The spirit of the Roanoke, A pageant of Halifax county history

The Spirit of The RoanokeA Pageant of Halifax County History


Dedicated to THE YOUTH OF HALIFAX COUNTY The Love of Yesterday, the Pride of Today and the Citizen of Tomorrow, in Memory of the County's Great Builders

“The Vision raised his blade, and waved them on with ‘Lo, the dawn.’ ”—Stockard


The Production of the Pageant7
The Committees of the Pageant8
The Pageant Players9
The Prologue: The Springing of the Waters15
The First Part: Indian and Pioneer Period17
Episode I: The Tuscaroras Bid Farewell to Morotuck, The River of Death19
The Interlude: The Guardian Waters25
The Second Part: The Revolutionary Period29
Episode I: The First Constitutional Convention31
Episode II: The British in Halifax37
Episode III: The Lafayette Ball47
The Interlude: The Turbulent Waters51
The Third Part: The Civil War Period53
Episode I: The Departure of Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen55
Episode II: The Soldiers in Camp61
The Epilogue: The Mingling of the Waters67

Halifax County

A Rural Community Pageant

THE importance of recreation in country communities can hardly be overemphasized. It is a vital social need in the lives of the people, separated as they are from each other by their rural conditions, and living remote from the city centers. Whatever may be done in bringing them together for wholesome enjoyment will help materially in meeting this need, in satisfying their craving for constructive social relations and for genuine community expression.

The school is the natural meeting place of the people and the accomplishment of the schools of Halifax County in such a worthy endeavor as this historical Pageant is promising indeed. For experience has proved again and again that when the right sort of recreation is provided the community will take on a new civic life. If the people can be brought together in play it will not be difficult to bring them together in striving for the common good of the community in which they live.

This Pageant of Halifax County History was written by teachers from the four different groups into which the County Schools are divided. When Miss Annie M. Cherry, the Rural School Supervisor of the County, began to plan the Pageant, she called together a number of teachers from each of the four groups. Together they outlined the plan. Then they went back into the various sections of the County, which they represented, and worked out the episode assigned them. Each of the four groups included from five to eight different school communities bound together by common interest and loyalty to that group. Always the outline of the whole was consulted. The Pageant was further unified by the Prologue, Interludes and Epilogue, written by Miss Marjorie Craig, Principal of the Dawson School from the Hobgood group. So absorbed have the communities become in the production of the Pageant that group commencements have been given over this year to the practice of the various episodes. All the schools have joined in searching for historical costumes and properties and learning all that is possible about their episode in the Pageant of Halifax County. The Pageant will be produced on May 6 at Weldon. Here on the Roanoke River, which plays so large a part in the making of their history, the people from all parts of the County will gather to commemorate their heroic past and to look together toward a greater future for their County.

Rural pageantry is a form of recreation designed to give expression to the whole county community. It is a play-form uniting the folk of all the countryside—not simply of a single village, town, or city—but the whole people. It has sound educational values. It teaches no abstract lesson in history; it is a play, rather, vivid and colorful, of the life of the people. It is conceived by the people themselves and dedicated by them to the common welfare. It points the way with new vision toward the making of a better community in which to live. It is a living drama of their historic traditions, designed to quicken local pride in the pioneer past, to show its vital relation to the present, and to incite the popular imagination toward a higher civic achievement in the future.

The taste of the people is fundamentally sound and only needs the right sort of direction to express itself in terms of constructive imagination, in forms of beauty. A Pageant of Halifax County is a worthy pioneer in North Carolina in Rural Community Drama by co-operative authorship. Such local pageants as this one may make a significant contribution to the development of our popular dramatic tradition, may contribute somewhat toward an expression of our national life in a new drama of the people.

Frederick Henry Koch.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

April 11, 1921.

The Production of The Pageant


A. E. Akers

Annie M. Cherry


Marjorie Craig


Helen Burch

Jeannette Snead Daniel

Lucy Forlaw

Kathleen Moore

Ruby Sisk

Marjorie Craig

Jessie L. Hodges

Nannie E. Pigg

Annie Lee Stafford

Rev. Lewis N. Taylor

Kathleen Strickler


Martha Bowers

Julia Cunningham

Lucy Crisp

Margaret Kinlaw


Robert Shaw


Claude A. Boseman

Emma Dunn

Mary Ervin

Lucy Forlaw

Mary S. Riddick

Lucy Crisp

Bess Edwards

Kathleen Moore

Mrs. Frank Nash

Annie S. Workman

The Committees of The Pageant


Miss Elizabeth Lay, University of North Carolina, Chairman

Miss Annie Workman

Mrs. A. L. Purrington


Mr. Norfleet S. Smith, Chairman

Miss Gladys Cox

Mrs. W. E. Daniel

Mr. D. Mac Johnson


Mr. F. M. Shute, Chairman

Miss Alice Coleman

Miss Marjorie Mendenhall

Miss Mary Bobbitt Powell



Mrs. J. D. Bellamy

Mrs. Watson Bowers

Mrs. Robert Brown

Mrs. Daniel B. Byrd

Mr. W. B. Edwards

Mrs. Paul Hawkins

Mrs. W. M. Hockaday

Mr. D. Mac Johnson

Miss Mary Joyce

Mrs. S. H. Lane

Mrs. Chas. Marks

Miss Minnie Morris

Miss Sue B. Overstreet

Mrs. A. L. Purrington

Miss Mary S. Riddick

Mrs. R. A. Rogers

Mrs. Frank Taylor

Mrs. R. G. Willey

Mrs. A. G. Bowden

Mrs. N. Braswell

Mrs. W. F. Butterworth

Mrs. S. M. Gary

Mrs. Marvin Harris

Miss Margaret Hayes

Mrs. M. A. Huggins

Mrs. J. M. Jackson

Miss Fannie Joyner

Mr. Paul Lawrence

Mrs. C. L. Lewis

Miss Mattie McArthur

Mrs. D. S. Moss

Miss Mamie Pittman

Miss Clemie Read

Miss Annie Robinson

Miss Ruby Sisk

Miss Ruby Whitaker

Miss Julia Williams

The Pageant Players

The Spirit of the RoanokeAnnie Lee Stafford
The Attendant Water-SpritesThurma Barclay, Annie Sue Britton, Elizabeth Colrille, Helen Jenkins, Nettie Mae Johnson, Nellie Morris, Pearl Outland, Mary Lee Thomason, Laura Bell Tunstall, Meryl Yoder.

Episode I: The Tuscaroras Bid Farewell to Morotuck [Roanoke River], 1718.

Played by the Hardrawee Group [seven rural schools] and Enfield.
Big Chief Black FeatherD. Mac Johnson
A BraveJ. E. Lawrence
An Indian ScoutFrank Hargrove
A PioneerA. W. Andleton
A White ScoutThomas Braswell

Pioneer Men, Women and Children; Indian Warriors, Squaws, Maidens and Children; The Indian Dancers

Episode I: The First Constitutional Convention, December, 1776.

Played by the Aurelian Springs Group [eight rural schools] and Roanoke Rapids.
Willie [Wiley] JonesMarvin Harris
Cornelius HarnettReverend L. D. Hayman
First SpeakerW. C. Myrick
Second SpeakerReverend N. H. Shepherd
The MinisterReverend G. Stanley White

The Chorus of Freedom, The Birthright.

Episode II. The British in Halifax, May, 1781.

