What happened to Virginia Dare?

15Secret Token What really happened to Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in the New World? This is the same Virginia Dare whom I suggested recently belonged on “The World Almanac’s” list of famous North Carolinians.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Sir Walter Raleigh’s organization and establishment of the colony on Roanoke Island as described by Andrew Lawler in his book “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke.” He called the expensive and intricate preparations for the colony “the Elizabethan equivalent of the Apollo program.”

In July of 1587, the colonists arrived on Roanoke Island led by its governor, John White, whose granddaughter, Virginia Dare, was born Aug. 18. A few days later, White sailed to England for much-needed supplies. When he finally returned in August 1590, the colony had disappeared, leaving only a carving of “Croatoan” on a tree as a possible clue.

There are a lot of answers to the question of what happened to Virginia Dare, her family and their fellow colonists. Most are legends. Some say Virginia Dare grew up into a lovely young woman and was transformed into a white doe, an animal that still haunts coastal North Carolina. Another story says she and other colonists made their way to Robeson County where some locals will show you her burial site near Red Springs.

Less imaginative authors suggest that the colonists, including Virginia Dare, died from hunger, disease or a massacre by Native Americans. Others suggest that the colonists joined nearby Native Americans and were absorbed by them.

In “The Secret Token,” Lawler gives a history of the developing interest in Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony. After her baptism certificate in 1587, there was no public mention of her until 1834. In that year, Harvard-trained historian George Bancroft published his influential “A History of the United States.” Lawler writes, “It is difficult to overstate his impact on the way we see Raleigh’s colony today.”

For Bancroft, the colony was “the germinating seed” for our country and its institutions, “just as important as its revolutionary coming of age.”

Lawler writes that for Bancroft, “Roanoke was, in essence, the nation’s humble Bethlehem, and Virginia Dare was its infant savior destined for sacrifice.”

Bancroft’s version sparked an explosion of writing and activity around Virginia Dare. In the 1890s, some white supremacy organizations adopted her. Lawler writes, “Roanoke Island emerged as a pilgrimage site for Anglo-Americans seeking to reaffirm their racial dominance at the annual celebration of Virginia Dare’s birth.”

According to Lawler, Marjorie Hudson — Chatham County author of “Searching for Virginia Dare” — takes a different and less exclusive path. She writes that Virginia Dare “is the archetypal mother, a source, like a great river of strength and blood for descendants of a convergence of two great peoples.”

Lawler chronicles efforts to learn where the colonists, if they survived, went. To Croatoan, now a part of Hatteras Island? To Site X, a place marked under a patch in a map drawn by John White, located where the Roanoke River flows into the Albemarle Sound? Or to the Chesapeake Bay near where the Jamestown Colony settled and where Powhatan, the local Indian king, massacred them?

Or near Edenton, where in 1937, a California man said he found a large stone? It was inscribed with a message from Virginia Dare’s mother, Eleanor, to her father, John White, reporting the death of her husband, her daughter Virginia, and other colonists. Lawler’s account of this probable fake “Dare Stone” is almost as interesting as the story of the colonists told by Harnett County native and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Green’s outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony.”

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The man behind the myths: Meet Pitt Dickey

11Pitt Dickey Readers of Up & Coming Weekly have likely encountered Pitt Dickey’s funny and sometimes outlandish biweekly opinion column. He has a knack for combining Greek mythology, random factoids, quotes from old T.V. commercials, politics and social commentary in a way that leaves readers chuckling and, on occasion, slightly bewildered.

Dickey is more than just a funny writer, though. He’s an attorney who specializes in advocating for people in need of Social Security disability benefits. He became a partner with Smith, Dickey & Dempster P.A. in 1978 and has been working Social Security disability cases for more than 35 years.

“There’s very little funny in disability,” he said of his career. “There are a lot of people that need help.”

While Dickey likes to poke fun at authority in his column, that strategy connects to a serious ideology. “(Authority bothers me) when it squishes the little people,” he said. “The poor and the sick don’t have that much of a lobbying ability like big pharma.

