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Charles Brantley Aycock Collection


Charles Brantley Aycock, known as the educational governor of North Carolina, was, born in 1859 in Wayne County. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in three years, he began to practice law in Goldsboro in 1881. In 1900 he was elected governor on a platform of white supremacy and the promise of an improved educational system in North Carolina. After his term as governor, he resumed his law practice in Goldsboro and later in Raleigh. He returned to political life in 1911 by announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate, but he died suddenly on April 4, 1912, while making a speech in Birmingham, Alabama.Although the Charles Aycock Collection contains a few Aycock Pap ... (more below)

Title

Charles Brantley Aycock Collection

Collection Number

PC.50

Date(s)

1880 - 1959

Language

English

Physical Description
Items
ca. 1,454
Physical Description
Items
1454.00
Abstract

Charles Brantley Aycock, known as the educational governor of North Carolina, was, born in 1859 in Wayne County. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in three years, he began to practice law in Goldsboro in 1881. In 1900 he was elected governor on a platform of white supremacy and the promise of an improved educational system in North Carolina. After his term as governor, he resumed his law practice in Goldsboro and later in Raleigh. He returned to political life in 1911 by announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate, but he died suddenly on April 4, 1912, while making a speech in Birmingham, Alabama.

Although the Charles Aycock Collection contains a few Aycock Papers, Clarence Poe accumulated the great majority of the material. Poe was married to Aycock's daughter Alice and was instrumental in establishing various memorials to the former governor. Poe's papers in connection with these projects form most of the collection. The Aycock papers in the collection include correspondence, speeches, letter press books, transcripts of a trial, and miscellaneous notes made by Aycock.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, State Archives of North Carolina.

Creator

Poe, Clarence.

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.


Processed by Betty H. Carter, July, 1968; Additions to the biographical note by Ashley Yandle, March, 2007

Encoded by Dietra Stanley, November, 2005; Additional encoding by Ashley Yandle, March, 2007


Charles Brantley Aycock is recognized as North Carolina's "Education Governor." During his time in office, 877 libraries were added in rural schools, statewide adoption of textbooks was establish, teaching standards and teacher pay were raised, and hundreds of new schools were built. By the end of Aycock's term as governor, North Carolina's ranking among states by the amount of money spent on public education moved from thirty-second to twenty-first.

Born in 1859 in Wayne County to Benjamin Aycock and Serena Hooks Aycock. Charles Brantley Aycock was the youngest of ten children and attended private schools in Fremont and Wilson. When he was sixteen years old, he taught public school in Fremont for a term. He went to college in 1877 and, after graduating from the University of North Carolina in three years, he began to practice law in Goldsboro in 1881.

From 1880 on, Aycock was very active in the Democratic Party, often making speeches on behalf of both local and national candidates for various offices. He attempted to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District in 1890, but he withdrew from the running due to a deadlock in the voting. During this time he was also active in education, campaigning for a special tax for schools in Goldsboro in 1881 and serving as Wayne County Superintendent of Public Schools from 1881-1882. In 1893 Aycock was appointed the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina and he remained in that capacity until 1897. Two years later, he worked with Democratic lawmakers to propose an amendment to the state constitution requiring voters to pass a literacy test and pay a poll tax. The amendment was eventually passed in the same 1900 election in which Aycock was elected governor.

Aycock ran for governor on a platform of white supremacy and the promise of an improved educational system in North Carolina. After his term ended, he resumed his law practice in Goldsboro and later in Raleigh. He returned to political life in 1911 by announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate, but he died suddenly on April 4, 1912, while making a speech in Birmingham, Alabama. Aycock was married twice - to Varina Davis Woodard in 1881, with whom he had three children, and to her sister Cora in 1891, who gave birth to seven children. Alice Aycock, Charles Brantley Aycock's daughter from his first marriage, married Clarence Poe.

For further biographical information on Aycock, see William S. Powell (ed.),  Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 1, 73-75; and Samuel A. Ashe (ed.),  Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. I, 76-92.


Charles Brantley Aycock is recognized as North Carolina's "Education Governor." During his time in office, 877 libraries were added in rural schools, statewide adoption of textbooks was establish, teaching standards and teacher pay were raised, and hundreds of new schools were built. By the end of Aycock's term as governor, North Carolina's ranking among states by the amount of money spent on public education moved from thirty-second to twenty-first.

Born in 1859 in Wayne County to Benjamin Aycock and Serena Hooks Aycock. Charles Brantley Aycock was the youngest of ten children and attended private schools in Fremont and Wilson. When he was sixteen years old, he taught public school in Fremont for a term. He went to college in 1877 and, after graduating from the University of North Carolina in three years, he began to practice law in Goldsboro in 1881.

