Goldsboro and its government : from the beginning to the present time

GOLDSBOROand its GOVERNMENTFrom the Beginning to the Present TimebyLIONEL WEIL



“Goldsboro and Its Government” constitutes one of a series of talks delivered by some of our citizens to our High School students on subjects closely related to our city life and its development. These discussions have been promoted under the joint auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and the Goldsboro High School. In the talk which follows, it has been my endeavor to briefly outline the development of our city and its government from its beginning to the present time.

In the preparation of the charts and maps used, I am greatly indebted to City Engineer G. E. Whitman for his valued assistance.

Since deciding to publish this talk in pamphlet form, certain additional facts and other matter, which I thought would be of some value, have been added. In addition to the foot-notes, this matter includes a map of Waynesborough, excerpts from its first charter, excerpts from Goldsboro's first charter, the Charter Committee's Report on the Amended Charter, An Amendment to the Charter Providing for a City Manager, and the Committee's Report on Selecting a City Manager.

In pointing out “where the waters once stood,” let us hope that there may be a clearer understanding of our city and its government and a better guide for its future course.

MAY 1, 1923



Aeroplane view of business section

⁥ Intersection of East Center and Walnut Streets

2-page map of Goldsboro N.C.

2-page map of Goldsboro N.C.

2-page map as seen folded


FROM the moment we are ushered into the world to the time of our passing out, we come in constant and continual contact with the various functions of our City Government. No life passes unnoticed. Our birth is recorded by a birth certificate and our demise by a death certificate.

During our infancy, the Health Department of the city throws its protecting arm around us, seeing that the milk we drink and the food we eat are free from germs of sickness and disease; that our water supply is abundant and pure, and that the immediate surroundings of our homes are sanitary and hygienic.

On our reaching school age, our going and coming is made easy by our paved streets and sidewalks. How blessed is our lot when compared to that of the country school child, trudging a long distance over a rough and muddy road. How well our educational and physical welfare is cared for by our schools is a matter of record. Our public library contributes its share to this development, and our physical well-being is further nourished by our park and playgrounds.

Experiencing almost daily these various agencies so essential to our progress and well-being, it is but natural that when we reach manhood and womanhood and are given the privilege of citizenship we should show our appreciation by sharing its responsibilities and promoting its best ideals.

To better understand the manifold advantages, as well as some of the shortcomings that today come to us through our city government, let us look at this development from 1847, when the town of Goldsboro was established, to the present time.

The germ of this village was planted shortly after the building of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, in 1840, and, as you doubtless know, the town was called after one of the railroad construction engineers bearing the name of Goldsborough. At this time there existed about two miles from the present site of Goldsboro, and located on the Neuse River, the town of Waynesboro, the county-seat. Shortly after the establishment of Goldsboro the county-seat was changed to Goldsboro, and most of the inhabitants of Waynesborough moved to the new railroad town. Tradition records that a great meeting was held in Goldsboro in the large grove where are now situate the residences of Mrs. Henry Weil, Mrs. Sol Weil, and Mrs. Arnold Borden, at which

eloquent speeches were made and much barbecue and good homemade liquor were consumed. One of the ardent advocates of removal of the county-seat from Waynesborough, on the morning of the meeting, deposited in the well on the premises several barrels of ice, which he had surreptitiously procured from Wilmington, and that the assembled multitude drank at the well after partaking of dinner and of the other liquids and pronounced it the best and coldest water in the county, and became enthusiastic for Goldsboro as the county-seat.

Yet, notwithstanding the above anecdote, it is more than probable that the determining factors in choosing the site for Goldsboro were:

(1) Its importance in being located on the new Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, at the intersection of the old Raleigh and New Bern stage road.

(2) Its advantageous location on a natural and well-drained plateau, the level character and broad expanse of which making it easily available and desirable for building of homes and business houses.

(3) The town was in the heart of a large and naturally fertile agricultural section.

All of these considerations have not only justified the foresight of its founders, but have influenced and impressed themselves upon the character and growth of the community.

A community begins its organized existence when a small group or sufficient number of people find it necessary and desirable for their mutual welfare and protection. Application is then made to the State Legislature, usually through their local representative; and if such request is worthy, it is usually granted. The grant is called an act of incorporation, or charter. The charter conveys to the particular town or city the right and power to operate and conduct its business in conformity with the general laws of the State, and under such local regulation or ordinances as the governing board of the particular community may from time to time enact.

Most of the powers granted the average community in its beginning are set forth in a fairly comprehensive way, in Goldsboro's first charter, ratified by the General Assembly January 18, 1847, incorporating the town of Goldsboro, and its amended charter two years later, excerpts being herewith given:

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by authority of same, that the citizens of

the village of Goldsborough, in the county of Wayne, within the limits hereinafter described, be incorporated under the name and style of the town of Goldsborough, and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of a body corporate, to hold property, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in their corporate name, to make such by-laws as may be necessary for the good order and government of said town, and for the improvement of streets, and laying out and opening of new ones, and for the preservation of health in said town; to lay and collect taxes for the necessary support of police and town government, and to transact any business through the agency of the officers of the town, to be appointed in a manner hereinafter provided for, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the State or of the United States.

Towns, like individuals, are products of a gradual development. Both learn and profit through experience, the growth of each being further influenced by the environment and period in which they live and have their being. Illustrative of this idea, and showing how a charter change can affect the development of a community for future generations, let me call your attention to an amendment of the Goldsboro charter by the Legislature of 1859. This act, after extending the town's previous boundaries three hundred feet on all sides, further provides that “no boundary shall be opened, nor shall the present streets be extended, unless the owners of soil over which, if extended, they would pass shall request the same, and shall grant to the commissioners of the town the right of way therefor.”

The boundaries of the town before the passage of this act may be described as bounded on the east by William Street, on the west by George Street, on the north by Boundary (Holly Street), and on the south by Elm Street. If you will examine these streets today, you will discover that at least one-third of the streets leading up to them do not intersect, on account of being blocked by these boundary streets, and in a great many cases by homes in front of these streets.

