Scope and Content Note
Pitt's Past Database
Scope and Content: Since 1984, local historian Roger Kammerer has written a regular column, now called "Pitt's Past," for the Greenville Times, a bi-weekly tabloid newspaper first published in 1981. These articles describe many aspects of the history of Pitt County's people, places, and important events. Topics Include columns about notable individuals, cities, towns, and small communities; important buildings such as the Pitt County Courthouse; steamboats on the Tar River; schools; churches; services of individuals in various wars; and the social life and customs of people during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. Many of the articles contain "odd and unusual" tidbits concerning people, places, and animals. Some of the articles contain illustrations--photographs or sketches drawn by Mr. Kammerer. An article in the October 4-17, 1983, issue of the paper contains a biographical sketch of Mr. Kammerer. This database, compiled by Matthew L. Miller, Emily Gore, Christopher Bingham, and Katherine Moore includes abstracts for each of the articles written by Mr. Kammerer during the period 1983-present. The abstracts summarize the content of major articles, but do not contain references to all of the many "odd and unusual tales" recounted by the author. The presence of illustrations in an article is noted in the abstract. The abstracts are arranged in reverse chronological order. The Greenville Times is available on microfilm in the North Carolina Collection.
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Pitt's Past Database
“Christian Science Church of Greenville” Christian Science is a religion that believes in the healing principles used and taught by Jesus, and later by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. By studying the Bible, Mrs. Eddy discovered how to implement and teach Jesus’ method of healing. Mrs. Eddy founded the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston in 1879. The Greenville Christian Scientist society first met in 1889, and was supported by an unknown music student visiting Greenville from Boston. The society met in homes until it grew too large, and then by 1934 they held meetings in “Pythian Hall.” The Mother Church of Christian Science recognized the Greenville branch in March 1934. They moved their meetings to the Woman’s Club in 1928, and then shortly after bought the church building of the Universalists and held their first meeting there in 1937. The Christian Scientists finally built their own church in June 1951, on the corner of Fourth and Meade Streets. They held the first service there in June 1952.
November 23 – December 6, 2005
“Floods, Freezes And Flying Objects” Throughout Pitt County’s history, people reported strange weather and things in the sky. In the years 1798, 1838, 1842, 1867, 1887, and 1919 the Tar River flooded tremendously. The largest of these floods was in November 1887, in which the Tar River bridge almost floated away. In 1816, North Carolina experienced the “Year Without a Summer,” at which time the snow and cold weather lasted through August. The Tar River froze over to the point that people walked and sometimes drove across it in 1857, 1893, and 1917. Great snows came to Pitt County in 1876/77, 1889, and 1902. In May 1901, F. C. Harding reported “black hail” near Ayden. In 1915 hail fell eight inches thick in downtown Greenville. A comet crossed the sky in September 1769, and Pitt County residents saw meteors in 1857, 1935, and 1934. An Aurora Borealis lit the sky September 2-4, 1859. UFOs allegedly flew over the County on April 8, 1897, June 1897, April 11, 1950, July 27, 1967, and several times between 1973 and 1975.
November 9-22, 2005
"Two Unlikely Visitors to Greenville: Tom Thumb & Fidel Castro's Sister" On April 12, 1845, the shortest man in history, Tom Thumb, came to Tarboro, where he was shown at the Pender Hotel. He was twenty-seven inches high and weighed twenty-five pounds. He made his living by selling photographs of himself. According to an advertisement that appeared in a Tarboro newspaper, Tom Thumb was scheduled to appear in Greenville and Washington after his visit there.
On July 31, 1969 Fidel Castro’s sister, Juanita, gave two talks at East Carolina University. She denounced her brother’s rule and stated that she was helping Cuban refugees flee his regime. Her speeches reflected strong anti-Communist sentiment. She believed that ninety-five percent of Cubans were unhappy with Fidel Castro and that one day Cuba would become free again.
October 26-November 8, 2005
"Louis Armstrong in Greenville" Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1901. He sang on the streets as a child and was influenced by the jazz he heard there. He taught himself to play the cornet and began playing in the local clubs. In 1922 he joined Joe "King" Oliver’s band in Chicago, which started his recording career. He then started his own band, the Hot Seven (originally the Hot Five). He married in 1942 and bought a house in Queens, New York. He averaged three hundred concerts a year, appeared in thirty films, and wrote two autobiographies. Armstrong was nicknamed "Satchmo," short for Satchelmouth, which was a joke about the size of his mouth. On November 3, 1959, "Satchmo" came to Greenville, where he performed in the Raynor-Forbes Tobacco Warehouse. More than 1,000 persons attended.
October 12-25, 2005
"Pitt County's First Train, 1882" The first train that came through Pitt County arrived in Bethel on September 12, 1882, on the newly completed Seaboard-Raleigh Railroad. Citizens of a three-county region celebrated this occasion with speeches and a dinner. The Tarboro Southerner covered this event, and the resulting article is included. The railroad had been chartered in 1868, but financial reverses caused many delays in its completion. It was not until 1890 that a train would come through Greenville.
September 28-October11, 2005
"Pitt County Fair Remembered" The first Pitt County Agricultural Fair was held on September 17 and 18, 1884. The show of goods was to be sent to Raleigh for a state exhibition. Another fair did not occur until 1898, when the Greenville Tobacco Fair Association sponsored the event. A horse race, bands, and dancers were added for entertainment. The horse race, a popular event, continued for years to come, but another fair was not held until 1911. In 1919, Haywood Dale, W.M. Price, and R.L. Smith built a horse racing track and a baseball diamond with a grandstand and an exhibition hall. This site is now occupied by Guy Smith Stadium. The fair achieved success during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1936 local posts of the American Legion assumed sponsorship of the fair; the following year it was moved to a site on Highway 43, where the Medical Pavilion stands today. The fair was discontinued in 1943 because of World War II. It remained at the same location until 1950. In 1951, the fair was moved to the intersection of Airport Road and NC 11/US 13, and in 1978 it was moved to its current location on Greenville Boulevard NE near US 264.
September 14-27, 2005
"Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenville" Less than one month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on November 17, 1941, Eleanor Roosevelt visited East Carolina Teacher's College. She actually arrived by plane in Greenville, South Carolina, and had to drive to Greenville, NC. She toured the town, visiting Sheppard Memorial Library and the college campus. Mrs. Roosevelt held a press conference at the home of the college president, ate dinner on campus, and gave a talk, "A Day at the White House." She left for Washington, D.C., immediately following the speech.
August 31-September 13, 2005
"Agnes De Mille in Greenville" Agnes de Mille, the niece of Cecil B. de Mille, was born in Harlem, New York, in 1909. Agnes’s family moved to Hollywood when she was young. Because of her love for dance she pleaded with her parents to allow her to take lessons. She attended UCLA to pursue dancing and acting, then moved back to New York. After a short stint in London, de Mille was invited in 1939 to join the American Ballet Theatre. Her first ballet, “Black Ritual,” was the first to use black ballet dancers. During her career, de Mille choreographed various well-known ballets and musicals, including "Oklahoma" and "Carousel." At the request of one of her former assistants, Mavis Ray, de Mille visited East Carolina University on January 10, 1968, where she gave a program in McGinnis Auditorium. De Mille suffered a stroke in 1975 and died in 1993.
August 17-30, 2005
August 3-16, 2005
July 20-August 2, 2005
"Tom Mix in Greenville" Thomas Hezekiah Mix was born in Cameron County, PA, in 1880. It was not until 1904 that he headed west to try is hand as a cowboy. At the St. Louis World Fair, Mix met Will Rogers. They would remain friends for life. Mix had dedicated himself to fine-tuning his rodeo skills. In 1910 he began his movie career when he was hired with Hoot Gibson to appear in a western. Mix would go on to appear in between 300 and 400 films and to become the first actor to promote his horse as a star. Tom Mix was a "straight-shooting, non-drinking, non-smoking, non-swearing" cowboy who set an example for children and adult Wild West fans. Tom Mix came to Greenville on December 1, 1933, and on October 8, 1936. He died in an automobile accident in 1940 at the age of sixty.
July 6-19, 2005
"Jack Dempsey in Greenville" Jack Dempsey was born William Harrison Dempsey in 1895 in Manassa, CO. He left home when he was sixteen to travel the west. On his freight train trips he learned how to fight simply to survive. His fighting career took off when he encountered Jack “Doe” Kerns, a fight manager. Under the guidance of Kerns, Dempsey knocked out several well-known fighters, including Jess Willard, early in his career. During his career, Dempsey amassed forty-nine knock-outs, twenty-five of which took place in the first round. On September 18, 1941, he visited Greenville with the Cole Brothers Combined Circus. Huge crowds gathered around the headliner just to shake the hand of the world-famous boxer.
June 22-July 5, 2005
"Hoot Gibson in Greenville" Born in Tekamah, NE, Edmund Richard Gibson learned how to ride a horse at a young age. Because of his interest in hunting owls, he was nicknamed "Hoot." He joined the circus at age thirteen and was stranded in Colorado. He worked as a cowpuncher until 1910, when a film director hired him for a short silent film. He competed in rodeos while he appeared in two other films. In 1912 he won the World’s All-Around Champion Cowboy award. He then began to appear as a stunt double for such stars as Harry Carey. He did a short stint in the Army during WWI but returned in 1919 to become a major western movie star. He went on to appear in more westerns than any other Hollywood movie star and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hoot Gibson came to Greenville on October 3, 1937, with the Hagenbeck-Wallace railroad circus. He died of cancer in 1965.
June 8-21, 2005
"Carl Sandberg in Greenville" Famous for his writings on the life of the workingman, Carl Sandberg was a poet, biographer, and newspaper columnist. He was born in Galesville, IL, where he was schooled until he reached the eighth grade. He fought in the Spanish-American War and then attended Lombard College. He moved from job to job in his youth until joining the Wisconsin Social Democratic Party. His biography of Abraham Lincoln and his book, Complete Poems, won Pulitzer prizes. On April 24, 1939, Carl Sandberg gave a program to a packed audience at Wright Auditorium on the campus of East Carolina Teachers College. He died on July 22, 1967.
May 25-June 7, 2005
"Will Rogers in Greenville" Will Rogers (1879-1935), the cowboy humorist, came to Greenville on April 6, 1926, and gave two performance to a total of 5,000 fans. Rogers was born on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma. He later joined a wild west show as a trick roper. He entered the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing three lassos at once. Rogers toured the world, wrote a syndicated news column and six books, appeared in 50 silent films and 21 talking movies, and was a popular radio personality. He died at the age of 55 when his plane crashed in Alaska.
May 11-24, 2005
'"Amelia Earhart's Visit to Greenville" Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) beat the records for speed, altitude, and distance in aviation. She came to visit Greenville alone in her car on January 15, 1936. Earhart spoke in front of an audience of more 1,500 at the East Carolina Teachers College. She humored the audience with stories of all of the celeberties she had been mistaken for and she told detailed stories of her adventures in aviation. She stressed to the audience that air travel was the safest of all forms of travel.
April 27-May 10, 2005
"William Jennings Bryan in Greenville In April of 1918, William Jennings Bryan came to Greenville. Bryan (1860-1925) was a lawyer, newspaper editor, and Democratic leader. He was nominated three times for president. While visiting Greenville, he roomed at the Princeton Hotel at the corner of Greene and Washington Streets. Then he spoke to up to seven hundred citizens at White’s Theatre on Fifth Street. The subject of his speech was "The Fundamentals of Man's Relations to the Government, Society, and to God."
April 13-26, 2005
March 30-April 12, 2005
"St. Andrews Protestant Episcopal Church St. Andrews Protestant Episcopal Church is the last frame church in the central business district. It served the black Episcopal congregation until 1970. St. Andrews was organized in 1903 by Archdeacon William George Avant. By 1951, the church was in such bad condition that the church members met in the home of Winnie Godette. In 1953, the church was rededicated after receiving a gradual flow of contributions and becoming a mission church of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The churches merged in 1970.
March 16-29, 2005
"The Pitt County Prison" From 1939 to 1964, Pitt County had a prison on Belvoir Road near the airport. Before the 1930s, the chain gang system was the system of labor used. This system put serious law offenders to work. The prisoners were housed in "Cage Camps," which were camps on wagons that moved to work sites. In the 1930s the county brought together all of the prisoners by housing them in a prison. The Pitt County Prison was for housing some of the state's toughest prisoners. By 1961 the state decided to save money by consolidating prisons. In 1964 the Pitt County Prison was decommissioned and prisoners were sent to the Vance County Prison. The old prison was eventually torn down to allow for the expansion of the airport.
March 2-15, 2005
"Remembering the ECU Victory Bell and the First Football Team 2005 marks the 73rd football season at East Carolina University. The football team was started by C. Kenneth Beatty, who received no pay for coaching. The victory bell, which is located on the west side of Memorial Gymnasium, was given to ECU by the Veterans Club. It was to be rung after games won by the Pirates. Plans to secure the bell began in 1951, and it was officially presented on October 10, 1953. ECU is holding a Victory Bell Commemorative Service on March 29, 2005.
February 16-March 1, 2005
"Local Valentine's Traditions" Valentine's Day was meant something different in the year 1900 than it does today. Local boys got into mischief. They would run around town tearing down signs and breaking windows. The newspaper warned people to protect their homes from the pranksters. Another local tradition was the giving of "Penny-awfuls." Sold in stores, these insulting cards allowed the sender to show his or her dislike for someone.
February 2-15, 2005
"Tar River Bridge Dedication in 1929" The old steel bridge that is soon to be reconstructed on the Town Common used to be located on Greene Street and was dedicated to World War I veterans in 1929. Work began on the bridge in 1927 and was completed two years later at a cost of $150,000. Bronze plaques were placed at each end of the bridge and they state that the bridge was dedicated on June 21, 1929 (even though the dedication date was actually April 27, 1929). Many townspeople attended the dedication ceremony.
January 19-February 1, 2005
January 5-18, 2005
"In Search of Charles Read" Charles Read was a leading politician in colonial days. In the spring of 1773 he fled his native state of New Jersey, where he faced a long jail sentence for bankruptcy. Read moved to Martinborough, North Carolina, where he died in 1774. Martinborough was renamed Greenesville in 1786. Today, it is thought that Reade Street in Greenville is named for him.
December 22-January 4, 2005
"All Lit Up--Christmas Tree Lights The General Electric Company began to market Christmas tree lights in 1901 after Thomas Edison sold his factory to them. Greenville did not have electricity until 1905, and it was not until 1916 that electric Christmas tree lights were used in Greenville. By 1928, the town erected a large Christmas tree atop of the traffic island at Five Points. This practice would stop by 1960, but the tradition of placing a Christmas tree in front of a business office was started by the Merchants Association in 1929 and continues to this day.
December 8-21, 2004
November 24-December 7, 2004
"Pitt County Places" As Pitt County becomes more urban, historic landmarks are disappearing. Pulling out an old map can help us remember the "obscure and unusual places" of Pitt County's past, in particular, the towns of Keelsville, Toddy, and Maupin.
November 10-23, 2004
"Grigg T. Tyson Narrative" Grigg T. Tyson (1854-1922) was a farmer near Ballard's Crossroads, and he was one of the first to advocate planting cover crops and saving the forests. He organized the Tyson-May Family reunion in 1920. Mrs. Grigg T. Tyson III donated narratives, maps, and other old papers of Grigg T. Tyson to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The narrative in this column is about Tyson's father, who was left an orphan when his entire family died from the typhoid fever.
October 27-November 9, 2004
October 13-26, 2004
September 29-October 12, 2004
September 15-28, 2004
"Pitt County Family Researchers, Inc., Celebrating 10 Years" In 1994, William B. Kittrell and a few dedicated genealogists created The Pitt County Family Researchers, or the PCFR. This organization works to find and document Pitt County related family histories and genealogy throughout North Carolina and the United States as a whole, a task made quite difficult by the burning of the Pitt County Courthouse in the late 1850s. Initially meeting in local churches and at Pitt Community College, the PCFR, running out of space, decided to donate its collections to the Sheppard Memorial Library in Greenville in 2001. Now, after 10 years of growth and service to the community, the PCFR continues to seek out information relating to Pitt County genealogy and holds monthly meetings at the Sheppard Memorial Library. In addition, the group sponsors yearly reunions for those who seek help in discovering their family's history.
September 1-14, 2004
"Pitt County Tales" In August 1899, the drawbridge over the Tar River in Greenville collapsed. Apparently, the accident occurred during a test of the newly repaired and renovated structure. As the span fell into the river, five workers were thrown into the water. Although four of the men were rescued, John Worsley of Rocky Mount was killed in the accident.
The Wednesday Afternoon Club was organized by a group of young ladies from Greenville in February, 1910. Meeting in Miss Helen Forbes's home, the club's purpose was to encourage the ladies' practice of domestic arts, such as cooking.
The old beech tree on the corner of Washington and Third in Greenville was cut down in October, 1908 by the city because it was blocking the sidewalk. The age of the tree was unknown, but it must have been old indeed considering that even the oldest person in town could not remember when it was planted.
There was a fight in March, 1901, between two local boys, Hill Horne and Hassell Daniel, over the water pump in the yard of the Forbes' house in Greenville. Brandishing a small knife, Hassell stabbed Hill in the chest. Luckily for Hill, his breastbone stopped the knife from going very far. Jim Anderson, a friend of the two boys, quickly broke up the fight.
M.R. Lang, a Greenville merchant, devised something new for the ladies of the town in 1891. In his store, Lang had a box with a large bell attached to it. When a lady placed a penny into the slot on the top of the box and a handkerchief under the bell, the bell rang and a small amount of perfume was sprayed onto the handkerchief.
August 18-31, 2004
"1901 Bethel Odd Fellows Meeting" In April of 1901, the Odd Fellows association of Bethel held a large lodge meeting. In attendance were fellow members from Greenville, Parmele and Robersonville. The meeting took place at the Bethel Methodist Church and included a speech by Professor W.H. Ragsdale on the organization and intent of the Odd Fellows as well as an enormous outdoor dinner consisting of enough barbeque, ham, and chicken to feed nearly 400 people. Following the meeting, some members from outside of Bethel took a walk into town inorder to find whiskey but discovered to their horror that the town of Bethel was a dry community where no liquor was available.
August 4-17, 2004
"History of the Greenville Bank and Trust Company" In 1901, the Greenville Banking and Trust Company was created when it established an office on Evans Street. At the time of its inception, the bank was headed by president Larry L. Moore and had a capital stock of $10,000. During the first quarter of the 20th Century, the bank expanded its business, catering to local farmers and merchants, and its capital, which reached nearly $150,000 by 1927. Throughout its early years, the bank was known for its lavishly decorated buildings and its security-conscious staff. With the coming of the Great Depression, many banks in Eastern North Carolina were forced to close their doors; the Greenville Banking and Trust Company, because of its good business practices and enormous stock of available capital, was able to survive and even expand. As the bank expanded into nearby communities such as Bethel and Snow Hill, its officers decided that a name change was in order. In 1938, the bank was renamed the Guaranty Bank and Trust Company. During the 1940s and 50s, the company continued to expand its business and became the largest bank in Eastern North Carolina with nearly $30,000,000 in assets. In 1960, the same year that the company built a new branch on the corner of West Fifth and Washington Streets in Greenville, Wachovia Bank and Trust Company showed interest in merging with the local institution. The merger became a reality later that year and the Guaranty Bank and Trust Company ceased to be.
