Sunday, November 22, 2015

Old Needmore in Fall

Before I get to today's blog entry, I wanted to share an update on a previous entry. Shortly after posting last month's blog, I was able to get in touch with Larry Stallcup, who is a genealogist extraordinaire for the Stallcup family.  Larry informed me that the picture of Almarine Stallcup that I had located was actually only one half of a picture, and that the individual in the other half was in fact Pansy.  Furthermore, the picture had been taken on Pansy's wedding day.  I was thrilled that Larry generously shared it with me and allowed me to post it on the blog.  You may see the updated picture here.
And now onto this week's posting.
As Thanksgiving is right around the corner and thoughts of autumn seem to disappear the day afterward in favor of Christmas, I wanted to give fall one last salvo.  In October, my middle daughter and I took one of my favorite walks in the county - along the Little Tennessee River in the Needmore area.  In addition to its extraordinary physical beauty, this walk is extremely rich in human history that I have not yet explored in as great a depth as I would like to (but plan to).  This is essentially a photo essay but I will fit tidbits into captions as I am able.  I am indebted to Ed Ammons and David Dehart for sharing their historical knowledge of this beautiful place with me, so that I may pass it along to you.

The Little Tennessee River, viewed from the swinging bridge.

The swinging bridge, taken from the east side of the river.  Swain County resident Bill Burnett
grew up in a home that once stood adjacent to the bridge.

The road (beyond the gate) heading to the Burch McHan (1823-1895)/ (Doyle Hampton (1904 - 1977) place.

Sunlight shines through the fiery leaves of a sourwood tree.

One of several beautiful old fields along the road. 
The Doyle Hampton place sits slightly up the hill in the middle of this picture.

A hand-dovetailed log from a fallen outbuilding.

A bumblebee on one of the ubiquitous gentian plants blooming along the road. 

The chimney at the Doyle Hampton place, which remained standing until not many years ago.

The remains of an old barn at the Doyle Hampton place.

A grand old walnut marks a home site.

The tombstone of little Sarah Davis (01 June 1873 - 05 January 1874) in the original
Brush Creek Baptist Church cemetery.

Thistles in one of the old (still tended) fields along the road.

A rusted plow point harkens back to days when farmers plowed these fields with horses and mules and not tractors.

A maple leaf floats in the river.

A yucca marks an old home place near the confluence of Brush Creek and the river.

The Little Tennessee River, looking upstream. Ed Ammons shared with me a childhood recollection of crossing the river in an old flat-bottomed boat with a kerosene lantern on the way to a prayer meeting at Lon Dehart's.  His dog, Pooch, swam alongside.

For those who are interested, directions are as follows.  Turn left onto Needmore Road just before the junction of US19 (toward the Nantahala Gorge) and NC28 (toward Almond Boat Dock), and drive several miles.  After cresting the hill at the Maple Springs church, the road begins to head downhill toward the river and the parallels it for a way.  It then leaves the river for a brief distance then returns to parallel it.  Just before the road once again begins to head away from the river, you will see an old swinging bridge going across the river on the left.  Park in the small lot here, cross the bridge, and turn right to begin your walk.

I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving!