Columbus County, North Carolina, 1946

Columbus County Courthouse

Columbus County



COLUMBUS COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA 1946A review of Columbus County from an historical, agricultural, commercial,industrial, municipal and photographic standpointPublished By JAMES A. ROGERS, Editor THE NEWS REPORTERWhiteville, N. C.Photographs by Baldwin-Gillespie Studio, D. L. Love, State Department Conservation and Development, and Others Advertising copy assistance by J. G. Worrell.


Some Early History of Columbus County12
Center of Rich Agricultural Area15
Tobacco Is King in Columbus County17
Lumber Manufacturing Is Second Industry in Columbus County19
Strawberry Culture Began in Chadbourn in 189521
Whiteville, County Seat Town With a Future23
Whiteville Is a Civic-Minded Community29
Whiteville Was Named for James B. White32
Tabor City, Major Business and Marketing Center37
Thirty Years Ago in Tabor City39
Chadbourn, Klondyke Capital of Columbus43
Man of the People, Joe Brown47
Fair Bluff Reflects Charm of the Old South51
Columbus County, a Virgin Opportunity54
Lake Waccamaw Retains a Distinct Primeval Flavor57
Kinchen Council, Sage of Wananish63
The Legend of the Lake64
Small Communities Form Patchwork Over Columbus65
Columbus County Red Cross Did Remarkable Job During World War II69
Irvin Tucker, Leader of Men71
Rev. F. T. Wooten Was Father of Modern Education in Columbus County75
There's a Little Touch of Normandy in Columbus77
John George Butler, Christian Gentleman79
Mille-Christine's Life Was Stranger Than Fiction81
Columbus County Men Made Proud Record in War Between the States85
Old Roads in Columbus94
School Statistics97
General Statistics101

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By Way of Introduction

This magazine attempts to give a partial picture of Columbus County, its past, its present, and its possible future. It has a two-fold purpose: first, to acquaint Columbus citizens with their county; and second, to furnish authentic information to outsiders about Columbus County which will help them get a true picture of the possibilities it possesses.

The information contained herein has been gathered during the extremely few spare moments in the life of a newspaper editor. The task was undertaken only because of our personal belief that Columbus County is on the verge of tremendous advances which call for an adequate knowledge of the county by both insiders and outsiders alike.

The assistance we have received has been marked by extraordinary kindness and generosity, for which we here express our sincerest thanks. Both in the matter of furnishing information and in checking manuscripts have we found an exceptionally kind response. Our only regret is that space has not permitted going into much detail so generously offered by so many. Every article appearing herein has been checked by others before it was turned over to the printer. For accuracy of statement, we have sought to be painstaking. However great the effort to prevent mistakes, though, it is only natural that some will creep in. This is especially true when it is remembered that most of the historical background recorded in these articles has been derived not from written records, for there are few in Columbus County, but from the recollection of some of the older citizens. It is our belief that all historical data recorded here is substantially correct, and for that which may be in error, we can only ask for the kind forbearance of any who may be aggrieved because of it.

We take credit or blame for all articles appearing herein which do not bear a by line, though naturally numerous sources, both written and verbal, were drawn from heavily. We found the files of The News Reporter very helpful, as was the assistance rendered by many individuals.

To the advertisers who so generously supported this effort with advertising, we extend special thanks. Without their support, the task would have been impossible. Readers, we are sure, will look upon their advertisements as helping to complete the picture of Columbus County.

If these pages help to better inform Columbus County citizens about their county, and others about the great possibilities yet awaiting development here, our effort will have been repaid in dividends extraordinarily pleasing.


Whiteville, N. C.

January 10, 1946.

The News Reporter

Our association has served Whiteville since 1922 with a building and loan service which has never disfurnished or displaced anyone from his home. Many of Whiteville's most beautiful homes have been built by our organization. In the post-war period, we are prepared to serve you in your construction plans.



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W. B. HOBBS, President

B. S. THOMPSON, Vice-President

FELIX M. SMITH, Secretary and Treasurer


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Some Early History of Columbus


Lake Waccamaw at sunset

Carlyle, the historian, says, “Happy the people whose annals are blank in history books.” If that be true, the people of Columbus County should qualify as a happy people, for very little can be found concerning our county in history books. But there are some facts recorded in state records, and we certainly would not want to pass them up.

To give briefly the genesis of the county, we go back to old Bath precinct, organized under the English Crown in 1696. This precinct extended from Albemarle County to the Cape Fear River and beyond. By an Act of Assembly, July, 1729, the southern part of this precinct was erected into the precinct of New Hanover. In 1734 Bladen was formed from New Hanover. In 1764 Brunswick was formed from Bladen and New Hanover. Then in 1808 Columbus was formed from Bladen and Brunswick. So we have been Bath, New Hanover, Bladen and Brunswick before we became a county in our own right, the third largest county in the state.

The foregoing period covered 110 years of Columbus County genealogy. During a great part of that time what is now Columbus was more or less forest land; certainly until around 1750 to 1764, and sparsely settled.

We know there were some people in the county at that time, because the Colonial Records show that legislation was passed in 1764 to build roads in the county from Belfont (present site of Elizabethtown) to Marsh Castle (now Whiteville) and south to Waccamaw (probably Old Dock); and one from Marsh Castle to Drowning Creek (Fair Bluff). Roads were not built unless there were people to travel them. These are the two oldest roads in the county.

Marsh Castle is mentioned several times in Colonial Records and by later historians of the Revolution. It was situated on White Marsh about where Dr. Ross Davis’ house now stands; was built by Gen. Hugh Waddell, a Colonial officer of the Cape Fear, who also owned a home near Elizabethtown called Belfont. Gen. Waddell was probably responsible for the legislation putting across the road from Belfont in Bladen to his newer plantation. Marsh Castle, and the other roads needed in the development of the county. Marsh Castle and surrounding lands later passed into the ownership of James B. White, who became Columbus County's first state senator.

For our very first written record about Columbus County, we go back to 1734 (210 years). We were then Bladen County. There lived at that on the Cape Fear, not far from the Columbus County line of today, a well educated Colonial planter by the name of William Bartram, at his country seat, Ashwood. He was the brother of the distinguished botanist of Pennsylvania, John Bartram, who was the first scientist to form a botanic garden for American plants in America. He traveled far and wide collecting these plants, trees and flowers and planted them on his plantation on the Schuylkill River. At his death in 1777 he gave these gardens and his plantation to the City of Philadelphia for a park, and they became the present famous Sumac Park of Philadelphia.

He wrote a scientific book on these, called “Elements of Botany,” which his son, William, illustrated. This son was also a botanist of note, and it is presumed that his father sent him South to collect other specimens for his gardens in 1734. He wrote a book, “Journal of Travels,” upon his return, which was later published. It is from this Journal that we have our earliest account of Lake Waccamaw. He spoke of being at Ashwood, so that places him. Then he went down to the Moore's home in New Hanover, and said he told Mr. Moore that he had heard much of Lake Waccamaw and was anxious to see it. Whereupon, Mr. Moore formed a party of six and set out for the Lake. They arrived after night, passing some twenty miles, he wrote, over dense swamp lands. I quote from his Journal: “The next morning we took a particular view of it (the Lake), and I think it is the pleasantest place I ever saw in my life. It is at least 18 miles around, surrounded with exceeding good land, as oak of all sorts, hickory and fine cypress swamps. There is plenty of deer, wild turkeys, geese, and ducks, and fish in abundance. We shot enough game to serve forty men though there were but six of us.” Other places in the Journal he said the deer were so tame he felt sure they had never seen men before, and very plentiful. He also spoke of the Indian mounds near the Lake.

We know that Indians once roamed this territory. When the first settlers from the Barbadoes came up the Cape Fear, they were here. These settlers called them Cape Fear Indians, Waccamaw and Saponas. The Waccamaws were a peaceful tribe, and when the whites began coming in, rather than have any unpleasantness, they are supposed to have voluntarily withdrawn and joined the Catawbas fartehr west, and some, at least, the Seminoles in Florida. It is said that the celebrated chief of the Seminoles, Osceola, was born on Waccamaw River, and tradition says that his father was one John Powell, a white man living there.

In presenting a brief history of Columbus County, the historian is handicapped by a lack of thrilling and colorful occurrences of Colonial and Revolutionary times, because the county was not formed until 1808, a quarter of a century after these happenings. During those times we were a part of Bladen and Brunswick, and history centered around the river estates of the more populous and accessible territory on the river—the upper and lower Cape Fear. They made much history of which we, as part of those counties at the time, may well be proud.

As to the actual participation of the people of the present territory of Columbus County in the Revolution and of events of Revolutionary interest happening within its boundaries, there is some authentic record.

Col. Alfred Moore Waddell, in his History of New Hanover County, states that at Brompton, country seat of Governor Gabriel Johnston in Brunswick, Gen. Francis Marion, the Horrys and Gen. Huger of S. C., met to reorganize Marion's men, and that a large proportion of these men came from Bladen and Brunswick counties. We, being at this time a part of Bladen and Brunswick, it is almost sure that at least a part of these men were from Columbus County.

Then it is sure that at least two skirmishes were fought on Columbus soil, one on Brown Marsh, and one at Pireway.

From the papers of General Joseph Graham, a Revolutionary soldier, collected and printed in a volume by Major William A. Graham, a descendent, we have authentic mention of these two battles or skirmishes. In speaking of the route of the troops appointed by General Green to come to the aid of the Patriots, between Pee Dee and Cape Fear Rivers, General Graham wrote:

“The army continued to move down the Raft Swamp, from thence to Brown Marsh, where General Butler had had a battle with the British and Tories some weeks before, and encamped for several days near that place.”

This establishes the fact that a Revolutionary battle was fought on Brown Marsh. Again these papers refer to this battle by saying that the Patriots took prisoner two Tories who informed them that the British were encamped on the bank of the Cape Fear, and were ready to cross and march in the night “to attack General Rutherford who was known to be encamped on Brown Marsh, as they had done General Butler with some success several weeks before.”

This battle, according to the tradition as given to me by the late Mr. Kinchen Council, took place on the east side of Brown Marsh, northwest of the late J. M. Shipman's residence, about five miles southeast of Clarkton. Bullets of that era were plowed up on the farm by Mr. Shipman. The other battle is also described in these papers.

Major Graham speaks of the soldiers taking a route by Lockwood's Folly and Shallotte River, and coming to Seven Creeks, not far from the South Carolina line. Colonel Gainey commanded the Tories and Major Joseph Graham the Patriots.

Major Graham states: “We had one man killed, Lieutenant Clark; three wounded and four horses killed, several wounded. Only one of the enemy was killed.”

Evidently victory was with the Patriots, for General Graham says, “We fixed the wounded, buried the dead, and then marched to Marsh Castle and encamped on the White Marsh.” The Graham papers state that the next day they marched by Lake Waccamaw and joined Colonel Smith above Livingston Creek, where they heard of the surrender of Cornwallis on October 19th, 1781. So that would place the date of the Battle of Seven Creeks near Pireway in Columbus County certainly in October and around the 19th.

One other Revolutionary incident of historical significance happened in the county. When Cornwallis retreated from the Battle of Guilford Court House to Wilmington to join the British forces then concentrated there, he passed through Columbus County. The State Historical Commission has confirmed this. The route was through the northern part of the county near the Cape Fear River, which he crossed and proceeded toward Wilmington over the highway that now runs from Elizabethtown to Wilmington via Acme. It was near Weyman Church that the route passed. The county D.A.R. Chapter has marked this route through the cooperation of the State Historical Commission. So much for the Colonial and Revolutionary history of Columbus.

As stated earlier, very little can be found about our county in history books. However, there are some recorded facts about the organization of the county in state records with which we, as citizens, should be familiar.

Our county was created by an Act of the General Assembly, December 15th, 1808, because of the difficulties of the inhabitants getting to Brunswick County seat to transact their legal business.

The men appointed to run the dividing line: Isaac Powell and John Wingate from Columbus, and Michael Claudy from Bladen.

The General Assembly directed John Wingate, Absalom Powell, Shadrach Wooten, James B. White, Salem Reaves, Thomas Frink, and James Stephen to fix the site for courthouse and jail, and until these buildings were ready, it was ordered that courts be held at Stephen Barfield's home. This house stood about on the site of the late Allie Richardson home, before it was moved, and across the street from the present home of Miss Maude Richardson and Mrs. Irvin Tucker, Sr.

These same commissioners were ordered to provide for the erection of the courthouse and jail; to levy and collect a tax of three shillings on the poll and one shilling on every 100 acres of land to pay for same. These buildings were of wood and were completed in 1809, used until 1852, then replaced by brick buildings. Present buildings were erected in 1914.

Since the original boundaries of the county were laid out, there have been five additions to the county from Brunswick and Bladen as follows: in 1810, a portion of Bladen; in 1811, another part of Brunswick; in 1821, another portion of Bladen; in 1877 and again in 1879 small portions of Brunswick were annexed, bringing the county to its present proportions.


Whiteville and Fair Bluff probably divide honors as the oldest towns. Whiteville was originally known as White's Crossing, but in 1810, after the town was laid out on James B. White's land and public buildings erected, and after James B. White had served as our first senator, the name of the county seat became known as Whiteville. Strange to say, the town was not chartered until 1873, and J. A. Maultsby was the first mayor.

It is generally conceded that the first schoolhouse in Whiteville was erected shortly after the War between the States. Reuben

Harvey Brown, father of the late Joseph A. Brown, was the first principal, coming in the fall of 1869. His contract with the school board is still in existence, signed by Capt. V. V. Richardson, W. M. Morrison, W. M. Baldwin, Mills Howell, John A. Maultsby, and Colonel T. S. Memory. His salary was named as $1,000, a generous one for those times.

The first house in Chadbourn was erected in 1882, by the Chadbourn Lumber Company; town was incorporated in 1886. First mayor, James B. Chadbourn, Jr.; commissioners, Joshua Smith, Amos Allen and Joseph A. Brown. The first charter of the town stipuiated that there should be no legalized sale of whiskey in the town, and Chadbourn bears the distinction of never having had liquor stores in it.

The first schoolhouse in Chadbourn, a one-room house, was built by James H. Chadbourn, Jr., to educate his six children, primarily, but others attended. It was situated just east of the present Baptist pastorium, and built around 1886. The first preaching in town was held in this schoolhouse by a Presbyterian minister who came up once a month from Whiteville.

First bale of cotton grown in 1815 by a Dr. Formy Duvall, was skidded to White Hall on the Cape Fear, shipped by pole boat to Wilmington. Tradition says, hand seeded and pressed in Jonathan Pierce's cider press. Since then we have raised as high as 12,000 bales a year.

First tobacco grown in county in 1896 by John Morley, six and a half acres near Fair Bluff.

First tobacco warehouse was at Fair Bluff in 1896, called The Farmer's Central Warehouse. It probably depended on South Carolina for most of its tobacco, as tobacco was not grown in any quantity in Columbus County until around 1914.

First strawberries grown for shipment in the county was in 1896, six and three-fourths acres by Joseph A. Brown.

First banks: Bank of Whiteville, chartered 1903, opened June 5, 1903; president, J. A. Brown; cashier, C. H. Morrow. Bank of Chadbourn, also chartered in 1903, opened April 4, 1904; president, J. A. Brown; cashier, D. C. Clark. Capital stock of each, $10,000.

In the past fifty years the advancement along all lines in the county is amazing. Then, the best school with longest term, was in Whiteville. Five months tax supported and two months subscription. This, a two-teacher school, two rooms unpainted, but in the heart of town. No high school in the county, not a school library in the county, no roads fit to travel. Now we have twelve standard high schools, handsome brick buildings, steam heated and modern throughout, equipped with standard libraries. The children are brought to them by swift and comfortable means not dreamt of in that earlier day. We now have 2,000 miles of state maintained roads, with approximately 150 of these paved.

In agriculture, we grew corn, sweet potatoes and a little cotton. Now four towns have tobacco markets selling millions of pounds annually. The average price of our first tobacco was eight to twelve cents. This year, forty-three cents. We grow more sweet potatoes than any other county in the state; have two berry markets, potato markets, bean markets, a pecan market, a grape market, and varied agricultural products bringing money into the county in floods practically all the year round. In 1897 there was not a home in the county with running water or electric lights; now these are taken for granted even in the rural districts.

At that date there was not a civic organization in the county. Contrast our women's clubs, men's clubs, Home Demonstration and Parent-Teacher organizations, patriotic and fraternal organizations, to say nothing of the purely social clubs, adding to the grace and joy of living.

In closing we do well to recall some of the early family names contributing to the growth and development of the county in its early days. Among these were the Lennons, Maultsbys, Powells, Memorys, Gores, Smiths, Baldwins, Richardsons, Toons, Wootens, Troys, Whites, Highs, Frinks, Shipmans, to mention only a few. Their names should be held in remembrance, because they laid the foundations upon which we, of a later day, have builded so well.

Center of Rich Agricultural Area

When Columbus County was formed from adjacent counties in the early part of the nineteenth century, its 576,000 acres of land were then largely swamp and timberlands, but from these same acres were destined to come one of the finest and most productive agricultural sections in the Southeast.

The history of Columbus County is the history of turpentine, lumber and farming in the order named. Today, agriculture has supplanted turpentine and lumbering as the major industry, though lumbering still retains the rank of second in volume of revenue produced.

From the cut-over timberlands of the nineteenth century have been fashioned farmlands whose rich soil is capable of producing any type of produce grown in a temperate climate. The rural population of the county is 37,720 on farms totaling 5,776 and on a total farm acreage in 1945 of 287,691 acres, according to latest statistical information from the Statistical Division of the State-Federal Departments of Agriculture in Raleigh, N. C. Gross farm income in 1945 was in excess of $23,000,000.

Favorable climate and long growing seasons, the natural productivity of Columbus soils, which require comparatively little fertilizer, the stubborn energy of Columbus County farmers, and constantly improving methods in agriculture have combined to achieve results of which this county is justifiably proud. The mean annual temperature for the county is 60.6 degrees, while the annual precipitation averages around 47.26 inches.

The county turned from major cotton production after World War I to become one of the greatest tobacco-producing counties in the Eastern Carolinas. In addition to the emphasis upon tobacco, strawberries, grain, pecans, Irish and sweet potatoes, peanuts, beans, cattle, hogs, and poultry have become major crops on Columbus County farms, with great stress being now placed upon truck produce and versatile farming.

Twenty-four thousand acres are annually devoted to tobacco, with the result that tobacco grown in Columbus County is noted throughout a section which features numerous varieties of the brightleaf weed. More than 26,376,500 pounds are annually sold in the county and the value of the entire crop is approximately $12,000,000. Most of the tobacco grown in Columbus County is sold on one of the four county markets. During the early part of the season, before the markets further north have opened, farmers from distant counties bring their weed to Columbus markets.

Representative photographs of activities on Columbus farms

Rail-line and highway trucking routes have been of tremendous influence in developing the truck growing interests of the county. Sweet and Irish potatoes, beans, cucumbers, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables are grown here. The truck produce of Columbus farms is found annually and in abundance on northern markets.

The largest sweet potato storage market in the state is located at Tabor City. There sweet potatoes are bought from the farmers and held in storage until market demands call for their shipment. In this way, growers are always assured of a ready market for their potatoes.

Closely allied to the truck crops is the growth and marketing of strawberries. Strawberry culture was begun in the county in 1895 by Mr. J. A. Brown of Chadbourn. By 1907, Chadbourn had become the largest strawberry market in the world. The strawberry still has a very strong hold on the county, with large markets both at Chadbourn and Tabor City.

The leading pecan market in the state is located at Whiteville. In some instances, pecan trees in Columbus County have been reported to have yielded nuts to the amount of $150 per tree. Some of the largest pecan groves in the state are located around Lake Waccamaw, where the orchards of Mr. George Sutton, Mr. Oscar High, and Mr. F. B. Gault are especially well known for their size and productivity.

Corn is another of the principal crops in this section. The county showed in 1945 some 51,000 acres planted in this grain, besides many other acres devoted to oats, velvet beans, soy beans, and cowpeas. The beans and peas are not only grown as a good cash crop but as nutriment agents in rebuilding the soil.


Cattle, hogs and poultry have been produced commerically for a number of years and have a wide sale not only in the immediate territory but in northeastern sections as well. Herds of Hereford and Angus beef cattle are raised and shipped to other centers for packing. Some Guernseys and Jerseys are raised for local dairying purposes.

In 1937, the Columbus Livestock Mutual was organized by J. P. Quinerly, and during the first year of operation for the organization, 1,861 hogs were shipped for a net revenue of more than $37,000. In 1938, 137 pure bred hogs were brought into the county through the organization, and at one time the county was shipping as many as ten cars of hogs per week from Chadbourn. Great emphasis has been placed in recent years on the production of poultry, resulting in an enormous increase of chicken and egg production.


Besides the well-established crops, constant emphasis has been placed on the addition of new crops to the farmers’ repertoire. Marked success has been realized during war years in the production of peanuts, resulting in this crop becoming the second greatest income producing crop in the county, surpassed only by tobacco.

The chief theme of county and farm leaders is diversified farming. State and county extension workers, AAA officials, business and civic groups are enthusiastic about the versatile possibilities of Columbus County soil. Already rated as one of the foremost agricultural counties in the state, they predict that with a continuance of improved products and methods, and with a growing awareness on the part of Columbus farmers that their soil has unexcelled possibilities for diversified farming, the county will become one of the foremost centers of agriculture in the entire Southeast.

Due to the extensive flat acreage of the county, it has been easy to introduce a great deal of farm machinery. During the war, farm machinery dealers were hard put to it to keep the machinery of county farmers in a state of repair, and now with the end of the war making it possible to return to peace-time production, machinery dealers are experiencing an all-time high in demand for farm machinery.


Though commercial farm production is the outstanding characteristic of the county's industry, domestic planting also comes in for its share. Around rural homes—and many town homes—are garden plots where family food is raised, its surplus sold in neighboring towns or canned for use when vegetables and fruits cannot be obtained. Each farm has its chicken yard and the family cow is becoming increasingly popular on county farms.

Regarded as a great boon to meat and vegetable production for home use is the construction in Whiteville of a freezer locker plant. Its original construction included more than 500 lockers. Since the construction of the plant in Whiteville, another has been secured for Tabor City.

Other indications of progressive living among the farm families of Columbus County include the growth in rural electrification. Since 1939, 1,500 rural homes in the county have been wired for electricity and 400 miles of power lines constructed. As equipment for rural electrification becomes available again, these figures will be greatly increased. There are applications on file in Washington at present for the wiring of 1,200 additional rural homes.

There are few large farms in the county, the average size being about 24 acres. In many cases, one family owns several such farms. Population density for rural area is about 50 persons per square mile.


There are approximately 443,000 acres of woodland in Columbus County, comprising pine, hardwood, cypress, gum, poplar, tupelo, and oak as the principal species. For many years, the lumber industry was the largest industry in the county. It is now second only to agriculture.

Columbus County is one of the three and one-half counties comprising the district of Farm Forester Harold E. Blanchard, whose office is in Whiteville. Timber sales for the past fiscal year in that district totaled more than $300,000.

Instead of reforestation, chief interest is placed on fire control and selective cutting of trees as a means of both helping the farmer realize the greatest money return from his forest crop and of keeping his woodland continuously forested by vigorous trees.

It is the firm belief of those who know Columbus County that its people are just beginning to understand its immense wealth. Its lands have never been robbed of their natural wealth. They remain fertile and intensely productive. Its farmers are becoming increasingly intelligent in their management and methods. With the post-war era now here, Columbus farmers are preparing to mechanize their farming more than they have ever done before. Cattle, poultry and livestock are coming into their own. Food for cattle—especially lespedeza—is receiving strong emphasis. Truck produce is becoming increasingly popular annually. Marketing problems are being solved. Farmers are learning to cooperate, all of which means a new and even better day for Columbus County—“The Garden Spot of the Carolinas.”

One of Columbus County's pioneers was Dr. Cyril G. Wyche, father of Henry Wyche, who also pioneered, and grandfather of J. B. Wyche, one of the present partners in Pierce and Company of Hallsboro, Dr. Wyche, a practicing physician, came to the county in 1855 and settled in Whiteville. He served in the Civil War.

One of the oldest business establishments in the county is Pierce and Company of Hallsboro, which was established in 1899. The first store was at Redbug, where there is still a branch business. Pierce and Company moved to Hallsboro in 1908. The three original partners were S. W. Pierce, J. E. Thompson, and Henry Wyche. In 1921, J. E. Thompson withdrew and established the J. E. Thompson Company. Of the three original partners, only Mr. Wyche is dead. He died in 1904. S. W. Pierce is still a partner in the business, along with James A. Wyche and J. B. Wyche.

Tobacco Is King in Columbus County

Of the many agricultural products which make Columbus County one of the chief agricultural counties in the Carolinas, brightleaf tobacco occupies as dominant a position in Columbus farming economy as King Cotton once did in the South.

Since 1895, when six acres of tobacco were planted in the extreme western section of the county, the cultivation of this crop has increased until today an average of 24,000 acres are planted annually with the annual revenue to farmers running into the millions of dollars.

And since the construction of the first tobacco warehouse in the county in 1895 by I. M. Powell at Fair Bluff, sixteen warehouses have been built in the four major towns of the county, with each of these towns boasting markets which are among the foremost in the Carolinas tobacco belt.

By comparison with 1895, the pioneer tobacco year for Columbus County, when six acres were planted in the Fair Bluff section, sales in 1945 on the four markets of the county totaled approximately 60,000,000 pounds.

The story of this phenomenal growth has been one of improved methods in cultivation, selection of better varieties of tobacco, education in control of tobacco diseases, persistent and extensive advertising of tobacco markets, resulting in an enormous increase in general business volume done by the business men of Columbus towns.

It is a story featuring the romance of hard work, careful planning and long range vision on the part of the farmers, agricultural extension workers and business men of Columbus County.

