Sampson county: economic and social

Sampson County:Economic and SocialISSUED BYThe Sampson County ClubUniversity of North CarolinaMay, 1917SIGILLVM






J. V. Baggett
J. V. Baggett
S. H. Hobbs, Jr.
S. H. Hobbs, Jr.
S. H. Hobbs, Jr.
S. H. Hobbs, Jr.
R. F. Moseley
W. E. Matthews
S. H. Hobbs, Jr.
J. V. Baggett


The series of studies here given to the public under the title, “Sampson County: Economic and Social,” is the work of four Sampson county students at the University of North Carolina during rare intervals in the regular schedule of a busy college year.

It is an attempt to interpret the present day forces of life in our native county, and to prepare for competent citizenship and effective public service, as Professor Branson is fond of saying.

Whatever our success, we are at least issuing a new kind of bulletin. It concerns the economic and social problems of a North Carolina county. It is the first of its sort in this state and one of the very few so far in any state. There have been county histories and county geographies in abundance, but fewer than a half dozen intensive studies of county economics and sociology. At least, we know of only a bare half dozen in the whole United States.

The decision to publish such a bulletin was reached in a meeting of the Sampson County Club early last fall, and the undertaking was turned over to an Editorial Committee, S. H. Hobbs, Jr., chairman, and a Business Committee, R. F. Moseley, Chairman.

The entire work has fallen on these two sons of Sampson aided by Messrs. W. E. Matthews and J. V. Baggett. The expense of publication is dismissed by the pages of advertising carried by various business and professional men, and also by the generous contributions of Messrs. S. H. Hobbs, Sr., L. W. Baggett, Mrs. W. Sloan, and Dr. G. M. Cooper, who have seen a distinct value in floating a bulletin of this kind.

These studies have been pursued in the headquarters of the North Carolina Club, and they could not have been undertaken at all without access to the ample file studies of North Carolina counties that have been accumulating here during the last three years under the direction of Professor E. C. Branson, head of the Department of Rural Economics and Sociology. Every step of the way in the preparation of this bulletin we have had his interested and active assistance; for which we here render grateful thanks.

Our hope is that this little Sampson county bulletin will find its way into every home and business house in the county; into the hands of every teacher and high school student; every banker and merchant, minister, doctor, and farmer; and that all our people may receive in full measure the service we crave to render our native county.





Sampson county is situated in the Coastal Plain region, about seventy-five miles southeast of the center of the state. It is one of the largest counties in the state and covers a total area of 922 square miles. Its greatest distance from north to south is about fifty miles, and the greatest from east to west is about thirty-five miles. The shape of the county is similar to that of the state of Rhode Island, and its total area is only a few square miles less than the total area of that state. With a radius equal to the entire length of the county and with Clinton, the county seat, as a center, the circle drawn would include both Raleigh and Wilmington. It would also pass within ten miles of New Bern, and within five miles of Sanford and Southern Pines. If a railroad were built on a straight line from Raleigh to Wilmington, it would pass through Clinton; and Clinton would be equally distant from the extremities of that line.

Sampson county lies in the middle of the long-leaf pine belt. It is drained by South River, one of the principal tributaries of the Cape Fear, whose streams divide the county into northern and southern soil belts. The upper region is characterized by sandy soils and forests of cut-over long-leaf pines for the most part. Most of the pine forests have been worked up into lumber, but there are still some bodies of virgin pine valuable both for turpentine and for lumber. The topography is generally level and gently rolling, making it capable of profitable cultivation. However, it is divided into four distinct plains; the Coharie, the Sunderland, the Wicomico, and the Chowan plains. The old Coharie plain occupies three-fourths of the northern portion of the county, at an elevation of from 160 to 215 feet. The next lower level is the Sunderland plain to the south of Clinton. The Wicomico plain covers most of the southern end of the county at elevations varying from 60 to 90 feet; while the Chowan plain, the lowest plain, borders Black and South rivers for some distance above their junctions, at elevations of 30 to perhaps 50 feet.

Soils and Seasons

Sampson is an agricultural county, and its soil and climate are both favorable for the production of a great variety of farm products. There is more land, however, than the present population can cultivate, and in some sections there is now a condition where the farmer can scarcely gather and house as much as he produces. The total area of the county is 590,080 acres, and of this only 27.4 per cent is under cultivation.

The soil is made up of sediment that has in the course of time been washed down from the mountains and the Piedmont plateau, and its general characteristic is sandy loam under which is formed red clay. In certain parts of the county the soil has the characteristic termed by the people “stiff land” and is very fertile, but this does not cover any great area of the county.

The climate of Sampson county is more or less of a marine character. The effect of the presence of the sea tends to moderate the changes of the temperature, both diurnal and seasonal, and to increase the amount of precipitation, which is pretty evenly distributed throughout the four seasons of the year. This is of great importance in the production of early truck crops and fruits, which in the last few years has become a leading industry in the county.

The soil and climatic conditions of Sampson are right for the growth and maturity of all the leading agricultural crops of North Carolina, and for the growth and ripening of almost all of the fruits and vegetables of the state. The leading agricultural crops in the order of their importance are: corn, cotton, tobacco, potatoes, and all kinds of small grain; while in the orchards can be found every sort of fruit grown in North Carolina. The truck crops are not to be omitted either. In the list of money-making truck crops successfully grown in Sampson one might enumerate all the common vegetables. But the more important ones are: Irish potatoes, cabbages, beans, peas, onions, lettuce, beets, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons, cucumbers, and squashes. Since this is true it is not surprising that agriculture is practically the only industry of the people.

With the organization of the Farmers’ Union some years ago, came the spirit of co-operation among the farmers in buying and selling. This new life began to change the views of the farmers, and through prosperity and thrift he was made happy with the hopes of making fortunes in growing and selling farm crops and fruits. They introduced labor-saving machinery into their work, bought better stock and farming tools, and by different means of soil improvement they have increased the per-acre crop yields of Sampson until they now exceed those of the fertile plains of Indiana and Illinois.

Ahead of Illinois

As proof of this statement the United States census for 1910 shows that for that year the per-acre value of the crop for the state of Illinois was $18, while for Sampson county it was $18.38. The boys have a corn club giving excellent results, and encouraging them to take a greater interest in farming. A goodly number of the boys have produced more than 100 bushels of corn per acre at a very low cost. In 1910 seventy boys in the corn club averaged 69 bushels per acre, or 5½ times the average yield of that county for that year. At this rate the

total corn acreage of the county would have produced enough corn for home consumption and 3½ million bushels to sell. The girls have tomato clubs, and the older people have their community clubs. In 1914 forty-two canning club girls packed 20,000 tins and jars of fruits and vegetables, and cleared $1,800 during the season.

A Land of Small Farm Owners

Practically all the land is held in small farms by resident owners. In the early days most of the immigrants who came to Sampson were nonslave holders and this accounts for the large number of small farms. The early settlers did not own slaves; and, hence, they could not cultivate large plantations. Classified according to size, 2,083 or nearly half of the farms are less than fifty acres in size. There are 976 farms having between 50 and 100 acres, 1,389 between 100 and 500 acres, 100 having between 500 and 1,000 and 29 farms of 1,000 or more acres. It is thus seen that the typical Sampson county farmer is the small farmer, and it is he on whom rests the perpetuation of the independence of the people. The soil, therefore, is the greatest natural asset of the county.

Timber Resources

The greater part of the forests of Sampson is of the original hardwood type, though closely culled of the original growth. There is also a large area of second-growth shortleaf pine that has come up on the land that has in time been cleared for farming. Most of this is of the scrubby and knotty type, and is not very valuable for commercial timber. Practically the whole of the county was originally covered with longleaf pine, which has been very extensively converted into lumber or removed from the land for cultivation. When many of these places became sapped of their fertility before the introduction of commercial fertilizers, the farmers turned them out and cleared new farms in their stead. Then hogs were allowed to run free through all the woods; and in those old fields where the second growth of forests were taking place, they destroyed the seed of the longleaf pine, leaving only those too small for them to find—the seed of the shortleaf pine. There has been no survey made of the timber resources of Sampson county; and, hence, it is impossible to tell just how much of the present forest area contains longleaf pine, or to make an estimate of the board feet of timber these lands still retain. However, there is only a small per cent that has not been closely culled for the best timber, or been destructively blighted by the turpentine industry that until recently has been active in all parts of the county. In the swamps of the creeks and rivers there are to be found some high grades of gum, cypress, and juniper; but except in one or two instances there are no large tracts, and very little of this timber can now be profitably worked. In some of these low regions there is a large amount of loblolly pine

found, but until the last few years the sale of this timber was not very profitable on account of the large supply of longleaf pine lumber that was on the market at that time.

Lumbering has been done on a large scale and is still being carried on very extensively, but the output is mostly confined to small migrating mills. Only a very few large mills are in operation. In 1912, the total cut of all the mills was over 65,000,000 board feet, and about the same amount has been cut each succeeding year. Until the coming of the stock law no efforts were made to replace the cut-over areas by a second growth of timber; and at this rate it was evident that in a few years, unless something was done to conserve the supply of timber or some means taken to insure efficient reproduction, the timber resources of the county would be woefully exhausted. But by a strict compliance with the stock law the timber resources of Sampson county will be tremendously increased.

A Huckleberry Paradise

There is probably nothing that has done so much to immortalize the name of Sampson as huckleberries. The huckleberry crop brings each year thousands of dollars to the people. The Big Blues have already made for themselves a world-wide reputation. There is scarcely a child anywhere that has not heard, in one language or another, of this famous fruit. It is said that the parents in Sampson put bells on their children in huckleberry time, and send them to the woods to pick berries. By this means the “kids” always get home before night comes on. The poor in the county are blessed on account of these fine berries every year. They are paid good prices for them at all times throughout the county. The merchants, banks, and all the business men cater to the huckleberry pickers. They are lords of all they survey. The darkies become as independent as wood sawyers during the huckleberry season. They all have money to burn as long as it lasts. Nature has done a great deed for Sampson by giving her this crop. Hogs fattened upon it until the stock law came around the other year, and now the people are at sea to know what to do with the surplus berries left in the woods. Sampson has often been joked about the huckleberries, but she takes the dope well, and goes right on the next year doing business at the same old stand.


Farming and Manufacture

Sampson county is strictly a rural county, lying in the Coastal Plain belt, and having a total population of a little over thirty thousand people. The chief industry of the people is agriculture, in which pursuit a very large majority of the people are concerned. There are no towns and cities of any consequence in the county, except Clinton, the county seat, which has a population of about 1,800. All the rest of the population may be said to live in the country, as there are only three or four small villages of two or three hundred inhabitants whose only work is that of farming. Sampson has not yet developed very much in manufacturing industries. There were in 1915 ninety-nine manufacturing establishments of all kinds, with a total capital of $319,483, employing only a few more than 800 men. There are no large corporations in the county, and only about forty miles of railroad. Sampson, then, is not considered as a wealthy county. She has rather spent her energies in developing her natural resources, and in building up a wealth that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

The ninety-nine manufacturing establishments may be classified as follows: there are 77 lumber and timber concerns; 3 wood-working establishments; 5 shingle mills; 5 turpentine distilleries; 1 wagon factory; 3 brick concerns; 6 planing mills; and 1 wheat mill. There are many small concerns that do not admit of classification. Ten concerns invested over $10,000 stock as follows: Parksley Lumber Company, $27,000; J. E. Wilson, $10,000; C. A. Brown and Brother, $11,000; Sampson Lumber Company, $25,000; B. Vandergrift, $15,000; T. L. Jackson, $11,500; Troy H. Herring, $28,000. These are all establishments that depend upon the local timber resource, which is the county's biggest natural resource outside of agriculture.

