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1876-1900 Gilded Age

 

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Appointment signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes, June 20, 1877, of Alfred V. Dockery as consul of the United States at Leeds, England.

Alfred V. Dockery of Carthage, Moore County, North Carolina, was the son of North Carolina Republican congressman Oliver Hart Dockery. Alfred Dockery also served as consul in Germany and Portugal.

 

Official signatures of President Chester A. Arthur, Secretary of State Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, and private secretary Fred J. Phillips


Official signatures of President Chester A. Arthur, Secretary of State Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, and private secretary Fred J. Phillips on a request of February 15, 1883, from the Executive Department, State of North Carolina.

Official signatures and seals of the president, cabinet officers, and other administration officials were requested periodically by the state to insure the authenticity of subsequent correspondence and directives.

 

Document signed by President Grover Cleveland


Document signed by President Grover Cleveland notifying Alfred V. Dockery of his suspension from his post as consul of the United States at Leeds, England, 1885.

Dockery, a North Carolina Republican, had been appointed as consul at Leeds in 1877 by Rutherford B. Hayes but was recalled by the Democrat Cleveland.

 

"Shaffer's New Township Map of North Carolina," by A. Webster Shaffer, 1886


"Shaffer's New Township Map of North Carolina," by A. Webster Shaffer, 1886

In 1886, A. Webster Shaffer published several versions of his New Township Map of North Carolina. These included a large wall map, 40 in. x 75 in., and a fold-out pocket version. The latter is held by the N.C. State Archives. Inside the map’s hard cover, there are several testimonials, including one by Sidney M. Finger, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, saying that Shaver’s school map “should be in every public and private school in the state….” Shaver claimed, probably rightfully, that his was the first township map ever issued in North Carolina.

In 1817, North Carolina’s “Father of Common Schools,” Archibald DeBow Murphey, had presented a report to the legislature including the idea that each county be divided into two or more townships, with one or more primary schools in each township. Seven years after Murphy’s death in 1832, the state enacted the first public school act. Under that law, the county courts were to appoint boards of superintendents, who in turn divided the county into districts and appointed district committeemen. The school committees then were to provide school houses and employ teachers as they could.

In North Carolina, the Reconstruction Era brought major changes to the concept of school district administration. In compliance with a congressional order, North Carolina had held an election in 1868 to choose delegates to a state constitutional convention. Delegates drew up a document that used the constitution of Ohio as a model for some of its provisions. One of these, calling for the creation of townships, was placed under Article VII of the new constitution and granted "corporate powers for the necessary purposes of local government." Separate from cities, towns, and counties, townships were to operate at local levels under officials charged with levying and collecting taxes and having responsibilities for roads and bridges. Under an act of 1869, the legislature ratified a new school law, providing broadly for public instruction and calling for the election of a school committee for the administration of several schools in each township, also required by the constitution.

The Constitution of 1868 came under heavy criticism from the state’s Conservatives. A constitutional convention was called in 1875 and in the following year voters approved a variety of amendments. These included changing Section VII to give the General Assembly power to abolish the form and powers of township and county governments. In general, the townships ceased to operate after 1875 as separate governments, except for their jurisdiction over roads. However, the township divisions survived for a period of time as a geographical convenience. These divisions were used, for example, for voting and tax listing purposes and for administration of the public schools.

 

Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, May 2, 1887, to Alfred V. Dockery, Carthage, N.C.


Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, May 2, 1887, to Alfred V. Dockery, Carthage, N.C.

Harrison thanks Dockery for his support. He says that he left the Senate "With the determination that my profession [law] should have my undivided attention for the future... " although he admits he has not lost interest in "public affairs" or the Republican party. Speaking of the upcoming convention and party nominee, Harrison says that, "if we can assemble a convention of able, representative men in 1888-first to deliberate and thus to nominate we can easily, I think, recover what we lost in 1884." Harrison became the party nominee at the convention and was able to recover the presidency for the Republican Party in the election of 1888.

 

Official signature and seal of William McKinley as governor of Ohio, April 14, 1893.


Official signature and seal of William McKinley as governor of Ohio, April 14, 1893.

Official signatures and seals of the state governors were requested periodically by the Executive Department of the state of North Carolina to insure the authenticity of subsequent correspondence and directives.

Last Modified: 11/10/2010

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