Life Story of the Late Raleigh R. Haynes (continued)
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The eight children left by C. H. Haynes when he died at the age of 35 were in the order of their ages: Letitia, now Mrs. Carpenter of Rutherfordton; Eva, now dead, who married Holloway Wall of Rutherford County; Cordova, now living, who married Gaither Kennedy, a farmer now at Ferry; Raleigh Rutherford; Wayne, who farms at Ferry; John who died 19 years ago; Perry, who died about eight or nine years ago; Jennie, who is dead, the wife of Robert Kennedy, who lived near Charlotte.
“Here then was Raleigh Haynes, just eight, the oldest boy among eight children, his father just dead. The great struggle of his life was now begun. He had to change from boy to man overnight.”
Here then was Raleigh Haynes, just eight, the oldest boy among eight children, his father just dead. The great struggle of his life was now begun. He had to change from boy to man overnight. The same mysterious hand that had stilled the heart of the breadwinner of the bairns had, however, with a single sweep strengthened the heart of the lad, Raleigh, towards the unguessed achievements, of his own making, that were before him.
This is what might have been called the second period of his career—that period that rarely comes until after manhood.
Now let S. Collis Padgett speak. Mr. Padgett lives in a simple farmhouse two miles from Cliffside, his wife lately dead, with an unmarried daughter to care for him. He is a man of simplicity and kindness, which breaks into tenderness when he speaks of his friend “Raleigh,” as he still calls him. About 70 years of age, he has known Mr. Haynes since their childhood.
“When his father died,” said Mr. Padgett, “Raleigh was about eight years old, and he didn’t even know how to lay out a corn row, but he learned.” The old man stopped, overcome for the moment by his emotion. “I’m timid,” he said resuming. “I’m tender-hearted. I can’t talk like I want to—I wish I could.” Then his voice broke again and his eyes filled with tears. “Yes, I remember as how Raleigh took charge of things at the farm then, and looked out for the rest of the children until he got nearly grown. Then he went to Union County, South Carolina, to farm cotton. I remember he went first to Cleveland County to buy a mule colt to take with him, and he bought him ‘on time.’ He stayed down there two years before he came back to Ferry and saved up some money. He took one of his brothers with him. When he got back, he started a store at Ferry and a saw mill and farmed and his son, Walter, is running it yet.”
In the afternoon shadows
Last Summer Mr. Haynes was taken to Rutherfordton Hospital, dangerously ill. He returned to Cliffside in the Fall still weak. “Last Fall,” continued Mr. Padgett, “I went up to see him: he came to the door and handed me in. He said ‘Collis, do you feel stout?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, then,’ he said, ‘pick up that back log and those two other pieces and start up the fire.’ Now he said, ‘we can talk.’” His feelings overcame him again. “Then Raleigh said to me, ‘Collis, if you had just asked how I was I would have appreciated it, but your coming to see me was a grand thing.’” Then, turning to me, he said, “you can take down such as that if you want to.”
“Two years ago I picked a peck of my best peaches from the orchard, and carried them to him, as most things except fruit disagree with his digestion. One day he passed me in his automobile and stopped and said: ‘Collis, those peaches were the finest I ever ate—I just wanted to thank you—that’s all.’ And he drove on. That’s the kind of man he was.”
“When the checks come from Rutherfordton for the teachers’ pay … Raleigh used always to put in some extra money in each envelope.”
Speaking of the high school that Mr. Haynes had established at Cliffside cotton mill village, Mr. Padgett said: “When the checks come from Rutherfordton for the teachers’ pay, when one of my daughters was a teacher, Raleigh used always to put in some extra money in each envelope. Then he would get a whole train and take all the children free to the county commencement at Rutherfordton.”
Mr. Haynes prospered with his store and other activities at Ferry, but moved to Shelby for a while. At Shelby, he became satisfied that his better interests were at Ferry whither he returned. From that time until his death, the radius of his work did not exceed a half dozen miles from Ferry. He kept reaching out, accumulating by degrees more land—more lumber—then his eye lifted toward the Main Broad River, a few miles away. There was waterpower and lumber and land there, and there were born the Henrietta Cotton Mills, one of the greatest properties of the State.
In 1887, then 36-years of age, Mr. Haynes established Henrietta Mill No. 1. In this enterprise he associated with himself well-to-do men of Charlotte such as J.S. Spencer, Jno. M. Scott, S.B. Tanner and others. Starting with 10,000 spindles, the equipment was increased to 28,000. Henrietta No. 1 was followed during the next few years by the establishment of Henrietta No. 2, the present Caroleen Mill, with 48,000 spindles. Both prospered under the careful hand of the founder, who was, however, only one of the owners of the properties. He had not in the beginning had sufficient capital to go alone, but confidence in his own judgment was never lacking at any time. Yet his interests were multiplying conservatively and with profit. His self-reliance was outstanding now as when he learned at eight years old of age to lay out the cornrows and felt within him [self] the courage to take a man’s part as a breadwinner for those whom his father had left to him as his only legacy.
The boy was father to the man; for it was about this time that the active principles of his nature went far afield toward new endeavor. Not that he had outgrown the limits of the two mill creations which he principally had made possible; for they were making their strong successful way in the world. But the man had the “builder” genius urging him on. He had to go forward. He could not resist any more than Edison could resist the force that enabled him to wrap the human voice around a cylinder. The conception had taken some shape in the mind of Raleigh Haynes not only to build another mill, but also to gather about his restless energies a cohesive, orderly community of women and men. He alone could see the beginnings and far into the future of the possibilities of his dream.