160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C.

This is one of a countless number of 19th century records seized by the North Carolina Archives and burned on December 6, 2013

This is one of a countless number of 19th century records seized by the North Carolina Archives and burned on December 6, 2013

I rarely re-blog, but this one deserves being spread far and wide.

Timeline of the Destruction of 100 Year Old Franklin County, NC Records

Please read the whole post included above – but the gist is as follows:

– This summer a new Clerk of Court in Franklin County discovered a trove (an entire roomful) of documents, some dating back to 1840, in a previously sealed room in the Franklin County, North Carolina Court House.

– Recognizing the historical value of these materials, she contacted the local historical society to assist in reviewing the materials, preserving them, and inventorying the materials.

– The Local historical group enthusiastically poured themselves into the project, mobilizing volunteers and the whole community – securing space to work, materials, and finances – in order to catalog and preserve the bounty of record books, photographs, deeds, chattel records, land grants, deeds, wills, personal correspondence, and countless other materials from a wide variety of government departments throughout the county. (This room had apparently become the “graveyard” for old records, and no one bothered to investigate it for many, many decades.)

– In August of this year, the Local Historians – realizing they may be beyond their depth in regard to the value of some of these materials, contacted the North Carolina Department of Archives, seeking guidance on proper preservation techniques and value assessment.

And that’s when things went hinky. The NC Archives group stepped in, pulled rank, and immediately halted all work on the project, stating that they were going to study the challenge and come up with “Next Steps”. Months passed and nothing got done, while the documents languished in the basement of the courthouse.

Then, on Friday, December 6, 2013, at 6:00 in the evening (after all the county workers had left, and with no notice to the local historical group involved in the project), a team from the North Carolina Archives swept in and confiscated ALL the materials – with the cover of Law Enforcement! They took the documents to the County Incinerator, and methodically burned EVERYTHING. They did this while a few locals stood by, not understanding why or precisely what was happening.

[CORRECTION: Added 01/06/2014 – The folks who swept in to claim and destroy the documents were NOT from the NC Archives. A team from the NC Archives did seize many boxes of documents from a workroom managed by the Franklin County Historical Society – but they were NOT directly involved in the destruction of the materials in the basement.

ADDENDUM TO THE CORRECTION: Added 01/06/2014 – A number of people have posted/emailed asking if I know what County Agency was responsible. I do not know for certain. So far conjecture leads me to the Franklin County Manager’s office – but until I hear her side of the story – my opinion is uninformed except by silence. Sorry.]

Every book, deed, will – every photograph – every piece of paper in that room was incinerated that night. No explanation has been given, and no media attention has asked any questions.

Boxes of documents from the Franklin County Courthouse seized and burned by the North Carolina State Archives.

Boxes of documents from the Franklin County Courthouse seized and burned by the North Carolina State Archives.

After the Civil War (after emancipation), a lot of large land-owners deeded out substantial tracts of land to their former slaves. These former slaves had demonstrated to their masters that they were loyal, hard-working, and would continue to farm and contribute to the plantation collective as they always had. The only difference is that they would own the land they worked, and earn a somewhat larger income as a result of their efforts.

During reconstruction, a lot of land holders, both black and white, had difficulty paying very high property taxes imposed by Federal Occupiers. In swept speculators and investors from up North (these people have come to be known as “Carpet Baggers”.) They often forced white land owners to sell out at a fraction of the actual value of their property. In the case of black land-owners, sometimes all the Carpet Baggers offered was threats. The effect was the same – a vast transfer of wealth from titled property owners to new people who became, in the decades of the late 19th and early 20th century, among the wealthiest people in the South.

How do I know this? Some of my own ancestors were Carpet Baggers from Maryland. They made a small fortune after the war, stealing land, setting up mills, and effectively re-enslaving two or three generations of both poor-white and black natives of Halifax County, North Carolina.

My suspicion is that in and amongst all those now destroyed records, was a paper trail associated with one or more now-prominent, politically connected NC families that found its wealth and success through theft, intimidation, and outrageous corruption.

Prove me wrong. You can’t. They destroyed the records.

Shelves of record books from the Franklin County Courthouse seized and burned by the North Carolina State Archives.

