Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Leat Finds Johnny's Still

Leat Finds Johnny's Still

Clip-Art from: Google Images
  by Elizabeth Whisenant Towery.

Leat asked his nephew Talmadge [whom I shall address as Tal] to go with him up the C.C. Road to look for some holly and greenery for Christmas decoration. It was about the year 1943. Leat had no car, so he was in the habit of having Tal go with him places. Tal told Leat ”Get in the car and I’ll take you up the mountain.” Tal was driving his dad's car although he had no license, but then very few drivers had licenses in the Valley and no one seemed to care.

They went to a certain point and Leat said "Let me out here.‘ As Leat got out of the car he said ‘Tal, you go on up the mountain, and see if you see any holly. Turn and come back for me. If I'm not here at this place when you get back, I'll be here soon."

Tal told he had no interest in holly, but went on up the mountain to turn the car around. When he traveled down to about where he had let Leat out, Leat was standing at the side of the road motioning for him to stop. Leat told Tal he had found Johnny’s still and that Johnny and two more people were in the still working.

Leat said, to Tal ‘I’m going back in (to the still); now as soon as Johnny leaves, you go on home.‘ Tal said, “he had already figured out why Leat wanted to look for Christmas decorations on the mountain, and he was glad to leave him in the woods.’ Folk in the Valley thought it a low-down dirty shame to interfere with, report on, or bother a man's seel and Tal respected the older folk feelings.

The government allowed some people to make whiskey. The folk in the Valley thought it no worse for them to make whisky than for the govern-ment to choose someone to make government whiskey. The folk always had ‘Huler’ (Schyler) McCurry to point their finger at, for he was making what the government called whisky and had a piece of paper he called a license tacked up on the door of his house to prove that he had government approval. It seems that the whisky makers all had this attitude about government made whisky.

The piece of paper had nothing to do with whiskey making as far as Valley folk were concerned. They said, ”It never had.… and never would have.” Tal had been out of the woods for quite a while when the next time he saw Leat, he said, ‘He had carried a five-gallon demijohn out of the woods, down the mountain and up the hill to his mother’s house,’ Leat lived with his mother. Leat said, ‘I left Johnny one demijohn in the still, I figured it was worth one five-gallon jug for not reporting him.’ Leat had taken his demijohn to the barn. He told Tal, that Johnny cut and cleared five acres of his Pa's (grand pa’s) timber while making liquor.

Tal felt obligated to tell his Pa what Leat had said, but didn't really want his folks to know that he had been with Leat; not while Leat was watching a man work in his still. Tal’s said his Pa, Higgins Towery, kept his nose out of his neighbors' business and probably thought his grand children would too.

Tal told his Pa "Leat said Johnny has cleared five acres of land for you, up, on the mountain.’ Instinctively Tal's Pa knew what Leat had been doing on the mountain. The mountain was Higgins' birthplace, so naturally he would have to go to the mountain to see for himself what Tal was talking about. Pa had said, before that he thought Leat sometimes stretched the truth a ‘little bit.’ He would need to see what was going on about
his timberland for himself. It was the Old ‘Shuff’ Shuford Towery place, Tal’s great grand fathers old home place.

Higgins had Tal drive him up to ‘The old place.’ He wanted to see what Leat had found. Tal and his grand pa walked over Shuff's place and Higgins discovered that Johnny actually had cleared an estimated five acres of the young pines in the stand. The timber that stood there was in its prime ready to harvest. Higgins discovered that Johnny had placed moss on the fresh-cut tree stumps to hide the cutting from the prying helicopters that law enforcement had recently been using to find the mountain stills. Those helicopters were a new aid for the law in its enforcement of the whiskey ban.

Leat had been sawing logs for a sawmill at this time, but he sawed no logs the following week--not after he said he had ‘toted ’ that demijohn on his shoulder for pert nearly three miles‘. The sawmill he worked at had to shut down the full week since there wasn't enough help that showed up to operate the mill. About eight men, including Leat, all lay intoxicated for the entire week. Tal said, ‘Leat told that there weren’t nary a drop left in that ‘tare’ demijohn when he went to get him a little sip to sober up on before going to work on onday morning, the week after his trip to hunt holly and Christmas decorations.

Note: This story is written using the words that Tal said were used to him by his uncle in giving the parts of the story that took place in Tal's absents.

Source: Talmadge Towery.
Written September 7, 2003.
All rights reserved.

Note: 1-The house where Schyler McCurry made government whiskey still stands. It is the last house in Golden Valley before crossing into the Sunshine Community on the Golden Valley/Sunshine Road. Some know this road as State #1006 today. I have been in the house after John Toney and his Wife Mallie McCurry owned it. The house is shown on a 1905 map and belonged to the McCurry heirs. It now belongs to John and Mallie’s son Paul Jake and his spouse Imagean Lovelace Toney.

Note: 2 -Talmadge said,he drove his dad's car without licenses until he was twenty-one years old, before being stopped by Edley Beam, a law officer. Edley gave him a verbal warning, then Talmadge got his licenses…..bettytowery@att.net

Distilling Golden Valley Prime

Tim Ferris with his German Kothe still

How'dee, Miss Minnie might say. How ya'll doin"? Funny thing happened on the way here tonight.... And Miss Minnie herself wouldn't have been a bit more surprised than I was when Timmy Ferris, a young feller I've known since he was a teen, replied to my email with the iPhone mobile location: the distillery. So, I email Tim, "When will you be back in the valley?" My phone rings, Tim's called me, "Um," he says, "When's the last time you were here?"

Ah hem. A lot has happened at the Ferris' since the 4th of July, pig pickin, and fireworks show. I was so surprised I only just now realized Tim has mobile service at Grayson Creek. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

All stories start somewhere and Blue Ridge Distilling Company has a start, too. This world-class distillery has been conceived of created and constructed by commercial divers - a salvage team. Professionals in a world where a single goof can be your last. My daddy was a Merchant Seaman, as was Uncle SA; Uncle John was a Navy pilot, so it's not hard for me to imagine how these commercial divers considered maybe, someday building a still. I mean, who hasn't? Considering it and actual construction however, are two different things.

Do you know Tim? He's a pretty innovative guy and he's a can do, go to, kind of a fellow, who gets things done. From the beginning they had the site picked out, all that remained was a few pesky details: acquire a $137,000 still, 6 or 8 stainless holding tanks, bottling equipment, three phase electricity, water, and oh-yeah, licensing. Federal licensing.

All that's behind them now and Blue Ridge Distilling Co. is set to open for business, soon. They'll be making the barley grist with a Meadow Mills NC pink granite stone-mill. Water will come from a new well sunk deep into blue granite that's only one ph point off from being perfect, Tim says, for making liquor. They plan to brew single-malt vodka, whiskey,and seasonal fruit brandy.

Office Manager, Valerie Blanchette says "Tim will be buying local malted barley and rye, seasonal fruits - peaches, pears, and apples." At full operation the distillery will employ 10 - 15 people.
And mobile phones? Can you check in at the distillery? Let's save that for another story.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bostic, NC 28018 - Feed our Children!

Bostic, NC 28018 November 21, 2011 Feed our Children!

Did you know the Washburn Community Outreach is sending backpacks home for 100 school children every weekend? They need your help - please donate food/funds to this important program.


1 Cereal Bar

1 Pack. Instant Grits

1 Pack Oatmeal

1 Vienna Sausage or Beenie Weenie

1 Applesauce of Fruit Cup 1 Pack Poptarts

1 Pack Peanut Butter Crackers

1 Snack

1 Chicken Noodle Soup & Crackers or Chef Boyardee

1 Ramen Noodle

1 Pudding or Jello

1 Mac & Cheese (single serve just add water)

The Washburn Community Outreach is now serving 100 students, this is food for the

local children to take home for the weekend.
Outreach is open Friday and Saturday - at 828 245-5603
or Karen 828 245-9003
Bostic NC 28018 - Feed our children

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Golden Valley Veterans

(21) Golden Valley

Golden Valley
On Veteran's Day, our own Mrs. Elizabeth Towery shares:

Older Veterans Old History of Revolutionary War Pensions
The first Revolutionary War pensions were offered in 1818 to officers and enlisted men in need of financial assistance.
Veterans had to prove they had served in the Continental Army (not in a state militia) for at least nine months.

In 1820 pensioners on the roll were required to submit a list of the property they owned, in order to prove need.
Pensioners who could not prove need were dropped from the roll. Many were later restored under a subsequent act. In 1832 Congress passed an important new law, providing pensions for Revolutionary veterans who had served two years in either the Continental line or a state militia. They were entitled to an annual payment equal to their wartime pay. Those who had served between six months and two years were also eligible, but for less than full pay. In 1836 widows of veterans who would have been eligible under the 1836 act

To day I salute all veterans in what ever state they may be. Active, retired ,on call in the hospitals ect.
Their services to our country is one of the greatest sacrifices any man or woman has ever made or is making. May we be contented to do our part also.

