Big Event this Weekend at Averasboro

History will come alive this weekend at Averasboro.  Come visit Oak Grove Plantation House, an original home used as a Hospital during the Battle of Averasboro.  There will be both Confederate and Union Re-inactors on hand.  You can tour the Plantation House, walk through the Camps, see live demonstrations, or purchase wares from the sutlers.

The Oak Grove Plantation’s living history will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be food available for purchase.  Cost will be $5 for adults, and children under 12 will be admitted free.

To find out more about Oak Grove and the event, read
“Living history meets cannon balls, encampments, and possible ghosts.”


Grandson of Captain James Smith Evans contacts the Camp

James Smith Evans, III recently discovered our website and decided to contact us by e-mail.  Mr. Evans graciously has sent us a couple of photos of Captain James Smith Evans.

Captain James Smith Evans

Captain James Smith Evans

The second photo is a family portrait.   Captain James Evans is wearing the bow tie.

Family of James Smith Evans & Lucy Dickson Pearsall

Family of James Smith Evans & Lucy Dickson Pearsall

Mix-up in Confederate Records Discovered

Renowned Civil War Author Wade Sokolosky delivered the program at the June meeting. In compiling research for his upcoming book on the Battle of Wise Forks, Sokolosky discovered an oddity in the Confederate Service Records. Soldiers who were wounded near Kinston were reported as having been immediately sent to the Confederate General Hospital at Greensboro, and then sent on a day or two later to the Confederate General Hospital at Raleigh. It would seem that a wounded soldier would be sent to the closest hospital, not by-passing several hospitals along the way. Even if this occurred, why would all of the soldiers have been sent way out to Greensboro?

Sokolosky has proven that an error does exist in the Confederate Records in the National Archives File. He has proven through several sources that a Confederate General Hospital did exist at Goldsboro, even though the National Archives shows no Hospital at Goldsboro. City of Goldsboro records and historical markers identify the location of the Hospital. Sokolosky also uncovered a diary of a nurse who worked in the Hospital. In short, the Confederate General Hospital was at Goldsboro and on March 11, 1865 due to the advancing Federals, the Hospital was move to Greensboro. Unfortunately the same register was used and there was no notation of the move in the Confederate Records. The National Archive workers made an understandable error in recording all of the activities of this Hospital was at Greensboro. The Hospital Register they received did come from Greensboro. The hospital actually opened in Greensboro on March 19, 1865. An entry in the nurse’s diary provides proof of these dates.

Hopefully upcoming addendums to the North Carolina Roster of Troops will correct the location where the soldiers were treated. If your ancestor is reported as having died at Greensboro, you may want to search around Goldsboro for his grave.

Plough Boys have close ties to Stedman

John Culbreth Blocker (1811-1890) along with his wife, Julia Ann Braddy (1815-1891) settled in eastern Cumberland County in 1841.  There he built a stagecoach house and a post office.  The area became known as Blockersville (later incorporated as the Town of Stedman).   John and Julia raised three children:  Octavius Harvey Blocker (1840-1905), Charles Henry Blocker (1842-1911), and Francis Eugene Blocker (1850-1883).

The Cumberland Plough Boys were organized on June 1, 1861 at Bethany Crossroads, which is 3 miles northwest of Stedman.  The Plough Boys totally comprised of a group of farmers were originally known as the 14th North Carolina Volunteers, but the unit’s designation was later changed to the 24th North Carolina Troops, Company F.  The Company’s first Commander was Captain Charles Henry Blocker.  His brother, Octavius was a 1st Sergeant, but was quickly promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.  The Blockers were the original inhabitants of the area we know as Stedman.

Charles Henry Blocker remained Captain of the Plough Boys until May of 1862 when he transferred to the Staff of Colonel Lamb at Fort Fisher with the 36th North Carolina.  In January 1865, he was captured at Fort Fisher and confined at Fort Columbus in New York Harbor.  On March 5, 1865 he was paroled.   Charles Blocker married Sally Cromwell, and they raised 13 children.  Before 1900, they moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.

Octavius Harvey Blocker remained with the Plough Boys until February 15, 1862 when he was appointed Captain of the 36th North Carolina, 2nd Company C.  This company was stationed at Fort Fisher.  Due to illness, Octavius had to resign his commission in August, 1862.  Octavius married Susan Moore.  They moved to Old Fort, North Carolina.

The town of Stedman incorporated many years after the Blockers left the area.  However, the town’s roots can be traced back to the leaders of the Cumberland Plough Boys.


Private James W. Blanks

North Carolina Patriots of ’61 – Private James W. Blanks, “Ashpole True Boys” of Robeson County

Private James W. Blanks

James W. Blanks was born in Robeson County and by occupation was a farmer when he enlisted on 10 March, 1862 at eighteen years of age. His unit, the “Ashpole True Boys” was mustered into State service at Wilmington on April 21, 1862 and assigned as Company F, Fifty-first North Carolina Regiment. The unit was comprised of men from Cumberland, Duplin, Sampson, Robeson, Columbus and New Hanover Counties. Private Blanks received a shoulder wound at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia on 16 May, 1864 and was hospitalized at Richmond – returning to duty on 23 June 1864. At the time of mustering, Captain Alfred B. Walter, a South Carolina-born resident of Robeson County commanded the company.
The Fifty-first North Carolina Regiment was commanded by Colonel John Lucas Cantwell of Wilmington (after 1 October 1864 by Lt-Col. William A. Allen), and Col. Hector McKethan of Fayetteville. Col. Cantwell led the 30th North Carolina Militia on April 16, 1861, ordered by Governor John W. Ellis to “seize Forts Caswell and Johnston without delay and hold them until further orders against all comers,” at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
This Fifty-first Regiment saw extensive action in South Carolina at Battery Wagner, and in Virginia at Petersburg, Second Cold Harbor, Fort Harrison – ending the war with Gen. Thomas Clingman’s Brigade (under Gen. Robert F. Hoke) at Forks Road near Wilmington, Southwest Creek, Bentonville, and finally with Gen. Joe Johnston’s forces.

Severely decimated in the Virginia campaign from 15 May to 1 October 1864, the regiment went from 1,100 officers and men to 145 effectives with many companies without commissioned officers and in many cases commanded by corporals. Private Blanks survived the war.
(Sources: Fifty-first Regiment, by A.A. McKethan, Clark’s Regimental Histories; North Carolina Company F, 51st Regiment History, Joan Oxendine,

Submitted by Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director, Cape Fear Historical Institute

Sampson County Buries Records

News of Genreral Sherman and the Union Troops looting and burning led many Southerners to bury their valuables.  It was no different in Sampson County, where they buried the courthouse records.  The Sampson Independent has an interesting article that describes this event.