July 21-August 3, 2004
July 7-20, 2004
"The May Brothers, Confederate Soldiers" James Sherrod May was born in 1830 in Beaver Dam Township in Pitt County. His brother, Blaney Harper May, was born in 1836, in the same location. After moving several times with their family and receiving a local education, the two brothers each became farmers in Greene and Pitt counties, respectively. With the coming of the Civil War, both brothers joined the Confederate Army. Blaney enlisted in the 7th NC Volunteers in the spring of 1861 and was subsequently captured at Hatteras Island in August of that year. After being imprisoned in New York and Massachusetts for several months, Blaney re-enlisted in May of 1862. Stationed at Petersburg, Virginia, he was mortally wounded and died in September of 1864. James May enlisted in the 63rd North Carolina in July of 1862 and was stationed in Wilmington. He died of "brain fever" in January of 1864. Luckily, the resting places of both brothers are known today; Blaney is buried in a Confederate cemetery in Petersburg, while James is buried beside his father, Rev. William Henry May, on the banks of Contentnea Creek in Pitt County.
June 23-July 6, 2004
"Taylor Harris, A True Confederate Hero" Taylor Harris was born in Chicod Township in Pitt County in 1834. With the beginning of the Civil War, Harris joined the Confederate Army and was stationed at Fort Fisher. In December of 1864, Union forces laid siege to the fort in the hopes of capturing Wilmington and cutting off the efforts of Confederate blockade-runners. During the siege, a steamer carrying medicine for North Carolina soldiers tried to break through the Union blockade. Coming under attack by Union warships, the steamer was run aground and the crew rescued. Wishing to destroy the ship and its cargo, Union sailors quickly boarded the vessel and prepared to blow it up. Inside Fort Fisher, Colonel Lamb called for volunteers to save the ship and its vital cargo. Taylor Harris was one of the volunteers and just happened to be the first man to reach the ship. Realizing that the fuse was close to igniting the waiting gunpowder, Harris acted quickly, seized the burning fuse and threw it overboard. O.L. Joyner wrote down this story in 1904, after having heard it from Harris himself.
June 9-22, 2004
"The Greenville Rotary Club" In 1919, four local businessmen, J.B. Kittrell, Dave Clark, Alex Blow, and Paul Clodfelter, decided that Greenville needed an organization for community fellowship and improvement. Knowing that Wilson had a successful Rotary Club, the businessmen contacted one of its members, Tom Pettus about the possibility of beginning a similar club in Greenville. After being approved by Rotary International and finding twenty-two community leaders to charter the club, the Greenville Rotary Club had its first official meeting in August 1919. Initially meeting in churches and even car showrooms, many of the members decided that the club needed its own building. After searching for an appropriate location, the members chose a spot on Johnston St. and construction was begun quickly thereafter. The building was completed in 1921 and would prove to be the first permanent Rotary Club facility in the world. Following many years of assistance to the community, including donations to fire and medical services as well as sponsorship of numerous community events, the Greenville Rotary Club sparked interest for additional clubs to be created in Farmville, Ayden, and Bethel.
May 26-June 8, 2004
"Jonathon Bowling: Portrait of an Artist" Born in Kentucky, Jonathon Bowling lived in Belgium for much of his childhood before discovering his love of art while attending college at the University of Kentucky. Bowling followed his girlfriend to North Carolina in 1996 and ended up furthering his two art degrees with a Masters in Sculpture from East Carolina University. In 2002, he opened an art gallery in Greenville named "The Hobbyhorse," where he displays and sells not only his own work, but that of other local artists as well. Bowling specializes in 3-D sculptures made of steel, glass, wood and even bone. Many of his pieces are representative of animals, mostly birds and fish. He says that he never goes looking for ideas or materials, he simply lets them come to him; many of his materials are things he finds on the side of the road or in dumpsters. Bowling sells many of his pieces to art galleries all over eastern North Carolina and his sculptures have become quite popular among art lovers.
May 12-25, 2004
"The Whitehurst Twins, Confederate Veterans" James Berry and John Henry Whitehurst were born near Bethel in Pitt County on October 16, 1838. Their claim to fame revolves around their service in the Civil War. James Berry was in Missouri when the war broke out and quickly enlisted in the Confederate Army. Wounded and captured at Shiloh, James escaped captivity and re-enlisted in an Arkansas regiment. Again captured at Tullahoma, TN in 1863, James was held prisoner in Ohio until the end of the war. Returning home to Pitt County after the war, James became a farmer and married Mary Elizabeth Manning in 1866. During the 1880s, James traveled across much of the United States. Mary died in 1894 but James remarried in 1897 to Mary E. Whitehurst. At his death in 1928, James could count 12 children from both marriages.
John Henry Whitehurst led a much simpler life than his twin brother. When the Civil War erupted, John was working for his future mother-in-law, Martha Carson, as a farm laborer. Enlisting in the Eighth North Carolina, John was captured at Cold Harbor in 1864 and remained a prisoner until the end of the war. After the war, John returned home to farm in Carolina Township where he served as a Justice of the Peace. He married Zilphia Ann Carson and the couple had 10 children. John Henry died in 1919. The Whitehurst twins, who attended numerous Confederate reunions in Greenville, are thought to be the oldest surviving set of twins, Union or Confederate, who fought in the Civil War.
April 28-May 11, 2004
"Blount Coleman Pearce" Blount Coleman Pearce, born in New Bern in 1829, lived most of his life in Greenville. Blount was in the mercantile business and was in a partnership with Robert Kinsaul, selling cotton and transporting goods up and down the Tar River. In 1855, Blount married Ann Kinsaul. The couple had two children, Ada and Joseph D., a noted singer and a dentist respectively. During the Civil War, Blount Pearce served in the Confederate army while his wife worked in the military hospital in Greenville. Following the war, Blount was a staunch Democrat and a member of the Greenville Masonic Lodge. He was the first man in North Carolina to be arrested for being a KKK member. In 1872, Blount was elected Pitt County Register of Deeds but left Greenville in 1880 following the death of his wife. Blount worked for several years as a traveling salesman but returned to Pitt County in the 1890s, serving as a Deputy US Marshall and remarrying to Maggie Hunt of Sanford. Shortly thereafter, Blount moved to Sanford and was elected Treasurer of newly formed Lee County. He died in Sanford in 1911.
April 14-27, 2004
March 31-April 13, 2004
"Susan Virginia Streeter Atkinson" Susan Virginia Streeter was born in 1825 in Greene County, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner. In 1843, she married Peyton Ashley Atkinson of Pitt County and thereafter resided at his plantation "Bensboro," north of the Tar River. Mr. Atkinson, continually active in local politics, was a very wealthy man who purchased several tracts of land in the area and acquired nearly 117 slaves. The couple had six children but four would die before reaching their first birthday. With the death of Peyton Atkinson in 1863, Susan received nearly $250,000 from his will. For several years, she managed her holdings and her late husband's business ventures while raising their two still living children, Benjamin Streeter and Francis Marion. Susan remarried to William Whitehead in the late 1860s but this marriage was short lived as she quickly divorced him for whipping her. After suing Whitehead for her property, Susan struggled to run her plantations with the help of her two sons. Tragically, both Benjamin and Francis died in the early 1880s, leaving her virtually alone in the world. Susan Virginia Streeter Atkinson sold off almost all of her family's land and died in 1895, having outlived her entire family.
March 17-30, 2004
"Lewis Bond: Furniture Maker" Lewis Bond was born in 1795 in Pitt County. Sometime around 1815, after being apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, Bond started his own furniture shop in Greenville. By 1820, Bond moved to Tarboro and opened a furniture making business there. During this period he married Sydney Nelson and had a number of children. Following Sydney's death in 1832, Lewis remarried to Mary E. Norman. Keeping up with the latest styles of furniture, Bond ran his business successfully until 1846, when his son, Francis Lewis Bond, took over the operation. Lewis Bond died in 1858. F.L. Bond was very successful in Tarboro and contributed a great deal of money to help build a new Methodist church in town in 1856. He married Martha Dancy, a dressmaker, in 1849 and the newlyweds moved to Goldsboro shortly after the wedding. Returning to Tarboro by 1860, F.L. Bond gave up the furniture business and switched to making surgical instruments. Following a brief experience in Wilmington as a cabinetmaker after the Civil War, he returned to Tarboro and worked as a sewing machine operator in his wife's dressmaking shop. F.L. Bond met a sad end when, in 1890, during a bout of depression, he jumped off a bridge into the Tar River and drowned.
March 3-16, 2004
"Dr. George Hatem" George Hatem, the son of poor Lebanese immigrants, moved with his family from Buffalo, NY to Greenville in the 1920s. Attending local high school and UNC Chapel Hill, George studied to become a doctor. With the coming of the depression and its resulting lack of jobs for those in the medical profession, George went to Lebanon to attend medical school at the American University in Beirut. Following his graduation from both American University and the University of Geneva in Switzerland, Dr. Hatem traveled to China where he helped in the eradication of venereal disease in Shanghai and Beijing. During the Communist Revolution, he examined and made acquaintance with Mao Tse-tung, who made Hatem an advisor to the Chinese Ministry of Public Health. Over the next 55 years, Dr. Hatem made China his home, returning occasionally to Greenville to visit with family and friends. Through his efforts to eradicate venereal disease and leprosy in China, he was the recipient of several awards including the Albert Lasker Public Service Award. Dr. George Hatem died in 1988 in Beijing following a ten-year battle with cancer.
February 18-March 2, 2004
February 4-17, 2004
"Rev. Needham Bryan Cobb" The story of Needham Cobb began with his birth in Jones County in 1836. After attending school in Orange County and graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Cobb served as President of Wayne Institute and Normal College and taught Greek and Latin at Goldsboro Female College. In 1856, he turned to law and received a Master's degree from UNC Chapel Hill, the first student ever to do so. Cobb practiced law in Pitt and Wayne counties for several years, while at the same time teaching himself to write in shorthand. Before the Civil War, he worked as an editor for the Biblical Recorder and attended many meetings of the State Legislature, taking shorthand notes for the press. In 1859, Cobb became a Baptist minister and began preaching and baptizing across the eastern part of the state. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Cobb first served as a chaplain in the 14th North Carolina but soon became General Superintendent of Army Colporteurs, delivering bibles to the troops and assisting in the field hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina. Following the war, Rev. Cobb worked as an editor for the North Carolina Baptist Almanac, served as the president of the Baptist State Convention, and was elected Mayor of Lilesville, NC. A trustee of Wake Forest College, Cobb retired to Sampson County in 1895, where he would die ten years later. Needham Cobb married twice, first to Martha Cobb and later to Ann Fennell, and fathered fifteen children.
January 21-February 3, 2004
January 7-20, 2004
"Remembering Greenville Places" The Independent Market, located on Dickinson Avenue and selling meats and groceries, was in business from 1931 to 1958. Operated by Charles J. Cannon, the interesting thing about the store is that it never sold any tobacco or alcohol.
J.G. "Scrappy" Proctor opened Proctor's Limited, which specialized in men's clothing, in Greenville in 1964. Before establishing his own store, Proctor had worked in two other clothing stores with Nesbitt Proctor and Curtis Perkins respectively.
W.J. Smith and N.O. Van Nortwick established the North Side Lumber Company, located north of Greenville on the road to Bethel, in 1928. The lumberyard, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1948, was known for employing nearly 50 people and having one of the best selections around.
In 1954, L.T. Hardee and Charlie Cox established the Colonial Heights Super Market. They had a substantial parking lot for those days, accommodating as many as 80 cars. In addition, a children's clothing store was also located in the building and run by the owners' wives.
In 1933, John Allen Conway, Sr. opened the Greenville Marble and Granite Works on Memorial Drive. In 1949, Conway's son took over the business and continued providing the Greenville area with monuments and other marble wares.
Charles Horne founded Horne Electric Company in 1948 on Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1964, Wilson C. Rhodes, an electrician with many years of experience, assumed ownership of the company.
Founded in 1942 by W.D. Boyd, the W.D. Boyd Paint and Wallpaper Company was located on Evans Street. Specializing in aluminum siding as well as painting and wallpapering contracts, the company employed 12 people by 1965.
In 1919, H.L. Hodges, Sr. established H.L. Hodges and Company, a combination grocery and farming supply store. Later, the business changed to a hardware store. H.L. Hodges, Jr. took over the store, which now included sporting goods, in 1965.
T.I. Wagner and J.E. Waldrop founded Wagner-Waldrop Motors, Inc. in 1948. Located on Dickinson Avenue, the dealership originally sold only Lincoln-Mercury but added Rambler later on to attract more customers.
V.A. Merritt established V.A. Merritt and Sons in 1928. Located on Evans Street, the company sold a full line of electrical appliances.
December 10-23, 2003
"A Civil War Diary" Kinchen Jahu Carpenter, a native of Rutherford County, NC, served in Company I of the 50th North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War. During his service, from May 1862 to May 1865, Carpenter kept a diary of his experiences. The diary mentions numerous events, such as Carpenter's first days in training at Camp Mangum, the 50th's fighting in the Seven Day's battles near Richmond, as well as several expeditions in Eastern North Carolina. Carpenter mentions Greenville many times, as his regiment conducted numerous operations in the surrounding region in 1863, from Kinston to New Bern to Washington, always trying to outmaneuver the Union troops garrisoned in around New Bern and the along the coast. Carpenter and his regiment were sent west to Georgia in 1864, but returned to North Carolina to fight at the Battle of Bentonville in March 1865. The men of the 50th North Carolina, including Carpenter, received paroles on May 1, 1865 following the surrender of Lee's and Johnston's armies.
November 26-December 9, 2003
"Stories From the Past" In 1950, Greenville resident Bryce Cummings, as well as his parents Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Cummings, appeared as characters in a work of western fiction, "Gee Whillikins," written by his aunt Mrs. Adda Mae Sharp of Denton, TX. Mrs. Sharp had already written several school textbooks for the Texas school system, but this was her first attempt at fiction. Later, Mrs. Sharp wrote several more works of fiction, including the Woodland Frolic Series.
In February 1922, Greenville businessman George W. Hemby announced that he had patented a new type of coffin. This new coffin would have shelves on which to place flowers, a strip on top to place vases on, and would be easier to lower into the ground, as the ropes would unfasten themselves. Hemby also announced that this design was the newest of its kind anywhere in the county.
In Belvoir Township in March of 1900, Mr. Jesse James went to the home of Mr. E.S. Lewis in order to marry his daughter. Mr. Lewis objected to the marriage, but James was not deterred, returning that night with his brother Sam to take Miss Lewis by force. When the two James brothers arrived, a gunfight broke out. No one knows who started the fight, but it ended with Mr. Lewis and Jesse James wounded and Sam James dead.
One night in 1911, Greenville residents were awakened by three pistol shots. As it turned out, a possum had gotten into the poultry house of the Manning family. Miss Pink Manning had gone outside to investigate and, upon finding the possum, shot it three times; this caused the neighbors to believe that a burglary was in progress.
In 1851, an outbreak of small pox was reported in Pitt County. Several residents suffered from the disease including: Mrs. Zilpha Brown, David House, Rev. Lanier Griffin, John Hardy, Oliver Dixon, Benjamin Cory, and Lewis Smith.
In September 1958, sightings of the Aurora Borealis, with its brilliant display of colors, were reported in the skies over Eastern North Carolina. It was also reported that it affected the telegraph wires between Greenville and Tarboro.
In May 1901, during a terrible hailstorm, it was reported that nearly 18 inches of black hail fell on W. Hartsfield's farm near Ayden, some of it almost 1.5 inches in diameter.
Louis Flake came to Greenville with his family in October 1897 to have their pictures taken. While in the studio, the Flake family had nearly 187 pictures taken altogether, 17 pictures of each family member individually and 17 of Mr. and Mrs. Flake together.
November 12-25, 2003
"The Spencer Harris Plantation House" In 1853, Spencer Harris, one of Pitt County's most affluent planters, built a new plantation house near Falkland Township off modern Highway 121. The house was built in the Greek revival style of the day. When Spencer Harris died in 1872, he left the house to his widow, Margaret, and their youngest son, William. William Harris, a prosperous cattle dealer in Pitt County, lived in the house until his death in 1905. The house then passed to William's brother, John Spencer Harris, who lived in it until 1908. In 1911, William Howard Harris acquired the house from his late father. The Lewis family became the property owners in 1923 and rented it out to the Garris family. In 2000, Judge J.B. Lewis sold the house to Tom and Jeanette Painter, who have restored the structure to its original appearance and grandeur.
October 28-November 11, 2003
October 15-28, 2003
"Random History Items" Joe M. Butterworth, a merchant in Bethel in the 1960s, was a WWII navy buddy of President John F. Kennedy. Serving together on "PT" boats in the Pacific, Butterworth remembers Kennedy as "just a fine officer and a fine all round fellow." Following the war, Butterworth and Kennedy kept in touch and Butterworth greeted the presidential-hopeful when he visited Greenville in 1960.
In 1891, a trophy was created for the 1890 Baseball Club of Greenville to commemorate their previous season's play. The trophy, constructed by Robert Humber, was made up of a tripod of miniature baseball bats with a game-winning ball suspended beneath it. Mollie Rouse painted each of the players' names on the ball. To this day no one knows what became of the trophy.
In 1887, the Pitt County jail saw a unique business proposition come its way in the form of horse-trading. An inmate in the jail traded his horse, in the custody of the prison, for the horse of an interested party on the outside.
In 1903, the local newspaper in Greenville contained an editorial that commented on the lack of manners among the youth of the town. The unknown author, after mentioning several observations as to how Greenville's youth incorrectly acted towards one another, stated that "we would like to see the present generation of 18 and 20 year olds acquire some of the gentility, grace and dignity of other days."
October 1-14, 2003
September 17-30, 2003
"University Scoffed at Woman Druggist" Born in 1878, Miss Mabel Barnhill of Bethel, NC, became one of the state's first female pharmacists. Early on in life, Mabel knew she wanted to become a druggist but, following high school, she was denied entrance to the University of North Carolina because she was a woman. Attending Page's School of Pharmacy in Greensboro instead, Miss Barnhill won her license to practice pharmacy in 1906 and quickly went into business with her uncle in Bethel. When her uncle died in 1912, Mabel inherited the store and in 1917 opened a new store in Bethel known as "The Matinee Drug Company." Said to be ahead of her time in her use of herbs to cure various ailments, Miss Mable Barnhill died 1941, having opened another store in Weldon, NC.
September 3-16, 2003
"W.L. Mayo" In 1952, W.L. Mayo, a Pitt county tobacco and corn farmer received the honorary title of "Father of the Year" by the Cincinnati Junior Chamber of Commerce. The reason Mr. Mayo was chosen for this award was largely due to his investment in his children's, twelve sons and two daughters, education. Working his farm with the help of his family, Mayo was able to help his children pay for college. By 1952, seven children had already graduated, five from NC State alone, and two more were enrolled, the rest of the children being too young. Despite the fact that all but one of his sons had chosen fields other than agriculture, Mr. Mayo was not disappointed, as he stated, "I let them make up their own minds what they want to do."