The effect of such an unwise law was not only to work great inconvenience to citizens and traffic, but has caused a most irregular development of the town. With the recent opening on George Street of a street near Ash, also Vine, provision also being made for the extension of Oak, and an outlet near Chestnut, some relief from the mistakes of our forefathers will be granted us. Some street opening across William near the central portion of the city, is still urgently needed.

Another instance of how a charter amendment may beneficially affect us today may be seen in the passage of the act of 1873, “which gives the board of commissioners power to prevent

the erection of such wooden buildings in the town as will be prejudicial to the public interest or safety of other property, giving at the same time the added power of pulling down such buildings and reasonably compensating the owners therefor.”

Such an act was far-reaching through its effectiveness in securing more substantial buildings, reducing the fire hazard, and foreshadowing a more orderly development of our town. It contains the germ of our modern zoning and building laws which are today in effect in the larger cities of our country.

During the seventy-six years that have elapsed since the town of Goldsboro secured its first charter, this instrument has been amended and changed as many as thirty-eight times; and while the course of government often led in devious ways at variance to the best interests of the community, the right road was finally gained, revealing definite progress as we approach our goal.

At the beginning, our town had about one hundred souls, compared to a population of over 13,000 today. The original area of the town was about one-fifth square mile, while today it is a little over three square miles. (See insert of map and chart.)

That inherent desire of the average community to expand and enlarge its population as well as its territory did not escape Goldsboro, and we find that the corporate limits of the town have been extended nine different times.

A study of the various charters of Goldsboro from its beginning to the present time shows that its government may be grouped under six different forms or plans of government, representing as many periods:

1. Commissioner-Intendant of Police Plan 1847-1866
2. Mayor-Commissioner Plan 1866-1877
3. Commissioner-Mayor Plan (beginning of ward system) 1877-1881
4. Aldermanic-Mayor Plan (City of Goldsboro) 1881-1895
5. Mayor-Aldermanic Plan 1895-1917
6. Commission-Manager Plan 1917 to the present time

Giving a brief outline of each form and period, we first come to

1. The Commissioner-Intendant of Police Plan, 1847-1866. The governing body of the town was vested in five commissioners elected by the people for one year. Their duties were to make such laws as were necessary for the government of the town. At their first meeting after election, they shall appoint some “fit” person to act as Intendant of Police, whose duty it shall be to see that the ordinances are duly and faithfully executed.


chart of government positions and lines drawn th show relationship

He is further authorized to issue warrants to the town constable and to bring offenders before him for trial. In addition, he was to secure a list of taxables and cause assessments to be made. By definition, Intendant is one who has charge of public administration, a superintendent, or business manager; and while the word has grown into disuse, it is an interesting fact that its modern prototype, our City Manager of today, bears close analogy both as to duties and method of appointment.

The other officers appointed by the commissioners were the Clerk, Tax Collector and, later, a Patrol for preserving order and punishing fractious or rebellious slaves.

The first commissioners of whom we have any record were those of 1849, being John A. Green, Silas Webb, Stephen D. Phillips, William B. Edmundson and James Griswold.

2. Mayor-Commissioner Plan, 1866-1877. In 1866, one year after the *Civil War, at the beginning of the period of Reconstruction, we find our town government also undergoing a change, and a new charter is granted by the Legislature. Its form followed the prevailing model of the day set by the Federal and State governments in separating the legislative and executive branches of government. As before, the commissioners were the law-making body, but the executive was the mayor, who, instead of being appointed by the commissioners, was elected by the people. His charter duties were to execute the laws made by the commissioners for the government of the town. In addition, he was chairman of the board, but had no right to vote except in case of a tie. He was police justice and tax collector. Usually elected more on account of popularity than for any particular administrative ability, the mayor went in a politician and continued one to the neglect of the real business of the town. To further complicate matters, partisan politics were injected into the city government, and we constantly encounter rapid changes in either direction, with little or no progress being made.

* The years 1861-1865 were among the most eventful years in the history of Goldsboro. Early in 1861, a Secession Convention met in Goldsboro, presided over by Governor Moses of South Carolina. Goldsboro became a leading army center with the outbreak of the war, and among the generals who, at successive times, were in command here were Generals Beauregard, Holmes, Gatlin, Pickett, G. W. Smith, Winder, French, D. H. Hill, and L. S. Baker. The Goldsboro Rifles were organized in 1860. They were among the first to enter active service in defense of the State, and they fought bravely to the end. The officers of the Company then were Capt. M. D. Craton, 1st Lieut. Stephen Hunt, 2d Lieut. W. S. G. Andrews, 3d Lieut. S. D. Phillips. On Tuesday, the 21st of March, 1865, the town was occupied by General Schofield's army, approaching from Wilmington, and a day or two later, after the battle of Bentonsville, Sherman's army, about 100,000 strong, reached here from Georgia.


government chart

*Little Washington was annexed in 1869 and a goodly portion of our colored people voted for the first time.

An improverished people coming out of a disastrous war did not furnish enough revenue through the usual channels for meeting operating expenses of the town, so we find every occupation, profession and business subject to special taxation. It is interesting to note that the tax of one per cent on sales then made its first apperance. In the early 70's the town operated its own brickyard, and furnished brick for the construction of storm sewerage. This, doubtless, was an unprofitable venture, as the board sold the entire plant for $125.

At this time, the usual legacy that one administration bequeathed to another was a floating indebtedness. One mayor, condemning the previous administration, makes the following drastic report: “Our treasury is still without funds, owing mainly to the fact that the previous administration by their extravagance left a floating debt of about $2,000, and left us nothing to pay it with. Suit has been instituted against the bond of the late tax collector for the amount of his deficit to the town, also against the individual members of the last board for the amount of the funds of the town improperly or unlawfully appropriated.”

