Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Quick Launch

July 20
Researching Your American Immigrant Ancestors: Passenger Lists and Ship Manifests

Immigrant ship w shadow.PNG
The Cabarrus County Public Library’s Roots Roundtable genealogy group recently discussed ways in which to research American immigrant ancestors. One of the most helpful ways is to find your ancestor in all possible U. S. records before researching their native homeland. What records should you look for? This post will focus on passenger lists and ship manifests as the first in a series identifying records that are particular to non-citizen residents, that is, those who came to live in the US but were not yet, or did not become, US citizens. Future posts will include: alien registrations of noncitizen residents, immigrant community records, military service records, and naturalization/citizenship records.

Collections of passenger records and indexes break down into three general time periods: pre-1820, 1820 to 1891, and after 1891. There was no official system of immigrant passenger registration until 1820, so available records prior to that period are irregular. During the colonial era, more immigrants arrived in Philadelphia than New York City. Most came as indentured servants, convicts, or slaves. It’s extremely difficult to trace first generation African slave ancestors and it is rare to find ship manifests that enumerated slave cargo. Almost all available records prior to 1820 have been transcribed and are in the book series Passenger and Immigration Lists Index by Richard J. Wolfe and P. William Filby, and’s collection called US and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, based off the Wolfe and Filby series.

Castle Garden w shadow.PNGAfter 1820, arrival ports maintained customs lists with the names of ship and master; port of embarkation; arrival date and port; and name, age, occupation and nationality of each passenger. These records exist for the major ports of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans, as well as other minor ports, and can be found through the National Archives,, and


From 1855 to 1890, Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center, created in collaboration between New York State and New York City. Known today as Castle Clinton National Monument, its free website, offers access to a database of information on 11 million immigrants from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened.


Ellis Island w shadow.PNGIn the early 1890s, the new U.S. Office of Immigration standardized passenger manifests. These manifests may provide a treasure trove of identifying information, such as: previous residence, marital status, prior visits to the United States, final US destination, names of relatives, and literacy status. To mark the federal government's control of immigration affairs, Ellis Island opened in Upper New York Bay as the main entry point to the U. S. From 1892-1954 it was the gateway for 12 million immigrants. The peak year for immigration at Ellis Island was 1907, with 1,004,756 immigrants. The website offers a complete history including a passenger and ship search.


Consistent border crossing records from Canada and Mexico weren’t kept by the United States until 1895, or by Canada until 1908. Most records available to search can be found at and


Immigrants entered the United States through over three hundred official ports of entry. There were many factors in considering a port of destination, including: job opportunities in or near the destination city, access to the best route to a further destination, the price of passage, and which ship sailed at the most convenient time. Identifying the port of arrival can offer clues about an ancestor's motivation in coming to America.

In addition to offering free in-house access to, the Cabarrus County Public Library offers the following resources to assist you in your research:



Website Links:


Top: “The Departure,” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, January 12, 1856, p. 77. Library of Congress,

Center: Gates of Castle Garden immigrant depot in New York City, undated. National Parks Service.

Bottom: Ellis Island in 1905, Ellis Island Immigration Museum.


May 24
A Memorial Day Remembrance of Two Cabarrus WWI Soldiers

Memorial Day recognizes those who died while serving in the armed forces of the United States. 2017 also marks the one hundredth anniversary of the U. S. entrance into World War I. This Memorial Day we pay tribute to all military casualties, but make special recognition of the first of forty-two Cabarrus County WWI casualties, Corporal Everett McAllister of Mount Pleasant, and Private Holly Love “Robert” Goodman of Concord, who both gave their lives in France on July 15, 1918.

NA Company C Engineers cropped ds.JPGAlthough the war in Europe was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914, the United States had a policy of non-intervention until Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. After the passage of the Selective Service Act, 2.8 million men were drafted. Everett McAllister, the son of Robert Lee McAllister and Martha Jane Misenheimer McAllister, left for France on December 4, 1917. Robert Goodman, the son of William J. P. Goodman and Ida Rosetta Cress Goodman, left on April 6, 1918.

While serving in France, staying connected to family and friends was crucial for morale. Although correspondence from Robert is unknown, the Concord Tribune published Everett’s last letter to his mother. Everett was most concerned about those he knew from home. He asked about his brother Ben, also a soldier, and other friends in service:

McAllister, Everett portrait ds.JPG“Mother do you know if Brown Phillips is over here or not, I was sure I saw him driving an ambulance last night, going too fast for me to stop him. I hope I will soon begin to get the Concord paper and then I can find out more about our boys from around home…”

Others hometown soldiers looked for Everett, too. On August 6, 1918, Corp. Voight M. Barnhardt wrote to his mother:

“I saw Everett McAllister last March and talked with him for a couple of hours. He is the only one of the boys I have seen here except Ray Cook and I have not seen him since last year.”

