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My HOmetown Pioneers

The people, organizations, and events that formed our communities

Page 2A

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Duckpin legend John Dilling ‘The grease that kept the gears working’ By GARY STEWART KINGS MOUNTAIN— John Dilling’s passion keeping duckpin bowling alive in Kings Mountain has gone the route of other duckpin alleys in the south since his death earlier this year. With the recent closing of Mountain Lanes Bowling Center, located in the basement of the former Dilling Heating building on York Road, there are no duckpin bowling alleys south of Richmond, VA. Dilling would be sad. So are his bowlers, who formed a very close bond with the national duckpin legend over the years of bowling here and in national tournaments up and down the east coast. Ed Philbeck, who got his start in duckpin bowling at the Dilling Heating lanes in the late 1990s, said when he broke the news to other bowlers that the lanes were being closed, most of them cried. “Because we all knew that John’s life was bowling,” he said. “He really loved it” His longtime friend and fellow bowler Tommy Barrett said Dilling was “Mr. Duckpin Bowler” in Kings Mountain. Allen Myers, who bowled with Dilling for over 45 years, called him a “giant” in bowling in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and the nation. “John absolutely kept duckpin bowling alive in Kings Mountain, and North Carolina for that matter,” Myers said. “When he was president of the National Duckpin Bowling Congress he kept the national tournament going. They wanted to stop it and John insisted they keep it going. He was the

Front row (L-R): Allen Myers, John Dilling, Henry ‘Zeke’ Rybczyk, Colleen Philbeck. Back row: Greg Evans, Joy Barrett, Tommy Barrett, Ed Philbeck, and Jessy Wright. The photo was taken in College Park, MD.

grease that kept the gears working.” “He really lived for duckpin bowling,” Barrett said. “After he could no longer bowl he would come up and watch us bowl every night. I hate to see it go away. His last remark to me was that he wanted to keep it going.” Dilling almost singlehandedly kept the sport alive in Kings Mountain after downtown redevelopment led to the closing of the old Mountain Lanes Bowling Center on Battleground Avenue in the mid-1970s. With the help of other bowlers, Dilling rescued four

of the six lanes and stored them in the old Plonk Motor Company building until they could be reassembled in the basement of his heating and cooling business on York Road. For a period of time Dilling offered bowling to the public, but in most recent years the lanes were used only for league bowling. After the Burlington YMCA removed its lanes in 2003 to make space for a fitness center, Dilling’s was the only duckpin bowling alley in North Carolina. In 1977 Dilling and Johnny Dye, a fellow bowler,

worked nights and weekends for several months to get the lanes and equipment refurbished and installed. They, and other bowlers through the years like Joey Whitaker and Ed Philbeck, gave of their own time to keep the equipment functioning. Dilling’s wish was that the lanes would continue to be used by local duckpin leagues after his death. Dilling’s daughter, Sharon, and her husband Art Barney, who now own the building, said they wanted to keep John’s hope alive, too, but building codes concerns just kept mounting.

“We hate having to close it,” Barney said. “But because of egress concerns our attorney told us if a fire would break out in there and someone died we could end up going to jail.” “Having to eliminate bowling is with much sadness,” said Sharon. “The codes situation existed for a long time. Daddy kept bowling going because he loved it so much and figured nobody would do anything to stop it. He was probably right. It’s not likely anything would happen, but what if it did?” Even if there were no codes problems, the Barneys

learned that keeping the building open for league bowling two nights a week was very costly. “Daddy loved bowling,” Sharon said. “It was his passion. It cost a lot of money but it didn’t really matter to him.” Dilling was a duckpin bowling icon for most of his life. He began bowling as a 9-year-old in West End, NC, in 1932. His father was a railroad man and the family moved around frequently. He came to Kings Mountain in 1940 before his final year See DILLING, 7A

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 3A

My Hometown

East Belmont BC to mark 100 years in 2012 Pioneers in the Baptist faith By DIAMOND SANDERS Special Writer for My Hometown

BELMONT—They were among the local pioneers of the Baptist faith. They were the founders of East Belmont Baptist Church, one of the area’s largest and oldest Baptist churches. And next year, the church will celebrate a century of knowing Jesus and making Him known to the wider community and the world. The church was chartered June 12, 1912, in an East Belmont community school building. Under the leadership of Rev. C.M. Ervin, 25 members came together to establish a new church. Among those founding members were Emma, Irene and Mary Clemmer, Mary Hearn, Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Houser, Mrs. E.E. Higgins, J.W. and Maggie Montgomery, James, Alma, Roscoe and Pearl Null, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Perry, Georgia Stella, Nancy Stowe and Bessie, Harriet, Ira, Mamie, Mattie, Preston and Zettie Stewart. After this organization into a Missionary Baptist Church, a church conference moderated by Ervin was instrumental in the adoption of the name “East Belmont Baptist Church.� Ervin was elected as the first pastor at EBBC. J.W. Montgomery, Ira Stewart, and C.E. Houser were among the early deacons. Rev. Walter Wilson, the fourth pastor of the church, played a significant role in the implementation of plans for a new church building. Up until that point, the congregation still held services in the schoolhouse. But after securing a loan from the Belmont Building and Loan Association, work began, and the new church was soon completed. The building was a wooden frame structure, located—appropriately enough—on Church Street. The first worship service in the newly completed building was held on the second Sunday of September in 1915. The new parsonage now stands in its place. The current church building at 501 Catawba St. was constructed in 1953, with the help of all the churches of the town.

Additional renovations to buildings were made in 1984. From 1912 to 1962, 10 pastors served EBBC. And 1,765 people were baptized, 1,525 people were received, and attendance reached its peak with a whopping 910 members. The members of East Belmont Baptist take great pride in their church’s heritage. They give thanks to God for the accomplishments of the past, present and future. And looking to that future, many members of EBBC await the centennial anniversary of the church and have already started to make preparations. Pastor Jeff Taylor recently had this to say: “On Sunday, June 10, 2012, East Belmont Baptist Church will celebrate 100 years of ministry,� said Taylor. “Because of God’s grace, we can reflect back on His faithfulness and also look forward to making Christ known through the ministry of His church.� Congregation member Kevin Loftin also spoke about the church. “We are excited to celebrate the past but also the future of East Belmont Baptist Church,� said Loftin. What does the 100th anniversary celebration entail exactly? Jennifer Bass, a member of EBBC and its centennial committee, shared some details. Bass said that it’s great to celebrate 100 years. A picnic of fellowship and food and the repainting of the church sanctuary will be things to look forward to as the ann i v e r s a r y approaches. Member T o n y Hodge was

raised in the church and has such fond memories of what used to be and the changes that have taken place. Hodge said he looks forward eagerly to the anniversary and seeing this celebration as a hallmark in the church’s history as the EBBC members look back, remember past members and see all who still sit in the pews every Sunday morning. “East Belmont Baptist has always been active in the community,� said Loftin. “Over the years, the church has produced a significant number of members who moved on to full-time Christian work.� He added that East Belmont Baptist truly exemplifies it motto, “To know Christ and make Him known.� Throughout the years, EBBC has worked in the community, sponsoring luncheons for staffers at J.B. Page Elementary and local police and firefighters. Mission trips have included such places as the Ukraine, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Greenville, S.C., in service to those in need. And if its glorious past is any indication, East Belmont Baptist will continue to live through its heritage and service well after its centennial next year. East Belmont Baptist Church is seen here in its early days. The church, located at 501 Catawba St., will celebrate its centennial next year. Photograph courtesy of East Belmont Baptist

