Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Money Available From Emergency Crop and Feed Loan Office, 1941

“Loans for Aiding Farmers With Their Crops Are Now Available in This County” from the Thursday, May 1, 1941, issue of the Burlington Daily Times-News.
J.D. Wordsworth, field supervisor of the emergency crop and feed loan office, farm credit administration, announced today that crop loans to pay for fertilizer, feed, seed, etc., will be available until about June 15 this year.
The present world crisis makes it desirable that every American farmer be given an opportunity to render a national service by growing more food and feed crops. Those farmers, who are eligible and need financial help, may apply for these loans.
Applications are being received in every county. Farmers in Alamance county should meet the field supervisor at the county agent’s office in Graham on any Monday afternoon or Thursday and their applications will be taken.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Should Negroes Be Allowed to Vote In Primaries? 1914

“Fight Over Negro Vote” from the May 28, 1914, issue of the Western Carolina Democrat and French Broad Hustler, Henderson, N.C.
Asheville, May 23—The reduction of the popular vote of Robert R. Reynolds by 10 votes on the allegation that 10 negroes cast their ballots for him when they were not eligible to participate in the Democratic primaries and the appointment of delegates to the Waynesville convention featured today’s meeting of the Buncombe County Convention.
The Gudger forces, well organized and contesting every point, won on every disputed question from the Reynolds forces, who lacked organization and whose leaders stated that they had decided to make no bitter fight for the 10 votes as the convention vote would not be affected.
At a meeting of the committee to pass on the challenges of the Reynolds men put forth able arguments to show that the 10 negroes had been voting the Democratic ticket for years but they had few supporters and the report of the committee was against them. The Buncombe vote in the convention will be cast as follows:
R.R. Reynolds, 36,838; J.O. Harrison, 249; Walter E. Moore, 824; James H. Merrimon, 7,858; J.M. Gudger, 31,217. Resolutions were adopted condemning the allowing of the negroes to take part in Democratic primaries.
Reynolds and Gudger forces concede that a convention fight will decide the winner, and both said they will go into the convention in the lead.
Rutherford for Reynolds
Rutherfordton, May 25—Offical returns of the county convention here Saturday give Rutherford county to Reynolds by a small convention majority and a popular vote of 90 over J.M. Gudger Jr., the official vote being as follows: Reynolds, 22.23; Gudger, 21.89; Merrimon, .53; Moore, .1`2; Harrison, .23; out of a total of 45 congressional convention votes.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Decoration Day, Uniting Both Blue and Gray, 1911 Card

“Oh, happy Decoration Day, Which binds in love both Blue and Gray.” Card from 1911. Decoration Day was a time to remember those who died during the Civil War. Memorial Day, as it is known today, became an official a federal holiday in 1971.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Southern Express Office Turns 1500 Carrier Pigeons from Baltimore Loose, 1914

From the May 28, 1914, issue of The High Point Review
1,500 Pigeons Turned Loose
Sunday morning at 7:30 there was an interesting sight at the Southern Express office. The agent Mr. Yost had received 1,500 carrier pigeons from Baltimore to be turned loose. These hundreds of birds first flew straight up and then turned their heads to reach their home at the North. They reached there about 4 o’clock.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gunfire and Dynamite Explosions Exchanged on Day 28 of Textile Strike in Royal Mill, Wake Forest, 1951

“Gunfire Barks In Answer To a Dynamite Blast,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
Wake Forest, April 28—Gunfire barked out in answer to a dynamite blast in Wake Forest, North Carolina, last night, as violence continued to punctuate the 28-day-old southern textile strike.
Three persons were slightly injured by the exchange of rifle, shot gun and pistol fire. And the outbreak was the most serious of several recent disturbances.
Men on the picket line at the Royal Cotton Mill said the dynamite was thrown from a window of the mill. Some other said the explosive was thrown from outside the fence toward the factory building. But all accounts agreed that it was the dynamite explosion that set off the gunfire.
Workers at about 50 mills in seven southern states are taking part in the strike. Their demand is for a 13-cent increase in the present hourly wage of $1.14.
North Carolina Democratic Senator Willis Smith is one of the owners of the Royal Mill, where today’s violence took place. In Washington, Smith declined comment on the incident.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

S.W. Lovingood's Eulogy for Cherokee County Native D.W. Deweese,1915

“Death Claims Prominent Citizen,” from the Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N.C., Friday, May 21, 1915
D.W. Deweese, who died at his home in this city Friday morning, May 14th, after a long illness, was born in Cherokee County more than 69 years ago. At a time the log home and the log school house were permanent features of which he was wont to speak with as much pride as a king of his palace or the university scholar of his alma mater.
He attended school at these log school houses and obtained such education as could be obtained, until the war between the states. He was fast in the belief that from these unpretentious houses and schools came the greatest intellectual, moral and political heroes.
Just at the point where boyhood and manhood met, a call of the President for volunteer troops to suppress the rebellion was made. This ambitious boy-man kissed his mother goodbye and bid adieu his friends at home, shouldered his musket and marched away to the camps of the Federal armies, where every march was a battle and every battle field a grave yard. He remained faithfully at his post until peace was declared in 1865. He held to the opinion that no state had the right to secede from the union. Therefore the best years of his young manhood were spent in the preservation of the Union. He was frank to state that it was wrong for any man to eat his bread in the sweat of another’s brow. Therefore he was an abolitionist.
The war over, he returned to the old homestead in this county, to find many of his old friends gone, the old home devastated, the people without schools, churches or laws.
But did this young soldier despair? No, he went about advising, teaching and helping until there were established schools and churches all over the county. In fact, it may be truly said of him that no one during the last 50 years of this county’s history has exerted a greater influence over the public mind than he, and may it be said to his lasting credit that when the war was over and peace declared, every spark of enmity for the Confederate soldiers died within his breast, and he ever spoke of them in the most tender and affectionate term and this spirit was fully demonstrated when he was in the general assembly of this state, he added some Confederate soldiers to the pension roll and voted to raise the pensions.
Drew Deweese has been honored with almost every office within the gift of his county people. He had by nature fine executive ability which he strengthened by culture and habit.
He possessed tack; that is he knew better than most men how to accomplish his purposes. He was a lifelong student, especially of public questions. In conversation he was clear, distinct and to the point. He made no pretentions to eloquence or display, but his utterances were plain, sensible and emphatic. So much so that the emphatic almost became the dogmatic. He always had a definite point to drive to and generally got there in good time and order. In his social life he was plain, genteel and courteous, but possessed some peculiarities, the most striking of these was that he never divulged his sorrows or troubled, if he had them, to any one but bore them silently in his own bosom. He lived a true and consistent life, it may be truly said that he set a standard by which it would be well for us to live ourselves.
He is gone. No more can we have the benefits of his wise counsels in our public meetings. No more will he be awakened by clanking steel and the sounding of horses’ hoofs. No more will he heed the call for volunteers to preserve the union.
“To the undiscovered country from whose bounds no traveler returns.”
But when the end came to these 69 years of arduous life; when the golden bowl was broken, the silver cord was loosed, and the pitcher broken at the fountain, it can be truly said that he died as he lived, and there were few if any dregs in the cup.
The funeral services which were held in the Baptist Church, which he was a devoted and consistent member, were conducted by Rev. A.C. Sherwood, the burial services being conducted by the Masonic Order, and attested the esteem in which he was held by the people of his home and the surrounding country. On the occasion the drapery of woe gave place to the beauty of flowers until the splendid little church bloomed and blossomed with festoons of roses.
Business men; the rich and the poor were there; every creed in religion and every division in politicked united in one testimonial to the memory of this splendid citizen and gallant old soldier.
“When all blandishments of life are gone, the brave live on.”
                --S.W. Lovingood