Following the construction of the first warehouse in the county at Fair Bluff in 1896—known as the Farmers Central—another warehouse followed in that town in 1898, built by B. A. Anderson and known as the Planters warehouse. Both the Farmers Central and the Planters warehouses still operate in Fair Bluff, though neither occupies the original warehouse and neither bears the original name. What was the Farmers Central is now Powell's warehouse, and what was the Planters is now the Grainger's.

Stringing the Golden Weed for curing is an essential part of Columbus County's great tobacco industry

In 1908, the Davis warehouse was built and burned the same year. In 1909, this warehouse was rebuilt and known as the Brick warehouse, operated by J. F. Rogers. This warehouse does not operate now.

In 1920, T. J. Abbott built the Abbott's warehouse which was burned. It was rebuilt in 1930 as the Dixie warehouse. The four warehouses in Fair Bluff now are Powell's, the Dixie, the Planters, and the Grainger's.

The establishment of a market in Fair Bluff just one year after the establishment of the Mullins, S. C., market, marked the beginning of increasing emphasis upon this crop to which the soil, seasons, and climate of Columbus County were ideally adapted. The acreage and poundage records of those early years are lost, but as early as 1902, the cultivation of tobacco in Columbus has secured such a hold that J. D. Maultsby led in the formation of a stock company which built a warehouse in Whiteville. This warehouse operated for two years, and in 1905 was converted into livestock stables operated by J. T. McKenzie. It was located on the site of the present Lea's warehouse. Not until 1910 was another attempt made to establish a tobacco market in Whiteville.

But in 1909 a market had been opened in Tabor City when C. C. Pridgen, a big lumber manufacturer, built a warehouse there

known as the Carolina. The market at Tabor City has operated continuously since that year, with two more warehouses being built during World War I, one the Farmers and the other the Planters. The Planters later burned and there is no warehouse in Tabor City operating under that name at present. Warehouses in Tabor City today are the Carolina Warehouse, still located on the site of the original Carolina, though many times larger, the New Farmers Warehouse, on the site of the original Farmers, and the Garrell's Warehouse, located in North Tabor City. This latter warehouse was built in the spring of 1945, following the loss by fire of the Big Three Warehouse. When rebuilt, the name was changed to Garrell's Warehouse.

Following the discontinuation of the Whiteville market in 1904, Isham Hinson and Frank Wray built the Growers Warehouse in 1910, which year marked the successful beginning of the Whiteville market. Mr. Wray had come down from Richmond, Va., to show farmers in this county how to cultivate tobacco. Still living in Columbus County, Mr. Wray's efforts contributed greatly to successful tobacco cultivation on the part of Columbus farmers. The Banner Warehouse was built in 1914 and was operated by John Wilson and Gordon Tuggle. This warehouse is now used as a prize house. In 1918, J. D. Maultsby built the present Lea's Warehouse and leased it to Harry G. Lea, who operated it until his death. It is now operated by members of Mr. Lea's family.

The next warehouse was the present Tuggle's house, which was built by Alex F. Powell, Jr., then followed Crutchfield's, Brooks and Farmers.

There are six large warehouses in Whiteville now, with sales in 1945 totaling over 30,000,000 pounds.

The sixteen warehouses are now distributed among the four major Columbus towns, as follows: six at Whiteville, three at Tabor City, three at Chadbourn, and four at Fair Bluff. Plans are already afoot for the construction of additional warehouses to meet the ever-growing dimensions of tobacco marketing in Columbus County.

Represented on the four markets are all the leading tobacco companies, with buyers of long experience, and warehouse personnel and auctioneers who are rated expert in their fields. The tobacco companies also have prize houses on each market where tobacco is prepared for shipment. One large redrying plant is located in the county, and one or more additional ones are anticipated within the near future.

When the growing and marketing of tobacco in the county began to take hold in increasing quantity, business men of the county were not slow to realize the importance of this new agricultural industry in the building of a greater county. The advertising of county markets then began in earnest, and today no county in any tobacco belt does more extensive advertising of its tobacco markets than Columbus.

In June, 1926, J. A. Maultsby, father of the Greater Whiteville tobacco market, appeared before the Whiteville Rotary Club with a proposal that Whiteville business men pool $600 with which to advertise the Whiteville tobacco market. The proposal was given the approval of the Club, and on the following Tuesday night at a meeting of the town's business men, the fund was created. That marked the real beginning of a great market in Whiteville. Since that year, Whiteville business men have annually contributed toward the advertisement of the Whiteville market, with the result that more than 30,000,000 pounds of tobacco were sold on that market in 1945, which was an all-time record. The original $600 advertising fund has been stepped up until Whiteville merchants are now contributing several thousand dollars annually to the building of the Whiteville market.

August 26, 1927, will be remembered in the history of the Whiteville market as Golden Day. On that day, every farmer who sold tobacco at the Whiteville market was paid off in gold. The Whiteville banks supplied themselves with $75,000 in gold for the day. The Whiteville police force escorted the cargo of gold upon its arrival, from the railway station to the banks as a precaution against hold-ups.

The Golden Day idea was originated by J. A. Maultsby, who presented it to the Board of Trade where it was accepted. Columbus County tobacco farmers and warehousemen still remember that day as one of the great days of Columbus County tobacco history.

Similarly, the business men of Tabor City, Chadbourn and Fair Bluff have been active in promoting the expansion of their respective markets. In the early days of the Fair Bluff market, the opening day of sales was set aside as a big picnic day when farmers and their families, together with citizens of Fair Bluff, would spread their trunks and baskets of food upon tables on the warehouse floor and celebrate the opening of the season. Tabor City and Chadbourn each have a Chamber of Commerce, which places chief emphasis upon the expansion of their tobacco markets.

With the building of great markets has come also major farm emphasis upon the growth of quality tobacco on the farms of Columbus County. Improved varieties of tobacco and more intelligent cultivation, handling and marketing of the golden weed have combined to make Columbus County one of the great tobacco-producing counties of the Eastern Carolinas.

Lumber Manufacturing Is Second Industry in Columbus County

Lumber operations are still mommoth industry in Columbus


Columbus County is situated in the lower coastal plain. It is a low, level, poorly drained area that is very rich when properly drained and cultivated. Rainfall is plentiful and so divided that periods of drought are rare and are never widely detrimental to the growth and protection of forest stands.

This county contains approximately 576,000 acres of rural land of which 78.7 per cent is in woodland. This forest land is chiefly farm-owned with only 174,000 acres being owned by lumber and pulpwood companies or investment companies.

After more than 200 years of settlement 21.3 per cent is used for agricultural crops or pasturage, due to the limited rural population, and the method of intensive farming of small acreages of high value crops, rather than the extensive farming of large acreages of low valued crops.


There are three distinct forest types in this county occupying about equal amounts of forest land. The long leaf—loblolly pine type occupies the higher areas while the mixture of gum, oak, and cypress occupy the wide deep swamps. Of lesser importance is the bay pine type that is found extensively only on the poorly drained highlands of Green Swamp and White Marsh. Extensive drainage will convert these bay or pond pine areas to loblolly stands and the loblolly will also enter the deep swamps, thereby probably doubling the loblolly stands in area and almost eliminating the bay pine type.

Pine (longleaf and loblolly), is by far the most important commercial species at present, but most timber operators are gradually

swinging to the cutting of at least the better hardwoods along with the pine.

Hardwoods, chiefly gums, maple and cypress, have always been of lesser importance in the area and, therefore, there are vast stands of excellent hardwoods remaining, although the large lumber companies cut over the area taking the virgin pine and as much of the cypress that is easily logged. The increased use of veneers is due to make these vast hardwoods stands of high value.

About half of the forest land supports stands of sawlog size with the remaining half supporting stands of vigorous young growth. Both the pine and hardwoods have one of the best rates of growth to be found anywhere in the United States. Cases are known where a pine tree that measured 27 inches across the stump was only 30 years old. Tupelo gum stands have been found to have grown an average of one inch in diameter a year for the past 20 years. The average growth rate is about two inches in diameter every five years with about 85 per cent of the growth occurring in young, second growth stands.

Natural restocking following cutting is excellent on most areas and artificial regeneration through planting is seldom necessary. It would probably be unnecessary to replant any forest area if a minimum of four desirable seed trees were left per acre and fire was eliminated during the early years of the stand.


The burning of the woods is the main factor that is limiting growth in this area. Eighty-two per cent of all forest lands show fire history, and while apparent damage following a fire is light, the big damage is in the loss of young growth and to diseases that enter mature trees through injuries caused by fire. Fire control is advancing. As people become more interested in their trees as a crop, fire can be expected to disappear as a major hazard of forest growth.


Columbus County has approximately 950,000,000 board feet of standing timber. In addition, there is about 1,085,000 cords of fuelwood or pulpwood available from small size trees or defective trees unfit for materials other than pulp or fuel wood.


The forests of Columbus County are growing 57,856,000 board feet of timber each year and with the installation of better forest management, this growth rate can easily be increased to 117,972,000 board feet a year. The coastal plain of South Carolina has already reached the increased growth rate, and both this county and adjoining counties, can be expected to go farther as better cutting methods and better fire protection goes into effect.


There are now 45 sawmills, 6 concentration yards with a sawmill, 2 veneer plants and 3 furniture block plants operating in this county. Lumbering is the only large industry and is second only to agriculture income to residents.

During 1944, the 51 sawmills produced 33,841,000 board feet of lumber, furnishing full time employment for nearly a thousand men and part time employment for about as many more.


Although there are no paper mills located within this county, shipments of pulpwood are being made to at least four paper mills located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It is expected that a paper mill will be erected near Wilmington some time in the near future and there is also another mill to be erected in South Carolina, that will increase the demands in our growing timber.


Three furniture dimension plants are operating in this county as well as one furniture veneer and one package plant. The creosoting plant located at Wilmington gets a large percentage of its poles, piling and cross ties from our forest and furnish a large per cent of the part-time employment for local residents.


The future of the lumber industry and other wood using industries in this area seem bright, when an analysis is made of the stock or back log of timber that is now available for harvest and the growth possibilities. During the war years, when demands on the forest growth reached a new high, and production almost doubled, the growth rate exceeded the rate of cutting by almost 12,000,000 board feet a year.

When normal cutting is resumed and when better forestry practices become the rule rather than the exception, we can expect to build up a surplus of timber that will allow for the expansion of the lumber industry and will support the other forest industries at their war-time level.

The only requirements for a doubled income form the forests of Columbus County are absolute fire control, reasonable cutting standards that leave a growing stock and more care in harvesting the products for their highest value.

Strawberry Culture Began in Chadbourn in 1895

“The strawberry put Columbus County on the map. Prior to the introduction of this industry, there was not a banking institution in the county, not a decent schoolhouse, and none of more than two rooms, with a public school term of sixty days. Commerce was dormant and agriculture lagged. The success of the strawberry industry gave an impetus to all agriculture in the county, and Columbus is rated today among the larger tobacco producing counties in the state.”

So wrote the late J. A. Brown of Chadbourn in 1926 when the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the strawberry industry in Columbus County was about to be observed.

Thirty years prior to 1926, Mr. Brown, the father of the strawberry industry in the county, came under the influence of a representative of the Manufacturer's Record who saw in the present Chadbourn area possibility for the growth of strawberries as an industry. So convinced was this gentleman in the strawberry possibilities of the area, that he succeeded in convincing Mr. Brown. In fact, he convinced him so strongly that Mr. Brown plowed up several acres of growing crops and substituted strawberries for the displaced plants.

The results of that first experimentation was the loss of 200,000 berry plants. This loss was traceable to two conditions: first, because all plants had to be shipped in, and second, because dry weather followed the setting, resulting in the death of plants already weakened by the amount of time necessary to keep them out of the soil while being shipped into the area. That was in 1895.

But the pioneering Mr. Brown was not to be discouraged. On the contrary, he became more determined than ever to discover whether the strawberry industry held possibilities for this area. The next year he planted six and three-quarters acres from which he sold berries to the value of $5,562.

At the same time Mr. Brown was experimenting with the growing of strawberries, other things were happening in that section. What is now Chadbourn was being settled by a hardy colony of northwesterners. For this development, Mr. Brown was also responsible. He had heard that the editors of “Farm, Field and Fireside,” the leading agricultural journal of the northwest, were sponsoring the migration of farmers from the northwest to the south. So interested was Mr. Brown in this information, that he went directly to Chicago where he convinced the editors of that journal that Columbus County held the advantages these northwestern farmers were searching for.

Picking strawberries in Columbus

A crate of famous klondykes

Mr. Brown soon had secured an option of several hundred acres of land which subsequently were surveyed, drained, partly cleared and laid out into lots.

There came from Chicago in April, 1895, an excursion bearing northwestern farmers to look over the land. Some of these stayed, others returned to bring their families. Between 1895 and 1898, there came 160 families, many of whom remained as permanent settlers.

The experiments with strawberries and the establishment of what was known as “The Sunny South Colony” constituted a two-way experiment which was to become a permanent North Carolina town and a permanent North Carolina industry. And the town was destined to become, within an incredibly few years, the world's largest center for the strawberry industry.

On the Chadbourn strawberry auction market

Within one year's time, the industry experienced the phenomenal increase of 1,000 per cent. In 1897, the colony shipped 600 32-quart crates, and in the following year—1898—6,000 crates were shipped.

As Chadbourn approached the 30th anniversary of the strawberry industry, Mr. Brown wrote of its past: “In 1900, 17,000 crates were shipped. From this date the increase was phenomenal, reaching the immense figures of 317,000 crates in 1905. This constituted an increase in five years of 1,924 per cent, or an increase over the first year—six years before—of 52,800 per cent. In 1907, the peak of the movement was reached with the shipment of 1,623 cars containing 347,000 crates. The largest one-day shipment ever made was 180 carloads—36,000 crates or 1,152,000 quarts—all of which were harvested and shipped between sunrise and sunset, requiring 15,000 laborers imported from ten adjoining countries, an army equal to half the population of the entire county. It required four trains carrying forty-five cars each, to haul away the day's harvest. Joined together this train would make a train a mile and a half long.”

The baby of 1895 had become by 1907—12 years later—of enormous proportions. It had become, in fact, the largest strawberry market in the world. This volume of production was to continue until 1909, when two influences were to cut back strawberry growth in this section.

What Mr. Brown calls “the car panic of 1909” served to discourage many farmers. In that year, transportation broke down under the weight of the industry, and for ten days during the height of the marketing season, not a refrigerator car was obtainable. One thousand crates were left on the vines to decay in the field, and it required two solid trains to haul away the strawberries which perished before they could be shipped.

The other influence which retarded the industry was the appearance of a strawberry weevil—later conquered—which continued its deadly operations until the period of World War I. War conditions then further reduced production, due to the scarcity of labor and the patriotic necessity of planting other crops.

The story of the defeat of the weevil is a story in itself. In 1920, the Chadbourn division of Federal Entomology was established in the heart of the strawberry belt to investigate the weevil causing destruction to the county strawberry crop. W. A. Thomas, who was placed in charge of the station, after nine years of research, discovered that the strawberry weevil hibernated in the woods immediately adjacent to the strawberry patch and that 95 per cent of them hibernated in the first one hundred feet of woods immediately adjacent to the patch. Mr. Thomas discovered that the weevil can be almost totally eliminated by burning off the first one hundred feet of woods adjacent to the strawberry field.

During the first 30 years of its history, the strawberry industry in Columbus County shipped 30,000 cars of berries, 6,720,000 crates, 250,000,000 quarts, or enough to give every man, woman and child in the United States two quarts each. If these quarts were placed end to end, they would form an unbroken line 2,357 miles long, or enough to reach across the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific!

That was the story during the first 30 years. During that period, the cultivation of strawberries had extended through a territory approximately 12 miles wide through the north-south center of the county. A thriving market had opened at Tabor City to serve the farmers of the central and southern section of the county. The Lady Thompson berry had been exchanged for the famous Klondyke berry. The chief difference in the two types being that the Klondyke is less prolific than the Lady Thompson but makes a prettier berry and is easier to ship. The territory had become the world's largest strawberry center, only to lose that rating by the car panic of 1909, the advent of the strawberry weevil and the coming of war conditions.

(Continued on Page 89)


Whiteville, the county seat of Columbus County, is located somewhat west and north of the geographic center of the county. The courthouse is situated in the crossroads of north-south and east-west highways, forty-nine miles due west of the port city of Wilmington. It is the heart of a rich coastal farming section and is supported primarily by agriculture.

Originally called White's Crossing, the town was named for James B. White who gave the site for the courthouse, two of which have been built since the original one. Around the courthouse, streets and lots were laid out and this section is now referred to locally as Old Whiteville or Uptown Whiteville. When the railroad came through in the 1840's, some considered that it would be a nuisance, since it would be noisy and disturb their stock, consequently, it ran a mile and an eighth to the south, and the depot this distance south of the courthouse was known as Vineland. The two names continued until the name Vineland was dropped and it became a part of Whiteville. The old Vineland section of the town is now spoken of as “Downtown” in contrast to “Uptown” or Old Whiteville.

Whiteville was incorporated by the legislature in 1883. The oldest map of Whiteville on file in the courthouse is dated 1897. It shows two or three squares in either direction from the courthouse and three streets leading to the depot where a few more lots are shown. Additional plats have been filed showing subdivisions of farms lying between the two centers and establishing the cross streets which are on the present map.

The road between the courthouse and the depot was a sand road until 1912, when a sand clay surface was laid. A sidewalk was built about 1890. The town issued bonds and established a water and sewer system in 1922 and 1923. There was a paving program in 1924 and another in 1938 to 1941.

Whiteville is now considered one of the most promising towns of its size in Eastern North Carolina. It is possessed with a combination of qualities which make of it a young city of more than ordinary promise.

It is richly endowed with industrial possibilities in the lumber and agricultural field. It has a civic-minded citizenship who are anxious to promote the civic development of the town. It has business men with vision and energy and it has natural beauty. It has civic organizations which have proved their worth as civic enterprises. It has good churches and good schools. It has a planning organization which has been lauded as one of the best in the state. It has progressive and capable town officials. These are among the combined assets which this young, enterprising southeast town possesses and which have and will promote its interests during this post-war period.

Not the least of Whiteville's assets is its natural beauty. Amid a setting of lofty pines, ancient live oaks and stately magnolias, the early residential sections of Whiteville were built. Visitors declare that the drive along Madison Street, the town's main thoroughfare, from the courthouse through downtown Whiteville gives them an outstanding impression of this community. Along this street are to be found some of the town's most beautiful homes.

North, east and west of the courthouse, the atmosphere of Old Whiteville retains a mellow freshness commensurate with age.

(Continued on Page 26)

Whiteville town officials: seated, left to right, William R. Fletcher, commissioner; C. L. Jackson, commissioner; S. L. Fuller, mayor; D. L. Love, commissioner; standing, left to right, Jack Hayes, town clerk; E. K. Proctor, town attorney; Dr. S. A. Smith, commissioner; Lawrence Sellers, commissioner; W. B. Coleman, chief of police.


The Most Progress in Eastern Carolina

Where Else Can You Find These Advantages in a Town of 3,500 Population?

Modern Stores

Sound City Government

Active Merchants Association

County Seat of Columbus County

Excellent Transportation Facilities

Cooperative Citizens

Six-Warehouse Tobacco Market

Tobacco Re-drying Plant

Largest Pecan Market in the State

Produce Markets

Administrative School Unit

Good Churches

Home of Columbus County Hospital

Lumber Manufacturing Plants

Livestock Market

Eight Civic Organizations

250-Watt Radio Station

Semi-Weekly Newspaper

Two Banking Institutions

Two Theatres

GreaterWhiteville Development Corp.

Freezer Locker Facilities

City Bus Service

Youth Recreation Center

First Class Post Office

Public Library

Located in the Heart of Carolina's Richest Farm Lands


Whiteville North Carolina

(Continued from Page 23)

Particularly is this true north of the courthouse where large oaks form an arch over the street, providing a restful atmosphere for some of the oldest residences of Whiteville.

Many attractive new homes are to be found in East Whiteville where pre-war building made considerable extension to the residential limits of the town and apparently established the direction in which its greatest residential expansion will take place.

Whiteville has established a reputation for sound and progressive business which no other town of similar size can surpass. In the downtown areas, stores and other retail and wholesale concerns stretch away in all directions. Lumber plants, tobacco warehouses, and produce markets form the principal industrial interests. The Whiteville tobacco market is one of the largest in the tobacco belt, boasting of six large warehouses and selling an annual volume of brightleaf tobacco approximating annually the 30,000,000-pound mark. Last year, the total poundage marketed in Whiteville exceeded that amount. A large re-drying plant is also located in Whiteville.

Financially, Whiteville has excellent records in building and loan operations, in business and bank rating. The Waccamaw Bank and Trust Company, with total resources of $26,756,830.70 is the parent bank of nine banks of the Waccamaw chain in Eastern Carolina. The First National Bank opened for business January 2, 1946, with a capital structure of $100,000.

The Whiteville Post Office, located in a beautiful building on Madison Street, has a first class rating. It is believed that Whiteville is the only town in Eastern Carolina of comparable size, with a first class postal rating.

A normal year—1941—showed that the volume of wholesale and retail business for Whiteville was more than $20,000,000. The war years since have greatly increased that amount.


Whiteville merchants form a cooperative, progressive group who not only do a big volume of business but who also work together for the betterment of their community. An active Merchants Association with a full-time secretary provide an organization of merchants who have made many contributions toward the progress and improvement of business conditions and opportunities.

The main business street has an unusually large number of attractive shops for this size community. Whiteville merchants draw a large volume of trade from inside and outside the county. In addition, Whiteville is wholesale distributing point for groceries, drygoods and automobile parts. The home office of one of the largest chain of drygoods stores in Eastern North Carolina is located in Whiteville. Also to be found here is one of the larger automobile parts distributing concerns in Eastern North Carolina, a fertilizer manufacturing plant whose agents cover a wide territory, an ice cream manufacturing plant with delivery service over a large area, and a livestock market with a very large annual business volume. Several large lumber plants are also to be found in outlying districts. Planned also for the near future is a pickle factory making use of cucumbers planted by Columbus County farmers.

For the encouragement of more industry in Whiteville, the Greater Whiteville Development Corporation was organized with a capital stock of $100,000. This corporation keeps in close touch with prospective industries and seeks to promote conditions encouraging to the location of new industries in this community.


By legislative enactment, the schools of the Whiteville district comprise a school administrative unit separate from the county system. The first session of that administrative unit is now in progress, and there appears every reason to believe that the establishment of such a unit will bear rich fruit in the education of Whiteville youth.

In the field of religion, Whiteville is blessed with strong churches and good ministers. Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians are the predominating denominations numerically, although the Pentecostal Holiness, with a beautiful church plant, are very active. Though few in number, the Catholics have a handsome church home and a resident pastor. There are two Presbyterian Churches and an Episcopal Church. Several of the churches have made plans for new church homes. There is also a Freewill Baptist Church here.


You will find also in Whiteville an American Legion post which has not only done an outstanding work locally, but which has provided district and department commanders. The local post has an attractive legion hut which is much in demand for banquets and other social functions.

Though inadequate at present, the town has a growing library and plans for the construction of a Memorial Library honoring the Columbus men who gave their lives in World War I and World War II.

The youth of Whiteville have a recreation center on the main floor of the Armory. Supervised recreation is provided on stated evenings each week. The center is known locally as “The Rec” and has a governing board composed of both youth and adult members. Members of the Civitan Club provide chaperonage. The center is equipped with ping pong tables, bowling alleys, pool tables, table games, a piccolo, and a public address system. Also located here is a cold drink stand operated by the youth themselves. During the school months, it is open each Friday and Saturday nights. Changes are made during the summer months to provide open night three times each week.

A 50-year-old newspaper, the semi-weekly News Reporter, has been of great influence in promoting the development of Whiteville. The paper has a circulation of over 6,000. Recently granted by the Federal Communications Commission was a permit for the establishment of a 250-watt broadcasting station in Whiteville. Work on this station is already in progress, and regular broadcasts should begin at an early date.

Situated on the east edge of Whiteville is the Columbus County Hospital, where modern medical facilities are provided. The hospital is staffed by competent physicians and nurses and serves the entire county.


With the coming of the air age, Whiteville has not been slow to realize that in order to keep step with business and industry, adequate airport facilities must be provided. A beginning in this direction has been made in the construction of a 1,821-foot airstrip just outside of Whiteville near Brunswick. Active in promoting the establishment of an airport for the county is the Whiteville Flying Club, which organization sponsored the construction of an airstrip. On this airstrip, a hangar and office have been constructed, a flying instructor has been employed, several airplanes

purchased by club members, and much interest demonstrated in flying.

The establishment here of a 610 freezer locker plant is regarded as one of the major contributions to the county in recent years. The plant is one of the relatively few in North Carolina and has already marked a new day for food preservation in Columbus County.

Transportation facilities in Whiteville are ample to meet all the needs of passenger and commercial travel. The town has been served by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad since the middle of the past century. This line extends east from Wilmington through Whiteville to Florence, S. C., where it connects with main north-south lines. The distance from Whiteville to Florence is about 70 miles. In addition to the rail facilities, Whiteville is located at the cross-roads of the main north-south, east-west Federal highways over which trucking and bus companies operate with regular stopovers in Whiteville. The Queen City Coach Company and the Whiteville, Brunswick and Southport bus lines operate 32 buses daily through Whiteville. To these buses on regular schedule are added special buses to take care of extra heavy traffic.

Whiteville itself is served with regular city buses operated by the Columbus Transit Company. These buses operate on regular schedule between points in north, east and west Whiteville to South Whiteville and Brunswick, three miles beyond the southern city limits.

The Tide Water Power Company serves Whiteville with an ample supply of electricity for domestic and commercial purposes. Telephone service is provided by the Columbus Telephone Company, a locally-owned industry. Police and fire-fighting facilities are adequate and efficient.

Among the colored population, who comprise about 15 per cent of the total population, there are good churches and schools. Several of the colored churches are of brick structure. The schools are a part of the city system.