August 20-September 2, 2003
"John Lang Remembers" John Lang, in 1926 an 83-year-old Civil War veteran, spoke of his experiences as a soldier in the 27th North Carolina regiment. His memory brought back the story of the regiment's first colonel, who abandoned his men at Kinston, but was then replaced by Col. Cook, whom Lang and the other soldiers of the regiment liked very much. Mr. Lang spoke of his seeing Robert E. Lee on several occasions, a train derailment in the Virginia mountains, the time during the Battle of the Wilderness when a fellow Confederate soldier stole his ham, as well as the final days of the war when he was assigned to guard a train at Appomattox Station, VA.
August 6-19, 2003
"Greenville Parties and Clubs" On October 28, 1901, Mr. and Mrs. R.W. King of Greenville celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary by hosting a large party in their home on Dickinson Avenue. The party was a great success with many attendees including Senator F.G. James and Dr. J.L. Wooten.
In 1898 a ladies' group by the name of "Sub Rosa" was formed in Greenville. Some of the first members were Bettie Tyson, Rosalind Rountree, Annie Perkins and Rosa Hooker. In February of the next year, the group put on a fabulous masquerade ball at Germania Hall.
The "Twenty-Five Club" was formed in Greenville in 1945 at the Olde Towne Inn by businessmen Dick Stokes, Jack Nobles and Royce Jones in order to promote an annual dance.
July 23-August 5, 2003
"Remembering Greenville Places" Opened in 1924, the Pitt Drug Company was owned by W.H. Norris, a prominent Greenville citizen and member of the Board of Aldermen.
The Wayside Tea Room and Gift Shop was opened in Greenville in 1922 by Mrs. Travis Hooker at what is now the intersection of Dickinson and Memorial.
Established near Greenville by Drs. O.J. Allen and Charles Laughinghouse, the Blount's Dairy received its name in 1927 when it was purchased by Marvin O. Blount and Sons of Bethel.
The Kelvinator Company was located in Greenville in the 1930s. Dealing with electrical refrigeration and "Philco" radios, the company was led by E.G. Flanagan.
J.G. "Scrappy" Proctor was a major player in the Greenville men's clothing business. He was associated with W.L. Nesbit in 1939, Curtis Perkins in 1946 and opened his own store, Proctor Limited, in 1964.
Wilbur Hardee started the Port Terminal Inn in 1948. Located on the old Washington Highway, it was the home of "Hardee's Barbeque."
The Independent Market, located on Dickinson Avenue, was in business from 1931 to 1958. Operated by Charles J. Cannon, the interesting thing about the store is that it never sold any tobacco or alcohol.
Mr. J.D. Parker and his wife opened the New Pirra Restaurant and Oyster Bar in August 1954. The restaurant was a replacement for an older one of the same name, which had been destroyed by fire.
In the 1950s the Greenville Golf Range and Miniature Golf Course was located on Memorial Drive. It was operated by Simon Moye and Charlie Bill Moye and was completely re-modeled in 1965.
July 9-22, 2003
"Dr. Jenness Morrill, County Doctor" Retiring in 1937, Dr. Jenness Morrill of Falkland had served as a Pitt County physician for nearly 50 years. Throughout most of his long years of service, Dr. Morrill was the only physician in Pitt County and as such was visited frequently by patients and made numerous house calls all across the county. Several interesting events occurred during his travels, such as his saving a young girl from an unceasing nosebleed through the use of adrenaline. One of his patients accidentally drank from a bottle of tincture of cayenne pepper. During his 50 years in practice in Falkland, Dr. Morrill prescribed over a quarter-million remedies, traveled nearly half a million miles to visit patients, and delivered 1,400 babies.
June 24-July 8, 2003
"History of Antique Rocking Chair" In 1982, David Lawrence Morrill of Falkland had in his living room a prized antique rocking chair. The story of this chair goes back to the late 18th Century, when Morrill's ancestor, Rev. Issac Morrill of Massachusetts, purchased it; it has stayed in the family ever since. According to family legend, the Marquis de Lafayette, while in the home of Governor David Morrill of New Hampshire, sat in this chair in 1824 during his tour of the United States. In 1877, following the death of the governor, his widow moved to Marlboro, NC, now part of Farmville, to be near her two sons, William Henry Morrill and Dr. Samuel Morrill. In this way the chair was eventually handed down to David Lawrence Morrill of Falkland, where it hopefully still resides.
June 11-23, 2003
"Tournament in Falkland" In February 1871 a tournament was held in Falkland--an event involving "tilting" or non-combat forms of Knightly exercises. Tournaments such as these were actually one of the most popular types of entertainment in Eastern North Carolina following the Civil War. This tournament in Falkland involved not only several ring competitions, in which sixteen knights from the surrounding counties participated, but also a lavish dinner and a nighttime ball. The tournament, organized by O.L.C. Pitt, W.B.F. Newton, John Harris, and Charles V. Newton, was a great success with many fully costumed participants and numerous spectators.
May 28-June 10, 2003
April 16-29, 2003
"Thomas Jordan Jarvis, Governor" In 1915, Thomas Jordan Jarvis, Confederate veteran, lawyer, legislator, governor and minister to Brazil, died in Greenville. Over his years of public service, Jarvis did much to help the people of North Carolina. As governor in the early 1880s, Jarvis had compiled many achievements in public education and industrialization. For the city of Greenville, Thomas Jordan Jarvis is best remembered as the man most responsible for the establishment of the East Carolina Teachers Training School in 1907, later to become East Carolina University. At his death, the people of Greenville, and eastern North Carolina as a whole, honored him with lavish flower arrangements. In March, 2003, a plaque was placed at his grave in Cherry Hill Cemetery in Greenville.
April 2-15, 2003
March 19-April 1, 2003
March 5-18, 2003
"The Batchelor's Clothing Store" In 1917 the Batchelor brothers, Roy and Ed, established a men's clothing store in Greenville. They were known for keeping up an excellent stock of men's apparel and for being active in numerous civic activities, including the Greenville Golf and Country Club. Roy died in 1928 and Ed sold the business in 1956 to George Coffman, whose men's store is still one of Greenville's most renowned establishments.
February 19-March 4, 2003
February 5-18, 2003
"Tales from the Past" Local stories told from the past include a Dokie Ceremony held in May 1923 in Ayden and an effort to recruit Babe Ruth to be the manager of the Greenville baseball club. Other gleanings from the past are the cleanest man and the sleepiest man to hold office; the invention of a "Spectro-speedometer" by D.A. Windham of Greenville; a lost diamond found in a chicken gizzard, and the difference in telephone rates in area towns.
January 22-February 4, 2003
"Tales From Pitt's Past" Tales include the runaway marriage of Mr. Burton G. Albritton and Miss Bessie Keel; the death of the three children of George Adams in Craven County, NC; the mysterious poisoning of Mrs. W.H. Mizelle; and the fatal accident at the McLohorn and Baldree steam mill of Pitt County.
January 8-21, 2003
December 25-January 7, 2003
December 11-24, 2002
"William H. Atkinson, 106" William H. Atkinson was born of slave parents on May 15, 1867, in a log cabin with a dirt floor near Handy Corner, Edgecombe County, NC. He came to live in Pitt County around the turn of the century when he went to work for Jeff Fountain on the steamboat, "Lillian." Atkinson later went to work on the steamboat Shiloh at Centre Bluff Landing near Bruce, Pitt County. Atkinson passed away on March 23, 1973, at the age of 106.
November 27-December 10, 2002
"Lawrence Ed Tipton-Boxing Champ" Lawrence Ed Tipton of Greenville, owner of the Ed Tipton Insurance Agency of Greenville, is a former professional boxer who stood for 6 rounds in a match against Joe Louis and once whipped a heavyweight-boxing champion. After a successful boxing career in and out of the Army, Tipton turned down promising Madison Square Garden bouts to enter the business world.
November 13-26, 2002
"The Bomber That Flew Under The Bridge" During the 1940s, Greenville became a "liberty town" for many soldiers. One of the soldiers, Frank Lang, flew a dive-bomber under the Greene Street Bridge in 1943. Witnesses Buddy Waters and Charles Dudley recall riding in a car over the bridge at the time that the plane was about to fly under them.
October 30-November 12, 2002
October 16-29, 2002
October 1 -15, 2002
September 18-October 1, 2002
"A Club, A Dance and A Runaway Marriage" Mrs. T.E. Hooker and friends organized the "First Friday Afternoon Musical Club" for interested ladies in the town of Greenville. The club was limited to 20 members.
An elaborate German (dance) took place in Perkins Hall on a Friday night in December 1908. The hall was decorated with lanterns and American flags from Ellsworth of New York. Walter Wilson, Jr. with Miss Nell Skinner and others led the German dance. A list of attendees is provided.
Mr. W.H. Strum and Miss Ada Norris applied for a marriage license at the Register of Deeds office in Pitt County during October 1893. Ms. Norris's parents did not want her to marry Mr. Strum, and they vowed to stop the wedding. Mr. Strum waited for his chance, and he and Ms. Norris were married within 30 feet of the bride's father, without him even knowing of the union.
September 4-17, 2002
"ECU Trivia" Samples of trivia include: "Beans," the campus mascot of the 1940s; the first football season in 1932 and the first football victory in 1933 over Campbell; the transformation of the college hog lot into a lake and a beautification program; and the student "Y" store.
August 21-September 3, 2002
"Tobacco Crop Was a Big Gamble" Kammerer provides a description of Greenville's 61st market year in the selling of tobacco, where the bidding for a pile started at 39 cents. The life of a tobacco farmer was a gamble; one that the farmer hoped would pay off at the market.
August 7-20, 2002
"Junius H. Rose: Educator and Civic Leader" A Pitt County educator, principal and superintendent, J.H. Rose almost missed the life he found in education. He wanted to be a railroad man, but was persuaded by his professor at Trinity College (now Duke) to take a position in education in Kinston. From there, he came to Pitt County and remained for the rest of his life. Known to be very involved with the students, Rose even missed the announcement of his appointment as superintendent because he was on a trip with students. Rose was active in his church, Jarvis Memorial, and in statewide civic organizations.
July 24-August 6, 2002
July 10-23, 2002
"Parties, Kids and Dances" Stories of area birthday parties and other activities involving the young inclu
May 29-June 11, 2002
"Robert Lee Humber: Cultural Leader, Advocate for World Peace and Art Patron" Dubbed as "Greenville's greatest contribution to the world," Robert Lee Humber, Jr. (1898-1970) single-handedly launched a "movement" for World Federation. Because of that movement, the NC General Assembly passed his resolution in 1941, becoming the first legislative body in history to endorse World Federation. Humber traveled to other states over a period of ten years, and as a result, his resolution was adopted by 16 more states. In his studies abroad and at home, Humber developed an appreciation for the arts, and began another campaign in 1943 to establish an art museum in North Carolina. He convinced the NC General Assembly of 1947 to give one million dollars for the purchase of art. Largely because of this initiative, the NC Museum of Art opened in Raleigh in April 1956.
May 15-28, 2002
"John 'Ghost' Eliot: Noted State Educator" The son of George Eliot of Lower Little River, Cumberland County, NC, John "Ghost" Eliot taught throughout eastern North Carolina for 52 years. Eliot was a classmate of President James K. Polk at the University of North Carolina, and is remembered for his teaching excellence in Latin, geometry, algebra, chemistry, mineralogy, surveying and the classics. Eliot died at Johnson's Mills in Pitt County on November 13, 1881. He was buried in the yard of the Salem Church of Christ. His gravestone, which includes an incorrect date, was discovered in October 2001 on the east side of St. John's Episcopal Church. It is unknown who moved the stone from its original site.
May 1-14, 2002
"Area Stories From Pitt's Past" Kammerer recounts local stories, including those of a shooting at a church in Swift Creek township in October 1887 and an instance of hogs getting into the home of Simon Moye of Winterville. Other stories told are a local farmer who walked 12,496 miles to and from his farm over a period of 45 years and a silver cup awarded to a local child with "perfect" teeth. The Greenville Cotillion Club held the first series of dances. An old mule, claimed by his owner Charles Case to be over 30 years old, that was brought into town in 1901.
April 17-30, 2002
"History of Hanrahan" Also called Pleasant Hill, Hanrahan, about 2 miles North of Grifton, was a small village located on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Hanrahan was named for James A. Hanrahan, a Pitt County native educated at Wake Forest College and at Georgetown, and a Civil War veteran. James A. Hanrahan was married to Susan M. Worthington. James and his brother-in-law, J.T. Worthington, erected a mill for grinding flour and corn and for ginning cotton. When James A. Hanrahan died in 1891, J.T. Worthington remained as a prominent member of the Hanrahan community.
April 3-16, 2002
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October 31-November 13, 2001
October 17-30, 2001
October 3-16, 2001
"Article of Civil War Interest: Civil War Letters to the Governor" A letter from Mrs. Peyton Atkinson of Greenville to Governor Zebulon Vance describes the terror endured by the citizens of Greenville during a "Yankee" raid on the city. Mrs. Atkinson states that Confederate troops were ordered to leave Greenville by General Martin only a short time before the raid. She expresses her dislike for this action and tells the Governor that the citizens of Greenville would have been spared if General Martin would have ordered his troops to protect the town of Greenville. She calls for an investigation into this matter. In addition, Mrs. Laura Dudley Griffin, widow of Confederate veteran Robert L. Griffin, tells of growing up in a house that sat on the line between Pitt and Craven Counties.
September 19-October 2, 2001
"Pitt County Reunions" Kammerer offers a compilation of articles regarding reunions, birthdays and other events from the 1930s. Birthday celebrations include the 79th birthday of James R.D. Moore of Marlboro, the 87th birthday of Aaron P. Turnage of Farmville, the 84th birthday of Mattie J. Smith of Farmville, and the 78th birthday of G.W. Griffin of Greenville. The reunion of members of the James Thomas Smith Camp No. 17, United Spanish War Veterans, took place at the home of Mr. Peyton T. Anderson, located between Farmville and Bruce. The quadruple anniversary celebration of members of the Joyner and Wilkerson families took place at the old Green Springs Farm, near Farmville.
September 5-18, 2001
"The Proctor Hotel" Located at the corner of Evans and Third Streets in downtown Greenville, the Proctor Hotel opened on June 20, 1913. The Proctor Hotel was formed by brothers from Grimesland, W.E. and J.O. Proctor, and was designed by architects Hooks and Rogers of Charlotte. Through the years, the hotel has changed ownership many times and has been considered for demolition, but the building still stands. The building is currently owned by Woody Whichard and is being renovated for office space.
August 22-September 4, 2001
August 8-21, 2001
July 25-August 7, 2001
July 11-24, 2001
June 27-July 10, 2001
"An Encounter with Blackbeard" A tradition concerning an encounter with Blackbeard was told to Wilbur C. Ormond of Charlotte. Ormond is a descendant of a Mr. Laughinghouse, who supposedly was visited by Blackbeard and drew swords with him. An excellent swordsman, Laughinghouse was asked to join Blackbeard's crew. Mr. Laughinghouse politely refused, saying that he intended to live in Bath and start his family there.
June 13-26, 2001
"Strict Rules at ECTC" With a set schedule, including a wake-up time of 6:30, a day full of classes and set meal times, East Carolina Teachers College was a place where abiding by the strict rules was a part of the college guidelines. Students could have visitors only on Sundays. Riding in automobiles, with or without chaperones, was strictly forbidden on Sundays.
May 30-June 12, 2001
"East Carolina College Golden Anniversary Pageant" "East Carolina's Spade," written by Emma L. Hooper of the English Department and directed by Dr. Kenneth N. Cuthbert of the Music Department, documents the history of East Carolina University. Beginning with the groundbreaking ceremony held by ex-governor Jarvis, the play consists of four episodes that chronicle future developments.
May 16-29, 2001
"W.R. Smith Remembers Old Greenville" Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Smith share their memories of Greenville in 1900, with a population of about 1,500, a few stores, and many surrounding farms. Mr. Smith formed the Pitt County Buggy Company and later the Greenville Buggy Company. Smith never believed that he would see paved streets or automobiles in Greenville, but he lived to see both.
May 2-15, 2001
April 18-May 1, 2001
"Pitt and Greene Electric Membership Corporation" J. Cleveland Parker, of near Fountain, NC, along with J. Lee Tugwell, Seth Barrow, W.C. Hinson, T.H. Rouse and O.L Erwin, applied for incorporation of Pitt and Greene Electric Membership Corporation on May 31, 1937. These men also composed the original board of directors. The men canvassed the surrounding rural area to obtain easements for lines to be built. The first lines were completed and energized in April of 1938. The Pitt and Greene Electric Membership Corporation grew to be a multi-million-dollar organization, serving thousands of customers.
April 4-17, 2001
"W. Haywood Dail, Jr. An East Carolina Builder" Famous for confessing to literally chewing up all votes against locating what is now East Carolina University in Greenville, W. Haywood Dail, Jr., was a farmer, tobacconist, car dealer, builder, brick maker, highway commissioner, and avid horse racer. A native of Greene County, Dail made the brick for the first buildings at ECU.
March 21-April 3, 2001
March 7-20, 2001
"The Scrap Drive of September 1942" On September 30, 1942, Governor Broughton issued a proclamation designating October 1-21 as a period of statewide salvage for the war effort. In Greenville, residents responded by donating many items to the scrap pile located in front of the Pitt County Courthouse. These included two hearses donated by the Flanagan Funeral Home. The Double-Cola Bottling Company contributed four tons of bottle caps.
February 21-March 6, 2001
February 7-20, 2001
"Articles of Interest" Historical articles of interest to Pitt County include former Pitt County historian Jesse L. Jackson's recollections of early trips to Reedy Branch Church, and Mrs. Josie Joyner McArthur's memory of going to Farmville as a little girl in 1870.
January 24, 2001-February 6, 2001
"The Vanishing Cityscape" Early Greenville landmarks that are no longer in existence include the first Hardee's hamburgers drive-in, where you could buy a cheeseburger for $.20 and French fries for $.10 in 1960, and the Union Carbide Plant, which is now University Commons strip mall.
January 10-23, 2001
December 27, 2000-January 9, 2001
"1974 Predictions for the Year 2000" Articles published in 1974 reflect the vision of Phil Carrol, a local developer, and of the late Leo Jenkins, former chancellor of East Carolina University, as to the nature of Greenville in 2000. Carrol's envisioned a population of 80,000 to 100,000 and the formation and growth of medical and educational institutions, causing "excellent growth in this area." Former Chancellor Jenkins believed that East Carolina would have a larger adult enrollment than college-age enrollment and that university professors would function more like counselors than instructors. Jenkins predicted that there would be no more cars on the campus and that soccer would be the most popular sport.
December 13-26, 2000
"Christmas Traditions and Syllabub" Christmas traditions of the past in Greenville included dances, balls and hops, late suppers, and jousting tournaments. Often on Christmas Eve, people would be out with firecrackers, tinhorns and drums, making noise and celebrating throughout the night. As part of a Christmas-time feast, a local table might include ham, barbecue, sausage, turkey, oysters, biscuits, oranges, apples, ice cream, eggnog and syllabub. Syllabub is a Southern drink, often served at Christmas gatherings, that was made of whipping cream and scuppernong wine.
