Thanks to a nomination from the Neuse Regional Library, we’ve added 1,098 issues of the Jones County Journal, a newspaper published out of Trenton, N.C. This is one of only two newspaper titles we have for Jones County. Issues date from volume one, number one, published in 1949 through April 1971. Because the Journal was digitized from microfilm shot with high contrast, many of the photographs are not very clear but the text is quite sharp.
The tagline for the paper when it began through 1954 was “A Better County Through Improved Farm Practices” and much of the news in the earlier years revolves around agricultural methods and needs. There are also editorials, personal news columns, and coverage of local events from election results to church picnics and barbecues. There’s quite a bit of coverage of the more populous Lenior County, perhaps in part due to the fact that the paper was published by The Lenoir County News Company.
The Journal is focused on local news, from the front page on. For a number of years Maysville and Trenton have their own sections. Reporters describe national and international events through their impact on Jones County residents. For example, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the front page headline reads “Trenton Area Shares Nation’s Shock on President’s Murder.” Coverage of the Vietnam War is shared in the same way, like the Jones County veteran given half of the newspaper’s front page to describe his experience. Papers full of this kind of unique local reporting, with little to no syndicated content (content that a publisher paid for and was reused in newspapers throughout the world), are especially vital for research.
Digitization of the Jones Journal was possible thanks to generous funding from the North Caroliniana Society. You can find more materials we’ve scanned on behalf of the Neuse Regional Library on their contributor page. You can search thousands of issues of North Carolina newsppaers from all over the state using our Newspapers landing page.
We’re pleased to have added to DigitalNC over 600 issues of the Jones County Journal, dating from the first issue in 1949 through 1961. This paper has been digitized on behalf of the Neuse Regional Library System which serves Greene, Lenoir, and Jones Counties. Due to the quality of the microfilm from which these scans were completed, most of the photographs in the newspaper are of poor quality or completely dark, however the text has rendered clear.
The Journal was published in Trenton, N.C. by the Lenoir County News Company. The first issue lists Mrs. Rachel Cox as editor and women are prevalent as news gatherers in that issue’s “Opening Remarks,” though this changes in later issues.
The Journal features a lot of news and advertisements from the more populous nearby Lenoir County, but Jones County residents get more coverage as the paper matures. The paper covers tobacco farming and agriculture, local government, and personal news like weddings, obituaries, and social events. Many of the earlier issues discuss traffic and accidents as more and more residents purchased automobiles.
Below is the front page of the Journal published right after Hurricane Hazel made landfall in the state in mid-October, 1954. Hazel caused casualties, severe flooding, and heavy property damage. In the United States, coastal and other eastern counties in the Carolinas suffered the most. The front page below shows some of the worst hit Kinston homes and business after the storm.
Jones County is only lightly represented on DigitalNC, so we’re glad to add this newspaper for researchers. If you’d like to view other items we’ve digitized for that area, head over to the Counties page. You can also look at all of the work we’ve completed for Neuse Regional Library.
Lee County Public Libraries has shared a large collection of materials relating to Sanford, Jonesboro, and the greater Lee County area, now available on Digital NC. Here at NCDHC, we are thrilled to work with a new partner and broaden our representation of “the heart of North Carolina.” Visitors to the site can now view nearly one hundred years of documents, including bulletins and directories; county fair and circus programs; personal records; Chamber of Commerce pamphlets; many photographs of residents, homes, and businesses; scrapbooks; school programs, records, and yearbooks; and more. Also available are forty-four years of minutes from the Pierian Club, a women’s club and Sanford’s oldest literary society. Records from these societies, common in the twentieth century, give unique insight into the activities of middle-class North Carolina women.
Sanford has historically been an important site for manufacturing and industry, and was established at the junction of the Raleigh and Augusta Air Line and Western Railroads. The early twentieth century saw rapid expansion, thanks to Sanford’s location on the railways and its official incorporation as a city in 1907, as well as the growth of manufacturing throughout the Piedmont. Tobacco in particular contributed to Sanford’s growth, which is reflected in many of the photographs and documents now available on the site. Many of the newly digitized materials are concerned with attracting more business to Sanford and advertising its various commercial enterprises. Sanford suffered economic downturns in the Great Depression and again in the 1960s and ’70s as tobacco and manufacturing declined.
