MY BOOK - Part II
|NOTE: Mary Grudger Moore wrote MY BOOK in two parts. Part I was first planned as the only offering of her life and covers the details of her youth and early adulthood as she grew up in the Hominy Valley. But, she then thought to add Part II that covers the events in her later life. In Part II she describes many locations and events in Asheville, providing a vivid picture of life in the early years of the city.|
|Introduction||Ever since I have been afflicted [with arthritis],
my children have desired me to write a book and in the language of
Josiah Allen. I have asked them who has read your book Samantha and
they say "they will read it."
Well, if the dear ones who have ministered to me so tenderly and patiently during my affliction -- when perhaps I have been enacting and hard to please -- will linger lovingly over these pages when I am gone remembering only my good qualities, I shall be amply rewarded for all the pain it cost me to write it.
MY BOOK - PART II
When I commenced [sic] writing my book, I thought it would extend over only a few pages, but I find the subject spreads out before me so that I cannot stop till I bring it down to the present period. There are so many things I wish to tell my children that I think will interest them when I am gone.
My affliction has cut me off from many of the active pursuits [sic] of life, and perhaps this may help me while away many of the lonely hours of my life that otherwise would drag heavily upon my hands. May the blessing of God rest upon all I write.
Asheville was, and always had been, the most progressive town in Western North Carolina, though in its earlier days it was considered rather immoral and many of the men who came here preferred settling in the country where they could buy or enter large estates on which to settle their slaves and live comfortably without subjecting their families to temptation.
I frequently visited there but never enjoyed it as much as some other places because I did not have any young cousins there to make my visits pleasant. The relations I visited there had no children, and though I had many friends there and spent much of my school life there, still I preferred being with my own kinsfolk.
The State had granted a charter for a road to be built from the Tennessee line up the French Broad through Asheville and into South Carolina. This was a great thoroughfare for travel and seemed to put new life into the country -- indeed good roads are the life blood of any country. They permeate to its remotest corners sending life and vitality into them. Much stock, during the
|Page 2||fall months, passed over this road into South
Carolina from Kentucky and Tennessee. Also, there was much traveling
[sic] done on it which brought a good deal of money into the country
and money is a great factor in building up a country.
Two hotels, rather primitive, were built in Asheville -- "The Buck" by Mr. James Smith, the first white man born west of the Blue Ridge and "The Eagle" by James W. Patton. They were very liberally patronized by the traveling [sic] public and a few tourists began to visit the country. They gazed with kindling eyes upon a scene so grand and beautiful and saw in its lovely climate the elements of a great health resort. A few from the cotton belt along the coast bought homes here and spent their summers in the mountains.
About this time the White Sulpher Springs [probably meant 'Sulpher Springs', as White Sulpher Springs is in Waynesville area], west of Asheville, were discovered and Col. Ruben Deader began to build cottages and invite the summer boarders. He was so liberally patronized that he added cottage after cottage every year till it finally attained the dignity of a hotel. Many people came there every year and it acquired quite a notoriety abroad.
The Warm Springs -- now Hot Springs -- were discovered on the French Broad below Asheville and Col. John E. Patton built a hotel there which was also very liberally patronized, and wealth and prosperity began to flow into our mountain land.
Asheville now began to rise and shake itself and take on new life and activity. She was now called the "Queen City of the Mountains," though imagine when compared with cities of the outside world, she was only a hamlet.
A boarding school for young ladies was opened about then by Mr. and Mrs. Dickson. Many young ladies from over the western counties came to this school and obtained very good educations. When they returned home some of them taught schools in the communities where they lived or in their father's families, thus benefiting the country generally. This school afterwards was The Asheville
and later the The Asheville Female College under the auspices of the Methodis[t]
Episcopal Church South. This school is still carried on and has done
much good. My aunts and a great many of my cousins were educated
there and that was the only school where I ever learned much
Col. Stephen E. Lee opened a school for young men and taught one of the best schools ever taught in Western North Carolina. My uncle and one of my brothers, besides numerous cousins, were educated there. Many of the young men went home also and taught schools in the different sections where they lived.
The schools in Asheville were doing much good, but there was a crying need for schools in the country. Hundreds of young men and women all over the country wanted educations but were not able to bear the expense of a boarding school education. I will reserve the opening up of country schools for another chapter.
I suppose my children would like to know something of the history of their ancestors and as it is intimately associated with the history of country schools in Western North Carolina, I will give it as near as I can as it was related to my by my husband's family.
William Moore, the great grandfather of the present race of Moores in Western North Carolina, came with his brothers from the north of Ireland and settled in Burke County, North Carolina. this was a short time before the American Revolution. They were Scotch Irish Presbyterians and were descended on the mother's side from the Duke of Hamilton, an Irish Nobleman. the name of Hamilton is still kept up as a family name. It has always been the impression in the Moore family that they were the heirs to vast wealth in Ireland, but
|Page 4||as it has never materialized, it was perhaps a myth.