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Mother, Mrs. Emmett Eisele, Should Be Mother of the Year, Says Eleanor Armour, 1951

The Statesville Landmark invited nominations for Mother of the Year in May 1951. The following letter from Eleanor Armour nominates Mrs. Emmett Eisele.
I wish to nominate for The Mother of Iredell County Mrs. Emmett Eisele.
The mother of eleven children, she is a mother to every one of the many other children, younger and older ones too, who find in her home a place that seems to fit their every interest. She has devoted her life to her family. She has a wonderful spirit that adapts itself to all ages, a spirit that gave the 94-year-old grandmother the same sense of recalling “belonging” in the family circle that was given to her own youngest child. To neighbors she has proven herself a perfect neighbor, to friends the most loyal friend. She serves her church faithfully and to the Parent-Teacher Association of Mulberry Street school, where her children have their grammar grade training, she has been a valuable asset, serving one term as its president. Another outside interest that she has followed with her own children interest in Girl Scout activities and there too she is of a great help.
Of her 11 children, all strong and self-reliant, 10 are in school, the 11th will start next fall. There are three in college, two in Senior High school, two in Junior High school, three in grammar school. A twelfth child of the family died in infancy.
I nominate, and have plenty of seconds for it, Mrs. Emmett Eisele as Iredell’s Mother for 1951
                --Eleanor Armour (Mrs. Alan Armour)

Monday, May 23, 2016

4-Year-Old Accidentally Shot in Head, Greensboro Murder-Suicide, 1951

Gun accidents and murder-suicides are nothing new. Here are two article from 1951, considered by some to be a "golden age." Both were reported on the same day in the Statesville Landmark. 

“Greensboro Man Shoots Wife and Then Kills Self,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
Greensboro, May 1—Shortly before 1 p.m. yesterday, a Greensboro man shot his estranged wife and then turned his 25-caliber pistol on himself. The shooting took place at the entrance to the Union Bus Station in downtown Greensboro.
The husband—listed by police as 40-year-old William M. Jacobs—was dead on arrival at the hospital. His wife—Marie Jackobs, age 22—was shot twice and is believed to be in serious condition at the hospital.

“Boy Accidentally Shot in Head,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
Bryson City, May 2—A 4-year-old Swain County child is near death today with a 22 caliber bullet in his brain. Police reports that the boy, Harold Laws, was wounded yesterday when he was struck by a bullet from a gun that was accidentally discharged.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Old Photo of 4-H'ers, Date Unknown

All I know about this photo, found in the ECA Foundation papers at N.C. State University, is that these are 4-H'ers. I don't  know when or where it was taken, but I wanted to share it anyways.

Friday, May 20, 2016

'Local and Personal News' from the Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N.C., 1915

“Local and Personal,” from the Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N.C., Friday, May 21, 1915
Murphy is a good town.
The residence of Bowman Harris, five miles North-west of Culberson, was burned to the ground Sunday afternoon, about 1 o’clock, and Mrs. Harris, who was upstairs trying to save some house hold goods, was seriously burned by the roof caving in. A quick rescue probably saved her life. The fire is supposed to have started from the flue. Very little furnishings of the home were saved.
G.W. Kirkpatrick spent the week end in Hickory.
C.M. Wofford is in Nelson, Ga., this week on business.
Mrs. R.F. Crooks is visiting in Atlanta, where she will spend about two weeks.
Save cost and pay your town taxes now. They must come. W.A. Elliott, Tax Collector.
Mrs. C.C. Abernthy of Copperhill, Tenn., is visiting her brother, W. Christopher, in this city.
Congressman Britt has secured a new rural route for Cherokee County, which is located at Culberson.
F.D. Dickey, T.H. Martin, and W.E. Howell went to Snowbird the first of the week on a fishing trip.
Riley Radford of Beaverdam trownship is a Cherokee County citizen with an unusual record. This is recorded that last Sunday, when he boarded the Southern passenger train for Asheville, it was the first time he had ever been inside or rode on a train, and he is 58 years of age. Mr. Radford is a prominent citizen of Beaverdam township and this fact is not be taken to his discredit. His business has never before made it imperative for him to board the train to attend to it.
T.B. Hampton of Brassown, one of Scout’s old and valued subscribers, was in to see us one day last week.
Mr. and Mrs. Gerlad West of Cartersville, Ga., were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. C.I. Gresham last Sunday.
Rev. J.N. Dills, Missionary for the Baptist church in this county, was a pleasant caller at this office Monday.
W.H. Meroney and Henry Akin are on a business trip to Hiawassee and other points in Georgia this week.
We are pleased to state that W.H. Griffith, who has been in the hospital at Atlanta, is getting along nicely.
The bereaved family of late Capt. R.L. Herbert wish to extend to the many friends of the deceased in Clay and Cherokee Counties their many thanks for kindness and sympathy which they have so faithfully shown them in their hour of deep sorrow and grief.
Supt. A.L. Martin went to Cullowhee last week to attend the meeting directors of the Normal & Industrial School for the purpose of electing the faculty of the school for the ensuing year. Prof. A.C. Reynold, who has been principal of the school, was elected president.
Miss Maye Mauney of Peachtree was visiting here Tuesday, being on her way to Jacksonville, Fla., where she will visit her sister.
Miss Elba Slaughter, who has been visiting at Farner, Tenn., was the guest of Mrs. R.H. Sneed Tuesday while on her way home to Sword, Ga.
John P. Cunningham of Durham, one of the field agents for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was a visitor here the latter part of the week, gathering statistics.
Rev. F.A. Clark, formerly principal of the Cherokee Academy, left Tuesday morning for Wyoming where he will make his future home. His family are still here but will join him later.
One of our friends reports finding a brass pin inside the gizzard of a chicken bought in town last week. The pin showed to be well worn and there’s no telling how long it had been there when disclosed by the cook’s knife. This chicken was a close rival to the goat which is accused of feasting on tin cans.
Misses Aileen Haigler, Lura, Inez and Jimmie Sullivan of Hayesviulle, were in the city for awhile Monday, being on their way to Unaka. They were accompanied by J.C. Crow and sister.
The Womans Club will hold its next regular meeting in the parlors of the Hotel Regal, May 26th, at 3 o’clock. Mrs. C.A. Brown will read a paper on the uplifting of the Philippines.
Mrs. J.R. Wilbur, who has been in Washington City for the past few weeks, returned Tuesday and is stopping with Mrs. P.E. Nelson for a few days before returning to her home in Webutty.
The most talked of event in Murphy at present is the drawing of the set of dishes at Candler Department Store each Saturday afternoon. The store is packed to overflowing each Saturday afternoon with customers who are desirous of drawing the dishes.
The revival meeting at the Methodist church is being well attended. The stores are being closed in the afternoons at 3 o’clock for the benefit of the services. Mr. Rodgers will probably leave here Saturday morning and the meeting close Sunday night.
We are in receipt of the following from S.A. Wilson of Brooksville, Fla., which is very much appreciated: “In a recent issue of your paper you stated that Murphy would get the Ashville-Atlanta Highway. In that event, it seems to me that the logical route will be through the gap of ???. Being interested there I would naturally like to see it come that way, but we have been informed that it would be hard to find a better route. Let me say in conclusion that if Murphy does not grow, it will not be because you do not boost. You are indefatigably and everlasting at it, and that is the way to get things done.”
Miss Ruth Abernathy and Mrs. Walker Lyerly entertained 10 tables of bridge in honor of Mrs. T.A. Mott and Mrs. Richard Parker of Murphy at the beautiful new home of Mrs. Lyerly on Thirteenth Street, Thursday afternoon, May 6. Mrs. Mott has just returned to her home in Hickory after a year’s absence. Mrs. Parker is a sister of the hostess. Miss Esther Ransom won the prize of the party, a pretty brass flower basket. Mrs. Mott, Mrs. Parker and Miss Mary Shuford, a bride-elect, were presented with crepe de chine handkerchiefs. Mrs. Luther Long of Newton was an out-of-town guest. The house was beautifully decorated with roses and dogwood, and the party was a delightful social event. –Hickory Democrat
Last call to list your taxes! To fail to list will subject you to pay 25 per cent in addition to your regular tax. We understand this law will be enforced without discrimination. Better send your list in and save the trouble. We will be at Murphy, Tuesday, May 25th, W.J. Martin and W.A. Adams, list takers and assessors.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Military Enlistments Increasing, Medical Facilities Being Cut Back, 1951