In the spring of 1918, the German Army launched a major offensive in France in the hope of achieving a quick victory before the full weight of American Forces were brought to the line. The Germans gained considerable ground but failed to achieve a decisive advantage at any point on the front. 

Early in July, it was apparent that the Germans were preparing another major assault. An attack south and east from the Chateau Thierry, only 50 miles from Paris, would threaten the city of Rheims and give the Germans control along the Marne river. The attack called the Champagne-Marne offensive, began July 15. The U. S. forces made a significant contribution to the struggle. It was there that the 3rd Division, including Robert’s 38th Infantry Regiment and Everett’s Co. C, 6th US Engineers, gained the nickname, "Rock of the Marne." Robert died on the battlefront and Everett died as the result of injuries sustained after being electrocuted while running communication wires.

Cabarrus soldier, Frank Cress, wrote on August 14, 1918:

“I wish I could tell you about the part I played in the big drive, but it would take a book. All I can say, a fellow is lucky who came out alive. Several of my friends were killed and many that I knew, but we kept the Dutchman on the run. I am glad I can say I was in the battle. One cannot imagine what it is until he has seen.”

Frank continued, “I came very near to Everett McAllister the other week. Was so near that I found out where he was, but could not go to see him right then, and it was my last chance.”

Private Holly Love “Robert” Goodman is buried in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in Picardy, France, and has a memorial headstone at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery in Concord.

Corporal Everett McAllister is interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Find out more about Cabarrus County armed service members through the many books and resources of the Cabarrus County Library, including e-resource Library Editions of,, and

McAllister service record ds.JPG
Goodman service record ds.JPG


Top: Members of Y. M. C. A. serving hot chocolate to troops of Company C, 6th Engineers, 3rd Division. Near St. Eugene, France, July 2, 1918. National Archives.

Center: Portrait of Everett McAllister, Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society, Mount Pleasant, NC.

Bottom: Service records of Everett McAllister and Holly Love Goodman,

Cabarrus County (N.C.) War Records Collection Committee. A History of Cabarrus County in the Wars. Concord, N.C.: 1947.

“Corp. Voight M. Barnhardt,” The Concord Daily Tribune, August 26, 1918, p. 4,

“Frank Cress,” The Concord Daily Tribune, October 3, 1918, p. 2,

“In Memorial: Corporal Everett McAllister,” The Concord Daily Tribune, August 26, 1918, p. 1,

Livesey, Anthony. Great Battles of World War I. New York: Macmillan, 1989.

Kidd, Harry B. "Photographs of the 3rd Infantry Division in France During World War I." National Archives,

Marshall, R. Jackson. Memories of World War I: North Carolina Doughboys on the Western Front. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, 1998. 

April 22
Concord’s Popular, but Perilous, Fish Pond

Fish pond map, cropped w shadow.JPGDid you know there was once a stocked fish pond near downtown Concord where young people liked to hang out and local residents caught carp for dinner? One can imagine family and friends enjoying themselves at this late nineteenth century watering hole relaxing under the nearby shade trees with their fishing poles. The problem? Authorities determined the pond posed a potential health hazard.

Local business proprietor, Joel Reed, owned the questionable spot known as the Reed Fish Pond. Although Reed was a druggist by trade (Reed Drug Store sat on the current location of the Cabarrus County Courthouse on South Union Street), he had many farming and business interests. The pond’s location, not far behind his Union Street home, was part of his small gold mining operation near the intersection of Church Street and North Depot Street (now Cabarrus Avenue). According to local historians, Adelaide and Eugenia Lore, Joel Reed was not related to the John Reed family who were the first to find gold in Cabarrus County in 1799 and established Reed Gold Mine.

Joel Reed’s mine operated only sporadically, but proved profitable; however, reported “attacks of fever” raised concerns in the community. In 1898, Concord mayor, James L. Crowell, county physician, Dr. J. S. Lafferty, and the State Board of Health, all recommended closure of the Reed Fish Pond. The Concord Town Commissioners ordered it drained “for the preservation of the health of our people.”

Joel Reed house w shadow.JPGAnother possible threat was that the pond likely contained poisoned fish. The mine business included an ore crushing mill that extracted gold from processed amalgam. The extraction process typically involved the use of the toxic element, mercury. Ingestion-related mercury poisoning in humans is most commonly caused by the consumption of contaminated fish. Symptoms may include neurological and sensory problems, muscle weakness, and skin irritation.

Despite some community resistance, authorities had the fish moved to another pond. One fish was thought to weigh twelve pounds and bullfrogs were reportedly the size of five pound turtles.

The Cabarrus County Library has many resources to aid in your research of local history, including historic maps and the North Carolina Collection. For more information call 704-920-2061.

Map: Gray’s New Map of Concord, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, 1882. Cabarrus County Library, Lore Local History Room.

Photo: The Joel Reed home, called “The Seven Gables,” is shown next to the Hotel Concord on Union Street North in January 1929. The home was built in 1833 by C. N. Price. Joel Reed purchased it in the late 1860s and his family lived there until it was torn down in June, 1931. From Open the Gate and Roam Cabarrus with Us, Adelaide McKinnon Lore and Eugenia White Lore, 1971, p. 111.

