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The people and places of the Tar Heel state day by day.
Updated: 3 hours 32 min ago

Women of Edenton Resolve to Forego English Tea, 1774

4 hours 12 min ago

An engraving of the Edenton Tea Pary. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

On October 25, 1774, women in Edenton resolved to stop buying English tea and cloth to protest taxation without representation. The event became known as the Edenton Tea Party.

The women, some of whom likely gathered at a home in Edenton, drew up resolves which were signed by 51 local ladies. In January 1775, a British newspaper reported that “many ladies of this Province [North Carolina] have determined to give a memorable proof of their patriotism” having resolved not to drink anymore tea or use any British cloth.

The step was a momentous one for colonists, because drinking tea was an English tradition that defined social gatherings. To suspend the custom, which was a part of everyday life, showed just how disgusted they were with the English government. Like the much more famous Boston Tea Party, the Edenton Tea Party was a bold demonstration of patriotism and the belief in individual rights.

Penelope Barker, wife of the treasurer of the Province of North Carolina is believed to have organized the protest.

Visit: Historic Edenton is celebrating the 240th anniversary of the tea party today with family activities on the 1767 Chowan Courthouse lawn.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Bennehan and Cameron Interests Merged at Stagville

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 06:30

A slave dwelling at Horton Grove.

On October 24, 1823, Richard Bennehan purchased more than 400 acres known as Horton Grove from William Horton. The land became part of Bennehan’s vast holdings across what are now Granville, Durham, Orange and Wake counties.

The plot then included only the modest Horton Home but, by 1860, also incorporated several two-story, four-room timber-frame slave quarters, some smaller tobacco barns and the Great Barn, which was the center of the extensive Stagville plantation,

Most of Horton Grove’s structures were built by Paul Cameron, Bennehan’s grandson. Family records reveal that the unique design of the slave cabins was a deliberate attempt on Cameron’s part to provide a healthier living environment for his slaves.

Stagville was one of the largest pre-Civil War plantations in the upper South. By 1860, the Bennehan-Cameron family owned nearly 30,000 acres, several businesses and almost 900 slaves, and Stagville, a plantation of several thousand acres on its own, was at the center of the enormous estate.

Horton Grove was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and today Historic Stagville is one of 27 state historic sites.

Visit: Located in northern Durham County, Historic Stagville is open to visitors Tuesday though Saturday.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Baron DeGraffenreid and the Swiss Colony of New Bern

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 06:30

An image of DeGraffenreid from Tryon Palace

On October 23, 1711, Baron Christoph DeGraffenreid, founder of the Swiss colony of New Bern, penned a lengthy description of his capture by the Tuscarora Indians.

In mid-September of that year, DeGraffenreid and John Lawson led a surveying expedition up the Neuse River. Lawson was the Surveyor General of the colony and was well-known to the Indians. When the Indians discovered the party in their territory, and unannounced to their leader King Hancock, they captured the men and took them to the Tuscarora village of Catechna, near present-day Grifton.

The Indians were angry over encroachment on their lands and they believed the surveying party was out to take more. DeGraffenreid was spared, but Lawson was executed. DeGraffenreid, held at the village for several weeks, bargained for the safety of the New Bern colony. Nevertheless the Tuscarora, in alliance with other aggravated tribes, attacked settlements on the Pamlico, Neuse and Trent Rivers, and in the Core Sound region in what would become known as the Tuscarora War.

A drawing of DeGraffenreid and John Lawson under capture by the Tuscurora. This drawing is sometimes attributed to DeGraffenreid.

After his release from the Tuscarora, DeGraffenreid wrote his account of the ordeal in order to explain Lawson’s fate and to clarify the promises that he made to the Indians during his capture.

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For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


C. A. Penn and the Lucky Strike Brand

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 06:30

On October 22, 1931, Charles Ashby Penn, developer of Lucky Strike cigarettes, died.

Penn was born in Virginia in 1868, but moved with his family to Reidsville in 1874. In Rockingham County, his father established the F. R. Penn Tobacco Company, processing chewing and smoking tobacco. Charles joined the company after graduating from high school.