Alexander’s passion and influence touched many By KYRA TURNER KINGS MOUNTAIN – Her passion can be seen in buildings and in neighborhoods throughout Kings Mountain. Her influence can be heard in the voices of families she helped. She was

“I remember sitting on the steps after school waiting on her to get off work,� Reg Alexander, her son, said. As she worked at the lumber company she got to know the details of the building business by her record keeping of the lumberyard

Ruby Alexander a Christ-like Christian, a loving mother, a devoted wife. Ruby Moss Alexander was a pioneer in her field and among women. Ruby, native of Cleveland County, worked as a secretary and bookkeeper at the Elmer Lumber Company in the early 1950s.

and kept continuous contacts with building contractors. By the mid 1960s, she had left the lumberyard and began selling homes through her new company, Alexander Realty, operating, at first, out of an office on her enclosed front porch. Her husband, Charles

Alexander, was known as Kings Mountain’s longest serving postmaster of 25 years, but in his spare time he drew house plans for local contractors. Ruby built houses she knew she would be proud of and soon, Charles started working with her. “Being a woman in the male dominating construction business, it was an uphill challenge to be taken seriously,� Reg commented. “Not only did she have a great determination to become a contractor, her many years of working in the lumber industry alongside other contractors gave her a depth of knowledge in the field and she learned how to talk their talk.� Early on in her business, Charles and Ruby relied on a family friend and local builder Marion Dixon for assistance. They would decide on a house plan, buy a lot and select electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, etc. In addition to the homes that were built, Ruby also built a number of Kings Mountain offices, medical buildings, several apartment complexes and even a mobile home park between the 1960s and 1970s. While being a woman in the working world, Ruby always made time for her husband and two children, Reg and Cindi. Her children were greatly influenced by her spirit of entrepreneurship. “We would both marvel how she was able to hold her home schedule together as well as her work schedule,� Reg explained. “We had

home cooked meals every night. People who knew her well knew her priorities were God, family and then work.� “In serving our community, my mom also impacted my life,� Cindi Wood, Ruby’s daughter said. “She taught me to follow my dreams and help as many as I can along the way.� Ruby’s philosophy was that she considered putting people in their homes was a ministry, not just a job. Even though she had very long

workdays, she used the flexibility of her schedule to also be active in her church. When business professionals were checking out Kings Mountain as a possible location, she would meet with them and establish a rapport. “Every time she helped someone coming into Kings Mountain to find a place to live, she tried to encourage them to visit her church, First Baptist Church of Kings Mountain,� Reg com-

mented. “Many did and have become strong members.� Many times she would take cuts in commission or assist families with financing just to get them into their first home. “She worked hard with big business men but she worked just as hard for the first-time homebuyers as well,� Reg said. Some people when reSee ALEXANDER, 7A

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Page 4A

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Thomas and Ruth Baker surrounded by young enthusiasts at the International Model Plane Contest.

Baker was the ‘hottest modeler of the South’ By ELIZABETH BAKER Special Writer for My Hometown

KINGS MOUNTAIN— Everybody in Kings Mountain knows the Baker boys. Knows of them, at least. Whether they were riding their beloved horse, Dusty, across the street, revving the engines of their new dirt bikes inside the house in the wee hours of Christmas morning, or anything in between, the rambunctious Bakers always proved hardto-handle. But not everybody knows the story of the adventurous genius, who was their father, Thomas Baker.

My grandfather, whom we affectionately refer to as GrandDoc, built his first model airplane when he was six years old. His early models were rubber-band powered. He competed in his first contest in Charlotte at the age of fifteen, and for the next ten years, his days would be consumed with the sport. During his golden years from 1944 to 1954, he designed and built every ship that he competed with. He even built and modified his own engines. The newspaper has many metonymies for him. One dubbed him the “hottest

modeler of the South;” another named him a “mechanical genius.” Still another graced him with the title of the “speed king of Lilliputian aircrafts.” GrandDoc competed in four categories: jets, racing, stunt, and team racers. He won, and he won again and again. He delighted spectators with his loops and twirls; as one of the first stunters in this area, he was a major attraction at the Southeastern “Flying Circuses.” When questioned about stunting, GrandDoc joked in his usual fashion, “You’ve got to be good with

Proud of Our Past. . . For over 125 years, thousands of people have called Cherryville home. As a city, we have had hundreds of local people that have worked together over the years to perform the services that help make a loving community like ours a better place to live. We are proud of those individuals, both past and present that have given so much of themselves, to make Cherryville the special place that it has been and is today.

Cherryville, NC A Great Place to Live A Great Place to work A Great Place to play A Truly Great Place to Call Home!

these things…otherwise you’d have to have plenty of moola to do it.” And that is the hard truth, as tiny engines ranged in price from $20 to $35 - a pretty penny invested considering the hundreds GrandDoc had. The “Ye Olde Model Shop,” as GrandDoc’s workshop was referred to, was doing great but GrandDoc’s crowning achievement was yet to come. GrandDoc enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War. He competed for a spot on the Air Force Model Airplane Team. Eliminations were made until the top five men were chosen, my grandfather being one of them. Around this time, a world record of 111 miles per hour was set by a Hungarian modeler - a communist. Who would the Air Force call to challenge this record but my grandfather? In the whirlwind that ensued, GrandDoc came back to the United States from his station in Tripoli and began to prepare an old craft for the international meet in Belle Isles, Detroit, Michigan. His fiancé, Beth Hord, was a senior at Meredith College. As he was back in the United States from his African station, he decided to marry his childhood sweetheart right away. They were married on July 10, 1951. The couple jetted to Detroit on their surprise and very sudden hon-

