A FAITHFUL PICTURE OF THE PAST. "Somewhere about 1830," writes Judge A. C. Avery, "my father had a summer house constructed of hewn logs, containing four rooms and a hall, with outhouses, at the place now called Plumtree. It remained till about 1909, when it was destroyed by fire. This was a mile below the 'Quarter,' where the overseer kept house and my father's sons, who successively managed the stock, stayed. There were a number of negro cabins around the Craborchard proper, which was located. about half a mile from where Waightstill W. Avery now lives. My father had large meadows there, on which he raised a quantity of hay and wintered hundreds of heads of cattle that ranged on the mountains in summer. These mountains were the Roan and the Yellow, on whose bald summits grass grew luxuriantly.
HAYMAKING IN THE SUMMERTIME. "During August of every year, after laying by his crop in Burke county, my father took a number of negroes and several wagons and teams over to the Craborchard, and moved his family for a stay of two months or more to his summer house at Plumtree. He hired white men from all over Yancey county to help his negroes in saving the hay.
OPEN HOUSE AND GRAND FROLIC. "He kept open house at the summer place and large parties of ladies and gentlemen went out there from time to time and had a grand frolic. Many of the young people rode out on horseback, and some of the ladies in carriages. Parties were continually riding out to the Roan, the Yellow and to Linville Falls. The woods were full of deer, and all the streams were full of speckled trout that could be caught with redworm bait. So, the ladies and gentlemen fished in Toe river and its tributaries while others of the gentlemen hunted deer, often killing them near enough to the summer house for the shot to be heard."
WHERE THE BOYS WERE "HANGED." "The late James Gudger, who was brought in his early infancy to his father's residence on Swannanoa, just settled, and who, in 1830, and 1836, represented Buncombe county in the North Carolina in the Senate, told his grandson, Capt. J. M. Gudger, that when he was a very small boy it was the custom to send a number of boys with bags of grain to mill to be ground, and leave it there until a month later, when the boys would return with other grain and carry back the meal ground from the first. He further said that usually a man accompanied the party to put on the sacks when they should fall from the horses, but that on one occasion as he, then a very small boy, was returning from the mill, with his companions of about the same age, the man for some reason was not along, and one of the sacks fell off on the Battery Park hill over which they had to pass; that while endeavoring in vain to replace the sacks a party of Indians came upon them, and from pure mischief threatened and actually began to hang them; that the boys were badly frightened, but finally the Indians left them unharmed and they went on their way, and that the hill was afterwards known through the country as 'the hill where the boys were hung.'<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
HANDLEN MOUNTAIN. "He still further said that the miller in charge of the mill, whose name was Handlen, undertook to cultivate a crop on the mountain on the western side of the French Broad, but as he did not return to the settlement for a long while his friends became frightened, and in a party went to the clearing, where they found him killed and scalped, and his crop destroyed, and that from this incident that mountain took its name of the Handlen mountain.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
"TALKING FOR BUNCOMBE." "Famous as Buncombe deservedly is, she has acquired some notoriety that no place less merits. Her name has become synonymous with empty talk, a incus a non lucendo. In the sixteenth Congress of the United States the district of North Carolina which embraced Buncombe county was represented in the lower house by Felix Walker. The Missouri question was under discussion and the house, tired of speeches, wanted to come to a vote. At this time Mr. Walker secured the floor and was proceeding with his address, at best not very forceful or entertaining, when some impatient member whispered to him to sit down and let the vote be taken. This he refused to do, saying that he must 'make a speech for Buncombe,' that is, for his constituents; or, as others say, certain members rose and left the hall while he was speaking and, when he saw them going, he turned to those who remained and told them that they might go, too, if they wished, as he was 'only speaking for Buncombe.' The phrase was at once caught up and the vocabulary of the English language was enriched by the addition of a new term."<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2
ISOLATION OF MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS. So sequestered were many of these mountain coves which lay off the main lines of travel, that persons living within only short distances of each other were as though "oceans rolled between"; as the following incident abundantly proves:
MONT. RAY'S FLIGHT, RETURN AND TRIAL.<a href="#3" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 3
Stokes Penland's statement, October. 1912, at Pinola"> Soon after the Civil War Mont. Ray killed Jack Brown of Ivy, between Ivy and Burnsville, and went to Buck's tanyard, just west of Carver's gap under the Roan mountain, where he supported himself making and mending shoes till many of the most important witnesses against him had gotten beyond the jurisdiction of the court-by death or removal -- when he returned and stood his trial in Burnsville and was acquitted. He had never been forty miles away, had remained there twelve years yet no one ever suspected that he was a fugitive; yet no one ever suspected he was a fugative from justice.
A FORGOTTEN BATTLE-FIELD. The Star, a newspaper published in Sparta, Alleghany county, in its issue of February 29, 1912, contained the following : "A few years ago, along New river, near the northern border of this county, was found what is believed to be indications of a battle of which. no one now living has any knowledge, nor is there any tradition among our people concerning it. On the land of Squire John Gambill, near the bank of New river, after a severe rainstorm and wash-out, some white objects were noticed lying on the ground. On examination these were found to be human skulls and other parts of human skeletons. Further examinatidn revealed other marks of battle, such as leaden balls buried in old trees lying on the ground, etc. Squire Gambill's ancestors have resided in this section for one and a half centuries; yet, they have 'iever heard of the,,. occurrenes, no~ had they any tradition of it. Who fought this battle? Why was it fought? Was there a fort here? Was it fought between the whites and Indians?" (See ante, p.108.)
ANDREW JACKSON 'LOSES A HORSE RACE.<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
Chapter seven of"Dropped Stitches.""> In the late summer or early fall of 1788, Andrew Jackson and Robert Love had a horse race in the Greasy Cove, just above what is now Ervin, Tenn. It seems that Jackson's jockey could not ride and "Old Hickory" was forced to ride his horse himself, while Love's jockey was on hand and rode Love's horse winning the race. When the result was known "just for a moment there was a deep, ominous hush; then a pandemomuin of noise and tumult that might have been heard in the two neighboring counties. Jackson was the chief actor in this riot of passion and frenzy. His brow was corrugated with wrath. His tall, sinewy form shook like an aspen leaf. His face was the livid color of the storm cloud when it is hurling its bolts of thunder. His Irish blood was up to the boiling point, and his eyes flashed with the fire of war. He was an overflowing Vesuvius of rage, pouring the hot lava of denunciation on the Love family in general and his victorious rival in particular. Col. Love stood before this storm unblanched and unappalled-for he, too, had plenty of 'sand,' and as lightly esteemed the value of life-and answered burning invective with burning invective hissing with the same degree of heat and exasperation. Jackson denounced the Loves as a 'band of land pirates' because they held the ownership of nearly all the choice lands in that section. Love retorted by calling Jackson 'a damned, long, gangling, sorrel-topped soap stick.' The exasperating offensiveness of this retort may be better understood when it is explained that in those days women 'conjured' their soap by stirring it with a long sassafras stick. The dangerous character of both men was well known, and it was ended by the interference of mutual friends, who led the enraged rivals from the grounds in different directions."<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
Chapter seven of"Dropped Stitches."">
TWO OLD-TIME GENTLEMEN. Major O. F. Neal was a lawyer and farmer who lived in Jefferson, and who died in 1894. He and his brother Ben were punctilious on all matters of politeness. On one occasion, after a long walk, they reached a spring. Ben insisted that, as the Major was a lawyer and lived in town, he should drink first; but the Major claimed that as Ben was the elder he must drink first. As neither would yield to the other, they politely and good-naturedly refused to drink at all, and returned home more thirsty than ever.
