|Capt. Samuel A'Court Ashe|
Ashe wrote this in 1892. Only six years later, things changed...
By 1912, Eugene Clyde Brooks edited a book of poetry in which a short biography was included on each poet. Rev. Cade was a poet of some state-wide renown and he was listed with two poems in Brooks' book. Rev. Cade's biography in that book told the same details as Ashe's, with the added detail of his age at the time of enlistment in the Confederate Army: the tender age of eighteen. It also told of his subsequent education from 1866-1869 at Richmond College and his becoming a Baptist minister in 1868. Being a good conservative North Carolinian, Eugene Brooks also expressed some regret after extolling the many virtues of Rev. Cade when he said "But when Daniel L. Russell was elected Governor of North Carolina, he became the governor's private secretary."
Shortly after his death, the Williamston Enterprise, on June 7, 1918, apologized for Cade's service under Russell, saying that financial matters necessitated him taking the position. "The appointment as private secretary came unsought," stated the Enterprise, "His brethren in the Baptist denomination, ministers and laymen as well, understood the circumstances and motives and maintained their high respect for him and appreciation of his worth." Still, this does not explain Cade's later service as head of the liberal Lincoln Republicans, to which Russell belonged, at the Waynesville Convention. Furthermore, his finances were never uncertain, as he purchased the University at Chapel Hill's printing business in 1895, earned $50,000 and a 17-yr royalty from the sale of one of his inventions just before he left for North Carolina. Cade had money. Brooks and the Enterprise almost made it sound like there was something seriously wrong with being Russell's secretary...
Daniel Lindsay Russell (1897-1901)
I should mention that conservative North Carolinians tried to assassinate Gov. Russell when he defended unionist policies in the state and the enfranchisement of African-Americans, against the wishes of the state's-rights ex-Confederates, part of whom were retaking Wilmington's government in 1898 and murdering black citizens without any consequences whatsoever. Russell was not held in high favor by citizens of the state, who opposed any black enfranchisement policy as "ungodly." The Williamston Enterprise assumed every one of their readers to agree.
We now call this affair, the only coup d'etat ever to occur in the United States, the "Wilmington Race Riot of 1898." Conservative U.S. Congressman (and ex-Confederate soldier) Alfred Moore Waddell installed himself as mayor of Wilmington after his declaration that he would "choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses" if blacks weren't "put in their place" like they were before the war. Conservatives may not have been able to enslave blacks as before, literally, but there were other ways (like Jim Crow laws and Black-laws) to prevent their political empowerment and force their suppression in the great white Godliness of "Progressive"-era North Carolina and today.
Ashe was, after all, first a lawyer, not an historian. Late in his life, he published the short treatise "A Southern View of the Invasion of the Southern states and the War of 1861-65" to reiterate the virtues of slavery and the right of the South to engage in it. He included much rhetoric in this polemical pamphlet, much of it sheer conservative bias.
Compare Ashe's cherry-picking style of self-congratulatory rhetoric to today's conservative apologist entertainment of FOX NEWS and their intentional distortion of facts. 1898 began the 100-yr long conservative re-entrenchment in our state that still affects us today... still leaves us open to snake oil salesmen like FOX NEWS, not unlike the "redeemer history" of Ashe's day. It was a battle for conservative control that almost killed Daniel L. Russell (attacked by a force of paramilitary Red Shirts on a train while traveling back from Wilmington after casting his vote) and lowered the local opinions of those associated with him... like Rev. Baylus Cade... and like any professional historian today who attempts to tell the truth... the "good ol' boys" simply say it's my "interpretation" of the truth, so much like their forebears. Yes, I get this daily on Facebook... ;)
|William L. Saunders tombstone showing the word "patriot" although for which country is not clear: The USA or the CSA. It also has the phrase "I refuse to answer" carved into it, a reflection of the trial in which he used the 5th amendment.|
In December 1890, Rev. Cade became associate editor of the Progressive Farmer, the Farmer's Alliance organ in North Carolina under editor Leonidas L. Polk, who pushed the "Sub-treasury bill," This position lasted six months. Cade would not support Polk's policies, particularly the Sub-treasury bill, which he and Gov. Zebulon Vance viewed as unconstitutional:
"After a careful and patient study of the sub treasury bill, I am convinced that its enactment into a law would be disastrous to the country, and especially to the agricultural interests. Holding this view, I cannot write one word in favor of that bill. The dominant sentiment of the Alliance upon this measure is in irreconcilable conflict with my views, and the only manly and honorable course left for me is to retire and let some other editor take charge whose views are in harmony with the friends of the sub treasury bill." [Cade, quoted by The State (Columbia, South Carolina), June 25, 1891]
How much of this quote of Cade's was accurate and how much the words of the Farmer's Alliance supporters, is impossible to tell. The "manly and honorable" part, however, about stepping down to make room for supporters of the sub treasury bill, makes this sound suspiciously like the Farmer's Alliance "booted" out a non-conformist Rev. Baylus Cade. The news coming directly from South Carolina, who supplied the Red Shirts a few years later during the Wilmington Race-riot affair, also makes it sound suspiciously like white-supremacists who didn't like the Reverend. This was the only article from South Carolina to include a reference to "Rev. Baylus Cade" that I could find and it sounds very much like "good ol' boy - make us sound better-than-thou" politics.
