1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/North Carolina

NORTH CAROLINA (see 19.771). The pop. in 1920 was 2,559,123, as compared with 2,206,287 in 1910, a gain of 352,836, or 16%. Somewhat fewer than one-third were negroes and 7,099 were foreign-born whites, representing 43 different nationalities. There was less foreign admixture than in the population of any other state. There were 490,370 persons living in cities of 2,500 or more, 240,753 in villages, and 1,828,000 in the open country, so that the state was still predominantly rural, 71% of the pop. living outside of incorporated towns, as against 76% in 1910. This is emphasized by the absence of any large city.

The following table shows the cities having a pop. in 1920 of 15,000 and their gain for the preceding decade:—

City 1920 1910  Increase 




 Winston-Salem   48,395   22,700  113.2 
 Charlotte 46,338 34,014 36.2 
 Wilmington 33,372 25,748 29.6 
 Asheville 28,504 18,762 51.9 
 Raleigh 24,418 19,210 27.1 
 Durham 21,719 18,241 19.1 
 Greensboro 19,861 15,895 25.0 

In 1914 the Legislature passed a law providing for the registration of births, deaths, and their causes. Subsequently the death-rate steadily decreased, notably in the case of typhoid fever, where it fell from 35.8 per 100,000 to 10.6 in 1920. In the same period the death-rate from diphtheria was reduced from 22.3, per 100,000 to 9.5. The total death-rate was 12.9 per 1,000 in 1920, a rate lower than that of any of the older states. This was accompanied by the highest birth-rate of any registration state, 32.8 per 1,000 in 1920.

Agriculture.—The decade saw great improvements in agriculture, both in methods and crop yields. The tendency noted in 1910 toward smaller holdings continued. The number of farms in 1920 was 269,763 as against 253,725 in 1910, but there was a greater average value per farm. In 1919 the values of farm products were greatly inflated, but those of 1920 were not far from the average for 1915-20. The following table presents the more striking figures for 1920 as estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:—

Crop Acres Yield (bus.) Value




 Corn  2,784,000  64,032,000     $72,356,000 
 Wheat 724,000  8,471,000    17,789,000 
 Oats 180,000  3,960,000    3,802,000 
 Rye 96,000  912,000    1,733,000 
 Potatoes 56,000  5,040,000    7,157,000 
 Sweet Potatoes  101,000  10,605,000    12,090,000 
 Tobacco 582,000   384,120,000[1] 97,182,000 
 Hay 897,000  1,310,000[2] 30,130,000 
 Cotton 1,518,000  840,000[3] 60,900,000 
 Peanuts 113,000  3,955,000    5,418,000 
  1. Pounds.
  2. Tons.
  3. Bales.

The value of all crops in 1920 was estimated to be $412,374,000 as against $142,890,000 in 1909. The state in this respect stood eleventh in 1917, rose to fifth in 1918, to fourth in 1919, and dropped to sixth in 1920. Farm land increased in the average value per acre from $6.24 in 1900, $15.29 in 1910, to $63.00 in 1920. Trucking and fruit growing showed marked increase.

Live stock showed no striking increase except in the case of mules. The following table gives the comparative figures:—

Farm Animals

1920 1910



 Number  Value  Number  Value




 Mules 236,000   $44,840,000  174,711   $23,700,000 
 Horses 183,000  27,999,000  166,151  18,428,000 
 Milch Cows 328,000  25,584,000  308,914  7,839,000 
 Other Cattle  394,000  13,908,000  391,947  4,711,000 
 Swine  1,575,000  31,500,000   1,227,625  4,638,000 
 Sheep 144,000  1,368,000  214,473  559,000 

Manufactures.—The notable industrial development of the two preceding decades was continued between 1910 and 1920. In 1914 the industrial capital of the state was $253,842,000, and the value of manufactured products $289,412,000. No later figures were available in May 1921, but both the capital and the value of products were greatly increased by 1920. Cotton and tobacco manufacturing led. In 1920 there were nearly 550 cotton-mills in operation with 5,321,450 producing spindles. In tobacco manufacturing Winston-Salem and Durham held first and second places respectively among the cities of the world. The volume of the industry can be estimated from the fact that for the year 1919-20 the Federal stamp tax in the state yielded $108,457,156. The manufacturing of the state was highly diversified and there was a notable absence of concentration, there being many small establishments. The syndicating of cotton-mills was a pronounced movement during the years 1916-20. It followed the syndication of tobacco factories, fertilizer plants, and cotton-seed oil mills. Steam power was generally employed in the decade 1910-20, but there was increasing use of hydro-electric power. In 1920, 330,000 H.P. had been developed, and it was estimated that a million more were available for development.

