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Political Utility Player, Ambassador Capus Waynick

This Day in North Carolina History - 8 hours 16 min ago

Waynick (right) with Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza in 1949.
Image from ECU Libraries.

On July 28, 1951, Capus Waynick of High Point was appointed United States ambassador to Colombia.

Before entering the political arena, Waynick worked as a newspaper reporter and later served as editor, publisher and part owner of the Greensboro Record, and as editor of the High Point Enterprise.

His first political service came with terms in the N. C. House of Representatives and state Senate during the early 1930s. For the rest of that decade, he held a few short-term public service jobs, including serving as chairman of the State Highway Commission.

Active in the Democratic Party in North Carolina, Waynick was tapped to serve as the ambassador first to Nicaragua and later Colombia. He was also called upon by Pres. Harry Truman to launch the Point Four program aimed at aiding and revitalizing underdeveloped nations.

After a brief retirement to High Point at age 73, Waynick was enlisted by Gov. Terry Sanford to become his special aide for racial affairs. The elder statesman traveled across North Carolina calling for the end of “second class citizenship” for African Americans.

Frequently honored for his public service, Waynick was the recipient of honorary degrees and distinguished awards. Despite having been a college drop-out, he was widely applauded for his extraordinary intellect and his ability to master any task required of him.

He died in 1986.

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


The “Prince of Politicians,” Thomas L. Clingman

This Day in North Carolina History - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 06:30

Image from the State Archives

On July 27, 1812, Thomas Clingman was born in Huntsville, in what is now Yadkin County. Clingman served as a U.S. Senator and Confederate general and boosted economic development in western North Carolina. The highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountain range is named Clingman’s Dome in his honor.

Clingman served in the state House of Representatives, state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives before being appointed to fill a vacated U. S. Senate seat in 1858. He was the last Southerner to leave the Senate in 1861.

During the Civil War, Clingman quickly rose to the position of brigadier general. Despite his unremarkable military career, he was prevented from returning to political office due to the provisions of his amnesty.

Clingman worked to promote the popularity of western North Carolina, publicizing the region through writing and lectures. For more than 10 years, Clingman engaged in a fierce debate with Elisha Mitchell about which peak was the tallest in North Carolina. In 1858, geographer Arnold Guyot, having determined that what became Mount Mitchell was 39 feet taller, named a neighboring summit Clingman’s Dome for its proponent.

Read more in A History of Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains: Exploration, Development, and Preservation from N.C. Historical Publications.

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


Home for Durham Bulls Dedicated, 1926

This Day in North Carolina History - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 06:30

El Toro Park in the 1930s. Image from the Duke Rare Book
and Manuscript Collection
.

On July 26, 1926, the Durham Bulls’ El Toro Park was dedicated. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first Commissioner of Baseball, stole the show that day by riding onto the field on the team mascot, a real bull.  Governor Angus McLean was also on hand for the festivities. The park was the home field for the Bulls, a local class-D farm team for the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1933, the City of Durham purchased the park with the help of a donation from local banker and attorney John Sprunt Hill and renamed the facility Durham Athletic Park. The stadium burned in June 1939, but a new concrete and steel grandstand that seated 1,000 spectators was constructed within weeks.

During the off season, the rest of the stadium was rebuilt, again funded by Hill. The reconstructed Durham Athletic Park opened in April 1940. It was that stadium that was featured in the 1988 blockbuster film, Bull Durham.

In 1995, the baseball team moved down the road to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, leaving their old stadium for municipal uses such as festivals and other sporting events.

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


Guy Owen and the Flim-Flam Man

This Day in North Carolina History - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 06:30

Image from the State Archives

On July 25, 1981, N.C. State University professor and writer Guy Owen died at the age of 56.

Born in Clarkton in Bladen County, Owen grew up on a tobacco farm. Years of clerking at his father’s general store provided the author with much eventual grist for his creative mill.

Owen enrolled at UNC in 1942, and after taking a three-year break from his studies for service in World War II, he earned bachelors and doctoral degrees in English. Brief teaching stints followed at Davidson, Elon and Stetson in Florida, before he joined the faculty at N.C. State in 1962.

Owen found his greatest acclaim as the author of The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man, the tale of an aging confidence man. A bestseller, the book was adapted into a film in 1967 starring George C. Scott.  Mordecai Jones, the protagonist, appeared in two other books by Owen.

