Join us next month 2/7/2017 @ 7 pm in the WCPL assembly room for Lisa Henderson’s presentation: Say Their Names: Reclaiming Wilson’s Slave Past. If it is anything like her past presentations, it will be stellar.
Joseph Alton Barnes was recently featured in the Wilson Times for receiving his high school diploma at the spry age of 92 through a program called Operation Recognition. Not long after the article appeared, Alton’s daughter, a staff member at WCPL, brought me his WWII photos to be digitized. They will soon be on his page at Wilson County’s Greatest Generation: The Memories of the World War II Veterans of Wilson County, N.C. at DigitalNC. But here are a few to hold you over.
My volunteer, Monk Moore, died this year and his family donated his vintage padlock collection to the library. Coming this January there will be a display of the collection in the first floor display case. The collection has padlocks dating back to the Civil War and represents a large swath of the companies that made locks in the United States with even a couple from England and a few that were hand-forged. So come out and take a looksy.
Contentnea cigarettes were produced by the Erwin-Nadal Company in Wilson, North Carolina, a subsidiary of the American Tobacco Company from 1909-1910….maybe (the Erwin-Nadal Company is not listed in the 1908-1909 Wilson City Directory but the American Tobacco Company is, on the corner of Mercer and Jones Streets). At least that is when they carried the T209 tobacco cards, a series that features players from the Carolinas and Virginia minor league teams.
The first series was thought to be issued in late 1909 and had color lithographs of the players. This series of tobacco cards depicted players from the class D minor league Carolina Association (Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg) and the Eastern Carolina League (Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, and Wilson). The backs of the cards also listed that there would be players from the class C Virginia League, but it was not included in the set. These cards were pretty hastily put out in order to get in on a collecting craze. There were a few mistakes, such as some players were in jerseys from a different team than indicated on the card and some players didn’t even appear to exist (according to records). There were 16 cards in the set and the Wilson Tobacconists had the most players represented at five. This was probably because Wilson had won the 1909 Eastern Carolina League championship, had high attendance at their games and the Erwin-Nadal company was based there.
The second series are black and white photographs with some depicting portraits and others, action poses. This series is much larger than the first and the number is not agreed upon, but it is around 224. Thirty of the players went on to the major leagues. One player that they missed was a Native American named Jim Thorpe, the greatest athlete of the age and he pitched for the Rocky Mount Railroaders in 1910, which is a really awesome fact to learn. There was also a uniquely strange card made of a super- fan from Wilson who dressed like Uncle Sam. He was named Benjamin Thompson and was a tobacco farmer, civil war veteran and local character.
Michael Peich & Tim Newcomb
Old Cardboard (Issue #27, Spring 2012)
What books were popular in school libraries over 100 years ago? New material from the Wilson County Public Library give us a fascinating glimpse into the reading habits of young people around the turn of the …
A coworker recently found a formerly classified report on Internet Archive about the sighting of an “Unexplained aerial object” over Wilson, NC. Yes, aliens visited Wilson at 4:38 pm, October 23rd, 1949. The UFO was described as “round, white and shiny,” but the the witness could not discern whether it was “disk shaped or spherical.” He did say that it was going fast, faster than the P38 fighter plane that was tailing it. This sighting was only two years after the weather balloon that carried a couple of aliens crashed in Roswell, NM. So maybe the round, white, speedy thing was looking for their comrades and misidentified a whirligig.