3. Commissioner-Mayor Plan, 1877-1881. Obviously, at such a crisis, a change was desirable, and we find the legislative act of 1877 providing for a board of nine aldermen, chosen from five different sections of the town, called wards. This was in further imitation of the Federal and State governments, whose representatives are selected from districts based on the assumption that different states have different interests. Experience, however, has proven that no such geographical division of interests exists in a town, and the choosing of men from wards, rather from the city at large, resulted in a system of ward politics, lost motion and inefficient administration. The mayor was appointed by the board instead of being elected, and now gave more of his attention to the business administration of the town than to his political welfare.

4. Aldermanic-Mayor Plan, 1881-1895. The form of government was substantially the same three years later in 1881, when

* This outlying territory, on account of its colored vote, proved to be a political football. Subsequently, in 1881, Little Washington was left out of the corporate limits. In 1895 it was partially reannexed under a Republican-Populist Legislature. In 1915 it was once again taken in, in its entirely, when there arose a strong desire for increasing the city's population.


government chart

the town of Goldsboro, with a population of 3,286, changed its swaddling clothes for the mantle of the city of Goldsboro. The city was ushered in with a blaze of glory, for it was then that the board of aldermen ordered twenty-five new oil lamps for the streets, and additional burners for those needing repair. It was at this time that the more dignified name of alderman was substituted for commissioner. They were chosen as heretofore, and their powers were practically the same.

A glimpse taken from the City Record of May 5, 1881, of the new board of aldermen under the new city charter should be of interest:

The newly elected board of aldermen of the city of Goldsboro met at 10 a.m. Present: W. H. Applewhite (col.), W. H. Borden, W. H. H. Cobb, W. H. H. Ham, George T. Jones, J. J. Robinson, A. M. Smith (col.), Sol. Weil, D. P. L. White.

On motion of Alderman Borden, the board proceeded to election of mayor for the ensuing year. J. W. Gulick declared elected mayor. R. G. Powell elected chief of police. H. L. Spicer, T. B. Parker and James R. Hurst, assistant policemen. E. A. Wright, tax collector and clerk. B. E. Smith, city treasurer. W. M. Bigger, lamp lighter. Duke, sexton of cemetery. J. O. Carroll, keeper of the market and City Hall.

Mayor Gulick appointed the following standing committees: Finance, Sanitary, Ordinances, Streets and Lamps.

Aycock & Daniels elected city attorneys, and Levi Combs appointed keeper of the town mule.

On motion, the board adjourned.

E. A. WRIGHT. Clerk Pro Tem.

The transition from country to city life is well reflected in the laws regulating animals running at large within the corporate limits. In 1849, we find a tax “not exceeding 50 cents each was placed on hogs belonging to residents of said town and running at large at their discretion.” While it was not until Goldsboro became a city, in 1881, that “all horses, mules, cattle, swine, sheep, goats and dogs running at large within the city” were declared a nuisance. However, that benevolent animal, the cow, was specially favored by being allowed for several decades to roam at will.

This period registers definite progress and marks the establishment of the Goldsboro Graded Schools. That public-spirited citizen, Julius A. Bonitz, appeared before the board, August 5, 1881, on behalf of the graded schools, asking that the board appropriate the sum of five hundred dollars to buy furniture for the school. The request was granted, four hundred dollars being appropriated for the white school and one hundred dollars for


government chart

the negro school. The opera house was built at this time. A fire department was organized, Charles Dewey chosen as its first chief, and also the engine house was built to house the newly purchased steam fire engine, the Mary Alice, whose first exhibition proved to be an epoch in the community and was the occasion of great festivity.

About the beginning of 1890, a waterworks plant was established and the electric light plant built through private capital, the aldermen granting both companies a franchise. At this time Herman Park, which has subsequently furnished the citizens playground and recreation facilities was accepted by the board. With a growing appreciation of health and better sanitation, the board of health was created, and Dr. J. F. Miller appointed first city physician.

In 1897 the citizens of Goldsboro voted a $30,000 bond issue to construct a system of sanitary sewerage. This was the city's first bond issue. At this time, the office of Sinking Fund Commissioner was created, and Mr. E. B. Borden was appointed first Sinking Fund Commissioner. This official was custodian of all tax money collected for the purpose of paying interest on and retiring bonds when they became due.

In 1901, bonds were voted by the people for the purpose of acquiring the waterworks and electric light plants, building the City Hall and Market and paving part of Center Street. The carrying forward of this program marked an era of municipal ownership, a forward step for our community. The control and management of the water and light plants were placed under a Board of Public Works, elected by the people. When the electric light plant was *sold in 1912 to the Carolina Power and Light Company, the Board was abolished by vote of the people.

In 1907, the Goldsboro Public Library was established, its control being placed in a board of six members appointed by the Board of Aldermen. Five years later the Goldsboro Hospital was opened for the use of suffering humanity, a cooperative achievement of a generous people.

The real impetus to the growth of our city came when the Union Station was built in 1909, and when our people in 1911 voted $150,000 for street and sidewalk improvements.

* The sale of the city electric light plant in 1912, then valued at $50,000, for $125,000 netted the city not only a handsome profit, but was of decided benefit to our citizens in giving them better service, more equitable rates, and making available abundant power for our various manufacturing industries. Electricity is now brought to Goldsboro a distance of approximately one hundred and forty miles, from Blewett Falls and Badin on the Yadkin River, adjacent to the State “Fall Line.” It is the enormous hydro-electric power in this and nearby territory that has contributed so largely to the rapid industrial development of North Carolina. Goldsboro's “White Way” and street car system were established just after this time.

A modern system of bookkeeping adequate to the city's needs was then installed, and the city's accounts were annually audited by expert accountants.

In 1914, after several years litigation, Goldsboro won an important decision in the United States Supreme Court against the Atlantic Coast Line Railway, whereby the city was enabled to enforce its rights in the regulation of trains and shifting on Center Street, also in compelling the railroad to lower its tracks in conformity with the grade line of said street. With the growing needs of the city, better methods of sanitation and health supervision were instituted and a modern filtration and water plant was built.