 “Mercury Poisoning,”
Untitled notice, The Concord Register (Concord, NC), May 8, 1885, 3.
“The Joel Reed Mine,” The Concord Times (Concord, NC), January 4, 1889, 2.
Untitled notice, The Standard (Concord, NC), April 12, 1889, 3.
“Remarkable Gold Yield,” The Concord Times (Concord, NC), March 7, 1890, 3.
“The Reed Pond,” Daily Concord Standard (Concord, NC), March 10, 1898, 1.
“Reid Pond Turned Loose,” Daily Concord Standard (Concord, NC), March 14, 1898, 1.
“Death of Mr. Joel Reed,” The Concord Times (Concord, NC), March 22, 1900, 3.​

February 16
The Young Family of Cabarrus’ “Boxwood Manor” Goes to War

battle-of-chancellorsville-history channel.jpeg

The following is part two of the Boxwood Manor story. Boxwood Manor was the Cabarrus antebellum plantation home of Robert Simonton Young. Here we will follow the Civil War service of Young and his son, John Phifer Young, the youngest Confederate captain to die in the war, in part told from a first-hand account of their slave Dan Young. For part one of the Boxwood Manor story click here.

boxwood manor front.jpgRobert Simonton Young became the owner of what would be known as the Boxwood Manor plantation about 1842. He was of Scots-Irish descent and came from a prominent Cabarrus County planter family.

On November 28, 1843, he married Louisa Esther Phifer. Louisa was the granddaughter of Patriot militia officer Martin Phifer. Sadly, she died on July 9, 1845 at Boxwood Manor, shortly after the birth of their son, John Phifer Young.

Robert then married Sarah Virginia Burton and had five more children: Alfred Burton Young, Joseph H. Young, Sally White Young, Louise Virginia Young, and Robert Simonton Young, Jr. Sarah was the granddaughter of Robert Burton, a colonel in the Patriot army and a member of the Continental Congress.

Robert Simonton Young became one of the most prosperous and progressive planters in the region. For many years he was a ruling elder in the congregation of Poplar Tent Presbyterian church. He was a Democrat, and as tensions rose in the late 1850s, became a secessionist.

When the war broke out, Robert’s oldest son, John Phifer Young, was a sixteen year old student at a military school in Charlotte. John’s stepmother, Sarah Young, wrote John and urged him to come home to Boxwood Manor and wait for the return of his father who was on a business trip at another of his plantations in Texas.

John phifer young,.jpgForty-year-old Robert quickly returned to North Carolina from Texas and organized Company B of the Seventh Regiment of North Carolina in Cabarrus County. His official date of service began on May 16, 1861. His son, John, was a made drillmaster and appointed 2nd Lieutenant on the same date. Robert was promoted to Major in June 27, 1861. Company B remained in Cabarrus until ordered to Camp Mason, near Graham, Alamance County on July 25. It was mustered into service at Camp Mason on August 21, 1861.

Robert was separated from John when he transferred to the regimental “Field and Staff.” He was among those who were captured on September 15, 1862 at Frederick during Robert E. Lee's Maryland Campaign. After being held prisoner at Fort Delaware, Robert was exchanged on November 10, 1862. An extended illness caused him to resign his post on January 6, 1863 and return home for one year.

Meanwhile, his son, John Phifer Young, was captured near Richmond, Virginia on June 28, 1862. John was held at Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, and at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, until he transferred to Fort Monroe, Virginia on July 31, 1862. He ended up at Aiken’s Landing, James River, Virginia on August 5, 1862 as part of a prisoner exchange. John was then promoted to First Lieutenant on January 31, 1863, and then to Captain on March 11, 1863.

In June of 1917, Dan Young, a former slave of Robert Simonton Young, spoke with a reporter from the Charlotte Observer about his experience with the Young family during the Civil War. Dan grew up on the Boxwood Manor plantation as a playmate and personal slave of John Phifer Young. He spent the duration of the war on the battlefront as a servant to three members of the family. Dan said that he thought he was about eighteen years old when the war broke out. He was first assigned to attend John.

On Sunday morning, May 3, 1863, the entire Confederate line converged on Chancellorsville, Virginia. Company B of the Seventh Regiment advanced forward through the woods under heavy fire to capture the Federal breastworks on the hill. Union forces pushed them back, causing the loss of about one-third of the command. The Confederate line was eventually able to take the hill, but not without the critical injury of Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and the death of seventeen year old John Phifer Young. John would be the youngest Confederate captain to die in the war.

