REFLECTIONS - PAGE 3
February 20, 1967
I have had a few close calls in my lifetime; here are some of them:
The first one was just after I was born. I cound not nurse my Mother's
breast to get my food. (Trouble, Cleft pallet.) So they liked to have let me
perish to death before they found the trouble.
Then I was helping my father dig a foundation to put in a bridge across a
prong of the Sandy Run Creek, this side of where Ralph Padget lives now. We
had just dug down for the foundation, about 10 ft. deep. All had just got out
except me, and the sand walls caved in on me covering me up head and ears. I
happened to be in an upright position and the rest of the workers began to rake
the sand off of my head, but I had a shock. My heart was fluttering pretty
bad. I went to Dr. Lee. He put a tape around my body. I was very sore for a
while, but I had been buried alive.
I believe the next time I came to nearly passing out was when we made
about 1000 bushels of wheat one year and stored it in Edna'a potato house that
was empty at that time of year. I went in to spray to kill insects. I opened
both doors, one at either end and put a clean coth over my nose and mouth.
Then I sprayed down one side to the other end. Then I shut that door and
sprayed back to the other end, and I had to spray behind the other door. So I
pushed the door shut so I could spray behind it. All I remember I became sick
and vomited all over the floor after sitting down on a bag of wheat. I was easy
then. I ought to have opened the door and got out in the air, but I didn't.
Edna was going up to Morganton (she and Eugene) in a few minutes, but she
knew I had been down there a right good time, and she said to Eugene that he
had better check on me before they left. If she had not seen after me I would
have passed on. I do remember hearing Eugene call me, so he opened the door
and got me out. He wanted to bring me home, but I felt better and thought I
could drive home, and did, but I got sick again, so they took me to the Clinic,
now Royster Memorial Hospital.
So the fourth time, I went near where I was born, to an old house place
where a chimney still stood with a mattock, to dig under the edge of the
chimney to let it fall. It did. Some brick fell on my head amd knocked me
over. I happened to fall the right way to keep from all of it to fall on me.
It covered me up all but head and ears. I was knocked out a few seconds, but I
finally came to myself and began to get some of the brick and rocks off of my
arms and body and legs and got up and walked home but could not step up on the
steps on the South side of the house. Then they took me to the Hospital again.
Now the fifth time was up at the railroad when the train liked to have got
me and your mama. There were holes wore out in between the tracks and I killed
my motor. When I ran in slow crossing the railroad, the train came very near
to getting us.
Then I was driving the Ford Tractor, harrowing the garden. I went to go
up the hill toward the road. It began to rare up, so I quit putting the gas to
it, as it would have rared up and fell over on me. I am thankful the Lord did
not permit me to go at some of these times, but he has let me live to be in my
87th year. I hope that I will not have a wreck on the road when I am in the
car that I still drive anywhere around home, and off some.
April 6, 1967
About seventy years ago Papa & Uncle Chaunce Washburn contracted to move an electric
motor and its base from Patterson Station to Stices Shoal down on First Broad River
about three or four miles distance, for Major Shench. The motor was to furnish the Lily Mill
Papa got a wagon out of Charlotte to haul it on. We had to have twelve mules to pull each
load with The base was heavier than the motor. We had no hard surface roads then,
not even sand clay roads.
Maynard & myself was with them to look after the mules. Later on I got the job to dig under
Bell's store. I had to knock out the brick on the west side of the building, that Toy Stockton had
built several years before John Bell bought it, so we could get some of the dirt out the way
and we finally got the mules and a Ford tractor in. I got Dufaye [Bridges] in to help drive the Ford.
I had fifty cents or one dollar charged up for Spurt money. Dufaye wanted to know what
that was for. I told him I promised BoBo and the rest of the Negros, to give them a dope if we got done that
evening. I got more work out of them.
Papa got the magnolia trees set out around the church about 1920 or 1921. He kept them watered
the first year so they would live. I got an idea to set our creap mertels, dogwoods, and so forth on
each side of the road from Robert Blanton's to the church land.
The Boys Scouts and Robert Blanton helped me do this and I kept them watered the first year so they would
live. We set them about thirty one feet from the road. So I got leave from Bate Blanton and John
Williamson to put them on their land rather than to put them on the right way of the road. I have
[been] trying to look after them up to now. I cup the creap mertels back in 1966.
I got up the pictures of all the pastors that ever served at Double Springs Baptist Church
except the first three, back before 1850. One of these thought it was not right to have his picture made.
I remembered seeing one of these men. I got up the pictures of the first trustees of the old Boiling
Springs Denominational High School, now Gardner-Webb College. One of these men was setting in a crowd,
hat on and coat off. I had his hat taken off and coat put on. That was Little Dave
Harrill of Sandy Run Association.
Social, Political or Business Side of Life
Though I was born with an unfortunat handicap in my speech, my parents sent me to school
like other children. The teachers respected me as much as to let me be in the programs
like dialogue, etc.
In 1896 my parents sent me to Charlotte to have a plate made for my cleft pallet. I stayed
a week to have compressions of the roof of my mouth. I stayed in a rooming house run
by a Mr. Jimmie Wray. I slept upstairs with a half dozen other men. When I went to bed
I put what little money I had in my sock and put my sock in my shirt breast on the inside.
I done this secretly.
Charlotte did not claim but 20,000 people at that time. now up toward 250,000. That don't seem
reasonable in a short lifetime.
I wore the plate about three months. It was very uncomfortable to wear. It did not seem to
help my speech and I quit using it. I never have thought that I was any better than our
My father and uncles run a sawmill down between Stoney Point and Oak Grove Church and Jessie
Hamrick and myself would not come home every week-end. We stayed and went to Sunday School and
preaching. The most of the time we would come home every two or three months. The other boys
would come home most every week and spend a good bit of the money they had made that week
as they come through Shelby.
Oak Grove Church was organized in 1897, and we sawmilled down there in 1901. I was making 50 cents
a day and my board - not an hour.
Some of the members asked me to be the Superintendent down there. I refused him. I felt like it would
be better for the work for me not to do that and especially in later life, I have always
enjoyed feeling that my associates and pals felt that I was useful in the affairs of life.
I was put on the School Board up at Double Springs while we still had school here over on this side
of the branch, about where the Sexton's house is located. Then Double Springs, Sandy Plains,
Padgetts, Pleasant Ridge, Beaver Dam, and I believe, Rehobeth consolidated with Lattimore.
Then I served on the Board there for 10 or 12 years while Prof. Lawton Blanton was Principal.
Then Mr. Chivus C. Padgett became principal about 1945, after I served on the Board under
The students would invite the Board to be at their Jr.-Sr. Banquet over there. We were a stag
bunch and the boy students would sit by a girl friend, so I asked before they had another banquet that
they, the students, ask us Board Members to bring our wives with us next time. I knew
our wives had to get us ready to go to the banquet, and they went and enjoyed it. They are
still doing it, I understand. That is, the wives of the ones that serve now.
YESTERYEAR in CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC
PAGE 4 - REFLECTIONS OF JOE C. WASHBURN