• The early history of Winston-Salem...

    and Wachovia Bank, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company,

    the Hanes companies, Hanes Park,

    and RJ Reynolds High School & Auditorium


    In 1849, the North Carolina legislature created the new county of Forsyth out of part of what was then Stokes County.  Forsyth County was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a respected landowner in Stokes County. Colonel Forsyth distinguished himself in battle during the War of 1812 at Odelltown, Canada, where he was mortally wounded.

    Col. Benjamin Forsyth

    Col. Benjamin Forsyth

    Also in 1849 the town of Winston was officially  founded. It was named after a local Revolutionary War hero, Joseph Winston. Colonel Winston was officially honored by the NC General Assembly for his gallantry during the War. (The black statute of a gentleman on a horse in front of City Hall is in honor of him). Winston quickly established itself as a bustling industrial town.

    Col. Joseph Winston

    Col. Joseph Winston

    In 1851, the town of Winston was named as the county seat of Forsyth County. The courthouse square was laid one mile north of Salem Square (which was the middle of the village of Salem)…. with plans for the one major road in these two towns to be extended so that they would intersect.

    For reference onlyin 1860, North Carolina was a slave state, in which about one-third of the total population of essentially 1 million were enslaved African Americans. This was a smaller proportion than many southern states. In addition, the state had a substantial number of free negroes:  just over 30,000. The state did not vote to join the Confederacy until President Abraham Lincoln called on it to invade its sister-state, South Carolina.Thus N.C. became the last state to join the Confederacy.  Even after secession, some North Carolinians refused to support the Confederacy. This was particularly true of non-slave-owning farmers in the state's mountains and western Piedmont region.

    For the sake of reference, the Civil War was fought between 1861 to 1865.

    In 1913, the two towns of Winston and Salem merged to form the "twin city" of Winston-Salem.

    For the sake of reference, World War 1 was fought between 1914 to 1918.

    Lets start out with one of the best known names in the history of Winston-Salem:  RJ Reynolds…

    Richard Joshua Reynolds was born in 1850. He was the son of prosperous tobacco manufacturer Hardin W. Reynolds (and his wife Jane) of Chritz, Virginia (in Patrick County).  They lived at what was called the Rock Spring Plantation.  Richard was  part of a large family, and worked on the family tobacco plantation and in the tobacco factory and general store his father owned.  Though he had access to quality eduation, he always struggled with it.  He excelled at selling the family's tobacco products across the south.  Richard ended up entering into a business partnership with his fatherIn 1874 he sold his interest in the family tobacco business to his Dad and moved 60 miles south to Winston, North Carolina. Later in his life he said he came to Winston "for the benefit of the railorad facilities"and "on account of this town being located in the cetner of the belt in which the finest tobacco in the world is grown."  Although the town of Winston had only a few hundred residents and no paved roads, Mr. Reynolds saw two potential keys to business success: Winston was a production center for flue-cured tobacco leaf, and the town sat on a newly built railroad line (that would become part of the Norfolk & Western Railroad). Reynolds invested $7,500 in land and machninery and built and equipped a small factory there to manufacture flat plug chewing tobacco.

     Richard Joshua Reynolds

    Richard Joshua Reynolds

    Richard S. Reynolds, Sr. (RJ Reynolds’ nephew) left the University of Virginia in 1903 to go to work in Winston for him.  He induced Mr. RJ Reynolds to switch from the production of chewing to smoking tobacco…and hence, was partially responsible for the creation of Camel cigarettes.  He devised a moisture-preserving tobacco tin.  In 1912, Mr. Reynolds resigned to enter business for himself. In 1919 he started a company (the US Foil Company) in Louisville, KY that later became known as Reynolds Metals Co. This company first supplied lead and tin foil wrappers to cigarette and candy companies. Later, it was responsible for the invention,  and manufacture, of Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil.

    Richard S. Reynolds, Sr.

    Richard S. Reynolds, Sr.


    In 1888 Mr. RJ Reynolds formed a formal partnership with his youngest brother William Neal Reynolds and company bookkeeper, Henry Roan. Richard served as President with 75 percent ownership and William Neal and Henry Roan divided the remainder. The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was chartered as a corporation by the State of North Carolina on February 11, 1890.

    Now for the history of Wachovia Bank.

    William A. Lemly decided in 1879 to relocate his bank from the quiet Moravian village of Salem to the bustling county seat of Winston, and he needed more than a crew of movers. Although the relocation involved moving only a few blocks up the street, changing towns required a new charter and a new name.

    william a. lemly

    William A. Lemly

    Both became effective on June 16, 1879, with the opening of the doors of the new Wachovia National Bank. The bank started business with capital of $100,000, which its directors felt was "very adequate."

    Fourteen years later, on June 15, 1893, North Carolina's first trust company - Wachovia Loan and Trust Company - opened its doors for business in the rapidly growing town of Winston. Its two-man staff was headed by a prominent textile and railroad entrepreneur, Francis Henry Fries (pronounced "freeze") and Henry Shaffner.  One bit of interesting info about this trust company:  in the early days,  all the money the trust and loan company had was put into a small tin container by Mr. Fries, and he placed it under his bed each night.

     Francis H. Fries

    Francis Henry Fries


    A little history about Salem and the Moravians that lived there. …

    The name Moravian identifies the fact that this historic church had its origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in what is the present-day Czech Republic.  The movement that would develop into the Moravian Church was started by a Christian  priest named John Hus. The church was established as a reaction against alleged errors within the Roman Catholic Church. Hus wanted the practices of the church in Bohemia and Moravia to return to the allegedly "purer" practices of early Christianity: liturgy in the language of the people, having lay people receive communion in both kinds (bread and wine), eliminating indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church and the idea of purgatory.  Hus was accused of heresy, underwent a long trial at the Council of Constance, and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.