 “Army Hospitals Said Run in Cold Blooded Manner,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
Washington, May 2—The army is pressing a sweeping investigation of its hospital facilities after a series of incidents that included two fatalities. There is a possibility that some military patients may be sent to civilian hospitals.
However, one army spokesman has said that many civilian hospitals apparently do not know that they can accept military patients and be paid by the government.
The army wants to know why Private Arthur Credighton (of Yazoo City, Mississippi) was refused admittance at Los Angeles County General Hospital last week. The soldier died on his way to the nearest military hospital 70 miles away.
The county superintendent of charities in Los Angeles General Hospital—Arthur Wills—says that usually military cases are not accepted. He went on…”It takes us more than a year to get paid.”
A nine-month-old boy—James Ballenger—died of influenza. His father, Sergeant Dale Ballenger, said he had been told to stand and wait with the baby until a line of soldiers had been treated. That was at the Fort MacArthur infirmary in Los Angeles.
The commandant of Fort MacArthur—Colonel Sidney Dunn—said: “The trouble is that military enlistments are increasing, while medical facilities are being cut back.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sheriff Looking Into Mysterious Death of Prominent Brasstown Farmer T.C. Laney, 1915

“T.C. Laney Meets Mysterious Death,” from the Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N.C., Friday, May 21, 1915
Thadeus Clingman Laney, a well-to-do and prominent farmers of the Brasstown section of Cherokee County, met death in a manner that up to the present time is wholly unexplained and has altogether the air of  mystery about it, while on his way home from Murphy where he had been last Thursday morning, 13th, doing some trading.
Mr. Laney’s mule, which he was riding, arrived home without its owner, and a search was made for the missing man, who was found at 3 o’clock in the afternoon near the Haigler branch in an unconscious and dying condition. He was taken to his home where every thing was done to revive him, but without result. He lived only a short time and was never able to tell what had befallen him after leaving Murphy.
He left here for home at about 10 o’clock Thursday and had probably been gone an hour when misfortune in the person of the Angel of Death overtook him.
Three severe gashes were found on his head. On the forehead, top and back of the head. The wounds appear to have been made by a stick. Others are of the opinion that he was thrown by his mule on a rock and then kicked. The mule is said to be of a very vicious temper.
Coroner Dockery, Sheriff Gentry and others went to the scene of the tragedy and examined the remains Friday morning, and as there seemed to be no grounds upon which to proceed, the matter was left open to await developments. But we are told that a regular inquest will be held this week.
Mr. Laney was not known to have had a real enemy any where, and the true facts concerning the manner of his death may never be known.
The remains were laid away in Brasstown Cemetery. The deceased leaves a wife, five sons, two daughters, three brothers and three sisters.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Municipal Improvements and Charlotte Men Patent Water Meter, May 1910

From pages 674 and 683 of the Municipal Journal &Public Works, and Engineer, Vol. 28, May 4, 1910, and May 18, 1910, page 751, and May 25, 1910, page 781. This book is online at books.google.com.
Lobelia, N.C.—J.B. McQueen, Lakeview, has purchased Morrison Mill site on Lower Little River and will erect electric plant to supply power.
East Spencer, N.C.—City has selected J.B. McCrary & Co., Empire Bldg., Atlanta, Ga., to prepare plans and specifications for the water works—H.C. Hueck, Mayor.
Franklin, N.C.—Citizens have voted $29,000 bond issue for water works—F.L. Siler, Mayor.

Page 674:
May 6-7
Appalachian Engineering Association, Annual Meeting, Winston-Salem, N.C.—Harry M. Payne, Secretary, Morgantown, W. Va.
June 2-3
North Carolina Municipal Association—Annual Convention, Winston-Salem, N.C. O.B. Eaton, Secretary, Mayor Winston-Salem, N.C.

