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North Carolina Newspapers

The Pinehurst outlook. (Pinehurst, N.C.) 1897-19??, December 07, 1900, Image 1

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m VOL. IV., NO. 5. PINEHURST, N. C, DEC. 7, 1900. PlilCE THUEE CENTS lie PpBtoMISiitinok AN INTERESTING LETTER On North Carolina and Pinehurst, by Mr. Jobn Albee. Being of New England birth and ancestry I have always had the strongest local attachments. No matter how des titute of natural beauty or historical inter est, the places where I have lived possess a strange charm for me and I feel a silent resentment when asked for the grounds of my attachments. Sentimental attach ments my friends call them and laugh at me and they accuse me of idealizing everything and indiscriminate optimism. Well, I confess realities are not to my taste; in truth I find none so profoundly real as the things which the imagina tion can construct out of the commonest and most insignificant material. This fondness for the loved and limited rather than universal geography fol lowed me to l'inehurst and I had not been here three days before I felt my usual desire to know everything about it and the region round about this neigh borhood. I began to localize, so to speak ; and though I have come a thou sand miles away from home and all I count most dear, yet I suddenly felt old attachments and interests obscured by the new and strange surroundings. I am eager to know and to learn all that this part of our beloved country contains of interest; its nature, trees, flowers, its geology, its civil histoiy, its customs, folk-lore and superstitions, and more than all what its men and women, both black and white think about. I have a secret fancy that this will be as condu cive to health as the climate. Half the invalids of my acquaintance are sick because they have nothing else to do. And I have known several cures wrought by no other medicine than an interest in something outside themselves. So I am here in central Carolina to add a chapter to my knowledge of my native land. There are summer schools for every thing. I have set up for myself a winter school in Pinehurst and hope to learn a page a day. It is too early to communicate all I expect to learn, and there are prob ably many persons in Pinehurst who do not need such information as I have in view, having themselves acquired it in former seasons. Hut it may be worth while to entertain the readers of The Outlook with some notes made during a winter residence in Western North Carolina. Western North Carolina is a very dis tinct portion of the State, not only in its geography, but in the character of its inhabitants. North Carolina has three natural land divisions; first the coast region, three hundred miles in extent and extending inland for a hundred miles; next conies the so-called Pied mont region which is an elevated plateau extending westward to the foothills of the mountains where it ends abruptly and then lofty peaks of "sky land" began to loom up like a wall against the rest of the State. For two hundred miles from northeast to southwest there are nothing but mountains, mountain valleys and swift rivers. I cannot say any single mountain is remarkably impressive, although it boasts one with the highest summit this side the Pocky Mountains, Mitchell's Peak, 6,G88 feet. But seen together from some high point they are impressive. One reason of this is that you are, as soon as you are fairly in Western North Carolina, already at such an elevation that you are disappointed at their height ; another reason is the regu larity of outline in all the' summits. When I had my first good view of them which was from Battery Park, Ashe ville, I seemed to be looking down upon a vast field of giant haystacks, all rounded, raked down and tucked in to shed the rain. There was as far as I could see, no characteristic feature or difference in any seen height. I do not know the names of many of the peaks and I wondered how they could be fittingly named among those rugged and irregular features which distin guish most of the White Mountains. Yet they have a certain beauty and sublimity of their own a softened, composed beauty and' a grandeur which does not astonish and terrify like the Alps and Andes. In short they are more friendly and comfortable to live amongst than most mountains of this or the eastern continent. The air is softer and the climate milder than any part of Italy except in the vicinity of Naples. Here grows the famous bright tobacco, small leaved, fine in texture and retaining when cured the same bright color as when growing. In Western Carolina is said to be the original home of the Ca tawba, Isabella and Scuppernong grape. Nineteen out of twenty kinds of oak grow there; all the eight kinds of pine; all the live maples; most of the hickories; three out of