The Negro population has been very cooperative in every community effort. Too much credit cannot be given them for their support of every cooperative community war effort. There are also medical clinics here for the Negro population.


Whiteville is governed by a commissioner form of government with a mayor and five commissioners elected every two years. The bonded indebtedness of the town is $135,190 which will be paid off by 1962. The tax rate is $1.75, and the tax valuation is $2,721,555. Although there has been a gradual and reasonable increase in the amount of property listed for taxation, the general trend has been to keep the valuations low.

The major civic inprovement of the present Board of Commissioners is the complete overhauling and expansion of the present city water and sewer system. The proposed plan, which calls for an outlay of $250,000, will give to Whiteville a modern water and sewerage system adequate for the needs of a growing community for many years to come.

Present building operations are already heralding the biggest building boom and greatest expansion program in the history of this progressive community. It is estimated that by the end of this year, business and resiential building operations, both present and prospective, will represent investments of approximately $2,500,000.

Located as it is in the heart of a great county where virgin opportunities still abound, the future of Whiteville has possibilities yet unimagined. To the industrialists, particularly those whose industries are based in farm or forest products, who are looking for new territory where labor and raw materials are available on a year-round basis at a reasonable cost, Whiteville offers a golden opportunity. To small business men, who are looking for a congenial atmosphere in which to live and work and educate their children, they will find in Whiteville the fulfillment of their dreams.

Directors of Whiteville Mer-
chants’ Association: seat-
ed, left to right, Leslie
Thompson, Lloyd Collier,
George Gold, chairman; M.
B. Kibler, Jr., former exec-
utive secretary; H. B. Gur-
ganus; standing, left to
right, S. Lee Braxton, J. N.
Coburn, C. D. Henderson, J.
R. Marks, R. L. Sholar, Her-
man Leder.

Some of the many beautiful homes in Whiteville

Whiteville Is A Civic-Minded Community

Civic groups in Whiteville: (1) Executive Committee of Woman's Club; (2) Executive Committee of Junior Woman's Club; (3) The Choral
Club; (4) Board of Directors, Rotary Club; (5) The Lions Club on Charter Night; (6) Board of Directors, Civitan Club. Not shown, Business and
Professional Woman's Club and Garden Club.

Eight active civic clubs in Whiteville, four of them federated, and the Congress of Civic Clubs in which the eight clubs are combined, beat testimony to the civic-mindedness of this community.

Once each year, the Congress holds an annual session which is the gala civic event of the year. At that session, annual reports are made by each of the clubs, a speaker is heard, and silver loving cups are presented by The News Reporter to the “Man of the Year” and the “Woman of the Year” for outstanding community leadership.

It is this cooperative effort by local groups which has resulted in Whiteville becoming known as one of the most progressive and civic-minded small towns in the Carolinas. Moreover, this is the sort of cooperative effort which has laid the good business foundation upon which Whiteville is built.


The first annual session of the Congress was held in June, 1945, when more than 250 persons, representing the composite civic life of Whiteville, heard Honorable J. Melville Broughton, former governor of North Carolina, deliver an address on “The Individual's Responsibility to Good Citizenship.” In the afternoon of the same day, reports were heard from the various clubs relative to the year's work and projected plans for the following club year were outlined. Loving cup awards were presented to Josiah A. Maultsby and Mrs. G. E. Weaver as “Man of the Year” and “Woman of the Year,” respectively.

The purpose of the Congress is to coordinate civic activity in Whiteville and to stimulate cooperative effort toward the betterment of the community. Statewide publicity was given to the first


Man of the Year, for general excellence in community lead- ership. Presented with The News Reporter loving cup.


Woman of the Year, for gen eral excellence in community leadership. Presented with The News Reporter loving cup.

annual Congress through United War Fund's periodical, “Where We Live.”


In point of years since organization, the Whiteville Woman's Club is the oldest civic organization in Whiteville. Originally known as the Civic League, the Woman's Club was organized in March, 1909, with Mrs. A. E. Powell as president. The name was changed to The Woman's Club in 1914.

Activities of the Club have been in many fields of civic welfare, including fine arts, child welfare, Girl Scouts, community beautification, music appreciation, education, and others. Together with the Junior Woman's Club, this Club is now sponsoring the construction of a $15,000 club house for Whiteville.


The Whiteville Rotary Club was organized in 1924. Throughout the years, the Club has maintained a high average attendance, with continuous stress being placed upon quality citizenship. The Rotary Club is one of the most stable civic organizations of the community. It claims among its membership many of the town's most successful business and professional citizens.


The Civitan Club was organized in 1937. Now numbering near 40 members, the membership of this Club is comprised, in the main, of young, aggressive business and professional men. The influence of this Club has been a strong factor in community development since its organization. It is due mainly to the energy of the members of this Club, that one wing of the Armory building was transformed into a community club room where the luncheon clubs hold their regular meetings and where special civic events are held. The Club has also promoted many other worthwhile community projects.


One year later, in 1938, the Junior Woman's Club was organized and, during that same year, became a member of the North Carolina Federation of Woman's Clubs. The success of this Club has been notable. Repeated statewide recognition has been won for outstanding work done in the fields of war activities and community service. The Club is considered among the most successful of its kind in North Carolina.


“To stimulate and unite the efforts of the women of Whiteville in making our town more beautiful,” was the object set forth for the Garden Club when it was organized in September, 1939. To that end, its members have strived with success. Among its more outstanding immediate projects is the beautification of the grounds around the Columbus County Hospital.


Also organized in 1939 was the Business and Professional Woman's Club whose activities since that date have made a large contribution to community life. Its members assisted in many war activities. It was by the efforts of this Club that a watering system was installed at the Whiteville cemetery. The Club also provides all-time support for the children's ward of the Columbus County Hospital.


The Choral Club was organized in 1945, following the presentation of a Christmas cantata by a group of selected Whiteville singers. Regular practices are held on Tuesday of each week under the direction of Mrs. Robert O High. The first concert was held in the spring of 1945. The second was a 1945 Christmas cantata. Practice is now in progress for the annual spring concert. The Club has been generously subsidized by interested community citizens. In addition to the regular concerts, the Club appears at church, school and civic events, always to the delight of lovers of good music.


Newest civic organization in Whiteville is the Lions Club, organized during the summer of this year. The Club has already become one of the leading civic organizations of the community.

Whiteville also boasts an active American Legion Post—No. 137—which has furnished men for district and department offices. Several of its members are also members of the Forty and Eight. The post, through one of the most outstanding service officers in the state, J. S. Mann, has aided many veterans in securing hospitalization, compensation, discharge pay and GI Bill of Rights benefits. The post was organized in 1922, and in 1941, erected a brick hut which has become one of the most popular centers in Whiteville. Whiteville also claims an active Legion Auxiliary.

In addition to these organizations, you will find other patriotic and fraternal groups which are equally as active. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, a county-wide organization, and the Daughters of the American Revolution have performed major services in commemorating the deeds of the heroes of those two wars. These organizations have also outstanding records of community service.

A Masonic Lodge and an order of the Eastern Star have large and active memberships.

The Parent-Teachers Association is an influential body in Whiteville schools. Since the organization of administrative school unit for Whiteville, the community has become more and more school conscious and the Parent-Teacher Association is expected to play a large influence in the development of a closer parent-teacher relationship.

Active Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops have contributed largely to character development among Whiteville boys and girls. The president of the Cape Fear Area Council, J. A. Maultsby, is also scoutmaster for one of the Boy Scout troops in Whiteville.

Madison Street in Whiteville looking north

More of Whiteville's beautiful homes

Whiteville Was Named for James B. White


Those who are familiar with the facts concerning the origin of Columbus County and the county seat of Whiteville know that much of this early history is centered in the Bladen County branch of the James B. White family.

Before Columbus County was formed, and when this section of Whiteville was a part of Bladen, according to the late Hon. I. B. Tucker of Whiteville, who had made a careful study of the early records of Bladen and Columbus counties, James B. White, the subject of this sketch, lived near where the R. M. Holroyd home now stands. Near the White home the Smyrna Road crossed the road that led to the Peacock section; this was known as White's Crossing. Mr. Tucker showed the writer an old map designating this road crossing. He also stated that he found in some old records that J. B. White owned a sawmill and a gristmill near his home.

In the early years of 1800, James B. White and John H. White owned practically all the land in the section of Whiteville adjacent to White Marsh. How1 they came into possession of this land is a long story of the history of the White and other allied families and their possessions.

Columbus County was created in 1808.2 James B. White, along with John Wingate, Shadrack Wooten, Salem Reaves, Absalom Powell, Thomas Frink, and James Stephens, was appointed by the General Assembly, “in the act of creating the county,” to fix3 a site for a courthouse and jail. Columbus County's first senator was James B. White, who served 1809-1810.4 In 1806 he represented Bladen County in the House of Commons.5 In 1810, the town of Whiteville was laid out on James B. White's lands, and public buildings were erected there. Later the county seat became known as Whiteville.6Columbus County Courthouse
1 General Index of Real Estate of Columbus County, Book T to Z, pages 3456-3457-3458.2 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, page 108.3 Historical Sketches by late Colonel Fred Olds.4 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, page 108.5 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, page 44.6 Columbus County Deed Books A, B and C, pages 51-356.

Early courthouse records show much transferring of land by James B. White and John H. White.7 Whether this John H. White was a relative of James B. White, is not authenticated. However, it is known that James B. had a brother, Bergwin John White.8 James B. White mentions in his will, which is on record in the Columbus County Courthouse, his “friends John H. White and Alexander Troy as his executors.”9

John H. Wheeler, an early historian of North Carolina, in his “Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584 to 1851,” in giving the history of Columbus County, says:10 “Its capital is Whiteville, derived from James B. White.” It is said by many residents of Whiteville that James B. White at one time lived at Marsh Castle. It is not known whether any proof is held of this. It is known that the old and interesting house, where Mrs. W. E. McDaniel now lives,1945 was built by a John White. The story of this house, however, belongs to another chapter.

The family background of James B. White is excellent and very interesting. His father, James White, of Bladen County, was a wealthy land owner and the owner of many slaves. He was of English parentage. According to the Colonial Records of North Carolina, this James White was a member of the General Assembly from Bladen County 1769-1772; a member of the Provincial Congress, Hillsboro, 1775; member of the Committee of Safety, Bladen County, 1775.11 Many members of the Colonial Dames of America trace their lineage to this James White of Bladen County. James B. White's mother was Bridget O'Day, the daughter of Catley Day, of Ireland.12 According to her tombstone record which is in the Beatty Burying Ground in Bladen County, she was born in the County of Langford, Ireland, in 1748, and died in 1804. Family records state that she first married Samuel Beatty in Ireland, then James White of Bladen County; and after the death of James White she married John Anders, of Bladen.13

Several interesting stories have come through correspondence and research of family records of the White and allied family connections, Mrs. Owen D. Holmes, of Harbor Island, Wilmington, N. C., quoted the following interesting facts from family historical data in her possession:

“In 1767, Captain Samuel Beatty, of Dublin, Ireland, who owned and was captain of a sailing vessel which ran to American ports, including now Wilmington, N. C., married Bridget Day, of Langford County, Ireland. Some months later Captain Beatty sailed for Wilmington, N. C., bringing his vessel as far up the Cape Fear River as possible, then taking some of his men in small boats up the Black River to near where Beatty's Bridge now is. There Captain Beatty was taken ill with fever. His wife was sent for and came on the first ship from England, leaving behind her baby, William Henry Beatty. Captain Samuel Beatty was dead when she reached America. She soon found friends, and in a year married James White, a well-to-do bachelor who lived on a plantation place named Glen Etive, near where Captain Beatty was buried. James White was a large land and slave owner. Little William Henry was sent for in 1770, and grew up with his half brothers and sister, the White children. He was appointed guardian for the White children, upon the death of his stepfather, James White, and managed their property to good advantage. He bought lands for himself in what is now Columbus County. He owned large tracts of land at or near where Whiteville now stands, and sold that to the White heirs, hence its name.”

According to extracts from a history of the Beatty family by the late John Day Beatty, William Henry Beatty, the son of Samuel Beatty and Bridget, was brought to America by his uncle John Day in 1770. Later another uncle, Bunberry Day, came to America and was associated with his brother-in-law, James White, of Bladen County. In due time this William Henry Beatty bought the lands near Whiteville and married a girl who was born and reared at Lake Waccamaw. She was Sophia Gibbs, daughter of George Gibbs. This Gibbs family was one of prominence in the state.14 It is stated in Mrs. Holmes’ record of the Gibbs family that it was “John Gibbs, an uncle of Sophia Gibbs Beatty, who built the road through White Marsh in 1770. George Gibbs, an Englishman, settled at Lake Waccamaw and John Gibbs settled on White Marsh. Their homes were only five miles apart and they had a straight avenue between them so that each home could be seen from the other.”

It does not, therefore, seem unreasonable to suppose that John Gibbs did really build the road across White Marsh, especially since the old tradition held by so many in Columbus County that this road was built by Cornwallis has been disproved by the State Historical Commission.15 William Henry Beatty, a man of good influence, was chairman of the Board of Magistrates of Bladen County. At that time this office was the same as that of Judge of Supreme Court today. He mentioned his half brother, James B. White in his will.

The plantation grounds of Glen Etive are still cultivated near Beatty's Bridge. The orginal house in which James B. White was born burned years ago. The place, however, is still owned by descendants of the family who live there.

James B. White's full name was James Bunberry White. The “Bunberry” was most likely for his Irish uncle, Bunberry Day. The former, sometimes called “Bun” White, married Rebecca Shipman, the daughter of James Shipman and Nellie Simms Shipman. He was also a brother-in-law of Solicitor Alexander Troy, who married Fannie Shipman. James B. White was born in 1774 and died in 1820. His will mentions his “wife Rebecca, his worthy friends, Joshua Potts, Frances E. Troy, Alexander Troy, and John H. White.” He also mentions his sister Anna Jane White and friend Ann Ames Shipman.” No children are mentioned in his will, and as far as is known, there were none. It is not known where he was buried. The grave of his sister, Anna Jane White, is in the Beatty burying ground in Bladen County.

He was a good leader and a good citizen who left “footprints in the sands of time.” Such is the record of a worthy son of worthy parents.


Bible and Tombstone Records.

Clark and Saunders. Colonial and State Records of North Carolina.

Columbus County Deed Books.

Columbus County Book of Wills.

Columbus County General Index of Real Estate.

Map of Town of Whiteville, N. C.

Wheeler, History of North Carolina.

7 Columbus County General Index of Real Estate, Book T to Z, pages 3456-3457-3458.8 Bible Records in possession of Mrs. S. L. Smith, Whiteville, N. C.9 Columbus County Book of Wills (Will of James B. White).10 Wheeler's History of North Carolina, page 108.11 Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. 9, pages 1188, 1178, 572, Vol. 10, page 112.12 Extracts of Family History by J. D. Beatty, in possession of Mrs. S. L. Smith, Whiteville, N. C.13 Extracts of Family History in possession of Mrs. S. L. Smith.14 State Records of North Carolina, Vol. 22, page 312 (George Gibbs in Colonial Militia. George Gibbs a Justice for Bladen County, Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. 6, page 1070).15 North Carolina Historical Commission and the Major General Robert Howe Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution established authentically Cornwallis’ route through Columbus County over Highway 87 by Weyman Church, and on April 30th, 1941, secured and dedicated a marker near these spots.

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“A Small Town with Big Business”

No town in Columbus County has shown more growth in population, business houses, volume of business, and marketing facilities for Columbus County farm produce than has Tabor City.

No section of Columbus County has more possibilities for future development than has Tabor City and its environs.

Sound finances, business integrity, and progressive leadership have marked the progress of past years. The future holds for this thriving, enterprising town, possibilities yet unimagined. We invite you to visit us, to patronize our business and industrial enterprises, to come live among us, and to help build the Tabor City we want our children and our children's children to live in.


Tabor City, N. C.

Tabor City

Located on the southeast boundary of Columbus County, hard by the South Carolina line, is Tabor City, a town of approximately 2,200 population which 40 years ago scarcely existed. Today Tabor City competes with the county seat for the ranking business volume of the county, the town having built up a year-round system of produce markets with an enviable record of service to Columbus County farmers as well as farmers across the state line in South Carolina.

Tabor City's beginning dates back to around the turn of the century when the little village, then known as Mt. Tabor, was comprised of a small Baptist church (from which the town got its name), a very small two-room school building, together with a half dozen general stores and a few homes. The late C. C. Pridgen operated a store about where the Jessup-Inman Funeral Home is now located. Early in the century he built what is still known as the old Pridgen home. The building is one of the oldest residences in Tabor City.

The Mt. Tabor Baptist Church had been organized in 1840. Its first location was on the site of the present high school grounds. Subsequently, it was moved to its present location. The frame building erected at the new location was replaced by the present brick structure in 1932.

The first brick building was erected in 1905, when J. L. Lewis erected the store building still standing across the railroad tracks from the depot. The old Bank of Tabor building, now the home of Leonard's Garage, was erected in 1910. Among its stockholders were R. M. Garrell, J. L. Lewis and C. C. Pridgen, the last named of whom was president. Among the more prominent business men of Tabor City during those early days were C. C. Pridgen, R. M. Garrell, J. L. Lewis, J. P. Mills, and E. McD. Todd.

Chief agricultural interest among the farmers around Tabor City during those early days was the cultivation of strawberries. Along with Chadbourn, Tabor City became a strong market for this luscious fruit. In 1910, B. B. Anderson erected a factory for the manufacture of strawberry baskets and crates. This property was purchased by D. J. Hughes in 1922 and became known as the D. J. Hughes Company. For the past 28 years, the factory has been under the management of F. G. Kelly.

The first tobacco warehouse was built by a company of stockholders in 1909, with the lumber for the warehouse being furnished by C. C. Pridgen. This warehouse, still standing, though not used as a sales warehouse, was named the Carolina. Today's Carolina warehouse, four times the size of the original, is located nearby the original Carolina.

The first brick school building was erected in 1910. The old wooden building which the new structure replaced was used for a number of years as a dormitory for teachers. The original brick building is still used as a part of the school system, although a much more adequate building has subsequently been constructed.

The present Methodist Church was constructed about 1912. The organization of a Methodist Church had taken place about one year prior to the erection of this building.

The progress of Tabor City since those early days has been steady and consistent. From a one brick store town in 1905, Tabor City has developed in an amazingly short time into a thriving, prosperous community boasting an annual business volume running far up into the millions. From a one-market town at the turn of the century, Tabor City has now developed into one of the most versatile markets for farm produce in Eastern Carolina, with markets for the following crops: strawberries, beans (string and lima), white potatoes, tobacco, pepper, cucumbers, green corn, and sweet potatoes.

Since the early thirties, the marketing of sweet potatoes at Tabor City has increased from 41 carloads shipped in 1935, to 424 carloads from September, 1944, through September, 1945, and equally as many shipped by trucks. In 1942, Tabor City became the largest sweet potato market in North Carolina. More sweet potatoes are now shipped from Tabor City than from any other shipping point in the world except Sunset, La. From sweet potatoes alone, farmers selling on the Tabor City market realized approximately $2,000,000 in 1945.

To meet the heavy demands of the sweet potato market in Tabor City, eight potato storage warehouses have been constructed,

Columns of Baptist Church at Tabor City

with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 400,000 bushels. In these warehouses, the potatoes are stored and cured.

Since the construction of the first tobacco sales warehouse in 1909, the Tabor City market has expanded consistently, with three large warehouses operating now. In 1945, approximately 10,000,000 pounds of tobacco were sold on the Tabor City warehouse floors at a revenue to the farmers of near $4,500,000.

From 1940 through 1945, there were 285,065 crates of strawberries sold on the Tabor City market, bringing a total of $1,222,631. During the same period, there were 397,101 hampers of beans sold on the bean market for a total revenue of $520,667. The bean market began in Tabor City about 1927. In 1945, there were 104 carloads of white potatoes shipped from Tabor City, with many others going by truck.

Tabor City early realized that its success depended upon the accommodation its markets and business houses furnished the farmers of adjacent areas. To that end, the entire business life of the town lent itself. Business houses appealed to farm patronage. Markets were opened for every marketable product grown on the farm. This fact encouraged farmers to engage in diversified agriculture. The result has been that in no place in Columbus County have farmers enjoyed a more complete year-round income than in the farming areas served by Tabor City markets, and no town in Columbus County has enjoyed a better average volume of year-round business than this town which furnishes year-round markets to its patron farmers.

From a business standpoint, Tabor City is widely recognized as one of the most properous towns of its size in the Eastern Carolinas. The few stores of 1905 have grown into many stores which serve with high-type merchandise a wide trading area in North and South Carolina. Annual retail business volume is conservatively estimated at $25,000,000.

In addition to the excellent agricultural markets, storage and curing houses, Tabor City numbers among its industries three large lumber plants—the D. J. Hughes Company, the Tabor City Lumber Company, and the Georgia Hardwood Company. The last named is a branch of one of the largest lumber manufacturing concerns in the United States. From 600 to 750 cars of lumber are moved annually from Tabor City to markets in this country and Europe. The annual income from the manufacture of forest products at the Tabor City plants totals approximately $1,500,000. The three plants furnish a ready market for the sale of timber at all times.

Located here also are large fertilizer warehouses serving farmers throughout the trading area with high-grade fertilizers. In the process of construction is a 500-locker cold storage plant which will be the second of its kind in Columbus County. Nearing readiness for operation is a processing plant for cull sweet potatoes, the first of its kind in North Carolina, and one of the few in the South.

Predominant among the religious denominations of Tabor City are Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. The Baptists are the strongest numerically, they having had a church in that locality for more than 100 years. The present Baptist Church building is a modern brick structure with ample facilities for religious educational training. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1945 and a neat brick structure is now in the process of construction. The Methodists have occupied the present frame building since it was built in 1912.

The physical equipment of the Tabor City school system consists of two brick buildings, a gymnasium, an agricultural building, and a community cannery. The school itself is a modern, consolidated school offering superior educational opportunities.

Civic, patriotic and fraternal organizations are a well-supported feature of Tabor City life. The Rotary and Civitan clubs are active civic organizations among the men, whose members furnish an aggressive civic leadership to the community. The Pioneer Study Club and the Woman's Club are both energetic civic organizations among the women. A Masonic Lodge, an Order of Eastern Star, an American Legion Post and a Chamber of Commerce complete the roster of organizations. An outstanding civic project was the construction of a commodious American Legion hut on the edge of the high school grounds.

Transportation facilities are both adequate and efficient. The town is located on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad running from Elrod, N. C., to Myrtle Beach, S. C. At Chadbourn, it connects with the Wilmington and Augusta line of the Atlantic Coast Line and at Elrod with the main north-south line of that company. Tabor City is also located on the Sea Level Federal Highway, furnishing excellent outlets north, south and west. Thirty miles east, reached by hard-surfaced roads, are the excellent beaches of the Carolina coast line where many Tabor City residents have summer cottages. Buses of the Queen City Coach Company also operate through Tabor City on regular schedule.

The Tide Water Power Company furnishes electric power for Tabor City. A sub-station of this company is located just outside the town limits. The town has its own water system. A dial system of telephone service is furnished by the Columbus Telephone Company located in the county seat. The Tabor City post office has a second class rating, with four rural routes and two star routes.

The rapid development of Tabor City as a major business and agricultural center is already continuing into the post-war period. Building operations are getting underway which herald further large expansion for this town in the immediate future. New industries are being sought, new stores are opening, new homes are being built, and a progressive atmosphere prevails. The people of Tabor City believe that their town and the area which it serves affords unsurpassed opportunities for a high type of business and industrial prosperity, as well as a congenial, social and cultural atmosphere.

Thirty Years Ago in Tabor City

(As recalled by J. A. R.)

Thirty years in Tabor City have seen many changes. I recall as if it were yesterday when my father, one of my brothers, and I drove into what was then Mt. Tabor (the depot) and Tabor (the post office). He had accepted the pastorate of the Baptist Church there, and the three of us were a family vanguard going to prepare the way for mother, another brother and three sisters. We arrived from South Carolina via a 1915 model Ford over rough country roads which in the Green Sea section of South Carolina produced a broken spring, temporarily repaired by the ingenuity of my father by chocking a wooden block between the spring and the axle.

Soon mother and the rest of the family arrived, also a freight car of furniture, including a cow and calf, which father had chartered for the purpose. That was the beginning of life in Tabor City for our family, a beginning which has not been concluded to this day. Little did any of us realize that we unwittingly were picking out a place where, in spite of the mobility of the Baptist ministry, some or all of the family would continue to live for several generations.

In 1915, Tabor City, then Mt. Tabor, was a few stores, a few muddy streets, a depot, a railroad track, a few residences, a couple of churches, a hotel, a crate factory, a school, and that was all. If you will draw a line beginning at the present Crance Harrelson home extending east until it reaches just past the old Baptist parsonage, then northeast until it reaches the old high school building, then back to the crate factory, from thence to the Methodist Church and on to the old Floyd home, and from thence straight back to the Crance Harrelson home, you will have included the territory comprising the business and residential section of Tabor anywhere from 25 to 30 years ago.

And within the territory thus marked off, the Tabor you would see would be so unlike the Tabor City of today that it would scarcely be recognizable, except for familiar old buildings and the same general layout. East of the railroad track, where two blocks of business houses now stand, was a cotton patch enclosed by a slab fence. Between the railroad track and the school, there was the Inman home and the Pridgen home, also the John Needham Cox home—those three, and so far as I recall, no more until you reached the street where the old Carmichael home still stands.

