About R. K. Hollifield
The Forest City Courier Presents…
By Clarence Griffin
(Date not available)
Mr. Robert K. Hollifield
Robert K. Hollifield was born January 1868, in Rutherford county, son of Abram P. and Eliza (Whisnant) Hollifield. He was reared on his father’s farm, where be remained until he was twenty-three years of age. His education was received in the common schools of his day.
For one year he was employed by the late J. W. Biggerstaff, and assisted is operating Mr. Biggerstaff’s store, cotton gin and saw mill. He then took up carpentry work, and in 1893 be helped to build the Thermal City hotel, and a year later helped build two dormitories at Belwood school.
In 1895 Mr. Hollifield removed to Henrietta, and assisted in the construction of the houses at Caroleen when that mill was built in that year. In 1896 he assisted in building the Florence Mills, at Forest City, having charge of the house construction work, and was general foreman for other work for the late R. R.. Haynes from 1897 to 1899. The next year he was operator of the engine at the Florence Mill, but in 1901 decided to enter business for himself and organized the Hollifield and Champion Lumber Company here. He was manager of that concern for twenty years.
In 1903 Mr. Hollifield was appointed postmaster in Forest City, but resigned in 1905 on account of ill health.
Mr. Hollifield has held several political and honorary posts. For four years he was chairman of the Forest City graded school district; served on the board of governors, appointed by the legislature, for installing water and light plant in Forest City; was the city’s first fire chief; president of the Forest City Building & Loan Association for a number of years; was federal cotton statistician for Rutherford and Polk counties for four years; census taker for the town of Forest City during the 1930 census taking period, and has served as a member of the Rutherford County Republican Executive committee from Cool Springs township for the past thirty-two years. He has also served two years as a member of the board of aldermen for the town of Forest City. He had been a candidate for clerk of superior court and county board of education on the Republican ticket.
On Jan. 4, 1899, Mr. Hollifield married Miss Jessie Horn and to them three children were born, one son dying while young. He was married the second time to Miss Mary Huntley, on December 14, 1910 and to them two daughters were born,
Mr. Hollifield is a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Odd Fellows, Red Men and Jr. O. U. A. M.
Reprinted with permission of The Forest City Courier. Copyright The Forest City Courier.
Mr. Hollifield died on February 28, 1957, at age 89.
Hollifield Crams A Whole Lot Of Living into his 87 Years; Health Still Excellent
By Clarence Griffin, Staff Writer
Jan. 27, 1955
Robert K. Hollifield, of Forest City, observed his 87th birthday at his home on South Church street Sunday, surrounded by members of his immediate families and the rnemories of a long and useful life.
As Mr; Hollifield describes it, he has crowded a lot of diving into those 87 years. He has been by profession a carpenter, lumberman, Forest City postmaster, member of the city council and a number of other assorted assignments and jobs.
Mr. Hollifield was born January 20, 1868, on Robinson Creek, Logan Store township in Rutherford county, a son of the late A. P. and Elizabeth (Whisnant) Hollifield. He attended the common schools of Rutherford county, securing the equivalent of a grammar school education.
He then decided to desert the farm and become a carpenter. For number of years he was in charge of construction work at Caroleen and Henrietta when those textile plants were carrying out a big building program. He next came to Forest City where he assisted in building Florence Mills and the village here.
In 1900 he bought the cotton gin and lumber plant of the late J. N. Moore and operated them twenty one years. The Hollifield Lumber plant at one time furnished the bulk of the county’s lumber products to contractors and builders.
At this time Mr. Hollifield found time to act as postmaster for Forest City, a post now held by his son. He was appointed on June 25, 1903 as postmaster and held that position until August 7, 1905.
The North Carolina General Assembly, session of 1909, passed a local act providing for a board of governors to make provisions and let contract for a water and electric light plant. The same act named the late Dr. G. E. Young, the late W. W. Hicks and Mr. Hollifield to the board.
Accordingly, the Board executed a contract with. J. C. Cook for installing water works and the electric power plant for Forest City. The contract was signed on January 22, 1910. Work was immediately started on both projects. Electric lights were turned on along the city streets for the first time on Saturday afternoons June 4th 1910 at 4:15 o’clock and the city was lighted that night. Water was turned into the city tanks on June 24, 1910, giving the city its first water system.
The lights were a great curiosity at that time, and people from alI sections of Rutherford county came to town, by horse and buggy, to view the spectacular sight at night.
Mr. Hollifield also served as a member of the city council from May, 1929.
He served on the county Republican Executive Committee for over thirty years, recently resigning that post. He has also been a candidate, on the Republican ticket, for clerk of the superior court and county commissioner. Mr: Hol1ifield retired from active duties about ten years ago.
Back in his early life Mr. Hollifield also helped in 1894 to build Belwood Academy in Cleveland county, which at that time was a branch of Trinity College, afterwards Duke University. He was also in charge of construction when Thermal City was built.
Mr. Hollifield was first married to Miss Jessie Horn, of Forest City, a daughter of the late George Horn, one of the city’s principal merchants. Upon her death he was married in 1910 to Miss Mary Huntley, of Spindale, who still lives. A son and daughter were born to the first marriage and two daughters were born of the second marriage. The son, Elmer Hollifield, is currently postmaster at Forest City. Mr. Hollifield also has six grandchildren.