Captain Jesse Sharpe Barnes, 4th NC Infantry


A colorized version of the Capt. Jesse S. Barnes portrait that is in the Civil War Collection of the Library of Congress.

Captain Jesse Sharpe Barnes enlisted in the 4th North Carolina Infantry, Co. F at the age of 18 on May 16, 1861 and a little over a year later he was dead,  killed at the Battle of Seven Pines in Virginia on May 31, 1861.  He was a Wilson County native and a nephew of General Joseph Barnes.  Jesse’s brother Lt. William Sharpe Barnes survived the war but was badly wounded at the Siege of Petersburg.

The brothers were brought to my attention by a researcher from Germany who is visiting Wilson next month.  I ran it by my 80 year old volunteer and he knew all about the Barnes siblings and he actually has the book of minutes from the Jesse S. Barnes Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that was started in the late 1800′s.  He said a lady from the local Daughters of the Confederacy gave the book to him because everyone who was in the camp had died.  It is a great resource for the death dates of members who died before death certificates were issued in 1913.

Also Jesse was quite a handsome man for the disease ravaged 1860s and he is featured in the 2013 My Daguerreotype Boyfriend calender, which is full of  19th century eye candy.


Captain Barnes with the requisite Civil War facial hair. This portrait was found in an antique shop in 1992 and when the Library of Congress started placing its images on Flickr in 2009 it was recognized that the two portraits were of the same person.

Whirligigs all over the World


Whirligig at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC

Vollis Simpson’s Whirligigs are in museums all over the world (well there is one in a London museum which allows me to say all over the world).  Here is a list of places from the Wilson Daily Times that have installations of his whirligigs:

American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

American Folk Art Museum, New York

Folk Art Park, Atlanta, GA

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC

City of Goldsboro, NC

City of Cary, NC

Greensboro, NC

Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC

Museum of Everything, London, UK!

and many, many in Wilson, NC



New Books on North Carolina


Here is a list of some new materials that I have ordered and received for the Genealogy Room and the NC Collection over the last few months.

  1. Bridger Family Chronicles: From the old World to the New, Vol. I & II
  2. Henry McCulloh and Son Henry Eustace MaCulloh: 18th Century Entrepreneurs, Land Speculators of North Carolina
  3. 1850 Rutherford County, North Carolina Federal Census
  4. 1830 Rutherford County, North Carolina Federal Census: Free Schedules
  5. NC Petitions for Presidential Pardons 1865-1868
  6. Debtor’s Legacy: The Patetown Story
  7. Charles L. Coon: An Evaluation of His Work and Influence in North Carolina
  8. 1880 Rutherford County, North Carolina Federal Census
  9. WPA Cemetery Records for 1939, Cleveland County, NC
  10. Stanly County, NC Will Abstracts, 1841-1868
  11. Lincoln County North Carolina Inventory of Estates Records
  12. Index to Greene County, NC Loose Original Estates Records
  13. The New World Book of Mosers
  14. Studies in the histories of the South, 1875-1922
  15. Croatoan: Birthplace of America
  16. The Name is the Game: Onomatology and the Genealogist
  17. Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration
  18. Marriages of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 1783-1868
  19. Caswell County, North Carolina Will Books, 1777-1814; 1784 Tax List; And Guardians’ Accounts, 1794-1819 (Published With) Caswell County, North Carolina
  20. Murder in the Courthouse: Reconstruction and Redemption in the North Carolina Piedmont
  21. Moon North Carolina
  22. Moon North Carolina Coast: Including the Outer Banks
  23. French and Indian War in North Carolina: The Spreading Flames of War
  24. Adventure Carolinas: Your Go-To Guide for Multi-Sport Outdoor Recreation
  25. Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina
  26. Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina
  27. Hiking North Carolina’s National Forests: 50 Can’t-Miss Trail Adventures in the Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests
  28. Fishing North Carolina’s Outer Banks: The Complete Guide to Catching More Fish from Surf, Pier, Sound, and Ocean
  29. The Outer Banks Cookbook: Recipes & Traditions from North Carolina’s Barrier Islands
  30. Klansville, U.S.A. : the rise and fall of the civil rights-era KKK (2013)
  31. Stories of the South : race and the Reconstruction of southern identity, 1865-1915

