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us lozzp: G 

Harvard College 

Gift of 
The Author 



Earlu Social Life in Eflgecomfie 







Reprinted from The Tarborough Southerner, Tarboro, N. C. 




Early Social Life In EflgecomlDe, 







Reprinted from The Tarborough Southerner, Tarboro, N. C. 




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Earlu Social Life In Edgecomhe. 

Physical Prowess the Standard of Greatness One Hundred 

and Fifty Years Ag^o. 

Socially and religiously the early inhabitants of Edgecombe 
were in a deplorable condition. 

Dr. Battle savs: ^^The first settlers in this coimtv lived in a 
state of society not far better than the Indians. If we may 
divide the state of society into the savage, the barbarous and 
the civilized, we might place them in the second class. So late 
as fifty years ago (circa 1762) there were only a few neighbor- 
hoods on the water courses that enjoyed the blessings of a social 
life. Plantations were few and small, and men would go seven 
or eight miles to assist each other in heaping logs. These 
log-heapings were viewed as mere frolics, where the robust and 
athletic could meet together and show their manhood. This 
labor was then performed without the assistance of negroes. A 
perfect state of equality can well be imagined pervaded the 
community. Almost the only distinction known or sought after 
consisted in corporeal exertion. This circumstance led to many 
a fight between men who had no enmity toward each other. 
Some champions would travel many miles to meet with a com- 
batant who had been celebrated as a fighter. Their mode of 
Avarfare was called 'fist and skull,' but was too frequently accom- 
panied with a biting and a gouging, and we are still reproached 
by foreigners for retaining, as they erroneously suppose, this 
barbarous practise." 

Throughout the Colony matters came to the pass that on 
Thursday, April 2, 1752, .a message from the Governor was 
read to both Houses of Assemblv, to-wit : "Gentlemen, I must 
recommend to you in particular to take the most effectual 
measures for promoting Religion and Virtue and suppressing 
Vice and Immorality, which are come to such a dreadful height 
in this Province. I desire you in a special manner to take into 
your consideration the barbarous and inhuman Manner of 
Boxing which so much prevails among the lower sort of People ; 
this Practice is attended with circumstances of Crueltv and 

Horror, and is really shocking to human nature; and I have 
been informed of no less than four persons who, within these 
two years, have come to a violent Death by this atrocious 
Custom. I am afraid the Laws now in Being are defective in 
this affair, and so you are the Guardian of the Lives and 
Properties of his Majesty's Subjects, it is in my opinion, your 
Duty, by a Particular Law, to put a stop to such bloody and 
horrid Quarrels." 

Rev. James Moir, who spent some time among these people 
doing missionary work, has the following to say : 

Edgecombe Co., Xov. 22, 1748. 

Rev. Sir (To the Secretary) : 

When I was preparing to leave this Province in the Spring, 
many of our communion told me they thought it my duty to 
continue, not only because they were pleased with my labours, 
but more especially because a gi'eat number in the county had 
turned Baptists for want of a clergyman, and for encourage- 
ment they assured me that next Easter Monday a Vestry was 
to be chosen that would do me justice; they performed their 
promise ; for ye new Vestry called the Tax gatherers to account 
and paid my Salary faithfully, and withal gave me to know that 
they would slip no opportunity of purchasing a Glebe and 
making conveniences for me, and that in acting thus, they did 
nothing but was very agreeable to the body of the People. 
They also allowed me more time to officiate in remote places 
than the former Vestry had done. These considerations pre- 
vailed with me to agree for another year. By riding through 
the upper parts I plainly see they require three missionaries, 
one to the South near ye Branches of Pedee river, another upon 
the Neuse 120 miles above Xewbern and the third in the Xorth 
towards Virginia. The people seem much inclined to en- 
courage Missionaries and often complain of their being pestered 
with sermons of Baptist Teachers, whom I have always found 
to be as grossly ignorant as those they pretend to teach. I 
should be under no doubt of a Missionarys doing very well in 
those parts had not the rulers of this Province passed a Law last 
April for issuing paper Bills to the value of £23,000 Procla- 
mation money — when T was at Cape Fear, the beginning of this 
month, I had some of my Salaries paid in these new Bills, and 

offered tliem at 10 per cent. Discount for cash but can goi 
nothing for them. 