eymoon. At the Sixth Annual Federation Aeronautic International on August 28, 1951, Pfc. Tom P. Baker navigated his orange “Devil Dog” around the control line at 132 miles per hour to smash the Hungarian’s record. (However, this was not his fastest speed. At the Westover AFB meet, his model reached the breathtaking speed of 155 miles per hour. While his feat is recognized by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the international FAI only recognizes speeds set at international meets.) It was a day of elation for the pilot and his young bride. GrandDoc was an innovative and highly intelligent man. My earliest recollections of him involve his dear friend D.C. Mays. GrandDoc was meticulous about his hand-crafted planes. He spent hundreds of hours on each one, sanding and polishing them to perfection. D.C., who was quite the jokester, once painted bright purple polka dots on one as a spoof on GrandDoc’s perfectionism. We lovingly named it the Purple People Eater. GrandDoc was adament about the fact that his planes were not toys. They packed more power proportionately than an automobile. He won over 200 trophies in his lifetime, and almost every one of them represented a national title. His favorite competition was the control line,

but he couldn’t compete without his lucky red baseball hat (he often made his brother Phil go back for it if he forgot it). His shop really was the place “where the world’s fastest planes were [sic] born.” GrandDoc graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry in 1961. His professors raved to my father of his precise and neat handiwork, a skill which I’m sure he learned from modeling. He graduated near the top of his class in the hands-on portion of the School of Dentistry. After GrandDoc went to be with the Lord, we half expected model airplane kits to show up on his porch, waiting for his doctored hands to sculpt another champion aircraft. His world record has long since been broken, but that is not his legacy. It is his life of devotion. He was filled with a passion and a drive that comes only from the heart of a true master of a craft. I want to be like him; I want my life to emulate his. This is my tribute to the impact he has had on my life. He has inspired me to follow my dreams. He once remarked to a news reporter, “When I go into something, I give my entire self to it.” No other words sum up his life so perfectly. Nothing else could speak truly of his genius. They are his story.

“Come, follow me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19



My Hometown is a special supplement to Gemini Newspapers publishers of The Kings Mountain Herald, The Banner News, and The Cherryville Eagle.

City of Cherryville 116 S. Mountain Street Cherryville, NC 28021


. . . Excited About Our Future

Editorial Staff: Emily Weaver, Michael Powell, Thomas Lark, Lib Stewart, Gary Stewart, and Kyra Turner Advertising/Sales: Rick Hord and Pat Rooney Graphics/Composition: Lisa Zyble Publisher: Ron Isbell Business Manager: Wendy Isbell Circulation Manager: Kathy Reynolds

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 5A

My Hometown

“The Hat Lady” Was Mary “Maggie” Litton the first Cherryville businesswoman? By MICHAEL E. POWELL CHERRYVILLE—By all local written historical and oral historian accounts, Mrs. Mary Margaret (or Magdalene) “Madge” Quinn Litton may have been a groundbreaking woman: a “first,” and clearly a “pioneer” of sorts. And, unless someone steps forward with contrary proof, it looks like she and her legendary little hat shop can lay claim to what may be the very first business begun and operated in Cherryville, if not in all of Gaston County, by a woman. Well, okay...maybe not ALL of Gaston County, but certainly in Cherryville. Unheard of in her time, yes, indeed! Does this make her a pioneer of sorts? Absolutely. Maggie (as she preferred to be known then, historians write) had her little hat shop near what was the home of her and her husband Sanford Litton (a.k.a. known by the

name “Stanford Layton Faulkner” in the Cleveland County Heritage Book, vol. II). Local author Rita Wehunt Black said she learned, while doing research for one of her history books, that Litton was said to take hats and “ (them) on a clothesline whenever she had them for sale.” Black noted that Litton even wrote in a Sept. 25, 1919, “Cherryville Eagle” advertisement (or announcement) that a new batch of hats had arrived, exhorting all the Cherryville ladies to come by and purchase a new hat for “the fall season.” She wrote that her prices were “reasonable.” With fashions then being what they were, it is to be believed that no woman who was anybody would want to be seen without a hat, so popular was the item then. Maggie Litton was, according to a couple of articles from the Cleveland County Heritage Book, Vol. II, one of three children born

(photo by MEP/The Eagle)

This hat, shown in a Cherryville Historical Museum exhibit, is not believed to be one of Maggie Litton’s (The Hat Lady) hats, but it is similar in style to ones the ladies used to wear around the early 20th century.

to George Washington and Jenelea Putman Quinn of South Carolina. Mrs. Black noted that in these articles the Hat Lady was called “Mary Magdalene Quinn.” “In all the records and newspaper ads that I saw, it was written as Mary Margaret Quinn, or Maggie Quinn. In my experience Maggie is almost always a nickname for Margaret,” Black said. “Nevertheless, she could possibly have had three names (Mary Margaret Magdalene Quinn). This was not unusual.” Mrs. Black added that she noticed the Hat Lady’s death certificate has her listed as “Mary M. Litton.” “I never saw anywhere the nickname ‘Madge.’ The reason I added that in her ‘bio’ is because several ‘Cherryville people’ insisted that she was called ‘Madge’!” Black noted. The Quinns, George and Jenelea, eventually settled in Gaston County in 1880, per the sources, but all three of their children were born in York County, SC, according to the 1860 census records (CCHHB, vol. II). The three were Mary Magdalene Quinn (aka “The Hat Lady”), Candace Victoria Quinn, and the only boy, whom they gave the rather lengthy name of General Sherman Counselor “Pete” Quinn, who was also known (at times) as “Speedy.” In the aforementioned Heritage book, Maggie Litton was said to have married a “Stanford Layton Faulkner,” while Candace married a man by the name of Frank Simpson, and General Sherman Counselor married a woman named Joanna Armanda Armisa

Cherryville author Rita Wehunt Black said this photo was originally thought to have been of Mrs. Hattie Peeler Self, who was the wife of Cherryville physician, Dr. L. L. Self, possibly wearing one of “The Hat Lady’s” creations. Black said looking back on it, and doing a bit more research, she now believes the photo to be that of Dr. Self’s mother instead. “In the Gaston County book I stated that the picture of the lady in the beautiful hat was Dr. Self’s wife,” Black wrote in an email. “Here again someone insisted that this was his wife, and on the back it said ‘Mrs. Self.’ The Self family is somewhere back on my family tree and I have come to the conclusion that this is not Dr. Self’s wife, but Dr. Self’s mother.” (photo submitted by the Cherryville Historical Museum)

Paris. In Mrs. Black’s history of Gaston County (page 100102) Litton was born Nov. 7, 1861, and died, according to her death certificate, in Gaston County, of a cerebral hemorrhage on Feb. 18, 1927, at the age of 65. Litton’s occupation, Black noted in her book, was that of a “milliner,” and it wasn’t until 1918 that she wound up in Cherryville at her little hat shop on First

Street. The site is now the location of the Andy Hovis Skate Park. One interesting story, Black said, about Maggie “The Hat Lady” was that many in Cherryville stated that while she was living in Cherryville, the widowed Litton decided to “order herself a mail order husband.” Apparently this didn’t go well, for when the gentleman arrived by train from New Jersey, complete with a

flower in his lapel, he looked over the two ladies waiting for him, as per his instructions, then got back on the train and went south, never to be seen or heard from again! Maggie “The Hat Lady” Litton is buried in “Black’s Cemetery,” according to Mrs. Black’s book, “in the county of Gaston that she loved so well.”