Shelves of record books from the Franklin County Courthouse seized and burned in December, 2013.


72 responses to “160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C.

  • digger666

    Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    Things get curiouser and curiouser down Carolina way, these days…

  • Middlemay Farm

    Reblogged this on Books at Middlemay Farm and commented:
    Tale of intrigue!

  • westportkc

    I totally believe. I am finding missing records in Kansas City. History quotes,” Kansas City is proud of the ‘lack’ of scandals among its citizens.” I think they just hid the scandals and destroyed the evidence.

    • carknow32

      Nice to see another Missourian! It would be fun to compare some notes sometimes on historical records from northwest Missouri. A lot of smaller counties still have some pretty decent records out there. I guess it just goes to show that the more government you have, and the more “cooks in the kitchen”, the more folks end up with idiotic, unexplainable behavior from leadership.

  • mandyevebarnett

    History such as this should never be destroyed – it shows actual day to day living. A precious commodity in the ‘refined’ history’ we are given.

  • tpartridge1

    Shame on them! But typical. NC does not want to own their history. I have seen this in my own studies. Good or bad, own it. They should have sealed them for an amount of time. They destroyed people’s personal history. Shame, shame, shame! Need tougher laws. Let’s look into this.

  • Sassy Countess

    Reblogging this. It will show up tomorrow (on my blogger address not wordpress http://thesassycountess.blogspot.com/). Thank you for letting the world know. I completely agree with your point of view. The first job that I had to do at The Tanner House Museum was archive historic legal documents. I know how hard it can be, but I also know that it can be done! Possible descendants having thoughts of suing for land could have become a huge problem for the people that now own the land, and if these were deeds that included that info, then it would have been worth a great deal of money to some people to get rid of the evidence!

  • Stuff Jeff Reads

    The things that are going on in NC nowadays really have me concerned. Thanks for the post.

  • garylandggsboo

    Grace, I believe you’re analysis is probably very close to, if not the truth. Having grown up in the western part of Virginia, I was privy to stories of the very same type to which you refer.

    There was a large plantation only several miles from my home and the Bell family gave over acres of mountain property to their former slaves. Somehow or the other they seemed to have warded off much of the northern depredations of the carpet baggers (perhaps due to the geographic location/types of crops grown).

    In my youth, the remains of the plantation laid essentially fallow with a neighboring dairy farmer using the vast pasture land to graze his cows. The mountain land given over to the slaves continues to be a community for their descendants.

    I remember very well that as a child I would walk the five miles or so to their community and learned a lot sitting at the feet of their elders in between the time playing with the other kids,

  • eleanorcook

    This blog post, while well-meaning perhaps, does not have all the facts and leads the reader to make assumptions that are not fair or reasonable. I have received the following communication from Kevin Cherry who I assure you cares deeply about the management of public records and he has asked me to send this out to whoever wants to see it. Thanks.
    Dear Colleague:

    You may have heard about the recent destruction of local records stored in Franklin County’s courthouse basement. As is standard professional practice, most government records are destroyed after their initial period of usefulness. According to the inventory provided and the Records Schedule created by the State Archives, most of the records in question carried little informational value or carried information that was duplicated in other records. Most of these records could have been destroyed in the 1960s.

    The State Archives does not mandate destruction of records. In some instances, after consultation with the State Archives, local records creators can continue to maintain non-permanent records or transfer them to other entities (historical societies, public libraries, etc.). As I understand it, the mold situation in Franklin County made options such as these difficult.

    I hope this explanation of the chain of events answers any questions you might have about this issue:

    The State Archives of NC has been preserving North Carolina history for more than 110 years. We have one of, if not the most, comprehensive collections of state and local government records in any state of the country. We are proud to continue this tradition of preservation and access to the permanently valuable records of the state.

    As background, the State Archives of North Carolina is charged by statute with the management of all state and local government records created and retained during the normal course of business within North Carolina government offices. The Archives performs this function in a variety of ways. In conjunction with records creators (in this case Franklin County), we evaluate public records and issue records retention and disposition schedules. We provide guidance and assistance to state and local officials concerning the routine management, preservation and disposition of their records. Finally, if records are deemed to have permanent legal, evidentiary or historical value, the Archives is responsible for the long-term preservation of these records.