I cannot give a particular account of the persons I have bap- 
tized since Michaelmas, 1747, it frequently happening that I 
am not so well acquainted as to desire any to take the number. 
Several spectators have told me I baptized above a hundred in 
one day. Two white adults I baptized by dipping. Last 
Whitsunday I had 95 communicants. I received your favour 
of February 4th, 1747, and purpose to draw in Bills till the 
Venerable Society sees fit to appoint me their Missionary for 
the Northern District in the upper parts. If I can obtain 
leave of the Parish I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you 
next Summer and am in the meantime Reverend Sir, 

Your most, etc., . 

James Moir. 

Before reproducing a second letter from the able writer I 
shall quote from Rev. Clement Hall, another missionary of the 
Church of England, who informs his superiors: "Our chiych 
at Edenton is yet unfinished, but one is lately built in Edge- 
combe county where Mr. Moir resides." Extract written in 
year 1749. 

My object in quoting freely is to bring the readers directly, 
as it were, in contact with the lives and times of those whom 
we are seeking to know better, their religion, customs, laws, etc. 

Xow we come to the second letter of James Moir, written in 
Edgecombe county. May 2, 1749: "This vestry met yesterday 
and notwithstanding I promised, if they gave me leave to go 
to London this Summer, to return wdth all convenient speed, 
they would not agree to it for the reasons mentioned in my 
letter of the 22nd Xovember. I then considered how forward 
they were to get things in order for the publick w^orship. The 
church is almost finished (completed before Sept., 1749, ac- 
cording to Clement Hall), and perceiving my absence might 
discourage them, I dropt my resolution of going to Sea this 
Summer, upon which they instantly laid a tax for building two 
new chapels. After all I am apprehensive the new paper Bills 
emitted last year, will frustrate all attempts to settle Mission- 
aries among even the upper inhabitants. I can get nothing 
for the Bills in which they paid my Salaries at Cape Fear, and 
if such payments are made here (which this vestry hitherto 


presented as much as ever tliey could) I must leave the Pro- 
vince; Because creditors in Time of War are paid in com- 
modities that cannot be sold, and in time of peace in paper 
Bills of no real value." 

Section 17, Dr. Battle's article on Edgecombe reads thus: 
"The only religious denominations in the county are the Meth- 
odist and Baptist. The former are not numerous, but they 
have several places of worship in the county, and frequently 
hold meetings in town. The number of their communicants 
is not ascertained. 

The Baptist had eight meeting houses in the year 1810 and 
about five hundred and twentv communicants, since which 
there have been about two hundred and fifty added (anno 
(lomini 1812), and another meeting house is building near the 
place called Shell-Banks, and is to bear its name under this 
head. The following biographical sketch is added, as a tribute 
to the memorv of a deceased ancestor. 

Elisha Battle was born in Xansemond county, Virginin, the 
9th of January, 1723. In the year 1748 he moved to Tat 
river, Edgecombe county, Xorth Carolina. About the year 
1764 he joined the Baptist church at the Falls of Tar river, 
and continued in full fellowship until his death. He was chosen 
Deacon of the church, and served in that office about twenty- 
eight years. He usually attended the associations, at which 
he sometimes acted as moderator, and was well suited to the 
first office. It is well known he was a remarkably pious, zeal- 
ous member of the society, and was always plain and candid 
in censuring and reproving vice or folly in all their shapes, 

From another source I am enabled to give the history of the 
second Baptist settlement in Xorth Carolina. The first com- 
pany arrived in the Colony too early to be connected with 
Edgecombe history, but there is an immediate bond of union 
between the second company and the present native Baptists. 

"About the year 1742, one Wm. Sojourner, who is said to 
have been a most excellent man and useful minister, removed, 
with many of his brethren, from Berkley, in Virginia, and set- 
tled on Kehukee Creek, in the county of Halifax (then part 
of Edgecombe), about one hundred and twenty miles North- 
east of Xewbern, and the same year planted a church in that 
place, which continues to the present day. This church has 

seen prosperous days, and has been a mother to many others, 
the number and names of which I am not able to give." 

