18 July 2007

Reads the Record # 1.2: 1906 APR-JUN

[In this recurring feature, the Rabbit reads and writes about past issues of Chatham County's longest-running newspaper. For further explanation, see Chatham Rabbit Reads the Record.]


Local Doctor, Awaiting Trial, Cured of Morphine Habit

Four-legged Chicken Born in Chatham

Issues Surveyed
1906 APR 5, 12, 19, 26; MAY 3, 10, 17, 24; JUN 7, 14, 21, 28.

National and Foreign Affairs
Immigration. APR 5, editorial. "It is said that Italian anarchists are arriving in the United States in great numbers, and that Baltimore is rapidly becoming an anarchist center. It is a pity that they could not all be detected on their arrival and sent right back."

The San Francisco Earthquake. APR 26, editorial: "San Francisco was visited last week with the most destructive earthquake and conflagrations ever known in the United States." ... "The sufferings of the homeless people can scarcely be imagined. Think for a moment of over 300,000 people (men, women and children) suddenly driven from home with no provisions and many in their night clothing. Decrepit old men and women, delicate and refined ladies, invalids and sick persons, helpless children, all driven from their homes with scarcely a moment's warning, an affrighted crowd rushing for safety they knew not where. Families and loved ones separated in the struggling mass of humanity, and all panic-stricken. Wealthy persons suffered with poorer people with hunger and thirst, and knew not how or where to satisfy the pangs of either. Refined ladies slept on the bare ground with no shelter or even covering."

Oklahoma admitted. JUN 21, editorial: "Another star in the galaxy of States was added to the Union Saturday when President Roosevelt signed the bill admitting Oklahoma and Indian Territy under the name of the former as one State."

Local Stories Reported
Confederate memorial fund. APR 5: $1089.79. "Make it $1100 by next week!" APR 12: $1145.79 following "one contribution of $50 from Dr. Isaac Emerson, of Baltimore, who is a native of this county ...." APR 26: $1149.79. MAY 3: 1214.29, with $50 from W.W. Fuller, New York, who "moved from Durham to New York several years ago", and is "one of the most successful lawyers in the United States." MAY 10: $1219.29. MAY 17: $1221.29. MAY 24: $1232.29. "Do not wait until all the old soldiers are dead!" MAY 31: $1244.29. JUN 7, "Confederate Monument Fund": $1251.29. Follows a $1 contribution from J.G. Smith of Fayetteville, "the first that has been received from a colored person. He was born and reared in this county, near Haywood, and is now a teacher in the graded school for the colored race at Fayetteville, and is highly thought of by all who know him. In his letter sending his contribution (which was unsolicited) he wrote these words: 'Gratitude demands that I give my mite to any cause that will perpetuate the glory of the old soldiers.' This surely should stimulate our white countymen to contribute!". JUN 14: $1263.39.

The J.B. Matthews Affair. APR 12, "Local Records": "Dr. J.B. Matthews has been entirely cured of the morphine habit since his confinement in the jail at Greensboro. His physician says that he is now perfectly rational and his mind clear as anybody's. He has steadily gained in flesh. He is in jail awaiting the result of his appeal to the Supreme Court." APR 19, "Local Records": "Dr. J.B. Matthews has been released on a five thousand dollar bail bond, while awaiting the result of his appeal, which will not be heard until next fall. He has been taken to a Baltimore sanitarium for treatment for the morphine habit." MAY 24, "Local Records": "Dr. J.B. Matthews, who is now recuperating at the Mount Hope Santiarium, near Baltimore, Md., will in all probability remain at that institution until the motion for a new trial is arranged in his behalf before the Supreme Court in Raleigh next October." JUN 21, "Local Records": "Dr. J.B. Matthews returned to Greensboro on last Monday and renewed his bail bond, in the sum of $5,000, for his appearance pending his appeal to the Supreme Court. He is said to be much better mentally."

