This Day in History – December 20, 1870

On this day, North Carolina governor, William W. Holden, was impeached and handed over his duties due to high crimes and misdemeanours.


In the 1870s, the Ku Klux Klan was increasing violence to stop blacks and republicans from voting. While this phenomenon was widespread throughout the southern states and North Carolina, it was particularly active in the Piedmont region. Governor Holden tried to use local authorities and then hired troops to stem the growing tide of the Klan’s fighting and control. Holden’s methods were frowned upon and the government would no longer support his efforts. Legislature voted to impeach Governor Holden and he turned his position and duties over to Lieutenant Governor Tod R. Caldwell.

Governor Holden was eventually taken to trial and charged with unlawfully raising troops; illegally arresting, detaining, and imprisoning citizens; and also refusing to obey a writ of habeas corpus.


One local man that could have been affected was Abner Jordan. He was born enslaved at Stagville Plantation but was subsequently freed. Abner continued to live in the area. This would put him in a position to face the Klan’s force if he tried to vote, but he continued to live and work in North Carolina.

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This Day in History – April 4, 1870

Richard B. Fitzgerald, African-American brickmaker, businessman and president of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, marries Sarah Ann ‘Sallie’ Williams. FitzgeraldMarriageCert

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Durham Prison Farm

Durham Prison Farm Photo

prison farm

Photo Courtesy of :


Current Name of Facility:DURHAM COUNTY HOME

Location of Facility:North Roxboro Road

Years:Built in 1882 / demolished in 1973

Architectural style:  Colonial Revival

Construction type:  Masonry , Frame , Brick

Neighborhood:  Northern Durham

Type:  Government

Use:  Nursing Home , Prison , Long-Term Care Facility

 Question Posed

Where and  when was this  taken? What is going on in the photograph?


In the picture above, this picture takes place at North Roxboro Road in Durham, North Carolina. This farm is located in the Northern Durham  neighborhood. This picture  was taken around the1880’s. The Prison Farm was built in 1882 and  then it was demolished in 1973. In the photo, it looked like the Black prisoners were posing along with their  shovels and hoes. The  Black prisoners  are males and females, the looks  on their faces are  mixtures of sadness and  anger.  While the White counterparts, are  to the right of the picture look like a family. The family consisted of  men, women, boys, and girls. Also, in the picture I  see is a Warden or Sheriff, figure to the left of the  picture holding a  gun in his  left hand, to monitor the prisoners. There are other White, men posing around in the photo leaning on  big sticks which looked  like the men  used to act like canes. Those men are more than likely, to be aids to the man with gun  or some type of law enforcement.  Overall, the photo shows everyone in the picture, stopping to get their picture taken.


Open Durham .org

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Durham Smoking Tobacco

Advertisement of John Green’s son’s tobacco (credit info in PDF)

This brief blurb in the Raleigh News published in 1878 raises a number of lingering questions for the 21st century reader. Some that stand out are: Who was John R. Green? What was Durham Smoking Tobacco? What about the Indian girl?

John Green illustration (Duke Homestead State Historic Site)

What we know about John R. Green

John R. Green was a Civil War era tobacco farmer, whose farm covered much of northwest Durham. During the war, his tobacco was looted by soldiers from both the Union and Confederacy. He later received letters from all over of people requesting to buy his unique “Bright Leaf” tobacco.[i] Thus was the beginning of John R. Green’s tobacco manufacturing company in Reconstruction era North Carolina.

Lingering Questions:

  • Did he offer tobacco to soldiers as a marketing strategy?
  • How did he acquire this new “Bright Leaf” tobacco?
  • Did those who purchased his tobacco want it for personal use or to sell in their respective regions?
  • Was his tobacco especially addictive?

What we know about Durham Smoking Tobacco

Bright Leaf Tobacco advertisement, circa 1870

In addition to founding the first tobacco company in Durham, Green was also a pioneer of tobacco advertising. Inspired by a bull’s head illustration on a brand of mustard from Durham, England, he trademarked the bull for his Durham Smoking Tobacco brand. This brand became popular worldwide and forever made the bull an emblem of Durham.[ii]

In 1869, William T. Blackwell, a former business partner of Green, bought his company after his death. Financed by the former Confederate private, Julian Carr, Blackwell was able to build one of the first brick tobacco factories in the United States.[iii]

Lingering Questions:

  • Names like Blackwell and Carr sound familiar for people who live in the Triangle. What relationship do they have with the areas and sites that carry their namesake?
  • What there tobacco advertising previous to Green’s branding? If so, what did it look like?
  • In what ways was Blackwell’s tobacco factory indicative of the American industrial age?
  • How is “Bright Leaf” tobacco different from other types of tobacco?

