05 April 2014

Two downtown images

Today, my mother and I paid a visit to The History Place, which is Morehead City's museum and cultural center. An old friend of mine — we grew together as playmates, neighbors, and distant cousins — does genealogy research there on a volunteer basis. We talked about old times and the old families of the town.

Morehead was founded as a municipality only in the mid-1850s, but Europeans have lived here on the spit of land where the town is located, known earlier as Shepard's Point, since the mid- to late 1600s. In fact, the first English colony in the New World was established just a few miles north (or east — there is some question about which coastal island it was located on) in 1585, but it was a failure. The colonists all disappeared within a couple of years and were never heard from again. The first English child ever born in America was born there, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England.

As for the town gate mentioned on the sign on the left, a few decades later it was moved to 14th street. That's where my family lived starting in the late 1800s or earlier. It's where I lived from 1949 until about 1970, and where my mother lived, in the same house, from 1951 until 2005. I was born in a neighborhood called "the promise land" (the land of promise). We were part of the local clan of people named Willis, who came here from England.

This wall painting on a downtown building is much more recent. The story is that it was painted by a group of high school students, maybe in the 1980s. By then, I had been making trips to France, and living there off and on in, for more than a decade.


  1. Off topic - I think the Sanitary Restaurant burned awhile ago. Was it rebuilt? Hope you get to Wilber's for some BBQ. Please say hello to New Bern for me.

  2. I haven't heard of any fire at the Sanitary, and I see no evidence of it. I'll ask MA. I don't know whether I'll get up to Goldsboro or not. The round-trip drive is 200 miles (more than 300 km). I'll give your regards to the NB.

  3. Interesting post. The history of your coastline is still mysterious. I guess the English were trying to establish themselves apart from the Dutch at that time.

  4. Very interesting -- so fascinating that the first English child ever born in America, was born there!

    I don't mean to be indiscreet, but how is it that you were living in that house from 1949 on, but your mother not until 1951?

    1. Judy, when I was born in 49 we lived in one house. Then, in 51, we moved to a different house on the same block. MA lived in that house until 2005, when she sold it to move into her retirement complex apartment.


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