For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to
For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to the readers who inspire us, offering a taste of our earliest recipes, and revisiting old stories with new insights. Follow along to find out how our past has shaped our present.
Nine minutes and 17 seconds.
That’s how long it took a Beaufort County father to rock and sing his baby to sleep in a quirky — and somewhat controversial — rock-a-bye baby contest that North Carolinians likely never would’ve heard about had it not been for The State.
Magazine founder Carl Goerch wrote about the peculiar contest in February 1934, explaining how a bunch of fathers in Washington had been boasting about their parenting skills to one another. The braggadocio escalated until, finally, they agreed to a rock-off to determine which daddy could get his baby to sleep the fastest.
With a couple hundred spectators — including the babies’ mothers — watching, about a dozen daddies tried to dutifully rock and lullaby their infants into slumber land. Most of the tiny tots refused to cooperate, some even voicing their full-throated defiance, until their eyelids began to grow heavy.
At the 9:17 mark, Ford Worthy — a U.S. marshal and erstwhile druggist — raised his hand, signaling that his baby boy, Ford Jr., had conked out. A judge confirmed it and declared Worthy the winner.
The win didn’t come without contention, though. In the days following the contest, Goerch wrote, “There was some gossip to the effect that Mr. Worthy — being a druggist — had doped up little Ford with some kind of sleeping powders.” Worthy vehemently denied such allegations, and his accusers ultimately decided to let sleeping dogs — er, sleeping babies — lie.print it