Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. III

This is the third of three entries in a special Halloween-inspired blog series highlighting a collection of ghost stories, legends, folklore, and facts from North Carolina. Like sweet tea and college basketball, folklore is a major part of North Carolina’s cultural heritage. Legends and stories passed down from generations keep the state’s history alive and ultimately help us remember life as it once was. 

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. I
The Scary Truth Series, Pt. II

The Ghost Ship: Carroll A. Deering

Another quintessential characteristic of North Carolina culture is its rich maritime history, from shipwrecks as common as today’s car accidents and epic pirate tales that are almost beyond belief. Over 5,000 historic shipwrecks have been documented along the North Carolina coast, giving it the appropriate nickname, the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” This leads us to one of the most legendary maritime mysteries in the state’s history: the wreck of the Carroll A. Deering, otherwise known as the “Ghost Ship” of the Outer Banks.

Deering-NPS

Carroll A. Deering, built in 1919 in Bath, Maine – National Park Service Collection, courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center.

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New Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records & District Superior Court Records

The State Archives of North Carolina would like to announce the addition of two new collections to the North Carolina Digital Collections: Colonial Court Records and District Superior Court Records.

CCR_Estates_Miscellaneous_Estates_01

CCR_Estates_Miscellaneous_Estates_01

The Colonial Court Records digital collection includes two series: Estate Papers, CCR. 179-CCR.186, and Land Papers, CCR.187. Records relating to any of the higher courts in early North Carolina represented in the series Colonial Court Records (CCR) are extremely scarce until 1683, and are almost non-existent for several higher courts well after that date. Records of the General Court, the most important of these courts in terms of powers and amount of business transacted, do not begin to be abundant until 1694. It functioned from as early as 1670 until 1754 and during those years heard a great number of lawsuits involving decedents estates. When the records of this court were arranged at the Archives about 1959, papers from cases concerning estates were sorted out of the other loose papers and were designated Estates Records even though they were not true estates reports, inventories, accounts, etc. Papers concerning approximately seven hundred estates resulted. They were then foldered individually by decedent and arranged alphabetically.

For a more detailed account of what records are in the Colonial Court Records Collection, please see the CCR finding aid.

The District Superior Court Records digital collection currently contains only one district, Edenton District, from 1756 to 1806. It includes writs, transcripts, narratives, inventories of estates, notes, bonds, appeals, and subpoenas relating to the settlement of estates in the counties under the jurisdiction of the Edenton District Superior Court. It also includes a short subseries of guardians’ records (1760- 1805) arranged by name of the ward, and records of unnamed decedents and wards.

The supreme courts of justice system, in effect briefly from 1755 to 1759, served as the immediate predecessor and the pattern on which the district superior courts system was based. Under the supreme courts of justice, the colony of North Carolina was divided into five districts–each with its own independent court. The following towns served as the seats of the court districts: Edenton, Enfield, New Bern, Salisbury, and Wilmington.

Each supreme court of justice was independent and had the same jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters in their respective districts. Duties of the district superior courts also included the power of probate for deeds and wills. The state’s judiciary system underwent several more changes, with varying changes in duties and jurisdictions of the district superior courts until 1806 when the district superior courts were closed and replaced by superior courts erected in every county seat in the state. For a more detailed account of court history please seeing the digital collection landing page, or NCPedia article “State Judiciary.”

Friday Finds – Reconstruction: Governor’s Office materials

The Collection Management Branch (CMB) wishes to introduce to you a new feature of the History For All The People blog – Friday Finds.  These posts will highlight things – items, activities, staff – in the three sections of the CMB – the Conservation Lab, Photography Lab, and the Imaging Unit.  Sometimes we will feature things rediscovered while helping patrons and other times we will feature things located through our mission of preserving and providing access to the records.  Regardless of how the item(s) came to our attention, look for new posts on Fridays – a Friday Find.

This Friday Find is from the Imaging Unit.

The Sesquicentennial of the period known as Presidential Reconstruction (1865) is currently underway.  Visit the main Archives Search room to see manuscript collections related to the period.  The Provisional Governor papers are important but so are the Governor’s Office materials.  Recently we have had some researchers who needed to see the Governor’s Office materials related to Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction but could not visit the Archives.  The most cost effective way to copy all the records was to microfilm them.

microfilm boxes resized

Production costs of microfilm are only 20 cents a frame.  Once the microfilm is created the customer can also get digital copies of a reel for $15.00.  When a whole record is requested microfilmed, the Archives (depending on the historical and evidential value plus the preservation aspect of having security microfilm) can keep a copy of the microfilm.  The extra value is that a reading copy can be added to the microfilm reading room and give more access options to patrons.

Four different Governor’s Office volumes have recently been imaged.