By law, when a person is called up to serve in the Armed Forces companies/ businesses are required to hold that
persons job open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical
insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.
Sears regards

Widows could apply to draw their husband’s pension, provided their marriage had taken place before
the expiration of his last term of military service. In 1838 the provision for widows was expanded to include
all those who had married their veteran prior to Jan. 1, 1794. In 1848 the marriage date was changed to January 2, 1800,
and in 1853 all restrictions on the date of marriage were removed.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Community News Letter October, 2011

The link's not purty, but it works. Ya'll come! Dish and a dollar - Chivous Bradley will be there, we're going to have a good time. Be there or... be quare. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Community-Newsletter.html?soid=1102382229068&aid=gPUmAkaQeVY

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cherry Bounce

It is a joy this month to have a guest author I've known for more than ten years. We wrote together at the Fireside Writer's Forum, back in the days when we met upstairs at the local Fireside Book Store. Joey has written a number of short stories, but this one, set at the Cherry Bounce Festival, is near and dear to my valley dwelling heart. This story has been expanded to a novel. A PDF copy of the novel is available for download or on CD for $4.99. Please contact the author: j.wessier101@gmail.com to reserve your copy.

Local Author J Wessier, biography: I began with playwriting. I wrote seven plays produced on collegiate and community theater levels, including a play called Slow Train A’Comin written for Arkansas’s sesquicentennial celebration. From there, I segued into writing poetry, short stories, and novels. I won the Portia Steele Award for Excellence in Prose, placed second in the North Carolina Christian Writers Short Fiction Contest, and published numerous poems and short stories over the years. I am currently marketing a southern literary novel that is an expanded vision of this short story, Cherry Bounce.


By J. Wessier

When Brody McDarey cursed a soul it stuck.

He believed Amos Sams stole his hoe and neither seed nor
weed grew in the man's fields until the day a new hoe mysteriously
showed up on McDarey's porch.

The righteous Billy Weedle happened upon McDarey's still
while hunting one fall. After the Sheriff busted it up, Weedle's
barn was struck by lightening and burned to the ground. Then
his best hunting dog went rabid. Then his wife started
talking to angels and spouting verse while dancing in the
cornfield -- in just her baggy underdrawers.

The worst curse came down on the head of Ricky Thomas.
McDarey caught him in the apple orchard with his oldest daughter.
Ricky had to marry the ill-tempered, spoiled girl. The miserable
boy counts himself among the most wretched on this earth.

McDarey was not a man to betray. If he stepped in someone's
path they crossed themselves three times, like he was a black
cat, then purged themselves with Castor oil first chance.

The only truly good thing about McDarey was his youngest
daughter, Marigold. She was pretty and smart and sweet as clover
honey. How she was born of massive McDarey and his plain, plump
wife was a mystery most folks in Golden Valley had pondered
at least twice.

Marigold tuned seventeen in spring, shortly before the
Cherry Bounce Festival. A few days after her birthday her daddy
told her in a "don't you fuss" tone that he'd had a good long
talk with the well-to-do Mason Grimm. They'd decided their
children should marry.

The blush in Marigold's cheeks drained, leaving her face
white as her daddy's Sunday shirt. She dropped the bowl
she was drying, threw her towel down on the wood floor and ran
from the cabin.

McDarey turned to his wife and said, "She'll get use to
the idea, give her time."

His wife pointed after Marigold. "You said the same thing
about her wearing a bonnet. You see anything but a mass of
gold hair on her head?"

He shook his head.

"You said she'd get use to wearing shoes. Notice anything
on her feet as she ran outa here?"

Again he shook his head.

"And you said she'd get use to not going to school when
you pulled her out to start helping 'round here after Annie
got married."

"And she did get use to that," McDarey said, sticking his
pointed chin out.

"What do you think Marigold and Missy Toney do every
afternoon in the sittin' parlor?"

He shrugged. "How should I know, I'm out workin'"

Missy comes here straight from school and teaches Marigold

the lessons she learned that day. That girl is still getting

He crossed his arms. "She ain't getting around this."

His misses turned back to the dishes to hide the smile
on her face.

McDarey went out on the porch, pulled his corn pipe from
one deep pocket, plucked a stray piece of straw off the plank
floor, touched it to the flame in the hanging lantern, and lit
it. He took a long pull on the pipe and began thinking about
how he could make sure his strong willed daughter wouldn't get
around marrying the Grimm boy. By the time he finished the
bowl he knew what he had to do.

He set his pipe on his wife's rocker, stepped to the porch's
edge, squared his stance and raised his arms skyward. With
a passion that would pale even the most turbulent of storms,
McDarey said, "I curse any love that comes between Marigold
and Grimm. Love will die less it be love for him." He held,
rigid and resolute, like a mighty granite boulder, immovable.

Marigold, crying in the garden, felt more than heard his
words. They whipped around her, a chilly dust-devil that made
her shiver.

For the next week McDarey made it known throughout the
valley that his daughter would wed Grimm and no other suitor's
attentions were welcome. The news broke the hearts of a
least four local boys, but they all knew better than to cross

Marigold moped from morn 'til night. She spoke only when
spoken to and seemed to find no joy in anything the day had
to offer. Come the Saturday of the Cherry Bounce Festival,
it took her mother two hours of coaxing and the harsh order
from her daddy to motivate her to dress and go.

"I've given my word you'll sing this day," he shouted.
"My word is stone. You're going and you'll sing."

Marigold rode in the back of the wagon, head down, bonnet
in hand, bare feet dangling off the back all the way up Cherry
Mountain. At the festival she stayed to herself, avoiding
the anemic, pasty, jitter-lip, James Grimm. She waited among
the cherry trees for her turn to step up on the makeshift stage
and sing. As she watched the dancing and gaming from the orchard
she was startled by a rich, tenor voice singing,

"My love is a rose,
A deep red rose. . ."

She walked a little further into the orchard and found
a tall young man, eyes closed, singing with the most beautiful
voice she'd ever heard. He was slender, but broad shouldered.
His hair was dark, his face angular and smooth, his mouth full,
and his eyes . . . when he opened his eyes they were the golden
brown of fresh cut wheat.

He caught Marigold peeking around the thick trunk of an
ancient cherry tree and choked on the high note he held. He
coughed until he doubled over.

Marigold ran to his side and pounded on his back. "Are
you all right?" she asked. "Are you all right?"

He straightened, his face red. "I am if you haven't broken
any ribs pounding on my back."

She covered her mouth with her hand and spoke through her
fingers. "I'm - I'm sorry. I was trying to help."

He smiled down at her. "I'm surely much better for you
being here."

She dropped her head.

He gently pulled her hand away from her face then cupped
her chin and lifted her head. "You have such a pretty face,"
he said. "I'd prefer to see it."

She stole a glance at him then looked down again. With
her eyes on his scuffed boots she softly said, "You're not from
the valley, are you?"

"Beg your pardon?"

She swallowed her shyness and looked up. "You're not from

"No. I'm from Rutherfordton." He jammed his hands in
his pockets. "I came to sing. I was practicing when you --
you --"

"Scared God's good sense outa you?"

He shook his head and looked into her eyes. "You took
my breath away."

After a long moment Marigold realized she was staring up
at him with her mouth open. She clamped it shut.

"Were you going to say something?" he asked.
"No -- yes -- I was -- going to ask your name."

"Bobby May. My mother is the daughter of Doc Bacon and
my father owns the Mercantile in Rutherfordton." He seemed
to stand a little taller when he spoke of his family. "What's your name?"

Afraid he might have heard of her daddy, she

"You do have a name don't you? Or maybe you're one of
those wood fairies my grandmother said stowed away with her
Scottish ancestors when they came over."

"I am, Sir. And if you should learn my true name -- and
speak it -- you would forever own my heart."

He grinned and it made his eyes crinkle at the corners.
"Then Miss, I will make it my life's quest to discover your

Marigold wished she was a wood fairy. She wished she wasn't
a McDarey promised to a Grimm. She wished Bobby could free
her from the bonds of her daddy's will by just speaking her
name. She reached past Bobby to a fruit heavy branch and
plucked a ripe, red cherry. Holding it out she said, "So you
don't waste your life on a fool's quest, I'll give you a hint."

He started to say, "Cherry," but she hushed him with the
tips of her fingers to his lips.

"Shhhhh. Don't speak my name 'less you're sure to the
soul you want my heart forever."

She heard someone yell, "Booooobby. Bobby May."

"I've got to go," he said. "Must be my turn to sing.

Will you come and hear?"

"I wouldn't miss it. You go. I'll be there in a minute."

