.

From the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library: Papers of Sybil Hyatt, Genealogist and Writer


Photograph of Sybil Hyatt, from the Sybil Hyatt Papers

The Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library, one of our newest partners, holds the personal papers of Sybil Hyatt, genealogist and author. These papers are now digitized and published on DigitalNC.

Sybil Hyatt, a member of a notable Lenoir County family, was an outspoken writer and researcher in Eastern North Carolina. Many claimed that she knew more about the genealogy and history of Lenoir and Craven counties than anyone else. Her research focused primarily on Swiss and German settlers in NC, as well as histories of the well known families in the area.

Most of the files in this collection revolve around genealogy, particularly that of the Palatine colonists who settled the New Bern area of Craven County, but she was also interested in politics, education, and taxes. Hyatt was a staunch advocate for education and tax reform in North Carolina. You read more about her opinions and correspondences on these subjects, here.

There are many interesting highlights from this large collection, but several of particular interest to researchers might be Hyatt’s intensive work creating the North Carolina Society for the Descendants of the Palatines. She lead the society for many years:


Clipping from the Kinston Morning Herald, from the Sybil Hyatt Papers

Other useful resources for researchers could be the materials that Hyatt herself used. Included in the collection are several issues of the North Carolina Booklets, issued by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution of North Carolina and several issues of the Quarterly Review of the Eastern North Carolina Genealogical Society. These items offer a window into how Hyatt became so well versed and proficient in her research throughout her career. Several interesting items include:

You can see all of the new additions to the Sybil Hyatt papers, here. If you are interested in learning more about the Kinston-Lenoir County Public Library please visit their contributor page or the website.

Additional Yearbooks from Wayne County Public Library Now Available

Newly digitized yearbooks from Wayne County Public Library are now available on This batch features yearbooks from six high schools, dated 1955-1965. The high schools are from Wayne, Lenoir, Craven and Pitt counties:

  • New Bern High School (New Bern, N.C.) – 1965
  • New Hope High School (Goldsboro, N.C.) – 1964
  • Dillard High School (Goldsboro, N.C.) – 1965
  • Goldsboro High School (Goldsboro, N.C.) – 1965
  • Bethel High School (Bethel, N.C.) – 1955, 19571958
  • Grainger High School (Kinston, N.C.) – 1956-1959, 1961-164

In addition to this selection of yearbooks is a 1926 senior yearbook and scrapbook from Goldsboro High School called Just Seniors. The yearbook features portraits of the 66 seniors as well as mementos, newspaper clippings, postcards, pressed flowers, personal messages, and programs collected by the copy’s owner Louise Johnston Spoon.


From left to right, clockwise: Louise Johnston Spoon’s yearbook photo, page 12; 1925 Junior-Senior Banquet Program, p. 47; Postcards, p. 58; pressed flower and personal notes, p. 106.

To browse more yearbooks, click here. To explore more materials from Wayne County Public Library, click here.

New Newspaper, The Pamlico News, Now Available

Header for The Pamlico County News. The subheader reads: Dedicated to the progressive development of Pamlico County - "Home of America's oldest, largest holly tree."

Thanks to our partner New Bern-Craven County Public Library and funding from the State Library of North Carolina through IMLS’ LSTA program nearly 600 issues spanning 1976 to 1987 of our newest newspaper, The Pamlico News, is now available on our website.

The paper was first published in the late 1960s as The Pamlico County News, but in 1977 the paper’s name was changed to The Pamlico News. The newspaper is still published under this name today.

Published weekly in Bayboro, North Carolina, the paper focuses on local and broader North Carolina news including topics on community history, events and festivals, citizen accomplishments, education, and more.

A frequent feature of the paper is celebrating older citizens of Pamlico County’s birthdays. One article featuring Mr. Frank Styron’s 100th birthday is especially fascinating. The piece includes a picture of Mr. Styron as well as information on his family history.

To learn more about New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their website.

To view more newspapers from around North Carolina, please click here.


New First Baptist Church Materials Now Available

Print of the First Baptist Church steeple.

First Baptist Church, M. Williams.

Thanks to our partner, New Bern-Craven County Public Library, several materials from First Baptist Church including five new minute books, “A” building classroom renovation plans, and a beautiful print featuring the church’s steeple are now available on our website.

These minute books cover almost 50 years of church history from 1948 to 1988. A majority of the content present in the books are financial reports, budget proposals, meeting notes, and letters. Renovations for the church’s “A” building classroom were completed by MBF Architects PA in 2014. The print was created by artist M. Williams and depicts the First Baptist Church steeple.

To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please click here.

To view more First Baptist Church materials, please click here.


Photographs, Book, Documents, and Minute Books from First Baptist Church Now Available

Thanks to our partner, New Bern-Craven County Public Library, a batch containing content related to First Baptist Church (New Bern, NC) is now available on our website.

The batch features nine minute books, a book detailing the history of First Baptist Church, over forty photographs, and various other documents. Photographs include images of the interior and exterior of the church, pastors, the choir, Sunday School on Easter, and most notably, Harry Truman’s visit to the church on November 7, 1948. A more detailed description of his attendance and a copy of the invitation to the event can be found here and here

Picture of Harry Truman leaving the First Baptist Church. He is holding his hat in the air about to get into a car. There is a crowd of people around the car.

Harry Truman visits First Baptist Church

A letter sent from the headquarters of the 3rd Division, 10th Army Corps returning the church to the Deacons of First Baptist Church.

A letter sent from the headquarters of the 3rd Division, 10th Army Corps on September 1, 1865 returning the church to the Deacons of First Baptist Church after the end of the Civil War.

Four women sitting around a table talking to one another.

First Baptist Church Women’s Missionary Union [1947]

To learn more about the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit their website

To view more content from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, please visit here.

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