    John Hus

    John Hus

    In 1722, with the Moravians being persecuted in Moravia and Bohemia, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff of Saxony (in present-day Germany) formed the community of Herrnhut on his estate (which was formed as a safe refuge for these folks).  He instilled the teachings of Unitas Fratrum within this community.  Unitas Fratrum was the original name of what became the Moravian Church…and was the way the Church was set up (establishing the hiearchy of this “organization”).  Have you ever heard your preacher say “what would happen if everyone in this church were a missionary?”  In Herrnhut, everyone was a missionary.  Count Zinzendorf encouraged them to keep the discipline of the Unitas Fratrum, and he gave them the vision to take the gospel to the far corners of the globe.  Herrnut had a theocracy type of government with its various rules and regulations.

    Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff

    Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorff


    The Moravians were some of the earliest Protestants, rebelling against the authority of Rome more than a hundred years before Martin Luther. One unusual and (for its time) shocking belief was the group's eventual focus on universal educationThey believed in educating everyone:   men and women (and started the first educational institution for women in the United States:  Salem College).  They also educated their slaves. 

    They also sent out (to all parts of the world) some of the first Christian missionaries…especially to places with harsh climates.  Unique to their way of sending missionaries:  they sent laymen with skills as opposed to the other religious sects that sent mainly clergy.  John and Edith Kilbuck were missionaries sent from the Home Moravian Church to Alaska.  John grew up in Kansas, and Edith grew up in Salem (having been Edith Roemig). 

    The Moravians sent missionaries to America and they settled in Pennsylvania in 1741 in settlements that became known as Bethlehem and Nazarath.

    A group of Moravians went to survey a 100,000 acre tract of land in North Carolina (between the 3 forks of the Muddy Creek that came to be called Wachau … named in honor of the estate of Count Zinzendorf). Wachau came from the German words "die Wach au" - "Wach" was the name of a stream on the Count’s estate, and "au" means "meadowland". The name later anglicized to “Wachovia.”

    Bethabara was the site where fifteen settlers from the Moravian Church in Bethlehem first settled in 1753 in an abandoned cabin.   Its early settlers were noted for advanced agricultural practices, especially their "Medicine Garden," which produced over fifty kinds of herbs. Bethabara grew slowly and today is that area which is known locally as "Old Town".  Although later parties of Moravians joined the first fifteen, including women and children, Bethabara was never meant to be a permanent settlement. It was intended to house the Moravians until a more suitable location for their central village could be found.

    Bethania was the first planned Moravian settlement in Wachovia, and was founded in 1759 as a congregational, agricultural, and trades community.  Whereas Bethabra could only be inhabited by folks that were committed Moravians, Bethania had both Moravians (believers)  as well as non-believers (who agreed to live by the standards set up by the Moravians).

    In 1771, the place for their central village was chosen, and it was called Salem (which in Hebrew means peace).  The guidance of the Lord was sought for selection of a new town by a drawing of lots among sites which were suitable. One of the options in the drawing of lots was the location of RJ Reynolds Memorial Auditorium. 

    After 5 years of construction, folks moved into Salem in 1776.

    Salem and Raleigh have a unique distinction among cities in N.C.:  they are the only 2 pre-planned cities (in that plans were drawn up as to where all buildings and roads would be located).  The center of the Moravian life was the church, and thus Home Church was the center of the village of Salem.  There is a cupula on top of the church that reads 1800….the year the church was built.

    Is there anything in your extended family that still works today like it woked over 200 years ago?  The church bell at Home Church rings today on the hour during each hour of sunlite…..the same as it did in 1800.

    The Moravians here still celebrate the lovefeast, (a Christmas service where sweet buns are served with hot coffee),  which  was originally started in 1727. They continue to use older and traditional music in worship. In addition, Moravians are buried in a traditional God's Acre, a graveyard organized by gender, age, and marital status rather than family.  It is the site of the world famous Easter Sunrise Service, where thousands of people gather in the early morning to celebrate Christ's Resurrection in a service whose roots reach back to Herrnhut Saxony Germany in the year 1732.

    The Home Moravian Church is still the largest Moravian parish in the United States.  10% of the population in Salem were slaves in the 1800's.

    The church owned all slaves in the community of Salem, and leased them out as potters, carpenters and bricklayers to citizens when needed. White citizens addressed black residents as sister and brother, and church leaders required that slaves be paid a nominal wage and be provided with adequate clothing and tools. In time, most of the African Americans became bilingual, since they had to speak German to communicate with whites.  Both white and black townspeople attended church--and were buried--side by side. Salem's biracial harmony didn't last forever; and by the early 19th century, white Moravians began to adopt the segregationist perspective of the rest of the South. In addition, many of the citizens felt that allowing blacks to worship with whites would give the slaves the impression that they were equal, and that (they believed) could only lead to slave revolts and other problems. By 1822, sadly, Salem was one community with two churches sitting almost side by side (one for whites and another for slaves).  St. Philip's, the church for the slaves, is one of the oldest churches in the South.

    What was taking place world-wide in the later 1800’s and the early 1900’s?  The Industial Revolution.

    In 1835 the business leaders of the Moravian congregation of Salem took the first step in moving textile crafts (being created in the town) from a cottage industry to mass production. With the approval of the church elders, Francis Levin Fries and other local businessmen organized the Salem Manufacturing Company to build a factory on the western edge of Salem. The next year Fries was dispatched to New England to study textile manufacturing processes. The Salem Cotton Mill began operations in 1837.

    Frances ("Franz") Leven Fries

    Francis ("Franz") Leven Fries

    He left that firm, and created the Fries Manufacturing Company in 1839, which later became the F and H Fries Manufacturing Company (in 1846). His son, Francis Henry Fries became a partner in the firm at age twenty-one (in 1876). In 1881 Francis built Arista Mills, the first mill in North Carolina to have electric lights. Shortly afterward, he started the Indera Mills. In 1887, at the urging of R. J. Reynolds and others, Fries assumed the task of building a 122-mile railroad to cross the mountains and to connect Winston and Salem to Roanoke. Completed in 1891 at a cost of $2 million, the Roanoke and Southern Railway, which Fries served at times as president and general manager, became part of the Norfolk and Western rail system in 1892.