The press. MAY 3, "New Press": "We hope to print next week's issue on a cylinder press bought over a month ago, but could not be used because a part of it had been lost by the negligence of some railroad employee. This lost part has at last been found at Portsmouth and ought to be here in time for next week's issue. // "Ever since THE RECORD was established in 1878 it has been printed on an old Washington hand-press. In its place we have bought a cylinder press, which will of course print the paper much better and greatly improve its appearance." JUN 14, "Local Records": "On account of a breakage in our cylinder press we have to print this issue on the old Washington hand press. So if the print of your RECORD is not good you know the reason why. We expect to have the press in shape to print the next issue."

Samples from "Local Records". APR 12: "Chatham comes to the front once more with another curiosity. It is a chicken with four legs and all the same length, and belongs to Mr. Jasper Foushee, who lives five miles west of here." MAY 3: "Pittsboro's tonsorial artist, John Council, is no longer a gay widower, having marries last Sunday a daughter of Weldon Perry, a very respectable colored man who lives near here." MAY 17: "There will be a grand celebration at Durham some time in July in honor of the completion of the Durham & Southern and the Durham & South Carolina railroads. The first is from Apex and the latter is from Bonsal. Many citizens of Chatham will attend." JUN 7: "Mr. A.R. Norwood, of Baldwin township, had a rat-killing at his barn a few days ago. In less than an hour and a half he and his sons killed 98 of the pesky rodents, making a total of 197 rats that were killed by them by one device and another within the last month." JUN 21: "A number of our townsmen had an enjoyable fish-fry and picnic on the banks of Roberson creek, near the Haw river, yesterday." JUN 28: "The first cotton bloom sent to THE RECORD this season was plucked on last Sunday (the 24th) by Mr. James A. Parham, of Lockville."

Roads -- Policy, Reports, Opinion
APR 5, "Commissioners' Meeting": "ORDERED, that the sheriff be authorized to repair bridge in Matthews township on branch near Willis Brooks at cost not over $20."

Landmarks Referenced
Depot at Bonsal. APR 5: "The new railroad station at Bonsal is a busy place now. A large number of laborers is now at work there laying side-tracks and erecting a depot."

Bridge at Haywood. MAY 17: "The iron bridge over the Haw river at Haywood is having a fresh coat of paint put on. Messrs. L.R. Exline and F.S. Hill have the contract to paint it."

Bridge at Harland's Creek. MAY 24, "Local Records": "The county commissioners on last Tuesday let to Mr. Will E. Hearne the contract for building an open wooden bridge over Harlan's creek near the DeGraffenreidt place, four miles west of Pittsboro. The contract price was $248."

Bridge at Johnson' ford. JUN 7, "Local Records": "At a joint meeting of the boards of road and county commissioners Tuesday R.W. Bland was authorized to make an examination of the bridge site at Johnson's ford on Rocky river and make an estimate of the cost of building a bridge there and report to the boards the first Monday in July, when the propriety of building the bridge will be considered."

Bridge Repairs. JUN 7, "Commissioners' Meeting": $20.40, "Bynum & Burns, lumber for Green's bridge". $35.96, "R.E. Harris, balance on lumber for Fearrington's bridge". $3.10, "R.E. Harris, lumber for Bear Creek bridge".

Old stage road. MAY 17, "Local Records": "Mr. J.W. Moore has been appointed carrier on the new rural free delivery route from this place westward. Service on this route goes beyond Emmaus church, thence southwest to the old stage road and thence back to this place." JUN 21, "Visit to Siler": "For the first time in a year we made a hurried visit, on last Monday, to Siler City and were agreeably surprised to find so many improvements had been made and others in progress. No one could now recognize it as the same place that it was twenty-five years ago, when it was known as Mattews' [sic] Cross Roads and the only dwelling there was the residence of old Capt. Matthews, which is still standing. // "Nearly all the stores there now are handsome brick buildings, blocks of brick buildings and handsome residences now standing where, only a few years ago, were cornfields. Two large blocks of brick buildings are now being erected, having pressed brick fronts, the lower floors of which will be used as stores and the upper floors as offices and a town hall. The bricks are now made in the suburbs of the town, and from this brickyard quantities of brick are shipped to other towns. The population of the town has almost doubled since the last census and is increasing more rapidly now than ever before. // "We are pleased also to note the many evidences of prosperity along the road -- the 'old stage road' -- between here and Siler. The farms seem to be better cultivated than ever before, there being many labor saving machines now used, such as wheat binders and reapers, cutaway harrows, etc. Along the road were many nice new residences and some of the old ones repaired and painted."

