Railroad Survey for Wayne County, 1853

Wayne County railroad map, 1900
1900 map showing the three railroad lines intersecting at Goldsboro.

The railroad is the single most important development in the history of both Wayne County and North Carolina. With no natural deep ports and a string of barrier islands, our state was commonly regarded as a rural backwater for much of its early history.

The railroad created Goldsboro and Mt. Olive while bringing about the end of Waynesborough, the original county seat. As William Sherman made his way north from Georgia in late 1864, his main objective was Goldsboro and its intersection of major rail lines.

Within a fifteen year span, three lines ran through Goldsboro: the Wilmington & Weldon (completed 1840) running north and south, the North Carolina Railroad (completed 1856) running to Charlotte and the Atlantic & NC Railroad (finished 1858) to Beaufort.

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Neuse River Map, 1888

Corps of Engineers logo
           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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Wayne County History in Maps: Colonial Era

Wayne County’s history began in 1787 with its formation from the break-up of Dobbs County. The history of this region stretches back much further however. The following maps highlight the development of North Carolina and also show the slow pace of information hundreds of years ago.

The maps below are from the North Carolina Maps project website. It is a collaboration between the State Archives and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

This is the first of three posts covering Wayne County’s history in maps.

  • The New World
Verrazzano marker, Pine Knoll Shores
NC historical marker, Pine Knoll Shores near the entrance to NC Aquarium.

After the European discovery of North America in the late 1400s, explorers came in droves to chart this new land. The first to lay eyes on what would become North Carolina was the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed up the Atlantic coast from Florida to New Brunswick in 1524.

In 1585, the same year English settlers arrived at Roanoke Island (the “Lost Colony”), the Americae pars, Nunc Virginia (Americas now part of Virginia) map was published by Theodor de Bry in Germany.

Americae pars, Nunc Virginia map, 1585
Americae pars, Nunc Virginia, 1585                                    UNC, North Carolina Collection

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Cherry Hospital Cemetery

A Painful Reminder of a Forgotten Era

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of men and women buried at Cherry Hospital. The vast majority are unmarked and unknown.

The following pictures are from the graveyard located off West Ash Street, behind the SPX facility and across the street from the State Employees’ Credit Union.

The burials are primarily from the early 1900s and consist of no more than a death date, patient number, and sometimes a name.

[envira-gallery id=”1546″]

Honoring Wayne County’s WWI Dead: Charles Rom Hardesty

Another victim of the worst killer in WWI- disease

George HardestyGeorge Rom Hardesty was born in Wake County on July 17, 1882 to Washington (1825-1904) & Katherine (1845-1914) Hardesty.

He attended North Carolina State University (known then as NC State A&M) and graduated in 1907 with a degree in electrical engineering. While at school he was a member of the literary society and served in the college military department as captain of Company B.

In 1909 Hardesty moved to Goldsboro to take a position as an engineer at Cherry Hospital, a job he held until 1917.

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