Johnston county: economic and social

JOHNSTON COUNTY:Economic and Socialby W. M. SANDERS Jr. G. Y. RAGSDALEA Laboratory Study in the Rural Social Science Department of the University of North Carolina The Expense of Publication and Distribution is Borne by the Advertising and Gifts of Wide-awake and Gen- erous Business Men of the County. We wish to Extend to Them our Heartiest Appre- ciation and Best WishesJUNE 13, 1922




Historical Background9
Natural Resources, Industries and Opportunities20
Facts About the Folks33
Wealth and Taxation39
Six-Year Gains in White Schools, 1914-15 to 1920-2146
Home Raised Food and the Local Market Problem61
Things to be Proud of in Johnston70
Our Problems and Their Solution76
Iron Ore in Johnston County83


We wish to extend our heartiest thanks to the business men of Johnston county who have made this bulletin possible by means of their advertisements, for it was due to their generosity in giving us advertisements that makes it possible. To them we are very grateful.

The authors are also indebted to various public officials who have supplied us with information in regard to their departments, and also to private individuals, and we appreciate the interest shown by them. In particular are we grateful to Dr. E. C. Branson, head of the Rural Social Economics Department of the University, and to his assistant, Professor S. H. Hobbs, Jr. These two gentlemen guided us throughout the preparation and publication of the bulletin, giving us suggestions, and directed us in the use of state and county studies that have been prepared by this Department during the last eight years.

University of North Carolina.

June 13, 1922.




S. H. HOBBS, Jr.

Department of Rural Social Economics, University of North Carolina.

Johnston County: Economic and Social, is the work of two University students from Johnston county, prepared under the supervision, and from the files of the Rural Social Economics Department of the State University. This is the ninth county bulletin to be printed by University students, and it is a county bulletin unique in the entire nation. Nowhere else in America are college students taking accurate stock of their home counties and passing the information on to the home folks. Elsewhere people know about their state and county in several ways; but in this small book you will find accurate information about your county and state, how your county ranks with other counties in North Carolina, what you have, what you need to have, and suggestions for making Johnston a great and better county.

The preparation of this bulletin has been a vital experience in the lives of its editors. They know more about Johnston county than any two dozen people who have spent their entir lives within her borders. They have completely and thoroughly prepared a study that wil be of enduring value. They have made it possible for Johnston to get a look at herself for the first time, and in the main she looks good, great. But she has weak spots. Her weaknesses have been pointed out and remedies suggested.

We sincerely urge the teachers, preachers, farmers, lawyers, doctors, all thinking people, to study the contents of this valuable book on your home county that you may love her better for knowing her better, and, knowing her needs, be willing to remedy them.

Chapel Hill, N. C.

June 13, 1922.



Smithfield, N. C.

Johnston County was formed in the year 1746, largely from Craven county, which at that time embraced a large part of the Coastal Plains area of North Carolina. New Bern was then the center of government; all the trials were held there, taxes were paid there, and for every detail of governmental affairs, the interested party had to go to New Bern. Because of the growing population, as a matter of expediency, a charter was granted by the Colonial Assembly for the formation of Johnston county. The county is named for Gabriel Johnston then governor of the province of North Carolina. Governor Johnston was “a man of learning, and did much to advance the interests of the Colony over which he presided, and the happiness of the people.” Out of love and veneration for this gentleman the county was named Johnston.

Smithfield is the county seat. In the early days of the colonization of America it was a center of political and social life. Smithfield is situated 28 miles southeast of Raleigh, on the Neuse river. An old tradition has it that Smithfield missed being the State capital by one vote, a vote cast by a Johnston county representative to the Assembly; but of this I have been able to find no record. Very few traces of the old aristocratic bearing of the town are in evidence today.

The county of Johnston is located in the east central part of the State. On the north it is bounded by Nash, Wilson, and Franklin counties; on the east by Wayne and Wilson; on the south by Sampson and Harnett; and on the west by Wake and Harnett. It has a present day population of 48,998, as compared with 11,860 in 1850, at that time ranking 20th, today ranking 8th. In 1850 there were $1,437 paid in taxes for common schools. The total taxes paid in that year were $1,840. There were then 142 whites over 21 years of age that could neither read nor write; six deaf and dumb; 14 idiotic and insane; and 7 blind.

The climate is delightful, affording splendid crop weather, without excess of heat, rain or cold. Towards the west the contour of the county begins to roll, and gives the scenery characteristic of the mid-state counties. There are abundant pasture lands and a goodly amount of low grounds bordering rivers and creeks, especially the Neuse, the largest stream in the county. The county is noted for its cotton and tobacco; in the production of both these commodities it is one of the state leaders.

The earliest inhabitants of Johnston were Tuscaroras, an Indian tribe of great size and strength. There is ample evidence of their existence still to be found, such as a few tomahawks, peace pipes, and an abundance of arrow heads in certain sections. It is interesting to note that, as the white race began to move in, there was at no time any friction between the two races. The earliest settlers of the county were Scotch.

Many of them moved further west into the Piedmont section, but those that remained made hardy settlers, and by them the early fate of the county was determined. They prospered here. The rich lands yielded good crops, and its many pines made the turpentine industry a popular one. The English came in later, and in hearty co-operation these two races began to shape the destiny of the county.

Johnston is divided into 18 townships: Bentonville, Meadow, Banner, Boon Hill, Beulah, Wilders, Ingrams, Pleasant Grove, Cleveland, Elevation, O'Neals, Selma, Wilson's Mills, Pine Level, Clayton, Micro, and Smithfield.

Revolutionary Period

In the early days of the colonization of North Carolina, Johnston county played no mean part. One of the leading men of that time, Colonel Needham Bryan, was from Johnston. He attended practically every patriotic gathering held in the Colony as a representative of Johnston county. He was active as a leader, both in his county and state. It is interesting to note at this point that one of the Bryans—Needham Bryan, Needham Bryan, Jr., Hardy Bryan, John Bryan or William Bryan—served the county in practically every Assembly and Revolutionary Congress from 1760 to 1788. At some of the Assemblies at least two of the Bryans served together. In 1921 a letter was published in the Herald from the mother of these boys, which was sent to two of them while they were serving with the revolutionary forces during the Revolutionary War.

The first and second meetings of the Provincial Council were

held at the Court House in Smithfield on October 18, 1775, and December 18, 1775, respectively. Benjamin Williams, who served as a Representative to the Colonial Assembly from Johnston county in 1775, and to the Revolutionary Congress in August 1774 and August 1775, served as a lieutenant in the Second Regiment of the Rebel forces, the first Continental Army ever organized. Richard Caswell made his first appearance on the political stage as a Representative to the Colonial Assembly from Johnston county in 1754. A large part of the troops under Col. James Moore who fought the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge were from Johnston county. The first iron blast furnace ever to be used in North Carolina was in Johnston county. A great number of the Revolutionary War troops came from Johnston, and this same county furnished a great amount of food for those troops.

A clause in the bill providing for the formation of Johnston county provided for the establishment of the first county parish. In those days the established church was the Church of England, and every county was a parish. The Johnston county parish was called “Saint Patrick's Parish,” and the first vestrymen were: Simon Bright, John Herring, Thos. McClendon, John Beeton, Abraham Boyd, Ambrose Airis, John Irons, John Carraway, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Robert Raeford, and John Beaker.

The first county court ever held in Johnston was held in the dwelling house of one Francis Stringer, who operated a ferry on the Neuse river. This was because the county court house had not yet been completed. The first county commissioners were Willam Eaton, Francis Stringer, William Persons, and James Macklenean.


The contract for the first Academy in Johnston county was let June 23, 1804. It was known as the Averasborough Academy, at Averasborough. Contracts for the construction of the Smithfield Academy, situated in Smithfield, were let on August 10, 1812. The dimensions were 22 feet by 40 feet, “two stories hight, and with such conveniences as are necessary for an Academy.” This Academy was opened for the first time on October 11, 1813, under the direction of Dr. Willie N. White. An advertisement published in New Bern in that month read, “Board can be had for four or five dollars at convenient and respectable houses.”

The minutes of the State Legislature for the 1832 session read


“Monday, January 9, 1832. Mr. Thompson presented a bill to raise a fund to establish free schools in the County of Johnston, and for the government thereof, which was read for the first time and passed.”—(Senate Journal, 1831-32, Page 112.)

“Monday afternoon, January 9, 1832. A bill to raise a fund to establish free schools in the County of Johnston, and the government thereof, was read the second time and passed, and ordered to be engrossed.”—(Senate Journal 1831-32. Page 115.)

“Tuesday, January 13, 1832. A bill to raise funds for the establishment of free schools in the County of Johnston, and the management thereof, was read for the first time and passed.”—(House Journal 1831-32. Pages 18, 242 and 243.)

“Friday, January 16, 1832. A bill engrossed to raise funds to establish free schools in the County of Johnston, and for the management thereof, was read for the second and third times, passed, and ordered to be enrolled.”—(House Journal 1831-32. Page 252.)

The Representative to the Senate from Johnston county at this time was David Thompson. The members of the House from Johnston were Josiah Houlder and Ashley Sanders.

Civil War Period

During the War Between the States, Johnston county furnished a great number of troops, her valiant sons answered the call for men in great numbers. One of the final battles of the war was fought in the southern part of the county on March 19, 1865. On the eighteenth in the early morning, General Wade Hampton, commanding a part of Johnston's army, placed his men across the Bentonville road in an attempt to block the approach of the advance guard of Sherman's Army which was on its way to Goldsboro to join another division of the Union troops; together they were to march to Richmond and join with Grant in an attempt to capture Lee's army. General Hampton's army was placed at the spot where the Smithfield-Fayetteville and the Fayetteville-Goldsboro roads crossed. He wished to hold the advancing Yankee troops in check until General Johnston could arrive from Smithfield with his army. General Johnston arrived that night, and the battle began early on the next day.

The fighting was severe and continued for several hours. Great bravery was displayed on both sides, and the personal achievements of the officers won great praise. The Confederates were victorious at first, and hopes for the victory were high. But gradually

Union troops arrived, and the Confederates were slowly pushed back. When Johnston realized that owing to the superior numbers of the enemy he would sooner or later be surrounded and captured, he gave orders for a retreat, and his army took the road for Raleigh without further molestation from Sherman's army, whose wish was to get to Goldsboro at the earliest moment. This was the last of the important battles of the Civil War that took place east of the Mississippi river.

The Confederate casualties were reported at 239 killed, 1,694 wounded, and 673 missing—a total of 2,606. They reported that 903 prisoners were captured. Before this disastrous battle, Johnston and his army had been camping at Elevation. The battle ground still bears marks of the struggle, but is in a very bad condition. Many of the buried bodies have been rooted up by animals, and the straying of cattle over the field gives it a very bad appearance today.

On the 22nd of March, Johnston and his army were back in Smithfield on their way to Raleigh. Generals Bragg and Hoke were also with him.


Smithfield is the largest and oldest town in the county, and is the county seat. It was incorporated and granted its charter by the General Assembly that met in New Bern August 25, 1775. The town was named for a family of Smiths whose descendants are still residing in the town. John Smith, and according to Mrs. George W. Woodard of Brevard, N. C., “the original John Smith,” was born in March, 1687. He moved from Virginia in 1742, and settled in Johnston county. He gave the land on which the Johnston County Court House now stands, and out of respect and veneration for this gentleman the town was named Smithfield. He served as the first Representative of the county in the Colonial Assembly in 1746. He continued to serve for the remainder of his life, the last session that he attended being in January 1773. He died some time after this, and was buried on the left bank of the Neuse river, back of the old Methodist Church.

Smithfield has been visited by several important statesmen and high officials. Daniel Webster practiced law in the county for some time, and court has always been held here. William Jennings Bryan made a speech here in the early spring of 1920 before one of the largest gatherings that has ever been witnessed in the county. Generals Joseph E. Johnston, Bragg, and Wade Hampton all spent a short while here before and after the

Battle of Bentonville. The house in which they were entertained is still standing.

Smithfield has suffered several hard blows in the course of her lifetime. One of these was (according to tradition) that she lacked only one vote of becoming the State Capital. Another was when a Smithfield man cast the deciding vote as to the location of the Southern Railway. He feared that the smoke and noise would be injurious to the quiet life of the village, and that the health of someone might be impaired by the gases from the smoke; consequently he cast his vote as favoring running the road farther north. Another blow was suffered when the proposed Goldsboro-Salisbury railway project was abandoned after the tracks had been laid from Goldsboro to Smithfield. Today the town is fast increasing in population and, with the hearty co-operation of all the citizens, it is progressing in every way.

Wilson's Mills is the second oldest town in the county. Its history is more the history of a family than is the case with any other town in the county. T. M. Wilson was its first citizen. This man founded the town, and the Wilson family still lives there and owns a large part of the property in and around it. But the Wilsons, though they own much property and have done much toward the upbuilding of the town, are by no means the sole factors in her continued upbuilding and progress. There are many families in the little town, and they all work together, especially when it means something for community betterment The town was named and chartered in 1868. It was not incorporated in 1920.

Johnston's third oldest town is Pine Level. As the name indicates, nature played a part in the christening of this little city. Away back in the days of the hardy pioneers, there were great forests of pine in this section, and the surface of the ground was more or less level. Hence the name. The citizens of this little city all pull together, and they believe that there is nothing too good for their town when it comes to a problem of progressiveness. The town was chartered shortly after 1868. Gaston Britt was the pioneer merchant of Pine Level, then followed Bryant Hinnant, also a merchant. Then came T. T. and W. B. Oliver, who really gave the town its start. The Olivers still live there, and are among the leaders of the town in its every walk.

Selma, the town with the best railroad facilities in Eastern Carolina, got its charter in 1873. It was first known as Mitchiner's station, but the site of the old station is today one and onehalf miles west of the present site of the town. About fifty years

ago, a man who was then living in Clayton sold out his holdings there to Ashley Horne, and moved to Mitchiner's station. That man was A. M. Noble. There was a turpentine still at that time where the home of Dr. J. A. Noble now stands. The guardian of John Mitchiner refused to sell the property around the station for the purpose of improvements, and, as a result of this, Messrs. Noble, Sellers, and John W. Sharpe, of Norfolk, Va., a man interested in the development of the turpentine industry, persuaded Henry Webb, then president of the North Carolina Railroad, to move the station to where Selma now stands. The three men decided to name the place Selma, after Selma, Alabama. Selma at once began to be a hustling and thriving town; it was incorporated in 1873, and has been going strong ever since. With hundreds of passengers changing trains there daily, and as a leading shipping point, the town is destined to become a great center of industrialism.

Princeton was chartered as a prohibition town in the year 1873. This is a distinction that few towns in the state can claim. The charter was granted with the condition, however, that the town could get on the ‘wet’ list if it so chose, and an opportunity was given every year in the annual elections. Having no particular desire to remain dry, the inhabitants voted for it to have open bars. The charter was granted under the name of Boone Hill, the name of the township in which it still stands, but in 1873, with the permission of the State Legislature, the name was changed to Princeton, which name it still bears.

The property on which the town is located was originally owned by Wiley Hastings. When he died he left no heirs, and the principal business enterprises were taken over by Henry Holt, and later handed down to his son, Ed. A. Holt, who is one of the town's leading citizens and business men. Another of the town's prominent merchants in the early days was Herman Lewis. Mr. Hastings also gave the property on which the depot was built, and that on which the first church in the town was built. He was interested in the affairs of the town in various other ways, and contributed much to its successful start. He died in 1880.

Four Oaks applied for and got its charter in 1881. The menchiefly responsible for the birth of the town and much of its subsequent growth were John A. Ford, K. L. Barbour, and Ezekiel Creech. The town was named by Mr. Barbour. He was one of the pioneers in the development of this section, and the first man to build a house there. In his front yard there were four large oaks, and, in search of a name, he decided to use the quartet.

To the above three men is chiefly due the credit of putting the town on its feet.

The town of Clayton came into existence one year after this. Today it is one of the largest and most thriving towns in the county. Clayton was at first known as Stallings, the name coming from one of its earliest citizens, a widow. When the North Carolina railroad passed through Stallings, the name was changed to Stallings Station. Later, when the railroad had gone on to Greensboro, there stepped off it one morning a gentleman wearing a high hat, a long coat, and other fashionable wearing apparel that stamped him as an individual of some distinction. He was not a preacher as you might think from the description, but a teacher. He was from Tennessee, and in search of a good, healthy locality in which to establish a school. He stayed at Stallings Station for several days. He liked the people, the climate, the location, and it was here that he built his school, calling it Clayton Academy. The school flourished and the town prospered. The old name of Stallings Station passed away, and instead Clayton was employed. Since then it has continued to prosper, and today it is one of the leading towns in the county.