November 29-December 12, 2000
"Articles of Interest" Articles from the late 1800s and early 1900s from the Daily Reflector, Tarboro Southerner, and the Eastern Reflector, focusing on early families and hard-to-believe occurrences, are included. Examples include stories of Mrs. J.F. Briley's 24-pound turtle that she caught with a fishing pole and line lead and Mr. Charles Harris, one of Pitt County's early settlers, who was reported to be 122 years old upon his death in 1860.
November 15-28, 2000
"Articles of Civil War Interest" Articles from area newspapers are pulled together to tell tales of the Civil War, including the story of Matthew Hart, an area Civil War veteran who engaged in 17 battles and on each occasion tied a red string around his arm. Dan Thomas, who lived and died in Pitt County, was the only Confederate to plant a flag on the enemy's works at Gettysburg.
November 1-14, 2000
October 18-31, 2000
"Smith and Skinner's Hospital" Before the modern facility of Pitt Memorial Hospital was established, Doctors Joseph Smith and Louis Cotton Skinner operated a clinic and emergency hospital at 123 West Third Street in the old Moye house across from the Pitt County Courthouse. They were remembered for serving Black patients when other doctors refused to.
October 4-17, 2000
September 20-October 3, 2000
September 6-19, 2000
"East Carolina History Preserved" East Carolina University has preserved its heritage through the names of campus buildings. Throughout campus, many buildings are named for individuals or families who played a part in establishing the school. As an example, the Ross-Lewis Gateway on Fifth Street honors Miss Kate Lewis, an original faculty member and head of the Art Department, and Miss Ola Ross, who was the school registrar for 43 years. Other examples include the Joyner Library, named for Dr. James Y. Joyner, superintendent of public instruction and the first chairman of the Board of Trustees; the Mamie E. Jenkins building, named for the charter member of the English Department; and the Austin Building, named for Herbert E. Austin, charter faculty member and professor of science and geography.
August 23-September 5, 2000
August 9-22, 2000
"Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church" Formerly known as St. Paul's, Jarvis Memorial Methodist Church was formed shortly after 1883. A growing church, renamed for the ex-governor, Thomas J. Jarvis, in 1907, Jarvis Memorial continues to expand. It sponsored a new Methodist church, St. James, in 1955.
July 26-August 8, 2000
July 12-25, 2000
"The Hurricane of 1913" Before weather forecasts, and before hurricanes were named, a major hurricane hit the Greenville area. Said to be the worst storm to ever visit this area, the storm damage and toll of life was "appalling in every respect."
June 28-July 11, 2000
June 14-27, 2000
May 31-June 13, 2000
May 17-30, 2000
May 3-16, 2000
April 19-May 3, 2000
"Remembering Blount-Harvey's" Once known as "the shopping center of Eastern North Carolina," Blount-Harvey Co., Inc. of Greenville was a place that carried an extensive collection of goods, from farm supplies to silk spools. The first firm in Pitt County to purchase group insurance for its employees, the first to sign a contract with Mastercard and UPS, and the first place in town to install an automatic door for its customers, Blount-Harvey's was the leading area shopping center. Due to changing economic costs, the Blount-Harvey store closed its department store in 1985.
April 5-18, 2000
"East Carolina Village of Yesteryear Reopens to the Public" (illustrations included) Damaged by the flood in the fall of 1999, the Village of Yesteryear reopens after being restored with money from FEMA and the state of North Carolina. The village features a general store, post office, schoolhouse, log church and house, train depot, tobacco museum, blacksmith shop, transportation, museum and numerous other farm buildings.
March 22-April 4, 2000
March 8-21, 2000
"Autobiography of Freeman Hemby" Freeman Hemby, former slave and well-known Greenville resident, tells of his life as a slave and as a free man. Hemby died December 29, 1948, at the age of 100 and was buried at Cooperfield Cemetery. The father of fourteen children, Hemby outlived all of his children except three. He had 175 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, and 25 great-great grandchildren at the time of his death.
February 23-March 7, 2000
"Frederick Augustus Olds: Creator of the State Museum" Fred A. Olds (1847-1935) son of Lewis Poindexter Olds and Pauline E. Evans, created the State Hall of History in 1914. The State Hall of History collection later became the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. Olds died July 2, 1935, at Dorthea Dix Hospital.
February 9-22, 2000
"General Allen 'Hal' Turnage" Pitt County native General Allen "Hal" Turnage had a distinguished career as a Marine officer, including serving as commander of the Third Marine Division during the Bougainville and Guam campaigns in World War II. General Turnage was born near Farmville, NC on January 3, 1891, the son of William Jason Turnage and Ora Smith. General Turnage died at the age of 80 in 1971 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
January 26-February 8, 2000
January 12-25, 2000
December 29, 1999-January 11, 2000
"The Millennium as Predicted in 1950" Ideas from leading American scientists and economists in 1950 about the year 2000 are examined, including the predictions that population growth would slow, that the first man-made star would be circling around the earth, and that Americans would be working a shorter work week, possibly even a 30-hour week fixed by law.
December 15-28, 1999
December 1-14, 1999
"The Earthquake of 1886" The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886 caused an aftershock in Greenville and Pitt County that resulted in several incidents and reports in the area.
November 17-30, 1999
"A History of Whitehurst Station" The small community of Whitehurst Station or "Grindool" had a very rich social and educational history.
November 3-16, 1999
"Alfred Forbes" A Greenville businessman in the late 1800s, Alfred Forbes had various accomplishments related to education, business, and land ownership. Forbes lived from 1829 until 1905 and was the son of Robert Forbes and Gracey Tyson. He was married to Clara Jane Williams for thirty-four years and was the father of seven children.
October 20-November 2, 1999
"The G.B.W. Hadley House" George Bacon Wood Hadley (1869-1933), born in La Grange, NC to Dr. Jacob Milton Hadley and Lizzie E. Kilpatrick, was educated at Davis Military Academy and was graduated from Western Maryland College. Hadley engaged in numerous business and farming activities. In 1912-1913, he built one of many fine, large homes on Evans Street. The home was demolished in 1973.
October 6-19, 1999
"The A.B. Ellington Bookstore" A.B. Ellington (1857-1941) started a Greenville legacy still felt today. Beginning with the "Racket Store," this proprietor began to sell books at East Carolina Teacher's Training School. Ellington had an interesting business career and life in the Greenville area.
September 22-October 5, 1999
September 8-21, 1999
August 25-September 7, 1999
"First Courthouse Marker" Pitt County's first courthouse was located on what is now Highway 33 East, across from the entrance to the Brook Valley subdivision. Starting in 1924, a campaign was begun to preserve the old house, which had served as the courthouse from 1760 until 1774. These efforts failed, but in October 1930, the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a marker at the site to commemorate the historic structure.
August 11-24, 1999
"White's Theater" The local movie house on Fifth Street started by Samuel Tilden White had a profound impact on the social life in Greenville. Although it had several owners (it became the Park Theater under Henry J. Paradon in 1924 and the State Theater under Van Jones), it stood as a beacon of wholesome entertainment for the area.
July 27-August 10, 1999
July 14-27, 1999
June 30-July 13, 1999
June 2-15, 1999
"A History of Globe Hardware" The current Globe Hardware store located on West Fifth Street has almost always been a downtown landmark. Started by J.H. Hart and G.W. Baker in 1896, the store later was owned in part by George Wood Bacon Haldey, Ernest L. and Grover C. Davis, James L. Harris Jr., Van C. Flemming Jr., E.H. Taft Jr., M.K. Blount, and F.L. Blount. The Herbert Wilkerson family has operated it since 1954.
June 16-29, 1999
"The Courthouse Cornerstone" The Pitt County Courthouse, located on Third Street between Evans and Washington streets, was completed in 1911.
May 19-June 1, 1999
May 5-18, 1999
"A History of Hanrahan" The town of Hanrahan, located west of Greenville, was named after James A. Hanrahan's store. Several mills and a post office of the early town existed following the Civil War. James A. Hanrahan and J.T. Worthington were two of the town's important founders.
April 21-May 4, 1999
April 7-20, 1999
"Pitt County Stories" Five interesting yet unrelated stories document important periods in Greenville's development. The first discusses the history of slot car racing in Greenville from 1966 to present. The second reminds the reader that Ray Charles was the first concert artist to play in Minges Stadium in 1967. The third gives an interesting snippet of information about a former slave in 1940 who had nineteen wives. The fourth describes a 1789 counterfeiter's punishment. The fifth recounts a legend concerning lost dynamite located under the Greenville YWCA building.
March 24-April 6, 1999
March 10-23, 1999
February 24-March 9, 1999
"Old Pitt County Home" In a response to a need to provide for lower income residents, Pitt County developed the old "Poor House." It operated from the late 1820s to 1980s.
February 10-23, 1999
January 27-February 9, 1999
"Pitt County in World War I" Pitt County's human involvement in the Great War was tremendous, including two lieutenant colonels, four majors, five captains, three first lieutenants, and seven second lieutenants. Twenty-nine men never returned from war. There are now memorials for these fallen soldiers at Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church.
January 13-26, 1999
December 30, 1998-January 12, 1999
December 16-29, 1998
December 2-15, 1998
November 18-December 1, 1998
"History of Tyson's Primitive Baptist Church" From its foundation in 1796 until its dissolution in the 1980s, this landmark church, sometimes known as Tyson's Meeting House, had a very interesting history. Located in western Pitt County, it brought importance to Farmville.
November 4-17, 1998
October 21-November 3, 1998
"Halloween Parties" Three Halloween parties are described: a Presbyterian Church Halloween party, October 1931; a Halloween birthday party, October 1931, for "Little Miss Jennie C. Joyner;" and a Baptist Church Halloween party, October 1920.
October 7-20, 1998
"The Osceola Band" Originally started by Alfred A. Forbes in 1872, the Osceola Band gave some very memorable performances for the residents of Pitt County.
September 23-October 6, 1998
September 22-16, 1998
September 9-15, 1998
"A History of Ficklen Stadium" ECU's football stadium appears to be a uniform structure of recent date. However, the stadium began with a building campaign in 1960. Originally containing 17,000 seats, the structure has been expanded several times.
August 26-September 9, 1998
August 12-25, 1998
"Remembering Union Carbide" Union Carbide was a Greenville industrial landmark after it arrived as National Carbon Corporation in 1943. Even though it expanded several times at its location at the intersection of Evans Street and Greenville Boulevard, the plant was closed and the building razed in 1995 to make room for a shopping center.
July 29-August 11, 1998
"C.T. Mumford's [sic] Store" This store on Evans Street is an "uptown" Greenville landmark. An ever-growing entrepreneur and community leader, Charles Thomas Munford (1862-1943), otherwise known as C.T., was a longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce and Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church.
July 15-28, 1998
July 1-14, 1998
June 17-30, 1998
"Odd and Unusual Tales" Several stories, almost windows of the past, ranging in subject from a little boy's shirt to natural disasters, are recounted.
June 3-16, 1998
May 20-June 2, 1998
May 6-19, 1998
"Confederate Re-Union" A Confederate reunion was held in Greenville September 1895, and its participants and events are discussed.
April 22-May 5, 1998
"Two Artists Named Hearne" The biographies of Edward Warren Hearne and Georgia Pearsall Hearne are given along with some of their most notable artworks.
April 8-21, 1998
March 25-April 7, 1998
March 11-24, 1998
"The Old Brick Store" The Old Brick Store on Evans Street has been hidden from the world by several renovations in its history. Started by George E. B. Singletary in 1854 and continued by Samuel M. Schultz in 1895, this store served as quarters in the Civil War and later became a grocery and a bank. The building became the Greenville Banking and Trust Company, and the discovery was made in 1913 discovered that the original brick walls still remained.
February 25-March 10, 1998
February 11-24, 1998
"A History of Cottendale" Cottendale, located near Falkland, was the home of two extraordinary people: Robert Randolph Cotten and his wife, Sallie Southall Cotten. Involved in cultural, governmental, military, agricultural, and business activities, Robert Cotten and his wife are probably most remembered for the large tobacco farm in the county.
January 28-February 10, 1998
"A History of the Town Common" Greenville had a Town Common along what is today called First Street. From its first uses in 1787 as a place for grazing livestock, it has had an interesting history. The site was so important that a ferry outlet and a warehouse were located there.
January 14 -27, 1998
December 31-January 13, 1998
December 17-30, 1997
"Christmas in 1927" A local newspaper article from the period describes how Christmas was celebrated locally in 1927.
December 6-29, 1997
"Greenville Baseball in 1911" Baseball and all its excitement helped create some of Greenville's most interesting recreational activities in 1911. Players participated in several series against Ayden and Kinston. Some of the prominent players from that 1911 team made it big in Greenville after their diamond careers.
December 2-November 19, 1997
"Rueben C. Bland: Father of 34 Children" Reuben Bland became famous--or infamous--for all his children.
November 5-18, 1997
"A History of the Old Memorial Baptist Church" The old Memorial Baptist Church building, from its beginning in July 1827 until its demolition in 1973,was a cherished landmark in Greenville.
October 22-November 4, 1997
"The Jesse R. Moye House" The merchant Jesse R. Moye and his house, located near the intersection of West Fifth and Pitt streets, shared an interesting history.
October 8-21, 1997
September 24-October 7, 1997
"Courthouse Square" During the 1930s until the late 1960s, the area around Greenville's Courthouse Square was a busy section of town.
September 10-23, 1997
August 27-September 9, 1997
"Repress Brothers Barbecue Remembered" Repress Brothers barbecue, so famous Lyndon Johnson requested it, was a mainstay in Greenville for years. The business was located on North Greene Street until 1972.
August 13-26, 1997
"The Universalist Church of Greenville" The "Unitarian Universalist Congregation" in Greenville was once known as the Universalist Church.
July 30-August 12, 1997
July 16-29, 1997
"A History of Bell Arthur" A small village located in western Pitt County, Bell Arthur developed after 1907, when the Norfolk and Southern Railroad built a line through the area. The community lost its charter in 1956. In 1964, approximately 240 people lived in the village.
July 2-15, 1997
June 18-July 1, 1997
June 4-17, 1997
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual"
May 21-June 3, 1997
May 7-20, 1997
"A History of Riverside Nursery" Not many people are alive who can remember the Riverside Nursery. However, the history of this nursery, which operated along the Tar River from 1884 until 1907, is very interesting and important to recall.
April 23-May 6, 1997
April 9-22, 1997
"The William H. Long House" This article provides a short history of William Long's house on East Fourth Street.
March 26-April 8, 1997
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" Briefly describes two steamboat tales from 1884 and 1942, the county's first recorded tornado in 1910, and a humorously poor circus in 1874.
March 12-25, 1997
"The Town Clock of Greenville" This article gives a short history of Greenville's town clock.
February 26-March 11, 1997
"ECU Founder's Day Remembered" Discusses the history of founder's/homecoming day for East Carolina that stopped as a formal celebration for the school. East Carolina began its Founder's Day Celebration on March 5, 1932 as a formal celebration for the school. It was discontinued during World War Two and held once more in 1947. This important tradition should be revived.
February 12-25, 1997
"Greenville's Two Confederate Monuments" Greenville has two memorials honoring Pitt County's fallen Confederate soldiers--one in Cherry Hill Cemetery and the monument erected in 1915 in front of the courthouse.
January 29-February 11, 1997
"East Carolina University: 'did you know that...'" This article gives interesting facts about sports, classes, enrollment, and organization information at East Carolina University.
January 15-28, 1997
January 1-14, 1997
December 18-31, 1996
December 4-17, 1996
"The Great Explosion of 1903" One evening in March 1903, oil and gasoline storage tanks of the Standard Oil Company caught on fire.
November 20-December 3, 1996
November 6-20, 1996
"Dr. David Richard Wallace: Pioneer Physician, Educator, and the first Eminent Psychiatrist of Texas" A native of Pitt County, David Richard Wallace made extraordinary contributions to his profession.
October 22-November 5, 1996
"Tales of the Season" Tales about a haunted house and bridge and the Pactolus light help to accentuate the Halloween atmosphere.
October 9-22, 1996
"Pitt County in the Movies" Not many people would know about the various portrayals of the county in movies or the two local movie stars, Lath Morris and Kathryn Youngblood, who starred in several films.
September 25-October 8, 1996
September 11-24, 1996
August 28-September 10, 1996
"The Cupola of East Carolina's Heritage" Austin Building, with its soaring bell tower, was an important feature of the campus of East Carolina College. However, Austin's bell tower is long gone. Years later, East Carolina University decided to replicate the cupola. This structure is located in front of Joyner Library.
August 14-27, 1996
"Bohunk--ECU Sports Tradition" Today people describe the ECU/NCSU football games with as much zeal as fans described ECU's early basketball rivalry with Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College. This competition was heightened by the use of a wooden basket trophy.
July 31-August 13, 1996
"Rockdale and Other Places" Pitt County is dotted with small communities. Villages in Beaver Dam Township, including Rockdale, Smithtown, and Cobbdale, have unique histories.
July 17-30, 1996
"A History of Greene Springs Park" Developed beginning in 1937, Greene Springs Parks was restored in the 1950s under the direction of the Public Works Department. The Woman's Club and a garden club assisted the city with this project.
July 3-16, 1996
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" Contains various stories including: a necktie party, the wandering trunk, wayward balloon, and "rats by the half bushel."
June 19-July 2, 1996
June 5-18, 1996
"A History of the Railroad in Greenville" Greenville's interesting railroad heritage began in 1879 with the charter of the Goldsboro, Snow Hill, and Greenville Railroad. However, the railroad that really sparked Greenville's business and residential development, a branch of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, reached the town on August 21, 1889.
May 22-June 4, 1996
May 8-21, 1996
"The Great Greenville-Washington Relay Race" A monumental series of sporting activities began in 1925 between high schools from Greenville and Washington. These relay races later developed into competitive high school track in 1961.
April 24-May 7, 1996
"A History of Grimesland Seine Beach" The atmosphere at a local beach along the Tar River that existed near Grimesland from 1860 until the 1960s can only be described in one way: heavenly.
April 10-23, 1996
March 27-April 9, 1996
March 13-26, 1996
"The Rough and Ready Fire Company" The first volunteer fire company in Pitt County was made up of forty black male volunteers.
February 28-March 12, 1996
"Remembering Five Points" Five Points in downtown Greenville--the intersection of Evans Street, Fifth Street, and Dickinson Avenue had its origins in the nineteenth century.
February 14-27, 1996
January 31-February 13, 1996
"Another Landmark Gone: The O'Hagan-Laughinghouse House (Flynn Christian Fellowship Home)" The former home of the O'Hagan and Laughinghouse families on Pitt Street was lost in a January 6, 1996, fire.
January 17-30, 1996
"A History of the Greenville Masonic Lodge" Thomas Cooper established the first lodge in Pitt County at Crown Point in 1766. Sharon Lodge was established in 1822. The Woodson Lodge Number 16, Knights of Pythias, was founded in 1874. In 1888, Greenville had five lodges. Many lodges emerged in Pitt County after 1900.
January 3-16, 1996
December 20, 1995-January 2, 1996
December 6-19, 1995
"A History of Simpson" The town of Simpson (Chicod) has had an interesting history.
November 22-December 5, 1995
"Pitt County Life in the 1880s" Describes and lists some of the items a person would find in a house or in society during this period.
