It is told that a bantam hen made her nest somewhere around the engine and hatched little chickens. They let this hen and her little chicks ride back and forth on this train. Also, this little train would bring in all the materials to the mill and, in turn, would take out all of the manufactured products that were to be shipped far and near. So the train really served a good purpose for many years. Believe it or not, this little train still runs. My brother, the late H. Paul Bridges, was president of this little railroad in the last several years.
One of the funny things told about Mr. Haynes and his railroad is that when he had completed his railroad, he sent passes to the large railroads—the Southern, the Seaboard, the C. C. & O, and I don’t know how many—for complimentary rides on his railroad. The officials, in turn, sent him some passes to ride their railroads, so, you see, he got the better end of the bargain!
I want to go back and say just a little bit about Mr. Raleigh Haynes’ funeral, which was held at the Cliffside Baptist Church on February 9, 1917. There were about three thousand people who attended this funeral! The church and school building, which was nearby, both of these buildings could not accommodate all of these people, and a lot of the people had to stand outside. I was just a little girl about nine years of age, but I can remember seeing that black, horse-drawn funeral carriage carrying his body to the church and then over to the cemetery, which stood back of the church. It is all very vivid to me, even today. Mr. Haynes had planned for his funeral, and he had told all the men that he wanted to speak at his service and many wonderful things were said as a tribute to him and the accomplishments during the life that he had lived.
I want to tell a little bit about my own family. My father, Boyce Bridges and my mother, Retter Daves Bridges, moved to Cliffside in the year 1904. My father lived there and worked in the mill for forty years before he passed away. My mother was quite adept in sewing, crocheting, embroidering, making tatting-all types of needlework, and she was constantly busy. Some of the young women who were getting married, were planning their trousseau, came to my mother to do the embroidery that was used back then on the lovely, long petticoats that they wore. She made a lot of centerpieces, as they were called. She did beautiful work. One of these centerpieces she sent to the Rutherford County Fair had bleeding hearts on it, and she won a prize—a beautiful oak rocker—on this centerpiece. They were never people of great wealth; my father worked and provided well for his family. He saw that we all had a good education. Not all of us graduated from college, but we were all well fitted to go out and take our places in society. We were brought up in a Christian home.
I can remember when we would be practicing for our Christmas program at the church. We would have to go at night. Of course, in those days, we had no cars, but my father would always go with me, take me by the hand, take me to the church for the practice. The same thing was true of our school programs, if we had to do any practicing at night. My mother always made a good home for us. We grew up in a happy atmosphere.
My brother, the youngest of the five children, Boyce, Jr. was a fighter pilot in World War II. His plane was shot down over Germany. He landed his plane and got out and was then killed. That was a tragedy for our family and we suffered along with many others who lost their young men of their families during that time.
My sister Wytle, the next youngest, never married. The next sister Inez was twice married. She passed away about six weeks before my husband passed away. She died January 15, 1978. Her second marriage was to E. G. Stewart of Longview, Texas. My older brother, Paul, who was just three years younger than I, was also in World War II, but the Lord let him come home. He became superintendent of Cliffside Mill, later was general manager, and in 1966, he retired from the mill and went into The Haynes Bank and was, for several years, president of that bank until it merged with First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, and then he was vice-president until he retired this past December 198l. On June 6 of this year, he passed away, 70 years of age. He had married Hazel Haynes, daughter of Dr. Grover Haynes, Sr. and granddaughter of R. R. Haynes. My sister Wytle who was next to the youngest child, died in 1967 suddenly from surgery.
I am the oldest child and the only one left of the family. My mother lived nine years after my father passed away. She was able to stay in pretty fair health and live a good life, keeping her mental faculties, until about two to three weeks before she passed away, at the age of 72. My father was 6l when he went away.
I want to say a little bit more about the two oldest children of my parents. Samuel Robert, the oldest of the seven, was born in the Mt. Vernon section of Rutherford County. He lived to be l8 months old. Ruby Mae, to whom I have referred before, was three years and three months old. She was born in Cliffside, along with the other five children of the family. All, except one, were born at 10 Reservoir Street. Boyce, Jr., the youngest child, was born on Main Street.
There were two special places on the outskirts of town that were the romantic strolls, we might say. One was called “Lover’s Lane” and the other was called “Laurel Valley.” Courting couples could be seen taking their strolls on Sunday afternoon on one of these romance trails. I remember my father used to take me down Laurel Valley on Sunday afternoons to find a beautiful little flower that was my mother’s birth flower. It was the Trailing Arbutus, a very pale pink little flower that trailed on the ground. There were also a lot of hickory nut trees down there. In the fall, we went down to hunt hickory nuts. These were times of great enjoyment for us children when we were able to go on such a jaunt.
Some of the games we used to play when we were children were Tag, Drop-the-Handkerchief, Farmer in the Dell, Cat and Mouse, Sling, I Dare You, Hopscotch and Hide and Seek. We always had the Maypole Dance on the first of May. Other things I remember were the big July 4th celebrations. There was always a grand parade with the beautiful floats, the band playing, and down in the square, we had relay races. They would turn loose the “greasy pig” to be caught and they would have the “greasy pole” to be climbed. Always, the street was lined with people to watch all these parades and go on down to see these other things that were going on. Sometimes, we would have a band concert in the park in the afternoon and always a movie at the “picture-show house.”
One particular July 4th I remember well. Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Hendrick had gotten married on top of Chimney Rock, one of the vacation spots in the northern section of Rutherford County, still a very prominent place for many tourists to visit. Mr. and Mrs. Hendrick were to ride in the parade and, of course, we were all just terribly excited about this. Mr. Hendrick later became president of the Cliffside Mill.
A second highlight of the year for holiday festivities was around Christmas. At Christmastime, we had a big community Christmas tree right down in the middle of the square. All of the school children were taught songs to sing about Christmas. We all gathered down there, sang around the tree, and there were other forms of entertainment. The tree was beautifully lighted. We enjoyed it so much!
Another provision for the community that Mr. Haynes was responsible for were Community Workers. Most of them were nurses. They visited the homes where there was illness and helped in the recreation of the town. In fact, any facet of welfare work that needed to be done, these ladies would do it. Some of them I remember were Miss Fleming, Miss Durant, Miss Maude Elliott and Miss Hattie Padgett; there were two or three others who came there and I cannot remember their names. That was a wonderful help to the community.
During 1918 when the great influenza epidemic came, I remember Miss Hattie Padgett was then the Community Worker and nurse. She went from house to house, helping the people where there were several in bed with flu, maybe whole families. During that time, churches were closed, schools were closed, even the company store was boarded up and you could only go to the door to make your purchases. Everything stood still. Two and three people would die in the family; it was a tragic time for us.
In the year 1916, we had a terrible flood in the county. The First Broad River sent its floodwaters into the Second Broad River, which, of course, ran through Cliffside. The water got into the mill; it was pouring over the dam in torrents. It was about to wash away the bridge. I can remember how the men went down and tied that bridge with wires to keep it from washing away.