Page 751
Patent Claims
956.121 WATER METER. M’Kean Maffit and Patrick H. Williams, Charlotte, N.C. Serial No. 490,077.
A meter comprising a body, a disk-chamber located therein, a disk located in said chamber having a stem, a hood mounted upon the body, and having an externally threaded boss with an outstanding shoulder located thereon, a gear train located under the hood, the shaft passing concentrically through the boss and operatively connected with the gear train, a stuffing box located in the body and screw-threaded upon the boss and having a globular portion upon which the stem of the disk is adapted to operate, and an arm carried by the said shaft.
Burlington, N.C.—Street and Sidewalk Commission will advertise for bids after June 6 for sidewalk improvements—Jas. P. Montgomery, City Secretary.

Elizabeth City, N.C.—City is considering $120,000 bond issue for street paving.

News Briefs Across Old North State, 1921

“Condensed News From the Old North State,” from the May 5, 1921, issue of the Rockingham Post-Dispatch.
Short Notes of Interest to Carolinians
Kinston—A sneak thief who rifled the pockets of high school students at Kelly’s mill, a bathing place near here, secured watches valued at $73 and a nominal sum in money.
Lumberton—A.E. White, incumbent, was nominated mayor in the municipal primary here over A.P. Mitchell, only two candidates being in the race.
Wilmington—Mrs. Fannie L. Shephard, age 73 years, prominent and well know woman, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. Oscar Hinton, at Wrightsville.
Statesville—The remains of Lieut. Robert Hurst Turner, who was killed while fighting in Belgium on July 24, 1918, was buried here with great honors.
Lexington—The Lexington high school district, composed of Lexington, Erlanger and adjacent rural districts, voted in favor of a modern high school building.
New Bern—Dr. W.D. Gilmore of Mooresville, recently appointed county health officer for Craven, is now in full charge of the work here, having officially reported to a full meeting of the county board of health.
Wilson—Tasker L. Polk, prominent Warrenton attorney, will deliver the memorial address this year before John L. Dunham chapter, U.D.C., which will give a dinner for the vegerans of the war between the states.
Fayetteville—Flying at the rate of 160 miles an hour, Lieut. H.J. Hartman, testing a new DeHaviland plane, made a flight from Pope field to Goldsboro in 30 minutes.
Greensboro—Southern headquarters of the Consolidated Textile corporation will be moved from Greensboro to Lynchburg, Va., the change to take place in the latter part of May, it is announced.
Salisbury—This immediate vicinity was visited by the worst hail storm in years. Fortunately only a small area was covered, as indicated by reports, but fruit and vegetation was completely ruined.
Lenoir—Births exceeded deaths in Caldwell county by 457 last year, according to report of Register of Deeds John M. Crisp. There were 715 births and 249 deaths recorded during the year.
Fayetteville—Four negroes arrested here on a charge of shooting and wounding two policemen of the Lumberton police force earlier in the day were taken to state prison at Raleigh for safe-keeping.
Oxford—Mrs. Corinne Petty Jerman, member of the class of ’95, will deliver the commencement address at Oxford college this year on Monday, May 23rd. Rev. Q.C. Davis of Albemarle will preach the baccalaureate sermon.
Goldsboro—H.E. Longley of Wilmington, prominent in fraternal circles as well as being one of the most progressive business men in the South, was elected president of the North Carolina Master Plumbers’ association.
Henderson—Arrangements have been completed by the American Legion, which will have the matter entirely in hand, for the joint funeral service for Sergeant James A. Steed and Corporal Hammett N. Powell, who were killed in France in 1918.
Colerain—The men and women of the Mars Hill school district in Bertie county, by a vote of 87 to 26, have again demonstrated their faith in the education of their children. This time they voted bonds for building a home for teachers and boarding students.
Elizabeth City—Elizabeth City shopped her first carload of early garden peas Wednesday, April 20. They were shipped in a refrigerator car. The shipper was R.C. Abbott and the peas were consigned to New York City.
Elizabeth City—Gilbert C. White, engineer, has completed his survey of the McQueen power site on Lower Little River and pronounced it ample to supply the quantity of current promised by the company. He is now engaged in surveying the plant owned by the town.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Catherine, Christine, Jimmy, Peggy, Carolyn, Paul, Betty and Rebecca Gragg Murdered by Father, 1951

Information and photo from the website Find A Grave. This link also has a photo of Carolyn Gragg. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Gragg&GSiman=1&GScid=2131807&GRid=10220733&

Carolyn Jane Gragg
Oct. 19, 1943
North Carolina, USA
Death: May 2, 1951
Caldwell County
North Carolina, USA

She was a daughter of Ralph Marler Gragg and Ruth Ester Shirley Storie.

According to newspapers, Carolyn's father shot his eight children, set the house on fire, and killed himself. Carolyn was 7 years old and attended Collettsville School.

She was survived by her mother, who was not living with them at the time of the tragedy.

News article in the Morganton, NC News Herald May 1951:

"The answer to why and how 34-year-old Ralph Gragg, unemployed sawmill worker, ended the lives of his eight children, set fire to his home near Collettsville and took his own life Wednesday night, was probably buried forever shortly before noon Friday as two gray caskets containing the remains of Gragg were lowered in the Mt. View cemetery.

"Mass funeral rites for the nine persons were conducted at the Mt. View church, which was formerly called Beautiful Baptist church, located on a knoll in the Setzer's Gap Community on the Lenoir-Collettsville Road.

"The children were Katherine, 16; Christine, 13; Jimmie, 10; Peggy, nine; Carolina, seven; Paul Edward, six; Judy, four; and Rebecca, three.

"Prior to the interment of the father and his eight children only two adults and two infants had previously been buried in the new graveyard which was started three years ago when the church was built.

"Hundreds of persons attended the rites. The small cinder black church auditorium was packed and the church yard filled, An amplifying system had been installed in order that the crowds in the church yard could hear the services."

Family links:
  Ralph Marler Gragg (1917 - 1951)

  Catherine Gragg (1935 - 1951)*
  Christine Gragg (1938 - 1951)*
  Jimmy Gragg (1940 - 1951)*
  Peggy Ann Gragg (1941 - 1951)*
  Carolyn Jane Gragg (1943 - 1951)
  Paul Edward Gragg (1945 - 1951)*
  Betty June Gragg (1946 - 1951)*
  Rebecca Louise Gragg (1948 - 1951)*

*Calculated relationship
Mountain View Baptist Church Cemetery
Caldwell County
North Carolina, USA

Unemployed Father Kills His Eight Children, Sets House On Fire, Shoots Himself, 1951

