Gertrude Sprague Carraway was born and spent nearly all of her 96 year in New Bern, living in her childhood home and sleeping in the bed in which she was born. But that doesn't mean she didn't get around.
A 1966 interview with The News & Observer chronicled some of her adventures.
She's a globe trotter who believes in roots. One of her many honors is membership in the Magellan Club of World Circumnavigation for twice going around the world.
"I went in 1929 and in 1956, and what changes I saw the second time! ...
Though she's been in every continent except Australia, ever State except Alaska ("But it wasn't a state when I missed it") and every county in North Carolina, New Bern remains her favorite place to live.
One of her passions was the Daughters of the American Revolution, which she joined in 1926. In 1953 she became President General. Her work there ranged from inspiring President Eisenhower to establish National Constitution Week to saving a Scots minister from deportation.
The minister, who had emigrated to America and made his home in Tennessee, returned to Scotland to preach for a year. When he tried to return to the U.S. there was a hassle over whether he had forfeited his naturalization rights. All was in a typical bureaucratic brouhaha until the minister read the DAR Manual for Citizenship, which Miss Carraway had written.
"It was the only place he could find a clear answer to his predicament," he said. -- The News & Observer 11/13/1966
She was a prolific writer. She was an editor for the newspaper in New Bern from 1924 to 1937, supporting it with her personal funds during the Depression. She authored six books on North Carolina history and wrote hundreds of freelance articles.
But Gertrude Carraway is best known for her work in the preservation of Tryon Palace.
British Royal Gov. William Tryon built the brick palace between 1767 and 1770 to house royal and colonial leaders. By 1940 only one of its three wings remained and it had been converted into an apartment house.
Despite the economic conditions in the late days of the Depression, Miss Carraway began a public relations blitz and a fund-raising campaign to move N.C. 70 and the Trent River Bridge. Both had been built across the site of the palace.
By 1959, Miss Carraway's efforts had paid off. Using plans of the original building, the palace was rebuilt and reopened, and it has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors since. Miss Carraway had greeted many of them, serving in various capacities at the palace until her death. -- The News & Observer 5/9/1993