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Tobias Knight, Charged with Accessory to Piracy

This Day in North Carolina History - Sat, 06/17/2017 - 01:00

On June 11, 1719, colonial official, attorney and judge Tobias Knight died.

While he appears in North Carolina records as early as 1710, it wasn’t until two years later that he figured prominently as the secretary and collector of the colony.

Soon after acquiring those two posts, Knight was beset by a series of scandals. The first came when Knight was accused of stealing from the Church after refusing to repay a debt, which Governor William Glover had accrued and which many felt was Knight’s responsibility on behalf of his wife, Catherine Glover Knight. Catherine was Glover’s widow.

A more significant scandal came later, and involved the notorious pirate, Blackbeard. After Blackbeard’s death, some of his slaves were tried in Virginia. They testified that Knight had worked with the pirate. Charged as an accessory to piracy, Knight was tried in 1719. As an attorney, he spoke on his own behalf and convinced Governor Charles Eden and the council of his innocence.

In spite his acquittal, Knight resigned as the colony’s chief justice and was accused again, this time along with Governor Eden and others, of collusion with pirates.

Before he could be investigated further, Knight died after a long illness.

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Asheville’s Robert Moog, Father of the Synthesizer

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 01:00

On June 9, 1978, Robert Moog incorporated Big Briar, his musical instrument company in Asheville.  Moog, an engineer, invented the Moog synthesizer that made him famous in 1964.

As a teenager Moog had been interested in the Theremin, an obscure musical instrument that produced, via a hand waving in an electromagnetic field, the strange, ethereal sounds that were used in many of the science fiction films of the 1950s. At the age of 14, he built one and, with his father’s help, turned it into a business, R. A. Moog Company.

Although he was not a musician, Moog was fascinated by electronic instruments and intrigued by budding synthesizer technology. He tried attaching circuits to a keyboard, and in doing so invented a much more affordable and portable synthesizer.

In spite of the successes, the company, which was eventually renamed Moog Music, fell on hard times due to Moog’s lack of business experience.  He sold his trademark and worked as an engineer for the company that bought it until he established Big Briar. Moog reacquired his trademark, changing the name of the company back to Moog Music, Inc. in 2002.

Each year Moogfest celebrates electronic music in Asheville.

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Blockade Runner Grounded Off Bogue Banks

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 01:00

On June 9, 1864, the SS Pevensey, a Confederate blockade runner was run aground at Pine Knoll Shores by the Union supply ship New Berne. At the time the ship’s crew was disoriented, thinking they were much closer to Cape Fear than they actually were.

To prevent Union capture of the supplies on board, the Pevensey’s crew exploded the ship’s boilers and then escaped to shore, where they were captured and taken to Fort Macon. One crew member was apprehended before even making it that far.

The Pevensey, an iron-hulled sidewheel steamer, was typical of the type of vessel used to run the federal blockade during the Civil War. The ship had successfully run the blockade at Cape Fear four times before she was lost.

Though the Pevensey is less well preserved than other blockade runner wrecks in the Cape Fear region, people can actually see a portion it from the beach, making it a special curiosity. The wreck has captivated beachgoers for years, and is known locally as the “Iron Steamer.” It was studied extensively by the Office of State Archaeology in 2000.

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

North Carolina’s Texas Pete, Cousin to Louisiana’s Tabasco

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 01:00

On June 9, 1953, the trademark ‘Texas Pete’ was registered to the TW Garner Company of Winston-Salem as a hot sauce for use on prepared foods. Made from hot red peppers, vinegar and salt, ‘Texas Pete’ was first used commercially in 1936 as a spicier version of the Garner family’s popular barbeque sauce.

Thad Garner got the original barbeque sauce recipe from a restaurant he bought at the age of 16. The sauce was made in the family kitchen and peddled throughout the state by his father Sam. Joined by brothers Ralph and Harold, the “four Garners” built a successful food business, which continues to thrive on the site of original Garner family home.

The Texas Pete name was chosen to evoke the spicy Mexican inspired foods of Texas. ‘Pete’ comes from Harold’s nickname. In the 1930s, with cowboys as popular movie icons, the Texas Pete trademark represented independent self-reliance.