“Ralph Gragg Slays His Eight Children And Then Kills Self,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
Gragg Injured in Accident at Saw Mill Last November and Had Been Unable to Work Since
Lenoir, May 3—Eight children were killed last night by their father in their home at Collettsville, 10 miles north of Lenoir.
The father, 36-year-old Ralph Gragg, then set fire to the house and killed himself with a shotgun. Gragg was injured in an accident last November in a sawmill and had been unable to work since.
The children ranged from 15 to 3 years of age. Their mother had been living away from home for the last month.
Neighbors told Sheriff George Greer the house “lit up all of a sudden” about 8 o’clock last night. Shortly thereafter the bodies of Gragg and his eight children were found. Gragg’s body was found in a hall beside a five-gallon can and a shotgun.
The coroner, Marshall Kincaid, said there would be no inquest. He said the skulls of the children had been fractured.
Mother Views Charred Bodies
The mother, in her thirties, viewed the charred bodies of her children—six girls and two boys—in horror. All of them were burned beyond recognition. Officers, in identifying them, went mostly by their sizes.
Her voice broken with sobs, Mrs. Gragg told Coroner Kincaid that “he threatened to do this before—that’s why I had to leave them. I was afraid of him.” She said her husband had bought kerosene about two months ago, apparently laying his plans for the tragedy at that time, the coroner reported.
The coroner reconstructed the events of last night from stories given by neighbors in the Blue Mountain community. One neighbor, Wesley Setzer, lives only about 200 yards from the site where the one and one-half story dwelling stood in a valley.
Neighbor Heard Shouts
Setzer told the coroner that he had heard shouts and muffled noises in the Gragg home but he thought perhaps they were caused by children. The coroner quoted other neighbors as saying the children were “terribly scared” of the father and often were punished.
The coroner said that Gragg apparently had used a club, an axe or some similar object to knock several of the children into unconsciousness before shooting them.
The coroner said Gragg “went from room to room, killing the children and closing each door behind him.” He added that after the two smaller children had been killed, the father went out the back door with a lighted flashlight in his hand.
Then All Was Quiet
“Neighbors said he stood on the front porch for a few minutes and then the flashlight went out,” Kincaid went on. “Just a minute or two later, the house was covered by the flash of fire.”
There were no outcries from the blazing building, indicating all the trapped victims were unconscious.
Relatives of Mrs. Gragg were making funeral plans for the eight children and the father, whose bodies were at two Lenoir funeral homes. They all will be buried at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Mountain View Baptist church cemetery.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Measles, Whooping Cough Deadly in Babies, 1920

“What To Do For Measles and Whooping Cough,” from the November 4, 1920, issue of the Rockingham Post-Dispatch

The State Board of Health does not pretend to have found any specific for measles and whooping cough, which kills so many babies. It does know, as shown in the October Health Bulletin, how to make less likely deaths from these diseases.

The first thing is to avoid having these diseases. If measles is abroad in the community the order is to keep the child away from it. If the child gets it the thing to do is to send the victim to bed and keep him there. By careful treatment there will be no dangerous aftermath which really makes measles highly fatal.

Whooping cough does its worst in youth. The baby under one year stands one chance in eight of dying; from one to two, 1 in every 10; from two to three, the rate is 1 in every 30; from three to four it is 1 in every 50; and from four to five, 1 in 200 die.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Clarksbury Home Demonstration Club Discusses Finances, 1951

“Clarksbury HD Club Meets With Mrs. J.J. Gantt,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
The Clarksbury Home Demonstration Club met Tuesday with Mrs. J.J. Gantt. Mrs. Albert Gantt was co-hostess.
Mrs. Myrtle Westmoreland conducted the demonstration period, discussing business matters of interest to women. She mentioned things every woman should know about her husband’s finances; told why every adult should make a will; spoke of the different types of bank accounts; and used charts to illustrate what would become of property, real and personal, if no will was made by the owner.
Mrs. Claudia Gantt gave a project report on foods and nutrition, and Mrs. J.J. Gantt, Mrs. Esther Campbell and Mrs. Jim Gaither gave book reports.
There were 20 club members present and Mrs. Lucille Hardee, Mrs. Virginia Gantt and Miss Myrtle Gantt were visitors.
During a social hour after the meeting, Mrs. Blanche Cartner directed games, the prize going to Mrs. Esther Campbell.
The hostesses served chicken salad, rose radish on lettuce, crackers, mints and punch.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

North Carolina Soldiers Wounded, Killed in May 1919

 “North Carolina Casualties,” from the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, May 29, 1919

Washington (Special)—North Carolinians appearing in the latest casualties reported by the commanding general of the American expeditionary forces are: James O. Jackson, Dunn, wounded, degree undetermined; Marvin V. Morton, Farmville, wounded slightly.

In the “current casualties,” among those reported as dying from disease is Owen Williams, Middleton.

Private Charlie A. Pritchard of Elizabeth City is among the slightly wounded.

Private Alonzo G. Pack of Winston-Salem is reported among the missing in action in the Marine Corps casualties from overseas. 

Private James N. Roberson of Saxapahaw, who is in the Marine Corps, previously reported missing in action, has returned to the United States.

Captain Frank A. Owens of Charlotte is among the wounded reported.

Private Robert L. Williams of Durham is reported as having been slightly wounded.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Alamance County Women Helping War Sufferers, Bundles for Britain, 1941

“Bundles for Britain Getting Underway” in the May 26, 1941, issue of the Burlington Daily Times-News
Mrs. W.T. Cheatham of Brookwood who has consented to be chairman of the local unit of Bundles for Britain has this week received a letter from Mrs. Wales Latham, national president, authorizing the Burlington group to go ahead with its organization.
Preliminary plans are now being completed for an active unit of Bundles for Britain in Alamance county. This movement was inspired at a meeting of the Belle Lettres book club to which other interested persons in town were invited. At this meeting Mrs. Willis Slone and Mrs. Matt Wall of High Point gave a full account of the unit’s work in High Point.
Since that time local persons have had one meeting to get the organization started.
L.J. Blakey, cashier of the National Bank of Burlington, will serve as treasurer and Mrs. L.J. Blakey was assistant treasurer. Mrs. Joe Kelly will be secretary and Mrs. Walter Williams assistant secretary.
Various committee women are being contacted. M.B. Smith has granted the use of his building which was formerly occupied by Jerry’s Sport shop on Main street opposite the Alamance hotel, and this will be local headquarters for the work.
Some women of Graham, Haw River, Elon College and Mebane have expressed a desire to cooperate. With such good groundwork, the Alamance county unit bids fair to be a strong link in the chain bearing relief to the war sufferers in Britain.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Only Representative Weaver of Asheville Voted for Woman's Suffrage, 1919

“Weaver Only In Favor Suffrage….Nine of North Carolina’s Delegation Vote Against Submitting Amendment….Small and Kitchen Protest….Mr. Mann Chaffed and Congratulated on His Changed Attitude on the ‘Votes for Women’ Question,” from the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, May 29, 1919

Washington (Special)—North Carolina congressmen stood out against woman’s suffrage. Representative Weaver of the Asheville district voted for the resolution to submit the constitutional amendment. Representatives Small, Kitchin, Brinson, Pou, Stedman, Godwin, Robson, Dougherty and Webb voted against it.

