Drury Dobbins Fortune
Uncle Dobb Fortune
It was November 9, 1859. Perhaps the day was cold. Perhaps the day was just a typical cool, biting fall one. Personally I do not know anything about that day in November, but for the fact that it was then that Uncle Dobb Fortune, as he was later known, came into the world. Subsequently he was christened Drury Dobbins, in honor of the great pioneer minister of that name. At that time, Pleasant and Martha Suttle Fortune lived in the little log house, which stands, within sight of the famous Cherry Mountain. The old chestnut trees and the old fish pond and the trees and birds must have been a little gayer and must have sung just a little more sweetly and happily that day as another son was born to Pleasant and Martha Fortune. The neighbors and parents probably did not dream or realize that one of Rutherford County’s esteemed citizens of the tomorrow had been born. Nevertheless, they might have, for to be a member of so illustrious and old a family as of the Fortunes and the Suttles was a background upon which to build a noble, brilliant and remarkable career. However, we of this day know that Uncle Dobb was a man among men. We know that he was one of this section’s most well-known, best liked, and most influential men. We know that there was that characteristic something that placed him in the category of our intellectual individuals. We know that he was loved and respected where he was known. And since last Thursday we have come to realize that we have lost a man – a man we will greatly miss as the years come and go. But – ah – ah-our beloved friend is gone to his Happy Hunting Ground, for which we ought to be glad, though we hated to give him up.
As the youngster grew older he played beneath the spreading chestnut tree, upon the banks of the fish pond and among the birds and trees upon the bulging sides of old Cherry Mountain.
When the days of temptation and trial swept over the dear old Southland he, as a young lad, watched his dear father march away to war with the boys of the Gray. Some years later he saw that dad of his, worn and ragged and wounded, get off his horse in front of the little mountain cabin. He saw his mother get the stocking filled with gold from its niche in the wall and try to pay the Yankee soldiers who had brought his father from Charlotte town. He saw them gallantly and nonchalantly refuse it. He heard them utter these words, “My dear lady, we have only done our duty! May God bless you”. A few years later, he saw older brothers ride into the blackness of the night in their efforts to help put down outrageous and terrible deeds that were being committed by the scum of the western district. Later he watched his mother leave for the old jail in Rutherfordton where his older brothers were in jail. It could have been that he helped her secret the fork in the pie, with which his brothers made the famous jail break. Of course, he dreamed and wished that he, too, could ride forth and away into the wilds of other states to escape the oppression of the law, as his brothers were having to do, as all red blooded boys do.
At last he was a grown young man, and he took Buenahilda Hollifield unto himself as a mate with whom he sought to brave the battles of life. Years later the grim reaper entered their happy little home and took that helpmate away, leaving behind some fine, upstanding material, which in later years were to make the heart of the father palpitate with joy. And Uncle Dobb loved and cherished his children: Mrs. A. P. Troutman, of near Charlotte, Colon, of Collinswood, N. J. , Howard of Brooklyn, N. Y., Victor, of Cliffside, Guy, of Shelby, and Mrs. Grover Haynes, of Cliffside, with all the fondness of a proud father. And his children of his second marriage Eugene and Irene were loved as much as the others, as were his two step-children, and Aunt Johnnie, his second wife, who survives, was the very best and nearest to his heart.
But getting back to that career, Uncle Dobb, was for more than a quarter of a century associated with the Cliffside Mill Company, where he met and made many friends. Furthermore, in the early twenties he served as a commissioner in the county of Rutherford, his home county for which he would have fought any day, time, minute, or hour. Shortly after that he retired to his little cottage, which was the building in which he went to school when in his youth, where he passed the time away chatting with Aunt Johnnie, listening to Grady Cole, his favorite radio speaker, and penning articles for the Courier. He always headed the articles with the caption, “Found in the Black Forest.” Even before that he was frequent contributor to the Observer.
So life went on for Uncle Dobb until one week ago, at which time he complained of pains piercing his side. On Wednesday morning he told aunt Johnnie that he believed he would step down to the store and get some medicine for the pain. He had returned and was chatting with his rural carrier when that hand over which he had no control seized him with vicious grip. His heart stopped functioning and his soul went back from whence it came before he could be carried to his room. The old mountain looked serenely, gigantically, the birds sang, the brooks trickled on, the cedars moved with a slight lullaby, oak leaves tumbled to earth, the cold north wind came sweeping over the hills, motor cars sped over the top of Piney Mountain, silent groups of people, from far and near, stood upon the terrain, but there was something in the air that created the thing we call sadness. A dear one, beloved and almost worshipped, was there no more. The piano threw its music throughout the echoing walls, the still, white face within the walls of the gray casket did not move, the melodious voices of the assembled choir sounded softly, the poetic words of Rev. Hunnicutt came forth like a whip-poor-will in the night, but he to whom the respect was meant was not there to hear it. He had gone to another clime, to another shore, where there is neither sorrow nor remorse. Adios, Uncle Dobb.
D. D. Fortune is buried in High Shoals Cemetery.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.
Clipping and photos from Hazel Haynes Bridges Collection