01/18/07 — Historical groups will join forces

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Historical groups will join forces

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 18, 2007 1:51 PM

This year will be a big one for history buffs in Wayne County.

Local historians and historical groups are planning a number of events to highlight the county's rich historical heritage, with several Civil War battle re-enactments planned, a new book on life in Wayne during Reconstruction and a new Web page that will serve as a bulletin board for historical events in the area.

Several historical groups joined together last year to create the Wayne County Cultural and Heritage Consortium, which is in the process of building a Web site that will link all of its member group Web sites and help guide visitors who are interested in exploring the area's history. The Web site is currently under construction. It is located at www.waynecountyheritage.org.

Emily Weil has been writing a book on Goldsboro and Wayne County during Reconstruction. It is expected to be published this spring. Mrs. Weil has uncovered a wealth of little-known information on the period, when the county, like the rest of the South, was under martial law and residents struggled to make ends meet during the post-war years.

Mrs. Weil has said she will give proceeds from sales of the book to the county Historical Association. The book is expected to shed light on how county residents managed to rebuild following the disastrous four years that took the lives of dozens of Wayne County men and destroyed the county's economy.

Battle re-enactments will be held in Seven Springs in June during the town's Ole Timey Days Festival. Seven Springs, known as Whitehall at the time, was the scene of a fierce battle between Union and Confederate forces in 1862.

A re-enactment of the Battle of Goldsborough Bridge, which came a few days later, is scheduled for early December at the site on the Neuse River south of the city. Union forces that had marched from New Bern attempted to burn the railroad bridge here to cut the Confederate supply line between the port at Wilmington and the battlefields of Virginia.

The battlefield site near the intersection of Old Mount Olive Highway and U.S. 117 South was resurrected recently by the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield Association. And the association will be hosting the re-enactment in celebration of the battle's 145th anniversary.

The county's museum will sponsor a number of exhibits this year, highlighting various aspects of the county's nearly 200 years of history. An exhibit celebrating Black History Month will be placed on display soon. An exhibit on barbecue and another on the Boys Scouts have drawn many visitors, museum officials said.

Consortium members include the Goldsboro Downtown Development Corp., the Wayne County Museum, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the Wayne County Public Library, the Arts Council, Goldsboro-Wayne Travel and Tourism, the Chambers of Commerce for Goldsboro and Mount Olive, the Goldsboro Battlefield Association, the city's Parks and Recreation Department, Waynesborough Village and the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace.

The consortium also plans to sponsor a two-day symposium this fall at which several speakers will talk about preserving old homes and obtaining tax credits to help pay for renovation work, grant-writing, preserving old photos and other historical items.