Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wake Wednesday - The Baptist Grove

Did you know that the land that is currently known as Moore Square was once referred to as the Baptist Grove?

I happened upon this tidbit while browsing thru an old issue of our Wake Treasures Journal. The reference is in an article titled Reminiscences of Grandmother Mary Ann Towles in Volume 1, number 4, Winter 1991, p15.

Enjoy this picturesque description:
Uncle William SHAW had a store on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh, and his dwelling house was on Wilmington Street. It was a large three story building with a beautiful garden, a large front, and a back yard. In one corner of the front yard, a big oak spread its branches over a large portion of the yard. Back of our lot was the Baptist grove.2 In the center of the grove stood a small wooden church, lighted with tallow candles in tin scones. The candles were lighted by a maiden lady, Miss Lucinda BRIGGS.  
The location is noted in this footnote: 

2 The Baptist Grove is now what is known as Moore’s Square, across from the old City Market. 
Based upon other dates in the entry, this must have been ca. 1820. 

This is just a sampling of the interesting bits of Wake history you will find in our Journal.

Journal access is a great perk of your Wake County Genealogical Society membership and a handy tool for those researching in Wake County remotely. Members have 24/7 access to the Journal. With 20 plus years of content, you will likely find the surnames and place names you are researching. Access the Journal issues directly in the Member Area after log-in.

This content is referenced with permission of Journal editor.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Saving Oberlin

"Oberlin was not part of Raleigh. It was a proud freestanding, self-sufficient community of former slaves, free blacks, and their descendants, founded after the Civil War. In 1914, a New York newspaper described Oberlin as 'a unique little village of nearly twelve hundred inhabitants. The neat-looking buildings are artistically painted, and the front yards are planted with rose bushes and other shrubberies.' Oberlin actually surpassed Raleigh on some measures of homeownership and education."
Visit the N&O for Myrick Howard's account of saving the Hall House and the Graves home, formerly known as Oakcrest and the families they housed.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Online Learning Opportunity - DNA Day, December 7

Florida State Genealogical Society will offer a Fall Virtual DNA Conference on Saturday, Dec 7 from 9am until 4:30pm EST. Five speakers, five sessions. (On demand viewing available with registration for two weeks after the live sessions.)

Speakers include;
Blaine Bettinger
Diahan Southard
Angie Bush
Mary Eberle
Judy G. Russell

Visit FlSGS for pricing and details here.

Looks like a great way to get smarter with out even leaving your sofa!

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

November update from Upchurch and Allied Families.

Attention all Upchurches and kin -

Visit the link for the latest news, including details on the Dec. 19  Open House in Cary, a really great covered wagon story from Robert Harrell Upchurch and a really wonderful Thanksgiving memory from Cindy Hale.

The new newsletter format is really attractive. Great job from Cindy Hale.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Oakwood Cemetery

For today's Wake Wednesday post I must refer you to the NC Museum of History's blog for their post on the Untold History of Oakwood Cememtery. How did a parcel of land set aside for the final rest of the South's fallen soldiers get is start? Please click through and read the story.

Guest Blog: The Untold History of Oakwood Cemetery

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wake Wednedsay - Local Ghosts

How about some local Ghostly legends?

William Poole, a wealthy batchelor who loved his land and white horse in life, rides the 75 acre pine forest (near Rock Quarry Road) on said horse in death after 1889. Read the story and variations here.

Mary Willis Mordecai Turk, continues to enjoy her former home Mordecai House in Raleigh by wisping around in a mist in a gray 19th century gown and playing piano tunes for anyone who will listen, just as she did in her socialite days. Details here.

Unknown spirits haunt the NC State Capitol. Ghostly happenings reported by a night watchman over 15 years included screams, doors slamming, books hitting the floor, keys jingling and footsteps on the stone floors. More here.

If you need more Wake County ghost stories to set your Halloween mood, there is a Kindle book here that is Free with Kindle Unlimited (reasonable otherwise...). Ghosts of the Triangle; Historic Haunts of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, By Richard and William Jackson.

Happy Halloween. Stay spooky.


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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Three Preservation NC Events in early November

From the Preservation NC website:

FALL SYMPOSIUM 2-day educational event at Shaw University filled with speakers and topics related to the headquarters renovation project. November 7-8, Raleigh. Dix Park and Historic Oberlin Village tours are also part of the symposium. Prices vary, registration requiredClick HERE for more or to register.