    By law, records retention schedules are written and approved by the State Archives and the creating agency. These schedules outline the minimum retention period for all public records and establish an appropriate disposition.

    In August 2013, the Division of Archives and Records was notified by Franklin County representatives that government records dating from the 1880s through 1969 had been stored in the courthouse basement where a leaking air conditioner caused water damage to some of the records and exacerbated mold growth in the room. At the request of county officials, Division staff visited the Franklin County Courthouse Aug. 21, 2013, to assess and appraise the records stored in the basement.

    Based on an inventory submitted to our office by the Clerk of Superior Court, it was determined that a majority of the documents in the basement were financial records that were decades past the recommended period of retention. The remaining records fell under the custodianship of several local county offices including the County Manager, the Register of Deeds, and the Clerk of Superior Court. A substantial quantity of the remaining records contained confidential information, including personally identifiable and medical information.

    Appraisal of these records was done using established professional standards within the state and the archival field across the country. We consulted established and approved retention schedules and involved the local government offices for their input on any potential long-term value of the records.

    Many of the records in question have been eligible for destruction since the 1960s and have routinely been destroyed in other counties in the state in accordance with the schedule. Many of them are duplicates, confidential (for example, personnel records), drafts, or duplicated in another records series that has been saved. The local governmental agencies make the final decision on whether records not retained by the State Archives are retained locally or destroyed.

    Based on information given to our office, we verified the appropriate retention period for all records on the list provided. If records are identified as archival on a schedule that means they fit the State Archives’ collecting policies and need to be transferred to us for permanent retention or maintained permanently by the custodial government office.

    If the records are not identified as archival, once retention is reached, the local agency may elect to destroy them, as was the case in Franklin County. The review and appraisal process for the records in question was done after many consultations among the involved parties, including the State Archives, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Franklin County officials. As has been stated before, in some instances, following consultation with the State Archives, local agencies can choose to maintain non-permanent, non-archival records beyond the period identified by the Records Retention Schedule.

    The Archives currently has a substantial collection of permanently valuable Franklin County records that are available for public access, including 101 volumes, 176 fibredex boxes and 1,066 microfilm reels of records. In addition, during our visit to Franklin County, the Archives took possession of 15 boxes of civil and criminal case files, 4 volumes of justice dockets, Criminal Court (1960s), and 1 volume of Records of Magistrates (1880s). Since these records were exposed to active mold we are taking every precaution recommended prior to reformatting these materials.

    Not every piece of paper can be saved from every government office in North Carolina without creating an undue burden on government offices and taxpayers. That is the nature of records management – to work under professional standards with records creators to determine overarching series of records that document the actions of governments protect the legal rights of citizens, and inform the history of our state.

    I can assure you that no one cares more about the history of this state or its documentary record than my colleagues who work at the North Carolina State Archives.

    We need your help in getting the correct information out to the public and interested parties. Could you please forward this email or make a Facebook or twitter post with this correct information?


    Kevin Cherry, PhD
    Deputy Secretary
    Director, Office of Archives and History
    NC Department of Cultural Resources

    Kevin Cherry, PhD
    Deputy Secretary
    Director, Office of Archives and History
    NC Department of Cultural Resources
    4610 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-4610
    (919) 807-7280 •• Fax: (919) 733-8807

    E-mail correspondence to and from this address may be subject to the North
    Carolina Public Records Law “NCGS.Ch.132” and may be disclosed to third
    parties by an authorized state official.

    • Grace

      Mr. Cooke, Thanks for your comment and for the letter from Mr. Cherry, which I have seen and posted on the blog previously. While I understand the State’s role in this event was passive, there are still many unanswered questions that need to be addressed, including:
      – The state took the inventory provided by the Clerk of Court as an accurate account of what was in the room. That archive was very incomplete, as the Franklin County Historical Society folks who prepared it, and who had begun salvaging the documents, have attested to repeatedly. What got destroyed were docs that had not made it onto the inventory list. No one knows what was there. My questions for the state archivists involved in this is WHY they took the boxes they took without providing the Historical Society a receipt for the information, and WHY they did not more thoroughly investigate the material in the basement. They made the trip to Franklin County, but they spent only a few minutes in the basement.
      There are many more questions for the local officials. I’ll follow up with that on the blog in the coming days as time permits.