5. Mayor-Aldermanic Plan, 1895-1917. In 1895, we come to a period when the State Legislature was controlled by the coalition of the Populist-Republican Party. Such a domination exerted its influence on the towns in Eastern North Carolina, where the colored population was large. Nor did Goldsboro escape this political influence, and, as a result, we find our town divided into two wards, five aldermen being elected from one ward and four from the other, by a system of cumulative voting, which made it optional for a citizen residing in one ward to vote for all the candidates in his ward, or to cast as many votes for one candidate. The purpose of this method was to elect Republican aldermen. But the Democrats of the city became so well organized that the local government continued with a safe majority, the elected aldermen being Nathan O'Berry, Henry Lee, J. W. Nash, F. W. Hilker, W. T. Hollowell, W. D. Creech, J. R. Smith, Dock Smith, and James Hogan. The mayor was J. H. Hill, who was elected at large under the new charter. During this period the aldermen continued as the legislative and policy determining body. In 1904 they were chosen from four wards. Just a few years prior to this time (1901) they were elected for a two years term, instead of annually. The lengthening of their term of office added stability and promoted a more continuous policy in the city government.

There was, however, a growing tendency with the mayor, due both to the political tenure of his office and his appointment of aldermanic committees, to modify and divide his executive authority in the business administration of the city. Both trivial and important matters requiring administrative action were invariably referred to standing and special committees by the


government chart

mayor. Now since the Board of Aldermen had their private affairs to give their attention to, and were neither all-time nor administrative officials, the various matters referred to them not only did not receive immediate attention, but were very often postponed or side-tracked. Such a system led both to a weakening of the mayor's powers and division of responsibility which resulted in lost motion and inefficiency in our city government. Yet in spite of this lack of coordination, the city made definite progress during this period.

6. Commission-Manager Plan, 1917 to the Present Time. As the business of the city developed and grew more complex, it became apparent in 1915 to certain interested members of our board and citizens that the old government of divided responsibility between mayor and aldermen could no longer achieve effective results. So after due deliberation, a legislative act was passed providing for the appointment of a charter commission of fifteen representative citizens, whose duty it was to study and investigate various forms of government and report on a new or amended form for the city. This committee, headed by Judge W. R. Allen, after thorough investigation and several public hearings, submitted their report to the citizens of Goldsboro and the Board of Aldermen. A legislative act was thereupon secured and the character was voted on and passed by our people.

It provides for the employment by the board of a competent person who shall be the administrative head of all the departments of the city; and if he is inefficient, it is always in the power of the board to displace him. He shall see that all laws and ordinances are duly enforced. He shall act as purchasing agent and prepare the budget of the city. Under this system the board becomes the legislative and policy determining body, but must not interfere with the manager in his executive functions. The mayor is chairman of the board and trial justice, but has no executive power. The board appoints the city attorney, auditor, clerk, sinking and electric light fund commissioner. The other officers are appointed upon recommendation of the City Manager.

Perhaps the greatest weakness in the present charter has been the retention of the old ward system. The sectional representation thus obtained, together with the large and unwieldly Board of Aldermen of nine members, made it difficult to harmonize with the spirit of the manager form of government. An election at large of a smaller board of not over five members would undoubtedly secure a greater proportion


government chart

of men of larger calibre in more thorough accord with this form of government. This is not only in accord with the prevailing experience of the majority of city manager towns, but is an urgently needed change in our present government.

During the five years of the City Manager government, the city has made greater progress than during any other period in its history. Approximately one million dollars has been spent in securing for the city much needed permanent improvements in street and sidewalk pavements, sewerage and waterworks extensions. The city now has over ten miles of paved streets of the best type. Water and sewerage extensions brought much needed convenience to a great number of our people who were heretofore deprived of same. These improvements, together with a better health organization, have greatly aided in reducing disease and lowering our death rate. The organization and equipment of the police, fire, health and sanitation, streets, sewerage, water and engineering departments have been materially strengthened and improved. All departments have been properly coordinated under one administrative head—the City Manager—a trained and experienced man, not elected politically, but appointed for efficiency.

In selecting the first City Manager, no efforts were spared in attempting to obtain the services of an expert. Over five hundred applications were received by the committee appointed to make the selection. (See page 31 of the Report of the Committee on Selecting a City Manager.) From the applicants for the position, Mr. E. A. Beck (now City Manager of Lynchburg, Va.), then Manager at Edgeworth-Sewickly, Pa., was chosen as Goldsboro's first City Manager.

The constant endeavor of the City Manager has been to give the best possible service for every tax dollar spent. These services are planned and provided for the current year through the budget system, which is strictly adhered to. The city now lives within its income.

A good example of the way “the old order changeth, giving place to the new,” may be found in the attractive parkway in the center of Ash Street. The planning and planting of this boulevard has not only saved considerable expense in paving, but has at the same time converted a “sore spot,” formerly serving as a back lot and hitching ground, into a fine landscape effect, appealing to our sense of beauty and civic pride.

Although City Manager government, based on sound business principles, has achieved a certain degree of success, no government is self-operative. Good government is a product of three principal factors: good laws, good men in public office, and a continuing interest in public affairs on the part of the citizens. An interested citizenship is its greatest asset. I therefore entreat you, as citizens of tomorrow, to become actively interested in the government of your city. Make yourself a co-sharer in this worthy enterprise, and its future will be in safe hands.


