|Joyner Digital Library||Exhibits Home > ECU Centennial > Founding|
Dr. Leo W. Jenkins, "Haywood Dailís Ballot-Diet Is Part of the ECU Legend", Daily Reflector, 24 April 1970
Text and Image(s) from
Haywood Dailís Ballot-Diet Is Part Of the ECU Legend
By DR. LEO W. JENKINS
One of the most interesting and colorful legends about the BIRTH OF East
Carolina University is that of Haywood Dail and his bit of ballot biting,
if not ballot stealing.
It is legendary now 63 years later, but actually it is a well-documented
and apparently true story about how the school was located in Greenville.
The year was 1907 and Haywood Dail kept his promise to Gov. Thomas J.
Jarvis that he would see that a proposed $50,000 local bond issue
necessary to locate a new educational institution in Greenville would
pass. Dail, a farmer, was a booster of Greenville and Eastern North
By his own later admission, Dail who was pollholder for the bond election
chewed enough "No" ballots on election day to assure passage of the issue
by 300 votes.
History does not record exactly how many of the negative votes Dail
absent-mindedly stuffed into his mouth that day. But somehow he knew which
were the "No" votes - and that there was considerable opposition to the
idea of new local taxes in Greenville. And Dail was determined. He must
have chewed vigorously.
He chewed only in the area on which the ballot had been marked - and put
the wet paper wad in his pocket. Of course when time came to count the
votes, those ballots had to be discarded.
In later years, Dail confessed. "Iím not sorry I did it," he said, "because
if I hadnít the issue wouldnít have carried. It was a long time before I
said anything about it to anyone, but Iíll be damned if Iím ashamed of
The fact is that Governor Jarvis had been concerned about the outcome of a
bond issue to establish a new college if it were put to a vote. Dail
however reassured the governor.
"I said, ĎGovernor, if you want that election Iíll get it,í" he said. Dail
insisted that the ballots be small with nothing more than "For Bond Issue"
and "Against Bond Issue" printed on them. That made it easier to chew the
Fifty years later Dail said, "none of us had any idea that the college
would grow as it has. None of us had that much vision.
"We just thought it would be worth a great deal to Eastern North Carolina.
If it takes vision to think that way about a thing then I guess we had
Of course Haywood Dail had both vision and determination and these
qualities which have been and now are embodied in the spirit of East
Carolina University and those who support and defend it . . .
Center for Digital Projects |
| Manuscripts and Rare Books |
North Carolina Collection
Page Updated 02 September 2004
© 2003-2004, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University