Populists and liberals had certain common goals that brought them together...
In the elections of 1894, a Fusionist coalition of anti-elitist Populists and early liberal Republicans led by Populist Marion Butler swept state and local offices in North Carolina. The coalition would go on to elect Republican Daniel Lindsay Russell as governor in 1896 against conservative Southern-Democrats.
Fusionists were seen as an "unholy" alliance of Populists with "Negro-loving" liberals, reviled by staunchly conservative ex-Confederates. They were not Farmer's Alliance men. To the point, they were not wholly white-supremacists, concerned more with economics than social conservatism.
Due to his close association with Russell, Rev. Cade, already "tainted" in the ultra-conservative Alliance's eyes, was no longer seen as a true ally. These included men like Polk, Ashe, and William L. Saunders, the infamous leader of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan who became the first person to make use of the 5th amendment in a Congressional hearing. "I refuse to answer" is on his tombstone... literally "written in stone."
These white-supremacists were the political winners of 1898 and perhaps why no one was ever prosecuted for the Wilmington-riot massacre of black citizens. Still, that never explained the federal ignorance of justice. Literally, these murders were ignored by everyone! In the one-sided political apathy, truth and justice lost meaning. We continue to fight that same fight against ultra-conservative white-supremacists in the North Carolina of today, but perhaps with a bit more hope of winning this time.
Reflecting Ashe's new opinion of Rev. Cade's more progressive sympathies after the war, in 1908, the prolific ex-Confederate (he seemed anxious to make his point) published his Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present in eight volumes and, in this post-riot work, Ashe only mentions Cade once: his reference to Cade's actions as lawyer defending Elias Carr, president of the Farmer's Alliance. There is no mention of his association with Governor Russell, assuredly his most prominent work to that date. There was also no mention of his leading the state's Republican party after Russell's leaving office as governor.
White supremacists won. Russell's, Cade's, and Lincoln's party of liberal Republicans were thoroughly suppressed. They even gave up on getting African-Americans into politics; the conservative white-supremacist opposition was simply too great.
What happens when you oppose the powers-that-be in any particular political entity? Well, like Rev. Baylus Cade, you become the "wayward" young idealist who didn't know any better... according to voluminous "redeemer history."
Like most of these amateur "historians" of North Carolina's so-called "Progressive Era" (now, there's a misnomer), many truly progressive personalities of North Carolina's past were cast into a political bonfire. Their contributions were no longer admired by a state full of white-supremacists who could no longer stomach them and their anti-slavery, unionist views. They became lost in a sea of rhetoric. "State's rights" or Anti-Union sentiment won North Carolina's future and continues to choke our democracy to death.
History makes the present. Southerner conservatives, officially the "Tea Party" today, call themselves "patriots," wave the stars and bars, display the American Eagle on their websites, all the time while waving a Confederate flag, some even promoting groups like the KKK... you'd think they'd realize that this is incompatible, even dysfunctional, but... it's most certainly traditional.