Played by the Halifax Group [seven rural schools] and Weldon.
Governor NashRaleigh T. Daniel
General Allen JonesCharles Daniel
Flora McDonaldVeritas Sanders
Sarah JonesLucy Forlaw
Major DavieG. H. Suiter
A Patriot ScoutFletcher Gregory
The SentryEarl Rook
A TownswomanEmma Dunn
A TownsmanSam Warren
TarletonBasil Glover
CornwallisThomas Dickens
Miss BishopRuby Sisk
Mrs. Willie JonesMary Young Bass
Mrs. John AsheNellie Haynes Gregory
A British ScoutEdward Rhea
A British PrivateRichard Brown
GuardsDaniel B. Byrd, Dana Dickens, Thomas Medlin, Meade Mitchell
The British Soldiers
The Patriot Soldiers
The Citizens of Halifax: Men, Women and Children.

Episode III: The Lafayette Ball, February, 27, 1825.

Played by the Halifax Group [seven rural schools] and Weldon
LafayetteSterling M. Gary
Lafayette's SonRobert Dickens
Mrs. Nicholas LongUrsula Daniel
Mrs. Littlejohn [Daughter of Willie Jones]Mattie McArthur
Mrs. Hutchings G. BurtonAlice Hatcher
Samuel WeldonNorman House

The Attendants at the Ball; The Dancers of the Minuet

Episode I: The Departure of the Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen, April, 1861.
Played by the Hobgood Group [five rural schools] and Scotland Neck.
Captain A. B. HillT. D. Temple
Lieutenant Norfleet SmithCharles Shields
Lieutenant B. G. SmithChauncey Leggett
Lieutenant J. Y. SavageW. J. Grimes
L. O'B. BranchA. W. Dunn
MotherAnnie Hobbs Armstrong
DaughterMary Louise Bell
Girl Who Presents FlagNannie Lewis
Color BearerH. C. Bell
Color GuardsDupree Shields, Douglas Temple
A HorsemanKesler Askew
An Aged WomanAnnie Messenger
The BuglerEugene Etheridge

The Confederate Soldiers; The Citizens of Scotland Neck and Surrounding Community; The Dancers of the Virginia Reel; The Negro Fiddlers

Episode II: The Soldiers in Camp.

Played by the Hobgood Group [five rural schools] and Scotland Neck.
Buck KenanF. T. House
First SoldierCharles Shields
Second SoldierChauncey Leggett
Third SoldierW. J. Grimes
Fourth SoldierHerbert Butts
SweeneyD. M. Sellers
Body GuardsJesse Partine, Hampton Pope, and Ernest P. Weeks
Negro MammiesMary Avent Outerbridge, Virginia White

Young Girls Who Sing The Homespun Dress; Other Soldiers


ColumbiaMary Bobbitt Powell
A Federal SoldierA. B. Cook
A Confederate SoldierWm. E. Whitmore
World War Soldiers
The Spirit of the New DayMargaret Kinlaw
The Spirit of ProgressMargaret Hayes
The Heralds of Progress:
ChristianityMartha Bowers
EducationAnnie M. Cherry
ChildhoodElisabeth Hyman
Community SpiritMarjorie Craig
IndustryJ. A. Moore
ThriftH. H. King




Springing from its life source in the mountains of Virginia, the Roanoke takes its winding course through Carolina hills and lowlands, ever towards the ocean. Imbued with the spirit of the people who came, like it from Virginia, it teems with impulses, moods and visions of a people who still strive unceasingly for life's swelling sea.

The Prologue

The Springing of the Waters

[The music sounds a summons of gladness. The Sprites of the Waterdance in, led by theSpirit of the Roanoke. Around her they weave their light, gay dance, suggesting the sparkling and rippling of waters under cloudless skies. The Spirit of the Roanokeis a tall graceful figure, wearing a robe of pale-blue-green with a touch of silver and gold, the colors of the waters in sunlight.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke

In the unceasing tides of human existence,Surges forever an infinite longingTo achieve, and to be one with the splendor and sweepOf an ultimate, beckoning sea.I, the great River, am but many streamlets,I have always, and ever will, yearn for the sea;I am this people, their hopes and achievements,I am the prophet of greatness to be.I come with the Sprites of my waters about meYoung like my life source, the bubbling of springs,Bidding you look to the Youth of our County,Joy in the stories of courage it brings.

[As theWater-Spritesdance about her she advances closer.]

By the shores of Roanoke River“Morotuck,” the Red Man called it,Dwelt the Tuscarora IndiansHunting, fishing, trading, fighting,Undisturbed and unmolested’Till, from out the Land of Morning,Came the pale-face brothers seekingWealth of forest, fruit of field.Came Virginians seeking farm-landsOn the Carolina shores.Long in peace they lived togetherJustice served to purchase safety;Pale-face paid his red-skin neighborFor his home, and war was not.But the rovers of the forest,Restive, longing for more freedom,Leave their primal habitations,Join the kindred Iroquois—Leave the white man sole possessorOf the fertile Roanoke shores.THE FIRST PART Indian and Pioneer Days

In 1713, at the close of the Indian War, the remnants of the once powerful Tuscaroras barter to the enterprising pioneers, venturing along the Roanoke shores, lands on which the foundations of a new Commonwealth are to be laid. As the first settlements along the Albemarle thus overflow their bounds, the Red Man seeks a wider freedom among the tribes of the far north.

The Tuscaroras Bid Farewell to Morotuck, The River of Death, 1713

Scene: An Indian camp on the banks of Morotuck [Roanoke River].

[In the background are tepees around which several squaws are busily at work, some grinding corn, some making baskets of rushes, and one hoeing in the little patch of maize down near the river. A papoose is suspended from one tree. Two or three dogs are seen.]

[Silently, as if by magic, a scout appears in front of the chief's wigwam. The morning stillness is suddenly broken by the sounding of the tom-tom which is followed by the rapid assembling of the braves. They form the council circle. The scout makes it known that the whiteskin pioneers from across the river are on their way to take full possession of the land. The chief then points upward to theGreat Spiritwho is guiding them to the northward. In silence theDeath Danceof the tribe is given. The dance is followed by a pause during which the assembly awaits gravely the coming of the pioneers and the last sad moment of farewell to their olden homeland.]

[The lumbering prairie-schooners, filled with pioneer parents, their eager-eyed children, and household possessions, draw up before the encampment. The men descend and offer bright colored shining trinkets, firearms and firewater to the chief and his braves.]

The Pioneer

Here, Big Chief Black Feather, is the promised payment for these bottom lands.

[He points to the neighboring fields. TheChiefaccepts with a grunt of assent. Two braves take charge of the payment, while a third comes forth bearing a stalk of Indian corn.]

The Brave

Give White Brother gift. Sweet corn of the Red Man.

The Pioneer

[Examining the gift closely]. And how can the White Man use it?

The Brave

We show the planting. Show the harvest. Rich lands—much corn.

[He goes through the motions of planting corn, burying first a fish and covering it well, then measuring its upward growth until it is as high as the one he bears in his hand.]

[Here theCorn Danceof the tribe is given, in which not only the corn-planting and the harvesting season are pictured but also the supplication made to theGreat Spirit. This is followed by the smoking of thePeace Pipeas a symbol of peace and friendly greeting to the new-comers. TheChieffirst smokes the calumet, then offers it to thePioneerwho in turn passes it around the circle to the Indian braves and pioneers. The Indian maidens then come forward and dance quietly the sacredPeace Pipe Danceof the race. After this ceremony, thePioneeragain speaks.]

The Pioneer

We will live here together, build our homes and be your friends forever.

The Chief

[Sadly shaking his head.]

No live together. Great Spirit call us. Say go join Iroquois. Say go Northward—Land of the North Wind, Ishkoodah, the comet up there came to warn us. No live here. We go.

[He extends his hand in farewell.]

The Pioneer

May the Great Spirit lead you to a Happy Hunting Ground.

The Chief

We go. We leave you our forests, our rivers, our springs. Much good water over yonder. Red Man's spring, much good water.

The Pioneer

Point us the way, for we, too, must have good water.

