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Secretary Susan Kluttz on a horse-drawn plow at Aycock Birthplace. Photo by Gray Whitley from The Wilson Times.

Secretary Susan Kluttz on a horse-drawn plow at Aycock Birthplace. Photo by Gray Whitley from The Wilson Times.

Plowing, dying and cooking over an open fire were just a few of historical activities Cultural Resources senior staff observed last late week on their visit to the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace in Fremont. The visit coincided with site’s Farm Heritage Days program, which gave local school kids the opportunity to experience life during the 19th century over four days.

Sec. Kluttz and former Cultural Resources Sec. Betty Ray McCain

Sec. Kluttz and former Cultural Resources Sec. Betty Ray McCain

The Cultural Resources team, composed of Secretary Susan Kluttz, Chief Deputy Secretary Karin Cochran, Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry, Historic Sites Director Keith Hardison, Historic Sites Deputy Director Dale Coates and Historic Sites Eastern Regional Supervisor Jeff Bockert, began their visit by meeting with local supporters of the site, including former Cultural Resources Secretary Betty Ray McCain.

After hearing concerns from local supporters and site manager Leigh Strickland over the Aycock’s possible dormancy, Sec. Kluttz emphasized that it would it only be temporary and that every division of the department and state government had to sacrifice in these difficult economic times.

“It’s not that we don’t love this place and every other place in this department,” Sec. Kluttz said.

Kluttz then joined local children in an 1893 one-room schoolhouse for a lesson led by Historic Sites Curator of Education Jann Brown. During the lesson, Brown had a dunce cap and a blue back speller—two items that would’ve been common in classrooms of the time.

Sec. Kluttz with Cultural Resources staff members Karin Cochran, Kevin Cherry, Leigh Strickland, Keith Hardison and Jeff Bockert

Sec. Kluttz with Cultural Resources staff members Karin Cochran, Keith Hardison, Leigh Strickland, Dale Coats and Jeff Bockert

The schoolhouse has special significance at Aycock Birthplace, since Charles B. Aycock is frequently called the “education governor” for his dramatic expansion of the state’s public school system. In fact, he is credited with building one school for each day he was in office. When you consider that he served for one four-year term that means he was responsible for the construction of nearly 1,500 schools! Sec. Kluttz noted that the site and the department continue that legacy today.

“Education is the center of everything we do at Cultural Resources,” she said.

Check out more images of the visit here.

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Wiel

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.

Perhaps North Carolina’s best known woman suffrage leader, Gertrude Weil came from a long line of social, religious and political activists. Educated at Smith College, she returned to her native Goldsboro and involved herself in several associations, becoming a protégé of women’s rights advocate Sallie Southall Cotten.

As a founder and the first president of the North Carolina Suffrage League Weil tirelessly advocated for the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Over time, Weil became a mainstay of practically every private effort connected with social welfare. Following in the footsteps of her mother, she advocated child labor legislation and spearheaded fundraising for Jewish projects relief projects.

Wiel and Others

By the 1960s Weil was well into her eighties, but that didn’t stop her from taking an active role in race issues. In an ironic twist the North Carolina legislature approved the 19th Amendment in May 1971, which she had fought for the in the 1910s, the same month Wiel died.

Read more about women’s suffrage on NCpedia, and see more images of Wiel in the State Archives

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