Charles saw her—his face became pale

Posted by Dave Tabler | November 15, 2016


By Ex-Judge D. W. Bolen,
“Hillsville Advocate”
Wytheville, VA
Friday, November 5, 1897

The 11th of April, 1793, was a bright and balmy day. Early that morning James Sage went to his “clearing” to prepare his ground for crop. The day opened so bright and clear that Mrs. Sage decided to go and do her week’s washing. She left her four children in the cabin and started to a little stream near by to build a fire to heat water to wash with.

As she was leaving the door she saw a number of butterflies wandering about among the shrubbery in the garden and she called her little five-year-old daughter Katy to come and look at the butterflies. The child came and went on into the garden to enjoy a better sight of the gauzy-winged creatures, while the mother went on to build the fire.

After a while the mother returned to get the clothes she intended to wash, but Katy was missing. Mrs. Sage thought the child had wandered off after the butterflies, for the last words she had heard Katy utter was her childish language talking to the pretty butterflies. She went in search of Katy but could not find her. She called her husband and they looked for Katy all day long and all night long, but they did not find her.

The next morning the neighbors for miles and miles around began to gather in and for several long weeks they searched in every direction for Katy, but in vain. After all had been done to find the child that human ingenuity could devise, the neighbors and friends gave up the search as fruitless and returned to their homes.

But James Sage began the search anew. Starting at his cabin door, he examined every square foot of ground for miles and miles around, hoping to find some rag of clothing or some mark, however dim, that might indicate to him the fate of his lost child. But he never found one trace. At last, in his despair, he heard of an old woman in North Carolina known by the name of Granny Moses, who was said to possess the power to reveal mysteries and look into and foretell all human events.

James Sage made a journey across the mountains into the Old North State to see Granny Moses. He found her and in his own way laid before her the whole story of his lost child.

The old women consulted her occult science, gathered up her faculties and told him that his Katy was still alive and well, but she added, “Katy is where you will never see her or hear of her again in this world, but your wife (Mrs. Sage) will outlive you and in her very old age she will hear of Katy but will never see her.”

With broken spirit and sick at heart the man returned home and resumed work in the forest around his cabin. Other children with bright faces and joyous prattle came to join the three that remained at his hearthstone. Other events and other transactions came into the lives of the parents, and to all outward appearances, as the years glided along, the memory of little Katy Sage became more and more like a faded dream.

But as long as the family remained together, when father and mother and children gathered around the embers that glowed between the jambs of the old fireplace on the long winter evening they talked of the missing one.

When thirty-one years had passed since Katy’s disappearance James Sage was laid to sleep in a grave in the beautiful Elk Creek Valley, and the message of Granny Moses was the only tidings that had ever reached his ears of his lost child.

Mrs. Sage outlived her husband many years. Her children, as time rolled on, became widely scattered. Some remained in Virginia and others settled in different states and territories in the west. Her son Charles settled in Kansas, and in 1854 he met with an Indian agent there, who one day asked him if he had a sister or female relative among the Shawnee Indians.

Charles answered no. But on reflection he told the agent the story of his sister who had been lost or stolen more than sixty years before.

The agent said that there was a white woman among the Shawnee Indians that bore a most striking resemblance to Charles. The woman was sent for and when Charles saw her his face became pale. It seemed to him that the very image of his mother as she appeared twenty years ago, when he had left the old homestead, lived and glowed in the face and features of the strange woman. He believed her to be his long lost sister.

She could not speak a word of English, but through an interpreter she told them that she had been stolen away from her home in Virginia by a white man when she was a small child, that he took her to the Cherokee Indians and she never saw him again, that she had lived among the Cherokees awhile, and then with the Creeks, and finally with the Shawnees, that she had been three times married to distinguished Indian Chiefs and had bore one son, that her husbands had all died and she was a widow now for the third time and her son had recently died, that her name was Katy, and that she had retained that name in all her wanderings and travels through different countries and among different Indian tribes.

