Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Personal Mention From Across N.C. By Frank Jeter, 1955

“Personal Mention” by Frank Jeter, Extension Service Editor, N.C. State University, as published in the July, 1955 issue of Extension Farm-News

He retired July 1, but every morning about 8 o’clock you see Roy Dearstyne walking in to his office I Scott Hall. “So what,” he retorts. “I didn’t say I’d quit work, did I?” It was a wonderful dinner the college staff tendered Roy at the Youth Center of the State Fairgrounds; 196 of us there by actual count, and a handsome purse presented to the veteran poultry leader, a great fellow who retires full of years and honor.

So does our “Miss Hattie,” the girls in the Division of Ag. Information had a little party for her. There were one or two short talks, gifts were presented, and Mrs. Smith came by the next morning to say goodbye with one of the most original cartoons yet seen in this office.

One of our best Farm and Home Weeks, that 47th annual event! Only 345 men and 1291 women registered. What to do? If our people are not interested in this type of meeting anymore, despite yards of publicity of every kind, lots of personal letters, and much personal effort, then the event should be dropped from the college calendar. Secretary Fred Sloan, President Loy Howard of the Farmers’ Convention, and Mrs. E.P. Gibson, charming and energetic home demonstration president, did a wonderful job preparing the program and planning the week. Evidently people are getting their information in the various other meetings, achievement days, institutes, short courses, field demonstrations and the like. The old Farm Convention, so long a great event for rural North Carolina, seems a thing of the past. Every year we hold a “wake” over the remains. Every year the new officers dislike for it to die on their hands, so we try again. Here’s a vote to drop it and let’s move ahead with something else. An equal amount of work and nervous energy could well be used to a better advantage in some other area.

The ladies had a wonderful United Nations program at Farm and Home week. It was an all-day affair, broken by a delightful luncheon tendered by Dr. Frank Graham and other speakers in the College Union. Mrs. Theta Barnard of Clay County stole the show. Mrs. J.C. Berryhill of Charlotte, the new president of the State Home Demonstration Federation; Ellis Vestal, new president of the State Farmers’ Convention, wonderful selections.
Also wonderful tobacco meetings at the several branch stations, upwards of a thousand growers at each meeting.

A great indoctrination week for youthful, starry-eyed youngsters entering Extension for the first time. It’s good to see them catching something of the spirit of those who have made the Service what it is today. Better still, to see them realizing that a new day is dawning for Extension and on the solid foundation of the past, a still greater superstructure is being erected.

Over 100 farm and home agents here for the three weeks’ refresher course…45 in our course on the effective use of the information media…a sharp group. We had a good time together and learned something from one another.

Glenn Hardesty of Rowan says you get more out of this Extension job than your monthly salary. Glenn happened to recall a job vacancy when one of his club boys had been graduated from high school and despaired of finding a job, badly needed, too. Glenn called, arranged an interview, and the boy got the job. His previous record as a 4-H club member did him no harm at all.

Among the loud anthems of praise over 139 tobacco, Charley Raper plays a cracked record. The variety if susceptible to Fusarium wilt, he says, and one or two Columbus growers have lot heavily for this reason.

“Big Nick” Nicholson of Union finds a pullet, how laying, that was hatched with only one wing. No sign of any rudimentary wing on the left side. We have often heard the old saying,” A bird can’t fly with one wing,” but that’s another story.

Have you heard the one about William Lamm’s cat? Get Steve Lewis to tell you. Steve tells how Bill utilized on of his desk drawers in the Goldsboro Extension office as a kitten nursery.

Radio brings blessings to the old. Bob Love of Transylvania tells about Jim Mull, a 90-year-old farmer with failing eyesight, who keeps up with the latest in good farming by listing to the farm program on his radio.

“General” Grant must not be over-looked in the current series of Extension stories and tells of honey bees which spent the past winter on top of a dead pine The bees, says the General, spent the winter in a comb about the size of a man’s head built late last summer and fastened to the pine. And it was cold in North Carolina last winter.

Bertie, incidentally, will have a real peanut growing contest this season with $100 in cash offered to four prize winners.

Ever heard of “gate fever”? It’s a new disease, prevalent now in Yancey County, says Bill Bledsoe, assistant agent, but it’s a delight to the Extension office as more strong gates are hung to more pasture entrances.

For 33 years and 15 days, Ewing “Shorty” Millsaps has served Randolph County. He retired on July 1 and Ben Jenkins returned to the Extension fold to carry on in Shorty’s place.