JUN 14, "Local Records": "The railroad authorities have ordered a crossing to be made just south of the depot, where there used to be the old road leading to the present residence of Mr. J.A. Perley."

Metereological Exceptionalism
APR 19: "A more delightful day for Easter is rarely seen than was last Sunday."

10 July 2007

Reads the Record # 1.1: 1906 JAN-MAR

[In this recurring feature, the Rabbit reads and writes about past issues of Chatham County's longest-running newspaper. For further explanation, see Chatham Rabbit Reads the Record.]

Issues Surveyed
1906 JAN 18, 25; FEB 1, 8, 15, 22; MAR 1, 8, 15, 22, 29.

In early 1906, we find activities related to one of the most recognizable landmarks in Chatham County, as editor H.A. London and his wife use the pages of the paper to solicit donations for the Confederate memorial that now stands before the Chatham Courthouse. For residents of the county now, or anyone who drives the roads, the editor's note to the "Deer Killed in Chatham" letter will be of special interest. Other local affairs include a near-drowning in Roberson Creek and some stern editorial words regarding the assembly of disreputable characters at the previous year's state fair.

If It Bleeds, and Other Mayhem
Page-two headlines and datelines from JAN 25: "Bloody Revolution In Ecuador. Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jan. 16." "Fatal Mine Explosion. Charleston, W. Va., Jan. 18." "Boy Boiled in Vat. Greenville, S.C., Jan. 20." "Fatal Panic In Church. Philadelphia, Jan. 21." "Preacher Arrested For Poisoning. Gainesville, Ga., Jan. 21." "Hung to City Scales. Hopkinsville, Ky., Jan. 22." "Burned In Calaboose. Salisbury, January 22."

Bad things happening to editors. FEB 1, "Editor Wilkie Commits Suicide": "Special to the Charlotte Observer." Clarence D. Wilkie, editor and founder of The Rutherfordton Sun, committed suicide "by shooting himself through the right temple with a 32-calibre Smith & Wesson pistol."

State of NC
Gambling and immorality at the State Fair. JAN 18, editorial: "Such a horde of gamblers and dissolute characters of both sexes as attended our last State Fair had never before assembled in our good State, and we hope never will again. They can be excluded and ought to be." JAN 25, editorial: "We are pleased to learn from the News and Observer that the secretary of the State Agricultural Society says that no gambling or immoral exhibitions will be permitted at the next State Fair. It would be well for the president and secretary of the Society to publish an offical card making a pledge to that effect."

Top Local Stories Reported
Lee's birthday. JAN 18, "Lee's Birthday": "Tomorrow (Friday) afternoon beginning at 2:30 ... the Winnie Davis Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy will commemorate with appropriate exercises at the academy the birthday of General Robert E. Lee." JAN 25: "Last Friday being the 99th anniversary of the birth of General Robert E. Lee appropriate exercises were held at the academy under the auspices of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The academy had been artistically decorated with Confederate and North Carolina flags and with pictures of Gen. Lee and other distinguished Confederates. Quite a number of persons attended the exercises, among them being several veterans from a distance in the country. The exercises were conducted by Mrs. H.A. London, the President of the Daughters ...."