      • eleanorcook

        My name is not Mr. Cooke, I am Ms. Cook, just for the record.
        I passed this letter from Kevin Cherry on simply to be helpful but I have no first hand information to contribute to the situation.

        However, as a professional librarian with an understanding of record management principles, the situation was clearly out of control and it appears that a number of public employees in Franklin County may have been negligent in their duties over the years. I am very sorry to hear of these potential losses of what might have been useful historical information. It seems to me that the responsibility for this mess is on the shoulders of Franklin County officials. The State Archives people may have not realized how bad things were until they got there.

    • pokey5735

      What an idiotic explanation! If you or your colleagues had no interest in preserving historical information then why were they taken away from those that did have an interest? Just a power play? Just to make yourself feel important? Old documents, no matter how trivial to you, hold a vast amount of information that genealogist would love to have. And to have the nerve to say your colleagues care so much about the history of your state is belied by their destructive actions. All old documents should be preserved.

  • NC Culture

    The State Archives of North Carolina does not mandate destruction of records.

    In some instances, after consultation with the State Archives, local records creators can continue to maintain non-permanent records or transfer them to other entities (historical societies, public libraries, etc.).

    Read more: http://bit.ly/Ktv3AB

    • Grace

      Understood! (Thanks for your post, BTW). Among other questions I have posted to Angela Harris (no response so far), is did she interpret the State Archives recommendations as a mandate?

  • seritatheresa

    Reblogged this on Ree's Blog and commented:
    I have no words…just read

  • lateias

    Yeah, I agree, this stinks! American people are always trying to say that all of this is in the past, and that we need not worry about it…If so, then why is it necessary then to still ‘sneak’ and destroy this information?

  • logischdede

    they burnt books. 😦

  • usmcwarrior

    Regardless of the “official” statement about the disposition of antiquated, even redundant county documents, it still leaves an open and troubling question; why were those documents destroyed, having been entrusted to the State by a historical society whose only interest was preserving specimens of physical history which can no longer be seen – because they were mindlessly or nefariously, destroyed?

    We learn to accept less than forthcoming behavior from our politicians but this is the act of someone trying to hide something and then releasing a pre-determined statement to cover their illicit actions.

  • 2rodgee

    This is yet one more example of why you cant trust the government at any level. Its all corrupt and will always cover for its own first, [in this case the wealthy connected], before any “regular folks” will ever be thought of. Had the historical group been more intelligent about this, they would have muddled through, copied, documented and then called the archives for storage. Wake up people, our once ‘great system’ of governance is flat broken.

  • SilenceDogood2010

    Grace, Your addendum / Correction;

    “[CORRECTION: Added 01/06/2014 – The folks who swept in to claim and destroy the documents were NOT from the NC Archives. A team from the NC Archives did seize many boxes of documents from a workroom managed by the Franklin County Historical Society – but they were NOT directly involved in the destruction of the materials in the basement.]”

    Can you tell us the Dept / Group that did this?


    • Grace

      Hi Silence, Thanks for your post and your question.

      I do not know for certain. At this time (and the story is still developing) it’s looking like the County Manager. She has not responded to my inquiries (neither has the Clerk of Court, who initially got the Historical Society involved… so it’s unlikely that it’s her.) So far, that’s the best I can conjecture. At this point, it is only conjecture.

      • SilenceDogood2010

        Thank you for the quick response Grace. I’m in Durham County NC and have LOTS of family roots there in Franklin County. Some of my great Aunts & Uncles are buried there and more family grew up there in Franklin. I used to hunt up there every year when I was growing up too.

        Please keep me in the loop.

        Best Regards,


  • dstroebel

    Aweful. Let it be known that people do possess the power to do things like this just as they possess the power to destroy church records of their own children.

  • trvd1707

    And I thought that this type of crime only happened in countries like Brazil or Paraguay…

  • ta8907364

    Wow, my father told me of stories of how people stole acres of land from my grandfather, simply because he was un-educated, and feared white people. I’m pretty sure there were records showing his ownership of 200+ acres in northern Franklin County.