In 1911, the Penn Tobacco Company was purchased by American Tobacco Company, the conglomerate run by James B. Duke. Penn prospered under his new employer, becoming a director of the company in 1913 and vice president for manufacturing in 1916.

A Lucky Strike Christmas tin, circa 1930-1941.
Image from N.C. Historic Sites.

Though the Lucky Strike brand originated with a company that American Tobacco Company had acquired in 1905, Penn perfected the cigarette’s blend and manufacturing process. He also invented the slogan that became synonymous with the brand: “It’s Toasted.”

Soon Lucky Strike became America’s best-selling cigarette. Penn enlarged his father’s old tobacco factory in Reidsville to produce Lucky Strikes, quickly making the Rockingham County town among the nation’s top tobacco production centers; it adopted the nickname “Lucky City.” Penn, who constructed an English manor house known as Chinqua Penn, also established Reidsville’s first library.

When Penn died in 1931, he was celebrated as “first citizen” of Reidsville. At that time 40 billion Lucky Strike cigarettes were being sold annually.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


North Carolina Museum of Art Home to Noted Christmas Image

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 06:30

“Madonna and Child in a Landscape.” Image from the N.C. Museum of Art.

On October 21, 1993“Madonna and Child in a Landscape” a work by the Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Battista Cima de Conegiano that is part of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s permanent collection, was selected as the U.S. Postal Service’s Christmas Stamp.  The Museum’s collection of Italian paintings ranks among the finest in the country.

Since the initial acquisition in 1947 of 139 works of European and American art, purchased with a $1 million appropriation of state funds, the North Carolina Museum of Art has grown to be one of the nation’s finest museums.

Housed in a state of the art building completed in 2010, the permanent collection includes European paintings from the Renaissance to the 19th century, Egyptian art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art of the 18th through 20th centuries, and international contemporary art. Other strengths include African, ancient American, pre-Columbian, and Oceanic art, and Jewish ceremonial objects.

The Museum also is home to one of the largest museum art parks in the world. The park includes over a dozen works of art set on 164 acres.

Visit: Madonna and Child in a Landscape is in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s permanent collection. The museum is open six days a week in Raleigh.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Annie Carter Lee, From Virginia to North Carolina and Back

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 06:30

Image from Washington and Lee University.

On October 20, 1862, Annie Carter Lee, daughter of Robert E. Lee, died in Warren County. She had been ill with typhoid fever while visiting the Jones Springs resort there.

Lee sent both Annie and her sister Agnes to North Carolina in June 1862 when Union troops occupied their home in Arlington, Va. When Annie died it was not possible to take her body back to Arlington, which was then behind enemy lines. The owner of Jones Springs offered to have her body buried in his family cemetery and the Lees accepted.

The monument to Annie Carter Lee in Warren County. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Zearell Crowder, a Confederate soldier, created the 11-foot tall obelisk that marks her grave to this day. It was dedicated in a ceremony in 1866. The Lee family and the citizens of Warren County paid for the monument, and Robert E. Lee visited the grave in 1870.

In 1994, descendants of the Lee family had Annie’s body removed from the Warren County grave and interred with the rest of the family at Washington and Lee Chapel in Virginia.

The obelisk remains in the Jones Family Cemetery located on Annie Lee Road.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Empire Takes Shape

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 06:30

R. J. Reynolds. Image from the
Forsyth County Public Library.

On October 19, 1874, R.J. Reynolds purchased his first lot, next to rail lines in Winston, from the Moravian Church.

Born into a prosperous Virginia tobacco family, Reynolds started what he called the “Little Red Factory” in 1874 with just $7,500 and some college and business school under his belt. A year later, the factory and its 12 workers had produced 150,000 pounds of southern flat plug chewing tobacco.

By the time of Reynolds’ death in 1918, the company had grown to a workforce of 10,000 spread across 121 buildings in Winston-Salem. The diversified tobacco manufacturing business included chewing and pipe tobacco and the legendary Camel cigarette. Other popular Reynolds brands included Winston, Salem, Vantage and Doral.