November 8-21, 1995
"100 Years of Telephone Service" Pitt County has had telephone services for nearly 100 years. Telephone service has had an important impact on the county's development.
October 25-November 7, 1995
"Tales of the Season" Halloween legends are very important to Pitt County's continuing folk heritage. These are just some of the county's most famous legends to put people in the Halloween spirit.
October 11-24, 1995
"Remember the Old Restaurants" Several locally owned restaurants operated in Greenville from the 1930s through World War Two. However, some of these downtown eateries continued to serve customers until the 1980s.
September 27-October 10, 1995
"Greenville School History" Important issues and decisions made during the half-century after 1903 helped to shape Greenville's school system.
September 13-26, 1995
August 30-September 12, 1995
"Beaver Dam Township in 1829" This piece is taken from an earlier article written by Jessie B. Smith describing the community of Beaver Dam.
August 16-29, 1995
"Rambling in the 1960s: Entertainment in Greenville" Such nightclubs as the "Elbo," the "Bel-Air Club," and the "PGI" were integral parts of Greenville's popular culture during the 1960s.
August 2-15, 1995
July 19-August 1, 1995
"Rambling in the 1960s: Entertainment in Greenville" "Sailer's Club," "The Attic," and the long-gone club called "The Wreck of the Old '97" illustrate recreational life during this period.
July 5-18, 1995
"Rambling in the 1960s: Entertainment in Greenville" Such nightclubs as "The Ratskeller," "The Purple and Gold Club," "The Tavern," and "The Castaway Club" were among those that operated in Greenville during the 1960s.
June 21-July 4, 1995
June 7-20, 1995
May 24-June 6, 1995
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" One man, Fornes, saves a train from a washout while another man decides to live his life as a hermit instead of fight in the Civil War. A Farmville man has a rat-hunting dog, and the ECU police chief find a mule and a pig in a dorm.
May 10-23, 1995
April 26-May 9, 1995
April 12-25, 1995
March 29-April 11, 1995
March 15-28, 1995
"Remembering College Stadium" The earlier football stadium at East Carolina College underwent several changes between 1949 and 1962. However, through all these changes, one thing remained the same: the excitement and memories of the games.
March 1-14, 1995
February 15-28, 1995
February 1-14, 1995
January 18-31, 1995
"A History of the Hancock Family" The Hancocks always have been important members of the Greenville and Pitt County communities.
January 4-17, 1995
December 21, 1994-January 3, 1995
December 7-20, 1994
"Christmas in 1871" This article is a letter sent to the editor of Tarboro's newspaper describing Pitt County's Christmas celebrations. For example, the epistle refers to costume parades, black citizens' hog races and several other 1871 traditions.
November 23-December 6, 1994
"A History of the Town of Parmele" In 1890 when the railroad came near Bethel, a little town named after E. A. Parmele's saw mill junction was born. Several important events occurred in this town: in October 1892, it received a telegraph office; in 1893, a government was established; in 1899, the town was a completely "dry town," and on April 1, 1904, a fire ravaged the town. This fire caused Parmele to fade into history. However, in October 1909, Professor W.C. Chance started Higgs Industrial School to educate African American people. Booker T. Washington's visit to Parmele on November 2, 1910, was its last great moment of notoriety.
November 9-22, 1994
October 26-November 8, 1994
"Remembering East Carolina Homecomings" ECU has had several memorable homecoming celebrations throughout its history. However, not many people would remember all the major firsts or major celebrations of homecoming. The first homecoming associated with a sport occurred on November 20, 1937. The homecoming became an annual event after the November 8, 1947, festival. In 1946, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1963, and 1964, several homecoming firsts occurred and memorable performers came to Greenville.
October 12-25, 1994
"A History of the Early Greenville Fire Alarms" In 1884, the town bell was used to alert citizens to fires. This method proved to be inefficient and a fire department was organized to better handle fires. In 1896, the Hope Fire Company asked the town to buy a fire alarm. The fire alarm operated well even after the fire station moved to Fifth and Cotanche streets. From 1913 until 1925, new steam whistles were in operation to indicate a fire. Later, in March 1943, a fire siren was put back atop the town hall.
September 28-October 11, 1994
September 14-27, 1994
"Contentnea Creek Country and Tyson Neighborhood" Articles from contemporary newspapers describe Contentnea Creek in 1905 and Tyson's Neighborhood in 1888.
August 31-September 13, 1994
August 17-30, 1994
"A History of the Greenville Rescue Squad" Started in 1948 by fire chief George Gardner, the first Greenville rescue company had very few calls in its early years. During 1958, however, the squad received 229 calls. Because of this large number of calls, the Greenville Rescue Squad permanently became part of the Greenville Fire Department on April 12, 1959. This merger also marked the first time the fire company received tax appropriations. Until then, it had survived on donations, fundraisers, and volunteer support.
August 3-16, 1994
"A History of the Sycamore Hill Baptist Church" Originally located at the intersection of First and Greene streets in Greenville, this church has had a very important history. Begun in the winter of 1865, it was known to the community as the "African Baptist Church" until the early 1880s. Sam Perry was its first minister. In 1916, the Reverend B.W. Dance helped erect the church's stately brick edifice. Tragically, this church burned in February 1969. The congregation rebuilt the church at a new location.
July 20-August 2, 1994
July 6-19, 1994
"History of Greenville Garden Clubs" Greenville has a quite long history of garden societies. The first can be traced back to the 1925 Greenville Garden Club, which was a member of the Garden Club of North Carolina Incorporated until it received autonomy in 1963. Other clubs in Greenville were founded without formal connection with the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. The Lakewood Pines Garden Club (1955), Brookgreen Garden Club (1958), and Dig and Delve Garden Club (circa 1959) all received charters. The Home Pride Garden Club, the Elmhurst Garden Club, and the Grassroots Garden Club were organized in 1965.
June 22-July 5, 1994
"The Coming of the Automobile" The first automobile in Greenville, an Oldsmobile owned by Robert Greene, appeared in April 1903. In June 1909, the speed limit was 10 mph; violations resulted in a fine of five dollars. In February 1921, Pitt County car owners spent more money on their cars than on education--$89.00 on cars versus $4.00 on schools. The last horse posts and troughs in Pitt County were finally removed in 1959.
June 8-21, 1994
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" Kammerer relates several odd tales from Pitt County's past. One resident found an ancient Roman coin. A business owner used sardines as rat poison in 1951. People used and still use "Lard Stands." Nine-year-old Dickie Haar saved Roy Tripp Jr., from drowning. Local boys had to serve punishment in a "Graveyard Stint" in 1959. "Cheated Taste Buds" occurred when a baby ruined a steak.
May 25-June 7, 1994
"The Rialto: The Story of a Building" Located on the southwest corner of Third and Evans streets, the Rialto once stood proud. Built by Joseph P. Elliot and his brother in October 1896, this building was constructed to provide a brick block for all the Elliot brothers' many stores. One portion housed The Daily Reflector offices from January 1901 until 1956. Following The Daily Reflector's move, this building was reduced to a one-story building in 1957. This building since has been a café.
May 11-24, 1994
"A History of Fountain" Named after the town's first merchant, Robert A. Fountain, this small town located northwest of Greenville originated shortly after the railroad made it a depot. First known as "Reba," this community became Fountain after the establishment of a post office on January 15, 1902. However, Fountain was not incorporated as a town until 1903. By 1910, this small town was a bustling commercial center with 126 people. The first graded school for the town had 150 pupils in 1917.
April 27-May 10, 1994
"Some Forgotten Places in Southern Pitt County" Several very small towns in Pitt County can only be remembered. Coxville was a small town that existed in 1850 and from 1853 to 1906. It was named for William Cox and his store. Jolly Old Field was, in the early 1880s, an important steamboat port along the Tar River. However, the coming of the railroad in 1890 made river commerce obsolete, and the community died. Hanrahan, named after James A. Hanrahan (1831-1891), had a post office from March 10, 1879, until July 13, 1889. This small town reestablished its post office in April 1898. Another small town might have the distinction of having the shortest-lived post office. Blount Hall, the ancestral home of the Blount family, had a post office from January 15, 1833, until September 6, 1833.
April 13-26, 1994
"Tom Dupree's Cave and Other Stories" Aleck Corbett, an ex-slave from Falkland, told a local reporter in 1925 several interesting stories about Pitt County before and directly after the Civil War. One of these stories describes Tom Dupree, a slave owner who killed a Yankee soldier. Terrified, Dupree fled and lived in a cave.
March 30-April 12, 1994
March 16-29, 1994
"Hog Killing Time" The brutal slaughter of hogs carried out in modern slaughterhouses does not carry the same "fondness" as older hog killings. In an 1882 descriptive narrative, a local writer expresses his fondness for such social events.
March 2-15, 1994
February 16-March 1, 1994 None
February 2-15, 1994
"The Municipal Swimming Pools of Greenville" There have been several swimming pools in the area. Swimming was the first form of recreation before the local park system. In 1913, the first pool was built in the high school basement. A wealthy benefactor, Mrs. J.L. Westbrook, then opened a pool on her estate on June 25, 1927. Known as the Westbrook Pool and Amusement Park, it later was called Westbrook's Jewel Box. The Blount brothers, M.K. and F.L. Blount, bought it out and called it the Greenville Swimming Pool. In August 1934, the city opened a pool on Fifth Street. Owing to health hazards, the pool had to close in 1951. Subsequently, people flocked to the Meadowbrook beach and other pools in the area.
January 19-February 1, 1994
January 5-18, 1994
"The Movie Houses of Greenville: Part II" Local movie houses have included The Colonial Theatre, The Strand Theatre, The New Theater/Colony Theatre, the Roxy Theatre, and the Plaza Cinema.
December 22, 1993-January 4, 1994
December 8-21, 1993
"The Movie Houses of Greenville" [Issue missing]
November 24-December 7, 1993
"Thanksgiving: In 1893" Thanksgiving over 100 years ago was much different than it is today. This narrative describes some of the customs of an 1893 Thanksgiving.
November 10-23, 1993
October 27-November 9, 1993
"Halloween Tales of Pitt County" Several legends about ghosts and apparitions are of particular interest at Halloween.
October 13-26, 1993
"Charles M. Eppes: Noted Black Educator and Civic Leader" Charles Montgomery Eppes, born December 25, 1857 in Halifax County to the Reverend Henry Eppes, entered Shaw University in Raleigh to become a teacher. After receiving his degree, he returned to the east and became a principal throughout many county school districts. However, his passion was raising the standard of living for African Americans in Greenville. In 1921, he taught summer school at Greenville's Agricultural and Technology College. Throughout the Great Depression, he helped members of the African American community. The Fifth Street School was renamed in his honor after his death on September 30, 1942.
September 29-October 12, 1993
"A History of the Pitt County Fair" The Pitt County Fair always has been cherished in this county for all that it brings. The first fair occurred on September 17 and 18, 1884, showcasing only the best of what had been grown that year. The next fair, sponsored by the Greenville Tobacco Fair Association, took place in November 1898. During this fair, parades, bands, and dancers made the event very memorable. For many years, the Pitt County Fair had trouble finding a place to hold its event. On November 11, 1911, it was held in the Star Warehouse and in November 1912, the Gum Warehouse. The next fair occurred in 1920 with horse racing highlighting the activities. In the 1930s, to draw more visitors, the fair allowed auto racing and marriages. In 1936, the Pitt County American Legion took over as sponsor of the fair and it has been operated by this organization, except during World War Two, since that time.
September 15-28, 1993
"Can You Remember" Kammerer lists a myriad of interesting facts relating to the "good old days."
September 1-14, 1993
"A History of First Presbyterian" After seeing a large number of Presbyterians in Greenville, J.R.H. Summerell and F.H. Johnston decided to found a Presbyterian church. First Presbyterian was formally founded on May 11, 1891. In April 1895, this new church opened a permanent place of worship that was dedicated on December 19, 1897. However, this congregation outgrew the first location so a new church was constructed on Pitt and Fifth streets in 1927. After years of continual growth, this church was too small, and in 1961, construction began on the church located on Fourteenth and Elm streets.
August 18-31, 1993
"A History of Sheppard's Mill Pond" Thomas J. Sheppard (1810-1900) married Clementine Congleton and moved his family beside this pond, located near Stokes. Sheppard sold his property to C.T. Munford and E.A. Moye, who then sold it to Charles McLawhorn and J.R. Barnhill. The pond was used originally for baptisms until the mill began operating. Coy Forbes discontinued the mill in 1940. As of 1993, Charles Alfred Forbes owned the pond, and Patrick J. and Sonya M. Fiscus operated the house as a bed and breakfast.
August 4-17, 1993
July 21-August 3, 1993
July 7-20, 1993
June 23-July 6, 1993
"Random Recollections of Pitt County" These stories date from the antebellum period to the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The subjects range from sanitation and chimneys to a description of a schoolhouse in 1857.
June 7-20, 1993
May 26-June 8, 1993
May 12-25, 1993
"Kennedy's Visit" Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy came to Greenville on September 17, 1960. He stayed only 87 minutes but spoke to a crowd of 20,000 at the stadium. Accompanied by Terry Sanford and his motorcade, he also visited a tobacco warehouse.
April 28-May 11, 1993
"History of Red Oak Christian Church" Located in the Berea community, now called Red Oak, Josephus Lathan founded this church on April 15, 1871. In 1878, it had its first Sunday school service. In 1938, it had its first Easter Service. In 1953, the church underwent several enhancements, including a nursery. A new place to worship was begun on April 23, 1973. However, on May 25, 1973, a tornado destroyed it. Construction of another church began on June 10, 1973.
April 14-27, 1993
March 31-April 13, 1993
"Life on Contentnea Creek: Recollections of Jesse Lillington Jackson" In 1956, Jesse Lillington Jackson (1874-1969) wrote these narratives about his early life in Pitt County. The stories cover the period before the winter of 1877-1878. Jackson helped found the Pitt County Historical Society.
March 17-30, 1993
March 3-16, 1993
February 17-March 2, 1993
"Life on Contentnea Creek: Recollections of Jesse Lillington Jackson" In 1956, Jesse Lillington Jackson (1874-1969) wrote these narratives about his early life in Pitt County. He helped found the Pitt County Historical Society.
February 3-16, 1993
"Reminiscences of Pitt County" Abram James Moye (1853-1932), son of James Willis Moye and Henrietta L. Anderson, wrote in 1928 several articles about the people and houses along Plank Road after the Civil War.
January 20-February 3, 1993
"Reminiscences of Pitt County" Abram James Moye (1853-1932), son of James Willis Moye and Henrietta L. Anderson, wrote in 1928 several articles about the people and houses along Plank Road after the Civil War.
January 6-19, 1993
"Incident at Carney's" Between 1865 and 1868, Reddick Carney of Pactolus Township went on a killing spree. Later, he was killed and his house was burned.
December 23, 1992-January 5, 1993
December 9-22, 1992
"Christmas in Greenville In the 1890s" Christmas in the 1890s was very different than it is today. While eating oysters and turkey for Christmas dinner, people would enjoy various social activities with firecrackers blasting along with the fun.
November 25-December 8, 1992
November 11-24, 1992
October 28-November 10, 1992
"Halloween Parties of Long Ago" Those who attended these two Halloween parties--the 1911 East Carolina Teachers Training School party and the 1920 Baptist Church party--had a great deal of fun.
October 14-27, 1992
"The Neighborhood as It Was and Is" The life of Kate W. Lewis, a faculty member at East Carolina Teachers Training School, captures the essence of Greenville during the period 1900-1919.
September 30-October 13, 1992
"Odd and Unusual Tales" Unusual aspects of Greenville's past include lost home seekers, missing dynamite caps, "Cupid winning hearts in town," and odd town ordinances.
September 16-29, 1992
"Earthquakes in Pitt County" Greenville and other Pitt communities were shaken by earthquakes on December 16, 1811; February 12, 1812; August 31, 1886; and May 31, 1897.
September 2-15, 1992
August 19-September 1, 1992
August 5-18, 1992
"A Shooting in the Streets: The Cherry Eason Affair" On May 27, 1830, several events transpired between the two local men, Dempsey Eason and John Cherry, which caused both a lot of pain and hardship.
July 22-August 4, 1992
July 8-21, 1992
June 24-July 7, 1992
"The Bertha Hotel and the Vines House" Benjamin F. Patrick built the Bertha Hotel on the northwest corner of Fifth and Evans streets in 1900. The Vines House, a boarding house built in 1913 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Carson Vines, was located on the southeast corner of Pitt and Fifth streets.
June 10-23, 1992
May 27-June 9, 1992
May 13-26, 1992
April 29-May 12, 1992
April 15-28, 1992
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" Collections of unusual facts ranging from a parrot in a henhouse to funeral prices in 1944 will amuse the reader.
April 1-14, 1992
"Jesse James' Brother and the Treasure of Yankee Hall" Frank James, who was not as infamous as his brother, married a Pitt County resident. The "lucky" woman and her bridegroom supposedly buried treasure at Pactolus.
March 18-31, 1992
March 4-17, 1992
February 19-March 3, 1992
"Early School Teachers in Pitt County" Alfred Moye was an early superintendent for the Pitt County schools. Comparing today's figures to the early days, teachers would actually think their occupation is one of the best. In 1849, there were twenty-nine districts in the county with only nineteen teachers serving them. The annual payroll for the previous year and a half (half of 1847 and all of 1848) was $1,321.97. In the 1850s, there were thirty-nine districts and an increase in payroll to $4,111.55 by 1859. The column lists the few teachers who taught in Pitt County between 1846 and 1864.
January 22-February 18, 1992
January 8-21, 1992
December 18, 1991-January 7, 1992
"Old Christmas in North Carolina" Known as Welsh Night, this celebration occurs twelve days after Christmas because it follows the non-Gregorian calendar. As of 1991, this Christmas tradition was still practiced in Rodanthe on the Outer Banks. In this town, Old Buck, not Santa, would bring gifts to all the people. Other North Carolina traditions with this holiday included: lighting the yule log, decorating the house and lawns, and hanging stockings. In Edenton, Washington, New Bern, and Greenville, blacks called "John Koones" or "De Koones," in particular, would dress in costumes and go around houses blowing horns and singing in wagons. If a house gave these African Americans something, that house would receive good luck throughout the rest of the year.
December 4-17, 1991
"Tales of Pitt County's Odd and Unusual" The author gives several interesting bits of information about the county. He lists several stories ranging from road kill, a toy band, a freak mule, and an election bet that demanded that the loser to push the winner around in a wheelbarrow for twenty miles.
November 20-December 3, 1991
November 6-19, 1991
October 23-November 5, 1991
"The Early History of the Rotary Club of Greenville" Banker Paul Clodfelter, broker J.B. Kittrell, lawyer and then mayor Daree Clark, and insurance man Alex Blow started the Rotary Club to heal the "dissatisfaction" in their lives. The club's first meeting was on September 18, 1919, with the Inauguration Day scheduled for December 18, 1919. This club undertook a variety of activities during its early years.
October 9-22, 1991
September 25-October 8, 1991
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual"
This article contains a collection of different stories including snake tales from June 1911, rat tales from 1923, and Greenville's first bathtub, owned by Mrs. H.A. White in 1905.
