Category Archives: Digital Projects

Tax Lists and Records

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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In honor of the centennial anniversary of North Carolina’s State Parks in 2016, hundreds of folders of historical documents from the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation records collection at the State Archives have been digitized and added to the North Carolina State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.

North Carolina World War I Military Data Now Searchable Online

[This blog post comes from a Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources press release – you can find other press releases on www.ncdcr.gov.]

World War I service card for James Alston of Wake Forest, N.C.

World War I service card for James Alston of Wake Forest, N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Nearly 100 years ago, thousands of North Carolina men shipped out to Europe to serve in the Great War. Who were they? Where did they come from and how did they serve? Who were the men and women who served at home and overseas?

A searchable database of North Carolina’s World War I service cards, compiled after the war, is now available online at Family Search (familysearch.org) and can help answer those questions.

Using data from cards maintained at the State Archives of North Carolina, the database, searchable by name, includes place and date of induction, residence, and place and date of birth for officers, enlisted men, nurses, medics and chaplains who served in an official military capacity during World War I. Branches of service include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The actual service card is viewable through the database and contains additional information such as rank, unit, overseas service date and date of discharge from active military service.

“These service cards serve as a fundamental resource for those wishing detail about 80,000 North Carolinians who served their country during World War I,” said Matthew Peek, Military Collection archivist at the State Archives. “The searchable database created by Family Search makes our records freely accessible to everyone as we head into the 100th commemoration of American’s entry into World War I.”

The project is part of North Carolina’s official commemoration of the centennial of America’s entrance into World War I.

“The State Archives preserves many World War I archival records and we are pleased to partner with Family Search to make this military information easily accessible,” said State Archivist Sarah Koonts. “As the 100th anniversary of America’s involvement in the war approaches, we’ll be working with other divisions within the department to create programs that honor those men and women who served our country.”

World War I created the modern world by undermining European aristocracy, shifting national borders, industrializing warfare and expanding the public realm of women, among other effects. North Carolina emerged from this first global conflict less rural, more worldly, and better equipped to serve the nation through industry, military installations and shipbuilding enterprises at our ports.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ World War Centennial Committee will oversee the state’s official Commemoration of World War I. For more information and to learn more about commemorative activities, please visit our website at www.ncdcr.gov/worldwar1. To learn more about the collection, please visit FamilySearch’s Wiki page at http://bit.ly/2emn8ZK. Search the database itself at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2568864 and then take a look at the original service cards created by the North Carolina Adjutant General.

About the State Archives of North Carolina

The State Archives of North Carolina State Archives collects, preserves, and makes available for public use historical and evidential materials relating to North Carolina. Its holdings consist of official records of state, county and local governmental units, copies of federal and foreign government materials, and private collections.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Newly added World War I material, part 2

With the anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I approaching, here are more records recently added to the World War I digital collection:

Earlie W. Smith correspondence , 1917-1918

Correspondence written by Earlie W. Smith of Harnett County, North Carolina, during his stint in the U.S. Army with the 317th Field Artillery Infantry. Smith served in the Army from October 1917 to June 1919 and served overseas in Europe from August 1918 to June 1919.

Lonnie T. Graham correspondence, 1918

Correspondence written by Lonnie T. Graham relating to his experience training in Camp Gordon, Georgia, and at Clemson Agricultural College during World War I in the Students’ Army Training Corps. As he was frequently sick during and after the war, Graham’s correspondence to his family discusses his health and the care he received in the hospitals.

Thomas W. Williams, Carnival program, 1919

A souvenir program for the Third Army Carnival held in Koblenz, Germany in April 1919.

Charles H. and Thomas L. Warren correspondence, 1917-1919

A collection of correspondence written by Charles H. Warren to his parents, brother and other family members during basic training and while overseas in France and Germany during and after World War I. The correspondence deals largely with his discussing family news with his parents, and of Charles’ longing for home. The letters also cover such topics as the Spanish Influenza pandemic that was in Europe, and Charles Warren hoping his family survives the illness.