(On nearer bank of Neuse River)



[Principal excerpts]

Whereas, it is represented to this General Assembly that a town on the land of Andrew Bass, on the north side of Neuse River, in Wayne County, where courthouse and other public buildings now stand, would tend to the promotion of commerce and the ease and convenience of the inhabitants of said county in attending courts and other public business and the said Andrew Bass, having signified his assent by a certificate under his hand to have sixty acres of said land laid off for a town and fifteen for commons:

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of same. That the directors or trustees hereafter appointed, or a majority of them, shall as soon as may be after the passing of this act cause seventy-five acres of the land aforesaid to be laid off in lots of half an acre each, with convenient streets, lanes and alleys, which lots so laid off according to the directions of this act are hereby constituted and erected a town, and shall be called by the name of Waynesborough.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That from and after the passing of this act, William McKinne, sen., Burwell Moring, William Whitfield, Joseph Green, William Whitfield, jun., David Jernegan, jun., Richard

Bass. William McKinne, jun., and William Fellow, be and they are hereby constituted directors and trustees for designing, building and carrying on the said town; and they shall stand seized of an indefeasible estate in fee simple of the said seventy-five acres of land to and for the uses, intents and purposes hereby expressed and declared; and they, or a majority of them, shall have full power and authority to meet as often as they shall think necessary, and cause a plan thereof to be made and therein to insert a mark or number of each lot; and as soon as the said town shall be laid off as aforesaid they and each of them shall have power to take subscriptions for the said lots of such persons as are willing to subscribe for them; and when the said directors shall have taken subscriptions for twenty lots or upwards, they shall appoint a day and give public notice to the subscribers of the day and place appointed for the drawing of said lots, which shall be done by ballot in a fair and open manner by the direction and in the presence of a majority of the said directors at least; and such subscriber shall be entitled to the lot or lots which shall be drawn for him and correspond with the mark or number contained in the plan of said town; and the said directors, or a majority of them, shall make and execute deeds for granting and conveying the said sixty acres of land in half-acre lots as aforesaid. . . .

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That each respective subscriber . . . shall pay and satisfy to the said directors, or any one of them, the sum of three pounds five shillings for each lot by him subscribed for. . . .

And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the three acres of land formerly conveyed for the purpose of building a Court-house, prison and stocks be part of the aforesaid sixty acres and under the same rules and restrictions, except one lot where the Court-house now stands in said town, and one other where the commissioners for building the Court-house, prison and stocks may, think necessary to build the prison and stocks on.



THE MAP SHOWN BELOW WAS MADE TO AN ENLARGED SCALE FROM A COPY OF THE ORIGINAL MAP, SAID COPY OF ORIGINAL BEING CERTIFIED TO AS FOLLOWS: I certify that the above is a true copy of original plat of the Town of Waynesborough on file in Registers Office of Wayne County — J.T. Albritton, Register Sept 29, 1875.


⊕ = Old cemetery - Only trace of “LOST TOWN” (See lot No 95).

⁥ = Present location of Empire Mfg Co track and logging site.

Plan of Waynesborough




[Principal excerpts]

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the citizens of the village of Goldsborough, in the county of Wayne, within the limits hereinafter described, be incorporated under the name and the style of the town of Goldsborough, and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of a body corporate, to hold property, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in their corporate name in any court of record whatsoever; to make by-laws, lay and collect taxes for the necessary support of police and town government and transact any business in their corporate capacity and through agency of the officers of the town to be elected in manner hereinafter provided for, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of this State and of the United States.

Be it further enacted, That the boundaries of the town of Goldsborough shall be as follows, viz.: Commencing at a stake in the south side of the New Bern road 64½ poles on a line S. 72 east from the west corner of the Neff building; thence So. 18 W. 29 poles, 5 yards, 6 inches; thence No. 72 W. 28 poles, 3½ yards; thence S. 18 W. 61½ poles; thence No. 72 W. 28 poles, 3½ yards; thence across the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad 140 feet . . .

Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of Wayne County, on the first Saturday in February in each and every year to open the polls of election for the purpose of electing five freeholders as commissioners, a treasurer and a town constable in the town of Goldsborough for the term of one year.

Be it further enacted, That the persons so elected as commissioners shall, within ten days after being notified by the sheriff of their election, meet together and take, before some magistrate, an oath, faithfully and impartially to execute the office of commissioner for the town of Goldsborough. . . .

Be it further enacted, That the commissioners of said town, at their first meeting after their annual election in each and every year, shall appoint some fit person of said town to act as *Intendant of Police, whose duty it shall be to see the ordinances duly and faithfully executed, and, after taking an oath before some magistrate to act impartially, he is hereby authorized to issue his warrant, directed to the town constable, sheriff or any constable of the county of Wayne, to bring offenders against the rules, regulations and ordinances of said town before him, and on their conviction, which shall be in manner of trials before justices of the peace, the said Intendant is hereby authorized to give judgment and execution agreeable to the laws established for the government of said town. . . .

* Note similarity to method of appointment and executive powers of City Manager in present charter.

Be it further enacted, That the Intendant of Police shall, within the last twenty working days in February in each and every year, receive the list of taxables of said town. . . .

Be it further enacted, That the commissioners of said town may choose and appoint either one of their own body, or some other fit person, to be their clerk, to act as such during their pleasure. . . .

Be it further enacted, That from and after the next February term of Wayne County Court, no person shall keep an ordinary or store for retailing spirituous liquors or retail the same by the small measure in the town of Goldsborough until he or she shall have first applied to the commissioners of said town and have obtained from them a certificate of their recommendation. . . .

Be it further enacted. That no rule, regulation or ordinance of said commissioners imposing fines or penalties shall be in force until the same shall have been published for ten days: provided nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the said commissioners from adopting ordinances to take immediate effect relating to contagious diseases and nuisances.

And be it further enacted, That this act shall be in force from and after its ratification.


JANUARY 31, 1917

To the Citizens of Goldsboro and the Board of Aldermen:

GENTLEMEN:—Your committee appointed by authority of an act of the General Assembly of 1915 to prepare for the city of Goldsboro and report a new or amended charter for said city to be submitted to a vote of the people for ratification, have devoted much time and labor to a consideration of the subject. We have had many meetings of the full committee and of subcommittees; have examined a number of the modern charters of the cities of this and other States, including the model charter prepared by the National Municipal League.