Most of the Baptists in Xorth Carolina are said to have 
emigrated from the church of Burley, in Virginia, but by the 
labours of Palmer (founder of the first church about the year 
1727, at a place called Perquimans, on Chowan river), Parker, 
and Sojourner, and other preachers who were raised up in 
•the parts, so many were brought to embrace their sentiments 
that they, by about the year 1752, had increased to sixteen 

These churches had an annual interview, or yearly meeting, 
in which they inspected or regulated the general concern of 
their community. These people were all General Baptists, 
and those of them who emigrated from England came out 
from that community there. 

Although this people maintained a strict adherence to Bap- 
tist principles, so far as baptism was concerned, yet in process 
of time they fell into a loose and neglectful manner as to their 
rules of church discipline, and so continued until more ortho- 
dox opinions and a more rigid economy in their ecclesiastical 
affairs were introduced among them, etc." 

Kev. John Gano was sent into the Southern States, in the 
year 1754, by the Philadelphia Association, to instruct and 
reform the people who had fallen into the undesirable condi- 
tion mentioned above. There were other gentlemen who as- 
sisted him, but I here intend to refer only to one particular 

On Mr. Gano's arrival he sent to the ministers, requesting 
an interview with them, which they declined, and appointed a 
meeting among themselves to consult what to do. Mr. Gano, 
hearing of it, went to their meeting, and addressed them in 
words to this effect: ^I have desired a visit from you, which, 
as a brother and a stranger, I had a right to expect, but as 
ye have refused, I give up my claim and come to pay you a 
visit.' With that, he ascended into the pulpit and read for his 
text the following words: ^ Jesus, I know, and Paul, I know, 
but who are ye V This text he managed in such a manner as 
to make some afraid of him, and others ashamed of their shy- 
ness. Many were convinced of errors touching faith and con- 
version, and submitted to examination, etc. 

By the labors of Mr. Gano and others a great work was 


effected among this people, which consisted not merely in the 
important business of reforming their creed and purifying their 
churches, but also in reviving the power of Godliness amongst 
the erroneous and lukewarm professors, and in the conviction 
and conversion of others. 

The Kehukee Association, which bears the date of 1765, 
was organized at Kehukee Creek and from there spread over 
the country. The churches of which this Association was first 
composed, according to Burket and Kead, who wrote its his- 
tory in 1803, were, besides the one from which it was named, 
those called Toisnot, Falls of Tar River, Fishing Creek, Eeedy 
Creek, Sandy Kun, and Camden. For many years this was a 
very efficient and prosperous community; a considerable num- 
ber of its ministers were among the most able and active in 
ISTorth Carolina, and its bounds were so greatly enlarged that 
in twenty-five years it had increased to sixty-one churches, and 
upward of 5,000 members. The churches were situated in the 
counties of Halifax, Edgecombe, Martin, Washington, Pitt, 
Beaufort, Carteret, Hyde, Tyrrell, Currituck, Camden, etc., 
according to the Minutes of this ancient body which bears the 
date of 1842. 

Very few Presbyterians lived in Edgecombe during the 
early days and the evidences I have on this point are parts of 
the Journal, or diary, of Eev. Hugh McAden (sometimes 
spelled McCadden) : * * * 

"Being sent for, and very earnestly entreated to go to Tar 
Kiver, I took my journey the same evening, with my guide, 
and rode to Bogan's, on Tar River, twenty miles. Next morn- 
ing, set off again, and rode to old Sherman's, on Tar River, 
and preached that afternoon to a small company, who seemed 
generally attentive, and some affected." 

Next day he went to Grassy Creek, sixteen miles, where was 
a Baptist meeting house, and preached to a people Vho seemed 
very inquisitive about the way of Zion.' The next day he 
accompanied his host, old Mr. Lawrence, to Fishing Creek, to 
the Baptist Yearly Meeting; and on Saturday and Sunday 
preached to large and deeply interested audiences. * * * 
On Tuesday, April 13th, 1755, he set out homeward, and rode 
twenty miles, to Mr. Toole's, on Tar River, etc. 

