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? PROGRESS SENTINEL
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VOL. XXXXVHI NO. 49 USPS 162-860 KENANSV1ILE, NC 28349 DECEMBER 5. 1985 16 PAGES THIS WEEK 10 CENTS PLUS TAX
Progress To Claim
* Office This Spring
The Duplin County crossroads
local news center soon will fall to
modern times. Bowdens' post office
will distribute its last letters, circu
lars, magazines and catalogs some
time in the spring.
The smallest country post offices
^ have been disappearing for several
vr decades as rural population de
clined, roads and delivery service
improved and more widespread
ownership of cars and trucks made
travel to larger trading centers easier
In the horse-and-buggy and Model
T Ford days of the early 20th
century, a drive of four or five miles
over muddy country roads could eat
up a respectable part of a day. A
country store every few miles was a
^ necessity, and a post office added to
the trading post's convenience and
In places like Bowdens, along U.S.
117 between Warsaw and Faison,
the post office attached to the
general store was the country news
center and nerve center.
The stores usually sold everything
from horse collars to the latest patent
medicines for croup. Stocks included
clothing, shoes, dry food, staples,
Acanned goods, many farm and
garden tools, many hardware items,
tin pans, dishes, washboards, tubs,
soaps and the iron kettles and pots
prevalent in earlier tiems.
Many carried livestock and poultry
feed items and fertilizer.
The Bowdens post office was part
of this scene. It was part of the old
PVfcer Store, separated by a oarti
' tfWf anaSeivetk'iyriWown rroriMooiT
Today, the store stands empty, a
? relic of the bygone era. A mailbox
leans against one of the pillars
holding the roof over the old paved
entryway. A large outdoor ther
mometer provides easy temperature
reading on one side of the front.
The post office sign reading "U.S.
Post Office Bowdens, N.C., 28322"
decorates the other side along with a
hanging plant and an outside light.
Inside, one wall features an old-time,
real-wood wall clock, complete with
an advertisement for Coca Cola: 5
Aleatz P. Jordan stamps mail in
the post office as she has since 1952.
She plans to retire in the spring, and
that will be the end of the office.
The Bowdens name will be con
tinued, she said. Mail for the
Bowdens area will be distributed by
a rural carrier from the Warsaw post
office. It will be addressed to
Bowdens recipients by their box
number, and, although the Bowdens
name will remain part of the ad
dress, the old zip code wilf not. The
area will be part of the Warsaw zip
code of 28398.
Mrs. Jordan does not anticipate
retirement. "This is my life. I've
either been in the store or the post
office all my life," she said.
The first postmaster was Daniel
Bowden in 1874. The town was
named after a General Bowden who
Mrs. Jordan succeeded her father,
Henry A. Parker, as postmaster in
1952. He owned the store and ran the
post office for many years. The store
closed in 1981 after 111 years in
business. Parker succeeded W.E.
Fussell as postmaster.
The post office has 78 boxes and
served 75 families. Its biggest mail
customer is the Georgia-Pacific
Mrs. Jordan sai4 the office was
supposed to have been closed in
September. A letter-writing cam
paign among community residents
opposing the loss of Bowdens'
identity helped delay the closing.
The result was that the Bowdens
name will be retained on the
addresses of mail to the community.
East Duplin Teacher
e Named Tops In Science
Mary Ann Grady of Beulaville has
been named one of 11 district
winners of the Distinguished Service
in Science Education awards recently
presented by the N.C. Science
She had previously been named
outstanding science teacher and
teacher of the year for Duplin
County. A teacher at East Duplin
High School, she has 38 years of
teaching experience and is a district
director of the N.C. Science Teachers
The district awards were pre
sented during the group's 17th
annual state conference in Raleigh
? Municipal Association
Alex Brown, mayor of Greenevers,
was elected chairman of the Duplin
Municipal Association during its
recent annual meeting in Rose Hill.
Garence Brown, a Rose Hill town
commissioner, was named vice
chairman. Ethel T. Boney, Green
evers town clerk, was named secre
Retiring as chairman is Arnold
Duncan, a Rose Hill town commis
Toys For Tots
The Kenansville Jaycees are sponsoring
) Toys for Tots this Christmas. The Jaycees
are accepting new and used toys at Dean
i Teachey's barber shop in Kenansville. The
I toys will be distributed to needy children
f with the assistance of the Duplin County
j Social Services. Toys will be accepted until
0| December 18. For more information contact
1 Randy Shoup 6r any member of the
I Kenansville Jaycees.
W, i *
Bowdens Post Office. Along NC 117, North Of Warsaw
Based On Tradition
The brightly lit tree, gaily
wrapped gifts, stockings hung by the.
chimney ? much of our modern-day
Christmas celebration has roots in
the customs of our European fore
fathers. Still, settlers in the New
World found ways to make the
holiday their own, especially in the
South. The Kenan family was one of
the many families who borrowed
tradition, but also personalized their
Actually, if the first Pilgrims had
had their way. Dec. 25 would be iust
like any other day on the calendar. In
1620, the Puritans at Plymouth
Colony banned Christmas cele
brations, connecting the holiday with
the Angelican revc-hng of the bng.
land they had left behind. One dis
senter, though. Captain Christopher
Hones of the Mayflower, did open a
barrel of beer for the occasion.
