Elizabeth City is rich in legend and lore. The pirate Blackbeard was a frequent visitor to the area, selling his ill-gotten goods to a willing populace. The Wright brothers made Elizabeth City the first leg of their trips to Kitty Hawk, and they bought materials to build their flying machine from Kramer Brothers, a local lumberyard. Champion nine-ball player Luther “Wimpy” Lassiter was born and died here. Young “Beautiful Nell” Cropsey was murdered in 1901; her death is the town’s most enduring mystery. Newspaperman W.O. Saunders, editor of the Independent, was known nationally after he walked down New York’s Fifth Avenue in pajamas to protest uncomfortable work attire. Young Tamsen Donner, a member of the ill-fated Donner Party, was a teacher here in the 1830s. Fred Fearing’s Rose Buddies welcomed boaters to Elizabeth City with homegrown roses and wine and cheese parties. He has entertained Walter Cronkite and Willard Scott, among other luminaries. These are just a few of the stories, mysteries, and legends of Elizabeth City’s past and present.
About the Author
Marjorie Ann Berry is an Elizabeth City historian and writer who has compiled photographs and information from archival sources and local people to create Legendary Locals of Elizabeth City.