As a result of our work, the committee was practically unanimous in favor of the manager form of government, which seeks to apply to municipal governments the methods of the ordinary business corporations. There were several views as to the best plan to be adopted to make this principle effective with us; a majority of the committee favored the adoption of the model charter of the National Municipal League with slight modifications, but the balance of the committee was opposed to this course, and, finally considering the length of the proposed charter of the National Municipal League, and the difficulty of exploiting its provisions and the radical changes it would have brought to bear in our present form of city government, it was thought best to make as few changes as possible and at the same time incorporate the manager principle in our present municipal government.

In the proposed amendment, a manager will be appointed, who will bear substantially the same relations to the city government that a superintendent does to a manufacturing or trading corporation. We will have an administrative head who can be held responsible, and if he is inefficient it will always be within the power of the Board of Aldermen to displace him.

Your committee unanimously recommends the amendment to the city charter as set forth below, as we believe it will give Goldsboro a better and more efficient government, and we earnestly request each citizen to read and study the same in order to determine this for himself.



The Board of Aldermen of the city of Goldsboro, after due consideration of the subject, is of the unanimous opinion that the adoption of the amendment to the city charter as prepared by the Charter Committee would result in a more efficient and economical government for Goldsboro, and that the same would materially promote the general welfare of the city and its citizens.



The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:

SECTION 1. There Shall be employed by the Board of Aldermen of the city of Goldsboro at its first meeting after the regular municipal election in May, nineteen hundred and seventeen, or as soon thereafter as practicable, and from time to time thereafter as may be necessary, a competent person to be known as City Manager, whose employment shall be at the pleasure of the Board of Aldermen, and who shall receive such compensation as the Board of Aldermen may determine.

SEC. 2. The City Manager shall have charge of and be the head of all the administrative departments of the city, subject to the supervision and direction of the Board of Aldermen. All of said departments shall be directly responsible to the City Manager, and he shall be directly responsible to the Board of Aldermen for the conduct of each of said departments. In order to facilitate the business of the departments, the City Manager may designate any officer or employee in any department as the director of such department. All directors of departments shall be responsible to the City Manager.

SEC. 3. He shall see that the laws and ordinances are enforced.

SEC. 4. He shall see that all terms and conditions imposed in favor of the city or its inhabitants in any public utility franchise are faithfully kept and performed; and upon knowledge of any violation thereof he shall call the same to the attention of the city attorney, who is hereby required to take such steps as are necessary to enforce the same.

SEC. 5. He shall attend all meetings of the Board of Aldermen, with the right to take part in the discussions, but having no vote.

SEC. 6. He shall recommend to the Board of Aldermen for adoption such measures as he may deem necessary or expedient.

SEC. 7. He shall make monthly detailed financial reports of each department to the Board of Aldermen and such other reports and statements as said board may require.

SEC. 8. The fiscal year of the city shall be from June 1st to May 31st, inclusive, and, not later than one month before the end of each fiscal year, the City Manager shall prepare and submit to the Board of Aldermen an annual budget for the ensuing fiscal year, based upon detailed estimates furnished by the several departments and other divisions of the city government according to a classification as nearly uniform as possible. The budget shall present the following information:

(a) An itemized statement of the appropriations recommended by the City Manager for current expenses and for permanent improvements for each department and each division thereof for the ensuing fiscal year, with comparative statements, in parallel columns, of the appropriations and expenditures for the current and next preceding fiscal year, and the increases or decreases in the appropriations recommended.

(b) An itemized statement of the taxes required and of the estimated revenues of the city from all other sources for the ensuing fiscal year, with comparative statements, in parallel columns, of the taxes and other revenues for

the current and next preceding fiscal year, and of the increases or decreases estimated or proposed.

(c) A statement of the financial condition of the city; and

(d) Such other information as may be required by the Board of Aldermen. Such budgets when adopted by the Board of Aldermen cannot be changed except at a regular meeting and upon a two-thirds vote of the whole Board of Aldermen.

SEC. 9. He shall act as purchasing agent for the city, but shall not be personally interested in any contract or purchase to which the city is a party. He shall act as sales agent for the city.

SEC. 10. He shall transmit to the heads of the several departments notice of all acts of the Board of Aldermen relating to the duties of their department, and see that the same are carried out, and he shall make designation of officers to perform duties ordered to be performed by the Board of Aldermen.

SEC. 11. He shall have access at all times to the books, vouchers and papers of any officer or employee of the city, excepting the treasurer's books, which he may have access to only in the presence of the treasurer or some person designated by the Board of Aldermen, and shall have power to examine, under oath, any person connected therewith.

SEC. 12. He shall have power to revoke privilege licenses pending the action of the Board of Aldermen.

SEC. 13. He shall have authority and charge over all public works, the erection of buildings for the city, the construction of all improvements, paying, curbing, sidewalks, streets, bridges, viaducts, and the repair thereof; he shall approve all estimates of the cost of public works and improvements, and recommend to the Board of Aldermen the acceptance or rejection of the work done or improvements made; he shall have control, management, and direction of all public grounds, bridges, viaducts and public buildings; and he shall secure all rights of way and easements connected with the waterworks or sewerage systems or the extensions of the streets, etc. All powers herein enumerated, however, shall be exercised subject to the supervision and control of the Board of Aldermen.

