Several years ago when I was deep into my CFRS research, and I had an empty wall in my office, and no one to tell me that I couldn’t put whatever I wanted on the wall,… I started printing and pasting various images that related to the steamboat era on the Cape Fear. Here is a photo of the montage:
The “Cape Fear River Steamers” was a subset of “Wilder Days Upon the Cape Fear” which was a play on the last name of Jesse Wilder, a Wilmington, NC turpentine distiller, related by marriage, to one of my distant uncles, George L. Morton (also a turpentine distiller and Wilmington businessman and local politician). Geo. L. and Jesse had their turpentine distilling business on the corner of Brunswick and Nutt Streets (near where the new Wilmington Convention Center is located). *If you ever watch the Stephen King movie, “Golden Years,” you can see various Wilmington locations from the 1980’s and one of these is the corner of Brunswick & Nutt streets (when “the bad guy” punches a police officer in the stomach).
I was in Wilmington a few weeks ago and noted that they are building a new educational complex with the giant lettering of “Union Station” which is probably where the old railroad station was located. I’m guessing that because of the nearness of Geo. L.’s turpentine distillery, to the railroad station, this is how he got involved with the Galena – Signal Oil Company, of which he later became a southern regional V.P. of the company (shortly before the Great Depression).
Geo. L. Morton was also the second Wilmington Postmaster to inhabit the Old Stone Post Office (on the site of the current downtown Post Office). *He was also in command of the Iron Clad Steamer “Nantucket” during the brief Spanish – American War. The Nantucket had an automated “pre-machine” gun. It was this same type of gun that was carted about by horses during the Wilmington Race Riots.