40-60 Years Ago.
Oct. 27, 1938
Sunshine community, as seen forty to sixty years ago, was one of the most progressive sections of Rutherford county, and many good and prominent people lived in this community. Quite a number of men and women were reared in this part of the county who have gone out and made good in the world, while many others just as good did not get into public life, but made just as good citizens. I will endeavor to mention quite a number of these people and tell something of their movements in life.
Mr. John Wesley Biggerstaff was the founder of Sunshine post office. He was a very progressive man and a leader in the church and community in general, and was the first postmaster of Sunshine post office. Mr. Biggerstaff married Miss Mildred Haynes, and her mother was a Lee, the sister of Major Herbert Lee that once lived in Shelby. Her father was Rev. Hilliard Haynes. Mr. and Mrs. Biggerstaff had four children, Buna, Lelia and Delia Mae and one son Howard. Buna married Robert B. Babington, and Lelia married John Oliver Gettys. He now lives on Duncan’s Creek.
Mr. Biggerstaff ran a general store and did a large business. He was a great friend to the people for in his day there were a large number of people who were not financially able to make crops without someone to credit them for supplies till they gathered their crops. This Mr. Biggerstaff would do, so in the fall you would see these farmers come in and pay up.
Mr. Biggerstaff owned and operated a cotton gin, saw mill and corn mill and usually had two or three men employed. He had his peculiarities, like most of other people. For some years after he went into business he had to haul all of his goods from Shelby, there being no railroad in the county. Very often he would load his wagon with cotton or chickens and eggs and other produce and start for market about an hour before sundown and take up camp about three or four miles from home. He owned two mules, Jane and John, that he did his wagoning with. I recall that he bought John from a darkey by the name of Cab Martin.
Mr. Biggerstaff’s home was a great place for company and many young folks enjoyed being in this home. Most all traveling men (or drummers as they were then called) would stop over night there. He was a member of Cedar Grove Methodist church and was one of its largest supporters. He was elected county commissioner and served two years. He was a Republican and took an active part in politics. During his term as commissioner he served with J. A. Calton, a Democrat, and Sid F. Wall, a Populist.
Delia was in school at Leesville, S. C., and contracted typhoid fever. She came home and died within a few weeks. Her mother, two sisters and brothers contracted fever from her and died within a short while.About the year 1897 or 1898 Mr. Biggerstaff lost his entire family. His daughter Delia was in school at Leesville, S. C., and contracted typhoid fever. She came home and died within a few weeks. Her mother, two sisters and brothers contracted fever from her and died within a short while. This misfortune affected the entire community. Mrs. Biggerstaff was a very large woman, weighing about 250 pounds, and was one of the best christian women I ever knew. She was very industrious, and was largely responsible for the success of the business carried on by her husband. Very often the wagons would be late getting in at night with a load of goods, and Mrs. Biggerstaff would have all the feeding done, so the driver would have nothing to do but put the mules into the stable and eat supper.
Mr. Biggerstaff married the second time a young widow, Mrs. Lewis Robison of Caroleen, she being a Miss Dill before her first marriage. A few years after his second marriage he was stricken with paralysis and for several years had to be waited on like a baby and could not speak for a long time before his death. When one talked to him he could only sit and smile. But that good wife of his was always ready to administer to his needs. Some years after his death, his wife married Mr. Don Melton and they now reside on #20 highway between Forest City and Rutherfordton.
Among the number of boys that worked for Mr. Biggerstaff were Calvin Lookadoo, J. W. Toney, Elijah Daves, R. K. Hollifield and Henry Baber. These boys took great delight in telling of the good times and of the amusing things that occurred in and around this wonderful home.