World War I American Expeditionary Force

popular_songs_aef

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.

popular_songs_aef_4_5

wwi_french_handbook

wwi_envelopes1

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

Advertisements

Quakers in North Carolina

1708 albemarle

1708 Moseley Map of Albemarle

After Ancestry.com 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

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

gardner_family_bible_1

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

gardner_family_bible_5

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 Proctor family.  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.