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Posts Tagged ‘Burke County’

This year and last, we’ve been thrilled to host the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual meeting and music festival in Raleigh. Seeing the breadth of talent in the genre today and the massive number of people interested in a form of music that has strong ties to the western part of our state has truly been amazing.

So, now that you’ve been to (or at least heard of) IBMA and bluegrass, you’re probably wondering what more there is to explore. The answer is simple: a lot.

To get you started here are six Tar Heel bluegrass destinations and events you won’t want to miss:

1. The Earl Scruggs Center, Shelby, Cleveland County

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Named in honor of bluegrass legend and Cleveland County native Earl Scruggs, this spectacular museum opened to wide acclaim earlier this year and explores Scruggs and the roots of the music genre he came to dominate.

2. Red, White and Bluegrass, Morganton, Burke County

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Held annualy on the Fourth of July, there’s no better way to celebrate our nation’s birthday than at this festival, one of North Carolina’s largest music events.

3. The Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, Mount Airy, Surry County

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One of the more significant of the music festivals held in the Blue Ridge area every summer, this convention celebrates the fame Surry County musicians have achieved throughout the nation.

4. MerleFest, Wilkesboro, Wilkes County

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One of the nation’s premiere music events, this annual festival honors Watauga County bluegrass stars Doc and Merle Watson and draws nearly 75,000 attendees each year.

5. Yadkin Valley Bluegrass Convention, Yadkinville, Yakdin County

A throwback to the more traditional, smaller music contests of yesteryear, this annual event has become a favorite among bluegrass and old-time music fans and musicians alike.

6The BarnEden, Rockingham County

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Not many people create a music venue in their front yard, but that’s exactly what Jerry and Debbie Wilson did just a few years ago. Stop by on any Tuesday night to see and hear bluegrass and gospel bands play in the Wilsons’ barn.

These six places and events are just a few tips to get you started exploring the Old North State’s rich bluegrass culture and heritage. Pick up a copy of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, produced by the N.C. Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, or check out the book’s companion website for more great ideas.

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Working at the site of Fort San Juan

This week’s headlines have been filled with the news of the discovery of Fort San Juan by archaeologists associated with Warren Wilson College, Tulane University and the University of Michigan. The importance of this discovery can’t be understated.

Here at Cultural Resources, it’s been our privilege to play a part in the research at Morganton from the very beginning. We gave the project’s researchers their first grant to start work in 1984, and our Office of State Archaeology provided technical assistance to the archaeologists, while our Research Branch helped find evidence of the fort in the historical record.

Helmets like these were worn by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. This particular one can be seen at the N.C. Museum of History.

Though our role was a relatively small one, this is a great example of the partnerships with academic researchers and local historical enterprises that we’re involved with every day.

Several of our agencies have also produced some useful resources to help you learn more about Fort San Juan and its significance:

We’ve also featured the story of the fort and the Pardo Expeditions as part of our This Day in North Carolina project, and Our Historical Highway Markers Program commemorated the fort in 2008. Click here to see pictures of the site taken on a recent visit by Cultural Resources Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry and here to read more about this momentous discovery.

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All this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past.

A newspaper article announcing Silver’s death

On July 12, 1833, Frances “Frankie” Silver was hanged in Morganton after being convicted of killing her husband Charlie with an axe and hacking his body into pieces. The murder occurred just before Christmas in 1831. Though at first Frankie claimed that Charlie had gone hunting, his family suspected foul play when he didn’t return for Christmas. A search party found no sign of him, and the mystery seemed unsolved until a neighbor found pieces of bones and human teeth among the ashes in the fireplace inside the Silvers’ Mitchell County cabin. More body parts were discovered beneath the floorboards, buried in the yard, and hidden in a stump.

Frankie was arrested for first-degree murder, though little hard evidence was presented during the two-day trial in Morganton. The jury found Frankie guilty, and the judge sentenced her to be executed by hanging. She was 18-years-old and the mother of an infant daughter.

Since the law at the time didn’t allow women to testify in court, Silver never told her story before a judge. Even at the gallows, when she started to speak her last words, Silver’s father shouted to her from the crowd, “Die with it in you, Frankie!” Sadly, she did.

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