He left and she followed a few minutes later. By the time she
squeezed her way through the crowd to the front a fiddler and
a dulcimer player were picking out the beginning of a song.

Bobby's full voice rose above the music, above the noise
of the crowd, above the wind. It filled the area around
Marigold like the heat off a woodstove, chasing the spring
chill from her.

Some loves come upon a person slow and low, like fog
creeping up the mountain. Some hit like summer thunder, rattling
a body to the bone. That's how love hit Marigold, leaving her

breathless and dizzy like she'd been sipping the cherry bounce.
He found her in the crowd and sang to her,

"My love is like a rose,
A Cherry red rose."

Your love is a Marigold, she thought. A scared, yellow Marigold.
She knew she didn't have the backbone to go against her daddy. She
would end up a Grimm, a lonely, miserable Grimm.

While Bobby finished the last verse of his song, she made her way to
the side of the stage and whispered to the dulcimer player there. When
Bobby stepped down, she stepped up.

She couldn't give herself to him in marriage, she couldn't even give him
any hope or promise. But she could give him every bit of the love she had
in her for the few moments it took to sing. And sing she did.

A hush blanketed the crowd, the field, the very mountain. Her voice and
song touched every ear and heart. Bobby stood at the side his eyes only
on her, his love only for her.

She took a deep breath and sang the last word and note of the song, "Forever,"
in a note high and pure, filled with all the love she had, all the pain she felt.
It hung on the wind for countless moments drawing tears and sighs from
every living thing able to hear or feel. The beautiful note faded as her breath
 left her and she sank slowly to her knees. At the end she laid gently down,
her head on her arm, her eyes on Bobby -- and never took another breath.

Since that time, if you stand still among the trees on Cherry Mountain, you can
hear a sad, lilting, pure note winding in and out of the branches, going on and on
like the last breath of undying love.

And then, following the scent of cherry blossoms, you can hear the hollow howl
of a broken man as he held his lifeless daughter.

When Brody McDarey cursed a soul -- it stuck.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September, Community Newsletter

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Community-Newsletter-August-2011.html?soid=1102382229068&aid=9XJiP5Cpk-0 Wish that was a prettier blog link, but it's what came through on an automatic post. This is the newsletter with the community announcements: Camp McCall, Fairview Mountain Ministries, Washburn Community Outreach, Golden Valley Community Club, Hospice and an original story by our own story-teller Elizabeth Towery on old fashined dentistry in Golden Valley. You'll love it. All this and more....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dental Care in Golden Valley

Avery Towery and Doctor Cleveland McClure Peeler brings dental care to Golden Valley. A true story written by Elizabeth Whisenant Towery.

Dental Care in Golden Valley

Every one that needed a tooth pulled went to Uncle Avery Towery’s. Even if they had quite a bit of their home made whiskey in them, Uncle Ave still gave them a straight-backed chair that he had ‘sort of’ re-enforced to sit in The patient could hold onto the bottom rounds of the chair and brace themselves when Avery pulled their tooth.
If you ever took notice to the older ‘straight ‘chairs they were built smaller and not as high off the floor. A lot of the men that went to Uncle Avery Towery’s house for a tooth to be pulled were tall, lanky and about ‘three sheets in the wind ‘and a site to see sprawled out in that little low chair of Uncle Avery’s.

Every one called the man Uncle Ave whether he was related to them or not. However I think most could tell you some way that they were indeed related. Ave lived on the right side of Brier Creek Road just above where Jim Deviney today has a lake. Only the road separated Uncle Avery’s house from Big Brier Creek. Uncle Avery or Ave is what the Higgins Towery children called the man that pulled teeth and although he was kindred he was not their uncle.

Uncle Ave took care of the tooth pulling for all of his family, friends and the community for many years with a pair of ordinary pliers. At about the close of Avery’s career ,a young doctor Cleveland McClure Peeler began a practice in the front room of the Elijah Monroe Jones home. He came by Higgins Towery’s house one day and stopped his horse and while still seated in his buggy he asks Higgins daughter Cleo, if she would like a ride?

Cleo said ‘she had heard her Pa speak of the young doctor but she didn’t know him so she answered him saying , ‘I’ll just walk but I thank you for asking me.‘ The young doctor then said,‘ you aren’t afraid to ride with your kin folk are you‘? He went on to tell her how they were related and with that she climbed in the buggy and road with him.

(The doctors explanation of kinship will be found below although I found it in my research as Cleo had forgotten what he had told here that day on the road.)

After that introduction of the doctor every time he passed their house and he saw any one of the family walking along the road he stopped and they road with him.

Elijah Jones and his brother Hampton had swapped home places. It was about a mile from Higgin’s home to where Elijah lived ,so many times Cleo was grateful for the ride

The Towery’s and the doctor became good friends. He soon became their dentist. Cleo had gold fillings in her teeth that McClure put there while carrying on his profession in the front room of the Elijah Jones house. She still had them when she died at the age of ninety years old.

Until Doctor Peeler came there was no dental care for the people here in Golden Valley. Uncle Avery wasn’t a dentist he only pulled teeth. About the closest thing they had for dental care was going into the woods and finding a Birch Tree twig. They cut young twigs from the tree and chewed the ends to form what they called a ‘tooth brush,’ then with their Sweet Dental Snuff they would brush their teeth. No cleanings, no fillings, nothing to do but get the tooth pulled when it began to hurt. That was the extent of the dental care.

When snuff was put up and sold in glass containers they saved their ‘snuff glasses’ to use for drinking glasses at the table. The snuff glass came with a tin top or cap and the yellow paper labeling with black lettering was glued to hold the cap on. When the top was removed the glass had a smooth edge.

I still have one of the glasses and I sampled the product once. But NOW THAT is a whole new story and I’ll tell it someday.

Note: I have tried to use the words and the language that was used in telling the story to me. I first heard it in the 1950’s and have copied and rewritten this from a handwritten page of a note pad dated September 9,1968.

Source :Cleo Towery. Written April 18,2003.

Note:1-Avery Towery and Higgins Towery were third cousins.

2- McClure Peeler and Cleo Towery’s mother Alice Jones Towery. were third cousins.

3- Elijah and Hamp (Hampton) Jones were second cousins of Cleo Towery’s mother Alice Jones Towery.

Source : My personal research.

Note: 1- Cleo Towery’s Great Grand mother Elizabeth S. Hunt Waters and McClure Peeler's great grandmother Nancy Hunt Carpenter were sisters. That made Cleo and McClure third cousins.

Note.2- In 1968 Joseph Cletus Walker and his mother Nettie obtained 52 acres of land on Little Briar Creek and Big Briar Creek. Beginning at a stake in Briar Creek below Avery Towery’s Mill, and runs with Avery Towery’s land. The corner of Avery Towery's land on the waters of Little Brier Creek, where his grist mill stood was joined by Muskmelon and Mr. Deviney, and was located just below the old schoolhouse the corner later became the land of Noah Dempst Walker and his wife Genettie ’ Nettie ‘Davis Walker. Then the wife Nettie and son Joe Cletus Walker owned it.

Elizabeth Towery October 31,2002.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Community Newsletter August 2011

Buy a cookbook, read a short story, see community announcements, hook up with us on the internet and more, here's your link to the August Community Newsletter: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Community-Newsletter-August-2011.html?soid=1102382229068&aid=NST5zlJlpHo

The Golden Valley Community Club was chartered in 1952. For more on this and other community happenings, please see GoldenValleyNC.com .

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gold in Them Hills aka How Golden Valley got its name

by KD McCall

So much has been written about North Carolina gold reference material is easy to come by. Maps and gold pans are still available in retail stores. One map, the Big Ten, depicts the entire Golden Valley area under a solid gold blob. And with reason, for I expect you can find gold dust in many of the creeks. You might pick up a nugget or flake on a woodland path, in a logging road, or an old dirt drive. These days, unless you have professional mining equipment, it's scarcely worth the trouble to work a creek. It can take a day to find a dollar's worth of dust, and a dollar doesn't go as far as it used to. But at one time the gold in our area profoundly affected the quality of life.

In a 1924 issue of the Salt Lake Mining Review Don Maguire, a "veteran mining engineer from Ogden," said before the discovery of gold:

"...the inhabitants were wretchedly poor. To quote the vernacular, they were simply "poor as rats." A patch of cultivated red, reluctant soil afforded every family each year a few bushels of Indian corn, a limited crop of potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots and cabbage. One or two horses, a yoke of oxen, perhaps a dozen sheep, and a few razor-backed hogs, with the associated usual number of chickens, ducks and geese, made up the live stock wealth of the average family of these mountain regions in the old halcyon days."

Don Maguire had a way with words. I've condensed his five page version, at a great loss, but basically here's his version of the story.

