Tag Archives: North Carolina

A Bit of Cheesecake (1920s Version)

That’s a lot of leg for 1928!  It would seem that North Carolina is disproportionately represented in this contest – the only state with more than one finalist pictured.  Let’s hope that Miss Dippie and Miss Willie Lou enjoyed their brush with fame, no matter who ended up winning.  (And is that a cigarette the latter contestant is holding?)

The Anticlimactic Ending of the Great Corn Contest of 1911

After poring over many pages of newspaper, this librarian regretfully concludes that no winner of the boys’ corn contest of 1911 was ever announced.  After last week’s excerpt pleading for additional contestants, the only further mention the contest received was the following brief notice from late October:

Inconclusive at best.  Perhaps the contest was a dud due not to the boys’ enthusiasm (or lack thereof), but simply due to the challenging conditions of that year.  An equally brief article from August of the same year noted the uphill battle North Carolina farmers faced that summer:

Maybe the boys got more of a lesson in the challenges of farming than the contest directors intended that year.

Before There Was Summer Camp…

In the summer of 1911, the Chatham Record announced a corn-growing contest for North Carolina boys.  A few weeks later, this letter in the Chatham Record upped the ante in what we hope was a successful bid to lure a few more future farmers into the game:

So who won the contest?  Was it a young Chathamite? Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to the great corn-grow of 1911!

Advertising for Education

It’s hard to believe that the University of North Carolina once needed to advertise, but the proof is here – the July 14th, 1904 issue of the Chatham Record held this little advertisement for the Fall 1904 term. It lists free tuition for teachers and preacher’s sons, plus the bonus incentives of water and central heat. An ad for the Peace Institute was right nearby.





In 1904, UNC had 620 students and 67 instructors; today, the university boast almost 30,000 students and over 3,200 full-time faculty. The Peace Institute in Raleigh is one of the oldest all-female colleges; it later became Peace College, and this coming fall it will transition to co-ed and become William Peace University. It’s amazing to see how things have changed, and continue to do so!

Caro-Graphics: Bite-sized History

…And now back to our regularly-scheduled CCL on the Record updates!

I recently came across this quirky little feature in the Chatham Record: Caro-Graphics, odd little factoids relating to North Carolina in comic form. Below are three examples of the feature from the latter half of 1937:

If facts like these are the bar of judgment, then I’d say none of us know our state as well as we thought! I haven’t yet found where this weekly feature begins or ends, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for more interesting tidbits from Caro-Graphics.


In the August 11, 1932 issue of The Chatham Record, the news editor seems somewhat crankier than usual. In the following excerpt, he shows little patience for The Chapel Hill Weekly, the State Democratic Executive committee, and the economy in general. Even death doesn’t excuse you from his ire, Smith Reynolds’ widow finds out.

The exasperated editor resumed a more measured tone in the following week’s issue, but not before his temporary breach of neutrality added a little bit of human interest to an otherwise humdrum account of local news and opinion.

Wasn’t this a George Jones song?

From the July 8, 1897 edition of the Chatham Citizen:

This brief item raises more questions than it answers. What dire circumstances drove Mr. Young so forcefully into the bottle? And how did he manage to propel himself to his doctor’s office afterward? And – most importantly -how did this man come to be in charge of building a dam?  There is no follow-up article, so the enigma of this buffalo-farming, tobacco-trading, alcohol-fueled engineer remains unsolved.

Query Department

Predating Laugh-In by 43 years, this series of question-and-answer quickies appeared in the 7 May 1925 edition of the Chatham Record. The addition of local town names adds a nice touch to an otherwise groan-worthy collection:


Can paper be used effectively to keep one warm? -Josie, Moncure.

Answer– Yes, Josie. We once gave a 30-day note at a bank and we were in a sweat for a month.

Do fairy tales always begin with the phrase: “Once Upon a Time?” – George, Colon.

Answer– No, George. Sometimes they say: “Sorry dear, but I was detained at the office.”

Is it true that men marry women sometimes just because she may have money? -Gertrude, Apex.

Answer– Not always, Gertrude. Sometimes it is because the man has no money.

Can you tell me where I may visit an apiary; I want to see one? – Willie, Pittsboro.

Answer– Yes, Willie. Come by some afternoon and we will go with you. We like to see the monkeys too.

My sweetheart will not inherit any property until the death of his uncle Jeremiah, who is now 75 years old. What would you advise about our marriage? – Jennie, Bonlee.

Answer– ‘Sall right Jennie, if he has enough to live on for two or three years.

Why is it that woman are not as fond of radio as are the men? – John, Siler City.

Answer– Don’t know John, unless it is because they have to stay quiet and listen to it.

I want to make lots of money and I have been advised to go into the newspaper business. What would you suggest? – Bill, Ore Hill.

Answer– Be sensible, Bill.

Clearing Her Good Name

On 2 May, 1917, the Chatham Record saw fit to defend the reputation of one of its own:

Not Our Chatham Girl

In the Raleigh and Durham papers there appeared last week the account of the capture of some “blind tiger” operators who were carrying liquor from Raleigh to Durham. With the party was a woman whose name was given as “Bessie Carroll,” but whose name it appears is Bessie Holland, of Durham.

To some people the name of “Bessie Carroll” has become mixed with that of Miss Bessie Carroll, the daughter of Mrs. Thos. E. Carroll, whose home is on Hickory Mountain, in this county, which is entirely incorrect.  Miss Bessie Carroll is a young lady who has held a stenograpic [sic] position with the Carolina Power and Light Company, in Raleigh, for nearly four years, and is now holding a similar position with the News and Observer, being held in high esteem and respect by all who know her.

It must have been some relief to Bessie Carroll to have that cleared up!

Out With a Bang

In these turbulent times, it’s strangely comforting to find evidence that political histrionics are nothing new; in fact, they are part of a long and venerable tradition.  From the Chatham Record of 1 April 1880, it appears that the more things change, the more they stay the same:

Turner Expelled

The public generally will heartily approve of the action of the House of Representatives in expelling Joe Turner, and the only wonder is that he was not expelled long ago.  His oft repeated violation of all decorum, his reiterated insults offered to the House, and his disorderly conduct have long since deserved the punishment of expulsion. He was finally expelled last Friday under the following circumstances.

He began to make a speech, but was using such improper language and behaving so disgracefully that the Speaker called him to order, whereupon he defied the Speaker and refused to stop.  A resolution was at once introduced to expel him which elicited much discussion, and finally this was withdrawn and another resolution passed ordering him to be arraigned at the bar of the House and be publically reprimanded by the Speaker. 

As soon as this resolution was passed Turner spoke at length, abusing the Speaker and the House, and unceremoniously took his departure, whereupon a resolution of expulsion was immediately introduced and adopted.

It is said that Turner has been eagerly desiring to be expelled, so that he might appear as a martyr, and as one who had been persecuted by the “ring”, and we are truly rejoiced that he is at last gratified, for he is quite welcome to all the “capital” that he can make out of his expulsion.