Messrs. Small and Kitchen lifted their voices in protest. Mr. Weaver was the only member who voted for suffrage before.

“The Republican party,” said Mr. Kitchen, “was in control of all branches of the government for years, and yet they never allowed the Susan B. Anthony amendment, which has been before Congress for 60 years, a chance to get a hearing. The women found that they could not get the Republicans to submit the proposition even to a committee. It remained for a Democratic house and a Democratic rules committee to give it to them.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Mann on the change of attitude he has assumed,” concluded Mr. Kitchen. He was referring to the good-natured gaffing that the opposition turned at the former Republican leader because in a house debate in 1913, following alleged insults to a young lady in a parade on Pennsylvania avenue, he had said she ought to have been at home.

Mr. Small said he was not altogether opposed to woman suffrage and had no objection to any citizen advocating it in any state. “I had the honor,” he said, “of writing to a member of the legislature of my state recently urging that a limited degree of suffrage be adopted there as an experiment.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Who Will Be Drafted to Fight War? 1917

“Measures for Raising of Military Forces, as Agreed Upon by Congress,” from the May 17, 1917, issue of the High Point Review

Male Citizens and Those Who Have Declared Their Intention to Become Citizens, of That Age, Liable to Draft….Classes The Are Excused

Washington—The selective draft under which the new United States army will be raised will be applied under the following provisions of the army bill:

“That the enlisted men required to raise and maintain the organizations of the regular army and to complete and maintain the organizations embodying the members of the National Guard drafted into the service of the United States, at the maximum legal strength as by this act provided, shall be raised by voluntary enlistment, or if and whenever the president decides that they cannot effectually be so raised or maintained, then by selective draft; and all other forces hereby authorized shall be raised and maintained by selective draft exclusively; but this provision shall not prevent the transfer to any force of training cadres from other forces.

Age Limits Are Fixed
“Such draft as herein provided shall be based upon liability to military service of all male citizens or mail persons not alien enemies who have declared their intention to become citizens, between the ages of 21 and 30 years, both inclusive, and shall take place and be maintained under such regulations as the president may prescribe not inconsistent with the terms of this act.

“Quotas for the several states, territories and the District of Columbia, or subdivisions thereof, shall be determined in proportion to the population thereof and credit shall be given to any state, territory, district, or subdivision thereof for the number of men who were in the military service of the United States as members of the National Guard on April 1, 1917, or who have since said date entered the military service of the United States from any such state, territory, district, or subdivision, either as members of the regular army or the National Guard.

Provides for Military Law
“All persons drafted into the service of the United States and all officers herein provided for shall, from the date of said draft or acceptance, be subject to the laws and regulations governing the regular army, except as to promotions, so far as such laws and regulations are applicable to persons whose permanent retention in the military service on the active or retired list is not contemplated by existing law, and those drafted shall be required to serve for the period of the existing emergency unless sooner discharged, provided that the president is authorized to raise and maintain by voluntary enlistment or draft, as herein provided, special and technical troops, as he may deem necessary, and to employ them into organizations and to officer them as provided in the third paragraph of section 1 and section 9 of this act.

“Organizations of the force herein provided for, except the regular army, shall, as far as the interests of the service permit, be composed of men who come, and of officers who are appointed from, the state or locality.”

No person liable to military service will be permitted to escape therefrom by furnishing a substitute or the payment of money, and the payment of bounties for recruits is prohibited.

Men Who Are Exempt
The persons who will be exempted from military service are thus designated by the provision of the bill:

“That the vice president of the United States, the officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, of the United States and of the several states, territories, and the District of Columbia, regular or duly ordained ministers of religion, students who at the time of the approval of this act are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools, and all persons in the naval service of the United States shall be exempt from the selective draft herein prescribed.

“Nothing in this act contained shall be construed to require or compel another person to serve in any of the forces herein provided for who is found to be a member of any well-recognized religious sect or organization at present organized and existing and whose existing creed or principles forbid its members to participate in war in any form and whose religious convictions are against war or participation therein in accordance with the creed or principles of said religious organization; but no person so exempted shall be exempted from service in any capacity that the president shall declare to be noncombatant.

Certain Classes to Be Excused
“The president is hereby authorized to exclude or discharge from said selective service draft and from the draft under the second paragraph of section 1 hereof, or to draft from partial military service only from those liable to draft as in this act provided, persons of the following classes: county and municipal officers, customhouse clerks, persons employed by the United States in the transmission of the mails, artificers and workmen employed in the armories, arsenals and navy yards of the United States, and such persons employed in the service of the United States as the president may designate; pilots, mariners actually employed in the sea service of any citizen or merchant within the United States; persons engaged in industries, including agriculture, found to be necessary to the maintenance of the military establishment or the effective operation of the military forces or the maintenance of national interest during the emergency; those in the status with respect to persons dependent upon them for support which renders their inclusion or discharge advisable; and those found to be physically or morally deficient.”

[Who determine who is exempt? Each county will establish a draft board, one for approximately each 30,000 of population in a city, according to the census. Boards shall have three or more members, none of whom shall be connected with the military establishment, to be chosen by local authorities. A district board will be appointed for appeals, and its findings will be final. All men between the ages of 21 and 30 must register and may be imprisoned for a year if they fail to register. Those temporarily absent from their legal residence may register by mail.)

Provisions for Volunteers
The provisions governing voluntary enlistment in the regular army and National Guard follow:
That the qualifications and conditions for voluntary enlistment as herein provided shall be the same as those prescribed by existing law for enlistments in the regular army, except that recruits must be between the ages of 18 and 40, both inclusive, at the time of their enlistment, and such enlistment shall be for the period of the emergency unless sooner discharged.

Provision for Increased Pay
The army pay increases are set forth in the following provisions:

“That all officers and enlisted men of the forces herein provided for other than the regular army shall be in all respects on the same footing as to pay, allowances, and pensions as officers and enlisted men of corresponding grades and length of service in the regular army; and commencing June 1, 1917, and continuing until the termination of the emergency, all enlisted men of the army of the United States in active service whose base pay does not exceed $24, an increase of $8 per month; those whose base pay is $30, $36, or $40, an increase of $6 per month; and those whose base pay is $45 or more, an increase of $5 per month.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Original Mother's Day Wasn't About Flowers or Candy

The original Mother’s Day started in the 1850s when a West Virginia woman’s organizer, Ann Reeves Jarvis, started mother’s work clubs to improve sanitary conditions, address milk contamination and lower infant mortality. The women’s groups took care of wounded soldiers in the Civil War. After the Civil War the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” of 1870 called on women to work for peace. The more traditional Mother’s Day observances began in 1908 and President Woodrow Wilson set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the first official Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis, daughter of founder Ann Reeves Jarvis, hated the commercialization of the holiday and even brought lawsuits against those who set out to raise money on the holiday.