It happened that a fellow, Samuel Martin, a thirty nine or forty year old stranger to these parts, was going home to Connecticut. He'd shipped out as a sailor from Grey Town, Nicaragua, and had landed on the Alabama coast. He'd spent part of his life as a sailor and part of it as a miner. He'd been working in the gold fields in Nicaragua and, after sailing to Alabama, planned to walk home. He expected it would take about three months, more or less.
By the time he reached Brindle Creek his shoes were in "dire need of repair", so when he saw Bob Anderson's shoe repair sign he stopped. The cobbler welcomed him, inspected the shoes and said he could do the job in about three hours, for two bits. Since it was nearly dinner time he added an invitation to dine at no extra charge. The traveler said that was satisfactory, so the shoemaker sat down to the job and his entire family, consisting of one boy, four girls and Mrs. Anderson, were soon busy preparing dinner, while Samuel Martin walked out in his stocking feet into the yard fronting the mud-daubed cabin of the shoe maker.

As Samuel puttered about the yard he began to notice the country round about. The red hills and knolls reminded him of the Central and South American mine fields. On closer inspection the gravel he saw in the cabin chinking looked like gold-bearing gravel. Curious he inspected the cabin more closely finding "slate, granite, and rusty looking quartz" in the chimney. These common things meant nothing to the Anderson's, but Samuel was fresh from the mining fields and they meant a great deal to him. A chunk of mud-daubing was loose and about to fall off so he took hold of it and pulled it off to get a better look. Hummm.

Mrs. Anderson called the men to dinner and he took a last look at the low hills and flats about the countryside, noting "the reddish, light brown gravely surface." Hummm.

During supper after the family was seated and after he had a chance to tell them about his mining experience, according to Maguire, he said: Mr. Anderson, do you know that I believe it might be possible that you have ground around here that would produce gold if a little work was done; and if you will put in your time with me today and tomorrow --after my shoes are repaired --I will begin the work of finding out if there is any gold on your place. After supper, the entire group gathered outside of the cabin to watch Martin wash some of the clay from the cabin. In the bottom of the pan after all the swirling was done there, in a little three inch string, was gold. At that time it was worth about twenty-five cents. Four more pans of dirt from the cabin were washed and each yielded from twenty-five cents to a dollar’s worth of fine gold dust.

When Martin asked where they got their house daubing clay, Anderson told him it had come from the creek bank. The excited group hurried to the creek and Martin ran down ten more pans. Each one produced gold. Martin guessed the fifteen pans he'd tested produced about nine dollars worth. He struck a deal to partner with Anderson agreeing to stay for six months and to teach the family to mine for half of the mining profits.

Says Maguire: "It had been a most eventful day for those present and also for the state of North
Carolina, if not the United States of America, for on that day gold was first
discovered in the territory over which the Stars and Stripes waved."

Within weeks a prominent mining camp has grown up in the vicinity of the Anderson home. Brindletown. Travelers on Highway 64, between Rutherfordton and Morganton, might take note of the Brindletown fire department. The community exists to this day.

Which brings me to the Valley, well within the mining region. Mining brought hordes of people into the area. Several mines went into operation, a number of schools were built, and two post offices sprang up to serve the community. The Golden branch lent it's name to the Valley, hence we have Golden Valley.

New methods of extracting the gold were being constantly tested. The rocker and long Tom (sluice-box) increased the yields. The rocker was a "crude invention usually powered by women or children," reports Theresa Thomas in THE STATE.

January 25, 1936: The sand was washed through a system of wooden troughs, called rockers or cradles, where quicksilver caught a portion of the gold. The cradles were nothing more or less then hollowed-out logs, usually four in number, set upon a frame of other and smaller logs, and joined together in such a manner that a person standing upon the small platform on the center ones was able to rock all of them. It worked on somewhat the same principle as the tread mill except that instead of moving continually forward, one stepped from side to side. Although crude extracting methods captured only twenty-five percent of the gold, leaving seventy-five percent to wash down the creek, people were getting rich. Land prices soared and poor mountaineers sold homesteads for prices that seemed fabulous. A few slaves were brought in to work the mine fields.

At that time, gold dust was traded at a dollar per pennyweight, but a lot of dust was lost during the trades. This posed a problem. The nearest mint was in Philadelphia.(see end note) It took months to have coins minted, but the government could not be convinced to build a mint in the mining region.

Berry Bright Freeman, a local author, writes that Christopher Bechtler of Rutherford County posed a solution. Bechtler was a first rate German born jeweler. He proposed to coin gold into two and one-half, and five-dollar gold pieces. Like a miller he would accept a portion of the dust in exchange for his labor. A deal was struck.

An Old Time Advertisement -- North Carolina Spectator Rutherfordton, NC August 27, 1831

To Gold Miners and Others:

"The undersigned having coined a great quantity of N. Carolina gold into pieces of
$2.50 and $5.00 value, of 20 carats fine and being well prepared to increase the
business to any extent, is established 3 1/2 miles on the road leading from
Rutherfordton toJeanstown, invites the attention of miners in South Carolina and
Georgia as well as N. Carolina to the advantage which would result from having the
product of their mines coined or made into ingots bearing their just value rather then
disposing of it in it's fluxed state, without an assay and therefore liable to produce an
improper value: gold in a fluxed state of 22 and 23 carats is generally sold for 84
cents, consequently an actual saving of 6 cents per dwt. in the bank, whereas it's
intrinsic value, if coined, is 90 to 94 cents, consequently an actual saving of 6 cents
per dwt. will be made by having it coined after paying all the expenses of coining,
etc. Should encouragement be given, new dies will be made especially for stamping
South Carolina and Georgia gold.
"He would also make here known the plan which he has adopted and will pursue; on
receiving a bar of fluxed gold to be coined, the same will be divided, a portion
assayed (by a fire ordeal) for the purpose of ascertaining it's exact fineness, and he
will be accountable for the amount of the value of the whole so ascertained --at the
same time returning to the owner 1/2 dwt. of each assay, which he may keep for his
own satisfaction or for the purpose of having it assayed elsewhere to find it's value,
that no deception of fraud may be practiced, and, in case there should be, that he
might have the means of detecting the same --for all which he holds himself
responsible. The following are his prices: for fluxing 400dwts, or less $1.00; for
assaying (by a fire ordeal) 1000dwts, or less $1.00; for coining 2 and 1/2%. When
the gold is to be coined no charge is made for the assay."

(Signed) C. Bechtler. Bechtler’s mint occupied two sites, one behind what is now the Rutherford County
Courthouse at W. Sixth Street and N. Washington, (see *end note) and another on Highway 221. Memorial placards mark the sites.

Several newspaper articles appear in the book by Berry Bright Freeman, Bechtler's Gold. One tells a little about him and how much gold he minted: The Charlotte News, November 6, 1935.

"The Money Maker: Christopher Bechtler of Germany, a foreign immigrant who never became a citizen, was granted permission by the U.S. Government to MAKE HIS OWN MONEY! His private mint was located at Rutherfordton, N.C., and he coined $2,241,840.50 in gold pieces.

"Just how much gold was actually minted? This has been a topic of debate for many years. The question being -- if he coined that much gold, where is it? Since the coins were minted privately, the US treasury was unable to record and consequently unable to substantiate the amount. However, it is a fact that Christopher Bechtler operated a mint in Rutherfordton from 1831 and passed the business to his son, August, who operated the facility from 1842 until his death. Another family member Christopher Jr. took over and operated the mint until the mid 1840s."

"The effect of a gold discovery," says Maguire, "in any country, if such a discovery is of importance, is truly wonderful."

And the gold found here was of some importance.

The aftermath?
None of the folks who got rich during the mining boom kept their fortunes. They lived lives of feast and
famine. When they found gold they feasted, when it was gone they famished.

The Anderson's? According to Maguire, all together, the Anderson's earned $39,500 from their venture. They lived very well for a while. Bob purchased a small plantation and four Negroes, paying half down for the plantation. He financed the Negroes. Within five years he was flat broke. "His son, Jackson, took to drinking, gambling, horseracing, and went to the devil completely."

Within eleven years of the Brindletown strike, Bob, his wife, and his daughter, Rachael, were dead, leaving the remaining girls, Jane and Matilda to die in the county poor house. Maguire concludes, " so often perishes the glory of this world."

Samuel Martin was a true rags to riches story. He ended up staying not six, but eight months and earned
$18,473.50 for his trouble. After buying horses, a wagon, camping gear, blankets, a gun, and some clothing, he departed. He was last seen driving his team of horses north.

When the Gold Rush hit California in 1849 the largest part of the miners and their families left the Golden community and hurried out west to get rich.

* * * * Author's Notes:

For more and current information please contact the great folks at the GPAA they'll help you get started on a Gold Adventure of your own.
The library at Isothermal Community College at Spindale Campus has a Bechtler gold coin and a Bechtler pistol is (at the time of this writing) on display in the Old Tryon Room.