Understanding this historical sense of resistance to white-supremacist conservatives in my own lineage makes me proud and I think that it's time that North Carolina should recognize and restore Rev. Cade's contributions as scientist, inventor, minister, poet, lawyer, editor, journalist, and thoughtful North Carolina progressive. He began as most southerners, believing as they did in state's rights, even fought the federal government in the Civil War while too young to even be allowed a drink to celebrate today, but had slowly changed his outlook through his mental acuity, education, exposure to social inequalities, and his opposition to North Carolina's harsh suppression of African American justice.
One of the characteristics that distinguished Rev. Cade above the lawyers and politicians of polite (meaning "white") conservative society was his scientific prowess. He obviously focused more upon electrical and practical inventions rather than using his prominence and legal abilities to oppose the wishes of the people in the form of the federal government. As the Ku Klux Klan and Red Shirts rode across the country frightening blacks and supporting Southern Democrats like Furnifold Simmons, William L. Saunders, and Charles Aycock in their conservative agenda, Baptist minister Rev. Cade sought to better our world through science and technology.
Cade began his scientific work while still living in Scott's Depot, West Virginia. In 1883, he proposed a better railroad car coupler. It was a simple start, involving a "peculiar construction" of the duplex pin and bifurcating bar in traditional couplers.
His interest in rail continued. Cade's first invention while living in Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina involved telegraphy and he proposed to use the rail system to carry the transmission. On March 6, 1888, he proposed his ideas for the "Railway Telegraphy" idea, "to provide simple and effective means whereby telegraphic communications may be established between moving trains and the stations along their tracks, or elsewhere.":
|Baylus Cade's "Railway Telegraphy" patent|
This was closely followed by the actual telegraph device. In February 1890, eight years before the state's conservative coup d'etat in Wilmington, the Scientific American reported on Rev. Cade's "Electric Railroad Telegraph:" He sold this device in 1889 for $50,000 plus royalties for 17 years!
|Scientific American (February 1, 1890), 76.|
|Cade's "Railroad Telegraph" patent|
|Carolina Watchman, October 24, 1889|
|Carolina Watchman, December 12, 1890|
In 1890, Cade involved himself in Populist, or anti-federal government politics and became assistant editor of the Progressive Farmer magazine, under editor Leonidas L. Polk. Another of their publications included the Carolina Watchman, from which the ad above is taken.
However, Rev. Cade was also interested in social reforms and had a growing progressive streak ("Progressive" Farmer was something of an intentional misnomer to distract from the white-supremacist conservative agenda of the organization).
While serving as chaplain for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Cade witnessed a serious failure of the prison system and offered solutions. In 1897, the Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the National Prison Association of the United States, Rev. Baylus Cade submitted an article that revealed a bit of his progressive nature.
- Excerpt: "When society creates conditions which make either starvation, or theft to satisfy hunger, necessary in a given case, it cannot innocently punish him who takes bread to escape death by hunger. In that case society is the criminal, and is as guilty before God, and in the esteem of all righteous men, as any other criminal ever was guilty."
Cade argued for welfare and food stamps, long before they ever became available. Although the ex-Confederate soldier, Private Cade still regarded himself Populist, his social sentiments became increasingly progressive. While Cade was still in Kansas, Daniel Russell "battled several detractors in both the Republican and Populist parties before he received the fusion nomination for governor. In a resounding victory for the fusionists, Russell was elected to the state's highest office." Cade would continue the metamorphosis into a Lincoln Republican upon his return to North Carolina and during his tenure as Gov. Russell's private secretary, beginning in April 1898.
As the Raleigh News & Observer, under Josephus Daniels was the mouthpiece for the conservative white-supremacists, the Charlotte Observer served as opposition and printed the following on October 26, 1898:
|Charlotte Observer, Oct. 26, 1898|
"KEEP THE PEACE, GOV. RUSSELL'S PROCLAMATION, HE MAKES PUBLIC A MANIFESTO" ---
Where as it has been made known to me by the public press, by numerous letters, by oral statements of diverse citizens of the State, and buy formal written statements that the political canvas now going forward has been made the occasion and pretext for bringing about conditions of lawlessness in certain counties in the State, such, for example as Richmond and Robertson County, and...