They are getting a bit too modern in Randolph, however. Douglas Young, assistant agent, wanted to take a look over the county so he accepted a plane ride from Garland Allen of Ramseur and learned more about the topography of the county in an hour and a half than he ever knew before.

We are happy to have Bill Carpenter back in the editorial office as head of the publications section. Bill earned his Masters at Wisconsin this past winter and is now on the job filling the place made vacant when Lyman Noordhoff accepted a position in Washington.

That piece of red meat given to Governor Hodges by Dean Colvard and Jim Graham of the Hereford Association came from Catawba County. Please don’t forget that or you earn the stern disapproval of Frank Harris. Nancy Johnson of Catawba fed and exhibited the steer and sold it for $40 a hundred pounds after winning the grand champion ribbon at the Catawba-Iredell Livestock Show on May 25.
Pender County will issue $100,000 in bonds for an agricultural building and library. J.N. Honeycutt says a referendum to decide the question will be held on October 1. R.M. Ritchie of our Extension Engineering Office has designed the building.

John Gorman of Leicester, Buncombe County, won the $100 first price this year in the Western Carolina Timber Stand Improvement Contest. Fifty people labored two days to provide a suitable recreation park back on Wilson’s new Agricultural Center and it was here that Bill Lewis and Mrs. Ona Humphrey worked with the farm leaders of the county to stage their very successful countywide farm picnic. A greater occasion than usual because of those two $1,000 prizes for being the outstanding county of the year in rural progress.

Again speaking of progress, the farm folks of Forsyth County hired two big passenger planes to visit the Coker Seed Farm at Hartsville, South Carolina. Sam Mitchiner said they mainly wanted to see how 139 tobacco was being cured and handled.

The home demonstration club women of Mecklenburg County dedicated their special edition of the Mecklenburg Times of B. Arp Lowrance. Bill owns the paper but was powerless, as are we all, when the good ladies told him they were running that particular show.

Forty years after he began the Extension program in Pitt County, June 1, 1915, B. Troy Ferguson, retired district agent, went back to visit old scenes and found few that were as they were when he began to work.

Speaking of veterans, we were glad to have a letter from J.D. McVean, first pig club agent at Chesteron, Maryland.

Finally, a big, big day in Chowan. County elimination contests, a country picnic dinner, recreation, and all sorts of good times arranged by R.S. Marsh and Mrs. Clara Boswell. Mrs. Boswell is now in the florist business as of July 1 and invites you to come by when in Edenton.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What Is The Matter With Our Country? 1932

“What Is the Matter With the Country,” from the editorial page of the Brevard News, Thursday, July 14, 1932. James F. Barrett, editor, and Mark T. Orr, associate editor.

This question has been asked, orally and mentally, millions upon millions of times during the past few years.

“What is the matter with everything here?”

One answer to that question can be found in the Winston-Salem affair that is now so much in the limelight. A 20-year-old boy’s death, resulting from a gunshot at the end of a “party” given by him and his second wife, gives answer to the question of what is the matter with our country.

That boy, one of the heirs to the millions represented in the estate of the late R.J. Reynolds, was a living, and is now a dead answer to the question.

Ask the tobacco farmers who toil from sun to sun and whose work is never done, who receive for their tobacco scarcely enough to pay fertilizer bills, and they will tell you the answer to the question as to what ails this country of ours. While these farmers toiled and slaved, trying to educate their children, trying to pay off the mortgage, trying to pay taxes to keep their homes from being sold, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and similar organizations were building up estates for worthless sons like that boy who met violent death down at Winston-Salem.

Ask the workers in the tobacco factories, whose scant wages were barely sufficient to keep body and soul together, and they can tell you what is the matter with this country. They will tell you that the policy of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and similar organizations, keeping these workers going all the time on niggardly wages in order to create ONE big fortune in each of these industries for the worthless children in those families to spend in revelry and riotous living, contributes largely to the deplorable conditions now existing in this country.

In other words, it is the segregation of wealth in the hands of a few, and widespread poverty for the masses, that has in large measure brought upon this country a period of stagnation and human suffering.

If the tobacco farmers were given a fair price for their tobacco, and the factory workers were given a fair wage for their labor, and the tobacco companies were content with a fair profit on their investment, then prosperity would be more general.

But in this land where the dollar mark is the only sign of aristocracy, where a few boys and girls live like the Reynolds boys have lived, while the countless thousands of boys and girls in the homes of the factory workers go in want and without the actual necessities of life, there can be nothing but trouble.

