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Bringing Washington’s history to life

Happy New Year!

The words to the perennial New Year’s Eve song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ by now have faded into the new year with backward glimpses of memories of 2020, some of which we may not care to remember or bring to mind.

But the deeper meaning of the words Auld Lang Syne bears the recall of days gone by, the olden days, old times in the past or things long ago.

The song written by Poet Robert Burns in 1788, was based on a fragment of a Scottish Folk song he’d heard. He penned some extra lyrics to it, and it became a New Year’s Eve classic.

The song was popularized by radio personality Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians on New Year’s Eve in 1929. The song, Lombardo and his band continued on in later years to become a television New Year’s Eve staple until 1976. It somehow gently reminded the hearer some things are worth remembering.

As an amateur historian I believe Washington NC history is one of those things well worth remembering. Washington is a gold mine of history. I recently shared with fellow amateur historian and colleague Ray Midgett, Founder of the Historic Port of Washington Project, that Washington is a beautiful tapestry of all of its resident’s histories, legends, folklore, traditions and narratives. Time, like fine dust, layers deep had covered up some of the tapestry, but local historians are bringing back the fine luster of our town’s historical fabric.

I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to write a column for The Washington Daily News. I’ve read this newspaper ever since I was in the fourth grade. I get a chance to bring back stories of people old and young, people of all colors, skills, education and dreams who long ago lived here.

 

Stories of local communities like The Pecan Grove, Griffin’s Beach, Nicholsonville, and Plum Nelly to name a few.

Stories about the businesses long gone for more than a century and a half like the two rice mills that were part of the Carolina Rice Mill empire or Washington’s premier status as a destination for entertainment because of the two Opera Houses, six movie theaters and a Vaudeville Theater in the early 19th century. Then there’s stories about the scores of saloons, hotels and schools Washington had right after the Civil War right down to the legendary Pomp Credle’s Hollywood Inn Restaurant on Fifth Street during my childhood.

My husband, Milton, will tell you it’s hard for me to pass a century old house or building without wondering about the stories it could tell.

I am the Executive Director of The Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum and its Co-Founder with Milton Jones and Rebecca Clark.

Check out my Facebook pages, I’m from Washington NC and nobody told me this, The African American History of Washington NC, The African American History of Beaufort County and The Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.