Thanks to investment in economic diversification at the end of the twentieth century, Sanford has again become a vibrant and growing community with many manufacturing jobs and a diverse population of over 60,000 residents. Researchers can learn more about Lee County here and view all of our digitized materials from Lee County Public Libraries here.
Historically, Hertford County is home to people with Indigenous and African American backgrounds. The community has always been fairly small and like a lot of small farming communities in the South, Hertford County has seen lots of people move out of town and not return. However, there is still a community that is proud to live in Hertford County due to the natural beauty and rich history of the area.
Residents like Marvin Tupper Jones, are passionate about unearthing and preserving the legacies of former members in the surrounding tri-cities area of Hertford County. The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center had the privilege to partner with the Chowan Discovery Group and gain insight about the entrepreneurship of the Newsom and Hall families in Ahoskie. Willian David Newsom (1822-1916) is described as being a born-free North Carolinian who would later become a teacher, farmer and storekeeper. He was also once the largest landowner of the Winton Triangle community (Winton-Cofield-Ahoskie).After the passing of Newsom, his son-in-law, James Hall (1877-1932), took over the family store and also co-founded the Atlantic District Fairgrounds in Ahoskie. Physical remnants of the Newsom and Hall families are seen throughout these materials.
This batch also gives a look inside recordkeeping in the early 1900’s through invoices, checks and ledgers associated with the family general store family store. In spite of the family store’s current condition, at one point in time, people were shopping and congregating here; we have lots of receipts.
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.”
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.
We have added nearly 50 yearbooks to our collection thanks to our partner Rowan Public Library. These yearbooks are from two Rowan County schools — Price High School in Salisbury N.C. and China Grove High School — and are especially unique in that they capture student life at two schools that existed only for a few decades.
Price High School’s main building from the 1960 edition of the Pricean.
The 1943 Pricean Yearbook was dedicated to two teachers who joined the U.S. military.
Price High School was Salisbury’s African-American high school from 1932 until 1969, when integration led to the closing of the school and the opening of today’s Salisbury High School. Included in this batch of yearbooks are seventeen editions of The Pricean, the annual from Price High School. These yearbooks include the usual contents of high school yearbooks — superlatives, group photos, class poems — but also notable graduates and the final class’ words of farewell and gratitude to the school. They also encapsulate notable events that occurred between 1943 and 1969.
One such historic event was World War Two, which was emphasized by the 1943 Pricean’s dedication. The yearbook was dedicated to Auxillary Ruth E. Miller and Seargeant James C. Simpson, both of whom were graduates of and teachers at Price High School before joining the U.S. Army. Ruth E. Miller was the first Black member of Salisbury’s Women’s Army Auxillary Corps while James C. Simpson was the first teacher from Price High School to join the U.S. army.
China Grove High School’s yearbook, The Parrot, captures some of the early years of the merging of the Rowan County Farm Life School with the city’s main high school that took place in the summer of 1921. According to the Eura Jones, a member of China Grove High’s 1924 class, China Grove High School “was the largest rural high school in the state” in 1921, and only continued to grow. She goes on to detail the school’s continued growth, boasting “two music departments, a teacher training department, glee clubs, four societies, a dramatic club, ball teams, a home economics club, athletics, agriculture, and most of all, the construction of a new three story building to house the growing school.” The yearbooks added to our digital collection span the years from 1923 to 1961.
Plans for China Grove High School’s Expanding Campus, completed by Architect Charles C. Hook.
These yearbooks are only a fraction of the materials we have digitized for the Rowan Public Library. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, check out their partner page or their website.
Price High’s Driver’s Education Class, Cheering Squad, and First Year Industrial Arts Class from the 1956 Pricean.
Brothers James Read Jones, left, and Will Jones (circa 1861-1862). Both were soldiers from Indiana in the Union army. Their letters, among others, comprise the Jones Family Letter Collection from the Stanly County Museum.