Sir John Moore, who fell at the battle of Coruna in Spain, was also descended from the same house. Someone, I have forgotten who, but I think it was *Wolfe [General Wolfe], wrote his funeral dirge -- "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, as his corse air [sic] the rampart we hurried," etc. The brother who settled in South Carolina was the founder of a large and highly respectable family there.
The Moore brothers were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, one among the best elements of people who came to America. A large colony of Scotchmen fled from Scotland during the 15th and 16th centuries to the north of Ireland to avoid a religious persecution. Then they were called Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and when many of them came to America, I suppose they took the name Scotch-Irish American Presbyterians. Be that as it may, they are scattered all over the United States of America and are a very sturdy race of people.
A considerable colony of them settled in Mechlenburg county, North Carolina and were the framers, and many of them the signers, of the Mechlenburg Declaration of Independence. Others in large numbers settled in Pennsylvania, then the seat of Government of the United States, and were instrumental in having Mr. Thomas Jefferson insert in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States of America a clause giving religion liberty to her citizens -- the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
During the American Revolution a large tribe of Indians, living in the western counties of North Carolina, made a raid over into Burke and other counties stealing horses and doing much damage to the citizens. William Moore was detailed to head a company of men to drive them back or destroy them. They came right up the Hominy Valley and there are some reminders of their route to this day such as war fords in the creeks and rivers. He saw the beauty and fertility of these lands and after the war was over, he entered up six or eight miles up and down the creek and sent a family of negroes --
|Page 5||Daddy Jim and Mammy Sue -- to hold
possession for him. Daddy Jim was a fine specimen of his race and
claimed to descend from African Kings. Manny Sue was a nice tidy
housekeeper and kept a bed "no nigger ever slept in" for white
travellers [sic], who often stopped with her because there was no
other house where they could get decent lodgings.
After several years William Moore came here bringing his household goods with him and settled where Dr. Gudger now lives. He built part of the house that is occupied by Dr. Gudger and afterwards his son, who came into possession, added to it. He removed Daddy Jim and family with their house into the yard and long afterwards, when the property fell into other hands, the stones which were used in that cabin for the chimney and foundation were used for the foundation of the present Presbyterian Church, known as the Oak Forest Presbyterian Church.
William Moore sold off all except 2,100 acres of his lands in order to induce settlers to locate ear him. At his death his youngest son, Charles Moore (my father-in-law), fell heir to all his possessions -- land, negroes, and all. He was young man of splendid qualities with a fine education and excellent attainments for his day and time. He sometimes taught little schools for the benefit of his less fortunate neighbors.
He married quite young and had two children, William Hamilton Moore and Rachel Evalina Moore who married G.W. Candler. He gave them both a college education -- the son at Tennessee College, Tennessee and the daughter at Salem, North Carolina. William Hamilton Moore was my husband.
After his wife's death and his second marriage, Captain Moore had a large family of boys as had also his son-in-law, George W. Candler. They determined to try to build up a school at home rather than send their boys off to college or boarding schools, where they thought they might learn many things outside
|Page 6||of books that was best for them not to know.
They built a neat frame house and not very large for building material was very costly in those days, a small house costing as much as a large commodious one would cost now, and employed a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Jacob Hood, to teach the school. They put tuitions and board down so low, it was within the reach of almost everyone and the country was ripe for a school. Young men and women came from all parts of the country. Some were able to pay and some never did and quite a number worked their way through. Captain Moore sent them out to work with the negroes though no one could ever see that he was much benefited by their labors; still he never turned any away.
A large number of young men and women were educated at his school and went home and taught schools there. One can still see the fruits of "Sand Hill Academy" -- that was its name -- all over Western North Carolina even to this day. Many men of high social and political standing were educated at Sand Hill Academy -- judges, ministers of the gospel, state senators and legislators, lawyers and doctors, besides a host of intelligent farmers and artisans. It only missed by a few years being the Alma Mater of Z.B. Vance, one of Western North Carolina's gifted sons. He was always a friend and advocate of the school as he was of every institution that had for its object the up-building of the people.
Captain Charles Moore, when I knew him, was a "grand old man," with a courtly air and bearing warm and generous impulses. He was very kind to me, indeed no woman was ever more kindly treated by her husband's kinfolk. I was received as a daughter of the family and made to feel easy and comfortable among them.
He could never bear to see suffering of any kind and was always ready to relieve it, and did so to the endangering of his estate At the close of
|Page 7||the Civil War he was almost entirely penniless and
he, who had done so much for others, died in comparative poverty
with hundreds of dollars owing to him all over the western counties
by persons whom he had befriended.