No Jews are mentioned in the different sources and Roman 


Catholics would have found the district unwelcome, to say the 
least, because the Papists, as they are called in the Colonial 
Records, were intensely hated by the Protestant denominations 

One can easily imagine the narrowness and bigotry of the 
early settlers by reading the many stories of cruelty contained 
in the sources. 

Quakers were declared undesirable citizens because they re- 
fused to bear arms, their very peaceable ways appeared to affect 
their neighbors most unpleasantly, and the very qualities a 
citizen to-day most admires in a fellowman were frowned down 
upon by the spirit of the age. 

Gradually, intolerance gave way to tolerance, and unenlight- 
enment to enlightenment, under the steady advance of the 
school teacher, who has done more than any one else for the 
progress of North Carolina. He has prepared the way for the 
newspaper which now reaches the remotest corners of the 
State, and which, year by year, raises its readers to an intel- 
lectual height undreamed of by our ancestors. 

The present day citizen of Edgecombe sits in happiness and 
peace "under his own vine and fig tree," and on the Sabbath 
worships God in his own way. 

"Equal rights to all, special privileges to none," stands as the 
Palladium of every true American, and how feelingly do the 
public school children of all denominations unite in singing: 

"My country, 'tis of thee. 
Sweet land of Liberty." 

EarlB History of Edgecomhe. 

Dr. Jeremiah Battle, a native of Edgecombe, prepared in the 
year 1812, a full and interesting, statistical and historical, ac- 
count of the county, which he presented first to the local "Agri- 
cultural Society," and then sent to the "Editors of the Star." 

In this article, entitled "The County of Edgecombe in 1810," 
the writer gives the following opinion as to the advent of the 
white man: 

"When the county was first settled cannot be well ascertained 
from any documents here, but it was probably prior to the year 
1726, the oldest land patents we have met with bearing this 


date, as the first settlement of the continent commenced at the 
mouth's of rivers, so these interior settlements commenced at 
the mouths of creeks, progressing upwards as the natives gave 
ground. At the mouth of Town creek, it is believed, was the 
first settlement of the county. The site of Tarboro and its 
vicinity were settled at an early period.'' 

In the Colonial Records 1 find that several patents were 
issued for grants of land in Edgecombe precinct during the 
year 1735, and a few during the preceding year, but one must 
not infer that these were issued to the first settlers, for prior 
to 1733, Edgecombe was a part of Bertie, and whatever grants 
were made to those who lived in this district before the latter 
date received their lands as residents of Bertie, so it is extremely 
difficult, if not impossible, to determine when and where the 
pioneers of our county located their initial settlement. 

At a Council held at the Court House in Bertie Precinct on 
Friday, October 17th, 1735, matters which may throw light 
on our early history came up for deliberation before the Hon- 
orable Board of the Royal Colony of North Carolina, namely: 
* * ^ * * * ^ ^^ReadthePetitionof the Inhabitants of Tar 
River, setting forth that they are 20 families in number. That 
Simon Jeffries, Dec'ed, obtained in his own and in his son 
Osborn's name three Patents for 1,000 Acres of Land on said 
River, the Warrants for which have been so run out as to take 
in 15 miles on the said River. 

"That the Orphan of one Boyd hath a purchase Patent for 
7,000 Acres of Land beginning on Town Creek, which will 
take in most of their Settlements. 

"That one of the Pollocks has purchased patents for 5 Sur- 
veys and Town Creek and several others lay claim thereto tho 
they never made any settlements. 

"That your Petitioners have been at great charge in culti- 
vating and improving the aforesaid Lands and have the late 
Governor Burrington's Warrants for the Lands whereon they 
have settled. 

"Therefore most humbly pray that the aforesaid Jeffrys' 
Land and the Lands held bv Purchase Patents be resurveved. 

"Whereupon his Excellency, the Governor, by and with the 
advice of his Majesty's Council, was pleased to order that Mr. 
.\ttorney-General doth forthwith Enter a Prosecution against 


the several patentees mentioned in the aforesaid Petition in 
his Majesty's Court of Exchequer." 