THE FIRST DEPARTMENT STORE. Two mites from Old Field, Ashe county, was kept from about 1870 to about 1890 the first department store known. It was kept by that enterprising merchant Arthur D. Cole, and the large, but now empty, buildings still standing there show the extent of his business. He kept as many as twelve clerks employed, and boasted that there were but two things he did not carry constantly in stock, one being the grace of God and the other blue wool. A friend thought he had him "stumped" one day when he called for goose yokes; but Cole quietly took him up stairs and showed him a gross which he had had on hand for years. He and his father did more to develop the root and herb business in North Carolina than anyone else. He failed in business, after nearly twenty years of success.
A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE. Zachariah Sawyer, grandfather of George Washington Sawyer, now register of deeds of Ashe county, came to Ashe from east of the Blue Ridge eighty-odd years ago. He learned that he was entitled to a share in a large estate in England and went there to collect his interest. After he had been in that country a short time he wrote home that he had succeeded in collecting his share and would soon start home. He was never afterwards heard of.
WELBURN WATERS, HERMIT HUNTER OF WHITE Top. In a well written book, Mr. J. A. Testerman of Jefferson has drawn a striking portrait of this old-time hunter and back-woodsman. The last edition is dated 1911. From it one gathers that Waters was born on Reddy's river in Wilkes county, November 20, 1812, the son of John P. Waters, a French Huguenot, and a half-breed Catawba woman. His conversion and his distraction at a conference held at Abingdon, Va., in 1859 because he was afraid some harm would come to a new hat he had carried to church are amusingly told, while his encounters with wild beasts and his solitary life on White Top are graphically portrayed.
LOCHINVAR REDUX. "About the year 1816, John Holsclaw, a young and adventurous hunter, and a regular lochinvar, as the sequel will show, built a bark 'shanty' on the waters of Elk at the 'Big Bottoms,' where he lived for many years. The romance of his life was that he went over to Valle Crucis, a settlement only eight miles distant, and there by sheer force of will, or love, I will not say which, carried away, captive, a young daughter of Col. Bedent Baird, and took her over the mountains by a route so circuitous that, from what her conductor told her, she verily believed she was in Kentucky. She was kept in ignorance of where she actually did live for many years, and only by accident found out better. One day she heard a bell whose tinkle seemed strangely familiar. She went to the steer on which it was hung and found that it belonged to her father. This clue led to the discovery that, instead of being in Kentucky she was not eight miles as the crow flies from her old home at Valle Crucis. Of course she thanked her husband for the deception, as all women do, and they lived happy ever afterwards.
"For many years after John Holselaw settled on the 'Big Bottoms of Elk' with his youthful bride, they lived solitary and alone; and in after years she was wont to tell how she had frightened away the wolves which prowled around when her husband was away, by thrusting firebrands at them, when they would scamper off a distance and make night hideous with their howls. And how, in after years, when they built a rude log house with only one small window to admit the light, and had moved into it, Mr. Holselaw killed a deer and dressed it, and had gone away, a panther, smelling the fresh venison, came to the house and tried to get in, screaming with all the ferocity of a beast brought almost to the point of starvation. There was no one in the house but the woman and one child, but she bravely held her own till her husband returned, when the fierce beast was frightened away. She lived to a great age, and only a few years ago died,<a href="#5" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 5
Account by T. L. Lowe, Esq."> and lies buried on a beautiful hillock hard by the place of her nativity, on the land now owned by one of her nephews, Mr. W. B. Baird, one time sheriff of Watauga."
WHO WAS SELLER AND WHO WAS SOLD? Col. Carson Vance lived on Rose's creek, between Alta Pass and Spruce Pine before and during and after the Civil War. He was a bright, but eccentric man. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law to some extent. But he and a free negro named John Jackson made up a plot at the commencement of the Civil War whereby they were to go together to New Orleans, Vance as master and Jackson as slave. At New Orleans Jackson was to be sold for all the cash he would bring, after which Vance was to disappear. Then Jackson was to prove that he was a "free person of color," regain his freedom and rejoin Vance on the outskirts of New Orleans. It is said that this scheme worked successfully and that Vance and Jackson divided the proceeds of the sale.
LOVE 'FINDS A WAY. On the 21st of June, 1856, W. M. Blalock, commonly called Keith Blalock, and Malinda Pritchard were married in CaIdwell county, close to the Grandfather mountain. In 1862 the conscript law of the Confederacy went into operation, and Keith, though a Union man, was clearly subject to conscription. There was no escape from it except by volunteering. But to do that would be to part with his wife. So they resolved to enlist together and seek their first opportunity of deserting and getting over into the Federal lines. They went to Kinston, N. C., and joined the 26th N. C. regiment, then commanded by Col. Zebulon B. Vance, soon afterwards to become governor. This was on the 12th of April, 1862. She wore a regular Drivate's uniform and tented and messed with her husband. She enlisted and was known as Sam Bla1ock. She stood guard, drilled and handled her musket like a man, and no one ever suspected her sex. But they were too far from the Federal lines, with little prospect of getting nearer. So Keith went into a swamp and rubbed himself all over with poison oak. They sent him to the hdspital in Kinston, where the surgeons disagreed as to his ailment, and he was returned to his own regiment, where his surgeon recommended his discharge. It was granted and he left the camp. Then his wife presented herself to Col. Vance and said that as long as they had sent her man home she wanted to go, too. An explanation followed with confirmation "strong as proof of holy writ." She was discharged. Keith joined the Union army and drew a pension. Mrs. Blalock died March 9, 1901. He was called "Keith" because when a boy he was a great fighter, and could "whip his weight in wild-cats," as the saying went. At that time there was a fighter, full grown and of great renown who lived at Burnsville, by the name of Alfred Keith. The boys Blalock played with, "double-teamed" on him sometimes, but always got thrashed. They then cafled him "Old Keith." He died in September, 1913, at Montezuma.
THE WILD CAT. In February, 1848, when she was sixteen years old, Mary Garland,' afterwards the wife of Judge Jacob W. Bowman, killed a wild cat which had followed some ducks into her yard. She hemmed it in a fence corner and beat it to death with a "battling stick"--a stout, paddle-like stick used to beat clothes when they are being washed. This was on Big Rock creek, Mitchell county. Her cousins, Jane and Nancy Stanley, while tending the boiling of maple sugar sap in a camp on the waters of Big Rock creek in the spring of 1842, when sixteen and thirteen years old respectively, killed a black bear which had been attracted by the smell of sugar, by driving it into a small tree and killing it with an ax.