[The Chiefpoints toward Halifax. Then in silence the Red Man and the White Man bid each other farewell. They part, going in opposite directions, the pioneers into the neighboring lowlands, the Indians into the North, carrying all their possessions.]


The Interlude The Guardian Waters

The Spirit of the Roanoke

As settlements grew on the banks of the RiverNew counties were formed and at last HalifaxWithdrew from old Edgecombe, though with opposition,And bravely began her career.And, as in the tales of long ago times,Good fairies came christening the new-comer there,The Sprites of the River bore gifts of great value,A sign of a future, more rich and more fair.And these are the gifts that the sprites of the waterCame bringing our County in those youthful days—Courage to build and joy in the building,Love of the largess of beauty so free,Trust in the God of Rivers and NationsWho created hearts that would yearn for the sea;But above all, the gift that is priceless,Love that leads upward and outward and on,Spending its richness in generous serviceWatch-light to glow till a new-breaking dawn.

[TheWater Spritesdance before theSpiritof theRoanoketo whom they are bringing their gifts.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke

And over it all rests the promise,A rainbow blending in oneThe high exultation, the vision,

The love of the building begun.I am the River, the Prophet,Yours is the gladsome lay,And grandly the seers of the agesShall sing the high dreams of today.And fired by the promise, the peopleHave riven the barrier grayAdvancing free, like streams to the seaToward the goal that is called today.And what was the dream that could lure to the westIf not freedom to live and create?Should the tyrant, King George, wrest from our graspThe gifts that should stamp us as great?No: Unjustly he ruled. He forfeited thenAllegiance forevermore.On the Fourth of July our spirit was voicedAnd the news spread from mountain to shore.And Halifax wildly exulted that day,When Harnett was there to readThe immortal words that the world has proclaimedA lesson for free men to heed.And without delay the Colony's bestUnite to establish a State.The State Constitution from Willie Jones’ penIs signed without lengthy debate.Repeatedly Halifax gives of her bestFor the glorious cause she defends;And Freedom mounts upward, a caged thing released,Till victory upon us descends.

[A chorus of freedom, “The Birthright,” comes as a climax to the words of theSpirit of the Roanoke, who stirred by its strains marches proudly on.]

The Birthright

“Sons of a land where the Goddess of LightLifts high the torch that shall guide you aright,Wherever you go and whatever you do,Hands must be ready and hearts must be true.Ready to hold all that Honor sustains,Ready to yield all that Justice ordains,True to the Faith and to Duty's command,True to your Birthright, your Native Land.”


“Courage be the watchword—ever,Courage to do when the deed is right,Always Truth, and Falsehood—never,Through all the struggle keeping Honor bright.”—“Sons of the Free, tread the pathway of Men!Deeds that were great may be done once again.—Keep bravely the road though the journey be far,March ever forward, your eyes on a star.Ready to meet every pitfall and snare,Ready to do, when to do is to dare,True to yourself and to Honor's command,True to your Birthright, your Native Land.”

THE SECOND PART The Revolutionary Period

April 12, 1776, the Provincial Congress, in session at Halifax, passed the famous resolution instructing the delegates in the Continental Congress from North Carolina to vote for a National Declaration of Independence, antedating similar resolutions from other colonies.

November 12, 1776, the first Constitutional Convention of North Carolina met in Halifax and organized the State Government.

Restricted politically and commercially, unjustly taxed, and chafing under the tyranny of royal governors, the liberty-loving American patriots rise against the Mother Country and become a self-governing Commonwealth. A new field is hereby created in which experiments in democratic government are to be successfully and conclusively demonstrated as the greatest achievement in modern political development.

EPISODE I. The First Constitutional Convention, December 18, 1776

Scene: Outside the Courthouse at Halifax.

[A crowd of men and women come in, talking excitedly, looking with eager expectation in the direction of the Courthouse. They talk together.]

The First Speaker

It's high time the Convention's through a-drawin’ up that Constitution. I want to hear what they've done.

Another Man

This puts me in mind of last twelfth of April when Harnett read us the Resolutions declarin’ us free from King George.

The First Speaker

Heaps of things has happened here this year. Wasn't the Declaration of Independence read right here in front of this Courthouse on July 27th? It's jest lak I been a-tellin’ you. Us in Halifax is gwine to paddle our own canoe and this whole North Carolina is too. Hurrah for the State Constitution!

[The crowd cheers wildly. Someone sees and points to the men coming from the Courthouse.]

Hurrah, here they come! Hurrah for Jones! Hurrah for Harnett! Hurrah for the delegates to the Convention!

[The members of theConstitutional Conventioncome on the stage from the direction of the Courthouse, the people cheering them. Harnettspeaks.]


Fellow citizens of Halifax, your representatives and others from different parts of this State have adopted the Constitution of the State of North Carolina. Mr. Willie Jones, your fellow townsman, who framed the Constitution, will now read it to you.

[Amid the cheers of the crowdWillie Jonescomes forward. A hush comes over the people as they listen to the reading of the document.]

[Only the most important Articles of the original Constitution have been selected to be read, as this official record in toto was too lengthy.]

Willie Jones

Mr. Harnett, Fellow Citizens:

“The Constitution or Form of Government, agreed to and resolved upon by the Representatives of the free men of North Carolina, elected and chosen for that particular purpose in Congress assembled, at Halifax, the eighteenth day of December in the year of our Lord One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six.

“Whereas Allegiance and Protection are in their nature reciprocal and the one should of Right be refused where the other is withdrawn; and Whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain and late Sovereign of the British American Colonies, hath not only withdrawn from them his protection, but by an act of the British Legislature declared the inhabitants of these states out of the protection of the British Crown and all their property found upon the High Seas liable to be seized and confiscated to the uses mentioned in the said act. And the said George the Third has also sent fleets and armies to prosecute a cruel war against them for the purpose of reducing the inhabitants of the said Colonies to a state of abject slavery, in consequence whereof, all government under the said King within the said Colonies and a total Dissolution of Government in many of them hath taken place.

“And whereas, in our present State, in order to prevent anarchy and confusion, it becomes necessary that Government should be established in this State; therefore, we, the Representatives of the Freemen of North Carolina, chosen and assembled in Congress for the express purpose of framing a Constitution under the authority of the People, most conducive to their Happiness and Prosperity, do declare that a Government for this State shall be established in manner and form following to-wit:

(1) “I. That the legislative authority shall be vested in two distinct Branches, both dependent on the People, a Senate and a House of Commons.

(2) “VII. That all Freemen of the age of twenty-one, who have been inhabitants of any one County within the State twelve months immediately preceeding the day of any election and possessed of a Freehold

within the same County of Fifty acres of land for six months next before, and at the day of election, shall be entitled to vote for a member of the Senate.

(3) “VIII. That all Freemen at the age of twenty-one who have been inhabitants of any County within the State twelve months immediately preceding the day of any Election, and shall have paid taxes, shall be entitled to vote for a member of the House of Commons in the County in which he resides.

(4) “XXXIV. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious Church or Denomination in this State in preference to any other, neither shall any person, on any pretense whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment—Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt preachers of treasonable and seditious discourses, from legal trial and punishment.

(5) “XLI. That a school or schools be established by the Legislature for the convenient instruction of Youth, with such salaries to the Masters, paid by the Public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices, and all useful learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more Universities.

“This Constitution is not intended to preclude the present Congress from making temporary provisions for the well ordering of this State, until the General Assembly enact a Government agreeable to the mode herein described.

“December the Eighteenth, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six, read the third time, and ratified in open Congress.”

Richard Caswell, President.

James Green, Jr., Secretary.

[At the end of the reading the crowd remains silent. A minister steps forward and lifts his hand. The people bow their heads reverently.]

