Saturday, March 25, 2023

Re-Union of Confederate Veterans in 1895

 Re-Union of Confederate Veterans [1895]

"All the Confederate Veterans who enlisted in the various companies in Caswell County, all resident Veterans irrespective of command, are requested to go into camp with one day's rations at Harrison's church on Monday and Tuesday, July 29th and 30th, 1895. We go into camp Monday at noon and break camp Tuesday afternoon. Everybody, ladies especially, invited to come and bring rations and have a 'good old time.'"

H. S. Thaxton, Com. of Confederate Veteran Asso., of Caswell County

Geo. M. Burton, Secretary

The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina), Friday, July 26, 1895.


H. S. Thaxton most likely is Henry Speck Thaxton (1834-1919).

Geo. M. Burton most likely is George Moses Burton (1845-1909).


Purley United Methodist Church, a little more than a mile south of the old Harrison's Meeting House, is a direct outgrowth of the meeting house.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Plug Tobacco in North Carolina

Plug Tobacco in North Carolina

"As a professor of history, I do not know where subscribers got the idea that in the 19th Century there was no difference between chewing and smoking tobacco. It is true that some late 19th Century tobacco manufacturers sold their smoking tobacco in small cans that were marked "For smoking or chewing" but these were not really considered chewing tobaccos by the average person. They were just an "emergency" source. Plug tobaccos were always intended solely for chewing and the process to make them goes back to the 1500's. The Days O Work brand is one of the oldest brands of plug tobacco, having its origin in the 1700's. Plugs were intended to fit in a man's vest pocket and were consumed by Eastern gentlemen cutting off a small piece at a time with a tiny tobacco knife. Pioneers carried the tradition westward where the common pocket knife took the place of the specialty pocket knife. The inner tobacco has always been Grade B but included smaller leaf stems, while the outer wrapper (described as paper here) was made from the finest cigar wrapper leaf. Original manufacture was by stacking leaves in a door sized form and covering it with a flat board. Weights were then added to press the tobacco over several weeks time, where it could then be cut into plugs with a roller knife before wrapping in the finer grade leaf. Today they use hydraulic pressing to speed up production but the remainder of the process remains the same as in the 1700's."

Source: Tobacco Reviews  [accessed 12 March 2023].


Plug tobacco is made up of tobacco leaves that have been pressed together and bound by some type of sweetener, resulting in a dense, square tobacco mass. (Some compare the look of plug tobacco to a brownie or similar pastry.) One can then bite directly from the mass or slice the tobacco into portions. Some types of plug may either be chewed or smoked in a tobacco pipe, and some are exclusive to one method of consumption or the other.

Plug tobacco was once a much more common product, available to many American consumers during the 19th century. Two tobacco companies that historically manufactured plug are Liggett and Lorillard. (The latter was known for its Climax brand of plug.)

Modern brands of chewing plug include "rustic" and simple packaging, as is the case with popular plugs like Apple Sun Cured, Brown's Mule, Cannon Ball, Cup, Days Work, and Days O Work. Some well-known loose leaf chewing tobacco brands, such as Red Man and Levi Garrett, have their own versions of plug tobacco, as well.

Source: Public Encyclopedia  [accessed 12 March 2023].


"Outside Intervention in Monopolistic Price Warfare: The Case of the 'Plug War' and the Union Tobacco Company" by Malcolm R. Burns in The Business History Review, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring, 1982), pp. 33-53 (23 pages). [accessed 12 March 2023].


Workers making plug tobacco (chewing tobacco) in a Winston, North Carolina tobacco factory. Several men in suits observe. Boxes, possibly finished product, are stacked on both sides of the room. Reproduced from: Heimann, Robert K. “Tobacco and Americans.” New York : McGraw-Hill, 1960. 173. Date of photograph: 1880-1910. [accessed 12 March 2023]; [accessed 12 March 2023].


Chewing Tobacco [accessed 12 March 2023].


Reynolda  [accessed 12 March 2023].


R. J. Reynolds 1850-1918  [accessed 12 March 2023]. In the late 1880s he added saccharine to plug chewing tobacco.


Chewing Tobacco  [accessed 12 March 2023].


Plug Tobacco Mill Patent Application  [accessed 12 March 2023].


Plug Tobacco Cutter Patent Application  [accessed 12 March 2023].


Plug Tobacco Press Patent Application  [accessed 12 March 2023].


North Carolina Tobacco Factories Pre-1865 

There were 97 tobacco factories in North Carolina reported in the 1860 Census, with $646,730 in invested capital, and producing $1,117,099 in goods annually. These companies employed 1,461 people. The total number of firms include one cigar manufacturer in Forsyth County, and two stemmery operations in Person County.

