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Sit A Spell: Stories from the Museum's Porch

The logo for our blog, Sit a Spell, features two rocking chairs on a porch with a beautiful view of trees and woods.

Welcome to our blog, Sit A Spell: Stories from the Museum's Porch!

For history buffs and non-history enthusiasts, alike, this blog will continue telling the stories of North Carolina beyond the physical walls of the NC Museum of History! Sit A Spell will show the reader how drastically things have changed (or haven’t) in this wonderful state, and shed light on lesser-known figures and events from North Carolina, bringing their history to life.

This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

James E. Cashatt, USMC

By Charlie Knight

Cashatt wanted to enlist, but as he was colorblind, he failed the Army’s vision test; however, he not only passed the Marine Corps test, he was accepted into Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. 

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Harvey R. Alexander, Tuskegee Airman

By Charlie Knight

“As I flew the skies over the United States, I felt a sense of empowerment that was not present on the ground. There, I was in control and not subject to society’s imposed restrictions of segregation and humiliation.”

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

The Tar Heel Tea Party that Wasn’t

By Sally Bloom

In August 1774, North Carolina’s First Provincial Congress met in New Bern and passed resolutions outlining their opposition to Parliament’s Acts and electing delegates to a Continental Congress. The resolutions called for nonimportation of British goods.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

The Storm of 1752

By Earl Ijames

In September 1752, a storm struck the Onslow County barrier islands, further dredged the New River Inlet, and blew the county seat of Johnston right off the map. How do we know? We can learn from primary sources like government documents.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

From the "East Carolina Teachers Training School" to East Carolina University

By Chelsea Weger

Chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1907, the East Carolina Teachers Training School officially opened its doors in Greenville to students and staff on October 5, 1909.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Guest Blog: The Untold History of Oakwood Cemetery

By Caroline Gregus

The Oakwood Cemetery is a sight to behold. Stately stones mark the final resting place for heads of state, brave soldiers, founding families, slaves that fought for freedom and equality, and those who only dreamt of it. 

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Plott Hounds: The State Dog of North Carolina

By Jessica Pratt

 The American Kennel Club, which recognized the Plott Hound as its own distinctive breed in 1998, describes the dog as “The Plott, a hound with a curious name and a unique history, is a rugged, relentless hunting dog who is a mellow gentleman at home but fearless, implacable, and bold at work.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Redefining the Word ‘Home.’ German Internment Camp in World War I, 1917-1918

By Kerry Burns

At the time, Hot Springs was populated by less than 700 American residents. Suffice to say, it was a major adjustment for citizens to have their population more than doubled by the Germans, whom they called "Germanies." 

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Virginia Dare's Birthday​

By Chelsea Weger

Virginia Dare was born on August 18, 1587, and was the first English child born in the New World. Dare’s parents were part of Sir Walter Raleigh’s expedition to explore and settle land in North America. Their fate is a mystery that historians and tourists still clamor to know more about. 

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Fli-Back to North Carolina

By Katie Edwards

Have you ever played with a paddle ball? Did you know that the toy became popular thanks to a High Point, North Carolina toy company? While versions of the paddle ball had been around since the 1920s, it took James Emory Gibson and his Fli-Back toy company to really make the toy a hit!

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Juneteenth: Freedom Day

By Earl Ijames

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African American men and women were to be emancipated throughout the former Confederate States of America.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

North Carolina's First Craft Brewery

By Kerry Burns

With over 300 breweries in North Carolina, it's almost impossible to believe that less than 35 years ago, the state outlawed them. Before 1985, it was illegal in North Carolina for a brewery to sell beer directly to a consumer.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Lee Jacobs’s Quilt Can Speak

By Diana Bell-Kite

Lee Jacobs, like many North Carolina women, quilted to remember. She commemorated life’s milestones by making wedding quilts, baby quilts, and housewarming quilts.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

North Carolina Women Making History Educator Notebook

By Sally Bloom

Women have made history in the land we call North Carolina for thousands of years. Women of the first peoples were essential and equal partners in their societies.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

NC A&T Trained Black Pilots During WWII

By Andre Taylor

Yes, there were blacks trained to fly in North Carolina and it happened in Greensboro, North Carolina. Few people know that the very program that paved the way for flight training at Tuskegee Institute opened the same door for five other black colleges in the United States.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Krispy Kreme's Delicious History​

By Kerry Burns

They say there’s nothing like the first time. Can you remember who you were with when you first smelled a “hot” Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut? Well, we all have a man named Vernon Rudolph to thank for the creation of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Secession of North Carolina

By Earl Ijames

North and South Carolina’s “split,” decreed from the British Crown, was complete by 1729. Since 1663, “Carolina” had a strong and independent spirit among all citizens. 

