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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


50 Years Ago in Saluda, NC by Herbert E. Pace

  Champion Father

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I was talking the other day to Mrs. Pace, the third wife of R. T. "Uncle Bud" Pace. She is 72 years old. "Uncle Bud" died December 7, 1939, He was 81. He had 29 children.

He first married a Miss Mary Wagner. They had eight children: Alonzo, Annie, Emma, Birdie, Toney, Robert "Bob", Harrison, Daisey. Then he married a Miss Ida Hudson. They had seven children: Leo, Carl, Alma, Weston, Clyde, Brown, Lona. Then he married his third wife, a Miss Etta Middleton. He was 49 years old and she was 18. They had 14 children: Allene, Callie, Bedford, Irene, Louise, Newton, Mamie, Isabell, I. B., Horace, Mary, Eugene, Odell, Nelson. And you could not count the grandchildren.

Everybody called him "Uncle Bud", his name was Ransom Taylor Pace.

Mr. Pace received much publicity because of having so many children. He was hoping to have number 30. In September, 1937, there was a picture and article in the Asheville Citizen-Times. An October 1939 “Strange as it Seems” syndicated column contained an article and sketch of Mr. Pace, as "Champion Father", 81 years old. He had 26 living children, representing 5 generations. All his children lived to be grown and married except one, Alma, who died when she was a small child. "Uncle Bud" and his son, Carl, married sisters, Etta and Selena Middleton. He was also invited to go to New York and appear on the radio program "We the People", but did not want to go so far away from home, so declined the invitation.

  Thompsons around Saluda, NC

There were seven Thompson brothers who came from Ireland to the United States. Some of them settled in Pennsylvania, some in Virginia, some in Georgia and some in South Carolina.

John came to North Carolina and built a house near where Lynn, NC is now. He had two sons, Frank and Asbury. Frank built a house which still stands on the old Howard Gap road, at the foot of Warrior Mountain. Some of his grandchildren now live in Henderson County, NC.

Asbury, who married Jane E. Williams of Rome, GA, built a house about one-half mile from Friendship Church, which stood in the forks of the road where the Holbert Cove Road leaves the Howard Gap Road. This house became a community center. At one time there was a store in one end of the house which was often called “The Trading Post.” The Tryon Post Office was housed there one time. Elections were also held there. It was a stop-over for the stage coaches between Spartanburg and Asheville.

Asbury Thompson served in the Civil War. On returning home after the war he was elected to the North Carolina Legislature where he served two terms. He was known in this section as "Squire" Thompson.

He lived in three counties of the State and never moved - Rutherfordton, Henderson and Polk. One of his sons, Edward B. Thompson, lived in the same house until his death. Edward B. was the father of Hugh M. Thompson, better known as "Judge" Thompson, who lives in Saluda.

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