In the wake of a lot of posting involving the Winston-Salem police force in the 1920ish era, I got a Facebook chat query from a manager at Visit Winston-Salem. She said that her grandfather, C.C. Goforth, who she had never known, was a Winston-Salem motorcycle cop in the 1920s-1930s era and wondered if we might have anything about him.

Being the pessimist that I am, I thought probably not. Fortunately, I am merely a faux pessimist, so right away I found this, a picture taken of the Twin City police department’s motorcycle division wearing their brand new uniforms in front of the almost as brand new City Hall on April 18, 1928. Grandpa C.C. is the second officer from the right.

Police Motorcycles 1928

Hey, way more than any pessimist could hope for. But because we pessimists are never satisfied, I dug a bit deeper and made an extraordinary find in our vertical files…a massive and confusing collection of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, programs, flyers and other printed matter. In a folder marked “Winston-Salem – Police – History” there were a bunch of photocopied pages stapled together.

The title page read “The Police Review: North Carolina from a Police Standpoint”, volume 4, number 4, April 1925. It was a periodical published by the state, with each issue featuring a different NC city police department, with a picture and brief bio of every department employee. The April, 1925 issue was about the WSPD. I dashed to our workroom and began scanning. And so:


Grandpa C.C. Goforth, meet your granddaughter.

This is merely the beginning. On the very last page, I found a real surprise. Remember the “Great 1918 Race Riot that Wasn’t a Race Riot” and the obscure guy who was the hero of the night? If you had asked me what the chances were that we would ever find a picture of him, I would have advised you to buy a lottery ticket instead. Well, stay tuned…

And along the way you will get to meet some extraordinary members of the Twin City’s first modern police force. And at some point, you will learn about the scandal that erupted that same year, 1925, in Ardmore, of all places, which involved a couple of enterprising married sisters, some police detectives, a very special prohibition era speakeasy, a newspaper war and a leading citizen turned street preacher, not to mention what was going on at Forsyth Country Club.

Oh my!