During World War II, Texas Pete and other Garner products were sold to the U.S. government as soldier rations.

‘Texas Pete’ was also used as the name of a cartoon villain in the 1980s BBC Super Ted cartoon.

The Garner foods trademark was originally only for the sauce, though the family later expanded to produce Texas Pete hot dog chili, honey mustard, seafood cocktail, green pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Buffalo wing sauce.

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

A. J. Tomlinson’s “Fields of the Wood”

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 13, 1903, Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson spent much time in prayer at the “fields of the wood” in Cherokee County and had a revelation that the local Holiness church was the Church of God as prophesized in the Bible.

Tomlinson, born in Indiana in 1865 and known to most as “A.J.,” made his living as a Quaker Bible salesman. He traveled widely before settling in the mountains of North Carolina to spread the word of his adopted Holiness church. There he published a monthly religious tract intended for the “speedy evangelization of the mountain districts of North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and the world.”

Tomlinson’s joining the church after praying on the mountain in June 1903 is believed by members to have begun the restoration of the true Church of God. Tomlinson became a charismatic leader of that congregation and others soon after. In 1907, the organization took the name Church of God, and within a few years, joined the Pentecostal movement.

In 1940, Tomlinson established a monument in Murphy at the site of his revelation from God. Before he died in 1943, he inscribed into the hillside in rock the “world’s largest Ten Commandments.” Now known as Fields of the Wood, the site is a Bible park operated by the Church of God of Prophecy.

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.

Bob Scott Followed Father Kerr Into Executive Mansion

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 13, 1929, Governor Robert W. Scott was born in Alamance County to family active in the state’s political and social life.

After attending school at Duke and N.C. State, Scott returned home to manage his family’s dairy farm. He served in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps in Asia before being elected the state’s lieutenant governor in 1964.

Elected to the state’s top job in 1968, Scott became the second governor in North Carolina history (after Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr.) to follow his father into office.

Scott’s signature achievement was a reorganization of state government and a realignment of the state’s system of higher education. He consolidated more than 300 state agencies and offices into 17 cabinet-level departments and centralized the state’s public universities in one system.

Scott also helped institute a kindergarten program, increased vocational education in the high schools and resolved conflicts arising from court-ordered busing to achieve racial integration.

At the close of his term as governor, Scott became vice president of the N. C. Agribusiness Council. He went on to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission, to unsuccessfully challenge Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. in the Democratic primary for governor in 1980 and to serve as president of the state’s community college system.

Scott’s governorship marked the end of a 72-year Democratic monopoly on the office.

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

Lesley Riddle, Collaborator with the Carter Family

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 13, 1905, old-time musician Lesley Riddle was born in the Silvers Gap community north of Burnsville. Riddle learned to play blues and gospel songs on the guitar after losing most of a leg in an accident at a cement plant. He had to adjust his picking techniques to use only his thumb, index finger and little finger after losing two fingers in a shotgun accident.

A.P. Carter, patriarch of the famous Carter family, first heard Riddle play and sing in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1927, and quicky recruited him to help advance the Carter family’s fame. Carter and Riddle visited African American communities and churches throughout Appalachian Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina to find new songs for the Carter Family band. Riddle would memorize the tunes and words before returning to teach the songs to Sara and Maybelle Carter.

“Mother Maybelle” learned her trademark guitar techniques from Riddle, including using a pocketknife for slide guitar work.

Riddle never made a living at music, working as a shine boy, presser and school crossing guard. In the 1960s, he accompanied Mike Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers on the folk festival circuit.

Riddle is celebrated by an annual festival, Riddlefest.

Visit: This year’s Riddlefest will be held July 3 at the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville and will feature David Holt accompanied by Josh Gofoth.

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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.

USS North Carolina Launched

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 13, 1940, the USS North Carolina (BB-55) was launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, beginning a highly decorated career. Commissioned on April 9, 1941, the ship became the first of ten fast battleships to join the fleet in World War II. The North Carolina and her sister ship, Washington, comprised the North Carolina Class of battleship.