Benson, it is interesting to note, dates its real birth back to about the time when the Atlantic Coast Line railroad plowed its way through the county—1889. Benson was founded by and named for M. C. Benson, one of the pioneer settlers and great land owners of the section. The town started with the avowed purpose of being an agricultural center rather than an industrial center, and it has reached its aim to a large extent. It lies nestled in one of the richest agricultural sections in the state. However, progress did not follow a set routine in that town, and it has developed some important industrial establishments as well. Among the first ctizens to start things going in Benson were: M. and J. W. Wood, C. T. Johnson, and J. D. Parrish, father of Alonzo Parrish, one of the leading and most influential townsmen of today. Messrs. Johnson and Parrish were the chief factors in the establishment of the town, and to them goes the principal credit for the rapid growth and development of the city. Benson claims the distinction of having a fifty-piece military band.

Another town in Johnston owes its birth to the Atlantic Coast Line railroad, and that town is Kenly. The present site of Kenly was originally owned by Miss Lottie Watkins, and it was entirely agricultural in nature. The advent of the railroad brought about the establishment of a turpentine plant and several mercantile houses. Kenly's pioneer merchant was A. H. Slocomb of

Fayetteville, who owned the distillery as well as a large mercantile establishment. The original school at Kenly was built by J. T. and W. H. Edgerton in 1890. Jesse Kirby built the first two-story house in Kenly; he was the father of J. H. Kirby, later president of the Bank of Kenly. The first Mayor was C. W. Edgerton. The first town Council was composed of D. H. Hinnant, E. G. Barnes, E. M. Munger, Jesse Kirby, and Sam Joyner. One of the leading ministers in the Baptist denomination in the South first preached in Kenly—Dr. Len G. Broughton, who was founder of the Atlanta Tabernacle, pastor of Grace Church in London and of a large church in Knoxville, Tenn., and who is at present serving as pastor of one of the leading Baptist churches in Richmond, Va.

Micro was first called Jerome, after Jerome Creech, who owned the greater part of the land in that section at the time that the Atlantic Coast Line railroad laid the ‘short cut’ to Florence. There was another Jerome in North Carolina, in Bladen county. The people of that section grew tired of having mail and freight mis-shipped to that point, and in 1905, with the permission of the State Legislature, the name was changed to Micro.

A. P. Peacock was the first merchant to establish himself there. Dixon Pierce soon became a big merchant there, and his two sons, C. W. and R. C. Pierce, are still in business there.

The first Mayor of Micro was A. B. Peacock The first town council was composed of W. E. Smith, Jerome Creech, and J. H. Aycock. Micro is progressive in every sense of the word.

Other Interesting Facts

Prior to the Civil War, Johnston county was alternately Democratic and Whig in national and state elections, and since that time the county has gone Republican in the following National elections: 1872, Grant; 1896, McKinley; and 1908, Taft. In state elections for Governors she has voted the Republican ticket in the following years since the Civil War: 1868, 1876, 1880 and 1884. Since that time the majority vote in state elections has been Democratic in every instance.

The first warehouse for the sale of leaf tobacco ever to be built in the county was at Smithfield in the year 1898. The contract was let on January 16 of that year. This warehouse was known as the Banner, and it still retains that name. About this time W. M. Sanders built a large warehouse and called it the ‘Riverside’ owing to the fact that it was built about 100 yards from the left bank of the Neuse river. In addition to this

he erected a four story prize house. Both of these are still standing, but in recent years the warehouse has been turned into a very large and up-to-date garage, known as the Sanders Motor Co. The principal stock-holder in this concern is a son of Mr. Sanders. The prize house is still being used for the handling of tobacco. The Farmer's warehouse was built a few years later, and today it is one of the largest warehouses in the state.

Johnston county has produced very few eminently great men. One of her more outstanding public men is Edwin W. Pou, now Congressman from the 4th Congressional District. Mr. Pou, however, was not born in the county. He was born in Alabama, and moved here while a boy.

Members of the Colonial Assemblies from Johnston county:

1746. John Smith and John West.

1746-54. John Smith and John Herring. Richard Caswell, Jr., Stephen Cade.

1760. Needham Bryan and John Hinton.

1761. John Hinton and Needham Bryan.

1762. (April). Needham Bryan and John Hinton.

1762 (November). Needham Bryan and John Hinton.

1764-65. Needham Bryan and Benjamin Hardy.

1766-68. Needham Bryan and Benjamin Hardy.

1769. Needham Bryan and John Smith.

1770-71. John Smith and Joel Lane.

1773 (January). William Bryan and John Smith.

1773-74. Needham Bryan and John Smith.

1775. Needham Bryan and Benjamin Williams.

Members of the Revolutionary Congresses from Johnston County:

Aug. 1774. Needham Bryan and Benjamin Williams.

April 1775. No record.

Aug. 1775. Needham Bryan, William Bryan, John Smith, Samuel Smith, and Benjamin Williams.

April 1776. Needham Bryan, Jr., Samuel Smith Jr., John Stevens, Henry Rains, and Alexander Averyt.

Members of State Conventions from Johnston county 1788-1789:

1788. William Bridgers, Joseph Boon, William Farmer, John Bryan and Everett Pearce.

1789. Samuel Smith, Hardy Bryan, Wm. Bridgers, Wm. Hackney, and Mathias Handy.

Sources of Information

Smithfield Observer, September 13, 1921; Smithfield Herald; North Carolina Manual for 1913; Biographical Congressional Directory; Colonial Records of North Carolina; Colonial and State Records; North Carolina Day Programme for 1905; Ante Bellum Builders of North Carolina; North Carolina Schools and Academies; Public Education; Correspondence of Johnathan Worth; Papers of Thomas Ruffin; Papers of Archibald D. Murphey; Hamilton's Reconstruction in North Carolina; Memoirs of General Sherman and the Narrative of General Joseph E. Johnston; Wheeler's Sketches of North Carolina; Rural Social Science Files, University of North Carolina.



Smithfield, N. C.


Johnston county is situated on the Western edge of the Coastal Plain area. It has an area of approximately 778 square miles, or 516,480 acres. The northwest side of the county is about 15 miles east of Raleigh. It is bounded on the northeast and east by Nash, Wilson and Wayne counties, on the south by Wayne and Sampson counties, on the west and southwest by Harnett and Sampson counties, and on the north and northwest by Wake county. The surface features consist of high, rolling uplands and broad, gently undulating interstream areas in the wide, level stretches. There is a gentle but fairly well defined slope throughout the Coastal Plain section of the county. Elevations vary from 350 feet through the central part of the county, to about 80 feet on the southeast corner, where the Neuse river leaves the area.

The chief source of drainage is the Neuse river, into which empty numerous creeks and branches. The river enters the county about midway on the northwest boundary line, following a generally southeasterly course, and leaves the area on the southwest corner. The most important creeks emptying into it are Swift, Middle, Black, Hannah, Stone, and Mill creeks on the southerly side, and on the north and northeastern sides Little river, Buffalo, Cat Tail, Little, Bowdy, Long Branch, and Moccasin creeks. The county as a whole is exceedingly well drained.

Soils and Seasons

The soils in Johnston county may be classes in three groups, according to their origin: The sedimentary soils of the Coastal Plains; the residual soils of the Piedmont Plateau, and the alluvial soils developed along the streams throughout the county. There are a total of 28 types of soils, including meadow and swamp. The most prominent of these is the Norfolk sandy loam. This soil is well adapted to truck crops, cotton, corn, and tobacco,

all of which have very good yields. Other prevalent soils are the Cecil soils, of which the coarse sandy loam, sandy loam, fine sandy loam, stony sandy loam, and clay loam, are well suited for the production of oats, wheat, corn, clover, cowpeas, and to some extent, tobacco and cotton. Land values in the county vary from $20 to $200 and more an acre.

The climate of the county is well suited for a wide range of products. Truck and stock farming are growing rapidly in extent. The winters are short and comparatively mild, the mean winter temperature being 42 degrees. The summers are long and not excessively hot. The mean summer temperature is 77 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is about 50 inches and is well distributed throughout the year. Crops seldom suffer from drought, and the growing season is about 200 days, long enough for all ordinary crops.

With such seasons, it is not surprising that agriculture is the principal industry of the people. The principal crops are cotton, corn and tobacco as leaders, with sweet potatoes, peas, forage, and grain as secondary crops.

Johnston ranks second in the production of cotton in the state. Last year (1921) 48,047 bales were produced on 62,011 acres, a yield of .77 bales to the acre, which is .15 more bales to the acre than the stage average. Much of this is used by the factories in the county, but a greater part is shipped away.

We rank second in the state in the production of corn. The average yield per acre is 22.1 bushels, as compared with the state average of 17.7 bushels. Practically all of this goes to feed the stock, and into meal. The yield is increasing annually, due to advanced methods of production, and to the activities of Corn Clubs and county agents.

In tobacco, Johnston ranks fourth in the state in production, producing 9,357,193 pounds of the golden weed in 1921, and bettering the state average per acre yield of 610.3 pounds by 75.3 pounds. The production of tobacco in the county has greatly increased within the last decade.

Potatoes are raised in large quantities also, but in production they are far behind the above named products. The same may be said for peas, forage, and grain. Peas are mostly sown broadcast in corn fields. Grain is raised chiefly in the northern part of the county. The forage is used in feeding workstock during the winter months. Peanuts are raised in small quantities. The possibilities for this crop are very good and the industry will in all probability grow in the future.

Cotton finds a ready market in all the towns of the county. Tobacco is sold to the greatest extent in Smithfield, but Benson has a fast growing market.

Truck farming in the county is rapidly increasing. Fruits are shipped from the southern part of the county, and find a ready market in the North. Great quantities of watermelons are shipped annually from Clayton. As many as 100 carloads are shipped from this point yearly.

In 1920 the land in farms totaled 212,552 acres, with a value of $40,747,814. There were 2,508 farmers who reported expenditures for labor in that year, their returns amounting to $380,428. The 6,431 farmers reporting expenditures for fertilizers spent, $2,391,401 on this item. The 3,230 farmers reporting as buying farm feed for livestock spent for this feed $298,003. In total value of crops, Johnston stands third in the state, with $19,229,785 in 1919. In that year there were 2,366 farms free from mortgage, while 604 reported mortgages.

In the census of 1920 Johnston reported livestock on farms amounting in value to $2,920,971, and including 1,770 horses, 8,798 mules, 8,435 cattle, 686 sheep, 46,369 swine, 186,000 chickens, 366 goats, and 2,566 hives of bees.

The total valuation of property on the tax books in 1921 was $42,272,227. It was more than 60 million in 1920. In the production of agricultural wealth the county ranks 45th of all the counties in the United States. It is, however, a grievous truth that the county does not retain enough of the annual agricultural wealth produced. Because of the system we follow, we consume our wealth in producing it. Witness our bank account savings.


The lumber industry is one of no small importance. There are several lumber mills in the county, and a great number of saw mills. There is one veneer plant at Smithfield, which does a large amount of shipping to northern concerns. Perhaps the leading lumberman in the county is Mr. Arch Vinson, of Clayton. Mr. Vinson is the owner and operator of a very large lumber mill at Clayton, and has many saw mills scattered throughout the county.

Pine, oak, hickory, gum, ash, and maple are the principal timbers cut. Great quantities are cut yearly, and a goodly amount is shipped to other markets after being sawed. The timber is kept cut down, and much is destroyed owing to injurious treatment

of the younger timber while the older is being cut. The best timber is fast disappearing.


This industry was never attempted on a commercial basis until a few years ago. Since its advent into the county, it has been favorably met, both by local and distant patrons. One of the very best herds of cattle in the state is owned by Mr. L. F. Uzzle, of Wilson's Mills. He supplies local needs and does a large amount of shipping to other points. Another up-to-date dairy is owned and operated by Mr. James Myatt, at Smithfield. Mr. Myatt has a very fine herd of cattle, and his dairy is helping to supply local needs.

With the fine pasturage afforded within the county, there is no reason why the dairy industry could not be made a very profitable one. Intelligent labor and short winters are two prime factors in profitable dairying, and both are to be had in Johnston.

Gin Plants and Oil Mills

There are about 20 cotton gins in the county. All of these are operated at the present time, and are run by either electricity, water power, or engines. They buy cotton seed which they sell to the local oil mills.

There are three oil mills in the county, one at Selma, one at Pine Level, and another at Clayton. All of these mills do a very large business, buying seed from the farmer, or giving him their products in exchange for the seed. These mills are a great asset to the county; they afford the farmers a market for their seed, and supply them with feed products direct from the mill doors.

Tobacco Warehouses

There are four warehouses for the sale of leaf tobacco. Three of these are at Smithfield and one at Benson. They are all large and well lighted. The warehousemen are all experts in the tobacco business, and strive to get for the farmer a maximum price for his product. Three of the houses have a large grading room, and are operated by the warehousemen on a commission basis.

Railroads and Highways

The central part of Johnston county, in a line running north and south, is traversed by the main line of the Atlantic Coast Line railroad, which runs from New York to Jacksonville. There are two local freights that stop at every station on this road every

day, one running north, the other south. There are several through freights that stop only in Selma. In addition to this, there are six local passenger trains and four through trains on this road daily. The best transportation facilities in the county are furnished by this road.

A branch line of the above road runs from Goldsboro to Smithfield, known as “Captain Jack's Road,” its name coming from the fact that Captain Jack Collier has been the conductor on this road since it was first laid. Practically all the freight shipped from the eastern part of the state to Smithfield comes over this road.

The Southern Railway runs in an easterly-westerly direction from Goldsboro to Ashevlile. This road affords a good means for passenger and freight transportation, and stops at every town through which it runs in the county.

The principal highways in Johnston are the National and the Central. These roads are in excellent condition, being maintained by the State Highway Commission. Nearly all the main thoroughfares are also in good condition. Both the Central and the National highways are soon to be paved.

Every town has a telephone system, and several telegraph offices.

Water Power

Johnston county is not so well blessed with water power as we could wish. True, several cotton gins, and grist mills are run by water power, but these consume little power. Practically all the streams in the county are slow and sluggish, and there are very few natural water falls.


As has been stated above, Johnston county is primarily an agricultural county. There are very few manufacturing concerns in comparison to the great amount of farming. The greatest individual industry other than farming in the county is that of lumber. There are 98 rough lumber mills, and 12 dressing and planing mills. There are 25 garages and repair shops, and 14 miscellaneous industries, such as chemical and oil industries.

With the natural advantages that the county has, there is every reason that she should produce more food crops in conjunction with her enormous money crops. Cotton has long been the principal crop, with tobacco a second. There are only 7 cotton mills in the county. In 1920 they consumed 20,698 bales of the 48,047



bales produced. On the other hand there are only two redrying plants for tobacco, and they have a capacity of 92,000 pounds per day. This has been sufficient to care for all the drying needs in the past, but with the coming of the co-operative marketing plan, there will be need to enlarge plants, or else to construct others. There is adequate negro labor for this kind of work, negroes being employed mainly in working the weed, and there is an abundance of white labor for more cotton mills, which are certainly needed for the development of the industrial life of the county.

With her 28 types of soil, excellent climate, sufficient rainfall, and long growing season, Johnston should diversify her farming. At present, practically all the food produced in the county is consumed by the producers, while enormous quantities are imported from the north and west. The neighboring towns are not supplied with enough vegetables even during the summer months. A great many potatoes are shipped in yearly, and likewise a great amount of green produce. Hay is shipped in by the tons. Likewise oats, and other foods for work animals. The two great food crops grown in Johnston are corn and sweet potatoes. Corn is fed to the work animals and ground into meal. The sweet potatoes are marketed in the county, to a great extent, but a few are shipped to outside points. We import practically all our flour, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of other food supplies, the bulk of which could easily be produced at home. Johnston county is adequately equipped for furnishing labor to almost any kind of industry where skilled labor is not required. There is an abundance of white labor and also of negro labor, although, fortunately for the county, only 24.6 per cent of the population are negroes. With this abundance of labor, food crops could be grown, and this would greatly enrich the population. Factories needing unskilled labor would also find a good labor supply. There is need of these two things toward the enrichment of the county—factories and food crops.

Markets for Food Crops

One of the county's greatest opportunities lies in the establishment of co-operative organizations of farmers and townspeople for the marketing of food supplies. Should such organizations for the marketing of the food supplies be effected, there is almost no limit to the profits that could be realized both by the farmers who would get more for their surplus produce and by the townspeople who would get more for their dollar. Some little produce is shipped to northern markets now, as watermelons

from Clayton and fruits from the southern part of the county. We ship more watermelons than anything else, about 100 car loads being sent out of the county annually.