There are many stories in circulation concerning the discovery of gold in Rutherford County, this story is only one of them. The Isothermal Community College and the Burke County libraries have a wealth of information stored in their vertical files, for research see: Gold and: Mining, Minerals and Resources.

And I have often wondered if the first Gold was found here in 1828 why was there a mint at Philadelphia? Can anyone tell me about that, I'd surely like to know.

And yes, we do know about the Reed Gold Mine they say Gold was found there first.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Karen D. McCall, and I am a REALTOR with United Country -- Country Lanes Real Estate. At the time of this writing the *house where part of the Bechtler Operation was located, in Rutherfordton, is for sale. If you're interested, give me a call. You may visit my community real estate website at:  KDMcCall.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Official Travel & Tourism Website for North Carolina

The Official Travel & Tourism Website for North Carolina Looking for something to do this summer? Well, here you'll find just about EVERYTHING there is to do in NC. And if your special somewhere's not listed, well let them know.

From the Biltmore House, to the Arts Festival, From Arts and Entertainment ro Family Fun Want to know great places to play Golf? What about the all time great Sliding Rock near Brevard? They're all here, they're all fun, and some of it's free.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thermal Belts in NC

Thermal Belts in NC via Isothermal Community College.

What is an isotherm anyway? Have you ever been swimming and gone through some warm water, or suddenly felt a chill? Temperature changes in a body of water, a shift that can be measured, may be as near as I can get to describing an isotherm.

I believe the weather here is different because we're in a valley. We have mountains to the east and to the west. When weather rolls north out of the Gulf, I believe it hits the mountains and is deflected from our sheltered valley. Asheville gets more snow than we do, Raleigh/Durham gets more snow than we do, but, what do I know?

In the afore-mentioned article prepared by Isothermal Community College you'll read what W.N. Hurt, a former horticulturist for the state of North Carolina and others, know.

We just know the weather around here is Golden. For a long time I thought that's why they called it, Golden Valley.

Community Newsletter July 2011

In this issue of Whiteside's Company Clips, you'll find: information about the CMFD's Cookbooks, a short story by Mickey Brackett, "The Great Golden Valley Truck Wreck", the Golden Valley Community Webpage's Facebook information, Community Announcements, Rutherford County Events and more. GV's Facebook page has 323 "Likers". Join us, Won't you? Here's how to get on our Mailing List. Subscribe via Constant Contact.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Tribute to The Jesse Brown

Golden Valley Community Club has lost a member and friend. A lovely memorial service was held at South Mountain Christian Camp on June 11, 2011 in honor of the late Jesse W. Brown. (12/30/1933 - 06/01/2011) Nearly 200 people gathered to celebrate Jesse's life. Everyone brought covered dishes for a delicious, sit-down dinner that Jesse would have thoroughly enjoyed. After the meal the service was held and several people rose from the crowd to speak. A familiar picture of Jesse in the role of husband, father, and friend emerged, but there were special speakers.

Several men from the prison ministry Jesse worked with came to the service. One man, a former prisoner, stepped to the podium to share his story. He told about how Jesse’s personal involvement helped him to change his life. The current owner of Jesse Brown's Outdoor Outfitters stepped up and spoke of Jesse as a visionary. He told how much they appreciated carrying on the mission at Jesse Brown’s, supplying hikers, campers, mountaineers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, through the store Jesse founded in the 70's. He said Jesse and Catherine ordered supplies for the doctors and nurses at the hospital where Jesse was treated, and continued to support the store even in those last days.

The Minister of the church that is now in the building that once housed the store and his wife came. He told the story of the how their church began and said Jesse received a higher offer for the building, and was under no obligation to sell it to them, but sold it to them anyway, to further the ministry. Seth, Jesse's longtime “adopted” son and former co-pilot with Piedmont Airlines shared some memories about Jesse. He and his wife Connie had driven up from Florida. Seth and Connie are the couple Catherine stayed with when Jesse had surgery and was bedridden the subsequent 108 days. They were with him and Catherine throughout the ordeal.

Charlotte and OA Fish, of the South Mountain Christian Camp met Jesse and Catherine as volunteers and says they were the best of the best. One of Jesse's Appalachian Trail buddies from the days at the store, who completed his walk in the woods, returned to the store to get a new backpack. He said Jesse told him if he could wear it out the store would exchange it. After the Trail he didn’t expect to hold the store to it, but sure enough his old backpack went on display in the shop. Someone from The Sowers came and talked about how Jesse and Catherine volunteered with them for several years, traveling to various locations across the US to work on construction projects. Sheriff Chris Francis spoke and told the story about when he first met Jesse, about how Jesse had gotten so involved in the campaign that he wore Chris Francis tee shirts and covered his car with campaign stickers. He said Jesse wasn't a man who did things by half measures - if he got behind you - he was committed. Jesse’s dear friend Joe from the Sabbath Keepers blew the shofar. And there was more.

We heard loving stories about Jesse as Husband, Father, Minister, Airline Pilot, Outdoorsman and Friend, but we didn't hear about Jesse as Neighbor. That’s because I could not bring myself to speak. I kept seeing pictures of Barney, Jesse's dear friend, his old yellow dog, and couldn't help but think: if dogs go to Heaven surely Barney greeted Jesse, surely they were reunited. I envisioned Jesse in a wingback chair with Barney at his side watching the service. So, you didn't get to hear about how Jesse used to Skype me from various locations as he and Catherine traveled. You didn't know he kept a bottle of Tabasco in my refrigerator, you didn't hear how he went to the hospital and sat with neighbors who had been admitted, and you didn't hear anything about The Garden, a project that deserves at least 8 pages. You didn't know he was not only a neighbor, but a dear friend. Jesse was a living example of a thru hiker on a Christian walk, not without foibles, not without comedy, not perfect, but rather a hard-headed, lion-hearted man of the fifties, chin outthrust and striving forward. The very fact that he was not perfect and still accomplished so much in Christian service was a blessing to me.

He walked life's path, sometimes staggering, sometimes falling, sometimes in the wrong direction, but always with faith. Looking in the mirror kept him from holding himself above a single soul. And despite the fact that he loved recognition, he lived, not by natural inclination, but by choice with the heart of a servant.

It's pretty amazing what one might accomplish when one says, here I am Lord use me. Most of us want to clean up our acts before offering ourselves in service. But Jesse did as he thought he ought to do; he packed his super-duper-pooper-scooper and hit the trail. He made some mistakes, some big ones, and he shared them in a way that made you feel better about yours. I suppose it kept him humble.

It's hard to be humble when you love the limelight, and he would have loved a gathering of people whose common ground was in loving him. Jesse and Barney would have loved his Memorial Service. I wish he could have been there.

Maybe he was.

  Simple Truths, the movie.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mickey Brackett's Grandpa Rides Again

The Great Golden Valley Truck Wreck
By Mickey Brackett

Rush Rollins, my grandfather, drove a 1949 model Dodge pickup truck for years. The cab was dirty yellow and the bed was dirty black. This truck may have gotten wash jobs but I never witnessed one except when it rained. Like most if not all trucks made in the late 40s and 50s, it had a manual transmission with a long floor mounted gear stick. I made a few trips with my grandfather to nearby Forest City in this truck. He drove like a person with no stress, no appointments, and no certain time to return. Driving slowly was a necessity for him. He always smoked self-rolled Prince Albert cigarettes while driving. These smokes were always dropping hot embers onto his shirt causing a moment of chest slapping and hard language until the burning stopped. If this distraction ever caused an accident, I never knew of it. Every new shirt he wore soon had Prince Albert holes in them. Gasoline was less than 30 cents per gallon in the 1960s. Even at this bargain price money must have been extremely tight. Grandfather practiced the lost art of coasting down long hills to save fuel. At the hilltop he would grab the gear stick and push it to neutral and turn the switch off. Down the hill we would go free wheeling by the power of gravity. As we reached the bottom and started uphill, the truck would start losing speed at which time grandfather would push in the clutch, turn on the switch, push the gear stick into third or fourth gear, then let out the clutch. The engine would start back up, pulling the truck to the top of the next hill where he would do this procedure over again and again on the road to town and back. My grandfather had no other vehicles except the farm tractor. The old truck served my grandfather well.

Uses for the Dodge truck included hauling small loads of pulp wood to the closest pulp wood yard to be sold. I doubt the pickup would haul ½ cord of wood, but anyway, grandfather would use the yellow truck for this purpose. He never owned a power chain saw, but he still seemed to cut plenty of pulp wood. He used a buck saw, which is a one-man bow saw. This created no loud sound, no smoke, used no gasoline, and never needed to be taken to town for repairs. While cutting trees with this saw he always kept handy a short Coke bottle filled with kerosene. The bottle had dried pine needles stuffed halfway into the bottle neck. When the buck saw was not sawing well due to pine rosin, he would swab the pine needle end of the bottle across the blade. This may be done several times prior to falling a tree. After several trees were cut up, he would load the wood by hand onto the yellow truck. When he arrived at the pulp wood yard, he had to hand unload the wood onto a rail car. The whole process was slow, hard work but did give him some fishing money.