The Minister

Almighty God, the Father of all men, Who art the Giver of Freedom and the Author of Everlasting Life. We are conscious of our inability to do any good thing without Thy help. We desire to put into execution plans for the good of Thy people. We invoke Thy Divine Guidance in the affairs of our people in this County and this State. We humbly beseech Thee that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper, by the power of the Holy Ghost, all their consultations, to the advancement of Thy Glory, the safety, honor and welfare of Thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may be established among

us for all generations. Save us from all error, ignorance, pride and prejudice and from whatsoever else may hinder us from righteousness. These things we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Thy Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

[As the crowd stirs expectantly, Harnettspeaks.]


Fellow Countrymen:—

“May I ask that we, in the midst of such tenseness and enthusiasm, bring our minds to fully appreciate the solemnity of this occasion which is to be memorable in the history of our Country? As was most fitting, we have invoked the Divine Guidance of the Almighty. It is true that He helps those who help themselves, that He enables His people, in a measure, to answer their own petitions. Therefore, we must co-operate with Him in this great and important undertaking.

“In the ancient games in Greece the runners bore a torch and, having completed their assigned run, they handed the torch to their successor who carried it on as he ran his race. Our forefathers have been doing the pioneer work; they have blazed the trail for us and amidst tremendous hardships and difficulties they have carried their torch in the race and and have gained for the people of Halifax this land and left for us, with their torch handed on to us, the heritage of independence. The necessary steps have been taken to free us from the shackles of slavery to an oppressive government under that despot, George the Third. Liberty is one of Heaven's best gifts to men. Our fathers have realized this in the Resolutions drawn up in Halifax on April 12th, and in reading the National Declaration of Independence here on November 21st. As carrying on these deeds a State has been formed by these representatives of the people of this colony assembled in this town. For Freedom hard times have been endured, harder days are before us. We must be ready to make the fight for it, come what may. May the sense of what has been done for us, may the appreciation of what we need, may the responsibility of our duty so inspire us that we may be ready to face the future with a willingness to get into the thick of the fight and carry our hopes into fruition. In the words of Patrick Henry spoken last Spring in Richmond, let us take as our motto, “I know not what course others may pursue but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

[Amid enthusiastic cheersHarnettis borne off the stage on the shoulders of the men. The cannon from the fort at Quanky booms the glorious tidings while the band plays excitedly.]


The Spirit of the Roanoke

Into the County long lines of Red-Coats,Headed by Tarleton, march with the sword,Gathering at Halifax, raiders go searchingFor varied supplies the rich farm lands afford.What Halifax could not conceal or destroyWas seized as the prize and the trophy of war,And even stern Tarleton felt the brave spirit,Of young and of old, from near and afar.Great exultation arose as the soldiersMoved on to Yorktown to final defeat.Turned upside down was the world to the British,But to our patriots vict'ry was sweet.

EPISODE II The Entrance of Tarleton into Halifax, May 1781

Scene: Camp Quanky.

[The scene opens withGen. Allen Jonesand his Halifax militia marching in—the band is playing “Yankee Doodle.” They have just returned from a hike. They scatter in groups to rest. A scout rushes in breathlessly.

A Scout


Sir, the Red Coats are upon us! Tarleton has crossed Fishing Creek and is advancing along the Huckleberry Swamp road.

[General Jonesdisplays surprise, but his face betrays little of his feeling. He turns to a soldier]

General Jones

Summon Governor Nash and the officers of each regiment to a conference with me at once.

[The soldier salutes and goes off.]

[With head bowed in thoughtGeneral Jonesstrides up and down in front of his men who talk excitedly in whispers. The sentry who has been walking his post salutes and reports.]

The Sentry

Sir, a lady who begs an audience with you. Mistress Flora McDonald.

General Jones

[Speaking to the approaching woman.]

Mistress McDonald, I am at your service.

Flora McDonald

Sir, my husband is confined here in your Halifax jail. The stale air of the prison is undermining his health. He needs the air and sunshine of the outdoors. He will not trouble you again. Though his sentiments will remain unchanged, he will not again go into active service for the Tory cause.

General Jones

Mistress McDonald, as Commander of Camp Quanky, I have no power either to imprison or set at liberty any Tory. An authority higher than I must handle matters of such grave import. I bid you good day, Mistress McDonald.

[General Jonesbows low asMrs. McDonalddeparts. Gov. Nashand several officers enter. TheGovernorseems agitated.]

Governor Nash

General Jones, it appears that Bloody Tarleton with a small body of dragoons is upon us, with Cornwallis and his army in the immediate rear. We have no time to lose. We must act for the good of our noble cause. Let us consider what steps we shall take. What do you deem best, General Jones?

General Jones

Your honor, it would be a useless expenditure of life to oppose the advance of the British, with only untried militia against Tarleton's Veteran Calvary. I deem it best that my command return to Warrenton. From there we may keep a close watch upon the enemy and be ready at any time to come to the aid of Halifax.

Governor Nash

I approve your plan, General Jones. The General Assembly and the state officials desire to join you. We shall retire together. Halifax had best put aside its military appearance and resume the air of an unpretentious village.

General Jones

[Turning to a major.]

Major Davie, will you notify the Mayor of our retirements?

[Major Daviesalutes and goes off, followed by the Governor and an officer or two, deep in conversation.]

[The soldiers at a bugle call begin preparations for leaving. Knapsacks, canteens and blankets are strapped on. Townspeople rush in excitedly to bid the men farewell, present them with packages of food, etc. Mothers embrace sons. Major Davieenters withSara Jones (daughter ofGeneral A. Jones, andDavie'sfiancee). She bids her father and lover goodbye. Soldiers march off amid a chorus of “good byes.” Women turn sadly but resignedly homeward. Other townspeople rush in, hastening out alongQuanky'sbanks to hide food and other valuable possessions.]

A Townswoman

I must save my grandmother's silver.

[Bugle and drums announce the arrival of the British. Consternation reigns among the townspeople as they scatter to finish hiding their treasures. A few stand at a distance and gaze scornfully at the Red Coats. TarletonandCornwallisadvance together. The British soldiers are carrying various articles they have stolen. One soldier carries two chickens which escape and are pursued amid laughter and jesting. Another leads a pony.]


The birds have flown.

[The soldiers scatter over the camp, dispose of their packs and rest.]


General Jones and his weak-kneed militia have departed—rather hastily I should say. It was very thoughtful of the General to leave us his headquarters.

[He points at a table and two chairs.]


[Sitting down.]

Many of the inhabitants must have hidden themselves. There is little sign of life. These Halifax rebels must be lacking in backbone.

[The Commanders occupy themselves with maps which they take from their pockets. A young girl, slender and graceful with a hautily poised head, slips behind the sentry and approachesTarletonwith a defiant air. She draws herself erect.]

Miss Bishop

I have come to you, sir, to demand the restoration of my property which your knavish fellows stole from my father's yard.



Let me understand you, Miss.

Miss Bishop

Well, sir, your roguish men in red coats came to my father's yard and stole my pony and I have walked here alone and unprotected to demand him, and sir, I must and will have him. I fear not your men. They are base and unprincipled enough to dare to offer insult to any unprotected female, but their cowardly hearts will prevent them from doing her bodily injury.

[She sees her horse at a distance and continues.]

Miss Bishop

There, sir, is my horse. I shall take him and ride peaceably home; and if you have any of the gentlemanly feeling within you of which your men are totally destitute, or if you have any regard for their safety, you will see, sir, that I am not interrupted. But, before I go, I wish to say to you that he who can and will not prevent this base and cowardly stealing from henroosts, stables, and barn-yards, is no better, in my estimation, than the mean, good-for-nothing, guilty wretches who do the work with their own hands. Good night, sir.

[She walks toward her pony. Tarletonastounded gives an order for her safety.]