Since writing the above, I have learned from a reliable authority that William Moore, the grandfather of my husband, brought the first wagon into Buncombe e County which was then comprised of nearly all the country west of the French Broad to the Georgia line and was sometimes called the "State of Buncombe."
I cannot quit these pages without paying tribute to the memory of one who, during the period in which he lived, did as much or more for Western North Carolina than any other man who lived in it -- the honorable L.L. Clingman. He came to Asheville when I was quite a child and established himself in the practice of law. He came from beyond the mountains, Surry County I believe, but soon allied himself with the interest of this country. The beauty that was Switzerland and the charm that was Italy lay on all our mountains and hills and dales, thrilling his soul with profound admiration. Looking far down the tide of time, he saw the grand possibilities that lay in the country and determined, if in his power, to try and develope [sic] it. The mountains too appealed to all the better instincts of his nature. He was such a grand specimen of a noble manhood both mentally and physically, a man not weakened and innovated by tropical suns or dwarfed and stunted by frigid snows and winds, but one in whose veins the wine of life ran glad and warm. If he only had the advantages of education and its refining influences, what could he not do. From that day on Mr. Clingman gave up every personal ambition, wealth and fame, and threw himself heart and soul into the task of developing the country.
Politics seemed to open the only door to success in that line. In
the halls of legislation he could do more for us than any where
else. Consequently he was elected to the legislature for many years
-- first to the lower house and then to the upper. There he urged
our claimes [sic] with all the eleguence [sic] he was master of. He
was a very magnetic man and had great powers of persuasion.
Roads were his hobby. He foresaw that if we could build roads into our county of such an easy grade as to induce men of wealth and culture to come here, the future of the country was assured. He introduced bill after bill and made speech after speech looking to the improvement of our part of the state but with little success. The east was in the majority and had her heel upon our neck. She gladly accepted the small revenue collected from the west and spoke in flattering terms of the great western reserve, our loyalty and patriotism, but when any great political issue was to be decided, they howled themselves hoarse over us. They said we came up in a solid phalanx to the "Help of the Lord against the mighty," but when any appropriation was made and any money to be spent, it was always employed in the east -- cleaning out the harbors, building railroads, etc..
This was all very well and useful to all sections but the west felt like they ought to have at least a small share in such things. They contended that when they opened up the ports, the commerse [sic] of the world, it benefited us as much as them. This was true in a certain measure, but the imports and exports that helped us in any way had to be hauled over these mountains in mountain schooners over roads that were a menace to both man and beast. The very cotton we spun and wove into our clothes, the iron we used in our industrial implements and the salt to salt our provisions had to be brought over the same way.
The only decent road in Western North Carolina was the one from the Ten-
|Page 9||nessee line to South Carolina. the others were
little better than death traps and the only bridge across any river
in the entire country was the one across the French Broad known as
the Smith Toll Bridge at the point where the iron bridge now spans
the river. This was a toll bridge and a heavy tax on the people for
they had little money. the only thing they could make any money upon
was stock that could be driven on foot to southern markets and this
was slow and laborious business, there was a road from Asheville to
the Georgia line known as the "Old State Road" but it crossed many
high hills and mountains going straight up and straight down and
over a half day or more and rivers without bridges except the Smith
When the people started from their homes visiting or on business, they not unfrequently [sic] bid their friends farewell with an unspoken fear that they might never see them again for many valuable lives were lost every year by people who tried to ford the rivers when they were swollen or otherwise unsafe by reason of washouts.
The Court House of Asheville was a very primitive affair. some say it was a log house but when I can first remember it, it was a large frame building with one room on the ground floor and one of the same size in the second story without a fireplace or stove to heat it up and no offices for the accomodation [sic] of the officers of the county. This house was set on a hill or pennacle [sic] in the center of the town and caught all the winds from the four points of the compass. The steps to the second floor went up from the outside. This was the second or third court house that had been built in Asheville and has long since been torn down and the hill graded down ten or fifteen feet.
At present a Court House with many modern conveniences was built there but so far as architectural beauty is concerned it has no pretensions, but is rather an eyesore to the place. All these defects Mr. L.L. Clingman tried to remedy but with apparent little success. He little dreamed he was sowing the seed that was to bring forth such a rich harvest.
|Page 10||During the intervals of the legislature, he
canvassed the county trying to encourage the people to higher
ideals, better farming and better building. He visited my father
often. They were great friends and talked all the time and I enjoyed
listening to their conversations. Mr. Clingman was a splendid
conversationalist and even as a child, I admired the beauty and
elegance of his language.