Charles H. Warren’s brother Thomas L. Warren was serving as a Private in Bakery Company, 325th Quartermaster Corps, at the time that he wrote these three letters to his family in Caldwell County, North Carolina. Thomas Warren mainly discusses his family’s news and experiences at home, and assuring his family that he is doing well. In his February 10, 1919 letter, Thomas Warren writes imagining what his family members are doing in Caldwell County, including what crops his father would likely be planting. In his February 12, 1919 letter, Thomas Warren recalls to his mother when he and his brother Charles Warren met up in Europe while both were stationed on occupation duty.

Newly added World War I material

With the anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I approaching, here is a list of material recently uploaded to the World War I digital collection:

History of the North Carolina Council of Defense: 1917-1920, v.1-3, Joseph Hyde Pratt

In an attempt to garner a united national support for the United States’ involvement with the World War I effort, the U.S. Congress created the Council of National Defense with the passage of the Army Appropriation Act (39 Stat. 649) (also called the National Defense Act of 1916) on August 29, 1916. The Council of National Defense was a presidential advisory board that included six members of the President’s Cabinet: Secretary of War Newton D. Baker (chairman of the Council); Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels; Secretary of Agriculture David Houston; Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane; Secretary of Commerce William Redfield; and Secretary of Labor William Wilson. The Council’s responsibilities included “coordinating resources and industries for national defense” and “stimulating civilian morale.” As President Woodrow Wilson said of the Council: “The Council of National Defense has been created because Congress has realized that the country is best prepared for war when thoroughly prepared for peace.” The work of the Council grew more significant when the United States entered World War I in 1917. The federal government held a conference on May 2, 1917, in Washington, D.C., to facilitate the organization of state councils of defense, to which Joseph Hyde Pratt, state geologist, was appointed to represent North Carolina. The federal government used the conference to ask state governors to create their own local councils of defense to support the national war effort, with the goal being to cooperate with other state councils and the federal government in organizing and directing the resources of states, making them available and effective for national use. The state councils would also recommend changes in state laws to state legislatures, with the goal of the changes aimed at increasing the nation’s ability to respond to the needs of the war effort. At the start of America’s entrance into the war, the Council coordinated resources and industries for national defense; stimulated civilian morale; coordinated the work of state and local defense councils and women’s committees; and later studied problems of post-war readjustment of soldiers to civilian life and reconstruction of the nation’s infrastructure. The Council of National Defense ceased its operations in June 1921. The History of the North Carolina Council of Defense, 1917-1920, written and compiled by Joseph Hyde Pratt, provides detailed information about the purpose, organization and inner-workings of North Carolina’s Council of Defense.

Red Cross histories: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Burke, Chatham, Cleveland, Cumberland, Currituck, Gaston, Guilford, McDowell, Moore, Onslow, Orange, Pitt, Randolph, Stanly, Vance, Wake, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes.

John B. Exum, Jr. correspondence, 1918-1919

Correspondence written by John B. Exum, Jr. while he served during the war. Exum, Jr. writes almost exclusively to his mother about where he is stationed, what the conditions are like where he is, if he has seen any Wayne County boys, and what he is experiencing in Europe during his service.

Thomas P. Shinn, war diary, 1917-1918

Thomas “Jack” Pinkney Shinn, born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina and raised in Kannapolis, served in World War I as an Army infantryman. Shinn recorded his experiences and unit’s movements through the end of 1918 in this diary. Accurately capturing the life of an Army soldier on the frontline during the Great War, Shinn provides the personal insight of a North Carolinian faced with soldierly monotony and the horrors of the trenches.

James G. Lane, correspondence, 1918

Correspondence written by James G. Lane while stationed stateside during WWI in 1918. They include letters written to his sister, Bessie E. Lane, his father, and his grandfather, about his experiences in the Navy and his views on the war in Europe. Lane held the rank of Quartermaster First Class (Aviation), and was stationed stateside at various U.S. Navy training installations throughout his service.

