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The history of Oakley 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Sheilah Jastrzebski May 16.

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Award-winning novelist captures fleeting youthby Rob NeufeldAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad: HarperCollins, Aug. 9, 2016)            The amazing, unusual thing about Jacqueline Woodson’s new novel, “Another Brooklyn,” I realize as it sinks in, is that the initial mystery—that is, why the narrator can’t…See More
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A rare interview, a story about an acid plant

A worker’s view of tannery work in Rosmanby Rob Neufeld             Haskell Luker was 11 when the Flood of 1916 caused his dad, Americus Alfred Luker, to leave the farm where he worked and take a job with an acid (tannin) plant in Pisgah Forest.             “Daddy was going down there to make big…See More
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Interview with Chitra Divakaruni about Before We Visit the Goddess

A talk with Chitra about her benediction of a novelby Rob Neufeld             Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, one of our country’s most engaging and inventive novelists, first came to this region six years ago for Western Carolina University’s Spring Literary Festival.  That’s when I got to know her and began…See More
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Gary Carden's Outlander--about Kephart--at UNCA July 31--with author

Is Carden's Kephart play controversial?Gary Carden's play, "Outlander," receives a "staged reading" in the Reuter Center, UNC Asheville, 2 p.m., Sun., July 31.  Carden will be on hand to discuss the play with the audience.  It is a controversial play in that it has been criticized by the descendants of Horace Kephart who felt that the play "demeaned" Kephart.  "Ironically," Carden says, "my original purpose in writing the play was to 'redeem' Kephart. who has often been denounced by the…See More
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Bring Back the Game

BRING BACK THE GAME     Anna and I basically spent a month in Asheville, NC this summer. We returned to Georgia a few days ago, and while we were glad to get home, as we got out of the car, we were met with the suffocating heat that I still have not become acclimated to even though we have lived in Middle Georgia for over 30 years. Every plant in our backyard had dried up and only the belligerent squirrels had survived the summer’s inferno.      We had a great time in Asheville. We visited our…See More
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Amy Ammons Garza to Present Her Memoir at City Lights Bookstore

August 6, 2016 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Amy Garza will be presenting her new memoir, Appalachian Storyteller in a Feed Sack Dress, at City Lights Bookstore onSaturday, August 6th at 3 p.m. Follow Amy as she tells the story of her life as she lived it, each chapter being a story in itself. These are the compelling stories of a mountain girl who found the courage she needed in her life to listen and retell the stories of her family and heritage.  Amy Garza was born and raised in Western North Carolina, which leads her into her many…See More
Jul 16

2nd Amendment protects need for militias? How has that worked?

Armed citizen conflicts included rash acts in WNC

by Rob Neufeld

 

            A member of “The Read on WNC” has linked me to a YouTube video, “The Battle of Athens: Restoring the Rule of Law,” which he says is “the real reason why we have the 2nd Amendment.”

            The video re-enacts the illegal seizure of ballot boxes by a McMinn County, Tenn. political boss who wanted to avoid losing the race for sheriff in 1946; and the reclamation of those boxes by returning war veterans by force of arms.

            In the wake of the most recent mass shootings, and the strengthened call for gun control, the militia justification for personal arsenals has gained prominence.  Though the 2d Amendment protects arms ownership because “a well regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free state,” the concept of a militia has been expanded to any insurrectionist group opposing an oppressive government.

            Two test questions arise.  How oppressive does a government have to get for armed resistance to be justified?  And, do supporters of militias support the right of all oppressed groups to go to war against those whom they see as oppressors?

            Collateral consequences of an armed citizenship are not the subject of this article.  It should be noted, however that, in the “Battle of Athens” movie, the warfare is caused in part by two irresponsible weapons discharges—first the shooting of a poll watcher by an overanxious deputy; and then a premature firing on the county jail, where the lawmen are holed up.  The movie does not show the brutality and murders caused by an anti-government mob that the veterans could not control after deputies had surrendered.

            History is the subject of this article.  Examples of citizen-at-arms in the region help to broaden the subject.

           

The Regulator Movement

 

            Many ancestors of Western North Carolinians opposed the state colonial governors in the 1760s and 70s when tax and debt collectors pulled the kind of greedy tricks that Robin Hood had opposed going up against the Sheriff of Nottingham.  The farmers in what had then been known as the western counties (Rowan, Anson, Orange, Granville) formed the Regulator Movement.