When the firing ended at Chancellorsville, Dan Young recounted how he crept out onto the battlefield to retrieve John’s body and carry him to a place of safety. Dan found a few old boards to craft a make-shift coffin and gave John a temporary burial. According to Dan, he then traveled to Richmond to find a proper casket. When he arrived at the train station with the casket for the return trip, he was informed that the train was reserved for Mrs. Stonewall Jackson, who was traveling to the bedside of her wounded husband (Jackson would die on May 10). Dan said he asked if he could meet Mrs. Jackson. His request was granted when she learned he was bringing a casket to receive a fallen soldier. Dan went on his way and was then able to return to Concord with the body of John Phifer Young.

African-American-army-cook-at-City-Point-VA.jpgAfter John’s father, Robert Simonton Young, recovered from his illness at home, he returned to the Confederate line and served on the staff of General Robert Hoke’s brigade. Dan Young accompanied Robert as his personal slave and cook.

Hoke’s brigade fought in a series of trench warfare battles around Petersburg, Virginia from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865. Major Young was mortally wounded by a sharpshooter on July 9, 1864, and died the next day. Dan said he had Young’s wife, Sarah, summoned with a telegram. As she traveled toward Petersburg, the railroad lines between Richmond and Weldon were under heavy enemy fire. Permission was not given to travel beyond Weldon. Sarah boarded a car on a train loaded with corn and waited. In the meantime, Dan traveled into the Weldon station at the helm of a train carrying Robert’s body from Petersburg. He had persuaded the company to allow him to engineer the train if he would also carry other wounded and dead on the hazardous trip through the shelling of enemy fire. At first Sarah thought Dan had abandoned Robert in Petersburg but soon found out the truth.

After the funeral of Major Young, Dan returned for a third time to the battlefront as the personal slave of another son of the Youngs, sixteen year old Alfred Burton Young. Albert served as a courier on General Hoke’s staff until surrender at Greensboro near the close of the war. Albert survived and went on to become a farmer, chairman of the board of the North Carolina State Penitentiary, and chairman of the Cabarrus County Democratic Executive Committee.

Sarah Burton Young, lived at Boxwood Manor for a time after the war before moving to Charlotte. In 1897 she sold the house and nearly 2,000 acres of surrounding land to P. M. Morris, a Concord merchant and realtor. Robert Simonton Young and John Phifer Young are buried side by side in the Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Concord.

 Dan Young married Adline, a maid from the Young household. They had a family and moved to Texas where he was a farmer. The reporter for the Charlotte Observer in 1917 described him as seventy-one or more, “He is tall and erect and not the least bit infirm. He appears to be rather prosperous, for he was neatly attired, wearing a Prince Albert coat and the traditional Texas tan felt sombrero. His hair and mustache and wee tuft of beard are perfectly white, giving his mulatto features a somewhat distinguished appearance.” Dan died in 1930 and is buried in Hanover, Milam County, Texas.

For more information on the Civil War service of Cabarrus Confederate soldiers, see the encyclopedic series North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, as well as many other collected sources in the Lore Local History Room of the Concord Library. Books available for checkout on the slave experience during the Civil war include: The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slave’s Civil War, by David S. Cecelski; The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Worlds of Former Slaves, by Andrew Ward; and The Civil War Chronicle: The Only Day-By-Day Portrait of America’s Tragic Conflict As Told By Soldiers, Journalists, Politicians, Farmers , Nurses, Slaves, and Other Eyewitnesses, by J. Matthew Gallman.

Photos (top to bottom):

1.       “The Battle of Chancellorsville,”  by Kurz and Allison, 1889. Depicts the wounding of Confederate Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson on May 2,   1863. Library of Congress,

2.      “Boxwood Manor,” c. 1980, Peter R. Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, (Concord, NC: Historic Cabarrus,   Inc.), 2004.

3.       “John Phifer Young,” Oil on canvas portrait. Photo by Susan Grills, Historic Cabarrus Association.

4.       “City Point, Va, An African-American Army Cook at Work,” Library of Congress,


1.        Jordan, Weymouth T., Jr. ed., North Carolina Troops 1861-1865: A Roster, (Raleigh: Office of Archives and History), 1973.

2.        “Alfred B.Young Dead,” The Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, NC), May 5, 1908, 1.

3.        “Sudden Death of Dr. Robert S. Young,” The Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, NC), June 18, 1913, 1.

4.        “Funeral Service for Dr. R. S. Young 11:30 Tomorrow,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), June 19, 1913, 3.

5.        “Brave Colored Veteran Visitor,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), June 15, 1917, 8.

6., memorials #23873866, # 26499257, and # 126920492.​

January 25
Cabarrus’ Antebellum Home “Boxwood Manor”

Cabarrus’ Antebellum Home “Boxwood Manor”

This is part one of a two-part history of the Cabarrus antebellum plantation home called “Boxwood Manor” and its nineteenth century owners, the Robert Simonton Young family.

boxwood manor2.jpgA recent library patron requested information about an old brick home he came across while working on the property of Victory Industrial Park, the site of the former Philip Morris cigarette plant. A 1992 Cabarrus County map identified the home as the “Philip Morris Guest House.” The patron said it appeared to be historic, but is currently boarded up and in a deteriorating condition.