From 1880 on, Aycock was very active in the Democratic Party, often making speeches on behalf of both local and national candidates for various offices. He attempted to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District in 1890, but he withdrew from the running due to a deadlock in the voting. During this time he was also active in education, campaigning for a special tax for schools in Goldsboro in 1881 and serving as Wayne County Superintendent of Public Schools from 1881-1882. In 1893 Aycock was appointed the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina and he remained in that capacity until 1897. Two years later, he worked with Democratic lawmakers to propose an amendment to the state constitution requiring voters to pass a literacy test and pay a poll tax. The amendment was eventually passed in the same 1900 election in which Aycock was elected governor.

Aycock ran for governor on a platform of white supremacy and the promise of an improved educational system in North Carolina. After his term ended, he resumed his law practice in Goldsboro and later in Raleigh. He returned to political life in 1911 by announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate, but he died suddenly on April 4, 1912, while making a speech in Birmingham, Alabama. Aycock was married twice - to Varina Davis Woodard in 1881, with whom he had three children, and to her sister Cora in 1891, who gave birth to seven children. Alice Aycock, Charles Brantley Aycock's daughter from his first marriage, married Clarence Poe.

For further biographical information on Aycock, see William S. Powell (ed.),  Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 1, 73-75; and Samuel A. Ashe (ed.),  Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. I, 76-92.


[Identification of item], PC.50, Charles Brantley Aycock Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.


The items listed below were given by Dr. Clarence Poe, Raleigh, North Carolina. Biennial Report, 1930-1932: newspaper clippings and copy of letter; July 25, 1934: copies of letters, Clarence Poe to Dr. Horace Williams (July 10, 1934) and Dr. Williams to Poe (July 21, 1934); May 11, 1945: 3 mimeographed copies of Universal Education speech; July 16, 1958: photocopies of 2 letters, Aycock to Professor E. C. Brooks (April 1, 1912) and Aycock to Col. A. C. Davis (September 27, 1904); September 16, 1958: correspondence, newspaper clippings, material pertaining to Aycock Memorial; June 12, 1959: miscellaneous correspondence, speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, etc., scrapbook of newspaper clippings; October 29, 1959: 1 page typed recollection of Clarence Poe concerning Governor Aycock's Approach to Voters When Advocating School Taxes; February 11, 1960: 2 letters, memo of conversation and notes for speech.

Other material received - Biennial Report, 1930-1932: 1 letter presented by R. W. Winston; October 22, 1962: photocopy of 1910 note, 2 letters (1900 and 1903), newspaper clipping (n.d.), and typewritten copy of 3 letters (1890 and 1899) transferred from Historic Sites Division, Dept. of Archives and History.


Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)  http://www.ncarchives.dcr.state.nc.us.


Although the Charles Aycock Collection contains a few Aycock Papers, Clarence Poe accumulated the great majority of the material. Poe was married to Aycock's daughter Alice and was instrumental in establishing various memorials to the former governor. Poe's papers in connection with these projects form most of the collection.

The Aycock papers include correspondence, speeches, letter press books, transcripts of a trial, and miscellaneous notes made by Aycock. One letter press book (l893-l897), containing 486 items, was written during his term as District Attorney for the United States Circuit Court, Eastern District of North Carolina. The letters discuss various legal cases, including one called  "United States vs Three Barrels of Whiskey." From the letters, it would appear that the operation of illegal stills was quite a problem in eastern North Carolina.

The next largest group of papers concerns Aycock's campaign for the United States Senate in 1912. Included are letters received by Aycock concerning his candidacy and a letter press book containing copies of 63 letters written by Aycock during the campaign. He said he did not want to depend on an organization, machine, or money--he had confidence in the people. He refused to say anything bad about the other candidates, and he did not want to spend over $2,000 in the campaign. The letters between the four candidates agreeing to a primary are included (January, 1912), as is a group of letters concerning the drinking charges made against Aycock in the course of the campaign, (October, 1911-April, 1912). Aycock died before he began his formal canvassing of the state.

Other subjects discussed in the Aycock papers are a libel suit against the  News and Observer (September 2, 1911) and a possible enlargement of the Capitol or the construction of a new state building (October 24, 1910). Among the miscellaneous items are fragments of a speech in Aycock's handwriting and the original copies of two speeches that were apparently used by Aycock when delivering them.

The items relating to Poe's connection with Aycock include 13 letters written by Aycock to Poe between 1902 and 1912 and a copy of an Aycock letter in 1912 concerning the up coming marriage of Poe. One letter of particular interest is one in which Aycock discusses the lynchings that had occurred during his administration (October 5, 1903). The remainder of the collection was created after Aycock's death.