  • GO. 42 – Confederate Pardons: 1865-1867
  • GO. 43 – Pardons: 1869-1870
  • GO. 44 – Pardons and Recommendations: 1869-1870

All on new microfilm reel S.51.1577.

  • GO. 33 – William W. Holden to Tod R. Caldwell: Commutations, Pardons and Respites: 1868-1872

On new microfilm reel S.51.1578.

The petitions for pardons often provide details about activities of the petitioner during the Civil War period.  The petitions and pardons include a range of activities – citizens requesting release of a man convicted of a crime and jailed but whose wife and children need him on the farm to survive.  The records are rich in social history of the state.  Who knows, you might even have your own Friday Find while searching the material.

To place an order for a duplicate copy of the material mentioned in the blog post please contact Chris Meekins, Imaging Unit Head  –  chris.meekins <at> ncdcr.gov or contact him by phone at 919.807.7333.

 

 

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. II

This is the second of three entries in a special Halloween-inspired blog series highlighting a collection of ghost stories, legends, folklore, and facts from North Carolina. Like sweet tea and college basketball, folklore is a major part of North Carolina’s cultural heritage. Legends and stories passed down from generations keep the state’s history alive and ultimately help us remember life as it once was.

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. I
The Scary Truth Series, Pt. III

Maco Light

Legend has it that a “ghost light” was all that remained from a fatal train accident that occurred over a century ago just outside of Wilmington in a small, unincorporated community named Maco. The details have become a bit fuzzy over the years, and after being told and retold thousands of times, the story has taken on a life of its own.

OurState

Illustration of the Maco Light by R. A. Sharpe in a 1956 issue of Our State Magazine. (source)

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The Scary Truth Series, Pt. I

This is the first of three entries in a special Halloween-inspired blog series highlighting a collection of ghost stories, legends, folklore, and facts from North Carolina. Like sweet tea and college basketball, folklore is a major part of North Carolina’s cultural heritage. Legends and stories passed down from generations keep the state’s history alive and ultimately help us remember life as it once was. 

The Scary Truth Series, Pt. II
The Scary Truth Series, Pt. III

The Murder Mystery of Nell Cropsey

On November 21, 1901, Nell Cropsey mysteriously vanished from her family home near the Elizabeth City waterfront. Her body was discovered nearby in the Pasquotank river 37 days later, a mere 130 yards from where she was last seen. The first glaring suspect: Jim Wilcox, her suitor. Despite two trials and the subsequent conviction of Wilcox, many questions about her death remain unanswered. Some say her spirit haunts her family home to this day.

cropsey_wilcox2

Portraits of Jim Wilcox (left) and Nell Cropsey (right), courtesy of the Museum of the Albemarle.

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Hispanic Heritage Month 2017

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we will be highlighting a few records from the State Archives regarding Hispanic populations, a growing proportion of North Carolina’s residents. The United States first began celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, a development which coincided with a marked increase in the Latino population in North Carolina. To be sure, there were residents of Hispanic heritage in the state long before then, dating back to interactions with Spanish colonies and the Spanish government in the eighteenth century, and influxes of immigrants in subsequent centuries. The population has grown more rapidly since the 1980s, initially fueled by migrants coming for seasonal farm work. Many came from Mexico and Central America, but the majority moved to North Carolina from other states in the US.[1] Three decades later, they are the fastest growing minority group in North Carolina, and more Latinos have been born in the state than immigrated. In 2010, the Hispanic population was approximately 800,000 or 8.4% of the state’s population.[2]

Page from Alamance County Alien Registration Records, 1940

“Alamance County: Alien, Naturalization and Registration Records: Alien Registration Record,” State Archives of North Carolina. The left page is the record of Leopold Riloba y Ruiloba from Havana, Cuba, filed August 6, 1940.

The State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina have several collections which document the experiences of Hispanic residents. The Spanish Records are copies of eighteenth century colonial records from the Papeles de Cuba at the Archivo General de Indias, the Archivo General de Simanacas, and the Archivo Historico Nacional and Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid that pertain to the southeastern colonies and North Carolina, documenting the state’s early history from the perspective of the Spanish colonial government. The Alien Registration and Naturalization Records contain county records relating to the naturalization of foreign-born citizens, including Hispanic immigrants, and often include pictures, country of origin, family names, and profession. They provide a snapshot into the lives of many people who chose to make North Carolina their home in the first half of the twentieth century, such as Leopoldo Riloba y Ruiloba, a cotton mill worker who came from Havana, Cuba to Alamance County in 1940 with his four children.