There are few of the old residences on Live Oak Street. The only original homes I recall is the Vance Ward home, the Shelly home, which has been remodeled, the Jabe Canady home, the Ferris Wright home, and the old Hartford Fowler home. There is also the

Officers and directors Tabor City Rotary Club: front row, left to right, Rev. Winfrey L. Davis, J. L. Baxter; back row, left to right, Robert Soles,
J. M. McGougan, president; J. A. Hufham and Charles Leggett.

brick home built by the Jones’ while Mr. Jones was cashier of the old Bank of Whiteville and which, at that time, was considered one of the finest and most expensive homes to be found anywhere. Across from what is now the Marvin Soles home was an old home whose side faced the street, the entire property being surrounded by a board fence. In the yard of that home and almost on the side-walk was an old gnarled oak tree which has long since been cut down.

On the other side of town were the present Walterberry Roberts home, the Floyd home, the R. M. Garrell home, the Methodist Church, and several homes north of the Methodist Church. The Methodist parsonage at that time was across from the Isaac Spivey home. From the business section to the crate factory, there were few buildings of consequence.

There are some things about those days that I remember quite well. I recall, for instance, vividly the terrible flue epidemic of 1918 when many trains came into Tabor bringing a Tabor or Columbus County soldier as a corpse, a victim of the flue. It became so bad in Tabor that everything was subordinated to caring for the sick. Several deaths would occur in the same family. School was suspended and the building turned into a hospital where segregation was sought for some cases. My father was unofficially given charge of the “hospital.” Between caring for patients there and visiting the homes of sick patients, preaching funerals and nursing his own son who became deathly sick, he had little time for sleep. I remember the gracious pounding provided the parsonage after the epidemic as a token of community gratitude for the service which my father had rendered.

Some will recall that a showman, a puppeteer and ventriloquist, had come to Tabor to put on his show but before the date for the show arrived, the community was caught in the thraldom of the disease. Inclined toward the Puritan, my father didn't go in much for that sort of entertainment, but he fell in love with that showman who was caught in Tabor by the disease and who offered his services to the community in its hour of need. After the epidemic had passed, the show was presented and one of its most enthusiastic patrons was my father.

I remember also the Chautauqua tent which put up annually for several years on the property now occupied by the Carolina tobacco warehouse and the Chautauqua entertainments which provided a high type of entertainment for the community. In the same class were the annual Lyceum attractions provided at the high school auditorium. I have always regretted that the moving picture put the Chautauqua and Lyceum out of business.

Of course, I remember the days when Miss Lura Scott was principal of the Tabor school. There's a woman who could wield a wicked willow, but who was one of the finest high school principals I have ever known. What little foundation I got in school was under Miss Lura, who had a way of drilling a love for learning into her students. There should be more like her today. Other school names I particularly recall were Miss Cunningham, now Mrs. Roland Baldwin, Miss Apperson, who at that time was courting a Methodist preacher, Miss Brazwell, Professor Bristow and Professor Yost. Those teachers I especially recall.

The hotel in those days was run by Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Cox. Located where the W. F. Cox Furniture Company and hardware stores are now located, it provided an attractive place for the many “drummers” who traveled in those days by train. Mr. Cox had a small furniture store adjacent to the hotel somewhat as an aside to his main business of traveling through the country peddling organs. Mr. Cox will tell you today that among the greatest days of his business career were those when he'd haul an organ up to some countryman's home and ask for the privilege of demonstrating it.

J. L. Lewis then occupied the store building across from the depot which for some reason was not built in line with the street. His was then a relatively small business of a general nature.

The large two-story wooden store building now used as a storehouse and located east of the depot was once the Tabor Supply Company, the largest store of Tabor City 30 years ago. The building once occupied the present location of the Lewis-Peay Motor Company and faced in the general direction of the depot. Later the Tabor Supply Company moved across the railroad to the buildings now occupied by Sally's and the Garrell Shop. During World War I, I was a clerk for the Tabor City Supply Company. At that time, Jesse Watts was manager, Miss Vera Graham was bookkeeper, and the late and venerable John Needham Cox, who was my special friend, was also employed as a clerk. There were others, too, whose names I do not recall.

Immediately adjacent to the Tabor Supply Company on the south side was the grocery store of the late Cephas Garrell, father of Alton, Paul and Otis Garrell, and on the north side was Harrelson's Pharmacy still located at the same old stand. The Tabor Drug Company, long since closed, did business in the building now occupied by Britt's Grocery.

And how well do I recall the crowds which met the Sunday trains. In those days, there were four passenger trains each day. One arrived from Conway around 6:30 a. m., another from Elrod at 11:30 a. m. At 4:30 in the afternoon, it returned from Conway and was back through Tabor that night from Elrod about 11 o'clock. The passage of the noonday train through Tabor was a gala event. There were more people attending the arrival of the train than attended church, and if church was out before the train arrived, the church congregation, almost in a body, would repair to the depot to supplement the crowd of sinners who hadn't gone to church but who had come down to meet the train. I'm told that with the advent of buses, the same old habit came back and Tabor City residents began to meet the buses somewhat as they met the train in the good ole days.

I remember, too, the big shiny Cadillac automobiles the Pridgen family used to purchase ever now and then; the troop trains that passed through during World War I; the continuous line of tin covers over the sidewalk in front of the stores; the time the bell rang in the old Baptist Church heralding by mistake what was thought to be the end of World War I; the time when the job of being news butcher on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was just about the height of my ambition; the time when “heresy” was the issue in the Baptist Church; the time when the D. F. McGougan home seemed far out of town.

I remember the dense pine thicket where the present E. W. Fonvielle home stands. I remember the army tent the Boy Scout troop bought when F. G. Kelly was scoutmaster, and when we erected it and spent a night in it on the school grounds; also that other night, soon before we moved from Tabor, when we had an overnight camping trip on the edge of the millpond. I remember the night I was awarded a medal for winning a high school debate and how, on the next morning, I pinned it on the lapel of my coat and walked down the street—the monarch of all I surveyed.

Tabor was then cut off from the rest of the world. There were no roads going out or coming in except dirt roads which became sometimes impassable during rainy seasons. Our main connection with the outside world was through the train, the newspapers, and the telegraph. But nobody was conscious of being shut off. It was our town and we liked it.

Since then I've come and gone from there for more than a quarter of a century. I've seen the cotton fields across the railroad give way to a business block. I've seen new homes grow up and better schools develop. I've seen paved streets come and an enterprising community leadership assert itself. I've seen businesses grow from small to very large proportions. I've seen the markets develop, the citizenship increase in community vision, the churches expand and the general cultural level of the community uplifted.

Today Tabor City stands with the future wide open to her. Given a progressive leadership pitched on an unselfish basis, the future of this Columbus town is as bright as the stars.

Progressive atmosphere of Tabor City is reflected in its homes

Dignified Service

Dignity and service are indispensable when one of your loved ones dies.

At such a time, your funeral director does much to relieve the stress of sorrow by rendering a service of quiet sympathetic dignity.



Complete Funeral and Ambulance Service also Columbus Mutual Burial Association

Gulf Pride


Gulf Products


D. E. Baggett

Phone 98



Kahn SuitsLady Bird Hats
Chesterfield HatsLorraine Underwear
Cheney TiesDove Down Hosiery
Wing ShirtsMiss American Foundation Garments
Hanes UnderwearJunior Deb Suits and Coats
Bachelor Friend SoxLe Ray Frocks
Freeman ShoesDiamond Brand Shoes


J. H. BULLOCK, Owner




Chadbourn is the second largest town in Columbus County and is located in the center of some of the finest farming land in Eastern North Carolina. The town had its beginnings as a sawmill settlement—as its first name, Timberville, would suggest—but about 1889 the town was renamed Chadbourn for the Chadbourne family of Wilmington, North Carolina, who were owners of the sawmill and also of the cottonmill which had been established there. An impetus to the growth of the town was the coming of the Sunny South Colonists, approximately 160 families, from 1895-1900, under the guidance of Mr. Joseph A. Brown who recognized the adaptability of the soil for diversified farming and for 45 years was a leader of the community and the state. This colonization has been touched on elsewhere in this work, but it is worthy of mention that an influx of citizens such as this would influence the cultural and social as well as the economic life of any community. These people who came largely from the cities and villages of the North and Middle West brought with them different ideas of education, government and civic improvement as well as an independence of thought that can be detected in the citizens of Chadbourn even today. As early as 1900, there was a demand for rural free delivery of mail, rural telephone service and a school system comparable with those in the North. These colonists, together with the fine citizenry that the town already boasted and augmented by newcomers from the neighboring counties and states, soon established for themselves a reputation for industry and progressiveness.

These people were chiefly attracted to Chadbourn by the inducement of inexpensive land, highly productive and admirably suited to the growth of strawberries, which from 1895 to 1918 was the chief money crop of the locality. The reputation gained by the Chadbourn strawberry market is still upheld. Lady Thompson and Missionary were the two varieties of strawberries which bore so prolifically that they gave Chadbourn the name of the largest strawberry market in the world. The discovery of the Klondyke variety of strawberry and its “carrying” quality, together with its luscious appearance, convinced the growers of Chadbourn and its vicinity that this was a more desirable strawberry for marketing purposes. Chadbourn now claims place as the largest Klondyke strawberry market. Through the past fifty years the size of this crop has varied with weather and labor conditions. In spite of this, during the past five years, when a decided shortage of labor has necessitated curtailment of the acreage, the Chadbourn Klondyke strawberries have brought to the growers an average total per year of $500,000. The strawberry market is managed by the Chadbourn Marketing Company, whose action system of selling enjoys national reputation

Officers and directors Chad-
bourn Rotary Club: left to
right, Frank Wooten, past
president and sergeant-at-arms; Frank Love, vice-
president; Norman Peal, president; W. L. Albright, secretary; J. K. Currie, director.

for its success in securing for the grower the highest price possible, and for the buyer, the best quality available.

In the years following World War I, tobacco became the leading source of income of the farmers of the community. Today the majority of growers cultivate both tobacco and strawberries in varying proportions, giving themselves the benefit of a money crop in the early spring and another in late summer. A tobacco market was established in Chadbourn in 1917 with one warehouse, and has operated continuously since that date. This crop is now sold in Chadbourn in three modern warehouses and in 1945 brought approximately $4,000,000.

The farmers served by Chadbourn early learned the folly of “putting all one's eggs in one basket” by planting only one money crop; consequently, since 1918 the variety of crops marketed in Chadbourn has increased amazingly. From April through November each year, there is a market in Chadbourn successively for: strawberries, string beans, Irish potatoes, cucumbers, tobacco, cotton, grapes, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. The year around there are buyers for grain, poultry, eggs, and livestock. Cucumbers are bought by pickle manufacturers who encourage the farmers to the extent of furnishing the seed. The market for grapes was opened in 1941 and in 1945, $4,000 worth of scuppernongs were bought. Chadbourn offers facilities for ginning and marketing cotton in excess of the local production. Sweet potatoes are fast developing into one of the most valuable crops raised. A local sweet potato storage company is equipped to store and cure 50,000 bushels of sweet potatoes at one time and has a capacity of 150,000 bushels for the season. By the most improved methods these potatoes are waxed, graded, and packed under brand names to be sold by the carload on the Northern markets. In conjunction with this industry, local interested business men built, accessible to rail transportation, a plant for the dehydration of vegetables. The war put a halt to the operation of the plant but plans are being effected to put this plant in operation as soon as production will warrant. An excellent peanut market provides an outlet for this crop which each year brings the growers around $60,000. These are the chief crops which provide to the farmers living within a radius of five miles of Chadbourn a yearly income of approximately $5,000,000.

In addition to the potato storage plant and the dehydration plant, Chadbourn numbers among its industries a local packing company who are slaughterers and distributors prepared to handle more livestock than the local supply. An ice and fuel company not only furnishes ice for the regular channels of trade, but operates a cold storage plant for meat and supplies refrigeration for the trucks and railroad cars hauling produce. The newest industries, established within the past six months, include a company for the manufacture of cinder and cement building blocks; a veneering company, manufacturers of plywood and veneer; and a company to maintain the airport, offering instruction and charter service. To serve the needs of a locality which has the purchasing power of the environs of Chadbourn, the town has and offers further opportunity for a highly profitable retail trade which is now carried on in an attractive business section.

The people of Chadbourn in their religious life are exceptionally tolerant and cooperative. For example, certain religious observances such as the Christmas Carol Vesper Service, are traditionally union services in which all the churches join. There are four churches among the white population: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal Holiness. Of these one has recently occupied a new church plant and two others have plans and means for the construction of new church buildings as soon as materials are available. The colored population has a church of each faith mentioned above, augmented by the Free Will Baptist.

The town boasts a standard high school and grammar school with agriculture building, gymnasium, cafeteria, and community cannery. The Chadbourn School System produced high school graduates in 1912, the first in the county, and far ahead of the general cry, saw the need for and provided by local taxation a nine months’ term of school. In the statewide movement to consolidate schools and equalize educational opportunity for all the children of North Carolina the length of the school term was reduced to eight months. In spite of this the people of Chadbourn are still vitally interested in their school system.

Chadbourn citizens enjoy the advantages of a variety of clubs and civic organizations. The Maids and Matrons Club, the oldest study Club in the county, and its daughter, the Sorois, are the two federated clubs among the women. A unique organization is the Chadbourn Memorial Association which was formed in 1898, by several civic-minded women of the community. Shortly after its organization, the members chose as their project a securing and maintaining of a municipal cemetery. It is interesting to note that this Club in its early days owned a horse-drawn hearse—the first hearse of any kind in the county. This Club today, with a membership of about sixty women, is an incorporated body which provides lots in and maintains the Chadbourn cemetery. An enthusiastic Rotary Club was organized in 1938, and today numbers 35 members. This group is responsible for and sponsors all activities of the local Boy Scout movement. In keeping with the motto of Rotary International this Club is leader in all projects which have as their aim the betterment of the town. The affairs of veterans of all wars are the concern of the Klondyke Chapter of the American Legion. In this work they are ably assisted by the American Legion Auxiliary's local chapter. Outstanding in the past activities of the Legion Post is their erection of the American Legion Hut, a commodious building for community use, conveniently located to be of the greatest advantage to the town. This hut was built and paid for by entertainment sponsored by the Post and by donations of labor and materials.

Transportation facilities in Chadbourn are particularly good. The town is situated on a junction of the Atlantic Coast Line Railway Company's Wilmington to Augusta line and its Conway to Elrod line. This gives outlet by rail to the north, south, and west with daily passenger service and daily local and through freight service. The railroad yard in Chadbourn has from four to five miles of sidetrack with advantageous loading platforms and depots. Chadbourn also lies on federal highways leading east, west and south. Running north and south through the town is the state highway which terminates in the Sea Level Route outside Tabor City to the south and the Cape Fear River Highway to the north. There is also a splendid system of buses with frequent schedules south, east and north.

The town receives its electric current from the Tidewater Power Company but operates its own water system with ample water for industrial purposes. An accredited volunteer fire department is equipped with the modern fire-fighting apparatus and serves the town most efficiently. Telephone service is provided by a dial system, operated from the county seat. Chadbourn has a second class post office with two rural routes and four star routes daily.

Chadbourn was chartered in the late 1880's and has a population of 1,600 people living within the limits of the town which is one mile square. This square has between four and five miles of paved streets and contains property valued at $1,000,000.

As citizens of a town whose brief history proves its progressiveness, the people of Chadbourn feel that, with the remainder of Columbus County, their town offers exceptional advantages to industry and through their Chamber of Commerce they welcome inquiry and newcomers.

James B. White, patriot of the American Revolution was a leading spirit in the formation of Columbus County, and was its first senator in the state general assembly in 1809.

The most prominent minister ever reared in Columbus County was Dr. Samuel Judson Porter, who made his first public address in the little schoolhouse still standing near Oak Dale Church. In 1893, at 23 years of age, he received the A.B. degree from Wake Forest College, Soon thereafter, he went to South America as a missionary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Later, he served as secretary for that Board.

For six years he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, N. C. Then he served as pastor of great churches in San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Durham, N. C. At the time of his death, he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Washington, D. C.

For many years he was a member of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and took a great part in the councils of the denomination. In 1932, he preached the dedication sermon at Piney Forest Baptist Church in the county and in October of that same year conducted a series of revival services at Tabor City. In the midst of this meeting, he attended the annual associational meeting at Western Prong Baptist Church and delivered a great address on foreign missions. This was his last visit to his native county.

Scenes in Chadbourn

Peal Chevrolet Company, Inc.


for Economical Transportation Chevrolet


Phone 686

Chadbourn, North Carolina

Phone 44-1

P. O. Box 244

D. M. Carter & Sons

Dealers in




One of Columbus County's Oldest Business Institutions



Organized in 1899

Manufacturers of PINE LUMBER


S. W. Pierce

J. A. Wyche

J. B. Wyche

Man of The People, Joe Brown


“Mr. Joe” they called him down home. Just “Mr. Joe” or plain “Joe Brown.” Described elsewhere as Joseph Addison Brown, crusader, prophet, political potentate, it is indicative of the hold he had on his everyday associates that he was affectionately termed by them, “Our Mr. Joe.”

Throughout his long years in public service he never lost the common touch. Mill hands, tenant farmers, and visiting dignitaries were received in his home with equal grace. His daily walks along the streets of the town with his friendly smile and practical guidance made for a happier atmosphere. “He has a way with people,” it was said. And, indeed he did seem to have an intuitive awareness in this realm which engendered mutual respect. A friend of the people, he worked unselfishly and untiringly for their welfare.

Yet, with all the loyalty he inspired among his fellows, it is possible that “they little knew what man he was.” Perhaps it is not given us to know until we are able to view in perspective the rounded activities of purposeful living.

“The courteous mien,

The equal port to high and low,

All this they saw or might have seen

But not the light behind the brow.”

It took vision to see that the wasted lands around him might be converted into rich and profitable farming soil. It took courage to go colonizing, bring new blood from the West. It took dogged determination to try again after the first year's colossal failure. It took patience and understanding to follow through the process which brought to fruition his idea of service. He dreamed a dream and lived to see it fulfilled.

At an early age he began his business career. Mail carrier, clerk, he later became proprietor of a general store in Chadbourn. Having saved a few dollars from his business ventures, he conceived the idea of developing the cut-over timber lands as a means of attracting settlers from the West. These were the longleaf pine lands which had been stripped by lumber companies and abandoned for other forest sections. At that time the land was not considered worth a dollar an acre with the timber cut off.

Ever a student of agricultural affairs, he looked the situation over and decided that there was no practical reason why these cut-over lands should not make good farm lands. The climate was perfect. The drainage was good. Strawberries was the logical crop. Why not have fine farms where there had been fine forests?

He invested in the lands, cut it up into small truck farms, and started a campaign of publicity to induce settlers from the West. In 1895 he started the Sunny South Colony bringing 250 families from 15 different states. This was the first attempt in Columbus County to cultivate the luscious red fruit. The first year it turned out to be a dismal failure. The season was dry. 200,000 imported plants were lost. The neighbors said that the plants would never thrive in that section. But “Mr. Joe” was convinced. One failure could not mean defeat. He had a spark within him which kindled the enthusiasm of others. The next year the records bore him out. For five or six years he was quoted as “literally hanging on his eyebrows,” but he had won. The strawberry market later became a million-dollar crop, the largest strawberry growing section in the world. Thus Joe Brown was identified as the “Father of the Strawberry Market in Columbus County.”


So it was that this man of the people reclaimed the distressed lands, brought in families like the Lowes, the Baileys, and the Stroles, which enriched the life of the community for years to come. He brightened the farm picture and brought the first wave of prosperity rolling in Columbus County. Editorials were broadcast over the Atlantic and Coastal regions from North Carolina to Texas. More cut-over lands were turned into farmlands. Similar colonizing experiments, as for example, the Castle Haynes project near Wilmington, followed the pattern set. This was Joe Brown, pioneer.

He then helped to secure the rights for the first railroad in this section and put into operation the first electric light plant. He also organized and was president of the first bank of Whiteville as well as the Whiteville Lumber Company and mill. In 1910, he founded the Bank of Chadbourn, of which he was president for a number of years. He had made a success in the mercantile business, having established in 1883 the first general store in Chadbourn, increasing the value by 1918 to a stock of $50,000 or more. He could draw a check with six figures after the dollar mark. Blazing new trails, advocating diversification of crops, agitating better drainage, establishing suitable marketing facilities, and equitable transportation for crops, he exemplified the principle that “he who serves others serves self.”

Parallel with his personal interests, he yielded to the demands of the people that he represent them in Legislature. He knew as no one else the wants and needs of the agricultural classes. He came from their own ranks and had assumed leadership in solving their problems. He served as “a gentleman unafraid” in the State Senate in the sessions of 1893, 1899, 1901, 1903, 1907, 1911, and 1923. Starting in the Red Shirt days he continued to be an active force in politics until his death in 1939. He was made a member of the State's Prison Board in 1902 and put through some of the first prison reforms. He served on some of the most important state and national committees, including Finance, Health, Public Roads, Stateship and Transportation, and Vocational Training, gaining an everwidening

influence and increasing respect for his forthright opinions based on sound knowledge.

The quality of the public service rendered justified his great reputation. As R. C. Lawrence so aptly said, “. . . .Was a good road needed? Get Joe Brown to have it done. Was it necessary to the success of the strawberry market at Chadbourn, or the tobacco market at Whiteville, or other county cause? Joe Brown was the man to see. Did the civic forces of Columbus champion any cause or need a leader? Joe Brown was always selected—and how he could fight when necessary. He led not only in his own section, but he was a tower of strength to worthwhile movements throughout the state, from the days of prohibition, the good roads movement, down to recent efforts in connection with crop control and other movements in which statewide agriculture was interested.”

Life was not always “beer and skittles” for Joe Brown. He lost his race for Congress. Financial ruin stared him in the face during the slump which followed the first World War. He had troubles which would have downed a lesser man. However, he met each life situation with a courage, a fortitude of soul and a boundless energy which stamped him a man among ten thousand. He had a ruggedness of purpose which enabled him to come up smiling.

His personal life was no less eminent than his public life. In 1898, he married Miss Minnie McIver of near Sanford. A remarkable woman in her own right, the first woman member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, leader of educational movements in the state, writer of note, well-informed in public affairs, she said, “I couldn't have been otherwise and have lived with Joe Brown.” There was an unusual comradeship existing between him and his only child, Gladys Brown Proctor.

To say that Joe Brown was not an educated man is to give a false interpretation of the term. True, he was born in 1861 and grew up during the lean years of the Reconstruction period. He had to leave school at the age of ten and go to work. He was a son of Reuben H. Brown, schoolmaster, however, and gained additional schooling from his sister which proved of value. Let us say, then, that his schooling was limited. But all education does not come out of a schoolhouse. This man with his breadth of vision, his knowledge and love of the land, wide range of general information, oratorical command of language, and master in the art of human relationships was not educated? Or is it that we have a poor conception of the word? He knew how to live. That is education. Perhaps no more fitting epitaph could have been chosen than the one inscribed on his stone in the little cemetery in Chadbourn, “Write me as one that loved his fellowmen.”

The Major General Robert Howe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Columbus County was organized in 1935. The organization meeting was held at the home of Mrs. J. A. Brown in Chadbourn. There were 22 charter members. Mrs. W. B. Carson was the first regent.

The forests of Columbus County are its greatest native wealth. To protect them from fire and cut them wisely, is the responsibility of every owner of timberland.

SLEDGE AND SONS • WHITEVILLE, N. C. • Lumber Manufacturers

A Columbus County Product


Our best advertisement is a satisfied customer. We keep our farmer friends and customers in Columbus County happy and satisfied by making available for them just the right kind of fertilizer needed by Columbus County soil for the production of the most abundant and high quality crops. Ask any of the farmers who have consistently used RELIANCE RELIABLE BRANDS year after year.

inverted isosceles triangle symbol


Manufactured by

RELIANCE GUANO COMPANY + Whiteville, North Carolina

Columbus County

One of the few remaining sections of the Eastern United States where human progress has not seriously depleted virgin wealth may be found in the 576,000 acres comprising Columbus County, located in the rich coastal plain of North Carolina. Bordered by the South Carolina line, three rivers, and four counties, Columbus, named for the discoverer of America, has enriched its inhabitants from the products of its fields and forests for many years, and still retains the flavor of virginity.

Here is a county with eight different types of soil, possessing a fertility which necessitates only a minimum amount of fertilizer and capable of growing successfully any type of produce that can be grown in temperate climates.

Here is a county with 576,000 acres of rural land, only 21.3 per cent of which is used for agricultural purposes, the remainder being in dense forests and cut-over woodlands.

Here, too, is a county whose agriculture affords a year-round income from its huge tobacco industry, its forest, livestock and truck produce, with the possibilities of livestock and truck revenue scarcely touched and unlimited.

Here also is a county with an intelligent labor capable of being highly trained for industries, with public utilities offering rates to manufacturers which compare favorably with rates in more highly industrialized sections.

In this vast county, the third largest in North Carolina, one finds raw materials from forest and field which offer unlimited industrial possibilities for industries based on farm and forest products.

Though notable progress has been made in agriculture in this county, it is the studied opinion of experts in the field that it is the future, not the present or the past, which holds the greatest revenue possibilities from Columbus County farms.

In the field of truck farming alone, which is a relatively new type of agriculture for Columbus County, there are unlimited possibilities. Both the soil and the seasons combine to furnish truck farmers with native assets for truck growing which cannot be surpassed and seldom equalled in any other section.

The oldest truck crop produced in point of time is the strawberry which began to be cultivated in this county in 1895. So adapted were the soil and seasons of Columbus County for the cultivation of this fruit that within a phenomenally short period of time, there developed at Chadbourn the largest strawberry market in the world.

Success with strawberries turned to equal success with other crops, so that during more recent years, Columbus County farmers have produced, in addition to strawberries, Irish and sweet potatoes, snap beans, peanuts, cucumbers and pecans, with sweet potatoes now holding the role of leading truck crop. In 1942, Columbus farmers produced 4,650 acres of sweet potatoes and Tabor City became the largest sweet potato market in North Carolina. Moreover, Columbus now has the largest sweet potato storage capacity of any county in North Carolina and markets more bushels of properly graded, packed and labeled sweet potatoes than any other shipping point in the world, with the exception of Sunset, La.