My grandfather loved to fish. I think that is why he never had a full-time public job, which would have interfered with his fishing schedule. His favorite fish to go after was the crappie. This fish was noted for large schools. If you found the right spot, a fisherman could fill a cooler with these good-tasting fish. Grandfather usually caught the fish using live minnows as bait that he seined from the creeks near his house. Fishing for crappie was typically done from a boat.

Even though grandfather fished regularly, he never owned a boat. He did however own a 10 horsepower Johnson outboard boat motor. Lake James, located between Marion and Morganton, was a favorite fishing spot for my grandfather. The lake was an estimated 25 miles from Golden Valley. I have seen cooler full after cooler full of crappie caught in Lake James by my grandfather and other lesser known fisherman like Bill Hauser, Coy Toney, Smoky Martin, and Leit Witherow. Any trip to the lake required loading the outboard motor, a two-cycle gas tank, cooler of ice, fish net, paddle, flashlight, drinking water jug, minnow bucket, rod & reels, tackle boxes, anchor (usually a concrete block), rope, lanterns, food, and soft drinks. This was loaded into the bed of the yellow Dodge truck. Two or three people would ride in the cab of the truck and off they would go. Once at Lake James they would rent a flat bottom John-boat from Benfields or Lance’s Boat Landing. All the fishing gear including the outboard motor would be unloaded from the truck and placed into the boat. They fished nights or days until the minnows were all gone or dead or the sun got too hot.

The great Golden Valley truck wreck occurred while returning from one of these fishing trips. The year may have been 1963. We still had no telephone in our house. Someone drove to tell us grandpa had been in a wreck on Highway 226 near Highway 64. Everyone jumped into the car and off we went. Wrecks were newsworthy. Mother was concerned about her dad. Was he hurt? I had not seen many wrecks so this was exciting to a 12-year-old boy. Highway 226 was a good secondary state road running between Shelby and Marion and beyond. This was grandfather’s normal route to and from Lake James. He must have fished all morning and was returning home mid-afternoon. Golden Valley is in Rutherford County and the Lake is in McDowell and Burke Counties. A ridge of the South Mountains is the boundary separating McDowell County from Rutherford County. Highway 226 goes over the western end of this South Mountain ridge and this is where the great Golden Valley truck wreck occurred. Grandfather was slowly climbing the McDowell County side of the ridge when he encountered another slower moving vehicle driven by Banner Huskins. If grandfather was going 35 mph, Banner must have been going 25 mph. Banner also drove a pickup truck which was older than my grandfather’s truck. These old trucks were well built of thick sheet metal, heavy axles, big tires, and strong steel frames. Grandpa did not like following such a slow poke and decided it was time to change positions. Going up the mountain grade, he moved over to the passing lane and started around the other vehicle, forgetting he was in an old truck heavily loaded with fishing gear.

There he was, heavily loaded, traveling uphill beside Banner Huskins, on a two-lane road, when a third vehicle coming down the hill straight at him was spotted. Grandpa pushed the gas pedal to the floor trying to make the old Dodge accelerate faster but without success. He had to do something and now! Turning to the right he hoped to clear Banner’s front bumper and pull in front of him. Instead, grandpa’s rear bumper caught Banner’s front bumper. The two bumpers joined at 25 mph and would not disconnect. The physics of this wreck I don’t fully understand. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction turned the Dodge truck over on its side dumping the fishing gear out in multiple directions. Banner’s truck held upright and luckily no one was badly injured.

As is normal in such automobile accidents, the North Carolina Highway Patrol soon arrived. Someone had to be at fault. Someone should receive a violation, ticket, or fine. What was the cause of this wreck? This patrolman was not from Golden Valley. He did not know Rush Rollins or Banner Huskins; however, he would question each to fully understand what happened. He asked, “Who was driving the yellow truck?” “I was,” answered my grandfather. “Was speed the cause of this accident?” the patrolman asked. At times like this, one must dig deeply to find humor in such an unhappy situation and grandpa did. He answered with the Prince Albert cigarette in his mouth, “Yes, sir, it was. The lack of speed was the cause of the accident.” The patrolman gave grandpa a ticket for reckless driving in an old fishing truck.

Thinking the truck had seen its better days, grandpa sold the truck to Rob Freeman. Mr. Freeman drove the truck for 10 more years. Grandpa replaced the Dodge with a blue Ford pickup with a stick shift on the column. He continued to go fishing and coasted down many more hills while puffing on a Prince Albert cigarette.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whitehouse Community Fund Raiser

Saturday, May 28 2011, Whitehouse Community Center is holding a Country Breakfast, Yard Sale and a Bake Sale from 6:30 - 10:30 AM at the clubhouse.
Breakfast Plates
Adults $5.00, Children 6-12 $2.50, Under 6 free

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Momma’s Teachings and The Shoe Cobbler by Elizabeth Whisenant Towery

"Do not expect my stories to be perfect in writing or language as I am not an educated writer ,however I try to write my stories in a language and manner so simple that everyone can read and understand."

Admittedly, Miss Betty is not an educated writer, that said, I would remind the reader of the published series of Foxfire Books. These were student interviews with older members of their communities. Miss Betty is an even more precious resource, a self-taught writer, who is willing to share her story-tales with you. I applaud her work and publish it with no editing. I have edited Miss Betty's stories and find that editing removes to much flavor to be worthwhile. Enjoy! KDMcCall

Momma’s Teachings and The Shoe Cobbler
by Elizabeth Whisenant Towery.

When I was very young and growing up in Asheville, Buncombe County N.C. I was taught much by my mother Geneva Poteet/Poteat Whisenant. ( My Poteat family are of Scotch /Irish descent ).As well as I remember mom said she received the equivalent of about a seventh grade education. I do not know where she learned the things she taught me but I well know her knowledge was more than what she was taught in her Enola School.

I remember many things that she said the Headmaster, as she called her teacher did say or teach but there is simply no way the school could have taught her all the things she passed on to my siblings and me. She quoted much of the Holy Bible, I feel certain she got that from her parents, as they were God-fearing Christian people although my grandmother was once churched for gossiping. (The last portion of the above sentence is from the minutes of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church ,Morganton N.C.).

Along with the Bible mother learned to sing the old songs and recited many poems. She quoted Mother Goose and Rebus Rhymes that she passed on to my siblings and me. Mother never called them songs or poems or old saying she called them little ditties.

I remember when a first cousin Leon Poteet, whose father Leon Gray Poteet ,my mom’s brother taught his son Rebus Rhymes.

I remember titles of songs Mom taught me and some songs. Mom sang such as Frankie and Johnny (Silvers), Barbara Allen, and the song her brother wrote about Gladys Kincade, a young girl killed near Mom’s and perhaps the girls home in the section of Enola, Morganton N.C. .

I remember in particular one song as I have more recently heard my Aunt Beatrice Poteet Hull sing the song. It is about a little girl whose mother made her a coat of many colors but Aunt Bea’s song told of a little girl had no shoes. If mom had sung that to me I had completely forgotten it. I thought of the song when Loretta Lynn sang her song of ’A Coat of Many Colors. I wondered if Lynn had heard the song my Poteet family sang.

I can’t write about all these things my Mother taught me but the little ditty that came to my mind today was the shoe cobbler ditty. My Mother called it a Mother Goose Rhyme. I believe Mother sang the verse rather than saying the words. I am not certain, as it has been about 64 years since I was a child growing up in Asheville. The verse I remember, although I don’t know the author was as follows.
Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe,

give it a stitch and that will do.

Here's a nail, and there's a prod,

and now my shoe is well shod.

I’m certain I ask all the questions concerning the words of the ditty but it wasn’t until after I married that I actually saw the work of a shoe cobbler. I will get to that. However I begin my story with the following thought in mind.

It has been said that every hamlet (Rural community or village) had its shoe cobbler just as they had their own blacksmith. Many of the rural communities had their own Silversmith.

Local history tells us that the Aaron Devinney who married Sarah Hunt owned and operated a store and was the communities Silversmith He was called as if it were his name Silversmith Aaron Devinney. He left many descendents scattered over the country. I will leave this unique occupation of Aaron’s for another writing.

History also tells us that the George Towery who married Rosanna Brackett was the blacksmith and had a blacksmith shop and became the community’s blacksmith. He too was called by the name of his profession Blacksmith George Towery.

I feel certain the community had it own shoe cobbler but I never heard who it was or if Golden Valley had a shoe cobbler. I know that there were many families where either the father or the son did the shoe cobbling for the family and most of the same did the mending of the grand children‘s shoes.

