Jan. 19, 1939
Rufe Carson, an old darkey, lived on the old Carson farm in what was called the double cabins. These cabins stood just above the road very near where Con Bostic now lives.
The first day I ever went to school was in one of these cabins, and Miss Mary McFarland was the teacher. I also remember being at the cabins one night when Uncle Ira Erwin was giving lessons or exercises in elocution. I was not more than five years of age at that time.
…when asked about some word or sentence in the book he would instantly tell you what page it appeared on and how far down the page one would find it.Mr. Erwin was the grandfather of State Superintendent Clyde A. Erwin and Prof. Charles C. Erwin of Forest City. I now have an elocution book with pictures showing the movements of the exercises that Mr. Erwin gave. He also taught grammar schools in the community, and I have heard it said that he knew the grammar book from memory and when asked about some word or sentence in the book he would instantly tell you what page it appeared on and how far down the page one would find it. I do not know whether this was true or not but it was an undisputable fact that he knew grammar.
Now back to the old darkey, Rufe Carson. He was a good old negro and never gave anyone any trouble. I never heard of him being accused of stealing anything. His wife’s name was Edith and she was a bright mulatto. They had two boys, Tom and Erwin. Tom was a real black negro and Erwin was bright, like his mother. They also had several girls. This family and Uncle Robbin Green’s family were about all the colored families there were in the settlement at that time.
Thomas Toms lived about one mile from Carson’s Mill. He was a son of Uncle Billy Toms. His mother was a Carson. Thomas Toms married Miss Arrie Harrill, the daughter of Mr. Amos Harrill. Her mother was a Baxter before marriage. Mr. Harrill was postmaster at Oak Spring post office.
Mr. and Mrs. Toms reared a large family, two boys and, I believe, seven daughters. Bessie married Camy Wilson, Hester married Foster Beam, Bell married Julius Padgett and I don’t recall who the other girls married. Billy, the oldest boy, married Bessie Calton, and Charlie died at the age of about eighteen years.
Mr. Toms was an excellent farmer and always raised a lot of wheat. I remember being there with the threshers once and while we were eating breakfast a fly dropped in my coffee. I happened to be sitting right in front of the door, so I decided I would throw the coffee out at the door and say nothing about it. I threw it out, coffee, fly, cup, saucer and all, breaking the saucer all to pieces, it all being accidental.
Mr. Toms was sitting just across the table, in front of me and said, “Was it a good one,” which was embarrassing for me. Mr. Toms was a magistrate for a number of years and he represented the county in the General Assembly one term. He was a very strong Democrat and very active during the political campaigns. He was a member of Baptist church. He died about thirty five years ago.
George Stewart lived very near Carson’s Mill. He came from Buncombe county and married the daughter of Dasson Carson. He was a well-educated man and taught school some and also farmed. Mr. Stewart represented the county in the, General Assembly one term and was a candidate for re-election but defeated by Dr. John B. Harrill. Stewart was a Republican. He a very smart man and was a good speaker. Some forty-odd years ago he with his wife and two children went to California and he now lives Oakland, California.