After we have established ourselves on a home-raised food and feed basis we can begin to develop in exportation to the outside world. We now send out fair totals but nothing as compared to our possibilities when our farmers organize co-operatively on a commodity basis to afford a safe market for the enormous totals we can produce. There is no safety in our present unorganized status. Marketing of farm products in large quantities can be done to the best advantage only when farmers are properly organized into co-operative selling societies.

The solution of marketing problems lies in co-operation of both producers and consumers. If the farmer could be impressed with the fact that should he produce more foodstuff and find a ready market in the nearby towns, even though only a small market, both he and the consumer, as well as the county at large, would be profited. Such a market supplies a constant ready cash income for the farmer, and a lessening of the high cost of living to the consumer; for of course foodstuffs will then become cheaper. There would be more ready cash among the farmers and the whole county would live on a higher level of diet.

The following table shows all the industries of Johnston county for the year 1920, as reported to the census authorities, and to the state department of labor and printing.


Rough Lumber, Post Office, Capital, Value Plant, Output Employes
J. R. Beasley, Benson$ 2,500$ 1,450$ 5,00010
Willie Beasley, Benson1,2505502,2504
D. O. Benson, Benson1,5004152,2504
O. A. Benson, Benson1,0005502,2506
J. Willis Creech, Benson2,0006503,0006
W. R. Denning, Benson2,5001,5007,5008
J. A. McLamb, Benson1,2503501,5004
G. P. Matthews, Benson1,5003751,5006
Moore Wood Mill, Benson6,3003,5004,00010
A. P. Tart, Benson1,5007003,0006
J. W. Wood, Jr., Benson2,0006402,7006
Preston Woodall, 1 Benson14,2009,2252,70014
Preston Woodall, 1 Benson31,00012,35031,40013
Ivey & Jeanette, Bentonville1,9608,48025,28010

N. T. Flowers, Bentonville1,8001,2354,5808
A. M. Rose, Bentonville3,5602,0125,34010
Percy Barbour, Clayton1,750602,3005
J. S. Barnes, Clayton7,9506753,8008
J. W. Barnes, Clayton7,8501,2007,56010
G. C. Bryan, Clayton7,7509855,74010
C. P. Ellis, Clayton5,6505854,9008
Farmers Mercantile Co. Clayton13,2003,78517,20011
E. R. Gulley, Clayton10,1002,2009,80010
W. T. Allen, Sr., Clayton2,5006609,20012
Harris & Barnes, Clayton11,50029,22630,78321
Wall-Jones Mill, Clayton8,1004,80040,75021
Fletcher Price, Clayton6,0005,1001,40013
Herman Vinson, Clayton3,4005,00018,75010
Turner Vinson, Clayton4,5006,02523,12514
Walter Wyatt Mill, Clayton3,1006,66019,50010
Jessie Tart, Dunn8,6004,05022,26012
J. H. Allen, Four Oaks1,4003602,3504
Varan Coats, Four Oaks1,9005152,70010
J. T. Cole, Four Oaks3,0002,50010,50010
G. L. Collins, Four Oaks2,0006,20017,50010
Sessoms Cosley, 4 Oaks3,00023,43246,15010
Flowers Cotton Gin and Saw Mill, Four Oaks10,00010,0002,0003
A. B. Johnston, Four Oaks4,3009,00034,00011
E. S. Lassiter, Four Oaks3,9501,3258,0006
Chas. Lee, Four Oaks3,7502,9157,90011
Ira Lee, Four Oaks1,8007003,5006
R. E. Lee, Four Oaks3,75010,05028,8009
Nicholson Saw Mill, Four Oaks5,70018,64039,36010
A. H. Phelps, Four Oaks9,8503,87020,50014
J. D. Pope, Four Oaks3,5006,50018,75010
Thos. Rhodes, Four Oaks2,6002,9008,55010
G. H. Roberts, Four Oaks3,4001,0856,3809
Sanders and Smith Mfg. Co., Four Oaks20,40012,96048,00010
B. Stanley, Four Oaks2,8007,47513,8005
H. M. Stewart, Four Oaks5,1507,82530,40010
W. B. Stewart, Four Oaks2,8004,06513,7706
W. W. Stewart Co., Four Oaks3,5002,80010,50010

Josephus Wood, Four Oaks2,3001,2354,6009
J. L. York, Four Oaks1,2002253,0907
J. B. Boykin, Kenly5,0002,1408,8809
Williams & Son, Kenly3,0006004,5506
John T. Wrenn, McCullers5,6009005,5608
E. O. Aycock, Micro5,5008754,2509
Henry R. Blalock, Micro4,9009504,7119
H. J. Corbitt, Micro6,4001,7557,2409
J. E. & C. L. Pittman, Micro5,3005852,87010
S. J. Hinton, Middlesex13,0006,32015,30010
W. W. Lamb, Middlesex3,9001,2156,2557
J. V. Narrow, Middlesex9,2509,30030,00015
Thadeus Whitley, Middlesex2,5001102,0505
W. B. Oliver & Son, Pine Level4,0001005,0007
J. H. Adam, Princeton4,00010,30057,75010
J. W. Baker, Grist Mill, Princeton25,00021,44528,6429
J. C. Tart, Princeton12,2007,66025,25010
T. H. Atkinson, Selma2,5901,2404,93510
R. A. Bailey Selma4,1506,10010,94010
Luther Creech, Selma3,0001241,8805
Troy Creech, Selma4,3308255,35010
J. H. Godwin, Selma2,5503303,0909
E. Grant, Selma7,1003,00013,50010
Cooper Heflin, Selma6,3005,95013,55010
C. S. & J. D. Hicks, Selma7,5005,40022,62011
E. A. Wall Sr., Selma5,5004,08024,00020
W. D. Avera, Smithfield3,9501,5404,50012
D. T. Creech, Smithfield2,8003,97415,66010
J. E. Creech, Smithfield2,9002,60010,55010
E. F. Crump, Smithfield5,31017,52585,00010
R. C. Gillett, Smithfield12,00012,50030,00014
W. B. Hobbs, Smithfield1,5004,00015,4009
W. S. Ragsdale, Smithfield10,90023,10088,80023
John & Claude Sanders, Smithfield4,5001,3405,5009
J. C. Smith, Smithfield6,18917,22567,20012
Will D. Tomlinson, Smithfield7,92522,06056,80015
E. E. Wallace, Smithfield2,7001,0409,90013
Barnes Sawmill, Wendell6,9605,85018,40012
C. S. Hamrick, Wendell3,8002,0008,80010
J. T. Jones, Wendell6,4003,1157,6509

W. D. Moody, Wendell2,6259607,0508
C. R. Stroff, Wendell44,00017,90060,00021
B. T. Thompson, Wendell6,5503,90028,60013
Andrew Wise, Wendell8,5007,80517,40012
Beasley, Jasper, Wendell2,9507,07518,90010

Dressed and Planed Lumber Postoffice Capital Value Plant Output Employees
Wilson Mills Sash, Door and Supplies Factory, Wilson's Mills$ 45,000$ 30,350$ 70,10019
Star Mfg. Co., Benson3,5006,50035,25017
Preston Woodall Planing Mill, Benson9,75042,43258,7439
J. A. Vinson Planing Mill Clayton25,000100,000210,0008
Carolina Handle Co., Four Oaks7,0002003,1007
Pope & Tart, Four Oaks4,00020,75070,0009
Woodall Cole Mill, Four Oaks2,50084022,0008
Newson Narron, Kenly40,00010,65041,00028
Little River Lumber Co., Princeton102,11417,62132,34159
Benoy Planing Mill, Selma6,0009,44519,6109
Benoy-Winston Co., Selma22,50015
Swift Creek Lumber Co., Smithfield102,7483,15029,00019

Grist and Flour Mills Post Office, Capital, Value Plant, Output, Employees
Byrd's Mill, Benson$ 2,000$ 6,000$ 7,000
Johnson's Mill, Benson1,5004,1505,000
Kings Mill, Benson3,0007,0008,000
McLambs Grist Mill, Benson2,80015,66217,550
Stewart Mill, Benson2,0003,5004,000
Blackburn Water Grist Mill, Bentonville12,81214,2561
Weaver Ross Grist Mill, Bentonsville2,00011,20012,600
Barbours Grist Mill, Clayton2,5009,98411,232
Ellington Grist Mill, Clayton6,00016,32018,260
Mitchell's Grist Mill, Clayton3,00038,47042,4061

Herman Vinson, Clayton24,0005,00018,37010
Parker's Grist Mill, Dixie1,8009,54010,530
Johnson's Grist Mill, Four Oaks1,6001,62418,3701
The O. G. Lassiter Mill, Four Oaks2,2006,4487,254
Boykins Grist Mill, Kenly1,2009,46411,232
Consumers Milling Co., Kenly55,000100,000123,8574
Jess Creech Grist Mill, Kenly1,0005,9166,318
Edward's Grist Mill, Kenly1,5007,2807,722
Lambs Grist Mill, Middlesex2,50013,14514,742
Creech's Grist Mill, Pine Level1,4004,6025,850
Piedmont Milling Co., Pine Level2,0009,49610,305
Woodard Grist Mill, Pine Level1,2007,4759,360
Holt's Grist Mill, Princeton5,00012,65615,1871
Old Atkinson's Mill, Princeton9,00019,20025,9201
Atkinson's Grist Mill, Selma10,0009,17011,680
Blackman's Grist Mill, Selma1,2008,4538,775
Corbetts Grist Mill, Selma1,5008,4539,594
Hughes Grist Mill, Selma75012,08518,810
Richardson Grist Mill, Selma5,5009,98411,187
Wise Grist Mill, Selma1,50014,47815,444
Allens Grist Mill, Smithfield1,4006,2407,020
Herring Grist Mill, Smithfield2,25015,04018,360
McCullers Grist Mill, Smithfield2,2507,3448,262
Parker's Grist Mill, Smithfield1,65019,17020,960
Smithfield Milling Co., Smithfield26,12966,75571,0544
Smithfield Roller Mills, Smithfield9,00081,80093,0005
Stanleys Grist Mill, Smithfield1,2008,3209,360
Woods Grist Mill, Smithfield1,20014,56016,3802
Scotts Grist Mill, Wendell4,00018,72021,0601

Whitleys Grist Mill, Wendell1,4009,81010,530
Medlins Grist Mill, Wilson's Mills1,95021,68625,788

Garages and Repair Shops Post Office, Capital, Value Plant, Output, Employees
J. M. Britt, Benson$ 6,500$ 2,015$ 5,0001
Brannon Garage, Clayton8,5003,0439,1653
Clayton Motor Co., Inc., Clayton25,0006,08822,2647
Horne & Morris Motor Co., Clayton56,0004,78216,7586
Piedmont Motor Co., Clayton5,2003,61212,8765
Four Oaks Motor Co., Four Oaks3,2751,8405,6752
Leon Ad. Jones, Four Oaks5,0002,1305,7652
Dalton Lee Garage, Four Oaks3,4001,5004,2502
Casper Garage, Kenly4,9003,2648,4253
E. & B. Motor Co., Kenly15,0007,37620,8008
Holland & Co., Kenly2,7504,77813,4734
Hatcher Garage, Micro8,7503,26612,3404
Parker Mfg. Co., Middlesex4,4504,1409,9103
Princeton Motor Co., Inc. Princeton11,40010,78023,7506
Edgerton & Jeffreys Garage, Selma2,5004,54613,7573
Green Mfg. Co., Selma10,0002,4858,2003
Hughes Machine and Repair Shop, Selma2,6259705,1253
Pearce Auto Co., Selma1,8251,34310,4506
Selma Motor Co., Selma2,7001,23610,9764
Taylor & Hughes Garage Selma7,8001,40821,6758
Holland Garage, Smithfield8,80011,74021,8965
Kirkmans Service Co., Smithfield21,8001,42316,2705
Sanders Motor Co., Smithfield244,60091,698144,23419
Scotton Motor Co., Smithfield140,00010,42551,87016
Vinson-Wade Motor Co., Wilson's Mills4,0003,51216,8603

Miscellaneous Post Office, Capital, Value Plant, Output Employees
Barnes Casket Co., Clayton$ 8,000$ 6,330$ 14,4004
Ashley Horne & Son, mixing fertilizer, Clayton57,00039,080100,00018
Pine Level Oil Mill, Pine Level159,717261,721551,53155
W. M. Brannan Metal Co., Selma2,3504,8607,2002
Johnstonian Pub. Co., Inc., Selma8,1251,7368,5173
Navasco Guano Co., Selma200,0001,065,45357
Havo-Kola Bottling Co., Selma6,1419,43021,6245
Southern Cotton Oil Co., Selma77,396317,198415,93135
Wood Ice Co., Selma17,3752,90012,0001
D. H. Creech Chemical Co., Smithfield6801,2212,4031
Export Leaf Tobacco Co., Smithfield9672,5943,0391
Hood Bros, Smithfield5005
Sanders-Beasley Brick Co., Smithfield14,0001,27521,12017
Smithfield Herald, Smithfield11,5004,45618,3989

Textiles Capital, Spindles, Output, Employees
Clayton Cotton Mills$480,723$ 10,240$553,522126
Liberty Cotton Mills322,8455,100377,83378
Ethel Cotton Mills319,3768,100310,33972
Lizzie Cotton Mills368,53810,480302,12768
Selma Cotton Mills606,95010,560650,12787
Ivanhoe Mfg. Co.256,53222,3221,125,000113



Smithfield, N. C.

This chapter is based mainly upon the 1920 census and a few other authoritative reports. The figures refer to the year 1920 unless specified. The chapter closes with a table of facts about the folks, ranking Johnston with other counties, and with the state average. The rank indicates the number of counties making a better showing than Johnston.

Size and Population

Johnston county is the eighth largest county in the state, with a total area of over half a million acres, nearly three-fourhs of which was in farms according to the last census. This area represents exactly 807 square miles. Robeson, the largest county in the state, has an area of 990 square miles.

The increase in population during the last ten years has been very noticeable, amounting to 7,597, with over three-fourths of the increase white.

During this ten-year period the negro ratio of population decreased exactly one percent. The increase of negro farm operators was smaller than in any county in the combination cotton and tobacco belt. Eighty-one percent of the farms of Johnston are cultivated by white farmers. This is the highest rate to be found in the eastern half of North Carolina except Dare and Carteret down on the coast. The small increase in negro population can be attributed to the low negro population ratio of the county, and to a comparatively low migration of negroes into Johnston from other counties during the period.

The small number of negro inhabitants is one of the significant facts exhibited in the table below. A large number of these negroes serve the county only in the capacity of day laborers on farms or in the towns. That the number of negroes in the county is low is doubtless a great blessing to the county, for there is no doubt but that this backward and uneducated race is a detriment to any community or society when they are found in large numbers. Professor Collier Cobb has aptly said that the black

man has seldom accomplished anything except under the leadership of the white man. Yet, one cannot afford to say too much against the negro population of Johnston. They are undoubtedly useful to us, in that they serve as our labor in both agriculture and industry, and, they are on the whole well behaved and lawabiding. It is doubtful if there are better-behaved or better negroes in the state than those in Johnston. As a rule they are law-abiding, industrious and thrifty. Whites and blacks in Johnston get along together remarkably peacefully.

A Farming People

While over half the counties of the state have more people living on farms than we have, over four-fifths of our people live in the rural districts. In this respect we are above the state average by more than ten percent. In Johnston nearly five out of every six people live in the open country. In North Carolina seven out of every ten are country dwellers. Three counties have no incorporated towns. We are almost wholly an agricultural people, digging our living out of the soil, contributing enormous totals of agricultural wealth yearly, and building up a sturdy race amongst wholesome surroundings. The county is, as a result, densely populated, an average of more than fifty country people living on every square mile of our territory, or one person on every 13 acres for the entire county. We have no large towns and the population is well scattered over the county.

Here it may be said that only one township in the county lost population during the ten-year period from 1910 to 1920, and that one was Beulah, on the northern edge of the county, in which township the town of Kenly is situated. This township lost nearly 500 people, while Smithfield township had the greatest gain, increasing nearly 2,000. The farms increased 1,004 in number and the country population increased more than 5,000. Few counties can compare with ours as a thriving agricultural community.


Here is where we are forced to hang our heads in shame. In 65 counties the white males of 21 years of age and older are better educated than in Johnston. That is, a larger per cent of them can read and write. About 13 out of every 100 of our white adult males are unable to read or write, and in this respect we are below the state average. The white females of this age-group are better educated in 73 counties of the state than in Johnston, while 41 counties have better records for literates among both

races ten years of age and older. Sixty-eight counties make a better showing in native white literates over nine years of age. Our negroes make a better showing, since only 25 counties in the state better our rank in negro literacy 10 years of age and older. Johnston county needs more schools, better schools, better equipped schools, and more teachers, better educated and more experienced. And in addition we need proper educational facilities for our adult males and females, so that they can live a happier and fuller life.

