Halloween has just passed, which heralds our arrival into the holiday season. Cumberland County has participated in holiday traditions over the years, such as the New Year’s countdown to the midnight drop of Jasper the Flea in Eastover.
Dropping a flea to count down to the New Year may sound strange, but it commemorates Eastover’s original name of Flea Hill. There are differing stories of the origin of this unusual name, such as the story of a large colony of fleas that took up residence under Salem United Methodist Church in the 1800s.
Stop by the Local & State History Department at your local library this holiday season to see Jasper, along with other items honoring local and state traditions.
Have you ever seen the ads for Ancestry.com about tracing your roots? Of course, there’s a cost, but you can use Ancestry free in Cumberland County Public Library locations.
What if you don’t know how to use it? Don’t worry; the Local & State History Department staff is ready and happy to help you.
On Nov. 7, the department will host “Ancestry 101,” a hands-on tutorial, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Headquarters Library, 300 Maiden Lane. From 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 11, the Cumberland County Genealogical Society will host a talk and meeting on finding ancestors in the Local & State History room.
On Nov. 18, join us and the Fayetteville History Museum for a stroll down historic Cool Spring Street to see the oldest building in Fayetteville. Cool Spring Tavern was built in 1788.
Alongside the tavern, we will visit two historic churches. St. Ann’s Catholic Church was one of the first places in North Carolina to run an integrated school, during the 1950s. Another historically important church is Evans Metropolitan AME Zion Church, which traces its roots back to Henry Evans, a free African American who brought Methodism to Fayetteville in the late 1700s.
The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will start at Cool Spring Tavern and proceed up the street.
To register for these programs or to find out more about the Local & State History Department and our programs, call 910-483-7727, Ext. 1365, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the library's calendar webpage.
Joseph Westendorf is manager of the Local & State History Department of the Cumberland County Public Library.