Today Owen is also remembered for his courses at N.C. State. He edited several anthologies of state and regional fiction, lectured and conducted workshops across the state and helped shape the state’s eventual literary renaissance.

A recipient of the North Carolina Award in 1971, Owen was one of the inductees into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1996, its inaugural year.

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Antacid Inventor Had Chapel Hill Ties

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 06:30

Sheet music sponsored by Emerson’s Bromo-Seltzer. Image from UNC Libraries

On July 24, 1859, Isaac Emerson, the “Bromo-Seltzer King,” was born in Orange County.

Emerson enrolled at UNC, working with a local druggist while pursuing a degree in chemistry, which he received in 1879. He married and moved to Baltimore where he established several drugstores and began experimenting with the headache remedy that he eventually patented as Bromo-Seltzer.

To produce and market his product, Emerson created the Emerson Drug Company in 1891. His remedy became wildly successful due in large part to his marketing genius. He advertised the product across the county and the world.

In 1911, he oversaw the construction of the Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower, a 15-story skyscraper in Baltimore. The tower originally had a 51-foot tall, rotating and glowing blue Bromo-Seltzer bottle at its top. The bottle was eventually removed but the tower remains a well-known landmark, now housing artists’ studios and a fire department.

Emerson was deeply involved in Maryland’s naval reserves and personally financed a naval squadron during the Spanish-American War.  He donated the money to build UNC’s first sports stadium in 1914, which remained in use until 1971.

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From Slavery to Capitol Hill, John Hyman of Warren County

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 06:30

Image from State Archives

On July 23, 1840, John Hyman, the first African American to represent North Carolina in the United States Congress, was born into slavery in Warren County.

Though eventually sold away from his family and sent to Alabama, Hyman made his way back home at the close of the Civil War. With an aptitude for public speaking and politicking, he became a delegate to the second state Freedman’s Convention in 1866, to the first Republican state convention in 1867 and to the state Constitutional Convention in 1868. In that same year, he started the first of the several terms he would serve in the state senate.

Hyman was defeated in his first run for Congress in 1872. Two years later he was elected, but he failed to obtain his party’s nomination in 1876. During his single term in Washington, Hyman supported legislation to secure and protect civil rights, especially suffrage privileges.

After leaving public life, Hyman returned to Warrenton where he farmed and operated a grocery store. He was constantly in debt and was forced to sell all his real estate in 1878. Around 1880, Hyman left North Carolina for Washington, D.C., where he worked as an assistant mail clerk until his death in 1891 at the age of 51.

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


Vermont Royster, Wall Street Journal Sage

This Day in North Carolina History - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 06:30

Image from the State Archives

On July 22, 1996, Vermont Connecticut Royster, a journalist affiliated with the Wall Street Journal for 60 years, died.

Born in 1914 in Raleigh, Royster was not the only one in his family to have unusual first and middle names. His great-grandfather started the tradition of naming people after places and relatives had such names as Arkansas Delaware and Iowa Michigan.

A graduate of UNC, where he began his writing career as a reporter for the Daily Tar Heel, Royster moved to New York in 1936 and found part-time work as a writer for the Journal for $15 a week.  He quickly worked his way up the paper’s ranks, leaving only for a brief stint in the Navy during World War II. As editor from 1958 until 1971, Royster set the Journal’s political policy, aligning it closely with business interests and the resurgent conservative movement.

In 1971, upon retirement from full-time employment at the Journal, Royster returned to UNC as Kenan Professor in the School of Journalism. His autobiography, My Own, My Country’s Time, was published in 1983. His column, “Thinking Things Over,” remained a staple of the Journal until his last year, 1996.

Among his many achievements, Royster received two Pulitzer Prizes, journalism’s highest honor, in 1953 and 1984. In 1986, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

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Modest Beginnings for Duke University Hospital

This Day in North Carolina History - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:30

People gathered outside the Duke University Medical Center, circa 1930.
Image from the Duke University Medical Center Archives.

On July 21, 1930, Duke University Hospital opened to patients after three years of construction.

The idea for the hospital can be traced back to 1925, when industrialist James B. Duke made a $4 million bequest to establish a medical school, nursing school and hospital to help improve health care in the Carolinas. Duke’s dream was to create what he hoped would become the best medical institution between Baltimore and New Orleans.