As long as the sons and daughters of tobacco growers are handicapped because of lack of money, due to low prices on their crop, to prepare for life; so long as factory workers go on half rations due to low wages paid in tobacco factories, while the sons of the tobacco manufacturer can encircle the globe, marry and divorce one woman and give her a million dollars, and marry another woman, all before he is 20 years of age, then that long will there be trouble and more and more serious trouble.

The Reynolds affair has brought to light much that is wrong with this country.

20-Year-Old Heir to R.J. Reynolds Fortune Is Murdered, 1932

“Smith Reynolds Death, Mystery Still Unsolved,” from the Brevard News, Thursday, July 14, 1932.

A Forsyth County coroner’s jury Tuesday night attributed the tragic death of young Smith Reynolds, 20-year-old heir to the huge fortune of the late R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco king, to persons unknown.

Young Reynolds died Wednesday July 7 at his home in Winston-Salem from a bullet wound through his head and the injury was at first said to be self-inflicted, however, further developments brought to the light the decision that the shooting was done by other than the victim’s hands.

Principal characters in the case are Mrs. Libby Holman, widow of the deceased youth, and Albert Walker, his lifelong chum and secretary. The two have been under guard as material witnesses since Saturday and they were re-examined Wednesday afternoon.

Highlights of the facts revealed by investigations thus far in the case are:

That young Reynolds had often threatened to end his life.

That “six or seven times” he had held a pistol to his temple in the presence of his wife.

That Sunday night before the shooting, which occurred Wednesday, he had told Libby in an intimate moment that he was unable to reciprocate her love as he should and she should “have an affair with another man.”

That Smith on that night had told both Libby and Walker that he was insane.

That against Libby’s fervid protestations, he had spent Sunday night away from her with Walker in a Winston-Salem hotel.

That after Reynolds was taken to a hospital fatally wounded a strange incident occurred in the hospital room where Libby and Walker were alone.

One or both had fallen from a bed and were found on the floor by nurses.

That young Reynolds had a fear of kidnapping so deep that he always kept firearms handy. Once he kept a dummy in his bed for two weeks and himself slept under the bed as a measure of protection.

Finally it was testified that on the night Reynolds died his wife had cried out in the hospital, “Oh, my baby, my baby,’ and said she was to become a mother.

Investigations are being continued by Sheriff Transou Scott of Forsyth County.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Clifford Fisher Charged With Beating Will Fisher to Death, 1932

“Clifford Fisher Held Under $20,000 Bond to the Winter Court Term,” from the Brevard News, Thursday, July 14, 1932.

Preliminary Hearing Held in Court of Magistrate H.E. Erwin Monday…Charged With Murder of William J. Fisher…Thomas Girls Appeared as Witnesses in Case…Tragedy Occurred 10 Days Ago

Clifford Fisher was bound to the December term of Superior Court here Monday morning by Justice of the Peace H.E. Erwin who heard the preliminary evidence charging him with the murder of Will J. Fisher. Fisher was confined in the county jail upon failure to make the $20,000 bond required by Justice Erwin.

T. Coleman Galloway and W.E. Breese appeared for the state while Lewis P. Hamlin was the defense counsel.

Clifford Fisher charged with attacking Will J. Fisher Sunday evening July 3 and mortally wounding him so that the died early Tuesday morning July 5 as a result of the wounds inflicted by his relative, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Fisher of Reids Siding and is 22 years of age.

Edwin Owen, star witness for the state, testified little evidence other than that revealed in the coroner’s inquest held Tuesday July 5. The witness declared that as he was passing the home of Ben Thomas, where the tragedy occurred, about 7 o’clock Sunday evening on the way to church accompanied by Misses Nettie and Ruth Thomas, he heard the commotion at the house and paused in the road approximately 25 yards from the scene. He testified that he saw Will Fisher stumble from the door after a shove or blow delivered by Clifford Fisher and fall on his hands and knees at the foot of the steps. The witness stated that Will Fisher started around the house and was followed by Clifford Fisher, who knocked him down with a blunt instrument that appeared to the witness to be either of wood or iron. He said that Clifford picked his victim up from the ground and knocked him down a second time by a blow with the instrument in the side of the head. The witness further declared that Clifford hit Will three times with the rod, slung him two or three times against a chimney, then stomped him and threw the apparently unconscious form over a five or six-foot bank.