Sergeant, let the young lady do as she chooses.

[A few soldiers have witnessed this. Others are scattered, playing games and talking.]

[Tarletonwrites and exchanges whispered remarks withCornwallis. A scout enters and salutes.]

A Scout

Sir, foraging parties have returned from several parts of the County bringing supplies enough to last our forces a week. They report several unimportant clashes with the Rebels. In one encounter a daring Rebel Cavalryman was confronted by our men on Quanky Bridge and, sir, rather than surrender the daring fellow reared his horse and made him leap the railing to the water thirty feet below. The horse was killed but that dare-devil of a Rebel escaped us.

[Tarletonmakes a few notes.]


Have the Commissary Department report to me all supplies taken at once.

[The scout salutes and retires. A private reports.]

A Private

Sir, Mrs. Willie Jones and Mrs. John Ashe wish to speak to you


Mrs. Willie Jones? She is the lady of the Grove House, is she not? [Soldier nods.]

I have been at the Grove House and feel it my duty to see Mrs. Jones.

[The soldier escortsMrs. JonesandMrs. AshetoTarleton.]

Mrs. Jones

Colonel Tarleton, your men have robbed the henroosts, the smokehouse and the cornfields of Grove House. I ask you, in the name of Justice, and appeal to you as I think you are a gentlemen, to put a stop to such disgraceful pillage and plunder.

[Tarletonlooks thoughtful.]


Madam, my forces must have supplies. I often regret that crops must be taken in this wholesale manner. Yet, you are rebels against the government of your most just King. Although it is reasonable

to suppose that you would expect no better treatment, it wounds me when my men become unnecessarily zealous in the King's cause.

[At the words “rebel” and “just King” the ladies stiffen.]

Mrs. Jones

Perhaps that is not the only way you have been wounded, Colonel Tarleton, while serving your “just King” in America.

[Mrs.Joneslifts her eyebrows. Tarletondisplays agitation.]


If you are referring to William Washington by whom I was slightly wounded at the battle of Cowpens—he is only an ignorant illiterate boor, scarcely able to write his own name.

[Mrs. Jonesresents his language.]

Mrs. Jones

Colonel Tarleton, you know very well that Washington, if he can't write as well as some men, knows how to make his mark. You, yourself, bear evidence.

[She points to the hand bearingWashington'ssabremark. Tarletonturns red but attempts to continue the conversation.]


I should be happy to see Colonel Washington.

Mrs. Ashe

[With a smile.]

If you had looked behind you at the battle of Cowpens, Col. Tarleton, you would have enjoyed that privilege.

[Tarleton turns red and his hand involuntarily clutches his sword hilt. Cornwallislays a rebuking hand on his arm. A messenger handsCornwallisa sealed envelope. The ladies leave.]

Mrs. Ashe and Mrs. Jones

Good day, Colonel Tarleton.

[Tarletonreads the letter handed him byCornwallis. They confer. Tarletonsummons a lieutenant.]


Lieutenant, our orders are to march at once to Petersburg. Strike Camp! We must be on the march immediately.

[A bugle call rouses the red coats. They hustle around preparing to leave. They march out with lusty yells of “On to Virginia” and military music.]

[The townspeople run in to catch a last glimpse of the retiring red coats. They display great joy at their departure. Cries of “Long live the Colonies,” “Down with King George” are heard. They yell after the British with scorn.]

One Man


Our independence is nearly won! King George can not call us “Disloyal Rebels!” We are Revolutionists, loyal to our new Colonies, to America.

[Hats are thrown in the air. Shouts of “Hurrah,” “Three Cheers forGeneral Washington,” “Down withTarleton,” “Long live our Colonies” are heard. They go off shouting while the band plays “The World is Turned Upside Down.]


The Spirit of the Roanoke

And now the implements of war have lost their usefulnessAnd energies are once more bentToward high pursuits of peace,Creating governments to fill their needs and justly ruleBecomes the task of wisest men.Some there were who wished a sovereign state,But Davie stood for union with the rest.However, sentiment was very strongFor what was called “State's Rights,”And Carolina had no part in choosing Washington.A year passed by before the state became one of the Union,And Halifax, like other parts, was slow to change conviction.But when at last her lot was cast,Her noblest sons she furnished,And not within the whole SouthlandMore loyal hearts could beat.William R. Davie, and Willie Jones, andJohn Paul Jones of the Navy,Allen and Alston and Ashe and Branch—Countless more are recorded.But, even then, many who wroughtAre nameless and unsung forever.So uneventfully the years pass on,But for a flash of color here and there.Then aged Lafayette, old friend of liberty,When we were struggling desperately for lifeComes, with his son, to visit Halifax,And there lives over youthful days,Renewing friendships dear.Right royally the little townReceived the guests that honored her;And many a gentle dame did boastThat once she danced with LafayetteAt Halifax's famous Ball.

(From a painting by Percy Moran

EPISODE III The Lafayette Ball, February 27, 1825

Scene: Eagle Hotel.

[It is late in the evening after a sumptuous banquet has been given in honor ofLafayette. A group of four or five older men and women enter talking while “La Marseillaise” is being played.]

Samuel Weldon

One can easily understand why this ball rivals the one given Washington here thirty-four years ago.

Mrs. Littlejohn

[Daughter of Willie Jones]

Washington's welcome was hardly so cordial as the one which we are giving the illustrious Frenchman. My father was such an advocate of States’ Rights that he was never reconciled to the views of the President as to the adoption of the Federal Constitution.

[Other groups enter withLafayetteand his son the center of attention.]

Mrs. Nicholas Long

[Looking towardGeneral Lafayette.]

They say that the General is a famous dancer.

Mrs. Hutchings G. Burton

How much younger he appears than his son. Why he hasn't gray hair and his son's hair is nearly white.

General Lafayette

[Lafayetteoverhears the remarks and comes forward making a low graceful French bow.]

Ma Chere Madame, it is due to the styles and not to youthfulness. Wigs are les grands deceivers.

[Several couples dance the Minuet,Lafayetteleading off withMrs. Nicholas Long. After the Minuet,Lafayettebids the party good night. The gay dancers go off in groups after hearty farewells.]


The Interlude The Turbulent Waters

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Truly does progress beget further progress,All lines of endeavor now flourish in peace,Schools of the County, of note, increase rapidly,Newspapers, too, start their honored careers.Halifax harbor, a great trading center,Evinced, at the time economic success.Still the old lumbering stage coach was used most for travel,And river boats used most for carrying freight.But more than all else, for all blessings so grateful,The people built churches proclaiming God's Word.A County, awakened, new-stretching its sinews,Ere the full-mature stature of statehood's attained.But, underneath are conflicting forces,Sooner or later to rise to the light.Their conflict is battle, their price is great bloodshed,And grimly they feed on the fair nation's might.

[TheWater-Spritesin their dance interpret the turbulence of the stormy river. They now wear grey-green, the color of troubled waters.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke

The flood gates are lifted, and turbulent passionsSweep over the country where lately peace reigned;Like snow on the river, the hopes of peace vanish,And grimly the war-god re-marshals his train.

THE THIRD PART The Civil War Period

Like an alarm bell in the dead of night, the news of Sumter aroused the land to arms. There was a determination on the part of the South to “see it through,” and the roll of drums and tramp of soldiers told of the coming conflict.

Under her noble son, Robert E. Lee, the South held out four long years, winning victory after victory, against heavy odds. The pitiless drive of superior forces, the steadily shrinking supply of men and material forced him at last to yield his sword at Appomattox.

EPISODE I The Departure of the Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen, April, 1861

Place: Scotland Neck—in the grove of W. R. Bond.

[Various community groups come onto the stage. The people talk together, some grave and some excited. A mother and her daughter are talking together.]


Hark, the bugle! Our boys are coming.


