Category Archives: Digital Projects

TranscribeNC is Now Live!

TranscribeNC, a transcription project hosted by the State Archives featuring 5 collections, is now live! We are recruiting volunteers to spend a little time helping to transcribe its first project — county draft board records of men who were drafted or enlisted during World War I.

“This project is critical to telling North Carolina’s story,” says Randon McCrea, digital archivist for online programming, who is heading this initiative, along with archivist Anna Peitzman. “Each of these archival collections—WWI draft lists and travel diaries—personalize the human experience and keep this state’s legacy alive. When complete, the WWI information will be of importance to veterans, their families, and communities.”

Other transcription projects will also be made available. “Transcription volunteers of all skill levels will most definitely find materials of interest in one or all of these collections while helping to build incredibly valuable indexes and the ability for all to more readily access information about North Carolina records,” says Anna Peitzman.

If you would like to volunteer your time and talents, visit TranscribeNC on FromThePage or find more information at the State Archives; there you will find instructions and tips for transcription, a guide, and instructional video. Or send a message to archives.webedit@ncdcr.gov for more information. Take this opportunity to add to the state’s knowledge.

Documenting the World of Outlander #5: Mapping Colonial North Carolina

[This post was written by Alison Thurman and Josh Hager, Reference Archivists]

This blog is intended as a “bonus feature” for fans of Outlander who want to explore the world of Jamie and Claire through original documents housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. SPOILERS for the first 9 episodes of Season 4!

Outlander, the hit series from Starz, has officially arrived in colonial North Carolina. This season, Jamie and Claire will traverse the state from Wilmington to the mountains. The State Archives of North Carolina will join them on this journey as we showcase documents that provide a window into their world. Welcome to our biweekly series, Documenting the World of Outlander, wherein each new entry in our series will focus on one topic that appears on screen in Outlander.

With a few weeks left to go in Season 4, Jamie and Claire have now traveled from the bustling colonial port of Wilmington through Cross Creek and up to Fraser’s Ridge. Our intrepid adventurers have traversed the colony from ocean to mountains, seeing the varied landscapes that make North Carolina such a geographic wonder. To parallel with their journey’s end at Fraser’s Ridge, we would like to showcase our map collections to get a better handle on Jamie and Claire’s Carolina voyage.

We’ll start with a map of the Wilmington area, where Jamie and Claire first arrived in the colony in the first episode of Season 4.

mc_195_w743_1743v

Map Collection. MC.195.W743.1743v. (Vault Collection No. 4). A plan of Wilmington scituate [sic] on the east side of the north-east branch of Cape Fear River agreable [sic] to the original survey by Jeremiah Vail, c.1743.

This map, dating to circa 1743, is the earliest map in our holdings that shows the city of Wilmington. Prepared by cartographer Jeremiah Vail, this map was the earliest plan of the city of Wilmington as laid out by the city’s proprietors in 1733. No place names, street addresses, or property owners appear on this map due to its early date. However, you can use the Cape Fear River’s placement to map out the equivalent current areas of the still-bustling port city. It’s possible that Jamie and Claire may have used a map such as this example to navigate their way through Wilmington’s streets when they first arrived in North Carolina.

Our next example takes us up the Cape Fear River to the town of Cross Creek, site of Jamie’s aunt’s plantation and the harrowing events of the second episode of Season 4.

mc_195_f284_f284_2014ma

Map Collection. MC.195.F284.2014ma. Fayetteville, N.C. about 1770 (after Sauthier), by Dan MacMillan, 2014.