Horticulturists who know Columbus County soil and climate declare that the present success of growing truck produce in this county is but a small indication of what the potential capacities are. No small factor in this is that the Gulf Stream flows within a few miles of the Carolina coast adjacent to Brunswick County, bounding Columbus County on the southeast, and extends wonderful benefits in long growing seasons and moderate year-round climate to this area.

Truck produce supplementing the county's 24,000 acres of tobacco planted annually means year-round marketable produce from Columbus County soil, with the tobacco crop alone being worth annually $12,000,000 to the county's approximately 50,000 population.

Add to this the annual forest and livestock producing wealth, which is mounting yearly, and you have 933 square miles—the county's area—of forest and agricultural territory comprising one of the richest farming counties in the Southeast. Indicative of this wealth are bank deposits in Columbus County totaling $17,000,000.

The farm products of Columbus County are being grown on only 21.3 per cent of the county's acreage. The remaining 78.7 per cent of the total county acreage of 576,000 acres is in woodland, much of which is cut-over and ready for cultivation, other of it in need of extensive drainage before it can be turned to cultivation. In the great Green Swamp area, for instance, there are 11,000 acres of cut-over land set aside for agricultural purposes, some 3,500 of which have already been improved or partially improved by construction of lateral ditches in a 44-mile canal system. This is a vast area of virgin territory, unpopulated and undeveloped, possessing soil which requires little fertilization and highly adapted to truck, livestock, food and feedstuff production. In recent years, a vigorous colony of Seventh Day Adventists from the North and Midwest have begun colonizing the Green Swamp territory and are applying intelligent farming methods to the tillable parts of this great undeveloped section.

The county's forests, growing high grade pine and hardwood, have 950,000,000 board feet of standing timber and are producing 57,000,000 board feet annually, or more than 30,000,000 more board feet than are being cut annually by the county's 51 sawmills.

During the latter half of the last century and the first part of this, the turpentine industry was the leading industry in the county.

There followed the heyday af the lumber industry which left thousands of acres of cut-over and bay lands to be turned into profitable agriculture. There yet remain many thousands of acres of woods and bay lands, still untouched by agriculture. Likewise, there still remain many thousands of acres of rich timber lands which are annually increasing the vast potential value of Columbus County's native wealth.

Within the versatility and fertility of Columbus County soil, within the wealth of her forests, within the potential productivity of her undrained and uncultivated cut-over and bay lands lie wealth yet untouched for Columbus County natives and others who choose to cast their lot here.

The fact that lumber manufacturing and farming have been the chief and practically only industries in the county leaves the field virgin to other industries that will find in this county labor and raw materials in abundance. The great timber growth offers virgin territory for veneer, paper, and furniture manufacturing plants. The abundance of livestock and agricultural products offers a fertile territory for meat and food processing plants. The enormous tobacco industry in this county and adjacent counties is inviting to additional tobacco redrying plants, and other plants connected with the tobacco industry.

Here also are young, developing towns where business flourishes upon the wealth native to Columbus forests and fields. Whiteville, the county seat town and largest town in the county, has a population of only 3,500 persons, but a volume of business and aggressiveness of civic spirit that surpasses that of many towns much larger. Here is Tabor City, hard by the South Carolina line, which 40 years ago did not exist but which now will challenge any town of its size and many larger to match it in annual business and marketing volume. Here are Chadbourn and Fair Bluff, the other two major towns in the county, both of which are small but thriving and industrious. Here are also little crossroads towns all over the county prospering upon the agriculture and lumber industry of Columbus. And here, too, is Lake Waccamaw, largest natural lake from Maine to Florida, possessing a rare degree of scenic charm and retaining an intriguing primeval flavor.

This, then, is Columbus, land of virgin opportunity, where native wealth of field and forest still abounds, where industry may find raw materials, labor, public utilities, transportation, business leadership, and a high type of citizenship for prosperity and success.

Lakeside Road—Lake Waccamaw



(Columbus County)

Manufacturers ofTOOLS

Since 1886

For Forests and Farmers


My Friends!
Cartoon hand drawing of a man symbolizing electricity walking with a family

I met a man today who came to Eastern North Carolina to find out one important thing. Previous reports had been favorable; abundant raw materials, plenty of good soft water—year around mild climate. Dependable electric power—excellent transportation facilities, water, rail, air and truck—ample post-war labor supply, especially in the smaller towns. But to him one thing was even more important. The kind of people who live and work here. It didn't take him long to find out that there is a widespread feeling of friendliness, mutual respect and confidence between workers and management in Eastern North Carolina. Here are people 99 per cent native born—whose American tradition of fair play is bred-in-the-bone. A people who believe in business enterprise and welcome new industries. A people with deep-rooted convictions that an honest day's pay deserves an honest day's work.

In many of Eastern North Carolina's excellent small towns, where there are no large industries, you will find an ample post-war supply of intelligent, adaptable, friendly workers. North Carolina and its southeastern area is receiving more serious consideration as manufacturing locations than ever before. Nationally known engineering firms are showing more active interest in our region than heretofore, and their clients are varied and numerous.



Whiteville and Fair Bluff, N. C.

Among Columbus County's Oldest

Business Institutions


Efficient, Sympathetic Service When You Need It Most

Ambulance Service

In our hardware stores, we stock all supplies necessary for the farm and home


Fair Bluff

In a picturesque setting of live oaks and Spanish moss, reminiscent of the charm of the Old South, Fair Bluff, probably the oldest organized town in Columbus County, was built hard by the banks of Drowning Creek, now known as Lumber River. This is the same river that has its source up in the hills of Moore County and converges with other streams in lower South Carolina to empty into the Atlantic Ocean.

Fair Bluff is a quaint Southern community where the past is mixed in such proportion with the present as to blend an admirable culture with a progressive business and civic consciousness. Passers-by are deeply impressed with the quiet charm of the roadway through the town, arched with gray streamers of Spanish moss festooned from the boughs of oaks interlocking their limbs across the highway. In combination with the black water of the river flowing within a few feet of the road, the moss, the trees and the river make an impression that one does not forget.

Of when Fair Bluff was first organized, the record apparently is lost. Best available information is that it was as early as 1850 or sooner. Some of the older residents remember when it was a river port town, with rafts of logs plying down the river from Princess Ann, located several miles up the river. Among the early industries for the river port town were fur trading and turpentine. Around 1880, there were three turpentine stills in Fair Bluff, two of them owned by I. M. Powell, grandson of Absalom Powell, one of Columbus County's earliest settlers, and one by Bert Anderson whose son. Bish Anderson, built one of the early warehouses in Fair Bluff. One of the stills was located at the site of the present Ellis Meares Hardware Company. How long before 1880 the stills were there, the record has been lost.

Dating back as far as the middle of the last century, the river was used exclusively for transferring timber, but with the coming of the railroad, river transportation was discontinued.

The west end of the town, located on the more prominent bluff, was originally called Alexandra, while the east end was known as Fair Bluff. How the name “Fair Bluff” originated, there is no authentic record, but there is a pretty story about it which may or may not be true. According to this purely legendary story, a party of lumbermen were making their way down the river near nightfall, looking for a desirable place to spend the night. When they spied the bluff upon which the town is now located, one of them said, “That's a pretty fair bluff, let's spend the night there.” Tradition says that the name stuck. From then on, it was Fair Bluff. In later years, the name “Alexandra” was dropped and the entire town became known as Fair Bluff.

So prominent is the bluff upon which the town is located that seldom ever does high water reach into the streets of the town. The last time this occurred was in 1928. Across the river is Robeson County where a dense swamp reaches for five miles. This great expanse of swamp accommodates the overflow of the river, thereby protecting the town against floods.

Framed against the background of a river and streamers of Spanish moss, Fair Bluff is a delightful community in which to live.

Among the original settlers were the Meares, the Andersons, the Powells, the Yates, the Durhams, the Summersetts, the Bardens, the Drakes, the Smiths, the Waddells, the Elvingtons, the Williams, the Jenkins, and probably others. Later came the Tuckers, the Rogers, and the Townsends. Most of these early families have descendants who still reside there.

The oldest house in town is probably the late I. M. Powell home, where his daughter, Mrs. Bessie Renfrow, still lives. This house was probably built before 1845.

There was once a large sweet gum tree right in the heart of the business section in front of the Anderson store, with seats built all around it. Here on hot summer days, the townsfolk would exchange their yarns and Confederate soldiers would exchange their reminiscences of the stirring days of the war. Here in Fair Bluff were Col. T. F. Toon, Capt. J. A. Meares, and Lt. Oliver Williams, all three of whom had distinguished themselves for gallantry with the Army of Northern Virginia.

A large water oak stood in front of “Pat” Waddell's store, known as the “skin tree.” Mr. Waddell was a great dealer in all kinds of fur, skins and hides, and on this tree they were often hung to dry or for advertisement. So large was his trade that he was known as the “skin man” throughout a large territory.

The adjacent river and swamps provide an abundance of wild animals, such as otters, coons, foxes, minks, and others, thus forming a profitable fur industry.

The coming of good roads and highways has greatly changed the appearance of things as Fair Bluff. Many of the old trees were cut away to make room for the highway. Only a few of the old homes are still standing, and none of the old business houses. But the town still retains a striking degree of quaint, picturesque charm with its low hanging moss on trees which form an arch over the highway by the river's bank.

No longer a river port town or a turpentine center, Fair Bluff has taken its place alongside other Columbus towns as one of the four major towns of the county. It is situated in the midst of a rich agricultural territory, with its business houses serving an area covering Western Columbus County, some of Robeson County and a part of the upper territory of adjoining South Carolina.

The county's greatest agricultural industry had its beginning in and around Fair Bluff. In 1895, from six to eight acres of tobacco were planted near Fair Bluff. During the same year, a tobacco warehouse was built in Fair Bluff by I. M. Powell. That was the beginning of tobacco growing and tobacco marketing in Columbus County, an industry which has grown into a $12,000,000 county industry annually.

Fair Bluff also led the way in advertising its market. For quite a number of years, the opening day of sales was a big day for farmers and townsfolk alike. Big picnics were held in the tobacco warehouses to which farmers from the entire area were invited. Oldtimers still remember these picnics as among the greatest days in Fair Bluff history.

The Fair Bluff tobacco market now boasts of four large warehouses which in 1945 sold over 9,000,000 pounds of tobacco.

Located in Fair Bluff is the oldest commercial banking institution in an area covering the counties of Columbus, Brunswick, and New Hanover. This institution—the Farmers and Merchants Bank—has operated continuously since 1914 when it was organized. R. C. Tucker, who at the time of the organization was cashier, is now president of this bank.

Methodists and Baptists are the predominating religious denominations in Fair Bluff, with the Baptists outranking the Methodists numerically.

The Methodist Church had its beginning in Fair Bluff before the War between the States. As early as 1855, Rev. Norman A. H. Godwin, the first pastor of the Fair Bluff Methodist Church, held regular services in the Masonic Hall. First reference to an organized church was in 1856. The deed for the lot upon which the first church was built was dated August 8, 1859. The original building stood on this site until 1914 when it was torn down to make way for the present brick structure. At the time it was completed, it was the only brick church structure for a white congregation in Columbus County.

The Baptists began their work in Fair Bluff later than the Methodists, but, as previously mentioned, have grown numerically stronger. The Baptists have a neat brick structure located on the main thoroughfare.

An active Garden Club among Fair Bluff women and Civitan Club among the men comprise the civic organizations, while a Masonic Lodge and Order of Eastern Star constitute the fraternal groups. There is also an active American Legion Post. Fair Bluff schools are among the better schools of the county.

Transportation facilities are excellent. Fair Bluff is located on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad between Wilmington and Augusta. This line makes connection with main north-south Atlantic Coast Line trains in Florence, S. C., some fifty miles away. The town is also located on the east-west Federal Highway 74-76 over which trucking routes and buses of the Queen City Coach Company operate on regular schedule.

Fair Bluff inhabitants constitute a stable, dependable citizenship. The people have always been noted for their hospitality, kindness and pleasant manners. Their manner of life is strikingly similar to the warm hospitality and gentle aristocracy of the Old South. Indeed, the stately atmosphere of this quaint, riverside town brings pleasing reminiscence of the South as pictured in story books.

The two oldest Baptist churches in Columbus County are Livingston Chapel and White Marsh. Both were organized in 1765, Livingston Chapel probably having been organized prior to White Marsh. According to the late Rev. I. T. Newton, Livingston Chapel, first called Livingston Creek, was organized by one Ezekiel Hunter, who was pastor of the New River Baptist Church in Onslow County. Mr. Newton wrote in 1938 that “either he (Rev. Mr. Hunter), or possibly some ministers of the Sandy Creek Association, must have organized White Marsh the same year (1765).”

Columbus County was settled largely by English and Scotch, with a sprinkling of French in the southern section. The English came from New Hanover and Brunswick counties, and the Scotch from Bladen County.

Looking down the Lumber River from bridge in Fair Bluff
after a rare snow

Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, the largest natural lake on the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Florida, is located in Columbus County on the edge of the great Green Swamp. Seven by five miles in size, it is fed by natural springs and fresh water streams, and is ideally adapted to bathing, boating and fishing. On account of its shallow, gradually sloping beach, which deepens almost inch by inch from bank to center where the depth is from 12 to 15 feet, the lake affords excellent bathing for young and old. Because it is clear of all impediments, it offers an ideal sheet of water for sail and motor boating. Because of its wide variety and great quantity of fish, it is a paradise for sporting fishermen.

It is saucer shaped, even and regular in conformation. On one side is a high bluff, some 20 feet above the water level. Along this bluff are the homes, business establishments, cottages and hotels, all of which are found alongside a surface-treated, state-maintained lakeside road. The remainder of the circumference is dense woods and swampland inhabited by a great variety of wildlife, including bear, alligators, deer, and many species of native and migratory birds.

Bearing the name of an Indian tribe which once lived along its shores, much of the lake is just as the Indians left it. One does not have to strain his imagination to picture Indian canoes bearing red-faces dipping deft paddles into the clear water as they scurry here and there on the lake's surface, or Indian fishermen ensnaring bass and bream among the shadows of the cove or the silent recesses of Big and Little creeks.

First historical reference to the lake is found in William Bartram's “Journal of Travels,” written after his trip south from Pennsylvania in 1734 to collect botanical specimens for his father, John Bartram, first scientist to create a botanic garden for plants in America.

In his Journal, Mr. Bartram wrote: “The next morning we took a particular view of it (the lake), and I think it is the pleasantest place I ever saw in my life. It is at least 18 miles around, surrounded with exceeding good land, as oak of all sorts, hickory and fine cypress swamps. There is plenty of deer, wild turkeys, geese and ducks, and fish in abundance. We shot enough game to serve forty men though there were but six of us.”

Looking across beautiful Lake Waccamaw

A. F. Goldston and a morning's catch on the lake

Mr. Bartram also made reference to Indian mounds and an Indian field, but declares his belief that Indians had not inhabited the field “for the past fifty years,” since neither the Waccamaw nor Cape Fear Indians had any recollection of an Indian settlement there. Since that was in 1734, the habitation of Lake Waccamaw by Indians must date back as far as 1684, although this does not exclude the possibility that some Indians may have lived on the lake after Mr. Bartram visited it.

That fact makes it all the more remarkable that Lake Waccamaw has lost little of its primeval charm. Mr. Bartram's description of it in 1734 is almost as accurate now as it was then. With the exception of the settlement on the northern shore, one finds little difference between the physical circumstances surrounding the lake in 1734 and now.

Tradition still attaches the name “Indian Mounds” to the sandy bluff located on the northeast shore of the lake. Both the fact that Indian relics have been found there and that they are located on a sandy bluff lend credence to the theory that once the Waccamaws actually did have a wigwam village there.

Tradition also insists that Osceola, half-breed Indian chieftain of the Seminole War, was born near Dupre Landing, directly across the lake from the residential settlement. It is a fact that Osceola's father was named John Powell, who married an Indian girl, that there are many Powells in Columbus County, and that some of them have had information passed down to them which tends to authenticate the story that Osceola was born near Dupre Landing.

Near the Indian Mounds is the mouth of Big Creek, opening onto the lake out of the dense and jungle-like fastnesses of the northeastern shore, Anyone entering Big Creek is deeply impressed with the deep and mysterious silence brooding over the water and emanating from the luxuriance of the shorelines, a silence brooding only by the sudden splash of fish or some incantation from wild creatures to whom that region is a paradise.

On the southern shore of the lake the Waccamaw River, emptying into the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown, S. C., has its beginning. Across the entrance into the river stream, a dam has been built to keep the level of the lake consistent throughout the year. The dam, built in 1925, was by state and county construction and was necessitated because the lake's water level became low during exceptionally dry spells. Since the construction of the dam, the lake has maintained a consistent water level.

From the river mouth to Dupre Landing, a distance of about three miles, is a narrow sand road, the only lakeside road except the state-maintained road along a mile or more of the opposite shore.

Lake Waccamaw remains a great body of water set amidst the wild tangle of Nature's primitive charm, where little of man's spoilation has robbed it of its primeval glory. Bird and animal life mingle with the dense growth of scented swamplands. The bald eagle has been known to nest in the high cypress treetops around Big Creek. Starry-eyed deer roam the highlands and drink from the sandy shorelines. Wildcats blast the night air with their unearthly sounds, while bear roam the forests and alligators infest the waters of the creeks. In spring and summer, the brilliant colors of migratory birds flash in and out of the dense foliage and the air is filled with their enchanted music. There are few places in North Carolina from which the charm of elemental wonder has been less removed.

Two communities form the north shore settlement, yet in the mind of lake residents there are only the names to distinguish the two. One is Lake Waccamaw, called Flemington until about 1890, and the other is Wananish, which is English for the Indian name, Ouananiche, meaning “landlock salmon.” The Indian name was given to the community by the late J. P. Council, but post office authorities anglicized and shortened it to Wananish. The town of Lake Waccamaw is located along the railroad tracks, while Wananish is about one mile east of Lake Waccamaw and about one-half mile from the tracks toward the lake shore. Wananish is the home of the Council Tool Company, founded in 1886 by J. P. Council. The history of this interesting enterprise is a story in itself about which more later.

Among the earliest white settlers of the lake were the Powells and the Maultsbys, who owned much land around the lake and east and west of it. In 1745, John Powell came to the lake from Virginia, driving a herd of cattle along with him. One of his sons. Absalom, a principal figure in the early history of what became in 1808 Columbus County. The Maultsbys, also prominent in the development of the county, have, along with the Powells, many descendants in the county today, notably in and around Whiteville.

The Bridgers of Bladenboro purchased the Wananish property from the Powells and the Maultsbys, and the Bridgers in turn sold it to John P. Council, founder of the Council Tool Company, about 1898. Mr. Council moved his plant from Council to Wananish in 1900, where it has been located since.

While the Bridgers and the Councils are a part of the more recent history of the lake property around Wananish, it is with the Short and Beers Lumber Company, which became the North Carolina Lumber Company in 1910, that more recent history around the town of Lake Waccamaw and the adjacent lakeside is related. H. B. Short and C. O. Beers formed a partnership about 1879 for a shingle plant at Hallsboro. On the north shore of Lake Waccamaw, Short and Beers built a large dock to receive barges of shingles from across the lake. In the 1880's, the company had about 400 shingle makers making hand-made shingles. The shingle

At Lake Waccamaw: (1) A ringside seat overlooking the lake; (2) Game fish taken from the lake; (3) Home of Mr. and Mrs. K. Clyde Coun-
cil; (4) Boats at anchor; (5) Flemington Hall, home of Mr. and Mrs. F. B. Gault; (6) Home of Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Weir; (7) Lake waters
churned by a stiff south wind; (8) Pecan Lone; (9) Inside Council Tool Company, K. C. Council and helper.

traffic across the lake during those days was very large. A tram railroad track extended from the Atlantic Coast Line track to the lakeside dock to transport the shingles for shipment.

Short and Beers Lumber Company was incorporated in 1910 as the North Carolina Lumber Company, with F. B. Gault, a native of Minnesota, as principal stockholder. In recent years, Mr. Gault has sold out his stock but the company still operates as the North Carolina Lumber Company, with its plant still located on the original site of Short and Beers Lumber Company, though, of course, greatly enlarged.

“Flemington Hall,” a magnificent home located along the moss-festooned road leading to the lakeshore from the main highway, is the home of the Gaults.

The approximately 3,000 artesian wells now in Columbus County date back to the first well dug in this part of the country by John P. Council. Believed to be the oldest well in the county, which has flowed continuously since being dug, is just east of Weaver's pier at Lake Waccamaw. This well is located between the board walk and the lake shoreline, and was dug by Mr. Council about 1900. Today there are from 40 to 50 artesian wells around the lake villages of Lake Waccamaw and Wananish, ranging in depth from 150 to 250 feet.

In retrospect, the activities at the lake around the turn of the century were colorful. In the village of Lake Waccamaw itself, Mrs. M. C. Carroll operated a high class hotel on the north side of the railroad tracks. The train stopped there for its passengers to have both breakfast and dinner, and many were the others who enjoyed the good eats and hospitality of “Miss Lizzie.”

Those were also the days when Captain Sam Potts operated the Bohemian Girl, a single-cylinder steamboat built on the lake. Captain Potts, a colorful character, is, along with Kinchen Council, a part of the lore of the lake.

There appeared in an 1897 issue of The Columbus News, predecessor to The News Reporter, a letter signed, “A Stray Georgian.” It told of a trip on the lake as a passenger on Captain Potts’ Bohemain Girl.

“A few days ago it was my good fortune,” wrote “Stray Georgian,” “to take a trip on this beautiful lake as a guest of the genial Captain Potts on the Bohemian Girl, with a party of friends. To say that I enjoyed it is to draw it mildly. Enjoy! Why, I was charmed. In fact, the English vocabulary fails me when I attempt to express my pleasure. The captain is a whole host within himself and the B. G. skims the water of the placid lake like a thing of life. The lake is one of the most beautiful sheets of water my eyes ever beheld, and the fishing—well, everybody has a fish tale to tell, but I will say that I caught them so fast I could not count them; one of my counters said 175. The man or the woman who comes in reach of this beautiful lake and does not make a trip with the captain on the B. G. has missed one of the greatest pleasures accorded to us mortals here below. . . . Au revoir, and God speed you and the B. G., my gallant captain.”

Captain Potts was a versatile gentleman. He was taxidermist, jewelry salesman, telegrapher, doctor, sportsman, all wrapped up together. They still tell the story of how one day Captain Potts “tooted” orders to the train over the steam whistle of the Bohemian Girl. The train had pulled into the station at Lake Waccamaw where it was to receive orders from Captain Potts before proceeding further. But Captain Potts, the only person who knew the orders, was steaming around on the lake in the Bohemian Girl, having left his son in charge of the station. The trainmasters grew irritated and wondered why in the heck the captain wasn't on hand with orders. Whereupon, the story declares, Captain Potts’ son, who had been taught telegraphy by his father, climbed into the cab of the locomotive and “tooted” out a request to his father for orders. In a moment, the orders came back from the steam whistle of the Bohemian Girl and the train proceeded on its way.

Kinchen Council—“Mister Kinch”—was equally as versatile as Captain Potts. Around him has already grown up a legendary lore which is intriguing. Poet, historian, traveler, hunter, fisherman, scholar, “Mister Kinch” possessed a storehouse of information about people, places and things. He placed greater value upon people and friendship than upon any other thing in the world. For further comment on this delightful Columbus County personality, consult “Kinchen Council, Sage of Wananish” appearing elsewhere in this book.

The story of Wananish is also the story of Council Tool Company. The history of this industry, unique to Columbus County, began in Council just across the line in Bladen County. There, in 1886, the manufacturing of turpentine tools began in a shop about the size of an ordinary tobacco barn. John P. Council and his brother, James Council, were the original owners. In 1891, James sold his interest to John, and today it is being operated by K. Clyde Council, son of John, as president, and John Council, his brother, as vice-president.

Mr. John Council, the founder of the company, was a great fisherman, and it is family tradition that he moved his manufacturing plant to Wananish to be nearer his fishing grounds.

The Council Tool Company now employs approximately 100 workers, most of whom were born and reared in the section where the plant is located. It consists of three central units, besides the storage houses, the large office and the store building, and the old structures in which manufacturing was done for many years. The total plant occupies a 40-acre tract of land.

In addition to supplying turpentine tools for the turpentine industry from North Carolina to Mexico, the company now manufactures general forestry tools, with sales markets in many parts of the United States.

Though many parts of Columbus County are favorite haunts for hunters and fishermen, Lake Waccamaw is the sporting center of the county. Here on this lake may be caught big mouth bass, white perch, red fin perch (locally called trout), sun fish, bream, red breast, crappie or goggle-eye, black fish, jack and pike, among the more abundant varieties. The State Conservation Service has on numerous occasions re-stocked the lake with game fish. Two years ago, 18,000 small bass were placed in the lake. At present, a study is being made relative to the future policies to be followed in keeping the lake supplied, with some taking the view that improved methods of fertilization will result in more fish than restocking.

Nearby the lake are the 13,000 acres of the North State Hunting Club, part of which is in Columbus County and the remainder in Bladen. The many thousands of acres of dense swamp and woodlands surrounding the lake provide unsurpassed cover for wild life of every type found in a temperate climate.

On the lake itself, the steamboat days of Captain Potts have been supplanted by high-speed motor boating, while on any good fishing day, the drone of outboard fishing motors may be heard on all parts of the lake.

The thousands of acres of woodlands adjoining the lake are mainly the property of West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, the Reigel Paper Corporation, and the North Carolina Lumber and Veneer Company.

Mr. Clyde Council has recently given two acres on the north shore for a permanent Boy Scout camp site, where building operations are already underway.

On lands close by the lake are pecan orchards totaling approximately 200 acres. The orchards, consisting of improved thin-shell varieties, are mainly the property of F. B. Gault, George T. Sutton, Oscar High, and Dallas Cameron. Seen from the air, Lake Waccamaw and Wananish, together with the pecan orchards, form a patchwork of rare beauty.




