Another thing I remember about the town hall. Lieutenant Caldwell, who was Mr. Haynes’ son-in-law, had married Virginia, the youngest child of the family, had been to World War I. He came back and spoke on his being in France and it was just really astounding to us to hear him tell about the things that had taken place in World War I.
Another thing, I mentioned the ice cream and oyster suppers. A lot of those were held by some of the church organizations to make money. I don’t remember the price of the oyster stew or the ice cream, but I am sure that it was very minimal compared to prices today. One of the funny things that did happen once was at one of the oyster suppers. This young man was in my senior class in high school. He was a very popular young man; his daddy had given him a big, pretty Buick to drive, but he was not “too quick on the trigger!” So far as being a good student and a smart student, he was not too much that either. At any rate, he was going with this girl who lived just outside of Cliffside—Aileen Robinson. One other young man was going with her sister Betty, so they carried their girls to the oyster stew. When the waitress came around and asked for the order, she asked “whole stew” or “half stew.” Aileen was very precise in her grammar; she said, “Oh, it is just immaterial to me.” And Broadus, who was her escort, spoke up and said, “I’ll take that kind, too.”
Later on, Mr. Raleigh Haynes realized there was a larger need for the social affairs. He planned to build the R. R. Haynes Memorial Building. Unfortunately, he died before this building was erected, but his son Mr. Charlie Haynes went ahead with those plans and a beautiful, three-storied memorial building was erected. On top of this building was placed the town clock, which has stood for years as a sentinel to the people of Cliffside.
In this building, there was a library, game rooms, room for basketball games-you could stand in the rotunda and watch the games as they were going on. Upstairs, there were rooms for civic meetings and also some bedrooms that could be rented. Many times when guests came to Cliffside to spend the night, they were put in those bedrooms, and so many times, they have told they could not sleep because of the town clock, which chimed every fifteen minutes. They weren’t accustomed to that noise. There were also kitchens, every type of kitchen equipment, other rooms for organizational meetings, civic meetings. In that day, it was just a most unusual building. In one section of the building, there was a theater. A little later, I will tell you about a little boy who worked in that theater and, at that time, said to himself, “When I grow up, I am going to be a movie director,” and that little boy has seen that dream accomplished.
There was a skating rink in a building back of the company store. There was a shoe shop, a photographer’s shop, and a furniture store. There were cotton gins; people brought their cotton to be ginned. The picture of all the wagons, horse-drawn or mule-drawn, standing around with the cotton really takes you back many, many years ago. There was a restaurant down in the memorial building, beauty shops, barbershops, just everything was provided for the people that they really needed. Oh, yes, there was a service station, a car agency for selling cars after they came into the picture. There was a bank; I have seen four bank buildings. The first building, or the first bank room, you might say, and it was named The Haynes Bank, was opened in the section where the mill office had been built. Then, it was moved into the building where the department store, drug store, and the town hall were located. A little later it was moved on up the street and a new building was built. Then, just a few years ago, still another beautiful, modern building with much decorative stone has been built.
I have seen four post offices. The first was just a small house and the first postmistress I remember was Miss Eva Long, but she had a predecessor who was Mrs. Grover Haynes. (She was Miss Ina Fortune and married Grover Haynes, the youngest son of Mr. Raleigh Haynes. She was the mother of my sister-in-law, Hazel Haynes Bridges.) A little bit later, a room was taken in the mill office building for a post office. Still later, another addition to that mill office was built and that was the post office. Miss Pamela Pruette followed Mrs. Haynes, but Mrs. Haynes resumed the postmistress role during World War II.
The fourth post office is a very modern structure and it was built in the 60’s, I believe. At any rate, I was asked to write the dedication hymn for the dedication for this building. I wrote this hymn and I received several letters of appreciation-from the Postmaster General, the Representative of our district, from the postmaster, and I cannot remember the others right now. But, it was a special privilege for me to be asked to do this.
Mr. Raleigh Haynes built a beautiful old home upon a knoll. It was the old ancestral home, which remained there until the 60’s, I think, when the town of Cliffside was evacuated. Most of the houses were torn down and so was this beautiful, old, ancestral home. There were many happy days spent in this home and Mr. Haynes had reared his children almost on his own because their mother had passed away at an early age, leaving these children-eight of them-without a mother. Not too long after that, he married the second time. Oh, and let me tell you, his first wife was Amanda Carpenter, and she was a first cousin of my paternal grandmother. My grandmother was Esther Priscilla Harrill and both of their mothers were Suttles—they were sisters. Mr. Haynes’ second marriage was to Litia Kelly, and she did not live very long either.
So he still had the responsibility of rearing his children. He quite often sat down and wrote letters of encouragement to them. Those letters were preserved and they are published in the Raleigh Rutherford Haynes book that Mrs. Grover C. Haynes, Sr., a daughter-in-law, wrote. He always gave them good advice and was a very frugal person. One of his philosophies was, “Take care of the nickels and dimes, and the dollars will take care of themselves.”
Mr. Haynes passed away. His health was giving away on him. He had a home in St. Petersburg, Florida that he had purchased for a winter home, and he named it “Avondale.” So he decided to go down there and stay awhile feeling that maybe he could regain his health. Then, on February 6, 1917, Mr. Haynes collapsed in the yard, talking to his youngest son. Dr. Grover Haynes.
(There is one story I would like to interject right here. In the little town of Henrietta, just three miles from Cliffside, one day the news came that Mr. Thomas Edison and Mr. Henry Ford were headed towards Henrietta from Forest City, North Carolina. By the way, Henrietta Mill is the first textile mill in the county and the first one that Mr. R. R. Haynes helped to build. But, they were coming down to explore the iron works on Second Broad River, below where Henrietta Mill was built. Everybody in the surrounding area was truly excited because this was the first car that had ever come into this section! And they were driving in a car. One of my friends, Mattie Whisnant Lovelace, told me that she and her brother Joe Whisnant, who lived about a mile from the intersection where these two famous people were coming, ran barefooted all the way to see these men and to see the first car. I am also told that in Forest City they enclosed the car tracks with a wire fence so people from all the county area could come in and see the tracks made by the first car that had ever traveled through this section.
Now, there is a question as to where, in what house, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford spent the night. One rumor is that they spent the night in the old S.B. Tanner home. S.B. Tanner was president of Henrietta Mill. If this is true, this is the home in which two of my children—Anne and Paula—were born. We are not absolutely sure about it. This house still stands; the other house that is considered in this has been torn away. This is quite an interesting part of the history of that area of Rutherford County.
Another thing that I remember very vividly: As I said before, it was three miles from Cliffside to where the Seaboard Air Line Railway stopped. Well, Mr. Raleigh Haynes conceived the idea of building a railroad to meet this Seaboard Railway. He did this and he bought some engines and some passenger coaches from New York, which had been used up there for overhead railways. The little train was called the “Dummy Train,” that was the nickname for it, but it was actually the Cliffside Railroad. Every Sunday afternoon, the train ran the three miles up to the Seaboard junction—just a little spot, and they ran the passenger train up there. Many people went down, got on this little train, took the three-mile excursion and came back. It was one of the forms of amusement that the people enjoyed and I remember that Mr. Bratch Padgett was the conductor of the train. He had on his full uniform and two of the engineers, I remember, were Fate Cooper and Tobe Jolley.