Charles got her to go home with him and he at once wrote to his brother Samuel, who lived in Missouri, to come and see if he could recognize her. Samuel was older and could remember Katy. Samuel came and saw the woman and heard her history and believed her to be his sister.

The brothers then wrote to their mother, who was still living at the old place on Elk Creek, and told her about the woman they believed to be their sister, and asked the mother to tell them all she could remember about Katy. The mother was then near her ninetieth birthday, but on hearing the letter read. her memory revived and she said almost instantly: “Write and tell the boys that my daughter Katy has a ginger-colored birth mark on her shoulder,” and then she went on and described the mark, and the very spot described by the mother was found upon the shoulder of the woman in Charles Sage’s house.

Her identification was now complete and beyond question, and the brothers decided to take her home to their mother at once, and Katy was anxious to go. Arrangements for the journey were made, but just as they were ready to start Katy was seized with pneumonia and died, disappearing from the world just as suddenly as when a child chasing butterflies on Elk Creek.


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Amelia Earhart drops in

Posted by Dave Tabler | November 14, 2016

Amelia Earhart in Anderson SCAmelia Earhart flew into the Anderson, SC airport in her Pitcairn PCA-2 Autogyro on November 14, 1931 and attracted over 1,000 spectators. Mayor G.T. McGregor and other city leaders met her at the airport. In May of that year, flying that plane, the thirty three year old had set a world altitude record of 18,415 feet.

In May the following year she flew across the Atlantic Ocean alone from Newfoundland to Ireland, the first woman to do so. In January of 1935 Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. Then, in June 1937, Amelia Earhart tried to fly around the world in a Lockheed 10E Electra, and the newspapers were full of news of her journey. She vanished over the Pacific Ocean en route to New Guinea.

While to us it might seem that Earhart was engaged in flying stunts, she was, with other female flyers, crucial to making the American public ‘air minded’ and convincing them that aviation was no longer just for daredevils and supermen.

sources: South Carolina Postcards: Anderson County, by Howard Woody, Arcadia Publishing, 2003

9 Responses

  • Sarah Vallieu says:

    Does anyone know the names of the other folks in the picture with Amelia Earhart? I am doing research on an earlier female aviator, Nell Foster Behr, who, with her husband, may have owned the Anderson Airport at the time of this photo.


    Sarah Vallieu

  • Gray Suggs says:

    3rd from the right is Forest D. Suggs, Sr. and 6th from the right is his wife, Mary Stark Suggs. They were my grandparents.

  • Diane Crane says:

    Gray, I’ve seen this photo many times, but never knew those were your grandparents until I finally saw a copy with the people identified. What a historic day that was for them and for Anderson!

  • Diane Crane says:

    These are the people identified as being in the photo as it appeared in the newspaper: “Bonner Kidd (from left): J.H. Mitchell, Anderson Mayor G.T. McGregor, Amelia Earhart, Mrs. F.D. Suggs, Mrs. J.H. Mitchell, Dr. F.D. Suggs, Pete Thornton, Lon Sullivan, Tom Speer, and Phil Garrison. The two women at the right are unidentified. Mr. Speer and Mr. Garrison worked for Piedmont Candy and Cigar Co., the local business that helped arrange Amelia Earhart’s stop in Anderson.”

  • Bronson Marshall says:

    Bonner Kidd was correctly identified as the gentleman on the far left. The woman to the right of Amelia was his wife, Maybelle. They were my great-grandparents.

  • Judy Moore Darby says:

    It is so exciting, to find that someone is looking for information about the Behrs, as I am also. The Behrs were good friends of my parents even before I was born.

    I was in their home across the road from the airport many times and I always thought it was so wonderful that the entire family called Nell “Honey” as in “honey bear”. Then there was also Teddy Behr, Billy Behr, and Nellie Behr, who
    was my age.