Low Church Membership

While one county in the state has three out of four of its inhabitants ten years of age and over belonging to some church, less than one in three are affiliated with any church in Johnston. There are only 18 counties in the state that have a lower church membership ratio. We are much below the state average, which is only 45 out of the hundred. The churches have been making a hard, uphill fight to retain their own, especially in rural areas. Farm tenancy and illiteracy are two serious obstacles to church progress. The fault is largely with the churches in failing to see that correcting these evils is a proper church endeavor. Serving humanity is the best means of serving God. We believe that church membership in Johnston will increase to any remarkable degree only when the churches of the county realize that serving man in his daily work and needs is properly the church's concern, and that through the effort of the religious organizations the problems of tenancy and illiteracy can be remedied. The churches, we believe, should try to solve social and economic ills. The church should be the strongest community unit, and the larger the number within the church, the more effective its work will be.

High Death Rate

Johnston county has too high a death rate. Only 37 counties had a higher rate in 1917. In that year 13.6 people out of every 1,000 in the county died, and this rate has varied very little before or since that time.

This proves that there is too much sickness, a great deal of which could be remedied. The negroes cannot be blamed for this high rate, for there are not enough of them to affect our average very much. The health authorities could do a great work in Johnston by effecting a great clean-up of homes, mills, towns, swamps, and all stagnant places breeding filth and disease. There are a great number of deaths among babies under one year of age, showing that the mothers do not know how to take care

of their newly-born babies, and that some kind of work should be done to instruct them how to care for themselves and their children, and also to aid and care for expectant mothers during the time prior to the birth of the baby. There is a great waste of humanity through ignorance, which kills more people than wars.

Birth Rate High

In Johnston county in 1917 (and this may be taken as a typical year), 35.7 children were born to every 1,000 inhabitants. Only twenty-one of the 100 North Carolina counties make a better showing. We do not need a higher birth rate, but we do need better care for those born. This state leads the Union in birth rate and Johnston ranks high in the state. There is no race suicide in Johnson, but much carelessness and ignorance about health matters.

Too Many Murders

North Carolina leads the world in homicide rates. It is a matter of general knowledge that killings are frequent in Johnston. In 1914, however, we were on fairly good behavior, and only 26 counties had a smaller homicide rate. Between 1910 and 1914 ten murders were reported in Johnston, while in one county 45 were reported and in another 36. Killings are too frequent. There are counties in this state where more people were killed in one year than the whole of England in a decade. We must be brought to a realization that courts are the proper channels through which to settle disputes.


Even though we have murders, we are not a warlike people. Not counting South Carolina and the District of Columbia, North Carolina has the smallest number of divorces of any state in the Union. Johnston ranked 64th among the counties of North Carolina in this respect in 1916; the courts in that year granted divorces at the rate of 21.1 per 100,00 people. We have an agricultural population, and our men and women, being economically dependent, are not so prone to separate over trivial matters as people in city areas where the husband and wife may be independent of each other. Moreover, in our state divorce laws are more stringent than in most states.

Facts About the Folks of Johnston County

Rank indicates the number of counties making a better showing.

8th in population, 192048,998

32nd in population increase 1910 to 1920, per cent18.3
Forsyth led with a 63.3 per cent gain. State gain 15.9 per cent.
55th in population living in open country, per cent82.7
State average 71.4 percent in the open country.
New Hanover has only 16.8 percent rural. Three counties have no incorporated towns.
13th in townships losing population, per cent5.9
Only one township in Johnston lost population. State average 32 percent, 308 losing. Nearly one in every three in the state lost. 10 counties lost none.
18th in rural population density per square mile50.2
State average 37.3 people per square mile.
Forsyth led the state with 73.5 country people per square mile.
66th in white male illiteracy, 21 years of age and over, per cent12.9
State average 10.95 percent. New Hanover only 1.7 percent.
74th in white females illiteracy, 21 years old and older, percent13.2
State axerage 10.4 percent. New Hanover only 3.1 percent.
42nd in illiteracy white and black 10 years of age and older, percent12.4
State average 13.1 percent. Buncombe leads with only 6.4 percent.
69th in native white illiterates, 10 years old and over percent9.5
State average 8.2 percent. New Hanover only 1.8 percent.
26th in negro illiterates 10 years of age and older, percent21.7
State average 24.5 percent. Pamlico 11.3 percent.
44th in race ratios, percent white76.4
State average 69.74 percent white. Mitchell 99.5 percent.
74th in white ratio gain 1910 to 1920 percent1.0
State average white ratio increase 1.7 percent. Vance 6.9 percent gain.

82nd in church membership, 10 years of age and older, for both races, percent32.00
State average 45 percent. Bertie leads with 74 percent.
22nd in births per 1,000 population, 1917 rate35.7
Yancey 45; Currituck 19.2.
63rd in deaths per 1,000 population, 1917 rate13.6
Cherokee 6.7; Wayne 20.6.
27th in homicides per million inhabitants, 1913-1914 rate60
Total in 4 years, 10. State average 95 homicides per million inhabitants. This is the highest rate found among English-speaking people.
64th in divorces per 100,000 inhabitants, 1916 rate21.1
North Carolina has the lowest divorce rate (31) except South Carolina, where divorces are not given. Alexander 0; Transylvania 119.2 divorces per 100,000 population.



Smithfield, N. C.

According to the report of the State Tax Commission there are only fourteen counties in North Carolina which have more taxable property than Johnston county. This is remarkable, due to the fact that there are no great industries in the county. Take away from us the agricultural wealth, the farming people, and the farming animals, and we would be a pauper county. Forsyth has the largest amount of taxable property of any county in the state and in 1921 she had nearly one hundred million dollars more taxables than Johnston. Forsyth, however, is largely an industrial county, with some establishments that rank first in size in their line in the world.

Farm property in Johnston in 1920 had a census value of $40,740,814, which includes farm buildings, implements, machinery and live stock. Not all this property was on the tax books, but the great bulk of our taxable wealth consists of farm properties.

In 1921 our wealth on the tax books amounted to $862 per capita while the per capita wealth of the state was $1,007. Johnston ranks below the state average because she is almost entirely agricultural, with few big manufacturing plants to swell the tax list. Farm property is seldom listed at what it will acutally bring on the market. Our real wealth per person is somewhat above $862.

Negro Taxable Property

In negro taxable property we rank fairly high. There are only 18 counties in the state with more negro taxables than Johnston. Negroes in Johnston own only one and one half million dollars worth of taxable property, while Forsyth negroes possess over twice this amount. The vast majority of the negro population in Johnston is of the laboring class.

Farm Tenancy

Of all the farms operated in Johnston, 51.2 per cent are operated by tenants, 141,953 acres being operated by them, while 252,458 acres were operated by owners. This means that we

practice tenancy to a very high degree. As long as this condition continues, we can never hope to be a county with great wealth per capita, or with the best civic, social, or economic conditions. These are the things that make a people. There are 3,597 farmers practicing five different kinds of tenancy. These kinds of tenancy are on the following basis: Shares, croppers, share-cash tenants, cash tenants and standing renters. The greater number of these, 2,059 in all, operate on a share basis, while 733 are croppers, 396 cash tenants, 351 standing renters and 56 are share-cash tenants, and two farmers did not specify the kind of tenancy practiced.

Be it borne in mind that so long as we are a land of tenants, so long will our standards of living be low and our educational and religious progress be hampered. Half of our tenants move yearly and thus are a hindrance to social development. The system under which they produce crops precludes the possibility of wealth accumulation. It is too costly. With the advent of cooperative marketing, and with the decrease in acreage of money crops and with increased attention to food products, the condition of these tenants may be bettered, and as a result they will have their first chance to save a part of the wealth they produce and in time purchase a farm of their own.

A Medium Tax Rate

The 1921 tax rate on the $100 worth of taxable property in Johnston county is only 82 cents. Alleghany pays the lowest rate in the state, it being only 41 cents, while Caswell county pays $1.61, which is the highest rate in the state. This goes to show that we, paying only half as high a rate as Caswell and a lower rate than in 59 other counties, could bear more taxation than we do. Our poll tax is $2.46, with only 16 counties paying a higher rate than Johnston.

The tax value of land in 1920 was $65.30, which is just a little more than half as much as the tax value of land in our sister county of Wilson. However, it is $26 above the state average. The lowness of our tax value of land is due to our large areas of wooded land and some swamp land, and not to the sterility of the soil, which is in reality quite fertile. Land has been sold in large tracts within the last five years for over $250 an acre. To give some idea of the fertility of the land, we may note that the crop values in 1920 were nearly 20 millions of dollars, and this although advanced methods of farming are not generally employed by the farmers. Before the land was revalued in 1919 the tax value of land was only $10.50 per acre.

Certainly there was room for revaluation, not only in Johnston but in every county in North Carolina. The slump that came after the revaluation was made left many properties with too high values on the tax books, but readjustments have been made and today property in this state is on the tax books at something like a fair rate. This was never the case before. Formerly the assessed value depended on the disposition of the owner. Today it approaches the true value of the land.

Farm Wealth

We had a great increase in farm wealth from 1910 to 1920, the total increase amounting to 197.5 per cent. The soils of the county are being so treated as to gain in richness, and as a result land values are increasing yearly. Our rapidly growing population means rapidly increasing land values. Population growth is the greatest factor in land value increase. Another primary factor is the ability of the soil to produce wealth. We ranked third in this state in the production of agricultural wealth, which includes crops and livestock with $20,647,000. Of the 3,000 counties in the United States, Johnston ranks among the 50 highest in the production of crop values. The production of agricultural wealth per farm in the county was nearly three thousand dollars, which is exceedingly high, and very gratifying. It was nearly a thousand dollars higher than the state average. But remember that it also costs more to produce cotton and tobacco than other crops.

In 1920 the average farm wealth per country inhabitant was $1,004 showing an increase of more than 200 per cent over a period of ten years, while the state average increase was only 112 per cent. Thus the gain in farm wealth per country inhabitant was nearly twice the average gain for the state as a whole. Much of this was due to the high prices for farm products during the recent war, and to the consequent rise in the value of our cotton and tobacco soils. Yet, even with this gratifying gain, eighteen counties gained more in farm wealth per country inhabitant than we did, the county making the most notable gain being itt. This is not at all in accord with our ability to produce agricultural wealth, for in that we command third place. But Pitt is our leading tobacco county and tobacco land is worth more than cotton land, or so in 1919 when tobacco was selling at fabulous prices. The gain in real estate tax values over this same ten-year period was over 500 per cent, while Hyde county real estate tax values increased over 1,000 per cent. This is pleasing when the gains of some other counties

of the state are considered. Cherokee county, for instance, increased their real estate tax values only 58 per cent. Most mountain counties are very reluctant to put their property down at its true value.


The bank account savings in the county in the year 1918 were only $9 per person, or just half the state average, while the per capita savings of New Hanover county were $110. In that year the entire population of the county had only a little less than half a million dollars deposited on savings accounts in the banks of the county. The checking accounts were much larger, of course, but this form of banking is ever subject to change, due to varying fortunes, and is, therefore, not the best means of saving. Our people, we regret to say, are not looking into the future; they are living from hand to mouth; they are neither looking forward to nor providing for a rainy day. There were 63 counties ahead of us in bank account savings in 1918, but not 63 ahead of us in wealth production! The smallest European countries have immensely larger savings per capita than Johnston county people. Denmark, for instance, has nearly 19 times more per capita. A savings account is one of the most excellent ways for a poor man to increase his wealth. Most of the banks have savings departments, and most of them compound the interest quarterly, causing a reasonably rapid increase in the amount invested.

Automobiles and Schools in 1920

In the per capita investments in schools and automobiles there is a decided contrast, for in the former we lag, and in the latter we lead. There are over 50 counties which have a higher per capita investment in schools than we have, ours being only $7. On the other hand, only 11 counties have more invested per capita in automobiles than Johnston, our investment being $71 per person. It is appalling that Johnston county should have ten times more invested in motor vehicles than it has in schools. We ride and travel more than we read and think. The investment in automobiles is far above the state average, while the investments in schools is far below it.

Other Tax Facts

In 1918 Johnston paid $10,196 more into the state treasury in school funds and pension moneys than it received back. In other words, we paid more for the equalization fund than we

received. But it must be remembered at this point that there are many counties in the state which are not so favored with nature's blessings as is Johnston, and that we should, by all rights, help to defray the expenses of these less fortunate counties. The cause is a worthy one: our children must be educated, and our aged and infirm heroes of the South must be cared for in their declining years. The growing children must be trained in their youth, for in later years they are to step into the harness now being vacated by those growing old. They will be the future builders of our state. And even while they are springing into manhood and womanhood, we must care for those who have played the game and built up this our state.

There are thirty-three counties which received more in return for these two causes than they paid into the state treasury. They are mostly mountain and tidewater counties, not having the natural resources that we possess.

Nineteen counties paid more in professional taxes than did Johnston. These men, doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists, etc., paid over three hundred dollars into the treasury. Twenty-two counties paid more state income tax than did we. Our total tax paid under this heading to the state was $1,679. The income tax paid into the Federal Treasury was several times more than this.

The average township road tax rate for all townships is 27 cents on the $100 worth of property. The county school tax rate is 60 cents on the hundred dollars, 10 cents on the hundred for court house bonds, and the county tax is 12 cents. There are 150 school districts in the county carrying a special school tax.

In natural resources, in wealth, and in the ability to produce wealth Johnston ranks among the foremost counties of the state. In our willingness to convert out wealth into welfare, to invest in schools, churches, and other community interests, there is room for improvement. We must think of taxes in terms of community improvements, as investments in community welfare.

Sources of Information

U. S. Census reports.

State tax reports.

Files of the Department of Rural Social Economics, University of North Carolina.

Facts About Wealth and Taxation in Johnston

15th in total taxable property, 1921$ 42,272,227
Forsyth first with $141,899,000 in 1921.
Johnston had $62,776,640 on the tax books in 1920.
The reduction in 1921 from 1920 values was 33 percent.
19th in negro taxable property, 1921$ 1,702,857
Forsyth first with $4,121,000.
40th in tax rate per $100 of taxables, 1921.82
Alleghany lowest with a rate of $.41. Caswell highestw ith $1.61. Thirty nine counties have a lower rate than Johnston.
12th in tax value of land per acre, 192065.30
In 1919 before revaluation it was on the tax books at $10.57 per acre.
State average $38.94 in 1920.
Wilson highest in 1920 with her land on the tax books at $113.17 per acre.
15th in ten-year increase in farm wealth, 1910 to 120, percent197.5
Green highest with 310 percent.
State average 134.5 percent.
3rd in total production of agricultural wealth, 192020,646,863
Robeson first with $24,045,294.
13th in production of agricultural wealth per farm work2,939
Scotland first with $5,022.
State average $2,104.
10th in farm wealth per country inhabitant, 19201,004
Wayne first with $1,497.
State average $684.
19th in ten-year increase in farm wealth per country inhabitant, 1910 to 1920, percent.204.
State average increase, 112 percent.
Pitt, 335 percent.
15th in increase in real estate tax values, 1910 to 1920, percent586.
Hyde, 1.098 percent.
Cherokee only 58 percent, or so by the showing of the tax books for those years.
64th in bank account savings per capita, 19189.

State average $17.86 in 1918.
New Hanover $110 per capita in savings banks.
The people of Johnston had $457,592 in savings banks in 1918.
12th in per capita investment in automobiles, 192071.
Scotland first with $107. State average $54.
56th in per capita investment in school property, 1920$7.
State average $9. Transylvania $24.
23rd in surplus paid into State treasury in excess of school funds and pension money received back in 191810,196
Durham paid in $66,590 more than she received back. Thirty-three counties got back more than they paid in. They are mainly mountain and tidewater counties.
20th in professional taxes paid in 1919315.
Johnston had 63 professionel men, lawyers, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, etc.
24th in state income tax paid in 19191,679
Mecklenburg first with $24,120.

STON 1914-15 TO 1920-21


Smithfield, N. C.

At the beginning of this chapter, I wish to make my position on education clear. I am in favor of a good education for every child in Johnston county, no matter what may be the cost. After the garmmar grades and high schools, I want to see as many go to college as possible. If we will provide facilities sufficient to give these children a sound and thorough high school education, if they are so desirous they can complete their education at college because of the many advantages offered students in college to work their way through.