A couple of characteristics about this map should jump out at you immediately. The first idiosyncrasy is that the map shows Fayetteville, not Cross Creek. Fayetteville became an incorporation city in 1783 when Cross Creek and the neighboring town of Campbellton merged and named the new city in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. The fact that Fayetteville appears on this map rather than Cross Creek, in addition to the modern type face, is a giveaway to the second peculiarity; this map is not actually from Jamie and Claire’s time but rather is a contemporary depiction of the Fayetteville area circa 1770. Fayetteville resident Dan MacMillan painstakingly created this map of Fayetteville in 1770 using land records from the State Archives of North Carolina, including deeds and land grants. Many of the property owners shown on this map could have interacted with the Frasers as they made their way through Cross Creek. Notice that the Cape Fear River snakes right through the middle of the city, thus connecting Fayetteville to Wilmington. It should therefore come as no surprise that Fayetteville would later become one of the most prominent distribution centers in North Carolina, especially after the advent of railroads allowed Fayetteville to become a transfer point of goods from the Cape Fear River to all points inland.

We end our pictorial journey with a map of the entirety of the colony from 1770.

mc_150_1770c1

Map Collection. MC.150.1770c1. A Compleat Map of North-Carolina from an actual Survey, by John Bayly, William Churton, John Abraham Collett, and Samuel Hooper (publisher), 1770.

In this map, colloquially known as “the Collett map,” we see the colony from the Atlantic to the Appalachians. Unlike earlier maps, the Collett map utilizes surveyed information to create what was in 1770 the most accurate map of the colony ever produced. The summary of the map from our online catalog MARS provides further information:

This map was prepared by Captain John Abraham Collet (1756-1789), a Swiss-born army officer and commander of Fort Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and [it] was based largely on surveys conducted by William Churton (1749-1767), surveyor of the Granville Land Office. It was engraved by John Bayly and published in London by Samuel Hooper. The map portrays all of North Carolina west to the Blue Ridge Mountains near present day Morganton. The Collet map is far more accurate and comprehensive than any previous map of North Carolina and depicts for the first time the roads and settlements in the growing western part of the colony.

From Cross Creek, Jamie and Claire would have taken the rivers and roads depicted on the Collett map as they journeyed further west toward Frasers Ridge. What modern features can you spot on this map?

If you’re interested in further map research, your best resource is NC Maps, an award-winning website collaboration between the State Archives of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Outer Banks History Center. You’ll find maps sorted by location, date, and more. Plus, you can view maps in different sizes and zoom in to the smallest detail to find that one elusive town, road, or body of water.

Now that we’ve mapped the Frasers to their new homesite, we’ll now turn our attention to a slightly more dangerous topic. Join us in our next entry as we look at piracy in the world of Outlander!

Announcing the Veterans Oral History Project!

WWII Oral History Project (1)

The State Archives of North Carolina & North Carolina Government & Heritage Library are proud to present the Veterans Oral History Transcription Project featuring 12 remarkable women.

The LSTA grant-funded and crowdsourced audio transcription project is one of the first of its kind!  We have 12 audio format interviews with military veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces for any military service, engagement, or war, and who were born and/or raised in the state of North Carolina; were stationed for extended time in North Carolina military installations; or have lived in the state for an extended time.

We invite you to be a part of history by helping us transcribe.

Together, we can make women’s military history more accessible!

More Historical Governors’ Papers Added to North Carolina Digital Collections

William Tryon Proclamation

A proclamation from colonial North Carolina William Tryon.

The Historical Governors’ Papers collection has been going strong. In the past year, we transferred papers from North Carolina’s colonial governors into the collection. Those were originally housed in MARS, the online catalog for the State Archives, but are now available in the North Carolina Digital Collections.

North Carolina’s colonial governors were appointed by the King of England to administer his interests in the colonies. The documents record mainly the day-to-day workings of government through 1775, after Josiah Martin had fled his post in New Bern. The papers, mainly correspondence, shed light on events both large and small that took place during each man’s tenure.

The holdings are not exhaustive as papers were considered to belong to each individual, not to the government as a whole. We have documents from the following governors:

We’ve also added papers for Governors Benjamin Smith and William Hawkins. Smith was elected as Governor for one term (1810-1811), he had a benevolent nature and was well-educated, but also had an irascible disposition, and chose to settle disputes by duel. His more frequent opponents were blood kin or political antagonists, and he was twice wounded in these encounters.

