National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference

Last week I was fortunate to be able to attend the National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference. It was held in Raleigh this year, so it was only 15 minutes from my house. Very convenient!

Most of the speakers were experts in their field, and some were the expert in their field.  I mostly concentrated on the DNA, Scots Irish, and the international connections sessions with a few other subjects thrown in.

Luckily for our library, we have a tireless local genealogical society and they were generous enough to buy us many books from the vendors in the exhibit hall.

I recommend anyone with a passion for genealogy to attend one of these conferences. It will add to your skill set and take your craft to higher level. Also, nice people, food, and coffee.

The indomitable Betty Bachelor.

Victorian calling cards for sale.

Exhibit hall

A packed session.

Say Their Names: Reclaiming Wilson’s Slave Past


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.

Contentnea Cigarettes and Tobacco Cards


Contentnea Cigarettes- the taste of a muddy creek in every inhale. Image taken from Ebay.

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.


T209 Series 1, Daniel McGeehan (outfielder) eventually played for the MLB St. Louis Cardinals after he fielded for the Wilson Tobacconists for 62 games and Scranton (New York State League) for 19 games. Image from Michael Peich & Tim Newcomb Old Cardboard (Issue #27, Spring 2012)


J.J. Lane (pitcher). Image from Michael Peich & Tim Newcomb Old Cardboard (Issue #27, Spring 2012)


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.


Local Tobacco farmer and Wilson’s greatest baseball fan, B.E. Thompson


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.


You could turn this card in for a picture album of all the baseball players.


Michael Peich & Tim Newcomb
Old Cardboard (Issue #27, Spring 2012)

The Cardboard Connection

T209-Contentnea Cards 1909-1910

Carraway and Batts, Dealers in Liquors, Groceries, Cigars, Tobacco, etc.


Looks like Mrs. SJ Carraway took some classes or was giving to the institute.


I think that this was an early form of life insurance.


This was printed on the back of the MB&R certificate. A great genealogical resource for death dates before death certificates.


A page from the saloon’s receipt pad. The two circles are probably where the metal receipt holders went through.


1886 liquor license for Carraway and Batts.


William P. Carraway owned one share in the Farmer’s and Mechanics’ Association.

These documents are a brief glimpse into a short-lived venture between William P. Carraway and John Batts called Carraway and Batts Liquor, Groceries, Cigars, Tobacco & Co. that was part of the Monk Moore collection.  I believe that it would have been called a saloon and it existed sometime between 1884 and 1890. I know this because it doesn’t appear in the 1884 City Directory or the 1890 one.  But in 1890, a saloon is listed as being owned by John Batts, leading one to wonder what happened to Carraway.  His share could have been bought out, but it does look like he had some life insurance, I’m not insinuating anything, but he was probably murdered (jk).

National Library Week at WCPL 1971


National Library Week_1971I’m not sure who the librarians are in this picture, but they have some intriguing selections from the WCPL collection, including a one hit wonder  South African folk band called Four Jacks and a Jill.  I remember when I would check out LPs from the Gaston County Public Library.  I know I checked out the double album Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, probably no less than ten thousand times.

It looks like they also carried reel to reel films to check out.  The one they have on the board is a Rudolph Valentino film but I can’t make out the title.  It may be a documentary, I think the word ‘Idol’ is on it.