A MOONSHINER'S HEAVEN. Forty years ago Lost Cove was almost inaccessible, except by trails; but last year (1912) a wagon road over three miles long was constructed to it over the ridges from Poplar Station on the C. C. & 0. Railroad. Such a secluded place was a great temptation to moonshiners, and when to its inaccessibility was added the fact that it was in dispute between Tennessee and North Carolina, its fascinations became irresistible. Accordingly John D. Tipton was accused of having begun business by the light of the moon, as was evidenced by sundry indictments in the United States court at Asheville. His example was soon followed by others; but, whenever it appeared to Judge R. P. Dick. that the alledged stills were in the disputed territory, he directed the discharge of the defendants. However, a mighty change has taken place in Lost Cove within the past few years, and not only is there no moonshining there now, even when fair Luna is at the full,. but the good people will not suffer the "critter" to be brought in from Tennessee. And better still, in 1910 they built a school house and a church, and voted a special school tax, the first school having been taught in 1911.
PEGGY'S HOLE. Three-quarters of a mile above Elk Cross Roads, now Todd, is a high bluff, covered with laurel, pines and ivy. It is at a bend of New river. About 1815 Mrs. Peggy Clauson was going to church on a bright Sunday morning. Dogs had run a bear off the bluff into a deep hole at the base of a cliff, and Mrs. Clauson saw him swimming around in the water. She waded in and, seizing the brute by both ears, forced his head under the water and held it there until Bruin had drowned. It has been called Peggy's Hole ever since.
THE HERMIT OF BALD MOUNTAIN.<a href="#6" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 6
From "The Heart of the Alieghanies," p.271."> "In Yancey county, visible from the Roan, and forty-five miles from Asheville, is a peak known as Grier's Bald, named in memory of David Grier, a hermit, who lived upon it for thirty-two years. From posthumous papers of Silas McDowell, we learn the following facts of the hermit's singular history. A native of South Carolina, he came into the mountains in 1798, and made his home with Colonel David Vance, whose daughter he fell in love with. His suit was not encouraged; the young lady was married to another, and Grier, with mind evidently crazed, plunged into the wilderness. This was in 1802. On reaching the bald summit of the peak which bears his name, he determined to erect a permanent lodge in one of the coves. He built a log house and cleared a tract of nine acres, sub sisting in the meantime by hunting and on a portion of the $250 paid him by Colonel Vance for his late services. He was twenty miles from a habitation. For years he lived undisturbed; then settlers began to encroach on his wild domains. In a quarrel about some of his real or imaginary landed rights, he killed a man named Holland Higgins. cleared on the ground of insanity, and returned home to meet death at the hands of one of Holland's friends. Grier was a man of strong mind and fair education. After killing Higgins he published a pamphlet in justification of his act, and sold it on the streets. He left papers of interest, containing his life's record and views of life in general, showing that he was a deist, and a believer in the right of every man to take the executive power of the law into his own hands."
OLD CATALOOCHEE STORIES. Owing to the fact that the late Col. Allen T. Davidson spent much of his young manhood hunting and fishing in Cataloochee valley, much of its early history has been preserved. From him it was learned that years ago Zach White shot a deputy sheriff named Rayburn when Col. Davidson was a boy, and hid near a big rock in a little flat one half mile above the late Lafayette Palmer's home, where for years Neddy MeFalls and Dick Clark fed him. He also stayed on Shanty branch near where Harrison Caldwell now lives. This branch got its name from a shanty or shed that Old Smart, a slave of Mitchell Davidson, built there while he tended cattle for his master years before any white people ever lived in that valley. The cattle ranged on the Bunk mountain and on Mount Sterling, and one day when Neddy McFalls was looking for them to salt them he could not find a trace of them anywhere. His nickname for Col. Davidson was Twitty. Now the Round Bunk mountain stands between the lefthand fork of the Little Cataloochee and Deep Gap, while the Long branch runs from the balsam on Mount Sterling and between the headwaters of Little Cataloochee and Indian creek. It was on the Long Branch that Col. Davidson and Neddy McFalls were standing when the latter put his hands to his mouth and cried out: "Low, Dudley, low!", Dudley being the name of the bull with the herd of cattle; and almost immediately they heard Dudley from the top of Mount Sterling give a long, loud low, and they knew that their cattle were found. Richard Clark is the one who gave the name to the Bunk mountain.<a href="#7" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 7
So called from its fancied resemblance to a bunk."> Neddy McFalls was a great believer in witchcraft. He carried a rifle that had - been made by a man of the name of Gallaspie on the head of the French Broad river, while Col. Davidson's gun was known as the Aaron Price gun. Neddy missed a fair shot at a buck one day and nothing could persuade him from leaving Cataloochee and traveling miles to a female witch doctor who was to take the "spell" off his gun. Jim Price was found dead of milk sick west of the "Purchase, " formerly the home of John L. Ferguson on top of Cataloochee mountain, on another branch, also known as the Long branch. A little dog, stayed with the body and attracted the searchers to it by getting on a foot-log and howling.
It was said that the Indians had -killed Neddy McFall's father and that he had a grudge against all Indians in consequence. So one day Neddy and Sam McGaha were together and saw an Indian seated on a log. Neddy told McGaha that the triggers on bis rifle were "set," that is locked, and asked him to take a good aim at the Indian just for fun. Not knowing that the triggers were really "sprung," and that the slightest touch on the "hair-trigger" would fire the rifle, McGaha did as he was asked, with the result that the Indian fell dead. It is said that Neddy had to run for his life to escape the wrath of McGaha.
PRIVATE WM. NICODEMUS. An Indian named Christie lived on the site of the present town of Murphy, and a ford crossing Valley river between the two bridges of the present day was for years called the Christie ford. The first house built by a white man in Cherokee county was a large two-story log house with several rooms, erected by A. R. S. Hunter, originally of Virginia, but who moved into North Carolina from Georgia. Its furniture was of mahogany and was brought by Indians on their shoulders from Walhalla, South Carolina, there being no wagon roads at that time. Mr. Hunter, in about 1838, built a better house. General Wool and General Winfield Scott were entertained by the Hunters during the time of the removal of the Cherokees. Several of the United States soldiers engaged in that heart rending process died and were buried near this old residence; but these remains were removed in 1905 or 1906 to the National cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. On one of the old headstones a single name is yet decipherable -that of Wm. Nicodemus.
CUPID AND THE GENERAL'S SURGEON. Fort Butler was on a hill not far from the Hunter home. Mr. Hunter had one child, a daughter, who married Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock, a surgeon on Gen. Wool's staff durng the "Removal" and the Mexican War. They afterwards moved to California, where they acquired many valuable lands and settled at San Francisco. They had one child, a daughter, Lily, who is now a Mrs. Coit, and spends much of her time in Paris, France. She still owns all the lands in Cherokee county which were acquired by her grandfather, Mr. Hunter. They embrace all the land between the Notla and the Hiwassee, the "Meadows," on the head of Tallulah creek in Graham county, and land in Murphy, where she owns a house near the west end of the bridge over the Hiwassee river.
