Viewing entries posted in February 2023

Mill Photos, Yearbooks & Family Video Show Scenes of Life in Chatham County

An adult tending to a large piece of machinery in a fabric mill.

Some photos from the Chatham County Historical Association include scenes of the Odell cotton mill that was formerly on the Haw River in Chatham County. Purchased by J.M. Odell in 1886, the mill was once at the heart of Bynum, N.C., and some of the mill’s satellite structures are still standing. The photos from this batch show the river pouring over a dam, as well as some of the machinery that was used to spin the cotton.

According to our partner, these photographs were taken in the 1950s by Arthur Hill London III, grandson of Arthur Hill London Sr. (1974-1969), who was the secretary and treasurer of the Odell Manufacturing Company at the time.

Several adults in dresses and hats talking to one another as they walk out of a house.
A still from the Siegrist family home movie, c. 1933.

These photos are only part of a batch from our partner, which also includes a set of yearbooks and an early home movie of the Siegrist family on a visit in Pittsboro around 1933. The movie shows some of the centennial celebration of the St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, scenes of a cemetery, and some footage of people gathering at a family member’s home.

One yearbook in this batch is the 1940 edition of The Seniorogue yearbook from Siler City High School. It is the second-oldest edition in our digital collection so far (after the 1939 edition), and it has a surprising amount of information about each student along with their picture, including the names of their parents.

You can see the photographs, The Seniorogue and the home video here, and the rest of the yearbooks can be found here. To see more materials from the Chatham County Historical Association, you can visit their partner page and their website. You can browse all of our North Carolina high school yearbooks by school and date in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.

Two Savannah High School Eagles Have Landed

Five students sitting together on a couch and looking at the camera. All are dressed in business casual attire.
From the 1963 edition of Savannah High School’s The Eagle. From left to right: Dorothy Isler, Nettie Dixon, Alvin McNeal, Thelma Barnes, and Velma Sherrod.

Two editions of Savannah High School’s The Eagle—1963 and 1969—are now available in our North Carolina Yearbooks collection thanks to our partner, East Carolina University.

A student in a dress and blazer descending some stairs.
Dorothy Isler (The Eagle, 1963)

Savannah High School, located in Grifton N.C. in Lenoir county, was a historically Black high school (and sometimes middle school). Though the original structure is no longer used, the Savannah High School Alumni and Friends Association (SHSAFA) keeps the school’s community alive through a bi-annual celebration.

One of the recent SHSAFA events was a fashion show and dinner, which showcased the styles of several members and their families. Perhaps it was inspired by the “Miss Fashionetta Style Show,” another event documented in the 1963 edition of The Eagle. Dorothy Isler (left) is pictured in the “Senior Hall of Fame” since she was nominated as Savannah’s contestant for the event.

You can see both the 1963 and 1969 editions of The Eagle here, and you can browse our full collection of North Carolina High School Yearbooks by school name, date, and location. To see more materials from East Carolina University, you can visit their partner page and their website.

A Glimpse Into Small Town Life With “The Wake Weekly”

Header for Wake Forest, N.C. newspaper "The Wake Weekly"

We now have issues of The Wake Weekly and Youngsville-Rolesville Record from 1952 and 1960 through 1962 up on DigitalNC! The scope of the paper rarely ventures outside its tri-town borders, but offers a unique look into the lives of Raleigh’s northern neighbors in the 1950s and 60s.

Newspaper clipping announcing that Karen Pearce has won the Wake Dairy Princess Pageant. She is pictured wearing a dress, sash, and crown.
June 10, 1960

In this batch we have illegal gambling parties complete with confiscated moonshine, the much-anticipated results of the Dairy Princess Pageant, writers expressing their feelings about this wild new thing called “rock ‘n roll,” and a teenage gossip column where you can learn whether Jerry Beddingfield and Nancy Pettigrew like Twist and Shout by the Isley Brothers or not. Every accomplishment was celebrated and every traffic citation documented. With a paper this intimate it’s easy to see how tight knit this community really was.

Newspaper clipping that says "One thing that really ought to come with no strings attached is a rock and roll singer's guitar."
September 21, 1962
Clipping from gossip column called "This and That" listing what teens have been up to.
June 15, 1962

These papers were provided to us by our partners at the Wake Forest Historical Museum. For information about events and planning a visit you can visit their site here.