Outside of the business arena, Both Reynolds and his wife became known for their progressive politics, philanthropy and efforts to improve conditions for their workers.

Working a Reynolds Tobacco Plant. Image from the North Carolina
Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The story of Reynolds’ arrival in Winston in 1874, eager to make his fortune and the family’s economic and philanthropic legacy have been memorialized in a sculpture in Winston-Salem. Dedicated in 1979, the monument depicts the 24-year-old Reynolds blazing into town on a horse.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


African American Baptists in North Carolina Organized, 1867

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 06:30

On October 18, 1867, the first meeting of the General Baptist Convention opened at the First African Baptist Church in Goldsboro.

After the Civil War, African Americans withdrew from Baptist churches across the state and established their own association, the General Baptist Convention, as the black counterpart to the Baptist State Convention. The withdrawal stemmed from strong white opposition to social equality and the desire by both races for separate churches.

In September 1867, a group of ministers called for an assembly. Each black Baptist church was asked to send its minister and two delegates. The planned assembly was held at the same time as the annual meeting of the white convention from which it received advice and $500 in financial support. Known for a time as the General Association for Colored Baptists, the group has been called the General Baptist State Convention since 1947.

Though the creation of the organization came at a time marked by poverty, discouragement and bitter struggle, by 1882 the group represented 800 churches and 95,000 members. Today, the convention represents over a half-million members.

First African Baptist Church of Goldsboro still owns the tract where the original meeting took place.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Lewis Leary, John Brown Accomplice, from Fayetteville

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 06:30

Marines attack the Harpers Ferry arsenal after it was taken by Brown’s forces.

On October 17, 1859, Lewis Leary was fatally wounded during John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

Originally from Fayetteville, Leary was a free mulatto who came from a family of saddle-makers. Leary moved to Oberlin, Ohio, in search of economic opportunity and because the town was considered to be among the most racially progressive in America. Once there, he gravitated toward the growing abolitionist movement and joined the Anti-Slavery Society.

Leary

In 1859, John Brown, a vehement anti-slavery advocate, was looking for men to spark a slave insurrection on the East Coast. Leary joined him enthusiastically. Unfortunately, Brown’s men lacked the resources needed to mobilize local slaves who had not been properly notified of the insurgency.

Local militia held off the raiders until Robert E. Lee’s Marines formally intervened. Brown’s men were unable to stockpile the weaponry or to escape. While attempting to flee, Leary was wounded and died several hours later.

Though the raid failed, Leary’s death was not in vain. Brown’s raid threatened the South by proving that a slave insurrection was possible, and the seizure was lauded in the North. The episode marked the obvious division between North and South, which would shortly culminate in the Civil War.

Other related resources:

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Rick Dees’ 1976 Novelty Hit, “Disco Duck”

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:37

On October 16, 1976, Rick Dees’ song “Disco Duck” hit number one on the Billboard charts. At the time of the novelty hit, Dees was working as a disk jockey at a radio station in Memphis, Tenn.

Rigdon Dees III was born in Florida, but was raised in Greensboro. He attended Grimsley High School and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in radio, television and motion pictures. Dees went on to work at several radio stations around the South. He wrote and recorded “Disco Duck” as a parody of the glut of disco songs popular in the late 1970s. It was perfect timing for the song, which ended up being his only hit recording.

Dees went on to become one of the most famous DJs in the country, hosting long-running shows such as The Weekly Top 40. He also has acted in television shows and movies, and has done voiceovers for movies, including Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

His many accolades include membership in both the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Radio Halls of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Wake Forest Sets Up New Campus, 1951

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 06:30

President Harry Truman helps break ground on the new Wake Forest campus.
Image from the Wake Forest Historical Museum.

On October 15, 1951, President Harry S. Truman spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Winston-Salem campus of Wake Forest College. The president spoke for 20 minutes covering the history of the college and praising the people who made the move possible. A scale model of the planned campus was available for attendees to examine.

The move was several years in making. College trustees and the Baptist State Convention had agreed to move the school to the Forsyth County site during the previous decade, after the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation promised to fund the college in perpetuity if it moved. Charles and Mary Babcock, the daughter of R. J. Reynolds, donated 350 acres near Reynolda House for the campus.