    Howard Behr came to Anderson in the late eighties or early nineties to visit my mother and had lunch at our home. Nell had died some time before that and Howard sat at our table and talked about her with tears rolling down his cheeks. He was such a dear man.

    Nell actually taught my father to fly a plane— just for fun.

    That is the last time I have heard anything from any of the Behrs. I always thought Nell had female pilot license number two in the US. But that may not be true. I would love to have any information about them.

  • Jay Wright says:

    I’m doing a report for the Anderson County Museum. There is confusion on the names till this day. The references from the right I believe are causing the confusion. Can anyone begin with Amelia and going left to right with her, provide the names. It appears the first to Amelia’s right is Maybelle Kidd. Can anyone take it from there? Thanks.

  • Daniel Henry Putnam says:

    I have the Original photo taken by Lewis D Moorehead on this day in 1931. It has his stamp and name on back of photo,

  • Did you know that Amelia Earhart also visited Greenville, SC?

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Meeting her was the reason he drove all the way down there

Posted by Dave Tabler | November 11, 2016

The mines started laying off workers. Julia Varga had two boarders that had to leave because they were laid off. They left crying, owed money, and with promise to pay they left. Her husband Paul was laid off too; money in the bank was going down fast. Julia and Paul decided to invest in a small farm. Two other friends were looking into getting farms, too.  Paul, Mr. Lavisco & Mr. Martin knew of a friend who left Berwind, WV for North Carolina years before for farming. The three of them left together for Castle Hayne, NC.

All three men invested in farms separately. Mr. Martin bought only land, near Burgaw, and decided to build his house. He did, but never moved into it because work had picked up by the time the house was finished. Paul moved down first. Mr. Lavisco about 6 months later.

Paul had bought a dog before leaving Berwind, a beautiful German Police named ‘Lindy.’ A very smart, loyal dog, which stayed by his daughter Helen’s side without being called along, especially appreciated when she had to go to a small store to get something.

They then moved to St. Helena, NC, a small community that was friendly and helpful. Paul bought a one-eyed mule that knew how to plow and cultivate better than he. He learned to love that mule and dog, and it was a sad day when he lost each of them, especially the dog, Lindy.

1940s aerial view of agricultural colony at St. Helena, near Wilmington, NC.


Helen worked hard on the farm, helping Mom & Dad (Julia & Paul); we all learned how to “truck farm.” First years were rough, but we all had lots of fun. Went to small church together on Sunday mornings and always a group going to the beach in summer, went for walks in groups, and had small parties. On Saturday nights (summer & winter) there were dances at the hall.

Paul bought a small truck from some “smart” salesman for $150, and an old cow he didn’t know how to get rid of. “It was a pleasure to see him and the salesman bicker. Dad was calm and so sure of himself,” according to Helen. The man left with a huff and puff. He didn’t like Paul’s offer, but Paul said, “he’ll be back.” Helen didn’t think so, but he did come back. He took Paul’s offer and walked away with the old cow and left them with the truck. Helen asked Dad, “Now who’s going to drive it?” and Paul answered “You!” And Helen did. Helen was 14 or 15 years old when she drove her first motor vehicle.

New people came down from Ohio by the name of Tokoly’s. Everybody would go to welcome newcomers, everyone was just friendly. One Sunday Paul asked Helen to drive him to visit them. Helen usually stayed in the truck. There were three young men there (Jimmy, Andy, and Steve Tokoly).

To Helen’s surprise a young girl about her age was also there and came out to the truck to talk to Helen. The young girl limped. She was visiting the Tokoly’s with her mother. She too, was from Ohio and had 4 older brothers and 1 older sister. The girls became friends. She explained to Helen she had polio. Her name was Margaret Jasper, sister of Jim.

Margaret would begin writing Jim about Helen in an attempt to “fix them up.” She would tell Helen about all her brothers, so Helen had no idea which one Margaret was trying to set her up with. Jim, on the other hand, was excited to meet Helen and would soon make a trip to meet this wonderful girl Margaret was writing about!

