Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rosie And Neesy Do Edenton.

The city of Edenton,
on the north shore of the Albemarle Sound,
was the first colonial capital of North Carolina.

It is believed that the first Europeans here
were members of Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions of the 1580s.
Apparently they had better luck at Edenton
than did the colonists on Roanoke Island.
 The village was incorporated in 1722
as the second oldest town in North Carolina,
Bath being the first.
It was named to honor the recently deceased governor, Charles Eden.

It's a beautiful town.

 Our first stop was at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church,
the second oldest church building in North Carolina, begun in 1736.

I love the roots of these trees.

 The churchyard, begun in 1722,
is filled with graves and monuments
from the colonial era to the present.

I have a few pitiful hostas.
Mine never set blooms like this.

 The Chowan County Courthouse was built in 1767
with locally made bricks.
It's the oldest surviving government building in the state.

Back of the courthouse.
With the stock.

 Stock on the left.
Pillory on the right.

 Punishment in the colonial era focused on public humiliation by forcing the guilty party to spend time in the stocks or pillory.  The stocks restrained the feet and the pillory secured the head and hands, while jeering crowds often pelted the convicted person with rotten eggs, garbage, and even stones.  Criminals of lower socioeconomic status endured the stocks for the crimes of petty theft, gambling, vagrancy, wife-beating, breaking the Sabbath, and being drunk.  "Gentlemen" and criminals convicted of serious crimes, such as treason, sedition, forgery, witchcraft, arson, blasphemy, and perjury, spent time in the pillory.  Often a criminal had his or her ears nailed to the wood beside the head-hole, to be cut or torn off at the end of the punishment.

Colonial Edenton also used a whipping post and ducking stool.  Whipping was a common punishment in the colonial South and could punish nearly every offense.  The elite usually did not feel the lash, unless they had committed serious crimes.  Stealing tobacco or hogs brought particularly harsh whippings.  The maximum punishment could not exceed forty lashes.  The ducking stool consisted of a chair fixed to boards that could be dunked into Edenton Bay and was reserved for women with "sharp tongues."  Good thing Rosie didn't live in Colonial Edenton.

Until after the Civil War, North Carolina penal codes prescribed vastly unequal punishments for crimes committed by whites and blacks, whether free or enslaved.  Magistrates justified the severity of penalties for enslaved criminals by asserting that the harshness of slaves' everyday lives made conventional punishments less daunting than for free men and women.  Slaves could be executed for murder, attempted murder, rape, insurrection, burglary, and arson.  The execution of whites was usually reserved for murder.

"Slaves Codes" made certain minor offenses illegal only for slaves.  Crimes such as curfew violation, possession of firearms, and mass meetings were usually punishable by twenty to forty lashes.  After the Revolution, this law included such activities as learning to read or write, traveling without a pass, gambling, selling spirits, owning livestock, and being insolent.



 Unfortunately, Rosie was pilloried for public drunkenness.
She will be in the dunking chair later because of her sharp tongue.

 The jail is located behind the courthouse.

 Walking around the jail,
I encountered an odor I've smelled before in my garden.
I had to look hard to find it.
The lobster mushroom.

 Edenton Bay

 This is the "Dram Tree"
in the midst of Edenton harbor.
A curious custom grew up around the stately cypresses.
Whenever a trade ship came into port at Edenton,
it was obligatory for the master to place a bottle
of the best Jamaican rum in a hollow place in the trunk.
Whenever a ship left for foreign parts,
she would stop at the tree and all hands
 would drink to a safe voyage.
Thus, the cypress became known as the "Dram Tree."
Vessels whose crews failed to drink of the Dram Tree
or, worse, failed to place a bottle of rum when entering the harbor,
were doomed to disaster.

 This is the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse.
Originally, the lighthouse was located in the Albemarle Sound,
marking the entrance to the Roanoke River near Plymouth.
It is the last of fifteen screw-pile light stations
that dotted North Carolina's inland waterways.
In 1941, the lighthouse was decommissioned
and left vacant by the US Coast Guard for about 15 years.
In 1955, the Federal Government ordered
all decommissioned NC lighthouses
to be removed or destroyed.
The lighthouse was moved by barge across the sound to private land,
where it eventually deteriorated,  
experiencing significant damage
 in 2003 from Hurricane Isabel.
In May 2007, the Edenton Historical Commission
purchased the lighthouse for $225,000
and then paid $75,000 to move it.
The lighthouse was loaded on a barge and
transported to Edenton's downtown waterfront area.

 And this would be a screw-piling.
Developed by Irish engineer, Alexander Mitchell in 1833,
the screw-pile was a major improvement over the standard
straight-pile construction type.


 Revolutionary war cannons.

 This is the Cupola House, built in 1758.

 The garden in the back is filled with flowers,
herbs, and vegetables.

Downtown Edenton.

 This is a charming town.

We noticed blue bows all over town -
on lamp posts, homes, businesses.
When we asked a business owner about them,
she explained that this was a show of support
 for one of their own.
An Edenton woman had been in the hospital at Duke
for a quite serious condition.

When she finally came back home,
instead of everyone calling to see how she was doing,
 and perhaps hinder her recovery,
the city showed their support and solidarity
and honored her return
 by displaying blue bows all over town.
Downtown businesses, individual homes, lamp posts -
all decorated with blue bows.

That's the kind of town this is.
It's a caring town.

Listening to the shopkeeper telling us this story
gave us both pause.
We had witnessed something beautiful and touching
in this small town.
We had witnessed an outpouring of love, acceptance, reception, and respect.
We had witnessed solidarity
 and a "gathering of wagons" around this woman.
We'd witnessed love.
Small town Southern Love.

And that, my friends, is Edenton.

Only bridge I've seen that has low railings 
so you have an unobstructed view.

 On the way back to the suburbs of Roper,
we saw a crop duster.

Neesy was kind enough to stop so I could balance and shoot pics.

I think the pilot saw me shooting
since he came right over top of me.
How cool is that?!
Circling down.

Going down.

Going way, way down!

If you look hard, you can see it.

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