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.
An eastern Siouan tribe that once resided in the southeastern part of North Carolina and upper sections of South Carolina, the Waccamaw lived, hunted, and fished along the rivers and swamps of the region. The Yamassee and Tuscarora Wars proved detrimental to the Waccamaw, a tribe that remained in relative obscurity until the late eighteenth century. Although the federal government has yet to recognize the tribe, North Carolina has recognized the Waccamaw, and some 1,500 members reside in Bladen and Columbus Counties.
Born in Caswell County, Bedford Brown grew up on his family farm and later attended the University of North Carolina. Brown served in the North Carolina House of Commons and Senate before his service in the U.S. Senate (1829 – 1840). After his resignation, Brown worked on his family farm at Rose Hill.
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.
As the oldest courthouse in North Carolina, the historic Chowan County Courthouse was constructed in 1767 in Edenton. Joseph Hewes, Samuel Johnston, and other important North Carolina Patriots used the courthouse during the 1770s and 1780s. With the Cupola and Barker House, the Chowan County Courthouse remains an important historical structure and popular attraction in Edenton. Today, the courthouse is the oldest government building in use in the state.
One of the largest and most ornate buildings in colonial North Carolina, the Tryon Palace was built in the late 1760s at the behest of its namesake, Royal Governor William Tryon. John Hawks was the architect, and the government assembly chambers and the house were dedicated on December 5, 1770. Increased taxes to pay for the palace’s construction angered many Piedmont colonists. After the American Revolution, the palace burnt down in a fire in 1798. In 1959, after efforts to restore the site, Tryon Palace opened as the state’s first historic site.
The Durham Bulls, North Carolina’s premier minor league baseball team, played their first game in 1902 as the Durham Tobacconists. Durham attorney William Bramham helped organize the team and popularize minor league baseball in North Carolina. The Durham Bulls is named after the Bull Durham tobacco-advertising icon, and as of 2012, the Bulls are the Class-AAA affiliate team of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
One of the premier college newspapers in the United States, the Daily Tar Heel started publication in 1893. UNC students originally paid 5 cents per issue for the weekly newspaper. The newspaper is now a free daily. Some of North Carolina’s most well-known writers and publishers edited the Daily Tar Heel. Notables include Thomas Wolfe, Frank Porter Graham, and Jonathan Daniels.
Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1915, Robert Ruark became one of the state’s most prominent writers during the 1940s and 1950s. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Ruark wrote for local newspapers until he moved to Washington, D.C. In the mid-1940s, Ruark gained popularity for his Washington Daily News columns, and he started writing fiction novels. His most popular work was Old Man and the Boy (1957), a semi-autobiographical work that details Ruark’s childhood with his grandfather in Southport, North Carolina.