Saturday before Christmas 1932 or 1933 Jim and close friend Frank Batko drove Jim’s and his brother John’s Dodge from Yorkville, OH to St. Helena to visit Ma (Katie) Jasper and Margaret, 550 miles away driving. (Jim and John had bought the 1927 Dodge together for $75.00.) They arrived and had dinner at the Tokoly’s.

After dinner that evening, Ma, Margaret, Jim, and Frank visited the Barbely’s. Helen Varga, the Barbely’s step daughter, and Margaret, had become friends. The Jasper, Barbely, and Tokoly families were all Hungarian immigrants.

They didn’t visit long that evening because the guys were so tired from the drive. After meeting everybody, Jim felt like he needed to leave. Helen wasn’t too happy about this. At that first meeting, Helen wasn’t at all impressed with Jim because he was trying so hard to impress her. Jim had heard a lot about Helen in his letters from Margaret and meeting her was part of the reason he drove all the way down there in a $75 car!

written by John R. Jasper, Austin TX, 2004

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First thing we got rid of were the oil lamps

Posted by Dave Tabler | November 10, 2016

My dad worked most of his adult life at Coal, Feed and Lumber Company —hardware— in downtown Marshall, NC. He delivered products. I remember for many years, Coal, Feed sold a lot of coal, which was pretty prominent. Dad drove a truck delivering coal, and I can remember him coming home in the fall and winter after having spent all day in the basement loading coal, taking it out and unloading it. They didn’t have dump trucks or any kind of equipment to load that coal other than shovels. So, he shoveled a lot of coal.

At that time there were several independent coal haulers in this county. A lot of fellows had trucks that they drove to Kentucky and Virginia, and brought coal to this county that they delivered to homeowners. Coal was a pretty predominant heating fuel for a great number of years.

There was some wood burned, but the transition was not from wood to oil, it was from wood to coal to oil. [I remember as a child my dad getting home from work and being covered with coal.] Absolutely covered. Looking more like a coal miner than a delivery person for hardware.

[My mom was a] homemaker primarily. She worked for a short period of time at a store in Marshall. At a variety store—the National Five and Ten. When we lived above Marshall she did domestic work for some of the store owners that lived not far away. She would go in and do housecleaning and things of that nature for them.

kerosene lamp

We farmed a bit. We never had much of a farming operation. When we lived above Marshall, my dad and my dad’s brother and their father had a farm operation that included—in addition to tobacco—corn and some wheat and oats, and things of that nature.

We did not have electricity until I was about eight or nine years old. That was when we moved to Walnut Creek. That was basically [just] the lights. A little later on we were able to buy a refrigerator, and that was a marvelous thing to come into the house. The first thing we got rid of were the oil lamps; that was an event and a nice step up, but it wasn’t like we had televisions and all the conveniences that we have now. The next thing, as I said earlier, was getting that refrigerator and having a place to keep the milk cold other than the spring house. Other things just kind of came on gradually as we could afford them.

Jerry Plemmons
Marshall, NC
born 1938
November 10, 2000 interview

One Response

  • Coy Bays says:

    The photo posted of Anthony “Little Tony” Bisceglia and Floyd Ball IS NOT Floyd Ball of Middlesboro. I have stated this numerous times where this photo has been posted. I have no idea who is seated in the barber’s chair but I know without a doubt it is not William Floyd Ball of Middlesboro.

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The largest open surface granite quarry in the world

Posted by Dave Tabler | November 9, 2016

“The principal outcrops of granite in Surry County are found in the northern part of the county near the Virginia line in the vicinity of Mount Airy, the county seat. The granite is exposed in flat surfaced masses in rather an advanced stage of decay immediately to the north and south of Mount Airy where quarrying on an extensive scale has been conducted for some years.

“The North Carolina Granite Corporation’s Mount Airy quarries, located less than 1 mile northeast of Mount Airy, were opened in 1889, and the first shipment of stone from them was made in July 1890. The total shipment of granite from these quarries from 1890, when 135 carloads were shipped, to 1904 when 1,282 carloads were shipped, was 13,232 carloads.