A FRIGHTENED ENTRY-TAKER. The Entry-Taker's office was opened in Murphy on the last of March, 1842, when much excitement prevalled, as it was strictly a case of "first come, first served." It is said that so eager and demonstrative was the crowd that Drewry Weeks became alarmed and hid himself in one of the upstairs rooms of the old jail, and that, when he was finally discovered, the rush that was made upon him was really terrifying. They broke out the window lights with their fists and handed or threw their bundles of entries and surveys through these openings. One land-hungry citizen, Stephen Whitaker by name, used to tell how he cllmbed upon the shoulders of the dense crowd of men who were packed in front of the window of the jail and scrambled and crawled.on hands and knees over the heads of those who were So crowded together that they could not use their fists upon him, or dislodge him by allowing him to drop by his own weight, till he reached the window and so got a place near the head of the list. It is said, however, that the execrations and maledictions-commonly called curses-which were hurled at him were enough to damn him eternally, if mere words could accomplish that result.
A STRANGE DREAM. Dr. J. E. West was drowned March 19, 1881, while attempting to ford the Tuckaseegee river at the Bear Ford, and remained in the water about two weeks, when Rachel Grant, a poor woman whose son Dr. West had been treating, dreamed that he came to her and on seeing him she expressed surprise and told him she thought that he was drowned. He told her that he was and wanted to tell her where to direct the men, when they came to search, where to find his body. He said to tell them to get into the canoe and pole toward two maples on the opposite side and when they got near the current that came around a rock to put their pole down and they would find him. When she awoke in the moring she dressed and walked up to the landing to see if it looked like she had seen it while dreaming. She was so impressed that she sat and waited till the searching party came, to whom she told her story. Of course, some were amused while a few had faith enough to follow her directions, and when they did so found the body in Ïhe precise place she had pointed out to them. Mrs. Grant is still living in this county, as well as some of those who found the body. It had floated about one-half mile.<a href="#8" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 8
Letter of Col. D. K. Collins to J. P. A., June 7, 1912.">
THE DELOSIA "MIND."<a href="#9" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 9
Frequently called "mind" for mine."> A man named Edward Delosia, of Blount county, Tenn., claimed to have discovered a gold mine in the Smoky mountains years before the Civil War; and it is said that he left a "way bill" or chart telling where it might be found. This chart located it at some point from which the Little Tennessee nver could be seen in three places coming toward the observer and in three places going from the observer. No such place has ever been discovered, though there are points on the Gregory and Parsons Balds from which the river can be seen in several places. It was said that Delosia claimed he had cut off solid "chunks" of gold with his hatchet. Many have hunted for it, and many more will continue to seek it, but in vain. Many others had and still have what may very properly be termed the "Delosia Mind," or the belief that sooner or later they would or will discover minerals of untold value in these mountains.
A THRILLING BOAT RIDE. A large whale boat had been built at Robbinsville and hauled to a place on Snowbird creek just below Ab. Moody's, where it was put into the creek, and it was floated down that creek to Cheoah liver and thence to Johnson's post-office, where Pat Jenkins then lived. It was hauled from there by wagon to Rocky Point, where, in April, 1893, Calvin Lord, Mike Crise and Sam MeFalls, lumbermen working for the Belding Lumber Company, got into it and started down the Little Tennessee on a "tide" or freshet. No one ever expected to see them alive again. But they survived. By catching the overhanging branches when swept toward the northern bank at the mouth of the Cheoah river the crew manimd to effect a landing, where they spent the night. They started the next morning at daylight and got to Rabbit branch, where the men who had been sent to hunt them. They spent three days there till the tide subsided, then they went on to the Harden farm, which they reached just one went after leaving Rocky Point. No one has ever attempted this feat since, even when the water was not high. The boat was afterwards taken on to Lenoir City, Tenn.
A FAITHFUL DOG. Many incidents occurred in which our pioneer mothers showed grit equal to that of their intrepid husbands. But there is one of the intelligence and faithfulness of a dog that deserves to be recorded.
William Sawyer, one of the pioneers of that section, was living on Hazel creek, near where the famous Adams-Westfeldt copper lead was afterwards found. He left home one day in 1858, when there was what the natives call a "little blue snow covering the landscape, taking with him his trusty rifle and his trustier dog. Together they went into the Bone Valley on Bone creek, one of the head prongs of Hazel creek, and so called because a number of cattle had perished there from cold several years before, their bleaching bones remaining as a reminder of the blizzard that had locked everything in its icy fingers late in a preceding spring.
William Sawyer killed a large bear and prooeeded to disembowel and skin him, after which he started home loaded down with bear meat. But he did not get far before he fell dead in the trail. The dog remained with him till after midnight when being satisfied that his master was dead, he left the body in the woods and proceeded back home. Arriving there just before day, the faithful animal whined and scratched on the door till he was admitted. Once inside the cabin, he kept up his whining and, catching the skirts of Mrs. Sawyer's dress in his mouth, tried to draw her to the door and outside the house. Quickly divining the dog's purpose and concluding that he was trying to lead her to her husband, she summoned her neighbors and followed. She soon discovered the body of her husband, cold and stiff.
AQUILLA ROSE. This picturesque blockader lives at head of Eagle creek in Swain county. Soon after the Civil War he got into a row with a man named Rhodes a mile below Bryson City, and was shot through the body. As Rose fell, however, he managed to cut his antagonist with a knife wounding him mortally. After this he went to Texas and stayed there some time, returning a few years later and settling with his faithful wife at his present home. It is near the Tennessee line, and if anyone were searching for an inaccessible place at that time he could not have improved on Quil's choice. He was never arrested for killing Rhodes, self-defence being too evident. In 1912 he made a mistake about feeding some swill to his hogs and was "haled" literally hauled -before Judge Boyd at Asheville on a charge of operating an illicit distillery near his peaceful home. It was his violation of the eleventh commandment, to "never get ketched"; but Quil was getting old and probably needed a dram early in the morning, anyhow. Judge Boyd was merciful, and it is safe to predict that Quil will keep that eleventh commandment hereafter.
THE GOLDEN CITY. Wm. H. Herbert owned a large boundary of land in Clay which had been entered for Dr. David Christie of Cincinnati, Ohio, before the Civil War, say about 1857 or 1858, the warrants having been issued to M. L. Brittain and J. R. Dyche, who assigned them to Dr. Christie. He gave bonds to the State in 1859; but the Civil War came on and Dr. Christie returned to the North, and failed to pay for them. On February 27, 1865, the North Carolina legislature passed an act authorizing any person to pay for these lands and take grants from the State for them. Wm. H. Herbert paid what was due on Christie's bonds and took grants for the lands.
He then sold three hundred acres (Grant No.2989) to Peter Eckels, of Cincinnati, about 1870, and about 1874 Peter Eckels divided this tract into lots (on paper only) calling it The Golden City. But it was "Wild Land" on Tusquittee mountain at the head of Johnson creek, and was not very valuable. He sold several l9ts, however, to people in Cincinnati and years afterwards vain attempts were made to locate this Golden City.