A Tax Scandal Unfolds in New Issues of Harnett County News

More issues of the Harnett County News have been added to our site thanks to our partner, the Harnett County Public Library. This latest batch spans from 1921-1930 and 1938-1945, encompassing some of the happenings of the county in the early twentieth century.

A newspaper advertisement reading, "Notice! to taxpayers: I will be in Dunn, at Commercial Bank, on Saturday, January 8th, 1921 to collect taxes. All who haven't paid will please meet me. The schools and roads are dependent upon local taxes, as I will have to reserve other funds to settle with State Treasurer, and for other purposes. J.W. McArtan, Sheriff, Harnett County.
From January 6, 1921

One such happening is the unresolved story of Sheriff J.W. McArtan, who also served as the county tax collector in the early 1920s. McArtan ran several ads in the Harnett County News reminding people to pay their taxes on time. One short article in the March 3, 1921 edition warned that those who failed to pay would be put on the county’s “delinquent list.”

But what happened to that tax money? Apparently, it didn’t all make it to schools and roads. An article in the December 18. 1924 edition reads: “Former Sheriff and His Bondsmen to Contest Claim: J.W. McArtan and Bonding Company to Make Denial of Statement that He Is $54,000 Short.” It goes on to explain, “The News is informed that J.W. McArtan, former sheriff and tax collector of Harnett county, has employed counsel to defend him in the matter of settlement with the county for moneys alleged to be due to the county by the sheriff.” According to the rest of the article, McArtan’s attorney argued that several of the books keeping the tax records had been taken out of McArtan’s office, so it was impossible to tell “how much money has been collected on the tax books since they were taken away… that is, [the auditor] does not know to which account moneys turned over to him may be credited, nor does he know for what year they were due.”

$54,000 is certainly a lot of money to be missing, even by today’s standards. But to put things into perspective, converted to the value of today’s dollars, McArtan was on the hook for about $937,250.

What happened to former sheriff McArtan? His name brings up a lot of results in the Harnett County News and other nearby papers, so it’s up to you to look and find out.

You can browse all available issues of the Harnett County News here and explore our digital newspaper collection by location, type, and date. For more information and materials from the Harnett County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

New Yearbooks from Rowan Public Library are now on Digital NC!

Front Cover of Yearbook
The 1946 Front Cover of “The Torch” from East Spencer High School.

23 yearbooks from several high schools in Rowan County are now available on Digital NC. Included in the new collections of NC Yearbooks are “Spencerian” and “The Railroaders” from Spencer High, “The Torch” from East Spencer High, and “Crisp ‘N Curls” from Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. The high school and school of nursing yearbooks cover each high school from the early 1920s to the late 1950s, marking pivotal changes for many students during that time.

Special thank you to our partner Rowan Public Library. To see more yearbooks from Rowan Public Library on Digital NC, visit them here. Be sure to check out our massive collection of High School and College Yearbooks throughout North Carolina!

The Immortal Nick Arrington is now on Digital NC

Black and white photo of a house's front entrance and columns, with most of the house obscured by trees
Nick Arrington’s home known as “The Cedars”

Written by Glenn H. Todd in 1965, Digital NC has made available The Immortal Nick Arrington with the help of our partner Braswell Memory Library. Born on December 25th, 1806, Nicholas Williams Arrington would be appointed to the office of Chief Deputy Sheriff of Nash County at the age of 21. He would inherit a vast amount of wealth in money, land, and property after the deaths of his father and brothers. The book written by Todd does a deep dive into the life of Arrington and his many adventures throughout the South before the Civil War in America.

To see more from Braswell Memorial Library, visit them here. To see other items in our memorabilia collection, visit us here.

Early Issues of Chowan University Literary Magazine Now Available

The cover of a magazine with two columns standing on either side of the titleEleven issues of The Columns literary magazine have been added to our site thanks to our partner, Chowan University. These issues are some of the earliest iterations of the magazine, beginning with Volume 1, No. 1 in November 1914 and continuing up to Volume 3, No. 4 in May 1917

In addition to some student poetry (which tends to be in more structured forms than we might see today), there are also non-fiction pieces, like this essay on the food shortage due to the “European War” or this editorial on how our personalities are formed. The short fiction takes on a wide variety of genres, including fantasy in “A Trip to Fairlyland in the Moon” and portraits of the everyday, as in “A Mischievous Boy.” 

