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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


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

  Two Men Killed in Church

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I was over in Greenville County the other day and was talking to Mrs. Mattie Pierce who is 87 years old. It was interesting to hear her talk of the times when she was young; how they used to go to church in ox wagons, and walk for miles to church; said she had walked across Hog Back and Glassy Mountain to Piney Grove Church, and had even walked to Mt. Page in North Carolina, in Henderson County. Mrs. Pierce was the daughter of Francis Gosnell. She used to love to go with her daddy to Mountain Hill Church, which is in or near the Dark Corner. This was a small church with a fire place and chimney.

I asked her if she knew anything about the shooting they had at Mountain Hill one time. She said, “I reckon I do. I was right there when it happened.” She said she and maybe one or two of her sisters went with her daddy to church that day. It was in the summer time. She said they were singing that song “There's A Great Day Coming” when two men came in the door shooting. They might have been drinking. She said she did not know them. She said she never saw as many guns in her life - some of the people went out of the door, some got under the benches. There were two men killed that day maybe one died there and one died later. They were Josh Howard and Massie Howard. I asked her what did tho preacher do. She said he went up the chimney. When it was over he came down: and the first words he said was “Lord forgive them because they know what they do.” The. Rev. A.T. Howard told me that was about 75 years ago.

They have a nice rock church there now. I have been to this church. A lot of good people live in and around Mountain Hill. I used to know a lot of the older ones.

  Calf and Cow Fall - Gives Cliff Name

At the narrowest place in Pacelot gorge on highway 176 between Tryon and Melrose, where the road crosses the river twice within a short distance, is a steep cliff overhanging the river. It is called "Calf Rock."

Mr. C. O. Hearon spoke of the rock between the double bridges up the mountain just before you get to Melrose Park. I don't think this rock cliff had a name until it got its present name. Baxter Johnson told me he remembered his Uncle Joe Johnson telling about the cow with a young calf on the side of the mountain above the cliff. The calf fell off over this cliff into Pacelot River. The cow, like all other cows, a fool about her calf, started to follow the calf and she went over the cliff too. Both were killed. This has been called Calf Rock ever since.

Now maybe Mr. Hearon can tell me how another rock got i t s name. In the Green River there is a big rock in the edge of the river with a man's foot print on it. It is a perfect track, just like a man had set his foot in cement. There are his toes, instep and heel. This is called "Devil's Track." I would like to know how it got its name. I have seen this track.

There is a place on up Green River called "Fish Top." The river is so narrow at this point one can jump across. All these places are in Polk County.

  Plenty of Meat 50 Years Ago

I have heard my father tell about how they used to let the stock run out in the mountains. Everybody had their fields fenced up. New ground - they would have to split rails and fence it in. Everybody had to mark their cattle and pigs so they would know them when they saw them. Our mark was a crop in the right ear and a split in the left ear.

In the fall of the year we would have to get the cattle up and feed them. Most everybody would turn them in the corn field after they gathered corn. The hogs would do well most all winter on chestnuts and acorns. The older people did not want the stock law passed so you would have to keep your cattle and hogs up, as they already had their fields and houses all fenced in, and had no pasture fenced in. A lot had to sell all their hogs. I have heard my father tell about one man who had a lot of hogs and had to sell all but a few and he had to keep them in a lot. Said one morning about daylight he was sitting on the fence watching his hogs eat when a young man came down the path whistling and singing and asked the old man what h"e was worrying about. The old man said, “I was just thinking what I have to do. I have enough meat to do me this year and enough hogs for next year. After that I don't know what I'll do.” The young man said, “Come, let's go to the house, I want to borrow enough meat for breakfast.”

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