A LARGE HEART. For several years after the Civil War and up to the time of his death the residence of the late John H. Johnson was the scene of much hospitality. The lawyers hurried through court duties at Murphy, Robbinsville and Hayesville in order to get to spend as much time as possible beneath his roof. It was at a certain hospitable house in Clay county that rose leaves were scattered between tresses and the sheets, and the table groaned with the good things provided by the owner, and which were deliciously served by his wife and five charming daughters. One love-sick "limb of the law" is said to have addressed four of them in quick succession one bright Sabbath day in the early seventies only to be rejected by each in turn. It seems that these sisters had told each other of the proposals received, and that the ardent lover had sworn that he loved each one to distraction. So, when he made this declaration to the fourth and youngest, she asked him if he had not made the same protestation of love and devotion to her three elder sisters. He promptly admitted that he had. When she asked him how it was possible for him to love four girls at once, he solemnly assured her that he had a heart as big as a horse collar.
BRUIN MEETS HIS FATE. It is a well authenticated fact that Mrs. Norton, then living in Cashier's Valley, was awakened one night while her husband was away from home by hearing a great commotion and the squealing of hogs at the hog-pen near by. Her children were small and there was no "man pusson" about the place. The night was cold and she had no time to clothe herself, but, rushing from the cabin in her night dress and with bare feet, she snatched an axe from the wood-pile and hastening to the hog-pen, saw a large, black bear in the act of killing one of her pet "fattening hog. She did not hesitate an instant, but went on and, aiming a well-directed blow at Bruin's cranium, split it from ears to chin and so had bear meat for breakfast instead of furnishing pork for the daring marauder.
NEDDY DAVIDSON AND "GRANNY" WEISS.<a href="#10" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 10
Related by Judge G. A. Shuford"> Old Neddy Davidson, of Davidson river, was a mulatto who lived to be very old-some claiming that he was 116 years of age when he died. He was given his freedom by his master, Ben Davidson, and afterwards moved to Canada. But he returned to his old home on Davidson river before his death and about a year before that event Judge Shuford went to his house and spent half the day with him, listening to his stories of old times. He told of frequent fights at the Big Musters then common in this section, and of many other characters. Among the latter was a man named Johnson who used to live on Davidson river and "settled" what is now known as the Old Deaver (locally pronounced Devver) place. Something like one hundred years ago a cattle buyer named Carson stopped all night with Johnson and discovered the following morning that all his money, two or three hundred dollars, was missing. Having no reason to suspect Johnson or his family of the theft, he left for his home. Shortly after his departure Johnson was very seriously affected with gravel and sent for an old woman reputed to be a witch, known as "Granny" Weiss or Weice. She lived on the French Broad river, near the mouth of Davidson's river. On her way to attend the sick man she met his (Johnson's) wife carrying a lot of money. She explained to Granny Weiss that both she and her husband were convinced that his urinary affliction had been visited pon him because he had taken Carson's money and that it would not be relieved till the money had been thrown into the French Broad river.
A PRACTICAL "WITCH"<a href="#11" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 11
Ibid."> Well, the story went, that if Granny was a witch, she was a wise and good one. For she immediately put her veto on throwing that money in the French Broad river. She admitted that its theft from Carson by Johnson was the real cause of the latter's sickness; but, insisted that instead of throwing the money into the French Broad the proper course would be to send for Carson, its true owner, and return it to him. This was done. Carson did not prosecute Johnson, but the true story got out and Johnson had to sell his place and move away.
A PATHETIC STORY. Mr. John Lyon of Great Britain was an assiduous collector of our plants, and was probably in these mountains prior to 1802. "He, however, spent several years there at a subsequent period, and died at Asheville in September, 1814, aged forty-nine years." In Riverside cemetery, Asheville, is a small tombstone bearing the following inscription: "In Memory of John Lyon, who departed this life Sept.14, 1814, aged 49 years." From a letter written by the late Silas McDowell of Macon county, N. C., to Dr. M. A. Curtis, author of "Woody Plants of North Carolina," and dated October, 1877, we learn that Lyon had been "a low, thick-set, small man of fine countenance," and had come from Black Mountain in the early autumn of 1814, sick; that he took a room in the Eagle hotel. Also that for two summers prior to that time he had been seen in Asheville by Mr. McDowell. Lyon and James Johnston, a blacksmith from Kentucky, and a man of great size had become friends. So when Lyon took to his bed, Johnston had a bed placed in the same room for his own use, and attended the botanist at night. The boy, Silas McDowell, had also become attached to Mr. Lyon, and on the day of his death had gone to his room earlier than usual. "This day throughoni had been one of those clear autumnal days'," continues this letter, "when the blue heavens look so transcendantly pure! but now the day was drawing fast to a close, the sun was about mnking behind the distant blue mountains, its rays gleaming through a light haze of fleecy cloud that lay motionless upon the western horizon, and which the sun's rays were changing to that bright golden tint that we can look on and feel, but can't describe. The dying man caught a glimpse of the beautiful scene and observed: 'Friend Johnston, we are having a beautiful sunset-the last I shall ever behold--will you be so kind as to take me to the window and let me look out?' Johnston carried him to the window took a seat and held the dying man in a position so that his eyes might take in the beautiful scene before him. With seraphile look he gazed intently, uttering the while a low prayer--or rather the soul's outburst of rapturous adoration and praise. After the sun sank out of sight, and the beautiful scene faded out, he exclaimed: 'Beautiful world, farewell! Friend Johnston lay me down upon my bed-I feel as if I can sleep-I may not awake-kiss me Johnston-now farewell.' He fell asleep in a short time and soon all was still. All of John Lyon that was mortal was dead."
The kind-hearted blacksmith left Asheville soon afterward, but soon met and married a lady of property in Alabama, and had two sons.<a href="#12" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 12
From same letter">
Soon after the death of John Lyon friends in Edinburgh, Scotland, sent the tombstone that now marks his grave. His grave had been in the graveyard of the First Presbyterian church, but was removed to Riverside in 1878, the late Col. Allen T. Davidson and Mr. W. S. Cornell, the keeper of the cemetery, bearing the expense.
THE JUDGE, THE WHISTLERS, AND THE GEESE. Judge J. M. Cloud of Salem rode the mountain circuit in 1871 and in 1872. He was a fearless and honest man whose knowledge of law consisted mainly in his knowledge of human nature, and in his own good sense. He was very eccentric and, apparently, the fiercest and sternest of jurists; but he was really a tender hearted gentleman. He was a bachelor and affected to hate whistling and the noise of geese and chickens; but he himself could shake a log house with his snoring. He was very fond of boiled sweet corn. On one occasion one of the lawyers who arrived at a certain noted hostelry at Valley Town in advance of the Judge told the landlady that his Honor had sent word by him to be sure to save him for supper twelve ears of corn and three bundles of fodder, the usual "feed " for a horse! Judge Cloud never forgave this joke. When he got to Asheville, several of the most mischievious young men serenaded him with sweet music at first and then with cat-mewing, tin pans and cow bells. One of their number, Mr. Samuel G. Weldon, made the others believe that the Judge had issued a bench warrant for their arrest for contempt of court, and two of them left town precipitately.
