Category Archives: Opinions

Opinions

Charlotte observer, book reviews, Susan Wells, A game called Salisbury, snubbed?

There is a rumor circulating that the Charlotte Observer has snubbed Susan Wells, penname Susan Barringer Wells. Susan has written a new book, “A Game Called Salisbury.” The book is about the murder of the Lyerly Family in 1906 and the subsequent  arrest and later lynching of 3 sharecroppers. The book is also about racial attitudes in the south and the nation. There is a Charlotte connection beyond any racial aspects. The 3 prisoners were brought to Charlotte for their safety before the trial was to begin. After their return to the Rowan County jail, an angry mob, stirred up by outsiders, lynched the 3 men.

Book signings have been taking place all over the state and the Greensboro Daily News, The Asheville Citizen and Salisbury Post have written articles about Susan and the book. With the involvement of the Mecklenburg County Jail in the story and Susan’s ancestral roots going back over 250 years all around Charlotte, one would think that sufficient to warrant coverage. Is there some other reason? Is this just a unjustified rumor? Are there still remnants of racism in Charlotte? Charlotte Observer, do you have a response?

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New York Times, book reviews, A Game Called Salisbury, Susan Barringer Wells

Sales of Susan Barringer Wells’ new book, A Game Called Salisbury are progressing well. Susan was featured in the Greensboro Daily News, I believe on Sunday, February 10, 2008. Susan has a book signing coming up at Barnes & Noble in Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro this week. I wonder if anyone from the New York Times book review department has caught wind of Susan’s new book. If anyone out there from The New York Times, Washington Post, or anyone else would care to comment on the book, let us know.

Mortgage, pay off early, interest and investments

From time to time I see or hear a discussion about the pros and cons of paying off a home mortgage early, making extra payments and 30 year versus 15 or 20 year mortgages. There was an article in the Charlotte Observer Sunday morning, January 20, 2008. The artcle presented for and against positions. This is a subject worth contemplating for most home owners because it can make a tremendous difference in one’s financial situation, short term and long term. Very few topics in life can be intelligently discussed out of context, and this debate is no exception. Here are the decisions and things to consider for most homeowners in the US.

  • Most people in the US do not remain in their first home and sooner or later your home will be sold. Buy a home that is where people now or later want to live in. This can be from the perspective of selling the home later or renting part or all of it. Even in a city or region that is not as popular as it once was, one can find the most desirable locations.
  • Early in your life, generally buy the most house you can comfortably afford. If you are younger, consider a house you can have a roommate(s) in or rent out part of. Any time that you can, let others help to pay for part or all of your real estate. Choose your comfort level and carefully choose those you rent to.
  • Alway have at least 3 months of liquid assets to cover your bills for emergencies. Also have at least 3 months or preferably 9 months in other assets that can be converted to cash like a 401K or retirement fund. You don’t want to lose that house once you get it.
  • Should one get a 30 year mortgage or 15 or 20 year mortgage? I recommend that most people get a 30 year mortgage unless you know you can always pay the shorter term mortgage and you are not going to invest the difference in the payment amounts and your rate is less on the shorter term. With a 30 year mortgage, you can normally make extra payments each month or whenever you are able. However, with the lower monthly payment, your odds for always making the necessary payment amount are much better. If you want to make extra payments, always make sure you have the emergency money first.
  • Now for the question of pros and cons of paying off your home early. This is a personal decision and requires one to be honest and realistic with one’s self. First of all, follow the rules I have outlined above. After that, look  at your interest rate. Are you locked into a high rate with little chance for changing it. You then have more incentives to pay more. If your rate is low, you then must honestly determine if you will invest the money you would use to pay the house off early. If you will and can make better use of the money, perhaps you should consider investing it. It you are unsure, perhaps you should pay extra on your house until you can use the money in a more productive way.
  • I  recommend you discuss the above with a knowledgeable tax or investment specialist. Paying a little money for sound advice upfront, can make or save you a lot of money.

Snow again in Charlotte, NC snow

More snow is on the way to Charlotte and North Carolina for the second time in 2 days. Seems like mother earth is ignoring all the “expert” talk on global warming as she did hurricane forecasts for the past several years. I have lived in NC all of my life and seen cycles of weather within my lifetime. The southeast has been in a drought the past year, but from my limited knowledge of weather patterns I know that in NC we get moisture coming in from the west, southeast, south, east and even northeast. That covers a lot of directions and means sooner or later we are going to get precipitation. Well, now you have my “expert” opinion. Enjoy the snow!

