NC History

A floating home on the Fontana Lake in North Carolina.
Tim Robison, courtesy of Our State Magazine

In its first season, the “Away Message” podcast from Our State Magazine focused on remote places in the state. For its newly-released second season, the podcast explores lost or forgotten stories in North Carolina’s history.

A new highway historical marker in Orange County commemorates a key event in American history. 

In 1788, North Carolina leaders gathered in Hillsborough to debate ratification of the U.S. Constitution. 

Hillsborough historian Scott Washington says leaders were pressured to ratify the Constitution as it existed. 

“As they debate and go through the constitution, Samuel Spencer realizes there is something missing and that's the point at which he raises this concern and says there ought to be a Bill of Rights,” Washington says.

A picture of the Diamond Shoal.
Public Domain

North Carolina used to have a floating light house. The Diamond Shoal bobbed in the water, warning ships about the dangerous sand shoals off the North Carolina coast.  The boat was in service for 21 years before it was sunk by a German U-boat in World War I.

That historic shipwreck is the subject of a new partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA. The two groups are jointly managing the site where the Diamond Shoal light boat went down after being attacked . 

Lauren Heesemann works for NOAA.  She says there are extensive plans for the wreck near Cape Hatteras:

Cast of 'The Womanless Wedding', 1890 Trinity College Drama Group
Duke University Archives

"Stranger than Fiction: True Stories Found in NCpedia" is a special event which will be held Saturday September 13 at the North Carolina Museum of History. A panel of experts will share lesser-known stories from North Carolina's history.

Here are five such stories from NCpedia, the online encyclopedia of all things North Carolina:

1. There's a tradition in the state for men to get dressed up and hold 'Womanless Weddings'

A picture of the 13th Amendment document.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

North Carolina's copy of the 13th Amendment is now on tour.  The document that marked the formal end of slavery in the US will be on display at the courthouse in Historic Edenton. 

Officials say the series of stops at historic sites across the state is part of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  The timing is also linked to Juneteenth. African Americans observe June 19th as when the last of the enslaved learned they were free in the summer of 1865. 

Sarah Koontz is a state archivist.  She said the document has to be handled with care.