Local Timber Supply

The oak lands of Sampson lie in the northern part of the county and are covered with a growth of young white and post oaks. There are no large bodies of water or chestnut oak flats. The cypress and gum swamps lie in narrow strips along Black River and Big and Little Coharie Creeks. The uncut cypress lands cover about 3,800 acres, and about an equal area has been cut over to obtain timber for the Wilmington market. The long bay pine lies chiefly in the southern and central parts of the county. The standing pine amounts to about 330,000,000 feet. The loblolly pine, largely of second growth, is scattered throughout all sections of the county and occupies about 35,000 acres. Sampson

has for many years furnished a large part of the timber that is carried to Wilmington and other places. But in the last few years this practice has come almost to a sudden stop. Private capital has been turned loose, and is being spent towards building up the lumber manufacturing industry of the county. This industry is bringing immense wealth into the county, and if pursued along scientific lines will continue to be a source of large income for years to come.

Improved Farming

But Sampson is mainly an agricultural county, and her soil is the basis of all her wealth. In 1910 she ranked third in the state in the production of corn, producing 777,340 bushels. She has since increased that amount very materially; and now not only does she raise sufficient corn for her own use, but she is shipping corn out of the county as well. There was a time when it was considered a good crop if the farmer raised from forty to fifty bushels of corn to the acre. But such is no longer the case. The farmer is not satisfied with what he has grown if the corn crop falls under 90 or 100 bushels per acre, or a bale of cotton per acre. He goes about his farming business in a scientific and businesslike way also. He has learned that it is not necessary to tend and cultivate so much ground as he once did. He has cut down the acreage, applied fertilizers, given his crop more attention and cultivated it more, and is now producing more than ever before, on less ground. So far as the corn supply is concerned, the Sampson county farmer has become independent.

Since the spreading of the new ideas of farming, it is only natural to expect that good results will follow. And the great result that followed is that the total farm wealth increased 165.5 per cent during the ten years between 1900 and 1910. The total farm wealth in 1910 was $9,874,250, and anyone acquainted with the county for the last six years is well aware that during these years the county has been tremendously prosperous. The county is, indeed, headed in the right direction, and is setting a pace in many ways for modern efforts and achievements.


11thin total farm wealth$9,874,250
16thin farm wealth increase, 1900-10, per cent165
The State increase was 130 per cent.
25thin increase of value of domestic animals, per cent125
The State increase was 109 per cent.
33rdin total taxable property, 1916$8,991,837
The increase in taxable property, 1903-13, was 101 per cent. The State increase was only 81 per cent.
23rdin per capita country wealth$330
For the State at large it was $322.

49thin negro farm owners; per cent of all negro farmers49
The State average was 33 per cent.
27thin tax rate, State and county, on the $100 of property in 1916$ .89 2-3
Only 26 counties had smaller tax rates.
31stin professional taxes paid, 1913$190
At that time there were 38 doctors, lawyers, dentists, photographers, architects, etc., in Sampson.
39thin white farm mortgages, per cent15
The State average for the whites was 17 per cent.
41stin negro farm mortgages, per cent26
The State average for negroes was 26 per cent.
88thin population per bank in 191410,384
Average for the State 4,800. Only 3 banks in Sampson.
86thin per capita bank capital, 1915$1.41
Total bank capital only $45,000.
75thin per capita bank resources, 1915$19.20
State average $63.00.
Total bank resources $610,981.
74thin per capita bank loans and discounts, 1915$13.60
State average $45.00.
Total bank loans and discounts $407,317.

From these facts it can readily be seen that Sampson has stepped forth as a leader. She has stepped out of the huckleberry swamps to lead in agriculture and lumbering, and in co-operative movements that promote community progress, education, and social development.


At the close of this article will be found a table worked out of the 1910 census and other authoritative sources of information. This table shows (1) certain fundamental facts about Sampson set over against similar facts about other counties and the State at large; and (2) how the county stands in each particular when compared with other counties of the State.

This table affords a basis for an interpretative chapter of great length, but there is room for only a brief, simple discussion of it in this bulletin. The reader is asked to study carefully this and similar tables closing other chapters in the bulletin.

Sampson Predominantly Agricultural

We must remember that Sampson is predominantly an agricultural county. The country people living outside all incorporated towns and villages are 94.6 per cent of the total population. Only 5.4 per cent live in towns of any size whatsoever. Both the best and worst that can be said about Sampson is that she is mainly agricultural and rural. It would be a great blessing if there were at least one large town in the county where the farmers could find a profitable market for homeraised products. The South has always been handicapped by the lack of large cities and lively market centers. Sampson is especially deficient in these particulars.

And it is also true that our county is deficient in credit facilities. In 1915 we had only 3 banks in the county or one for every 10,384 inhabitants. Our total bank capital is only $45,000 or only $1.41 per capita. Eighty-five counties make a better showing. In per capita bank resources we rank 75th and in per capita bank loans and discounts only 74th.

There are only ten counties in the state that produced greater farm wealth in 1910 than Sampson. The wealth produced by Sampson farmers amounted to the grand total of $3,406,599. But how much of this grand total do the farmers retain? That is a main question. It is pitiful to create great wealth and then to let it slip through our fingers and go to enrich Western farmers who produce the bulk of food and feed that our farm animals and our farm folks consume year by year.

The total farm wealth of Sampson amounts to $9,874,250. Which is to say, that every three years we produce greater farm wealth than we have been able to accumulate in 125 years!

Matters of Pride

Nevertheless there are many economic conditions existing in the rural districts of Sampson that we can point to with pride. For instance there were more swine sold and slaughtered in Sampson in 1910 than in any other county of the State. Sampson led with 35,138, followed by Duplin with 30,032. We also led in the total number of swine on hand when the census was taken—47,018. Pitt followed next with 39,040.

In the number of swine per thousand acres, we fall to the 10th place, due to the fact that Sampson is the second largest county in the State. In 1910 we had 80 hogs per thousand acres. We ought to have 280. Iowa has 263.

The ten-year increase in poultry was 43.9 per cent and only 5 counties made a better showing in this particular. There is no reason why every farmer in Sampson could not stock his farm with good poultry. They are an excellent, yet inexpensive, source of meat supply and their real importance as a source of home-raised food is underestimated.

Our per cent of increase in cattle was above the State average, but anyone knowing the status of cattle raising in Sampson knows it is at a low ebb. That renewed interest is being taken is evident. The increase in cattle since 1860 is barely 16 per cent, but the increase in population has been 80 per cent. We need to raise more cattle as well as more hogs; and we need greatly to improve the breed of our livestock.

It is gratifying to note Sampson's rank in farm tenancy. The counties having the largest per cent of farm tenancy are found in the cotton and tobacco belt in which Sampson is located. Yet only 33.2 per cent of the farmers are tenants, while the state average, including many counties with barely any tenants, is 42.3 per cent. Everyone is aware, or ought to be, of the evils of farm tenancy and the people of Sampson should be thankful that, although situated in the tenancy belt, her per cent is far below the State average. What we need to do is to decrease this per cent and have a citizenship of home-owning, home-loving people, with the smallest possible number of landless, homeless farmers.

The Lessons of Half a Century

During the fifty years between 1860 and 1910, the population of Sampson has nearly doubled, the increase being from 16,624 to 29,982. Our work animals rose from 2,732 to 5,266. Our cotton crop in 1860 was only 759 bales of 500 pounds each; but in 1910 it was 16,167 bales and in 1916 it was 21,152. Only ten counties produced more cotton last year. Meanwhile our tobacco crop increased from 1,229 pounds in 1860 to 826,000 pounds in 1910, and to even larger figures last year.

In other words we have been busy these fifty years creating cash

crops and getting ready money into circulation, and we have been doing this under the pinch of hard necessity. A county without cash crops and ready money is hopelessly crippled in these days of factory production and swelling commerce.

If only we had been a self-feeding farm civilization these fifty years we would now be rich beyond the dreams of avarice. As it is, our wealth in farm properties is only $330 per inhabitant, against $994 in the United States and $3,386 in Iowa, a food producing state.

In 1860 we were a self-feeding people, but we had no cash crops; in 1910 we had cash crops worth one and a half million dollars. Nevertheless we miss the abounding prosperity of the Middle Western farmers. And we will always be a comparatively poor farm community until we produce food and feed crops in sufficient abundance while raising cotton and tobacco. And furthermore, we need to develop livestock in larger measure, if we would achieve abiding farm prosperity.

In 1860 we were producing small grains, peas and beans at the rate of 40 bushels per inhabitant, which was just about enough for both folks and farm animals. In 1910 our per capita production of these crops had fallen to 28 bushels per inhabitant. The difference of course had to be shipped in from the North and West and paid for with cotton and tobacco money.

We increased our production of corn and oats, but our wheat crop fell off nearly two-thirds, while our rye and rice crops almost totally disappeared. We were even producing a third less hay and forage in 1910 than in 1860. Meanwhile our potato crop fell from 19 to 12 bushels per inhabitant; which means that in 1910 Sampson County was self-feeding in potatoes alone of all the food crops. And it is also true that we are producing pork enough for home consumption; but our meat diet is deficient in beef, mutton, poultry and eggs. And an ill-balanced diet means pellagra, as the U. S. Public Health Service is now demonstrating.

Sampson has done well in agricultural development and these last six years have marked the greatest development so far in our farm history; but not yet is our farm system safely balanced, as it must be if we would retain the largest possible measure of the wealth we produce year by year.


Based mainly on 1910 census. Rank indicates counties that make a better showing.

11thin total farm wealth$9,874,250
16thin farm wealth increase, 1900-10, per cent165.5
23rdin per capita country wealth$330

Alleghany, $560; State, $322; U. S., $994; Iowa, $3,386. Per capita taxable wealth, all property, in 1910 was $139. White per capita taxable wealth in 1910 was $197; negro per capita taxable wealth was $28.80.
40thin negro farm owners, per cent of all negro farms49
State average 33 per cent. Negro farm owners in Sampson, 607. White farm owners in Sampson are 72 per cent of all white farmers; in N. C. 66 per cent.
94thin tax value of farm land; compared with census value in 1910, per cent20
State average 38 per cent.
39thin white farm mortgages, per cent15
State average for whites 17 per cent.
41stin negro farm mortgages, per cent26
State average for negroes, per cent 26.
For both races, 18.5 per cent in N. C.
60thin per cent of total land area under cultivation27
State average 29 per cent. Land under cultivation 151,485 acres. Idle wilderness 438,595 acres, or 73 per cent of total area. Reserving 50,000 acres for wood-lot uses and allowing 75 acres to each new family there is room for 5,181 new families in Sampson.
7thin number of farms4,577
Average cultivated acres per farm 33.1. Size of cultivated farm larger in 51 counties; 2,084 farms or nearly one-half are less than 50 acres in size, both cultivated and uncultivated acres considered. There is room for a 50 per cent increase in size of farms.
6thin poultry increase, 1900-10, per cent43.9
100,345 fowls of all kinds on hand in Sampson in 1910.
50thin cattle per 1,000 acres22
State average 23; U. S. average 61.
29thin cattle increase, 1900-10, per cent21
Caldwell increased 62 per cent. State average increase 12 per cent. In 1910 Sampson had 12,779 cattle, and 11,018 in 1860.
10thin hogs per 1,000 acres80
State average 39; U. S. average 66; Iowa 263.
17thin swine increase, 1900-10, per cent11
69 counties decreased; only 29 increased. In 1860 Sampson had 42,948 hogs; in 1910 only 47,018.
58thin sheep losses, 1900-10, per cent56
Total number lost 3,067, worth $11,350. In 1860 Sampson had 9,107 sheep; in 1910 only 2,443.

