Sloop, Mary T. Martin (1873 - 1962)

Mary T. Martin Sloop was a physician and educator from Davidson, North Carolina.  She played an instrumental role in educational efforts and reform in western North Carolina.  In particular, she established the Crossnore School for mountain children.


Spencer, Cornelia Phillips (1825 - 1908)

Cornelia Phillips Spencer was not only a North Carolina poet, historian, and journalist but also a leader in the reopening of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after it survived five, dormant years during Reconstruction.


Silver, Frankie; murder; folklore; Burke County

On July 12, 1833, Frankie Silver was hanged for the murder of her husband. Nearly 10,000 people traveled to Burke County to witness her execution. She was the first woman executed in North Carolina by hanging. Numerous ballads, articles, and documentaries have added to Silver’s myth and legend.


MacDonald, Flora

The subject of Scottish folklore and myth, Flora MacDonald assisted Prince Charles Stuart in his escape from King George II during the Jacobite rebellion. In 1774, Flora and her family moved to the North Carolina colony, and Flora’s husband and son fought for the Loyalists during the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. The Jacobite heroine returned to her native Scotland in 1779 where she passed away in 1790.


Fletcher, Inglis

Born in Illinois, Inglish Fletcher first visited North Carolina in 1934 researching her genealogy in the Tyrrell County historical records. She published her most prominent novel, Raleigh’s Eden, in 1941, and it detailed the Albemarle plantation culture in colonial North Carolina. Dedicated to research and historical accuracy, Fletcher published a twelve volume historical fiction set entitled the Carolina Series. The novelist moved to Edenton in 1941 where she became a prominent citizen who help start the North Carolina Writers Conference and the Elizabethan Gardens on the Roanoke Island. 


Gardner, Ava; movie; hollywood; Johnston County

Born in Johnston County in 1922, Ava Lavinia Gardner became one of Hollywood’s most popular starlets in the 1940s and 1950s. She attended Rock Ridge High School and Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), and in 1939 her big break in film occurred. While visiting her sister in New York a photographer took several pictures of Gardner who later sent them to the MGM talent office. MGM signed Gardner to a seven-year contract and her acting career began. Gardner appeared in several classic films including The Killers, One Touch of Venus, and the classic musical, Show Boat.


Dimock, Susan; medicine

One of the first females to practice medicine in the United States, Dr. Susan Dimock was born in Washington, North Carolina in 1847. Dimock trained under a local doctor before moving to Boston after the Civil War. Although she was denied entrance into Harvard Medical School, she moved to Europe where she attended the University of Zurich. She practiced medicine in Boston for several years, but in 1875, at 28 years of age she died after her ship wrecked off the coast of England.


Keep the Focus Closer to Home

All the name-calling, finger-pointing, dealmaking, and hollow sound bites during the recent debt-ceiling debate led me to conclude this: If Americans keep looking to Washington for all the answers, we shouldn’t expect anything better from politicians who seem more worried about the 2012 election than the nation’s future.


McKee, Gertrude D. (1885 – 1948)

A native of Jackson County, North Carolina, Gertrude D. McKee became the first woman to serve in the North Carolina Senate.  Her terms were from 1931-33, 1937-39, and 1943-44.  She was known as a “pioneer of welfare programs” in North Carolina that served as models for other Southern states.