“Representing people with Social Security disability, basically I’m representing people who the government says are not sick enough to get disability benefits.

“I say they are, and then we have a hearing, and the judge decides for us.”

In a seeming paradox, Pitt said he knew he wanted to be a lawyer as a child because he wanted to know what the rules were. As an adult, he said, he still believes in the importance of rules.

“If we don’t follow the rules, then it’s whoever’s strongest gets to eat the weak people. These folks I represent in disability cases, they’re at the end of their rope. They have no money, and they have no insurance for the most part, unless they’re military. And I can use the rules to help them.”

In 1996, Dickey was working both Social Security disability and family law cases, which he described as “the equivalent of being a legal proctologist.” He needed an outlet, and he’d taken several English classes as an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the early ’70s.

Back to 1996. Dickey ran into Bill Bowman, who had recently become the new owner of Up & Coming Weekly, at Haymont Grill. Dickey asked if he could write a column for the paper.

Dickey’s only foray into published humorous writing at that point was an opinion piece he’d written during his adolescent years at Seventy-First High School. The topic? The lunchroom. The entire edition of that school newspaper was recalled. “You can’t poke fun at the school lunchroom,” is what he learned.

Back again to 1996. “(Bill) said sure, send one in, and I did. And the rest is history.

“The column in Up & Coming Weekly allows me to poke at the powers that be. … You can’t go out and make people do things, but if you point out that what they’re doing is ridiculous, that might in some way change things. Authority doesn’t like humor.”

Ultimately, he said, he also just genuinely enjoys entertaining people. The key to both his writing process and to understanding his articles, he said, is “the drinking of coffee. Then everything makes sense.”

Since 1998, Dickey has also written a monthly column covering various need-to-know subjects for Social Security disability claimants. It appears online at www.seniormag.com and in several local publications.

He’s been married for more than 40 years to Lani Dickey, a longtime educator at FTCC who recently retired.

“We met on the steps of the institute of government on the first day of law school (at UNC),” he said. “She was a Davidson and I was a Dickey, and we were lined up in alphabetical order. Isn’t that beautiful? If she’d been a Smith, who knows?”

Photo: Pitt Dickey

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Gifts for the biker in your life

 It is that time of year to start getting your Christmas gifts together. If you need some good gift ideas for the rider in your life, let me help. Here are a few ideas.

A “Free Pass” to ride is cheap, easy and shows a lot of love. Yes, give your loved one a free pass to let them go riding any time they want. All they have to do is pull out your note, and all you have to do is kiss them goodbye and tell them to be safe. Price: Priceless!

It is incredible how many times I’ve had to use my multipurpose tool. I’ve used it for everything from removing a nail from my tire to cutting a cable. A good motorcycle multi-tool should have a file or hacksaw in the event to you have to cut something away (like a cable). You also need to be able to file a piece of metal down or pull a nail out of your tire while on the road.

Both Leatherman and Gerber make quality tools. Shown here is the Gerber Legend Multi-Plier 800 with Berry Compliant Sheath. You can get it for around $140 at most outdoor stores.

One thing to remember when choosing a tool is quality. There are a lot of cheaper brands out there, but there is nothing worse than breaking a tool when you need it the most.

The Go Cruise is one of the most innovated throttle locks on the market. It boasts a brilliant design and installation that usually takes less than one minute. It clips onto your throttle; you just rotate it up against the brake lever, and you are hands-free. You can get it on Amazon. com starting at $32.

One of my favorite biker-related accessories is the Bison Designs Paracord X-Stream Survival Pod keychain. This keychain is a useful, non-intrusive accessory; when you’re not using it, you will not even notice you have it. The bright orange paracord is easy to see and fits in your pocket without the bulge created by a keychain.

This keychain is great for bikers who are prone to dropping or misplacing their keys. It is easy to spot and does not beat up the paint on a bike.

