Letter from the Edgecombe County Correspondent, Dec. 30, 1879

Published in The Wilson Advance on Friday, Jan. 2, 1880.


From our regular Correspondent.

TARBORO, N.C., Dec. 30th, 1879

EDITOR ADVANCE: — With the spasmodic explosion of a few fire crackers by the irrepressible small boy, a few sore heads given and received by the small boy of a larger growth, caused by a too frequent crooking of the elbow in looking “through a glass darkly,” and a disagreeable change in the weather during the afternoon, Christmas has passed away. It is sad to observe the manner in which humanity in general is prone to pass the day which ushered in the birth of a Saviour of mankind, but it is useless to moralize for the domain of King Alcohol is being hourly extended and the train of evil consequences is sure to follow.

            On the 26thas predicted in my last, the grounds of the Tar River Jockey Club, at Runnymede Park, were thronged with a large crowd, many ladies among the number, to witness the horse racing, glass ball shooting, etc., and notwithstanding the heavy condition of the track, good time was made and lots of fun experienced by all. Mr. Octavius Battle, of this place won the prize for a glass ball shooting, breaking 5 out of 5 balls. At night Teel Hall was packed – (not even standing room could be had) by an enthusiastic audience to enjoy the performance of the Tar Heel Minstrels, and the continued rounds of applause from the overture to the dropping of the curtains, pronounced the affair a huge success, and attested the approbation of the largest crowd ever assembled in Teel Hall. The receipts amounted to $100.15.

            Capt. F.M. Charles, of this county, one of our most successful farmers and highly respected citizens, a gentleman high in social position and generally esteemed by all who knew him, has been dangerously ill for some time past. His malady baffled the best medical skill and he continued to grow worse and on Monday, 22ndinst., his reason deserted him. It becomes my sad duty to chronicle the fact that he has been pronounced hopelessly insane, and during last week was conveyed to an asylum.

            I hear it rumored on the street that while two young men named Keel, who reside near Bethel, in Pitt county, were out bird hunting on Christmas day one of them happened to a painful, if not serious accident. It seems they became separated in the woods, and the younger flushing a covy of birds, fired and the elder received nearly the entire load of shot in his face.

            Considerable excitement was caused on the streets this morning by a report that a disastrous fire in Greenville last night had consumed nearly the entire business portion of the town. Nothing definite could be learned until the arrival of the steamer Greenville this afternoon, when Capt. Macon Bonner, the cautious and efficient commander of this boat, informed your correspondent that the fire originated in Higgs old store on Maine street and was thought to be accidental. Unfortunately, the town was unprepared for a visit from the devouring element, and  before the progress of the flames could be arrested five stores were consumed. Had it not been for the prompt action taken in blowing up Anderson’s store, still more serious damage would have been the result. Only one of the stores, it is said, was insured. The loss is variously estimated at fro $30,000 to $40,000. Capt. Orrin Williams, the agent for Pamlico Banking and Insurance Co., went down this morning to look after the interest of his company.

            Sometime during last night five prisoners effected their escape from the jail at this place,  named, respectively: Allen Brown, Oscar Noble, Dick Long, John Tucker and Jake Braswell, all of whom except the last mention, were awaiting trial for larceny, the latter having been sentenced at the last term of the Inferior Court, to two years imprisonment for the same offense. Eight prisoners were confined in a cell on the upper story of the building facing on the street. With the aid of a small file they cut away enough of the iron grating to allow the egress of an ordinary size man, made a rope of three blankets and this easily reached the ground. The others were too large to squeeze through the hole and consequently they remain in “durance vile.” None of them have been captured nor has the Sheriff, at this writing, offered any reward for their apprehension.

            Misses Helen Lavender and Ursula Tormey, of Halifax, are visiting our town and are the guest of Mrs. H.D. Eeel.

            — M. DASH