DOBBER NEIGHBORHOODS

BUCKLESBERRY
 
I have just been waiting for the opportunity to use this idea that I came up with a few years ago when I began carrying mail in the Bucklesberry area. "BUCKLESBERRY is more an attitude than a geographical area". Practically everyone who lives in Bucklesberry is kin to everyone else, so a great kindred spirit exists in the whole area.

As for the boundaries, I'll try to delineate it in "gray area" borders. Turn off of US 70 onto Kennedy Home Road at Falling Creek. Not quite a mile there is a bridge. When you cross that bridge you have left Falling Creek and entered into Bucklesberry. Continuing on down Kennedy Home Road, the land on the left side of the road until you pass Mobile Heights Trailer Park on the left and have gone for about another half mile is called Pot Neck, which is a surburb of Bucklesberry. There is a gray area where the transition takes place and no exact boundary exists. From there on everything on both sides of the road from the Neuse River to US 70 Highway and over to and including Hardy Bridge Road is Bucklesberry proper. Traveling farther on down Kennedy Home Road you will pass the sign that announces the area as Bucklesberry. It is located at White Oak Grove Baptist Church. Somewhere between that sign and the end of Kennedy Home Road you will have exited Bucklesberry and entered Jenny Lind. Now, Jenny Lind also is a suburb. It is not very large and is of indefinite boundarys, too. Bucklesberry, from the Jenny Lind side, kind of meanders about the countryside with its boundaries including whoever wishes to be known as living in Bucklesberry, but does not take in the neighboring Bulltown, except for those Bulltownians who wish to be included. The area along Bear Creek Road should be included in Bucklesberry all the way to NC 903, but this area becomes a little bit diluted as you near 903.

I hope this clears up the haze for ya'll.
From the Bucklesberry mailman,
Glenn Fields

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While the current definition is probably a lot smaller in land area, the original Tickbite area most likely was determined by the land that Ed Coward owned in that area in the 1830's. You will never get consensus on what the boundaries are. Therefore, my definition is probably as good as any, and it is as follows.

The north boundary follows the Contentnea Creek from Eagle Swamp going south to the Neuse River. Then up the Neuse River to old Becton's field and then running to the ACL railroad then north along the tracks to Eagle Swamp then east along Eagle Swamp to the Contentnea Creek. It encompasses approximately 4-5000 acres of sandy farm land and god foresaken swamp land.

Allen J. Barwick

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Henry Best's great great grandfather was Rufus Best and this is a story of how Shine Township got its name.

SHINE TOWNSHIP

Shine Township received its name from a romance. Rufus Best received a land grant from the King of England that covered most of the territory that is now Shine Township. He was desperately in love with Miss Shine Oliver of New Bern, N. C. Although he never married her, his devotion for her was so great he named his plantation for her. From that day to the present time, this section has been known as Shine Township... In this township is the old home of Henry Best (1762-1839), who was a Revolutionary soldier, and whose grave is in Bullhead Cemetery. The house was built by Henry Best's Grandfather, Henry Best I, around 1735. He owned land from Snow Hill to the Wayne County line, a distance of about 12 miles from Contentnea Creek to LaGrange. It took from 5 to 6 years to build the house. Windows, as well as the mahogany handcarved hand railing were brought from England. Bricks were made in a kiln on the plantation. All paneling and mantels were done by workmen brought from England by Henry Best I. There is a brick basement and the servants lived in the basement. The porch was originally ten feet wide and was supported by columns front and back. Henry Best III erected a double decker porch supported by six columns. Henry Best I had eight children, but none of them were reared in this house. It was devoted to entertaining his English friends.

His family was reared in a house near by Mr. J. R. Mewborn, three miles from the Best home. The present owners of the Best home are Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Carlisle. This property was left to them by Mrs. Carlisle's aunt, Mrs. Mattie C. Best. Until the earthquake of 1886 there was not a crack in the plastering. It was called the "White House" and people came for hundreds of miles to see it, because when it was built, paint was rare and glass windows were little known. It was one of the show places of N. C. in the 18th century. The rooms are 17 1/2 feet square. The original blinds were removed about 20 years ago while the Carlisles were living in Snow Hill, N. C.

From Linda Harmon - found in the DAR Papers of Ima Mewborn

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SANDY BOTTOM

X-Sender: jrboykin@mail2.coastalnet.com
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 20:49:00 -0400
To: mmarble@pop.mail.rcn.net
From: "Jacqueline R. Boykin"
Subject: Sandy Bottom

Recently, someone asked about the location of Sandy Bottom in Lenoir County. Jimmy Smith sent me directions to the Croom Meeting House located there so I could attend a reunion. Here are his directions if you would like to share them with the Lenoir List. Jackie Rouse Boykin

Directions to Croom Meeting House in Sandy Bottom:
From Greenville, Take NC 11 south to Kinston.
At Kinston, NC 11 eventually becomes Tiffany Street.
Turn right onto King Street which is still NC 11.
Go straight about two miles to interseaction of NC 11 & US 70.
Continue straight on NC 11 about 3 miles & you will see the Kinston Drag Strip on right(continue striaght).
About 1/2 mile past the drag strip, is the intersection of NC 11 & NC 55(bear right on NC 55).
Go approximately 4 miles and the Croom Meeting House is on the right.
It is the first of three churches. It is a typical one room old church building with a picnic shelter on the far side.

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SUGAR HILL

Story ran : 10/17/2002 Kinston Free Press and used with their permission
Kinston's sugar' is still on the hill'
By Jason Spencer

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Sessoms was born and raised in Kinston.