50thin investment in farm implements, per acre$2.16
State average $2.10; U. S. average $2.52.
67thin horse power; one work animal for an average of acres28.68
State average 25.85 acres; U. S. average 19.81 acres.
37thin farm tenancy, per cent33.2
State average 42.3 per cent. Increase in farm tenancy in Sampson, 1900-10, was .8 per cent. Forty-seven counties decreased in farm tenancy. White tenants in Sampson 897; negro tenants 623. The landless, homeless white tenants and their families number about 4,500 souls. Twelve hundred and twenty-eight tenants are croppers. Only 292 are cash or standing rent tenants. Tenants raise cotton and tobacco mainly and neglect food and feed crops.
8thin annual farm wealth produced, 1910$3,406,599
This total covers both crops and animal products. Every three years the farmers of Sampson produce more wealth than they have been able to accumulate in the last 126 years.
30thin crop yielding power per acre, 1910$18.38
State $20.18. Sampson compares well with Missouri, $13.06; Minnesota $13.19; North Dakota $11.10; South Dakota $10.79, in 1914.
14thin annual production of farm wealth per person$113.60
State average $85; average for French farmer $126.
69thin food and feed crops; per cent of total crop values44
Alleghany 89 per cent; State average 47 per cent. Alleghany is the richest county in per capita country wealth. Sampson ranks 23rd in this particular. Food production means farm wealth.
16thin food and feed production per person$62
Needed $84 per person; deficit $22; total deficit food and feed production for people alone $659,604.


By non-food crops the census means crops that do not serve as food for man or beast. The two main non-food crops produced in Sampson are cotton and tobacco. The former serves as a necessary article for clothing while the latter—well, I guess its greatest mission is to increase the death rate. Also many governments are wrought asunder and built over anew by the percentage of population that sits around the country store spitting at a mark with saliva produced by the stimulating action of the wad. However that may be, tobacco serves as an important source of revenue to the Sampson farmer and its importance is increasing year by year.

The value of non-food crops produced in Sampson in 1910 amounted to $1,528,318. This value was created by cotton and tobacco mainly. It was 55 per cent of the total crop wealth produced in Sampson in that year. Only 14 counties produced larger ratios of non-food crops.


In 1860 Sampson produced 962 bales of cotton weighing 400 pounds each. Since that time cotton production rose rapidly until it reached 28,508 bales—the bumper crop of 1914. In 1869 we produced 6,291 bales; in 1900 the production was 8,364 bales; in 1910 it was 15,167 bales; in 1914 it was 28,508 bales; in 1915 it was 21,695 bales, and in 1916 the total amounted to 21,152 bales, or so the federal authorities report on March 20 of this year. This is 542 bales less than the total ginned last year at the same date. The production would have been larger in 1916, had it not been for unfavorable weather conditions existing over the whole South. However, the income from the sale of cotton this is probably greater than for any previous year. If we value each bale at $100, and this is a low estimate for cotton and seed, the total value of cotton alone this year is around $2,100,000. The price of cotton as of all other commodities is related to demand and supply, but the day is far distant when the Southern farmer will regulate the supply to meet the demand and thereby get the maximum returns upon the capital and time invested. It would be hard to regulate the supply even if a territory no larger than Sampson were the entire cotton area involved.


Just as cotton production has been steadily increasing in Sampson, so has tobacco production. Tobacco culture has been steadily moving southwardly and southeastwardly in North Carolina for many years. The main tobacco producing counties of this state were once the

counties bordering the Virginia line. Now they are the eastern central counties, Pitt, Lenoir, Wilson, Greene, etc. Today tobacco has a large place in the production of farm wealth in Sampson and other counties in this portion of the state. The time is not far distant when Sampson will also be a great tobacco growing area. The last few years have brought rapid increases in its cultivation.

In 1860 we produced only 1,229 pounds. In 1879 we produced 14,352 pounds. In 1909 the production amounted to 826,358 pounds. Since then the increase has been very rapid, but figures for this year are unavailable.

Keeping Home-Made Wealth at Home

There can be no doubt that the farmers of Sampson have profited by raising cotton and tobacco. These two crops serve as an important source of cash income. But it is folly for a farmer to raise cotton and tobacco to the neglect of food and feed crops. Many farmers say that it is more profitable to raise cotton and tobacco and to buy corn and hay and other products. We do not urge or advocate any neglect of cotton and tobacco, but we do urge the wisdom of greater attention to food and feed and livestock. As a policy of sensible self-defense as well as profit the farmer today will do well to employ his idle hours and his idle acres in the production of food and feed supplies; instead of importing these over a thousand miles or more of railway and through an innumerable host of middle men, each of whom must add to the consumer's bill because each must have his profit. It would be foolish to neglect the present money crops. But it is also foolish to neglect food and feed crops and to spend all the cotton and tobacco money to buy food and feed to raise cotton and tobacco. It is a vicious circle.

The man that raises food and feed along with his cotton and tobacco is invariably in a better financial condition than his neighbor who raises cotton and tobacco and buys food and feed. The reason this is so is evident. Experiments made by the government have proved that hay, forage, corn, pork and beef can be produced in the South today more cheaply than in the West. If the farmer raises his own staple supplies he saves the middleman's profits and increases the size of his pocket book or bank account. And clearly he is wise to do so, when he can produce these supplies for less than they cost him in the stores.

There was a time just after the war when it paid him to buy from the West because they farmed extensively with labor-saving machinery and produced food stuffs more cheaply than we could. But that day has long passed. We can now produce bread and meat more cheaply than the Western farmers can do. We must raise cotton and tobacco, but also we must use the etxra hours and the idle acres for the production of food and feed. It is a sure way to produce fat pocket books. The farmer that cannot or will not convert into gold the opportunity

now offered by the war-time prices of food supplies is missing the greatest chance the South has had in a whole history.

How Don Seitz Sees It

Don Seitz, the business manager of the New York World, and the best known man of his profession in the country, gave the editors of North Carolina at their institute here at the University last fall some sound advice along this line. He said he once had an editor to ask him why his town didn't grow and prosper as other towns did. Mr. Seitz said that he found out from a banker that that town sent out of its territory $150,000 a year for food and feed supplies bought with money made from cash sales of non-food products. He told the editor of the trouble and the editor told the people. Matters were adjusted, food and feed were raised at home, and the town began to prosper by leaps and bounds. Why? Because the $150,000 remained at home to enrich the town in which it was made, as before it had been going away to enrich other places that had produced what could be produced at home.

It is impracticable or even impossible for any farmer or community to be wholly self-supporting, but it should be self-supporting in so far as economic advantage favors them. Mr. Seitz says that people argue to him that railroads won't prosper if the people live at home. Well, says he, what interest have you in the railroad or what interest has it in you except so far as it can enrich its coffers at your expense? We have too long supported railroads at our loss and in many ways they are becoming an unnecessary nuisance, says he. If the advice of Mr. Seitz and a vast number of economists is followed, Sampson, as well as the South, will make more rapid progress in the future than in the past.

Our 1917 motto ought to be, “Food, Feed, and Fertility First; and then All the Cotton and Tobacco we have Time to Raise.”


A One Million, Three Hundred Thousand Dollar Shortage

The reader is reminded that this as other articles is based on tables that can be found at the end of this article.

We consumed in Sampson in the census year pantry and farm supplies amounting to nearly one million, three hundred thousand dollars more than the farmers produced. This sum covers staple bread stuffs, not dainties and luxuries; and the figures are based on the thirteenth census and the average annual consumption figures given out by the Federal Department of Agriculture.

This shortage in details covers 1,264,646 lbs. of butter; 138,664 fowls; 221,400 dozen eggs; 152,102 bushels corn; 118,206 bushels wheat; 8,345 tons of hay.

The one staple food of which Sampson produced a surplus is meat. We needed 4,557,264 pounds and produced 9,056,321 pounds, thus leaving a surplus of 4,499,057 pounds for sale. Sampson has long been noted for her meat production and it is a blessing to her people that they take so much care in seeing that the smoke-house is well supplied with this product.

Why Our Farmers Fall Behind

Our farmers do not supply the one million, three hundred thousand dollar local market demand, because (1) of excessive attention to cotton and tobacco; (2) excessive farm tenancy under the supply-merchant, crop-lien, time-credit system; (2) the lack of ready cash markets for home-raised supplies.

Too Little Home Raised Supplies

Fifty-five per cent of the total crop wealth produced in Sampson year by year is produced in cotton and tobacco alone, and this ratio has been steadily increasing year by year. We are giving increasing attention to cotton and tobacco and decreasing attention to grain crops, hay and forage, domestic animals and livestock products.

In 1910 our population was 13.7 per cent greater than in 1900, and our corn crop was 28 per cent greater. This looks like we are paying much attention to our corn production but let us look at the cotton increase during the same period. In 1900 we produced 8,364 bales of cotton and in 1914 we produced 28,508 bales or an increase of just about 241 per cent during the 14 years. Our cotton increase was more than eight and a half times our corn increase, and we had in 1910 a shortage of 152,102 bushels. Why can we not remedy this evil

by producing more corn and save this $152,101 which was sent elsewhere for corn we could easily raise at home?

During ten years, 1900-1910, we lost 56 per cent in sheep, the number lost being 3,067. In 1860 we had 9,107 sheep; but in 1910 only 2,443. However, we increased 11 per cent in swine; 21 per cent in cattle, and 228 per cent in poultry.

In 1910, we had only 32.5 country people to the square mile, and 438,595 acres, or 72.6 per cent of our area, idle and uncultivated.

In 1915, twenty-two corn club boys in Sampson averaged 70 bushels to the acre, or about 5 times the average for the county at large. At this rate the farmers in Sampson county could have produced nearly 3,900,000 bushels more for the market. Raising a corn surplus of 3,000,000 at home beats importing over a hundred and fifty thousand bushels at two dollars per bushel.

In 1910, one-third of our farms were cultivated by tenants and farm tenancy under the crop-lien, time-credit system in the South which means more cotton and tobacco, and less attention to food and feed crops such as grain, hay, forage, nuts, vegetables, poultry, and dairy products, beef, mutton, and pork.

In Sampson, the annual consumption of these products in 1910 amounted to three and a quarter million dollars, and we produced a little less than two million dollars worth of them. So we sent out of the county one and a quarter million dollars in cold cash for food and feed supplies we might have raised at home; and by just so much do we decrease our power to accumulate wealth year by year.

The Penalties We Pay

As a result, our per capita country wealth in Sampson in the census year was only $330. In Alleghany it was $560, in the United States $994 and in Iowa $3,386.

Sampson ranks 11th in North Carolina in production of total crop values, but our rank in per capita country wealth is 23rd. Alleghany, which raises no cotton and very little tobacco, heads the list in per capita county wealth.

Sampson suffers a stead loss of cash year by year amounting to a million, three hundred thousand dollars. This fact largely explains why the food producing farmers of the Middle West grow rich and the cotton and tobacco farmers of the South remain poor.

The high cost of living in the towns and cities of the cotton belt results from the fact that they have to import their food from the far-away West. The part of the consumer's dollar which goes to pay for packing, transporting, etc., is much more than the producer gets for his product and this part increases as the distance increases. If the farmers of the nearby towns and cities produced the food needed for home and town consumption, both would be benefited, for the consumer

would get more for his dollar and the producer would get more for his products.

Clinton's Interest in the Problem

Clinton, like every other town or city, is interested in the local market problem, because, in the first place, it concerns the increasing high cost of living. The whole world faces this primary problem today, because once more in the round of history population presses upon the food supply. The cost of food-stuffs is higher everywhere while the purchasing power of the dollar is less. Today it is barely half what it was 20 years ago; that is to say, 50 cents then would buy as much food as a dollar will buy today.

