Photos from the past
My maternal Grandfather James Hinson, originally from Montgomery County N.C. settled in Old Fort. He married Ida Bowman, originally from Johnson City. Her mother was a Cherokee Indian. I guess it was sort of half way between home for the two. He was a preacher during the depression and I have photos of river baptisms and revivals complete with long tables cluttered with "pot luck" dishes under a shade tree. My favorite is of him in a dark pinstriped suit, standing in front of a 1938 Chevrolet sedan. His foot propped up onto the front fender to reveal a "Big shot" persona. Hew was a country boy though and loved "poke salad" greens. I still have family members there today. I was born and raised in Charlotte where most depression era Old Fort "expats" went to work in the cotton industry. My mother married and stayed there. They all found their way back to the mountains though. Some to visit, some to stay for good. Some never left at all.
I remember stories my mother would tell about growing up during the depression. They lived in a one room dirt floor shack in a "holler" somewhere. She said he left one day to go to town and didn't return for six months. One afternoon he came walking down the road with a bunch of bananas and a pineapple in a sack over his shoulder. He had taken a job on a trawler out of Wilmington and transverse the Caribbean archipelago as a deck mate. Yes, she wanted to strangle him but was grateful for how he had went off to make a living for them. As a child I remember seeing the sorrow on my mother's face when after thirty plus years she painstakingly searched on foot and found the little cabin in the woods. It was in ruin and had all but fallen down. She cried for a long time before leaving.
I remember visiting during my childhood. I have fond memories of your town and surrounding areas. Every chance I get I return to visit. I listen for the "Catty Mounts" (cougars) hollering on the mountain at night but I haven't heard one in years. There's allot of people to include naturalists who don't believe cougars still live up in those mountains and are found only in the everglades. How wrong they are.
I remember my grand paw Hinson taking me out onto the porch that overlooked the valley early one morning. He pointed out to show me the mountain across the way had vanished. He knew it was fog that obscured the view but I was told a much more fascinating story of how the Indians had came in the night and taken the mountain away. He assured me they would bring it back and miraculously they always did. Just as soon as the sun would rise and burn off the mist I would stand and wonder just how they did it.
My travels have taken me across the globe several times over. I have seen spectacular things and met interesting people and made friends from all types of cultures. I have lived in four countries in all. I will tell you sincerely that my mind always meanders back to Old Fort. Particularly when I am stressed out or lonesome. There's a certain peacefulness about the place that comforts me. It's a phenomenon that binds me to a simpler time and place that I can't pinpoint. It is truly special and of all I have witnessed, none have been more beautiful. Those who live there day to day surely must take it for granted but those who leave have lasting memories of the place.
Growing up in a large city, particularly one that is sprawling with development and squalor, makes a person long for a place that is not so prone to change. I am returning for a visit this summer. I can't wait.
I came across the Old Fort website while surfing the web and wanted to express my appreciation for the site. Having grown up in Old Fort, it was refreshing to see the site.
Dr. Russell A. Morris, Harvest Hills Church, Burlington, NC
I would like to thank the Operator of the local AMOCO station in your town ,for his help and services ,on Sunday morning, when most businesses were closed. July 21st, we had left Boone ,NC ,after attending a funeral, and were in need of a new tire. A lady in a nearby Party Store got in contact with him for us, and we were able to obtain a new tire from him and continue our trip back to Michigan. In the four days we spent in North Carolina, we never met a more friendlier people. Again , Thank you all. Don & Willie Gies, Bay City, Michigan.
I used to travel between Nashville and the coast of NC. Old Fort was about half way and a beautiful little hamlet to pull off the road and take a break. I am envious of your natural beauty there. We will be up soon for your Friday night pickin'.
My wife and I visited the Old Fort Mountain Music Hall last night and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It's like being a child again and hearing the music and songs of our youth. My wife's Dad was a Baptist preacher there in the early 60's and it was great to find people who had gone to the church her father pastored. It was great fun and we will be back. Thanks much for the TRADITION!
I wanted to come and take a look at my soon to be hometown, well hopefully if all goes well .I think it would be a great idea to have more photo's, show off the beauty of the town and its surrounding area's. Hope to see everyone soon. Bye Denise Hobson England, United Kingdom
Thanks for the great website. My father, who has passed away, was born and raised in Old Fort. I enjoyed reading about the history of his hometown, and hope to visit it someday. Allen Early Denver, CO
My name is Rebecca (Snipes) Thompson. I am the daughter of Orville Cleveland Snipes who was born at Curtis Creek in 1925.My father is the grandson of John Willis, who he tells was the Sheriff at one time. He has a story relating to the Railroad Depot, where his grandfather was shot and killed by a man he had sent to prison. My father remembers the story of two brothers who were sentenced and one vowed to come after the sheriff when he was released. Sheriff Willis went to meet the train when the man was released and was shot on the platform. Dad says he was last in Old Fort many, many years ago and the bullet hole was still in the Depot wall.
I came across your site as I was planning a camping trip for my
family and the folks at
Becky Snipes Thompson