SEC. 14. The Board of Aldermen shall at its first meeting in May, nineteen hundred and seventeen, and biennially thereafter, appoint a treasurer, a clerk, an auditor, an attorney, a sinking fund commissioner, and an electric fund commissioner, and said Board of Aldermen shall during the month of May, nineteen hundred and seventeen, and biennially thereafter, appoint, from a list to be submitted by the City Manager, a sanitary inspector and health officer, a tax collector, a superintendent of waterworks, an engineer and street superintendent, a chief of police and assistant police, a chief of fire department and building inspector, and such other officers and employees as the Board of Aldermen may designate; and if the Board of Aldermen is unable or refuses to elect from the list so furnished, it shall call on the City Manager from time to time for other lists, which it shall be his duty to furnish: provided, however, that one person may fill one or more of the offices named in this section, and that said Board of Aldermen shall have the right to abolish and terminate any of the offices herein in this section provided for. The City Manager shall have power to suspend and dismiss for incompetency

or non-attention to duties any member of any department who has been appointed by the Board of Aldermen from lists furnished by him. Any person so suspended or dismissed may appeal to the Board of Aldermen, and the Board of Aldermen shall hear such appeal and affirm or reverse the action of the City Manager. The Board of Aldermen on its own initiative shall have the right to dismiss any officer or employee of the city for incompetency or non-attention to duties.

SEC. 15. He shall, on or before the first Monday in June in each year, prepare and submit to the Board of Aldermen a detailed financial statement of all receipts and disbursements of the general fund and of each department of said city. After the acceptance of the same by the Board of Aldermen, the City Manager shall publish such statement in some newspaper in the city.

SEC. 16. He shall have and perform such other and further duties as the Board of Aldermen may prescribe.

SEC. 17. He shall give bond for the faithful performance of his duties and in such amount as the Board of Aldermen prescribe.

SEC. 18. That at the regular municipal election in May, nineteen hundred and seventeen, for mayor and aldermen in the city of Goldsboro, there shall be an election held in said city of Goldsboro for the purpose of determining whether it is the will of the qualified voters of said city that the foregoing and proposed amendment to the charter of the city of Goldsboro shall become law applicable to the city of Goldsboro.

SEC. 19. That said election shall be held by the same officers who hold the next regular municipal election for mayor and aldermen in the city of Goldsboro, and the same shall be held, except as may be herein prescribed, under the same rules and regulations, and the result thereof ascertained in the same manner, as near as is practicable, as regular municipal elections for mayor and aldermen are now held and ascertained in said city. The officers who hold said election shall, before entering upon their duties, take an oath to honestly and impartially conduct said election. The polling places for the election herein provided for shall be the same as are provided for the said regular municipal election, and the qualifications for voters shall be the same as are now prescribed by law for voters at regular municipal elections for mayor and aldermen in said city. A notice of said election shall be published in some newspaper in said city at least once a week for four successive weeks immediately preceding said election. Those voters of the city of Goldsboro at said election who are in favor of said amendment to the charter of the city of Goldsboro shall vote a ballot on which shall be written or printed the words “For Amendment,” and those voters at said election who are opposed to said amendment shall vote a ballot on which shall be written or printed the words “Against Amendment.” And if at such election the majority of the votes cast be “For Amendment,” then the said amendment to the charter of the city of Goldsboro shall become law applicable to said city of Goldsboro; but if a majority of the votes cast at said election be “Against Amendment,” then said amendment shall not become law applicable to said city. Registration books, ballot boxes, ballots and all necessary equipment for holding said election shall be furnished by the Board of Aldermen of said city.

SEC. 20. That all laws, clauses or parts of laws in conflict with this act be and the same are hereby repealed.


The method employed by the committee in selecting a City Manager for Goldsboro constituted a somewhat new departure in securing a competent official in this field of municipal administration, and the wide publicity used brought Goldsboro into due prominence.

The committee's report was published in the National Municipal Review, and Clinton Rogers Woodruff, editor of the Review and Secretary of the National Municipal League, commented on same as follows: “The committee's report, I am sure, will constitute a very important contribution to City Manager literature.”

A newspaper of National reputation, in reviewing this report, wrote editorially:

The town of Goldsboro, N. C., 11,000 strong, is advertising for a City Manager. It requires that the applicant must have a “pleasing personality, good business judgment, and broad vision.” . . . Preference will be given to a sanitary engineer.

Twenty years ago, such an advertisement would have been considered a hoax. In those days the management of a city was still a mere matter of getting the votes. Any one was qualified who was a naturalized citizen. People were born to governing a community, just as they were born to breathe God's air. The one was no harder than the other.

No better sign of progress could be furnished than, that citizens of a city, having each the right to serve as manager, should humbly confess their want of knowledge by advertising abroad for a qualified employee. Democracy does not demand that every man shall be recognized as divinely given to conduct office. It does demand that in government there shall be a broad application of common sense. And putting men in charge of cities who know their business, who have good judgment and broad vision, is common sense of the highest grade.


Before beginning our labors it was necessary to form some conception of the qualifications desired. First it was the desire of the committee to obtain a man trained by study and experience in municipal administration; in addition to this our local problem necessitated the services of an experienced engineer and if we could secure this combination supplemented by a pleasing personality, good judgment and broad vision, we felt reasonably sure of our position.

The board had fixed no salary, but the committee tried a tentative plan by stating that salary would probably range from $200 to $250 per month. This did not mean, however, that the maximum would not be slightly exceeded in case we found the proper person. A few hundred dollars more or less should not be a deterrent in selecting the proper administrator for a city which disburses annually nearly $100,000. The advantage of this tentative salary over a fixed one was that it attracted desirable applications from persons who would otherwise have been debarred, besides offering to the committee a more correct gauge of the applicant's ability and his viewpoint, a noteworthy and encouraging fact being that the position was largely sought on account of the opportunity it offered rather than for the compensation.

Our method of developing applications was employed in three ways:

(1) Periodicals and newspaper advertising.

(2) Personal letters to present city managers.

(3) Letters written to secretaries, organizations, and institutions working in municipal administration.


The advertisement on page 32 was inserted in the following periodicals and newspapers: Engineering News-Record (New York); Municipal Journal (New York); American City (New York); Municipal Engineering (Chicago, Ill.); News and Observer (Raleigh, N. C.), and the Goldsboro Argus.


