Photograph – W. Walnut St. 1920

West Walnut St, Goldsboro, 1920s


From the collection of the Wayne County Public Library is this photo, taken about 1920, showing Walnut St. looking East towards Center St.

On the left is the Wayne National Bank. It was torn down in 1922 to make way for a skyscraper that still stands today.

To the right where the woman is window shopping is the Borden Building, completed in 1914, meaning the photo was taken sometime between 1914 and 1922.

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St. Mary’s Catholic Church – 50th anniversary

St. Mary's Catholic, 50th anniversary, 1939

The above picture was taken at the 50th anniversary celebration for St. Mary’s Catholic Church on November 9, 1939. This building, still standing, is located on the corner of Mulberry and William Streets in downtown Goldsboro, across the street from the post office.

mitres Catholic Encyclopedia
“Development of the Mitre”, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913.

The man holding the staff is likely Eugene Joseph McGuinness, the Bishop of Raleigh from 1937-1944. The other men are high ranking officials from the Diocese of Raleigh.

The sermon was given by Monsignor Arthur Raine Freeman. Two of the altar boys listed an article in the News Argus were Richard Griswold and Billy Heeden. The pastor of the church at this time was Reverend F.C. Gorham.

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Seven Springs HS Girls Basketball Team, 1939-40

Do you recognize any of these people?

Seven Springs girls basketball team 1940

The 1939-40 Seven Springs High School girls basketball team. Unfortunately there are no names on the back and DigitalNC only has yearbooks from the school going back as far as 1948.

If you recognize anyone or have a yearbook from this time period, leave a comment below.

Pic of the Week: Boys Battalion 1905

Future veterans of WWI and beyond: Edgar Bain, Zeno Hollowell, Kenneth Royall

Boys Patrol, 1905. Kenneth C. Royall and Zeno Hollowell


This photograph was taken in 1905 and shows the local “Boys Battalion”, a mix of the Boy Scouts and Junior ROTC. The quality is not great; it is a low quality scan and the whereabouts of the original are unknown (as far as I know).

  • Edgar Bain

Seated in the center is their leader, Edgar Bain, who at the time would have been about 21 years old. He would later go on to serve in the 30th Division in WWI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on October 9, 1918.

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edgar Bain, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Busigny, France, October 9, 1918. Advancing under heavy fire with orders to pass through the front line company, Captain Bain found the troops he was to relieve 1,000 yards from their position, falling back. Rallying them, he personally led the troops in advance, under terrific fire, assaulting and capturing the assigned objective.

Bain also served in World War II, attaining the rank of Colonel. He died in 1956 and is buried in Willow Dale Cemetery in Goldsboro, NC.


Edgar Bain in uniform                Edgar Bain grave, Willow Dale cemetery, Goldsboro NC


Edgar Bain WWI service card


  • Zeno Hollowell

In the bottom left is Zeno Hollowell, who would later serve as Captain of Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division in the Great War. After the war he was mayor of Goldsboro and later the longtime city manager.


Zeno Hollowell WWI service card                                Zeno Hollowell, National Guard training, 1916


  • Kenneth Royall

Seated at the far right is Kenneth Claiborne Royall, born in 1894. Royall graduated from the University of NC-Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School before the war and then  served as an officer in the 317th Field Artillery, 81st Division.

Royall attained the rank of general during World War II and famously served as a defense lawyer for several German-American men caught in a botched attempt to sabotage US infrastructure.

After the war he served as the last Secretary of War and later the first Secretary of the Army in the Truman administration. He died in 1971 and is buried in Willow Dale Cemetery in his hometown of Goldsboro, NC.


Kenneth Royall portrait               Kenneth Royall grave

Kenneth Royall WWI service card


Pic of the Week: Lonely Bachelor [Updated]

Steak for One

Old photographs like this are great but frustrating. Unlike a formal portrait or important event, photos like these capture the mundane business of everyday life.

Unfortunately, his identity is unknown. The photo was taken in 1939 somewhere in Wayne County, NC, probably Goldsboro.

I call him the “lonely bachelor”- steak for one, slumped shoulders, blank stare, and frayed tie. There is an aura of sadness and solitude to his existence but pictures can only capture a specific moment in time so his life as a whole is a mystery.

Update – 7/6/2018

The “lonely bachelor” has been identified. His name is Deward Malcolm Heath, born August 3, 1912 and died September 27, 2001. Mr. Heath was married to Eunice (b. 1917, d. 2005) and had children. He owned and operated Heath Grocery, located at 619 N. William St. in Goldsboro.

Deward Heath grave, Wayne Memorial cemetery
Grave marker at Wayne Memorial cemetery, just outside Goldsboro. Photo from

Pic of the Week: LBJ

Lyndon B. Johnson touches down at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base

LBJ at Seymour Johnson AFB, May 7, 1964

The photo was taken May 7, 1964 at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC.  In the background is Air Force One, VC-137C SAM 26000, the Boeing 707 on which Johnson was sworn in as president on November 22, 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the back left is Marine One, probably a Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King.

