Honoring Our Past

Source: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/293.1 Postcard of the U.S.S. North Carolina. Title from historical note on verso. “U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Commission.” Numbered P57112. Date approximated. Identifier: 318.2.c.317

Staff Person: Ken Harbit

Description:

A North Carolina treasure is Moored in Willmington. In quiet dignity and majesty is the fourth ship of the line to be called NORTH CAROLINA. She quietly beckons visitors to walk her decks and envision the daily life and fierce combat her crew faced in the Pacific during World War II. She was the most decorated US Battleship of WWII with 15 Battle Stars; Seeing action from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay, earning Battle Stars at Iwo Jima and Okinawa in between. She was dedicated on 29 April 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 10,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.

The USS North Carolina was launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on June 13, 1940. During WWII the Japanese claimed to have sunk her 6 times, but she in fact lived on. She saw action at every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater, including the Battles of Guadalcanal, Marshall Islands, Luzon (considered by historians as the greatest naval battle in history), Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  In the Battle of the Eastern Solomon’s in August of 1942, the Battleship’s anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier ENTERPRISE, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. By war’s end, she had become the most highly decorated American battleship of World War II, accumulating 15 battle stars. and she only lost 10 men!

From all across our Nation they came, young men who had grown up in the crucible of the Great Depression and now determined to serve their Country in its time of need. Most combat veterans remember their first firefight, their first shot. The first combat action of the USS North Carolina was about 8 minutes long. On 7 August 1942, she was the only battleship in the South Pacific, escorting the aircraft carriers Saratoga, Enterprise, and Wasp. The Americans struck first, sinking the Japanese carrier Ryujo. The Japanese counterattack came in the form of dive bombers and torpedo bombers, covered by fighters, striking at the Enterprise and the North Carolina. In an action eight-minutes long, the North Carolina shot down 14 enemy aircraft, with her antiaircraft gunners remaining at their posts despite the jarring detonations of seven near misses. One sailor was killed by strafing, but the North Carolina was undamaged. Her sheer volume of antiaircraft fire was so heavy it caused the officers of the Enterprise to ask, “Are you afire?”

USS North Carolina’s second engagement and first major battle occurred on August 24, 1942 when she spotted the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers. That battle was called the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, an unquestionable victory for America.

Affectionately known as “The Showboat”, without her brave, valiant and honorable souls, the “Showboat” would just be another ship; A footnote in the vast pages of history. It is because of their deeds and service to our nation, that “The Showboat”, USS North Carolina is more than just a ship. She is a living monument to their accomplishments and the ideals they represent. She is truly a shrine for a grateful nation to honor.

Vacationing on the Water at Beaufort, N.C., in 1911

Source: Frank M. Wooten, Jr., Papers (Manuscript Collection #126)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: These two postcards were sent from Beaufort, N.C., in July of 1911 to Mrs. Julia Wooten of Greenville, N.C., from Pattie.  Perhaps Pattie was staying at the Inlet Inn pictured on one of the postcards, and she probably wore one of the black woolen bathing suits that women and children are wearing in the other postcard. The original Inlet Inn was built in the 1850′s as a private home, became a boarding house in the early 1900′s and was bought by Congressman Charles Abernathy in 1911.  He added onto the building substantially and opened it as the Inlet Inn.  In 1967, all but one wing was torn down so that a BB&T bank could be built; a new Inlet Inn was built in 1985.  [Source for information on Inlet Inn is found at http://inlet-inn.com/history-of-the-inn/.]



Rough on Rats Advertising Card

Source: Laupus Health Sciences History Collection

Staff Person: Matt Reynolds

Description: This late 19th Century advertising card for E.S. Wells Rough on Rats vermin extermination powder depicts a peeved family chasing a variety of pests from their home.  The powder, which contained a mixture of arsenic and ground coal was said to “clear out rats, mice, flies, bed-bugs, ants, roaches, mosquitoes, etc.”.  The Wells Company, based in Jersey City New Jersey, offered a wide range of products including Rough on Corns, Rough on Itch, Rough on Toothache, and Wells’ Health Renewer.