Imported Bread Stuffs and Inflated Bills

If Clinton and Sampson must depend on the far-away producers of food and feed supplies to the extent of one million, three hundred thousand dollars a year, the overhead charges of transportation and handling by a swarming multitude of middlemen will of course add enormously to the cost of pantry supplies.

Sampson's Crop Producing Power

Our farmers can easily produce all the standard food crops and all the products needed for consumption in Sampson. Our soils are as good as any to be found in the state and are easy to make fertile. Our Corn Club Boys averaged seventy-two bushels to the acre and the county could easily produce corn enough and to spare. We have in the past depended upon the West for flour when we can raise wheat at home and can do it as cheaply as any county in the eastern part of the State. Our flour bill has been a considerable drain on our ready cash created by cotton and tobacco farming alone.

Sampson's High Average

In the census year the average producing power of Sampson was $18.38. It was $2.07 per acre above the average for the country at large. In North Carolina we rank thirteenth in this particular. Our average was high because 55 per cent of our crop values were produced by cotton and tobacco alone. These are hand-made crops and tend to yield high per-acre values but low per-worker values. The gross yields are large but the net profits are small.

We raise cotton and tobacco instead of food and feed crops, because the whole world is an organized market for them. The farmer does not need to seek markets for these; the market seeks him. He can sell them for instant ready money and can establish credit upon them before they are even planted.

Poor Market Facilities

Not so with bread and meat products. The farmer must peddle his vegetables, fruits, butter, and eggs, meat and poultry, from door to door or sell them to the merchant at shamefully low prices. Often when he cannot sell to any one, he will leave his perishable products with a merchant to dispose of at any price obtainable, as it would be a complete loss to take them back home. The producers and consumers are not organized in ways advantageous to both. They are as far away as though they lived on different planets. The producers and consumers of Sampson and Clinton suffer from the Iron Law of Trade as do any other people. This law is: Keep producers and consumers as far away as possible; pass goods from one to another through as many hands as possible; charge consumers as much as possible; and give producers as little as possible. As long as this law is in full operation we will suffer. It can only be broken through union and co-operation. Where there is disunion and collision both producers and consumers are punished. The producer gets little for his products, the consumer gets little for his money, while the middlemen get the lion's share of the wealth the farmers produce.

Doubling Our Farm Wealth

But leaving city and town consumers out of consideration, we can and ought to produce the supplies we ourselves need to buy from year to year to feed our farm families and our farm animals. If only we could or would stop spending a million or so a year for these things, our farm wealth would be doubled in the next eight years.

Our farmers cannot afford not to raise cotton and tobacco. In fact they need to do this; but while they do it, they will be wise to have their pantries, barns, cribs, and smoke-houses filled with home-raised supplies.

As for the two hundred thousand dollars worth of food products that Clinton needs, the farmers are never likely to raise them till town consumers and county dwellers, bankers, boards of trade and the farmers get together to solve the local market problem.

The Acid Test of Success

The local market problem created by the demand for bread-stuffs at high prices and the failure of the nearby farmers to supply this demand is a perplexing problem in every city of America.

The law of markets is a greed for gain. It is the tooth-and-claw struggle for prices and profits. This primary law of human nature organizes a world-wide market for cotton and tobacco; and at the same time and for the same reason it denies producers and consumers of bread stuffs, living side by side in the same county, an even chance and opportunity for direct dealing with mutual advantage.

The Solution of the Problem

Greed safely counts upon the dull unconcern of both producers and consumers. Finally the consumers wake up to the fact that the cost of living is a national problem. Farmers discover that the prices of food products to consumers have gone up enormously, but that their own farm profits are no more or little more than they were fifteen years ago. The simple fact is that producers and consumers are too far apart and the cost of marketing is too great.

How great the cost of marketing is can be shown from figures compiled by the Citrus Fruit Growers Association of California. These growers have done everything in their power to reduce the middlemen to a minimum and to pass fruit from producers to consumers with as little cost as possible. Yet even with all their wonderful organization and business skill they found that the part of the consumer's dollar that got back to the producer was only twenty-eight cents, while the middlemen—the pickers and packers, transporters and merchants—got seventy-two cents of it. The hard fact about marketing is that it costs more to get goods from original producers to final consumers than it costs to produce those goods. This is especially true of fruit and vegetable marketing.

The problem is getting producers and consumers together, the principle of action lies in co-operation, and success is achieved when farmers get more for their products and consumers get more for their money. If farmers do not get more and at the same time if consumers do not pay less, then the problem is not solved; no matter how elaborate or expensive the market plan or the market house.

Co-operation Necessary

Producers alone cannot solve the market problem. Success calls for the direct co-operation of consumers; and in big scale marketing, it invariably calls for and depends upon the credit accommodation of the banks. If consumers are unconcerned and unorganized, or if banks and transportation companies are neglectful or hostile, the farmers’ chance of success is reduced to zero. Success lies in collusion, not in collision, in co-operation, not in contest.

Texas Leads

Texas has taken a big step in the lead in solving the local market problem, and one of the many things she does with the help of her boards of trade is to maintain a free telephone market information exchange in charge of an official whose business it is to give reliable disinterested market news to farmers and city dwellers and to bring consumers and producers together in direct dealings.

What the Banks Can Do

Texas banks are refusing loans to supply-merchants who do a crop-lien business protected by cotton acreage alone. They have a half-and-half system. They stipulate a minimum acreage which must be devoted to food production, and farmers are required to raise a specified amount on this acreage. They are doing this to force the supply-merchant to force the farmer to raise a sufficiency of bread and meat on every farm. It is sound sense and safe business policy, they say, to keep in Texas the 217 million dollars that has been leaving the state every year heretofore to pay bills for imported food supplies.

This policy insures a food-producing farm civilization, and this means prosperity. It also means bigger, safer, better business for supply merchants and bankers.

This same system could be put to work in this state, especially in our cotton and tobacco counties where conditions are similar to those in Texas. We have proved to the world that we cannot accumulate country wealth under our one-crop, or money-crop system of farming. We stay poor while the West grows rich. The bankers can do more to solve this problem in a single year than all the farm demonstrators can do in a life time, and they can do it almost by lifting or lowering their eyebrows.

Clinton must get ready with arrangements, conveniences, and facilities for doing a larger business in home-raised food and feed supplies.

The Farmers’ End of the Problem

On the other hand the farmer must not only produce food and feed supplies for farm consumption, but about two hundred thousand dollars worth for Clinton consumers and those in the radius of Clinton's trade territory. They must know more about market demands. They must not dump all their food products on a small market at one time. What they offer for sale in competition with the big wide world must look and taste just as good as imported food products. They must become expert in picking, handling, grading, packing, and crating. They must produce meat, butter and eggs, grain and hay in steady and reliable sufficiencies; and stand ready to supply market demands just as the western markets do upon telegraphic notices.


Facts mainly from the 1910 census. Rank indicates the number of counties that make a better showing.

3rdin corn production, total crop, bushels777,340
Robeson ranked first with 1,142,000. Ten year increase in corn production, 1900-10, was 172,280 bushels. The per cent increase was 28; rank 12th in this particular. In 1860 Sampson produced 482,378 bushels of corn.

5thin corn production per person, bushels26
Needed per person, 31 bushels; deficit per person, 5 bushels; total deficit 152,101 bushels. State average production per person, 15 bushels.
67thin wheat produced per person, bushels .05. Needed 4 bushels per person; deficit per person 3.95 bushels; total deficit 118,206 bushels. This deficit has been greatly reduced since 1910.
59thin oats production, total crop, bushels10,413
The oats produced amounted to 3.4 pints per work animal per day; rank 78th. The ten year increase in oats production, 1900-10, was 190 per cent; rank in this particular, 9th. In 1860 Sampson produced 3,974 bushels.
63rdin hay and forage production, total crop, tons1,710
Ten year increase, 1900-10, was 61 per cent; rank 43rd. The hay and forage produced amounted to one-sixth of a pound per work animal per day. In 1860 Sampson produced 3119 tons of hay.
31stin per cent of farmers buying feed32
1,514 farmers bought feed, averaging $30.69 per farm.
22ndin beef production per person, pounds41
State average, 33.8 pounds.
4thin pork production per person, pounds234.3
State average, 93 pounds. State average of hogs sold and slaughtered, .47 hog; U. S. .57 hog; Iowa, 2.7 hogs per person. Needed for farm consumption, 122 lbs. per person.
32ndin poultry production per person, fowls7.36
Needed 12 fowls per person per year; deficit 4.64 fowls per person. Total deficit 139,000 fowls.
55thin increase in farm sales of dairy produces, per cent154
Total sales in 1910 were $6,971. State increase was 146 per cent. Sampson produced 6 pounds of butter per person; rank 56th. The amount needed was 48 pounds per person per year; per capita deficit was 42 pounds.
79thin livestock products per person$21
Alleghany $65; State average, $17. Per capita crop production in Sampson was $93. The total farm wealth produced was $114 per person.


Needed: 29,982 people at $84$2,518,000
5,510 work animals at $39.39217,000
4,362 dairy cows at $18.5580,915
8,565 other cattle at $8.0969,291
2,586 sheep at $1.794,450
47,493 swine at $6.69317,728
Total food and feed needed$3,207,384


Produced: food and feed crops$1,257,091
Dairy products42,626
Poultry products134,027
Honey and wax3,720
Animals sold and slaughtered480,198
Total food and feed produced$1,917,662
Shortage in home-raised food and feed$1,289,000
Cotton and tobacco crop value was $1,538,000 which paid our bill for imported supplies and left us $249,000 over. This surplus averaged $8.30 per inhabitant per year, or 2.3 cents per day. Getting rich at this rate is a slow process.


(1)Meat Needed: 29,982 pop. at 152 lbs.4,557,264lbs.
180calves at 150 lbs.27,000lbs.
3,508cattle at 350 lbs.1,227,800lbs.
221,120poultry at 3½ lbs.773,921lbs.
35,138hogs at 200 lbs.7,027,600lbs.
Total home produced meat9,056,321lbs.
(2)Needed: Butter for 29,982 pop. at 48 lbs.1,439,136lbs.
(3)Fowls: Needed for 29,982 pop. at 12359,784fowls

(4)Eggs: Needed for 29,982 pop. at 17½ doz.524,685doz.
(5)Corn: Needed for 29,982 pop. at 31 bu.929,442bu.
(6)Wheat: Needed for 29,982 pop. at 4 bu.119,928bu.
(7)Hay: Needed for 5,510 work animals at 10 pounds per day10,055tons


1. Consolidation of Schools

This discussion is based as before on the tables that close the chapter.

Progress in the rural schools of Sampson county during the five years from 1908-09 to 1913-14 has been highly creditable. In all but five items we find gains and most of these gains are considerable. In most cases where we find a loss, it is an advantageous loss. For instance the greatest decrease was 6.6 per cent in school districts. Sampson like almost every other county in the state has realized that it has too many one-teacher schools and has begun to remedy this evil by cutting out some of these wasteful, weak, little schools and consolidating them into fewer, better, bigger schools; because larger schools can have more teachers, and better equipment.

When we consider the size of Sampson and compare the number of her rural schools with those of many other counties, we find that Sampson has given up many of her petty, individualistic ideas and has co-operated with the County Superintendent in his effort to make fewer, better, and larger schools by consolidation. (See the University News Letter of July the 26th for the significance of this movement.)

In 1913-14 we had 35 schools with two or more teachers. Here is a 75 per cent increase; but still nearly three-fifths of our country schools have only one teacher and 32 counties make a better showing.

2. Better Equipment

There has been a considerable increase in equipment. In 1908-09 only 22 schools had patent desks; in 1914, these had increased to 51. Here is a gain of 132 per cent. Thirty-two of our rural white schools still have home-made desks.