North Carolina was inundated with a steady stream of immi- 
grants during the pre-Revolutionary period and Edgecombe re- 
ceived her full share of the newcomers, many of whom came 
from Virginia. 

To quote again from Dr. Battle: "The princii)al ^object of 
the first settlers' appears to have been the enjoyment of ease 
and idleness; and there is not, perhaps, a spot in the State 
where a mere subsistance was, and still is, more easily procured 
than here. The chief, and almost entire occupation was hunt- 
ing and rearing stock, which consisted principally of horses and 
cattle. The former ran wild, and were pursued and taken by 
stratagem when necessity required ; cattle were esteemed of 
more value, and were kept gentle, but subsisted through the 
year without feeding, except cows and calves. Agriculture was 
scarcely thought of. The settlers were much of their time un- 
der the necessity of eating meat without bread; a horse and 
plow served a whole neighborhood." 

Although the colonists were, by nature, ^'docile, peaceable, 
and easily governed," still they did not hesitate to assert their 
rights, as evidenced by their boldness in resisting royal au- 
thority on several occasions. 

A case in point happened soon after Governor Johnston put 
an end to the Legislature for its failure to uphold him in the 
collection of Quit Rents at unlawful places. 

Some months thereafter, in 1737, according to \Vm. L. Saun- 
ders, Col. Rec, Vol. IV., Prefatory Xotes, pp. xvi and 
xvii, at the General Court at Edenton, a man was im- 
prisoned for insulting the marshal in the execution of his 
office during the sitting of the Court, and the people of Bertie 
and Edgecombe precincts, hearing that he was imprisoned about 
his quit rents, rose in arms to the number of 500, and marched 
within five miles of the town, intending to rescue him by force, 
in the meantime cursing the King and uttering a great many 
rebellious speeches. By this time the man had made his peace 
with the Court, and the crowd learning the truth, dispersed 
without doing any mischief, tlireatening, however, ^^the most 
cruel usage to such persons as durst come to demand any quit 
lents of them for the future," and the Governor goes on to say 



further, "how to quell them I cannot tell if they should at- 
tempt an insurrection against next collection." 

It may interest the present citizens of Edgecombe to kno^v 
what Johnston's estimate of their ancestors amounted to, and 
I, therefore, add two more sentences from his pen : "The people 
seem here to be persuaded that they may do what they 
please, and that they are below the notice of the King and 
his ministers, which makes them highly insolent. They never 
were of any service to the Lords Proprietors, and if something 
is not speedily done to convince them that his Majesty will 
not be so used, I am afraid they will be of as little profit to the 

It was my purpose, at the outset, to confine myself strictly 
to earliest settlers of our county, but in the course of this 
article I found that a somewhat general presentation of colonial 
affairs was necessary. I have, however, succeeded in connect- 
ing Edgecombe directly with all the events mentioned and my 
readers can rest assured that the above facts were taken from 
unimpeachable sources, so far as I have been able to learn. 

In my opinion the history of our county should be taught 
in the local public schools. For this reason it is imperative that 
a good, readable account of our past should be prepared by one 
of our older citizens, many of whom are capable of the task, and 
who ever undertakes this laudable work will earn the everlast- 
ing gratitude of posterity. 

A Tarborean's Experience Abroad. 

ExiN^ Province Posen^ Prussia, July 20, 1899. 

To THE Editor of the Southerner: 

For the benefit of your readers who have not had the pleasure 
of crossing the ocean, I will tell some of the chief incidents 
of our trip from the morning we left ISTew York harbor up to 
the present writing. 

We sailed from the Iforth German Lloyd pier on July 4th. 
Our ship. Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, the largest and fastest 
boat in the world, had nineteen hundred persons on board. 
Thousands stood on the wharf to witness the departure, and, as 
the boat slowly backed out into mid-stream, a mighty shout 


a[ went up from the assembled hosts on shore, which was answered 

by those on board, the ship's band adding spice to this outburst 
of American enthusiasm by playing one of Sousa's stirring 
marches. Even after the shouting could no longer be heard we 
could see the crowd waving their handkerchiefs and small 
uimerican flags until we lost sight of them. The scene was one 
never to be forgotten and one which has to be seen in order to be 
appreciated fully. After passing out of the harbor the pilot 
left us and then began the voyage across the broad Atlantic. 