    To get back to Wachovia Bank: 

    Francis Henry Fries in 1893 went into banking as President of the first trust company in North Carolina, the Wachovia Loan and Trust Company.  And just as Mr. RJ Reynolds wanted a railroad built for his company, he also wanted a bank in Winston-Salem that was large enough for his company….and he hoped that the bank that Francis worked for (Wachovia) would become that bank.

    Eighteen years later in 1911, the two Wachovia's merged to form Wachovia Bank and Trust Company.

    Now for the history of the Hanes companies….

    Following the Civil War, brothers Pleasant Henderson ("P.H.") Hanes and John Wesley Hanes began selling plug tobacco from wagons they guided throughout North Carolina. In 1872 the brothers started the P.H. Hanes Tobacco Company in Winston. Anna Hodgin married John Wesley Hanes in 1879.  Pleasant and John shepherded the P.H. Hanes Tobacco Company through two factory fires until they had built the third largest tobacco business in America. A serious illness to John forced the brothers to sell the business to R.J. Reynolds in 1900 for $175,000. When John regained his health, the Hanes brothers re-invested their profits into the textile industry - but as independent proprietors.

    Pleasant Henderson Hanes

    Pleasant Henderson Hanes

     John Wesley Hanes

    John Wesley Hanes

    John Wesley Hanes concentrated on men’s stockings and named his company Shamrock Mills.  John’s health broke again and he died in 1903.  His son James Gordon Hanes took the helm in 1903 at his father's death.  It became Hanes Hosiery in 1914.  In 1918, the company expanded its product line to include women's socks.  In 1938, working with DuPont, they introduced nylon into their hosiery and became the first company to start producing pantyhose in the 1960's.  Subsequent corporate actions included the spin-off of the L'eggs brand in 1972 and the sale of the company to Sara Lee in 1979.  

    James Gordon Hanes, Sr.

    James Gordon Hanes, Sr.


    James’ son James Gordon Hanes, Jr, (”Gordon”) married Helen Greever Copenhaver on August 30, 1941. Instead of going by Helen Greever Copenhaver Hanes, she made things simple, and told folks to call her Copey.”  As husband and wife, Gordon and Copey threw their support behind schools and colleges, churches, galleries, museums, libraries, and individuals who needed help.  The James G. Hanes Memorial Fund was created at James’s death, and this continues to support those same institutions, and it is overseen by Gordon and Copey’s children.

    James Gordon hanes, Jr.

    James Gordon Hanes, Jr.

    The 32-acre estate of James G. Hanes, Sr. is the home of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts (SECCA).


    Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts

    PH Hanes created a plant to manufacture a new type of knitwear: men’s heavyweight, two-piece underwear.   Mr. Hanes continued to be in charge of his P.H. Hanes Knitting Company until his death in 1925 at the age of 79. The two firms continued to operate autonomously under the brothers’ descendants until 1962 when the two Hanes companies consolidated, back under the family name once again. 

    The John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation was established in 1947 by their children.   Initially, the Foundation's mission was to improve the lives of the citizens of Forsyth County, North Carolina.  In 1958 with a subsequent gift by Robert M. Hanes (their son), its scope was broadened to include all of North Carolina, while continuing to have a distinct focus for Forsyth County citizens.  

    Robert M. Hanes

    Robert M. Hanes

    Another example of a child from a family with a history with one company going to work for and lead  another company:  Robert. M. Hanes was born to John and Anna Hanes.  After World War I, he started working for Wachovia.  He became its President in 1931.  He built a statewide powerhouse  by buying up small banks to build Wachovia Bank and Trust into the first statewide banking network.  “He retired in 1956.  He was the guiding and leading mind and spirit that gave cohesion to the efforts of all of us involved in the (formation of the Research) Triangle” noted NC Governor Luther M. Hodges in 1960 when he broke ground for the Robert M. Hanes Memorial Building in the Park.  He, besides sitting on the boards of many firms, served as a member of both houses of the NC General Assembly.

    Frank Borden Hanes was of the son of Robert Hanes.  He has supported many charitable causes and non-profit organizations via his lead charitable remainder trust.

    Frank Borden Hanes

    Frank Borden Hanes

    Lets return to RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company:

    Due to considerable expansion in the late 1890s, RJ Reynolds was in need of large amounts of capital. Remember, for instance, in 1900 he bought the tobacco manufacturing companies from the Hanes brothers. Reluctantly, he turned to his rival James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke (from Durham) for financial help.

     James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke

    James Buchanan ("Buck") Duke


    In 1898 Duke's American Tobacco Company established a subsidiary, Continental Tobacco Company, in an effort to monopolize the nation's chewing tobacco business. In April 1899 Mr. Reynolds sold two-thirds of his stock in RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. to Continental, but retained his position as president of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.  RJ Reynolds Tobacco Copnany was one of fifteen in Winston.  Mr. Reynolds set his company apart from the others by including early use of saccaharin to flavor the chew, and he used flu-cured tobacco instead of the standard burley.

    In late 1907 RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.introduced Prince Albert smoking tobacco, a unique mixture of burley and flue-cured tobacco. Prince Albert achieved instant success with the slogan "it can't bite your tongue."  Do you remember Richard S. Reynolds, RJ’s nephew?  He devised a moisture-preserving tobacco tin:  the Prince Albert tobacco tins.

    Prince Albert tobacco tin

    Prince Albert tobacco tin

    The tobacco trust, like most trusts during the first decade of the 20th century, proved to be unpopular. In 1911 a U.S. Circuit Court ordered the dissolution of the American Tobacco Company. American was forced to divest itself of all Reynolds stock. R.J. Reynolds and members of his family reacquired some of the company's stock in 1912, when he reacquired control of the company.

    Soon after achieving independence from the trust in 1912, Mr. Reynolds instituted a plan to get the company's stock into the hands of friendly investors. A company bylaw encouraged Reynolds' employees to buy company stock, and the board of directors approved the lending of surplus funds and profits to employees for the purchase of "A," or voting, stock. By 1924 the majority of the company's voting stock was in the hands of people who worked for the company. Soon all tobacco businesses began to emulate the Reynolds stock purchase plan.