September 11-24, 1991
August 28-September 10, 1991
August 14-27, 1991
"A History of the Greenville Male Academy" Built in 1849 to educate the local male population, Greenville Male Academy had a relatively short but interesting history. William H. Ragsdale was the principal of this school twice, reflecting his family's love for education. During the Civil War, the building was used as a hospital. The student body, attendance, and teachers made it a very important institution for Greenville in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, it was closed and disposed of in 1903.
July 24-August 13, 1991
July 10-23, 1991
June 26-July 9, 1991
"A History of St. Gabriel's Catholic Church" Rising out of oppression and segregation, African American community leaders in Greenville decided to form their own church. St. Gabriel's resulted from those dreams. Started by Father Charles J. Gamble and Father Maurice Tew, this church opened its doors on March 1, 1936. Continuing to fight oppression and Jim Crow, the parish operated a mission to educate black children from 1956 until 1965.
June 12-25, 1991
May 29-June 11, 1991
May 15-28, 1991
May 1-14, 1991
"Catholic Church History" There are many religious denominations in Pitt County, but few would believe how many prominent families were Catholic at one time. The following families were Catholic: the Dr. Jesse Randolph family, Thomas Hanrahan's family, the Dr. Charles O'Hagan Laughinghouse family, the Skinner family, and the Grimes family. As early as 1884, the first parish, St. Peter's, was established in Greenville. St. Peter's dedicated a new church on March 31, 1991.
April 17-30, 1991
April 3-16, 1991
March 20-April 2, 1991
"A History of Television in Pitt County" There is no question that television changed the nature of life in America. In Pitt County, the same can be said. The drive that changed lives began in 1949. Two years later, in May 1951, Channel 9 (WNCT) was granted affiliation by the Federal Communications Commission to become Pitt County's first television station. However, due to population problems, the first television broadcast did not take place until December 22, 1953 at 5:00 p.m., to the 3,437 sets in Pitt County.
March 6-19, 1991
February 20-March 5, 1991
"A History of Radio Stations in Pitt County" In 1929, the Greenville Merchants Association wanted a better way to advertise. They formed a stock company called Greenville Broadcasting Station, Incorporated to inform the public about their products. However, the first successful radio station began broadcasting in September 1933, under the station tag of WEED and under the management of Avery Wynne. This station could not stay in Greenville and was replaced by WGTC (World's Greatest Tobacco Country) in 1940. This was Julian Jordan White's brainchild. It also had North Carolina's tallest tower at 208 feet to give WGTC a clearer reception. It, too, did not last. In the span of four years, three different stations opened to try their luck.
February 6-19, 1991
January 23-February 5, 1991
"The Early Book Clubs of Greenville" Greenville's first book club, the End of the Century Club, began in 1899. The San Souci Club (1902) was the next club to be formed. These first two initial clubs were followed by several including: the Round Table Book Club (1910), the Athenaeum and the Chatham clubs (1936), the Inter Se Book Club and the Clio Club (1937), the Thalian Club and the Lector Club (1946), the Cosmos Club and the Aries Club (1949), and the Semi-Centi and the Literature Department of the Greenville Woman's Club (1950). These clubs brought the number of book clubs to twelve by 1952. For the large number of clubs, a Book Club Day was to be held the first week in May. This event has been held every year since 1947.
January 9-22, 1991
December 19, 1990-January 8, 1991
December 5-18, 1990
"Remembering Christmas in Greenville" Everyone has wonderful memories of Christmas. However, the generation fortunate enough to celebrate Christmases from the 1920s through the 1960s might have more cherished memories.
"Christmas One Hundred Years Ago" Christmas was a lot different in the 1880s than it is today. In Greenville, merchants did not sell plastic ornaments, cheese balls, and processed meats. Merchants instead sold Florida oranges with other fruits and everyone's favorite--whiskey. Social activities of the day included the usual dances, different religious celebrations, and bands with singers. However, rituals that have been abandoned are the local Christmas Day tournaments and fireworks displays.
November 21-December 4, 1990
"History of Greenville Airport" Greenville's airport history begins with its first three local pilots. One of them, Ben Sheppard, made the first airmail delivery in the state in the early 1920s. In November 1933, three pilots met and decided that Greenville needed a local airport to help develop the city. By that time, however, there were already two airstrips in the county right outside Greenville's limits. In 1940, after seven years of thinking about a Greenville airstrip, 500 acres of land were bought to house a future landing zone and airport. In 1942, 700 more acres were bought. Five different companies provided service between April 1946 and 1960. Today, US AIR is Greenville's air service provider.
November 7-20, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" Kammerer records several very interesting stories, including one entitled "Moses in the Bullrushes" from March 1874. In this story, a baby was found floating down the Tar River in a coffin.
Another interesting anecdote entitled "After Thirty-Two Years" describes a family's reaction to a father who returned to Pitt County after an absence of thirty-two years.
"Historical Biography of Two Prominent Legislators" J.B. Little was born on November 26, 1854, and married Miss Lola Fleming, on January 5, 1893. After a very interesting public life, he was elected to the legislatures of 1903 and 1905. He fought hard for public education. Captain Joseph John Laughinghouse was born on October 4, 1847, and married Eliza O'Hagan in 1870. He served the Confederacy in the Civil War and was an excellent soldier. He was promoted to the rank of captain four days before his seventeenth birthday. After his military duties were up, he was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1904 and 1906. In this article, portraits of these men are available.
October 24-November 6, 1990
"Unusual Tales for the Halloween Season" Beginning as early as 1890, ghosts, hauntings, and even ESP (extra sensory perception) have affected the lives of many Pitt County residents.
"History of Halloween in Greenville" By Eric M. Hause. East Carolina alumni, faculty, and students can tell you about memorable, infamous Halloween celebrations in Greenville. The police, business owners, and city officials can also tell a story about these Halloween celebrations, which have included riots.
October 10-23, 1990 [missing issue]
September 26-October 9, 1990
September 12-25, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" In this group of local tales, several animal stories are mentioned.
August 29-September 11, 1990
"Doctor Robert Williams: Soldier and Legislator" This very prominent man of early Pitt County was born near Falkland on August 25, 1758, to Richard and May Williams. As a soldier, he played a large role in the Revolutionary War. Following this, he became one of North Carolina's most devoted legislators. He was a representative in 1786 and served in the Senate in 1793, 1795, from 1802 until 1806, 1808, and from 1813 until 1814. He died on October 12, 1840. He was married three times and fathered fourteen children.
August 15-28, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" One of these tales, "Come Back to Life," describes a black man, who, in February 1906, came back to life. Another tale provides information about a "Greenville Rock Quarry."
August 1-14, 1990
"A History of Bottling Companies" Bottling companies have had an important impact on the life of people in Eastern North Carolina. The first bottling companies in Greenville were founded to bottle beer in 1883 and 1884. In 1887 and 1892, two companies were started to bottle local sodas. Along with these bottling companies, several interesting and famous sodas were first introduced to the area. In 1893, Edward H. Shelburn became the first person to sell Coke in Greenville. J.W. Bryan, a local man, invented a drink called Eurvita in 1902. In 1908, T.M. Hooker and W.A. Teel Jr. started Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company. There were several others until 1950.
July 18-31, 1990
July 4-17, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories includes a tale about a black man named Issac Station who named his kids "Get All," "Will Have It," and "Save All." In another story, the reader finds out that a measurement device calculated that the courthouse was 68 feet above sea level.
June 20-July 3, 1990
June 6-19, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories includes the tale of a local man who received four grandchildren in one day. Another tale calls attention to a more modern problem: school shootings. A story entitled "Bell Arthur Shooting" indicates that an eighth grader shot his principal in February 1930.
May 23-June 5, 1990
"More Forgotten Towns of Pitt County" Included with a map, this article describes some important events and lists some important dates pertaining to long-forgotten towns in the county. Redalia was a small town that had a post office sporadically from April 19, 1853 until April 28, 1894. Renston was a small town with a post office from March 20, 1891 until October 15, 1902. There was a post office in Ridge Springs from May 14, 1844, until December 11, 1866, and August 15, 1867, until January 1886. Roundtree was another small town in Pitt County. It grew around the plantation of Jesse Roundtree (1765-1831). A post office operated there from June 1, 1888, until October 2, 1902. The ancestral home of Pitt County's Blount family and their original plantation started by Jacob Blount (1726-1789) had a post office from January 15, 1833, until September 6, 1833. A very small town called Clayroot had a post office from February 10, 1894, until June 6, 1901. A prominent woman by the name of Asa Garris lived at Littlefield.
May 9-22, 1990
"Some Forgotten Towns in Pitt County" A map on the cover of this issue indicates where some of these forgotten towns were located. Johnson's Mill is one of these towns. Named after Frederick Johnston's gristmill, this small town had a post office from December 13, 1837, until July 13, 1903. Quinerly, named after W.A. Quinerly, had a post office from February 9, 1894, until January 13, 1904. Gardnersville was a small town consisting of many family members of the John A. Gardner clan. It had a post office from June 6, 1894 until May 24, 1901. A very small town called Pullet also operated a post office under Franklin Jackson (May 21, 1886-February 1, 1888). The small towns of Hanrahan and Centreville also have disappeared.
April 25-May 8, 1990
"Odd and Unusual Tales" Local stories from 1933 include: "Historical Castle," "Dairies," and a "Courthouse Panic."
April 11-24, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" In this group of local stories, a man receives a piece of cake in April 1935 from a cake originally served on January 1, 1854. On April 11, 1950, and July 27, 1967, Greenville residents witnessed flying saucers. Also included are stories about "Dare Devil " Vee and the reaction of citizens to early airplanes that flew over Greenville.
March 28-April 10, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" In this group of local stories, marl and cottonseed are used as fertilizers, and the Tar River's big freezes are discussed. In 1876-1877, a big snow of eighteen to twenty inches remained on the ground from around Christmas until mid-January. On February 11, 1889, the Tar and Greenville received ten and one-half inches of snow with a temperature of eleven degrees; two days later, the temperature dropped to two degrees below zero.
March 14-27, 1990
"An Affair of Honor: The Harris-Yellowly Duel" Dueling used to be a popular way to settle disputes. One duel changed the fate of two Pitt County men forever. On October 1, 1847, Henry Ferdinand Harris (b. 1814) dueled against the county legislator and lawyer Edward C. Yellowly. Yellowly apparently made some rather inappropriate comments about Harris after his 1846 election win. A higher official ordered the men to keep peace for one year. They did. However, they met at the Great Dismal Swamp Canal on October 1, 1847. Harris was killed, and Yellowly participated in another duel years later.
February 28-March 13, 1990
"A History of Port Terminal" As early as 1908, efforts were being made to transform Greenville into a port. Port Terminal, located on the Tar River near Hardee's Creek later became the manifestation of those desires. It opened on October 12, 1940, and operated until March 1942.
"The Dams on the Tar River" The Tar River was the lifeline of Greenville and many other Eastern North Carolina towns. To open it to more boat traffic and to increase economic growth, efforts were made to convert the Tar River into a locked river by building dams. A Colonel W.B. Thompson in 1853 stated that the river needed low dams and locks--at Sycamore Shoal, Bryant's Creek, Walston's Landing, and a half-mile from Sparta. Colonel Thomas's efforts were never completed. Another project was started in 1892 but nothing but a bridge remains from that effort.
February 14-27, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of stories from the 1890s includes a description of the first desk phone in Greenville, which appeared in June 1899. A fly remedy worked to deter flies.
January 31-February 13, 1990
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local tales includes a description of Christmas week in 1871, damage to corn crops by sturgeons following a flood in 1886, and the death in 1889 of the infant of Mrs. George Newton of Falkland Township.
January 17-30, 1990
January 3-6, 1990
December 20, 1989-January 2, 1990
December 6-19, 1989
November 22-December 5, 1989
November 8-21, 1989
October 25-November 7, 1989
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories includes: "Henhouse Huckster," "The Town Terror," and "Horse Troughs."
October 11-24, 1989
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" A "pork roundup" in June 1883, is described. In February 1967, Oral Roberts University named a building for East Carolina College President John D. Messick. A description of the "great" circus of November 1874 is given and several other local tales dating from late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries are told.
September 27-October 10, 1989
September 13-26, 1989
August 30-September, 12, 1989
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories dating from 1901 and 1903, include descriptions of a unique court decision, domestic violence justice, and a runaway mule.
August 16-29, 1989
"Alfred Moye: Noted Leader of Pitt County" Moye was born on January 19, 1793, about five miles east of Farmville, to Joel and Sarah Moye. He seemed destined to greatness. He married Oprah Tyson (1802-1845), the daughter of Moses and Elizabeth (Joyner) Tyson, in 1818. Moye's public life included careers as legislator, trustee, postmaster, county commissioner, and examiner of teachers. A Unionist who is said to have treated his slaves fairly, Moye died on February 26, 1863.
August 2-15, 1989
"The Changing Face of Greenville" The Boyd Store (Jesse and Elsie's grocery store), was located in the Forbestown section of Greenville at the corner of Evans and Eleventh streets. It burned in 1989. This store is pictured in The Architectural Heritage of Greenville, North Carolina, published in 1988 by the Greenville Area Preservation Association.
July 19-August 1, 1989
July 5-18, 1989
June 21-July 4, 1989
June 7-20, 1989
"A History of Grifton" Once called Bell's Ferry, the small town of Grifton is located on both sides of Contentnea Creek (known locally as Mocassen River). In 1889, the legislature changed the town's name to Grifton and made it official on January 1, 1890. Following the name change, the railroad came through Pitt County and directly through Grifton. The railroad transformed the town, which built new streets at a steady rate. The railroad also stimulated the development of businesses.
May 24-June 6, 1989
May 10-23, 1989
"The Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories, dating from the twentieth century, includes "Lightning Freak," "House Mover," "Two Smart Boys," and "Watermelon Raid."
April 26-May 9, 1989
April 12-25, 1989
March 29-April 11, 1989
"A History of the Old Memorial Baptist Church" A landmark of Greenville's religious history, the Memorial Baptist Church has served its members for over one hundred and fifty years. This church was constituted on July 2, 1827. By October of 1827, it had twenty-three members. The church started the Baptist Benevolent Society to raise money for traveling ministers. Thomas D. Mason was this church's first pastor. The church experienced sporadic, irregular growth throughout the 1850s. Later, the Reverend Thomas Carrick became the church's pastor. He helped to construct a new church on Greene Street (the church that residents refer to as the Old Memorial Baptist Church). It was dedicated on October 12, 1890. This building was demolished as a new one was completed in 1973 on Greenville Boulevard.
March 15-28, 1989
"'Yonder She Comes Rounding the Point': A History of Steamboats on the Tar" During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, steamboats piled the Tar River. The first ship to use the Tar was a sidewheel called the "Edmund O. McNair." It operated on the Tar from 1836 until 1839. By the 1870s, steamboats were quite common in the Tar River. The Clyde Line, Old Dominion Line, and Shiloh Oil Mills companies all constructed or put boats on the Tar. Twenty-three different boats traveled up and down the Tar River until 1915, when the railroad ended the steamboat era.
March 1-14, 1989
"Early Shipbuilding in Pitt County" Shipbuilding always has been a minor industry in Eastern North Carolina compared to agriculture. The first vessel, built in 1776, was a twenty-five-ton sloop named "Peggy." Thirty years later, in 1807, Yankee Hall became Pitt County's center for shipbuilding. That year, the ninety-nine-ton brig "Minerva" was built there, followed in 1810 by the 153-ton-brig called the "Charleston Packet." It would not be until the Civil War that the next ship would be built when Pillsboro started fabricating them in 1860. The final ship apparently built in Pitt County was the fifteen-ton gas screw steamboat called the "Lillian" in 1904 constructed by the J.L. Fountain and Company. When this boat was finished, Pitt County lost one of its main supplementary industries.
February 15-28, 1989
"Penny Hill" Driving on Highway 33 near the Pitt/Edgecombe County line, a driver might see the remains of the small community known as Penny Hill. Once called Winona and later simply Hill, this community was the ancestral home of the Thigpen family. The doctors James Thigpen III and IV and James Thigpen V and VI all raised the families in Penny Hill. After this, the land and house changed hands to become the possessions of Dr. Phesanton S. Sugg and Dr. George C. Sugg. Their land totaled over 2500 acres. These two gentlemen sold the land to Charles W. Smith who in time sold it back to a Thigpen. Captain James R. Thigpen bought the land and house from Mr. Smith in January 1873. In 1894, after finally reclaiming their ancestral home, the Thigpens lost their land and house again. Dr. James R. Thigpen was forced to sell it because of debts. The land thereafter was divided up, and this ended the Thigpen legacy in Penny Hill.
February 1-14, 1989
January 4-18, 1989
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories from 1895 includes descriptions of a "conjured rooster," a "midget" and "snakes visits."
December 21, 1988-January 3, 1989
"Christmas in Greenville in 1890" Christmas seems to have timeless celebrations. However, Christmas in 1890 was much different than it is today. Most of the celebrations occurred on December 23 and Christmas Eve while many businesses were very busy with plenty of customers getting items needed to have a joyful celebration. One local law firm called Young and Priddy cut a pumpkin. From six o'clock to eleven o'clock p.m., Evans Street was dazzled with a fireworks celebration. On Christmas Day only the Episcopal Church had services.
December 7-20, 1988
"A History of Pactolus" Pactolus is a rather small town in eastern Pitt County. Named in 1770 by a schoolteacher named Lincoln, it was not until On May 30, 1832, that Pactolus was granted a post office. Churchill Perkins served as the postmaster. The first business for the town was started in 1840. Since that time numerous businesses have come and gone.
November 23-December 6, 1988
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This group of local stories includes descriptions of a "miser" and a smoking law in Bethel in 1897.
November 9-22, 1988
"Odd and Unusual Tales" This group of local stories includes descriptions of a "Mink Patrol," an "Invitation to a Funeral," and a "Mad Dog."
October 26-November 8, 1988
"History of Ayden" Located south of Greenville, Ayden was first known as Authertown. Later Ayden became a boomtown and was incorporated in 1891. In 1895, William H. Harris petitioned to change the town's name from Ayden to Harriston. His petition won out and the name was changed. The people of Harriston vehemently protested, to no avail. The town was renamed Harriston but the name of the post office and depot remained Ayden. In 1903, it was the second largest town in Pitt County and by far the largest in Contentnea Township. At that same time, it was a dry town with many businesses.
October 12-25, 1988
September 28-October 11, 1988
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual" A collection of stories about different topics is recited from local tales around the county. In this group, lightning, dog, local remedy, and cow stories from March 1891 through August 1895 are given.
September 14-27, 1988
"Tales of the Odd and Unusual: In Pitt County" A collection of stories about different topics is recited from local tales around the county. In this group, tales ranging from March 1896 to July 1899 focus on various topics such as thimbles, frogs, pickles, and chance.
August 31-September 13, 1988
"A History of House and Whichard" The railroad dramatically changed everything about Eastern North Carolina. Two particular changes were the development of businesses and the establishment of towns. The railroad led to the development of the communities called House and Whichard. Originally, House Station was located three miles north of Greenville and was named for David House (1816-1894). The post office became known as House when it opened on August 31, 1891 It remained open until December 7, 1900. The post office was opened again on November 5, 1901. On May 30, 1897, an earthquake in the town shocked many residents. The town slowly died after the telegraph office was closed in June 1899. Similarly, Whichard had a short-lived existence. Whichard Station was started because of the railroad. It was named after Willis R. Whichard. A post office was operated there from December 28,1891 until April 1896. However, the town died after the timber interests and the railroad line left it.