Page 6A

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

This ain’t moonshine in Mason jars gin is in high demand in North Carolina and Virginia. Asheville is among their best city customer along with Charleston, SC, and Charlotte, NC. Before the product hit the shelves at the local ABC store, Cardinal Gin passed the taste test at a ribbon cutting last October 25 hosted by the Cleveland County Chamber and attended by local business leaders at their headquarters on Cansler Street. Visitors came away impressed with the big hand-hammered Portugal olympic-style still and the busy operation the twins started with imagination and a shoestring. How did it all begin? The young entrepreneurs looked through family recipes, some dating to the 17th century, and researched and experimented with recipes for nearly two years before their product went on the market last year. “It’s been a struggle with the economy like it is but we feel good about the accolades from the competition and we’re always looking for new markets,” said the proud father. Mauney said the twins competed with Scotland, London, Holland and Austria and took the fifth spot in the world competition, emerging as the top domestic gin in America in the 2011 International Review of Spirits. He said those several dozen distilleries in competition are the largest distilleries in the world and are owned by conglomerates. The Kings Mountain distillery is only the third in the state and the twins’ proud dad credits the success of the business to the twins’ creativity and knack for research and development. The Mauneys graduated from Kings Mountain High School in 1999 and Appalachian State University in 2004. Alex majored in construction management and Charlie majored in political science. Kings Mountain was the first community in the United

By ELIZABETH STEWART KINGS MOUNTAIN— Seeing double? You bet! Charlie and Alex Mauney, 30, have become “players” in the business world after only a year. The twins get rave reviews from friends who sample their own brand of domestic gin plus accolades from competitors after the recent ranking of Cardinal Gin in the top five in the world by the 2011 International Review of Spirits. Last October they and their father, James, started production of Cardinal Gin on their high tech, small-batch distillery in a back room of Mauney Hosiery Mills. Now the brothers have the spirits in 400 locations around the country. The Western-style gin (less juniper, more of other flavorings like spearmint and cloves) hits with a unique, original western-style flavor. This ain’t moonshine in Mason jars. Cardinal Gin is packaged in 750 millimeter bottles with a picture of the state bird on the front. The Mauney brothers revived the lost art of craft distillation at their company they call Southern Artisan Spirits. The new business is all legal and the gin ingredients are organic herbs and botanicals which create a floral taste not found in other gins. The Mauneys have been honored by the prestigious “Cooking Light” magazine, which has a subscriber list of more than 12 million worldwide. They won the 2011 gold from the Beverage Testing Institute and were featured in the magazine for “Best in Beer & Spirits: North Carolina.” The Mauneys have won other awards for their expertise in gin making and their product that sells. This time last year the new business was licensed to sell wholesale, and the gin was in about six ABC stores in North Carolina, including Kings Mountain. Online sales helped get the company’s foot in the door in other states. Now the


Charlie Mauney, left, and Alex Mauney are twin brothers in business at Southern Artisan Spirits. States to vote itself legally dry (Oct. 1874). However, in the latter half of the 19th century there were distilleries located in Cleveland County. Now, Southern Artisans is one of three in the state. “We always liked experimenting with new recipes, baking bread in a brick oven and fermenting yeast was no different from fermenting alcohol,” said Charlie. He and his brother researched 1700 recipes from old cookbooks belonging to older generations of Mauneys, tweaked the recipes and developed Cardinal Gin. The enterprising duo first filled an 85-gallon barrel with alcohol and natural grain spirits, added 11 botanicals mixed with spearmint, cloves and coriander in tea bags and seeped it for hours. They heated the mixture in what they called an “induction cooker” and then went on to testing, using methods which stripped alcohol and replaced it with good alcohol from the botanicals producing a taste like no other gin.



“The juniper berry taste is still there but it’s more of a floral type taste and the new flavor is good and catching on,” says Alex, adding that they’ve entered the gin in World Spirits competition as far distant as San Francisco, California. “They decided to use the state bird, a red cardinal, on the attractive bottles and Jenny Burns did the unique design and used twin red cardinals which are popular,” said their father who calls himself the official bottle washer. His sons affectionately call him the “beverage scientist.” The senior Mauney and Charlie hit the road every weekend last year pushing their product and attending food and wine shows. In August they attended a show in Asheville and in March 2012 they will be in Charleston, SC. “It’s a lot of fun and we meet a lot of new friends and new customers,” said Charlie. Cardinal Gin is crafted from organic herbs and botanicals to create a unique taste not found in other gins, a “rare

spirit,” say its creators who are producing North Carolina’s only small batch of New Generation, an ultra premium American dry gin. Mauney Hosiery Mills, which closed in November 2001, employed many Kings Mountain workers over the years, who among other things, made socks for the military. It was a booming operation in the city for many years. The young Mauneys are sons of James and Anne Mauney, grandsons of the late Mr. and Mrs. George H. Mauney, and great-grandsons of the late W. K. Sr. and Sarah Hoffman Mauney. They are single and active in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. Alex and Charlie Mauney rent the back portion of the mill building from Kemp Mauney and the W. K. Mauney, Jr. family. Bottling and tending to a distillery takes time and the work day begins at 6 a.m. for the Mauneys. Distilling takes 10-12 hours and bottling and packaging takes long hours, a

pretty constant process, says James. Just recently the Mauneys took their product to New Jersey where customers order online. Southern Artisans is currently in the development stage to produce brandies and bourbon, whiskey to add to their already popular gin. Currently the bourbon and rye brand is being tested and Alex Mauney says they are looking at locally-grown corn for some of the ingredients. Currently the gin has been shipped to 3/4 of all the ABC stores in North Carolina and to restaurants and bars in South Carolina, Charlotte, Wake County and Virginia. Mauney says that brokers in the various states place the gin in the best markets. The first load was shipped to the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control System Sept. 25, 2010. “It’s been a struggle during this tough economy and not easy for us,” says James. But he says the accolades from the competition and the general public make his sons feel good.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 7A

