Dred Peacock – W. T. Farrow Correspondence 23-25 May 1900

Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC. Letter to Capt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NCCapt. W. T. Farrow, Washington, NC. Letter to Dred Peacock, President, Greensboro Female College, Greensboro, NC

Source:  J. A. Burgess Papers (#22.1.a)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description: The correspondence between Dred Peacock and W. T. Farrow, seen above, is from the J. A. Burgess Papers in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Peacock had been a professor of Latin, German, Physics and Chemistry since 1888, and, since 1894, had been President of Greensboro Female College. His wife, Ella Carr, was the daughter of O. W. Carr, a member of the Trinity College (now Duke University) faculty and a member of Greensboro Female College’s Board of Trustees. During his tenure as President, Peacocks had been struck by a terrible tragedy.  Their daughter, Ethel Carr Peacock, died at the age of 6. Subsequently, the Peacocks endowed the Greensboro Female College library in their daughter’s name.

W. T. Farrow was a Washington, NC justice of the peace, school board member, and a local agent for the Norfolk & Southern Railway Company.  He was also secretary-treasurer of the Styron Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Norfolk & Southern, which operated the steamer AURORA in the Washington, NC vicinity.  He had sent his daughter, Mamie, to attend Greensboro Female Academy in the sprint of 1899, but Mamie had been forced to withdraw due to illness.

The correspondence is found in the J. A. Burgess Papers (#22) in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection. Burgess was the chief agent of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Company in Washington, NC, where Farrow worked, but otherwise was unrelated to Farrow.

Greensboro Female College, chartered in 1838 by the Methodist Church, was the first chartered college for women in North Carolina and only the third college for women in the nation. The college had a very good reputation in North Carolina but had a long history of financial instability.  In 1912 the school changed its name to Greensboro College for Women; in 1919 it changed its name, again, to Greensboro College, a name it has retained to the present day. Since 1954 it has also admitted male students.

The Peacock — Farrow correspondence — between one man, whose daughter had lost her battle with illness and another, whose sick daughter, Mamie, had been forced to drop out of school — concerns the bill Farrow received for his daughter Mamie’s tuition bill for the spring term in 1899.  Farrow had been charged $136.55 for Mamie’s Penmanship, Spelling, Composition, Bible & Piano, Recitation classes, and for room and board, heating, lighting, and washing although she had attended for only 43 days and taken 33 lessons.

In the first, typed, letter above, dated 23 May 1900, Peacock wrote to Farrow, replying to a previous letter from Farrow dated 21 May 1900, in which Farrow had first complained about his tuition bill.  President Peacock appears to have been both deeply moved to sympathy and yet rather confused by the situation. In behalf of the college, he returned Farrow’s check, saying “We decidedly prefer to have your good will to any amount of money, and my personal friendship for you and your family would cause me to do anything in my power to have you perfectly satisfied.” He offered to correct any errors in the bill, inquired after Farrow’s health, and hoped that Mamie’s health was improving too.

In the second, handwritten letter, dated 25 May 1900, Farrow responded, saying “I don’t know what your rules are regulating such matters. It just doesn’t look right to me, but I am willing to abide by your decision”, and concluding that it would make no difference to their friendship.  He said both he and his daughter were now in better health.

Peacock’s financial generosity may help explain why Greensboro Female Academy very nearly went bankrupt in 1903 and was only saved by a last minute gift of $20,000 from a generous alumna. It may also explain why the Peacocks removed their library from Greensboro Female College and gave it to Trinity College, where it is known today as the Ethel Carr Peacock Memorial Collection. It may also explain why Peacock was replaced as President in the same year by Lucy H. Robertson, who became the first female college president in North Carolina history.

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.

East Carolina Railway and Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr.

Source: Henry Clark Bridgers, Jr., Papers, 1870-1981, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #558

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

East Carolina Railway/Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road Company  Agreement

East Carolina Railway/Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road Company Agreement


Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr. (1876-1951) of Tarboro, N.C., was born into a railroading family. His family Robert R. Bridgers was president of the following three North Carolina railroads: the Wilmington and Weldon, the Albemarle and Raleigh, and the Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta. Robert Bridgers also created an association of railroads over the years that came to be known as the Atlantic Coast Line system.

Henry Bridgers was heavily involved in the incorporation of the East Carolina Railway on July 1, 1898, and was the first president and general manager of the railroad at age twenty-two. Early funding problems were somewhat eased with the purchase of all the capital stock of the East Carolina Railway by the Wilimington and Weldon Rail Road Company on May 24, 1899.

This letter, sent from the Atlantic Coast Line President W. G. Elliott to East Carolina Railway President Henry Clark Bridgers, is one of three letters Pres. Elliott wrote that day spelling out the agreement between the two companies. The East Carolina Railway ran from Tarboro to Hookerton (Greene County, N.C.) and was led by Henry Clark Bridgers until 1935. The last run made on the railroad was on November 16, 1965.

The undated photograph below is of an East Carolina Railway train car.

East Carolina Railway train car

East Carolina Railway train car

For more information concerning Henry Clark Bridgers, Sr., or the East Carolina Railway, please see the Henry Clark Bridgers, Jr., Papers at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0558. Background information for this article was gathered from East Carolina Railway, Route of The Yellow-hammer by Henry C. Bridgers, Jr. (1973) which can be found in the North Carolina Collection in Joyner Library.

ECU’s Historic Relationship with the Railroad

Source: University Archives


Our Own College Railroad


Staff Person: Kacy Guill


The first years of East Carolina University’s history are in many ways tied to the railroad. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad was built through Greenville in 1889 and the Norfolk Southern intersected Greenville and the Atlantic Coastline in 1907, making Greenville accessible to the rest of the state and a possible location for a normal school. The first students at East Carolina Teachers Training School came to Greenville by train, and then took the school jitney from the train station to the campus. Students continued to come primarily by train through the 1940s.

The back of the luggage tag was used to label the ceremonial shovel supposedly used in the college’s groundbreaking. The first men’s dormitory referred to on the tag would have been Jarvis Hall. Two other men’s dormitories were established in 1947, when the number of men enrolled surpassed women for the first time.

In the late 1920s a supply track was built from the Norfolk Southern tracks to haul coal to the campus power plant.

Luggage Tag