August 17-30, 1988
"A History of Yankee Hall" Ten miles east of Greenville, there once stood a house and vital center of a community called Yankee Hall. It was known also as Pactolus Landing and Perkin's Wharf. This house was owned and operated by the local businessman and store proprietor, Samuel Ralston (1778-1829). After his death, the house and land became the town landing for Pactolus, which was located a mile north. Following Ralston's death, the Perkins family inherited the house. Henry Dixon, who watched it burn down in April 1890, inherited it. Today Yankee Hall is a recreation area for boating, picnics, and fishing.
July 20-August 16, 1988
"A History of Grimesland" The small community of Grimesland in Pitt County has a very deep history. In 1714, Louis Duvall patented the land and called it Mount Calvary because of its wonderful bluff. Duvall later sold the land to Edward Salter, who changed the name of his land to Salter's Ferry. After Salter owned the land, William Grimes bought the land and established a plantation there, naming it Boyd's Ferry. The land and community surrounding it first became known as Grimesland when a post office was established on June 20, 1871. The name later changed to Nelsonville. In 1886, the name of the post office was changed to Grimesland. Around 1890, fifty people lived there. A number of businesses developed along Grimesland's six streets.
July 6-19, 1988
June 22-July 5, 1988
"A History of Stokes and Oakley" Traveling northeast from Greenville, a person might drive through two rather small communities: Stokes and Oakley. Stokes was named after William Green Stokes (1864-1953), who opened a store there along the railroad line in 1892. Stokes was, and still is, the principal center and post office for Carolina Township. The town was incorporated on February 1, 1903. Mrs. Addie Stokes was serving as postmistress in 1892. The small community of Oakley is located about six miles north of Stokes. It once was a major shipping point and later a depot for the surrounding communities. On April 23, 1892, it was reported that Willis H. Williams was the postmaster. After its incorporation in 1903, a town hall was built
June 8-21, 1988
"Unusual Passings in Pitt County's Past" When a person dies unusually, the event can provide valuable insight into the society at the time. From suffocations to very strange deaths, many unusual deaths have been reported to the coroner's office and through military records.
May 25-June 7, 1988
May 11-24, 1988
April 27-May 10, 1988
"The Early Postmasters of Greenville: Part Two" The creation of post offices and the appointment of postmasters mark when a town or community becomes recognized as a part of the county. Greenville has had many postmasters in its history. Kammerer has compiled a list of known postmasters throughout Greenville's past. The first female postmaster for Greenville was Mrs. Delilah E. Doughty, who served from February 22, 1879 until February 1895.
April 13-26, 1988
"The Early Postmasters of Greenville" The creation of post offices and the appointment of postmasters mark when a town or community becomes recognized as a part of the county. Greenville has had many postmasters in its history. Kammerer has compiled a list of known postmasters throughout Greenville's past. The first postmaster was Grove Wright, who was appointed on January 1, 1795, and served until Joel Marshall Dickenson (of Dickenson Avenue distinction) took over the post on January 1, 1802.
March 30-April 12, 1988
March 16-29, 1988
"The Early Sheriffs of Pitt County" Sheriffs always play an important part in any county. Pitt County has had a long line of sheriffs. Starting with the first sheriff, Colonel John Simpson (1728-1798), who patrolled starting in 1760, to the sheriff serving in 1943, the author lists all of Pitt County's sheriffs and their major accomplishments.
March 2-15, 1988
"Dr. B. Brown Williams: Mesmerist and Clairvoyant" In 1817, the foremost expert on "mental alchemy" was born in Pitt County. This expert was the famous Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams "believed mesmerism could help the recuperative powers of the body." He traveled all around the country giving lectures on such topics as magnetism, electro-psychology, and mesmerism. From these lectures and his practice, he helped several people feel better. In July 1852, he began publishing a monthly journal called "Journal of Organic and Medical Chemistry Designed for the Student, the Physician and People." His death date is unknown.
February 17-March 1, 1988
"George Washington Did: Eat and Sleep in Pitt County" The mystique surrounding George Washington has made him a legend. For years, this legend has included Pitt County. It was often reported that Washington did come through Pitt County on his southern tour and even slept and ate here. He arrived on April 19, 1791, made several comments about the area, ate, and slept. Several local families have claimed that Washington ate in their homes, but no one is positively sure. To mark this visit, a bronze tablet was placed on the green of the Pitt County Courthouse on November 17, 1925.
February 3-16, 1988
"Pitt County Movies" New York, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Calcutta, and Greenville? Greenville might not belong among the Mecca's of the silver screen, but it does have a history of movies. In July 1927, a tobacco industry movie was made. In June 1941, the Reclife Motion Pictures of Indianapolis headed by E.V. Atkinson made Greenville on the Screen. In 1947, the Greenville-based Lord Warner Pictures made "Pitch a Boogie Woogie." Dominant Pictures, renowned "B" moviemakers from Charlotte, used Pitt County backroads for their films "The Blood Feast" and "Moonshine Mountain" and their next film after 1965. Pitt County also had several stars. In 1939, Lath (Tarzan) Morris was in several movies. Kathryn Youngblood, a dancer who danced beside some of Hollywood's most famous stars in the 1940s, appeared in the Warner Brothers production, "Night and Day." Along with these stars, there have been several dog stars. One such famous "hound" was Grey Shadow, who starred in "Invisible Man."
January 20-February 2, 1988
"Pleasure and Passage Gas Powered Boats That Plied the Tar River's Past" Gas-powered boats replaced the old steamboats that used to frequent the Tar River. These boats helped to introduce recreation along the river. For example, many local clubs and churches used these boats to have picnics. These early boats included: Ola Forbes' Rubelle, Eagle, and the most famous boat of all, the "Alterio." However, this day, too, has passed. It permanently ended after the death of Captain John W. Murphey in 1956 at the age of ninety. He was the last riverboat captain from this era.
January 6-19, 1988
"Pillsboro and Centre Bluff" There have been many landings along the Tar River. Two very famous landings were called Pillsboro and Centre Bluff. Pillsboro was known first as Williams Landing, Upper Landing, and Tobacco Patch. Pillsboro was located near Falkland and was owned by several people. Centre Bluff, also known as Foreman's Bluff, was located between two high bluffs on the Tar River about eight miles from Farmville. It was a very vital and important ferry location before the railroad made it obsolete. In between these two landings, a small community called Bruce developed in the crossroads of Falkland and Centre Bluff roads. It was located near Cottendale, which was Robert R. Cotten's plantation, and Greenwreath, which was Foreman's plantation. The community was named after John Bruce, who financially helped Robert R. Cotten during the Civil War. A post office operated at Bruce from July 18, 1900 until December 30, 1922.
December 8, 1987-January 5, 1988
"Christmas in Greenville: In the 1890s" While eating oysters and turkey for Christmas dinner, people would enjoy various social activities with firecrackers blasting along with the fun. The social activities included dances, parties, and competitions. The Daily Reflector of December 24, 1894 was printed on pink paper to enhance the holiday spirit.
November 25-December 8, 1987
"Old-time Fiddlers' Convention" Originating from the local tradition of community sings, this festival promoted local folk and country traditions to help raise funds for local groups. One of the largest in the event's history took place on March 19, 1908. Sponsored by Ola Forbes at the Greenville Opera House, this event featured many local talents and several prominent folk songs. Not associated with the fiddlers' convention was another event that reflected Pitt County's folk heritage. On June 5, 1954, Greenville hosted at Wright Auditorium the Annual Statewide Folk Festival, which highlighted folk artists from throughout the state along with Pitt County's folk artists.
November 11-24, 1987
"A History of Bensboro" Located near Belvoir along the Tar, Bensboro was once the ancestral home of the Atkinson family of Pitt County. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Benjamin Atkinson made it a thriving commercial center with his store and consistent transporting business. When he died on February 2, 1816 at 63 years of age, his businesses were divided and sold. However, the 1,500 acres of plantation were not sold. Ben Ashley Atkinson inherited the land and tried to use the plantation as the cocoonery for a Greenville Silk Company. Peyton Ashley Atkinson took over Bensboro on October 1, 1839 after his father Ben Ashley died. Peyton married the very prominent Susan Virginia Streeter of Greene County on July 27, 1843. This marriage caused Peyton Atkinson to run two plantations in two different counties: Bensboro in Pitt County and Streeter in Greene County. By this time, Bensboro was apparently a beautiful place with its lush trees and rich furnishings. After Peyton died on February 2, 1863, Benjamin Streeter Atkinson took over the plantations. He was elected to serve in the state legislature. However, debts and economic recessions caused Bensboro to become disarrayed. When Susan Streeter Atkinson died on December 4, 1895, Bensboro finally was lost forever.
October 28-November 10, 1987
"Odd and Unusual Tales" This group of local stories discusses a black couple that named their son Tojo Hitler Mills on January 24, 1945, to be unique. In May 1945, they changed the name to Odell Mills. Whiskey tales and hunting stories are also told.
October 14-27, 1987
"Pitt County's First Courthouse" (Illustration included) From 1761 to 1774, Pitt County's first courthouse was Col. John Hardee's house. In November 1760, John Simpson presented a bill to the legislature to make the upper region of Beaufort County another county. The bill passed and on January 1, 1761 Pitt County came into existence. As a condition, John Hardee's house had to be the courthouse and records office until a courthouse could be constructed. For a time as well, this courthouse was also the local parish house for the Church of England. After a more permanent courthouse was constructed, John Hardee's land and this historic house changed owners several times. In 1924, James E.W. Cook encouraged the county to restore this historic monument. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1926. In 1930, a marker commemorating the site of the courthouse was erected on Highway 33 East, across from the entrance to the Brook Valley Country Club.
September 30-October 13, 1987
"The Bridges Over the Tar" In the 1800s, bridges were the major lifelines to other parts of the county. Quicker than ferries or swimming, bridges served to link different communities separated by the Tar River. In 1830, Greenville finally got a bridge to span the Tar. The pillars of this bridge can still be found close to its original location on Pitt Street. The bridge was wooden and could not last very long with all the horse traffic. In the 1880s alone, the bridges were known to receive many repairs. By 1900, these bridges were in poor condition, as the included photograph illustrates. However, with the increased production of steel, Pitt County gained several steel bridges. In 1907, a steel drawbridge was constructed at Greenville that apparently worked better than the wooden drawbridges. In 1928, a new bridge was erected at Greene Street.
September 16-29, 1987
"Odd and Unusual Tales in Pitt County" This collection of stories discusses "midgets" and the history of Greenville's seal. Mrs. R.B. Starling, at the urging of several prominent men in the city, created the official seal during 1952 and 1953.
September 2-15, 1987
"A History of Falkland" In 1727, the Williamses were the first family to settle in the region near present-day Falkland. In 1779, George Faulkner operated a tavern there, which might be how the town got its name; however, no one is sure. In 1902, the town had a population of 139 people. Some of the more prominent people in the town were Frank Dupree and F.L. Fountain. The area has supported several noteworthy businesses.
August 19-September 1, 1987
"A History of Sheppard Memorial Library" Harper Donelson Sheppard (October 9, 1868-October 10, 1951) was the son of William Henry Haywood Sheppard and Elizabeth Anne Neal Turnage. His mother died when he was twenty-two months old and his father died when he was thirteen. Young Harper helped his uncle oversee three plantations. On December 20, 1896, at the age of seventeen, he married Henrietta Dawson Ayres. Later, his shoe company made him wealthy. In 1929, Greenville needed a library. Harper Sheppard's nephew asked his uncle to contribute to the library's building fund. The generous Harper Sheppard gave his nephew and the library fund $50,000 under three conditions: (1) the town had to provide the site; (2) two of the three building committee members had to be his two nephews, Dr. R.L. Carr and Haywood Dail; and (3) future support had to come from Greenville citizens. After the conditions were met, Harper Sheppard increased the total donation to $60,000. The library finally was presented in 1930.
August 5-18, 1987
"A History of Bethel" The crossroads once described as "16 miles from everywhere" is Bethel. Once known as Brandon, this town was formed in 1774. On April 28, 1858, the town finally received a post office with Bethel as the official name for the town. The town was incorporated on December 18, 1873. In 1883, the population of Bethel stood at 200. Professor Z. D. McWhorter opened his Bethel Academy to educate the local male population. Although this little town had a small population, the businesses and social life in the town thrived during the late nineteenth century.
July 22-August 4, 1987
July 8-21, 1987
"Past Peculiars in Pitt County" This collection of unusual local stories reveals that the first color movie in the county, "Wanderer of the Wasteland," was viewed at White's Theater in downtown Greenville. This movie was based on a novel by Zane Grey. In addition, a confederate widow lived in Ayden in 1955.
June 24-July 7, 1987
"A History of Winterville" The town grew around John Cannon Cox and his cotton planter plant. This plant in 1887 became known as A.G. Cox Manufacturing Company. On May 20, 1891, a post office was established with the name of "Winterville." The town received its name from a similar town in Georgia. After receiving the post office, the town was incorporated on March 3, 1897. The town charter states that the town should remain dry until 2500 AD. In 1901, Winterville High School was established. Unfortunately, all the economic and population booms throughout Winterville's past could not prevent the high school from closing in 1971.
June 10-23, 1987
"A History of the Farmville Community" Once called New Town, Farmville is more a conglomeration of several communities than one large town. Farmville grew out of Marlboro, Maysville, Grimmersburg, and Moye's Crossroads. Marlboro, once called Joynerville, was known for its marl beds. A post office operated sporadically from 1853 to 1891. Maysville was the home and settlement of Major Benjamin May and his descendants from the early 1700s until the 1860s. Grimmersburg was named for W.L. Grimmer. Moye's Crossroads was home to Alfred Moye and his descendants. The first building (1840) in Farmville was "a pig-raising spinster's" (Sallie Williams) log cabin. James Williams Maye (picture available) owned much of the land in Farmville. From 1867 to 1869, it grew into commercial importance. The Farmville community was incorporated as New Town in February 1872. As early as 1848, John H. Hines named the community Farmville. The post office for Farmville operated from July 27, 1848 until January 10, 1851. Open sporadically after 1868, it was finally reestablished and has been in operation since November 2, 1871. (Pictures are available for Josiah Barrett, James Williams Maye, Thomas E. Hill [22 years of age], and Reverend Peter Edmund Hines).
May 27-June 9, 1987
"Odd and Unusual Tales in Pitt County" In this group of local stories, several memorable weddings are described. The location of oak trees helped to determine where some of the buildings on ECU's campus were placed.
May 13-26, 1987
"Tales From the Civil War" A collection of Civil War stories about various topics is documented. In this collection, a technique of spotting the enemy is discussed, and a Civil War gun is found years after the war ended. The Tar River was full of tar and turpentine during a Yankee march. The Yankees were stuck in the tar and turpentine as they crossed the river.
April 29-May 12, 1987
"The Odd and Unusual" A collection of stories about different topics is recited from local tales told around the county. In this group, several pieces of World War II equipment were named after some famous Pitt County citizens. A flying fortress was named Ms. Greenville, NC.
April 15-28, 1987
"Shelmerdine and Calico" Frequent travelers or commuters around Pitt County might have seen the two crossroads on Highway 43, Shelmerdine and Calico. These two crossroads have an interesting history. Shelmerdine began in 1901 and was named after May Shelmerdine, the sweetheart of W.A. West, who owned the local lumber mill. It became a town in 1903, with the lumber company's commissary store serving as the focal point. A 1905 report noted that the population consisted of 325 black residents and 175 white residents. Many Croatoan Native Americans also came into the town to work for the mill. African Americans and Native Americans lived in a small community called "Stumpstown." In 1909, the mill burned, and the town began to decline. By 1950, the town had only twenty-nine people. Calico, originally called Calico Hill and noted as being a rough place, was owned primarily by George Washington Vinters. His store sold more calico than any other store in the entire county. A post office existed there from 1882 until 1902.
April 1-14, 1987
March 18-13, 1987
"The Ancient and Prodigious People" Many people know or might have known someone regarded and described as ancient. These ancient people are often centenarians. Pitt County has had many and its senior citizens have done some remarkable things. In 1794, Pitt County had three centenarians (one, a Mr. Charles Harris, died in 1860 at 122 years of age). In 1915, two of the oldest twins lived in Pitt County (James Berry and John Harry Whitehurst, who were 77). There have also been some rather unusual marriages by older people. Some residents have given rise to large families. His thirty-five children survived a man in 1940. In addition, in 1940, Alex Ogman, a ninety-year-old black man, was living with his nineteenth wife (she was only eighteen) and had forty living children.
March 4-17, 1987
"History of the Greenville Fire Department" Greenville needed a fire department for many years before 1884, when their leader, Captain S. O. Mann, organized the first company, the Rough and Ready Fire Company. This group of men consisted of forty black volunteers carrying their own buckets. In 1896, the Hope Fire Company was founded. The Greenville Fire Company followed this company in 1902. A united fire company did not occur until A. J. Griffin took over the Hope Fire Company in 1902. After this time, the Hope Fire Company and the Greenville Fire Company united. A. J. Griffin was the first of many fire chiefs of a united fire company in Greenville.
February 18-March 3, 1987
"Ballards Crossroads: An Early History" Named after Joseph Lemuel Ballard (1819-1893), this rather small community was known as Walshville in the early 1850s. From February 1854 until November 1860, the post office was known as Pleasant Mount. In 1894 and 1895, the post office was known as "Joseph." Ballard owned forty slaves and had bloodhounds to hunt for runaways. During the Civil War, he buried his money to prevent Yankee thievery but he never found it.
February 4-17, 1987
"Local Mineral Springs and Amuza Park" Pitt County has quite a few mineral springs in its past. The most famous mineral spring was St. Andrews Spring, which was established in 1885. On the other hand, Amuza Park developed at a lake, not a spring. In 1920, this park was part of Forbes' Mill Pond. During this summer, it was well known that season tickets could be purchased for $10 per man and $5 per woman; admission was free for children. The park, unfortunately, was dynamited in 1927 and the pond was drained.
January 21-February 3, 1987
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual in Pitt County" A Pitt County man, Andrew J. Griffin, served on the CSS Virginia (known as the Merrimac) during its battle against USS Monitor. Another man in 1902 raised a thirty-five-pound collard that was eight feet in circumference. The violence of today does not compare to that of 1887, when a shooting took place in a local church.
January 7-20, 1987
December 10, 1986-January 6, 1987
"Christmas in Greenville: 100 Years Ago" While eating oysters and turkey for Christmas dinner, people would enjoy various social activities with firecrackers blasting along with the fun. The social activities included dances, parties, and competitions. One popular activity was decorating. People used cardboard letters, holly, and evergreen to make ornaments and decorations.
