Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Ranger Jason Guidry and Don Schneider are pictured with the largest red mulberry tree in North Carolina.  Schneider owns the tree and received a certificate from North Carolina Big Tree Program in 2012 for his outstanding tree.  He lives off Tusquittee Road in Clay County, North Carolina.


A special tree,
you tower above the forest,
catching sunlight with
heart-shaped leaves.

More than an ornament,
you amaze our state
with your unusual size
and grace a century.

You lift a 69-foot crown,
toss your hair in the clouds,
offering milky white sap,
and cradle baby birds.

You hold a piece of history
in your wrinkled hands:
windstorms, fires, floods.
Your feet cleave to Clay County.
      --Brenda Kay Ledford

I thank Becky Long, editor and publisher, of CLAY COUNTY PROGRESS for giving me permission to reprint the above photo from her newspaper.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Hayesville, North Carolina is celebrating its centennial this year (2013).  A historical exhibit was displayed in the old Town and Country Drugstore Building.

A display of clothing made from feed sacks is included in this exhibit.

This rag doll and pillow were made from feed sack fabrics.

A child's nightgown was made from feedsacks.

It took three feed sacks to make a lady's dress, but could take more depending on the size and pattern.

An old Singer sewing machine is pictured.

A collection of thread.

Penny Rugs were made by rural American women in the 1800's.  Also called button or spool rugs, named after the template (pennies, buttons, or a spool), that were used for the size of a circle.

The Penny Rugs were not used on the floor, but on tables or other furniture.  The term "rug or rugg," was meant as coverlets for beds.  We do not know when "rug" was referred to floor covering.

Women who mde these rugs wanted to brighten their homes using scrapes of material. 

Pennies are graduated circles sewn on top of each other with the blanket stitch.  Circles weren't the only designs used.  Birds, trees, animals, stars, and flowers were used everyday.

Penny Rugs with circles were made around the end of the Civil War and more ornate Penny Rugs were made throughout the Victorian era.

In the early 1900's, textile factories emerged and Penny Rugs took a back seat to factory made items.

A pioneer kitchen.

Dr. Staton was a country doctor who practiced medicine for years in this area. He made house calls.

There was a railroad in the early 1900's in Hayesville that hauled timber and goods to the city.

A display about Hayesville High School is included in the Hayesville Centennial Exhibit.

Friday, March 15, 2013


            A cold drizzle drove citizens inside Town Hall to celebrate Hayesville, North Carolina’s centennial on March 11, 2013.
            Rev. Bob Abel, co-pastor of Hayesville Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation.
            The VFW, George Lee American Legion, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts posted flags.  Lee Holland sang the National Anthem.
            Kenny West, representing Congressman Mark Meadows, presented plaques to Mayor Harrell Moore.
            Folks flocked to a display of Hayesville’s history in the former Town and Country Drugstore located on Sanderson Street.  The exhibit spurred memories of our past.
            I recall my family always went to Hayesville on Saturday.  The town was lively during the 1950’s.
            Mama shopped at Tiger’s Store.  My brother, sister, and I got a soda and ice cream at Booth’s Drug Store.  Then we explored Evie Crawford’s Dime Store. 
            Daddy would visit Cutworm Phillips’ country store.  Old-timers perched on the “loafer’s bench” and spun tales in front of the People’s Store.
            Lastly, Mama took my siblings and me to the library in the old courthouse on the town square.  We checked out arm loads of books and traveled beyond the confides of the Blue Ridge Mountains through reading.
            Our town will always hold a special place in my heart.  Hayesville!
                                                                              --Brenda Kay Ledford
                                                                             Copyright, 2013.


Home from trading eggs
at Cutworm Phillips' store,
the farm wife emptied
flour into the bin,

cut an apron from the sack.
Her husband unwrapped
a moon pie, drank an RC Cola.
The brush broom swishing,

he swept red dirt,
rows straight as arrows
across the front yard.
Like a ghost,

a white-tailed deer
appeared from the pine thickets,
nibbled Queen Pippin apples
and left tracks in the dirt.
        --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem is from BECKONING, a poetry book by Brenda Kay Ledford published by Finishing Line Press, February, 2013.  This book is available at the Clay County Chamber of Commerce or online at:  www.finishinglinepress, or www.amazon.com.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The sun rose on Hayesville today,
shimmied across the hunting grounds
of the Cherokee at Shooting Creek,
peeked over Chunky Gal Mountain,
traipsed to Tusquittee where
the water dogs laughed,
reflected in Fires Creek,
and woke the folks of Brasstown.