My Hometown

Dilling: Duckpin legend From page 2A of high school. He recalled years ago that he got his start in duckpins as a pin boy. In those days there were no automatic pin setters and bowling alleys would pay youngsters a few cents a game to set the pins back up once a bowler completed a frame. “They would pay me a little bit but I would bowl all my money away,” he said. After moving to Kings Mountain Dilling bowled occasionally. After his discharge from the military he began bowling regularly and joined the duckpin leagues at the old Mountain Lanes Bowling Center in 1950. The alley was owned and operated by C.H. “Cat” Houser and was a beehive of activity, offering both ten pin and duckpin bowling. That alley also had young pin boys, but in the 1960s Houser went strictly to duckpin bowling and installed automatic pinsetters. At that time Kings Mountain could boast of having some of the best duckpin bowlers in the nation. People like Dilling, Clarence Plonk, Jenny Oates, Albert Brackett, Lib Gault, Betty Hullender, and the Culbertsons (Clyde, Richard and Ronnie) carried high averages and were extremely successful in National Duckpin Bowling Congress tournaments. In 1964 and ‘65, the local bowlers became the first team to win back-to-back national championships. They won many more over the years but Dilling always cherished those first two the most because they were strictly scratch tournaments. No handicaps were added to the final scores. In 1968 the KM bowlers won their third national championship in five years in Baltimore. Dilling was joined on the team by Ronnie Culbertson, Betty Hullender, Lib Gault and Albert Brackett. After the NDBC added handicaps, the KM bowlers would add several more national championships, both in team and individual competition. Joey Whitaker, Allen Myers (twice), Irene Ruley and Greg Evans (twice) brought home singles championships. Evans carried one of the highest per game averages in the nation for a number of years and is the only bowler to top the 500set mark at Mountain Lanes.

He and Dilling also spent some time bowling on the Virginia Pro Tour. R.W. Hullender, Chris Hullender, Mark and Sue Abernathy, Ed and Colleen Philbeck, Zeke Rybczyk and Tommy Barrett were also part of national championships, either as individuals, doubles, quads or teams. Myers recalled that 1997 was probably the most productive year for the KM bowlers in the national tournament, held in Virginia. Myers won the singles championship. He and Dilling finished second in doubles. Barrett and R.W. and Chris Hullender won triples and Chris and R.W. Hullender, Dilling and Myers won quads. “All of that in one year,” Myers noted. “Those people up there hated us for a long time.” Dilling proudly displayed the championship plaques on the wall of his bowling alley. Each singles champion also had their picture printed on the posters promoting the next year’s national championship. Most of the individual bowlers’ accomplishments on the local and national level were directly linked to Dilling, who shared his expertise and always encouraged them to do their best. “I always thought a lot of John,” Barrett said. “I bowled in national tournaments with him and was lucky enough to win a national title with him.” “The year Tommy Barrett and I won the national doubles championship I won a ring called the Gold Award for bowling 130 pins over my average,” Ed Philbeck recalled. “The Gold Award is one of the highest awards in duckpin bowling. That tickled John to death. He pushed me and Tommy both. He was right behind us that year. That was his way.” Philbeck said Dilling’s impact on duckpin bowling can’t be put into words. “John was one of a kind,” he said. “His life was bowling. He helped me a lot. He taught me a lot of different things about bowling. He really helped me when I first started and continued to encourage me. He wanted you to do your best. He always said ‘I can teach you the fundamentals but you have to do the rest on your own.’ ” Myers said people in all areas of the national duckpin scene recognized Dilling as a legend.

“I remember one time when we were bowling up north and a lady that was bowling there was just up and down doing everything,” he said. “I remarked that she was a bowling giant, and someone up there said, ‘yes, just like John Dilling in Kings Mountain.’ “John meant so much to all of us,” Myers added. “He was as good at being a friend as he was at keeping bowling going.” For most of his bowling career, Dilling served the NDBC, including seven years on the Board of Directors and NDBC President in 1979. “John had a big impact on duckpin bowling in the North Carolina area, as every year be brought bowlers to the National Tournament, no matter what area the tournament took place” noted Sue Burucker, Executive Director of the NDBC. “I’m sure he would be disappointed that the bowling alley in Kings Mountain closed.” In 2003 Dilling was inducted into the National Duckpin Bowling Congress Hall of Fame for his 60-plus years of meritorious service and promotion of the game. He was also honored by the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame for Distinguished Service to sports in Kings Mountain. “He will always be a Hall of Famer in my book,” Barrett said. Dilling’s participation in duckpins waned the last several years of his life because of poor eyesight and other health problems. For the longest time he continued to bowl even though his eyesight was so poor he couldn’t see the pins. “His eyesight was bad the last 15 to 20 years,” Sharon noted. “He could see very little. Bowlers would tell him which pins were standing and he knew where they were and could still knock them down. You know you’re good when you can do that.” Philbeck said after Dilling’s health got really bad he quit attending the national tournaments. “For the longest time he would go to every tournament and bowl one set, but would give out and couldn’t bowl anymore,” Philbeck said. “When he got to where he couldn’t bowl at all he didn’t go back.” Even though bowling will no longer exist in the

Meet Your Friends at Charlie’s

Dilling basement, local bowlers can participate in next year’s national tournament and use averages based on league play during the 2010-11 season.

After that, barring a miracle that would bring another duckpin alley to town, Kings Mountain duckpin bowling will be a thing of the past. “It’s a sad thing,” Myers

said. “We were the last duckpin alley in North Carolina. Closing is a real blow to everybody. But John will never be forgotten as long as we’re alive.”

Alexander: passion, influence touched many From page 3A membering Ruby, remember coming into her office and seeing a plaque that said, “God gives every bird its worm but he doesn’t drop it into the nest,” meaning you really have to work for what you want but God will help you along the way. Not only was Ruby just a contractor, she also was a Gardner-Webb Trustee, she served on committees for the Baptist State Convention, she was the Board of Directors for First Union Bank, she was a member of the National Association of Home Builders, President of Kings Mountain United Way, President of the Kings Mountain Chamber of Commerce, Charter (or first) President of the Kings Mountain Board of Realtors and established the Gold Run subdivision. She also won several awards including the Sam Walton Business Leader Award in 1998, Cleveland County Chamber and First

Union Entrepreneur Award in 1997 and the Athena Award in 1996 for Outstanding Business Woman of the Year. Later on in Ruby’s life she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was given only three to six months to live. That didn’t stop her. She started right back to work even right after coming home from a chemo treatment. Ruby lived, worked and loved through her cancerous years and even beat cancer until it came back three years later in 2000, and still worked up until about two weeks before her death. “Even though it’s been 11 years since she departed to Heaven, we still have people come up and say ‘She put up our first home and we couldn’t have done it without her help,’” Reg said. No matter what buildings around town remind us of her, her greatest legacy was her ambitious ministry in helping people find their homes.

