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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


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

  In Holbert's Cove 50 Years Ago

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About six miles from Saluda is another section of the country that is not like it was 50 years ago. This is Holbert Cove section. At one time there was a church and a school and a lot of people lived there.

Holbert Cove is higher in elevation than Green River Cove. They used to grow a lot of produce there. It was a little later coming in than the Green River pasture.

If you want to go to Holbert's Cove, go by Friendship Church as you would go to the Palmetto Boy Scout Camp. Where you turn to go to the Boy Scout Camp keep to the right - go by the Century Old Fire Place; then cross the Big Cove Creek at the old Hamp Bradley place. The noted Bradley Falls are on this creek which runs into Green River down in the Cove.

On across the hill you come to the Uncle Buck Thompson place. This is on the headwaters of Little Cove Creek which runs into Green River in the Cove. Now on the top of the hill is where the church and school were located.

There is a range of mountains between the Holbert Cove and the Green River Cove, but they are not very far apart and there is a good road down this cove that comes out in the Silver Creek section, near Silver Creek Church.

If you are ever down in the Holbert Cove, stop at the Buck Thompson place and see Gay Thompson, and have a talk with him. He could tell you why they have made a change down there.

  Many Old Time Preachers Gone, Not Forgotten

Our old time country preachers have passed, but not forgotten. If you mention the name of Preacher J. R. "Rufe" Rhodes in any community around here, someone will say that he used to preach at his church.

The churches elected a preacher every year, for one year. They held services on week-ends, Saturdays and Sundays, once a month.

Mr. Rhodes was a farmer and lived near Melrose in Polk County. He always had a good horse. He rode horseback to all his churches. He usually had four churches. Some would be several miles away, some in Greenville County, SC, some in Henderson and Polk Counties in North Carolina. Everybody loved Preacher Rhodes.

His son, Grady Rhodes, who lives near Saluda, told me Ilis daddy was elected at Mountain Hill Church which is located on top of Glass Rock in Greenville County. Everybody told him if they were he they would not take that church, for the people there were very bad.

Grady said his daddy told them that was the place where he wanted to preach. Grady said when his daddy first went there the people would bring their guns and stack them in the back corner of the church - just in case.

Mr. Rhodes preached at Glassy Rock for several years. He would arrive on Saturday, spend the night, preach on Sunday and eat dinner with some family and return home Sunday night. He worked on his farm 5 days a week. He also preached at Glassy Mountain Church, and Oak Grove near Landrum, SC. He got about $3.00 collection at each church. That was about $12.00 a month.

They always had revivals in August, one week at each church. No night meetings. Preaching was at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. In those days people traveled in wagons or on horseback.

  Woman Killed Near Melrose Long Ago

Speaking of country preachers and their families, they all had to work to make a living. Preacher Rufus Rhodes, who lived near Melrose, preached somewhere every Saturday and Sunday. His wife, Aunt Mary, went to Tryon every week with butter, cream, chickens and eggs. She rode a horse, side saddle, for a long time. One day the horse got sick and lay down with Aunt Mary on it. She got hurt and wouldn't ride the horse any more. She began riding the train after that. Some one would help her get on the train at Melrose and at Tryon. A kind conductor would help her off at both places. She rode the train that way for 16 years.

One day she got word from a daughter that lived in Hendersonville that one of her children was sick and for Aunt Mary to get some one to come and stay with her. Grady Rhodes told me that he went all over the country to try to get some one to go and stay with his sister, but could not get anyone. So Aunt Mary said she would go to Hendersonville and see about her daughter.

She went to Melrose to catch the train. The big helper engine that helped the trains up the mountains always backed down the mountain from Saluda and waited on the side track. Then when the train stopped the big helper would coast down the side track to get behind the passenger train and push it up the mountain. Aunt Mary knew about this, for she had been riding the train for 16 years, but this time she walked right in front of the helper and got almost across when it killed her.

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