Thomas Smith Deed for 240 Acres, Bladen County, NC, 25 Sept. 1799

Thomas Smith Deed for 240 Acres of Land p. 1Thomas Smith Deed for 240 Acres of Land

Source:  Ralph C. Deal Collection (ECU Manuscript Collections #0027)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo


This deed, survey and plat seen above, dated 25 September 1799, granting 240 acres of land in Bladen County, North Carolina to Thomas Smith, was signed by North Carolina Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, who also signed the U. S. Constitution. Spaight (1758 – 1802) was North Carolina’s 8th governor after American independence. The first native-born American to be elected Governor, he served three one-year terms, 1792 – 1795.  Born in New Bern to the son of a colonial official, Spaight was educated in Ireland and Scotland.  He returned to America to serve as an aide to American General Richard Caswell, during the Revolutionary War, 1778 – 1781.

After the Revolution, Spaight served as a representative from North Carolina in the Continental Congress, 1782 – 1785, and in the North Carolina House of Commons, 1785 – 1788, where he became Speaker of the House.  In 1787 he became a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  He was only 29 when he signed the document.

During his term as Governor, Raleigh was chosen as the site for the new State Capitol and Chapel Hill was chosen as the site for the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As governor, Spaight was also the chair of the first UNC Board of Trustees.  Spaight died in 1802 as the result of an wound sustained in a duel at New Bern with his bitter political rival, Federalist John Stanly.  Spaight’s son, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr. (1796 – 1850) served as both congressman, 1823 – 1825, and governor, 1835 – 1836;  his grandson, Richard Spaight Donnell (1820 – 1867) served as a congressman from North Carolina, 1847 – 1849.

New Social Security Building

Source: The Daily Reflector Negative Collection Manuscript Collection #741

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  Social Security is a major concern in the United States today.  As a flashback, today’s pick features Edmond Harding receiving his first Social Security check from Leon Wilson at the new Social Security building in Greenville, 1962.

Certificate for Captain Leo W. Jenkins for completion of Special Services reserve training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 1949.

Source: Leo Jenkins Papers, Manuscript # 360

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  Certificate for Captain Leo W. Jenkins for completion of Special Services reserve training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 1949. Jenkins served as a Major in World War II where he saw action at Guadalcanal, Guam and Iwo Jima. For his military service, Jenkins received the Bronze Star and two Presidential Citations. In 1947 Jenkins joined the faculty of East Carolina Teachers College, where he served as Dean until being elected as President of the college in 1960. He eventually was named Chancellor, and retired in 1978. date: 1949; creator: U.S. Marine Corps

Nuclear Age


Source: The Daily Reflector Image Collection East Carolina MC #741.28.f.45

Staff Person: Dale Sauter

Description:  Over seventy years ago, on December 2, 1942, the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated. For more details, see the source link
This week’s staff pick is a reminder of the public’s awareness and fear after the start of the nuclear age.

William Woods Holden Election Handbill

Source: Benjamin B. Winborne Papers #691-005, East Carolina Manuscript Collection

Staff Person: Dale Sauter


Today’s staff pick features an original handbill (circa 1868) promoting the election of William Woods Holden for Governor and Tod Robinson Caldwell for the first ever position of Lieutenant Governor in North Carolina.  They were both elected to office.  Holden (1818-1892) was the only Chief Executive in North Carolina history to be impeached and removed from office (and the first in the nation to endure that indignity.)  Holden was posthumously and unanimously pardoned by the North Carolina Senate in 2011.

City of Greenville, North Carolina

Source: Junius D. Grimes Papers (#571)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin


Take a step back in time to 1914 Greenville, N. C., in this C. E. Weaver Series, “Illustrated Cities”, by Central Publishing Co., Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. Greenville was growing and changing: The Center Brick Warehouse was selling Bright Leaf Tobacco (93,762 pounds avg. at $24.55 per hundred). The Flanagan Buggy Co. distributed products throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The Greenville Ice and Coal Co. was a necessity for this community. The R.L. Smith Stables sold and exchanged horses and mules. The East Carolina Teachers Training School is now called East Carolina University; the campus consisted of the Power House, Dining Hall, Infirmary, Dormitories and the Administration Building and the soon to be erected library, gymnasium and the President’s Residence. These are just a few highlights from the pamphlet from the Junius D. Grimes Papers #571.

Watching the Vote Tally

Source:   Daily Reflector Negative Collection #741.33.b.4

Staff Person:  Martha Elmore

Description:  In Greenville, N.C., before the era of quick electronic vote tabulations for election results,  people used to wait outside the Daily Reflector office and watch as vote tallies were posted and updated on the tally board.  This June 1964 photograph shows the vote tally being adjusted while citizens watch and wait for final tallies.

Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho

Source: Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho, Hoover DT 2618.C65 1960

Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho
Programme & Constitution of the Communist Party of Lesotho

Staff Person: Maury York


Lesotho is a small country completely surrounded by South Africa. Known as Basutoland during its period of control by the British, the Kingdom of Lesotho achieved independence in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled the country for its first two decades. After seven years of military rule, constitutional government was restored in 1993. Violence and bloodshed, in part a result of intervention by troops from South Africa and Botswana, later disrupted the country. Today constitutional rule has been restored in Lesotho. Its impoverished people are chiefly engaged in subsistence agriculture and, according to a profile published by the CIA, the inequity in the distribution of national wealth is a problem.

Published by the Communist Party of Lesotho, this pamphlet advocates independence and self-government for Basutoland as a means of achieving the benefits of communism. It is one of hundreds of pamphlets, books, and periodicals in the Special Collections Department’s Hoover Collection on International Communism.

Postcards of President & Mrs. William H. Taft in Inauguration Parade & Departure of ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, March 4, 1909

Source: William E. Elmore Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #39

Staff Person: Martha Elmore


These postcard images depict the departure of President Theodore Roosevelt’s carriage from the White House and the newly sworn in President William H. Taft and his wife Helen Herron Taft riding in a carriage in Taft’s inauguration parade from the Capitol to the White House. The inauguration took place on March 4, 1909, and these images were taken by the Harris & Ewing Photography Studio in Washington, D.C. The studio was founded by George W. Harris and Martha Ewing in 1905. Martha Ewing sold her interest to Harris in 1915 and he continued the news service until 1945; it was considered the busiest studio in the country when he sold it.

Postcard photograph of ex-President Roosevelt leaving Capitol, March 4th 1909, Washington D.C.

Postcard photograph of ex-President Roosevelt leaving Capitol, March 4th 1909, Washington D.C.

The postcard depicting the Tafts contains the following caption: “An Unprecedented Event. Mrs. Wm. H. Taft Accompaning [sic] President Taft Inaugural Parade.” According to the U.S. Senate Rules Committee website, this was the first time that a First Lady accompanied her husband on the ride from the Capitol to the White House after the inauguration.

Postcard photograph of Pres. William H. Taft and his wife

Postcard photograph of Pres. William H. Taft and his wife

These postcards (numbered as follows: 39.4.b.183 and 39.4.b.182) were part of a collection belonging to Lucy Warren Myers (1900-1984) of Greensboro, N.C., when she was a child. She married James Skinner Ficklen, Sr., in 1922 and they lived in Greenville, N.C., raising two sons.

For more information concerning the collection containing these postcards, go to the finding aid for the William E. Elmore Collection #39 found at For more information on the Harris & Ewing studio go to