« PreviousContinue »
From North Carolina's great orchards there was shipped throughout the working hours of August, 1923, one carload of peaches every four minutes. These fruit gatherers have come over the border from Kentucky for the harvest season.
The latter's omnipresent fringe of evergreen along the sky line is an insistent reminder that North Carolina grew up in the pine woods. But question any old lumberjack and he will laugh: "Them ain't woods! We're still getting out a right smart o' cypress and gum trees, but the long-leaf pine is finished." Indeed, scarcely could we find a pinetar kiln in this, the Tarheel, State.
Yet the long-leaf pine was North Carolina's first important resource. Instructions drafted in 1610 informed prospective colonists that "Pyne trees are to be wounded within a yarde of the grounde, and that wych yssues owte wilbe Turpentyne." Exactly a century later a memorial was presented at Whitehall by some wouldbe concessionaire who proposed "furnish
ing Her Majesty's navy with tar from North Carolina." From that moment, and indirectly because England wished to be independent of the Baltic countries for ship's stores, North Carolinians were destined to be known as Tarheelers.
Wilmington became the greatest naval stores port in the world. From 1870 to 1880 its annual exportation of pine products not infrequently reached 300,000 barrels; but in 1885 the trek of the turpentiners to Georgia announced that King Pine's 200-year reign in North Carolina had drawn to a close.
AMONG THE POTTERS OF THE THREE
A side trip from Pinehurst, the State's chief resort for golf enthusiasts, to the
junction of Moore, Montgomery, and Randolph counties landed us in a wooded section whose homes were so remotely placed that we called its people the backroads folks.
"Jugtown" is their way of describing this as a pottery district. Certainly, the people of the Five Towns are not more individual than those of the Three Counties. Their potter ancestors from Staffordshire, England, settled here in 1750settled with a firmness of resolve apparent in their descendants, who will tell you, "An' we ain't budged sence."
This refusal to budge is in part due to local deposits of gravel-free clay, for slicing and hand-picking remain their primitive means of preparing it for the kick wheel (see page 487).
Surrounded by their homemade furniture of the pioneer era and living unchanged within the changeless pine woods, they pass the craft on from grandfather to son and grandson.
The potter's prayer is, "Oh Lord, lead our feet out o' the mud and onto the clean clay o' Thy grace!" And when they are laid by their forefathers, it is literally in a "potter's field," whose headstones consist of inverted, cone-shaped jars, turned on the wheel, bearing roughly scratched inscriptions.
THE STATE NO LONGER LACKS A PRESS AGENT
We regained the main routes and were picked up by another motor coach. Gracious contours, rising from the plain, resolved themselves into vistas of rolling landscape, while the pine-fringed horizon gave way to sky lines broken by mauve mountains, the footstools of the Blue Ridge. And now we crossed a river by cable ferry whose overhead wire supplied motive power from the stream. In fact, we had entered the piedmont, or foothills, country, with its hydroelectric stations and related industries (see pages 520 and 521).
North Carolina is passing through a renaissance. Due to her steadily intensifying shift from cotton fields to mill centers and from once-idle streams to throbbing dynamos, she has suddenly rediscovered herself on the threshold of industrial power.
The legendary North Carolinian who in the 'sixties called his three daughters Rosin, Tar, and Turpentine would to-day be naming them after cigarette brands. furniture trademarks, and cotton-goods patterns.
Charlotte, situated between the big hydroelectric developments along the Catawba and Yadkin rivers, is a plexus of this new industrialism. In the last 25 years the number of textile mills operating within a 100-mile radius of that city has increased fivefold, with a present spindleage of 10,000,000.
Charlotte was one of the first Southern cities to figure at the Nation's birth and one of the last to figure in the passing of the Confederacy. On May 20, 1775, resolutions dissolving political bonds with Great Britain were read from the courthouse steps. And it was at Charlotte, on April 20, 1865, that Jefferson Davis and his cabinet met for the last time.
COMFORT AND HUMOR IN MOTOR-COACH TRAVEL
By now we were confirmed motor-coach "fans." You break your journey where you will and sight-see for as long as you want, with the comforting knowledge that at almost any hour you can climb on another big coach and continue your journey until, attracted by some passing town, you decide to drop off again.
An hour's ride beyond Charlotte we entered Gastonia, one of the largest textile Of its centers in the United States. 20,000 people, about three-fourths are workers in the 42 mills whose tall stacks cut the sky. Yet, in the town's broad, tree-shaded streets, lined with neat cottages on well-kept, flower-fringed plots, one felt no oppressive sense of concentrated industry, but rather the restfulness of some model suburb, wide-spread to sun, air, and surrounding countryside.
With mill workers' cottages rentable at $3 a month, with water and electric light free, and a mild climate, necessitating little fuel, which is obtainable at cost, it is not uncommon for mountain families to work at Gastonia long enough to pay off their farm mortgage and then return to the Blue Ridge.
Gaston County contains 98 textile mills, which represent one-sixth of the State's
INDIAN SCHOOL GIRLS ON NORTH CAROLINA'S CHEROKEE RESERVATION If there is anything in example, these students should excel, for it was Sequoya, a Cherokee mixed-blood, who reduced his tribe's language to 84 written characters, the only syllabary ever invented by a North American Indian for his people. The Big Trees of California (Sequoia gigantea and Sequoia sempervirens) and the Sequoia National Park were named in his honor.