When the Judge got to Bakersville he was annoyed by a gang of geese which prowled the streets around the court house and hissed-hissed-hissed. Judge Cloud called the sheriff and ordered him to kill the geese. The sheriff told Stokes Penland, now living at Pinola, to shut the geese up in a barn till the judge left town. Stokes, a mere boy then, did so. When court "broke," as final adjouinment is called, the sheriff presented his bill for $12. "What is this for?" fiercely demanded the judge. "For the twelve geese you ordered me to kill," answered the sheriff. "Show me their dead bodies," returned the Judge "or I'll not pay one cent." The sheriff called up Stokes, thinking he would carry out the joke and pretend that he had actually killed the geese. But he had failed to tell, the boy what was expected of him. So he asked him: "What did you do with those twelve geese the judge told me to have killed?" "I shut them up in the barn, and they are there yet," was the surprising but truthful answer. At another court, however, that at Marshall, the geese had really been killed and the judge was forced to pay for them, willy nilly.
AN ASHEVILLE POO BAH. In a municipal campaign in 1874, while the late Albert T. Summey was mayor, he was opposed for re-election by the late Col. JoIm A. Fagg who declared in a speech that "Squire Summey held a separate office for each day in the week, being mayor on Monday, United States commissioner on Tuesday, justice of the peace on Wednesday, county commissioner on Thursday, chairman of the board of education on Friday, commissioner in bankruptcy on Saturday, and, in Prince Albert coat and silk hat, elder of the Presbyterian church on Sunday. 'Myself and my wife, my son George and his wife, us four and no more.'
MURDER OF DANIEL STERNBERGH. In 1874 G. W. Cunningham was arrested, tried and convicted for having killed and robbed Sternbergh of Kansas 6th June, 1874, near Stepp's on the North Fork of the Swannanoa. The case was tried in Madison, and the defendant executed after the Supreme Court had confirmed his conviction. (72 N. C., 469.)
WILL HARRIS, DESPERADO. At midnight, November 13, 1906, policemen Page and C. R. Blackstook were summoned to a house on Eagle street, and when Blackstock opened the rear door he was shot fatally by a mulatto man supposed to have been Will Harris or _______ Abernathy of Mecklenburg. Harris also shot Page in the arm as he went to headquarters to summon help. Harris started up Eagle street and on the way killed Jocko Corpening, a negro, and Ben Addigton, also colored.. As he turned into South Main Harris shot a hole in the clothes of a negro named George Jackson, and then started towards the square. Policeman J. W. Bailey started to meet Harris, and placed himself behind a large telegraph post on the northeast corner of the square and South Main; but Harris, with a Savage rifle with steel-jacketed balls dropped on one knee and fired at the post, the ball passing through it and through Policeman Bailey as well, killing him. Harris turned back down South Main, firing at three white men as he went, and at Kelsey Bell in a second-story window. There was snow that day, but the next Harris was shot to death about eleven o'clock in the forenoon near Fletcher's by a posse in pursuit.
THE LAST "BIG MUSTER." At the last Big Muster in Boone, which occurred on the second Saturday of October 1861, the militia had a somewhat hilarious time; and after it was over Gol. J. B. Todd, then clerk of the court, stood valiantly at the court house door, and vainly waved his sword in a frantic effort to prevent the sheriff and others from riding their horses into the court room, and pawing the big bass drum which some one had placed behind the bar for safe-keeping.
"FREEZING OUT OF JAIL." Joseph T. Wilson, nick-named "Lucky Joe," obtained a change of venue from Watauga to Ashe Superior court at the November term, 1883.<a href="#13" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 13
Minute Docket B. p.202, Watauga."> He had been indicted for stealing horses from Mloway and Henry Maines of the North Fork; but before he was removed from the Boone jail, a blizzard came on, and one morning Lucky Joe was found in his cell frozen stiff. A doctor pronounced him dead or beyond recovery; but he was taken to the Brick Row, an annex of the old Coffey hotel, and thawed out. Still protesting that he was stiff and frozen he was allowed to remain in that building a day or two, under guard. But one evening at dark the guard locked the door and went out for more fuel. When he returned Lucky Joe was absent. He was tracked through the snow three miles to the Jones place on Rich mountain; but he could not be overtaken. The following spring Alexander Perry, of Burke, captured him in one of the western States and returned him to Ashe, where he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. There he became superintended of the prison Sunday School, and had earned an early discharge; but when his baggage to be examined it was discovered that he had stolen several articles from the penitentiary itself, and he was made to serve his full term. Upon his return to Watauga he studied law and tried to be "good "for several years; but at the June Term, 1904,<a href="#14" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 14
Ibid., E, p. 352."> he was convicted under one and pleaded guilty to three indictments and was sentenced to five years on the Iredell county roads, where he died soon afterwards. The stories of his career in Kentucky would fill a volume. He was born in 1846 or 1847, and was a Civil War pensioner.
A LONG - DISTANCE QUARREL. Long before the invention of telephones two farmers of Beaver Dams, Watauga county, established the fact that they at least had no need for wires and electricity, by indulging in the first wireless telegraphy on record. Elijah Dotson and Alfred Hilliard each owned a hill-side farm three miles apart. One morning Alf saw Elijah resting in his field, and jokingly told him to go to work; whereupon Elijah told Alf to go to a region devoid of snow and ice. This was the commencement of an oral duel that lasted half the day, and until the dinner horn summoned both to the midday meal. The success of this feat was due to strong lungs rather than to any peculiar carrying power of the atmosphere of Watauga, though it is the clearest and purest in the State. A ROMANCE OF SLAVERY DAYS. On October 15, 1849, Silas Baker, a slave belonging to Miss Elizabeth Baker, loved a negro woman named Mill or Millie, the property of William Mast of Va lle Crucis. About this time Jacob Mast, William's uncle, returned from Texas, and the servants discovered that he would soon marry Elizabeth Baker, and return with her to Texas. That she would take Silas with her was most probable; and, unless Jacob Mast should buy Millie and take her also, these dusky lovers would be separated forever. It is likely that they satisfied themselves that Jacob would not buy Millie; but probably reasoned that, if William Mast and his wife were dead, there would be a sale of his slaves to settle the estate, at which they hoped that Jacob would buy Millie. So, it is supposed, for there was never any tangible proof against either, that these two ignorant and infatuated lovers poisoned William Mast and his wife by putting wild or poison parsnips into their coffee. But the scheme miscarried; for, though William and his wife died that day (October 16), Jacob Mast took Silas to Texas with him, while John Whittington bought Millie and sold her to people in Tennessee, which effectually parted them forever. Elbert Dinkins of Caldwell county was then teaching school in the neighborhood, and was boarding. at William Mast's; and he told Dr. J. B. Phillips of Cove creek the above facts.