HISTORIC BLOUNT STREET TOUR & RECEPTION Get social with us and tour several of the newly renovated grand old houses of Blount Street, including: Norris House, Lewis-Smith House, Higgs-Coble-Helms House, Lamar-Brown-Arthur House and more! November 7, 6-9pm. $40 per person, registration required.  Click HERE for more or to register.

OPEN HOUSE TOUR of NEW HQ  - November 17, 1-5pm. $10 suggested donation at the door.
Tour the newly restored Hall and Graves houses.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Railroads and Rebirth

Piggybacking on the recent post about the fiery destruction of Raleigh's first Capital building in 1831, I want to point you to this great article from NCpedia on the rebuilding and refocus of Raleigh that that followed. Forward thinking and the latest rail technology saved Raleigh's place in the history, politics and economics of our state and spared our state the former nickname of "the Rip Van Winkle of commonwealths."
"Despite its position as a state capital, in the early 1830s and with a population of barely 2,200, the city of Raleigh was small and underdeveloped and had been struck by a series of fires. One of these took the Capitol building in 1831 and along with it citizens’ collective morale. Without efficient transportation and communication to connect it with the outside world, the capital needed reinvigoration. That reinvigoration came, literally and symbolically, with the arrival of the Tornado, the first steam locomotive to enter Raleigh to inaugurate the state’s newly developing railroad..."
Please read the rest of the story here.

"First locomotive running into Raleigh in 1840."  Sketch of the "Tornado," p. 194 in Hope Summerwell Chamberlain's <i>History of Wake County North Carolina,</i> published 1922 by Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, Raleigh, NC.
The first locomotive running in Raleigh in 1840, The Tornado.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Awesome Remote Learning Event - Oct 23, 10am - 4pm

If you have some free time available this Wednesday, you may wish to check this out:

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

Seventh Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair - October 23, 2019
Every year, the National Archives hosts a free, virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Join thousands of family historians participating during the live event. Attend free of charge and no reservation.
See more info at the website here. Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the archived content for the past six NARA Virtual Genealogy Fairs

The sessions look really interesting. The first one covers one of my favorite topics since I started writing the newsletter, the History Hub!  You should really check it out.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wake Wednesday - The loss of the Original State Capitol Building in 1831

Fire gutted the original State Capitol building on June 21, 1831. How did a previous fire, an iron pot and zinc roof shingles factor into Raleigh's near demise as the center of our state government? How did this event seal Raleigh's place as Capital City in North Carolina history?

Read the terrifying and fascinating account in detail at NCPedia here:

The Fires of 1831:  Fayetteville and Raleigh in Flames

[Graphic] Drawing 1 with link to higher quality drawing.
The remodeled North Carolina State House about 1831 by W. Goodacre. - source
Looking not very much different from today with the exception of its wooden roof.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wake Wednesday - Village of Falls

Olde Raleigh on Facebook featured a historical account of the village of Falls. The picture that accompanies the story is of the Falls that predates the dam. Wonderful and very nostalgic. A place very near and dear to my heart. Visit our Facebook page to read the story and view the photo.

Follow us on Facebook for more Wake County history and nostalgia, for great tips and techniques and for late breaking event notices. See you there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Official Transcription Session Dates for 2019


WCGS is pleased to host the following transcription events to be held at Olivia Raney Local History Library at 4016 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC from 10:30 am – 12:30pm:

▪ Saturday, October 19, 2019
▪ Saturday, November 16, 2019
▪ Saturday, December 14, 2019
▪ Dates for 2020 events TBD

These events are not educational workshops, but time set aside for us to work together on transcription projects to benefit either the WCGS journal, Wake Treasures, or your own research. You can bring your own photocopies or digital files of documents or records needing transcription. We will also provide photocopies and digital files of Wake County-related records needing transcription.
These transcriptions will be used in future issues of Wake Treasures.

Need a refresher on how to properly transcribe a set of records for genealogical research and analysis? This video was recorded by past President Diane L. Richard and provides excellent instruction:

VIDEO LINK: Accurate Transcriptions for Historical Records:

Questions about providing transcriptions or articles for Wake Treasures? Email
Questions about WCGS or these events in general? Email

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