3. Better Teachers

Possibly the most important gain in the last five years is in the quality of instruction. The number of rural white teachers has increased from 114 to 144, and the number with normal training has increased from 22 to 61, or about 177 per cent; while the number with college diplomas has increased from 1 to 13, or 1,200 per cent. The number with four years of experience has increased from 47 to 64, or 36.2 per cent.

4. Better Salaries

Along with the increased efficiency of the teachers, we also notice

the increase in salaries paid rural white teachers. In 1908-09, the average annual salary per white teacher was $142.67. In 1913-14, it was $212.21, or an increase of 48.74 per cent. However, this is a small salary for any teacher to receive and is below the state average which is $235.27. Edgecombe leads with $358.80. We stand 66th in salaries paid rural white teachers.

One of the things Sampson has to be proud of is the rank she holds in school expenditures per $1,000 worth of property. In 1913-14 it was $13.85. Only two counties in the state spent more. McDowell leads with $20.85; State average is $8.03.

5. Small School Population and Large Enrollment

Sampson had an increase in population during these five years, but strange to say a decrease in school population of 4.4 per cent. The decrease was from 9,900 to 9,466. However, the total school enrollment increased from 7,822 to 8,312 or 6.37 per cent. Also attendanec fell from 5,436 to 5,284, a loss of .8 per cent, but the white school attendance on enrollment shows an increase. In 1914 we ranked 69th in white school attendance, the per cent being 63.6. However, the per cent of school population enrolled in schools increased from 78 to 87.8 per cent, or an increase of 9.8 per cent. It is startling to find that more than two-fifths of the children of school age in Sampson in 1913-14 were practically out of school.

6. Strange Contradictions

In schools having two or more teachers, we find only 22 in 1908-09, while in 1913-14 we find 35, or an increase of 59 per cent. The per cent of schools having two or more teachers increased from 24.5 to 42.2.

On the one hand we have an encouraging increase in the number of two-teacher schools and the number of trained teachers, but on the other hand we find a decrease in school population, in average daily attendance, and a very small increase in total enrollment. This is due largely to our inability to retain experienced teachers.

7. Grasshopper Teachers

We need country-minded teachers, who will stay on and become community leaders. This can only be done by paying them enough to induce them to stay after they have received some training. We pay our white teachers less than 65 other counties of the state. One of the ways to get the money with which to do this would be to increase the local tax rate on the $1,000. Sixty-four counties in the State have a higher local tax rate than Sampson.

However, we know that Sampson realizes as much good from what she spends as any other county in the State. We have one of the most

efficient superintendents in the State. He is thoroughly alive and overflowing with enthusiasm. He is tremendously interested in the welfare and progress of his teachers and pupils. He and most of his teachers have taken a lead in the progressive school movements of the day. We stand well in Boys’ Corn Club work, and in the number of Girls’ Canning Clubs. We take vital interest in other movements such as sanitation and health.

Sampson's county commencement is an important event and all the people look forward to it with keen anticipation. We were one of the very first counties to have such a commencement and it has rapidly grown in significance and value. This year, 1917, it is expected to be bigger and better than ever.


1908-091913-14PER CENT 5-YEAR INCREASE
Raised by local tax$37.898.00$38,505.001.6
Spent on t'ching and supervision21,025.0036,247.0072.4
Spent on building and supplies7,336.008,936.0021.8
Total school population9,9009,4664.4
Total enrollment7,8228,3126.37
Per cent enrollment7887.89.8
Average daily attendance5,4365,2842.8*
Per cent attending5556.91.9
Average annual salaries (white)$142.67$212.2148.7
School property$50,400.00$87,534.0073.7
Rural white schools90837.7*
Having two or more teachers223559
Per cent having 2 or more t'chers24.542.217.7
Total rural white teachers11414426.5
No. with normal training2261177
No. with 4 years experience476436.2
No. having college diplomas1131200
With patent desks2251132
New school houses8912.5
Total school districts90846.66*
Local tax districts1030200

Note: Asterisk (*) means decrease.STATUS OF SAMPSON COUNTY RURAL SCHOOLS, 1913-14

33rdin total taxable wealth, 1913$8,087,352.00
12thin investment in rural school property$87,534.00

On a per capita basis Sampson has $2.90 invested in rural school property.
65thin local school tax rate (county and special) per $1000$4.76
Pamlico leads with $8.90 and Hertford comes last with $3.45.
26thin amount spent upon buildings and supplies$8,936.00
66thin salaries paid rural white teachers, average$213.00
State average $235.27. Of the 154 teachers in the county, 61 have normal training and 13 have college diplomas.
34thin number of local tax districts, per cent35.7
Thirty of the 84 school districts levy local tax.
39thin total revenue from district taxes$10,414.55
Received from state equilization fund $6,809; from high school fund $1,000.
69thin school attendance on enrollment, per cent63.6
State average 68.1 per cent.
32ndin rural schools (white) with two or more teachers, per cent42.7
Thirty-five of the 84 have two or more teachers.
—in rural schools (white) with old-fashioned desks, per cent40
Thirty-three of our 84 schools are thus equipped.
60thin average expenditure per high school pupil enrolled, 1913-14$24.93
It was an increase of $6.20 over the previous year. Jackson leads with $52.63; Franklin is lowest with $11.52.
27thin high school attendance on enrollment, per cent79.3
Burke leads with 93.2 per cent; Wayne is last with 54.3 per cent.
42ndin per capita investment in white school property, town and country, 1913-14$4.90
State average $5.10. Durham leads with $13.97. Tyrell is lowest with only 44 cents.


The First Community League

“A conference of the State's leaders in educational, agricultural, health, moral, and social development was held a year ago in the office of State Superintendent Joyner looking toward specific efforts for rural uplift. A plan for community organizations was formulated which was to be tested out in some community in order to establish a standard of community life. After casting about for a few months to find the place that would lend itself most readily to their plan of development, the State leaders settled upon Salemburg, in Sampson County, for the official community. The county officials of Sampson and the leading citizens of Salemburg joined hands with the State force in the experiment, and representatives of the State and county educational, agricultural, and health departments met the whole citizenship in the little church at Salemburg on March 31, 1914, for the formal organization of the first Community League.”

This extract from an article by Miss Lula M. Cassidey tells of the beginning of an experiment which has worked out so successfully in Sampson County that at last the way seems to have been pointed out for a really practical solution of our country-life problem in North Carolina.

The experiment has been successful because those responsible for it have interpreted the country-life problem in terms of the farmer's own needs. They understood that what the man in the country needs is a well-rounded, thoroughly satisfying life. And this does not mean that he needs greater wealth merely, or better roads, or better schools. It means that, of course, but it also means more than that. It means that the social life of the country must be developed. It means that country life must be freed from isolation; that it must be made attractive; that it must have developed within it, as far as possible, all the advantages of community life.

And so the idea of the experiment was to develop in the Salemburg section as many as possible of those advantages that have made town life more attractive than country life has been to the farmer who is ambitious for himself and family. And it sought to accomplish that purpose by welding the people of that country district into a real, organized community, which would make it possible for them to co-operate in securing for themselves the advantages which must be offered if country life is to be wholly satisfying, and which can be obtained only through a common interest and effort.

At the time it was decided to make Salemburg a model community

there was no law in North Carolina providing for the incorporation of a rural community; but those who were promoting the plan, realizing that what was needed was not so much governmental machinery as co-operation on the part of the people themselves, set about promoting such an organization of interest and effort as would secure without the machinery of government the advantages the people needed.

How the People Planned

The Community League, which was organized with this end in view, allotted the work of upbuilding to six committees as follows:

1. A Committee on Social Life.—To provide for means of recreation and amusement such as games, fairs, reading circles, picnics, etc., and to provide for roads good enough to make it possible for the people of the section to get together easily and quickly.

2. A Committtee on Education.—To improve the school, and to broaden the educational work of the community by organizing boys’ and girls’ industrial clubs, debating societies, etc., and by making provision for getting farm bulletins, books, and papers into the homes of the community.

3. A Committee on Farm Progress.—To arrange co-operative production, buying and selling, and to organize, if possible, some system of local rural credits.

4. A Committee on Moral Conditions and Improvements.—To develop the churches, Sunday schools, and allied organizations, and to formulate plans for raising the moral standing of the community.

5. A Committee on Health Conditions and Improvements.—To adopt means for improving the health of the community.

6. A Committee on Woman's Work.—To assist in improving home equipment, home management, etc.

The committees immediately began work, and they worked with such energy and effectiveness as to prove beyond doubt that when the people of a rural community organize with a purpose, they can so develop the latent resources of their community as to provide all those things—wealth, schools, churches, social life,—everything necessary to make their life happy and satisfying.

What the community accomplished is so well known that it is hardly necessary to do more than indicate in a general way what happened when these Salemburg people came to the realization of what they could do for themselves.

Better Health Conditions

One of the first activities undertaken was a complete health survey and thorough clean-up of the whole community. Hookworm cases were treated, many of the people were given typhoid and small pox vaccine, homes were screened, precautions were taken against breeding of flies

and mosquitoes, a complete health record of every individual was made. In short every means was used to free the community from the dangers of disease, and with the result that there has been very little sickness since the organized health work was begun.

Better Farming and Farm Business

The farmers were organized and began to study progressive methods of farming and stock raising. Arrangements were made looking toward the establishment of a system of co-operative buying and selling and the co-operative ownership of improved farming machinery. Now every farmer is growing some kind of a winter cover crop, and greater interest is being taken in stock raising. Already the community leads the county in farm production. Moreover, a Farmers’ Union cotton warehouse has been established, and as a recent community census shows, of the 144 farmers reporting, 42 co-operate in the ownership of improved farm machinery, 63 co-operate in buying fertilizers, and 64 co-operate in marketing certain kinds of produce.

Better Churches and Sunday Schools

Interest in church and Sunday school work has been stimulated. The Baraca and Philathea classes are interested and active organizations. The church itself took on new life. The Sunday school enrollment at the little church in the village has reached 290 and the church membership 260. The church has a resident pastor—a county-minded pastor—who is a leader in the community betterment work. But the moral welfare work was not confined to the church walls, for steps were taken to break up the few forms of vice that existed in the community. The law against selling cigarettes to minors was enforced, loafing around stores by boys was discouraged, and the selling of intoxicants anywhere in the community was stopped. One old man who was forced to stop selling wine, moved out of the community and into another county, saying that he couldn't stand that “idel” (ideal) community.

Better Schools and School Facilities

Meanwhile the educational committee was working for improved school facilities, with the result that in June, following the organization of the Community League, a special local tax was voted the school, and, somewhat later, arrangements were made for building a new and modern school house. Now the community has a consolidated six-room school building with a suitable auditorium, and an eight-acre school farm. And the children are taught not only the ordinary subjects, but cooking, sewing, agriculture, and woodworking as well.

Livelier Social Life

Due attention was given also to that side of country life most often neglected, and neglected with more serious results than are generally

appreciated. The Salemburg folk were not satisfied alone with the measures that were being taken to make them healthy, wealthy, religious, and educated. What they wanted was to be happy, and they realized that they could not be altogether happy no matter how healthy, how wealthy, how religious, how well educated they were, unless they had a satisfying social life. And so they set themselves to work to solve the big problem of country social life.

And they solved it. The community now has its tennis courts and its baseball teams. It has its women's club and its girls’ club. It has picnics and parties. And once every month the community takes a day or a half day off and has a community get-together meeting, at which a program is usually carried out and the various committees report. The farmers, and the farmers’ wives, and daughters and sons are no longer isolated. They all know their neighbors, and they carry on a kind of social intercourse among themselves which is possible only for a socially developed rural community.