Yes, God bless them! Do you see my boy in the front ranks there?


Oh, mother, you have eyes for none but John. Now, I can spare a glance or two, at least, for the dashing young Lt. Smith. Isn't he handsome?


Ah, my child, the eyes of youth see not with the vision of old age. In the exultation of this proud hour, a mother's gaze centers upon the gift she proffers her country.


And a wonderful gift it is! The heart of every true North Carolinian must swell with pride today. See, how well they march. With brave men to lead them, they will do their duty and do it nobly. But come, let us go a little closer. I want to hear the presentation of the flag and give three rousing cheers for Company G, the Scotland Neck Mounted Rifle men.

[The strains of Dixie are heard in the distance, then the thud of marching feet. The crowd waits expectantly till the soldiers march in. They draw up in ranks. A girl steps forward holding a Confederate Flag. All sing “The Bonnie Blue Flag” at the end of which she presents to the Company the flag.]

The Girl

Sons of Halifax! You stand ready today to answer the rumble of Fort Sumter's guns with a message of glorious promise to the infant Confederacy. You have said to the Southland: “North Carolina gladly comes to your defense. We are waiting for your summons.”

Alas, no such opportunity for service is given to the women of Carolina. With you will go the honor, the glory, the bloodshed of the battlefield. To us is left the prayer, the smile, the tear which is always woman's share. We can but hope to figure in the dreams which come to you in the glow of your campfires whether they gleam among pines of your native state or the rugged hills of the Old Dominion.

Captain Hill, as a symbol of our love for them and of our faith in their courage to defend the right, we, the women of Scotland Neck and the surrounding community, present this flag to Company G, the Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen.

[The color guard receives the flag.]

Captain Hill


May I extend to you in behalf of Company G, the Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen, the heartfelt thanks of each of us for this sacred emblem rendered sacred by the hands that fashioned it? It shall be our standard of chastity and courage. With the purity of the womanhood of Dixie always as our guiding star, we cannot fail to win the cause for which we fight.

[He gives a command to the bugler.]

Sound “To the Colors.”

[The bugler sounds the call. As the first notes ring out the Captain commands, “Present—Arms” and himself salutes with his sword. The spectators stand, the men removing their hats. As the last note dies away, the Captain commands, “Order—Arms,” and the color guard takes the flag and moves to position on the flank.]

[There is complete silence as L. O'B. Branchsteps forward.]

L. O'B. Branch

Soldiers, you have received from these ladies the flag of your country. We send you forth to defend it.

Boys of my native state, I have come back to you. I left the United States Congress a few days ago, not because I wanted to—proud have I been to serve the Union which our fathers made—but, because I knew that North Carolina would shortly leave that Union, not because she wanted to, but because it was her last resort. Rather than take up arms against her sister states, she will, like Robert E. Lee, draw her sword in defense of her native soil.

These are days that try men's souls. Thoughtful, prayerful hours have been spent over the discussions which send us to fight for the South and for our Honor. May God's blessings go with us and God's comfort to these mother hearts at home.

[Captain Hill gives the Command, “Break Ranks.”]

The Boys

Hurrah for the South!

Hurrah for State's Rights and three cheers for L. O'B. Branch!

Lt. Norfleet Smith

Boys, Mr. Branch could have been United States Treasurer if he'd a had it.

Lt. B. G. Smith

Never mind, Mr. Branch, you'll be a general yet.

Lt. J. Y. Savage

He'll get promoted in a hurry then. This war's not going to last three months.

Lt. Norfleet Smith

We'll have the Yanks chased home by the 4th of July. Sweeney and you other niggers, come play for us. Get your partners, privates, it may be six weeks before we'll have such a chance again.

[The soldiers get their partners—The fiddlers strike up “Turkey in the Straw” for dancing the Virginia Reel. The couples forget the approaching parting and dance gaily. The Virginia Reel is interrupted by the entrance of a horseman bearing orders toCaptainHill, who reads them aloud to his men.]

Adjutant-General's Office Raleigh, April 26, 1861.

Captain:—You are hereby commanded to report with Company G, Third N. C. Cavalry, otherwise known as “The Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen,” to Col. D. H. Hill, Commanding Camp of Instruction, Raleigh, N. C., to be assigned for duty with the Forty-First Regiment.

Our troops will be moved into Virginia as soon as possible, but will not be led into battle until the field officers are of the opinion that the men are fit for such duty. The cause of Virginia is the cause of North Carolina. In our first struggle for liberty she nobly and freely poured out her blood in our defense. We will stand by her now in this our last effort for independence.

All orders heretofore issued inconsistent with the foregoing are hereby annulled.

By order of the Governor:

J. F. HOKE, Adjutant-General.

Capt. A. B. Hill, Scotland Neck, N. C.

[The bugler sounds the call, “To Arms” and the soldiers fall in line.]

[The crowd surges out waving handkerchiefs and cheering, following the company which gaily marches away to the tune of Dixie. One aged woman is overcome with tears. The music and sound of marching feet and cheering gradually die away in the distance.]


The Spirit of the Roanoke

Back to the home and the hearth of the soldiers,Goes news of battle-fields lost and won.Each taking toll of the wealth of the Southland,But still there is strength for the race they must run.The women, courageous, oft battle with hunger,Where sickness and sorrow and loss now abides;The homespun their raiment, a song their subsistence,And hope through the sweep of the swift-turning tides.

EPISODE II The Soldiers in Camp

Place: Woods in Northern Virginia.

[The negro body-guards enter and build the campfires. The soldiers gather around these. Entering with them isBuck Kenanrecently escaped from a Federal prison. They sit around the campfire.]

Buck Kenan

Thank God, I'm home at last.

First Soldier

Well, if the dead ain't come to life. Buck Kenan, I thought a Yankee bullet had sent you to glory eighteen months ago.

Buck Kenan

Oh! you can't kill a Johnnie Rebel. Col. Cox proved that at Antietam. They nearly got me there but thought they had better finish the job at that hell hole of a Federal prison on Johnson's Island.

Second Soldier

So the United States Government has been feeding and lodging you free of charge, has it? Kind of it, eh?

Buck Kenan

Feeding and lodging be hanged. Better say killing my soul with the inactivity of prison life and ruining my body with rank food, foul air, and cramped quarters.

Third Soldier

How did you ever get away, old chap?

Buck Kenan

Ah! That's another story. A pal of mine and I slipped through their fingers. He was shot soon after, poor fellow. I've been tramping home ever since.

First Soldier

We've been through hell, too, haven't we, boys? You should have been at Chancellorsville in April. Yanks sent Hooper with 100,000 across the Rappahannock but Lee and Jackson out-generaled him easy. Oh, you could have heard that rebel yell to Johnson's Island.

Buck Kenan

You know I'd have been with you boys if I could.

Fourth Soldier

We lost Stonewall Jackson that night.

Buck Kenan

Not Lee's good right arm?

Fourth Soldier

Yes. And besides one of our pickets mistook him and his staff for Federal Cavalry.

Bill Kenan

What a blow to the Confederacy!

Second Soldier

I tell you we felt the loss in our three days’ fight, at Gettysburg. The ragged remnant of Old Company G., “The Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen,” couldn't get there the first day, but we made up for it the last two. Halifax dead were among the closest to the enemies’ lines. In that respect ’twas Bethel over again.

First Soldier

We have been in many a bloody fight these last months, I tell you. On the disastrous field of Five Forks, our cavalry commanded and led by our brave and daring young Lt. Norfleet Smith made a most successful charge and would have completely routed the Yanks, if the infantry had not given way. It was a sharp attack.

Buck Kenan

You bet! North Carolina troops like the smell of the Yankees’ gun powder.

