May Meeting — Chris Fonvielle on the Battle of Sugar Loaf

Monday, May 20, 2019  7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, May 20, 2019, at 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

This month Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. will talk about “Sugar Loaf and the Battle for Wilmington, NC, 1865.” Learn about the strong Confederate defenses at Sugar Loaf and Union army efforts to overrun them to capture Wilmington, the Confederacy’s most important city.

Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. is from Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was born in 1953. He attended local public schools, including New Hanover High School, class of 1971. Chris was the first soccer-style placekicker in North Carolina football history when he kicked for Coach Glenn Sasser’s New Hanover High School Wildcats in 1970.

Chris also attended UNC Wilmington, graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1978. He then served as the last curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum at Carolina Beach, North Carolina, before going off to graduate school in 1983. He received a M.A. in American history from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he studied with Dr. William N. Still Jr., the foremost authority on the Confederate States Navy. Chris subsequently studied Civil War history with Dr. Thomas L. Connelly at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and from where he received his Ph.D. That makes Chris a Wildcat, Seahawk, Pirate, and Gamecock.

Fonvielle Explaining the Earthworks

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

Dr. Fonvielle is the author of articles and books on the Civil War and North Carolina history, including The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope; Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear: An Illustrated History; Louis Froelich: Arms-Maker to the Confederacy; Fort Fisher 1865: The Photographs of T.H. O’SullivanFaces of Fort Fisher, 1861-1864; and To Forge a Thunderbolt: Fort Anderson and the Battle for Wilmington.

 

 

 

 

President’s Letter — May, 2019

By Elaine Henson

Kure Memorial Lutheran Church Part I

117 North 3rd Street in Kure Beach is the address of Kure Memorial Lutheran Church.  It is a block off of busy Fort Fisher Boulevard and a block from K Avenue.  The brick church building opened its doors for a dedication service on June 26, 1955, but the congregation had its beginnings before that.

Kure Lutheran’s story actually begins during the war years of 1942-43 and not as a church but with nondenominational Sunday School classes at the home of Mrs. W. O. Fickling located near the intersection of S. Fort Fisher Boulevard and K Avenue.  The adults who came were taught by retired Lutheran minister, Rev. B. D. Wessinger.

As the town filled with soldiers and their families, defense and shipyard workers and those with other war related jobs, the Sunday School outgrew Mrs. Fickling’s home.  The Sunday School began meeting in a vacant store building owned by Lawrence C. Kure.

Founders of Kure Beach, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Kure, Sr., had set aside land on 3rd Street for the time when a Lutheran church could be organized.  Hans and Ellen Kure deeded the land to St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Wilmington for safe keeping until the time arose.

In 1946, the Sunday School group reorganized as Kure Memorial Chapel with a constitution and soon after St. Matthews deeded the 3rd Street property to them as a nondenominational church.  Pastor Wessinger, Mrs. Fickling and Lawrence Kure began fund raising for a building with fish suppers and the like.

Soon they were able to purchase two Army barracks from Fort Fisher.  They put them together in the shape of a T and added a vestibule on the front replete with a steeple. The converted barracks were dedicated as Kure Memorial Chapel on December 1, 1946. Pastor Wessinger officiated assisted by Rev. Edwin Carter from Carolina Beach Methodist Church and retired Salvation Army Major John O’Beinne.

The first trustees of Kure Memorial Chapel were Fred Schenk, Linwood Flowers and Lewis E. Weinberg. The first wedding in the Chapel was on July 13, 1949 as Oscar B. Wrenn and Anna Lee Lewis were married by Rev. Edwin Carter and Dexter Moser. A. E. “Punky” Kure and Jean A. Kure were married there in 1952.

Sunday School was held every Sunday with a church service once a month held by Pastor Wessinger until ill health forced him to resign.  In the summer of 1949 Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary student Dexter Moser conducted services every Sunday.  In winter other students from the seminary, located in Columbia, South Carolina, held monthly services.  In the summers of 1950 and 1951 seminarian Jack Martin conducted Sunday services.

Next month:  Kure Memorial Lutheran Church, Part II

 

Statement by Chris Fonvielle on Confederate Monuments

From Wilmington Star News (August 29, 2018)

 “Our past has been good more often than not, but sometimes it has been bad and ugly. We must not forget any of it.”

It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of the great State of North Carolina for more than half of my life, first as a professor of American history at East Carolina University in Greenville and then at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, my undergraduate alma mater in my hometown. I recently retired after a 22 year career in UNCW’s Department of History. Go Seahawks! I continue to serve as a member of the North Carolina Historical Commission, to which I was appointed by then-Gov. Pat McCrory in 2014.

In the aftermath of the horrific violence that occurred as a result of the controversy over the equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper petitioned the N.C. Historical Commission to give him the authority to relocate three Confederate statues — an obelisk to the Confederate dead of North Carolina; a statue to Private Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first Tar Heel killed in action during the war; and a memorial to North Carolina women of the Confederacy — from the grounds of the old State Capitol in historic downtown Raleigh to the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Johnston County. I was subsequently asked by the Deputy Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to serve with four other members of the Historical Commission on the newly formed Confederate Monuments Study Committee to seek clarification of the 2015 General Assembly’s Statute 100-2.1, Protection of Monuments, Memorials, and Works of Art, and to make recommendations to the commission concerning the governor’s request.

