Wilson County Artifacts Now Online at Digital NC


A unique electric lamp (that may have also been a fan) with seashells that was made by Nestus Freeman.


A page out of the Jesse S. Barnes Camp of the United Confederate Veterans Ledger. It is a great genealogical resource for the death dates of Confederate veterans who died before 1913, when death certificates were first issued.

All of the Oliver Nestus Freeman artifacts from the ONF Round House African American Museum are now online at Digital NC.

Also the Jesse S. Barnes Camp of the United Confederate Veterans Ledger is also online at Digital NC.

Round House African American Museum Digital Project


A terrible picture that I made of the C clamp that Oliver Freeman used to build his structures.


On of his art pieces with the shell motif that is routinely found in African American cultural objects.


A blurry picture of a glass washboard. I didn’t know such things existed before I saw this one.


A well-used shoe shine box, with all of its accessories.

Yesterday I brought all of he artifacts related to the great builder, Oliver Nestus Freeman, that are housed at the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House African American Museum to the NC Digital Heritage Center at UNC Chapel Hill.  There the photographer made digital images of all of the 3D objects while the 2D objects were scanned by the over head scanner (we called it the Zeutschel at USC) or by the overhead digital camera.

It was really interesting seeing the photographer at work.  I helped him arrange the objects and he made many pictures trying to get each one just right.  Soon the images will be up at the Digital NC website for all to enjoy.

In the near future more materials will be taken from the ONF Round House Museum to be digitized so stay tuned.

Great New Online Civil War Resource

making of americaWe have a set of the books The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies as well as a set of the covering the Union and Confederate Navy.  And I did use them recently to find correspondence between General DH Hill and one of his subordinates about the construction of a Confederate fort on  Contentnea Creek in Wilson County.  But it can be a daunting task to find what you are looking for in the 159 volumes.  Cornell University has now made it a whole lot more accessible.  They have digitized the monographs for their Making of America digital collection.  So now you can effortlessly comb through the weighty tomes from the comfort of your home or trailer for any date, officer’s name or unit, institution or location.  I searched for my great great grandfather, 1st Lieutenant Christopher Columbus Welsh and ….I didn’t find him.  But I found many entries referring to Kershaw’s brigade , SC 12th infantry and entries for Captain TF Clyburn the commander of Company E which were all associated with Lieutenant Welsh.

There is an article on this site in the new edition of NGS Magazine


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