Neuse River Map, 1888

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           US Army Corps of Engineers logo

Waterways have been the primary highways for humans for thousands of years, long before the arrival of airplanes, cars, and trains.

Two of the largest and richest areas of Colonial America were Charleston, SC and the Tidewater region of Virginia, both blessed with natural deep water ports. North Carolina, with its string of barrier islands, was not so lucky.

The Neuse River was one of the few waterways of importance to early European settlers in North Carolina. Despite the emergence of the railroad in the mid-19th century, the Neuse continued as an effective highway for people and goods.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Andrew Best

Died November 11, 1918

Andrew Bass photograph, News & Observer, October 18, 1919
Photo from the October 18, 1919 issue of the News & Observer.

Andrew Best was born in Goldsboro on November 30, 1886, the son of Spicie Annie, a laundress. The family lived at 513 Denmark St.

The 1916 city directory lists Andrew’s profession as laborer, a catch-all term for manual laborers.

The 1910 census lists that he was married to Mary and they had a son named George, born about 1909.

Andrew was inducted into the US Army on March 30, 1918 in Goldsboro. He was assigned for training to the 161st Depot Brigade at Camp Grant, Illinois, one of the largest training camps for black soldiers during World War I.

On April 22 he was transferred to Company E of the 365th Infantry, part of the 92nd Division, the only active black fighting division during the war. The 92nd was nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers”, a name given by Native Americans to black soldiers serving in the American West during the 19th century.

His unit left for France on June 10, 1918 from Hoboken, NJ aboard the transport ship Agamemnon. Originally built as the German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1903, it was seized by the US on April 2, 1918, four days after America’s official entry into the war.

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Wayne County History in Maps: Early America through the Civil War

This is part 2 of a three part series. Click here for part 1.

With the defeat of the British and formation of the United States, the North Carolina General Assembly created Wayne County in 1787 from the former Dobbs County. With a new nation came new demand for surveys of everything from national borders all the way down to private property.

While surveyors combed the nation though, the first maps differed little from the maps of the Colonial Era.

Map of North and South Carolina, 1796, by J. Denison
Click for an enlarged version.                                 North Carolina State Archives

Above: Map of North and South Carolina, by J. Denison, published in 1796.

This map does feature counties but does not show any boundary lines, owing to the fact that comprehensive surveys had not yet been completed across the state.

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Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Miles Faison Harris

Killed in action July 18, 1918

Faison Harris, News & Observer, October 18, 1919
Only known photo of Faison Harris, from the Raleigh News & Observer, October 18, 1919. The original has not yet been located.

Miles Faison Harris was born February 18, 1897 in Benson, NC to Miles S. (1860-1926) and Rebecca Ryals Harris (1872-1928). Just a few years after his birth the family moved to Goldsboro where Faison’s father worked as a blacksmith.

The 1916 Goldsboro city directory lists the family address at 112 S. Slocumb St. The house no longer stands but would have been near the intersection of Slocumb and Chestnut Streets. Faison’s father owned a blacksmith shop at 215 N. Center St. (today an empty lot across from City Hall) while Faison worked at the Goldsboro Steam Laundry at 142 S. Center Street. His draft registration card from June of 1917 lists his employer as the Durham Hosiery Mills at 101 E. Ash St.

In July 1917 Faison joined the North Carolina National Guard in Goldsboro. Soon after the guard was federalized and transferred to the newly created 30th Division, where he was assigned to Company D of the 119th Infantry Regiment as a mechanic.

His unit left for France on May 12, 1918 from Boston on the British steamship SS Laomedon. By July 17 the 119th Infantry found itself in and around the northwestern Belgian town of Poperinge, just a few miles from the French border. The town was only one of two in Belgium not occupied by Germany during the war, making its defense critical to the Allied war effort.

On July 18, Company D took up a position on the East Poperinge Line where Faison was killed in action. His exact cause of death is unknown; his service card simply states “KIA”. He was likely killed by either machine gun or artillery fire.

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