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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


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

  50 Years Ago

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There has never been but one "Daddy Hart" and that was "J. L." better known by the old folks as Lee Hart. He was postmaster here in Saluda for about 25 years. He was postmaster when Benjamin Harrison was President in 1889; also when William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft was President. I remember spending the night with Mr. Hart when he was postmaster. I was substitute on the mail route. About dark Mr. Hart got his hand full of letters and his lantern and said “We will go home now.” He delivered mail all the way home. Next morning he got his lantern and said we would go to the post office. That was before day-light. He would say, “Here is a letter that 1 must send to somebody way out in the country today.” Mr. Hart also had a grocery store at different times; and he was the undertaker in Saluda. He would help anybody that was in trouble.

Mr. Hart had a key for all the summer homes. The people would write him when they would be up for the summer and he would have the house open and ready for them. The summer people would begin coming the first of May. They would come on the train, and the livery stable men would meet the trains with two and three-seat hacks and carry the people to the houses and hotels; then get a wagon and go back to the station and get the trunks.

Most everybody would stay until October; then go back on the train. Mr. Hart said one time he was in a store and Aunt Mahala Staton came in and wanted a quarter's worth of tobacco; and then she wanted a quarter's worth for Mr. Ibe Davis. She had two quarters and she said, “I don't know which quarter Mr. Davis gave me.”

  A Panther at Saluda, NC

I have been told that a long time ago a man by the name of Pace, who lived at Old Mountain Page Church which is about two miles from Saluda was walking home from Saluda one night. Just as he left the city limits something came out of the bushes and began following him. He said when he would walk fast it would walk fast and when he began to run it would run; it was about the same distance from him all the time. This man said when he got home he was almost given out. It seemed to be following him all the time.

He ran in the front door and what had been following him ran up a tree that was leaning over the door. This man got his gun and shot it. It was a large panther.

Don't be afraid to come to Saluda - that was a long time ago.

  Rail Fences of 50 Years Ago

I remember the first wire fence that was built on our place. One spring somebody let fire out and it burned a lot of rail fences. As we did not have time to split rails and build the fence back, we bought two rolls of wire. It would take a long time to split rails and build 80 rods of fence. We put this wire up in one day. Of course we used trees for posts where we could. I don't remember spliting any more rails, for we could sell our chestnut timber for pulp wood and buy wire. Of course we had to have rail fences for hogs as I don't remember ever buying hog wire.

Then a lot of people would build what they called a brush fence for cattle, by cutting trees down and let them lap one on another so the cattle could not get through - but this would not keep hogs in. We would keep repairing the rail fence for hogs. I guess the standard rail fence was eight rails high for I have heard old people say they had a cow that could jump a 10 rail fence. I never heard of a 12 rail fence. We would build a rail fence on the new moon, so the bottom rail would stay on the top of the ground. If you built a rail fence on the old moon the bottom rail, or the worm rail as we called it, would sink down in the ground and soon rot. In the fall of the year when we 9 would want to get some chestnuts quick and the burs were open and had not fallen off the tree, we would cut the tree down. That was a long time ago.

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