Image from the Wake Forest Historical Museum.

The school’s roots, though, go back much further. The Baptist State Convention launched Wake Forest Institute in 1834 on the site of a Wake County plantation with an enrollment of 16. Designed to teach Baptist ministers and laymen, the school required students to spend half their day performing manual labor on the plantation.

In 1838, the school was renamed Wake Forest College, and the provision for manual labor was abandoned in favor of rigorous academic training. The village in Wake County that developed around the college became known as Wake Forest.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


University President, U.S. Senator Frank Porter Graham

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 06:30

Image from N.C. State Libraries

On October 14, 1886, Frank Porter Graham was born in Fayetteville.

Graham became a history instructor at UNC in 1914, but left to serve in the Marines during World War I. He was elevated to the rank of first lieutenant before returning to Chapel Hill as an assistant professor. He secured a full professorship in 1927 and three years later became president of the university. When the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State College and the North Carolina College for Women merged in 1932, Graham became the first president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina.

A flyer that portrays the choice between
Willis Smith and Frank Porter Graham in the 1950 U.S. Senate election in racial terms. Image from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

In 1949, Graham resigned from the UNC system to accept an appointment to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat caused by J. Melville Broughton’s death. Graham’s 1950 Democratic senate primary race against Willis Smith has become legendary for the mudslinging and posturing. He lost the primary but maintained a commitment to public service.

Graham became the United Nations mediator and representative to India and Pakistan in 1951, and served as an assistant secretary general of the United Nations before retiring in 1967.

He returned to Chapel Hill where he died in 1972. The 1968 student union building at Chapel Hill bears Graham’s name.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Gospel Music’s First Lady, Shirley Caesar of Durham

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 06:30

Image from the State Archives.

On October 13, 1938, Shirley Caesar, an award-winning gospel singer and preacher was born in Durham. Her beginnings were humble. She and her 11 siblings lost their father when they were young. She immersed herself in church and family life, and in singing, which she began at age 10.

When Caesar was 19-years-old she met Albertina Walker, a famous gospel singer, who was impressed with Caesar’s raw talent and invited her to join her group, the Caravans. Performing across the United States, she saw the racial adversity that was prevalent in America during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  After eight years with the group she opted for a solo career, giving her the opportunity to preach and to affect change.

Caesar’s many accolades include 11 Grammy Awards, 15 Dove Awards and 13 Stellar Awards.  She has released more than 20 albums and a dozen singles, and she is commonly known as the “First Lady of Gospel Music.”

Caesar continues to be active in the Triangle community, preachingat Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh and has operated her Outreach Ministries in Durham for more than 40 years, inspiring many through her talent and selflessness.

Other related resources:

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Monument Dedicated 1923 at Bennett Place Symbolizes Unity

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 06:30

The Unity Monument is unveiled at Bennett Place in November 1923 (the dedication is the day we remember today). Image from the State Archives.

On October 12, 1923, the Unity Monument was dedicated at Bennett Place in Durham, memorializing the end of the Civil War and reunification of the country.

Sponsored by the Samuel Tate Morgan family and the state of North Carolina, the monument is composed of two Corinthian columns symbolizing the Union and the Confederacy topped by a beam bearing the word “Unity.” The inscription on a stone at the monument’s base details the surrender of Confederate troops by General Joseph E. Johnston to General William T. Sherman in 1865 at the farmhouse owned by James and Nancy Bennitt.

Sherman and Johnston met at the Bennitt farm three times during the month of April 1865 to negotiate the war’s largest surrender of Confederate troops. Their first meeting came just two days after Lincoln’s assassination. Although Lee’s April 9 surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House is often considered the end of the Civil War, Johnston’s April 26 surrender of the armies of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida to Sherman is more correctly viewed as the close of the conflict.

Following the surrender, the two generals became friends. Johnston even served as a pallbearer at Sherman’s funeral in 1891.

Visit: Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham, the site of the largest surrender of the Civil War.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


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