January 30, 1978, 87 pages; Minute book (1899-1904) of the New Bern, N.C., Chamber of Commerce. Copy of original in possession of John B. Green, New Bern, N.C.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
New Bern Chamber of Commerce Minutes (#354), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Patterned after that of Wilmington, N.C., the New Bern [N.C.] Chamber of Commerce was organized May 17, 1899, to encourage growth of industry in New Bern.
These minutes cover its first year (1899-1900), two meetings in 1901, and one in 1904. They include lists of officers, committees, and committee members, and chronicle the various endeavors of the Chamber.
A proposal for a cotton factory, including information on subscriptions raised, and efforts to attract a larger share of the tobacco market (1899) figure prominently in the minutes. The need for road improvement is mentioned often, including a proposal to straighten a length of roadway between Aurora and New Bern (1899), for which bond subscriptions were also raised. The need for improved railroad service by both the Atlantic Coast Line and the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroads (1899), the connection of the two railroads (1900), improved telephone (1899) and mail service, including Sunday delivery (1900), and improved freight warehousing (1899), was addressed, most often successfully. A plan (1900) for municipal ownership of water and sewage services, previously purchased from a private company, was implemented. Much concern over the improvement of the waterways serving New Bern is expressed, and specific plans are discussed throughout for that and the acquisition of an additional revenue cutter. Information for inclusion in an advertising pamphlet (1900) includes the opinion that the humidity in the area is favorable to the production of cotton clothing, and gives statistics on death rates for whites and for blacks, lists of available resources, and some climatic statistics. The Chamber expresses official complaints about excessive freight rates, poor gas quality (1900), and poor light and telephone service (1901). In the Chamber's first year of operation, New Bern gained a new sawmill, a new basket and crate factory, a new canning factory, expansion of a local knitting mill, and a new steamboat line (1900), resulting in a reduction in local unemployment. The New Bern
Journal is mentioned in connection with the publication of shipping schedules and transfers of property (1900).