The home is “Boxwood Manor,” originally built by Marcus D. Means about 1820 and sold to Robert Simonton Young, a prominent farmer, about 1842. 
The two-story residence with high fluted columns and pediment porch got its name from the many mid-nineteenth century English boxwoods planted in geometrical designs in the surrounding yard. Boxwood Manor is the oldest surviving example of brick construction in the Cabarrus County and one of only a few remaining brick houses that predates the Civil War. The oldest portions of the house are in in a brick pattern called Flemish bond; it alternates headers and stretchers on each course. Exterior end chimneys originally furnished fireplaces for each of the rooms. Interior Federal style details included six-panel doors with flat panels, and thinly molded chair rails over flat wainscots.

Flemish Bond crop.jpg

Robert Simonton Young favored the Greek Revival design that was popular among wealthy North Carolina planter families. He removed the Federal style mantels and the staircase that rose from the broad center hall when he expanded and remodeled the house shortly before the Civil War. He had builders add a set of Grecian mantels from the Asher Benjamin pattern book The Architect, or Practical House Carpenter (1830). Young is also thought to have added the pair of rear wings to the house: a two-story ell and a one-story kitchen. The main staircase, consisting of a molded and curved balustrade, was moved to the two-story wing adjacent to the original house.

nc-milk-bottle-boxwood-manor-dairy_1.jpgYoung and his son, John Phifer Young, both fought with the Confederate army. Neither survived the Civil War. Young’s widow, Sarah Burton Young, occupied the house for a period before moving to Charlotte. In 1897 she sold the house and nearly 2,000 acres of surrounding land to P. M. Morris, a Concord merchant and realtor. Morris’s son and grandson, W. L. Morris and W. L. Morris, Jr., ran the farm as a dairy and as a sharecropping enterprise with over two hundred farmers under contract. W. L. Morris expanded and remodeled the house to its current form during the early years of the twentieth century, adding the imposing pediment portico supported by the fluted Doric columns that dominate the front elevation. Morris also remodeled the façade openings, applied classically-inspired trim, including a dentil molding, under the eaves of the entire structure, and erected a one-story sunroom along the southern elevation. Only one significant outbuilding still stands behind the residence: a double-pen, chinked log structure said to have served as a smokehouse. All other buildings, including former slave quarters, barns, and the dairy, no 
longer exist.

Boxwood smokehouse, 1000.jpgIn 1978, W. L. Morris, Jr. sold the property and Boxwood Manor to Phillip Morris, USA , who used it as a company guest house. Altria, Philip Morris’ Richmond, Virginia-based parent company, closed its Concord cigarette plant in 2009 and sold the property to Victory Industrial Park, LLC in 2014.

According to a representative of the Concord Historic Preservation Commission, there are no current or planned preservation efforts for Boxwood Manor, nor is it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Part two of the Boxwood Manor story will follow the Civil War service of Robert Simonton Young and his son, John Phifer Young, the youngest Confederate captain to die in the war. Included will be a first-hand account told by their slave, Dan Young.

To learn more about significant Cabarrus County homes and architecture see The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, by Peter R. Kaplan and Open the Gate and Roam Cabarrus With Us, by Adelaide and Eugenia Lore.

Photos (top to bottom):

  1. Facade of Boxwood Manor wth boxwood planting in foreground, c. 1980: Peter R. Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, (Concord, NC: Historic Cabarrus, Inc.), 2004
  2. Boxwood Manor's Flemish Bond brick pattern: Denise Steward McLain
  3. Boxwood Manor Dairy Bottle:
  4. The remains of the Boxwood Manor smokehouse: Denise Steward McLain

December 07
Cabarrus Reacts to the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Mast with shadow.JPG
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the surprise military strike on the U. S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack killed 2,403 American non-combatants and injured 1,178 others. The next day, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U. S. into World War II. Before the end of the week, the citizens of Cabarrus County rose to the challenge and embraced a call to action.

By Tuesday, December 9, the Cabarrus unit of the North Carolina State Guards were notified to stand ready for immediate action. All members were ordered to meet that evening at the Armory for instruction in preparation for immediate service. Similar orders went out to all guardsmen in 100 companies across the state that supported the North Carolina State Guard. All units were to lay in supplies for mobilization within two hours after the given order. Although all ranks of the State Guard were filled, an expected expansion would take men from citizen defense Home Guard units. 

At the same time, Ray C. Hoofer, Chairman of the American Legion Defense Committee for Cabarrus County, authorized an expansion of the Concord Home Guard. He called for able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 to volunteer to report to the Concord Armory the night of Wednesday, December 10. There they would interview for preliminary military training. Newly recruited volunteers numbered 111, to add to the 81 already in service.

