J. L. Webb
Address by Judge J. L. Webb
From The Forest City Courier, June 29, 1922
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I want first to congratulate the people of this good town upon this splendid school building. I have not been here since it was constructed but I was just charmed and delighted when I drove up in front of it and beheld it this evening.
Traveling over the State of North Carolina as a judge, I have heard some lawyers make the remark to the jury that a corporation had no soul. The next one that makes that argument in my court I am going to call him down—I am going to tell him that that is not true; that corporations do have souls and if they don’t believe that corporations have souls, just come to Cliffside and see what the Cliffside Manufacturing Company has done for the people of this section and for the boys and girls of this splendid town. Look at this magnificent building. I have traveled all over North Carolina, and I say to you, without fear of contradiction that I do not know of any building in the State that is more substantially constructed, fire proof, better equipped and better arranged than this magnificent building. This was brought about largely by a corporation. Oh, I understand that the tender care and loving hands of Raleigh Haynes and his sons and daughters had a great deal to do with it because they are large stockholders in the corporation, but still the corporation did this work, and I say I want to congratulate the people. They ought to rejoice that they have such an institution in this county and in this good community.
“’He was a citizen without a wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy; a man without guile.’ Blessed is his memory.”
When Raleigh Haynes was a little boy I was a little boy. He was just a little older little boy than I was. He was born just over here a little piece. I take it that most of you know where he was born and where he lived, just beyond the river; and I was born just a little ways over here about three and a half or four miles on the other side of the river. His mother and his father visited my mother and my father, and my father and my mother visited his father and his mother, and I always went along with them; and Raleigh and I have roamed these hills on a good many occasions when they were beautiful with the forest oak and splendid fishes in the streams and we romped together. I left and went to an adjoining county and Raleigh stayed here and he romped mightily. With all this magnificent plant and beautiful buildings and intelligent people and activity is due largely to him and the people of this community can never forget him.
I learned to love him when he was a boy and I have loved him ever since and loved him up until the time he died.
I am delighted to be here on this splendid occasion and I want to thank those who made it possible for me to be here tonight and mingle with the folks of this, my native county. This is my old home and I will never forget it wherever I go.
I am not going to make a speech; there are just one or two words I want to say. Again, all honor to the Cliffside Manufacturing Company for the erection of this splendid structure, the structure down the hill, in memory of that noble and splendid man, Raleigh Haynes, and all honor to his memory. He had this building in mind before he died.
This is an occasion that will long be remembered, I suppose, by all and especially by the children, of the dedication of the building down the hill so well and conveniently arranged and in memory of one who, if he were here in the flesh, would rejoice in the pleasure and happiness it will bring to the people of this community. I want to place with others a little flower, a little violet, if you please, upon the indestructible mount of memory of Raleigh Haynes that hovers around this building down the hill tonight.
A good many centuries ago a wise and noted man said, “The evils men do live after them, but the good is buried with their bones.” That is not true of Raleigh Haynes. I shall never forget him. He was strong in mind, powerful in character and his splendid intellect especially [in] his business, was most acute. He had a kind and tender heart; he was generous, thoughtful and loving to his family and considerate of all those about him. If I may name what I believed placed Raleigh Haynes in the hearts of all his employees and the people he came in contact with, I would say it was his intense all controlling and all sustaining love for his country, his State and his people and especially those with whom he came in close touch. It was love which unselfishly led him in his every thought and act, which dominated his life, which, indeed was his very life; there never was a moment when that love failed to control and inspire him to serve. He was just, honest, upright and good. He was a man; and when we say that of any man, we say much. He was before his death for many years a benefactor for this county and especially for this community, and he will live always, of course, in the memories of his loved ones and will not. be forgotten by any who knew him; and his splendid virtues will be imitated no doubt by many who did not know him.They will learn of him and revere his memory.
I will not speak of his splendid fine success because there is [a] speaker of the evening to follow me.
This beautiful building down the hill made possible by the generosity of the stockholders and members of the Cliffside Manufacturing Company and especially by his children, will be used by this community with a great deal of pleasure and will stand in everlasting memory of that splendid, noble, generous man, Raleigh Haynes. There are two and a half lines on tonight’s program which to my mind beautifully and impressively describe him. Listen! “He was a citizen without a wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy; a man without guile.” Blessed is his memory.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.