But first, we must lay a good foundation for them back home, in the towns and in the country. To do this best it is going to require much money, better teachers, better buildings and good equipment, and most important of all, more and bigger consolidated schools. We realize that there are forces in the county deeply opposed to the latter. When the advocators of the opposition realize that more large, well-equipped buildings we get, and the more good teachers we get, the more Johnston county will flourish, perhaps they will change their views. But it is a fact that they remain to be shown.

Consolidation of Schools

Very few of our schools have been consolidated into real school plants. Those that have been united are experiencing great success. When a few schools are consolidated into one large school, it means more and better teachers per school, more pupils, better classification, more life, and much better equipment. These little one-teacher and two-teacher, poorly equipped, schools scattered here and there all over the county, are scarcely worth their upkeep. Think of the accomplishments of a one-teacher school, jammed to the doors with fifty pupils, seven grades, the teacher's time being divided equally among them. What can we ever expect to accomplish with conditions of this kind existing all over the county? Teachers for such schools are generally raw recruits from grammar grades,

teaching on pitifully low salaries. It is almost unbelievable that in 1919, 71 of our 90 white schools in the county were taught by one and two teachers. Rural schools based on such a system can be little more than miserable failures. What Johnston needs is to abolish these weak one-teacher and two-teacher schools and to establish a consolidated system of schools of real merit, which will be of real value to the county. We need real educational centers, not little recitation centers having little or no life or influence.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of our former Superintendent of Rural Schools, Mr. W. H. Hipps, much was accomplished towards consolidation. In addition to the schools consolidated during his administration, he laid a good foundation for future consolidation. Today we have several trucks carrying children to good schools, to be taught by good teachers, in well-equipped school buildings.


In 1917-18 we ranked 49th in white school attendance on enrollment. One-third of the children enrolled were absent every school day. In 1921 our white rural school population was 11,357 and enrollment 12,201. Ninety and eight-tenths percent of the white children of school ages were enrolled, of which 6,554 were in daily attendance, or 63.6 percent of those enrolled. This means that last year only 49 per cent of our children who should be in school were in daily attendance! Too many children of school age are not enrolled and school attendance of those enrolled is miserably poor in a county with compulsory attendance. There is a state law making school attendance compulsory. The law does not seem to be functioning well in Johnston. It is the fault of parents partly, and the result of weak small schools that offer no attraction to live children.

What Absences Mean

In this brief discussion, it is impossible for us to treat this matter at length. Below we will briefly stated the facts of the case, and leave the rest to the intelligence of the readers.

1. The child that is allowed to be absent from school when he could possibly be there is establishing a bad habit from which he will suffer all his life long.

2. The constant absentee nearly always gets out of gear with the school, falls behind in his classes, loses interest and then drops out to repeat the same thing the next year.

3. Absentees retard the progress of the class. This means that those who attend regularly suffer because of the absence of the others. For this reason every parent interested in his child's welfare should do what he can to encourage regular attendance on the part of his neighbor's children.

4. Absentees greatly increase the taxpayer's burden, and becomes a tremendous financial loss to the child himslfe.

The burden is with the parents, and it is their duty to improve this condition, and help their children, themselves, and their county.


Without the vitalizing touch of well prepared teachers, schoolhouses, playgrounds, and schoolrooms are dead, soulless mechanisms. Life, spirit, vitality, all are the product of wideawake teachers. Better schools are impossible without teachers of this calibre, and such teachers can be employed only when good, substantial salaries are paid. Rural teachers are often paid mere pittances because they are not expected to be well prepared to teach in small schools! In 1920-21 Johnston paid her white rural teachers an average yearly salary of $661. But town teachers get an average of $1,519 each. The rural salary was a great impovement over 1915 when we paid them an average annual salay of $235. Getting enough money to pay teachers decent salaries is a difficult task. They have never been paid decent salaries, especially rural teachers, and the quality of teachers we employ depands upon what we pay them. And $661 a year will neither attract nor retain trained and efficient teachers.

Better Prepared Teachers

The six year increase in the number of our white rural teachers was 31 percent, whereas our school population increased only 5.2 percent. This was an improvement in that the number of pupils per teacher was lessened. On the other hand, the number of teachers with four years’ experience increased 58 in number but the number of rural teachers with college diplomas remained the same up to 1920. We need more college and university trained teachers. But the county superintendent cannot employ well-educated teachers without paying them good salaries, and he could not afford that, due to increased numbers required to teach the increased numbers of pupils, with a limited salary fund. We have got to pay teachers more money, because teachers go where the best salaries are paid. Our present

day educational policies of Jonston must be improved. We must vote more school taxes, build more consolidated schools, and employ better prepared teachers, or else we will continue to live in darkness.

Need of More Special Taxes

Although we are above the state average of 25 percent of school districts having special school taxes, we are far behind Dare county, which leads the state with 90 percent. Whenever the word taxes is raised in Johnston count, a howl of disapproval goes up immediately. We realize, although neither of the authors of this bulletin is a tax-payer, that taxes are burdensome, especially since the World War. But we are unable to see why people refuse to vote taxes when the more they vote the more benefits they will reap in the end. We must think of taxes as community investments. We realize that you may not live to see the greater part of the benefits, but how can you neglect the welfare of your chldren to the extent of denying them a decent education? How many dollars do you spend per year in taxes on the education of one of your sons? Compare the amount to $500, the average cost per scholastic year of one of your sons in college. There is really only one way out and that way is to unite our 93 white school districts into about 20 districts, build large, well-equipped buildings, employ well-trained teachers, transport the pupils in school buses. Then Johnston will have the best school system in North Carolina.

City Schools

The schools in Smithfield, Benson, Selma and Clayton are well worthy of mention. These schools are housed in modern, well-equipped buildings, and the pupils attending them are taught by the very best of teachers. Few schools anywhere in the state are better. We are justly proud of them. The school problem in Johnston lies not in her town schools but in her rural schools. The country children deserve just as good school advantages as city children, but they are denied an equal chance and it is not fair to them. They have to enter life's race handi-capped at the start. Let us see that the country children in the great agricultural county of Johnston have an equal chance with the children who attend town schools.

A Few Rural and Urban School Contrasts

The authors of this bulletin have little fault to find with the three white town schools in Johnston. The schools at Clayton,

Selma and Smithfield are as good as are to be found in towns of equal size and wealth in the state. But the schools in the rural districts of Johnston are not what they ought to be, nor do they begin to compare in value and effectiveness with the three town schools. The rural children of Johnston are due just as good school advantages as are the town children. That they do not have such schools is not due to our inability to produce wealth. We rank among the first fifty counties of the entire nation in the annual production of crop values. Johnston is a great big rich county as riches are measured in this state and our rural school problems are easier to solve because 85 percent of our people are white. We present below a few items contrasting rural and urban white schools in Johnston. Shall the rural people continue to deny their children equal opportunities with the town children in Johnston? The following facts are for the year 1921:

Number of white school houses943
Value of school houses$131,287$265,000
White school enrollment10,3111,890
School expenditures$289,233$128,085
Expenditures per child enrolled$28.5$67.7
Spent on white teachers$150,768$88,093
Average white teacher salary$661$1,519
Number white teachers22858
Teachers with college diplomas1828
Average enrolled children per teacher45.232.6

The above are just a few of many significant contrasts that could be made. The more they are studied the more significance they reveal. A few startling facts are as follows: The three white town school houses enrolling 1,890 children are worth twice as much as the 94 white rural school houses enrolling 10,311 children! The investment in school property per child enrolled is $12.70 per rural child and $140 per town child, or 11 times as much for each town child enrolled.

There is an average of $28.5 spent on each rural child enrolled while for each town child it is $67.7.

The teachers who teach town children are far better prepared than rural teachers, largely because the towns pay an average salary of $1,519, while in the rural schools they get an average salary of only $661. Twenty-eight of the 58 town teachers have college diplomas, while only 18 of the 228 rural teachers have had the same training. The teacher is the main factor in any school.

A very significant factor in school work is the time a teacher can give to each child. The number of children enrolled per town teacher is 32.6, while there is an average of 45.2 enrolled children for each country teacher. In 19 of the schools there is only one teacher and she teaches all comers for a total of seven grades daily, giving about ten minutes to each class.

And what is the answer to the present rural school situation? The answer is found in converting the 93 rural schools into 15 or 20 centrally located big rural schools and transporting the children in motor buses. We do not advocate a complete change in a year but a gradual change extended over a half dozen years. The program should be worked out and gradually carried through. Then the rural children in the great agricultural county of Johnston will be able to begin life equally as well trained as the town children. It is nothing but right and just, and the people of Johnston are rich enough and big enough to take care of our needs.

Rank of Johnston in School Matters

57th in per capital school expenditures, 1919-20$4.70
Durham county led with $11.24. State average $5.44.
75th in school expenditures per $1,000 taxable property, 1919-203.68
Pamlico leads with $8.55. State average $4.41.
50th in average value rural white school property, 1919-201,199.00
We had 95 white rural school houses valued at $113,987. Washington leads with 20 schools valued $150,000, averaging $7,500 each in value.
59th in local school tax rate per $1,000 taxables, 1917-185.01
Scotland leads with $7.44. State average $5.10
22nd in local school tax districts, 1919-20, percent37
Dare led with 90 percent. State average 25 percent.
12th in school fund raised by rural local tax, 1919-2021,000.00
34th in ten-year gains in local tax districts, 1910-20, percent11.3
Chowan led with 27.9 percent. State average 6.7 percent.

9th in white rural schools having two or more white teachers, 1917-18, percent67.4
Wake led with 81.8 percent. In 1919, 80 percent had two or more teachers. In 1914-15, 45.4 percent had two or more teachers. In 1921, 80 percent of the white rural schools had two or more teachers.
49th in white school attendance on enrollment, 1917-18, percent daily attendance65.6
Washington led with 91.8 percent. The white school attendance on enrollment in 1920-21 was 65.6 percent. One-third, or 4,180, on the enrolled white children were absent each day.
14th in white school population in average daily attendance, 1918-19, percent56.1
In 1920-21 it was 59.9 percent.
38th in school expenditures per $1,000 taxable property in 1917-18, rate8.14
Buncombe led with $14.41.
21st in investment in rural school property, 1918-19122,953.00
Buncombe led with $455,250. In 1921 the white rural school property was valued at $131,287.
28th in expenditures on rural school buildings and supplies, 1918-197,577.00
Buncombe led with $56,632.
60th in Rural white schools having patent desks, 1918, percent75
Cumberland led with 100 percent.
In 1920-21 there were 31 white schools with home-made desks, or 33.7 percent of all white schools.

References: 1920 census; 1917-18 report of Superintendent of Public Instruction; Rural Social Science Files, University of North Carolina; correspondence with Johnston County Superintendent of Schools and State Superintendent of Schools.

Six-Year Gains in Johnston County White Rural Schools 1914-15 to 1920-21

1914-151920-21Percent Gain
Value white school property$94,410$131,28739.1
Total school fund (white and black)70,017365,314422.
Raised by local tax15,06522,00046.

Total expenditure (white and black)68,154289,233324.
Spent on teaching and supervision47,857157,092228.
Spent on teacher salaries41,811150,768261.
Spent on buildings and supplies6,26820,887233.
White school population10,79311,3575.2
White school enrollment8,71610,31118.3
Percent enrolled80.890.810.
White daily attendance5,5706,55417.6
Percent daily attendance63.963.6.3*
Number white teachers17422831.
Average annual salaries$235$661181.
Number white schools94922.1*
Number white school districts95922.1*
Number white school houses95941.0*
Average value of each school house$994$1,40040.8
Number white one-teacher schools441957.
Teachers with 4 or more years’ experience59128117.
Teachers with college diplomas131838.5
Local tax districts546622.2
Average term in days10513023.8
White schools with patent desks546112.9
White schools with home-made desks413124.4*

* Means decrease.Sources of Information

Based on reports of the State and County Superintendents of Public Instruction, and special files of the Department of Rural Social Economics at the University.



Smithfield, N. C.

In the discussion of Johnston county it must be remembered that she is primarily a great agricultural county. In 1919 she had more farms than any county in North Carolina and there were only two counties in the state that produced greater crop wealth than Johnston. Her grand total of crop wealth was $19,229,785, of which $15,023,307 was produced by two non-food crops, cotton and tobacco. Only $4,206,478 was produced by food and feed crops. In addition, about $1,400,000 was produced by livestock and livestock products. It would be very interesting to know just how much of this farm wealth the producers retain. We send out a very large part of it for fertilizers, for imported food and feed, for mules and horses and the like. We retain in Johnston little that we produce. It is poor policy for a farmer to toil from day to day in the fields producing only cotton and tobacco, whereas he could very easily raise food for his family and livestock. If he were assured of getting profitable prices for his non-food crops each year the situation would not be so bad, but prices are often below production costs and the profits and saving of fat years are wiped away at one swoop. After buying food for his family and livestock, and also buying fertilizers and other necessities, the farmer is heavily in debt and is absolutely dependent upon good prices for cotton and tobacco to break even. Many farmers contend that it is more profitable to raise cotton and tobacco, and buy food with the money reaped, than to raise the food needed. Under certain conditions this might be true. If he had the money and could purchase supplies at cash prices and save high interest charges of supply merchants, and if he was assured of good prices for his crops, he could follow his present system with profit perhaps. But the last two years, 1920 and 1921, are good illustrations of the fallacy of the one-crop system. The prices for non-food crops are often not as satisfactory as many of us would like to see them. Therefore we would do well to balance up our farm system by enlarging the acreage of food and feed crops and to pay more attention to livestock, poultry,

milk, butter, eggs and gardens. Experiments made by the government and by thousands of farmers have proved that the man who raises food and feed crops along with his cotton and tobacco is invariably in a much better condition financially than his neighbor who raises only cotton and tobacco and buys food and feed with the cash received from the sale of these crops.

Food Crops and Farm Wealth

In 1910 our total farm property was valued at $13,684,318, whereas in 1920 it has increased to $40,747,814, or an increase in farm wealth of 197.5 percent. The state average increase was 134.5 percent. This is evidence that Johnston is a great agricultural county. She made marvelous strides along agricultural lines from 1910 to 1919 when the census was taken at top prices and when all were happy and prosperous. While we are richer today than in 1910, farm wealth would not now be given in at 1919 prices. The slump in prices hit every one and especially those who had incurred large debts to be paid from the sale of high-priced cotton and tobacco in the fall of 1920.

Johnston's crop-yielding power per acre in 1919 was $108.3 and only eight counties were ahead of us. We were ahead of the state average which was $61.4 per acre. In the production of agricultural wealth per rural inhabitant in 1919 we stood eleventh, our average being $508, while the state average was only $313. By agricultural wealth is meant everything that is produced on the farm, such as livestock, livestock products, food crops, and non-food crops.

Non-Food Crops

By non-food crops is meant crops that do not serve as food for man or beast. In 1910 the value of our non-food crops was $3,221,386. Our cotton and tobacco crops in 1920 produced wealth to the amount of $15,023,307. We are 86th in percent of agricultural wealth produced by non-food crops. Only fourteen counties give large attention to cash crop farming. Seventy-two percent of all farm wealth ni Johnston is produced by cotton and tobacco alone, while food, feed, livestock, livestock products, and the like make up twenty-eight percent. In the state at large sixty percent of all farm wealth in 1919 was produced by the two big cash crops.


Here is where Johnston is among the very first. In 1860 our total production was 2,892 bales. Eighteen counties were ahead of us. In 1900 we ranked eighth in total production with 17,835

bales. Our total production in 1909 was 34,795 bales, and we were outranked only by Robeson, which county produced 65,823 bales. In 1919 we were still second, and Robeson was again the only county in the state ahead of us. Her production was 61,737 bales, while our total production was 48,047 bales. Our total production of cotton has increased very rapidly, while from 1909 to 1919 Robeson's production showed a small decrease. The state's total production in 1860 was 145,514 400-pound bales, and she had increased to 858,406 500-pound bales in 1919.


Johnston county has increased very rapidly as a tobacco producing county. In 1900 we stood 19th in total production, with 2,651,760 pounds. We had increased from 2,651,760 pounds to 3,960,831 pounds in 1909. In 1919 we had a production of 9,357,193 pounds, and ranked 12th in the state. The number of acres cultivated in tobacco in Johnston were 5,862 during 1909, and 13,637 during 1919. Johnston produces an excellent grade of tobacco and only eleven counties grow more per acre. Quality counts more in tobacco than in any other crop.

Johnston First in Farms

We should be very proud of the fact that in 1920 we had the largest number of farms in the state. The census of 1920 credits us with 7,026 farms. In 1900 we had 4,452 farms. This shows a considerable increase. But the farms in Johnston are among the smallest in the United States. They average only 25.3 cultivated acres each, and few counties in the entire nation have smaller farms. This is the result of our tenant system based on cotton and tobacco farming with little food production.