Forests and Mines.—The total value of lumber and timber products in the state in 1914, the last year for which accurate figures were available in June 1921, was $39,631,573. It increased largely during the remainder of the decade. In spite of the ruthless lumbering operations of the past 40 years, it was estimated in 1920 that there was standing timber ready for the saw to the value of $167,450,000, with young growth valued at $192,500,000. Mineral products in 1917 were valued at $5,246,391, the more important being clay products and stone.

Transportation.—Railway development in the years 1910-20 was checked in 1914 and stopped completely in 1917 by the World War. Only 357 m. of new line and 217 m. of sidings were built, making a total mileage in 1920 of 4,997. In 1917 there were also 172 m. of electric road in operation. Marked improvements were made in the public highways. The Legislature of 1921 undertook the creation of a great state system by providing for the issue of $50,000,000 in bonds. The details of construction were in the hands of a highway commission established in 1917 and enlarged in 1921.

Finance.—The revenue of the state for general state purposes in 1919 was $7,647,482, while state, county, and school taxes together yielded a total of $18,912,000. The bonded debt of the state in 1920 was $9,603,000; of the counties, $23,198,226; and of the cities, $28,877,000, making a total of $61,678,226. In addition, there had been otherwise issued $12,000,000 for school buildings, and $24,000,000 voted for roads. The Legislature of 1921 authorized the bond issue already mentioned of $50,000,000 for state highways, as well as $6,000,000 as a state-aid loan fund for consolidated schools, and $6,745,000 for permanent improvements in the state's hospitals and institutions of higher learning. It also authorized the issue of $25,000,000 in local bonds, and $5,500,000 was issued by small cities prior to May 1 1921. The total indebtedness, actual and authorized, was on May 1 1921 about $200,000,000, nearly all incurred after 1910. This showed the willingness of the people of the state to tax themselves for community and commonwealth prosperity, a remarkable revolution in sentiment.

The taxation system of the state had long been condemned as ineffective and inequitable, and the Legislature of 1919 passed a law providing for assessment for taxation of all real and personal property at its actual value. This Act was accompanied by the submission to the people of constitutional amendments authorizing a general income tax, limiting the rate of combined state and county property taxes to $.15 per $100 of valuation, permitting a segregation of taxes for state purposes, and abolishing the existing equality between the tax rate on property and the poll tax. The requirement of payment of poll tax as a prerequisite for voting was abolished. Revaluation was accomplished in 1920 and the property in the state was assessed at $3,539,000,000. More than a million ac. of land not hitherto on the tax books were included. The per capita taxable wealth was increased 183%. The amendments were ratified by large majorities and the state seemingly assured of equitable taxation, but a reaction became strongly manifest in the Legislature of 1921 endangering the results of revaluation.

Education.—The state made creditable educational progress between 1910 and 1920. The public school funds increased from approximately $3,000,000 in 1910 to $15,066,487 in 1920. A

constitutional amendment ratified in 1916 increased the minimum school term from four to six months. Teachers' salaries showed an upward tendency at the close of 1920, and steps were being taken to secure better equipped teachers. The most notable educational achievement was the rapid growth of a state high-school system. In the case of the state institutions of higher learning, appropriations for maintenance and permanent physical improvements increased largely, and their growth was steady. The sectarian schools and colleges were also more adequately supported and showed a similar growth. The state support of its benevolent and charitable institutions became increasingly generous and several new ones were established in the decade, including the Caswell Training School at Kinston for the mentally defective, an institution for fallen women at Samarcand, a tuberculosis sanitorium at Sanitorium, a Confederate women's home at Fayetteville, and an orthopaedic hospital at Gastonia.

History.—The state Government throughout the period 1909-21 was under the undisputed control of the Democratic party. In 1913 Locke Craig succeeded William W. Kitchin as governor, and in 1917 was succeeded by Thomas Walter Bickett. In 1920 Cameron Morrison was elected governor. The Legislature at every session had large Democratic majorities. One Republican member of Congress was elected in 1914. So confirmed was the Democratic faith of the people of the state that alone of all the states it increased the party majority in the election of 1920. There was little of purely political interest during these years. The striking fact was the influence exerted upon politics by the steady development in the state of a social consciousness which manifested itself in demands for advanced social legislation. The result was a greater body of progressive legislation than that of any other southern state for the same period. During the World War the state furnished to the armed forces of the nation 88,168 men; casualties were 1,610 killed and 4,128 wounded. The subscription to Liberty and Victory loans was $138,095,400, besides $21,085,388 for war stamps. (J. G. de R. H.)