During the terrible days of Reconstruction, the local government was ruled by carpetbaggers. According to an article about Pitt County government at the time…”If hell had been raked over with a fine tooth comb, another set of scalawags could not be found.” In 1866, Reddick Carney killed a black man and repeated attempts to arrest him failed. A military company was sent to arrest him and Carney killed the officer in command of the squad. In 1868, a company of 14 black soldiers from Goldsboro, Sheriff John Foley and others went to Carney’s house to arrest him. A gun battle ensued and Carney’s house was burned down with him in it. The burning of the house was considered an outrage and the whole affair created a sensation in eastern North Carolina.