The Indian Girl?

The comment about the Indian girl in the newspaper clip above is a strange twist, since the surrounding sentences appear to be discussing tobacco. Yet, it became increasingly common in the late 1800’s to see “exotic” (some would even say “erotic”) pictures of women in tobacco advertisements.

This was due to James Buchanan Duke, whose family entered the tobacco manufacturing business in the 1870’s. Duke took advantage of new developments in color lithographic printing and included color pictures of scantily clad actresses and other unidentified women. Loyal smokers had an extra incentive to stick to his brand as they tried to collect as many of the trade cards as possible.[iv]

James Duke was later discouraged from including these “lascivious photographs” by his father, Washington Duke, after he received a letter from a reverend. James Duke eventually included other types of trade cards along with the packs of tobacco, which gave birth to baseball cards and the like.[v]

Lingering Questions:

  • What does James Duke’s marketing strategy say about tobacco customers in the late 19th century?
  • How did the Dukes’ tobacco company meet the demand of increasing numbers of customers?
  • What role did new technology play in advertising?
  • What relationship did tobacco have with sports?

For more information on tobacco advertisments visit the following websites:

Also visit Duke Homestead State Historic Site:

[i] Open Durham. (2008, March 24). Blackwell’s Durham Tobacco/ American Tobacco Co. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from

[ii] Durden, R. F. (2006). Bull Durham Tobacco. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from NCpedia:

[iii] Open Durham. (2008, March 24). Blackwell’s Durham Tobacco/ American Tobacco Co. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from

[iv] Pritcher, L. (n.d.). More About Tobacco Advertising and the Tobacco Collections. (D. U. Libraries, Producer) Retrieved April 10, 2015, from Digital Collections:

[v] Ibid.

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Confederate Surrender at Bennett Place

April 17, 18, and 26, 1865: Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his troops to Union General William T. Sherman at Bennett Place in Durham. This was the largest surrender of the Civil War, and the generals had to meet several times to negotiate the terms of the surrender. They met at Bennett Place, the home of Nancy and James Bennett and one of the largest farms in Durham at the time. The surrender led to the end of the war for troops in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Although key surrenders had yet to occur in a few other states, the surrender at Bennett Place was crucial in ending the war.

Cabins at Bennett Place.

Cabins at Bennett Place.

Barrett, John G. Sherman’s March through the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956.

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Bennett Place Now and Then


Bennett Place circa 1880

Bennett Place is the site of the largest surrender surrender of Confederate soldiers ending the American Civil War, on April 26, 1865. It is located on 4409 Bennett Memorial Rd, Durham, NC 27705 and is open to the public.

Today the reconstructed farmhouse, kitchen, and smokehouse she light on the lifestyle of an ordinary Southern farmer during the Civil War.

For more information please visit:

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Significant election scene at Washington,D.C.


Background on Significant election scene at Washington,D.C.

Title of Photo: Significant election scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867

Illustrator :  A.W. M’Callum aka (Andrew McCallum)

Location City in Photo:  Washington, D.C.

Date of Photo Scene: June 3, 1867

Date Published  in Harpers Weekly: June 22, 1867

Origins of the Photo: Started off as a wood engraving then got reproduced into print in Harpers Weekly  Magazine.

Type of Source: Primary Source

Significance of Photo:

On June 3, 1867, a municipal election was held in the nation’s capital of Washington City in which Harpers Weekly reported that black voters began lining up at two a.m. to wait for the polls to open. The accompanying illustration showed a black man voting and a black man as one of the election judges.

General Summary of Photo: Black and white men observed each other, while standing in line together preparing to place ballots into box of 1867 election.

Questions about the Illustration

(1) How/When/Where/ Why was this source created?

