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Blue Ridge Mountains Getaway


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

  Boy Scout Camp Near Saluda

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I see in the Spartanburg paper where our friend, C.O. Hearon was speaking of the dam at the Scout Camp near Saluda. My team helped build that dam. Otis Russell was the driver. He camped and stayed with the horses, Nick and Toney, in a little shack close to where john Robertson lived.

The dam was built with pick and shovel and plow and drag pan. C.O. Hearon was one of the main ones to get this camp here. It has meant a lot to Saluda, and the people in that section; and has given a lot of people work. H. G. Laughter worked hard for this camp. A man has never done much for his country until he dies - then he was a good fellow.

There are several things I have got to get up around here this summer. Maybe when C.O. Hearon comes up this summer we will find out why the branch runs down by Melrose Park is called "Bear Branch", and why a place on the side of the mountain over-looking Green River Cove is called "Rick Land." Somebody has got to help me get all this up and I don't know of anybody that could help any more than C.O. Hearon.

  Book of Dreams

Madam Phoebe Sullivan is the most widely known [African American] woman in this section. Aunt Phoebe is a divine healing doctor. I was talking to her last Saturday. She said she was 101 years old; said she would be 102 the 15th of May 1957.

She is confined to her bed most of the time, but can use her hands as good as ever, and her mind is perfect. She talks as good as ever. Most of her talk is on the Bible.

She said she had been praying for the Lord to show her what race we are. Said she had a dream that she had to go back to the beginning of the generation to find who the Ethiopian belonged to. Aunt Phoebe is liked by everybody in Saluda [omitted]. She has people come to her from all over the country. She has a daughter in New York who is a doctor. Aunt Phoebe said this daughter would come to Saluda and take over when she passed on. Aunt Phoebe has a lot of property in Saluda; said she had given all her children a home. Every Christmas she gives all the [African American] families in Saluda a box of fruit and groceries.

She built a church close to her home: "The Sullivan Temple Baptist Church." and on Mother's Day, second Sunday in May she always gives a big dinner (a table for the [African American] people and a table for [caucasians]). She said [the people] around Saluda had been good to her; said she was born in Laurens County, South Carolina; has been in Saluda over 30 years. I asked her if she had a doctor's license. She said they told her she did not have to have doctor's licenses. All she needed was licenses to preach; she never went to school but two terms. She said if the Lord was not with you - you did not have any education.

Aunt Phoebe said the Lord was all the teacher she needed.

Her children are in Philadelphia, Washington and some are here in Saluda.

You should read her book, the "Book of Dreams."

  Saluda Long Ago

Fifty years (approximately 1900) ago the jail, or callaboose as it was called, in Saluda, stood across the railroad track in front of M. A. Pace's store. It was a little wooden building. Some of the policemen I remember were John Garmany, John Bell, Uncle Bob Newman, and others. When I first came to Saluda Bob Newman was police, fire chief, plumber and road man. You could see him at night with his lantern and boots, shovel and mattock, looking about the water. The first water pipes in Saluda were wooden logs. When a leak would come in one of the logs, Uncle Bob would dig in and drive wedges in the log and stop it. Water was first put in Saluda about 1912. The water came from two big springs on the Heatherly Mountain by gravity about 3 miles into a reservoir 30 by 40 by 10 ft. deep, with a pick and shovel and wheelbarrow. These springs furnished water for a long time. Later they had to pump in the summer from a smaller lake - but now we have a much better system.

Before Saluda had running water everybody that did not have a spring had wells and the hotels had a wash stand and a white bowl and pitcher in every room. Had no laundry man to get the Iaundry, but the people from the country would come in wagons in the summer time and get the laundry on Monday, carry it home and bring it back on Saturday finished. It was all done by hand.

There was no electricity; had oil lamps. About 1908 had our first concrete sidewalks.

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