Photo of The Month – July 2004
Jim’s Cabin – April 1953
Madeline Scruggs Hardin
The “Jim” of Jim’s Cabin was Jim Padgett, or more precisely, James Young Padgett. His little cabin was about a mile down the trail on the east side of the river, southeast of town. It was somewhere near the site of the current water treatment plant. Many remember when Jim, something of a hermit, but who had a family in town, lived in this quaint little abode which he himself had built. In the late ’40s when the place had been abandoned, boys often camped out in or around this old building and told ghost stories around the campfire.
R. G. Watkins remembers seeing some of cabin’s construction in the mid-thirties. “Men were on the inside using blow torches to ‘burn’ the inside walls to give them a brown and black appearance.”
He also recalls that somewhere nearby was Condrey’s shingle factory. “He dammed a creek, built a water wheel for power and sawed shingles from logs that had been cut to the proper length.”
Not too far from the cabin near the old trash pile a steel cable was strung across the river. Under-slung on the cable—always locked down—was an open wooden (later metal) box or “cart.” Agents from the US Geologic Survey would ride that cart out over the middle of the stream and monitor the depth of the river and take water samples.
For more about Jim Padgett and his family, read his descendents list compiled by Mr. and Mrs. Judson O. Crowe.
Information supplied by R. G. Watkins, Ginny Ann Reid, Phillip White, Jack Biggerstaff and Bud Crowe.
I was excited to see the entry for grandpa Jim, but would like to clear up some misconseptions. Jim died 21 March 1945. He was not a hermit by choice. He was diagnosed with TB and told he needed to get out of all the “dirty air in town” because it was aggravating his condition. He and his second wife (my great grandmother) Mary Ella Bright are buried in Cliffside Cemetery along with Jim’s first wife (Mary’s younger sister, who I have yet to identify by name) and child. This first wife died in childbirth. Also buried in this plot is Jim’s father and mother, Robert Padgett and Rosalin Ruthie Earls Padgett.
My dad was Oren “Bud” Koeyu Padgett, my mother was Margaret Rozelia Jolley Padgett, the daughter of Theron Jolley and Melita Earley Jolley.
— Jeri Padgett Connor