Does history truly repeat itself?

Published 9:02 am Thursday, April 11, 2013

To the Editor:

On Friday, March 29, I was witness to one of the most special days in Gates County’s history, the ribbon cutting and grand opening of our new Gates County Public Library.

This new building was a beautiful sight to see, and will be a special place for Gates County citizens to use and enjoy for years to come.

I was presented the first library card to be issued at the new library by Mrs. Pat Familiar. This was also my first library card. I decided that today would be the day to use my new card, so I stopped by the library.

After being greeted by the smiling face of one of our librarians, I looked over at the new computer area. There I saw a gentleman that I knew and we greeted each other and spoke of the new library. He stated the library was 25 years past due. He also told me how he had been using the library computers to search for a job and of the number of children that were in there last week working on the computers because schools were closed for spring break.

Being interested in Gates County history I found myself at the history section. I picked up one book and thumbed through it, when another caught my eye titled “Forgotten Gates”. This is the one I decided to check out.

That evening I was reading the first essay on page 3 titled “THIS IS GATES COUNTY”.  I read the following passage:

“The history of Gates County is not attractive because of any illustrious achievements within its border: there were no great leaders in state or national politics in the early days who hailed from Gates. It was an inert county from the very beginning; there were no agitations for reform; everyone was satisfied with things as they were; hence the value of Gates County is that it illustrates life in North Carolina under average conditions uninfluenced by the stress of progress or extreme poverty.” (1)

(1) GatesCounty native Isaac S. Harrell (1894-1927), summarizes his county’s heritage In “Gates County to 1860.” Papers of the Trinity College Historical Society, Durham, N.C.: (Duke University, Series XII, 1916)

As a past commissioner and trying to be very progressive in my thinking about the future of Gates County I found it amusing that the first book I checked out with my new Gates County Library Card would lead me to the first passage I would read that had been written 100 years ago by a 20 year old man as he had studied about Gates County’s history in the 1800s. THAT STILL STANDS SO TRUE TODAY.

Graham L. Twine