The witness then testified that Clifford followed the man to the bottom of the bank and sitting astride the body told him to leave in 10 minutes or he, Clifford Fisher, would cut his throat.

Dr. G.B. Lynch, coroner, was the second witness and he testified in regard to the physical condition of Will Fisher Monday July 4 when he was receiving treatment at the Lyday Memorial Hospital. Dr. Lyinch declared that Will Fisher had a cut under each eye, a fracture of the skull on the right side of the head. He also had a bruise on the left side of the chest and a fractured rib. Dr. Lynch testified that Fisher died as a result of the fractured skull. He also said that the man had been bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears.

Defense lawyer L.P. Hamlin asked the coroner if by any chance could a man fall and receive such a wound as sustained by the victim of the tragedy and Dr. Lynch replied in the affirmative.

Deputy Sheriff T.S. Wood, the third witness, testified that he arrested Clifford Fisher Monday morning for his connection with the affair and that at the time of the arrest Clifford said that he had hit will with his fists while the next day he admitted hitting him three times with the iron rod found in Ben Thomas’s yard. The rod found by Mr. Wood had a long grey hair clinging to it and Will Fisher had grey hair.

Mr. Wood stated the Clifford Fisher explained the incident to him by saying that Will Fisher was cursing and raising a disturbance in the house of Ben Thomas and that Mrs. Thomas asked him, Clifford Fisher, to put Will out of the house. Clifford told Mr. Wood that as he reached to grab Will the latter reached for his breast as if to draw a pistol from his shirt and thinking that he was armed he treated him more roughly that would have bene his action otherwise. He said that as he knocked Will from the house he broke his finger and in his anger picked up the pipe and used it in the attack.

Mrs. Ben Thomas, the fourth witness and at whose home the tragedy occurred, testified that Clifford Fisher was her nephew and that both he and Will Fisher had been visiting at her home Sunday, both apparently sober and in good humor with each other. She said that she left home about 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon leaving Will Fisher, who had been there since 9 o’clock, and several others at the house working on an old car. As she left the group she remarked to the men that she would not have any drinking around her house because she did not want her boys in any trouble. The witness stated that she returned home shortly afterwards and left again at 6 o’clock to pick berries nearby, this time leaving only Will Fisher at the house. When she returned after hearing a commotion at the house, she found Will Fisher lying in the yard while Clifford Fisher was at the house. She further said that Will Fisher had often visited her home and had always been courteous and respectful and that she had not told Clifford or anyone else to take him out of the house.

Miss Nettie Thomas, the final witness, who was with Edward Owen and her sister Miss Ruth Thomas and viewed the tragedy about 25 yards from the house, corroborated the testimony of Edward Owen and added that she started to go to the fight and do what she could to stop it but that her sister persuaded her not to go. She said that they went to the nearest house, the home of Alfred Owen, and told them of the incident immediately following the argument.

Tank Training at Camp Polk on Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, During WW I

These two pages from the 1919 issue of Agromeck, the N.C. State University yearbook, show tank training at Camp Polk, across the street from N.C. State in 1919. Agromeck is available online through the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries.

Todd Kosmeric's article on Camp Polk is online at

 North Carolina State University. Agromeck (LD3928 .N75), Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What to Do When State, Nation, Even the World Can't Pay Its Debts, 1932

“Breaking Faith With Schools of State to Keep Faith With N.Y. Banks” by Tom Bost of the Greensboro News, as reprinted in the Brevard News, July 14, 1932.

Raleigh, July 12—Proposed salary slashes, rated the most popular official pastime in Raleigh, appeared today to be at least doubtful enough among the rulers to make them give ear to school leaders all over North Carolina and they will be here tomorrow to present the other sides to the advisory budget commission and the council of state.

Must Balance Budget

The solemn session today, precipitated by a recently published letter of State Treasurer John P. Stedman, considered the suggestions of Mr. Stedman that the state cut $7 million from its $50 million appropriations and “balance the budget.” To get this perfect financial Fairbanks, it is necessary to cut heavily and illegally into the teachers’ salaries, in all state employes’ salaries and wages, then into the appropriations. This paring has gone along steadily for three years. The 1931 appropriations have been reduced to 70 percent. And the reduction now proposed takes the total down to 60 percent.
So far, so bad. The public has not cared deeply about it. It is quite conceivable that the populace can look without weeping upon larger salary and appropriations cuts. But not until the current conference of the financiers has the real reason been disclosed. These slashes are not made in behalf of the terribly over-taxed people but in the interest of North Carolina’s unimpaired credit. The heavy cuts are to be ordered to make possible “curtailment” of state obligations and to retire the state’s obligations in the usual way.