The cornerstone of East Belmont Baptist Church. The church was chartered on June 12, 1912. Photograph courtesy of East Belmont Baptist


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Page 8A

My Hometown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt 24-HOUR

My HOmetown Promises

Looking back at promises lost & forward at promises found

Page 2B

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

The promise of new life By KYRA TURNER

KINGS MOUNTAIN Caleb Michael Bundon was only 29-weeks when his mother, Heather Bundon, went into labor. Due to a medical condition Heather and Jonathan Bundon, of Kings Mountain, could not seem to have a child. After many miscarriages and many prayers Heather got pregnant with a little boy. They were told there were some conditions that might come up along the way and need to be tested, but most of those were considered routine. While visiting their families in Tennessee for Christmas, Heather went into labor. They rushed to the local hospital, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and the doctors gave her shots to stop her from going into labor for about four days so they could get home to Kings Mountain. While trying to get ready to come home, Heather’s water broke. They rushed back to the hospital and little Caleb was born an hour-anda-half later. With C a l e b being so premature they took h i m straight into the Neo

Natal Intensive Care Unit. He weighed in at 2 pounds and 9 ½ ounces. His tiny body fit into his dad’s palm. “During this, Jonathan and I didn’t get to enjoy the excitement of the delivery because we were so overwhelmed with seeing our little boy with tubes all in his body and alarms going off with nurses running around,” Heather explained. “It was such a sensory overload.” The doctors didn’t want to put Caleb on a ventilator because they were afraid it would cause blinding or deafening in a newborn. They gave him steroid shots to keep his lungs developing. Heather and Jonathan were also told that their son had a 60% chance of

Caleb Bundon is pictured here at two days old. He was in the NICU of the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He had a feeding tube, a heart monitor, and was receiving oxygen at the time.

survival, that he had two brain bleeds and an opening in his heart which if it didn’t close he could get an infection and die. He was at a high risk for infection and the next two weeks would be critical. “We knew that no matter what lay ahead God was faithful and promised to keep him alive,” Heather said. “We named him Caleb because one of the translations means ‘God is faithful’ and we knew he would be. We also knew these doctors were doing such a great job and were promising to keep him alive too.” Because Caleb had to be

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stabilized none of the family was allowed to hold him for two weeks. They could touch him through gloves in the walls of the incubator but not hold him. For Heather this was hard. “I wanted to bond with my child and couldn’t hold him,” she said. After Caleb stabilized his brain bleeds corrected themselves and the opening in his heart started to close. Caleb had to stay in the hospital for 80 days to make sure he was stable enough to make the journey home. He had to keep his body temperature up and he had to be able to eat all of his meals without the feeding tube. Jonathan stayed at the hospital for six weeks and then had to travel back and forth for his job as the music minister at First Baptist Church of Kings Mountain, where they had been for two-and-a-half years. Caleb got to come home

March 25th. He still had to be on a heart monitor and oxygen but they made the trip home. Caleb was off the oxygen in June and off the heart monitor in September. The opening in his heart had closed in April. “We decided God wanted us to have Caleb at that certain hospital because of the special medical care they gave us and we were surrounded by most of our family,” Heather commented. Also, because of Caleb being able to acquire Medicaid, all of his hospital and doctor’s bills were paid. The bills amounted to almost $1 million. Heather and Jonathan couldn’t take Caleb out much for the first couple of months because of him being so prone to infections. They first brought him to be seen at church in June. After being home for a week, Caleb had to have weekly visits with an occu-

pational and physical therapist and a pediatrician. That was then. Now, Caleb is a bouncing, healthy toddler. He’ll turn three years old on January 4th and has had no big medical emergencies. He has no learning disabilities and he is in the 10th percentile in his weight, height and head circumference. Caleb still has to do physical therapy until he is three but is doing great. He loves to look at pictures of himself from when he was born and tells his mom he understands he had a “boo-boo”. . . a “bad boo-boo.” In a couple of months Caleb will have a little sister and is so excited to meet her. Heather and Jonathan are nervous about having another premature infant but they know God has this baby in his hands just as Caleb was.

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Jonathan, Heather, and Caleb Bundon, in May of 2011, during their annual family vacation to the beach.



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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 3B

My Hometown

Guy Brown. Champion boxer. My brother. By BOBBY BROWN Belmont Sports Hall of Fame Committee

BELMONTâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Kelsey Guy Brown was the Middle and Light Heavyweight Champion of the South, 1947-48. He was an athlete of great promise. He was also my brother. I love him, and I miss him very much. Let me tell you about Guy. He was a legendary fighter and a native of Belmont. He began his boxing career in 1939 at the age of 16. He had only four amateur fights, losing them all before turning professional in the early 1940â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. During these early years as a pro, he would fight as many as two and sometimes three times a week over the two Carolinas in four and sixround bouts. In mid-1945, as a middleweight, his career took off, along with professional boxing in the South. Guy credited Ebb Ganttâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;his coach, trainer and corner manâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with helping advance his career. Guy often fought great fights against the top competitors of the day, such as Bobby Britton, Eddie Steele, Jesse Wilson, Babe Saunders and Jimmy Taylor. Guy once won 28 bouts in a row. Gantt named him the best fighter he ever trained. Although Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true record will never be known, sports articles reporting the 1947 championship win note his record of 277 wins out of 341 fights. He had his best years in the period of 1945-48, with his career spanning 1939-49. He was known for his stamina, great courage, will and his tremendous punching power. He was an original free spirit, who thought life was for living. A true fighter who took on all comers, he never asked for any quarter, nor gave any. There is no clear record of just when Guy started his professional boxing career. But one of the earliest references to his boxing prowess was March 24, 1943, in the local newspaper, five months before his 20th birthday. He was shown to be fighting in a local boxing benefit program in the semi-finals and was referred to as â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;One-Punchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Guy Brown.â&#x20AC;? The results of these fights were never reported by the paper, as was often the case, I have been told. The history of Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boxing in 1943 and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;44 is not well documented by the

papers. But information from those who were close to him report that he fought hard and often, mostly four and sixrounders in the preliminaries on boxing cards around the Carolinas. In 1945 just after the war, professional boxing took off in the South, with promoters and boxing commissions in Charlotte, Gastonia and Asheville, and boxing cards being held somewhere every week. Guy was being booked to fight in most of them. He had been fighting frequently before, and now was showing up as a regular on these promotions, winning some and losing some. It seemed like more losses than wins. But he was apparently quite a banger and crowd-pleaser, win or lose. He showed up in mid-â&#x20AC;&#x2122;45 as a 147pound welterweight and fought weekly and more against such fighters as Buddy Best of Wilmington, Early Hamilton of Mount Holly and Ruff Cassidy. The war was over. And Gantt, quite an outstanding boxer himself, had returned from the service. He was now coaching amateur boxing, football and whatever else was available. Guy asked him to join him as a coach, trainer and corner man. After watching Guy fight in one of his matches, Ebb agreed to help Guy out. They went to work, and the combination proved to be what my brother needed. According to Ebb, he was never Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s manager. Ebb coached him, trained him and was his mentor. But he was never paid anything but Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expenses. He did not want any pay, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the way it was. Guy did his own managing, signed for his own fights, negotiated his pay and so on. But under the coaching and knowledgeable training of Ebb, Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boxing skills bloomed. The talent was there. And with Ebbâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s help, Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boxing career took flight. The fight pace was furious. The newspaper records show that he averaged almost a fight every two weeks for almost two and a half years. Sometimes it was once or twice a week in Charlotte, Gastonia, Asheville, Spartanburg, Aiken, Macon, Ga., Miami and on and on. The middle and light heavyweight class was the weight class of the times. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where the good fighters were, and there were many tough competitors. Such

boxers as Jimmy Eldridge of Gastonia, Babe Saunders of Hendersonville, Bobby Britton of Miami, Eddie Steele of Macon, Johnny Taylor and Gordon Ball, both of Asheville, Billy Paul of Greensboro, Jesse Wilson of Fort Bragg, Teet Montooth of Knoxville, Tenn., Buddy Rose of Buffalo, N.Y., and Jimmy Hughes of Charlotte were just a few of these masters of the sweet science. Guy, Britton, Steele, Wilson and Hughes were the top middle and lightheavyweight competitors. The title was combined and held together. The title was contested time and again between these boxers in great, bloody battles. Guy fought in title matches at least six to eight times over the period from 1946 through mid-â&#x20AC;&#x2122;48. After a 10-round decision loss to Babe Saunders in April of 1946, he went on to 28 wins in a row, with a fifth-round knockout over Saunders, defeating him for the second time in less than a year in early March of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;47. But Guy was then defeated by Britton, the Southern Middle and Light Heavyweight Champion, on March 17, 1947, in Asheville. In April, 1947, Brown fought Steele for the right to fight Britton again for the title. Guy knocked out Steele on April 16, 1947, and signed to fight Britton for the championship on April 24 in Charlotte. Britton retained his crown by a oneround margin split-decision that the papers reported as not too popular with the fans. Then on into the second half of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;47, Guy continued his fast-paced fight career with some hard-fought wins and losses to good competition. During the summer and fall, he had numerous fights, with losses to both Steele and his brother, Dom Steele of New York, who had fought numerous preliminaries in Madison Square Garden. During this period, Britton had lost the title to Wilson. Eddie Steele then relieved Wilson of the title in August, and thus the stage was set for the Guy Brown/Eddie Steele championship battle in December of 1947. Guy defeated Steele in a 10-round decision in Asheville and became the Southern Middle and Light Heavyweight Champion. After his winning the championship in December of 1947, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Belmont Ban-

l a n o i t i d d a save an


nerâ&#x20AC;? reported this record of his career: â&#x20AC;&#x153;He started professional fighting at the age of 16, after only four amateur fights. Out of 341 ring bouts, he had won 277, lost 64, of which 60 were professional and four were amateur. â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A lot of the credit for my success goes to Ebb Gantt for all his help in my training,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; says Brown.â&#x20AC;? In early 1948, he defended his title again against Steele in a return match and won a clear decision. He continued his career through 1948 and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;49, with key fights against Hughes, a truly fierce competitor. But this time, Guy lost all the matches. Within four months of their last fight, Hughes was 26 pounds bigger and was fighting heavyweight, so there were no rematches. Other wins and losses were a part of his long and active career but now at a slower fighting pace. Guy fought all over the South and some up North. But additional records are hard to come by. His career tailed off in late 1949 and early 1950, as best as can be determined. And as it is with many great fighters, their careers are over before they decide to hang up the gloves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Guy was the best fighter I ever trained,â&#x20AC;? Gantt once said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He had more natural stamina, more courage and more will than any person I ever knew. (He was) one who liked to chart his own way and go it, whatever the results. Had Guy had the right manager and promoter, who had access to the right doors, and had he taken to that direction, I have no doubt he could have been a top contender and even a world champion.â&#x20AC;? Guy died in 1967 at the young age of 43. I am fully aware of the fast pace of the personal life and good times that sometimes interfere with the professional boxing competitorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. Those who knew Guy well would not list him for sainthood. He loved wine, women and song, as they say. But his friends remember him with great affection, for he was a fun, though sometimes unpredictable, fellow to be around. He had a great sense of humor and loved to make people laugh. And you may truly say of him, he was a true a champion.



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Page 4B

My Hometown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cherryville’s churches standing on the promises of God By MICHAEL E. POWELL CHERRYVILLE - When we think of churches, we think of a place. A building, mainly. Bricks and mortar. But they are more than that. They are places of promise. Many of us think back in our childhood memories to a place where we either went to Sunday School or to Vacation Bible School or to a catechism or confirmation class. “Great memories, within reason,” you might say aloud. And you would, for the most part, be correct. As places, however, churches also do something else. They give us a “place of being,” which is a state of being maybe, for some. To others, it’s more that that. They provide a sense of future promise that is as rock solid as the foundation on which they were built: Christ

An old photo of Cherryville’s Second Baptist Church, circa late 40’s-early 50s, or shortly after it was founded. Those gathered for this photo were standing on the promises of God then and do so now, having never wavered. Himself. Cherryville’s many longlived and long-tenured houses of worship are all that

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where worship was as synonymous with where one came from as the person’s name pretty much says it all about small town life: it’s as close as it can get to being a little slice of heaven on earth. And though far from perfect, we can all go back to our roots in those once-small country churches, now grown to be the First Church of This or That, or the Second Church of some such denomination, and remember what our promises were and are. We all needed it then, and we still need it, if you talk to some of the pastors who see our sense of “promise” challenged on a daily basis. The Promise begins Cherryville church history started with the great Lutheran and Methodist influx as German and other pioneer settlers came into the Piedmont of North Carolina, establishing churches, many of which are still here today in one form or another. Dates of 1770 (Long Creek Presbyterian Church), and 1790, have been written of as being the first founding dates of some of the town’s earliest churches. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (originally organized as Beaver Dam Lutheran Church) was founded about one mile west of its present location. Antioch Methodist Church was founded in 1805, about “three miles east of Cherryville,” according to “Cherryville: Past and Present,” and the updated 1997 anthology of W. T. Robinson’s “History of Cherryville.” Three years later, in 1808, along came Concord Methodist Church. The earliest Baptist congregation, again according to the book, was located in nearby Dallas, and was founded there in “...the early 1770’s.” As early, then, as the late 1700’s, the promise of growing up in the church of your choice was prevalent in Cherryville and other small towns in the western Piedmont. It was nothing, Mr. Robinson’s story noted, for families to load up in their wagon and head off to their church on what he called “preaching days,” and a