The building of a railroad through Western North Carolina was one of his pet hobbies and he gave to it much earnest thought and attention. Our present railroad is the child of his wildest fancy and he lived to see it built. After long and patient waiting and earnest effort, we got an appropriation for building a turnpike road from Asheville to the Georgia line. I don't know whether we got a charter or whether it was simply an appropriation. I was too young to know much about it, but we got the road. Engineers were sent out to survey the route and by skirting around the hills and winding back and forth upon the mountains, they got a very easy good grade and the road was let out to contractors who soon finished it up with good bridges across the rivers.
This was the beginning of a new and prosperous era in the country. Carriages filled with intelligent cultural people bowled over this road, especially in the summer when the weather was fine. They frequently stopped at my fathers and were a real delight to us. The road went directly by our house and my father, more for accommodation that otherwise, frequently kept travelers as there was no other place where they could get suitable lodgings.
There were places not far from where we lived that the road went through a depression in the mountains and the sun seldom shone there but on a few houses in the day. It was very cold there and frozen during the winter and travelers used to tell my sister and me that their words froze up there when they talked during the winter and in the spring when there came a thaw, they
could hear conversations going on all around them.
Col. William Thomas of Haywood County did much to improve the roads in Western North Carolina, especially the western counties. He was agent for the Indians of Jackson County for many years before his death and tried hard to civilize and [C]ristianize them. He was a friend of my husband and used to stop with us frequently in passing the road. He possessed a fund of useful information ad was splendid conversationalist. I enjoyed his visits very much.
Honorable Nicholas W. Woodfin also tried to uplift the people. He was a lawyer living in Asheville and carried on a large farm on the river below. He used improved ideas and methods in his farming and in attending the courts in the various counties, tired to induce the farmers to adopt them also, especially the sowing of grass seed on the hill and mountain sides to prevent the soil from washing down into the creeks and rivers, His words seemed to take but little effect on the minds of the benighted mountaineers They laughed at him and called him the "grass worm," but now years since his death the seed he sowed is producing fruit.
The theater of the Honorable L. L. Clingman's usefulness, near about this time, transferred to Washington City where he was sent as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina, though he never lost interest in Western North Carolina. When the war of the rebellion broke out, he came home and took charge of the seventy-five North Carolina volunteers as its Colonel. He was promoted and at the end of the war was a Brigadier General. At that time he was broken down in health and spirit and determined to travel abroad. consequently he spent some time in the Old World, that land of mystery and wonder. I was married then and he was a friend of my husband, On his return he visited us and I enjoyed so much his brilliant description of his travels.
He never amassed any property, but spent his declining years in Washington City cared for by the fiends he had served so faithfully. He died.
|Page 12||at the advanced age of 85 and his remains were
brought back to Asheville by his friends and interred in the soil he
loved so well.
It was said of Augustus Caesar that he found "Rome brick and mortar and let it marble" and certainly General Clingman found Western North Carolina in log cabins and left it in brick and frame buildings. Perhaps he did as much or more than Caesar.
Another gentleman and a friend of my husband, whom I liked very much and used to stop with us as he passed the road, was Mr. Walter Lenoir. He had travelled [sic] abroad and his descriptions of the Old World with its cities, castles and monuments of art seemed to me like an enchanted fairy tale and [I] enjoyed them so much. I never met a more perfect gentleman. He has been dead for several years.
This brings me down to the time of the Civil War -- the darkest period in the history of our mountain land. The mountain people had always been intensely patriotic -- devoted to their country -- and would never have taken arms against her except in cases of dire necessity. Eastern North Carolina had always been more in sympathy with the restless disquieting element in the cotton states and was ready for any overt act. When it was known for certainty that North Carolina had passed the succession ordinance, old men bowed their heads in utter sorrow and anguish of spirit, and women wrung their hands and shed bitter tears. But it was no time for wringing of hands or shedding of tears. The hour of action was upon us. We had either to go with the south or be made a battlefield for both sides and the former seemed the best solution of the difficulty. Our sons and brothers marched away to the front, many of them never to return, and were numbered with the great army of the
|Page 13||southern Confederacy.
For a time everything seemed to move on pretty well. We heard regularly from our loved ones and the prospect for the south looked encouraging. It is true our forts were blockaded and we could not get any supplies from the outside world, but the women true to their nature, went to work to remedy this evil. We had the cotton in the south and many of them, even those who had never been accustomed to work, got out the old cards which had been delegated to the garrets and geared up the old looms that had fallen into disuse and went to work to clothe their families. Many of them even went to work in the fields taking hold of the plow and hoe handles and when the grain needed to be harvested, taking their reaping hooks and cradles and doing pretty good service.