And all this has been accomplished without one bit of legislation. The Salemburg community is not incorporated and so far as its legal status is concerned, it is not different from any other rural district in the county. The difference lies only in the fact that the Salemburg people have co-operated to make their country life satisfying.

The Idea Spreads

Six months after Salemburg began its experiment, Ingold, a community eleven miles away, was so well satisfied with the Salemburg plan that it has organized a community league on the same plan. Later on Autryville, Clement, and Laurel Hill, other communities in Sampson, organized in the same way, and as recently as last December (1916), Beulah took the necessary steps in order to change itself from just plain country—nothing but an ordinary country region such as one finds everywhere—to a modern, progressive, satisfied rural community.

Jefferson's Ideal

Long ago, Thomas Jefferson saw the need for the development of country life after such a plan. As Dr. Clarence Poe has pointed out in an article on community work in Sampson, “Jefferson declared that as long as he had breath in his body he would fight for two things—first, education; second, provision for organizing rural communities—the sub-division of counties into wards,” as he puts it. His idea was to organize all over America rural communities, about six miles square, into a forceful, capable rural deomcracy—local republics corresponding in size somewhat to our present school districts, and each having genuine local self-government, probably in the form of a board of commissioners corresponding to the board of county commissioners or the board of aldermen in a town, meeting at stated intervals, and giving

farming people the privileges of local self-government, such as New England towns have always enjoyed. A law to this effect was passed by our recent legislature—the very first in the South so far.

Salemburg and these other Sampson communities have already organized themselves socially and economically, and will now organize themselves politically. They are realizing Jefferson's idea of what a country community should be. They are becoming wealthy communities, with their modern schools, with their own churches and pastors, with their own means of recreation and amusement independent of the town, with their social life well developed and satisfying. They are working out their own salvation through organization and co-operation in terms of the needs of country people. And in working out their own salvation they are solving that problem which we who are not country people have bothered about so much and with such meager results—namely, the country-life problem.


Sampson county has a great many things to be proud of. Besides being one of the oldest counties in the State it is one of the most prosperous. It is the home of some of the most progressive and most distinctly wide-awake people in North Carolina.


Clinton, the county seat, is a beautiful little growing town with a population of about 1,800. Here an enormous amount of business is carried on for a town of this size. Its place in history is as pronounced as that of Sampson County; and if any person can be found in the eastern part of North Carolina who has not heard of Clinton we will answer at once that the reason is that he has never raised any green corn or eaten any Big Blue huckleberries.

Our Schools

Sampson can pride itself especially on its high rate of school attendance. In the census year 81.7 per cent of all white children in the county between the ages of 6 and 14 years were in school. The State average was only 75.7 per cent. Back of this high rate of attendance of the children is the willingness of the people to bear taxes for school support. In this respect Sampson ranks third among the counties of the State. She spends $13.85 on the thousand dollars worth of taxable property while the State average is only $8.03. This explains the enormous rate at which Sampson has been advancing in educational growth in recent years. The interest in schools has been stimulated to a high pitch, and the authorities in charge of the school system are doing all that energy and enthusiasm can do to make the rating of Sampson even better in this respect.

Model Communities

The fact that the people of Sampson are thoroughly alive to progressive movements in education is shown by the great interest taken in the establishment of Social Service Organizations, and Model Communities. Salemburg, the first Model Community established in this part of the country, is famous far and wide. It has served as the model for establishing other such community organizations.


Sampson county can justly pride herself upon her amount of farm wealth. It amounted in 1910 to $9,874,250, which is more than that of

89 counties in the State. During the period 1900-1910 only 15 counties made a greater increase in farm wealth.

During the same period the increase in value of domestic animals was 125 per cent, while the state increase was only 109 per cent.

The value of all taxable property in Sampson in 1913 was $8,081,574, and the increase from 1903 to 1913 was 101 per cent. This great increase in taxable property gives an insight into the actual wealth of Sampson and the willingness of the people to bear public burdens for public progress and prosperity.

The per capita country wealth in Sampson is $330, which is above the State average, $322. The amount is not very large as compared with that of the United States which is about three times as large; but is beyond the average of 77 counties in this State.

Low Tax Rate

There are 83 counties in North Carolina that have a higher tax rate than Sampson. The State and county rate was only 82 2-3 cents on the $100 in 1913. Yancey was highest with $1.68 2-3. This speaks well for Sampson. In spite of the fact that she is singularly progressive along every line, she is able to keep her tax rate below that of 83 of her sister counties. She is progressive but economical. When we consider that Sampson's per capita country wealth is above that of 77 other counties in the State and that her tax rate is lower than that of 83 we have proof of the contention that she is in the front rank. She is frugal in expending tax money, but when the question of education comes up she is ready and waiting.


The number of farms in the county was 4,577 in 1910. Only 6 counties had more. Our farmers form the backbone of community life and have made our civilization strong and stable.

Farming has placed Sampson in the front row in some features of farm life. She had 221,120 fowls of all kinds in 1910, and the increase in the previous ten years was 43.9 per cent. Only 17 counties had a greater number of poultry on hand when the 1910 census was taken.

Sampson has always been noted for pork production. Its number of hogs for every 1,000 acres in 1910 was 80, while the State average was only 39 and the U. S. average 66. From 1900 to 1910 only 28 counties in North Carolina increased in swine production. Sampson's increase was 11 per cent. Even since the stock law has come into use the fame of Sampson county hams has remained unshaken.

In cotton production in 1916 Sampson ranks eleventh in the State. In 1914 we produced 28,508 bales. Robeson led with 74,168 bales. In corn production Sampson ranks high, being third in the total number of bushels in 1910. At that time, we produced 777,340 bushels. While

our cotton production greatly decreased in 1915 and 1916, our corn crop was greatly increased. So great was the readjustment to war conditions that we produced almost enough corn in 1916 for home consumption.

This speaks well for the economic development of the county; for in 1910, although we produced cotton and tobacco crops to the value of $1,538,000 our shortage in home-raised food and feed stuffs was $1,289,217. The drought in 1915 caused the cotton crop to drop from 28,508 bales to 15,531 bales, but the increase in corn production demonstrates to the people the truth of the contention that it is better to raise corn at home than to raise cotton and buy corn grown in Iowa or some other western State. The self-supporting stage of economic development that Sampson has almost reached is a stage that few counties in this State or any other have attained.

Sampson ranks eighth in the total annual production of farm wealth, the average annual crop and animal products for the last census period being $3,406,599. Not only is the total production of farm wealth high, but the per capita production was $113.60, which was $28.00 beyond the average for the State.

Our production of pork is very large as compared with that of other counties. While the State was producing 93 pounds of pork per person, Sampson was producing 234.3 pounds. Only three counties out-ranked us. The need is only 122 pounds per person.

Sampson ranks high in boy's corn club work. With 22 boys reporting in 1915 she ranked seventh in the State. The boys produced an average of 70 bushels per acre which was about five times the average for the country at large. But in 1916 seven of our boys produced an average of 75.5 bushels per acre at a cost of only 37.4 cents per bushel.

She also ranked second in girls’ canning club enrollment in 1915 with 173 girls reporting. In 1916, our Sampson girls lead the whole state in the numbers reporting, in the containers filled, and the profits earned.

The model community idea was worked out in Sampson county, Salemburg being the first model community established in the State. It is the pride of the people of the community and a living monument to the constructive progressiveness of Sampson county community workers.


The public school system of Sampson county is one of the best in the State. The five-year growth in rural schools from 1908-09 to 1913-14, treated in another part of this bulletin, is sufficient evidence of this fact. The real educational growth of the county began with the labors of Mr. Isham Royall as county superintendent. Since then the schools have been growing steadily, both in number and in capacity

for service, until today every white child in the county has the privilege of attending school six months in the year. Eighty-one per cent of the white children in the county between 6 and 14 years of age were in school in 1910, as has already been said.

It is unnecessary to say that the great progress made in education in Sampson in the last 25 years or more was not made by chance. Mr. Royall only began the movement that has placed the county in the foremost ranks of the progressive educational counties of the State. To Mr. Street Brewer and F. B. Johnson we are greatly indebted for the present efficiency of the school system. They put into practice the constructive ideas of Mr. Royall and paved the way for later developments under George E. Butler, John A. Ferrell and the present wideawake board of education.

Noteworthy Personages

We are proud of all our progressive movements in Sampson, but it would be telling only half the story to stop here. The men and the women who toiled patiently and unceasingly to bring about the present condition in our county deserve our consideration, and at the same time we hardly ever stop to consider them. Sampson's list of eminent men gives her a high rank in North Carolina. It covers all professions, callings, and vocations. It includes men of national as well as State and county-wide reputation. Sampson prides herself on being the mother of such men as William R. King, representative of Sampson in Congress prior to 1852 and later vice-president of the United States; Gabriel Holmes, once governor of the State; and Governor Moore, of Louisiana.

Other notable men in the list are the late B. F. Grady, for several years a member of the National House of Representatives and known as one of the best posted men of his times; Dr. McKinnon, once president of Davidson College; Dr. A. Holmes, the first surgeon in N. C. to perform an abdominal operation for ovariotomy; Dr. P. L. Murphy, the man who introduced the colony treatment of epileptics in the South; and Dr. George Kirby, whose son in New York is now a surgeon of national reputation.

These men are all Sampsonians and we have others of note among us today. Only a few can be named here. There is the elder J. L. Stewart, who was offered the nomination for the N. C. Supreme Court bench at a time when it meant sure election, and which he declined to accept. There is Dr. John A. Ferrell, assistant director general of the Rockefeller International Board of Health of New York City; Marion Butler, once U. S. Senator from N. C.; Dr. W. W. Faison, head of the Eastern Hospital for the Insane; and Dr. G. M. Cooper, of the State Health Department. These are all sons of Sampson county, and all are men of more than local name and fame.

Butler's Estimate of Us

In the words of Bion H. Butler, Sampson county, all things considered, has today more pride of locality, more hope of the future, more of self-confidence among her people, more of neighborly feeling and community interest than possibly any other thinly settled county in the State. It has lighted the fires of ambition on the farm, and has interested old folks, boys, girls, men, and women alike. Sampson county is giving promise of being the best rural community in the country to live in, and it has done for the whole rural United States what it has done for itself by discovering and establishing an idea.

The Sampson County Rural Community Plan will not stop with Sampson county lines any more than the religious liberty could stop with John Knox. The good about Sampson's contribution to humanity is that it includes a great variety of good things. Sampson county's dream is as comprehensive as a big log-rolling Omnibus Bill in Congress. It covers practically everything worth having, and it is working it all out on a characteristic community co-operative plan.

Sampson county has waked up to her vast possibilities, and she is solving a great big, all-inclusive problem—that of community co-operation.


We have many reasons to be proud of Sampson. In many respects she leads or ranks with the leaders of progressive movements in this State. However there are particulars in which she tails the list and it is these particulars that we wish to consider in this chapter.

Our rank in some important details of life and business may surprise you because you are accustomed to thinking that Sampson leads in almost everything. We do not. If we did, this book would be useless for there is no good that comes from boasting. We cannot afford to think that all our problems have been solved and that we can now rest on our oars and reputation. We must keep hammering away at the new problems that are always presenting themselves, and conquer them with the same uniqueness of effort that has made Sampson famous throughout the United States.

For the facts upon which this discussion is based see the end of the chapter.

1. Our county ranks low in local school tax rate, county and special, on the $1,000. The rate in 1914 was only $4.76. Sixty-four counties were willing to bear a heavier rate than Sampson. Now, consider the fact that our land was on the tax books in 1910 at only 20 per cent of the value put on it by the census authorities and that 93 counties rated their land at a higher per cent of the census value, and it becomes clear that after all is said we have yet a long way to go before we exhaust either our wealth or our willingness in school support.