Ably led by David Ruffin of Raleigh, who chairs both the Historical Commission and the Confederate Monuments Study Committee, the group worked diligently for 11 months, seeking public input, legal advice, and historical precedence from academic historians.

In the end we proposed three resolutions to the commission for consideration. First, that there is a glaring over representation of monuments to the Confederacy on Capitol Square. Second, that the Historical Commission did not possess the authority, in its interpretation of state law, to nullify General Statute 100-2.1. Beyond the somewhat ambiguous legal issue involved, the committee recommended that the Confederate monuments not be relocated or removed. Third, in order to provide greater understanding of North Carolina’s role in the Civil War and Reconstruction, the committee resolved that the state should put up signage in the form of markers or plaques adjacent to the statues and memorials. For example, when were they erected and by whom? Did the politics of race and identity influence the people and organizations that funded the construction of the monuments? What are the debates concerning their representation in the twenty-first century?

To address the egregious imbalance of monuments to only North Carolina Confederates, the committee also advised the General Assembly to act “without delay” to appropriate funding for statues to ethnic minorities in the state during the Civil War era, beginning with one to African Americans. Eventually that effort might become a public/private venture and work to erect memorials to Native Americans and Unionists. The idea is to recognize the contributions of a greater cross section of North Carolinians during the Civil War.

Given the divisive political climate in our state and country today, the resolutions proposed by the Confederate Monuments Study Committee were controversial. Casting an ominous shadow over the proceedings of the Historical Commission in Raleigh on Aug. 22 was the toppling of “Silent Sam,” the statue to students from the University of North Carolina who fought for the Confederacy, by “protesters” less than two days before. Undeterred and unintimidated, the Historical Commission voted 9-1 in support of the committee’s resolutions.

I favored the commission’s decision and was satisfied that the Confederate Monuments Study Committee had offered a fair and reasonable compromise on the highly charged political, racial, and cultural issues. Along with my committee and commission colleagues, I gave long and deliberate thought to the governor’s petition and, admittedly, it has taken a personal toll.

 

Society Notes – May 2019

By Darlene Bright & Cheri McNeill

We’re doing it again this Summer!

Guided Tour

Historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk

10 am every Tuesday!

June 18, 2019 – September 3, 2019
50 minute walking tour 
Meet on the Boardwalk at the southeast corner of the new Hampton Inn, near the Chamber of Commerce Kiosk. Park at: the Municipal Parking lot across from the Town Marina, as close as you can get to the Hampton Inn. Donation requested: $10.00 per person.

Featured Business Member: Britt’s Donuts

You know tourist season is upon us when Britt’s Donuts opens for business!! They only make one kind of doughnut – glazed. It is by far the best glazed doughnut you will ever put in your mouth.  Hot is the only way to eat them.

Britt’s Donuts owned for years by Bobby and Maxine Nivens, have provided  the WORLD’S best donuts on the Carolina Beach boardwalk for over 75 years. But don’t ask for the recipe, it’s a secret.

Britt’s generally opens the weekend before Easter and is open Friday-Saturday-Sunday until Memorial Day. For the summer they are open from 8:30 AM until they run out, sometime in the evening, After Labor Day it’s back to just weekend hours. Don’t leave the island until you’ve had 1 or 20!


Carolina Beach Walk of Fame

On Saturday April 27, 2019, the Carolina Beach Walk of Fame Committee honored two new members to its rolls.  Charles E. “Bill” Nash Jr. was honored for his long time work with Boy Scout Troops 221 & 222.  Laurie Marshburn Taylor was honored for  years of work  with the Federal Point Help Center.  The committee will be accepting nominations for next year’s honorees until September 1, 2019. Applications may be picked up at the Federal Point History Center.


Can’t get enough Chris Fonvielle

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

Dr. Chris Fonvielle

June 2. Join Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle Jr., Professor Emeritus with the Dept. of History at UNC Wilmington, and Wilmington Water Tours for a river cruise and discussion about Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear during the Civil War. Dr. Fonvielle, author of books and articles on Wilmington and North Carolina during the war, will talk about Wilmington’s transformation from a backwater seaport to the Las Vegas of the South, blockade running at Tar Heel port town, and Union military operations to capture the Confederacy’s most important seaport and city in 1864-1865.

Space on board the boat is limited so make reservations at https://wilmingtonwatertours.net or call (910) 338-3134. REMEMBER,     Wilmington Water Tours gives us a percent of your ticket price if you tell them you’re a member of Federal Point Historic Preservation Society.


Welcome and Thanks

  • The History Center recorded 82 visitors in March. There were 40 people in attendance at the April meeting. The History Center was used by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and Walk of Fame Committee.
  • Welcome to new member, Tom Wetzel of Carolina Beach
  • Thanks to Jim Kohler for helping with the Newsletter.
  • Thanks to Linda Ogden and Jim Kohler for providing refreshments for the April meeting.