    • Grace

      If you write up some details of this story as it was recounted to you, I’d love to post it on my blog in associated with this whole firestorm. It would go a long way toward telling the story of what may have happened her. It may also keep this sort of thing from happening in other counties. Maybe.

      • ta8907364

        I will do that. It turned my stomach when I saw this story appear on our local news. Someone needs to be held accountable for destroying our history, and possibly our future.

  • netbost

    After reading some of the comments something occurred to me.
    A year ago our mother passed away. When the family started going through her things I found myself compelled to find anything she had ever written on from the smallest scraps of paper; grocery lists she had written out and tucked here and there; and even her old check registers.
    My mother grew up in a time and place where sadly an emphasis wasn’t placed on education so in her adult life had been embarrassed by her handwriting. When I came across the things she had written on …well… they were as beautiful to me as any work of art.
    I am sure there are others here who would love to have “copies” of their ancestors’ penmanship or an actual signature or even an example of their “x” if that were the case.
    Perhaps some would laugh at my placing such importance on what they might consider a trivial thing but I would hate to know my ancestors’ handwriting was destroyed and I wouldn’t have the chance to have seen it.
    I understand the importance of gleaning the data from the record, but sometimes it’s about more than just the data.

    • Grace

      I would not laugh at your placing importance on such things. I’m writing a book about my Great-Great-Great grandfather – a man who spent his life publishing books; histories, biographies, the memoirs of others. There is not a single photograph in existence of him. Not a single shred of paper from his hand in the family’s possession. I would do anything just to know what his signature looked like. Something like an old check stub would be priceless to me – and invaluable to my work.

  • denniswingo

    …Kevin Cherry, PhD
    Deputy Secretary
    Director, Office of Archives and History
    NC Department of Cultural Resources….


    Dear Dr. Cherry

    Sorry, but your explanation does not hold water. No matter what your procedure is, there are people other than yourselves that have interest in these documents. A legitimate group of volunteers were putting for the effort to preserve these documents for posterity and you may have had the legal right to do what you did, but you did not have the moral right.

    I am myself involved in a large historical preservation project for preserving the original raw data from NASA’s first mission to map the Moon from orbit during the 1960’s. The original tapes from the three ground stations were preserved in the Federal Records Center at Suitland Maryland for two decades, and then an additional two decades at NASA JPL in California. In 2006 NASA wanted to get rid of the tapes because there was no way to read them anymore.

    I found tape drives to read them, and we have raised the money from private sources and from NASA to read, digitize and preserve the data on these tapes. It turns out that this year with the asteroid that exploded over Russia, causing hundreds of injuries and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, that our data will be used to help better quantify the risks to the Earth from these objects by comparing our old data to new data being captured now.

    During this process we found out that the original best quality video of the NASA astronauts on the surface of the Moon had been destroyed by NASA. When we finally tracked down the responsible official for this their only excuse was that they were following proper procedure. Think about it for a second, the most important moment in the entire history of mankind, our first step on the surface of another body was lost, because someone followed procedure rather than thinking about the larger societal significance of what they were doing.

    I read exactly this same indifference and lack of understanding on your part toward the data that you just destroyed in North Carolina. You have absolutely no idea (nor does anyone else now) what gems were in those documents. How your state’s history could be better understood and possibly injustices righted. Our state of Alabama preserved similar documents and my own family was able to reclaim its rights to land unjustly sold in 1930 where a coal company had extracted millions of tons of coal.

    Your actions place a black mark on your profession and on the judgement (or lack thereof) of all involved.

    Dennis Wingo
    Skycorp Incorporated

  • TheVeganimal

    Reblogged this on theveganimal and commented:
    Reblog that deserves to be read and shared!!

  • pokey5735

    Those who destroyed these documents should be prosecuted. Hopefully, the culprit will be found out and exposed. What a despicable act!

  • kadja1

    I would have handled it a LITTLE differently. I’d have gotten everything put on microfiche through a private company and THEN started making phone calls, securing the microfiche materials privately in a vault. Where there is a will, there is a way…They’ve done it here and some people do not want true history known due to corruption that would be revealed…

  • stevetrubilla

    I have been intimately involved with this issue, and can tell 1st hand the new Clerk of Courts, Patrician Burnette Chastian took prudent and serious action to protect these records.