Wells promoted all of the company products far and wide in both newspapers and via advertising cards.  He even produced a Rough on Rats song touting the effectiveness of the poison, which included the chorus:
“R-r-rats! Rats! Rats! Rough on Rats, Hang your dogs and drown your cats:
We give a plan for every man to clear his house with Rough on Rats”

Sadly, some purchasers of the product chose to misuse it both to take their own lives and to take the lives of others. The most notorious case of the latter was the poisoning of Ada Appelgate by her husband Everett Appelgate and his mistress Frances Creighton.  Both were convicted of murder in 1936 and were sent to the electric chair at New York’s Sing-Sing prison shortly after.

Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, ca. 1876

Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1876

Source: Elihu A. White Papers, #14.11.a (P-14/6)

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description: This photograph of Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia dates from the 1870s.  It’s name derives from the fact that it was originally built in 1770-1773 to serve as a meeting hall for the Carpenters’ Companies of the City and County of Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest surviving trade guild.  The handwritten caption on the verso of the photograph reads: “Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia, Pa. Birthplace of Liberty. Built 1770. The Hall where the first Continental Congress was held Sept. 5 1774″.  Located on Chestnut Street it is only a few blocks away from the Pennsylvania State House, better known as Independence Hall.  The First Continental Congress, met in Carpenter’s Hall, in September and October of 1774 because the State House was being used by the Colonial Assembly at the time.  It was during its sessions, here, that the Congress banned the further importation of slaves and to end the slave trade between the colonies. The Hall later served as a hospital for wounded and sick soldiers, both British and American during the Revolution. Designed by architect Robert Smith (1722-1777), the building is a two-story Georgian style brick structure.  It is one of the few building extant in the 1770s that continues to be used for its original purpose.  Over the years, Carpenter’s Hall has housed a wide variety of organizations, including Benjamin Franklin’s American Philosophical Society and his Library Company of Philadelphia.  It also served as home to both the First and Second Banks of the United States.  While open to the public and operated in cooperation with the National Park Service, the building is still in private hands and remains the meeting place for the Carpenter’s Company and other labor organizations.  It looks today much as it did in the 1870s and 1770s.  Elihu A. White (1824-1900) probably acquired the photograph on a visit to Philadelphia during the 1870s or 1880s.  White was a Quaker farmer and business leader from Belvidere, North Carolina.  He was also heavily involved in social reform, education, and Republican political activities.  He served in a variety of local offices and was a member of the Reconstruction era State Senate 1868-1870.  He served as a collector of Internal Revenue during the Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison administrations, 1879-1893. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina in the 1890s.  Throughout his life White was active in a variety of local, state, and national Temperance and Prohibition organizations, including the Women’s Christian Temperance Union was led the campaign to prohibit the sale of alcohol in the United States.

American Forces Occupy Veracruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914

USS PRAIRIE (AD-5) at the Battle of Veracruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

Source: John B. Green Collection #380.1.a
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo
Description: This early combat photograph taken by an American sailor shows the first of approximately 2,300 sailors and marines from the South Atlantic Fleet and the 2nd Advanced Base Regiment landing at Veracruz, Mexico in the predawn hours of 21 April 1914. Two other marine regiments eventually arrived to support the attack. The American goal was to take possession of the port and to prevent a shipment of weapons from reaching Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta. The weapons were due to arrive that morning from Germany. The crisis had begun several weeks previously when the Mexican government had arrested 9 American sailors for entering an off-limit area in Tampico, Tamaulipas. American President Woodrow Wilson, who had earlier helped Huerta seize power, broke with him over the incident and had shifted his support to Huerta’s rival Venustiano Carranza. The caption on the photograph indicates that this particular group of Americans was from the troopship USS PRAIRIE (AD-5). The PRAIRIE, originally the Morgan Steamship Line passenger ship SS EL SOL, had been built in 1890 by William Cramp and Sons, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The United States Navy purchased her on 6 April 1898 from the Southern Pacific Company, and commissioned her as the auxiliary cruiser USS PRAIRIE. The Navy later converted her to a training ship and by 1914 she was serving as a troop transport. The initial landings went smoothly but by afternoon of the 21st sharp fighting had broken out and losses mounted on both sides. Supported by heavy fire from the ships of the Atlantic Fleet, however, the Americans quickly silenced the outnumbered and outgunned Mexicans. American losses were 22 killed and 70 wounded out of a total force of 2,300 sailors and marines; the Mexicans were almost totally annihilated. The Mexicans lost between 150 and 170 killed and between 195 and 250 wounded from a force that amounted to only about 200 soldiers. An unknown number of Mexicans civilians spontaneously volunteered to defend the town and also became casualties. The American occupation of Veracruz continued until 23 November 1914, when a coalition of South American countries – Argentina, Brazil, and Chile (the ABC Powers) — negotiated an end to the dispute. After the occupation ended, the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, the well-known publisher of the Raleigh News and Observer and a future Ambassador to Mexico, ordered that 56 Congressional Medals of Honor be awarded to Americans who served in the action, the most Congressional Medals of Honor ever to be awarded in a single battle. Ironically, the weapons the Americans had been sent to prevent the Germans from landing, were originally from the Remington Arms Company, an American firm.