Other efforts were made in Cabarrus County to prepare for support of the national defense. An order came through to Mayor W. A. Wilkenson to ground all non-commercial aircraft at the Concord Airport. Chief of the Concord Fire Department, John L. Miller, traveled to Raleigh for a meeting with other state fire chiefs and Governor Broughton, and  Police Chief B. F. Widenhouse and his officers stood on standby.

Mayor Wilkenson organized a Committee on Civil Protections to work in coordination with a state central committee. Of concern were the dangers of aerial warfare which might threaten a 300-mile strip along the Atlantic seaboard, called the seacoast  “danger zone.” Committee members were responsible for enforcing protocol for air raids, fire protection, defense, public works, and civilian control.

The Cabarrus County chapter of the American Red Cross, the largest in the state with 11,931 members, was asked to participate in a national campaign to raise $50,000,000 for relief of distressed civilians who might be affected by the war. It met on December 12 at Memorial Hall to ready it’s disaster committees and discuss expansion of training courses, including Home Nursing and First Aid. The chapter agreed upon a goal of $10,000 for the national campaign.

By the end of the first week after the Pearl Harbor attack, Cabarrus County responded with a multi-tiered readiness program in the event of a wartime emergency and its citizens rallied in support. Such home front preparedness during World War II was a significant part of the war effort.

The Cabarrus County Library Lore Local History Room’s collection of World War II era issues of The Concord Tribune are available on microfilm. Other World War II sources related to Cabarrus County include: Fold3 Library Edition​ digital collection, A History ofCabarrus County in the WarsCabarrus CountyHome Front During World War II, and Kannapolis Men at War: A Record of the PartTowel City Men Played During the First Two Years of World War II.

“Cabarrus Girds For Emergency,” The Concord Tribune, December 9, 1941, 1.
“Home Guard Unit is Expanded as Cabarrus County Girds for the National Emergency,” The Concord Tribune, December 9, 1941, 1.
“Red Cross Will Join Drive,” The Concord Tribune, December 9, 1941, 3.
“Red Cross Plan County Meeting,” The Concord Tribune, December 11, 1941, 1.
“Guard Will Meet Again Tonight,” The Concord Tribune, December 11, 1941, 8.
“Civil Defense Group is Named for Concord,” The Concord Tribune, December 14, 1941, 1.
“Red Cross to Raise $10,000,” The Concord Tribune, December 14, 1941, 1.​

November 23
Cabarrus’s Own Dixie Cook, Maria Massey Barringer, Offers Some Thanksgiving Alternatives to Turkey – Squirrel Pie, Anyone?

Thanksgiving w DS.jpg
The American South has some of the oldest known foodways in the country. Recipes passed down from one generation to the next are cherished keepsakes and an important part of the cultural heritage. Several major themes appeared cookbooks beginning in the 1830s and 1840s and continued after the Civil War: economy and frugality, management and organization, and a preoccupation with baking, sweets and desserts.1

When Concord resident Maria Massey Barringer still found every cookbook to be “deficient in economy,” she determined to make one of her own. Barringer’s 1867 cookbook, DixieCookery; or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years. A Practical Cook-Book forSouthern Housekeepers,​ intended to offer “the best method of enriching the larder, as well as of insuring success.” Additionally, she wanted to correct what she viewed as the northern misconception that southern women were “entirely destitute of practical knowledge of household affairs.”

Many of the English dishes, such as boiled cabbage and plum pudding, she credits as being inspired by an English friend, while others, such as “ochra” soup and sweet potato pie, were distinctively southern. The earliest written reference to the traditional southern Christmas dessert, Ambrosia, first appeared in Maria's cook book. Her recipes are still published today.

Barringer demonstrated both frugality and some indulgence in hundreds of her early post-war year recipes. Common game was made into fried squirrel, stewed rabbit, or pigeon pie.  There was never an animal part to be wasted in such delicacies as boiled pigs feet, cured beef tongue, or cooked tripe. But her breads, pastries, puddings and cakes are rich with the sweetness of sugar and cream.

Barringer didn’t shrink away from controversy. Confederate Cake, Clay Cake, and Jackson and Davis Jumbles left no doubt of her southern loyalty. Those not concerned about temperance could treat themselves to a variety of beers, cordials, or a brandy sauce.

Maria Massey Barringer was born to an old-line Philadelphia Quaker family in 1827. As a child she moved with her parents, George V. Massey and Adeline McKesson Massey, to North Carolina. She was educated at Dickson School in Asheville, North Carolina and married Judge Victor Clay Barringer of Concord, Cabarrus County, on May 27, 1852. Victor was brother to Confederate general, Rufus Clay Barringer.

Barringer house w DS.JPG
Maria and Victor Barringer are perhaps most famously known for accommodating Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, and his cabinet in their home on North Union Street on April 18, 1865. Davis and his contingent were moving south to evade capture by Union forces. According to a letter attributed to Maria, she wrote to her sister proof of her gracious southern hospitality:

“I had a few minutes with Ellen, the cook, who told me she had just taken from the oven a large loaf of rolls and one of our largest hams and these supplemented by poultry and a tipsy cake pudding and fruits with cream furnished the simple dinner, ready in a half-hour after their arrival.