One light spreading rays on
the village of Hayesville founded
one hundred years ago between
the mountains and valleys
of Clay County, North Carolina.
A new land.  Scots-Irish ancestors felled
chestnut trees, built log cabins, tilled the soil,
and reared their families in the new land.

Creeks gurgling into Hiawassee River.
Drawing water with buckets
for drinking, bathing, or washing.
The hands of pioneer women rough
as leather breeches gathering blackberries,
apples, peaches, and plums
in their flour sack aprons.

Hear:  boats roaring on Lake Chatuge,                                                                                              
bicycles crunching gravel at Jack Rabbit Campground,
horses neighing in the pasture,
or fans cheering the Yellow Jacket football team.
Hear:  a pastor preaching the gospel
in a country church, the choir singing “Amazing Grace.”

A new day.  Hayesville observing
her 100th birthday.  Hope for the future
built on the success of our past,
the values of our people
working together to preserve our town.
                             --Brenda Kay Ledford

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I interviewed Garth Thompson, a local historian of Hayesville, NC, in the 1990's.  He gave details about the formation of our mountain town.

According to Garth, the first center of population in Clay County, NC was at Fort Hembree, which once stood a mile west of present-day Hayesville.  The fort was erected in the early 19th century.  It was a log structure, built in the shape of the letter T.  Three staircases led to its second story where there were four huge fireplaces.  Beneath it was a big, cool cellar where food was stored.

A hamlet grew around the fort, and in 1843 it became a post office.  By 1850, there was a small academy there.  But several years earlier, in 1832, Fort Hembree served a historicl purpose.  That year this fort, among others in western North Carolina, was used as a staging area for the Trail of Tears.

Eventually, both the Post Office and Hicks Academy moved to Hayesville, and the fort passed into private hands.  Its original logs were covered with weather boarding and became a private dwelling.

Garth Thompson's family once owned the old fort and he lived there until he was eight years old.  He spoke knowledgeably of the time when the Cherokees in Clay County, NC were rounded up in preparation to their relocation to Oklahoma.

None of the Indians offered any resistance during the roundup, he said.  Only five of them ran away from the soldiers.

Near the fort was a barn where horses were kept, but above the horses was a good floor.  It was onto that second floor of the barn that the Indians were herded.

Garth spent his formative years within the fort's solid walls.  He helped tear it down during his senior year of high school.

"One of the rocks in the chimney," he said,"bore the inscription, '1817.' " And he recalls a sentence, written in pencil on a closet door apparently by a kind-hearted soldier, which read, "We hope the white people at the land where the Indians go will like them and won't give them any trouble and they have good hunting."

Perhaps an early example of governmental bureaucracy was the discovery of Roman numerals written on the locust pillars which formed the fort's foundation.

Materials from the razed fort were given to members of the community.  Houses were built from some of these materials, and the Hayesville First United Methodist Church received some of these rocks.

                                                                                        --Brenda Kay Ledford


Hayesville, North Carolina is 100 years old and still making history.  We'll hold events during 2013 to celebrate our town's centennial.

Mayor Harrell Moore, the Town Council, and Clay County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution requesting the North Carolina General Assembly designate 2013 as the Town of Hayesville Centennial Celebration.

Hayesville was named for Representative George Washington Hayes who introduced a bill to form Clay County, NC in 1861.  The town was incorported March, 1913.

The kick-off celebration of Hayesville's centennial will be held Monday, March 11, 2013; 11:00 a.m. at the Town Hall.  The event includes guest speakers, historical displays, and refreshments.

Please join us as one of "America's Prettiest Towns" enters its first century.  We'll be celebrating all year.

The Hayesville Town Hall will host the kick-off celebration of the centennial.