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Secretary Kluttz and Town Creek Indian Mound Site Manager Rich Thompson climb the mound at the Town Creek Indian Mound

Secretary Kluttz and Town Creek Indian Mound Site Manager Rich Thompson climb the mound at the Town Creek Indian Mound

There aren’t many places in North Carolina—or the country, even—where you can see the power of archaeology more than at Town Creek Indian Mound in Montgomery County.

Archaeologists led by UNC’s Dr. Joffre Coe began working on the site in the late 1930s, and it’s through Coe’s lifelong commitment to the area and to Native American archaeology that Town Creek was able to open as North Carolina’s first state historic site in 1955. It’s also because of Coe’s efforts that the site now has reconstructed buildings that show what the area would have been like for the Pee Dee civilization thousands of years ago.

Secretary Kluttz helps cut the cake for Dr. Coe's birthday birthday party

Secretary Kluttz helps cut the cake for Dr. Coe’s birthday birthday party

Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz joined site staff and dozens from the community last month to celebrate what would’ve been Coe’s 98th birthday if he was still alive. After cutting a cake and enjoying a piece with local scout and 4-H groups, the Secretary toured this unique site. She especially enjoyed seeing the cutaway walls which many of the buildings have to help visitors see how the Pee Dee Indians would’ve originally built them.

One of the most exciting discoveries that Secretary Kluttz learned of while at Town Creek is that the work isn’t finished yet. Researchers from North Carolina universities are still excavating areas of the site, and they‘ve just recently uncovered some new buildings.

If you haven’t yet been, Town Creek Indian Mound is certainly worth a visit. Located about an hour and half from Raleigh, Fayetteville, the Triad and Charlotte, the site is an easy drive from just about anywhere in Piedmont.

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Political Works George Horton

Title page of the 1845 book The Poetical Works of George Moses Horton

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

The place of George Moses Horton in American letters is well-established. Among the most important black poets in the antebellum era, Horton was the first African American to publish a book in the South.

Born into slavery about 1798, Horton moved to Chatham County with his owner as an infant. Enduring slavery with some degree of autonomy, he secretly taught himself to read and walked on weekends to Chapel Hill where he sold fruit and recited poems for UNC students, sometimes selling them as well.

Original acrostic written by George Moses Horton in the State Archives

Original acrostic written by George Moses Horton in the State Archives

Horton made friends among the students and faculty, including UNC President Joseph Caldwell. Caroline Hentz, a faculty wife, assisted him in transcribing his poems, and in 1829 Raleigh printer Joseph Gales published his book, The Hope of Liberty.

Called the “sable orator,” as he signed his works, by 1832 he had taught himself to write. Volumes of his work also appeared in 1845 and 1865. Finally free in 1866, he moved to Philadelphia, after which little is known of his life.

Horton was among the fifteen inaugural inductees into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 1996.

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