The keychain also comes with a fishing-oriented survival stash of 16 useful outdoor items wrapped in a handy paracord pod with carabineer clip. Tools include carabineer, sharp eye knife, flint, fire starter, tinder, tape, needle, lure/bait hooks, split shot fishing line and a snare wire hacksaw. These critical items could help your loved one in survival situations where they may not have any help around.

Space is always a problem on a bike, and hygiene is of the utmost necessity on a long trip. For all cleaning and hygiene needs, look no further than Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Pure- Castile Soaps. This soap is suitable for just about any cleaning task. Face, body, hair, food, dishes, laundry, mopping, pets — clean your house and body with no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents — none.

I have used this this product for decades and still carry it in my overnight bag. Even a small bottle can last a week. Just remember to dilute! You can find Dr. Bronner’s at just about any store that has camping gear or at GNC.

One of my favorite publications is Road Runner magazine. This magazine is North Carolina based and is well-rounded with loads of information. It covers beautiful routes and equipment and clothing reviews and much more. It comes complete with online access to maps and GPS routes. You can pick up a subscription at www.roadrunner.travel for $29.95 a year.

If there is a topic that you would like to discuss, you can contact me at motorcycle4fun@aol.com. RIDE SAFE!

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Jenkins optimistic about SwampDogs future

09SwampDogs story J.P. Riddle Stadium The decision by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners to hand operation of J.P. Riddle Stadium over to Fayetteville Technical Community College has some people in the county wondering what that means for the future of the Fayetteville SwampDogs. The SwampDogs is the summer baseball team that plays at J.P. Riddle Stadium and offers opportunities for college players to compete in a wood bat league.

One person with expertise in that area who thinks both the SwampDogs and Fayetteville’s new minor league baseball team, the Woodpeckers, can both survive is Darden Jenkins.

Jenkins runs Classic Ballpark Solutions, a company that consults with people looking to start or refurbish baseball stadiums. He’s currently working with a community that’s looking to field both a pro and college baseball team in the same community.

Jenkins thinks the main thing the SwampDogs have on their side is tradition and a loyal fan base. “They’ve been in town almost 20 years, and the last several years they’ve led their division in attendance,’’ he said. He also pointed to the many families in the community who’ve worked with the SwampDogs over the years to provide housing for the college players who’ve come to Fayetteville to play.

As for proof that a pro and college team can work in the same town, he pointed to Columbia, South Carolina, where a similar situation already exists.

“You can’t say Columbia is apples to apples with Fayetteville,’’ he said, “but it can work, and we’re going to see pretty fast if it will work here.’’

Jenkins thinks the decision by the county commissioners to give J.P. Riddle Stadium to Fayetteville Tech was a maneuver that takes the pressure off local government to have to deal with any future lease arrangement with the SwampDogs to use the stadium.

“If they put it in the college’s hands, it will be the college’s decision whether the SwampDogs continue,’’ Jenkins said. “But since the SwampDogs use college kids and FTCC is a college, it makes sense. It’s going to be an amateur baseball hub. I think there will be good synergy there.’’

Since FTCC plans to use the stadium as a training tool for its students studying professions related to field maintenance and such, Jenkins thinks it would be to FTCC’s advantage for the SwampDogs to remain and keep the stadium in use.

The stadium will be occupied by the new FTCC baseball team. If this team plays a typical community college schedule, it will be done with its season before May, when the SwampDogs would begin their season.

“The more dates they have, the more they are going to make,’’ Jenkins said of FTCC. “When I ran Jackie Robinson ballpark (in Daytona Beach, Florida), I tried to get as many games as we could. I think it’s a good experience and good for Fayetteville.’’

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E.A. Poe, Fayetteville’s ‘merchant of clay’

01 cover Who was Fayetteville native Edgar Allan Poe? Was he a poet? A brickmaker? A potter?