Confederate memorial. FEB 15, "Appeal For Monument", signed "Winnie Davis Chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy. By its President, Mrs. Henry A. London.": "To the Men and Women of Chatham County: We are anxious to erect our Confederate Monument, and unveil it at the Soldiers' Reunion in August." The editorial outlines an offer received from Carolina Marble Works of Statesville, for a 24-foot monument costing $2000. It describes monuments and their dimensions and cites their costs in cities such as Asheville, Winston-Salem and Lexington. "Colonel Lane most generously started the monument fund with $100, now we appeal to ALL to come forward and make up the balance right away. We know that all will give; but we want it NOW. WE ARE READY FOR IT. Or a written PROMISE for the amount to be paid in June." MAR 29, a letter titled "'Buck' Appeals For The Monument", signed, "Yours truly, Buck.": "I am apprised of the fact that some think that a monument is unnecessary and is of no good to those who shall live in the future. But let us think of the thousands of boys who had so much to look forward to in the future and for a cause that was as dear to them as life and for forty odd years they have been sleeping in the valleys of Virginia where the snow-clad mountains are looking down upon their unmarked graves as a token of love for their noble sacrifice."

Confederate memorial fund. All entries found under "Local Records" unless otherwise indicated. JAN 25: $1,025.89. "It ought to be twice that sum." FEB 22: $1029.14. MAR 1: $1,042.09. "Who will give the next $5?". MAR 8: $1,054.79. "Rally up, men of Chatham, and send your contributions without further delay. Let us raise the monument next summer." MAR 15: $1072.29. MAR 22: $1072.99. MAR 29: $1087.29.

The Alick Allen Affair. JAN 18, "Local Records": "We are pleased to learn that Mr. Alick Allen, who was so seriously shot by revenue officers is much better and will, it is now thought, get well." FEB 1, "Local Records": "The revenue officers who shot Mr. Alick Allen, in Baldwin township a few weeks ago, have been arrested at Durham and will have a premilinary trial before G.W. Riggsbee, J.P., in Riggsbee township, next Saturday. Mr. Allen is recovering from his wound, and will not lose his leg."

FEB 22, "Deer Killed In Chatham. Williams Township, N.C., Feb. 12, 1906", letter from D.J. Williams: Describes in vivid detail the shooting of a deer by the author and "Mr. W.H. Goodwin, a well known turkey hunter and trapper." Concludes, "Since writing the above, I have enjoyed two fine meals off of the deer. I can not describe the flesh more than it is very firm, sweet and wholesome. I dare say that more than hundred people have tasted some of the venison. // "[The above letter ought to have been received in time for last week's RECORD. This deer must escaped from some park, as no wild deer have been roaming in this county for many years. -- ED. RECORD.]"

MAR 22, "Local Records": "Dr. J.N. Taylor narrowly escaped drowning, on last Monday afternoon, while driving in his buggy through Roberson's creek, near Mr A.P. Terry's which had become very high by the heavy rains that fell that day. The water came into his buggy as high as his waist, but the horse by swimming pulled the buggy through the rushing torrent. The doctor's case of medicines and surgical instruments was washed out of the buggy and lodged on the bank a short distance below the ford, where it was found the next day."

Roads -- Policy, Reports, Opinion
JAN 18, "Good Roads", page-one editorial reprinted from the New York Tribune: "The wealth of the nation depends largely upon the farmers. They are the wealth-creators, and if we would increase our farm products and improve land we must keep our young men at home instead of sending them to the cities. The way to destroy the isolation of farm life now so discouraging to young men is to build good roads." ... "Good roads are needed to make life desirable upon the farm, to increase the average of intelligance by putting people in close touch with the world and ech other, and for the advancement of education and for Christianity." ... "We can have good roads only when the expense of building and maintaining them is somewhat equally distributed." ... "Every country on earth that has good roads secured them by recognizing road building as a legitimate function of government, and it is safe to say we shall never have them in the United States without the Federal Government leads in the movement."

JAN 25, "Good Roads", page-one article reprinted from the New York Tribune: Describes techniques for the building and care of roads.