No one in our party was seasick at any time during the seven 
days we spent on the water. The trip was most remarkable, as 
there was not a single rough day, and the boat succeeded in 
breaking her own record from shore to shore. She arrived, 
however, several hours late at her first port, Cherbourg, France, 
on account of a fog in the English Channel which caused the 
ship to go one hundred miles out of its course and spoiled our 
chances of becoming famous, because, under favorable condi- 
tions, the fastest record eastward would have been broken by 
five hours. The fog came near causing our vessel to share the 
fate of the Paris. The ofiicers of the ship had lost their bear- 
ings and were surprised all of a sudden by seeing rocks ahead. 
The boat immediately turned around and put off as quickly as 
possible. In four minutes more we would have been wrecked. 
Very few of the passengers learned of this imtil some hours 
afterward, and all the excitement had then passed away. 

France was the first country of Europe whose shores I be- 
held. The picture before me was the most beautiful that I had 
ever seen or have seen since. Instead of the low-lying, barren 
lands along the coast of the United States, the country is ele- 
vated and cultivated down to the water's edge. The farms are 
regular and hedged off from one another by bushes. In a cove 
lies the city of Cherbourg. Oldtime fortifications with old- 
fashioned cannon protect the harbor. Some of the fortifications 
are built on surrounding islands and, as the ship passed them, 
we could see French soldiers on the breast-works. The placid 
bay dotted with small sails, the blue sky overhead, the old city 
with its fortifications, with a background of perfect green 
made up the picture. After we left Cherbourg, we touched at 
Southampton, but it was too dark to make any observations. 
The trip from Southampton to Bremen was a lonesome day, be- 
cause so many passengers had disembarked that the big ship 


seemed deserted. After a great deal of trouble we arrived in 
Bremen at ten minutes to one A. M. ^o one on the ship 
seemed to be able to give us any information whether we could 
get accommodations the night of our arrival. We took chances 
on receiving our baggage and went ashore. Our hand-satchels 
were examined at the wharf. The custom-house ofScers were 
not rigid with us, but the preparation for the examination was 
trying, as so many pieces of baggage had to be inspected. We 
went to a hotel with the crowd and found that there were no 
rooms to be had, so other quarters had to be sought after, al- 
though the night was far gone. We saw a hotel called Eng- 
lische Hof and went in. The clerk seemed very excited because 
he had some patrons and moved about like a busy man. We 
told him what we wanted and he immediately ran to a black- 
board. Then he drew chalk marks through some figures which 
were the numbers of our rooms to be, and arrangements were 

There is no such thing as a hotel register in Germany. All 
one has to do is to come into a hotel, ask for a room and the 
next minute he is ascending the steps, that is, if there are rooms 
to be had. We asked the clerk why the hotel was called an 
English Hotel w^hen no one gpoke English. He replied that it 
was the head w^aiter who spoke English. Next morning we dis- 
covered that the head waiter knew three English words. Our 
trunks w^ere found soon after breakfast We had them in- 
spected and sent by express to Berlin. If they had gone by 
freight, I don't believe we ever would have received them. My 
advice to a tourist in Europe is not to take a trunk along. The 
Germans are slow and good-natured people. One must let them 
take their time. 

After attending to our baggage w^e took a drive through Bre- 
men. The first part of the drive was spent inspecting a large 
park, the ^^legend'' of which w^as related to us by the coachman. 
He was our guide, so we had to take his word for everything. 
He spoke in German, but translated into English, his words 
were about as follows : "There was once a man who had both 
legs cut off, he crawled over this ground and died, and all tlie 
ground that he crawled over was made into a park." You can 
take both the story and the wording for what it is worth. T 
will say, however, that we saw^ in this park a statue of the legles* 


man. Bremen is an ancient looking town, but some of the new 
buildings would do honor to our large cities. 