Although Durham already had two hospitals – Watts and Lincoln – Duke would be unique in offering specialized medical care, and with 400 beds, it would be by far the largest hospital in the city’s history. Some experts were skeptical about the idea of a medical facility of this size in Durham, arguing that the area was not densely populated enough to support it.

But patients were willing to travel. On the hospital’s first day, 17 patients were registered. The number continued to grow at an extraordinary rate and, by 1932, over 10,000 patients had been treated.

While it began as a regional hospital, today the Duke University Medical Center is recognized as one of top health care organizations in the country, known for its commitment to education, research and innovation.

A special thanks to the Duke University Medical Center Archives and Assistant Director Jolie Braun for putting this story together. 

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


Rocky Mount Mills Burned by Union Troops, 1863

This Day in North Carolina History - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 06:30

Rocky Mount Mills in 1924. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

On July 20, 1863, Union cavalry led by Gen. Edward Potter torched Rocky Mount Mills, the second cotton mill in North Carolina after the short-lived Schenck-Warlick Mill in Lincoln County.

Manufacturing began in Rocky Mount in 1818 on a 20-acre tract at the falls of the Tar River. The mills were initially operated by Joel Battle and two partners, but by 182,5 Battle was the sole proprietor.

Built from local granite, the facility, housing cotton and grist mills, was three stories plus a basement. Slaves and a few free African Americans supplied the labor from the earliest days until about 1852, when the Battles began to substitute white workers, many of them women and children. By that time, local slaveowners were less inclined to hire their slaves out for factory work.

After the Civil War, Battle rebuilt the mills on the original foundation. The new brick building, four stories with a basement this time, burned in 1869 and Battle again rebuilt the mills.

When Rocky Mount Mills closed in 1996, it was believed to be the oldest operating cotton mill in the South. It now comprises a local historic district and is undergoing redevelopment.

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Cherokee Wrestler and Chief

This Day in North Carolina History - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 06:30

An image of Saunooke from UNC Libraries

On July 19, 1906, Osley Bird Saunooke, super heavyweight wrestler and Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI), was born in Cherokee.

Professional wrestling was a natural fit for Saunooke, who served in the Marine Corps, stood 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed more than 350 pounds. During the Depression, he began wrestling and his rise in the sport was quick. In 1937, he became the Super Heavyweight Champion of the World, and he went on to hold that title for 14 years. When he retired from the wrestling in 1951, Saunooke had fought 5,217 matches all over the country.

After retiring from the ring Saunooke changed gears quickly. He was elected Principal Chief of the ECBI almost immediately, serving in that capacity from 1951 to 1955 and again from 1959 to 1963. Saunooke is widely credited with turning the Cherokee’s home in western North Carolina into a model reservation. He is also often praised for working closely with the federal and state governments to ensure greater autonomy for the Cherokee.

Respected for his leadership abilities, Saunooke was the first Indian east of the Mississippi River elected to an office in the National Congress of American Indians. He died in 1965.

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


Sixteenth Century Vengeance on Roanoke Island

This Day in North Carolina History - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 06:30

A watercolor by John White depicting a Roanoke village. Image from the British Museum.

On July 18, 1585, the Native American village of Aquascogoc was burned by men from the second of three Roanoke Voyages.

The voyagers on the second expedition left England in April 1585 with the goal of establishing a new colony on Roanoke Island. After arriving on the Outer Banks in June, a detachment of colonists, with Native American Manteo as their interpreter, explored the mainland and visited several villages, including Pomeiok, Aquascogoc and Secotan.

All but one of the boats of the detachment returned to settlers’ camp at Wococon on July 18. The remaining boat took Captain Philip Amadas, Manteo, and a few others back to Aquascogoc to “demand a silver cup which one of the Savages had stolen from us.”

It is unclear exactly what transpired at Aquascogoc—whether the Indians denied having the cup or whether they thought the English were taking back a gift. The leader of the village apparently promised the cup’s return in an effort to stall the English long enough for the women and children to escape. After noticing the people clearing the village, Amadas reacted with unconscionable violence.  It was written that the men “burnt, and spoyled their Corne, and Towne, all the people being fledde.”

Not a month had passed into the attempted colonization of the “New World,” when the English committed the first act of violence against the natives. It is believed that Aquascogoc was southeast of modern-day Belhaven in Beaufort County.