ANOTHER VERSION. Will Shull, a respected colored man, who was born March 10, 1832, claims that Millie's' motive was revenge for a severe chastisement which she had received at the hands of her master, William Mast, as punishment for having stolen a twenty-dollar gold-piece from his own young master and playmate, Andrew Mast, a son of David and Polly Mast, when she had been at this home washing clothes. Millie had given this money to Charles, another negro, who belonged to John Mast of Sugar Grove, to have changed for her; but Charles took the money to the store of Henry Taylor at that place, and as he and Andrew Mast were courting Emeline and Caroline, the two daughters of John Mast, Taylor asked Andrew if he could change the money for him. When Andrew saw it he recognized it as his own, as he had previously marked it. Charles, of course, laid the blame on Millie, who in turn tried to hold the colored boy Will Shull responsible. When Will heard of Millie's false charge, he loaded a small shotgun which had but recently been given him and started to shoot Millie, but was stopped by Mrs. Polly Mast, who told him Milh.e had confessed. Millie did not wish to poison Mrs. Mira Mast, who did not usually drink coffee; but on that fatal morning she had partaken with her husband, William Mast, of the potion Millie had prepared for him alone. William Mast was then at work on the bridge over the Watauga, a mile below Shull's Mills when he was taken sick and got medicine from Philip Shull that morning. Will acquits Sile.
SILAS BAKER AND HIS BUGLE. Rev. L. W. Farthing, however, who remembers Sile well, says that the public sentiment of that day held Sile guilty as the prime mover and instigator of the plot. He says that Sile was a large, impudent black man, between thirty and forty years old, and blew a long tin horn on his way to and from his work-a bugle. This was probably a stage horn; for soon after the opening of the new turnpike down the Watauga river stage coaches ran on it from Abingdon via Mountain City (then Taylorsville), Trade, Sugar Grove, Shulls Mills, Blowing Rock, and Lenoir, to Lincoluton. They were drawn by four horses and driven by colored drivers, a Mr. Dunn of Abingdon having been the owner of the line. One of the stands or stopping places, where the horses were changed, was at John Mast's at Sugar Grove; another was at Joseph Shull's (where James M. Shull now resides) and one was at the Coffey gap of the Blue Ridge, where Jones Coffey now lives. These stages ran for several years prior to 1861, when they were withdrawn.
JIM SPEER'S FATE. About ten or twelve years prior to the Civil War, four white men of Watauga county, went with James Speer of Beaver Dams to South Carolina. Their names are still remembered by a few of the older citizens. Speer was not considered "right bright," as the expression goes, meaning that while he was not utterly imbecile, he was yet stupid or dense intellectually. He agreed to be blacked and sold as a negro, with the with the understanding that he was to "wash up" after they had returned home, "escape" from bondage, and share in the proceedes of the sale. All these things were done except the division of the spoils. At the next Big Muster following Jim's return, a quarrel was overheard between him and his confederates in the swindle, during which it is supposed Jim demanded his share and threatened "to let the cat out of the bag" if it was not forthcoming. He returned to his home on Beaver Dams and shortly afterwards disappeared forever. It was supposed that he had been done away with. About 1893 John K. Perry, Esq., found a human skeleton in the cliffs in the rear of his dwelling on Beaver Dams, and still has the skull in his possession. These are supposed to be the remains of Jim Speer.<a href="#15" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 15
Statements of J. K. Perry and W. L. Bryan, May, 1913"> JOSHUA PENNELL. In 1859 or 1860, Joshua Pennell of Wilkes left a will setting all his slaves free, and providing for their removal to a Free State, and their support there until they could raise a crop. Pennell was a bachelor. Joshua Winkler was made executor, and old citizens of Boone remember seeing him and the negroes pass through that town one bright Sabbath morning on their way to Kansas. Henry C. Pearson, Winkler's brother-in-law, accompanied them also.<a href="#16" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 16
Statement of W. L. Bryan. July, 1913">
"A WANDERING MINSTREL HE." During the seventies, William Murphy of Greenville, S. C., wandered through these mountains making music every day. He, like Stephen Foster, was regarded as a half-vagabond, but he was tolerated for the pleasure his enchanted violin gave whenever he drew his magic bow across its strings. There can be little doubt that men of his genius feel the indifference and neglect of their contemporaries; and it may be that, from their Calvaries of poverty, they, too, realize that we know not what we do. For to them the making of music is their sole mission here upon earth, and come poverty, obscurity or death, ay, come even disgrace and obliquy, they, like Martin Luther at Worms, "can do no otherwise, God helping them." Indeed, it is the highest form of worship, and David's Psalms still live while all the Ptolemies of the past have been forgotten. Foster's songs are linking earth to heaven more and more as time goes on, and will be sung for eons and for eons. There can be no higher destiny than that a man should pour out his full soul in strains of haunting melody; and though Stephen Foster be dead and "the lark become a sightless song," the legacy he has left behind him is more priceless and more bountiful than those of the builders of the pyramids or the conquests of Napoleon and Alexander.
Murphy, too, is dead, but while he lived, like the grasshopper "beating his tiny cymbals in the sun," he poured forth those matchless orisons that none who ever heard them can soon forget. For, while he was not a creator, he was the slave and seneschal of the masters who have left their melodies behind them for the ravishment of a money-mad and sordid world. And when he drew his magic bow across his violin's sentient strings, his genius thence evoked sweet strains formed with soul to all who had the heart to comprehended their message and their meaning.
Was it a jig or waltz or stately minuet? one's feet moved rythmically to the "sweet melodic phrase." Was it dirge, lament or lovelorn lilt? one saw again the hearse -plumes nod, sobbed out his heart with pallid Jeane, or caught the note of bonny bird blythe fluting by the Doon. Was it martial air or battle-hymn? then, once again, came forth the bagpipe's skirl, the pibroch's wail, "what time the plaided clans came down to battle with Montrose." Again, with change of air, there dawned once more that "reddest day in history, when Pickett's legions, undismayed, leapt forth to ruin's red embrace."
But best, ah, far, far best of all, was that wonder-woven race his fine dramatic instinct had translated into song, in which the section-riven days of 'Sixty-one were conjured back again from out their graves and ghostly crements, and masqueraded full of life and hate and jealousy. For then we saw, as if by magic, the mighty racer, Black Hawk, typifying the North, and his unconquerable rival, Gray Eagle, the steel sinewed champion of the South, start once again on that matchless contest on the turf at Louisville. We heard again the wild, divided concourse cheer its favorite steed along the track, and saw the stramiug stallions, foam-flecked with sweat-now neck and neck, then one ahead, but soon overtaken, and both flying side by side again, their flame-shot nostrils dripping blood-till Gray Hawk, spent, but in the lead, dropped dead an inch without the goal, his great heart broken, as the South's was doomed to be a few years thence, when
"Men saw a gray gigantic ghost
Receding through the battle-cloud
And head across the tempest loud
The death-cry of a nation lost!
