The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild

Published 9:03 am Thursday, July 30, 2020

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2nd Presbyterian Church Old Records

By Marie Craig

In February of 2018, I was able to digitize the pages of an old booklet that contains family history information.  The booklet measures about 4 inches by 9 inches. A minister at 2nd Presbyterian Church, 400 Pine Street, Mocksville, had filled in a blank book with his records of the marriages he performed.  Included are names of bride, groom, and their parents, plus location and amount of money received by the minister.  These range from 1899 to 1919.  Vital Records were not required until 1913, so this little handwritten book contains data not available anywhere else.

An example of an entry: “Enoch Knox, 20.  Osborn and Ellen Knox, both living, of Barbers Junction.  Alice Johnson, 19, Father Robt Johnson living. Mother dead.  Woodleaf, N.C. married at Enoch Luckey’s house Aug., 26th 1900 – 9 a.m. Barbers Junction. Witnesses: W. Fisher, Woodleaf, Dan Marlin (Barber’s Junction), Jacob X (his mark) Woodruff (Barber’s Junction) (Certificate 1914) Received 50 cents.”

There are 18 pages total.  Fourteen of these contain marriages with three marriages per page.  There are two facing pages that contain names and probably ages of young people with a collection of x’s that possibly denote attendance.

One page is a description of a service on May 16, 1897.  This page and the following are written in pencil and difficult to read.  Close scrutiny gleans these words.  “Opened by reading.  Prayer by Miss Ellen.  Singing ‘Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.’  Report of the treas. $15.40.  Received two members, namely Miss Lucy Sliele (?Steel) and Mrs. Mary Thomas.  Singing Prayer by Miss Meroney. Talk by Mr. Enowah? And also Mrs. Thomas.  Singing.  Collection 25 cents.  Closed with prayer by Mrs. Thomas.”

The 18th page is a note about the Willing Workers meeting on April 18, 1897.  They read Acts 13, sang, prayed, and the collection was 35 cents.

Images of these pages and 2 photographs that were accompanying the booklet have been posted on a Website, I hope to transcribe these valuable records onto this Website, so check back often. Hopefully, this information will be helpful to a researcher.

A Glimpse of Magic

By Julie Terry Cartner

Some people don’t believe in magic. I do. There’s magic in a sunrise to start the day. As the deep red turns to orange, then peach, then a dazzling yellow, we can see the never-ending promise and hope of a new beginning, every day. There’s magic in a summer storm, with thunder rumbling across the sky as bolts of sheer energy connect the heavens to the earth. There’s magic in fireflies on a sultry summer night as they dance their rumba of courtship, entertaining small children with mason jars, holes punched into lids. If even for a short time, they capture the magic and go to bed with nature-inspired night lights.

This week my husband and I traveled west and explored Schoolhouse Falls and the surrounding splendor of the Nantahala Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our goal was the falls, but the journey encompassed its own beauty. After our trek through the woods of Panthertown Valley, as I stood in waist deep water, surrounded by breathtaking beauty, I saw magic, a scene that defied the boundaries of man.

Shimmering below the icy water, the golden rocks glowed in the sunlight, enhanced with the glitter of mica, an underwater firefly show, seemingly just for me. Sparkles of reflected light twinkled through the dark water until I felt like I was in an upside-down world where the stars were at my feet instead of over my head.

As I breathed deeply, the sweet rhododendron blooms filled the air, even as blossoms dotted the surface of the water. A deep calm permeated my entire being. Easily blotting out the few other people who sat on rocks and logs behind me I allowed my gaze to embrace the rest of the scene. Gnarled roots of the rhododendron clung tenaciously to the bank, like the arthritic hands of old mountain-men, yet were softened by the deep, green moss and lacy ferns surrounding the pool. Rocky outcroppings led to the cave behind the waterfall, a sanctuary of cool, pure air shimmering with mist as the water flowed off the rocks above.