To learn more about the original Mother’s Day celebrations in America, see:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Our Grandmothers Probably Didn't Brunch

Did your family eat breakfast at a restaurant when you were growing up? Mine never did. Did your mother eat alone in public? Mine never did that either, although my father sometimes did. National Public Radio had a story about brunch and about women eating alone in public recently. The beginning of the story is here but you can read the whole story here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/05/09/398832815/taking-mom-out-for-brunch-it-s-kind-of-a-feminist-tradition?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20160506

More than a quarter of American adults will dine out this Mother's Day – and most of them will opt to fete Mom with a breakfast, lunch or brunch out. If this describes your plans, guess what? You're honoring a feminist tradition.
The right to dine out in public during the day was an early victory of the women's rights movement at the turn of the 20th century, says Lisa Stoffer, the co-author ofRepast, a book that examines the dawn of modern dining during that era.
"It was part of a larger set of changes in society that accepted the idea that women could be public people," Stoffer tells The Salt"Some of the early lawsuits around women being able to eat in public without chaperones came from people involved in women's voting rights."
While women had long visited each other for tea and company in the home, the idea of a woman eating out at a restaurant, unaccompanied by a man, was seen as downright scandalous.
But if you were one of the many working-class women flocking to cities for jobs in factories during this era, and you didn't bring your lunch from home, your options were limited. As Stoffer writes in Repast, "few, if any, places were convenient, affordable, and met middle-class standards of feminine decency."
Quick-lunch counters were cheap but crowded, and while working-class women were sometimes welcome, they frequented them at the peril of their reputation, since noshing there left the unseemly possibility of being squished between members of the opposite sex. Upper-class ladies had a few more options, like tea rooms and department store eateries, which catered to monied women, but if they wanted to dine at the finest restaurants unchaperoned, they were out of luck, too. (And forget about going out at night: Only women of ill-repute did that.)
In the midst of the suffragist movement, feminists of the era decided enough was enough. According to Repast, in 1907, Harriot Stanton Blatch – daughter of famed suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a women's leader in her own right — and Hettie Wright Graham sued the fashionable Hoffman House restaurant for refusing to seat them.
Though an all-male jury found in favor of Hoffman House, not long after, a New York assemblyman introduced an (ultimately unsuccessful) bill that would have allowed women "equal accommodations with men" in public places, revealing a shift in public perception. There was no single turning point in the fight for equal dining, but by 1908, Stoffer writes, keeping women from eating out without a male escort began "to be seen for what it was: an antique, preposterous, and ultimately untenable custom."
The ties between daytime dining out and "women's liberation" became reinforced with the rise of brunch in America beginning in the 1930s.
"From the 1930s to 1970s, brunch was being marketed as a meal that was saving time and money" because it combined two meals into one, says Farha Ternikar, author ofBrunch: A History. Most of this marketing, she says, was seen in an explosion of brunch cookbooks and new food products hoping to get mom to try out a new ingredient or recipe.
The concept of Sunday brunch took off amidst a general loosening of social mores in post-World War II America. People were going to church less, which meant the chance to sleep in more and start the day with a late breakfast. Restaurants and hotels pushed brunch as a way to drum up new business. By the 1950s, brunch had also trickled into the home. As the rules for Sunday relaxed, so, too, did the meal schedule.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Man Shoots Wife for Not Making Him Breakfast, 1919

“Lazy Wife Punished,” from the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, May 29, 1919

“Cap, I shot my wife this morning; thought I had better tell you.”

With this statement Elmore Powell, a negro, approached Constable Bob Conrad in East Raleigh and asked that he be arrested. Of course, the constable lost no time in taking the negro to jail. He had not heard of the shooting, however, and was in East Raleigh on another mission.

Powell shot his wife, Alice, through the left wrist because she refused to get out of bed and cook his breakfast, according to the wife’s story.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dr. Mary Martin Sloop of Crossnore School Named State's 'Mother of the Year' 1951

“Dr. Mary Sloop Named State’s Mother of the Year,” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951. the photo below shows Drs. Eustice and Mary Sloop.

Charlotte, April 28—Dr. Mary Martin Sloop, Southern educator who has mothered thousands of boys and girls at Crossnore School, which she founded 38 years ago, was named North Carolina’s “Mother of the Year” last night.
Her recognition came at the final session of the 49th annual convention of the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs here. About 1,200 are attending the convention.
Presentation of the merit award was made by Senator Clyde R. Hoey.
Mrs. Ed. M. Anderson of West Jefferson, retiring present of the federation and chairman of the North Carolina Mother’s Committee, announced that the panel of judges for the selection was made up of Miss Beatrice Cobb, the Rev. Rexford Campbell and the Rev. Wilson Nesbitt. Many letter of recommendation were received for Mrs. Sloop, Mrs. Anderson said.
Long known as “The Grand Lady of the Blue Ridge,” Mrs. Sloop has helped make possible the education of more than 3,000 mountain boys and girls who otherwise would not have had that opportunity. Under her direction Crossmore School has grown from a small boarding school to a plant including 20 buildings and 250 acres.
Mrs. Sloop, who is 77, is the wife of Dr. Eustace H. Sloop, who has also given outstanding service in the mountain area. She is the mother to two children, Dr. Emma Sloop Fink and Dr. William M. Sloop. Dr. Fink was graduated in medicine from Vanderbilt University.

“Mrs. Mary Sloop Named ‘American Mother of 1951,’” from the Statesville Landmark, May 3, 1951
New York, May 2—Mrs. Mary T. Martin Sloop of Crossnore, N.C., a 77-year-old doctor known as the “Grand Lady of the Blue Ridge” for her work with mountain children, was named yesterday the “American Mother of 1951.”
Only last Friday, Dr. Sloop was selected as North Carolina’s “Mother of the Year.”
Dr. Sloop was picked by the American Mothers Committee of the Golden Rule Foundation, an organization devoted to the welfare of mothers and children.
She is the wife of a country doctor, Dr. Eustace H. Sloop, and since 1911 has been practicing medicine with her husband.
Feats of Crossnore
She also founded Crossnore School for underprivileged children and has been credited with bringing good roads, modern farming methods, religious tolerance, a hospital and dental clinic, and vocational instruction to Avery County, N.C.
She has two children, both doctors. Dr. Emma Sloop Fink, herself a mother of three children, practices at Crossnore School, and Dr. William Martin Sloop runs a dental clinic for charity cases in the county.
The American Mothers Committee for North Carolina, which nominated Dr. Sloop for the national honor, wrote to the national committee, “She is considered by thousands of friends as the first citizen of North Carolina. Single-handed she has driving out moonshiners and shamed the earlier mountaineers into sending their children to school.”
When informed of her selection, Dr. Sloop said, “I appreciate it more than I can say. I feel tremendously humble. Words fail me.” But she managed to add, “My work was made possible by the wonderful help I had and the type of children—mountain children—that I had to deal with.
“As for my own children, they’re more like their father than their mother.”

