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.”
Source: Stagecoach Mary: the Black Cowgirl
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.”
Burn the date, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, into your brains because there is going to be a sublime program here at WCPL with a powerhouse of eastern NC, African American history and genealogy by the name of Lisa Y. Henderson. That was a long sentence.