Isham B. Hudson, war diary, 1918

Isham B. Hudson’s war diary contains short entries covering his military unit’s movements throughout France in the fall of 1918. He notes his role in the Battle of St. Mihiel in September 1918 briefly in reserve forces, and discusses hearing the news of the Armistice that ended World War I on November 11, 1918. More than half of Hudson’s diary details his experience in terms of weeks documenting his role with the Allied occupation of Europe from December 1918 through April 1919. The back of Hudson’s diary features short poems he wrote and those he took from other sources, as well as names and information on friends and fellow soldiers.

Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials

The newest addition to the North Carolina Digital Collections is Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials. This ongoing digital reference collection is of original records from the State Archives that have been made available online by third party institutions. This collection is comprised of URLs to items within the various websites. Links may lead directly to an item or may link to collection landing pages on third party websites.

Links to State Archives of North Carolina Materials includes the following websites: Ancestry, FamilySearch, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, North Carolina Maps, and YouTube. Several collections on Ancestry and FamilySearch have been partially digitized or are in progress, and therefore may not be complete. Also make sure to read the description of items within NCDC as some of the websites State Archives materials have been mixed with non-State Archives materials to form their final collection.

Please keep in mind that to successfully use the Ancestry links, your computer needs to be logged on an Ancestry account. If you are not logged in, the Ancestry links will take you to the Ancestry homepage. If you don’t have an Ancestry account, contact your local public library branch who may have a subscription or the State Library of North Carolina to gain access on site.

Record types include: North Carolina maps, a selection of North Carolina county records, and vital records. For a more complete list of record links included, see the landing page of the collection on NCDC.

If you’d like to see more materials related to North Carolina held at institutions throughout the state, please visit the State Library of North Carolina’s NC MOSAIC project on NCDC.

North Carolina State Parks Collection Unveiled at NC Digital Collections

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of North Carolina’s state parks system, the State Library and State Archives have partnered with the Division of Parks and Recreation to create the North Carolina State Parks Collection. The end result of this collaborative project will feature materials from all three participating institutions that have been digitized and made available at North Carolina Digital Collections.

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Children viewing scenery at Hanging Rock State Park, circa 1956. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

To date, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has contributed well over 400 digital images to the collection ranging from sepia-toned photographic prints of early surveys on Mount Mitchell in 1915, to vibrantly-colored digital photos taken by park rangers and visitors within the last few years. The subjects of the images are also widely varied: from the natural beauty of mountains, rivers, lakes, sand dunes, plants, and animals, to nostalgic scenes of camp sites, trails, picnics, monuments, swimming beaches, and the construction of park roads and buildings. These images, selected by state parks personnel, represent only a fraction of their extensive archive of historical and informational photographs. Additional images will be added periodically over the next few months.

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Visitors at Sand Dunes, Jockey’s Ridge State Park. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

As their contribution, the State Library has digitized selections from the North Carolina State Documents Collection that were published by, or pertain to, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and North Carolina’s state parks. This selection of material was produced from the 1950s to the early 2000s, and includes promotional and informational booklets, management and development plans, and park histories.

At the State Archives, we have been indexing seven decades (1920s through early 1980s) of records from the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation that have been permanently transferred into our custody (search our online MARS catalog for more information on this record group). During this process, we have been selecting a broad range of materials to digitize and add to the North Carolina State Parks Collection at NC Digital Collections. We hope that our additions will help to provide greater context to the images and publications that are currently available by highlighting the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes into planning, maintaining, and improving the state parks system. This material will include correspondence, reports, studies, photographs, surveys, and projects, with particular focuses on public and community input and environmental preservation.

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Family picnicking at Jones Lake State Park, circa 1950. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

For more historical information about the first 100 years of the N.C. State Parks System please visit these amazing and new NCpedia pages developed by the State Library, in conjunction with the Division of Parks and Recreation, to coincide with the state parks centennial celebration:

Additionally, the North Carolina State Parks System is highlighting all of these collaborative projects on their centennial webpage: http://www.ncparks.gov/100/explore-century-of-park-history