Johnston contains 516,480 acres of land. Only seven counties in the state have a larger land acreage. In 1920 we had 396,438 acres in farms, while in 1900 we had 371,000 acres in farms. In 1920 76.7 percent of our land was in farms. The average number of acres per farm in 1920 was 56.4, with 25.3 acres cultivated. Out of our 7,026 farms in 1920, only 3,421 were operated by owners, 3,597 were operated by tenants, and eight operated by managers. Farm tenancy is the rule in Johnston and we are rapidly increasing in tenancy. Between 1910 and 1920 the tenants increased 25.9 percent, while farms increased only 16.6 percent. Land ownership for the few and land orphanage for the many is becoming the rule. And it is an unsafe, unwholesome, and uneconomic condition. We cannot accumulate

wealth and have really wholesome economic and social conditions when the masses of our farmers have no land and no home they can call their own. They are forever on the move, either from choice or necessity. More than half of our population has no real interest in the community in which they live nor in the land out of which they dig their existence.

Livestock Status

Johnston county suffered a loss in poultry production from 1910 to 1920. In 1910 we produced 316,850 poultry and in 1920 we produced only 272,018, a decrease of 44,832. Only Wake and Pitt counties were ahead of us in poultry production in 1920. In 1910 Johnston was led by only one county in the state, namely Wake, which produced 321,664. The production of poultry should be an interesting sideline for farmers, and could easily be made a profitable one. Every farmer in Johnston would be wise to stock his farm with good poultry.

In April of 1910 we had 52,619 head of swine, 33,638 of which were mature hogs, with an estimated total value of $164,844. In January of 1920 Johnston had on hand 46,369 hogs, 19,567 of which were hogs under six months old, with a total value of $603,811. The difference of date of taking the two censuses accounts for the smaller number reported in 1920. There was a large increase in value, since pork was about four times as costly in 1920 as in 1910. Although Johnston led the state in the production of swine in both 1910 and 1920, we hsould give more attention to this form of meat production in the future. It is the easiest and cheapest source of meat supply in a cotton and tobacco region, where corn must be grown to feed workstock. The value of home-raised meats is known to every one, and this subject need not be enlarged upon here. With the present good prices for pork, we should greatly increase our pork production.

Fourteen counties produced more cattle than Johnston did in 1910. Ashe led in that year with 21,446. Johnston had in 1910, 10,878 cattle. Twenty-three counties produced more cattle than Johnston in 1920, in which year she had only 8,435. Ashe again led with 22,332. Johnston ranks first in farms and farm population but low in cattle, especially dairy cattle and consequently milk and butter. Her tenant population knows not the taste of milk and butter except occasionally when a neighbor treats. Our farm stock, namely mules and horses, increased in the ten years from 7,714 to 10,568.

It is astonishing to know that our sheep loss from 1910 to

1920 was 71 percent. In 1910 we had 2,387 sheep and only 686 in 1920, or one sheep to ten farms.

Our farmers ought always to bear in mind that whether we consider the state or the United States, we invariably find that high per capita country wealth goes hand in hand with an abundance of domestic animals and a substantial production of food and feed crops, and that low per capita wealth is always found where farm animals and home-raised necessities are lacking. Johnston is a wonderful county with an abundance of good land and an ideal climate for agricultural purposes. Her present prosperity is due more to her natural endowments than to her farm system. Before we can hope to be the county we should be our farmers must own their land and homes and we must become a producer of cash crops on a food-and-feed and livestock basis. Then and not until then will Johnston have permanent prosperity.

Farm Conditions and Practices in Johnston For the Year 1919, Unless Indicated

1st in farms, number7,026
18th in Increase in farms, 1910 to 1920, percent16.6
Edgecombe increased 31.1 percent. State increased 66.3 percent. Thirty-eight counties lost farms.
69th in Farm tenancy, percent tenants51.2
Scotland 79.6 percent tenants. State average 43.5 percent tenants.
73rd in Increase in farm tenants, 1910 to 1920 percent25.9
Forty-two counties decreased in tenants. State increase in number of tenants 9.5 percent.
29th in Increase in negro farmers, 1910 to 1920, percent15.6
Lenoir increase 71.6 percent in negro farmers. State increase 16.2 percent negro, 2.8 percent white.
31st in Land area under cultivation, percent of total area34
Scotland 66 percent. State average 26.3 percent
3rd in Total farm wealth, 1920$ 40,747,814
15th in Ten-year increase in farm wealth, 1910 to 1920, percent197.5
State increase 134.5 percent. Greene increased 310 percent.

2nd in Investment in farm implements per acre of land in farms$ 6.50
State average $2.70.
7th in Investments in farm implements per farm$ 290
Scotland $441.
3rd in Total production of agricultural wealth$ 20,646,863
Robeson $24,045,294.
13th in Production of agricultural wealth per farm$ 2,939
State average $2,104. Scotland $5,022.
3rd in Total production of crop wealth$ 19,229,785
Robeson $22,955,950.
75th in Average cultivated acres per farm25.3
State average 30.4 acres, and only Massachusetts has smaller farms. Johnston farms are too small.
19th in Increase in farm wealth per rural inhabitant, 1910 to 1920, percent204
Pitt increased 335. percent.
12th in Tobacco production, pounds9,357,193
Pitt produced 25,390,000 pounds. In 1910 Johnston produced 2,652,000 pounds.
2nd in Cotton production in 1919, bales48,047
Robeson 61,737 bales. In 1900 Johnston produced 17,835 bales, and in 1860 she produced 2,892 bales.
86th in Agricultural wealth produced by non food crops, percent72
In Scotland 84 percent is produced by cotton and tobacco. In North Carolina 60 percent of all agricultural wealth is produced by cotton and tobacco.
3rd in Cotton production per acre, pounds389
State average 312 pounds. Scotland 424 pounds
12th in Tobacco production per acre, pounds686
State average 610 pounds. Greene 825 pounds per acre.
2nd in Corn production, total crop, bushels1,279,356
Robeson 1,376,244 bushels.
31st in Wheat production per acre, bushels9.4
State average 7.7 bushels per acre.
34th in Hay and forage production, tons6,956
Mecklenburg 26,208 tons. Johnston leads in mules and horses but ranks low in hay and forage.

33rd in Increase in hay and forage production, 1910 to 1920, percent141
State gain 90 percent.
9th in Crop-yielding power per acre$ 108.30
State average $61.40 per acre.
18th in Oats production, bushels29,127
Anson 108,276 bushels.
60th in Irish potato production, bushels12,860
Duplin 246,212 bushels. State total 2,853,997 bushels or a little more than one bushel per capita.
1st in Sweet potato production, bushels418,750
30th in Livestock levels, percent of a lightly stocked farm area35
A lightly stocked farm area has one animal unit to every five acres. An animal unit equals a horse or mule, one dairy cow, two other cattle, 5 hogs, 10 pigs, 100 poultry. The livestock in Johnston consists largely of mules and horses, not dairy and beef cattle.
86th in Bill for imported food and feed supplies$ 3,854,591
Only fourteen counties send out more money for imported food stuffs, all with larger towns and more manufacturing than Johnston.



Smithfield, N. C.

Our Immense Food Shortage

We find there is a shortage of food production in Johnston county amounting to nearly four million dollars. Our inhabitants, along with their cattle and livestock, consume nearly twice as much feed as they produce. In dollars and cents, we produce nearly four times more in money crops than we do in food crops. In 1919 this left us a surplus of over eleven million dollars, out of which all other expenses were paid. But there were clothes and livestock to be bought, taxes and house rent to be paid, children to be educated and books to be bought for them, automobiles to keep up, mortgages to be paid off, enormous fertiizer bills, plus a thousand and one other incidentals. These additional expenses consumed practically all the eleven million dollars, for we had only nine dollars per capita in bank savings, money laid up for a rainy day.

We must remember here that 1919 was an unusually good year, that we were paid high prices for our money crops, namely, cotton and tobacco, and that we could afford to buy our food that year, which was one in twenty. In other years we go in the hole, lose money by this terrible practice of neary all money crops and little or no food crops. If this is not changed Johnston county will never be the rich county she should be. True we have other products to exchange for food products, but the time will come when this system will in all likelihood fail as grieviously.

The shortage in detail will best be seen by a complete study of the table on food and feed needs and deficits at the close of this chapter. We are showing here some alarming facts about critical conditions in Johnston county.

Why Our Farmers Fall Behind

Our farmers fail to the extent of $3,854,591 in supplying food and feed needed, for three reason: First, because of excessive

production of cotton and tobacco; second, excessive farm tenancy under mortgage systems, which prohibits the raising of food and feed crops—they must raised money crops or else starve; and third, the lack of cash markets for home-raised food and feed. The fact that we have not such markets is much to be regretted. It is a potent factor in the neglect of food and feed production.

Too Little Home Raised Supplies

The greater part of Johnston's total crop wealth is produced by cotton and tobacco, and the ratio is increasing yearly. Yearly we are giving more attention to non-food crops instead of balancing our farm system, thus causing an unsound farming basis. We are to a large degree dependent upon other states for food sustenance.

In the production of corn, we do fairly well, having a deficit of only 4.9 bushels per inhabitant per year. We fell much further behind in wheat production per person, in this respect ranking 54th among the 100 counties in the state. We produce only .5 bushel per person, whereas 4 bushels are needed; the result is a total deficit of 171,493 bushels. Only 18 counties in the state produce enough wheat for local needs.

We did better in the production of oats, producing 28,127 bushels. Even with this we did not produce enough to supply our own consumption. We rank very low in the production of hay and forage with only 6,596 tons. Mecklenburg led the state with 26,208 tons. Johnston ranks first in mules and horses but 34th in hay and forage. Our hay and forage production increased 141 percent from 1909 to 1919, while the state as a whole increased only 90 percent. Our production in both census years was ridiculously low.

In egg production in 1919 we were 59th in rank, producing 8.2 dozen per inhabitant, whereas there was a need for 17.5 dozen. We produced 452,539 dozen, and our deficit was 404,926 dozen. Only a very few counties in the state produce surpluses. We have approximately 216,000 poultry.

In the value of dairy products we rank 31st., the total value in 1919 being nearly two hundred thousand dollars, whereas Buncombe county produced $744,901 worth. We produced approximately a million gallons of milk, and butter made on farms totaled over three hundred thousand pounds. Our milk and butter production does not approach our local needs. We import great quantities of butter, and of condensed milk and yet we fail to consume as much butter and milk as is needed to balance

our food diet.

We lacked 9 pounds of doubling the state average in the per capita pork production of 99 pounds. Johnston is the leading pork producing county of the state and in this one particular are we about self-feeding. We had 46,930 swine in 1920.

Fifty-nine counties in the state produced more Irish potatoes than did Johnston. But we lead the state in producing sweet potatoes. In 1919 we produced 418,750 bushels of sweet potatoes, which fell short of our 1909 crop by 56,733 bushels.

It is appalling that we ranked 86th among all the counties in the bill for food and feed supplies in 1919. This means that Johnston county is bettered by 85 counties in North Carolina in “living at home.” The deficit of nearly four million dollars has been given above, but we wish again to give warning that if this farm system is not changed for a better one, Johnston county will never be the rich and prosperous county she could easily become.

Why We Are Not Self-Feeding

First, we are not self-feeding because we pay too much attention to cotton and tobacco, money crops. Farmers seem to think that they must continue the time-honored custom of intensive agriculture, that they must spend all their time and energy in the production of money crops—and indeed it does take all their time. From daybreak till night they toil in the fields, slaves of dollars, forgetful of food. Food and feed crops do not require so much attention as the money crops, and farmers could raise enough of them to feed their families and livestock and yet have considerable acreage to put into cotton and tobacco. To do this would involve very little extra cost and trouble.

Second, excessive tenancy forces tenants to produce cotton and tobacco. Land owners, desiring maximum per acre yields, cannot afford for tenants to turn their lands into food and feed crops. The yields are too low, they require large tracts of land in order to get sufficient produce for a fair per worker return. Landlords and supply merchants will not allow tenants to produce anything but money crops in most cases.

Third, the lack of good marketing facilities causes a lack of food production. Money crops are sold so much more easily, because the market seeks the producer; but not so with the food crops. Here the crop seeks the market. No towns in the county are large enough to demand large quantities of food at

one time. It is hard for a farmer to go to town and sell a large load of vegetables, because the demand for them is not sufficient. The same is true of many other food products. These facts cause the production of food in Johnston to be unprofitable when raised on a commercial basis. But there is no excuse for a farmer's buying many food products. He can very easily produce enough meat, flour, vegetables and fruits to last throughout the year, and can also raise enough hay, forage, corn and oats to feed his livestock throughout the year. The sooner we do this, the sooner will we become a wealthy county. If our farmers could retain the four million dollars we spend annually for imported food and feed supplies we would double the value of our total farm property in less than a decade. When we advocate this we do not mean that the farmer should abandon money crops; far from it. We cannot afford to give up the money crops, but we can well afford to raise more of our food supplies. Too long have we been trying to get rich by buying food for ourselves and livestock with cotton and tobacco money, and we have found that it cannot be done. Middle-Western farmers are rich because they do the very things we fail to do. Why can we not learn this simple lesson? Experience should be our teacher. We can fill our pantries, barns, smoke-houses, and silos with home-raised foods at a smaller cost than we can buy them.

Solution of the Market Problem

Briefly, the solution lies in the co-operation of the producers and the consumers, by their “getting together.” The producer should get more for his products at the same time the consumer gets more for his money, and if this does not happen the problem has not been solved successfully. The middleman is a cause of this failure to a large degree. Why not build co-operative community market houses?

Co-operative Marketing

Here is the one solution. The producer is powerless unless supported by the consumer, and vice versa. Success in this matter depends upon credit accommodations from banks. Consumers and producers must be linked together, bankers and transporters must be favorable and attentive; then the farmers’ chance is at its zenith, and the consumers’ cost is at its lowest level. “Success lies in collusion, not in collision, in co-operation not in contest.”

What the Banks Can Do

Bankers in Texas refuse to loan to supply-merchants who do a crop-lien business protected by cotton alone. They set a minimum acreage which must be devoted to food production, usually half the cultivated acreage, and farmers are required by their mortgagors to produce this acreage of food. These Texas bankers are forcing the farmers through the merchants to do this in order to produce a sufficiency of bread and meat on every farm.

This is a sound policy. It could be applied in eastern North Carolina. Johnston county is not producing enough food and feed within her borders. Johnston county bankers could do the people of the county a great service by instituting such a system. It means bigger, better, and safer business to the merchants and bankers. Bankers could do more in a single year to solve this problem than all the farm demonstrators could do in a lifetime.

The farmers could materially help in the solution of this problem by producing enough food and feed on their own farms to feed their families and livestock plus enough to help feed the towns as well. There should be a co-operative food Marketing Association, which would function in avoiding over-crowded markets and insuring a standard price. The products so marketed must be as good and taste as well as those who have been importing. Eggs, vegetables, grains, meats, butter, fruits and other things must be produced in steady and reliable quantities, and the farmers must stand ready to supply market demands upon short notice.

Food and Feed Needs and Deficits

1. Food and Feed:
48,998 people @ $155 per year$7,594,690
11,327 work animals @ $78 per year883,506
7,215 dairy cows @ 37 per year266,955
1,552 other cattle @ $16 per year24,832
686 sheep @ $3 per year2,058
46,930 swine @ $13 per year610,090
2,163 animal units of poultry @ $78168,714
Total food and feed needed$ 9,550,845
2. Produced:
Food and feed crops$4,206,478
Dairy products186,469

Poultry products421,281
Honey and wax4,192
Animals sold and slaughtered877,834
Total food and feed produced$ 5,696,254
Shortage in home-raised food and feed$ 3,854,591
All other crops were valued at15,023,307
Surplus in dollars$11,168,716
3. Distribution of Food and Feed Shortage:
(1) Meat needed for 48,998 people @ 152 lbs.7,468,000
400 Calves at 150 lbs.,60,000
2,600 cattle @ 350 lbs.,910,000
316,000 poultry at 3.5 lbs.,1,106,000
36,000 hogs @ 200 lbs.,7,200,000
700 goats and sheep @ 100 lbs.,70,000
Total home meat produced9,340,000
(2) Butter needed for 48,998 people @ 48 lbs.2,351,804
(3) Fowls needed for 48,998 people @ 13 fowls656,974
(4) Eggs needed for 48,998 people @ 17 1-2 dozen856,665
(5) Corn needed for 48,998 people @ 31 bushels1,518,938

(6) Wheat needed for 48,998 people @ 4 bushels195,992
(7) Hay needed for 10,591 work animals @ 10 lbs., per day19,323

Facts About Food and Feed Production

Rank indicates counties in the State that make a better showing.