It was in these troublous times that the character of the colored people shone forth in its best light -- never did a race of people ct better under the circumstances. They stood manfully by their owners, toiling and making it easier to keep up the necessaries of life, and not a single act of disloyalty ever manifested itself in their conduct. But there came a time when even the old men and boys were called out and we were left without any protectors.
In almost every house was sorrow and mourning for some loved one who had fallen by disease or on the battle field. It seemed a time to try our souls, but our noble Governor Zebulon B. Vance stood manfully by us encouraging us to hope for better times, and by his wisdom and prudence guiding our ship of state through the shallows and quicksand, never did a man stand more loyally by his people than he and never did a people repay him with a more loyal devotion.
He hired or bought, I forget which, the little ship Advance and plied it in the waters between South Carolina and Liverpool running the blockade right in the face of the blockading squadron. He brought over from England good
|Page 14||strong clothing and shoes, course [sic] cloth cotton
cards, salt, etc., and indeed any and everything he found we needed.
The clothing he gave to the soldiers and the cards and other things
to their wives.
Many a woman shed tears of joy when she received the cards and in her heart of hearts kissed the hand that gave them to her. She could now clothe her little children. It was said that North Carolina was better fed and better clothed than any other state in the South, but still we suffered terribly -- not perhaps so much as Tennessee or Virginia.
Our mountain land was not a battlefield as they were, but it afforded a safe refuge for the scum of both armies and our lives were in constant danger. Men were shot down in their homes and women were terrorized into furnishing food and other supplies. We often went to sleep at night not knowing that we would wake in this world.
Four long years of war showed its ravages in our mountain land and the whole South was a land of desolation and death Our little band of gallant soldiers who had stood so bravely for what they thought was right was narrowing down to a mere handful around Richmond [VA]. General Sherman with a large army was sweeping over the South spreading death and desolation in his track. His army was composed of the worst element; deserters from our ranks and men who had howled themselves over succession till they saw it was a lost cause and then turned with a hope that they might be in at the death and reap a harvest of plunder.
Under Colonel Kirk, a man of doubtful character, men marched on Asheville sending terror to our hearts. Surely it was a time to try men's souls; their hearts failing them with looking forward to the doom that seemed to threatened us. Like an angel's visit or a benediction came the news in the Spring of 1865 that the little army under General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to General Ulysis [sic] S. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] at Appomatax [Appomattox, VA] Court House and the white-winged angel of peace hovered once more over our distrauted [sic] country. Men sobbed out their prayers
|Page 15||of gratitude to God and women lifted their tearful
eyes toward heaven in thanksgiving. The long dark night had ended.
The war was over and our brave boys who had come through alive and lived to see its close, turned their steps joyfully homeward -- their dear sunny southland -- fired with a new and strong determination to come home and redeem their country from the curse that had for so long blighted all his energies and sapped is vitals and make it one of the grandest countries beneath the sun, I believe this feeling was general. I know it was with our mountain boys. Many of them stopped with us on their homecoming were footsore and weary, but they all seemed jubilant over the prospect of making our homeland a visitable [sic] paradise.
They had had a glimpse of the outside world -- its cities, its railroads, its ships and the grand old ocean with possibilities for commerce, and they would make our country worthy of its place in the Union. The strength of men was in their arms and the might of men was in their brains, and they could do whatever men had done. Such were some of their wildest dreams, but scarcely had their welcome home or the warm greetings that awaited them died in the glad spring air, when like a bombshell in our midst, fell the tidings of the assassination of President Lincoln. Oh, it was terrible blow and a thrill of horror ran through all the South. It seemed like the knell of doom. It was the mad act of an insane crank just as the killing of President Garfield was or the tragic death of the Emperor of Austria [Archduke Ferdinand] recently. The whole south had to suffer for it and no man was found able to rise up and plead our innocence.
The North looked upon us with eyes askance and regarded the whole South as a visitable [sic] hotbed of sedition and murder. Carpet Baggers flooded our country. The lowest element of the white and together with the inexperienced
|Page 16||negroes were in authority trying to reconstruct us.
The wisdom, virtue and purity that might have brought some kind of
harmony out of such diverse elements was under their heel and
powerless to help us. Our own noble Governor of North Carolina, who
had stood so nobly by us all during the war, could do nothing for us
now and the land through all her borders languished and mourned.
Reconstruction was worse than war and a pall, dark as midnight,
firing over us. "When the wicked reign the city mourns," but all
things must have an end. The revel has its limit and the wildest
orgy wears itself out. Slowly but surely light was breaking
over our benighted country. The missionaries, who had been sent by
the North to [C]hristianise [sic] us, wrote back glowing accounts of
the eagerness with which we received the gospel and the
peaceableness of the inhabitants. A few bold spirits began to
venture down here saying "who shall roll us away the stone" and when
they got here, "the stone was rolled away." Reaction set in and the
good sense of the people that had been crushed to earth, arose and
shook themselves and began to assert their power. Almost before we
were aware of it, a wave of prosperity swept over the land.