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Kinchen Council, “Sage of Wananish”


Once ever so often, in this whirligig of a world, there comes along a man who has a natural talent for living. He seems to possess a casual ebb and flow with the universe, a sort of oneness that can be sensed if not defined. Such a man was Kinchen Bascom Council, better known as “Kinch.”

Perhaps no more revealing key to his personality is to be found than to have a look in the big old leather-bound book in which he kept his unique memoirs. Started as a ledger for the Council Tool Company, he early discarded such a trivial use as keeping money accounts and began to record the things that were real to him. Here we find letters from friends, evidence of exchange of verses with kindred souls, clippings that expressed a philosophy in accord with his own, historical data dug up in his lifelong hobby of “tracing kin” for people he knew, and his own poems written in his angular script. Searching in vain for newspaper and magazine accounts of facts about himself, one finds instead a simple picture of a fisherman inscribed, “I kept this because it was given me by my brother, John P. Council,” or an old envelope on which he has written, “What better ambition can a man have than to be of service to his state.” Filed with no apparent order, it is a veritable hodge-podge to the logical mind and proves a puzzle to Betty Lytton, his grand-niece, who is writing the family history. Yet, in its entirety it presents a rhythmic pattern of creative life.

It is no wonder that Ben Dixon McNeill describes Kinchen Council as “a fine, strange, complex, and even bewildering man, bluff in manner, indifferent of opinion, but strangely sensitive and altogether quite beyond appraisal—paradoxical but ever stead-fast in his friendship and sturdy honesty.” Perhaps Kinchen explains something of the mystery in his own lines:

“I would not have you think of meAs one who sought to write his nameUpon the sands of Fantasy,‘Tis better far to look beyondVain, sordid things, and onward fareThrough life, a cheerful vagabondThan be a grouchy millionaire.”

It was this sense of value that led him to take his team and plant along the highways of Columbus County for twenty-five miles crepe myrtle plants which he had dug up with his own hands. He said that the crepe myrtle, so familiar to us here, was either brought to this section by slaves from their native habitat, or by the early French Huguenot settlers of which the Formy Duval family was one. So he writes “A Crepe Myrtle Reverie”:

“O! Peerless beauty of old landsAnd days beyond the sunrise sea,That thou art here in alien hands—What trick hath Fortune played on thee?”

Kinchen Council was born in Council, the family settlement, in Bladen County. Though his father, Kinchen Kitchen Council, stated in his will that provision be made from the funds of the estate for “a liberal education for each of my four younger children,” the traditional schooling was not for the son, Kinchen. He had no sooner finished the courses at Clarkton School than he went wandering. First to Mississippi, then to the fascinating parts of old Louisiana—New Orleans, the Bay resorts, and the French Creole country. With a knowledge of telegraphy which he had picked up as a boy, he made his way for five years and many and wondrous were the tales he told of his experiences.

It was not so long after that that he, with other members of the Council family, moved nearer Lake Waccamaw where the hunting and fishing he loved could be engaged in without that bothersome two-hour ride by horse and wagon. He writes:

“Let's hie away o'er the wide expanseOf Waccamaw where sunbeams danceIn lotus haunts of June.Through reeking spume and blinding spray,To what fair scenes we sailed away;What poet land of dreams!Ah, me, what happy days were ours,Wandering in the shady bowersOf robin-haunted streams.”

He had married Miss Sallie Gilliam of Bladen County, and here on the shores of the Lake were his four children brought up. His home was a veritable museum of life in the open. Deer hides, bear rugs, mounted fish, curios from every land, books everywhere, and the best pack of hound dogs in the state, dwelt in harmony together. It was said that “winter evenings he reads and sometimes he sits himself down to write.” Here he lived for the last thirty years of his life, “very simply, content to make tools for a living and all other things for pleasure.”

In his trade he was an artist-craftsman. Superintendent of the manufacturing branch of the Council Tool Company, Mrs. Joe Brown says that “much of the success of this now flourishing business was due to his careful supervision and inspection, so that none but perfect tools were allowed to reach the trade.” He said himself that it didn't worry him when the declining turpentine industry of North Carolina requested fewer of the tools. “Why, these tools are used from India to Argentina, wherever pines are tapped for turpentine.” That love of his trade, perfection of the product, and conception of property for use were characteristic qualities. He found poetry and romance even in his business.

Understand that none of the commercial aspects were allowed to interfere with the important job of living. He had a wander-lust which Clyde Council, his nephew, says is as inherent in the family as hunting and fishing. This trait led Kinchen to Alaska once and elicited extravagant words of praise.

“Yours is a world in the making,An Eden that no serpent knows,Where saffron dawn is ever breaking,And sapphire sunset sweetly glows.”

Though he says in this poem, “Alaska, Goodbye,” that “he would like to live there for aeons,” it is to be doubted that any grandeur could charm him permanently from his native state. What rambles he took around the countryside! Mrs. Dempsey, his daughter, now living at the old home place in Wananish, said, “Why, any time he would get one of the boys at the Lake to drive for him and go off for a trip in the car. He might be back tonight, tomorrow night or next week. Just stayed as long as he wanted to and found someone interesting to be with.” He knew people in every county of the state and there was not a home from the governor's mansion, to the smallest dwelling on Crusoe Island, in which he was not welcome.

Everywhere he went his alert mind soaked up everything he saw and heard so that his was a storehouse of the life and lore

of the region. It is said that he knew more of the legends, human interest stories, and historical data of the state, than any other man of his time. How did he achieve this? First, he had a genius for friendship, and, he numbered his friends from all walks of life. “Today he might dine with learned dignataries in gilded halls and measure lances with them over some problem of state policy, and tomorrow swap yarns with some unlettered friend over a camp fire on the banks of his beloved Lake Waccamaw, happy and natural in either environment.” Next he was a master of the art of conversation, that quality of sharing thought so respected by the French. He had read, listened, studied, learned, and from the store of his remarkable memory “he could bring out old things and new as one would reach up to a library shelf.” Ben Dixon McNeill stated that he was “the most interesting and, in many respects, the most gifted man in North Carolina.” “Kinch” merited the title, “The Sage of Wananish.”

Of all his diverse interests, this tool-maker, hunter, fisherman, philosopher, scholar, poet, historian, economist, citizen, and friend, perhaps none was more aptly expressed in his poetry than in the companionship offered in hunting and fishing with his friends. Though he scoffed, “I'm no poet—just a blacksmith,” the lines speak for themselves. He writes a letter in verse to “Sandy” McKinnon of Maxton, to explain what happened after “Sandy” had had to leave the hunt. To his friend, Captain Barnes, he gives the title, “Old Man of the Lake,” and the poem by that name is filled with references to fishing companions. These are a few lines from a letter to the members of the North State Game Club at a time when he could not join them in the hunt:

“Meantime, in dreams I'll grasp your handsAnd ask about your folks,I'll sit with you around the fireAnd hear your latest jokes.Now wind your horn and mount the steedAnd let the hounds run free,And as the merry chase sweeps onJust sometimes think of me.”

The inscription on his tombstone, “65 years old, died 1931,” means little. He is ageless and his words and wisdom live among us still. We think about him in “An Angler's Paradise,” with Horace Smith and others of his friends; “Kinch” saying with that all-encompassing grin:

“And though my worthless bones may lieUnmarked by monolith,I'll whip the trout streams of the skyWith dear old Horace Smith.”The Legend of The Lake

Tradition tells us that a long, long time ago, in fact, so long that no one knows when, the large and beautiful lake now known as Lake Waccamaw, was a mound of flowers and in it grew all the flowers we know today, both wild and cultivated, and that the keeper of this garden of flowers was an Indian princess who was known to all the tribes of the earth as the most beautiful and lovely princess in all the world. It was the custom for the chiefs of all the tribes to send their sons, accompanied by medicine men and braves, to the camp of Chief Waccamaw each spring, when the flowers on the mound were in bloom, to receive from the hands of the Princess Waccamaw a blessing and a wild rose that would bring to them and their tribe good luck between the moons. The tribe that had the blessing and the wild rose had plenty of game, corn, and fresh water for drink and play.

Manteo, from his home, ‘way up in the sky, was always watching the Princess Waccamaw as she wandered along in the garden, and protected her from all harm.

Chief Ashbow, who was famed for his cunning and cruelty, was located to the north. He had a son who was very brave and strong, who had seen the Princess Waccamaw and asked her to be his wife. The princess told him that he was very kind, and that she liked him very much and thanked him for paying her the high honor of asking her to be his princess, but she told him that she had promised Manteo that she would never marry but would always stay in the garden and teach and send to all the tribes of the earth her blessing and a wild rose, if he would send the medicine men from all the tribes to her garden each year when the flowers were in bloom, that she might teach them that Manteo was king of all, and that if they would obey Manteo and be very kind, that when they departed to the Happy Hunting Ground in the Great Beyond, that they would find plenty of game and fish and fresh water for drink and play. The prince was very angry, for he wanted her very much for his princess, and he cursed her in the Indian tongue and swore by the law of his tribe that he would destroy the mound of flowers, and he departed to his tribe in the north and assembled all of his medicine men and braves. With their bows and arrows and tomahawks, they came and began to cut and tear and slash, until they thought they had destroyed all of the Waccamaw braves and their chief, and then Prince Ashbow commanded them to bring to him the beautiful Princess Waccamaw.

Tradition tells us that the princess knelt and asked Manteo to let her die in the garden, and to change the mound of flowers into a beautiful lake that man could not destroy, and to dedicate it forever to the memory of her father, Chief Waccamaw, and to not let it go dry but to always keep its waters pure and crystal, and filled with fish for the use of the good braves who love and honor Manteo.

The Great Spirit in his home far away in the sky, heard the prayer of the beautiful and good princess, and he was very angry and commanded that the garden of flowers should sink and that the enemies of the Princess Waccamaw should perish. The beautiful garden went slowly down and the crystal waters came gushing forth, and so, even unto this day, this large and beautiful lake is dedicated to the memory of the lovely and devoted keeper of the mound in the garden of flowers.

When she joined her tribe in death, she was buried in one of the mounds now to be seen overlooking this lake at sunset. All the tribes form the face of the earth sent messengers with ivory, precious stones and gold, and these were buried with her on the east bank of Lake Waccamaw where there is a large Indian burying ground.

Small Communities Form Patchwork Over Columbus

Small rural communities, inspired by lumber manufacturing plants or country stores dealing in general merchandise, constitute an integral part of the life of Columbus County. Here, where turpentine once was a major industry, and where lumber manufacturing still maintains an exalted place in the economy of the county, one finds some small rural communities which now are only the ghost of what they once were, while still others are bustling with activity. Typical among those of the former category are Pireway, where once the turpentine and log rafting business made of this community a prosperous little incorporated town; Cerro Gordo, where once the Williamson and Brown Land and Lumber Company manufactured about 75,000 board feet of lumber per day; and Boardman, once the home of the Butters Lumber Company, whose operations created one of the most prosperous communities in the county.

Typical among the communities of the latter character is Hallsboro, with the largest payroll in the county, and site of a plywood plant, a veneer mill, and three lumber manufacturing plants.

Rural communities in the southern section of the county include Dulah, Guide, Dothan, Iron Hill, Bug Hill, Nakina, Old Dock, Bethel, and Pireway.

The lands around Old Dock were first deeded to Patrick Henry. Located on the Waccamaw River, Old Dock was once the site of naval stores and that probably accounts for the name. Here is located the Old Dock-Nakina School, to which a high school unit was added in 1945. For several years the Old Dock School has been a fully accredited elementary school. Just across the Waccamaw River from Old Dock is Crusoe Island, about which a separate story appears in this magazine.

The only Mormon church in the county is located at Dulah. The church is not located at Dulah but nearby, and is one of the few Mormon churches in North Carolina.

Pireway is located near the Waccamaw River, a short distance below Reeves’ Ferry. This community was once the scene of large turpentine still operations, as were numerous other of these southern Columbus rural communities. It was the home of the late Sheriff John George Butler, who was a large land-owner and influential man in Columbus County. From Pireway also came Clyde Gore, another ex-sheriff of Columbus County. Pireway is said to be the site of a skirmish which took place between the Whigs and the Tories during the Revolutionary War. It is today a thriving agricultural community. In the nearby Waccamaw River swamps, much hunting is done, while the river itself affords excellent fishing.

Brunswick, located about four miles south of Whiteville, came into existence in 1925 when Jackson Bros. Lumber Company of Salisbury, Md., built a large lumber mill there and a model mill village. The mill operated from 1925 to 1932 when it discontinued. At the time Jackson Bros. bought the property for a mill site and mill village, there were only three dwelling houses in what is now Brunswick. When the village came, the population grew to about 600 persons.

The company commissary was managed by E. L. Vinson, who came to Brunswick with Jackson Bros. When the mill discontinued operations, a corporation was formed by W. T. Sledge, E. L. Vinson, and L. C. Brown, which bought out the commissary. To this business was given the name Brunswick Supply Company. In 1934, Mr. Vinson bought the stock of Mr. Sledge and Mr. Brown and dissolved the corporation. The Brunswick Supply Company still operates as one of the leading rural business establishments of Columbus County. The office of Jackson Bros. was transformed by Mr. Vinson into a beautiful country home where the Vinsons now live.

Brunswick is now one of the most delightful rural villages in Columbus County. It is incorporated, though the incorporation is now inactive. The Brunswick Post Office in 1944 did a $35,000 business.

On the northwest border of the county is Boardman, once the site of one of the largest sawmills in the South—the Butters Lumber Company—which, during the latter part of the last century and the first of this, contributed a major share to the development of Columbus County. In 1896, E. B. Wright, an experienced mill man, moved to Boardman from Michigan and accepted the general management of this plant. In subsequent years, Boardman became an ideal mill community with some of the most handsome homes in the county, large Colonial residences, with almost every home of consequence possessing steam heat, with all modern conveniences, hot and cold water, sewerage and electricity for the entire town. The town, during those years, had about 800 population, with good churches, schools, recreational facilities, and stores. The output of the mill averaged 18,000,000 feet a year.

In 1905, Cerro Gordo, then an old village, was stimulated by the coming of the Williamson and Brown Land and Lumber Company, a manufacturing plant of considerable capacity. This plant was owned and operated by Dr. J. C. Williamson, Dr. F. P. Covington, and D. W. Brown. The mill was destroyed by fire about 1915 and was never rebuilt. During the ten-year-period of its operations, Cerro Gordo developed into a prosperous little town, with a bank and drug store as indications of its progress. With the loss of the mill and the depression which followed the war, general business conditions suffered a decline from which they have never recovered. Dr. Floyd Johnson, county health officer for the past 25 years, practiced in Cerro Gordo for 15 years. Cerro Gordo boasts one of the best schools in Columbus County, with a physical plant second to none in the county. Cerro Gordo is said to have received its name from the arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad track

there on the date of the Battle of Cerro Gordo during the War with Mexico.

North of Cerro Gordo is Evergreen, located at the junction of Highway —, with the Myrtle Beach-Elrod branch of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. During the early part of the century, this, too, was a sawmill community. Today, it is a small village located in the heart of a rich agricultural area. A depot, several stores, and a high school are the main physical assets of the community. Both here and at Cerro Gordo live some of the county's most substantial and cultured citizens.

On the eastern half of the county are Acme, Delco, Bolton, Wananish, Lake Waccamaw, and Hallsboro.

Acme is the home of the Acme Fertilizer Company, a large plant around which the life of the village centers. Delco was developed by people of German descent. Once called New Berlin, the name was changed during World War I. Located here are several stores, a post office, and the Acme-Delco Consolidated High School.

Bolton has been the center of lumbering activities since early in the century. The first sawmill was built about 1907. This plant was destroyed by fire and was subsequently rebuilt. It is today the headquarters of the Reigel Paper Corporation.

At Hallsboro are located the North Carolina Lumber Company, the largest manufacturing plant in the county, the J. E. Thompson Lumber Company, and the sawmill plant of Pierce and Company. Here also are excellent community stores, churches, a public library and women's civic organizations. The weekly payroll at Hallsboro is the largest industrial payroll in the county, amounting to approximately $8,000.

(For information about Lake Waccamaw and Wananish, consult the story about Lake Waccamaw, appearing elsewhere in this magazine.)

Though varying in size and relative prosperity, these communities form a patchwork over much of the county. Some of them belong definitely to the past. Few, if any of them, will ever grow into large towns. But all of them have, and continue to contribute their proportionate share toward the development of Columbus County.

The First Presbyterian Church in Whiteville was also the first Presbyterian Church in Columbus County. Early reports, which are fragmentary, show the reception of the first members in 1869. The first church building was erected near the courthouse and was used by the congregation until the erection and completion of the present building in January, 1930. The bell used in the old building was removed to the new, and still calls worshipers to church each Sunday morning.

Tobacco, strawberries, cotton, sweet potatoes, peanuts, corn, string beans, watermelons, cantaloupes, scuppernongs, hay, and small grain are the principal crops produced in Columbus County.


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Columbus Red Cross Chapter Did Remarkable Job
During World War II

No finer chapter in Columbus County's history has been written than that concerning its participation in World War II. In services on both the home front and the military front, Columbus citizens did their part. This story will attempt to summarize in broad outline some of the more notable contributions made by Columbus during the war.

According to the records of the Columbus County draft boards No. 1 and 2, located at Whiteville and Chadbourn, respectively, a total of 3,337 Columbus men were drafted into the service from the beginning of Selective Service until operations ceased against Japan. This does not include the number of men who voluntarily enlisted in some branch of the service. Of the total number, 2,228 were white persons and 1,109 were Negroes.

Columbus men fought in every theater of operations and served in every branch of the service. They ranged in rank from private to full colonel. In proportion to population, they won their share of awards for meritorious service.

Operations of Columbus men and their comrades were ably supported by war activities on the home front. During the eight bond drives, the records show that a total of $14,957,978.50 was invested by Columbus citizens in all types of bonds. Contributions to the United War Fund were in excess of $56,000 and to the Red Cross in excess of $72,000.

These figures represent the type of financial support Columbus citizens gave to the war effort. The finest loyalty, however, was demonstrated in the many volunteer services rendered by Columbus county citizens. In no field did this show up to a better advantage than in Red Cross activities. Here, indeed, was a labor of loving sacrifice in which Columbus citizens, and especially Columbus women, played a magnificent part. To tell the full story of the service rendered by the Columbus County Chapter of the American Red Cross would be too great an undertaking for the space permitted here. However, a summary of the highlights of the program will serve to show something of the type of work done.

A resume of this work must begin in June, 1939, when the Whiteville Production Corps of the Columbus County Red Cross Chapter was organized. This was prior to the organization Volunteer Special Services in 1940. Tabor City organized in September, 1939; Lake Waccamaw and Hallsboro early in 1940; Chadbourn, Fair Bluff, Cerro Gordo, Bolton, Evergreen, Delco, China Grove, and Piney Forest followed in the order named.

The home economics classes of the schools, both white and colored, participated in the program in 1940-41. Women's clubs throughout the county gave enthusiastic support, while small groups in rural churches participated in sewing programs in 1942-43.

In July, 1942, the surgical dressing program was inaugurated in Whiteville, Lake Waccamaw and Tabor City branches. Because of its intimate relationship to the men on the battlefronts, this work was perhaps closest to the hearts of volunteers, and, therefore, represented the most diligent and consecrated service rendered.

The first quota of sewed and knitted garments for foreign war relief was accepted in July, 1939. The production of sewed items for foreign war relief continued through 1944. After then, sewing was confined to hospital garments and comfort articles for camp hospitals and kit bags for the Armed Services. Knitted items for the latter included sweaters, helmets, scarfs, mufflers and wristlets; and for foreign war relief, sweaters and shawls.

The following is a classified summary of the garments and other items made and shipped from June, 1939, through June, 1945:

Sewed garments10,174
Kit bags, filled2,076
Kit bags, unfilled532
Bedside bags for camp hospitals400
Drapes for camp day rooms132
Comfort items375
Knitted items2,602

The total number of surgical dressings made from July, 1942, through August, 1944, was 4,320,000.

In the overall production program, there were approximately 1,500 volunteers enrolled. Some of these, however, were active for only a limited period of time. A relatively small number have given service throughout the duration. A faithful few scattered in various sections of the county are still knitting for occupational troops.

Upon completion of quotas by the various Production work units, items were sent into the chapter administrative production center in Whiteville where final inspections were made. Items were then classified as to type and sizes, coded and tied into bundles. All shipments were made from the administrative production office in Whiteville.

Other phases of Red Cross activities were equally as successfully conducted. There were 11 home nursing classes trained with 157 trainees receiving certificates. A class of sixteen staff assistants was trained. These assistants gave their service to the chapter in typing and making up reports for the surgical dressing program. The Home Service Department of the chapter was organized in March, 1942. Through October of 1945, the department had served 6,931 individual cases. The Whiteville Motor Corps and the Tabor City Motor Corps with 21 members took the required First Aid

training, also a course in simple mechanics and school bus driving. They were called on for any driving for the Red Cross until the chapter bought a special Red Cross car. Thirteen nurses’ aides gave 2,764 hours at the Columbus County Hospital. Ten junior staff assistants were trained in the required course.

It is regrettable that space allotted for this article does not permit the enumeration of the many individuals who did voluntary work in Columbus County in connection with the War Bond drives, the United War Fund drives, the Red Cross activities, clothing campaigns, and many other types of service. It is likewise regrettable that the war service records of the civic, patriotic and fraternal organizations in all parts of the county cannot be enumerated. Home front activities were carried on by a very large number of persons whose names are too many to list in limited space.

No report of the Red Cross program as conducted by the Columbus County Red Cross Chapter would be complete without giving due recognition to the sympathetic and cooperative attitude of the general public. Commercial groups, public agencies, churches, civic and patriotic organizations were responsive and cooperative in every request made of them. Work rooms were supplied rent free from time to time, merchants discounted all bills and in many instances expedited production by making special orders for supplies needed. The town commissioners aided greatly in the vast shipping program by furnishing city trucks for transporting shipments to the freight depot, and also for all moving projects.

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Irvin Tucker, Leader of Men

When Irvin Burchard Tucker died Dec. 23, 1943, there passed from the scene in Columbus County, a recognized leader of men who had directed his efforts through a lifetime toward the betterment of his community, his state and his nation. On all three levels, he served with distinction.

In his community, he was the champion of good government, good schools, good churches, good roads, and good citizenship. He served as mayor of Whiteville, member of the school board, chairman of the Board of Deacons of the Baptist Church, member of the Board of Trustees of the Columbus County Hospital, president of the Rotary Club, chairman of the draft board of Columbus County during World War I, Red Cross disaster chairman, and in other positions of responsibility where character and leadership were in demand.

In his state, he was supervisor of census for the Sixth District of North Carolina in 1910, United States district attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina from 1922 until 1930, a trustee of the University of North Carolina and a member of the executive committee, a trustee also, at one time, of North Carolina State College and president of the State College Alumni Association, and district governor for Rotary District No. 188. From 1903-1909, he was Grand Master of Masons.

As a citizen of the nation, he served as United States commissioner from 1902 until 1916, and as a member of the United States Board of Parole from June, 1930, until 1935.

The above citation of service is an imposing record, but no such statement could do justice to the high intelligence, unbounded energy, and stalwart character which he applied to each undertaking. Within every outstanding personality, there is an intangible moral and intellectual force which, in the final analysis, accounts for the man. Within Irvin Tucker, these forces crystallized in a character whom high and low respected and placed unquestioned confidence in.

Mr. Tucker was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, September 17, 1878, the son of Francis A. and Nannie E. Tucker, the former a manufacturer at Tabor City. He acquired his early education in the schools of Fair Bluff and afterwards attended the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering at Raleigh from 1896 until 1899, when he became a student in the law department of the University of North Carolina. Admitted to the bar in September, 1900, he began practice in Whiteville, where he continued until his death, with only occasional interruptions when his services were called into larger fields. After following his profession independently for a time, he was joined by E. K. Proctor and Irvin Tucker, Jr. He served from 1922 until 1930 as United States district attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. His name was on the rolls of the Columbus County, Sixth District, North Carolina and American Bar Associations, and he served as vice-president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 1935.

On October 19, 1910, he was united in marriage to Miss Bessic Richardson, daughter of Captain Van V. and Amanda (Smith) Richardson of Whiteville. Two sons and a daughter were born to this union, Irvin B. Tucker, Jr., now a practicing attorney in Whiteville, Mrs. John Maultsby of Whiteville, and Charles R. Tucker, who died in October, 1918.

Mr. Tucker held the office of supervisor of census for the Sixth District of North Carolina in 1910. During World War I, he was chairman of the draft board of Columbus County. He served on the United States Board of Parole in Washington, D. C., from June, 1930, until 1935, by appointment of President Hoover. He served as United States commissioner from 1902 until 1916, and for two years thereafter was mayor of Whiteville. In 1920, he was Republican candidate for fieutenant governor of North Carolina, and a delegate to the national Republican convention in 1916, 1920, and 1932.

He was a member of the local school board, a trustee of the University of North Carolina and a member of the executive committee. At one time, he was also trustee of the North Carolina State College alumni association and president of that body. In 1943, he was elected governor of the 188th Rotary District, a position which he later resigned on account of failing health. Fraternally, he was affiliated with the Masons and Knights of Pythias.


That is the record of Irvin Burchard Tucker. What about Irvin Burchard Tucker himself?

There is in the possession of Mrs. Tucker a scrapbook containing letters received by her husband at the time he resigned from the United States Board of Paroles. The letters were received from prisoners and prison officials throughout the United States. Excerpts from these letters speak eloquently of Tucker, the man, Here are some of them:

From a parole officer for the United States Penitentiary, McNeil Island, Washington: “I have always been impressed with the conscientiousness and efficient manner in which you conducted your meetings here and proud of having had the honor of being associated with you in parole work.”