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For more recent information, modern governors’ records include proclamations and executive orders. In 1998, Governor Jim Hunt issued Executive Order 136 to create the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. He also started the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs to coordinate state programs to serve the Latino community, including migrant health, cultural diversity, community forums, and domestic violence training. Records from Governors Easley and Purdue include proclamations to observe Hispanic Heritage Month and documentation of the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. In 2013, under Governor Pat McCrory, the office of Hispanic/Latino affairs was absorbed into the Community and Constituent Affairs Office, which serves as the point of contact for all constituents.

Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation by Gov. Bev Perdue, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation by Governor Bev Perdue, 2012.

Other publications show state agencies’ desires to tailor their services to North Carolina’s changing constituency. For example, in 2001 the Department of Labor created a volunteer Hispanic Task Force to “identify the unique safety and health hazards that the state’s Hispanic population faces in the workplace and to determine what measures DOL could undertake to reduce fatalities and injuries among Hispanic workers.”[3] In 2006, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety conducted a study to improve services to Hispanic residents, such as providing language assistance to individuals with limited fluency in English.[4]

This is only a small sample of North Carolina records that point to the rich and interwoven stories of our state’s Hispanic heritage. You can explore our full digital collections here, or search finding aids and the online catalog to begin exploring non-digitized records. If you need assistance, our reference staff are happy to help! They can be reached by emailing them at archives@ncdcr.gov.

What have you found out about Hispanic heritage in the state archives?

 

[1] Alan K. Lamm, “Latinos,” NCPedia, 2006, accessed October 5, 2017, https://www.ncpedia.org/latinos.

[2] Gabriela Zabala and Steven Mann, “Demographic Trends of Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina,” 2012, accessed October 5, 2017, http://worldview.unc.edu/files/2012/04/4-0-1.pdf.

[3] “2001 Annual Report of the N.C. Department of Labor” (North Carolina Department of Labor, 2001), 10, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/21346/rec/6.

[4] Keith Dowd and Erin Collins, “New North Carolinians: Doing Justice for All in the Criminal Justice System: Providing Services to a Rising Hispanic and Latino Population in North Carolina” (North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission and Criminal Justice Analysis Center, 2006), 22, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p249901coll22/id/9522/rec/1.

Home Movie Day 2017

[This announcement comes from Kim Andersen, Audio Visual Materials Archivist in the Special Collections Section of the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Attendees watching a Home Movie Day eventWhat hidden treasures lie in those old home movies that you have in the closet? Come to Home Movie Day and find out the value of these unique cultural and historical documents and how to save them for future generations. Spend the afternoon watching old films and playing Home Movie Day bingo. Go home with prizes and get a free digital transfer of your screened film!

Raleigh Home Movie Day

Brought to you by A/V Geeks, NCSU Film Studies, and State Archives of North Carolina.

When?       

Saturday October 21, 2017

1pm 4pm

Free and Open to the Public

 

Where? 

State Archives of North Carolina in downtown Raleigh.

109 East Jones Street, First Floor Auditorium.

Free & easy parking in lot across the street or street parking.

For more information, see our flyer: 2017HMDFlier

A film being played during Home Movie DayWhat is Home Movie Day?

Home Movie Day was started in 2002 as a worldwide celebration of amateur home movies, during which people in cities and towns all over would get to meet local film archivists, find out about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media, and – most importantly – get to watch those old family films! Home movies are an essential record of our past, and they are among the most authoritative documents of times gone by.

How Can People Participate?

It’s simple: rifle through your attics, dig through your closets, call Grandma, and discover your family’s home movies (8mm, Super8mm, 16mm, Video8, or VHS). Then come on down to the State Archives with up to two old reels or video tapes, and we will screen at least one of them for you and the audience to enjoy! Point out people and places you recognize! As a BONUS, you’ll later get a digital transfer (downloadable file e-mailed to you or DVD mailed to you) of the home movie that you shared with us on the screen.  If you don’t have any home movies of your own, come to enjoy the memories your neighbors bring. It’s fun and educational! Raleigh HMD will also be featuring Home Movie Day Bingo with prizes for the WHOLE FAMILY!

A Brief History

Home Movie Day was started by a group of film archivists concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. They knew many people out there have boxes full of family memories that they’ve never seen for lack of a projector, or fears that the films were too fragile to be viewed again. They also knew that many people were having their amateur films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the mistaken idea that their new digital copies would last forever and the “obsolete” films could be discarded. Original films can long outlast any film or video transfer and are an important part of our cultural history! For more information about the other Home Movie Days around the world, visit the Home Movie Day site http://www.homemovieday.com/.

Contacts       

Skip Elsheimer, A/V Geeks, skip@avgeeks.com, 919-247-7752;
Kim Andersen, Audiovisual Materials, State Archives of North Carolina, kim.andersen@ncdcr.gov, 919-807-7311; Devin Orgeron, NCSU Film Studies, devin_orgeron@ncsu.edu, 919-802-5026