To learn more about  North Carolina Click here

 

Office Depot, bad experience, online shopping hell

I have been shopping at Office Depot for many years due to the fact that I have bought a lot of computer equipment over the years, they seemed to have what I wanted and appeared to be the lesser of evils. I have been shopping for a notebook computer recently and going to the Office Depot site and checking out their selection. I received a gift for $ 75 and decided to take it in the form of a Office Depot gift card to apply toward the purchase of the new computer. I have been leaning more toward Office Max recently because they have gotten away from the rebate nonsense. I will definitely give Office Max more attention. Here is the experience I had with Office Depot. I will say the customer service reps that I ended up calling were friendly, but powerless to help. It is the fault of the idiot management. Consumers beware.

  • The Office Depot website was slow when I searched for computers.
  • Regarding the online gift card order. I tried to take the option to pick up the card locally and pay online. It would not let me. I then decided to have it shipped and completed the order.
  • The next day I checked the status online. It showed a 2 week shipping delivery date.
  • I tried to chat online and get an answer. I was knocked off 3 times. The response time was horrible (I have high speed internet access).
  • I finally called customer service. The first lady said it takes 2 weeks because it is a special order. I mentioned that I see gift cards on every store shelf. No go.
  • I asked to speak to someone else. Same answer. Both ladies were nice and I was nice to them.
  • Conclusion. Management is obviously on drugs. I am ready to spend some more money at Office Depot and Office Depot obviously has a death wish. This is so typical of corporate America. They obviously are not on top of their website and 2 weeks to get a gift card. I don’t think so!

WCNC news Charlotte NC, John Snyder, Terri Bennett

WCNC news tv, Charlotte North Carolina, has reacted like many companies in corporate America. Instead of getting to the root of a declining market share of audience, they have let go some of their best assets, veteran newsman John Snyder and professional weather forecaster, Terri Bennett. I will venture a guess that they will lose more market share after this move. The only reason some people even watched WCNC news was because of people like John Snyder and Terri Bennett. People are already disenchanted with network news and many people, particularly the young, are getting their news from the internet. Wake up corporate America, your most valuable assets are your customers and your employees. Listen to the public and your employees. I watch less network news, but I did watch John Snyder and Terri Bennett. Maybe there is something wrong with the way you are doing business, your product for example.

I went to the Charlotte Observer online and the article about John Snyder being upset and saying goodbye. There were posts from people echoing my thoughts about  WCNC, John Snyder, Terri Bennett and their “death wish”. The article is dated Dec 08, 2007. If you share my concerns, post a remark on this blog, on the Charlotte Observer site or contact WCNC or WCNC.com. The Observer link is here or you can search on John Snyder WCNC.

 http://www.charlotte.com/326/story/395528.html

To learn more about Charlotte and  North Carolina Click here

 

Susan Wells, A game called Salisbury, awaiting response

Several responses from descendants of the Lyerly Family, subjects of A Game Called Salisbury by Susan Barringer Wells have not been answered. This is an attempt to get answers from the author. Below are the posted responses by Lyerly family descendants:

Sheena Lyerly
December 28, 2007

Issac Lyerly was my Great-great
Grandfather, and you wrote in your
book that Joseph Lyerly lived about
a half a mile from Issac’s house but
by our families account he lived at
least a mile or more away from his
fathers house, and you listed that
he was a possible suspect because
the girls did not go to their
brothers home. Joseph’s house was a
half a mile off of old U.S 70,
therefore that was the reason his
sisters did not go to his house for
help! If you have any record of
Joseph Lyerly living in another home
other then the one our family knows
of then please get back to me

 Renea Julian
January 3, 2008

Susan,

” It is noted “that you have more speculation, rather than fact.

Do you not remember the July 1974 news article in the Salisbury Post
which gives reference to the Testimony before a Grand Jury
of said Murderers of my Family? As the writer of: The Game Called
Salisbury, I am sure you must know without a shadow of a doubt what that
Testimony is. There is no Mystery to solve. What is “IS” and you can’t
change History. Evil ,Hideous murder is what happened in that house. GOD
rest the souls of “All” people involved. Also, another question to you
is “Why do you not have compassion for a family that was so brutally
Murdered? Is your compassion one sided?

Please note: I already knew you are not a Lyerly descendant before
your correction. I have read a thoroughly researched book compiled by
Harry Lyerly which was my Uncle.

I am anxiously awaiting your reply. I have more comments for you, but I
think that this is an appropriate place to stop.