MAR 15, "Good Roads", page-one editorial reprinted from Good Roads Magazine: "The wise arrangement of tree growth along the lines of streets, roads and avenues is more nearly fruitful at producing financial benefit, pleasing and attractive surroundings than any other investment that can be made in the way of public improvements." ... "There is no one improvement that municipal engineering can arrange for that can help a suburban locality so much as tree planting."

MAR 22, "Good Roads", page-one editorial reprinted from Uptown Weekly: "The time has come when Congress should do something directly beneficial to the farming classes, and that thing can best be done by extending the aid of the general government to the States in road construction and improvement. The proposition to do so, in the form of what is now commonly known as the Brownlow-Latimer bill, has been generally discussed by the press, and has been endorsed by the National Grange, the National Good Roads Association, by farmer's societies, county organizations, State legislatures, State school officers and college presidents of eminent character, by leading ministers of the many churches, by State Governors, county officials, legal bodies, medical societies, trade and labor organizations, and by the President of the United States, who declared in a speech two years that the people had a right to demand it."

Landmarks Referenced
Depot at Bonsal. JAN 25, "Local Records": "The depot at Bonsal will completed in a month. The framing is nearly all done at Hamlet and will be put up in a short time after being hauled to Bonsal. A telephone line, instead of a telegraph line, is being erected between Bonsal and Durham, and will be completed in two weeks' time. No regular schedule has been put in operation, but freight trains are run occasionally from Durham to Bonsal."

Bridge Repairs. FEB 8, "Commissioners' Meeting": Account of $137.51 paid to "John L. Council for repairing bridge at Sears' mill". W.A. Copeland was paid $4.50 "for repairs on bridge on Roberson creek".

Culinary Notes
Page-one recipes. JAN 18, "Household Recipes": Graham Gems, Cornmeal Bread (Creole Recipe), Swan Pudding, Toasted Graham Gems, Monkey Pudding, Mutton Cutlets. MAR 1, "Household Affairs": Corn Pudding, Baker's Custard Pie, Stewed Sirloin of Beef, Apple Pie. MAR 29, "Household Affairs": Cheese Cakes, Dream Sandwiches, Steamed Brown Bread, Macaroni with Oysters, Apricot Tapioca.

Metereological Exceptionalism
FEB 1, editorial: "The sleet on last Thursday night was the heaviest that we remember ever having seen. The branches of the trees and every twig and bush were more heavily coated with ice than we have ever before seen ...." "Many of our public roads were obstructed with fallen limbs and uprooted trees, and there was less travelling done last Friday on any one day in a long time."

FEB 15, "Local Records": "Yesterday was as a delightful day as anyone could wish for."

MAR 1, "Local Records": "The past month has been the mildest and pleasantest February that has been known in this section for several years."

The Chatham Record was founded in 1878 and owed both its existence and its character to Henry Armand London (1846-1918). London was a Confederate veteran, having joined the army in 1864, his senior year at UNC-Chapel Hill. From William S. Powell's entry in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography: "Serving as a courier in Company I of the Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment, he participated in one of the last actions of the Civil War in carrying the message to General William R. Cox to cease firing because General Robert E. Lee had just surrendered." On returning to Pittsboro, London took active roles as banker, lawyer, and railroad developer, in addition to founding the Record.

During the present survey period, London's editorial voice bespeaks an intense, patriarchal focus on social control and a consensus among elites in the community. His affinity for the Confederacy, unreconstructed attitudes toward race, and high-handed scolding dominate the editorial and "Local Records" sections of the paper. One of the challenges of this exercise lies in selecting and presenting items from the paper without getting caught up in the editor's point of view. "Reads the Record" is on the beat of Chatham County and its story, not that of H.A. London. However, in these first few installments, before the Good Roads movement really picked up political steam following 1910, London's editorial voice takes prominence.

