From Spring 1918 to early 1919, North Carolina experienced the deadliest flu pandemic in modern times. An influenza virus spread throughout Europe, then North America, and eventually the globe. By April 1919, the virus infected one million North Carolinians and among them, 13,600 died.
Born in Virginia in 1887, Willis Smith studied law at Trinity College, and he served as a inheritance tax lawyer from 1915 until 1920. After serving in the state legislature, Smith ran for the U.S. Senate in 1950 after the death of Senator J. Melville Broughton. Smith defeated Frank P. Graham in the Democrat Party runoff, and he thereafter served in the Senate until his death in 1953.
Opening its doors to students in 1795, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill upholds the distinction of being one of the oldest public universities in the country and the first public university to award degrees during the eighteenth century. Currently, UNC is ranked among several national publications that list the university as a preeminent leader in academic quality, affordability, and diversity. As of 2012, UNC- Chapel Hill, the flagship university of the state’s public college system, has a student body of 29,137. They are taught by 3,221 faculty.
Located on Union Square in downtown Raleigh, the North Carolina State Capitol was opened in 1840. Today, the Capitol houses only the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor and their staff.
Christ Church is located in the Capitol Area Historic District in downtown Raleigh, NC. The church was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and is the oldest archetype of Gothic Revival style stone church in the south.
Alton A. Lennon was a Democratic U.S. Senator from North Carolina between 1953 and 1954. Prior to that from 1957 to 1973, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Alton was known as one of North Carolina’s most conservative politicians.
B. Everett Jordan, born in 1896, served in the United States Senate from 1958 until 1973. Before his work in politics, Jordan managed his family’s textile business, Sellers Manufacturing Company Jordan was appointed to fill Senator Kerr Scott’s seat after his death in 1958, serving in several different committee until he lost reelection in 1973. He passed away from cancer in 1974.
Raleigh’s Central Prison opened in 1884 to house a growing inmate population that overwhelmed the county jail systems. Inmate labor built the penitentiary, and one of the head architects of the $1.25 million Gothic-style complex was W. O. Wolfe, author Thomas Wolfe’s father. As of 2012, the prison contains nearly 1,000 inmates with a staff of 700.
Born on May 16, 1891, in Beaufort County, North Carolina, Herbert Bonner served for nearly 25 years in the U.S. Congress. As a representative of the state’s First District, Bonner sought to create jobs via federal programs for his constituents. Bonner also chaired the Committee on Election of President, Vice President, and Representatives and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Bonner passed away after his fight with cancer on November 7, 1965.
One of North Carolina’s most famous inventors, “Carbine” Williams was a native of Cumberland County. While in his early twenties Williams made moonshine. During a raid on his still, Williams shot and killed a deputy sheriff, so he was sentenced to prison for the murder. A trusted inmate, Williams spent his extra time working on gun inventions in the prison’s blacksmith shop. After his release from prison, Williams developed the prototype for the M-1 Carbine rifle, the military’s weapon of choice during World War II.