Community and Change in the North Carolina Mountains

Oral Histories and Profiles of People from Western Watauga County


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About the Book

Oral history and memoirs preserve much more than a single event. They record information about a time and a particular way of life. Buying a loaf of bread for a dime and a 25-pound bag of flour for a dollar, walking 9 ½ miles in 5 hours, watching the Cove Creek gym (and several school buses) go up in flames—these are just a few of the tales related in this collection of oral and written histories. From boating to finding a first job, from riding a pony to school to joining the Navy, this book contains dozens of memories gathered from the residents of western Watauga County, North Carolina. Concentrating primarily on the decades of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, these stories focus on the elements of everyday life in a mountain community. They deal with both traditional rural activities—such as berry picking, soap making, trading and bartering—and universal experiences such as school days and dating. The book includes a special section on the war experiences of Watauga County residents both at home and overseas. Contemporary photographs and an index are included.

About the Author(s)

Retired teacher Nannie Greene lives in Vilas, North Carolina.

Catherine Stokes Sheppard is a retired teacher living in Pink Hill, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Compiled by Nannie Greene and Catherine Stokes Sheppard

Research Assistant Sarah Jean Joslin

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 300
Bibliographic Info: 64 photos, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2593-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0217-2
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments      1
Introduction      3

Part 1: Everyday Life of the People      5
At Home on Timbered Ridge (Mary Faye Tester)      6
The Cannery (Nannie Greene)      13
Growing Up in Bethel (Genevieve Sherwood Henson)      14
A Boy from Beaver Dams (Dennis Creed)      21
Good Neighbors, Good Friends (Nannie Greene)      25
Life at Amantha (Pearl Henson Greene)      30
Girlie Palmer … 100 Years Young! (Girlie Palmer)      34
School Days Circa 1930 (Helen Banner Williams)      41
The Awesome Aldridges of Foscoe (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      43
Howard Cole Remembers (Howard Cole)      46
DeWitt Brown’s Garage (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      48
The Wanda Inn (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      50
Hattie’s Hill (Genevieve Sherwood Henson)      51
Making Rugs (Peggy Hagaman)      53
My Memories of Oak Grove (Edna Ward Ellis)      54
The Conniption Fit (W.T. Payne)      56
Strawberry Picking (Mary Alice Palmer Hanna)      57
Race Relations at Cove Creek (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      58
Race Relations at Bethel (Genevieve Sherwood Henson)      59
Recollections of the 1940 Flood (Baxter G. Farthing)      59
The Day Cove Creek Gym Burned (Hensel Stokes)      61
My First Job at the Carolina Pharmacy (Reba Cook Farthing)      63
Boating on the Creek (Hensel Stokes)      63
The Run-Away Car (Baxter G. Farthing)      65
A Boy and His Pony (Bill Stokes)      66
Duck Eggs (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      68
Ned Walks (Ned Trivette)      69
Itch Cure (Odenia Miller Rowe)      70
The County Home (Nannie Greene)      71
Earline Huffman Came as a Tourist (Earline Huffman)      72
George Sigmon Visited Too! (George Sigmon)      74
Character Building Comes with a Price (Landon Stokes)      75
The Big Game (Landon Stokes)      77

Part 2: Law and Order … and Sometimes Justice      83
A Post Office Burglary (Jean Ward)      84
A Burning Cross (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      85
An Angry Husband and a Dead Lover (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      85
Out on a Limb! (Genevieve Sherwood Henson)      86
A Pottertown Tale (Council Main)      87
A Tuffy Tale (Carlton H. Swift)      89
Another Tuffy Tale (Len Stokes)      90
Schoolhouse Misdemeanors (Jerry Shull)      90
A Slap in the Face (Len Stokes)      92

Part 3: Western Watauga at War      93

World War I
Three Who Served (Berlin Winebarger, Blaine C. Miller and Edna Ward Ellis)      95

World War II
A Mountain Boy Leaves Home (Berlin Winebarger)      96
Navy Life, Laughs and Lingo (Louis Farthing)      99
Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 (Louis Farthing)      105
Survivors of Pearl Harbor (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      112
Blaine Miller, Merchant Marine (Blaine Miller)      114
The Romingers (Helen Smith Rominger)      123
Fourteen Down, Eleven to Go (Ralph Stokes)      123
Luther Martin Bingham (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      131
The Home Front (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      133
Rationing During World War II (Reba C. Farthing)      135
Victory Gardens (Nannie Greene)      135
My Wartime Job (Baxter G. Farthing)      136

World War II and Korean War Memoirs (Glenn Farthing)      138
Basketball or Bullets (Len Stokes)      147
Richard Minton Remembered (Nannie Greene)      148
Jackie “Deacon” Mast (Nannie Greene)      149

John Adams in Vietnam (John Adams)      152

Part 4: People Who Have Made a Difference
Miss Jennie Love (Ben Mast)      157
W.R. Trivett: Appalachian Pictureman (Ralph E. Lentz II)      162
The Golden Girl (Blaine Miller)      164
Early Recollections of Nora Mast Wilson (Nora Mast Wilson)      166
Newton Banner (Nannie Greene)      171
Luther Oliver (Frankie O. Stokes)      174
Ernest and Lena Hillard (Council Main)      176
John Bingham: A Tribute to a Coach (Dan Isaacs)      178
William Howard Walker (Dr. William Howard Mast)      183
S.F. Horton, the Powerhouse of Cove Creek (Nannie Greene)      186
Robert G. Shipley (Dr. William Howard Mast)      188
The Music Woman (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      191
Lucille Johnson Hipp: The Flower Lady (Nannie Greene)      193
A Pioneer in Nuclear Medicine (Nannie Greene)      195
Dr. Frances Farthing (Glenn Farthing)      197

Part 5: You Can Get There from Here      201
Dr. Shelton Dugger (Gene Blair)      203
Carlock “Carl” Greene: Mid-Atlantic Scouts Hall of Famer (Carlock “Carl” Greene)      204
Financial Aide to J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott (Kathryn Clay Bodeen)      208
My Career in the CIA (Carlton H. Swift)      213
Ray Hicks (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      217
Wayne Tester Follows His Dream (Joyce P. Ragan)      218
Tuning In on the World (Ben Mast)      221
California, Here I Come! (Odenia Miller Rowe)      225

Part 6: Preserving Our Heritage      229
Building Community in Foscoe (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      231
Community Preservationists (Nannie Greene)      232
Saving a Community Landmark (Nannie Greene)      234
Rescuing the Wilson-Vines House (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      240
Valle Crucis Conserves for the Future (Nannie Greene and Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      241
Stone School Buildings (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      243
Opinions on Heritage (Jack and Marian Simpson)      245
Community Interaction (Sarah Joslin and Nannie Greene)      247

Appendix: Backward Glances (Catherine Stokes Sheppard)      251
Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

“unique….useful”—The North Carolina Historical Review.