Online at DigitalNC
Last Friday I received in the mail a donation of a photo album from 1925 containing perhaps fifty photographs of Boy Scouts and the Stuckey family in Wilson, NC. The High Point Museum originally received the memory book from the owner and thought that it should be in Wilson. So we are very grateful that they sent us this unique treasure.
Some of the subjects of the photographs include a Confederate veteran reunion, Camp Wilson, Charleston, SC, Camp Leach (doesn’t sound fun) in Beaufort County, NC, the Appalachians, and Bath, NC. I have digitized a few pages but it is so large I am going to take it to UNC Chapel Hill on Thursday to get it completely digitized and put up on Digital NC.
America’s Old West was undoubtedly a Wild West before an ex-slave named Mary Fields arrived in 1885 at a small railroad town in present-day Montana. Yet she certainly made things more interesting. One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying: “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.”
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.
This is my most sensational headline for a blog post I’ve ever had. But I found this astounding article in the April 22, 1949 edition of the Wilson Daily Times while looking for an obituary. William Henry Pellan had lived more history than found within the pages of most history books. He recounts that he was a slave in Washington County, NC and was sold three times for $700, $850 and $1,000 respectfully. He also remembers Sherman’s March and had worked on Mississippi steamboats, worked as a farmhand, a fireman on railroads, in a sawmill and as a preacher.
Also the funniest/ meta-saddest part was when he complains that the price for a marriage license went up from $3 to $5 and says “I never paid more than $3 for a woman in my life, and this is my fourth one.”
Yesterday a patron was looking for a book in the local history room and said, “I saw it here twenty years ago!” Well it turned out that the reference copy had been absconded with before I got here but we still had one in the NCNF circulating collection.
The book is a collection of photographs of NC Confederate Civil War soldiers called, State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers, Vol. 1. I had never even heard of the the book and it is a remarkable, painstakingly researched work that required collecting images from 320 families from all over NC. And it is the first work of its kind that didn’t rely on photos found in archives. The author, Greg Mast, received so many photographs that he decided to end this volume in 1862 with the intention of publishing other volumes. But the fact that this was published twenty years ago gives me the sinking feeling that there will not be any more volumes, which is very unfortunate. However, there is still this one and there are some singular photographs in the book, including one collection of photographs from the Woodard family of Wilson County, a family that truly suffered more than most during this period. And much to my surprise there is a photograph of the brother of my great great grandfather. I had never seen this photo of Ephraim Kale, who is a too young, fifteen years old when it was taken. I have included the captions for both images in the post.