From an inmate of the United States Industrial Reformatory, Chillicothe, Ohio: “I can truthfully state that never, even among the ‘unlucky ones’ have I heard an inmate find fault with the consideration which you gave him, whatever the result might have been.”

From a paroled inmate of a Federal institution: “The news of your resignation from the U. S. Parole Board was received with much regret by me and I know I can speak for all men in Federal institutions.”

From an inmate at Chillicothe, Ohio: “Your fair and impartial hearings will leave behind you a hard mark for your successor to aim at.”

From an inmate of a Federal institution: “Justice tempered with a keen understanding of human hearts. . .”

From an inmate in Federal Prison, Atlanta, Ga.: “The qualities I have in mind are your patience under most trying and exasperating conditions frequently present during a prisoner's hearing before the Board; your unfailing courtesy wherever deserved; your desire and ability to weight the bad against the good in a man's record and strike a balance fair alike to prisoner and society. . . .”

From an inmate: “When I appeared before you last September I somehow felt secure and confident that my individual case would be given fair and impartial consideration.”

From the Attorney General of the United States: “Your single-minded devotion to the onerous duties of your position during the last five years and the high character of the service which you have rendered to the Government merit gratitude and appreciation. . . .”

From the assistant director of the Bureau of Prisons of the Department of Justice: “I cannot help but feel that all who know of your keen insight, kindly and humane understanding, and your sympathetic interest, will regard you as irreplaceable.”

From the warden of the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, Ga.: “. . . loyal to duty, without fear or favor.”

From the warden of the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas: “honesty, fearlessness, faithful and intelligent service. . . .”

These excerpts from the 100 or more letters contained in the collection reflect the character of the man. It remained, however, for a Greek inmate of the Federal Prison in Atlanta to pay the ultimate compliment. Though facetious on the surface, the letter reflects the confidence in which prisoners held Mr. Tucker. It read:

“Dear Honorable Sir:

I very much sorry that you no come here anymore because I like to tell you—‘You are d——good fellow.’ When I told you I wanted to stay in prison because the girl I married just a few weeks before I came here turned out to be terrible—you denied my parole. Thats a good.

“But now I gotta go out pretty soon and I want you to take her off my hands if you are really a lawyer. Please write me.

“Your friend,


For obvious reasons, the name of this inmate must not be signed to his letter.

Though the years on the parole board were pleasant years for Mr. Tucker, greatly enlarging his contacts and the scope of his influence, he never quite got away from the fact that it took him away from Columbus County. Afterwards, he told his daughter that the years spent on the parole board might more usefully have been spent in promoting the interests of Whiteville and Columbus County, both of which were a passion of his.

He was not a person who made it a habit of beginning things. Few, if anything, in Columbus County may be said to have been started by him. But his influence on the side of something which had already been begun was so potent that the cause was practically guaranteed success because of his support. For 25 years, he was a member of the Whiteville Rotary Club, in which organization his influence and leadership were so pronounced and valuable that no Whiteville civic organization has acquired a greater stability. His influence was so powerfully felt in securing the Columbus County Hospital that one instinctively associates the hospital with I. B. Tucker.

For better schools, churches, roads and city government, he was a natural and powerful champion. In the courtroom, he was eloquent in his appeals to the jury and uncanny in his cross-examination of witnesses. In a eulogy written for the Whiteville Bar Association, R. H. Burns, Sr., said:

“He followed the rules and the canon of ethics to the letter. He was differential to the Court, respectful to his fellow members of the bar, broad and liberal in the matter of his pleadings, but maintained the cause of his client with all the meritorious resources at his command, and in the discharge of his duty to his client, he asked no quarters and gave none to either friend or foe.”

Though dominant among men, he was not domineering. In politics, a staunch Republican, he numbered many of his closest friends among those of opposite political faith. He was universally popular and greatly beloved by his fellow citizens.

One instinctively looks for the secret of such a life. Tucked away in a scrapbook, part of which contains the letters quoted from in this article, and part of which is a helter skelter of articles, pictures and clippings, one comes across this quotation neatly glued to the page, and thinks that he finds within it the sought-after secret. It reads:

“The harder you try to pursue happiness, the more elusive it is. This is because happiness is a by-product. It always comes as a result of some action—usually work, because then you feel necessary and useful. If you are idle, you feel selfish and unnecessary. Find some worthwhile occupation, lose yourself in it, and suddenly some day you'll find yourself happy and wonder how it happened.”

Columbus County has approximately 572,000 acres of rural land of which 78.7 per cent is in woodland.

There are 45 sawmills in Columbus County, six concentration yards with a sawmill, two veneer plants, and three furniture block plants.

Dr. Hubert Inman Hester, president of William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., was reared in Columbus County.

Columbus County's largest manufacturing plants are the North Carolina Lumber Company of Hallsboro, and the Council Tool Company of Wananish.

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H. D. WEBBP. O. Box No. 315

Rev. F. T. Wooten


The Rev. Frank Thomas Wooten, minister and educator, was a prominent figure in the development of the educational and spiritual life of Columbus County for four decades covering the period from 1890 to his death in 1930.

As a youth, he determined upon attaining a college education. In the bankrupt South of the seventies and early eighties, only the valiant-hearted dreamed of a college education. But Frank Wooten dreamed and dared, entering Wake Forest College in 1884, graduating four years later, and not satisfied to undertake his life's work of Christian ministry without more training, spent two years in a theological seminary in Philadelphia. What carried him through these years of strain and toil? Frank Thomas Wooten was of Revolutionary ancestry, and came of pioneering blood that could endure hardship.

Said the great woman of Shunem to Elisha, “I dwell among mine own people.” Frank Thomas Wooten was born, lived and died in Columbus County, spending the greater part of his life “among his own people,” striving to uplift them spiritually, educationally and morally, and with a high degree of success. Much of his work as minister was in the rural churches of the county, though he served as pastor of the Baptist Church in Chadbourn for a number of years, and also at Fair Bluff. His longest pastorate was at Piney Forest, a rural church near Chadbourn which he served for twenty-nine years. He preached the gospel with dignity, authority and tenderness, his stern “Thus saith the Lord” being always followed by the gentle invitation, “Come unto Me.” Men and women do not retain a man as minister for twenty-nine years unless his ministry has in it the strength of Divine truth, thoroughly studied, sincerely believed and earnestly proclaimed.

Always an earnest advocate of education, when the call came to him to head the county school system, he accepted the call as a real opportunity for service. His great work for education in the county for nineteen years was recognized not only by the people of the county, but by the State Department in Raleigh.

Dr. J. Y. Joyner, for years State Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Carolina, said of him in a tribute at the time of his death: “His splendid work for the public schools of the county attracted wide attention and commendation, and will be an everlasting monument to him.”

H. D. Browning, Jr., late Superintendent of Education for the county, in his excellent history of Columbus County Schools, gives the following summary of the development of schools during Mr. Wooten's term of office, 1902 to 1921:

1. Increase in school building values from $11,168.00 to $238,930.00.

2. Length of term increased from an average of two and one-half months to six months.

3. Development of the administrative department of the school system.

4. Establishment of more than fifty rural libraries.

5. Improvement of teacher training.

6. Inauguration of rural supervision.

7. Beginning of consolidation of schools.

8. Introduction of vocational training.

9. Introduction of health clinics.

10. Popularization of public schools.

11. Increase in enrollment from 5204 to 7911.


Dr. Samuel Judson Porter of the First Baptist Church of Washington, D. C., one of the greatest pulpit orators of his day, left his big church in the nation's capital to attend his friend's funeral, and to acknowledge his debt to him as the one who had encouraged him to enter the ministry and planned his education for him. In a published tribute by him to Mr. Wooten, we quote the following extracts: “The late Rev. F. T. Wooten was one of the friendliest, most radiant souls 1 ever knew. . . . He was a pioneer in the educational awakening of North Carolina. As superintendent of public schools of his native county he labored untiringly with results amazing and gratifying. He was a pastor who had the shepherd heart. . . . My noble friend lived unselfishly. His vision was forward looking. His touch was gentle and constructive. He helped people think well of God.”

Mr. Wooten has been called “The Father of Education” in Columbus County, a title his nineteen years of valiant service as county superintendent in lean years, richly deserves. To this title should be added that of “Character Builder” of Columbus County, for as a minister of the gospel for forty years, most of this service in Columbus County, and also during his nineteen years as Superintendent of Education, he missed no opportunity to stress the importance of training for character along with educational training. In his public talks to patrons and pupils he reiterated the thought that “the character of its citizens is the greatest asset of the county”; that “an educated mind without an educated heart is dangerous.” He stood for equal educational advantages for all the children of the county, in town and country, white and colored.

A man of cultivated mind, gentle heart and devout life, Frank Thomas Wooten's name stands high among those whom Columbus County delights to honor.

FARMING is our business, too

Yes, tree farming. For many years, Tabor City Lumber Company has carried on a policy of careful and constructive cutting and reforestation. The wisdom of this plan will be felt by generations to come if only our annual growth is harvested each year, thus providing a perpetual supply of highest quality of Southern Yellow Pine for the future.




There's a Little Touch of Normandy in Columbus

Occasionally, you will find some of the same general type still standing. Once Eastern North Carolinians built them by the thousands, for there was little clay with which to make bricks and few tools for brick-making even if the clay could be found. But other Carolinians didn't build them as they built them in Crusoe. Here on the edge of the Great Green Swamp, along the black waters of the upper Waccamaw River, and only a short distance removed from the waters of the great smooth lake, they built them like they build them in Normandy.

The stick and mud construction of these chimneys was covered over with glistening white plaster and gave the appearance of having been carved from some smooth white stone. The outer wall belies the crude construction of the sticks and mud within. There was a deft craftsmanship about their construction that stemmed from the artistic bent of their forebears. North Carolina chimney builders have developed no such architecture. They were the sort that one expects to find on comfortable farm houses in Normandy.

In 1926, there appeared first in The News and Observer of Raleigh, and later in The News Reporter of Whiteville, a story written by Ben Dixon MacNeill which told of the origin of Crusoe Island, a Columbus County spot in the remote swamps of the Waccamaw River, where the hardy inhabitants once lived both in utter ignorance and almost completely out of touch with the rest of the world.

Their story is a strange, tragic tale, fraught with bitter irony and stark destitution, yet withal, displaying an indomitable will to survive and keep alive in the new world the type of courage which was a part and parcel of the settlers who followed in the wake of Columbus.

Mr. Dixon declared that “those chimneys are the last material survival of the first new world civilization.” How they came into the deep, remote swamps of the Waccamaw and remained to give a touch of Normandy to the remoteness of a new world settlement, is a tale of heroic struggle and epic sorrow which only recent years have begun to reward.

It's a story, the beginning of which reaches back 440 years ago, when the Island of Haiti fell under the scourge of Spain's new policy of colonization. Unable to bring the Haiti Indians to terms, the Spaniards instituted a campaign of extermination and for ten years hunted them through jungles, drove them into the mountains and killed them wherever they found them, until the natives were forced to sue for peace.

With the natives out of the way, the Spaniards set about the establishment of a civilization of their own, only to find that they must have help. There followed one of the greatest slavery investments in history, resulting in the bringing of thousands of Negroes to Haiti. The Spaniards grew fat and prosperous, and Haiti became the “gem of the Spanish settlements in the new world.”

But, alas, the very wealth of Haiti became its own undoing. A century and a half later, when the Buccaneer was organized to prey upon the wealth of the Indies, Haiti became the most coveted island of the pirates who seized it and turned it into the capital of piracy in the Indies until the Spanish drove them out and off the seas.

Logging on Crusoe

The island then passed into the hands of France, under the terms of the Peace Ryswick. In order to neutralize the Spanish population, the French began to heavily colonize the island, but unlike the Spanish, the French were destined to have a head-on clash with the Negroes who, as the only instance in history, defeated the whites. In the Negro uprising in 1790-91, the cruelty of the blacks in their extermination of the whites was ten times greater than that of the Spanish in exterminating the natives nearly 300 years before.

Among the few who escaped the island was a handful of French settlers who found refuge on a small boat that had escaped falling into the hands of the triumphant Negroes. “They brought nothing with them. Of their household properties, of their money, of their cattle, nothing was left. A few simple tools and a few pieces of firearms were the remnant of their estates with which they escaped.”

Intent only on escape, they sailed with the ship wherever it was bound. It so happened that Wilmington was the destination

port. Landing on the west bank of the Cape Fear River somewhere on the coast of Brunswick—according to prevailing tradition—they pushed inland “fearing lest they be pursued by the rampant blacks.” When they arrived on the river Waccamaw, they found scattered settlements of people to whom they were related, a people of Portuguese extraction who had pushed inland from the river when the Buccaneers were combing the South Atlantic.

“Among these people, they began their lives anew. Probably no colonists ever came to America in so destitute a state as were these fugitives from Haiti when they landed in Brunswick in 1792, and probably none came to a wilder land than is the swamp country lying on either side of the Waccamaw River between the lake and the sea. But they were safe from the menace of the savage blacks.”

The wilderness swallowed them up. The state government, unaware of their presence, let them alone. They cleared some land and engaged in primitive agriculture. From the river they gathered fish and from the swamps, game. Only the river was their outlet and that led to the sea. Egress from the island was so difficult that few ventured to market to sell their furs and to bring in a few tools to help them till the soil and carry on their simple means of making a livelihood.

During a century of struggle in which they grappled with the stark realities of necessity, they lived shut up to themselves. They had their own way of doing things, a way which was primitive socially, economically and religiously. From the great cypress timbers of the swamplands, they hewed their own boats. Informality marked their social contacts, yet a stern code of morality governed their island society. They made their own liquor, did their own fighting and attended to their own killings.

Traditions brought with them from happier days in France and bloodier days in Haiti grew dim. What was not absolutely necessary to their existence, they forgot. As Mr. MacNeill put it, “They forgot the art of written speech, and slowly they began to forget the mother tongue of France. Rudimentary English, pronounced in a strange accent, began to take its place.

“They forgot even how to spell their names, they called them as they were pronounced in the happier days of France and the bloodier days of Haiti. They forgot the ways of the priest at confessional and the holy rites that had place in their lives . . .

“But their chimneys, they did not forget. When they built their first houses and put chimneys at the end of them, built of sticks and mud, they shaped them as they had learned in France to shape them. They kept the gentle curving grace of line, and the uncouth sticks and mud, they covered with white clay that is found there in the swamps, and polished them and smoothed them until they looked like weathered marble.”

The influence of a new language took its toll of French spelling and French pronunciation. Their names changed under the weight of English influence. DeSaucierre became Sasser without the “de” prefix. Cluveiries became Clewis. Still among them are names of definite French extraction—Dubois, Hewitt, Formy Duvall, Dupre, and others.

One must use his imagination now to picture the Crusoe Island of those earlier, darker years. A bridge has been built across the river and roads run onto the island. The children of Crusoe Islanders attend school at Old Dock-Nakina, an accredited grammar school across the river, to which a high school has this year been added. Skirted by the torturous windings of the Waccamaw River, the island is no longer the remote, secluded region of those other years. They have their own cars and what was once a three-day journey to Whiteville, may now be made in less than an hour. And even the chimneys now are gone.

The island population, once neglected by county officials, has accepted Columbus County and in turn Columbus County has accepted them. Roads, schools and legislation are adapted to the island's needs. They are good farmers and a fine, friendly folk who are admired for the courage they and their forebears have displayed.

But the definite French flavor remains—the musical accent with its lingering emphasis on final syllables, the robust gusto with which they tell their stories, their picturesque gestures in conversation, and their fine, friendly manners.

In recent years their story has been dramatized by the Carolina Playmakers, whose story, “Crusoe Islanders,” is one of the finest expressions of Carolina folklore.

Waccamaw Indians inhabited Columbus County prior to the coming of the white man. A few people of mixed blood still live in the northern section of the county.

Columbus County has four tobacco markets—Whiteville, Tabor City, Chadbourn, and Fair Bluff. The four markets have 16 warehouses.

Making shingles on Crusoe

John George Butler

The southern section of Columbus County has produced no more outstanding and influential citizen than the late John George Butler (1857-1929) who served for eight years as sheriff of the county, one term as member of the House of Representatives from Columbus County, two terms as member of the Board of Audit and Finance Committee (this board was abolished in 1915), and two years as a member of the County Board of Commissioners.

It would be unfair, however, to cite his political offices alone as evidence of his position as a county and community leader. Of greater influence than his public life, were his personal qualities reflected day after day through his generosity, his neighborliness, his honesty, his business integrity, and his sincere Christian character.

Mr. Butler was born in Pireway June 1, 1857. He was educated in part in the rural schools adjacent to his home and in the old Whiteville Academy. Upon the completion of his education, he joined his father. Joseph F. Butler, in business at Pireway. During the horse and buggy days this business was a godsend to the people of that section of the county, there being times when two to three hundred buggies could be seen around the store at one time.

People still distinguish between Old Pireway and New Pireway. Old Pireway was the village about one mile from the river ferry which is the site of the New Pireway. In 1888, Old Pireway was an incorporated town. Turpentine stills were operated by G. K. Gore and Sam Thomas at Old Pireway, while Mr. Butler operated a still at New Pireway where his general store was also located.

On January 8, 1882, Mr. Butler was married to Christiana Virginia Butler, who still survives him at the age of 90 years. To this union were born six daughters and two sons, all of whom were strongly influenced by the unassuming prosperity and quiet happiness of their parents.

In business, Mr. Butler was a marked success, he at one time during his life having been wealthy. The fact that he was less financially secure at the time of his death was attributed to his kindly concern for all in need and his generosity toward them. He early became one of the most extensive landowners in Columbus County.

In 1898, he was elected sheriff of the county, which position he held for eight years. In this capacity he was both fearless and conscientious. In 1908, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives for Columbus County. This position he held for one term. In 1913, he became a member of the Board of Audit and Finance Committee. He served on this board until it was abolished in 1915. In 1924, he was elected to the County Board of Commissioners, holding this position for two years.


Converted in his youth, Mr. Butler lived a devout Christian life, serving for 40 years as a member of the Board of Stewards of the Methodist Church and choir leader until his death.

In 1920, he and his family moved to Tabor City. Nine years later, January 1, 1929, he died.

He was a refined type of gentleman, holding the respect of all who knew him. Strong in politics, he was never the cheap or unfair politician. A great humanitarian, he never coveted wealth except for the use he could make of it in serving his community and county. Dead now for 17 years, his influence is still strongly felt in Columbus County, particularly in that section to which he was native and to which he gave his life.

In an issue of The News Reporter published shortly after his death, the following tribute to Mr. Butler appeared: “We learn from his life what a splendid thing truth is when one has courage to speak it. We acknowledge with profoundest respect what a wonderful thing religion becomes when inseparably entwined with the activities of a long and useful life, full of charity and kindness to all who knew him.

“Deeds are the milestones along the road we travel, and so it was that he, with kind, considerate, courteous and generous actions, bound to himself thousands of friends in all the divergent pathways of business and pleasure, and thus with his own sympathy and understanding so freely given, he received in return love and honor wherever known, and was best loved and best honored where best known.”

There are 933 square miles within the limits of Columbus—the third largest county in area in North Carolina.

Columbus County was named for Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America.

Hogs and poultry are grown in Columbus County in quantities and shipped out to the markets at satisfactory prices to producers.


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Columbus Men

Obviously, it would be too great an undertaking to attempt to portray the deeds of heroism of Columbus County men in a great war within the space of a brief article. The number of Columbus men who served in the War between the States were far too many to chronicle their deeds, even if all were known, in so short a treatment as this article permits.

All that we can hope to do is to trace in broad outline the major engagements participated in by Columbus men in that conflict, with occasional references to individuals whose names appear in the record. In doing this, we are painfully conscious that the greatest heroism cannot be recorded, because, as in all wars, the biggest job is done by the combat infantrymen whose deeds of heroism are too numerous for the historian to record, and whose names become lost in the sheer mass of numbers.

The information contained within this article has been gathered from numerous sources, chief of which has been Clark's five-volume “North Carolina Regiments.” Included in that record is the history of the Twentieth North Carolina commanded by Col. T. F. Toon, native of Columbus County, and highest ranking officer from this county in the Confederate armies.

For a roster of Columbus County troops, we have had available, two; one compiled by Mrs. H. L. Lyon of Whiteville and the other by Mrs. Mary Taylor Anderson. In some instances, the rolls of these two rosters do not coincide, with one or two glaring instances of disagreements. Available also have been the records of the Columbus County Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It would be interesting, indeed, if these U. D. C. records could be produced in full, but since all of them can't, we are refraining from reproducing any. They have been used in this study largely for cross-checking purposes. The members of that organization have lovingly kept alive the memory of those gallant sons of the South who wrote their heroism in the blood and sacrifice of the sixties.

The record of Columbus men during that war is written largely in the records of the following regiments: the 18th, the 20th, the 36th, the 51st, the 54th, the 72nd, and the 73rd. Mrs. Mary Taylor Anderson's roster also lists the 64th as containing a company of Columbus men. Her roster lists the names of 79 men who served in this regiment, while Mrs. Lyon's roster lists only 12. Since this regiment was composed largely of men from the western part of the state, we are inclined not to accept the accuracy of the Anderson roster. Moreover, the names listed as Columbus County men are by and large unfamiliar names in this county. A small number of Columbus men were found also in the 4th, 15th, 7th, 33rd, and 61st regiments, and the 1st battalion.

For a record of Columbus men during the Confederacy the history of the 18th, 20th, and 36th regiments forms the most complete account. For within these regiments were the bulk of Columbus men, there being a total of six companies in the three regiments. This, however, does not give the complete record, for there was one company in each of the following: the 51st, 54th, 72nd, and 73rd. The 72nd regiment was composed of junior reserves between the ages of 17 and 18 years, while the 73rd consisted of senior reserves from 45 to 50 years of age.

The main effort of this article shall be to trace in broad outline the operations of the 18th and 20th regiments with their three companies of Columbus men totaling near 600. According to Mrs. Lyon's roster, there were 316 men in the 18th, and 232 in the 20th.

The Anderson roster lists approximately the same number of men as Mrs. Lyon's in the two regiments but adds the following footnote at the end of her roster of the 20th: “The above is but a small portion of the men of this company (Co. K). It was not reported at all in the Roll of Honor (compiled by Major John W. Moore), and only these names could be found in the archives (of the U. S. War Department) . . .”

The 18th regiment was organized in May or June, 1861, and was composed of ten companies of Cape Fear men, two of which were from Columbus County—Company C which enlisted as The Columbus Guards, and Company H as Columbus Vigilants. Captain Forney George was in command of Company C at the time of the organization, and Captain D. H. Gore in command of Company H. In March, 1862, Captain George was made major of the regiment and was subsequently promoted to lieutenant colonel. He was wounded at Chancellorsville. Since he was a member of the North Carolina legislature, he resigned prior to Gettysburg. His descendants live in the Western Prong section of Columbus. Upon his promotion to major, Lt. C. C. Gore succeeded him as company commander. In April, 1862, the regiment was reorganized, with almost an entire change of officers. Lt. W. K. Gore became commander of Company C, and Lt. M. A. Byrne captain of Company H.1

Other company officers listed in the roster are:2

Company C—Captain John W. Meares, Captain Henyard Long, 2nd Lt. Owen Smith, 2nd Lt. John George Butler, 2nd Lt. Samuel A. Long, 2nd Lt. Edward A. Fowler, and 2nd Lt. W. V. Richardson.

Company H—Captain John W. Ellis, Captain D. N. Gore, Captain V. V. Richardson, 1st Lt. W. G. Baldwin, 2nd Lt. F. J. Simpson, 2nd Lt. Alexander Lewis, 2nd Lt. Archibald McCullom, and 2nd Lt. John D. Elkins.

In the spring of 1862, the regiment was attached to Branch's brigade, which became Lane's brigade when General Branch was killed at Sharpsburg. Thereafter, the history of the 18th North Carolina is also the history of the Branch-Lane brigade. The

regiment participated in every major engagement fought by the Army of Northern Virginia from Seven Pines to Appomatox. Prior to Seven Pines, which was an engagement preliminary to the famous Seven Days around Richmond, the regiment was with Stonewall Jackson in the Valley of Virginia, from which it was detached only to be rejoined for the Seven Days around Richmond when the splendid genius of Jackson was displayed in all its grandeur. Crossing the Chickahominy River at or near Mechanicsville with his corps, Jackson opened the fight by attacking the Federal rear. Upon the opening of Jackson's men in the rear, General Lee advanced in front, and from then on, the 18th North Carolina, with its more than 200 Columbus men, as a part of Jackson's corps, drove the enemy, defeating General McClellan with his splendidly equipped army until they were compelled to take shelter under the guns of their James River fleet.

Casualties among the men of this county were heavy during the “seven days,” with the Battle of Frazier's Farm taking an especially heavy toll.

With Richmond safe, the Eighteenth, still with Jackson, was transferred to Gordonsville, east of Richmond, to meet the threatening advance of the Federal Army now under command of General Pope. At Cedar Mountain, Columbus men helped stem a Federal attack which had put to rout the famous Stonewall brigade. In recognition of this feat, Jackson rode before them with his head bared.3 Columbus men of the 18th were with Jackson on his celebrated flanking march around Pope's right, which resulted in the utter rout of that general at Second Manassas. At Sharpsburg, the Eighteenth arrived with A. P. Hill just in time to prevent a Federal break through Lee's sagging right.

At Chancellorsville, the Eighteenth fired the shots which killed Stonewall Jackson.4 The command to fire was given by Colonel Purdue of Bladen County, who, the next day was killed while gallantly leading his command. It is, therefore, entirely possible that Columbus men, in their eternal vigilance, may have fired the shots which proved fatal to their beloved leader.