Mr. Davis and the other gentlemen were good enough to declare they had "never tasted ham like that" which as it was of my husband's own raising and curing he much enjoyed - but I suggested their ride had doubtlessly furnished an appetite which heightened its flavor.”2

If you wish to test the recipes of Maria Massy Barringer, the Cabarrus County Library’s Lore Local History Room has a copy of Dixie Cookery; or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years. A Practical Cook-Book for Southern Housekeepers. Other Cabarrus heritage cookbooks include: Housewife's Aid: Tested Recipes Cook Book, compiled by The Thursday Sewing Club of Concord (1935); The Daily Independent Cook Book of 1939, compiled from recipes of Kannapolis homemakers; Preserving Our Heritage: Recipes Compiled by Cabarrus County NC Extension Homemakers (1992); and Morrison Morsels and Memories, by Alice Marie Morrison.

For more information call: 704-920-2061.

Maria Massey Barringer’s Recipe for Ambrosia:

Grate the white part of the cocoanut, sweeten with a little sugar, and place in a glass bowl in alternate layers with pulped oranges, having a layer of cocoanut on top. Serve in ice-cream plates or saucers.


November 10
Concord’s World War I Cannon Returns in Honor of Veterans Day

From Michael Eury.jpg
In this 1940s photograph, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy are gathered next to the German field artillery gun at the side entrance of Concord’s Memorial Hall. Included is preservationist Ruth Coltrane Cannon (seated front row, right), the wife of longtime Cannon Mills head Charles A. Cannon. Photo courtesy of Michael Eury, from the archives of Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc.’s United Daughters of the Confederacy collection.

On Friday, November 11, 2016 at 10:15 am, the City of Concord will hold a Veterans Day ceremony to honor our nation's service members and to celebrate the return of a 1907 German field gun to Downtown Concord. The field gun, or cannon, is returning after a hiatus since the 1980s. The cannon was a long-time landmark in Concord’s historic district and has a lengthy and storied history.

In October of 1919, Mrs. A. G. Odell, Regent of the Cabarrus Black Boys’ Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, received a letter from Major Edouard Dupont, of the French High Commission. He wrote to unofficially inform her that a German 77-millimeter field artillery gun had been assigned to the Cabarrus Black Boys Chapter for presentation to the City of Concord. He stated that the gun was in Brooklyn, New York and would be ready for shipment in three or four weeks. Charlotte and Salisbury were also assigned similar trophies of the war.1

What arrived was a 77-millimemeter field artillery gun, manufactured in 1907 by Krupp in Essen, Germany. It had a range of about three miles and could fire eight shells per minute. The gun belonged to a Prussian field artillery regiment that was captured by the 38th African Division of the French Army on Yser Field, Belgium in 1915. The capture occurred during a counter attack to Germany’s first gas assault of World War I. The barrel of the gun is engraved with the coat of arms of Germany and a German Eagle with Imperial Crown. Near the breech is the Imperial Crown with initials of former Kaiser showing that the gun belonged to a Prussian regiment.2

The Concord Tribune reported that on November 25, 1919, the City of Concord Board of Commissioners meeting minutes authorized paying the necessary expense in placing the gun in the courthouse yard and requested the county commissioners pay part of the said expense.3

1977 Progress cover.jpgLocals may best remember the cannon displayed outside of Memorial Hall. Memorial Hall was a community center, museum, and library located at North Union Street and Holly Lane (now Killarney Avenue NE). The cannon first “guarded” the side entrance of Memorial Hall and generations of kids loved to play on it. In 1962, the Concord Board of Aldermen approved a request from the 3rd Battle Group 120 Infantry to display the German field cannon on the lawn of the National Guard Armory, which was then located on Church Street. The cannon later returned for display on the front lawn of Memorial Hall. Records show that once a new library was built in 1976 and Memorial Hall demolished, the cannon was moved to the Church Street armory.

The next stop in the cannon’s journey was at the 1454th Transportation Company headquarters at Highway 49 and Old Charlotte Road when it was built in the 1980s. It remained outside of this facility until the City discussed relocating and restoring the cannon with the North Carolina National Guard in 2013. The City of Concord began storing the deteriorated field gun indoors while a direction was established for restoration.

Thanks to the hard work of the city of Concord, local historian and former Concord city councilman Jim Ramseur, and other interested parties, the refurbished cannon has been returned to a place of prominence in downtown Concord in a newly constructed gazebo on North Union Street in front of Central United Methodist Church’s parking lot, the former location of Memorial Hall.

The Cabarrus County Library's Lore Local History Room provides many resources for historical research, such as the Library Edition North Carolina Collection. Click here​ to check out our new library catalog page. For more information call 704-920-2061.

Above right: This cover from the July 1977 issue of Progress Magazine, published by The Concord Telephone Company, depicts the WWI cannon on the front lawn of Memorial Hall in October 1976. Photo by the Lawson Bonds Studio.