In Western North Carolina after long and bitter struggles and disappointments, we got our railroad, connecting us on the east with the Atlantic and on the west the Pacific. dirt roads of better grade were planned and built all through the mountains making travel easier and men of capital began to invest their means here. Many industries sprang up everywhere. Schools and churches revived and things began to take on a different air.
Miss Fisher [Frances Tiernan Fischer, a.k.a. Christian Reid] visited our mountain land and with her beautiful book "The Land of the Sky" and which was widely read, created an interest in our beautiful scenery. We are no longer the "Switzerland of America," but the "Land of the Sky" and sure no prettier Non de Plume [Nome de Plume] ever attached itself to any county. We certainly live among the clouds and near to the "Celestial City."
|Page 17||Asheville, from being a little mountain village,
suddenly developed into a great health resort, visited by wealth and
pleasure seekers from all over the world. She was not a city and
could not compare with the great cities of the world. She was not a
city and could not compare with the great cities of the world, but
still there was a charm about her that was felt rather than seen. A
gentleman once told me he did not like Asheville as it was not near
as nice as New York. Of course not, there were no splended [sic]
boulevards over which to prominade [sic] or maginificent [sic]
monuments of art to interest the eye. Still tourists came and
lingered long and lovingly amid her grand surroundings and seemed
lo[a]th to leave them.
Men of means came and built beautiful summer houses in and around Asheville which added much to its interest. One mansion especially -- Biltmore House -- was the property of Mr. George Vanderbilt, a millionaire of New York. It compares favorably with the castles of the Old World and is quite an attraction as is the estate with its splendid roads and beautiful drives.
There are many mountain peaks which command magnificent views and are much resorted to by the lovers of beauty. Black Mountain, Craggy, Mitchell's Peak, and Clingman's Dome [actually west of Asheville] are some of the noted points of interest east of Asheville and Mt. Pisgah, west. Large parties visit them every summer and find much interest in the magnificent scenery.
Mr. George Vanderbilt has recently purchased a large body of land in and around Mt. Pisgah and converted it into an extensive game preserve where he expects to derive much pleasure to himself and guest from hunting, fishing. etc. He has built a hunting lodge there which is quite unique and a marvel of ingenuity to the native mountaineers.
For a nominal sum tourists visiting the mountain can get good accomodations [sic] of shelter, only provisions being taken with them, whereas hitherto they had to depend on tents and such things as they could carry with them. A lady visiting there with a party gave me a description of the lodge. It is
|Page 18||made of native oak logs with the bark on and
dovetailed in at the corners, presenting quite a neat and cabin like
appearance. The chimney is made of granite rocks, unhewn, with
staples in front to hang spits upon for roasting meats.
Eighteen of their party stood comfortably in the fireplace.
The dining room and kitchen are built together a little distance off
and has a chimney running up in the center with fireplaces on all
sides making four in one room.
The back or east side of the lodge is built up of solid masonry forming a kind of stoop on the brink of a ravine that looks down two or three hundred feet into a cove or valley that extends for miles and miles into the farm land and valley beyond. The lodge is built near a spring of ice cold water called by the mountaineers "The Buck Spring" which Mr. Vanderbilt will use in his lodge.
Near-by is a little log cabin they built for their use when they went to look after their cattle and he has preserved it in its entirely. He speaks of having stables built to accomodate [sic] forty horses.
The large plateau of land known as "The Pink Beds" on the south, once used by the mountaineers as a grazing ground for their stock, will now be given up to game and I imagine rattlesnakes too. It has some clear beautiful streams running through it that are plentifully supplied with mountain trout. Mt Pisgah for some distance down was one called Clingman's farm as a joke on him. When he was elected to the upper house of the Legislature, there was a land qualification necessary to his taking his seat and he brought Mt. Pisgah to meet the demand - hense [sic] the joke. People laughingly said "his farm was not in heaven nor on earth but suspended between the two."
We lost much by the war - much of blood and treasure - much that then seemed a calamity has proved a great blessing. I fear our native mountaineers have lost much of that sturdy character that was their birthright and are being regulated to the out of the way places of the mountains and their places filled with a more progressive people. We have lost our old time aristocracy, that aristocracy founded on gentle blood and gentle manners, and have gained an aristocracy founded on money and power; the one resembling the quiet flow of the majestic river and the other the wild rush of the cateract [sic]. Our women have lost that clinging tenderness and helpless devotion to husband, father and son that made them so interesting in the old times long ago. They have gained a more self-reliant character and have learned better how to take care of themselves.