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Guest Blog: My Acceptance Of Living With PTSD

By Jeff Smith

For many years, society, the media and social norms have pushed the world to believe that PTSD is a unique issue facing all military members and veterans.  This is totally false. Every day, I see and meet people who are suffering from PTSD, including myself. Like them, I am not a military veteran either.   

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Junior Johnson: Moonshine Legend

By Kerry Burns

Bootlegging moonshine was essentially a hereditary trait for Junior Johnson, a Wilkesboro, North Carolina native. The middle child of seven, Robert Glenn Johnson, Jr. was immersed in the business and lifestyle as early as 4-years-old, when federal agents raided his home and removed hundreds of gallons of illegal moonshine in 1935.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Facing Their Ancestral Legacy: The Pottery of Ben Watford and Jim McDowell

By Michael Ausbon

Ben, who is 86 years strong, lives in New Bern and has been throwing pots for decades.  Jim, 73, hails from Weaverville and calls himself the “Black Potter”; he has been behind the wheel for over 30 years.  Both potters produce a wide variety of ware, but it is their face jugs that bind them together in a timeless spirit of shared culture.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Beyond the Exhibits

By Chelsea Weger

Educators, this one’s for you! You probably know the North Carolina Museum of History as a field trip destination, but you might not know about the wealth of educational resources we offer for use outside of the building. 

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This image shows Buck Leonard, an African American baseball player, who played in the Negro League.

Buck Leonard Knew Baseball

By Kerry Burns

Adversity, by definition, means “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.” Born in Rocky Mount on September 8, 1907, the boy who became known as Buck Leonard was familiar with the term.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Why Have a Film Festival at a History Museum?

By Sally Bloom

It’s simple. Making films is making history. Watching films is participating in shared culture and history. Stay with me here, because this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I am an educator at a history museum. And I am a film festival director at a history museum.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Madelon "Glory" Hancock

By Charlie Knight

Although the United States did not officially enter World War I, or the Great War as it was known at the time, until April 1917, Americans were involved in the conflict almost from the beginning. One of the first was a nurse from Asheville named Madelon Hancock.

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This sepia image shows Madelon Hancock, a nurse from Asheville, North Carolina.

Life in Death: Ronald E. McNair’s Inspiration on My Life​

By Andre Taylor

Inside, I cheered as the shuttle soared into space, still paying close attention to what I was witnessing. And then, a voice from inside the shuttle reported back to mission control, “Throttle up.”

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A street sign reads "Yoda Dr." in Grover, North Carolina.

North Carolina's Connection to Star Wars​

By Kerry Burns

May the Fourth be with you! No, we’re not using an old Jedi mind trick on you; that really is a picture of a street called Yoda Drive, located in the town of Grover, North Carolina. In fact, this isn’t the only street named after a beloved Star Wars character in Grover.

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Our decorative arts curator, Michael Ausbon, is pictured here as a young boy in 1970 on his grandmother's front porch, with a swinging bench in the background.

Rockin’ and Reminiscing

By Michael Ausbon

Growing up as a young lad in Martin County, I passed many an afternoon into evening out with my Grandmother on her front porch. To this day, I still recall the perfume of the gargantuan gardenia bushes surrounding the porch like a fortress and the staccato cadence of raindrops performing their free concert on her tin roof.

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Our decorative arts curator, Michael Ausbon, is pictured here as a young boy in 1970 on his grandmother's front porch, with a swinging bench in the background.

Flu Pandemic of World War I

By Kerry Burns

One of the most deadly pandemics in modern history took place during World War I, from 1918 to 1919. Nearly one-third of the planet's population became infected with this horrible sickness, resulting in life expectancy dropping by over 10 years.

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