Third Soldier

Our Halifax leaders are coming to the front in a hurry. Did you know that L. S. Baker, David Clark, W. R. Cox, Junius Daniel, and L. O'B. Branch are Brigadier-Generals? And, besides, Walter Clark and J. B. Neal are both Majors now.

Fourth Soldier

Capt. W. R. Bond and Capt. Buck Kitchin and Capt. Whitmol Hill Anthony have won their spurs, too. They are adding credit and glory to the name of Scotland Neck and Halifax County along with all the rest.

Buck Kenan

Gee, that's great! And just to think they are our own boys, too. Hurrah for Company G and all the others!

First Soldier

They are soon going to have a chance to test our strength on the water. Haven't heard about the iron-clad gun boat they are building at Edwards’ Ferry near Scotland Neck, have you? Peter Smith is building her in his ship yard, a big open corn-field. He expects to christen her the “Albemarle.” They say she will operate on the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Buck Kenan

It's good to have news from home, but let's talk more of the battles later. Now let's sing some of the old home songs. Let's have some music.

Second Soldier

Come, Sweeney, play us a tune before Taps.

[Sweeney plays on his banjo, the other negroes joining with him while the soldiers sing “I'se Gwine Back to Dixie,” “I Saw a Field of Cotton,” “John Brown's Body” and “Sweet Evelina.”]

[Taps is sounded softly in the distance during the singing of the last song. The men roll up their coats and fall asleep around the fire.]

[Now in a faint light in the background appears a vision of the girls at home.]

[Two negro mammies bring in the spinning wheels and stools for a group of girls who enter at the back and begin to work busily. They sing softly.]

The Homespun Dress

“Oh, yes, I am a Southern Girl, And glory in the name

And boast it with far greater pride, Than glittering wealth or fame.

I envy not the Northern girl, Her robes of beauty rare,

Tho’ diamonds grace her snowy neck, And pearls bedeck her hair.”


“Hurrah! hurrah! for the Sunny South so Dear!

Three cheers for the homespun dress, That Southern ladies wear.”

“My homespun dress is plain I know, My hat's palmetto too,

But, then, it shows what Southern girls for Southern rights will do!

We've sent the bravest of our land, To battle with the foe,

And we will lend a helping hand, We love the South, you know.”

[Suddenly a bugle call “To Arms” is sounded in the distance. At the first notes, the vision fades away and the soldiers awake. They hurriedly seize their arms. The negroes put out the camp fires and the soldiers pass off the stage running. The bugle call dies away in the distance.]


The Epilogue The Mingling of the Waters

The Spirit of the Roanoke

[Slowly theWater-Spritesenter, their heads bent with sorrow and their movements weary. They wear the sombre grey of defeat.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke

The bent reed is broken: all struggling now futile.Vain, all too vain, were the hopes that are fled.Five against one,—for a while man could do it,—Five against one, but that was not all:Sickness and sorrow and hardships of loved onesTested with fire the temper of men.Though valient in battle, they were not immortal,And many died guarding the Bonnie Blue Flag.And this is the song of the flag they had chosenWhen the tumult of battles was stilled:“Furl that banner, for ’tis weary,Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary,Furl it, fold it, it is best;For there's not a man to wave it,And there's not a sword to save it,And there's not one left to lave it,In the blood which heroes gave it,And its foes now scorn and brave it,—Furl it, hide it, let it rest.”“Furl that banner! softly, slowly,Treat it gently—it is holy.For it droops above the dead;Touch it not, unfold it never,Let it droop there furled forever,For its people's hopes are dead.”

[TheWater-Spritesrise out of their grief, showing hope and joy as theSpiritof theRoanokespeaks. TheSpiritof theRoanoke

throws back her grey robe revealing her final costume, resplendent in its rich blue-green shades, tinted with flecks of gold and silver.]

But wake, ye minstrels of the South, and sing a grander lay;Proclaim the glorious heritage we venerate today!“For how can a man die better than when facing fearful oddsFor the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?”And now behold new trails of hope!The stricken people rise,Courageous o'er the ruin wide,Made strong by sacrifice.The New South with allegiance sureAdvances stride by stride,’Till what was blue and what was grayNow march on side by side.“Here's to the blue of the wind-swept North,When they meet on the Fields of France.May the spirit of Grant be with them all,As the sons of the North advance.”“Here's to the gray of the sun kissed South,When they meet on the fields of France.May the spirit of Lee be with them allAs the sons of the South advance.”“Here's to the blue and the gray as one,When they meet on the fields of France.May the Spirit of God be with them allAs the sons of the Flag advance.”

[TheWater-Spritesdance gaily off, as theSpiritof theRoanokeconcludes.]

And over it all rests the promise,A rainbow, blending in oneThe high exultation, the vision,The love of the building begun.I am the River, the Prophet,Yours is the gladsome lay,And grandly the seers of the agesShall sing the high dreams of today.

[As theSpiritof theRoanokeconcludes, the figure ofColumbiaappears at the back, and aConfederateandUnionsoldier complete the tableau. Before them marches a long dusky line in khaki. With hands upraised in military salute, they followColumbiaas she departs in the wake of her soldier-sons of today.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke [Continues.]

The promise has lured to achievement,A mighty-souled nation we stand,And brotherhood born of our freedomHas flourished in far-distant land.In France when the torch was lighted,Our millions bore sword for the right,Enlarging our national visionBy sensing our heroic might.Of the valiants who struggled for freedom,In any great age or clime,We clearly will raise the grandest of praise,For heroes of our present time.A long, dusky line in khakiThat winds through our national thought,A pledge that the heritage left us,For a heroic mold has been wrought.Proving that through all disaster,In firmness our nation shall stand,A glorious light and seer,A guiding and well-guarded land.

[TheSpiritof theRoanokeascends her throne as, with quick and joyous music the eager figure of theNew Dayenters, clothed in simple white Greek robe with golden cord around her waist. She timidly approaches the throne and speaks.]

New Day

Kindly stranger, will you guide me,Point the way I need must go?I, the New Day, fare forth staunchlyInto paths I do not know.

The Spirit of the Roanoke

[Kindly.]Child of Dawn, here by the RiverIs a dwelling made for thee.I, the River, whisper secretsOf thy lot that is to be.

New Day

[With dignity.]Stately Roanoke, on whose bosomStorms have played with thundering might,Lift thine eyes unto the Future,To thy lightning vision bright.Pierce the darkness on before us,Call the spirits guarding o'er us,Weave into one mighty chorus,Songs for our delight.

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Child of the Dawn, the world's wide margin,Bright with footsteps glad and freeLies before you, starred with helpers;Here they come to welcome thee.

[Enter theHeraldsof progress dressed in simple white Greek robes with a golden cord about the waist.]

[Christianity, carrying a shining cross]

[Education, carrying a light]

[Industry, carrying a hammer]

[Thrift, carrying a bank]

[Community Spirit, bringing an open hand]

[Spirit of Childhood, followed by twelve small children dressed in white who play informally during the entire scene. TheSpiritof theRoanokeis seated on the central throne, with theNew Dayat her right hand. The throne on her left remains vacant forProgress.]

New Day

[As they enter.]And who are these shining symbolsMoving with majestic mien?

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Heralds of Progress, eager seeker,That toward which we fain would move.

New Day

And where is Progress? Does she tarryIn some far abiding place?When will she unto my peopleShow her bright and welcome face?

The Spirit of the Roanoke

When the heralds there before youHave prepared for her the way.

New Day

Will they tell me, if I question,What requirements there may be?

The Spirit of the Roanoke

[To the heralds.]Stand forth, and of Life's fuller dawnProclaim the part you play.


[Holding aloft her cross.]I am come that ye might have life,And have it more abundantly.”

New Day

By what sign, Christianity,Shall thine abode be known?

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Speak, I pray, of what thy powerShall work in Halifax.