The star of the show, Schoolhouse Falls, poured, in a bubbling stream, over the dark rocks and splashed delightfully into the shadowy pool at its base. A million jewel tones sparkled in prisms through dazzling sunlight while wayward streams of water feathered in luminous pathways into the pond. I swam to the rocks at the base of the falls and sat under the shower of water, embracing the play of water and light, the contrast of the white froth and the deep, dark water.

Later, I walked through the cave behind the falls and was once again entranced by the play of light shining through the waterfall between me and the clear blue summer sky. Standing in the shadowed cavern, with darkness at my back and glimmering light in front, I marveled at this natural beauty. A sense of timelessness filled me with wonder. How many had stood there before me? Who had used the cave as shelter or sanctuary? Who had, like me, merely wanted to take a moment to soothe their souls, to embrace the grandeur of nature?

Like Walt Whitman tells us in “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” I know there’s much science to be learned in the force of nature, the power of waterfalls, the poisonous rhododendron, the protective moss, and the tenacious ferns, but I prefer, far prefer, to just enjoy the magic of a golden, sparkling, foaming waterfall and pond on a beautiful summer day.

     Some people don’t believe in magic. I do. It surrounds us in this beautiful world, and we only need to take the time to pursue, to find, and to appreciate it.

Birthday Thoughts

By Gaye Hoots

Today is my seventy-fifth birthday and I am feeling lucky and grateful. Most of my life has been spent in this small town, the first six years living with my parents and grandparents on a farm overlooking the Yadkin River. That farm is no longer in our family. When I was six years old, we moved to the Marchmont farm, not far from my grandparents. Faye was four years old then, and Phil had just been born.

I loved both farms and explored every inch of them. I can still picture every room and the furnishings in each house even though neither exists now. My grandpa Hoots let me follow him around from the time I could walk. He looked after the animals on the farm and tended his orchard, beehives, planted gardens, grapes, and strawberry patches. He plowed these with a mule while Daddy used tractors on the large fields. Grandpa wove fish baskets and set them in the Yadkin. He made and tended rabbit gums and I followed him. When I was about four years old, I took a rabbit out of one of the gums and brought it back to the house even though he scratched me badly. The rabbit was as long as I was tall when I held it by the back feet.

Once when helping grandpa plant corn, I put twice as much as I was supposed to in the row to get rid of it so I could go back to the house. You really do reap what you sow because when the corn came up and it was evident that I had done this, I got a very belated spanking.

Other memories are of the pet pigs I had and of hog killing time. I didn’t watch them shoot the pig but did watch them put the pig into a boiling vat, eviscerate it, and cut it up for the women to process. I also learned how a dairy farm was managed.

When we moved to the Marchmont we ran a dairy there as well and I helped. Our family began to grow tobacco, and cotton in addition to grain crops. We all worked to tend and harvest the crops. Most farm families lived this way. Sometimes in the summer we missed school to work in tobacco but not enough to affect our grades.

Daddy bought a small farm in Advance that was previously owned by my children’s father’s family. I milked a Jersey cow twice a day while living there. We grew tobacco and other crops. The work was hard, but working with others was something I enjoyed.

We attended Shady Grove School and most of my school memories are pleasant ones. I am still in touch with many of the friends I started school with. Many of my teachers were mothers of school friends. Faye and I played basketball, and these were good times.  Four generations of my family attended Shady Grove School.

After finishing at Shady Grove, we attended Davie County High School and I played basketball there too. Often, I have trouble remembering what I walked into a room for, but I can remember experiences from school as clearly as if they happened yesterday.

My children grew up with the children of my school friends, their children grew up with some of the same families. My great granddaughter is fourteen years old and growing up with some of the same families.

Looking at all the birthday wishes today brought back fond memories of these friends. Perhaps it is because the schools were smaller back then, but there is a bond that lasts a lifetime with school friends. The farm work was not easy, but I would not have chosen a different life. I learned to contribute to family life and learned to depend on myself, and to ask for help when needed.

We attended church in Advance, and these were strong bonds too. This community sustains itself and cares for others. My grandchildren are the fifth generation of my family to live here. The roots go deep, and each year they become more precious. We are blessed to have each other.


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