10th in Corn production per capita in 1919, bushels26.1
Hyde led with 46.3 bushels. State average was 16 bushels. Needed per person for man and beast, 31 bushels per year. Deficit 4.9 bushels per inhabitant. Total deficit 239,582 bushels.
54th in Wheat production per capita in 1919, bushels.5
Randolph led with 9.6 bushels. State average 1.8 bushels. Needed, 4 bushels per person per year. Deficit per person 3.5 bushels. Total deficit 171,128 bushels. Only 18 counties produced wheat surpluses.
18th in Oats production, total crop in 1919, bushels28,127
Anson county led with 108,276 bushels. State total 1,671,308 bushels.
34th in Hay and forage production, total crop in 1919, tons6,596
Mecklenburg led with 26,208 tons.
21st in Pork production per inhabitant in 1919, pounds189
Tyrrell led with 364 pounds per capita. State average was 99 pounds per capita.
59th in Egg production per capita in 1919, dozen8.2
Needed, 17.5 dozen per capita. Only 9 counties in the state produced surpluses. Our deficit was 404,926 dozen. Produced 452,539 dozen.
60th in Butter production per capita in 1919, pounds6.5
State average was 10 pounds per inhabitant.
1st in Sweet potato production in 1919, bushels418,750
60th in Irish potato production in 1919, bushels12,860
Duplin led with 246,212 bushel.

86th in Deficit in in home-raised food and feed supplies, 1919$ 3,854,591
Only 3 counties produced a surplus. State deficit $230,000,000.
2nd in Total corn production in 1919, bushels1,279,356
State total 40,998,317 bushels.
31st in Wheat production per acre in 1919, bushels9.4
State average per acre production was 7.7 bushels.
33rd in Increase in hay and forage production, 1909-1919, per cent141
State average increase 90 percent.
31st in Value of dairy products in 1919, dollars$ 186,469
Buncombe led with value of $744,901.
Milk produced as reported, 953,855 gallons, and butter made on farms, 319,323 pounds.

JOHNSTON IN 1860 AND 1920.

Crops and Livestock18601920
Corn, bushels468,5831,279,356
Hay, tons3,1376,956
Wheat, bushels5,96724,864
Oats, bushels22,87128,127
Peas and beans, bushels77,70817,840
Sorghum, gallons19,778
Sweet potatoes, bushels222,210418,750
Irish potatoes, bushels4,92712,860
Cotton, bales2,89248,047
Tobacco, pounds13,0709,357,193
Wool, pounds10,9201,419
Butter, pounds68,883319,323
Honey, pounds13,62815,937
Dairy cattle4,3437,033
Other cattle6,4471,402


Corn, bushels951,4411,279,356
Hay, tons2,8926,956
Wheat, bushels19,88824,864

Oats, bushels45,45028,127
Soy beans, bushels3,699
Cow peas, bushels56,46414,141
Peanuts, bushels12,732387
Sorghum, gallons13,5029,778
Sweet potatoes, bushels475,483418,750
Irish potatoes, bushels22,26512,860
Cotton, bales34,79548,047
Tobacco, pounds3,960,8319,357,193



Smithfield, N. C.

The People

Johnston county has a people of whom we are justly proud. They are known far and wide for their native energy, spirit and courteousness. A study of previous chapters will clearly indicate their energy. They are progressive in every sense of the word, ever on the alert to do things that will better not only themselves, but the county, the state, and the nation as well.

Soils, Seasons and Climate

According to the report of the U. S. Geological Survey on the county, we have a total of 28 different types of soil, most of which are very fertile, offering great opportunities in agriculture, and producing a wide range of agricultural products. The best growing season lasts from the first of April to late autumn, but many crops are grown in winter, among them winter wheat and alfalfa. Johnston's 516,480 acres of highly productive land are her greatest natural resource. No county in the state has more good agricultural land than Johnston. Our principal wealth comes as a result of this fact.

Johnston's climate is never excessively hot nor excessively cold. Crops seldom suffer from drought; we have a sufficient amount of precipitation, evenly distributed throughout the year. Situated midway between the mountains and the sea, our climate is healthful and invigorating, a great asset in every way.

Population Growth

Our population increase during the ten-year period from 1910 to 1920 was 18.3 percent, and we ranked 32nd among all counties in the state in this particular. During this period the white ratio increase one percent over the negro population, a fact which is to the advantage of the county. Only one township in the county registered a loss in population, and that one was Beulah, situated on the northern boundary of the county. The loss in this instance was due to the organization of a new township, Micro, and indicated progress rather than retrogression.

Owing to our agricultural opportunities, our rural population density is 50.2 people per square mile. This means better labor conditions on farms, more tilled farms, and better crops, greater wealth production, and all the social advantages that come from wealth and relatively dense population. Eighty-one percent of our farms are cultivated by white people and no cotton and tobacco belt county in the state has as large a ratio of white farmers. Dare and Carteret counties on the coast are the only counties east of Greensboro with a larger percent of white farmers. We have 1,741 more white farmers than any county in North Carolina. They number 5,695 while Sampson, which ranks next, has only 3,954 white farmers.

Farm Increases

Our farm wealth of $1,004 per country inhabitant in 1920 is an increase of 204 percent over the wealth of 1910. This means that Johnston's rural population is using better methods of agriculture, that more acres are being tilled, that better products are being marketed, and that the people are making and saving more. We want this to continue in the future, and to have a greater Johnston this will be necessary. However, it must be remembered that land values were much higher in 1919 than today; and it was increase in land value that brought about the greater part of our wealth gains.

Real estate tax values increase nearly sixfold from 1910-20. This means that Johnston county real estate on the tax books has nearly doubled ever two years. The demand for fertile fields in her rural districts and for desirable lots in her hustling towns has greatly increased land values.

Farmers, realizing to some extent the importance of home production of food, have increased their production of poultry and swine. But our food crops lack a great deal of supplying the demand at home.

Agricultural Wealth

In taking stock of our wealth, agriculture again looms into importance. Our agricultural wealth has increased enormously during the last ten years. The farm wealth increase was due to increased value in farm lands more than anything else, for land values constitute a large proportion of our agricultural wealth. But it is the ability to produce crops, twenty million dollars worth in 1919, that gives our land its high capital value. Johnston ranks 3rd in North Carolina and among the fifty leading counties of the nation in the value of her crops. The average

production of farm wealth per farm in 1919 was nearly $3,000. It consisted mainly of cotton, tobacco, corn and hogs. All other crops and livestock amount to only a small total in Johnston, and this is true everywhere else in eastern North Carolina.

Agricultural Production

Our enormous agricultural production is due largely to four factors. First we have more farms than any county in the state, and they are distributed all over the county. Second, yield per acre is very high here, due to the fertility of the soils. We are one of the leading counties in the state in per acre production, in fact only eight counties in the state lead us. Third, our investment in farm implements is and has been a great factor in our predominance in agricultural production. We rank next to the highest in the state in investment in farm implements per acre, and of this we may well be proud. The average investment in implements per farm is $290, which is high in a state of hand farmers but miserably low when compared with all western states. Our cultivated acreage per farm is too small to use much farm machinery profitably. We need to double the acreage per farm.

The above facts, coupled with our native energy and good growing season, afford us excellent advantages for high agricultural production. We should change our tactics a little and produce more food crops on larger cultivated farms with the use of more machinery. Could we secure better markets for the sale of our produce, then Johnston would utilize her advantages with a marked and profitable degree of success.

Taxable Wealth

Our total taxable wealth is enormous. In 1921 our taxable property alone reached the amazing amount of 42 million dollars. Only a little more than one and one-half million dollars of this was the property of negroes. Our farm wealth is the principal source from which we collect our taxes. The increase in farm wealth alone was over 200 percent from 1910 to 1920. As has already been said, this was due largely to the great increase in land values. Real estate in Johnston boomed during the war, great tracts of land exchanged hands, and millions of dollars’ worth was sold. The increase in tax value of real estate from 1910 to 1920 was nearly 600 percent. Money was plentiful and there was great demand for land. Many farmers bought land at war prices, giving notes, and later were



forced to give it up due to the resultant depression because of low prices for farm produce. Speculation was at a high pitch and enormous sums were made and lost. Town property is also a big source of revenue. Practically all land in the towns is at a premium.

Additional sources of revenue are livestock, incomes and the like, from which are realized considerable wealth. With the taxes paid from these sources, Johnston is soon to have a finer system of schools and better roads; and a handsome court house is nearing completion.

Factories, mills, gins and like enterprises also furnish a large source of revenue. Johnston has a great many rough lumber mills, many gins, and a few factories, most of which are large and have large outputs. These sources, when combined, yield a great amount of revenue.


While Johnston county ranks well in certain phases of the educational life of the state, it must be borne in mind that our schools, especially our rural schools, are far from being what they should be. This matter has been treated fully in another chapter. Here we sum it up.

We have a large school population in average daily attendance, yet only 56.1 percent of the children of school age were in daily attendance in 1919. In 1920-21 only 66.6 percent of the white children of school age were in daily attendance. This is a crime against the rising generations that should be brought home to parents who do not see to it that their children go to school, especially when there is a law making attendance compulsory. We have a great many local-tax districts and a large school fund as compared to other counties in this state—a state of poor country schools. Our people are not willing to spend on schools as they should, and consequently there is enormous room for improvement. Only 20 counties had more invested in rural school property, yet on the whole our buildings are poor. We rank first in the number of farms and first in farm population. Why should we not rank first in the value of rural school property?

We are proud of the above facts in so far as we are high in rank among the other counties in the state. But we must remember that where we are high in the state we are low in the nation; for North Carolina has a long way to go in improving her schools. Nevertheless, all things being taken into consideration, Johnston ranks well in educational matters in this state.

Especially is this true as regards city schools. Those at Clayton, Selma, Benson and Smithfield would be a credit to any county. The untiring efforts of the last County Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Hipps, have made a great change in our system of rural schools, while the Superintendents of recent years in the above named towns have done equally as much. We are well under way, but there is much to be done. Johnston is a wonderful county, but she has many problems to solve.

Where We Lead

8th in size, acres516,480
1st in sweet potato production, 1919, bushels418,750
2nd in corn production, 1919, bushels1,279,356
8th in corn production per capita, 1919, bushels28.1
18th in oats production, 1919, bushels28,127
21st in pork production per capita, 1919, pounds189
8th in population in 192048,998
32nd in population increase 1910 to 1920, percent18.3
State increase 15.9 percent.
13th in townships losing population, percent5.9
18th in rural population density, per square mile50.2
26th in negro illiterates 10 years old and over, percent21.7
27th in homicides per million inhabitants, 1913-14, rate60
22nd in birth per thousand population, 1917, rate35.7
15th in total taxable property, 1921$ 42,272,227
19th in negro taxable property, 1921$ 1,702,857
12th in tax value of farm land per acre, 1920$ 65.30
3rd in total production of agricultural wealth, 1920$ 20,646.863
13th in production of agricultural wealth per farm$ 2,939
10th in farm wealth per country inhabitant, 1920$ 1,004
19th in increase in farm wealth per country inhabitant, 1910-1920, percent204
15th in increase in real estate tax values, 1910-20, percent586
12th in per capita investment in automobiles, 1920$ 71
32nd in autos, people per automobile in 192216.2
Johnston had 3,020 cars in March, 1922.
23rd in surplus paid into the State Treasury in excess of school funds and pensions received back, 1918$ 10,196
20th in professional taxes paid, 1919$ 315

24th in State income taxes paid, 1919$ 1,679
2nd in cotton production, 1919, bales48,047
3rd in cotton production per acre, 1919, pounds$ 389
12th in tobacco production, 1919, pounds9,357,193
12th in tobacco production per acre, 1919, pounds686
9th in crop yielding power per acre, 1919$ 108.3
2nd in investment in farm implements, per acre, 1920$ 6.50
7th in investment of farm implements per farm, 1920$ 290
1st in production of poultry, 1920, number186,010
1st in production of swine, 1920, number46,369
9th in rural white schools having two or more teachers, 1917-18, percent67.4
21st in investment in rural school property, 1918-19$ 122,953
14th in white school population in average daily at tendance, 1918-19, percent56.1



Smithfield, N. C.

The many things that we have to be proud of in Johnston have been related and discussed in the preceding chapter. Here the extolling of our virtues comes to an end. We now have our problems to look at, and a few suggestions to offer that will help to make Johnston a better county. The real solutions will have to be worked out by the leading and thinking men and women of Johnston. And there are real problems to be solved in Johnston.

We have conditions existing in our county that are retarding us in our progress and further development. True, we lead in more respects than we lag, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Obviously then, we have work to do. Our problems can only be solved by the hearty co-operation of business men and bankers, preachers and teachers, and farmers. It will require a united people to blot out our faults and to reach high levels.

An Ill-Balanced Farm System

The 1920 census shows that we have a per capita farm wealth of $1,004; a deficiency in home raised food and feed supplies to the extent of over three and a half million dollars; an average of only 25 acres under cultivation on each farm; over half the farms operated by tenants; and per capita bank savings of only $9.00 in 1918.

Clearly, our farmers are poor. First, they fail to produce enough food and feed to supply the wants of the county. Sending away enormous amounts of cash or food and feed supplies we could produce at home keeps us poor. It is just about the biggest problem facing Johnston today. An average of 25.3 cultivated acres per farm is not sufficient to produce all the food and feed necessary to satisfy our local needs and in addition produce our cash crops. Few areas in the nation have as few cultivated acres per farm as Johnston. We need more cultivated acres, and we can have them, for only one-third the land area is under cultivation and there is little land in our county

that cannot be put into crops or pastures. Lack of ready cash, with which to buy improved farm implements and thereby to lower the cost of crop production, causes us to cultivate a few acres by expensive hand labor. We must have ready cash if we are to have good roads, schools, churches, and good farms. The reason for this deficiency is lack of home-raised food supplies. The solution is at once obvious. We have been slaves to cotton and tobacco for more than half a century, to the neglect of foods, feeds, and livestock. This is a crime against common sense. Our soils and seasons are adapted to diversified farming and 70 years have proven that cash-crop farming is not wise. We are poor not because we do not produce wealth—we produce it in abundance—but because the bulk of it slips through our fingers in the fall months to meet heavy bills incurred in producing the crops. And it is not entirely because farmers choose this system. More than half of our farmers are tenants and tenants have no choice in crop selection.

Farm Tenancy

Over fifty-one percent of our farmers are tenants. Of these 2,059 were share tenants, 733 were croppers, 56 were share-cash tenants, 396 were cash tenants, and 351 were standing renters. The landless, homeless farm tenants in Johnston numbered 3,597. Our tenants are not negroes but native-born white farmers. The negro tenants number only 1,011, while the white tenants number 2,586, or about 13,000 souls, native white sons of Johnston with no land and no home they can call their own, and mighty few chances of ever acquiring either. They are pilgrims within our midst with no home or community ties. They are cropper farmers for the most part and grow cash crops, not from choice but from necessity. Must they be tenants or is there a solution to the problem?


Among the native white inhabitants of Johnston ten years old and over, 9.5 percent were classed as illiterates, unable to write in any language in the year of Grace 1920. In this particular we are 69th,—near the bottom—meaning that 68 counties have a lower illiteracy percentage. This is one of our great problems, and an insistent one. There rre many arritional near-illiterates, needing practically an equal amount of attention. We were 74th and 66th respectively in illiteracy among females and males 21 years old and over. Over 13 percent of our whites of voting age are unable to read and write. These are the bare

facts. The problems that result from illiteracy have been treated fully in a preceding chapter.

Plenty of Room

Sixty-five percent of the land area in Johnston is cut over, abandoned land, or is in woodlands and scrub timber. Thousands of acres of cleared land are idle. It is necessary that we bring this land into use if we are greatly to increase our wealth. Our cultivated acres per farm are too few. Our 7,026 farms in 1920 had a cultivated area of 177,433 acres. The land area of Johnston is 516,480 acres. The reader is left to draw his own conclusions as to how much room for new farms Johnston has. A large increase in rural population coupled with sane farming would give us an inestimable increase in prosperity.

Livestock a Solution

Reserving 100,000 acres for woodlot purposes, we can hardly bring these 239,000 acres under cultivation unless we change from a cropping system. Livestock would largely solve the problem. Our climate is admirably suited to livestock, and our opportunities for the development of livestock industries are admirable. Grain grows well on our soils, and so do grasses. Our soils are fertile and well drained. Some one thoroughly familiar with dairying could come to Johnston, organize a farmers’ co-operative creamery company, or companies, and materially aid Johnston, her farmers and townspeople. This company could collect and market milk, butter, eggs, vegetables, and meat at a good profit. There are many small towns and a few large cities easily within our reach.