Our men have lost that chivalric and tender devotion to the weaker vessel that characterized them in the past, but thy are fast developing into a strong and manly race of first class business men whose right hand is ever ready and willing to supply us with all the beautiful things we covet so much.
Underneath all this hurry and rush runs still the strong currant of domestic love; the love of husband and wife, of father and mother, of parents and children and the love that is to keep the world fine and good to all time. While ever the home alter is inviolate, the God we love and worship so reverently will not suffer is to be put to grief.
The colored race have lost much also. They have lost that gentle dignity and quiet obedience to law that was their heritage in former days. They gained for themselves that unquiet restless spirit that makes them so unhappy with their surroundings. Even now you sometimes meet a venerable white-hand colored man with the air and manner of a courtier and you recognise [sic] his as something
|Page 20||and instinctively how to him as to a gentlemen, or
perchance it may be some sweet mannered pleasant faced old colored
mamma and you feel like you would love to lay your head on her
capacious bosom as you did when a child and wept out all your
sorrows, but this type is fast passing away and will never be
supplied by the African American citizen of present day.
Oh, the old times long ago, how beautiful they were. The spirit of the past is becoming me with shadowy fingers to linger amid this beautiful scenes and gentle fancies, but I must hasten on ere her spell is upon me.
Although the war was over and the last echo of its guns had died away, still it did seem like we never would get over the stigma that was attached to it. Our brave boys, most of them, has surrendered in good faith at Appomattox Court House and accepted the situation gracefully; but our northern brethren could not see it in that light. They looked upon us with distrust and seemed to consider us a real nest of rebels being full of all sorts of rebellious feelings and sentiments. Nothing but a foreign war or a great national cataclysm could ever convince them to the contrary. The war came in due time.
Our country had long listened to the cry of Cuba and witnessed with indignation the oppressive rule of Spain in that fair island. Our hearts were deeply stirred with her wrongs and it was with difficulty, we were restrained from sending her assistance. Our rulers took a more sensible view and seemed loth to break relations with a friendly power and went more slowly at intervention. The crisis culminated in the destruction of our battleship, the Main, on a friendly visit in Spanish waters.
A declaration of was followed and the President's call to arms was responded to gallantly without any distinction as to time or place. Our southern boys came nobly to the front and have distinguished themselves on several well fought fields. I trust that God was with is in the war. It did seem that the
|Page 21||avenging Angel only withheld her sword till our
country could put forth her arm in the cause of humanity, when like
a flash, Spain[']s fleet was swept from off the face of the earth and
left stranded on the shores of time.
Our battles on land were not less successful and soon peace was once more proclaimed over the land. Our brave southern boys covered themselves with glory and made for themselves a name and a fame that will go down in the annals of history to all time. They have demonstrated to the world that they are patriotic loyal men, true to their country and her best interest. Even the modest state of North Carolina is not lacking in laurels. The first monument to the memory of our lamented dead will be erected on Capitol Square at Raleigh to the memory of Wortly Bagley, one of her brave boys. Western North Carolina is not wanting either. The first troops to land in Havanna [sic] for her protection after the signing of the Peach Treaty were from Buncombe. The first American flag to wave over Norro Castle was unfurled by an Asheville boy, Lieut. R. O. Patterson. The war had made us a united people and if it had accomplished nothing else, it is worth the blood and treasure it has cost us.
Out president in his recent tour in the South said at Atlanta at the peace jubilee, "We are a united people. We know no north, no south, no east, no west, but one common country and that is enough." We have gained much territory and new startling questions of diplomacy confront us. It seems all right that we should have the islands near our shores, or at least help them form a government for themselves, but the Philippines are so far away and in foreign waters that I fear their occupation is going to give us trouble.
So long as we have confined ourselves to our own territory of North America, we have seen prosperous and happy, and why we should take upon ourselves responsibilities, we do not understand. It seems to me we might take a lesson from ancient Rome. So long as she confined herself to Italy, she
was a great and powerful empire, but when she reached out and tried
to grasp the world, she fell never to rise again. Such
momentous questions are for wiser heads than mine.
Poor described old Spain: I am sorry for her and can't help wishing our country had been more magnanimous towards her and not placed her heel on the neck of a fallen foe. Perhaps she deserved it all and is suffering justly for her sins. She seems in her dying throes - the crimes of centuries and the dark stains of the inquisition are upon her. Let us hope that from the old death a new birth will spring up and that the baptism of fire through which she passed has purified her and from the ashes of the old empire will spring up a new one founded upon broader and more liberal principles that shall place her once more on an equal footing with other nations. Spain is a grand country and when her energies are turned in upon herself, may yet rise to a great empire.