The committee, thoroughly impressed with their problem, showed some temerity in writing over eighty personal letters to present city managers in cities and towns ranging in size from 3,000 to 140,000 population. The letter set forth our local condition, our requirements, including information and data, and finally asked the manager to whom it was addressed if interested to make application or otherwise kindly to recommend some one suitable. The committee received 41 answers; 23 made application; 18 respectfully declined, but in a good many instances those declining recommended suitable candidates. One of the best applications was secured through this source.

A manager of recognized ability, wrote as follows:

I congratulate your city in the step it has taken. I believe most heartily in the manager plan. It will show results directly in proportion to the support and honest efforts expended under the plan, not only by your hired manager but by yourselves and the representative citizens.

* To the Board of Aldermen of Goldsboro.

If I may be pardoned a suggestion, don't be reluctant in the matter of a salary. You will have a difficult time getting the man big enough to handle the affairs of a city such as yours for a salary you suggest. Even our little town paid me $350 per month at the cost of considerable criticism of the counsel and my successor when he is found will probably receive as much as $250. Our population is under 6,000. On the other hand during the eight months of my service we made direct savings of more than three times the total salary paid me and other savings almost as important will continue to accrue for some years to come.


Goldsboro, North Carolina, invites applications for the position of City Manager. Goldsboro is a progressive city of over 11,000 inhabitants, with healthful climate and good trade conditions—located on three railroads in the heart of the most fertile section of eastern North Carolina.

Applicant must have pleasing personality, good business judgment, and broad vision. One possessing qualifications of Sanitary Engineer preferred, though this is not absolutely essential. Excellent opportunity for energetic man of ability to produce results.

Salary will probably range from $200 to $250 per month. Applications will be received up to July 1, 1917. Information and data furnished upon request.


P. O. BOX 461



Directors of bureaus of municipal research in New York, Dayton, Detroit, Secretary of National Short Ballot Association, and schools of administration all contributed their quota of information.

The thanks of the committee are especially due to Hon. Clinton Rogers Woodruff, secretary of the National Municipal League, for his valuable assistance.

As a result of the above methods, the committee received 522 applications from 41 states and territories, Cuba, Canada, Ontario, Saskatchewan. Honduras and Cristobel. These applications may be classified as follows:

Three hundred and ninety-eight from civil, sanitary and mechanical engineers, including over 40 from city and county engineers of many of our larger cities and towns; 28 from commissioners of public works, superintendents of lights and superintendents of waterworks of cities and towns; 24 from city managers; 4 from municipal administrators; 5 from professors of engineering colleges, including 2 deans; 32 from business men; 29 from contractors, and 2 from lawyers.

The large number of applications not only points to the ever broadening field of opportunity for the city manager profession, but it makes its strongest appeal to the trained mind of an engineer.

In addition to the above applications the committee received nearly 400 letters asking for data and information, and these, together with various letters, telegrams following up applicant's references and making engagements for personal interviews, consumed considerable time, but the task has been willingly and cheerfully performed.


Twelve candidates for the position were interviewed, seven of whom came of their own initiative and five came at the invitation of the committee. These five represent the committee's choice after eliminating all the other applicants and in a sense each candidate embodies to a large degree the qualifications sought by the committee. It might be of some interest to know that the applications of two of the candidates came to the board through method No. 2, two through method No. 3, and the remaining successful one mentioned through method No. 1 in answer to our advertisement. The committee enjoyed their presence and profited by their point of view and in justice to all concerned we submit a short sketch of their training and experience.

H. G. OTIS. Mr. Otis is city manager of Beaufort, S. C. Has given Beaufort a very successful administration under trying local conditions at the beginning. A graduate of the University of Michigan school of municipal administration, also of the New York bureau of municipal research.

W. M. COTTON. Mr. Cotton is a municipal trained engineer. A graduate of the University of Michigan school of municipal administration. Served with credit in Dayton bureau of municipal research.

C. O. DUSTIN. Mr. Dustin is a graduate engineer of Yale; thoroughly trained in municipal administration. He was assistant director of Dayton bureau of municipal research; for three years director of Springfield bureau of municipal research, Mass.; assistant secretary of National Municipal League and at present engaged as chief of the statistical bureau of the Red Cross War Council, Washington, D. C., therefore not available.

J. H. MOORE. Mr. Moore is a graduate civil engineer. For 16 years was commissioner of public works of Evanston, Ill., a city of approximately 30,000, adjacent to Chicago; served with much ability through a period of great progress in local improvement and civic betterment.

EDWARD A. BECK. Mr. Beck, manager of the boroughs of Sewickly and Edgeworth, towns of about 8,000 population, assessed valuation of property about $12,000,000. These are suburban towns to Pittsburgh. Edgeworth was the first borough in Pennsylvania to operate under a city manager. Mr. Beck is a graduate engineer of Purdue University and was employed by the Wabash Railroad while at college, so he secured his theoretical and practical training at almost the same time. Later he studied municipal administration and his 3½ years’ tenure as city manager of Edgeworth has proven an excellent record of actual achievement. The work that he began and planned over three years ago is now practically complete, he is, therefore,

willing to accept our position owing to its greater opportunities at the same salary, $275 per month, which he now obtains. The committee has investigated his character and ability and they are of a high order. We have reached the conclusion that Mr. Beck more nearly represents all of those qualifications desired than any of the other candidates available.

Your committee therefore unanimously recommend Mr. E. A. Beck as their choice, at the same time asking both for your timely endorsement and your full and hearty co-operation to insure a successful administration.

Respectfully submitted,




City Manager Committee.


Goldsboro and its government : from the beginning to the present time
Goldsboro and its government : from the beginning to the present time / by Lionel Weil. [Goldsboro, N.C. : L. Weil, 1923] Mitchell Print. Co.) 34 p. : ill., charts, map, plan ; 23 cm. Cover title. Folded map inserted, with a population and density chart for 1847-1923 included.
Original Format
Local Identifier
F264.G6 W455 1923
Location of Original
Joyner NC Rare
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