The principal of this sad story is Eva Madora Haynes, daughter of Charles Hodge and Sara Walker Haynes, and an older sister of Raleigh Rutherford Haynes, who was to become one of the south’s great textile tycoons.
Eva had three other brothers, named Wayne, John and Perry, and three sisters, Letitia, Cordova and Jennie. She was born in 1848 in Ferry, a community west of Cliffside, where she lived all but the last months of her life. In case you don’t know exactly where Ferry is, or was, the Haynes’ lived just a mile or two southeast of the site of present-day Chase High School, and about the same distance from Floyd’s Creek Church, a fact that becomes pertinent at the end of the story.
Eva led a mostly quiet life in Ferry in the house with Raleigh, his family, and their widowed mother, and for most of her adult years had an on-again off-again courtship with a man named Holloway Wall. Over the decades they would be apart for long periods, sometimes years at a time. But, finally, in or around her 40th year, after Holloway had made another particularly persuasive proposal, she consented to marry him. It was a supremely tragic decision.
In her last years she saw her brother Raleigh become a successful store owner, then builder of the town and mill of Henrietta. It’s unlikely she ever heard the word “Cliffside,” a town and a dream that didn’t exist until after her untimely death.
In the early 1890s there was a popular magazine, The Lyceum, published bi-monthly in Asheville, N. C. In 1892, over a year after the shocking events of Dec. 3, 1890, the magazine serialized, over three editions, a long and detailed version of Eva’s and Holloway’s trials and troubles. The tale is told in flowery prose, with the melodrama of the Victorian era, when villains were hissed and all heroines were graced with incomparable beauty. So it’s hard to imagine these events happening to actual Rutherford county people. It’s a long read, but you won’t want to put it down.
Here’s the story (with additional photographs) in PDF format, and, if interested, you can view an image of Eva and Holloway’s actual marriage license issued on October 8, 1889. There is some discrepancy about Eva’s age. On the license she is listed as age 30. However her birth year was 1848, which would make her about 41 years old.
The incident was a sensation. A murder/suicide must have been unusual for the time, for news of it traveled near and far. Eva was buried in the graveyard at Floyd’s Creek Church near her sister Cordova. Not surprisingly, her tombstone bears the name Eva Haynes, not Eva Wall. The family obviously chose not to have her carry her murderer’s name through eternity.
Speculation endures that Holloway purposely went to Floyd’s Creek Church and killed himself on the church steps, to ensure that he would be buried near Eva. That was not to be. He lies in an unmarked grave at Race Path Church, at Six Points, near his father.
Wayne Haynes, Eva’s brother, who took her in when she returned from Colorado, lived the rest of his life in the house where the tragedy occurred. In 1903 Wayne and his wife Mary Craite Wall bore a son named Myles, who later became the cashier of Cliffside Mills.
As for Eva’s little infant Samuel, Wayne and Mary raised him as their own child, with Eva’s surname. He grew up to be the man we knew as Sam Haynes, a well-known figure in Cliffside and Rutherford county.
Sam wed Elsie Etta Pruette. Born to them were John Clarence, Evie Lee, Mary Willie, Minnie Sue, Annie Mae, William Wayne and Betty Ruth Haynes.
Wayne was 63 when he died in 1923. He and Craite, who outlived him by 10 years, are buried at High Shoals Church. Samuel Edgar Haynes, the sickly infant born in Colorado, not expected to survive, lived 91 years, until 1981.
The Raleigh Haynes Home on Ferry Road
Contributing to this story: Myles Haynes, Jr., Hazel Haynes Bridges, Betty Haynes Lyles; Lyceum Magazine provided by Myles Haynes, Jr.; gravestone photo by Reno Bailey; other photos from Hazel Haynes Bridges Collection.