Whereas it has been made known to me in such a direct and reliable way and that I cannot doubt its truthfulness, that certain counties lying along the southern border of the State have been actually invaded by certain armed and lawless men from another State [South Carolina, invited by the conservatives of North Carolina]; that several political meetings in Richmond and Halifax County has been broken up and dispersed by armed men in using threats, intimidation, and in some cases actual violence; that in other cases property has been actually destroyed and citizens fired on from ambush; that several citizens have been taken from their homes at night and whipped; that in several counties peaceful citizens have been intimidated and terrorized by threats of violence to their persons and their property until they are afraid to register themselves, preparatory to exercising that highest duty of freedmen - casting of one free vote at the ballot box, for men of their own choice, in the coming election...
Now, therefore, I, Daniel L. Russell, Governor of the State of North Carolina in pursuance of the Constitution and laws of the said State and by virtue of its already vested in me by the said Constitution and laws do any issue this my proclamation commanding all ill-disposed persons, whether of this or that political party, or of no political party, to immediately desist from all unlawful practices and all turbulent conduct and to use all lawful efforts to preserve the peace and to secure to all people the quiet enjoyment of all their rights of free citizenship; and I do further command and enjoin it upon all good and law-abiding citizens not to allow themselves to become excited by any appeals that may be made to their passions and prejudices by representatives of any political party whatsoever, but to keep cool heads and use their good offices to preserve the public peace and protect the humblest citizen in all his rights, political and personal, and I do further command and enjoin it upon all judges and all the other civil magistrates and upon all solicitors, sheriffs, and other officers of the law to use the best efforts under the Constitution and laws of the State to apprehend and bring to speedy trial all the offenders against persons and property and political and civil rights of any and all persons in this state whosoever...
(signed), Daniel L. Russell
By the Governor, Baylus Cade, Private Sec.
Two weeks later, on November 8, "Russell traveled home to Wilmington and cast his ballot without incident, but he barely made it back to Raleigh. A group of armed Red Shirts boarded the train at Hamlet looking for the governor, but Russell had been tipped off and was hiding in the baggage car. With the [conservative Southern] Democrats once again in control of the legislature, Russell considered resigning but eventually served out the remainder of his term, leaving office in 1901."[North Carolina Election of 1898]
Compare these events to Tea Party groups like "Operation American Spring" who now plan a May 16th, 10-million-strong invasion of Washington, DC to demand President Obama's surrender of the government. This time, it's not just North Carolina, but the entire Tea-Party portion of crazy America. Of course, the Tea Party's last Washington "invasion" amounted to a slumber party, so, certainly, times have changed.
Still, at the turn of the 20th century, times were different (undoubtedly more aggressive and unfair) and North Carolina, a strongly conservative and white-supremacist state, easily resorted to violence to disfranchise blacks and prevent their service as leaders in the community, much like the reaction to President Obama today. In that respect, North Carolina has not yet changed enough.
Rev. Baylus Cade had aspirations of running for Congress on the Populist ticket before the violence in New Hanover County. Upon leaving office, Russell tried to secure Cade the position of "court reporter," but that failed and Cade moved away from Raleigh briefly to Baltimore, Maryland before heading back to North Carolina in Morehead City. He had adopted a clearly progressive mindset, joining Lincoln's Republicans and heading the Waynesville convention in 1902. He became the state's leader in that party briefly before realizing the futility of fighting against the white-supremacists who ran the state.
|Charlotte Observer, July 25, 1902|
|Charlotte Observer, December 21, 1902|
|Charlotte Observer, January 9, 1903|
Six years after leaving politics and moving to Shelby, North Carolina, the ever-faithful Charlotte Observer announced Cade's newest invention. It was a typesetting machine that promised to revolutionize printing. The "inventive genius" Cade took numerous trips to Philadelphia to negotiate a contract for developing it.
Cade filed the original patent August 10, 1908. The mechanism was much more complicated than his previous inventions. The patent paperwork was 13 pages long.
|"Composing and Line-Casting Machine," U.S. Patent Office patent for Baylus Cade, August 10, 1908.|
|Charlotte Observer, July 12, 1909|
|Charlotte Observer, August 2, 1909|
|Asheboro Courier, November 10, 1910|
|Charlotte Observer, March 22, 1911|
|Charlotte Observer, September 10, 1911|
The real trial came in Philadelphia in 1911 and Rev. Baylus Cade was said to be quite pleased by it. In the short interview between train stops at Lincolnton, Cade said, "the test was in every way satisfactory and if the present plans materialize the machines will be on sale one year hence." Cade told the reporter that the decision had not yet been made whether to manufacture it in Shelby at his own facilities or in Philadelphia at those of his investors.