            In 1768, the Regulators sacked Hillsborough, and symbolically put human waste on the judge’s seat and a long-dead slave at the lawyer’s bar in the courthouse.  Eastern politicians summoned the militia. 

            The conflict came to head at the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771, when the state’s well-regulated militia overwhelmed the Regulators’ not well-regulated one.  Each side suffered about nine deaths.  Seven Regulator leaders were executed; the rest, pardoned.

           

Polling day in Marshall

 

            In Madison County, when people were voting throughout North Carolina for or against secession on May 13, 1861, the Sheriff got drunk, bullied Unionists, and brandished a gun, writes William R. Trotter in “Bushwhackers.”  “Huzzah for Jeff Davis!” was met by cries of “Hurrah for Washington and the Union!” 

             The sheriff shot at one Unionist, who dove away, and the Unionist’s son was killed.  The sheriff ran to the second floor of a house, and said, bring it on.  The Unionist fired and wounded the sheriff.  The constable raced up the stairs, followed by the father, who pushed past the constable and finished the sheriff off. 

 

The Kirk-Holden police action

 

            In June 1870, the Republican governor, William Holden, commissioned Col. George Kirk, the notorious Civil War guerilla raider, to lead a militia unit, composed of WNC and East Tennessee men, to take over the town of Yanceyville in the wake of Klan violence (including an assassination and a lynching) against Reconstruction officials.  Asheville Republican leaders opposed Kirk’s appointment.

            Kirk arrested suspected Klan conspirators in fields and homes, ignoring habeas corpus.  When Holden heard that Kirk had tortured one man for information, he wrote Kirk forbidding such action.  The Federal government eventually enforced habeas corpus, freeing most prisoners.  Holden was impeached on Dec. 14, 1870; and removed from office, March 22, 1871.  The Republicans lost power for many years.

 

Shoot-out at Highlands Inn

 

            In 1885, the town of Moccasin, Ga. declared war on Highlands, N.C. when a Federal revenuer impounded two Moccasin bootleggers in the Highlands House (now Inn).  Armed volunteers from Moccasin bivouacked behind the Central House across the street, and warfare proceeded for three days.  A Highlands sniper killed a Georgia man from a roof, and the Georgians went home, vowing revenge.

            Highlands recruited gunmen from surrounding towns.  Moccasin responded by cutting off the trade route.  Joel Lovin, a Confederate veteran, left Highlands to resolve the stand-off and came upon the Billingsley boys in Georgia, who passed without incident.  “Uncle Lovin returned with supplies from Walhalla,” Randolph Shaffner writes in “Heart of the Blue Ridge.”

 

The Will Harris murders

 

            On Nov. 13, 1906,  Will Harris, an African American war veteran and Asheville worker, killed five men around Pack Square, fled, and was killed by a posse in a barrage of bullets.  His body was displayed in a South Main St. (now Biltmore Ave.) funeral home window.

 

Violence against African-Americans in Spruce Pine

 

            On September 26, 1923, 200 white citizens of Spruce Pine, led by a sheriff’s deputy, marched to the feldspar miners’ shanty town to evict every black citizen from the area.  News had spread that John Goss, an African-American, had escaped from a prison road crew at about the time that a 75-year old white woman reported having been raped.

            Governor Cameron Morrison called in the National Guard to enable the return of African-Americans.  African-American labor was essential to the area’s booming new industry.  Goss was sentenced in a rushed trial and executed.

 

The Marion textile mill strike

 

            ‘’For God’s sake, stop, men.  Don’t kill any more,” “Time” magazine reported McDowell County Sheriff Oscar F. Adkins shouting as his deputies shot strikers at the Marion Mill on Oct. 2, 1929, killing six. 

            Brutal conditions at the mill had led workers to engage the United Textile Workers; and they were joined by Clinchfield millworkers.  Negotiations fell apart when Clinchfield president B. Mabry Hart walked out.

            Adkins deputized anti-union factory workers, including one who had gone on a shooting rampage against factory workers in their village, Mike Lawing reported in his book, “The Marion Massacre.”

            The deputies had rifles; the workers, sticks and stones.  The first shots came from the mill gate, where deputies were stationed.  In the end, the lawmen were acquitted and union organizing did not return to Marion.

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