From Bremen we went to Berlin on the Express. In German 
it is called the Schnell Zug. We were shut up into a compart- 
ment, but it is an advantage over an American train, in that 
you can make yourself as comfortable as if you were in your 
o^^^l room. 'Ko one else can get into your compartment ex- 
cept through the door on the side of the car. Every com- 
partment has a door on each side, so that a train can be 
emptied three times as fast as it is in America. At every 
station the passengers jumped out, drank a glass of beer, ate a 
sandwich, and waited for the conductor's whistle to get on 
board again. To me this kind of railroad traveling seemed 
like child's play. In fact, the whole train, engine and cars, are 
midgets beside ours. But, as I said before, the German leads 
a life of ease. If he couldn't eat and drink all day, life would 
not be worth living. Six hours' traveling put us in Berlin. We 
hired a cab and drove to the hotel. At the door we were received 
in state by a number of hotel officials. It afterwards turned out 
that their extreme goodness resulted from the anticipation of a 
large tip. The greatest evil is the desire among the employees 
in any kind of business to get all they can out of a person, espe- 
cially if he is an American. I would call it a failing, because 
at heart no one is better than a German. Their best quality 
is extreme politeness. Mark Twain taught me a lesson which 
I put in practice the night after I arrived in Berlin. In his 
Tramp Abroad he mentions the following custom prevalent 
throughout Germany : "When one sits at a table and a German 
wishes to take a seat at the same table, he bows to the one 
seated, although they have never seen each other before. Which- 
ever person leaves the table first bows to the other, who returns 
the courtesy." To return to myself, I will say that the night 
following my arrival in Berlin, I was seated at a table in one 
of the large beer gardens. (Perhaps the good people of Tarboro 
may be shocked at the idea of a beer garden, but custom favors 
it, and a German experiences no feeling of impropriety bv 
taking his wife and children there to enjoy a pleasant evening.) 
Two gentlemen sat down beside me, but not before they had 
tipped their hats and wished me good evening. I was not ex- 
pecting it, but my quick American mind took in the situation. 


so I immediately returned their greeting. I determined to 
leave the table when they were busily engaged in conversation^ 
to see if they would notice it. I waited, arose, and made my 
bow. It was very pleasantly returned. A German will go out 
of his way to do you a favor. We asked a number of them for 
certain streets and the situation of buildings, all of which 
questions were not only verbally answered, but in deed, as far 
as they could spare the time. 

The most interesting palace that we have visited is Sans 
Souci. It was here that Frederick the Great spent his summers. 
We were shown Voltaire's room, Frederick's library, his art gal- 
lery, and the room in which he died. The clock which stopped 
at twenty minutes past two, the moment of his death, is in the 
room. His death scene is preserved in marble. We also visited 
tlie vault in which he lies buried, and stood beside his coffin. We 
were then on historic ground, for it was over the ashes of the 
Great Frederick that Queen Louisa, her husband. King Fred- 
erick William III., of Prussia, and Alexander I., Czar of 
Kussia, swore eternal enmity to Xapoleon Bonaparte. 

From Berlin we went to Exin, the birthplace of my grand- 
mother, where we are at present. It is a small town and a fine 
])lace to study Polish -Prussian peasant life. I found that the 
Polish-Prussian peasant is as ignorant and slovenly as the 
Southern negro. A number of peasants of both sexes were 
gathered at the depot on our arrival and blocked our exit from 
the train. I shall never forget the rough way in which the 
conductor handled one of the women. He gave her a terrible 
Mow on the head. My spirit of humanity revolted at the sight, 
but I, nevertheless, knew that he was justified, because the only 
way to handle the peasants is to treat them like brutes. The 
small children looked at us as if we were gods, and examined 
our satchels to see where we were from. They caught sight of 
our steamer tags and their curiosity was satisfied. The poor 
wear wooden shoes and in walking on paved streets they make 
a sound like the clattering of horses. On entering my aunt's 
house the servant kissed my gramhnother's hand, which is the 
custom in this part of Prussia. 




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