Manufacturing a new product is always filled with numerous delays and Cade's "Compotype" Typesetter was no exception... apparently the price of its manufacture also increased, which, again, is no shock...
|Charlotte Observer, September 13, 1911|
|Charlotte Observer, January 7, 1912|
"The inventor's friends have the sincerest confidence in its success. Experts have visited the shop in Philadelphia and declare it a marvel. Mr. Cade has been working out the principles of his machine for 20 years or more and now the dream of its life is about to be realized in perfecting a machine that will revolutionize the printing industry."
My grandfather was a Baptist minister himself and an avid reader of the Charlotte Observer. He followed Rev. Cade's success almost daily. When his fourth son was born, Rev. E. M. Brooks and his wife, Emma wrote to Rev. Cade informing him of their decision to name their son after him. Rev. Cade wrote back:
|Letter: "Rev. Baylus Cade to Rev. Edgar M. & Emma Morton Brooks of Palmerville" (January 12, 1916)|
|Charlotte Observer, July 15, 1917|
|Statesville Landmark , July 13, 1917|
|"Casting Mechanism for Typographical Machines," U.S. Patent Office for Baylus Cade, November 15, 1917.|
|Charlotte Observer, September 9, 1917|
|Charlotte Observer, March 28, 1918|
|Charlotte Observer, May 27, 1918|
|Charlotte Observer, May 28, 1918|
Reverend, lawyer, poet, politician, and inventor Baylus Cade died at the age of 74, on May 24, 1918 while seeking to further the manufacture of his typesetting machine. The Charlotte Observer's obituary appeared in the May 27th issue, but the most complete biography appeared the next day. That thoughtful friend/writer assured us that his invention would continue:
The career of Cade, the Baptist preacher, was uneventful; the life of Cade, the inventor was picturesque - romantic. People with whom he came into contact could not resist the depth of his faith. He would never here to the suggestion of failure. He persisted in convincing a man even against his will, and so, people came to have faith in both Cade and the Machine. It was a hard fate that directed the taking off of the inventor when the reward of all his years of labor and expectations seem to be within his grasp.
The Cade Manufacturing Company of Shelby, North Carolina lived after Rev. Baylus Cade, under its president, E. B. Hamrick, president also of Shelby Cotton Mills; another Shelby Cotton Mill man, Vice-president J.C. Smith of Shelby; Secretary-treasurer J. H. Quinn, and many other officers and investors across the state. By 1918, they were seeking new manufacturing facilities in Greensboro on the corner of Lithia and West Lee, with frontage on the Southern Railroad line... the former Arctic Ice and Coal Company.
|Inland Printer/American Lithographer (1917), 698-9|
|Editor & Publisher, 51 (August 10, 1918), 24.|
Many times, I have been told that my telling of history is overshadowed by my progressive politics. This is the absolute truth and my intention! My point is not to tell our history the way that North Carolinians have traditionally viewed it or want me to tell it, but to tell the truth instead. In order to do that, I have to give the old historians a thorough reaming from a political point-of-view. "Redeemer" history or "Revisionism"is a blight on professional history and a purposeful avoidance of justice. Samuel A'Court Ashe and his "good-ol-boys" have reduced real progress to the realm of the distant "ether" and intentionally maimed our state's past. Those with the wrong politics have been left out of the history books.
Rev. Baylus Cade made his contributions to society and because of his association with Daniel Lindsey Russell and liberal politics, conservative North Carolinians, who won the final battle of 1898, drove him into insignificance. He was seen as a political traitor, a castaway, and eventually gave up on politics. He devoted his energies to his scientific inventions and the Baptist ministry - he was largely successful as an inventor. Despite his later scientific successes, even to this day, almost no one has heard of him. Mine is an "odd name," people say, but it would not be if white-supremacists hadn't taken over the state at the turn of the 20th century and robbed Rev. Baylus Cade of his rightful recognition.
I'm not bitter... well, maybe a little. ;)