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.

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