For more information on the Sloops, see http://ncpedia.org/biography/sloop-mary

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Crying Need for Reform of Medical Expert Witness, 1908

“Reform of the Medical Expert Witness” from the Editorial page of The Medical Brief: A Monthly Journal of Practical Medicine, May, 1908

There is a crying need for the reform of the medical expert witness. As constituted at the present time, he furnishes good material for the use of invective on the part of the newspaper editorial writer and is a veritable target for the “funny picture” man of the daily papers. There is a firm conviction (based upon repeated observations) in the mind of the average juror that one can get any kind of medical expert testimony that is needed if one has “the price.” And the more money there is to buy this testimony, the more experts can be produced. Under the American system, in a given case, each side is allowed to introduce as many experts as is “necessary” to “enlighten” the jury on technical medical matters. The average juror is correct in his belief that with money there is no cause so hopeless, no proposition so ridiculous and no crime so heinous but that you can procure a medical witness to swear that there is no cause for action, that the proposition is logical and that there has been no crime committed.

Does this state of affairs mean that the worship of Mammon is so all-powerful that the medical profession as a whole is ready and willing at times to prostitute itself for mere filthy lucre and swear away its honor for sordid wealth? Or does it mean that medicine in all branches is so empirical and so obscure that there can be an honest difference of opinion on any and all medical subjects?

The ignoble status of the medical expert witness can be explained in no other way, according to authorities on jurisprudence of this country. Harken to the words of Wharton in his work on “Evidence,” Section 454: “When expert testimony was first introduced, it was regarded with great respect. An expert was viewed as the representative of a science on which he was a professor, giving impartially its conclusions. Two conditions have combined to produce a change in this relation. In the first place, it has been discovered that no expert, no matter how learned and incorrupt, speaks for his science as a whole. Few specialties are so small as not to be torn by factions, and often the smaller the specialty the bitterer and more inflaming and distorting are the animosities by which these factions are possessed. Particularly in this the case in matters psychological, in which there is no hypothesis so monstrous that an expert can not be found to sweat to it on the stand, and defend it with vehemence. ‘Nihil tam absurdo,’ which being literally translated means that there is nothing so absurd that the philosophers will not say it. In the second place, the retaining of experts by a fee proportionate to the importance of their testimony is now as customary as is the retaining of lawyers.

No court would take as testimony the sworn statement of the law given by counsel retained by a particular side, for the reason as the most high-minded men are so swayed by an employment of this kind as to lose the power of impartial judgment; and so intense is this conviction that in every civilized community the retention of presents by a judge from suitors visits him not only with disqualification, but with disgrace. Hence it is, that, apart from the partisan character of their opinions, their utterances, now that they have as a class become the retained agents of the parties, have lost all judicial authority and are entitled only to the weight which sound and consistent criticism will award to the testimony itself. In making this criticism a large allowance must be made for the bias necessarily belonging to men retained to advocate a cause, who speak not as to fact, but as to opinion, and who are selected, on all moot questions, either from their prior advocacy of them or from their readiness to adopt the opinion to be proved. In this sense we may adopt the strong language of Lord Kenyon, that skilled witnesses come with such a bias on their minds to support the cause in which they are embarked, that hardly any weight should be given to their evidence.”

Such is the status of the medical witness, in the mind’s eye of the bar, bench and public. What are we going to do about it? Shall we point out the immorality of telling lies on the witness stand to members of a learned profession? Shall we advise members of an honorable body to cultivate the faculty of truth-telling and to disdain the fleeting pleasures that go with the possession of wealth? Are not these principles of conduct instilled in every one of us at the knees of our parents? Are they not further expounded from the pulpits of all creeds? Are they not further emphasized as we sit at the feet of our teachers in our medical schools? We must answer, yes, to all these queries. At our medical schools, the student is told to be honest and upright in his dealings with his patients and with his professional brethren. He is instructed in the so-called “ethics” of the profession, drilled in the niceties of conduct in consultation work with his fellow practitioners. But how much is he told of the dangers that beset his path when he is called upon to appear before the bar of justice as a medical witness, ordinary or expert? We venture to say that he is told little or nothing about this. Moreover, he has unfortunately possibly heard of this professor or that professor having acted as an expert in cases from time to time and knows the partisan character of the testimony given by his teacher. Naturally, like master, like man, he follows in his teacher’s wake when called upon later in life to act as an expert.

We would, therefore, offer as a suggestion for the relief of this condition that our medical colleges establish more complete courses on legal medicine; that such chairs be given to men of competence in medicine, not to lawyers, as is commonly done. Let the subject be hammered into the heads of the students. Let them learn from one of their honorable professors that a physician’s views and opinions when given in the white glare of the court room should not differ so immeasurably as when given in the mild light of the sick room. Another step in the right direction would be the formation of medico-legal societies in large cities where lawyers and doctors could meet and exchange views with the end in view of bring order out of this present-day chaos. In this way, members of the bar may learn from personal contact with physicians something of legal medicine and, at the same time, members of the medical profession may learn something of interest to them from the standpoint of medico-legal jurisprudence from their legal brethren. At present, the average lawyer views a doctor who is called to court as a target for his sarcasm and irony, while the doctor in turn looks upon the lawyer as one who has a little knowledge of perhaps the one single medical fact at issue in the case, and consequently hardly deserving of ordinary courtesy when presuming to cross-examine him (the learning doctor) upon the general broad propositions of medicine.

The partisan character of the medical witness’ employment necessarily is a heavy burden to bear and high-minded indeed is the man, no matter what his calling may be, who can stand out against it and give opinions contrary to the good of the cause upon which he has embarked and to protect whose interest he thinks he has been compensated. Nevertheless, it is possible for the medical man even to bear this burden and come out honorably if he only will bear in mind that he should give counsel and medical opinion to the jury just as he  would were he consulted on these self-same points in the privacy of his consultation chamber. In no other way can this begrimed and besmirched repute of the medical expert witness be cleaned and purified. The limitations of the United States Constitution in respect to the calling of witnesses for an accused person practically forbid the employment of commission of experts alone in settling moot points in medicine as applied to causes at law. Therefore, the slogan of the medical profession should be, self-purification and better medical education.