As we pick it up, the paper follows a strict and predictable format based around four broadsheet pages with seven columns per page. Each of the two interior pages supports a particular, recurring function. Page two runs editorials on the left, usually across two columns sometimes spilling into three. Extending across the seven-column structure to the right run brief opinion pieces and news dispatches, ranging in scope from local to regional to national and occasionally foreign. Letters to the editor occassionally appear on page two. Page three repeats the formula but calls itself "LOCAL RECORDS". It provides single-paragraph and often single-sentence notices, and mostly succinct commentary up to four or five paragraphs, regarding local and regional affairs. It runs into printed official notices and advertisements as it moves to the right. Page four is generally devoted to advertisements and syndicated columns.

The front page of the JAN 18 leads on the three leftmost columns with chapter 7 of a serial, "Little Make-Believe, or a Child of the Slums", by B.L. Farjeon. A recurring feature, "Woman's Realm", occupies two columns. Another recurring feature, "Household Affairs", runs in the sixth column, and the seventh and right-most column of JAN 18 is given to the "Good Roads" editorial described below.

"Little Make-Believe" ran on the front page of the Record through March 15, when a new serial would commence, "The Great Hesper, or the Search for the Biggest Diamond in the World," by Frank Barrett. Through the middle of the year, besides the serial, the front page rotated the recurring features. Other titles that lead the paper include "Popular Science", "With the Funny Fellows", "Farm and Stock Yard", "For the Younger Children....". Hard news would not lead until MAY 17, with the headline "Czar Opens Parliament".

Selected titles and quotations from "Woman's Realm". JAN 18, "Women With Federal Jobs": "Less than ten per cent of the Federal employees are women, and a great majority of them hold minor positions at small pay." FEB 1, "Feminine Press Agent": "The only woman in the world who travels as press agent for a circus, it is said, is Lillian Calvert Van Osten, who left the stage to exploit the merits of a Wild West show." MAR 8, "Shoes That Creak" and "Self-Government at Vassar".

The main editorial themes on page two through this period are Confederate memorials and commemorations, along with London's relentless broadsides against the state's Republicans. National and foreign affairs make limited appearances in the news or the editorials.

Chatham Rabbit Reads the Record

The Rabbit begins here a recurring feature called in full, "Chatham Rabbit Reads the Record", or "Reads the Record" for short. The ground rules are subject to complete revision and even abandonment according to the flimsiest of whims, but for the moment they stand as:

1) Examine a year's worth of issues of the county's longest running newspaper, The Chatham Record, at a time, and write in installments, starting with quarters but switching to half or full years as convenient. Most of the paper's run is available on microfilm at the North Carolina Collection.

2) Start with 1906 for a few reasons; first, because that's the origin of this guy. Second, because working through about a year and a half would bring it up to a century before our moment. Finally and most importantly, because in accord with one of the themes of this blog, it starts at the point in history where the automobile begins to overtake rail as the primary transportation technology in the county and in the country.

3) Work with selected sequences, to help keep the project manageable. The first series will end probably around 1908. Another series might survey the few years leading up to 1915 and the passage of road bonds around the county. Also, the 1920s hold a lot of interest, as does the period leading up to 1939-1940 and the visits of the Farm Securities Administration photographers [to be blogged upon soon].

4) Summarize and feature selected quotations, notices and storylines from the paper, with two objectives:

A) First, to trace the roads debates, and the transformations brought by the automobile; to gather data on notable landmarks; and to note the development of the county's infrastructure.

B) Second, to highlight stories from community life. Here, particularly during the period when the paper was edited by its founder, Henry Armand London, we are led by a relentlessly parochial and politically partisan editorial voice. But this project isn't about the editor or the editor's persona. Most of the interest lies in voices that make it through the editorial filter into the paper.

5) Important Disclaimer: This is not a systematic study. I expect it to be comprehensive but not exhaustive with respect to information on the theme of roads and roads policy. It will be highly selective on the cultural, social, political themes.