Hawkins was elected as Governor for three terms (1811-1814), he served as chief executive during the War of 1812. His third and last term as governor ended only weeks prior to the war’s conclusion.

Finally, we’ve recently begun adding papers for Governor Thomas W. Bickett. Bickett was North Carolina’s governor from 1917-1921. As wartime governor, Bickett cooperated fully with the national authorities during the crisis of 1917-18. Bickett’s initiatives met remarkable success with the legislature adopting forty of forty-eight proposals during his term. The parole system was overhauled and the legislature, with the Governor’s endorsement, approved a $3 million bond program to permit expansion at state colleges and universities and increased funds for the charitable institutions. Tax reform measures modernized the state’s revenue structure.

New Additions to North Carolina in World War I Digital Collection

As part of the statewide World War I commemoration, we have digitized 60 additional materials from the Military Collections and Private Collections of the State Archives of North Carolina. Most of the additions to the World War I digital collection are selections from the collections listed below.

Some highlights include:

PC.1385 Robert R. Bridgers Papers: Correspondence from Ann Preston Bridgers, who served as a YWCA hostess with the American Expeditionary Forces in France 1919. This is one of the few collections of non-combat women from the front in Europe.

PC.1560 Banks Arendell Papers: Arendell was part of the Machine Gun Company, 321st Infantry, 81st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, 1918-1919. His journal includes items such as Armistice Day on the front lines, and describing crossing the Atlantic in convoy.

WWI 106 John N. Hackney Sr. Army Field Notebook: Hackney’s original WWI Army field notebook with military training notes from when he was stationed in various training camps, including notes on infantry lines procedures and movements, Army code writings, mine warfare, and more.

PC_1138_Cherry_R_Gregg_Papers_Wartime_Diary_1918_09

Page from Wartime Diary of Robert Gregg Cherry

2017-18 additions to the World War I digital collection (North Carolina Digital Collections):

PC.8 Walter Clark Papers

PC.76 William Blount Rodman Papers

PC.100 Theodore F. Davidson Papers

PC.219 Edward W. Pou Papers

PC.1138 R. Gregg Cherry Papers

PC.1140 Reginald A. Fessenden Papers

PC.1165 Carl Brindley Notebook

PC.1234 Daisy Green Collection

PC.1308 Rodolph Nunn Papers

PC.1417 Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers

PC.1554 Bennet T. Blake Papers

PC.1697 George Carroll Brown Papers

PC.1739 William C. Lewis Diary

PC.1904 Richard Seawell Hinton Papers

WWI 1 North Carolina Council of Defense: Prosecutions Under Selective Services and Espionage Acts

WWI 35 Leonidas Polk Denmark Papers

WWI 84 Benjamin Ira Taylor Papers

WWI 86 Benjamin R. Lacy Jr.

WWI 87 Thomas A. Lacy

PC_1697_B1F1_Brown_George_C_Papers_Correspondence_048

Pillowcase from the George Carroll Brown Private Collection

WWI 88 North Carolina Distinguished Service Cross Awardees List

WWI 93 Jewish War Service Roster of North Carolina Small Towns

WWI 109 United States Army Troop Transport Ships List

WWI 118 113th Field Artillery Regiment Roster

Tax Lists and Records

treasurerscomptrollers_taxlists_box8_wake_1815_001

Wake County tax list from the Treasurer & Comptroller collection (Treasurer and Comptroller. Box 8. State Archives of North Carolina.)

With tax season fast approaching, North Carolina State Archives unveils a new digital collection, entitled Tax Lists and Records, drawing from General Assembly, Treasurer & Comptroller and Secretary of State records.  The bulk of the records are from the Colonial and Revolutionary War eras, but some lists date from as late as 1853.

Lists sent to the General Assembly are from various counties and give the names of the heads of households and others who were subject to taxation. Horses, cattle, livestock, and other luxury goods such as carriages and coaches are also often referenced. Information about slaves may also be present in these lists.