the five birches. There are one hundred and twelve kinds of trees in that region and the largest chestnut and poplars, called by natives linn. It has the most extensive flora in the coun try and several flowers and shrubs found nowhere else. One can hardly speak of its minerals without exclamation points. I will only name some of them, but must admit in doing so that they must at present be considered as specimens rather than mines or indications of undeveloped resources. When I remarked one day to a companion that nearly every one seemed to have specimens of minerals in his vest pocket, he remarked, yes, and that is generally the whole of the mine. There is a great desire to sell land by the farmers not for what can be seen on the surface but the supposed wealth beneath and there is hardly an acre that has not a hole in it made by the owner or some prospector. But I will name the min erals and gems which I either heard of or saw specimens : nickel, chrome iron, chalcedony, talc, kaolin, mica, corundum, marbles, diamonds, rubies, sapphire, emerald, beryl, amethyst and hid denite, a new gem not yet found an) -where else. Now having said something of what is upon and under the surface of this part of the State, it is time to speak of the inhabitants. I found them during a win ter's sojourn not in Asheville nor any other place of popular resort, but in the very heart of the mountains, a very peculiar people. In the race for pros perity and improvement they have been left behind, necessarily left behind, as their mountains forbid railroads and con sequently manufactures, mining and lumbering can be carried on, but at great disadvantage. It is a hundred years ago with the population. In consequence one finds many old-fashioned virtues as well as customs. I have never met any where a people more simple hearted, natural and hospitable. There are few villages and almost no inns. In travel ing therefore you are obliged to stop for your meals or a night's lodging wherever hunger or rest require it. And this is expected by the inhabitants along the mountain roads. You are welcomed cor dially; the best they have is set before you and you will sleep in the best bed. To offer to pay for your accommodation would be considered on affront. All their warmth and their means of cook ing, and often of lighting is by the opn fire. One or two iron vessels and a coffee pot comprise their cooking utensils. Trout and bacon, sweet potatoes and pone are the solid articles of their diet; but wild small fruits are abundant, as are apples, wanting flavor, grapes and peaches. If you happen to stay at a vil lage hotel as I did for several weeks at a time you would probably lose your appe tite. In six weeks I had to give up eat ing. There was the same bill of fare for breakfast, dinner and supper. The rooster that awoke you in the morning was served for your dinner and it was perfectly plain he had had no breakfast nor any other recent meal. The animal most in evidence is Mr. Pig. He has the freedom of the country and avails himself of it. Fences are no obstacle to him ; he climbs them like a goat if there be any thing on the other side which takes his fancy. He also is served up in the same manner as the chicken; you will hear his death squeal before you are out of bed and will generally find him on the plates at noon. While in the full vigor of life, Mr. Pig's antics and mischief amused me in my idle hours. I cannot speak too warmly of the good hearts of these my countrymen who have had few of the educational and social advantages of other sections of the United States. They have read little except the Bible. Books they know nothing of and newspapers are not com mon enough to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world. I heard that in general the women were virtuous and married young. I heard one good saying about marriage which was new to me: they say when a woman has mar ried a shiftless, neer-do-well man that "she has shaken hands with dry bread." To a woman, young or old, they are snuff dippers. Whether from this or some other cause they are universally of sallow complexion. I saw no pretty women or handsome men ; on the other hand the boys and girls were very good looking, bright eyed and plenty of color in their cheeks. Two customs struck me; one that there were no old inaids nor bachelors ; another that it was the custom for both sexes to join the church as soon as old enough. The people are outwardly religious not in our sense perhaps but after their own ideas of what constitutes religion. It is the stamping ground of all sorts of religious fanatics aiid cranks. They think it is a dull year in which they do not listen to r ............. is-ri "uij,v, ,,,,..,,.,,,. .i.., ,,, ,,,, i ( -A " ' ' i T : (. - ... " (C u f5 I - r AyTm-nj-zrT- -f'4

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