The Adventures of a Cub Reporter

Onslow
County
History

The Reunion By Dr. Stratton C. Murrell(a story in progress)   

           

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          The Reunion in this article refers to the annual meeting of The Former Landowners At Camp Lejeune. This property was confiscated by the government by eminent domain for the construction of Camp Lejeune which began  in 1941. Although it was a time of significant change in this area, which included great emotional upheaval to some property owners, the Reunion was not organized as an annual event until 1989. There had been occasional gatherings of these Displaced Persons (this term was first used for this particular group by Parsons Brown in his book, The Commonwealth Of Onslow, copyright 1960). It is said  that  Charlotte Dexter, and her family, plus some others were in this charter group and they have done an excellent job in continuing the annual  Reunion: Former Landowners And Decedents At Camp Lejeune  People like to attend the Reunion because it gives them an opportunity to meet with others who were forced to give up their property and it also gives them an opportunity to talk to some of these people they haven't seen  in a long time. In addition to this, it's like a picnic where the people bring a certain amount of the food and it gives us all a great taste of southern cooking. And we learn new things as time goes by. (At the Reunion on 10-6-2013 we learned that a file had been prepared which showed the pictures and other information about the property of civilian owners before the construction of Camp Lejeune: see-http://www.marinebasehomes.smugmug.com.) It is interesting to note that the stories about the Federal Government  confiscating our land for the construction of Camp Lejeune never mention the legal term, eminent domain. This would seem to be some trivial information until I tell you the rest of the story. I interviewed Gerald Hurst in 2008 for one of my stories in THE ADVENTURES OF A CUB REPORTER. We were swapping stories about the history of Onslow  County. Gerald had been in property development for several years and  just happened to mention the term, eminent domain,  and it suddenly occurred to me that this was the specific term used for the acquisition of Marine Base property (for the construction of Camp Lejeune) By using my digital wings method, my story was instantly published and verified in 2008. A short time later, the stories concerning the Reunion and acquisition for Marine Base property contained the term, eminent domain. In 1940 Nere Day was a local attorney who owned a lot of property in Onslow County. Eventually he was appointed to assist Col. W.P.T. Hill (the first commanding officer of Marine Barracks  New River N.C. 2-26-2014:)  to acquire the land which would become Camp Lejeune. We do not know if Mr. Day ever used this term at this particular time, but we do know that this was a legal term at this particular time. The reason for this particular explanation is to assure the people that the property  which is now Camp Lejeune which was seized by the Federal  Government was a legitimate procedure  known as Eminent Domain which means that property can be confiscated by the government if it is good for the people. This episode shows that the REUNION is more than good fellowship, good food, and great stories. Among all these things we make significant historical discoveries which will be of some value in developing the story for future generations. Thanks to Gerald I have added one more story to THE ADVENTURES OF A CUB  REPORTER. !-31-2014: And there is more information jn that many stories mention that 720 families were evacuated from their property to make way for the construction of Camp Lejeune, but they never say how many people that would be. O.K. --- now you can add more to the story---it was 720 families that were evacuated and these families consisted of approximately 2,000 people.3-17-2014: Billie Jean and I went to the Onslow County Historical Society meeting at the Golden Corral near Walmart on 3-17-2014. The weather was terrible. It was raining and it was very cold. Billie was driving. When we got to the  meeting place we were amazed that so many people were there..... there were at least 50 people there. Several (Rossie Hancock, Doris Brown, Sue Applewhite Patsy Cape, and Jessie Winberry) were from the First Baptist Church. Al Potts is the president and had some good publicity in that the Daily News printed a good article about the program. There would be 4 speakers: Ed Brown, (the Sheriff), Gerald Hurst, Dr. Stratton C. Murrell, and Dr. W.R. Turlington. I was the first speaker and the subject was to be about the downtown area of jacksonville before and after the building  of Camp Lejeune. I added a little bit to that by playfully  saying that in the B.C.(Before Camp Lejeune)Montford Point was a suburb of Jacksonville. I also talked about the Displaced Persons who had to leave their land so that Camp Lejeune could be built. (On 3-21-2014 I added some extra information: I recently purchased a copy of the second edition of  The Greatest Generation, By Tom Brokaw. According to the author, those who lived before and in the Depression were the Greatest Generation like our displaced ones. They helped  to preserve our nation and make it better .Gerald talked about some of the characters he knew. in Jacksonville as he was growing up. Ed Brown talked about when he was a boy living in the country and about some of the stories he could tell when he was a law officer. Dr. Turlington talked about his early childhood when his family lived near the Bus Station. In the 1930s black children were delivered by mid-wives. Bob said that his father was the first physician in Onslow County to deliver black children. Al Potts is the president of the Onslow County Historical Society (and h first Director of the Onslow County Museum). He organized this particular program where different people told of their personal experiences in Jacksonville during World War II (I called it the Boom town Days).

       My part of the program was more than just a series of stories. It was part of my connecting link format in that I may be inspired at any time by some information and connect it with some of my other stories. The evacuation was certainly concerned with the people who lived clos to the intersection of New River with the Atlantic Ocen in the vicinity of Brown's Inlet.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









The Reunion

By Dr. Stratton C. Murrell

       

The Reunion

       In OnslowCounty

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