The Jones Family Letter Collection was donated to the Stanly County Museum by Janice H. Mitchener. The letters, which number in the hundreds, are correspondence between James Read Jones, his wife Achsah Gilbert Pleas Jones, and various friends and other members of their family. The complete, numbered letters appear first in the collection (Letters 1-169), followed by incomplete letters (Loose 1-51). Biographical information about the Jones family is at the end of the letter collection (Documents 1-5). The numbered letters are roughly grouped–first are James Read Jones’s letters, and then Achsah Gilbert Pleas Jones’s letters (for a chronology, see Document 5).
The correspondence tracks many threads: the couple’s relationship, from infancy to past marriage, and the life and death in 1862 of Will Jones, James Read Jones’s brother. Though the letters date from January 1861 to April 1894, the bulk of the letters date from 1861-1862, when James and his brother served in the Union army. As Documents 2-4 detail, Sergeant J. R. Jones was mustered into Company E, 36th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry, in September 1861. He met Achsah Gilbert Pleas and on April 7, 1862, just after the Battle of Shiloh, they were married. Sgt. Jones was promoted to Second Lieutenant in March 1862 but discharged for an inguinal hernia on December 2, 1862. He then spent much of his life traveling the world as a Quaker minister, while Achsah raised their children in North Carolina. Achsah and Jimmy were married until Achsah’s death in 1898.
The Jones Family materials also includes a scrapbook. The James Read Jones Scrapbook of Writings is a collection of letters and newspaper clippings by or about James Read Jones. Dated materials in the collection range from 1885-1911. The scrapbook includes many newspaper columns and articles written by J. R. Jones, as well as assorted correspondence, photographs, and poems.
Also new are newspapers from two Albemarle schools. There are two late 1930s issues of The Seven Stars newspaper from Albemarle Central Elementary School, and several volumes of The Full Moon newspaper from Albemarle High School:
Of note is the Honor Roll of Rockingham County. This book is full of portraits of Rockingham county men and women who served during World War II. Beneath each portrait are details including the names of parents, hometown, and service dates. African American servicemen are included separately at the last few pages.
Also new are the following scrapbooks, ledgers, cards, and yearbook:
Advertising Cards for H.D. “Tarvia” Jones Construction Repair and Maintenance and Southern Electric Service Company
Ervin’s column stands out today for how it differs from contemporary political propaganda. For one thing, it was published in local papers, which tend to focus on local and regional news. For example, one column from the September 13, 1963 issue runs next to a news brief headlined, “Sea Hags Will Meet,” referring to a local fishing club.
Another notable quality of Ervin’s column is that it is… relatively boring. Rather than employing inflammatory language or focusing on hot-button issues, Ervin tends to give technical overviews of the mechanisms of the Senate. In the column published on October 18, 1963, the Senator references a “controversial Foreign Aid Bill” and then writes, “Present prospects are that there may be no action taken by the Senate as a whole on the tax bill. There is a growing feeling that action on the tax measure should be postponed until after the President’s Budget message to Congress the first of the year.” Even though it is presumably written for a general audience, Ervin often chooses to use technical language and focus on bureaucratic details rather than argue for a bigger picture or stance.
Annie was a teacher in Richlands, N.C. when she married Frank and came to Maysville as the head of the Maysville school. She also helped organize the Civic Leagues (now known as Women’s Clubs) of many small Eastern towns, and she served as the president of the Maysville Civic League for 14 years.
Maysville Baptist Church c. 1940
Meanwhile, Frank took turns on the Board of Aldermen and Jones County Board of Education as well as serving as postmaster and town marshal. Both Frank and Annie were also active in the Baptist Church, where he served as Superintendent of Sunday School and the Chairman of the Board of Deacons while she taught adult Sunday School classes.
It’s evident from this batch of materials that the Jenkins family was an important one in Maysville, as several landmarks bear their name. But there are many other families included in these histories and photographs as well. You can explore the full batch of materials here. To learn more about Maysville Public Library, you can visit their partner page or their website.
This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.