The school districts must be more willing to tax themselves for local school support. Only 30 of the 84 districts in 1914 were levying a local school tax. New local tax districts have been formed during the last three years. But why cannot we follow the lead of Dare county and make every school district in the county a local tax district?

2. Sixty-five counties in the State in 1914 paid their rural white teachers more than Sampson and 90 counties paid negro teachers better salaries. Most of the teachers in the county are well trained and should be rewarded for their faithful services by an increase in salaries, or else they will seek new homes in more liberal counties. We cannot afford to train teachers and then let them leave us because other counties set a greater value on their services. We cannot have the best of schools under these circumstances; nor can we afford to serve as a training station for young teachers, who, when they acquire experience and skill, will leave us for better pay elsewhere. We must

pay them and keep them. The only way to keep them is tax ourselves liberally.

3. In 1910, 14.3 per cent of our native whites 10 years old and over were illiterate. They could neither read nor write. They are what we call sheer illiterates. And near-illiterates are even more numerous than sheer-illiterates, though little attention is given them. Moonlight schools and country churches have a wonderful opportunity here among these two classes.

4. Our native white illiterate voters were 17.5 per cent of our total white voters. Nearly one out of every five white men in the county 21 years of age and over could neither read nor write. Seventy-five counties in the State had a smaller per cent.

This class also, if ever reached and served, must be reached and served through night schools and church workers. The churches, if willing, could be a mighty agency in reducing illiteracy in the South. These people have passed the age when they can be reached by public schools. They must be reached by other means, or live and die in sheer ignorance of the big wide world in which they live. Approaching this superstitious and suspicious class calls for a great deal of diplomacy and indeed it must be done with exceeding care. They do not like to be reminded of their short-comings.

Sampson ranks well in church membership. Sixty per cent of our people, 10 years old and over, were on the rolls of our churches in 1906; and only 36 counties made a better showing. Nevertheless the people of these ages not on church rolls numbered 8,306; and it is significant that this number tallies almost exactly with the number of farm tenants and the members of their families, the illiterates and the near-illiterates of the county. This same correspondence is true of almost every other county in the State. The deadliest menaces of the country church are farm tenancy, sheer-illiteracy, and near-illiteracy. And these are the chief home mission problems in North Carolina.

5. An ill-balanced farm system. Sampson is not a self-feeding and therefore not a self-financing farm community; or not so in the census year. The money sent out of the county for food and feed supplies in 1910 amounted to close around one and a quarter million dollars. Either this, or we did without some of the bare necessities of existence. In five years it equals the total farm wealth accumulated in Sampson in 126 years! In the census year 1,514 farms bought feed averaging $30.69 apiece. Sampson farmers must pay more attention to production of feed for their farm animals. The farmers should also raise much more food for their families. In 1910 the wheat crop was only one-twentieth of a bushel per person. The need is 4 bushels per person per year. To meet this need we must produce about 120,000 bushels. The farmers saw the need in 1915 and produced nearly enough to feed the county but they fell behind last year. Flour is now higher

in price than at any other time since the war, and it is higher in North Carolina than in any of the wheat producing States.

When around one and a quarter million dollars in ready cash slips through the fingers of our farmers year by year, our accumulation of wealth will be slow and the totals saved will be small. In 1910 the per capita country wealth was only $330, while the per capita taxable wealth, all property whatsoever, was only $139. “Bear in mind that the self-sustaining, self-protecting, self-elevating abilities of a community are based (1) upon its stored up wealth, and (2) upon the willingness of the community to convert its wealth into weal, its wealth into commonwealth, and its commonwealth into commonweal.”

6. Farm tenancy and absentee landlordism. Thirty-three per cent of the farmers of Sampson are tenants. Of these tenants 1,228 are croppers and only 292 are cash or standing-rent tenants. The landless, homeless white tenants and their families number about 6,000 souls. Forty-eight per cent of all negro farmers in Sampson are farm owners, not tenants. Under tenancy conditions negroes everywhere rise into ownership faster than whites.

7. Bringing into productive uses 438,500 idle acres in Sampson, or about three-fourths of the land area of the county. Here is elbow-room for 5,181 new farm families, allowing them 75 acres each and retaining 50,000 acres for wood-lot uses. An increase of fifty per cent in farm population and a safely balanced farm system by small home-owning farmers would mean better schools, better roads, greater prosperity, better business for the trade centers, and more social life and liveliness.

Livestock a Solution

We can hardly bring these 438,000 idle acres into productive use by planting crops on them. We do not have enough people in the county to do the work. Why not let livestock solve the problem? We have a climate suitable for livestock—a climate that never becomes so severe that animals must be housed as in the West. We have wonderful opportunities in Sampson to develop livestock industries. Clinton could use a great deal of home-raised milk and butter, eggs, bacon, cured ham and the like. We are, through the Atlantic Coast Line, in close touch with Norfolk and other large cities. Norfolk has been looking around for a steady daily source of milk and butter. Dr. Hubbard Kerr tells us that several thousand gallons of milk and much butter could be marketed in Norfolk daily. Our opportunity is going to waste because of the lack of some industrious and enterprising man who knows how to start the ball rolling.

Our soils are well adapted to grass and grain growing. They are fertile and mostly well drained. We need some one who is thoroughly familiar with dairying who can organize farmers into a co-operative creamery company or companies such as they have in Catawba and

other counties. This company could collect and market milk, butter, eggs, meats, and even vegetables as do similar organizations elsewhere. These products could be delivered daily in Norfolk and other cities where we might have an organized market.

The Atlantic Coast Line sees the possibilities of Eastern North Carolina and is hard at work trying to get the people interested in livestock. A livestock exhibit at Wilmington is one of the means the authorities are employing to get the people in our section of the state interested in livestock. It is their dream that interest will be aroused and the people will see the value of stocking their farms with more and better livestock. If they succeed in their purposes, in a few years this part of the state will become the center of an important livestock territory. They realize that livestock is the best means of building up worn-out lands of which we have an abundance in the eastern part of the State. They say that livestock is the basis of all farm prosperity—and they are right. We have already waited too long to see this point. Our commercial interests have been entirely wrapped up in cotton and tobacco. We cannot afford to give up these crops, neither can we afford to grow them exclusively.

The farms in Sampson are too lightly stocked. We do not have enough animal units per 1,000 acres and what animals we have are, as a rule, not of the best quality. Especially is this true of our swine and cattle.

Our shortage in livestock appears in a study of the 1910 census figures. At that time we had room for 118,000 animal units, but we had only 24,000 animal units on our 590,000 acres; which means that we were 79 per cent below the level of even a lightly stocked farm area. We must grow up a generation of livestock lovers and make improved farm animals the basis of farm prosperity. They will fertilize our soils and feed our families, leaving cotton and tobacco to furnish cash for our pocket books and bank accounts.

It will take time to bring about such a change in farming in our county, but there is no need for delay in making a beginning in the right way. The world is clamoring for food supplies at high prices, and Sampson has a great chance to furnish her share of it with profit. Prices are high and profits are well assured. The philosophy laid down by Henry Grady years ago should be followed in Sampson today. He said: “When every farmer in the South shall eat bread from his own fields and meat from his own pantries, and disturbed by no creditor and enslaved by no debt, shall amid his teeming orchards and vineyards, and dairies and barns, pitch his own crops in his own wisdom and grow them in independence, making cotton and tobacco clean surplus, and selling these in his own time, and in his chosen market, and not at a master's bidding—getting his pay in cash and not in a receipted mortgage that discharges his debt, but does not restore his

freedom—then and not till then shall be the breaking of the fulness of our day!”

Co-operative Solution of Sampson Problems

None of the problems that present themselves can be solved by the farmers alone. The larger interest of farmers, bankers, merchants, and teachers lies in co-operation, not in contest. When each class is working with all its might and main for its own selfish end, the benefit derived for the whole will be less than if they were all unselfish servants of common good.

Farmers, merchants, bankers, transporters, and manufacturers are closely knit into an intricate whole of business dependence. They are all members of one body, and when one suffers, all suffer together.

The farmer alone is not likely to bridge the gulf between producers and consumers of farm products. He cannot solve the problems of rural credit alone. He must have the help of the bankers and supply merchants. He must also have the help of the boards of trade and transportation companies.

City civilization is dependent upon farm production. The business of the whole country is determined largely by farm conditions. Market prices in Wall Street change as the wires flash news of good or bad conditions in different farm regions. This year the farmers of the United States added to the necessities of the world ten billion dollars worth of newly made farm wealth. Poor crops and poor crop-prices in the fall mean sad times for merchants and ministers alike. We depend primarily upon the farmers’ fields and forests for food, clothing and shelter,—the trinity of inescapable necessities in this work-a-day world. The demand for these on the one hand and the farmers’ supply of raw materials for them on the other furnishes for the manufacturers, transporters, and merchants their business, their business opportunities, and the bulk of their fortunes. Over half of the railway business of the country consists in transporting supplies to farmers and the products of the farm to the markets of the world.

Cities are dependent upon the country for population, for the renewal of population, for business and business genius, for civic and social conscience, and for spiritual guidance. Three-fourths of the men in authority in our city churches were born and bred in the country; and the same is nearly true of our successful, influential men of affairs, the merchants, bankers, manufacturers, and lawyers. Five-sixths of the college professors and six-sevenths of the ministers of all denominations were born and reared in the country. On the other hand the country depends upon cities for market advantages and credit facilities. They are mutually dependent. It is fundamental for the Nation as well as Sampson county that the countryside be efficient and prosperous, satisfying, wholesome, and beautiful.

Mutual Prosperity

It is well to remember that no city can grow fat in a lean countryside. Many cities in the nation have realized this fact and are doing all in their power to promote prosperity in the surrounding farm regions. They know that their prosperity depends largely upon the prosperity of the country regions roundabout; that the better the condition of the farmers in their trade territories, the better the cities will be. The cities must help the farmers solve the problems of local markets for home-raised food and feed supplies. Our farmers will only raise such supplies in abundance when they can convert them into instant, ready cash at a fair price and profit; and not otherwise.

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce has extended its activity far into the country regions of Sampson within the last year or two. It has encouraged the growth of tobacco by offering prizes for the best showings made by farmers. Several merchants have subscribed prizes for the farmers who excelled in certain particulars of growth and preparation for the market. This is a capital idea, and it should be made to cover food and feed crops as well, for it is the self-feeding farm community that is most prosperus and that accumulates wealth most rapidly.

The bankers of Clinton can do more in a single year to promote a bread-and-meat, live-at-home farm system is Sampson than our gospel of diversified agriculture is likely to effect in a life-time.

Tenants and small farmers involved in a supply-merchant, time-credit system of farming are powerless. They do not raise food supplies enough for home consumption, because they neglect to do it or are not allowed to do it. They fell short of it in Sampson in 1910 by more than eleven hundred thousand dollars. This is the vast sum that the farmers themselves sent out of the county in ready cash for farm supplies. Its loss left traders, tenants, landlords, and bankers poor alike—just so much the poorer. If it could be held down in Sampson by live-at-home farming the total wealth would be doubled in seven or eight years.

The Texas bankers have solved the problem. They are refusing to discount a merchant's paper when it is protected by crop-liens based on cotton acreage alone. Before they will discount a crop lien paper the farmer must sign a detailed written agreement to plant a certain amount, covering about half his acreage, in specified food and feed crops. This changes the character of the supply-merchant's business; but it increases its volume and bases it on principles of safety instead of hazardous risks.

Before the bankers made this move, farmers of Texas sent out of the State $217,000,000 a year to swell the purses of the bread and meat farmers of the middle west. Now they keep this vast amount of

money at home to enrich the State; and furthermore the farmers produce as much cotton as before. This same policy would work effectively in Sampson and other cotton and tobacco counties in North Carolina.