    As early as 1912 R.J. Reynolds considered the production of cigarettes because of the great success that the Prince Albert brand had experienced. By July 1913 Reynolds had manufactured the company's first cigarette. Reynolds decided to produce three different cigarette brands simultaneously to see which one had the greatest public demand. He personally selected the blend--Turkish tobacco, burley, flue-cured--and the name of the brand that proved most popular: Camel (which became the first nationally popular cigarette in the United States). The 20-cigarette pack (which is still the industry standard) was introduced by Reynolds Tobacco in 1913, and in 1915 the company introduced the one-piece, 10-pack carton. In 1913, Reynolds Tobacco became the first company to package its cigarettes with a moisture-proof, sealed cellophane outerwrap to preserve freshness. The Camel brand became an instant success because of its blend, pricing, and advertising. Camels sold for ten cents a pack.  Reynolds spent more than $2 million in 1915 in an aggressive national advertising campaign. In 1919 the famous slogan "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" appeared. Reynolds also instituted the idea of selling cigarettes by the carton. Profits soared from $2.75 million in 1912 to nearly $24 million in 1924, largely because of the phenomenal sale of Camels.

    package of Camel cigarettes

    Camel cigarette package


    Let’s look at another example how members of a family that was associated with one company went on to run another company.

    One of the first employees hired at Wachovia Bank and Trust Company was James Alexander Gray, who became one of the first Vice Presidents of the bank

    James Alexander Gray

    James Alexander Gray


    James had 2 sons….James A. Jr. and Bowman Gray.  Bowman (the older of the 2 sons) left school in 1892 to become a clerk at Wachovia.  In 1895, he left Wachovia and began working at R. J. Reynolds as a salesman in Georgia.

    Bowman Gray

    Bowman Gray

    His sales success propelled him into management after two years.  Bowman married Nathalie Lyons.  In 1924, he was promoted to President of the company, and in 1932 he became the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Between 1927 and 1932, he and his wife Nathalie oversaw the construction of Graylyn, their 60-room estate in the countryside surrounding Winston.



    An aside:  he also donated the land on which Centenary United Methodist Church now sits, and was a very big supporter of that church. Three years after Graylyn's completion, in 1935, Gray died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family aboard a ship off the coast of Norway. He was buried at sea.  After Mr. Gray’s death, Mrs. Gray lived in the house until 1937, and each son lived on the estate for the first years of each of their marriages. In 1938, Mrs. Gray married Benjamin Bernard, and they lived in the guest cottage in the Graylyn estate, now called Bernard Cottage, until her death in 1961. In 1946, Mrs. Gray and her sons gave the estate to the Wake Forest School of Medicine. It was first used as a psychiatric hospital from 1947 until 1959 (and thus made possible the beginning of the psychiatry department at Bowman Gray School of Medicine), and then it was used for academic programs. In 1972, Gordon Gray (Bowman’s son) bought Graylyn back from the medical school, and on the same day donated it to Wake Forest  University.

    Gordon Gray

    Gordon Gray


    On June 22, 1980, a fire ignited on the third floor of the Manor House during a performance on the lawn by the Winston-Salem Symphony.  An audience of 7,000 watched as the top floors of the unoccupied house burned.  On the following day, the president of Wake Forest University announced that the home would be restored to its original 1932 condition and be used as an educational conference center. It has been used by the university as a conference center ever since.

    James A Gray, Jr. (Bowman's brother and the other son of James Alexander Gray) started work at Wachovia National bank in 1908.  

    James A. Gray, Jr.

    James A. Gray, Jr.


    One afternoon he was outside the “original” Wachovia Bank building (on the corner of 3rd and Main Street), cleaning the Wachovia sign. Mr. RJ Reynolds was walking by, stopped, and said “I want you to come work for me.  Any executive who will take the time to clean the company sign has a lot of pride in what he is doing….and that is the type of person I want working for me.”  James started working for Reynolds Tobacco in 1920, and became the President in 1934.  His brother Bowman Gray had become President in 1924.  The year after becoming President, in 1935, James’ brother Bowman died unexpectedly while on a cruise in the North Sea. The loss was devastating.  Following Bowman Gray’s death, the entire Gray family worked tirelessly to bring a first class four-year medical school to Winston-Salem. The Bowman Gray School of Medicine opened in the fall of 1941 (and it was created by bringing the medical school of Wake Forest College {which was located in Wake Forest, NC} to Winston-Salem), where it became a four-year School of Medicine in association with the North Carolina Baptist Hospital.   In 1947, he created the “James A. Gray Endowment” at the Winston-Salem Foundation, with a gift of $1.7 million.  He created this because of his belief that educating NC’s young people, both intellectually and morally, is the greatest hope for a strong future.  This endowment supports 11 educational institutions in NC.

    Now, to back up a minute.  Remember that Mr. RJ Reynolds and his youngest brother William Neal and book-keeper Henry Roan started RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company? William Neal Reynolds was Richard’s youngest brother, and followed Richard as the President of Reynolds Tobacco Co. (when he died).

    William Neal Reynolds

    William Neal Reynolds


    He married Kate B. Bitting. William Neal was a great sportsman.  He and Kate later built and lived at Tanglewood, where he raised and bred race horses.  William Neil Reynolds (referred to by his employees as "Mr. Will") was active in the creation of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  It was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of  R.J. Reynolds (Z. Smith Reynolds, who died of a gun-shot wound at the age of 21). 

    Z. Smith Reynolds married Anne Ludlow Cannon soon after he turned eighteen at her father's insistence. She was the daughter of Joseph Franklin Cannon of the Cannon Mills fortune. They had a daughter known as Anne Cannon II. They were divorced in Reno, Nevada. 

    Z. Smith Reynolds

    Z. Smith Reynolds


    Z. Smith Reynolds married the Jewish Broadway theatre actress and torch singer Libby Holman (who was said to have had a scandolous tarnished reputation) in the parlor of a Justice of the Peace, just days after his divorce from Anne was final.

