The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 26, 2013

Tarboro's forgotten treasure


TARBORO — There are legends of buried treasure, items hidden away from the masses to be reclaimed later.

Usually these legends are little more than fantasy. Every once in a while, this turns out to be true, and Tarboro has one.

The buried treasure is hidden away, but in plain sight. It was publicly hidden away more than 100 years ago and most residents of Tarboro pass this treasure often.

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 1904, the town’s citizenry gathered for a monumental event, the laying of the cornerstone of the Edgecombe Confederate Monument.

A procession began at the Concord Lodge No. 58, which, at the time, was located at the present location of On The Square and proceeded to the Court House.

The first part of the procession was made up entirely of Freemasons. Members of 10 lodges in three states, as well as officers from the North Carolina Grand Lodge, were in attendance.

At the Court House they were joined by the William Dorsey Pender chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, a marching band and local politicians under escort of the Edgecombe Guards and proceeded to the Town Common, where the foundation of the proposed "Confederate Monument" had been prepared.

Multiple song selections were performed by the band and the Hon. Henry Clay Bourne (grandfather of the late Joel K. Bourne" was the presiding Officer. The opening Prayer was conducted by Rev. R. W. Alexander, followed by the welcome by Mayor R. G. Allsbrook. Acting North Carolina Grand Master Francis D. Winston gave the response prior to the laying of the cornerstone.


Now to the buried treasure.

In the cornerstone, the following articles were placed in the crypt:

• Photographs of President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Maj.

Gen. William Dorsey Pender, donated by Mrs. Mary Hargrave Foxhall.

• A sketch of Gen. Pender by his nephew, James Pender.

• A sketch of Gov. Clark by Bishop Cheshire was given.

• North Carolina 'shin-plaster' money and a Confederate button, given by Mrs. Robert Cotton Brown.

• Confederate money given by Mrs. Bettie C. Daniel, Pauline Powell and H. C. Bourne.

• A North Carolina State Bank note was given by Sally Staton.

Miss Mariam Lanier gave • A Confederate flag and the Constitution of William Dorsey Pender Chapter of the U.D.C was also included.

• A list of the members of the Lewis Dowd Wyatt Camp, U.D.C.

• A list of members of Concord Lodge No. 58

• A list of the Edgecombe Guards.

• A copy of the Tarboro Southerner

Weekly, May 5, 1904 and Tarboro Southerner, daily, May 9, 1904.

• The program for Memorial Day, May 10, 1904.

• The poem "Apostrophe to the Confederate Dead', written for the day by Mary Groome.

• A picture of 'Old Blandford Church' at Petersburg, Va., presented by Chas. M. Walsh finished the time capsule.

The Grand Lodge then proceeded in a body, escorted, as before, to the Town Hall, where the program  of the day was concluded, as follows:

• The Rear Guard-Irene Fowler Brown and Miss Reba Bridgers.

• Memorial address by Hon. Claude Kitchen, introduced by Hon. Fred Phillips.

• Presentation of Crosses of Honor to Confederate Veterans-Mrs. H. C. Bourne, President William Dorsey Pender Chapter.

• The Old North State and Dixie were performed.

Another 100 years does not have to pass before we open the contents of this time capsule. The items would be a wonderful addition to our Veterans Museum or the Blount Bridgers House.

While efforts to have the town retrieve the items have gone nowhere, but community support can make this a reality. The condition of the items is completely unknown, but the fact they have been sealed away from the elements literally in stone raises the chances that everything is in good condition.  The net worth of the items is also unknown. The few experts I have spoken with said that the fact we know who gave what items, when they were given, and the authenticity of the historic record means they may be very valuable.

Imagine opening a real buried treasure during Happening on the Common and reclaiming these items that our forefathers have saved for us.