Immediately after Aycock's death, Poe and R. D. W. Connor began to collect reminiscences and other material about Aycock to be included in a book,  The Life and Speeches of Charles Brantley Aycock (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1912 . The correspondence of Connor and Poe in this project as well as the contributions made by Aycock's friends for the book are included in the collection. The reminiscences were written by many people, including his private secretary, P. M. Pearsall, his law partner, R. W. Winston, and a prisoner whom he had pardoned; and they discussed many facets of his life from his boyhood to his death. Other material in the collection which relates to the book are copies of many of Aycock's speeches, speeches made by others about Aycock, notes concerning the book, and copies of portions of it. At one time, the book was supposed to have included the letters as well as the speeches of Aycock. Perhaps for this reason there are transcripts of many of the letters in the collection as well as transcripts of letters not in the collection. It should be added that Poe collected reminiscences and comments about Aycock throughout his life, and there are such items in the collection dated as late as 1959.

There are several minor groups of correspondence in the collection. One group of letters is between Poe and Oliver Orr, Aycock's biographer (  Charles Brantley Aycock, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1961). This group of correspondence concerns the book that Orr was writing and Poe's aid to him. Another group of letters concerns Mrs. Aycock. Included are Poe's accounting to her of the progress of the sales of the book and a letter from Governor Broughton telling her of her appointment as President of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Railroad Company. There is a small group of material concerning a Howard Chandler Christy portrait of Aycock that was hung in the House of Representatives chamber in the Capitol in 1951, on the 50th anniversary of Aycock's inauguration, and there are also several letters concerning the naming of a ship in honor of Aycock (January-February, 1943).

The transcripts of the letters not in this collection discuss a wide range of topics: railroad rates (January 15, 1908), protective tariffs (May 20 and n.d., 1909), compulsory education (May, 1910 and November, 1909), the racial controversy (November 6, 1903), and the North Carolina Supreme Court decision allowing the legislature to declare a crime a petty misdemeanor (October 18 and n.d., 1909).

The transcripts of Volumes V and VI of the case of  "Ware-Kramer Tobacco Company vs The American Tobacco Company and Wells-Whitehead Tobacco Company" are in the collection. Aycock's closing speech on behalf of the American Tobacco Company is included in these volumes.

There is an extensive collection of newspaper clippings from l894 to 1959. They cover all phases of Aycock's life and death as well as some of the memorials which honor him. The ceremonies in 1951 concerning the 50th annivesary of his inauguration, the erection of his statue on Capitol Square, and the restoration of his birthplace are some of the topics covered by the clippings. There are also various programs, pamphlets, and photographs concerning some of the Aycock memorials including the architect's drawing of the restored birthplace.

Among the miscellaneous material are two biographical sketches and some genealogical information concerning the Aycocks, Woodards, and other families related to Aycock.


Although the Charles Aycock Collection contains a few Aycock Papers, Clarence Poe accumulated the great majority of the material. Poe was married to Aycock's daughter Alice and was instrumental in establishing various memorials to the former governor. Poe's papers in connection with these projects form most of the collection.

The Aycock papers include correspondence, speeches, letter press books, transcripts of a trial, and miscellaneous notes made by Aycock. One letter press book (l893-l897), containing 486 items, was written during his term as District Attorney for the United States Circuit Court, Eastern District of North Carolina. The letters discuss various legal cases, including one called  "United States vs Three Barrels of Whiskey." From the letters, it would appear that the operation of illegal stills was quite a problem in eastern North Carolina.

The next largest group of papers concerns Aycock's campaign for the United States Senate in 1912. Included are letters received by Aycock concerning his candidacy and a letter press book containing copies of 63 letters written by Aycock during the campaign. He said he did not want to depend on an organization, machine, or money--he had confidence in the people. He refused to say anything bad about the other candidates, and he did not want to spend over $2,000 in the campaign. The letters between the four candidates agreeing to a primary are included (January, 1912), as is a group of letters concerning the drinking charges made against Aycock in the course of the campaign, (October, 1911-April, 1912). Aycock died before he began his formal canvassing of the state.

Other subjects discussed in the Aycock papers are a libel suit against the  News and Observer (September 2, 1911) and a possible enlargement of the Capitol or the construction of a new state building (October 24, 1910). Among the miscellaneous items are fragments of a speech in Aycock's handwriting and the original copies of two speeches that were apparently used by Aycock when delivering them.