You can read the full batch of The Columns here. To see more materials from Chowan University, you can visit their partner page and their website.

Entrepreneurship of Hertford County’s Newsom and Hall Family

Portrait of Marvin Tupper Jones organizing recovered materials from the Newsom Store.
Portrait of Marvin Tupper Jones organizing recovered materials from the Newsom Store.

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.

Photograph of the Newsom family store that is now abandoned and in poor shape.
The Newsom family store in Hertford County, NC.

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.

Business was handled in the store, but learning also took place as well. There are materials like a biology notebook, a parent-student education guidebook, and copies of the “North Carolina Record: The Official Publication of North Carolina Negro Teachers Association”. Do not fret, the Newsom and Hall families were not all work not play. A fraternal social club pamphlet was recovered, indicting affiliation with the Grand Lodge of Raleigh North Carolina. Altogether, this batch shows the complexities of black thought and life in and around Hertford County.

To learn more about our partners, the Chowan Discovery Group please visit their website.

Issues of “The News Reporter” Highlight Early 20th Century Architecture

A black-and-white portrait of Larry Gantt.
Larry Gantt, editor of The News Reporter. This image was brightened for clarity.

More issue of The News Reporter from Whiteville, N.C. are now available thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This batch adds issues from 1925-1927 to our North Carolina Newspapers collection and features photographs of some of the architectural marvels from the early 20th century.

These papers were processed from microfilm, meaning that photos from the earliest issues in 1912 are a little bit hard to see. This photo of the paper’s editor, Larry Gantt, was brightened for better visibility.

A black-and-white photo of a two-story, white house with tall columns at the front.
The R.E.L. Brown House in 1912. This image was brightened for clarity.

Despite the darkness of the photos, some of Chadbourn, N.C.’s notable landmarks are still recognizable in the paper. This photo of the R.E.L. Brown House, which still stands at 108 N. Howard Street in Chadbourn, shows the building’s distinctive columns. According to the North Carolina Architects & Builders biographical dictionary, the house was built in 1909. It was designed in the Colonial style by Joseph F. Leitner, an architect known in our state for his work in Wilmington, especially railroad buildings.

A black-and-white image of Chicago's Union Station from 1925.
Chicago’s Union Station, 1925

The popularity of railroads was still going strong more than 10 years later in this 1925 issue, when the paper ran a feature on Chicago’s Union Station called, “Latest Triumph in Railroading.” The article reads, “The station is without a doubt one of the finest and most efficiently designed railroad terminals in the world.” According to the station’s contemporary website, it cost $75 million and 10 years to build (that’s $1 billion in today’s money).

You can see more architecture from the early 1900s in the rest of the available issues of Whiteville’s The News Reporter or explore our North Carolina Newspapers collection by location, type of paper, and date. To see more materials from UNC Chapel Hill, you can visit their partner page and their libraries’ website.

New Issues of “The Carolina Times” Pay Tribute to Black Women

Newspaper headline: "Unique Black Women"

Digital NC has new issues of The Carolina Times thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Included among the new issues is a special editorial to highlight “unique Black women.” The Carolina Times demonstrated a commitment to celebrating Black history through its frequent educational articles.

Newspaper clipping, Carolina Times 1983, Unique Black WomenThe “Unique Black Women” feature covers recognizable names, including journalist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005), and politician Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). The editorial also celebrates local Durham heroes, such as West End neighborhood elder and activist Constance Walker (1942-).

Newspaper clipping, Carolina Times 1983, Unique Black Women

The editorial includes the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (1910-1985), a priest, scholar, lawyer, and poet who grew up in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Murray was the first Black person to earn a Doctor of the Science of Law degree from Yale. Murray’s legal arguments were utilized to end public school segregation and advance women’s rights in the workplace.

While Dr. Murray’s impact extends around the world, their legacy is especially honored in Durham. Murray attended Hillside, a historically Black and segregated high school. They later wrote Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family about their family and the history and legacy of segregation in Durham. Today, there are now murals across the city with Murray’s image. Work like this 1983 article helps preserve Durham’s memory and honor its local leaders, making future initiatives possible.

You can see all available issues of The Carolina Times here or browse our North Carolina Newspaper collection by location, type, and date. For more information about UNC Chapel Hill and its library holdings, you can visit its partner page or its website.

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