Growing up here in the years preceding the Great Depression, her father worked at a barber shop on Gordon Street, between McLewean and Queen. The barbers there were black. All the clients, white.

After working there several years, the shop owner died and Sessoms' father assumed ownership. He would bank at an all-black bank, which, heading south, was just past the Lenoir County Courthouse on the edge of an area that - for better or worse - over the years became known as Sugar Hill.

"As little children, we knew not to ever be seen in Sugar Hill," Sessoms said. "If we were riding through in a car, and the car stopped, we didn't get out. There were undesirables there, but there were some nice people, too."

Sugar Hill didn't have any set boundaries. Shine Street, from its intersection at Queen west until it ended, was the heart of Sugar Hill. The vicinity, though stretched almost to the courthouse and to businesses along South Herritage Street.

"When we said Sugar Hill,' you thought of Queen Street. That was Sugar Hill. That's where all of the black businesses were," Sessoms said in a modest, but very passionate voice.

"There were always shady characters doing something on the side. They would play numbers (gamble). They were very, very industrious," she said. "Whenever the police came, they would always take someone downtown and lock them up. It wouldn't matter if it was the right person or not. It was a time.

"There was one policeman (called) Big Red - everyone was afraid of him," she said. "He had red hair and rode a motorcycle. When Big Red came around, everyone would duck their heads out and then duck back in."

In the early 1900s, Sugar Hill was known for miles around as a sort of little New Orleans, local historian Ted Sampley said. Gambling, prostitution, and illegal liquor houses were commonplace.

Despite whatever images or memories Sugar Hill conjures up, though, it's hard to ignore the fact that Kinston's infamous neighborhood brought lots of business to town.

"It was negative in the sense of its morals, but positive in the sense a lot of people fed their families on the dollars they made there," Sampley said.

"All the shops up and down Queen Street benefited from Sugar Hill," he said. "When folks ventured (there), they would spend some time shopping."

Today, a group of South Queen Street businesses hope they can revive the favorable aspect of Sugar Hill. The group has organized and taken the name Sugar Hill Merchants' Association.

Working with the Pride of Kinston, a downtown revitalization group, banners for five specific neighborhoods will be hung along downtown streets. Sugar Hill banners will begin just south of the Queen and King street intersection.

"The first step in getting something done is to do it yourself. Form a group, and then help will come," said Debbie Beech Burrell, a member of the merchants' association and chairman of Pride's design committee, which must approve the neighborhood banners.

Thomas Anderson, owner of Lane's Funeral Home, is the association's president. The funeral home building is the last standing madame's house in Kinston, Sampley said.

Legend has it that a group of prostitutes traveling with a Union general and his band of soldiers during the 1860s were left behind in Kinston as the Union pressed its attack on Goldsboro. The women were ostracized by the town, and confined to a hill near the intersection of Shine and Herritage streets where so-called honey pots - containing human waste - were dumped.

In the 1920s, Kinston Mayor Mills Happer campaigned on the promise to rid the town of the "vice district," or "segregated district" - called such by the type of business it promoted, not due to race, Sampley said.

The action then moved across the river - outside the city limits, where the Neuse Planetarium and Health and Science Museum now sits. It became known as Happersville.

Happer was not elected for a second term. Sugar Hill was revived not long afterward.

"It became a lure to Kinston to tobacco farmers," Sampley said. "They would get their checks, and then go to the liquor or gambling houses. Kinston's economy became dependent on it."

Over time, soldiers from area military bases began to come to Sugar Hill in herds until the U.S. Marines banned Kinston after World War II due to too many cases of venereal disease. Other military groups followed soon thereafter.

"There was a hotel there for blacks (Dunn's Hotel, on Shine Street). They tried to keep it as nice as they could," Sessoms said. "But when the Marines came to town, and had their drinks ... somebody would step on somebody else's foot. Then, the fighting started - and here comes Big Red! Somebody's going to jail!"

"It's negative I know," Burrell said. "But it's our history, and it was there."

Burrell is also a driving force behind the Cultural Herritage Museum - the black bank in which Sessoms' father had an account. Museum renovations are slated to be finished in time for an opening in conjunction with the town's Salute festival in November.

Ideally, downtown banners will blend together through the various neighborhoods. The area around the courthouse and Harmony Hall will feature banners that read "County Seat."

Blending into the original Sugar Hill was an area called Golden Progress, which was just south of Harmony Hall, between Queen and McLewean streets.

"Back in the good old days, most of your black-owned businesses were in this area," said Willie Williams, owner of Eagle Taxi. "Hopefully we can beautify and rejuvenate this area."

Burrell's father owned a soda shop in what was - and will again be - known as Sugar Hill. All-black taxi companies, law firms and even a theater were there, too.

"Pulley's Barbecue used to be on South Herritage Street. That was the best barbecue you've ever had," Sessoms said. "[Today], it's all the same streets and the same sidewalks as there was then. A lot has been torn down, and not much rebuilding has been done."

All businesses with a South Queen Street address - that is, from Caswell Street and beyond - are welcome to join the Sugar Hill Merchants' Association.

The association's itinerary includes beautification, economic development and reducing crime, Burrell said.

"When you got to Caswell Street, you knew you were close to Sugar Hill. You may not be in it yet," Sessoms said. "I can't set any demarcation - I can't say. This is the point where it started.' Some people said it was a block up, or a block down, and I would agree with them, too."

Jason Spencer can be reached at 527-3191, Ext. 237 or
Jason_Spencer@link.freedom.com.

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