    Smith wanted Libby to abandon her acting career. She consented by taking a one-year leave of absence. During this time, however, his conservative family was unable to bear Libby and her group of theater friends, who at her invitation often visited Reynolda, the family estate.  Accusations and arguments among them were common. On July 6, 1932, during a 21st birthday party Smith gave at Reynolda for his friend and flying buddy Charles Gideon Hill, Jr. (who was also Smith's first wife Anne Cannon Reynolds's first cousin), Libby revealed to Smith she was pregnant. A tense argument ensued. Moments later, a shot was heard, and freinds soon discovered Z. Smith Reynolds bleeding and unconscious of a pistol shot to the head. Libby and Albert Bailey "Ab" Walker, a friend of Reynolds (and a supposed lover of Libby), were indicted for murder. The Reynolds family contacted the local authorities and had the charges dropped for fear of scandal. Though Reynolds' death was ruled a suicide by the authorities, it is still a scandalous affair. Libby's child, Christopher Smith "Topper" Reynolds, was born premature, but led a healthy life.

    Four years later in 1936, the brother and two sisters of Z. Smith Reynolds provided that their inheritance from his estate would go to the establishment of a trust for "charitable works in the State of North Carolina." One of the initial trustees of the Foundation was William Neal Reynolds, who at his death in 1951 created a trust that now provides a portion of the Foundation's annual income.  He later erected and equipped a hospital in Winston-Salem for African Americans, and named it the Kate Bitting Memorial Hospital in honor of his deceased wife.  The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was also created at her death.  The Trust is made up of two divisions, which today are known as: (a) The Health Care Division  (which receives three-fourths of the funds distributed), responds to health and wellness needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of health for financially needy residents of North Carolina. (b) The Poor and Needy Division (which receives one-fourth of the funds distributed), responds to basic life needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of life for financially needy residents of Forsyth County. 

    His Tanglewood estate was left as "a public park, playground, and amusement center for the white race," but in time the City of Winston-Salem acquired it and opened it to the general public.

    entrance to Tanglewood

    entrance to Tanglewood

    The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation received the remainder of his estate to benefit various charitable causes in the state.  Part of that estate was a house he had built (and lived in) where the downtown Public Library now stands. That land was donated for the Library.  However, interestingly, if the Library moves, the land (and thus the building) goes back to the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.    Duke University was an early beneficiary of his philanthropy, but he afterwards turned his attention to North Carolina State College (as shown by the creation of the William Neal Reynolds Coliseum), and still later to Wake Forest College (via the creation of the Reynolds Gymnasium).

    Reynolds Tobacco Company prospered under R.J. Reynolds's paternalistic leadership….and continued to do so for decades after his death.  When he realized that his youngest brother was the only family member that was interested in working for Reynolds Tobacco Company, he selected the Gray brothers to follow his brother in management. William Neal Reynolds assumed the presidency after his brother's death, and remained in that position until 1924 when he was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, with Bowman Gray, Sr., appointed President.  This insured the perpetuation of R.J. Reynolds's management philosophy and provided a continuity of leadership from people inside the company.

    Let’s look at another one of the influential folks at Reynolds Tobacco Company:  Mr. R.E. Lassiter. No one knows anything about his history, but Mr. R.E. Lassiter  became the treasurer for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., and had a background of, and great interest in, the arts.  He brought architect Charles Barton Keen to Winston to build his house (at the corner of Fifth Street and Broad Street).  Mr. Keen later drew up the plans for the Reynolda House and RJ Reynolds High School and Auditorium.

    Let’s take a couple of minutes to look at RJ Reynolds’ family life……

    RJ Reynolds married Katharine Smith (from Mt. Airy) in 1905, who was his distant cousin.  At the time of their marriage, she was 25 years old, and 30 years younger than him.   She was a college graduate and had worked briefly as a secretary before her marriage.   They had 4 children: Richard, Jr., Nancy, Z. Smith, and Mary.

    Katharine Smith Reynolds

    Katharine Smith Reynolds

    While RJ ran the tobacco company, Katharine raised the kids and oversaw the creation of their family estate (that was named Reynolda). In fact, it was Katharine who conceived of and built Reynolda.


    Reynolda House

    Katharine would prove to be equal in drive and initiative to her husband, as evidenced by her dominant role in the planning of a self-sufficient estate.  Her name alone stands on the deeds that created Reynolda.  Altogether she acquired twenty-five tracts of land totaling 1,067 acres.  While unusual in its feminine ownership as well as its scope, Reynolda was not unique, but part of a nationwide trend called the American Country House movement .  Many of Katharine's ideas were influenced by, and contributed to, this phenomenon, which embraced large houses in park-like settings with extensive recreational facilities.

    Katharine used architect Charles Barton Keen to design the house she and Richard would live in (which is now called the Reynolda House Gardens and Arts Museum).  Whereas the trend up till then (in designing larger homes) was to make them taller vertically, Mr. Keen designed Reynolda House  horizontally (and thus it “spreads out” as opposed to goes up).  Mr. Keen also designed about 30 houses in Winston-Salem, and also was the architect for  Reynolds High School and Reynolds Auditorium).  There were a lot of porches in the Reynolda House….as “open air spaces” was the only thing known at the time that was a good way of not being afflicted by tuberculosis (which was affecting a lot of Americans at that time).

    Richard J. and Katharine moved into Reynolda at Christmas in 1917.  He died on pancreatic cancer in 1918. At his death, Mr. Reynolds was the wealthiest man in the state and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company was one of the largest employers in the state.  He used his wealth to the benefit of the community.  He started a savings and loan that serviced his employees, helped bring the first YMCA to the region, helped establish Slater Industrial Academy (which later became Winston-Salem State University), and was the first Southern man to establish a hospital for blacks (Slater Hospital).

    Mary Reynolds (the Reynolds’ oldest daughter) married Charles Babcock.  He was a successful investment banker, and formed a successful brokerage business in New York City.

    Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock

    Charles and Mary Reynolds Babcock

    After the death of Mary’s mother (Katharine, in 1924), they eventually came to Winston-Salem and bought the Reynolda estate in 1935, and used it as their vacation houseIn 1938, Mary Reynolds Babcock founded Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and built both the golf course and the clubhouse on the land that she owned adjacent to Reynolda. Her father R.J. Reynolds was fond of golf and actually built a 9 hole course in the front lawn. In 1944, Mrs. Babcock, gave Summit School (which at that time was located on Summit Street)  a 4.5-acre plot of land from her Reynolda estate on which to build a new campus.  In 1948 they moved to Reynolda permanently….and remodeled it to fit their family. Charles became the treasurer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.  They soon realized that they could not financially keep up the 1,067 acre Reynolda estate.  Charles made the decision that for Winston-Salem to grow and prosper, it needed to have a large middle class of citizens (which was almost completely missing at the time).  He decided that the best way to do this would be to create or bring a college into town that would educate folks (both male and female)…and thus enable them to take advantage of their education, and prosper.  In 1946 the trustees of Wake Forest College and the Baptist State Convention of N.C. accepted a proposal by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to relocate Wake Forest College to Winston-Salem, where the medical school had moved five years earlier. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation proposed that up to $350,000 a year of the income from the Foundation be given in perpetuity to Wake Forest College (which was located in Wake Forest, NC….east of Raleigh), provided that the entire College was relocated in Winston-Salem, and with the stipulation that other friends of the College would provide a campus site and buildings. In 1946 the Board of Trustees, the Baptist State Convention (which had originally founded Wake Forest), and the Baptist constituency of the State accepted this proposal. Charles  Babcock and his wife Mary Reynolds Babcock contributed 350 acres from the Reynolda estate as the campus site. In October of 1951, President Harry Truman came to the future campus site for the official ground-breaking ceremony.  Between 1952 and 1956 the first 14 buildings were erected, in Georgian style architecture, on the new Winston-Salem campus. In 1956 the College moved all operations, leaving the 122-year-old campus in the town of Wake Forest to the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Wake Forest   

    Wake Forest

    The Babcocks lived at Reynolda for 15 years.  It was opened to the public as an institution dedicated to the arts and education in 1965, and as an art museum in 1967….when Nick Bragg was hired as its Executive Director.  He held that position for 29 years, and during that time created a $27 million endowment for it.

    Mrs. Babcok's will called for the creation of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation – who’s mission plan today is “helping to move people and places out of poverty in southeastern America.”

    And now  to briefly discuss 2 of RJ Reynolds’ other kids….. 

    Almost a century after her father founded the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Nancy  Reynolds  (who, because of marriages, was Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney), his youngest daughter and last surviving child, decided to give back to the region where her father grew up.  In 1969 she deeded to Virginina Tech 710 acres of Rock Spring Plantation. In 1980 she deeded them another 7 acres where the family home and continuing education center stand.

    Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney

    Nancy Reynolds Bagley Verney

     Concerning RJ Reynolds, Jr. (who went by the name of Dick):  do you remember President Roosevelt’s fire-side chats?  Back then, the President had to pay for those time slots on the radio.  Only large policical organizations could donate such a large amount of funds….since private individuals were outlawed from giving such large donations.  Dick Reynolds made loans to various state’s Democratic Parties for this expense.  President Roosevelt then named him to be the Treasurer of the National Democratic Party…and in that role, he went back to these various state organizatoins to get his loaned money back.

    RJ ("Dick") Reynolds, Jr.

    RJ ("Dick") Reynolds, Jr.

    Now we conclude with the story of the creation of RJ Reynolds High School, RJ Reynolds Memorial Audiorium, and Hanes Park. 

     In 1919, the City of Winston-Salem was looking to build a new high school.  The existing schools were wooden, and were not large enough to adequately handle all of the students.  The City wanted to construct more modern and fire-proof school buildings.  As stated earlier, the towns of Winston and Salem had merged in 1913, and the population in this municipality had essentially doubled since 1910….which meant that the number of children attending schools had also incredibly increased.  Also that year, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company had introduced Camel cigarettes.  In addition to that , the various Hanes companies (P.H. Hanes Knitting, Hanes Dye and Finishing, and Hanes Hosiery), as well as Indera Mills and Chatham Mills, were all doing very well (and all of these were labor intensive firms).  Folks were moving from all over to Winston-Salem for the jobs offered at these (and other) local businesses.

    In 1910, the town of Winston, N.C. was very fortunate to have Mr. R.H. Latham become the Superintendent of city schools (a position that he held for twenty-five years).  Among other things while in office, he instituted school libraries, added an eleventh grade, and improved the curriculum. 
    RH Latham
    R.H. Latham

    Being the Superintendent, he oversaw the search for property for new schools.  The first proposed site considered for a new high school in 1919 was a parcel of land owned by Mr. P.H. Hanes (who happened to be one of those initially elected as a school commissioner).  This tract of land was on the western side of town, essentially adjacent to the West Highlands residential subdivision (which was also owned by Mr. Hanes).  Even though Mrs. Katharine Smith Reynolds (the widow of Richard J. Reynolds) had made a pledge to the Mayor of $50,000 to go towards the purchase of land for a new high school, a price could not be agreed upon.  Thus the search continued for another site.  

    There was a parcel of land (held in Mr. Reynolds’ estate) between 3rd Street and 5th Street…just east of the City Hospital, that Mrs. Reynolds believed would make a very good site for this school.  On June 6th, she made another offer to Mayor R.W. Gorrell.  The front-page headlines of the Winston-Salem Journal the following day is shown below:
    headlines of June 7, 1919 local newspaper
    In this offer...which can be seen by clicking here ( * ), she stated this parcel could be purchased at a very reasonable price, that her offer of giving $50,000 towards the purchase of this land still stood, and if this parcel was selected:  she would also “erect a beautiful auditorium with a seating capacity of several thousand to form a central building of the group as a personal memorial” (to her husband).