Practically all our farms are too lightly stocked. We do not have enough meat-producing animals, and what we do have are not of the best quality. Our good showing as a livestock county is due mainly to our horses and mules, of which we have more than any county in North Carolina. As a lightly stocked farm area Johnston ranks 28th in North Carolina. She is 65 percent below the level of a lightly stocked farm area of one animal unit to every five acres of farm land, as in Iowa for instance. Our shortage of 65 percent shows that the number of livestock should be almost trebled. Especially do we need more milk cows and beef cattle. We must raise more and better meat and milk animals. They are valuable for their meat and milk, and they would furnish, besides, rich manure for our depleted soils. Meat prices are high, the demand for it is increasing, and the production in our western states is falling off.

Johnston farmers can raise meat, sell it at high prices on ready markets, and have plenty of time to raise cash crops also. We are looking forward to the day when Johnston will begin to produce more livestock, and have home-grown meat and milk in abundance. One of our greatest Southerners, Henry Grady, editor, philanthropist and philosopher, once said: “When every farmer in the South shall eat bread from his own fields and meat from his own pantries and, disturbed by no creditor and enslaved by no debt, shall amid his teeming orchards and vine-yards and dairies and barns pitch his own crops in his own wisdom and grow them in independence; making cotton and tobacco clean surplus crops and selling these in his own time, and in his chosen market, and not at a master's bidding—getting his pay in cash and not in a receipted mortgage that discharges his debt, but does not restore his freedom—then and not until then shall be the breaking of the fullness of our day.”

Co-operative Solution of Johnston Problems

As said above, our people must work together to solve the farm problems, for they are our greatest problems. To think that the farmer can do this alone is foolish. So long as the farmers are held back, then all of Johnston will be held back. The farmers of Johnston are its backbone, because Johnston is an agricultural county, and we depend upon farming for our subsistence. When prices are low or when crops fail, merchants, bankers and farmers all suffer, and as one. We look to the country both for our biggest and most influential men, and for our existence necessities. We cannot get along without the rural districts; and yet they are cramped and held back by selfish forces. Our biggest men come from there, but they do not have the best educational facilities. The farmer is entitled to the best advantages available to any of our, people, and be it remembered that every good deed the banker, merchant or ecclesiastic does for him will be repaid in increased prosperity for all.

Mutual Prosperity

In this bulletin we have repeatedly said that a town or city cannot grow prosperous if the surrounding countryside is neglected, deprived, and distressed on every side. In the end that town or city will cease to progress if these conditions exist. Many towns and cities, directly dependent upon their immediate surroundings, have come to realize that this fact is true, and they are doing their utmost to promote the welfare of the

farmer. They have realized that the better the condition of the farmer, both in trade and in farm conditions and practices, the better off the cities will be, both materially and in the good will of their farmer customers. The city dweller must help the farmer raise abundant supplies and afford him a ready cash market and a fair profit.

The evils of the supply-merchant, time-credit system have already received our attention, and it is a recognized fact that the small farmers and tenants are powerless under this system. They have failed in Johnston county to produce enough food and feed supplies to the extent of nearly four million dollars, either because they did not care to, or else because they were not allowed to do it. Recently I heard a supply-merchant absolutely refuse to allow one of his tenants to plant five acres of corn. He said, “Plant cotton.” What could that tenant do? When this four million dollars for imported food and feed left Johnston county it left farmers, bankers, merchants and land-owners just that much poorer. How much better off our conditions would have been had this enormous amount of wealth been retained by a bread-and-meat system of farming. It can be retained, and easily.

The bankers of Johnston can do more in a year to promote bread-and-meat farming than our gospel of diversified farming can do in a lifetime. The Texas bankers saw the folly of allowing $217,000,000 to leave the state annually for food and feed supplies that could be produced at home. They put their fists down on supply-merchants by refusing them loans on crop-liens protected by cotton acreage alone. They refuse now to discount a note for a farmer unless it contains a detailed written agreement by the farmer to plant a part of his acreage, usually half, in food and feed crops. What they did is simply this: They forced the supply-merchant to force the farmers to become self-feeding. In 1920, 230 million dollars left North Carolina for the importation of foreign-raised food and feed supplies. Nearly four million dollars of this came from Johnston. “Self-feeding farmers are self-financing, and self-financing agriculture spells prosperity for farmers, merchants and bankers alike.”

The Future of Johnston County

In our study of Johnston county, the authors of this little bulletin have endeavored to see everything in a broadminded way. We may have been radical, but in some respects it seemed best to be so. Johnston is a great county but there are problems to be solved. We are merely interested in seeing these problems

attacked and solved.

Now, in this last study, we want to dip into the future, and to visualize the time when all hindering causes shall have disappeared, when there shall be few farm or town tenants, when in place of many one-teacher schools, there shall be a few large consolidated schools, and when we shall be beyond question a county of constructive ideals and policies.

First, we hope some day to see a county of land owning and home owning farmers, based on the instinct of a home-loving and home-living people. It will mean better roads, better schools, churches, better supported, with more than 32 percent of our inhabitants as members, better homes, with more home conveniences and comforts; more attention to health and sanitation; a greater regard for law and order, and a better community life in general, when every farmer shall own his own land, shall sit by his own fireside, before his own table laden with his own bread and meat, work his own stock, and till his fields with his own machinery.

During the last few years we have gone forward rapidly in our school progress. Several schools have been consolidated, and we hope to see further consolidation in the future. We expect to see the time when Johnston's school-children will ride to school and learn in fine school houses, well equipped and taught by the best of teachers, rather than walk through mud, rain and snow, and sit in poor buildings, poorly equipped and taught by fairly good teachers, as they do now in the rural districts.

To create the best living conditions in Johnston county is the task of all good citizens. Many have already set themselves to the task, and we hope that others will catch the vision, develop the spirit of hearty co-operation, and work hard to make Johnston county the foremost county in the state in every phase of its life.

Here we close. It is our hope that Johnston may not only lead in the future where she leads now, but that she may also lead in the future where she lags now.


Rank indicates the number of counties making a better showing.

60th in Irish potato production, 1919, bushels12,860
60th in Butter production per capita, 1919, pounds6.5
86th in Deficit in home-raised food and feed supplies$3,854,591
Only 14 counties have a bigger bill for food and feed.
74th in White female illiteracy, 21 years old and over, percent13.2
That is, 73 counties have a smaller ratio of such illiteracy.
66th in White male illiteracy, 21 years old and over, percent12.9
69th in Native white illiteracy, 10 years old and over, percent9.5
74th in White ratio gain, 1910-1920, percent1
82nd in Church membership, 10 years old and over, 1916, percent32
63rd in Deaths per 1,000 population, 1917 rate13.6
64th in Divorces per 100,000 inhabitants, 1916 rate21.1
64th in Bank account savings per capita, 1918$ 9.0
75th in Average cultivated acres per farm, 1919, acres25.3
69th in Farms operated by tenants, percent51.2
That is, 68 counties had a smaller ratio of farm tenancy.
73rd in Ten-year increase in farm tenancy, percent25.9
State average increase 9.5 percent.
75th in School expenditures per $1,000 taxable property, 1919-20.$ 3.68
68th in Expenditures per high school pupil, 1915-16$ 20.82
60th in Rural white schools having patent desks, 1918, percent75
In 1919, 37 of the 95 white rural schools were furnished with home-made desks.

Sources of Information

U. S. Census Reports.

Reports of State Corporation Commission.

Reports of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Rural Social Economics Files, University of North Carolina.



Smithfield, N. C.

About the year 1800 a man by the name of Frost came from Pennsylvania to Johnston County, attracted here by geological charts claiming that there was iron ore of superior quality in the county. Mr. Frost was so impressed with the ore that he moved here and worked it for a number of years. It is known as brown ore and similar in quality to the ore around Birmingham, Ala. He employed only crude methods of working the ore. That is to say that he made great heaps of logs and stuck the ore in the cracks of the logs and in that way the fire converted it into a liquid. He used large hammers to shape the ore into bars of iron. The power employed was water and the remains of his plant is still in existence, also the pits from which he dug the ore. Some years ago several gentlemen employed an expert, a Mr. Brown of Nashville, Tenn., to come to the county and examine the ore and also to analyze it. Mr. Brown stated that the ore was of very superior quality, several degrees better than that found near Birmingham and was not surpassed in quality by ore anywhere except one or two mines in Switzerland. Some of the implements used by Mr. Frost are still in existence, and are regarded as great curiosities. Mr. Frost resided on the lands now known as the Frost Plantation, and hence the name. Mr. Frost was the grandfather of the late Mr. Abner Avera, a man of fine character, and most pleasantly remembered by many of our citizens.


The business men of the county who have made this booklet possible by their advertisements have shown themselves to be wide-awake and vitally interested in the county and its welfare. They are doing all they can to make our county even better than it is, and they deserve your patronage. We recommend them to you. Patronize them.


—Trade at—

W. L. Woodall's Sons


Where Your Dollar Counts Most

A complete line of Dry Goods, Notions, Shoes, Hosiery, Underwear.

The largest and most up-to-date Ready-to-Wear Department in the County


(Established 1913)

Distributors of Texaco Petroleum Products

We maintain large storage in Smithfield and can supply you with Gasoline, Kerosene, Lubricating Oils and Greases at any time.

Superior Quality

Dependable Service

Telephone 191

Smithfield, North Carolina

Branches at Clinton and Warsaw

W. M. Sanders

Established 1880

General Merchant and Farmer

Smithfield, N. C.

I offer for sale:

Registered Hampshire Pigs.

Brick, Lime, Cement Wall Plaster, Finishing Lime, Manufactured Lumber, Laths, Shingles, both metal and Red Cedar, and other Building Materials.

I sell the Cole Planters and Distributors, and the I. H. C. Farm Implements, including Riding Cultivators and the McCormack Mowers, and Hackney Wagons

A complete stock of Vulcan and Chattanooga one and two-horse Plows and Castings will be found at my store. Reliable Mules and Horses will be found for sale at my Stables during each winter and spring.

Always in the market for all Country Produce


Phone 21

Phone 21

Smithfield, N. C.

University of North Carolina

Maximum Service to the People of the State

Regular Instruction for students in Accounting, Foreign Trade, Banking, Transportation, Political Economy, Business Law, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineeing, Highway Engineering, Soil Investigation, Journalism, Social Science, Government, Education, Music, and all subjects embraced in the College of Liberal Arts, the Schools of Applied Science, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Commerce, and the Graduate School, Public Welfare.

Special Instruction for teachers and those preparing to teach in subjects offered by the School of Education and the Summer School.

General Instruction for the public through the following departments of the Bureau of Extension: (1) General Information; (2) Lectures and Study Centers; (3) Home Study Courses; (4) Debate and Declamation; (5) County Economic and Social Surveys; (6) Municipal Reference; (7) Educational Information and Assistance; (8) Women's Club Activities.

Write to the University when you need help.

For further information, address

The President of the University

Chapel Hill, N. C.

J. H. AUSTIN, President

D. W. LAMBE, Cashier



Capital Stock$25,000.00

We are in better position than ever to take care of our patrons. Loans made on real estate at 6 per cent interest without bonus or commission charges. Notes payable in 20 years, or can be retired at any time after 5 years.

We make all reasonable effort to take care of the needs of our regular customers.

Thanking you for your patronage in the past, we anticipate a continuance of the same mutually pleasant and profitable relation in the future.

Charles W. Horne, Pres.Jno. T. Talton, Cashier
D. H. McCullers, V.-PresidentW. F. Weathers, Asst. Cashier



Capital and Surplus over$125,000.00

We Will Appreciate Your Business

When in Pine Level Visit

W. B. Oliver and Son

Merchants and Planters

Fertilizer a Specialty

Cotton Buyers

Established 1868

F. K. BROADHURST, President

J. D. UNDERWOOD Sec. Treas. & Gen. Mgr.

Cotter-Underwood Company

Authorized Capital Stock $25,000.00

Surplus, $230,000.00

Organized 1902

—Dealers In—

Dry Goods, Groceries, Fertilizers Buggies, Furniture and Cotton Undertakers and Embalmers

Smithfield, N. C.




OUR Prescription Department is the BEST IN TOWN

We are glad to see you at all times!


Opposite Court House



The Habit of not


Most of us want to be prosperous, independent, successful. But few realize the goal can only be reached by good habits, and that one of the most important is saving.

To those who realize the value of Thrift, this bank offers helpful, courteous service, plus 4 per cent compound interest on deposits.


E. V. NEIGHBORS, Cashier


Capital Stock $25,000.00

This Bank has built its business on personal service and co-operation. The officers will be glad to serve you when you make known your needs to them.

Come to See Us


Ashley Horne and Son

Farmers and Dealers in

General Merchandise

Clayton, N. C.


Four Oaks, N. C.

We operate a modern cotton ginnery, and buy Cotton Seed

We carry in stock standard Fertilizers, Nitrate of Soda, Cotton Seed Meal and Acid Phosphate.

Call on us when you wish to buy Fertilizers.

Let Us gin your cotton


Four Oaks, N. C.

W. M. Sanders

Jno. W. Sanders

We Appreciate Your Business, Large or Small When in Smithfield Give Us a Trial Agents for

Chase and Sanborn's Teas and Coffees

Purina Chows




C. M. & W. G. WILSON

—Manufacturers of and Dealers in—

Sash Doors, Blinds, Mouldings, Brackets and Other Building Material, Dressed and Rough Lumber

Grolls, Mantels, Balusters, Scroll Work, Porch and Stair Rails, Pulpits, Pew Ends, Newels, Plinth and Corner Blocks, Screen Doors, Windows, Store Fronts, all kinds Turned Work, etc.

Wood and Metal Store Fronts a Specialty

Wilson Mills, N. C.

When in Princeton

I will always be glad to see you

Make my Store your Headquarters


General Merchant

Princeton, N. C.

Drawing of Cole One-Horse Grain Drill

Splendid Fertilizer Attachment if Wanted


Crop Rotation Will Help. Get a fine crop of Oats or other grain and follow with Corn, Peas, etc.


With either Disc or Hoe Openers

The seed are planted in DEEP FURROWS which protect the grain from Cold Winds, and PREVENTS WINTER KILLING. The Cole is fine for all kinds of grain. It will sow ANY KIND of Oats, and make Oats a SURE and PROFITABLE CROP anywhere. The Cole One-Row Drill is just as good as the Three-Row, only it takes more time. Call and see these Drills and let us tell you more about their good points.


for the famous COLE PLANTERS and GRAIN DRILLS. Be sure you get the GENUINE COLE and do not let anyone sell you an inferior imitation.


whether you buy anything or not. See our high class goods and low prices so you will know hte best place to go when you need anything in our line.


Phone 21


Phone 21

A Good Drug Store

With a complete, modern stock, of everything carried in a progressive Drug Store. Our service is unexcelled. To serve you best with the best of everything is our Motto.

We Appreciate Your Business, Trade With Us.

Johnston County's

Leading Drug Store


D. Heber Creech, Mgr.

Smithfield, N. C.

Telephone 363


Clayton, N. C.

My principal work is farming, here in Johnston, but most of my time is taken up with promoting Profiressive Agriculture. I am still at the Farmers’ service. My hobby is corn; I am breeding five varieties to determine the most profitable for Johnston. You are welcome at my home anytime. Yours for better times for the farmer.



Leading Merchant in Benson, N. C., a Thriving Town, in the Best Farming Section in North Carolina

—Dealer in—

Cotton, Fertilizers, Live Stock, Building Material and everything for the farmers.


Johnston County

Hospital, Inc.

Smithfield, N. C.

A memorial to the Sons of Johnston County who rendered service in the World War, and an institution to serve the people of the county.

W. M. Sanders

C. W. Beasley

When you consider building with brick you should realize the


A Brick Made in Johnston

Manufactured by



Phone 21 or 150

G. W. Evans, PresidentJ. W. Peedin, Cashier
P. C. Worley. V.-Pres.Gertrude Stallings, Asst. Cash.

First National Bank


Resources $400,000.00 backed by a Board of Directors whose net worth is over one-half Million Dollars.


Remember us when you have money. We will remember you when you have none..

Johnston county: economic and social
Johnston county: economic and social, by W. M. Sanders, jr. [and] G. Y. Ragsdale. A laboratory study in the Rural social science department of the University of North Carolina ... [Smithfield, N.C. : The Smithfield Observer], 1922. 3 p. l., [9]-82, [2] p. plates. 23 cm.
Original Format
Local Identifier
HC107.N8 S26X 1922
Location of Original
Joyner NC Reference
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