Connecticut law was even more
specific, prohibiting "the making of
fashion with Christmas Day being a
day of balls, toasting the success of
their tobacco plantations, and enjoy -
friends. In the early days, gifts were
repealed in 1681, Christmas was
considered a common workday in
Boston until 1856.
Farther south, Virginians kept to
the Anglican customs by feasting on
goose and plum pudding and
burning the Yule log. North Caro
linians celebrated in much the same
with Christmas Day being a day
of balls, toastine the success r>r their
tobacco plantations, and enjoying
friends. In the early days, gifts
were given o?lv to children. Christ
mas trees" were unknot.1 to mid
19th century Americans. Uniquely
American is the tree that reaches
from floor to ceiling. In Germany
where the Christmas tree originated,
the evergreen was set on the
tabletop. It an evergreen was not
available, the early pioneers made
do with sassafras or oak trees.
Original to America is the com
munity tree. Up untit about 1900,
only one in five families had a
Christmas tree of their own. Instead,
an evergreen was set up in the school
house, church or town hall for
everyone to decorate and enjoy.
Another familiar holiday plant,
previously known only south of the
border, became Americanized. The
U.S. ambassador to Mexico brought
the showy scarlet plant home to
South Carolina in 1829 and so Joel R.
Poinsett gave the poinsettia its
By adopting and adapting the
different customs of its inhabitants,
America has created a "melting
pot" holiday, as spirited as spiritual
and all of these traditions are
considered when Liberty Hall and its
support buildings are decorated each
year for the holiday season.
Open house activities at Liberty
Hall are scheduled for Sunday, Dec.
15 from 1-5 p.m. and there is no
admission charge. The house will
remain decorated for guests and
tours throughout the holiday season.
For more information, call 296-0522.
Postmistress Aleatz Jordan Stamps Mail
Names Penney Chairman
Duplin Board Says Wait For Vote
The Duplin County Board of
Commissioners turned down a re
quest Monday to authorize a $10
million school bond referendum.
School Board Chairman Carl Pate
and Superintendent L.S. Guy asked
the board to authorize the refe
rendum. They said they would like
the referendum to be held in March.
Under North Carolina law, county
school boards are not able to levy
taxes or call for bond issue refe
rendums. They must come to county
boards of commissioners for public
Commissioner W.J. Costin moved
to authorize the referendum. He
stipulated it should be held during
the May primary. The motion died
for lack of a second.
"The school board is elected just
like I am and its members seem to
think the bond issue is needed,"
Costin said. "I think the people
should make the decision.''
Other commissioners said they
wanted more time to study the
Pate said he would like to have a
referendum in March because he
believes the bond referendum will
stand a better chance if it is tiiv. v>4*!j
question on the ballot.
Commissioner Allen Nethercutt
said few people vote in such refe
rendums. "Back when we held a
watershed referendum only four
percent of the electorate turned out.
I'd like to see all the people
involved," he said.
"I believe in pay as you go and I
thought we'd been doing a pretty
good job," said Commissioner D.J.
Guy said with a bond issue, the
people using schools 15 years from
now would be paying for them.
Fussell noted such a bond issue
would cost $800,000 in interest right
at the start. "Give us 8 or 10 years
and we think we can do it (without a
bond issue). We can keep the rain off
your head and keep you warm,"
A state study of school facilities
called for spending $17.9 million for
improvements. The state plan faced
strong objections in hearings
throughout the county. The school
board eliminated a consolidated
North Duplin-James Kenan High
School from the plan, reducing the
projected cost to aboyt $11 million.
The county has obligated $1.5
million for expansion of James
Kenan High School. The work is in
Features of the school board's
plan include new elementary schools
at the B.F. Grady and Chinquapin
sites and a new middle school at
Beulaville. It would also include
some additions to North Duplin
schools, a band room at the Charity
school near Rose Hill and an
auditorium at Wallace-Rose Hill
Dovie Penney, the first woman
elected to the Board of Commis
sioners, will head the board in 1986,
the final year of her first term.
Mrs. Penney of Wallace was
named chairman by the other com
missioners at the Monday annual
organizing session. She succeeds
Calvin Coolidge Turner. The board
named D.J. Fussell of Rose Hill as
vice chairman to succeed Mrs.
Duplin County property owners
will receive notice of their new tax
value assessments early next year.
John Rudd of Pearson Revaluation
Co., which is making the revaluation
of property in the county, said the
work is nearly completed. "New
valuation notices will be mailed
about the first of the year," he said.
State law requires that property be
revalued for tax purposes every eight
The use-value schedule for farm
land will be available from the state
at the next board meeting. The
schedule can be used for farm land if
a farm owner elects to have hi', .?eal
property tax rate based on the
agricultural use of his land rather
than the market value that is
normally require J.
"We know that farm land value is
down. It is 30 percent below what it
was six months ago," Rudd said.
"I don't want to encourage any
one, because even though it has
dropped it still is not down to the
listed value of 1978. There's going to
be some problems. They'll fire off
complaints at the country store, but
if they come to see us we can explain
what's going on," he said.
"We try to find the market value \
of the laftid. The people are con
cerned about the tax. The tax rate
hasn't been set. The commissioner*
set the tax rate," Rudd said. '