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Barry Jacobs

Barry Jacobs has moved from Durham to the countryside, near Hillsborough. He’s a free-lance writer with a special interest in American history.

— From July 1978
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Tobacco Town: Durham’s Beginnings

You’ve probably never heard of Bartlett Snipes Durham, the doctor who gave his land and name to a small waystation on the North Carolina Railroad in eastern Orange County. And chances are you never would have heard of him or the town if Joe Johnston hadn’t stopped by.

July 1978
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Big Ship

The Great Eastern Was A Glorious Failure

Gangs of workmen and an iron wrecking ball (invented for the occasion) pounded the great ship’s metal hull round the clock for two years. Like everything else about the Great Eastern, the task of removing its three million bolts confounded the experts of its time. When quiet finally returned to the countryside near Cheshire, England the salvagers, like every other group that owned the Great Eastern, had lost a fortune.

January 1978
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Hillsborough: Queen Of The Piedmont

According to the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, “at least 116 late 18th and early 19th century structures” still grace the town’s quiet streets. Many are beautifully preserved and marked for the passerby. One, the Colonial Inn on King Street, still operates as an inn, with Southern-style lunches and dinners served by waitresses in colonial get-up.

December 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Graham: The Town That Said No To The Railroad

Graham’s founders were pleased with the pretty little town which grew around their stucco and brick courthouse. So pleased, according to legend, that they rejected the proposed passage of the North Carolina Railroad’s dirty, disruptive locomotives within a block of the courthouse, choosing peace over progress and prosperity.

November 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories


The Danville Highway (Highway 86) is one of the prettiest roads around, hugging ridges from which you can see for miles, winding down into overgrown bottoms reminiscent of the mountains. Passing through fields and woods, past abandoned stores and schools and old ladies in bright sun bonnets, about 30 miles north of Hillsborough it slips by Yanceyville, the Caswell County seat.

October 1977
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Roxboro: Sticking To The Old-Timey

Roxboro’s a sensible town. Has been since the 1790’s, when its founders set it smack in the middle of Person County. They wanted their county seat to be easy to get to.

September 1977
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