God, our help in ages past,Our hope for years to come,Will through his children oft reveal,By deeds of kindliness and love,His everlasting dwelling placeWithin his people's hearts.His grace shall soften life's stern raceInto a valiant pilgrimageA pilgrimage that ends at last out on the crystal sea.

New Day

A pearl beyond our utmost thoughtIs Christianity.And you who come with guiding light,What sayest thou?


I am she whom they call Education;I cherish the light that has burned through the ages,I chase from the eyes of my people the darkness.Superstition I banish, and ignorance, fear.And into one deepening, strengthening union.I bind them as brothers henceforth, evermore.

New Day

And how, oh light within the darkness,Do you clear the way for Progress?


I give to those that seek my lightThe power to lift themselves, and growIn worth, both unto self, and thoseWho seek the world's best hope.

New Day

Truly, these alone should bringWhat people most desire.But here are others, and their miensBetoken some portentous worth.[Speaking to Industry.]And who art thou, oh pioneer,As stalwart as the primal pine?


I am Industry. The sinews hereGrew hard on many a field of toil.My courage and my strength went forthWhile yet America was young,To clear untrodden waysAnd build a road for Progress.I venture ever into new grounds;There with axe I lay the forests low.Hoe and plow have led the way for great prosperity.The endless whir of intricate machinery is mine,And power of steam, electricity, and steel.From you, oh mighty Roanoke, long has comeA rich supply of power to turn my wheels.How I shall be developed, best guided and controlled,Looms now a mammoth problem on before you.

New Day

Point by point I trace your footstepsIn the history of our people.How to use the strength you proffer,How to point its power toward Progress,Best can come through wise adjustments,Made by wise experiment.


[Advancing.]Oh hear me, New Day dawning now!I come to bid you save, conserve,The heritage the past has left;Your vast and undeveloped wealth;Your stalwart forests often charredBy torch of stolid carelessness;The health of body and of mind;And thus forge on to utmost boundsOf full potential worth.I, the strong right arm of Progress,Trusty counsel offer thee.

New Day

Thrift, your guidance will be welcomeBut see! One comes with shining morning face,And open, friendly hand.

Community Spirit

Behold, New Day! I am the handThat gathers up the broken tiesOf friendship, and I make to singSong-hungry hearts—humanity.For I am that which makes one standIn unison with those who buildFor church and school and native land,For brotherhood of nations.I bid all life“Look up, not down,Look out, not in,Look forward, not backAnd lend a hand.”

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Eager New Day, rest your eyes now,On the fairest of all tokensPointing toward the coming splendor, coming to abide.Behold the spirit, now, of Childhood!While its trust and joyous beautyReigns within, and spends its richness,Adding grace to life's stern toiling;While, as long as we can play, andFind at spring-time spring within us,Happiness, desire of all men,Sheds its mellow golden glow.If we dearly cherish Childhood,The untraveled, unscanned future,Gleaming through the arched rainbow,May be greeted glad, unfaltering.

New Day

Bind us close to HappinessOh Childhood, fair, eternal!

[The children play simply before the throne. There is a burst of music heralding the entrance ofProgress. The children play to the side a minute or so, and then run off. All rise. Progress, attended by five pages, three bearing trumpets, ascends the throne after addressing theSpiritof theRoanokeandNew Dayas follows.]


I come at the call of an open fieldWhere the whitened harvests blow.I come for the heralds have found you good,And I in their wake must go.

[TheSpiritof theRoanokejoins the hands ofProgressand theNew Day, sending them forth, followed by their attendants.]

The Spirit of the Roanoke

Onward I point you, while springtime is stirrring,And fashioning dreams that will shine through your eyes,They, with their magic, shall rear a new Camelot,Music-wrought, beauty-filled, valiant and wise.

[As theSpiritof theRoanoke, seer and prophet of the destinies of her people, bidsProgressand the brightly dawningNew Daywork out the visions in their own eyes, the children of Halifax answer this call to service by offering their abiding love and pledging anew their faithful loyalty. Their maternal hymn that is heard in the distance serves as a benediction of increased power to TheSpiritof theRoanoke, who gladly accepts this expression of devotion from her people.]


[Tune: Materna.]

O Halifax, O Halifax,Beloved County free,Behold thy children come todayLove-gifts to offer thee.We blend our voices one and all

In simple harmony,That young may know and old recallThy glorious history.Thy noble sons and daughters fairOppressed on every hand,Found here within thy circling armsThis good and pleasant land.They loved thee then, we love thee now,Our faithfulness we'll prove;We pledge anew our loyaltyAnd our abiding love.Oh, may we ever faithful beTo all we hold most dear,Those principles of libertyBy which we are known here.We prize sweet freedom's gifts for whichOur sons and fathers fought,Their many sacrifices, tooFor peace so dearly bought.Through tribulations we have comeGuided by God's own handTo do His will and plant the crossOf Christ in this new land.That all the world beholding usTheir hearts to Him might bring,And serve Him too, the risen LordOur Saviour, and our King.Proudly I stand, the voice of a people,Pledging its all for the forces of right.Tenderly cherish the services rendered.Wondrously glad for its vision and might.

[As theSpiritof theRoanokebidsNew DayandProgresswork out the visions in their own eyes, the music swells into a sweeping strain, suggesting the lure of the Inland Voices calling theRoanokefrom her infinite surging. The witchery of the Voices becomes more pronounced as their luring song draws nearer.]

Lure of the Inland Voices

Willow-fringed and violet waysLure thee from thy surging.The cool hidden brakes where the wild ducks hie,The limitless stretches of earth and sky,The manifold harvests the breezes sway,And the humming of industry night and day.Unseen springs whence ye have comeLure thee from thy surging.

[As theSpiritof theRoanokelistens wistfully at the last strains of the Inland Voices, she stirs out of her revery and stepping forward expectantly speaks.]

But, [pause] come to me, Gleaming Waters,I hear the far call of the sea!Far beyond the unmeasured horizonThe bold waves are yearning for me.Come away! Away!No longer delay!I hear the far call and I gladsomely flyToward the ultimate beckoning sea.

[As theSpiritof theRoanokeanswers the call of the sea, theWater Spritesgive the Dance of the Gleaming Waters and dance gaily off. The glints of gold in their blue-green robes foretell a future of promise and brightness.]

[AfterThe Epilogueis spoken and theSpiritof theRoanokewith her attendantWater-Spriteshave departed, a chorus of voices is heard singingAmerica's Message, Wake all Ye NationsandAmericain unions, ending with theStar Spangled Banneras a grand finale.]

Wake, All Ye Nations!

Wake, all ye nations! A new song is ringing,With Hope's golden message eager winging.Rouse ye, rouse ye!Come rally to the callOf world-wide fellowship, the brotherhood of all!

Skies flash the signal; the trumpets are sounding;The roll-call of millions is resounding;Arm then, Arm then!Nor let the echo ceaseOf Freedom's battle cry to win eternal peace.


My country ’tis of thee,Sweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing;Land where my fathers died;Land of the pilgrim's pride;From every mountain sideLet Freedom ring!Our father's God! to thee,Author of liberty,To thee we sing;Long may our land be brightWith Freedom's holy light;Protect us by thy might,Great God, our King!

The spirit of the Roanoke, A pageant of Halifax county history
The spirit of the Roanoke. A pageant of Halifax county history. designed and written in collaboration by Halifax county teachers under the direction of A. E. Akers and Annie M. Cherry with the co-operation of the Division of Community Drama of the Bureau of Extension of the University of North Carolina. Roanoke Rapids, N. C. : Herald Publishing Company, 1921. 78 p. illus. (incl. map) 24 cm.
Original Format
Local Identifier
F262.H2 S7 1921
Location of Original
Joyner NC Stacks
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