    She did what no other official in office or county executive would do. She demonstrated great moral courage by standing for this.

    She pleaded that the records not be destroyed. I believe she was betrayed by others that may have told her it would not be done.

    The records were removed under the cover of darkness late on a Friday. The burning of the records began that evening or over the weekend with out notice to anyone empowered to stop it.

    I now believe these records may have contained evidence of dark secrets.

    Chastian found the records upon taking office. It was one of many serious problems she uncovered.

    An example is hundreds of thousands, if not in excess of a million dollars of repairs required to the court house due to neglect.

    Franklin County is suffering major economic stagnation and is close to the bottom of North Carolina’s state economic rating system.

    There is no way they can afford this.

    The condition of the court house was so bad trees were literately growing into the building. It has been reported black mold is on books in the law library.

    Another issue is that of countless cases of property foreclosures that may not have been properly done. There are allegations of people losing their homes.

    It has been said the new clerk of courts has had to file hundreds of documents to address a daunting back log of issues.

    Chastian was appointed to office when Alice Faye Hunter inexplicably announced her immediate retirement. Many questions remain as to why she did this.

    I personally spoke with the records office in Raleigh. I was given assurances the records would not be summarily destroyed. In fact I was told they could not be because that office now had control over them.

    Yet they were burned.

    The explanations and or excuses now be offered, to me, appear to be, more damage control and “cover yourself” than anything else.

    The Franklin County Heritage Society tried to move mountains to save these records. They are “unsung heroes”

    I do not know how anyone can say there was nothing of historical significance destroyed.

    Early on evening the records were removed for destruction I was personally in the room. With my own eyes I saw many boxes of records containing documents is “sealed” envelopes. These records were not contaminated with mold.

    There is no way anyone can say what was in those envelopes, no way!

    I have knowledge that organizations from out of state offered to take possession of the records at no cost to Franklin County.

    The Franklin County Historical Society offered to take custody of the records at no cost to the county. They said they would sign waivers of any liability.

    I believe there is now an effort by officials to bury this story.

    I attended a county commissioners meeting on 6 Jan 2014 where the officials refused to answer questions on this. Only one commissioner pressed for answers; commissioner Harry Foy. When he voiced this the other commissioners remained silent.

    This is but one of countless very troublesome stories in Franklin County, NC. Citizens are continually voicing a lack of confidence in elected officials and county executives. Some have called for many resignations.

    I have been told more people would come forward with questions but they fear the consequences of doing so

    There is an estimated over $900,000 gift from the late Mr. Edgar Owens to build a park that is shrouded in secrecy for now over three years.

    For reasons unexplained a multi-million dollar expansion of the NOVANT hospital is being blocked.

    It has been reported that some of these issues have been reported to the local district attorney but he has not responded.

    He has announced his retirement.

    The county finance director has now also announced his retirement. Initially it was reported he has resigned, giving a 30 day notice.

    Add to this a past Sheriff going to prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then there are the every growing other cases of missing funds.

    There is also the Shannon Nyamodi story. http://thepeopleschampion.me/north-carolina-unjustly-holds-black-man-captivity-habeas-corpus-filed-free-shannon-nyamodi-bizarre-murder-hire-case/

    What is the rest of the story on the records?

    If you are reading this anywhere in America please do not let this story be buried. Join in the effort to bring more national attention to it.

    These kind of things need to stop in our county.

    “We the People” are asking Patriots to stand.

    “Together we are many”


  • ta8907364

    Reblogged this on ta8907364 and commented:
    Franklin County: Burns History

  • sharonkramer

    Mr. Cherry’s explaination offers no comment as to why the documents were destroyed without public notice that the destruction would be occurring.

    Given the fact that there was much enthusiam among county historians and members of the community that the documents had been found; the manner in which the legal documents (including old property deeds) were destroyed, gives the appearance of dishonorable motivation causing their destruction.