The Moors, who conquered Spain and held it for more than four centuries, built upon it an empire that for strength and durability rivaled Rome even in her proudest days. Andalusia, the seat of their empire, made a visitable [sic] paradise. Granada, their capitol city, was the city of the Alhambra situated on the side and at the foot of the snow capped Sierra Nevadas with its Vega or valley thirty-seven leagues in circumference, glowing with all the beauty of the tropics and watered by the Xenil and Guadelete, was a dream of beauty. The Spaniards rose in their might and drove them from this fair spot and have ever since been masters of the peninsula. Why can they not now make Spain what the Moors made her, the garden spot of the earth.
But there are problems about which I need not trouble my brain. I have lived through several wars; three or four Indian Wars that did not amount to much, the Mexican War in which we obtained considerable territory that added greatly to our interest as a nation, the Civil War in which slavery was
|Page 23||swept from the United States of America - I hope
forever - and the war with Spain which has just ended. I hope
we are done with wars and rumors of wars, that the implements of
warfare will be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks and the
angel of peace once more would spread her white wings over the
nations of the earth.
A strong sentiment of peace seems to be gaining strength. The Czar of Russia is inviting the other nations to a peace conference, the object of which is the disarmament of the nations. Emperor William of Germany in his event pilgrimage to the Holy Land made speeches all along the route advocating the same principles. Surely two such powerful and hitherto warlike monarchs can advocate "Peace on earth and good will to men," the other nations might follow suit.
And now my children my task is done. I have written about all the events and incidents of my life that I thought would interest you. There are many perhaps that I have forgotten, but my book is long enough. When I commenced I had no thoughts of writing more than a few pages to please you, but after I got started the work has grown upon me and I have learned to love it. I have also learned to look upon it as the child of my day dreams and the offspring of my fancy. It has helped to while away many an hour that would otherwise have been lonely.
As far back as I can remember, I have always had a profound veneration for the Bible. Its sacred truths and holy teachings have taken deep root in my heart and I have ever desired to be an earnest faithful [C]hristian, walking humbly in the blessed light which [C]hristianity shed upon my pathway. I have desired above all things that my influence, if I had any, might be good and far reaching in it effects so that it might go on and on from one generation of my dear children and grandchildren to another till it touched the farthest shores of time.
I have tried by the grace of God to keep my life pure and chaste and good, but when I consider the inherent weakness of my nature and how often I have fallen and failed to come up to my ideals, I bow my head with sorrow and shame. I trust my children will profit by my failures and avoid and avoid any errors.
I trust I have not written anything that will mislead anyone or cause them to go astray, but on the other hand that it may invite them to better living, may lift them up to higher and broader fields of thought and action, and above all help them to lean more firmly on the "Rock of Eternal Ages" making them true and noble men and women.
I have not been without ambition. When a child I had a dream of making
|Page 25||for myself a name and a fame, of mixing and mingling
with men and women of letters and carving for myself a destiny, but
that is past. I longed to go beyond the blue-grit line that
bounded our mountain land and get a glimpse of the outside world;
its towns and cities, its rush and hurry and above all its monuments
of art, but as age creep on, I grow more content with my
environments. I am wiling to die as I have lived under the
shadow of our dear native mountains. "My foot is on its native
heath" and I am content. I leave my life with its struggles
and failures, its hopes and asperations [sic] as a heritage to my children
and grandchildren. May God who has guided me safely hitherto
bless and sanctify both them and me.
My book has little to recommend it to anyone. It has neither the beauty of style or diction, rhyme or rhythme [sic], but it is only a simple narative [sic] without embellishment or adornment written to please my children. Writing it has shined the depths of my soul and touched the deep springs of my nature that I had long since thought had ceased to vibrate.
Tonight as I sit here writing the concluding pages of My Book, sweet memories cluster about me. I seem to hear the cradle song of my Mother across the dim years that have intervened since I knelt beside her knee and repeated my evening prayer, forms and faces of loved ones, some of the past and some of the present, some who have crossed the "dark river" and some who linger still on the shores of time are all about me. They throng my room. One comes and sits in the chair beside me and lays her hand on mine and says, "Dear Sister, Cousin, I am so sorry for you." Another with shadowy fingers becomes me and says, "Dear Sister when are you coming to your "House of many Mansions." Another stoops and kisses me on the lip and cheek and brow and says, "Aunt Mary, I do love you so." Then a long procession, more shadowy still, flit by me looking at me with tender loving eyes saying, "We are so glad to be back in this dear room in the little cottage in the grove." Ah,
|Page 26||I dare not move or breathe for they will vanish into thin air. They are going now. Goodnight. Thank you. Your visit has made me so happy. Oh, the dream has been so beautiful. I lay my pencil down with a sigh.|