At the time of her commissioning, the North Carolina was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon.  Armed with nine 16-inch guns in three turrets and twenty 5-inch 38-caliber guns in 10 twin mounts, the North Carolina proved a formidable weapons platform.

During World War II, the North Carolina participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater, including the Battles of Guadalcanal, Marshall Islands, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, earning 15 battle stars along the way. In all, the USS North Carolina carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft and assisted in shooting down many more. Although the Japanese claimed six times that the USS North Carolina had been sunk, she survived many close calls and near misses, and by war’s end, had only lost 10 men in action and had 67 wounded.

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.

Bavarian Village Constructed by POWs in Hot Springs

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 8, 1917, the first of 2,300 Germans arrived by train at Hot Springs to begin life in a World War I internment camp. Their civilian merchant ships had been docked in various American ports two months earlier when the United States entered the war. At that time, the government seized the German vessels and declared their officers and crews “alien enemies.”

Unable to return the men home while war was raging, the government leased the luxurious Mountain Park Hotel in Hot Springs to house them. Each of the hotel’s 200 steam-heated, electric-lighted bedrooms accommodated between three and five German officers, while rows of barracks and accessory buildings were constructed on the resort’s grounds and golf course to house crew members.

When not farmed out for harvesting lumber or road building projects, homesick internees inside the barbed wire-enclosed camp created a Bavarian village—including houses, a church and even a carousel—using driftwood from the French Broad River, tin cans and other materials. They also crafted furniture, grew gardens and played sports. A German brass band provided concerts for the townspeople every Sunday afternoon.

After living in the camp for 17 months, many internees developed close friendships with local families. Some returned to visit after the war ended.

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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Clayton’s William E. Dodd, Minister to Hitler’s Germany

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 8, 1933, William Edward Dodd, a Johnston County native, was appointed ambassador to Germany amid rising tensions in Europe.

Born in 1869 near Clayton, Dodd studied history at what’s now Virginia Tech, earning a master’s degree in 1897. Shorty thereafter, he sailed for Germany and entered the University of Leipzig in pursuit of a Ph.D. in history.  Dodd returned to America in 1899, and later taught history at Randolph-Macon College and the University of Chicago, where he became a nationally-renowned expert on the history of the Old South before taking up his diplomatic assignment.

Dodd’s tenure as ambassador to Germany coincided with the rise of the Nazi Party. Having run afoul of the State Department in 1937 for writing materials critical of  the Nazi-controlled government, Dodd was recalled the following year. He returned to his farm in Virginia, where he died of pneumonia in 1940.

During the Nuremburg Trials in April 1946, Dodd’s detailed diary was used as evidence against Hjalmar Schacht, Adolph Hilter’s Minister of Economics and the president of Reichsbank. Having been arrested by the Germans during the war, and serving time in a concentration camp, Schacht ultimately was acquitted of charges.

Read more about the Tar Heel State’s role in both world wars  in North Carolina and the Two World Wars 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, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Wilmington’s Robert R. Taylor, Pioneer Black Architect

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 01:00

On June 8, 1868, architect Robert R. Taylor was born in Wilmington.

Taylor learned construction from his father Henry, the son of a white slave owner and a black mother, and a successful builder.

Taylor worked for his father until entering MIT in 1888, where he was the school’s first black architecture student. While at MIT, Taylor met Booker T. Washington. Their friendship drew him to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he went to work after graduating in 1892.

At Tuskegee, Taylor designed and oversaw the construction of 45 campus buildings and drew up plans for many others. The campus chapel, completed in 1898, is considered to be his crowning achievement. He continued to work at Tuskegee as architect and director of “mechanical industries” until his retirement to Wilmington in 1935, except for a brief three-year stint in Cleveland around the turn of the 20th century.

Two highlights of Taylor’s career are his 1929 trip to Liberia to plan the “the Tuskegee of Africa,” and his appointment to the Mississippi Valley Flood Relief Commission by President Herbert Hoover.

Taylor remained active in North Carolina’s civic and religious life until his death in 1942. He is buried at Pine Forest Cemetery in Wilmington.

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