Tax records sent to the State Treasurer or Comptroller relate to the settlement of accounts between local officials and the state. These records generally include the names of the heads of households, acreage, valuation, and number of polls (a tax of a fixed amount levied on adult males, female heads of households and slaves) in the household (black and white). Horses, cattle, livestock, and other luxury goods such as carriages and coaches are also frequently referenced.

Thirty-four tax lists from the Secretary of State records list households subject to taxation in fifteen counties. Information in these records generally includes the name of the head of household, acreage, valuation, and number of polls in household (black and white). Counties included in these lists are: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dobbs, Gates, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Johnston, Jones, Martin, Montgomery, Nash, New Bern District, Northampton, Onslow, Orange, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, Rutherford, Sampson, Surry, Tyrrell, Warren, and Wilkes.

Archival Documents added to North Carolina State Parks Digital Collection

In honor of the centennial anniversary of North Carolina’s State Parks in 2016, hundreds of folders of historical documents from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation records collection at the State Archives have been digitized and added to the North Carolina State Parks digital collection at North Carolina Digital Collections. Earlier this year, the State Archives partnered with the Division of Parks and Recreation to create the State Parks digital collection, which has made available hundreds of historical and modern photographs that feature the natural and cultural history of the parks. It is hoped that the addition of archival documents, ranging in date from the 1910s to the 1980s, will help provide a richer story and context of how the parks have been selected, developed, managed, and maintained over the hundred-year history of the State Parks system.

The natural history, ecology, and conservation of North Carolina’s state parks are prominent topics in the archival documentation presented at NCDC. Park naturalists regularly provided reports on the botany, zoology, and geology of parks, as well as helped to curate museum exhibits, talks, and nature trails for general environmental education. The impacts of beach erosion, hurricane damage, flooding, and forest fires have been perpetual issues at various state parks for decades. The identification and protection of unique ecological areas has been a significant driver for the establishment of new state parks and for the enforcement of specific rules and regulations governing activities within the parks.

The development of state parks as recreation areas is another dominant theme in the records of the Division of Parks and Recreation. Development plans were usually limited by funding, so in many parks it took decades for goals to be realized. Initial plans might only have included providing access to the parks by building hiking trails, roads, parking lots, and possibly pit latrines and water wells. But, with greater public interest in the parks came greater revenue, and more extensive facilities could be built including water and sewer systems, electric power systems, cabins and campsites, picnic grounds, bathhouses, boat docks, concessions, museums, and more.

Throughout these documents, many interesting themes emerge that reference and reflect subjects of larger historical and cultural significance. A great deal of the initial infrastructure development of the oldest state parks – Fort Macon, Hanging Rock, Morrow Mountain, Mount Mitchell, and William B. Umstead – was achieved through projects funded and manned by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. Documents regarding the acquisition of land to create conservation and recreation areas expose the tensions between the interests of private land owners and the public at large. Many State Historic Sites in North Carolina were originally conceived of and administered as part of the State Parks system. And, while there was never a legal basis for segregation in the state parks, until the 1960s, with the exceptions of Jones Lake, Reedy Creek (part of William B. Umstead State Park), and Hammocks Beach, most park facilities were for whites only, but there were frequent calls to provide equal access to state parks in North Carolina for all people.

For more information on the history of North Carolina State Parks, please check out these NCpedia pages developed by the State Library, in conjunction with the Division of Parks and Recreation, to coincide with the state parks centennial celebration.

Exploring North Carolina: North Carolina State Parks, Trails, Lakes, Rivers & Natural Areas

http://ncpedia.org/exploring-state-parks

North Carolina History Interactive Timeline: History of North Carolina State Parks, Recreation & Natural Areas

http://ncpedia.org/north-carolina-state-parks-history-timeline

For more information on the Division of Parks and Recreation records collection, please search our MARS catalog.