Another 60 Newspaper Titles on DigitalNC!

Headmast for January 20, 1900 issue of Winston-Salem's Elite

This week we’ve added another 60 titles to DigitalNC. Included in this batch is the possible origin of a classic North Carolina ghost story!

The Maco Light story tells of a train conductor name Joe Baldwin who was decapitated in a tragic railway accident near the small community of Maco, North Carolina. Legend has it that the ghost of Mr. Baldwin could be seen walking the tracks at night, carrying a lantern and searching for his misplaced head, but once the railroad was removed in the 1970s he was never seen again.

Article from January 12, 1856 issue of The Southerner detailing a train accident in which Charles Baldwin is killed after suffering head injuries

The Southerner, January 12, 1856

As is the case with most folk tales, the story is passed down and embellished over the years and the origin becomes a little fuzzy. There is no record of a “Joe” Baldwin being involved in a wreck, but the January 12th, 1856 issue of The Southerner has an article detailing a train accident that took place just outside of Wilmington a week earlier. The deceased in this incident is Charles Baldwin, who suffered a fatal head injury during the crash. Given the similarities in these stories, it seems our ghost might have actually stayed in one piece.

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 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, 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:

Elizabeth City







Southern Pines










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.

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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.

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