November 26-December 9, 1986
"Boston Napoleon Bonapart Boyd: Former Slave became Author and Landowner" (Picture available) Boston Boyd was born at Cotanche Street in 1860, the son of Essex and Jennie Boyd, slaves of Abner Boyd. He taught himself to read and write with the Bible. The Bible was almost Boyd's best friend because he used it in everything he did. In his life, he felt he was called to Christ. This righteous service was evident in his work as a Sunday school teacher for thirty-four years and in his books. He wrote three books in his lifetime, all about the power of God. His books are: "The Seven Wonders of the World: Discoveries of the Twentieth Century" (1903), "Search-light on the Bible with Natural Science: Discoveries of the Twentieth Century" (1905), and "Searchlight on the Seventh Wonder: X-ray and Searchlight on the Bible with Natural Science, and Revised Searchlight on the Seventh Day Bible and X-ray, by Organic, Supernatural and Artificial Science: Discoveries of the Twentieth Century" (1924). He also acquired a farm and rented thirty-six houses in Greenville. He owned a two-story house at 113 Reade Street.
November 12-25, 1986
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual in Pitt County" In this collection of local stories, a whale skeleton was transported across the county in April 1933. Another one describes a three-month-old child smoking cigars.
October 29-November 11, 1986
"A Hurricane of Flames: The Greenville Fire of 1910" On Thursday, February 24, 1910, one of the worst fires in Greenville history swept through the city. Old rags located in a Flanagan Buggy Company building could have started the inferno. The fire traveled north, south, and west throughout Greenville destroying anything in its path. The local firefighters and the grace of God prohibited the flames from traveling eastward. Many local landmarks, including the courthouse and both sides of Evans Street, were lost to this fire. Remarkably, the fire was under control after two hours of fighting. Damages amounted to $15,000. Included in this story are a map of downtown and a picture of the courthouse.
October 15-28, 1986
"George Washington Reverses His Appraisal of Greenville" A visiting minister, Joseph Daniels, attending a Methodist conference in 1931 describes Greenville at the time of his visit.
October 1-14, 1986
"Pitt County's Past: More Tales of the Odd and Unusual" In this collection of local stories, a farmer in 1925 deposits a bushel of coins. The total deposit was an astounding $1,515.21. Granite was found in Farmville, and a meteor landed in Pitt County in 1921.
September 17-30, 1986
"Tale From Pitt's Past" An 1894 newspaper article made the local man Frank Skinner famous for a time. In this newspaper, readers learned of Mr. Skinner's mishaps and adventures with his "Billy" goat.
September 3-16, 1986
"How the Tobacco Culture Was Introduced into Pitt County" In the mid 1880s, Leon F. Evans (1860-1940) got three people to plant eight acres of tobacco and to pay a Mr. Seal of Nash County for his idea of growing tobacco in Pitt County. Shortly thereafter, tobacco grew in popularity and more fields were planted. Consequently, Evans in 1886 built the first four curing barns in the county. In 1891, R. J. Cobb, R.S. Evans, and A. H. Critcher opened the Greenville Tobacco Warehouse (drawing available). Other warehouses soon opened.
July 23-August 5, 1986
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual In Pitt County" In this collection of local stories, several cat and fish tales are cited, as well as one about an "old time hog killing" in January 1898, with a total of sixty-two hogs being slaughtered.
July 9-22, 1986
"A History of Masonic Lodges" The first lodge in Pitt County and the first Masonic lodge in the state was at Crown Point in 1766. Thomas Cooper established this lodge. The next lodge was established in 1822 and was known as the Sharon Lodge. The next lodge appears in 1874 with the lodge called, by its full name, the Woodson Lodge Number 16 Knights of Pythias. In 1888, Greenville then had five lodges. After 1900, however, it seems that many Masonic lodges begin to emerge in Pitt County.
June 24-July 8, 1986
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual In Pitt County" In this collection of local stories is a description of a local firm that promised a cure for "the drink." According to the ad for Greenville's Bedal Institute, an alcoholic could be cured in three weeks for only $60.00.
June 11-24, 1986
"Spanish-American War: In Pitt County" The Spanish-American War may have been the United States' most successful war. The war was somewhat distant for people in Pitt County, excepting the local men who fought. This article lists these soldiers and discusses their society, the Spanish-American War Veteran's Organization.
May 28-June 10, 1986
"The John Flanagan Buggy Company" Greenville once was known for making the best buggies in the state. Therefore, one of the greatest buggy builders was John Flanagan. Born on February 6, 1829 to Thomas and Sophie (Turnage) Flanagan, John Flanagan established his buggy company in 1868. It became quite profitable. Upon his death on July 10, 1902, his son Edward Gaskell Flanagan took over the company. In November 1907, Edward Flanagan built a new factory (picture available) on the corner of Fourth and Cotanche streets. He manufactured buggies there until 1914, when the factory became a Ford, Oakland, and Buick dealership. The site later became a parking lot.
May 14-27, 1986
"Relics, Antiques, and Heirlooms in Pitt County" A local newspaperman and collector had amassed several strange pieces of memorabilia. The Tugwell family owned a gourd. During World War II scrap drives, many citizens contributed firearms and other artifacts.
April 30-May 13, 1986
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual In Pitt County" In this group of local stories writer, Kammerer notes that Shirley Worth Porter, brother of writer O. Henry, is buried in Ayden. Shirley Porter was born on August 6, 1860 near Greensboro and was the oldest son of Dr. Algernon S. and Mary Jane Virginia (Swain) Porter. Around the east and Ayden, he was affectionately known as "Shell" until his death in 1945. He was a bookkeeper with a tobacco company. Another story in this article tells of a 1953 bank deposit of $1,200.00 consisting of half dollars.
April 16-29, 1986
April 2-15, 1986
"The Bygone Crimes of Pitt County" All of the heinous crimes of murder, assault, horse stealing, and counterfeiting during the period 1774-1790 has been collected. Probably the worst of these crimes was a mother's murder of her own infant with a shoe on April 27, 1780.
March 19-April 1, 1986
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual" In this collection of local stories, a spider in 1887 wrote "myMxNWWL on its web. Another story tells of a boy's eyes with the word "America" written around each pupil.
March 5-18, 1986
February 19-March 4, 1986
"More Inventors and Inventions of Pitt County" Pitt County has had its share of local inventors. In the 1880s, two men developed two new varieties of grapes, the "James Grape" and the "Illium." Another local invention called "back band" was a combination planter, shaper, and andiron. The tobacco industry spawned inventions. In 1891, a "tobacco hanger" was invented to help dry tobacco. The labor-saving device called the Hathaway Tobacco Harvester was invented in 1953.
February 5-18, 1986
"A History of the First Pitt County Hospital" (picture available) Dr. Charles O'Hagan Laughinghouse, Dr. Karl B. Pace, and Dr. M.T. Edgerton tried to start a hospital in 1916 by advocating a bond issue for funds. This effort failed. In 1923, Dr. Laughinghouse, Dr. Pace, Dr. E.T. Dickerson, and Dr. W.I. Wooten all mortgaged their property and borrowed money so they could build their own hospital. Their sacrifices paid off when they raised enough money to build a forty-two room private hospital. It opened on April 24, 1924, on Johnston Street in College View, with two full-time doctors. A nursing school operated there from 1923 until 1932. After the dire need arose for a facility for African Americans, the hospital officials renovated the basement to serve twelve to fifteen black patients. A children's wing was built during 1933 and 1934. The hospital was closed in 1951 after serving 42, 216 patients.
January 22-February 4, 1986
"Folklore Along the Tar River: Boogers, the River, Sneezing, the Weather, Wedlock, Bells, Caution, Old Wives Tales" Several ghost stories are related. In folk legend, the Tar River would flood a number of times in odd years and eels would migrate. According to local superstition, if it rains on Friday at 12:00 p.m., it will rain Sunday. The first three days of January foretell the weather for the next three months.
January 8-21, 1986
"The Best of Roger Kammerer" Excerpts from some of the editor's favorite articles from 1985 have been selected.
December 11, 1985-January 7, 1986
"A Look Back at Some Old Churches in Pitt County" Many churches of the past and present have had longtime, devoted members. The members of Briery Swamp, Flat Swamp, St. John's, Oak Grove, Hancock's, Galloway Church, Reformed Baptist, Black Jack, Elm Grove, Bethany, Great Swamp, Fellows Church, Reedy Branch, Greenville Methodist Episcopal, Greenville Baptist Church, Roach's Church of Baptists, Bethel Methodist Church, and Red Banks Church are listed.
November 27-December 10, 1985
"Christopher Columbus Bland: Local Hero at Fort Fisher" Christopher Columbus Bland, more affectionately known as "Kit," enlisted in Brunswick County at the age of nineteen on July 15, 1864. As Fort Fisher was assaulted by Union ships, Bland tried three times to put the Confederate flag atop the fort. However, he was caught and sent to prison at Cape Lookout, Maine on January 15, 1865. He was released on June 3, 1865. Eventually, he took up residence in Ayden and married Cecillia (Betty) Boyd (a direct descendant of Betsy Ross). Apparently, Bland had war-blood in him because several people reported that he was "chumping at the bit" to enter World War One. To commemorate his bravery in the Civil War, a monument was erected in the 1920s at Hancock's Churchyard two miles east of Ayden.
November 13-26, 1985
"First Confederate Martyr: Henry Lawson Wyatt" (Picture available) Henry Lawson Wyatt came to Greenville in 1848 but moved to Tarboro around 1860. He enlisted in the infantry on April 18, 1861. He was killed on June 10, 1861 at the age of seventeen. Many people claimed that he was the first Confederate fatality of the war. As a result, in 1911 a monument was established in Raleigh in his honor.
October 30-November 12, 1985
"Old Graveyards in Greenville and Pitt County" The oldest tombstones in the county are located near the mouth of Parker's Creek. One of the oldest is that of Captain John Spier, who lived from September 1693 until April 1764. However, the oldest burying ground is located at Yankee Hall Cemetery. In Greenville, two very old cemeteries are located on Evans Street near the site of the Attic nightclub.
October 16-29, 1985
October 2-15, 1985
"Carrie Nation, Midnight Raids, and Revengeful Turkey" This group of local stories includes an account of the efforts of Mrs. Ben Lopton of Bethel to stop the sale and consumption of alcohol on Sundays. In November 1884, R.S. Tucker of Raleigh was selling his Pactolus property of 2,129 acres--practically the entire community.
September 18 -October 1, 1985
"Pitt County's Five Courthouses" The first courthouse (picture available) was a house built in 1761. The site is located on Highway 33 East, in adjacent to the entrance of the Brook Valley subdivision. The second courthouse, built by 1775, was on the corner of Evans and Third streets. The third was completed in 1834 on Evans Street. A man named Croom who was trying to destroy a will inside it burned it in 1858. The fourth courthouse took a long time to complete. It was not finished until 1877. It was destroyed by fire on February 24, 1910. The fifth courthouse (picture available) is currently located downtown. Its 1,300-pound cornerstone was laid on January 26, 1911.
September 4-17, 1985
"Henry T. King's Pitt County Museum" Henry King, the son of Thomas and Martha A. King, was born near Farmville on November 9, 1861. In 1889, he became one of Pitt County's first journalists. His first newspaper was The Carolina Banner, followed shortly thereafter by The Index. He ended his newspaper publishing with his more widely known King's Weekly. In 1895, he began collecting relics, especially Confederate money. By December 1898, he listed an inventory of all the items he had collected. The collection's whereabouts is a mystery.
August 21-September 3, 1985
"More Tales of the Odd and Unusual in Pitt County" This collection of local stories includes a description of a mad dog in 1892 and "the tale of two or more cities." This city is Grifton because it was divided among two counties, three townships, two congressional districts, and two senatorial districts.
August 9-20, 1985
"A Brief History of the Civil War in Pitt County" Smithfield was the first community in North Carolina to advocate secession; Greenville followed Smithfield on January 11, 1861, with a 100-gun salute. Pitt County's diverse population made it a very important battleground in the war. In 1860, Pitt County's population consisted of 7,840 whites, 127 free blacks, and 8,473 slaves. The first incident occurred on June 5, 1862, at Tranters Creek. Later that year, Yankees invaded Greenville on 9 October. The largest military activity was General Potter's march in July 1863.
July 24-August 6, 1985
"Horse Racing and Breeding" Horse racing and breeding always have been an important form of revenue and recreation for the county. Starting in the 1700s, most breeding took place in the Greenville, Yankee Hall, and Penny Hill areas. This sport became so entrenched in Greenville culture that the winning horse made the front page of the paper. Horseracing died out with the advent of the Civil War. However, the Greenville Pleasure Club revived it in the 1880s and 1890s.
July 10-23, 1985
"The Pitt County Declaration of Independence: Was It the First?" Pitt County made a Declaration of Independence before Jefferson's, but was it the first? On August 15, 1774, the Pitt County Safety Committee declared that no man could be taxed without his consent. The Safety Committee was a group that raised militia, provided for the army's salt, gave relief to the poor, and handled education. They also tried people for offenses, routed out Tories, and appointed patrols to regulate slaves. They made a similar statement on July 1, 1775. However, was it the first Declaration of Independence? Apparently, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed and declared first.
June 26-July 9, 1985
"Yonder She Comes Rounding the Point: A History of Steamboats on the Tar" Images of steamboats have become synonymous with the south. From those described in Huckleberry Finn to modern gambling steamboats, they seem to fascinate everyone. However, few know that these ships have had an important history along the Tar River. The first ship on the Tar was a sidewheel called "Edmund O. McNair." It operated on the Tar from 1836 to 1839. By the 1870s, steamboats traversed the Tar River frequently. The Clyde Line, Old Dominion Line, and Shiloh Oil Mills companies all constructed or put boats on the Tar. Twenty-three different boats [some pictured] traveled up and down the Tar River until 1915, when the steamboat era ended.
June 12-25, 1985
"Animal Lore of Pitt County" In the late 1880s a belled buzzard was among those that roosted on the courthouse and at Buzzards Roost. Other stories relate various madcap animal adventures. [Page missing.]
May 29-June 11, 1985
"Eggs, Snuff, Rats, and Treasure: More Tales of the Odd and Unusual" This collection of local stories includes an account of a Native American skeleton that was found in January 1878 in a creek bed. Kammerer notes such strange names as "Miniya Gainer Minetty Andrews Melvin Llewellyn Silvester Sherrod" and states that one family gave all eleven children names that started with the letter "Z."
May 15-28, 1985
"Pitt County Gazetteer: Past and Present Points of Interest" In this essay, Kammerer summarizes the history and gives the relative location of all the past and present towns in Pitt County. A map is included noting all the towns' locations.
May 1-14, 1985
"Darn Younguns Set Off the Blamed Thing Again!: A History of Brickell Cannon" An interesting cannon sits in the Greenville Town Common. Joseph Brickell is said to have used this twelve-pound cannon, made between 1760 and 1770, on his trading vessels during the late eighteenth century. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the cannon was used to mark important events. Children fired it as a prank. Installed on the Greenville Town Common, it was dedicated on October 29, 1976.
April 17-30, 1985
"Entertainment in Greenville's Past" Entertainment has been an integral part of Greenville since the late nineteenth century. Showboats and tent shows were the first major form of entertainment. This was followed by the age of theaters. In 1883, "Skinner's Opera House" opened, ushering in a new era for Greenville relaxation. In 1898, J.J. Perkins built his own opera house in the fashion of Cherry's Hall and Sermonia Hall. In October 1909, A.C. Payne later opened his "Pasttime Theater." These early theaters helped to establish Greenville's long-standing entertainment heritage.
April 3-16, 1985
"Inventions in Pitt County: A Gun, Windlass, Thresher, and Cotton Planters" The local inventive genius John Cannon Cox (1824-1896) developed many devices in his career. The first invention was a wheat threshing machine. In May 1858, he followed this with a gun that loaded itself and discharged thirty shots a minute. Both these inventions, however, never lasted as long as his "Cox Cotton Planter." This machine helped plant cotton more easily. It received a patent on March 14, 1876. Other individuals invented a tobacco barn alarm (1903) and a cucumber-picking machine (1963-1964).
March 20-April 2, 1985
"Are You Astrophobic?: Tales of Lightning, Meteors, UFO's, and Tornadoes of Pitt County" Astrophoby is the fear of lightning and tornadoes or more commonly the fear of the sky. In this collection of different odd occurrences, several strange rituals are described. For example, people used to shut windows and doors and pull down the shades during a lightning storm. Another memorable situation occurred when many Pitt County residents witnessed a UFO. Hundreds of Wilmington residents saw it, too.
March 6-19, 1985
"Have You Ever Heard Tell Of... ?: Small Histories of Unique Items From Pitt County's Past" Greenville Silk Company operated from February 1839 until March 1841, with a cocoonery at Bensboro around its mulberry trees. Distilleries and beer breweries were very prominent in the county. In 1810, 727 stills making 29,400 gallons of whiskey and brandy worth around $12,000 annually were in production. The government began distilling whiskey in Grifton and Pactolus in the early 1890s. The state went dry on January 1, 1909. Tobacco and cigars always have been important to Pitt County. Dr. Noal Joyner tried to raise Persian tobacco in the 1800s. Mineral springs were important for recreation in the past. In 1887, gold was found near Bethel.
February 20-March 5, 1985
"A History of the Greenville and Raleigh Plank Road" To bring Greenville out of economic isolation, a plank road was proposed to link Greenville with Raleigh. The drive to build one started in the 1850s. People could buy shares of stock for $25. Greenville initially raised $33,000 in stock. Construction began on April 5, 1851. Slaveowners were paid $12.50 a month for use of their slaves. The plank cost the stockholders $1,450 per mile. In 1853, the road was completed to Wilson. The route of the plank road roughly followed the same path of Highway 264. Two villages--Marlboro and Walshville--developed because of the constantly decaying road.
February 6-19, 1985
"A History of the Macon Hotel" (Picture available) At different times called the Clark Hotel, Eagle Hotel, Union Hotel, Macon House, Hotel Macon and the Macon Hotel, this building had an important place in Greenville's past. Margaret Salter first sold lots to Richard Evans in 1826. After passing through several hands, the property was bought by Dr. John G. James (1823-1888), who sold it to E.B. Moore. Moore lost it because of debts to J.B. Cherry. Cherry, however, allowed Moore to operate the hotel. Later, the property went to Charles Skinner, who sold it to Mary Harrington. In 1922, she sold it to Dr. Louis C. Skinner. The building was demolished during the 1960s--a victim of redevelopment.
January 23-February 5, 1985
"A History of Early Schools in Greenville" Pitt Academy was chartered in 1786 and built in Greenville shortly thereafter. Greenville Academy was chartered in 1814. In 1830, the Greenville Female Academy was formed. It was located on the corner of Second and Greene streets. Sometime in 1835, a male academy, located where the Sheppard Memorial Library stands, was established. On September 1, 1885, the Greenville Male and Female Institute (picture available) opened on Dickinson Avenue. It later merged and was transformed into the Pitt Female Seminary.
January 9 -22, 1985
"Odd Doings at the Courthouse" In March 1884, one man gave himself to pay his debts. In March 1883, a dog was arrested for allegedly stealing meat.
December 12, 1984-January 8, 1985
"Early Merchants and Businesses in Greenville: A Brief History" Edward and Robert Salter operated the first store in Greenville, originally called Martinsborough, in 1776. The article discusses other businesses that developed through the 1830s.
November 28-December 11, 1984
Made a contributor-None
October 4-17, 1983
The editor of the Pitt-Greenville Times presents a biographical sketch of Roger Kammerer.