  • rfwarlick

    Can you tell me any information about this, or anyone who has been cooperative in this investigation? I ask because my family were one of the first inhabitants of Lincoln County, and my personal lineage resided there until my grandfather. To put it in perspective, I’m a 9th generation North Carolinian on that side. I have two more branches from surrounding counties that have been there just as long. Basically, this is my family that they destroyed, and being an aspiring historian, this information would have been invaluable to me. I don’t care if they were ruined by carpet baggers, or they themselves did dishonourable things, it is my family.

  • Jilanne Hoffmann

    I lived in North Carolina for a short period of time. Nothing about this surprises me, although it does make me ill.

  • mcgreggorsback

    I along with several others on facebook have come across this issue, we were totally unaware of the situation, and the burning of documents. I have so many questions on this issue.. And it is apparent that someone was present who could well identify those who took charge and made the decision to destroy these documents.

    This is without doubt a horrid issue developing. Documents should never be destroyed, and I am also aware that the State of North Carolina would have taken those documents and preserved them. I’ve used their vault for years in research..

    I took the links from the articles and sent them in a message to the National Archives. If anyone can step in at this point, it will be those who value our National Treasures. This is where the issue in Franklin County becomes senseless, The National Archives, chose this past year to save copies of all written twitters, for preservation of the beginning of online social communication.

    Do people not think that the precious documents destroyed were of such wealth and value that they can not be replaced.

    Also note the University at Greensboro, NC has a website designed with a search link on legal issues involving slaves prior to the Civil war and after. If many issues of slavery were within these destroyed documents, I can imagine there is going to be a vast amount of angry people.

    Most researcher’s know that the pattern for the migrating families prior to 1820 and after, came right through North Carolina. Many of the families settled in NC for at least a generation prior to moving on. I have many ancestors from and through NC.





    Why the links.. waves.. create waves.. do not stand by and allow these issues to continue.. make a fuss.. stand your ground.. push this online.. make this issue go viral. Let Franklin county Officials and other counties, that this action and destruction of documents is not acceptable and you will make waves..

    • Grace

      Thanks for your comments. You should probably read ALL the posts on the site associated with this issue. The NC Archives were complicit in the destruction of the materials. The actual order was carried out at the local level. There are a lot of posts that you can read to catch yourself up. It’s a complicated story that’s still developing.

  • Tim

    If I were to stumble upon historical records like this, I’d pull an Edward Snowden and make them public. What a shame.

    • Grace

      As outstanding a sentiment as that one is, based upon what I have seen of the elected officialdom in Franklin County, they can’t even pronounce Edward Snowden, much less tell you who is is or why he matters. Sadly.

  • baskin2013

    Reblogged this on Toblog and commented:

  • American Infidel

    Reblogged this on From My Perspective and commented:
    This is an outrageous act that’s barely been covered by the main stream media. Why all the secrecy? Most likely because implications could have far reaching consequences for some of North Carolina’s more affluent families. They may have burned the evidence, but the truth will usually rise from the ashes.

  • Clive Hicks-Jenkins

    What an extraordinary story. This is cultural vandalism. Hard to believe that such a thing could have happened, and that those who gave the orders can have imagined they would not be discovered and called to account. There is always a trail.

    Coming from a country where class privilege is everywhere evident (even though we’re now assured that it doesn’t exist) I have the working man’s historic distrust of wealth and title. Privilege always drifts to the top, as the backgrounds of so many of our politicians in the UK demonstrate. Interesting to see that whether a monarch or a president sits at the head of state, a wealthy, influential elite call the shots and ensure that their own privileges remain intact at cost to the rights of others. Thugs are thugs, whether they prowl in street gangs or are from the ranks of the historically wealthy. If I burst into an archive of my country’s history and lit a match, I’d be before a judge before I knew it.

  • Clive Hicks-Jenkins

    Apologies. That was a rant, and not what’s needed. I read Steve Trubilla’s comment above. More of that is what’s needed.

    • Connie Jones

      Hey Clive — It’s all good. Every perspective is useful. I agree with you that the events in Franklin County, North Carolina were cultural vandalism. It’s a complicated story and all the motivations have yet to be uncovered. But unfortunately the damage is done and we’ll never know what was forever lost. The only takeaway we have left at this point is to prevent this kind of thing happening in other communities. It’s incumbent upon us all to be vigilant and participatory in the process of supervising our so-called “leaders” at every step.

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