Saturday, September 5, 2009

Haywood county

Next in the e-visit to uncover the Revolutionary sites: Haywood County. We are still in the vicinity of Rutherford's march to eliminate the Cherokee threat to settler's. You can tell that it was quite a distance and so probably unexpected. There were few white settlers in the path toward the west in the 1700s. The closer we go back east, the more settlers will be found.

Well, lets see. What's in Haywood County? Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley and Waynesville.

Canton is an interesting place. Mainly, in the past when we went through there we knew it because of the STRONG smell of a paper factor. There isn't a nice way to say that. But, this is an important place to me because the man who started a Canton mill that became Blue Ridge Paper, was originally a publisher of books. Peter G. Thomson published King's Mountain and It's Heroes for Lyman Draper in 1881. Draper had spent nearly 40 years interviewing the veterans and their families of the Revolutionary War and gathering and gathering primary sources. He collected details about Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark and others as well. But this was the only book he ever wrote that was published.

Thompson published the first 1000 copies which unfortunately didn't sell very well. In a letter to Draper he expressed the view that while his (Thompson's ) new toy business was going well, Draper's book was not moving and he imagined it was because it was a local story and the only people who cared too much about it were just too poor to purchase a book.. or something like that.

I read a xerox copy of the handwritten letter collected by Bill Stonach from the library where Draper's paper are kept. Bill's grandson, Bill the III, handed me a stack of his grandfather's papers about creating an Overmountain Victory celebration in schools from the 1970s. I found the old letter copy in the stack and read it to RG on the way home from a OVTA trail dedication at Patterson School in Caldwell county last spring.

That struck me. The second edition of Draper's book came out in the 1930's I believe. And if he hadn't have written this one book down and if Thompson had not felt it worthy to publish, we would probably not known about the details of the Battle of Kings Mountain. They'd be locked in the depths of the colleges. You never know how important your recollections are, your stories and your journals. You never know, even when at first you don't succeed. Advice.

It makes me want to see more of what is locked away in colleges and museum collections all over America and Europe that has not been researched as of yet.
You know, they just found another copy of the Declaration of Independence in the British museum. I just know there is information in Lafayette's letters to his wife tucked away in France. Perhaps he left one in Salem or Bethabara to be sent to her on his first trek to Philadelphia from his landing at SC and she kept it...We need to send the History Detectives out for a dozen different NC Revolutionary hunts...

Okay, back to Haywood county. This is fun. Ghost Town in the Sky. Has not too much to do with NC, but it does bring the old west back east. We have a couple of other places like that. Love Valley in Iredell county ( strickly a weekend town) for example.

Also, Folkmoot International Festival. Now I would like that. Let's put that on the calendar for next year.

No comments: