H. C. Beatty’s Early Years
By Reno Bailey
He was the son of farmers, William D. and Florence Beatty, who, in the 1900 census lived near Catawba Springs, North Carolina, in Lincoln County. Harley Connell Beatty was born on July 23, 1903, and grew up on the family’s farm near Lucia, in Gaston County’s River Bend Township just north of Charlotte. In the census taken in January of 1920, when Harley was 16 years old, he had four sisters: Effie, 29; Janie, 19; Lorene, 10; and Louise, 7. There were three brothers: Torrence, 26; Erson, 24; and Griffin, 3 1/2.
Harley finished high school and must have attended college for a time, for, at age 21 he began teaching. On September 19, 1925, in the Lucia (pronounced LOOSH’-UH) news column in the Gastonia Gazette, it was announced that “Miss Varra Underwood and Janie Beatty, [and] Mr Harley Beatty are off to Denver where they will teach this year.” (Denver is about 12 miles above Lucia on what is now highway 16.) Then, on November 20, the same paper reported that “Mr. Harley and Miss Janie Beatty, who are teaching at Denver schools, spent the week-end with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Beatty.”
In April 1927, we find—in a mention in the Gazette—that Harley is (back?) in school at UNC: “Mr. Harley Beatty left Sunday afternoon for Chapel Hill where he will resume his studies after spending the Easter holidays with his parents.” Near the end of July he returned home from summer school.
He must have finished college that summer, and began teaching in the fall for he came home that Thanksgiving—from Cliffside. “Mr. Harley Beatty, of Cliffside, and Miss Jane Beatty, of Dixie, spent the Thanksgiving holidays…”
Three years later, as reported in the 1930 census, he was 26 and a boarder in Lander and Ollie Pruette’s house on Main Street in Cliffside, along with Charles Denson, who was school principal, and Fred Barkley. Living at home with Lander and Ollie were their children, Pamelia, 34, Ferne, 19, Hannah, 12, and Max, 11.
Mr. Beatty died on April 5, 1975, six years after retirement. He is buried in Cleveland Memorial Cemetery beside his wife Margaret Torrence Beatty.