Thursday, December 22, 2011


Bill O'Neil's grandfather was Dr. Samuel O'Neil. Dr. O'Neil was the first eye doctor in Hayesville, NC. Bill still has the case that his grandfather used to examine the eyes of patients.

Bill also has a unique hobby. He collects cowbells. He started collecting cowbells when he worked for Neil Cabe. The collection grew through the years and Bill has a huge display now.

In the early 1990's farmers turned their cattle loose in Clay County to graze in the mountains. They put cowbells on the necks of cattle to locate them. Each fall the farmers rounded up their livestock and fenced them nearby until spring.

In the above photo, different sizes of cowbells are displayed. The larger ones had a deep sound, the tiny bells had a high pitch. The pigs even wore tiny bells in order for the farmers to locate them at time of roundup.

Bill O'Neil's cowbell collection reflects a time in the history of Hayesville that is gone but not forgotten.

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