    Also in June, Mr. P.H. Hanes made an offer to the City of 47 acres of land (from his West End Dairy cow pasture) for a public park.  The original plans for this contained allocation of space for a vocational high school and a gymnasium…as well as recreational facilities.  This would also have also served the purpose of being an enticement for folks to purchase lots in his West Highlands residential subdivision...which was located next to this.  (To read more about this subdivision, click here [ * ] to view an article written by Margaret Supplee Smith {“Historic Buena Vista”} in the April, 2017 edition of the Buena Vista Life Magazine).
    P.H. Hanes West End Dairy
    P.H. Hanes West End Dairy - established in 1906

    On July 3rd Mrs. Reynolds made yet another offer to Mayor Gorrell…which can be seen by clicking here 
    ( * ):  that she would purchase 25 acres located on a knoll (referred to as Silver Hill) directly above the proposed Hanes Park.  Her offer to spend $50,000 towards the purchase of that land still stood, and her offer to build an auditorium seating several thousand folks also still stood, as long as the high school buildings (which included her offer to build an auditorium) were built on that site.

    Also on July 3rd, Mr. P.H. Hanes made another offer to the city…which can be seen by clicking here ( * ).  It stated he would donate a 47-acre tract (that used to be part of his West End Dairy) to be used forever as only a park and place where school buildings could be built.  This park would have to be named the “P.H. Hanes Park,” would have to be developed per plans submitted by Mr. Louis J. Miller, would have to be kept up by the City, and could only be used as a public park with school buildings (and thus no roads nor rail lines nor homes nor businesses could ever be built in it).

    Below are the front-page headlines of the July 4, 1919 Winston-Salem Journal:
    headlines of July 4, 1919 local newspaper

    In the afternoon of July 3rd, a very important meeting was staged by Superintendent Latham.  As stated in the above mentioned July 4, 1919 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal:

    “Mr. Latham stated that a conference was held yesterday afternoon (July 3rd) when Mr. George W. Orr, representing Mrs. Reynolds, and Mr. P.H. Hanes each read the proposal of the other to be made to the city.  They looked over the proposals and found them satisfactory in all things concerned.  The offer of Mr. Hanes is for a park and playground, and it was agreed between the parties concerned that the high school plant may be located on the Reynolds’ property.  Mr. Hanes included in his offer permission to use his site for school purposes in case the city wished to do so.  Mr. Latham brought out very clearly that the letters do not unfold two separate propositions as one may be lead to believe, but that both are offers to the city and that an agreement has been reached between Mr. Hanes and Mrs. Reynolds on that point.  Schools do not necessarily have to be erected on both sites, all of that having been cleared up in the conference held yesterday afternoon (July 3rd).  ‘I want to say that the fine spirit of co-operation of all has been a wonderful revelation to me,’ said Mr. Latham.  ‘It is an index to the spirit that has built this city and made Winston-Salem what it is and is going to make Winston-Salem one of the greatest cities in the South.'"

    Then later that evening (on July 3, 1919), at an 8:00 PM called meeting of the Winston-Salem Board of Alderman, the proposals of Mr. Hanes and Mrs. Reynolds were made public.  Also made public was a proposal made by James Gordon Hanes, who was a son of John Wesley Hanes (who was the deceased brother of P.H. Hanes).  His proposal stated that a small part of the plot of land contemplated to be P.H. Hanes Park was actually owned by the estate of his deceased father: John Wesley Hanes.  James Gordon Hanes agreed to donate this to the City if (and only if) the City accepted the offer of Mr. P.H. Hanes.

    The Board of Aldermen then voted unanimously to accept all three offers (with each Alderman showing their approval by standing).  To read the minutes of that Board of Aldermen meeting, click here ( * ).  FYI:  the total cost of the Auditorium donated by Mrs. Reynolds ended up being $394,000, with an additional $100,000 (for interior decoration and equipment) coming from the estate of her husband (R.J. Reynolds).  Also, the value of the land donated by the Hanes brothers was estimated to be $250,000.  When combined, these two gifts (from Mrs. Reynolds and the Hanes brothers) were the 3rd largest gift from private individuals to a public school system in the history of our nation!  Mrs. Reynolds deeded the land to the city for $1.00 in 1919.

    On August 14, 1919 the preliminary plans for the development of what would become known as Hanes Park were shown on the font-page of the Winston-Salem Journal (pictured below). 

    preliminary plans for PH Hanes Park  

    The park was designed by Mr. Louis L. Miller (who had previously developed the site plan for the Reynolds family “Reynolda Estate” and landscaping for the Methodist Childrens Home…and had worked with Mr. Hanes in laying out the West Highlands residential subdivision).  Mr. Miller stated this park would be “the finest public park south of Washington.”  This park would be accessible by all types of existing modern transportation at that time (i.e., railroad, streetcars and automobiles).  The street next to the park would be the widest public paved road in the state at that time (so that folks could park to watch high school athletic events).  Among other things, the park would have a football field, a baseball field, tennis courts and a race track.  And to show how much global warming has taken place since then:  the plans called for a 6-acre lake (to be fed by three existing streams) that could be used for boating, swimming, and ice skating).

    As stated in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem Architectural Heritage":  Although the city did not develop the entire site via (Mr.) Miller's plan, the recreational facility, named Hanes Park by the Board of aldermen, was in use by 1920."