New Bern, North Carolina, 1908 Post Card

Source: Tabitha Marie DeVisconti Papers #480

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: New Bern was founded in 1710 and is North Carolina’s second oldest town.  This post card, bearing a 1908 postmark, depicts a downtown view of New Bern including Christ Episcopal Church, the Courthouse, Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, the Post Office and the First Baptist Church.

Couples Dancing at Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

Source: Moore Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #275

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

Description:

The image shown is a postcard of a dance held in the Lumina Dancing Pavilion at Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The postcard, dated around the early 1900s, shows couples wearing the fashion of that time period. This along with other postcards and photographs can be found in the Moore Family Papers, Manuscript Collection #275. The collection’s finding aid is located at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0275/. The postcard is also part of Digital Collections’ Eastern North Carolina Postcard Collection, which includes images of other postcards from the Moore Family Papers.

Interior of Lumina Dancing Pavilion at night, Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, N.C.

Interior of Lumina Dancing Pavilion at night, Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, N.C.

Holiday Postcards

Source: Blanche Hardee Rives Papers, 1905-1974, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #335

Christmas postcard

Christmas postcard

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:

The images below are holiday postcards for Thanksgiving and Christmas from the Blanche Hardee Rives Papers http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0335/.

The Christmas Card was sent to Z.A. Dawsey Hardee, the brother of Blanche Hardee Rives, on 22 December 1913.

Blanche Hardee Rives (1887-1973), daughter of James Washington Hardee and Anna O. Lucas, resided in Enfield, Halifax County, N.C. She attended the Littleton Female College (1906-1908), after which she taught in the Hardee School, a small school near the plantation of her father. She married Ralph Cooper Rives in 1942. Throughout her life she participated in Methodist Protestant (United Methodist Church after 1939) activities. Other organizations in which she was active were the Hardrawee Home Demonstration Club, the Halifax Co. Home Demonstration Club, Order of the Eastern Star, Halifax County Historical Association, Northeastern North Carolina Branch of the English-Speaking Union, Frank M. Parker Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Littleton College Memorial Association.

Thanksgiving card

Thanksgiving card

Thanksgiving card

Thanksgiving card

Pitt County Courthouse, ca. 1900

Source: Moore Family Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #275

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:

Pitt County court house, Greenville, N.C.

Pitt County court house, Greenville, N.C.

This postcard depicts the Pitt County Courthouse prior to its destruction by fire in 1910. Located on the site of the present courthouse (Third and Evans streets in Greenville), the building was designed by Dabney Cosby (1779-1862), who apparently moved to Greenville to undertake the project. He is listed in the 1860 census as an eighty-two-year-old architect. According to the Chronicles of Pitt County (1982), the building was begun in 1858 to replace the previous courthouse, which had burned, but was not completed until 1878. This postcard is from the Moore Family Papers in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection.

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C.

Source: Tabitha Marie DeVisconti Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #480

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C.

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C.

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C. This post card depicts the National Bank Building, which was constructed between 1911 and 1916 by the firm of Higgs, Hardee, and Laughinghouse at Five Points in Greenville. Five Points was the intersection of Fifth Street, Evans Street, and Dickinson Avenue. In addition to the bank, the triangular-shaped structure in 1916 housed offices, a barber, and a dry goods business. In later years, the bank was known as the State Bank. The structure was demolished in the 1970s by the Redevelopment Commission and the street pattern was radically altered as part of Greenville’s ambitious urban renewal program. The post card can be found in the Tabitha Marie DeVisconti Papers http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0480/ in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Records concerning the management of the National Bank Building in the 1910s and 1920s are available in the Charles O’Hagan Laughinghouse Papers. http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0270/

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C.

National Bank Building, Greenville, N.C.