In the Higgins Towery family the son Clevie became the shoe cobbler. He never had a little shoe cobbler building but he did have a special place to do his shoe mending. It was a certain area on the back porch that he mended the family’s shoes.

By the time I became a member of the Towery family Clevie had a church bench on one of the three sides of the wrap around porch of the house. It was on the backside of the wrap around porch and there is where he placed his shoe cobblers tools. Clevie had pieces of car tires that he used to mend or make the soles and heels with. His shoe tacks were kept in a tin ‘Dental Snuff ‘can .The tacks were all of one color but that made no difference as the tacks were never seen anyway.

Clevie also had a shoe lasts, which is a form in the approximate shape of a human foot, used in shoemaking to produce the fit of a shoe or boot. In later years Clevie bought taps to put on shoes. Those taps were put on the side of the shoe or heel that was worn so as to let the foot sit level instead of leaning to one side.

Cleve also had some really good, glue. A hammer, pliers ,an awl , and a rasp he used to roughen the pieces of tire that he cut to make a shoe sole so the glue would hold better. He kept a very sturdy needle and heavy thread and a punch and also a can of shoe wax in the box to polish the shoes. He never threw away a pair of shoestrings. They were saved and used until they wouldn’t tie with out breaking. These items or as Clevie might say supplies were all kept in a wooden box with a leather home made handle on top of the box Clevie had made the box for the purpose of keeping everything he needed all together. The handle wasn’t the only part of the shoe box that was made of leather. He had a strip of leather tacked across the top of the box onto the box, that acted as a hinge.

When Clevie finished his shoe cobbling he neatly placed every item in its place in the box. He kept his box behind the back hall door where there were shelves that had been built for another purpose. When he was ready to mend a shoe he picked up the box and carried it to the church bench there he had all his supplies ready for use. When he was ’low’ on an item he always said to his spouse, don’t let me forget to get shoe tacks (or what ever item he needed) the next time I go to the store. Clevie did a professional job at keeping the family’s shoe repair work done.
In today’s society we usually have one place of business for all our shoe repair, heel repair, boot repair, shoe shine and accessories needs and that eliminates the need for a shoe cobbler in every family.

Source: Personal knowledge .
Written about 1988.

Canning the Family’s hog meat.
Written about 1988.

There were shelves from near the top of the house to the shelf near the floor that Clevie’s wife Beatrice had her son Talmadge build for her to place her canned goods on. As she emptied a jar of canned goods she would wash the jar and place it back on the shelf. When canning time came she had her jars handy and ready to be rewashed and sterilized for her next canning work. To sterilize the canning jars Beatrice would put water in clean jars and place them in a pan of water, then she heated the jars to the boiling point and boiled them for several minutes.

Beatrice canned more than fruits and vegetables. When a hog was killed, she canned sausage, rib meat and the meat from back bones. She canned the ribs, bone and meat together but the back bones took up too much room in the jar so she removed the bone before canning the meat .The ribs and back bone meat were canned all in the same jars.
Beatrice cooked the meat before placing in the jar then cooked it more after it was in the jar. She would turn the jars upside down for the grease to solidify and remain on top of the jar and meat.

With the process of home canning the family could still have meats for their meals all summer.

I don’t know how Clevie got permission to use a place on a shelf for his shoe cobbler box because those shelves belonged to his wife, but there is where the box remained for as long as he mended shoes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Golden Valley Community Club Meeting May 16, 2011

Here's a quick link to the Community Newsletter for the month of May. Loyce Broughton from the County Commun ity Development Credit Union will be our guest speaker. Mrs. Towery has shared a story with us, there are several announcements and more.

The Cherry Mountain Fire Department Auxiliary is hosting a Friday night dinner meeting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Tale of Henry Clay

Henry Clay Sisk

By Elizabeth Whisenant Towery.

Daniel Sisk married Lucinda Frazier. They had children. Daniel was married a second time to Melinda E. Killien and they had children. One son was named Henry Clay Sisk.

He was born 12 DEC 1866, in Burke County, North Carolina. He died. 3 JULY 1945. Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina. (Sisk sister Amanda married William Butler.) 

Henry Clay married, Sarah Ellen Rominda Watts, 13 FEB 1887 in Golden Valley,

Early in their married life Henry Clay and Sarah Ellen made their home on Black Mountain Road. (The people called it Black Mountain Road. I have found documented as C.C. Road) .Henry Clay was born in Burke County but the old Sisk home place was not far from Fellowship Baptist Church and the people called it Black Mountain Church. He was a Baptist minister. He went from house to house preaching the word of God. He also preached in churches in Rutherford and Burke Counties and in the surrounding areas. He walked and would preach wherever the people called him to. In the 1940's he preached in the home of Austin Blankenship and at some point in time he preached at the Zeno Gamble home. He also preached at/in many other homes in Golden Valley. 

Henry Clay preached about the wickedness of the world and the wickedness he saw around his home in the mountains. The Rev. Henry Clay preached against the oldest profession in history, prostitution and children born out of wedlock and if you participated in homosexuality ‘You would split hell wide open.’ 

Then there were the bootleggers. Yes! The bootleggers gave Henry Clay all the ’fodder’ (Talk), he needed to preach with. Yeah! They made Henry’s day! They kept him ’hopping.’ (Busy). Every home Henry preached in he mentioned the bootleggers. The bootleggers must turn from their wicked ways and cast their eyes toward heaven for one day the Lord would come, and they ‘shore’ (Sure) didn’t want to be in ’no’ still with a barrel of mash running off jugs of that ‘pure vile’ when the Lord returned. It seems apparent that Henry Clay must put names on the faces of his neighbors that were in the bootlegging business. I use the word apparent because of the story that was told. 

It wasn't just Henry Clay but about everyone in the Valley knew the Roper men made liquor in a big way. To make a long tale short the’ revenuers ‘were hot on the Ropers ‘tail.’ ………Not trail, I was definitely told ’tail.’ (I assume … you know…posterior). 

They had stopped at quite a few homes in the Valley and ask, do you know a certain man named Roper? Everyone knew whom the revenuers spoke of but no one had seen him. …absolutely no one…...I mean almost ….like never.

The ‘revenuers’ didn't expect any help from the country folk, but they would ask anyways. And oft times they would ask if they minded if they parked near their home to watch for one of the Roper’s or anyone else they might catch with a carload of ‘moonshine’ (Whiskey). Of course the revenuers were looking for the cars with the ‘back end’ of their vehicles heavily loaded. For the most part the folks would rather not have a revenuer seen parked at their house but there wasn’t much else to be said …or done.

One of the Roper’s drove a 1940 Ford Coup. His wife drove a 1937 Ford Coup….. New Cars. The wife was the blockader. It was ‘wifey’s ’ job to go in front of the husband and when she saw a Federal Agent she was to deter him. Need I say wifey knew her job and did it ‘notoriously ‘well. The name of the game was don’t ask how ‘just do it.’ It had been working as the man had a very fast car and he knew the back roads and paths into the woods like the ‘palm of his hand.’ He could quickly lose the revenuers and I might add he had been getting plenty of practice. The law had been after him for a very long time. The wife had gained the name of a notorious driver and had a car as fast if not faster than her husbands.

Roper had built a special compartment in the floorboard of his car to put half gallon (may have been quart) ‘fruit ’ jars of liquor in. He had gotten away with it for a long time. The Fed's as the Federal Agents, were often referred to be, were not greatly respected. Some rural folk had always believed that it was no more for them to make and sell whisky than for the Federal Government to make and sell whiskey. The rural folk would tell you that.The eighteenth amendment to the constitution adopted in the 1920‘s banning the sale of Liquor, wine and beer was a ‘deception.’ The law was designed to let the government have all the money from the sale of the ‘spirits’ instead of letting the little starving rural man feed his family on the profits of the ‘white lighting’ made almost in his back yard and while at no cost or bother to anyone. Nope! He didn’t bother a sole. Not his neighbors… and not the law (Lawmen).

These…. were the same people who thought if you were going to drink liquor you might as well accommodate them… as to accommodate the government, because the government would blow every ‘red’ penny they ever ‘got a holt (Hold) of ‘. They would say after the government paid’ themselves’ there was little left for anybody else.

No sir- re- bob- there ain’t nary one of them govern--ment o-fficial gonna butter ‘yore’ biscuit, you must do ‘yore’ on buttering! If you failed to listen to what they ‘tolt ye’ that was ‘yore falt not thern.’ (Theirs).