At Gettysburg, the Eighteenth, as a part of Lane's brigade, supported Pettigrew, and its dead were found eighty yards further into the Federal works than Pickett's famous command. The Eighteenth was the last to leave the field at Gettysburg and among the last to recross the Potomac with Lee into Virginia.5

The discovery of men of the Eighteenth 80 yards further into the Federal works at Gettysburg than men of Pickett's command, is the basis for the Gettysburg angle of North Carolina's historic Confederate slogan, “First at Bethel, farthest at Gettysburg, and last at Appomatox.”

From Gettysburg to Appomatox, the Eighteenth and its Columbus men fought in every major engagement, first the Wilderness, then Spottsylvania; Second Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and then the march to Appomatox where General Grant passed through the ranks of the Eighteenth to meet Lee, stationed several hundred yards to the rear of its lines.6

At Spottsylvania in the Wilderness, the Eighteenth's corps of sharpshooters, picked men from the regiment, performed gallantly in the presence of General Lee who spoke to General Lane in high praise of their conduct. That was on May 12, 1864. Just previously on May 5, in the Wilderness, Captain V. V. Richardson of Columbus County, of the Sharpshooters Corps, “a gallant officer and second in rank,”7 was severely wounded.

The regiment fought in not less than thirty-five battles, and double that number of skirmishes. It was in both the Maryland and Pennsylvania campaigns, forded the Potomac five times, and crossed it once on a pontoon.8 Finally, at Appomatox, the Eighteenth was preparing to attack when Lee surrendered to Grant.

The roster of the Eighteenth North Carolina contains familiar Columbus County names. There were: Gores, Butlers, Boswells, Bellamys, Meares, Fowlers, Hinsons, Longs, McNeills, Rhodes, Richardsons, Wards, Williams, Williamsons, Baldwins, Bests, Lewis, Thompsons, and Wootens, among the more familiar ones.

The Twentieth North Carolina was organized June 18, 1861, and contained ten companies, three of which were companies of Columbus County men. The history of this regiment is particularly interesting from a Columbus County standpoint, not only because of its three companies of Columbus men, but because in 1863, command of it was given to Col. Thomas F. Toon, Columbus County native, who entered as a private, and who, following the Battle of Spottsylvania when the brigade commander was seriously wounded, was placed in command of the brigade with the temporary rank of brigadier general. It is also interesting because Col. Toon's half brother, W. H. Toon, also of Columbus County, was first major and subsequently lieutenant colonel of the regiment.

The officers of the three Columbus County companies were as follows:9 Company C—Captain Burwell Smith, 1st Lt. Arthur N. Jones, 2nd Lt. William H. Smith, 2nd Lt. Henry Coleman, 2nd Lt. Oliver Williams, 2nd Lt. James B. Williams, 2nd Lt. Giles H. Watson. Company D—Captain J. B. Stanley, Captain J. Franklin Ireland, 1st Lt. William Jasper Stanley, 2nd Lt. Jonathan L. Gore, 2nd Lt. Elisha Collins, 2nd Lt. John F. Garrell, 2nd Lt. William H. Ward, 2nd Lt. John Mills. Company K—Captain William H. Toon, Captain T. F. Toon, Captain James B. Williams, Captain William Gaston Baldwin, 2nd Lt. James Coleman, 2nd Lt. William Johnston, 2nd Lt. McGwin Coleman, 2nd Lt. George W. Cross.

Prior to enlistment in the Confederate Army, the three companies were Columbus Guards Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

In his history of the Twentieth North Carolina contained in Clark's History, Vol. II, Col. Toon describes his regiment as “initiated at Seven Pines, sacrificed at Gettysburg, and surrendered at Appomatox.”

The Twentieth was engaged in most of the major battles during both the rise and fall of the Confederacy. Its baptism of fire came at Seven Pines, soon after it had arrived in Richmond with 1,012 men in its ranks. The first man in the regiment to be wounded was a Columbus County man, Cpl. Alonzo Williamson of Company K. The ball which struck Williamson passed through him and struck T. F. Toon, then captain of Company K.

The regiment missed the Battle of Second Manassas, but subsequently fought at South Mountain and Sharpsburg in the Maryland campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spottsylvania. From thence, it was detached and assigned to the

Army of the Valley under General Early. In the summer of 1861, the regiment, under Toon as brigade commander, took part in an expedition down the Valley against Washington, sighting, on July 10, “the dome of the capitol.”

The winter of 1864 was spent doing picket duty on the Roanoke River. In March, 1865, the regiment fought at Hare's Hill, near Petersburg. Of this battle, Col. Toon, commanding the brigade, wrote: “My regiment led the charge on the works. It was a complete surprise, many of them were killed coming out of their tents by our men, using their guns as clubs. . . . Here I fought my last battle, being desperately wounded, standing on our breastworks rallying our troops to resist an expected enemy attack.” Subsequently, the regiment surrendered with Lee at Appomatox.

Instances of individual valor of Columbas County men are recorded by Col. Toon. He observed the “cool and daring bravery” of Lt. Oliver Williams at Fair Bluff, at Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He relates an instance of outstanding bravery displayed by J. E. Kelly at Winchester in the Valley Campaign.

At Fredericksburg, the first man wounded was W. H. Enzor. At Sharpsburg, the Twentieth fought at Bloody Lane, known to military historians as the scene of one of the bloodiest struggles of history.

At Gettysburg, nearly two hundred of the regiment were captured. At Spottsylvania, the enemy planted his colors upon temporary breastworks erected by the Confederates, but the men of the Twentieth drove him from the works and captured his flag. For this accomplishment, the regiment received the special commendation of General Lee, who ordered that the colors be presented to the State of North Carolina, “as another evidence of the valor and devotion that have made her name eminent in the armies of the Confederacy.”


This regiment contained one company of Columbus men numbering 102.10 William W. Floyd was sergeant major on the regimental staff. Captain O. H. Powell was in command of Company E—Columbus Artillery. Other officers were: 2nd Lt. John Stancell and 2nd Lt. Gabriel G. Pate. The regiment was organized May 14, 1862, at Fort Caswell. It participated in the coastal defense of Confederate blockade runners around Fort Fisher, and assisted brilliantly in the defense of Fort Fisher until it fell in 1865, then retired to Kinston to check a Federal advance from New Bern, fought at Bentonville, and surrendered with Johnston.


The Fifty-fourth had one company of Columbus men, with the following men listed as officers: Captain W. B. Hampton, Captain James A. Thorn and Captain D. V. Rhodes.

Upon completion of its organizations, it was sent to the coast of North Carolina, and after three months’ service on picket duty, was ordered to the Army of North Virginia and temporarily placed in Law's brigade. Its baptism of fire was received at Fredericksburg. During the Gettysburg campaign, the Fifty-fourth was in the Valley, but rejoined Lee after Gettysburg. From then until the end of the war, the regiment saw service in Virginia and North Carolina. It surrendered at Appomatox.


Company H of the Fifty-first was composed of Columbus men. Company officers were: Captain S. W. Maultsby, severely wounded May 16, 1864, at Petersburg; Lt. Lennon, resigned in 1862; Lt. J. A. Meares, wounded at Fort Harrison September 30, 1864; Lt. Jordan Hughes.

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The regiment was organized April 13, 1862, and went into camp near Wilmington. Attached to Clingman's brigade. Saw baptism of fire December 17 at Neuse River bridge near Goldsboro. In February, 1863, the regiment was ordered to Charleston, S. C., thence to Savannah, Ga., then ordered returned to Charleston, where it distinguished itself in defense of Battery Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor. In December, 1863, the regiment was sent to Tarboro, then in January, 1864, to Petersburg. Fought at Second Cold Harbor and Fort Harrison. In December, 1864, ordered to Wilmington for defense of Fort Fisher. Fought at Bentonville and surrendered with Johnston at Bush Hill, N. C., May 2, 1865.


This regiment was composed of junior reserves between the ages of 17 and 18 years. Thirty-three Columbus lads were in Company B composed of men from New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus counties. The company formed a part of the Seventh Battalion of the Seventy-second Regiment.

The regiment was organized in June, 1864, near Wilmington. It did guard duty in Wilmington until the middle of July when it was ordered to Smithville (now Southport) for its protection. On December 9, 1864, was ordered to Belfield, Va., to repel a Federal attack on the Confederate communications system at Weldon. For this achievement, it won a North Carolina legislative commendation. Returned to Wilmington where it participated brilliantly in the defense of Fort Fisher. “One little fellow from Columbus County, whose name is not remembered, being too small to shoot over the parapet, mounted a cannon and fired from there as cooly as if he were shooting squirrels, until he was wounded.”11 Later the regiment saw action at Goldsboro, Kinston, South West Creek, and Bentonville. It surrendered with Johnston May 2, 1865.


The Seventy-third consisted of senior reserves between the ages of 45 and 50 years. Mrs. Anderson's roster lists 97 men from Columbus County in this regiment. There is no complete regimental record of this organization. It was organized in July, 1864, at Salisbury. A portion of the regiment was assigned to duty guarding bridges on lines of railroads along which flowed men and supplies. Others were assigned to guarding prisoners at Salisbury. Their services were useful and indispensable and relieved other troops for service in the field. The regiment was paroled when Johnston surrendered.

These are the records as we have been able to find them. They make a proud story for descendants of these grey veterans to ponder over. Columbus County men did their part in helping to win for the cause of the Confederacy, but when victory had been wrested from them, Columbus men who had won their laurels with Lee and Jackson returned home to take up tasks of peace in the same heroic fashion they had met the foe on the field of battle.

1. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 20.2. Mrs. Anderson's Roster.3. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 29.4. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 39.5. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 43.6. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 62.7. Clark's History, Vol. IV, Page 475.8. Clark's History, Vol. II, Page 77.9. Mrs. Anderson's Roster.10. Mrs. Lyon's Roster.11. Clark's History, Vol. IV, Page 49.

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(Continued from Page 22)

Two conditions contributed largely to this early success of the industry in this county. First, the soil of Columbus County was highly adaptable to strawberry cultivation, and second, because the fruit reaches Eastern markets after Florida has stopped shipping and before Northern markets begin to ship. The Columbus County harvest comes also when the weather in Eastern cities has begun to warm up and the appetite calls for acid fruits.

The market has never regained the proportions of those earlier years, but in some respects it operates on a sounder basis. Prior to 1930, there was no organized system of marketing. In that year, the Chadbourn Marketing Association was organized and a similar association organized for the Tabor City market. The associations set up a system of marketing calling for rigid inspection of berries. The annual operations of the markets are controlled by the officers of the association corporations. The result has been a better type of berry being shipped from both the Tabor City and Chadbourn markets and an even quality in the crates. C. L. Tate of Chadbourn is president of the Chadbourn Marketing Association, while Ben Nesmith of Tabor City is president of the Tabor City association. Both men have been tireless in their efforts to promote the industry, Mr. Tate having made many trips to Washington in the interest of the strawberry producer.

Complete figures on county sales from 1926 through 1929 are unobtainable, but there are figures to indicate sales since 1930 on the Chadbourn market and since 1940 on the Tabor City market. The banner production year during that period was 1942, when combined sales on the Chadbourn and Tabor City markets totaled 306,379 24-quart crates which brought $939,707.87 to Columbus County strawberry farmers.

This year was the record low production year since 1930, when 64,327 crates sold on Chadbourn and Tabor City markets for a war-time ceiling price of $579,425.91. The season's average per crate was $9.26.

This mammoth industry, which has brought millons of dollars in income to Columbus County farmers, stemmed from the vision of one man. With a farseeing eye, Mr. Brown perhaps did not foresee the enormous proportions to which the industry would grow, but he saw clearly that there was strawberry gold in the soil of Columbus County. To the end of ferreting out this gold and seeing it in the pockets of farmers of Columbus, he bent his efforts. Until his death he was the champion of the strawberry. Fortunately many others caught the vision and bent their efforts in the same direction.

Against 50 years of background in Columbus County, the strawberry industry has become a permanent feature of Columbus County agriculture. While the market has not returned to the proportions once attained by it, it has remained vigorous and will

(Continued on Page 93)


Dealers in

• Furniture, Stoves, Ranges

• Bigelow-Sanford Rugs and Carpets

• Philco Radios and Refrigerators

• Boss and Perfection Oil Stoves and Heaters

• Sherwin-Williams Paints

• American Farm Fence

• Hardware, Seeds, etc.


Courthouse Square

Established 1889



Our Funeral Home

Jessup-Inman Funeral Home and Burial Association


Ambulance Service At All Hours



The News Reporter is published semi-weekly for over 6,000 paid-in-advance subscribers, covering an area of diversified farming and markets—an area also rich in many natural resources.

The News Reporter is a progressive local Newspaper, published for progressive people in one of the South's most progressive counties.

Member Associated Press—North Carolina Press Association



Serving Columbus County











MOUNTAIN BURLEY, Nos. 1 and 2, Boone, N. C.

Smart Comfort

for the Columbus County way of living

Simplicity, grace and comfort are reflected in furniture bought from McKenzie's. Taking the best from the old masters and adapting them to fit the modern tempo of our own living—that's McKenzie's way of selecting furniture.

Let us help you enjoy a comfortable, easy, smartly furnished home






The ability to pay farmers top prices for their tobacco year after year, comes from long experience both in the handling and the selling of tobacco.

For many years, TUGGLE'S has accumulated such an experience along these lines as to be able to offer Columbus farmers the best service and the best prices obtainable.

More than from any other single factor, the knowledge of TUGGLE'S tobacconists, derived from long experience, has contributed to year in and year out success in the field of tobacco marketing.




(Continued from Page 89)

continue as an attractive feature of this area. In the words of Mrs. J. A. Brown, who along with her distinguished husband, has championed the cause of the strawberry, “There's a reason for the popularity of the strawberry. It tastes good. You do not have to learn to like it like grapefruit or olives. It appeals to the eye as well. It is wholesome food eaten just so, with sugar and cream, in congealed desserts, or perhaps in its most delicious form—strawberry shortcakes. Seated before a strawberry shortcake, you wonder why some highbrows speak contemptuously of eating. Indeed, it appears at such a moment to be the summum bonum, the supreme object of existence, and you long for the neck of a giraffe so as to prolong the gastronomic joy. You discover with a shock that you have become a gross sensualist, living for the sheer joy of eating, and you want to lynch the man who suggested that the time would come when all food would be taken in condensed form 2nd swallowed as pills or some such horrible way. With your first taste, you know that Fate is your friend. Life's an iridescent dream. The calamity howlers are frauds. Prosperity is abroad in the land. There just ain't no devil. All's right with the world. There's a good time coming, boys, and nothing is too good to be true.”

The story of the strawberry in Columbus County is one of the great stories of the county's history.

BAILEY'S_____ DRUG STORE Fair Bluff, North Carolina

The Rexall Store





You'll always find Tomorrow's Fashions here today




SuitsKnox HatsCoatsShirts
Work Clothes



Old Roads in Columbus

The pattern of roads in Columbus County in 1840 was essentially the same as it is today.

There was a road from Tabor City to Whiteville which continued from Whiteville to Clarkton and intersected in Whiteville with the Whiteville-Lumberton, the Whiteville-Fair Bluff, and the Whiteville-Wilmington roads.

A road from Whtieville to Shallotte followed essentially the site of the present road bed. There was also a road from Fair Bluff to Reeves Ferry via Clarendon, and a road from Sandy Bluff in South Carolina to Pireway. This road entered Columbus County one mile due south of Tabor City.

But though the road pattern is essentially the same, the 1840 road type was far different. According to Minos Mears of Tabor City, one of the oldest residents in Columbus County, the Whiteville-Tabor City road, which extended on to Conway, S. C., was free of grass, while all other roads in the county were three-track roads with grass growing between the tracks. The three tracks consisted of one for each pair of buggy wheels, and one in the center for the animal drawing the vehicle.

The road law then required the road to open 16 feet across, with 14 feet clear of stumps. The roads were maintained by free labor, with an appointed overseer for assigned road sections. The overseer would summon helpers who were required by law to help keep the roads in condition.



United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co.


Insurance Service for 24 Years

“Don't Take a Chance—Take a Policy”



In Columbus County Where Tobacco Is King—

Golden weed producers were paid two and one-half million dollars for their 1945 crop on our warehouse floors. Our experienced personnel annually brings top prices to thousands of farmers in Columbus County and throughout the Border Belt.

Farmers Warehouse




A. H. MOORE — Proprietors — L. R. JACKSON

Dealers in—



Skilled Mechanics in Diesel tractors, conventional type tractors, and trucks.


“Your International Harvester Dealer”


For the High Dollar . . .



It is indeed a privilege to serve the farmers of Columbus County in the marketing of their crops, and it will be our endeavor to pay them the highest market prices in years to come, as we have in the past.


The average price paid for tobacco last year by our warehouse surpassed the highest average of any border belt market

Columbus County

Ages 6-21Bonded Indebtedness for School PurposesValue of buildings, sites and equipment
19028,0921915$ 26,000.001895$ 10,000.00

Enrollment in SchoolsNo. of School Districts
19217,911No. of Consolidated Schools1902103

Average Length of TermExpenditures for school purposes
18692½ monthsNumber of Teachers
18852½ months1895661869$ 1,697.00
19023½ months190210618847,219.07
19216 months192125419008,210.57
19348 months19343001921237,954.16
19378 months19373221934269,249.96
19459 months19453651937390,230.76

An Institution

in Columbus County for 25 years

Our many friends and long association in this county make us feel that we have contributed no small amount toward the building of a great county. In the tobacco industry, the name LEA means the best in marketing facilities and the highest prices to the thousands of farmers who sell their tobacco in our warehouse annually. We shall continue to exert our best effort toward furthering tobacco culture and all other worthwhile industries in Columbus County.




Come to MANN's for all the things to wear for the entire family

Manhattan Ties and ShirtsBarbizon Lingerie
Underwear and PajamasDresses, Suits and Coats
Hart-Schaefner and Marx SuitsArcher Hosiery
Florsheim, Nunn-Bush ShoesHeel-Latch Shoes
Work ClothesStar Brand Shoes



A Dollar's Worth of Merchandise for a Dollar

Portrait and commercial Photography QUALITY WORK ONLY





Sell Your Tobacco at the

CAROLINA WAREHOUSE in Tabor City, North Carolina

“The fastest growing market in the border belt”


Seasoned tobacconists, experienced personnel, many years of faithful service to the tobacco farmers of the border belt.

Statistics Relating to Columbus County

Male, 25 years old and over9,632
No school years completed (and thus classed as illiterate)892
Grade school
1 to 4 years2,545
5 or 6 years1,816
7 or 8 years1,972
High school
1 to 3 years1,207
4 years520
1 to 3 years251
4 years or more219
Not Reported210
Female, 25 years or older9,168
No school years completed736
Grade school
1 to 4 years1,948
5 or 6 years1,727
7 or 8 years1,965
High school
1 to 3 years1,273
4 years687
1 to 3 years403
4 years or more273
Not Reported156
Indian school years completed7.1
* Fact about Columbs Conty, by B. Gordon Lewis

Male (21 years of age and older)11,322
Female (21 years of age and older)10,978

Under 5 years5,84340 to 44 years2,072
5 to 9 years5,77245 to 49 years1,908
10 to 14 years5,56550 to 54 years1,668
15 to 19 years5,21555 to 59 years1,296
20 to 24 years4,46860 to 64 years966
25 to 29 years3,76365 to 69 years821
30 to 34 years3,00470 to 74 years395
35 to 39 years2,46675 years and over441


Number of Establishments: 36.

Wage Earners (yearly average): 813.

Annual Wages: $363,634.

Cost of Materials, supplies, fuel, purchased electric energy, and contract work: $1,179,272.

Rural land area (3 or more acres)576,000 acres
Total acres in farms (1945 census)287,691 acres
Cropland120,000 acres
Idle farm land7,000 acres
Pasture land5,800 acres
Woodlands443,000 acres
Work stock5,900 head
Milk cows3,100 head
Brood sows2,360 head
Laying hens130,000 head
People living on farms (1940)32,299
Number farms in county5,776
Number white operators4,102
Number non-white operators1,861

N. C. Farm Survey, 1945 Crop Reporting Service,

N. C. Department of Agriculture.

Bogue2,837South Williams3,891
Bug Hill1,761Waccamaw928
Cerro Gordo2,634Welches Creek1,569
Chadbourn4,632Western Prong1,103
Fair Bluff2,436Whiteville8,947
1940 Census

1933 through 1944
YearCounty ProductionBorder Belt Average Price
193317,952,000 lbs.$12.80
193411,911,000 lbs.22.60
193517,604,000 lbs.19.50
193615,681,000 lbs.20.71
193721,491,000 lbs.21.56
193820,547,000 lbs.22.59
193929,168,000 lbs.15.04
194019,153,000 lbs.15.34
194115,846,000 lbs.25.57
194220,393,000 lbs.37.81
194319,230,000 lbs.39.25
194426,376,000 lbs.43.25

TobaccoSweet Potatoes
Bug Hill1338.6511.6
Cerro Gordo1726.1474.7
Fair Bluff1138.8326.8
South Williams1458.5517.9
Welches Creek1116.6111.0
Western Prong966.056.2


There's a FORD in your future at the new home of Waccamaw Motor Co.



Commerce Street



For Higher Tobacco Prices

NELSON'S in Whiteville

52 Years15 Years24 Years

91 Years of Tobacco SELLING EXPERIENCE

Every year in the past of those 91 years of combined selling your tobacco has been a pleasure. We strive at all times to get you more money for your crops, and hope that you will continue to bring your tobacco to the place where your father and your grandfather sold.


“A House Whose Growth Has Been Based Upon the Confidence of Its Customers”


Timberland Owners and Operators for over 60,000 acres of Columbus County

Tree farm


342 Madison Avenue

New York 17, N. Y.

Bolton, North Carolina

What More Could You Ask for. . .

Riding In A New Ford and Living in Columbus County

A Winning Combination

Buy a new FORD . . . excellent for farm, travel. Just the automobile for hauling your rich crops to market. And for pleasure and luxury . . . it has large, roomy seats, most modern and easy-to-drive styles.



J. L. LEWIS, President

JAMES W. PEAY, Sec'y.-Treas.


Select Your Farm Mules and Mares from Lewis-Peay Stables


Highest Tobacco Prices to Columbus County Farmers for 13 Years

We appreciate the loyal patronage of our thousands of farmer friends and pledge our continued best service





BLACK'S_____ _____Service Station


Whiteville, N. C. Phone 110-1

☆ PennsylvaniaTIRES


For your POST-WAR needsinFurniture, General Hardware, FertilizersandFarm Implements . . .


W.F.COX Furniture Company



The D. J. HUGHES Company

“Tabor City's Oldest Manufacturing Plant”

• CRATES (strawberry and dewberry)




• Tabor City, North Carolina


Knows Tobacco Growers’ Interest on the Farm and Warehouse Floor.


“Service That Satisfies”



The Aim—the Goal of Every Thinking Man

Today, more than ever before in the history of the world. Security is the vital thought in the minds of thinking men and women everywhere.

Life Insurance provides the security for which everyone is constantly striving. As long as men and women grow old and die—as long as fathers and mothers love their children—as long as bread and milk are bought with money—life insurance will continue to satisfy the longings of human nature for better things in a better world.

Atlantic Life writes all regular plans of Life, Endowment and Term Insurance to cover all specific needs from birth to age 65, and at low guaranteed cost. Provide now for security for yourself and family through the purchase of adequate life insurance.

Organized in 1899, Atlantic Life is the oldest Southern Company writing ordinary life insurance exclusively.


General Agent


Tabor City, North Carolina

BILL WRIGHT, Tabor City, N. C.A. B. POWELL, Whiteville, N. C.
J. H. WARD, Clarendon, N. C.JOHN M. BARKLEY, Whiteville, N. C.
ELLIS D. MEARES, Fair Bluff, N. C.R. S. TROY, Rose Hill, N. C.
E. H. MUNROE, Clarkton, N. C.GLENN W. BOWERS, Kenansville, N. C.


Serves Columbus County

For 20 years we have served this county with an unprejudiced devotion. We have watched the upward trend toward a greater county in agriculture and industry, until, now it stands out among the leading counties of the state. We say “Hats off to Columbus County.”


Have been boosted by your loyalty. As a friend, we pledge to continue to serve you by giving you the best in merchandise at reasonable prices.

When we speak of the best we mean nationally advertised brands, such as:

For Women

• GORGEOUS FROCKS by Georgiana, Lynbrook, Carol King, Clara Kay, Clara Jane.

• COATS by Mary Land


• HOSIERY by Claussner, Kyser

• HATS by Brewster

• FINE SHOES by Foot Rest, Air Step, Tweedies

For Men

• SHIRTS by Arrow and Wings

• SUITS AND OVERCOATS by Griffon and Curlee

• HATS by Dobbs

• TIES by Wimbley and Arrow

• BELTS by Hickok

• PAJAMAS by Jayson

• UNDERWEAR by Hanes

• FINE SHOES by Jarman and Fortune

Daily Radio Broadcasts



Whiteville, North Carolina



Complete Banking Service


Checking and Savings Accounts Invited Commercial and Industrial Loans

S. L. BRAXTONChairman of Board
R. L. SHOLARVice-President
S. L. FULLERVice-President
C. B. SEARSCashier
JAS. H. FOYLESAss't. Cashier

J. R. MARKSFarm Implement Dealer
W. F. SLEDGELumber Manufacturer
R. L. SHOLARAuto Dealer
L. A. MEARESHardware Dealer & Mfgr.
W. C. BLACKTire Dealer
J. H. LEDERDepartment Store
S. L. FULLERLivestock Dealer
S. L. BRAXTONAuto Parts Distributor

Member Federal Reserve System

Member Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, all deposits insured up to $5,000.00.

Columbus County, North Carolina, 1946
Columbus County, North Carolina, 1946 : a review of Columbus County from an historical, agricultural, commercial, industrial, municipal and photographic standpoint / James A. Rogers, editor. Whiteville, N.C. : The News Reporter, 1946. 108 p. : ill., ports. ; 32 cm.
Original Format
Local Identifier
F262.C6 C64X
Location of Original
Joyner NC Stacks Oversize
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