Community Service

The Community Service idea is one of Sampson's important contributions to society. The first league to be established was at Salemburg, and the results accomplished were so wonderful that a second league of similar nature was established at Ingold. These leagues have for their goal better farming, better business and better living on the farm. The work is allotted to six committees as follows: (1) Committee on Social Life, (2) Educational Work, (3) Farm Progress, (4) Moral Conditions and Improvements, (5) Health Conditions and Improvements, and (6) Woman's Work.

The agricultural interests of Salemburg have been splendidly developed wtihin the last three years and this community easily leads the county in farm production. The Farmers’ Union, numbering about seventy-five, is actively engaged in studying farm-life problems, cooperation in buying and selling, the development of livestock industries and all the rest. The housekeepers are organized into a Matron's Club which is doing significant work in promoting home industries, household management and general uplift work. The membership is divided into working committees looking after health conditions, the sick, and the promotion of general culture in the community.

An organization of young men has built a tennis court, organized a baseball team, and a local band to furnish music for public gatherings in the community.

The church and Sunday school interests run high. There is only one church and one denomination in the community village. The Sunday school enrollment is about 400 and the attendance is far beyond the average in the State.


The county employs a whole-time health officer whose work has had telling effect on the general health of the county. His duty is to look after general health conditions, and administer medical aid to those in needy circumstances. His work is to prevent the occurrence of disease. This is done by health lectures, newspaper articles, vaccination, and the like. A great many people have been induced to take the treatment for hookworm, to be vaccinated against smallpox and typhoid, and many that once slept in sealed rooms now enjoy refreshing night air—a kind that terrifies most country people. By this means sickness has been greatly reduced and the people live on a higher level of health and efficiency.


65thin local school tax rate (county and special) on the $1,000$ 4.76
Pamlico leads with $8.90 and Hertford comes last with $3.45.
66thin salaries paid rural white teachers, 1914, average$213.00
State average $235.27. Of the 154 teachers in the county 61 have normal training, and 13 have college diplomas.
91stin average salaries paid negro school teachers, 1914$98.00
67thin native white illiterates, 10 years old and over, per cent14.3
76thin native white illiterate voters, 832 in number, per cent17.5
37thin church membership in 1906, per cent60
State average 56 per cent. Figures cover people 10 years old and over. People outside the church in Sampson numbered 8,306, ten years old and older.
63rdin hay and forage production, total crop, tons1,710
67thin wheat produced, per person, bushels.05
59thin oats production, total crop, bushels10,413
79thin livestock products per person$21.00
69thin food and feed crops; per cent of total crop values44
94thin tax value of farm lands compared with census value in 1910, per cent20
60thin per cent of total land under cultivation27
66thin density of rural population. People to square mile32.5
438,000 idle acres in Sampson county.


Possibly, if old King David were drifting about in an astral body in this section of the universe he might reiterate with different application his saying that the stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. Sampson county needs only a little more newspaper publicity to give the sandhills a race for the prize for going farthest from nowhere as a start. It is not many years ago that if you mentioned the county everybody laughed at the customary joke about huckleberries and figured that all had been said that could be said about Sampson. Today those who know Sampson county are aware that it is one of the best half dozen counties in the State, and that it is well in the lead in a half dozen important particulars of progress and prosperity.

A few years ago Sampson took a new start, and the big old county seemed to wake up from top to bottom. Glancing over the history of the county since the Civil War, one finds oneself bewildered by the multiplicity of things that the county has done in the way of advancement. And the story of progress is not confined to the past. The county is still moving forward in a quiet way, and enough has been accomplished to forecast something of what is ahead. The traveller, as he passes through the county, will not always find Sampson as attractive to the eye as some of the more favored counties of the State; but when he learns of the marked improvements the county has made during the last half century and its present unlimited possibilities, he will find many things to arrest his attention and challenge his enthusiasm.

Since the War

At the close of the Civil War Sampson, like the rest of the South, was prostrate and apparently ruined. She suffered all the evils that resulted from the war and the reconstruction period. The flower of Sampson's manhood had been sacrificed in the terrible struggle, and to the women and the old men and boys was left the task of rebuilding the country from the scattered ruins. The foundation of the county's whole industrial system had to be relaid. The sole occupation of the people then, as now, was agriculture, and since farming had not then been reinforced by the arts and sciences of the present day, the task of rebuilding the county was in every respect a tremendous one. But these people were not to be outdone by fate. They were masters of themselves and of all they surveyed. They set their shoulders to the wheel of destiny and lifted the county out of the mire. Such is the

history of these brave people, and their influence is still felt in every step the people take forward and upward.

Crude Farming Then

Sampson is making progress in every direction. The improvements in agriculture and education are doubtless more distinct than any others. Our gains of this sort since the 60's have been wonderful. When the soldiers returned from the battlefields of Virginia, they took up the same old trade, that of tilling the soil. And about the only farm implements they possessed were crude turning plows and weeding hoes. They considered that they owned the land only to a depth of about three inches, and dared not plow beyond that depth. In this respect the Sampsonian of that day was extremely conservative. Commercial fertilizers were entirely unknown, and when the land became too poor for profitable cultivation they either turned it out to broomsedge and scrub pines, and cleared new patches, or let their little farms lie out every second year. The two-horse plow was unknown to them; and they never dreamed of the disk harrow, the cultivator, the spring-tooth harrow, or the corn planter. The farmers grew only those crops that produced the absolute necessities of life, and made nothing for the market and the outside world. Highways were poor and railway facilities were lacking; and thus the cost of moving produce from one place to another was prohibitive. All these things depressed the markets and discouraged thrifty farmers.


Farming dragged on in this manner for many years. About the close of the century, however, our farmers began to bestir themselves. A great deal of this awakening can be attributed to the Farmers’ Alliance, but it was not until the organization of the Farmers’ Union that the present permanent results followed. The farmers had hitherto been content to produce only a few bushels of corn or a few hundred pounds of cotton to the acre, and believed that the way to grow a bountiful crop was to plant as much ground as they could cultivate once or twice a year. But they began to realize their mistakes. In their farmers’ meetings they began to discuss and debate their various farm problems. Reading farm papers and attending farmers’ picnics also had a great influence in changing the old order of things.

The results are everywhere apparent. As the traveler looks over the country during the summer season he finds great fields of corn that easily produce seventy-five bushels or more per acre, and it is not considered much of a crop if cotton production falls under a bale to the acre. Wheat is now being grown successfully in different parts of the county, averaging around 20 bushels to the acre and in some cases as high as 50 bushels to the acre have been harvested. And this is not

the whole story. When the wheat has been harvested, corn or some other crop is immediately planted, and the second crop is grown and harvested all the same year. Nowhere in the State does farming move along lines more progressive than in Sampson. The whole county has waked up to new ideas, and it is a safe guess that for the rest of the journey she will hold her place as a leading county of the State.

Sampson used to be thought of as one of the most backward counties in the State. But she has finally emerged from the woods, and her people in the rural districts are now enjoying many of the comforts and conveniences heretofore confined to the city. In casting about to find the force that has been dominant in our progress, we find that it is due beyond question to intelligent home-bred leadership and greater attention to public education. Sampson will never be able to pay her debt in money or memory to the little group of devoted men and women who during the last quarter century have labored in season and out for better things in the county.

During the ten years following the close of the Civil War, the educational advantages of Sampson were scant beyond description. There was no county superintendent and no one to direct the administration of the schools. The free schools of the county lasted during only two or three months each winter. They were conducted in log houses, that were utterly unfit. There were very few books in those days. Soon the old way of doing things began to change, and signs of better things to be evident in many new directions.

The rapidity with which our educational work revived was very much like the beginning of a battle. The time was ripe for progress in education as well as in other things. From the little old unpainted school house with one teacher poorly paid, education has been organized on the basis of two or three teachers to the school, and systematized by the introduction of grading, domestic science, agriculture, and the things that are of familiar use to the boys and girls of the community. The children now learn to read, write, and cipher while they are becoming familiar with agriculture, home economics, social relations, health, morals, church and Sunday school duties, and with all the ties that bind a people together in neighborhood and community life.

The first steps taken to improve school conditions was by Isham Royall, who founded the school at Salemburg, then known as Salem. He became the first county superintendent, and gave his whole life to the cause of educating the youth of the county. The school he established at Salemburg grew into a high school that has given to the State some of its greatest leaders—preachers, lawyers, doctors, legislators, congressmen, and a United States Senator. The county is much indebted to this man as one of the pioneers of her educational development.

He was followed as superintendent by Street Brewer, George E. Butler, J. A. Ferrell, and L. L. Matthews, the present incumbent.

These men have all rendered invaluable service to the county, and the work that has been accomplished under the leadership of Mr. Matthews would do credit to any county in any State in the Union. When he came into office agriculture as well as the school system began to change for the better.

Our people have developed along lines of social and domestic relations; such as organizing rural communities, establishing clubs of various kinds, having community fairs and picnics, and in short all the things that go to make up an ideal country life. As an evidence of this, good roads are seen everywhere. Those who are able have purchased automobiles for their families, and Victrolas for their homes. Churches are found within easy reach of all, and it is now practically impossible to find a home beyond the sound of church bells. The whole county is astir with a new spirit, and the future looks good to the Big Blue Huckleberry County.

Bethune & Stewart

Fire Insurance


We invite all classes of insurable property in town or country. Your patronage solicited.


L. P. Barbrey

Dealer in Dry Goods, Ladies’ Suits, Skirts, Coats, Shoes, Millinery

Ladies’ and Gents’ Furnishings





Fire, Accident and Health, or Life Insurance





Fruit and Nut Trees

General Assortment for Home


Our line is a very complete one, we furnishing the home owners of the South every kind of tree and plant that they need for planting, whether in the line of fruits or ornamentals. Catalog describes them, and illustrates many of them, some in colors. It is free for the asking. Also booklet, Southern Plantings, giving instructions on how to take care of plants, how to set out, prune, spray, etc.

J. Van Lindley Nursery Co.

Pomona, N. C.


Sampson County Farmers

Raise your own food supplies. With 10 days’ labor you can raise enough wheat to supply you with bread for a year. Begin planning now to raise wheat next year.

We will supply you with seed wheat to plant this fall, and you can pay us out of your crop

You owe it to yourself and your country to raise your own supplies. We pay cash for corn.



J. H. TURLINGTON, President

C. W. PETTY, Secretary


Earned Surplus,$5,000


Savings and Commercial Accounts Solicited





Country Produce Bought and Sold. Get our Prices Before Buying or Selling




Phone in Office and Residence




Phone 95

Dunn, North Carolina

Gem Theatre


A real 100% Motion Picture Theatre.

“As good as the best and better than the rest”

Projections Clean, Moral, Educational, and Entertaining Write for advertising rates

T. B. SMITH, Owner



The A. D. S. Store

Prescriptions a Specialty

Stationery, Toilet Articles, Drugs and Drug Sundries

Norris and Nobility Candies

Parker's Lucky Curve Fountain Pens



The Smith Mercantile Co., Inc.


Specialties: Flour, Rice, Sugar, Meat, Lard, etc. We sell the trade only.


Sampson county: economic and social
Sampson county: economic and social; issued by the Sampson county club, University of North Carolina, May, 1917 ... [Durham, N.C. : The Seeman printery, 1917] 55 p. 23 cm. The work of four Sampson county students at the University of North Carolina: J. V. Baggett, S. H. Hobbs, jr., R. F. Moseley and W. E. Matthews. cf. Foreword.
Original Format
Local Identifier
HC107.N8 N75 1917
Location of Original
Joyner NC Stacks
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