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Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston in Office for 18 Years

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:30

Southport’s Fort Johnston, which is named for Gov. Gabriel Johnston.
Image from the State Historic Preservation Office.

On July 17, 1752, Colonial-era Governor Gabriel Johnston died.

Johnston served in the colony’s top job for 18 years, holding the post longer than any governor in North Carolina’s history down to the present day. Perhaps even more remarkable is that, due to problems collecting the rents and taxes that paid his salary, he was left uncompensated for 13 of those years.

Johnston was born in the Scottish lowlands, before being educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Sometime around 1728, he moved to London, where he lived in the home of Lord Wilmington, president of the Privy Council, which was a panel of king’s closest advisers.

Named governor of North Carolina in 1733. Johnston didn’t arrive at his post in October of the following year. He advocated for the establishment of Newton in 1735, and later renamed the town Wilmington in his patron’s honor.

Johnston’s term saw many changes in North Carolina, including the first printer and thus the first newspaper and printed laws, new agricultural techniques and the building of several forts. North Carolina’s population also tripled during his term, thanks in part to Johnston’s efforts in encouraging immigration, especially from his native Scotland.

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


Festival Rocked Iredell County Community, 1970

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 06:30

The crowd looking toward the stage at the Love Valley Music Festival.
Image courtesy of Ed Buzzell Photography.

On July 16, 1970, the “South’s Woodstock” was launched at Love Valley. The rock festival swelled the small Western-themed community of about 100 people to almost 200,000.

Located north of Statesville, Love Valley was the creation of Andy Barker in 1954, who had always wanted to live like a cowboy in an Old West town.  The idea of the rock festival was Barker’s and he charged $5 a person for the three-day event.

The crowd at Love Valley. Image courtesy of Ed Buzzell Photography.

While the festival could not draw the band lineup of Woodstock, which the Iredell County event was modeled after, the headliner was the Allman Brothers Band. Young and on the rise, the band played several sets during the weekend festival and documentarians captured it in about 20 minutes of film. Several local bands, including Kallabash of Greensboro, were also on the program

Organizers had hoped to do a documentary like the one made at Woodstock, but a lack of funds meant that they were only able to capture parts of each band’s performance. In spite of some locals’ dire worries about illegal and immoral behavior, the weekend passed without major incident, and the festival in the valley lived up to its name.

Don’t forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council’s summer performing arts guide for suggestions on how you can experience great Tar Heel arts experiences now.

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


Henry Gatling and His Flying Machine

This Day in North Carolina History - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 06:30

James Henry Gatling and his Flying Machine . Image copyright F. Roy Johnson  and his family, and held by the State Archives.

On July 15, 1816, Henry Gatling, inventor of an early flying machine and brother of Richard Gatling of Gatling gun fame, was born in Hertford County.

In interviews, Gatling claimed the flight of the turkey buzzard as his inspiration. The bird, he observed, could soar for long intervals with only slight wing movements. To try to mimic this method of flight, he developed a flying machine with hinged triangular wings that could be moved with wires.

Gatling selected hand-cranked engines with blower-type wooden blades in front of each wing. The blades blew air to the underside of the wings to keep the plane aloft until necessary momentum was achieved.  Anticipating the ground maneuvering needs of aircraft, Gatling placed large wooden wheels at the front and a smaller one under the tail of his “aeroplane.”  The completed contraption was about 18-feet long with a 14-foot wingspan.

A reproduction of the Gatling Aeroplane. Image courtesy of the Murfreesboro Historical Association, Inc.

Gatling performed a number of ground and air trials of his airplane the summer and fall of 1873. Eyewitnesses to machine’s 1873 first (and only) trip through the air recalled an approximately 100-foot flight from a raised platform, with the plane descending rapidly suggesting that it was actually more of a “glide” than a “flight.” The descent left the machine badly damaged, and Gatling never made the repairs necessary to attempt further flights.

The flyer garnered wide press attention in 1872 and 1873. One article claimed that the machine was “destined at some future day to eclipse the [his brother’s] famous gun, and fly triumphant over time, space, and water.”  There is little doubt that the statement reflects the inventor’s aspirations on both counts.

Gatling was murdered on his property in September 1879.  The airplane, which had been stored in a barn, was destroyed by a fire in 1905.

A group of enthusiasts in Murfreesboro have built what they believe to be an accurate replica of the Gatling flying machine.

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


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