Sincerely,
Renea Lyerly Julian

Below is the prior dialogue between Susan Wells and a Lyerly Family member:

Issac Lyerly was my Great-great
Grandfather, and you wrote in your
book that Joseph Lyerly lived about
a half a mile from Issac’s house but
by our families account he lived at
least a mile or more away from his
fathers house, and you listed that
he was a possible suspect because
the girls did not go to their
brothers home. Joseph’s house was a
half a mile off of old U.S 70,
therefore that was the reason his
sisters did not go to his house for
help! If you have any record of
Joseph Lyerly living in another home
other then the one our family knows
of then please get back to me

Sheena Lyerly

The information in my book is compiled from numerous sources, about which I explain, at the beginning of the book, much is questionable.  Nevertheless, I sometimes gave more notice to details on which more than a few sources agreed. And more than a few agreed that Joseph lived 1/2 mile from Issac’s home, including Joseph himself (according to 2 sources).

Also, in my opinion, the members of the Lyerly family, of which I am also a  descendant (I am related to both Isaac and Augusta and doubly related to their offspring), in the absence of tangible evidence, should have been, at least initially, as suspect as those who were arrested and punished for the crime.  And given the lack of proof that those punished were guilty, and evidence I found of their innocence,  we have to consider the possibility of another or others’  involvement.

I quote two sources which independently present themselves as transcripts of the solicitor’s investigation on July 20 and 21st, both quoting Joseph saying he lived about a half mile from his father’s house. This and other printed testimony, as well as relatives’ recollection of the location of Joseph’s house and my own clocking the distance in my car, led me to the understanding that his house was located about a half mile from Isaac’s.

Writing the book, I used every piece of information I could gather in 10 years, and still, as in the case of why the girls went to Cook’s rather than Joseph’s house, I presented the situation as a question, rather than a point of fact.  I actually presented very little as fact in the book, if you noticed, again, how everything is introduced in the beginning.

 Also, throughout my research of this story, I  persistently sought oral history from relatives — any I could find and also through an ad in the paper, – and I included all information that people were willing to share with me, though I often felt there was more I wasn’t being told.

Though it’s very possible that the two  papers that covered the investigation misquoted Joseph saying he lived about 1/2 mile away, it’s not likely both of them did so over what would probably have seemed a trivial issue at the time.

Moreover, in sharing my findings on this story, I felt it was important to explore  possibilities that anyone NOT related to the family might consider, so that I would not appear or be biased as a member of the family.

Also, I think it important that the possibility of guilt from other sources be considered out of fairness.  Times being what they were, people automatically focused on any info that led to the guilt of black citizens, to the exclusion of all others.  There were likely more in both the white and black communities who held a grudge against Isaac or Augusta, but because the press and the public focused only on those arrested, I had very little else to go on.

It’s very likely that Nease was singled out, because he set an example in the community that was often not welcome. He left a poor-paying sharecropping job and took more profitable work at a sawmill.  Often the dominant black male in a community was culled, and this may have been the only crime that Nease committed, being a bit too uppity for the liking of whites who wanted hard labor for little or no pay.   I can’t prove this was the case with Nease, I only know that it was a common occurrence during that time.  So, it is just another possibility of why Nease was targeted.

If all we have as “evidence” against the accused is the arguments the tenant farmers had with Isaac, then we must, in fairness, consider, first, Mary’s problems with her mother, Joseph’s issues with Augusta, and any other grudges we know about.  It would have been wrong for me to ignore this information I received from another family member.

This does not mean that I personally believe either Joseph or Mary or Matt were involved, but I also do not believe John or Nease Gillespie were involved.  I have doubts about Jack, but I also believe strongly in the presumption of innocence in his case as well as anyone else’s.

I hope you understand that I’m trying to make a point here.  The point is why should the public and the press focus only on the points of contention between the sharecroppers and Isaac to the exclusion of all others?  If we’re going to point out the tension between the Lyerlys and the mixed raced neighbors, then we should point out the tension within the Lyerly family or else we should not use this kind of  flimsy “evidence” against any of them, because it is ALL flimsy.

Again, I believe people outside the family will ask these questions, and I felt the questions should be addressed.

And I also still question why Joseph did not go to the house immediately to see about his parents as soon as he heard of the attacks. Without seeing for himself, how could he be sure all were really dead?  He waited hours, as I recall, according to  his own testimony — as it was recorded.  I still have many questions about this case.

Thanks for asking.  What do you base your measurements on, other than oral history?

Susan

To learn more about Salisbury and  North Carolina Click here