My friend the Rev. Henry Clay Sisk had a different motive. He preached against the use of liquor regardless of whether it was government made or bootlegged.’ Hit’ (It) broke up homes, took the food ‘right out of the youngeuns ‘ mouths and was not what God wanted man to’ precipitate’ in whatsoever. ‘Now God didn’t say he minded ye’all using a dab fur your sicknesses but that’s as fur as he went. He preached much more. So much …..I failed to remember. The Rev. spared no one from the wrath of God in the messages that he preached …..Absolutely no one if they made liquor …or drunk it. It seems as though the Rev. made his way from house to house trying to get people not to engage themselves in the drink of the grain or the fruit of the vine‘. Further more not to associate with or accommodate the likes of the Roper men. They were wicked people living in wicked ways, that would lead them to an eternal Hell‘ far’ (fire).

All of these people that lived on the Black Mountain Road now (MeltonR oad)and in the Valley would have you believe they were fine Christian folk and that leads to the following sentence. Just as many good Christians do… some couldn't wait to git (get) word back to the Roper men as to what the likes of Henry Clay Sisk was ‘uh ‘saying about bootlegging and who was being named in his sermons. The first names he’ spit out’ was the Roper’s.

The next part of the tale seems to indicate that every word has been told correctly told thus far. Next thing I hear the Ropers are telling Henry Clay… his tongue is like a doubleedged axe it cuts while swinging both ways. And he better ‘mind’ (Attend) his ways. My informer said , I myself must say the biggest difference between a man and his best friend isn't that the dog has four legs, but that the dog wags his tail where man wags his tongue.  

NOW we see the Rev. being made to carry those mason jars filled with the‘ vile’

The REV. has been preaching of… to the ‘great running Ford’ automobile and having to load the ‘back end floorboard ‘for the mastermind of the still all by‘ hisself. ’The Roper ’ boys’ job was only to watch the Rev. as he toted all those heavy boxes and placed them in the back of the Roper vehicle. Each box’ helt’ (Held) four one gallon jars …quart‘s? Roper’s woman was nearby! She’ seed the whole thang.’  

Come the next Sabbath Day, while Rev. Henry Clay was visiting in a home and having his morning coffee …a neighbor rushes into the kitchen and says,‘ Henry Clay you better have ‘yore’ (Your) self a good breakfast fur the Roper’s are ‘acuming (Coming) to hang ye.’ They have gathered in Roper Holler (Hollow) and are a ‘fixing to head this uh away.’ Henry Clay's informer didn't say if he was going to be helping the Ropers or if he came only to warn the Rev. He merely made his statement and ‘high tailed it out of sight’ 

Now if you are still with me, I do hate to leave you hanging but that is the way I was left. Hanging! Yes! ……….Hanging. . No one seems to know the rest of the tale except to say Rev. Henry Clay Sisk was not hanged. He lived a number of years and diednaturally. (And I’m sure without being told that Henry looked ‘natural ‘when he died because everyone that died in Golden Valley in older days looked natural). Had Henry Clay lived another six months he would have rounded out his years to eighty. That was nearly ten years past the three score and ten that some people believe to have been promised from the same God that sent Henry Clay to irritate the bootleggers of his day. 

Source: Conley and Mary Hudson. Talmadge Towery and my input and study of the Sisk family history. Several of the older people told the story. It is written the way it was first told to me.

They added to the tale that Roper and his woman are deceased and are buried in the SilverCreek Church Cemetery in Burke County. 

Written December 22, 2003. 

Note: In trying to verify this tale I happen to mention it to Conley Hudson and his wife Mary Melton Hudson. Neither could give me the reason Henry Clay was not hanged on that Sabbath of long ago. But both had heard the tale.

Note 2: this story is in Short Tales From Golden Valley. Volume 12 pf 49

Monday, April 18, 2011

USGS Topographical Maps - Topographic Maps - United States Geological Survey

I have 4 Bumpy maps. These are maps that show the topography of our area and North, South, East and West. The maps I have came from an Office Supply in Morganton that's since gone out of business. USGS Topographical Maps - Topographic Maps - United States Geological Survey The maps are available here, and for those of you who want to learn more about the area, and answer the burning questions -- What Mountain am I looking at? Is that really Mount Mitchell?

I don't know about you, but I like to know. So here's a nice little link for bumpy maps of Western North Carolina and you'll find, Golden Valley, Sunshine, Duncan's Creek, Whitesides, and much more.

USGS Topographical Maps - Topographic Maps - United States Geological Survey

Community Newsletter April 2011

Here's the Community Newsletter for April, in it: GVCC meeting information, a link to Knobby News, the Golden Valley Gold Story, Community Announcements and more.

Sorry about this ugly link. I haven't found a way to use the share button that will generate a prettier one. I guess what matters is that it works.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Our March Newsletter

March Newsletter The Golden Valley Community Club plans to meet on March 21. The twenty five cent sale continues at Washburn Community Outreach. The Cherry Mountain Fire Department still has some recipe books and tee shirts. Sunshine School's BearFoot Race is schedule for April and more.

Monday, February 21, 2011


The February 2011 Constant Contact Newsletter. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Newsletter-GV.html?soid=1102382229068&aid=ft0AEnhY2z4 The Golden Valley Community Club will meet at the Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church on 2/21/2011 at 7:00 PM. A warehouse sale will be held at Washburn Community Outreach. Sign up to support Sunshine School. Order your Cherry Mountain Fire Department tee shirts, cookbooks and sign numbers and more.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Concealed Carry Class

Fairview Baptist Church

A Concealed Carry Class will be held at Fairview Baptist Church on Saturday, February 5th at 8:00 AM. The class costs $50.00. For more information contact Pastor Gary Smith.

Duncan's Creek Ham Supper

Come to Duncan's Creek Presbyterian for a Country Ham Supper.

Country Ham Dinner -- Duncan's Creek -- Saturday, February 5 at the Presbyterian Church, 4:00 through 8:00 or until they run out of food. Come early! Come one, come all. $9.00 Adults, $4.50 Children, Under 6, free.

Carry Out Available!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Concealed Carry Class Scheduled in February

The concealed weapons class is scheduled for the first Saturday in Feb, 5th. The class will cost $50.00 and starts at 8:00 am at Fairview Baptist Church. Tell you friends.

Sunshine School & the Ingles Advantage Card

Sunshine School and the Ingles Advantage

"Participants must sign up each school year to enroll for that year."

If you shop at Ingles and use an Ingles Advantage card, please sign up for the Tools for Schools program online. Every time you use your Ingles Advantage card a donation will be made to Sunshine School. Sign up here Ingles Advantage and Sunshine School

And tell your friends.

Golden Valley Community Club is Closed for the Winter

The Golden Valley Community Club is closed for the winter.

There will be no meeting January 17.

The heat pump at the clubhouse has been a real blessing and we're glad to have it, but when it's extremely cold it's not sufficient to heat the building. And it's expensive. With fewer community club members and the loss of our community elders, who used the wood stove to make sure the plumbing did not freeze, we can't afford to keep the building open.

And yes, we do have rentals. We charge $25.00 to rent the clubhouse, but when it's cold $25.00 doesn't come close to paying the electric bill. So, the decision was made to drain the waterlines and to shut the building down for the rest of the winter. The building has been winterized by David Bracket and Frank Perez. (Thank you guys).

The community club members might meet at one of our church families fellowship halls, but not this month.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Journey Scholarships available to GVCC Seniors

From Linda Lamp, Director of WNC Communities, January 20, 2011
"It is an honor for WNC Communities to offer The Journey Scholarship Program to youth in our communities preparing to enter college. Last year, $7,500 in scholarships was awarded to seven deserving high school seniors continuing their education.

Attached is the Journey Scholarship Application for 2011. The criteria for this scholarship are listed on page two and the deadline to get the completed application postmarked and into the WNC Communities’ Office is April 4, 2011. Please familiarize yourself with the application particularly noting the “Community Confirmation” section on the final page. This is where we need a community officer to sign the application to help confirm the high school senior applying for the Journey Scholarship actually live in and/or participate in your community. It is important to note the application process is open to high school seniors in communities that participated in the 2010 WNC Honors Awards Program."

Golden Valley did, in fact, participate in the Community Program and it would be our pleasure to endorse a student. Here's a link to Google Docs so you can download the application. Journey Scholarship 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Golden Valley Newsletter, January 2011

And here's a lovely link to the January 2011 newsletter: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/GV-Newsletter.html?soid=1102382229068&aid=wx5zz9Z6kB4 It's admittedly a little long, but it was a one click addition. And if you'd like to receive one of our monthly email newsletters, sign up. The widget is on the left of this blog in the top of the menu bar.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rutherford County NC- Tax Exempt Organizations and Rutherford North Carolina Non Profit Organizations

If the Golden Valley Community Club is to continue it may have to become a non-profit. If there are any club members or community volunteers who might be interested in helping us with non-profit status please let us know. Rutherford County NC- Tax Exempt Organizations and Rutherford North Carolina Non Profit Organizations . This link can help any group/club/organization with non-profit filing.