1 ​“Artillery Guns Has Been Assigned to Concord,” The Concord Times (Concord, North Carolina), October 20, 1919, p3.

2“Fascinating Place: Concord’s Memorial Hall Filled With Cherished Mementos,” The Daily Independent Magazine, The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, North Carolina), March 24, 1968, p. 1-C.

3“City’s World War I Gift From France Restored," The Concord Tribune (Concord, North Carolina), November 6, 2016, p1.​

October 20
Learning and Fellowship at the Library’s First Genealogy Roots Roundtable

RR photo 1B, 10-1-2016.jpgThe Cabarrus County Public Library was pleased to host the first meeting of the Roots Roundtable on Saturday, October 1. This group of genealogy enthusiasts shared ideas and took part in a lively conversation that included information on upcoming genealogy events, a demonstration of the website, genealogy related book reviews, and a discussion of research strategies for combating brick wall challenges. Many thanks to the Concord Friends of the Library for providing coffee and refreshments.

Roots Roundtable is a free program open to all genealogy researchers, no matter your level of proficiency or geographic area of interest. The staff-led program discussion is guided by the interests of the participants. Interactive participation is encouraged, as it is an opportunity to get feedback from others who may have learned from their own family history research.

The next Roots Roundtable is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the Concord Library. Attendees of the first meeting expressed interest in learning more about DNA testing and how to understand the results, so we plan to explore the topic further in this session.

For more information, please call 704-920-2061.​

September 24
I Give and Bequeath: Early Cabarrus Last Wills and Testaments

Reading of the Will2.jpgFor hundreds of years, the hard working people of Cabarrus County have used wills to protect assets, provide for family members, and determine the distribution of their property after their death. Whether a humble farmer or large property owner, a person’s will can be a valuable genealogical source for providing great insight into their life, and revealing who and what was important to him or her. In addition to land and machinery, simple household items, such as kitchen utensils, furniture, and even clothing, were often included. Originally, a will disposed of land and buildings while a testament bequeathed personal and moveable possessions, thus the document title, “This is my Last Will and Testament…”

According to former North Carolina archivist, Thornton W. Mitchell, legislation approved by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1777 provided that each county court of pleas and quarter sessions should probate wills and ordered them recorded in proper books to be kept for that purpose. The court clerk was also directed to keep all original wills in his office among the records of the county. Pleas and quarter sessions served as the civil, administrative, and judicial arm of Cabarrus County government until 1868.[1]

On the night of February 15, 1875, the Cabarrus County courthouse was destroyed by fire. Citizens of Concord assisted county officers in saving county records and papers. Two days later, the Charlotte Observer reported that the courthouse was “consumed, and with it many of the records in the office of the Clerk of Court. The papers in the Sheriff’s office were saved, as were those also, we believe, in that of the Register of Deeds.”[2] Apparently, many of the original handwritten wills were burned, with only a few for testators with surnames beginning with the letters H, M. W, and Y surviving. These and a few others were subsequently transcribed.

Luckily, there are the pleas and quarter sessions minutes. Prior to 1830, the probates were recorded in the minutes. For the period 1830-1842, wills were copied verbatim into the court minutes. Cabarrus County did not begin to maintain separate record books for wills until 1843. The Cabarrus County Library’s Lore Local History Room maintains print copies of the Cabarrus County pleas and quarter sessions from 1793 to 1858, including:

All of the above, as well as Cabarrus County Index to Wills, 1794-1970 and Cabarrus County Record of Wills 1794-1919, are also available on microfilm. Some early wills that predate 1792, when Cabarrus County was still part of Mecklenburg County, are available in the book, Early wills of Cabarrus County. Additionally, library patrons have free access to North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 using the Cabarrus County Library’s Library Edition. For more information call: 704-920-2061.


Some helpful terms:

Caveat: a filing with the probate authority to contest a will.
Codicil: a legal change or supplement made by the testator to a will.
Executor: person who carries out the provisions of the will.
Legatees or devisees: people to whom the property is bequeathed.
Probate: a legal process in which the will is authenticated. Upon probate, the will is entered in the record books and the executor is authorized to carry out the testator’s wishes.
Testator or devisor: the maker of the will.
To die intestate: having no will.
To die testate: having made and left a valid will.

Image: Reading of the Will, by David Wilkie, 1821. Public domain.

[1] Mitchell, Thornton W. “Cabarrus County Will Abstracts, 1830-1842,” Rowan County Register, August 1987, Vo. 2, No. 3.

[2] “Fire in Concord – The Court house Destroyed,” Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), February 17, 1875, p1.


1 - 10Next

 About this blog

History Room Logo
Stories regarding Cabarrus County's past and information about Lore Room resources, training classes, upcoming events, speakers and other happenings occuring at four Library locations.
The Lore History Room is a department of the Cabarrus County Public Library.