Cut for Teachers Illegal

The teachers in the state are protected by statute from this attack on their salaries. The raid upon them must be extra-legal. The state can temporarily withhold what they have and get legislative sanction for the proposed cut. The citizens have not become greatly interested in this issue until right now. But it isn’t anything like so vital as it appeared to be several days ago. The teacher are to be held up, not because the state cannot raise the revenue to pay what it has covenanted, but because New York bankers are demanding “curtailment” on notes and bonds held at a rate of 6 percent.

“Repubiation” has been dropped into the discussions. North Carolina people are a little sensitive of that subject. When New York makes demands for money that North Carolina owes for which New York hesitates accept renewals at 6 percent, the state is warned of the desperate situations. It may turn out that the state can’t get any more money. New York talks about us and says we don’t pay our debts. Then the cutting begins. Vox Pop stands by and says nothing. But until now he has not had a chance to know that these slashes are not in his own interest….
Everybody knows that North Carolina can’t pay its debt service now, that the United States cannot, that the world cannot. Everybody knows that if the council of state and the advisory commission decided tomorrow to cut 20 percent of the salaries and appropriations, that if the $7 million is saved, this will simply carry North Carolina to the first of the year, perhaps get a renewal of the notes at a horribly high figure and leave the state exactly where it is now.

Everybody knows that if salaries are cut in half, the appropriations in the same ratio, the schools suspended a year or orphaned by withdrawal of support, the problem has not been solved. North Carolina, which owes $180 million of its own and $380 million of subdivisional debts, cannot pay these obligations on present commodity prices.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

W.C. Allsbrook Oversees Crop Research at McClullers Station, 1955

“Proving Ground for Agriculture,” from the July, 1955 issue of Extension Farm-News, a monthly newsletter for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service put out by N.C. State University.

Grapes used in experimental work are inspected by Allsbrook and Cecil Thomas, director of test farms for the State Department of Agriculture.

Seeds bother you when you’re eating watermelon? This seedless, ice box-size melon test-grown at McCullers might be the answer.

Many farmers have tried the new hybrid corn varieties and liked them. Allsbrook is shown here with a foundation seed corn planting. There’ll be 33 acres, including foundation stock, at Clayton.

Nematode research won’t be overlooked while McCullers Station is being shifted to its new location outside Clayton. Here is a tobacco field which is being used to show the effect of soil treatment in nematode control.

W.C. Allsbrook, the genial superintendent of McCullers Station, won’t be bothered by claustrophobia any longer. The research program over which he is in charge will have plenty of room to flex its muscles at its new, larger location near Clayton.

But for all its humble start 19 years ago with 20 acres of leased land, the old McCullers Station did right well for itself. It grew to 194.8 acres of land owned and 65.5 additional acres rented, but because it had reached its practical limit, the entire operation is being switched to a 448-acre plot.

The tobacco breeding program remains at the old location at present because of a shortage of funds. The financial rub won’t hamper research on new materials for controlling suckers or studies of the life cycle of insects that affect tobacco. Research men will also continue breeding for new varieties of tobacco which are resistant to diseases and nematodes, will work on plant beds and new methods of controlling pests, and try to find the right amount of water to be applied in irrigating.

Tobacco farmers will probably be heartened by the fact that one of the first activities at the new site will be a stepped-up effort to develop mechanization. In other words, eliminate some of that back-breaking labor always associated with handling tobacco.

Other crops won’t suffer because of the exhaustive work being done on the state’s No. 1 cash crop, either.
The 270 acres of cropland will include 33 acres of corn, part of which will be for foundation seed stock, part for corn breeding work, and the rest for weed control experiments.
There’ll be 10 acres of cotton for breeding work, yield trials, wilt and nematode control research; 10 acres each of soybeans, vegetables, and small grains, with emphasis on developing new, higher-yielding, and disease-resistant varieties; two acres of lespedeza and four acres each for alfalfa and grain sorghum.

Scientists will study soil fertility in forage crops, sweet potato breeding, always on the lookout for ways to improve varieties.

Long-range crops such as raspberries, grape arbors, peach and apple orchards, are still at McCullers but the experimental orchards will be started at Clayton next fall.

And farmers can rest assured, anything promising will be farmed-out to other research stations for testing under varied climates and soils.