    Later in 1919, the City overwhelmingly passed a bond referendum for $800,000 (half of which went to construct R.J. Reynolds High School). The original plans called for two school buildings…one on either side of the Auditorium. The Household Arts and Industrial Arts Building would be built at the completion of the construction of the Auditorium and the first school building (referred to as the Academic Art Building).

    picture of proposed RJR school buildings

    Above is an October 12, 1919 Winston-Salem Journal front-page picture of the original plans for Richard J. Reynolds High School and Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium.  The caption under the picture reads:  "This is the first picture of Winston-Salem's splendid new high school plant which will be located in West End, the cut having been taken from a photo made from a water color drawing of the buildings by the architect. The central building of the group is the Memorial Auditorium which will be erected by Mrs. R.J. Reynolds as a personal memorial to the late Mr. R.J.  Reynolds.  The building is 80 feet wide and about 150 feet long.  It will seat 2,000 on the main floor and 1,000 in the galleries.  On one side of the building is the Household Arts and Industrial Arts building.  On the other side is the Academic Building.  Each of these buildings has a frontage of 300 feet and extends back 160 feet.  The buildings are of Georgian or Colonial style of architecture, and are connected with the Memorial Auditorium by porticos supported by Colonial columns similar to the style followed out at the University of Virginia.  The buildings are fire-proof, built of reinforced concrete.  The plans are by Mr. Charles Keeton, architect, of Philadelphia.  Photo by Matthews, Winston-Salem, N.C.”


    Below are two pictures found in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage."  They were taken around 1925.


    Reynolds High School

    Richard J. Reynolds High School


    Reynolds Auditorium

    Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium


    To quote directly from the book “Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium:  Vision and Triumph” by Ellen Kutcher:  “To locate the new high school away from center city on the large open tract Mrs. Reynolds had acquired from W.L. Ferrell, C.M. Thomas and the Standard Improvement Company followed (then) current ideas of building public schools along the lines of college campuses.  One newspaper, in fact, actually referred to the new high school as a college for children of Winston-Salem – appropriate, perhaps, because only 5 percent of local students went on to institutions of higher education in 1919.”

    At the beginning of 1923, Winston-Salem had two high schools:  Winston High School on Cherry Street (for what were considered “white” students) and East Winston High School (for what were considered “colored” students). As can be seen via the front-page headlines of the January 10, 1923 Winston-Salem Journal (shown below):

    headlines of January 10, 2912 local newspaper

    On January 9th, 1923, fire destroyed Winston High School. As noted in the box titled “High School Will Open Monday in New Building:  “The Winston-Salem High School will be opened again next Monday morning, January 16, in the new High School building now nearing completion.  The second floor of the new building will be ready and twenty rooms will be available for pupils.  This announcement is made on authority of representatives of the school board, of the board of aldermen, the superintendent of the city public schools and the officials of the DuPont Construction Co., which is building the new High School plant.  Board walks will be laid at once so that the children may reach the new school building without wading through mud.  The Elks offered their home and several churches, among them the First Presbyterian, for which authorities expressed deep appreciation last night.” 

    This school building, when completed, was designed to accommodate 1,200 students in 60 rooms for classes and administration. Students began a full-time schedule in February when the cafeteria was completed.  The Buena Vista bus line revised its schedule so that it could transport children who lived downtown to and from the new school….for a fare of five cents.

    Below is a picture of a bronze plaque in the front "lobby" of the school (on the first floor).


     bronze plaque on 1st floor of RJR


    One year later, in May of 1924, an $800,000 bond referendum was overwhelmingly passed, to pay for the construction of four new schools, as well as a gymnasium for Reynolds High School on the Hanes Park property.

     1920's picture of Reynolds Auditorium and Hanes Park

    Once the gymnasium construction was completed, the physical plant of R.J. Reynolds High School was the third largest public high school campus in the nation!  The Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium was dedicated in May of 1924 (in a 4-day celebration, between May 8 – May 11).  A copy of the program given to attendees can be seen by clicking here ( * ).


    RJR Gymnasium

    The Richard J. Reynolds High School Gymnasium in 1927

     Picture from Heather Fearnbach's Book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage"

    Katharine Smith Reynolds never saw the completed building.  She had by that time re-married (to J. Edward Johnston, from New York City, in 1921), and thus was Katharine Smith Reynolds Johnston. She was warned not to become pregnant, as she suffered from conjunctive heart failure. However, she did become pregnant, and during the Auditorium’s Grand Opening ceremonies she was in New York City, under the care of child-birth specialists. She died on May 24, 1924 giving birth to their son (J. Edward Johnston, Jr.).

    Katharine’s dreams for future usage of the Auditorium were:

    1. To showcase accomplishments of public school students
    2. For civic or memorial occassions
    3. For religious programs
    4. For musical and cultural programs featuring renowned artists.

    Reynolds High School & Reynolds Auditorium

    RJ Reynolds High School and Reynolds Memorial Auditorium

    and the surrounding neighborhood in the 1940's

    Picture from Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage"

    A little bit about Winston-Salem at that time:  because the towns of Winston and Salem had merged as one city in 1913, and because the various Hanes companies and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and Indera Mills and Chatham Mills were all doing well (all being in labor intensive industries), the population of the city more than doubled between1910 and 1920, and Winston-Salem was (via the census in 1920) the state’s largest and most prosperous city.  There was a big demand for new school buildings throughout the city for students of all ages. To meet that city-wide need, and to keep a control on the debt load of the taxpayers, the second (Household Arts and Industrial Arts) building at R.J. Reynolds High School was never constructed.

    early picture of Hanes Park

    Above is an April 4, 1935 picture of Hanes Park after the gymnasium had been built.

    It shows N.C. Emergency Relief Administration workers.

    The pictures above and below, and the following, are found in Heather Fearnbach's book "Winston-Salem's Architectural Heritage":  "Between 1933 and 1935 the Civil Works and Emergency Administrations contributed just under $39,000 to fund improvements including the curved stone wall with built-in benches that frames the main entrance on West End Boulevard, as well as stone steps and foot-bridges throughout the park.  Works Progress Administration employees continued landscaping initiatives in the late 1930's.  The city has since added athletic fields and courts, lighting, parking, seating, bridges, and a playground."

    Wiley School

    A 1925 picture of Wiley Middle School 

    Two schools have been built on Hanes Park property.  In 1925, what was known at the time as Wiley Elementary School was built.  And then in 1959, Brunson Elementary School was built (and during its construction, this was referred to as the Hanes Park School).

    To learn more about Hanes Park (such as what entity controls what happens at the Park and how does Hanes Park being located in a flood plain affect what changes are made at the park), click here ( * ).


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