Much of this collection of manuscripts at UNC Chapel Hill has been digitized and is available for your perusal.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to eat at Lexington Barbecue. Yes it was great and no I had never eaten there before. I grew up in Gastonia, NC which had its own form of barbecue. A form that some of my extended family loved to eat but was shunned by my father and grandfather. They were more into Shelby, NC barbecue and more specifically Red Bridges’ Barbecue Lodge which was down the road a few miles. There were two Bridges Barbecue restaurants in Shelby, the other one being Alston Bridges barbecue (Alston was the grandfather of one of my best friends). The two always said that they were not related but I think they just didn’t like each other. Both Red and Alston were taught the BBQ arts by a man named Warner Stamey when he lived in Shelby for a time. Wayne Monk (of Lexington Barbecue) had also been taught by Stamey when he owned a restaurant in Lexington (after Shelby). In 1953 Stamey opened a restaurant in Greensboro, which is still there and I’ll let you guess what it is called. Although I had never eaten at Lexington Barbecue it felt like I had eaten there my whole life.
Now I know that I haven’t mention Wilson’s Barbecue, which is very good, but that is for another post.
NC Barbecue Books at WCPL
Here is a link to ten North Carolina County online historical directories. Unfortunately Wilson County isn’t among them. But that is is a digitization project that could happen in the near future.
Today is North Carolina DNA Day (and National DNA Day). DNA Day celebrates the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953. The American Society of Human Genetics organizes events for students and the public to learn more about genetics and genomics. Click on this link to see what is going on in NC today. Also check out what is happening at the ASHG.
Thanks to the generosity of the Wilson County Genealogical Society we will be adding some much needed monographs to our genealogy collection. So go and find those mutinous Renagadoes in your family or maybe even your calmer more restrained ancestors.
Chowan County Miscellaneous Papers, Book I: 1685-1744
Chowan County Deed Abstracts, Volume I: 1729-1738, 1801-1806, Deed Books: W-1, C-2, D, Unidentified
Chowan County Deed Abstracts, Volume II: 1701-1755, Deed Books: A-1, E-1, F-1, F-2, G-1
Chowan County Deed Abstracts, Volume III: 1723-1759, Deed Books: C-1, UNK, H-1, Misc., Loose Deeds
Edgecombe County Court Minutes, Book IV: 1786-1792
Halifax District Superior Court of Law & Equity, 1785-1805
Perquimans Precinct Old Albemarle Co. (now Perquimans County) County Court Minutes, Book I: 1688-1738
Perquimans Precinct Old Albemarle Co. (now Perquimans County) County Court Minutes, Book II: 1738-1754 & Deeds 1735-1738
Perquimans Precinct Old Albemarle Co. (now Perquimans County) County Court Minutes, Book III: 1755-1762 (pt. 1774) Also Inventories, Sales & Divisions of Estates
Perquimans County Deed Abstracts, Volume I: 1681-1729
Perquimans County Births, Marriages, Deaths & Flesh Marks, 1659-1820
All by the extremely prolific genealogist Weynette Parks Haun
Grad student Caitlin Hopkins has great blog chronicling her dissertation research on tombstones. She has compiled a list of 101+ ways a tombstone can say that someone died without saying someone died and here are some of my favorites
92 Was casually shot
35 Her longing spirit sprung
28 Was Barbarously Murdered in his Own Home by Gages Bloody Troops
56 Was Found Lashed to the Mast of His Sunken and Ill-Fated Vessel
57 Began to dissolve
101 I am only going into another room
78 Left it
Last year at the University of South Carolina I digitized the journal of a South Carolina woman and plantation owner named Keziah Brevard. She documented her life right at the beginning of the Civil War. Her biography, which is based on the journal, is available for checkout at the Wilson County Public Library under the title A Plantation Mistress on the Eve of the Civil War and It is a compelling read.
As a young boy, sparked by stories by my grandparents, I became fascinated with this time period. It seemed pretty cool to an impressionable young mind with its world of infinite battles, brave soldiers, dashing officers and some of the best facial hair ever to grace humanity. However, Keziah Brevard’s journal really and truly paints a picture of what the war was about. She time and again speaks of the war about to break out over slavery in her deeply religious, forlorn way. She speaks from a truly unique vantage point, one that shatters the monolithic image of idle slaver owners sitting in their mansion courting and fawning. This woman performed backbreaking work right beside her slaves. Keziah was a childless widow that lived by herself on a plantation with maybe 200 enslaved Africans. You wonder from her writings whether she owns them or they own her. One family seems to have made themselves in charge of the other slaves and frequent violence occurs that she can’t control. Also, from her writings you get the feeling that she knows that this is a pathological way of doing things, and she repeatedly laments about having slaves. She resents them and they resent her. That doesn’t mean that she wants to free them nor does she want some northern army of abolitionists to come and emancipate them. This woman is hard as nails and probably manic depressive, which she fights by working her fingers to the bone, lamenting to God constantly, and writing in her journal about her daily toils or lists about eggs, hams, and turkeys. Only rarely is there any crack in this dark veneer. In one entry she admits to allowing a young slave girl name Sylvia to sleep in her bed on cold nights because the girl is so afraid of the cold. But is she being kind or is she just desperate to be close to another person in a world where she is surrounded by people but yet is so completely alone? The manuscript is a rich trove of life during this period, one that shows the lives of of African Americans that is usually absent from the record. It also reveals the world of slavery as not just a monolithic gang labor system but varied throughout South Carolina each with it own unique pathologies.
Keziah ends her journal with the start of the shelling of Fort Sumter and thus the beginning of a war that she thought was foolhardy, but it leaves me wishing that there was more.