North Carolina Granite Corporation, Mt Airy NC

“Quarrying is confined to a 40 acre tract of continuously exposed granite over the slope and top of a long hill which rises about 125 feet above the valley bottom. The company holds more than 1,200 acres additional of ground over which granite is exposed.

“Quarrying has extended over practically the entire 40 acre tract, the greatest depth of working being about 30 feet. The rock is a biotite granite of very light gray, nearly white color and medium grain. The biotite is not, except in one opening, equally distributed through the granite, but is entirely absent from some parts of it, is uniformly distributed through others, and shows a marked tendency to segregation in still other parts.

“Quartz feldspar areas of extreme whiteness, ranging from several inches to as many feet in diameter, in which biotite is entirely lacking or represented by only a few shreds, are common through the granite.

“This unequal distribution of the characterizing accessory (biotite) renders the granite in places less uniform in color than might be desirable for some purposes. The granite that has a uniform color is most pleasing in appearance and forms excellent and desirable stone for all uses except for monumental stock, for which the contrast of color between the cut and polished faces is not great enough.

“The company is adequately equipped with all the necessary machinery and appliances for quarrying and handling the stone. In 1905 a large stone cutting plant was erected. The stone is carried from the quarries to the railway cars by a system of inclined ways run by gravity. The limit in size of dimension stone is the capacity of the railroad cars. Blocks weighing 20 tons are reported to have been frequently shipped from the quarries.

North Carolina Granite Corporation, Mt Airy NC“The product is marketed over a large territory, chiefly in States south of New York. It is used for general building and paving purposes. The quarry waste is utilized for roofs on cotton mills, macadam on streets and roads, ballast along the railroads, and granolithic work.

“All the stone used in the dry dock at Newport News, VA and the concreting material used in the Fort Caswell fortifications, Cape Fear River, NC, came from the Mount Airy quarries.

“The method of quarrying the granite consists in drilling a hole about 3 inches in diameter perpendicular to the surface to a depth equal to the thickness of the stone desired, usually 5 to 7 feet, then firing a succession of light blasts.

“The operation is begun by discharging about one fourth of a pound of dynamite in the bottom of the hole; this small charge pulverizes the stone slightly and forms a small chamber. The tamping is then cleaned out and hole is recharged in the same manner; this time however, with about a handful of powder.

“Small charges of powder are exploded in the hole until a small seam has been started at the bottom extending parallel with the surface. To determine if this has been done a small steel rod bent at the lower end and sharpened to a point is passed up and down the hole until the crack is located. After the crack has once been started the charges are gradually increased until it extends a distance of 75 feet or more from the hole.

North Carolina Granite Corporation, Mt Airy NC

Aerial view of the North Carolina Granite Quarry, Mt Airy, NC.

“The use of explosives is then discontinued, and a watertight connection to the hole is made by fastening a piece of iron pipe in the hole with melted sulphur. To this connection is attached an ordinary force pump and water is pumped into the crevice formed by the explosives. The crevice is extended by continuous pumping for a few hours until finally it covers an area of perhaps 2 acres and the pressure finds vent by tearing the rock out to thin edges on the side of the hill.

“This method is used in the warmest weather when the surface of the rock is naturally somewhat expanded and more raised. It is very doubtful whether it could be employed during cold weather; experience shows that the hotter the weather the easier the work.

“Sheets of stone covering areas of 1 to 2 acres from 6 to 8 feet thick close to the hole are easily raised by this method. It is often found necessary to clean off a ledge of stone made in this manner before attempting to form or raise another sheet on the surface below. For this reason the quarry covers considerably more area than one having natural seams —horizontal sheeting.”

source: ‘Granites of Southeastern Atlantic States,’ in Bulletin – United States Geological Survey, Issue 426, 1910, pp. 148-151

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