The Edgar Allen Poe in question was not a poet, although he shares his name with one. He did, however, own a local brickmaking facility. In fact, his bricks were used in buildings and roads not just in Fayetteville proper, but in Hope Mills, Wilmington, Mount Airy and Wilson, North Carolina, and as far south as Bennettsville, South Carolina. Poe’s foundries and manufacturing facilities also produced clay pipes, drains, tiles and many other products. But was E. A. Poe a potter?

Though many North Carolinians proudly own pottery with the maker’s mark “E.A. Poe” or “POE & CO,” they might be surprised to learn that Poe never actually made a single piece of pottery. Instead, he hired potters to work under his label and sold their jars, jugs, butter churns, pitchers and vases wholesale to merchants who in turn sold them in retail shops. Many of the jugs and jars we now hold near and dear as valuable collectables originally sold for 10 cents apiece.

Local author Quincy Scarborough delves into the particulars of Poe’s brickmaking and so much more in his latest book, “E.A. Poe: Merchant of Clay.” The book follows the life and career of Edgar Allan Poe, one of Fayetteville’s most significant producers and businessmen in the late 1800s and early 1900s; details the history of brickmaking in the Sandhills; and gives insight into what life was like here during that time.

Scarborough was born and raised in Fayetteville. His wife, Betty, hailing from Cumberland County, considers herself more of a country girl. The pair share a passion for local history and the craftsmen and their work that helped shape life in the Sandhills.

For years, Quincy and Betty hosted one of the state’s most well-attended Christmas craft fairs. They continue to promote and celebrate both makers and history, and even history-makers, but now it’s through books.

In addition to “Merchant of Clay,” Quincy has written and self-published books about Carolina metalworkers, North Carolina stoneware, The Webster School of Folk Potters and the Craven Family of Southern folk pottery to name a few.

“We just love things that are handmade,” Quincy said about his passion for fine craftsmanship.

“And we love sharing that with people and putting it into context,” Betty added. “E.A. Poe: Merchant of Clay” does just that.

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Fayetteville. His father, John Cooper Poe, owned a dry goods store on Hay Street and later a tobacco and grocery store. He was also town commissioner in March of 1865 when Gen. Sherman and his troops left town.

Edgar was one of 16 children and was born in 1858 at his family’s home on Ramsey Street.

At just 22 years old, and newly married, Edgar went into the brickmaking business. An astute marketer and self-promoter, Poe’s name became synonymous with well-made, high-quality brick as well as other useful items, including spittoons, flower pots, floor drains, butter keepers and other everyday items.

Articles and ads about Edgar Allan are a common sight in the pages of The Fayetteville Observer from that era. He took his image so seriously that, around 1855, Edgar had an engraving of himself made. It was used frequently to make his image in newspaper articles and promotional materials.

In 1897, local builder Ruffin Vaughn built the Poe House on a lot that was originally part of the U.S. Arsenal. Edgar and his wife, Josephine, had seven children when they moved into the house. They had another child later.

The Poe House is yet another contribution Edgar made to Fayetteville. The Poe House is currently owned by the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources and is part of the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. It is also listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Poe House is open for tours Tuesday through Sundays. It showcases what life what like in the first decades of the 20th century. Tours cover women’s roles, African-American history, children’s roles, and technological, economic and social changes in southern North Carolina and the country.

There are also seasonal events and celebrations at the Poe House. Currently, the Poe House is decorated for Christmas in period splendor. It will remain decorated until Jan. 6. Admission is free. It is open for tours Tuesdays through Fridays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. It is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Find out more about the 1897 Poe House and the Museum of the Cape Fear online at https://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov.

Copies of “E.A. Poe: Merchant of Clay” are available at The Museum of the Cape Fear, C Pottery in Seagrove, Jugtown in Seagrove, leading museums and on eBay. Or, email Quincy at qscarborough@aol.com or call him at 910-483-2040.

Quincy will also be at the next Gallery 208 opening reception at 208 Rowan St. from 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 15, 2019. Call 910-484-6200 to find out more about the gallery opening.

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