THE VALLEY OF COUSINS. Valle Crucis is called the Valley of Cousins because of the kinship between its inhabitants. Ex-Sheriff David F. Baird, a descendant of Bedent, says that all of Valle Crucis between the ford of the river on the road to Cove creek up to the ford at Shipley's home was sold by the original Hix who came to this section, for a shot-gun, a pair of leggins and a hound dog. A man named Hix was drowned in a "hole" of water in Watauga river below D. F. Baird's farm, and the place is called the "Hix Hole" yet. This original Samuel Hix was the first settler of this valley, but Bedent Baird was not long behind him. Bedent's son Franklin was the father of David F. Baird who was born June 10, 1835, and was sheriff from 1882 till 1886, and from 1890 till 1894. He went with his uncle Joel Moody to carry the body of Rev. Wm. Thurston from its place of temporary burial at Valle Crucis to Pittsboro, N,C., in 1846. Another prominent family of this section, which inter-married with the Baird family, is that of the Shulls. Frederick Shull and his wife came from Germany about the year 1750. He was a weaver and paid for their voyage by weaving while his wife worked in the field. Her name was Charity. Simon Shull was a son of this marriage, and the father seven children by his wife, Mary Sheifler, a daughter Phillip and Mary Ormatenfer Sheifier. She was born in Loudon county, Va., May 5, 1772. Simon Shull was born in Lincoln county, October 24, 1767. Simon Shull's children were Mary, Sarah, Phillip, John, Joseph, Temperance and Elizabeth, born between March 19, 1793, and April 10, 1808. Joseph was the father of James M. Shull, and Phillip of Joseph C. Shull. Simon Shull was married on Upper creek, Burke county, by Rev. William Penland, March 25, 1790, and died February 12, 1813.
OTHER CLOSELY RELATED FAMILIES. Reuben Mast first lived where David F. Baird now lives, but the place had been settled before Mast went there. Reuben Mast sold it to John Gragg about 1849, and moved to Texas, where he died. Gragg lived there till 1867 and sold to David Wagner, and moved to Tennessee. David Wagner divided the place among his three sons, and David F. Baird bought the shares of John and Daniel Wagner on the east side of the river, about 1874. He had married a sister of these two Wagners in 1870. Joel Mast lived below the road at the place where Hardee Taylor lives. David Mast lived where Finley Mast now lives. John Mast lived at Sugar Grove, while Noah Mast lived on Watauga river where Wm. Winkler now lives. These were brothers. Henry Taylor came to Sugar Grove from Davidson county about 1849 and went into merchandising there. He married Emaline, daughter of John Mast, buying the Joel Mast farm at public auction. Taylor then moved to Valle Crucis, and bought the place where his son, T. Hardee Taylor, now lives from Joel Mast about 1850 or 1851. He made his money by selling to those who earned wages by the building of the turnpike. He was born August 20, 1819. His wife was born January 5, 1826. They had six children. After her death, September 21, 1880, he married Rachel Gray, by whom he had four children. He died March 6, 1899, and his last wife died March 3 of the same year. He bought the Ives land from Robert Miller before the Civil War. Into the valley of Cove creek in 1791 came Cutliff Harmon, from Randolph county, and bought 522 acres from James Gwyn, to whom it had been granted May 18, 1791, his deed from Gwyn bearing date August 6, 1791. Cutliff married Susan Fouts, and was about ninety years of age when he died in 1838, his wife having died several years before, and he having married Elizabeth Parker, a widow. He had ten children by his first marriage, none by his second. Among his children were Mary, who married Bedent Baird; Andrew, who married Sabra Hix; Eli, who married the widow Rhoda Dyer (born Dugger); Mathias, who married and moved to Indiana; Catherine, who married Benjamin Ward, and went' west; Rebecca, who married Frank Adams and moved to Indiana; Rachel, who married Holden Davis; Sarah, who married John Mast; Nancy, who married Thomas Curtis, and Rev. D. C. Harmon, born April 17, 1826, and died December 23, 1904. Among those who came about the time Cutliff did were the Eggers, Smith, Councill, Horton, Dugger, Mast and Hix families. The farm Cutliff bought is now owned by M. C., D. F. and D. C. Harmon. "Patch farming" was the rule to the Globe on Johns river for corn, as they raised only rye, buckwheat, Irish potatoes, onions and pumpkins on the new and cold land of Watauga river. A common diet was milk and mush for breakfast and soup and cider for dinner and supper, according to Maiden C. Harmon in the Watauga Democrat of April, 1891. The intermarriage of these families has brought about a neighborhood of closely related citizens, and Cove Creek and Valle Crucis are spoken of as the Valley of Cousins, Sugar Grove being also a part of Valle Crucis. Just down Watauga river from Valle Crucis is another settlement called Watauga Falls. Among the first to settle there was Benjamin Ward, who had seven sons, Duke, Daniel, Benjamin, Nicodemus, McCaleb, Jesse and James. He also had three daughters, one of whom was named Celia. Benjamin Ward, Sr., was a most enterprising and worthy man, and his widow lived to be 105 years of age, while their son Ben lived to be 110. Duke married Sabra, widow of Andrew Harmon, and moved to Illinoins Ben. Jr., went to Cumberland gap, and his son Duke came back and married Lucy Tester; while Amos son of Duke, Sr., came back from Illinois and married Sally sister of Lucy Tester. They had two sons, L. D. and .John the latter having been killed before Richmond in 1863.
SAMUEL HIX, LOYALIST. According to Rev. L. W. Farthing, who was born April 18, 1838, and has lived in Beaver Dam township and at Watauga Falls postoffice all his long life, Samuel was the name of the first Hix who came to what is now Watauga county. He got possession of all of what is now known as Valle Crucis, including the Sheriff Baird farm, either by grant from the Crown or from the State, and was there during the Revolutionary War. Being a Loyalist he kept himself concealed by retiring to a shanty near Banner Elk, still pointed out as his "Improvement." He sold the Valle Crucis land for a rifle, dog and sheepskin to Benjamin Ward, the latter later selling it to Reuben Mast. Hix then got possession of the land at the mouth of' Cove creek, but Ward got this also and sold it to a family named Summers. This family, consisting of man and wife and five children, were all drowned in their cabin at night during a freshet in the Watauga river, and their dog swam about the cabin and would allow no one to enter till it had been killed. This is still spoken of as the "Summers Fresh"- the highest anyone now remembers. The bodies of the family were recovered and are buried on the opposite side of the river from the mouth of Cove creek. Samuel Hix in 1816 obtained a grant to 126 acres, on part of which Rev. L. W. Farthing now lives, and his grave-stone still stands three miles below St. Judes postoffice, and a quarter of a mile below Antioch Baptist church. Benjamin Howard took the oath of allegiance to the American government in 1778 (Col. Rec., VoL 22. Page 172), but Samuel Hix seems never to have become reconciled. Even after the war he hid out, coming home at dark for his supplies. His five boys were mischievous and they manufactured a pistol out of a buck's horn, which they fired by applying a live coal to the touch-hole, when their father returned from the house carrying his rations, thus frightening him so much that he would drop them and return to his concealed camp in the mountains. The children of Samuel Hix were Golder, David, Samuel, Harmon and William; Sally, who married Barney Oaks; Sabra, who married Andrew Harmon, who was killed by a falling tree on L. W. Farthing's present farm, afid Fanny who never married. Samuel Hix cared more about hunting than anything else, and it was said he knew where there was a lead mine in the mountains out of which he ran his own bullets. James Hix and James (?) Tester, were drowned in what is still known as the Hix "Hole" in Watauga river below Sheriff Baird's farm, and Sam Tester rode his bull into the water in order to recover the two bodies, about 1835. Samuel Hix had a negro slave named Jeff, and two apple trees planted soon after his removal to the L. W. Farthing place, one at Samuel's cabin and the other at Jeff's, lived till within recent years.