6) Organize items under headings to improve readability. Some of the headings should remain consistent, but others could change as the paper itself changes. The Rabbit reserves the right to change headings without notice or explanation. To start, we'll see:

Roads -- Policy, Reports, Opinion

Landmarks Referenced

National and Foreign Affairs: These should be very brief and selected references, only when notable for the slant of coverage or the historic background they provide for local events.

State of NC: State affairs, especially as they relate to the roads movement and the county.

Top Local Stories Reported: In particular, follow narrative themes that develop over time.

Culinary Notes: Titles of recipes provided, particularly those printed on page one or submitted by local cooks. If I have time, I'll type out selected recipes in separate blog posts.

Chatham Rabbit: Wherever the paper mentions anything having to do with this blog's mascot.

Headings that we'll start with in 1906, but may not apply in different periods of the paper's life:

If It Bleeds, and Other Mayhem: The paper at times seems to portray a world where the entire human race is under constant siege from violent and disruptive forces. Natural disasters, transportation disasters, mob violence, random criminal behavior, bloody coups, and grisly workplace accidents -- hardly a week of the Record goes by without a heaping helping of mayhem.

Metereological Exceptionalism: Features statements about the weather that describe in terms exceeding the current year or season. For example, "the coldest day I can ever remember" would make it, but "the coldest day of the winter would not."

06 July 2007

Setting Out

[The Chatham rabbit postcard immediately below is hot-linked from the North Carolina Collection's "North Carolina Postcards" digital collection. Other photos courtesy the author.]

Now comes the moment that changes the place forever. It has happened before, of course, and we're only kidding ourselves if we think the dirt here hasn't seen change. It happened when the settlers of European lines began to identify themselves as the people of New Hope or Sandy Creek. It happened when some of them registered among their property the laborers of African descent, and set them to digging the rows where the new land prospered.

It happened when the rail chugged through, then again when the paved roads were laid down on a bed of federal money. It happened again when a generation of micro-farmers began refitting the old tobacco fields and plantation sites to an alternative, regional economy.

It happened when a building concern from Chapel Hill laid the first of the mixed-use communities and set off the wave of suburban development that washes over the place now. And speaking of washing and waves, it happened when the US Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Haw and flooded New Hope Valley, and for the sake of flood control and bathwater in Raleigh, filled Jordan Lake.

But in terms of force, sweep and pace, it's hard to top what's happening now. For those of us who live in the place, and those in the region who see it as an outskirt, the trend is well-known. Dozens of residential developments are underway. The population will grow from just under 50,000 at the 2000 census estimate to perhaps over 100,000 by 2020, with the bulk of growth concentrated in the northeast corner.

At this moment, as the gears of the growth machine mesh, Chatham County, North Carolina finds itself in an advancing state of disassembly. The developers' machines peel back layers of use and disuse to show new and transitory contexts for old things. Places and objects appear from where they lay in the shade, or under brush, or buried under topsoil. Heavy machinery roots up the place's stones, turns its insides out to the sky in a riot of clay and cut green timber, and piles it all along with the detritus of the old infrastructure off to the sides of job sites.

Now the eye is engaged by old forms in new placements,

new, transitory vistas,

invading grasses,

receding foliage,

heaps of both solid and brittle pieces.

Boulder pile. Pipe heap.

Over time, the agent of this transformation, the growth machine, will tamp it all down again, landscape it with stones shipped in from elsewhere, and label it with new, focus-grouped names like Briar Chapel, the Parks at Meadowview, Legend Oaks.

Some people mourn this change as a travesty, and an affront to nature. Others celebrate it as progress. While the Rabbit certainly has opinions on the state of a meadow (as well as a forest, glade, ridge, hollow, field ...), he has only two sharp eyes and a hankering for scampering to affect the course of the growth machine. This document is a change log. The philosophy: observe, research, and connect. Critique where there's leisure to do it, and on rare occassions, advocate. But neither endorse nor spin an ideology besides one: Now we owe it to the place to keep an accounting of names as they change, to see the land where it's turned, and to make its olds stories alive in the ongoing.