Answer: The title of the illustration was Significant Election Scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867  and the illustrator was A.W. M’Callum aka (Andrew McCallum). This illustration started off as a wood engraving, which eventually turned in a printed image  in the Harpers Weekly newspaper. The  printer illustration depicted the June 3, 1867 election  in Washington D.C. , though the illustration did not make Harpers Weekly newspaper until June 22, 1867. This illustration was  made because on June 3, 1867, a municipal election was held in the nation’s capital of Washington City in which Harpers Weekly reported that black voters began lining up at two a.m. to wait for the polls to open. The illustration showed a black man voting and a black man as one of the election judges., The illustration basically acknowledge the scene of the second election in which African-Americans and white men observed each other; while black men and white men, stand in line to  prepare to place their ballots into box of 1867 election.

(2) Explain how the source can be used?

Answer: This  illustration can be used as a “historical  breakthrough” in which this election was  an opportunity  for  African-Americans who since leaving slavery, failed to have a chance at  education and voting to be able exercise their “rights as citizens” of the United States. The African-Americans  wanted the privilege that white men had, which was through the power of the right to “vote”  in  general elections. This illustration shows the power of  the Constitution, through The 15th  Amendment  which stated the following:

Amendment XV

Section 1.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Thus,The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This source can be used as learning tool for  people in general, not just people of color, that the right to vote is one of the most cherished rights of citizenship in the United States and the basis of our democratic form of government. Voting  is “a fundamental political right, because preservative of all rights.”Also this source shows that throughout our history, too many Americans have been denied that basic right. Women and African Americans in the early part of the 20th century, African Americans in the 1960s and Latinos in the 1970s, Native Americans in the 1920s and Asian Americans following World War II all had to fight to be included in the American polity.

(3) Any unanswered questions about the source ?

The African – Americans in this  image were  not slaves at the  time. These were “freedmen” that  were illustrated in a Washington, D.C. polling place as both voters and staff. Also, this  image acknowledges the presence of only African – American and Caucasian men  at the  Election of 1867. At  this  time  period,there was still a  left out  demographic  which was women.Women  had not been given the right  until the  birth  of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

(4) Any additional informational that is relevant to source?

  • The illustration’s excerpt in  Harpers Weekly  newspaper stated the following:


Washington City witnessed, on June 3, another curious scene illustrative of the progressive spirit of the times. For the second time in its history the colored citizens assisted in the municipal election. We give on this page a view atone of the polling-places at which a negro man was one of the Judges, and from all accounts a smart one he proved. In fact the whole colored race in Washington appears to have appreciated its privilege on this occasion. The colored men gathered in long lines before the polls as early as two o’clock on the morning of the election,and waited patiently for an opportunity to vote.Many who entered the line before sunrise, did not get their vote deposited until a short time before the polls closed. Very few whites voted, and the Republican ticket was elected by a large majority.

  • Within the Constitution, although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.



“HarpWeek: 15th Amendment.” HarpWeek: 15th Amendment. All Content © 1998-2004 HarpWeek, LLC, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2015. <;.

McCallum, Andrew. Significant Election Scene at Washington,D.C. June 3, 1867. Digital image. Library of Congress., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <;.

“Primary Documents in American History.” 15th Amendment to the Constitution: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2015. <;.

“15th Amendment Site.” 15th Amendment Site. © 2001-2005 HarpWeek, LLC & Caesar Chaves Design All Content © 1998-2005 HarpWeek, LLC, 3 Jan. 1998. Web. 25 Mar. 2015. <;.

“19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote (1920).” Our Documents –. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <;.

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Margaret Faucette

Several primary sources were used to tell the story of Margaret Faucette and how she contributed to shaping of the city of Durham. We will take an in-depth look at the sources that were used to better understand what they tell us about Faucette.

White Rock Baptist Church Records: The records from the White Rock Baptist Church provides valuable information about Margaret Faucette’s role in the establishment of the church. Included in the records are a history of the church and the church yearbooks.

What information does these sources provide?