In 1860, tobacco manufacturers were located in the following counties: Alamance (4), Burke (2), Caswell (11), Chatham (1), Davie (3), Forsyth (2), Granville (16), Iredell (3), McDowell (1), Orange (2), Person (2), Rockingham (25), Rowan (1), Stokes (17), Surry (5), Wilkes (1) and Yadkin (1).

Source: North Carolina History  [accessed 12 March 2023].


Glass, Brent, Editor. North Carolina, An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites [North Carolina] (1975). Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Historic American Engineering Record.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

North Carolina Governor William Woods Holden Impeachment 1870-1871

 North Carolina History: Governor Impeached and Convicted

In 1870, Republican North Carolina Governor William Woods Holden (1818-1892) was impeached by the North Carolina House of Representatives. In his 1871 trial in the North Carolina Senate he was convicted and removed from office.

While the proceedings generally were partisan, he was not convicted by a strict party-line vote. A few Democrats voted not guilty on one article of impeachment [Article 1], and a few Republicans voted guilty on other articles of impeachment [Articles 5 and 6].

At the time, the North Carolina Senate was comprised of 50 senators. During the Holden impeachment proceedings one senator was absent (Republican Jesse Blythe from Northampton County). A two-thirds majority was required to convict (33 senators).

Here are the eight articles of impeachment and the vote:

1. Unlawfully, wickedly, corruptly and falsely proclaimed and declared the county of Alamance to be in a state in insurrection. [30/19: not guilty]

2. Unlawfully, wickedly, corruptly and falsely proclaimed and declared the county of Caswell to be in a state in insurrection. [32/17: not guilty]

3. Unlawfully ordered and procured the arrest of Josiah Turner of Orange County. [37/12: guilty]

4. Unlawfully ordered and procured the arrest of John Kerr and other citizens of Caswell County. [33/16: guilty]

5. Unlawfully sent an armed force [Kirk's troops] to Alamance County and there arrested A. G. Moore, and refused to obey a writ of habeas corpus issued on Moore's behalf. [40/9: guilty]

6. Unlawfully sent an armed force [Kirk's troops] to Caswell County and there arrested John Kerr and others, and refused to obey a writ of habeas corpus issued on their behalf. [41/8: guilty]

7. Unlawfully recruited an armed force [Kirk's troops] and ordered the State Treasurer to pay $70,000 for the services of this army. [36/13:guilty]

8. Unlawfully disregarded and disobeyed a writ of injunction issued by Judge Anderson Mitchell forbidding the payment of any money out of the State Treasury for Kirk's army. [36/13:guilty]

Deposed and removed from office and forever disqualified from holding office under the State of North Carolina. [36/13: removed from office]

Had Republican Senator Blythe been present and voted along party lines, it is likely that Holden would have been found not guilty of Article 4 involving Caswell County. However, had the other votes remained the same his absence would not have affected the overall outcome.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Milton Baptist and Methodist Churches

 For the Advocate, Looking Backward by Rev. E. L. Perkins, M.D. [1891] *

"Fifty years ago (Oct. 9th, 1841), I preached my first sermon, in a new brick church in the town of Milton, in Caswell County, N.C. The church was afterward sold under a mortgage, and went into the hands of the Baptist denomination. My text was Luke IV-18. 'The spirit of the Lord is upon me, etc.'

"Wm. Anderson, who had charge of the Caswell circuit that year, was in the pulpit with me. Since then the changes which have taken place, both in church and state, have been very great.". . . .

"The church too has had its changes. In 1841 there were five bishops serving the undivided church, North and South. . . .

"Numbers who were school boys when I preached my first sermon have entered the Conference, finished their course, and are resting from their labors. Of such I can call to mind Numa F. Reid . . . .

"The N. C. Methodists had no college previous to 1841. The Greensboro Female College [now Greensboro College] was beginning to be talked about, and James Reid and S. S. Bryant were putting forth their energies to work up a sentiment in favor of the movement.

"Trinity College [now Duke University] was unknown; I think a log school house occupied the ground where Trinity was afterward built. All that has been done by the Conference in the way of college building has been done since the time of which I write."

Raleigh Christian Advocate (Raleigh, NC), 7 October 1891.


* Dr. Edgar Laurens Perkins, M.D. (1818-1895).

Photograph of the Milton Baptist Church [Meeting House] is not associated with the newspaper article.

