During the summer of 2010, a patron from Durham, N.C. walked into the North Carolina Museum of History with a box of artifacts and documents. Earlier correspondence, had indicated that the patron’s family had recently sold a house located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.
Among the items in the box were some old newspapers. The patron stated that the owners would “just throw them away . . . unless we (the Museum of History) wanted them.” After examining the papers, I noticed that the oldest was The Star (Raleigh), published October 28, 1814. I immediately exclaimed, “Yes, we want them!”
The paper was in good condition, considering its age of nearly two hundred years. Upon further examination, I read some of the articles which pertained to the War of 1812, particularly what was going on in North Carolina. I immediately thought about the Department of Cultural Resources’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Planning Committee established in January 2009.
At a subsequent meeting in the fall of 2010, our 1812 Committee called for content for the new Web site, so I suggested that we scan this paper. Immediately, I contacted the State Archives and Records Section about the recent find. Because of The Star’s historical value, the state archivist agreed to have it scanned at no cost. This was great news because our committee has no budget!
My next move was to contact the State Library to see if we had a duplicate copy of the newspaper. The research librarian replied that we did not have an original or microfilm Star newspaper before March 1815. This was more great news!
I made an appointment with the Conservation Lab in the Archives and Records Section. The conservators did an outstanding job of scanning the paper and the items I had asked to be cropped for our Web site.
The cropped items are as follows: View PDF
“Stop the Runaways!!!” which describes an escaped enslaved man by the name of “Ben, about 30 years old . . . and his wife, Sally . . . and two children, both girls in Cumberland County, N .C.”
An advertisement for the “Scotland Neck (NC) Jocky (sic) Club Races” which “commences the first Wednesday in November”
“NOTICE. Was taken up on or about the first of this month and committed to the Jail of Pitt co. a stout likely young ‘Negro’, who says his name is Andrew, and that he belongs to Reddick Pender of Halifax (NC).”
“Fifty Dollars Reward . . . a man named Ned . . . and his wife, named Betty” in Northampton County, N.C.
“Thirty Dollars Reward. RANAWAY from the subscriber (in Granville County, NC), on the 11th instant, a Negro fellow named Oliver, tolerably stout built and well made, aged about 27 years but looks young for that age. . . .”
“FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD. Deserted from my recruiting post at M’Keysville, Burke County, N.C. John M’Intosh, on the 22nd August 1814, aged 37 years, 5 feet 9 inches high, dark complexion, grey eyes, dark hair, and by profession a blacksmith, born in Moore County, N.C. I will give the above reward to any person that will deliver the said M’Intosh to me at Charlotte, N.C. or to any officer in the U.S. Army, or secure him in any jail so that he can be brought to justice.” JAMES M’DOWELL 2d. Lieut. 3d. R.R.
“Twenty Dollars Reward. Broke Jail In Concord (NC) on the night of the 28th of August, 1814, JONATHAN LAMB . . . formerly lived in Duplin County, NC- . . . The above reward will be given to any person who will apprehend said Jonathan Lamb, and deliver him to the jailer of Concord Cabarrus County, NC” R. M’MURRAY, Sh’ff.
“Committed To the Jail of Randolph County (NC), on the 5th inst. A ‘Negro’ man who calls his name NED, and that he eloped from one William Blackman, in Sampson County (NC), and that he thinks he belongs to John Renn, of Randolph- . . .” GEO. SWARINGER, Jailor
“250 Dollars Reward. Deserted from the Rendezvous at Morganton, on the 10th of September, the following recruits, viz: NATHANIEL DYER, born in Burke County, NC . . . FRANKLIN CALDWELL, born in Anson County (NC) . . . WILLIAM LANE, born in Culpepper County, VA.. he deserted from Wilkesborough, NC . . . WILLIAM POLK, born in Mecklenburg County (NC) . . . he is lurking in Ashe County or Mecklenburg County- . . . JOHN YANTZE, born in Ashe County . . . All persons will be vigilant in detecting and apprehending said deserters, and if delivered over to any United States Officer, or to me, at Morganton, FIFTY DOLLARS, shall be paid for each of them.”
-A.W. BRANDON Capt., 3rd. R.R. Morganton Rendezvous, Oct. 3, 1814”
“TEN DOLLARS REWARD. RANAWAY from the subscriber on the 6th day of August last, a large ‘negro’ fellow about six feet high by the name of DENCEY, it is supposed he is now lurking about in the lower end of this (Orange) county . . .”- JOHN LATTA
“DESERTED From my service on the night of the 24th inst. A free man of color named WILLIE ROD, bound to me as an apprentice to the Barbers trade . . . I will give Five Dollars Reward and pay all expense for his delivery to me in Fayetteville (NC) or committed to (the) Raleigh Jail. I expect he is lurking about Raleigh (NC).” -EPHRAIM HAMMONS, Fayetteville, Oct 26, 1814”
“STRAYED From the subscriber on the 2d inst. A dark Bay Horse . . .” -J. MARSHALL Raleigh, 26th Oct. 1814. N. B. The Mare is said to have been raised in Guilford County”
“Prisoners broke loose. Broke Jail on Wednesday night the 26th inst. The following prisoners, confined in the prison of Wake County, vis: RICHARD GRANT, brought from the county of Wayne . . . HARDY DAVIS, confined under several charges of assault battery and trespass- said Davis is nearly 6 feet high, about 25 years of age, well made, with large whiskers, is well dressed, has a proud conceited look, and is a sergeant in the U.S. Army. WILLIAM ROLAND, a deserter from the U.S. troops . . . Negro Jim, belonging to the Honorable David Stone, as a runaway, black and pretty tall . . .- CHARLES JOHNSTON, Keeper of Wake Jail.”
“THE WAR. CAPT. (Johnston) BLAKELY’S CRUIZE, & c . . . Copy of a letter from Capt. Johnson (sp) Blakely to the Secretary of the Navy, dated U.S. Sloop Wasp, L’Orient, 8th July, 1814”
“COMMODORE (William) PERRY. The Common Council yesterday held an extra meeting and in pursuance of a resolution heretofore passed the Freedom of the City was conferred on the Hero of Lake Erie;”
“STATE PAPERS . . . THE INSTRUCTIONS. Extract from Mr. (James) Monroe, Secretary of State, to the (?) of the United States, for treating of Peace with Great Britain, dated Department of State, April 15th, 1814”
The acquisition of The Star should inspire the general public to rethink the value of a box of “old stuff” about to be tossed in the trash. The efforts of a cross section of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources offices have made possible the acquisition of this historical paper. These items also provide a glimpse of many North Carolinians who endured the scourge of slavery during the age of Madison when war tested our young republic.
Esse Quam Videri.
-Earl L. Ijames, Curator
North Carolina Museum of History