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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.
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.
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.
Back in December, we announced our annual call for microfilmed newspaper digitization. We asked institutions throughout North Carolina to nominate papers they’d like to see added to DigitalNC. As it is every year, it was an incredibly tough choice – we are typically able to choose between 40-60 reels out of over 500+ nominated. This year we’ve chosen the following titles and years.
|The Elkin Tribune (Elkin, N.C.)
||Elkin Public Library
|The Enterprise (Williamston, N.C.)
||Martin Community College and Martin Memorial Public Library
|Gates County Index (Gatesville, N.C.)
||Gates County Public Library
|Green Line (Asheville, N.C.)
||Buncombe County Public Libraries
|The News of Orange County (Hillsborough, N.C.)
||Orange County Public Library
|The Pamlico News (Bayboro, N.C.)
||New Bern-Craven County Public Library
|The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.)
||Southern Pines Public Library
|The Smithfield Herald (Smithfield, N.C.)
||Johnston County Heritage Center
|The Wallace Enterprise (Wallace, N.C.)
||Thelma Dingus Bryant Library
|Winston-Salem Chronicle (Charlotte, N.C.)
||Forsyth County Public Library
For our selection criteria, we prioritize newspapers that document underrepresented communities, new titles, papers that come from a county that currently has little representation on DigitalNC, and papers nominated by new partners. After selection, we ask the partners to secure permission for digitization and, if that’s successful, they make it into the final list above.
We hope to have these titles coming online in the first half of 2021. If your title didn’t make it this year don’t despair! We welcome repeat submissions, and plan on sending out another call in Fall 2021.
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.
The articles reported on issues pertinent to the area, such as the state of tobacco crops, local elections, and society news. This newspaper also covered the annual Strawberry Festival, which first started in 1983 in on Main Street, Vanceboro.
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”.
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.
Thanks to our partner, the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, we have now uploaded several books of church minutes from the First Baptist Church of New Bern, as well as a book from 1984 on the history of the congregation.
Cover for “‘In The Beginning—Baptists’!: History of the First Baptist Church, New Bern, North Carolina 1809-1984” by Edna Avery Cook.
The First Baptist Church of New Bern was founded on May 11, 1809 after numerous unsuccessful attempts to form a Baptist church on the site since before the American Revolutionary War. On July 2, 1848 the sanctuary–a gothic revival structure that still stands today–was dedicated. The structure was left mostly unharmed during the Civil War, except for an indent from a cannonball from the Battle of New Bern that was visible until renovations were completed in 1975.
Cover of the book of minutes for the First Baptist Church of New Bern from December 3, 1870-January 1, 1883.
For more about the New-Bern Craven County Public Library, visit their website.
An advertisement from the 1954 city directory.
An aerial view of New Bern from the introduction of the 1967 city directory.
A new batch of directories from New Bern, North Carolina are now available thanks to our partner, New Bern-Craven County Public Library. These directories are a great source for learning about the population in New Bern, North Carolina from the 1940s through ’60s. These directories provide names and address for citizens and businesses, and are a great genealogical resource. All directories are fully text-searchable and many include buyer’s guides with advertisements and additional business listings. The 1967 edition provides a brief history and introduction to New Bern before the directory information.
To view the directories, follow the links below:
Water skiers on Trent River from the introduction of the 1967 city directory.
To learn more about New Bern-Craven County Public Library and see more of their materials, check out their partner page or visit their website.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Harry Truman visits 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.
First Baptist Church Women’s Missionary Union 
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.