This week we have another 30 newspaper titles up on DigitalNC! In the September 3, 1891 issue of Boone’s Watauga Democrat we have an article describing the terrible train wreck of Bostian’s Bridge in Statesville. This fatal accident sparked a legendary North Carolina ghost story, but perhaps even scarier are the boogeymen railroad companies would often create to avoid accountability: train wreckers.
By 1891 the railroad system in America had exploded, allowing for easier cross-country travel and bringing with it fresh new paranoia about disasters and scary strangers coming to your town. Blaming a wreck on some shady character was a lot easier than paying a fortune on settlements due to negligence. Almost immediately after the August 27, 1891 accident, the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company put out ads offering a $10,000 reward for the apprehension of the perpetrator, leading to many being accused and arrested (conveniently with the help of a railroad detective).
The editor at Statesville’s Landmark provides us with an incredibly detailed account of the accident and the recovery effort, complete with interviews from survivors and witnesses where they describe rotten cross-ties and rail workers throwing this evidence into the creek below the bridge. Many of those interviewed make a point to mention that there were no signs of robbery after the crash, which doesn’t exactly support the idea of this being some dastardly deed by a bandit.
Over the next year, we’ll be adding millions of newspaper images to DigitalNC. These images were originally digitized a number of years ago in a partnership with Newspapers.com. That project focused on scanning microfilmed papers published before 1923 held by the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Special Collections Library. While you can currently search all of those pre-1923 issues on Newspapers.com, over the next year we will also make them available in our newspaper database as well. This will allow you to search that content alongside the 2 million pages already on our site – all completely open access and free to use.
This week’s additions include:
- Fayetteville Observer [1816-1865] (Fayetteville, N.C.) – 1834-1865
- The Fayetteville Advertiser and Gazette (Fayetteville, N.C.) – 1871
- Fayetteville Observer [1880-1919] (Fayetteville, N.C.) – 1883-1885
- Fayetteville Observer [1880-1919] (Fayetteville, N.C.) – 1887-1900
- The Home-Florist (Fayetteville, N.C.) – 1890
- Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1836
- The Daily Standard (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1865
- The Gazette (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1871
- Monthly Bulletin, North Carolina Department of Agriculture (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1883-1884
- The Belles-Lettres (Raleigh, N.C.) – 1885
If you want to see all of the newspapers we have available on DigitalNC, you can find them here. Thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries for permission to and support for adding all of this content as well as the content to come. We also thank the North Caroliniana Society for providing funding to support staff working on this project.