White Rock Baptist Church Records inform us that Margaret Faucette organized prayer meetings in a room she rented from Sallie Husband on the corner of Pettigrew and Husband Streets after moving from Hillsborough to Durham. According to these records, the prayer meeting started out with 6 members including Sallie Husband, Reverend Samuel Hunt, Joshua Perry, Gos Lee, and Melissa Lee. An account of Margaret Faucette’s life written by 2 of her granddaughters is included in these records in which her granddaughter describe her as a devout Christian who was a self-taught reader. Her prayer meetings gave rise to the White Rock Baptist Church. Once the group became too large to fit into the space, the church was moved to a cotton gin then to a warehouse and eventually to the corner of Pettigrew and Coleman St. The church was then relocated to Fayetteville Road and Mobile Avenue where the first brick building was erected (1886-1897) as depicted in the image above. According to church deeds, Faucette’s son, Henry Faucette, was one of the trustees of the church on Fayetteville Road. Other financial documents and letters from pastors within the church records highlight how involved the church was in helping the community and shed light on the religious life of African Americans after its founding such as the membership of several prolific African American leaders and the church’s Health Clinic and nursery school.

As a whole, these sources show how one year after slavery had been abolished in 1865, ex-slaves came together to start afresh by establishing a place of worship that became a relgious foundation for the community. During slavery, prayer meetings were sometimes held in secret and sometimes were encourage by slave owners as a means for slaves to freely worship. The prayer meeting held by Margaret Faucette in 1866 grew into a church founded and owned by ex-slaves which shows one of the ways in which the lives of African Americans were changing. The establishment of the church from these meetings shows the opportunities that Durham presented for ex-slaves and their newfound freedom.  This also shows that the Faucette family maintained a significant role in White Rock Baptist Church.

US Census of 1870, 1880, and 1910: Although not completely accurate, the US census provides a glimpse into the livelihoods, residences, and family life of the American public particularly during a significant period in history.

What information does these sources provide?

1870 US Census: Prior to 1870, African Americans were not recorded in detail within the census. After the end of the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, the census underwent a few changes one of which being the detailed recording of African Americans. The image depicts the US Census of 1870 for Hillsborough Township with the Faucette family highlighted. As can be seen in the image, Margaret Faucette and her husband, William Faucette, are listed with 10 of their children. Margaret Faucette is listed as 45 years old and unable to read or write. This census also informs you of the estimated value of the property and land if the individual owned any. According to this census, William Faucette did have ownership of the land he farmed.

1880 US Census: This census shows that Margaret Faucette still resided in the Hillsborough Township with her husband and 8 of her children. Here she is also listed as not being able to read or write. In contrast to the 1870 census, this census does not list property value.

1910 US Census: In this census, Margaret Faucette is listed as living in Durham Township with her daughter Nannie Cooper and son in law James Cooper. Here she is listed as widow which indicates that her husband died sometime between 1880 and 1910. One of the additions to the census is the listing of children born and still living. Mrs. Faucette is listed as having had 15 children, 10 of which were still living.

The US census shows that after her emancipation from slavery, Margaret Faucette and her family resided in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Unfortunately, the census is not always accurate and her recorded age is more of an approximation in the census than an accurate recording. The census also records her as unable to read or write which conflicts with her granddaughter’s recollection of her being a self-taught reader.


White Rock Baptist Church Records, 1880s-1990s, North Carolina Central University Archives, Records and History Center, Durham, NC 27707

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Ragtime Music

Ragtime music started around the 1890s in the South (mainly around New Orleans) and in St. Louis, Missouri. It became popular after it was introduced en masse at the World’s Fair in Chicago 1893. The main characteristic of ragtime is a syncopated rhythm, which makes part or all of a piece of music off-beat. The main instrument was a solo piano with other instruments added more in later years. Many of the first songs were played by ear before it became common to write them down.


Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin

Scott_Joplin_19072Joplin was born in Texas and became a leader in the ragtime scene. He played at the World’s Fair and taught other musicians that would follow in his footsteps. The Maple Leaf Rag is an archetype of the classic rag and influenced other composers over a decade later.


La Pas Ma La by Ernest Hogan

220px-Ernest_Hogan_smilingErnest Hogan is credited with coining the term “ragtime” and also creating the first pieces of music in this genre. La Pas Ma La was one of the first pieces Hogan wrote. The name came from a comedy dance he created called “pasmala.”


You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon but You Done Broke Down by Ben Harney

BenHarneyPortraitHarney was another pioneer in ragtime. This song was one of the first references to ragtime on sheet music and also the first song to be published. Some credit him with being the “Ragtime Father” as they believe he did more to make the genre popular.



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April 10 in Durham History

Formerly known as Durham Station, named for the railway depot located on land donated by Bartlett S. Durham, the town of Durham was incorporated on April 10, 1869 by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly.

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