He gave a brief speech on the tarmac at 6:05 pm and was accompanied by his wife and daughter, along with North Carolina governor Terry Sanford and US Senators Everett Jordan and Sam Ervin, Jr (of Watergate fame).

On this day alone, Johnson began his day in Washington D.C. and traveled to Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, and finally Atlanta, Georgia, where he arrived after 10:00 pm and spent the night.

Johnson’s schedule for the day, from the LBJ Presidential Library:

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Pic of the Week: Mt Rushmore

The Jewel of the Black Hills

Mt RushmoreMount Rushmore, carved between 1927 and 1941, was the brainchild of South Dakota historian Doane Robinson as a way to increase tourism in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.

It worked. The site, run by the National Park Service, receives well over 2 million visitors a year.

I took this picture in April 2008 while living in the Black Hills and it is far and away the most artistic thing I’ve ever captured with a camera (though admittedly that’s a pretty low bar).

It’s a fantastic site but I was honestly a bit deflated by the monument’s size. The heads are roughly 60 feet tall, the eyes 11 feet wide, and the noses 21 feet tall.

No doubt impressive but perhaps the distance between monument and visitor skews the sense of size. I think the fact that it is one of the most recognized monuments in the country (and the world) also plays a part. You see it constantly in photographs, movies, and the like, and assume it to be mythic in scale.

Pic of the Week: It’s tough being a lawyer

lawyer sleeping in chair, Goldsboro, John Vachon photographer, 1938
Library of Congress

Sometimes lawyer jokes are just too easy. The photo, taken in 1938, shows this lawyer asleep at his chair, probably on a hot North Carolina summer afternoon.

The photographer was John Vachon, one of countless men hired by the New Deal Farm Security Administration to document rural American life in the late 1930’s. This photo was taken in downtown Goldsboro, NC, likely on “lawyer’s row” on E. Walnut St. across from the county courthouse which still stands today.

  • Who is he?

Unfortunately it’s not listed in the Library of Congress file, and while not a large town, the 1938 Goldsboro directory lists no less than forty lawyers. All I can say for sure is that it is not George E. Hood, a former U.S. Representative, or Kenneth C. Royall, the last U.S. Secretary of War.

There is a calendar in the center left of the image and possibly a thermometer hanging on the door frame just behind sleeping beauty but both blur too much when magnified.

Pic(s) of the Week: Not war, but murder

The Battle of Cold Harbor

Collecting the dead at Cold Harbor

More photos from the Library of Congress online image collection. This week is one of my favorite photographs and certainly the most haunting. These men are collecting the dead in the aftermath of the Battle of Cold Harbor, one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil War.

Cold Harbor, near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, was a clash between General Ulysses S. Grant and commander of the Army of Northern Virginia Robert E. Lee. Fought between May 31 and June 12, 1864, the battle resulted in over 18,000 casualties, mostly Union troops, from a brutal frontal assault of Lee’s entrenched forces. Confederate General Evander Law later said of the battle “It was murder, nor war.”

With over 2,500 troops killed, the men above had a monumental, and horrific, task to collect the remains of the dead. Identification of individual men was rare and most ended up in mass graves. (original file here)

The Overland Campaign

Ulysses S. Grant seated at his headquarters, Cold Harbor

Cold Harbor was one of a series of battles in the forty day Overland Campaign, Grant’s effort to wear down and destroy Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Grant was determined to break Lee and relentlessly threw his men into the fire but despite the terrible losses, the Overland Campaign severely degraded Lee’s army and proved that Union forces could operate and succeed near the Confederate capital.

The image above (original here) shows the general at his headquarters at Cold Harbor. The man to the left is unidentified.

A general needs horses

Horses of Ulysses S. Grant

War is all about movement and positioning so officers need quick and reliable transportation. During the Civil War the only option, at least over shorter distances, was the horse. Grant had several horses during the war and several available at any one time.

This photo, taken at Cold Harbor, shows three of Grant’s favorites, from left to right Egypt, Cincinnati, and Jeff Davis, captured the previous year near Vicksburg, MS from the plantation of Joe Davis, brother of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. No one can say that Grant didn’t have a sense of humor.

Pic of the Week: Pancho Villa

Assuming you’re not a soulless monster, you love historical photos. You’re in luck because the Library of Congress digitized thousands and put them online to view.

Pancho Villa
Click photo to enlarge

This one is of Pancho Villa sometime during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). He is in a formal military uniform with his right arm resting on the barrel of a mountain howitzer.

Villa was commander of revolutionary forces in northern Mexico and infamous for his raid on Columbus, New Mexico on March 9, 1916. Nearly ten thousand regular army troops spent the next two years chasing him unsuccessfully through northern Mexico while thousands of National Guard troops guarded the border.

You can view and download the photo from the LoC.


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