Martin County, NCGenWeb

An NCGenWeb/USGenWeb Project


Photo: W.C. Chance

Many thanks to Julia Chance for submitting this photo of her grandfather, W.C. CHANCE.  In the early 1900s, Mr. Chance was principal of Higgs Industrial Institute  a school of African American youth located in Parmele.



Negro Education in Martin County

Over on Google Books, one of the books I looked at this evening is  — Jones, Thomas Jesse. Negro Education: A Study of the Private and Higher Schools for Colored People in the United States. Washington: Govt. Printing Office, 1917.

The book is available in its entirety as a PDF file.  Page 423 has a profile of  Martin County Training School. Here is an excerpt:

Principal: William Claudius Chance
A school of elementary grade which has been selected as a training center for supplementing the facilities of the surrounding county schools.  The school was founded by the principal and received county aid for some time previous to 1914, when it was taken over by the county.  It has an advisory board of prominent southern white men.

Attendance — Total, 150; all elemtary, borders, 15
Teachers. — Total, 4, all colored; male 1, female 3
Organization — The regular eight elementary grades are fairly well taught.  Some instruction in cooking and sewing is provided.  The school plans to develop a course in the theory and practice of teaching as soon as possible.

Read more online here.


Prof. W.C. Chance – Principal of Higgs Industrial Institute

From the December 30, 1909 issue of the Robesonian, newspaper of Lumberton, NC

Prof. W.C. Chance, colored, principal of Higgs Industrial Institute at Parmele, Martin county, is in Lumberton canvassing for his school.  He has a letter from Congressman Jno. H. Small highly recommending him.  Prof. Chance got his training at the A. and M. College at Greensboro.  His school was started last October, employs three teachers and emphasizes industrial work, especially agriculture.  J.G. Goddard, cashier of the Martin County Bank at Williamston, is treasurer of the institution and R.J. Peele, superintendent of public instruction is secretary.  Congressman Small says that Prof. Chance is doing a good work and is worthy of any assistance that may be given him.


Dictionary of North Carolina Biography

According to an index created by the Olivia Raney Local History Library in Raleigh, NC, the following individuals of Martin County are included in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography

  • Bryan, Henry H. (d. 1835)
  • Hassell, Cushing Biggs (1809-1880)
  • Hassell, Sylvester (1842-1928)
  • Martin, Joseph John (1833-1900)
  • Ross, James (1801-1878)
  • Ross, Reuben (1776-1860)
  • Roulhac, Joseph Blount Gregoire (1795-1856)
  • Spruill, Frank (Franklin) Shepherd (1862-1937)
  • Whittlesey, Sarah Johnson Cogswell (1824 -1896)
  • Wilson, James Lewis (ca. 1760 – 1802)
  • Yellowley, Edward Clement (1821 – 1885)
  • Cherry, Annie Moore (1891 – 1976)
  • Armstrong, Frank Alton, Jr. (1902 – 1969)
  • Everett, Reuben Oscar (1879-1971)
  • Chance, William Claudius, Sr. (1880-1970)
  • Biggs, Asa (1811-1878)

I’ve already started pages for a few of these on the Biographical Profiles page of the site. You can use to find this book in a library near you.