World War I American Expeditionary Force


We have some interesting World War I materials in our collection that are just gathering dust in our vault so I wanted to shed some light on a few items.  First off we have a little book titled, Popular Songs of the AEF.  The book was given out to enlistees to foster an esprit de  corps among the men as they sang these songs together.  Whether they actually did that while singing Beware of Chu Chin Chow (actual song in the book about a Chinese burglar) or the many Irving Berlin standards  I don’t know, but from the line printed inside the front cover, It’s the songs we sing and the smiles we wear that make the sunshine everywhere, I wonder if they thought they were about to join a German glee club rather then fight battle- hardened stormtroopers.

Also in our collection is the English-French Hand Book for the use of United States Soldiers and is a helpful guide for soldiers in the trenches on leave in France.  So after a long night out drinking absinthe in Paris you may need to ask De quel cote se trouve la caserne? (Which is the way to the barracks?).  And if you are in really bad shape you may say J’ai gangrene (I have gangrene).  On the last page are the words and translation to La Marseillaise,  which is a song that I’m sure came in handy  on the eleventh of November, 1918.

These artifacts were the property of Sergeant J.W. Springer.  We also have about 15 of his letters that he sent to his sister, Anne, during the war.  I am currently reading them and I will post something about the letters at a later date.




An envelope that carried one of JW Springer’s letters from France to his sister Anne.

Quakers in North Carolina

1708 albemarle

1708 Moseley Map of Albemarle

After finally got back on line after 3 days of denial of service attacks, which seems to be happening to many high profile websites in the past few weeks (including my beloved Feedly),  my patrons were noticing many Quaker records were coming up in general searches.  I did a little research and found out that Ancestry had recently added 11.2 million new Quaker records.  And for North Carolina genealogy research, Quaker records are extremely important.  Quakers were instrumental in NC’s founding in the Albemarle region and continued to be a leveling force against the Anglican elite (see Cary’s Rebellion and read an earlier blog post A Very Mutinous People, the Struggle for North Carolina 1660-1713 by Noeleen McIlvenna) and a voice of reason against slavery (they were founders of the Underground Railroad), but importantly for genealogy, they kept copious amounts of detailed records.  So Ancestry has become an even more of a valuable tool for Eastern North Carolinians of English ancestry.

But they weren’t just active in the eastern part of the state, the North Carolina Government and Heritage Blog has a post about a correspondence that was reprinted in the May, 1790 edition of the North Carolina Chronicle between General Nathaniel Greene and Quakers who lived in the vicinity of the just fought Battle of Guilford Courthouse (in Guilford County).  In the letter he beseeches the Quaker community to help the wounded that were left near the battlefield by the Continental Army as they chased  Cornwallis to Wilmington. The Quakers respond that they would do what the can but they had also suffered from the British troops.   The State Library of North Carolina is interested in finding out why the paper reprinted the letters a decade after the battle.

Barnes Church, a Former Slave Church still standing in Wilson County


barnes_church_descriptionI recently came upon this photograph in the local history room tucked away in a mailing envelope.  Although this image was taken in 1981, I have been told that this church is still standing.  I am planning on verifying this for myself in the near future.  If it is still  in existence, it is a singularly important historical artifact for the county and the state.

Gardner Family Bible


The Bible was printed in 1790, if you can read Roman numerals. (I put it into Google)


Sara Gardner is the oldest person in the Bible

Recently I received a call from a nice lady who wanted to sell a family bible that she bought at a yard sale.  I said that I would ask around but I would like to see it.  Well she brought it in and it was treasure trove for the Gardner family of this area. Yeah the Ava Gardner, Gardners.  There are also other families listed and one is the Proctors.  The Bible was printed in 1790 in Philadelphia and the earliest birth date was for a Sara Gardner 22 February, 1753.

One of my volunteers bought the Bible and I have now scanned it.