The items relating to Poe's connection with Aycock include 13 letters written by Aycock to Poe between 1902 and 1912 and a copy of an Aycock letter in 1912 concerning the up coming marriage of Poe. One letter of particular interest is one in which Aycock discusses the lynchings that had occurred during his administration (October 5, 1903). The remainder of the collection was created after Aycock's death.

Immediately after Aycock's death, Poe and R. D. W. Connor began to collect reminiscences and other material about Aycock to be included in a book,  The Life and Speeches of Charles Brantley Aycock (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1912 . The correspondence of Connor and Poe in this project as well as the contributions made by Aycock's friends for the book are included in the collection. The reminiscences were written by many people, including his private secretary, P. M. Pearsall, his law partner, R. W. Winston, and a prisoner whom he had pardoned; and they discussed many facets of his life from his boyhood to his death. Other material in the collection which relates to the book are copies of many of Aycock's speeches, speeches made by others about Aycock, notes concerning the book, and copies of portions of it. At one time, the book was supposed to have included the letters as well as the speeches of Aycock. Perhaps for this reason there are transcripts of many of the letters in the collection as well as transcripts of letters not in the collection. It should be added that Poe collected reminiscences and comments about Aycock throughout his life, and there are such items in the collection dated as late as 1959.

There are several minor groups of correspondence in the collection. One group of letters is between Poe and Oliver Orr, Aycock's biographer (  Charles Brantley Aycock, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1961). This group of correspondence concerns the book that Orr was writing and Poe's aid to him. Another group of letters concerns Mrs. Aycock. Included are Poe's accounting to her of the progress of the sales of the book and a letter from Governor Broughton telling her of her appointment as President of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Railroad Company. There is a small group of material concerning a Howard Chandler Christy portrait of Aycock that was hung in the House of Representatives chamber in the Capitol in 1951, on the 50th anniversary of Aycock's inauguration, and there are also several letters concerning the naming of a ship in honor of Aycock (January-February, 1943).

The transcripts of the letters not in this collection discuss a wide range of topics: railroad rates (January 15, 1908), protective tariffs (May 20 and n.d., 1909), compulsory education (May, 1910 and November, 1909), the racial controversy (November 6, 1903), and the North Carolina Supreme Court decision allowing the legislature to declare a crime a petty misdemeanor (October 18 and n.d., 1909).

The transcripts of Volumes V and VI of the case of  "Ware-Kramer Tobacco Company vs The American Tobacco Company and Wells-Whitehead Tobacco Company" are in the collection. Aycock's closing speech on behalf of the American Tobacco Company is included in these volumes.

There is an extensive collection of newspaper clippings from l894 to 1959. They cover all phases of Aycock's life and death as well as some of the memorials which honor him. The ceremonies in 1951 concerning the 50th annivesary of his inauguration, the erection of his statue on Capitol Square, and the restoration of his birthplace are some of the topics covered by the clippings. There are also various programs, pamphlets, and photographs concerning some of the Aycock memorials including the architect's drawing of the restored birthplace.

Among the miscellaneous material are two biographical sketches and some genealogical information concerning the Aycocks, Woodards, and other families related to Aycock.


  • Aycock, Charles B. (Charles Brantley), 1859-1912.
  • Pearsall, P. M.
  • Democratic Party (N.C.)
  • News and observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Distilling, Illicit.
  • Education--North Carolina--History--20th century.
  • Governors
  • Libel and slander.
  • Lynching--North Carolina--History--20th century.
  • Memorials
  • Politicians
  • Public prosecutors
  • Race relations
  • Tobacco industry--Law and legislation.
  • Trials
  • Clippings files.
  • Speeches.

Item: PC.50.1  
Letter Press Book
1893-1897

Box: PC.50.2  
Aycock Correspondence, n.d.
1889-1912,

16830
Letter Press Book
1912

16831
Miscellaneous

Box: PC.50.3  
R. D. W. Connor - Clarence Poe Correspondence, ,1911-1912,1954-1955
1881 1911-1912 1954-1955

Box: PC.50.4  
Miscellaneous Correspondence
1902-1955

Box: PC.50.5  
Speeches by Aycock

Box: PC.50.6  
Reminiscences about Aycock

Box: PC.50.7  
Ware-Kramer Tobacco Company vs The American Tobacco Company and Wells-Whitehead Tobacco Company
July, 1911

Box: PC.50.8  
Photographs, Memorials, Programs Drawings of Aycock Birthplace Restoration

Box: PC.50.9  
Genealogical Material--Biographical Sketches Speeches and articles about Aycock

Box: PC.50.10  
Scrapbook of Newspaper Clippings
1880-1912

Box: PC.50.11  
Newspaper clippings
1894-1959

Box: PC.50.12  
Transcripts of various material

16842
Miscellaneous items