Monday, March 06, 2023

"The Other Mount Mitchell Controversies: A Real Property History of North Carolina's Highest Mountain Range" by Gary V. Perko in The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XCV, No. 1 (January 2018)

 "The Other Mount Mitchell Controversies: A Real Property History of North Carolina's Highest Mountain Range" by Gary V. Perko in The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XCV, No. 1 (January 2018).

"As the highest point east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell is one of North Carolina's greatest natural treasurers. The so-called "Mitchell-Clingman" controversy over the original measurement of the high peak is well documented, but it was not the only dispute involving Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountain range upon which it sits. For almost two centuries, North Carolina's courts and legislature were called upon to resolve disputes over who owned -- or should own -- the slopes of the Black Mountains and even Mitchell's high peak itself. The real property history of these lands involves an eclectic cast of land speculation, enterprising mountain folk, wealthy sportsmen and socialites, carpetbagging lumbermen, and, of course, lawyers and politicians. Their collective story is one of litigation, exploitation, legislation, and, ultimately, conservation.

Photograph: Mt. Mitchell in the distance. Courtesy Romantic Asheville.

. . . .*

"The records are clear, though, that in 1891 the Lusks, Moores, and Martins sold their interest in the Black Mountain lands formerly held by Stepp and Bailey to John Kerr Connally, a Civil War hero and graduate of Bailey's law school who had become a luminary of Asheville society after gaining a fortune in Texas and Virginia. [See Asheville Citizen-Times, February 2, 1904.] The deed transferring the Lusks' interest in the property to Connally perpetuated the confusion over the small parcel containing Mitchell's grave by specifically excepting the 'lot on Mitchell's Peak' they had purportedly 'conveyed to Miss Mitchell' three years earlier.'

"Not long after the sale of the Murchison Boundary, John Kerr Connally's widow, Alice T. Connally, followed suit, selling to Highland Spruce Company (for $18,410) almost all of the five hundred acres of Jesse Stepp's former lands that she held in the Black Mountains. In the deed conveying the property, Mrs. Connally reserved four small parcels, including a five-acre tract described as:

"Beginning on top of Mt. Mitchell at a stone lettered X standing North 35° 15' East of Mitchell's Monument and 8/10 of one pole from the same and runs with the top of Mountain South 62° West 14 poles to an upright stone and pointers; thence South 61° East 39 1/4 poles to a stake in the Eastern boundary line of Grant No. 659, thence with said line North 12° East 22.5 poles to a stake; thence North 60° 15' West 33.5 poles to a stake on top of the Black Mountain; thence up said top South 7° 30' East 13 poles to the Beginning. . . .

"Along with Jesse's Stepp's original reservation of 'Five acres on the Top of Mitchell's Peak and including the grave of Dr. Mitchell in his 1858 deed to Judge Bailey, Alice Connally's reservation would generate confusion when the State of North Carolina ultimately sought to preserve the summit of Mount Mitchell as a state park.

. . . .

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Rosa Parks and Homer Plessy

 Rosa Parks and Homer Plessy

Many have heard about Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955, refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white person. She was arrested, and her action precipitated a boycott of the Montgomery bus system by black residents, being led by, among others, Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout the south, blacks refused to "move to the back of the bus." In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court found segregated busing unconstitutional.

However, sixty-three years earlier in New Orleans, Louisiana, Homer Plessy purchased a railroad ticket for a "whites only" first-class coach, boarded the train, was arrested, and found in violation of a Louisiana law that required separate accommodations for black and white people on railroads. This case also made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but with an outcome less favorable than that obtained by Rosa Parks. The Court, in the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, established the "separate but equal" principle that provided a constitutional basis for "Jim Crow" laws.    


U.S. Supreme Court

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)

Argued April 18, 1896

Decided May 18, 1896

The statute of Louisiana requiring railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in that State, to provide equal, but separate, accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations;

and providing that no person shall be permitted to occupy seats in coaches other than the ones assigned o them, on account of the race they belong to;

and requiring the officer of the passenger train to assign each passenger to the coach or compartment assigned for the race to which he or she belong;

and imposing fines or imprisonment upon passengers insisting on going into a coach or compartment other than the one set aide for the race to which he or she belongs;

and conferring upon officers of the train power to refuse to carry on the train passengers refusing to occupy the coach or compartment assigned to them, and exempting the railway company from liability for such refusal,

are not in conflict with the provisions either of the Thirteenth Amendment or of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.


Justice Harlan Dissenting in Plessy v. Ferguson:

"I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the race of citizens when the civil rights of those citizens are involved. Indeed, such legislation as that here in question is inconsistent not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, National and State, but with the personal liberty enjoyed by everyone within the United States."

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), Dissenting Opinion.