journey of 12 to 15 or more miles was nothing unheard of then. According to Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s history, completed for their 150th anniversary (Oct. 2007), theirs was also one of the earliest congregations in the area, having been founded in 1857, with 38 charter members. The earliest record of churches actually in Cherryville township, newly renamed from its original name of White Pines, was in 1881, when both St. John’s Lutheran Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church started their worship services. Sometimes actual chronologies get complicated when a church starts out as one entity (or group), changes its name and/or moves AND changes its name, and so forth. Still, the original place of promise remains that: a place of promise. Those records and histories are preserved by members and handed down through the years. Each successive time period they are brought out and talked about during that church’s “homecoming.” A church’s “homecoming” is another way our Cherryville’s churches continue their traditions of being places of promise to their members and congregations through the years. One of the first AfricanAmerican churches, founded in 1884, stands out, since they had a recent homecoming. Fair View Baptist Church (changed some time later to the one word name, “Fairview”) is still in existence and is located on Mountain Street. According to historical information submitted by deacon Paul Watkins, the church was founded by a Rev. Cain (no first name mentioned); deacon Frank Black; Martha, Jacob, and Kizzie Black; Frank Mutz; Thomas Webber; members of Mr. J. G. Surratt’s family, and others. The history says the land was given for the building by “unknown City officials.” Out of this church, in the early 1900’s, came the Rudisill AME Zion Church (1907). Through many trials

and tribulations the church, once destroyed by bad weather, bounced back and grew, and is now under the pastorage of the Rev. David L. Lindsey. The First Presbyterian Church of Cherryville, founded in 1893, according to the Robinson history anthology, also recently held their 118th homecoming services Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. The church was organized with 29 charter members, and in 1919 Robinson notes that all the members of the Waco Presbyterian Church transferred to the Cherryville church. Although the church was destroyed by fire in 1944, a rebuilding campaign was begun in 1945. The church has grown congregationally and physically since then, adding a new Outreach Center and increasing its “footprint” exponentially. For homecoming services they brought back the Rev. Randy Patterson as the speaker. Rev. Patterson is a Cherryville native and a Cherryville High School graduate, class of 1970. He attended Gaston College and the School of Laity of the Presbytery of Western North Carolina. What continues the promise of tradition and faith for members of First Presbyterian is that during their homecoming service they recognized new members, remembered deceased members, and presented several honors to congregation members. The history of Second Baptist Church in Cherryville is not too dissimilar to that of other Cherryville spiritual congregations. According to that history, supplied by Rev. Mike Staton, it was in the late summer of 1936 when a Cleveland County sharecropper wandered into a revival meeting, settled down and listened to a message from the book of Romans. His name was A. V. Rippy, and the words of Paul’s book to the Roman believers struck hard, and there at that tent revival, Rippy was said to have come to accept Christ as his personal Savior. Later, Rippy held church services in his five-room frame house in the Dora Mill Village, at 218 W. Gaston Street, Cherryville. “There was no piano, no pulpit, no cushioned pews, and only eight adult worshipers and some children,” runs the history. “Every Sunday they met in the living room of the Rippy home to sing, pray, and listen to the scriptures. The old familiar hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ was sung at the close of every service.” Second Baptist was first named the Dora Baptist Church, with plans to build the church near the Dora Mill. The first officers were Rev. N.S. Hardin, pastor; Mrs. John McGinnis, church See Churches, 5B

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Page 5B

My Hometown

An interesting story. It began with the Floral Fair By ELIZABETH STEWART KINGS MOUNTAIN - Promises led to what is today one of the oldest and most active clubs in the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;the Kings Mountain Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club. By all accounts the spirit and enthusiasm of those early women in 1903 became contagious. The members on Oct. 19 celebrated yet another successful Fall Festival, its 79th, a tradition that started with the Floral Fair back in 1903 when members met in the Pythian Hall, Cavenyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ice Cream Shop and in a bar on Railroad Avenue and dreamed of a â&#x20AC;&#x153;home.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an interesting story, our history,â&#x20AC;? says Betty Gamble, who has served numerous terms as president. About 1902 a group of ladies became concerned that the townâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cemetery got a good cleaning only one time a year. They formed a committee (as all club members learn is the first step) and started planting shrubs, and the cemetery grounds took on a new look. They didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop after that project and the group was organized in 1903 and became the Civic League. They joined the N.C. Federation of Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Clubs in 1923 and were incorporated in 1950. Leading the club during the years from 1905-20 were Mrs. Mattie Neal, Mrs. C. E. Neisler, Mrs. J. S. Mauney and Mrs. S. A. Mauney. Before his death in 1931, Charles E. Neisler, Sr. had promised the women a lot on which to build the clubhouse. His wife, Ida Pauline Neisler, was an active member of the club. Times were hard but contributions to build a permanent home came from many individuals. In addition to Mauney Mills and Neisler Mills, a $10,000 donation was made by Dorus C. Mauney in honor of his wife. The final payment was made by Ida Mauney Neisler and in January 1932 the Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club met for the first time in its new building on East Mountain Street. This building has enjoyed facelifts and changes over the years thanks to the generosity of many and hard work of its members. Over the 108 year history of the Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club, the generosity of the community in taking part in fundraisers such as the floral fair/festival, and aided by the love gifts of families of former members has nourished an organization steeped in giving back to the community. Katherine (Mrs. Aubrey) Mauney served as state president of the North Carolina Federation of Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Clubs. Other members have served in district officers including Mrs.

Johnsie Reavis, Julia Hunt, and Sandra Murphrey serve lunch to Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Black at the recent Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Club Fall Festival. O. C. Falls, Mrs. Haywood Lynch, Mrs. Aubrey Mauney, Mrs. W. D. Werner and Mrs. Donald Dixon. Like Betty (Mrs. John) Gamble, several women have repeated several times as local president. Helen Crosland (Mrs. Paul Sr.) Hendricks at 96 and Ruth Gamble( Mrs. Tom) Mayhew, 93, have the distinction of being the senior members of the club. They never miss a fall festival and both were on hand for the recent event; Mrs. Mayhew helped out in the kitchen. The theme of the 2011 festival was appropriately â&#x20AC;&#x153;My Favorite Time of Yearâ&#x20AC;? and the souvenir book paid tribute to the past presidents, also those serving before 1920, and including Mrs. G.E. Lovell, Mrs. E. W. Neal, Mrs. H. E .

Churches: standing on the promises of God From page 4B clerk; Pauline Huss, treasurer; A.V. Rippy, Sunday school superintendent; and John McGinnis and A.V. Rippy, deacons, according to Rev. Staton. As with all growing congregations, the little gathering grew too large for the Rippyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s living room. In early 1941, the history records, they began holding services in the Rhyne Houser Club-

house. It was on January 18, 1942, the Dora Baptist unanimously adopted the resolution to change the name of the church to Second Baptist Church. Many growth spurts and building expansions later, the present-day church is a paragon of excellent growth and promise as they look to the future in Cherryville. Rev. Staton noted that, having added a new sanctuary back in the mid-60s, the

churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s address is 201 N. Houser Street. Second Baptist recently held their 71st homecoming. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From all the charter members that started the church,â&#x20AC;? he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we still have family members in the church in 2011.â&#x20AC;? The Promise continues It is hard to cover all the churches that now call Cherryville their home, or point of earthly origin. Many, as

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has been stated, were started in the heydays of religious fervor and growth of the late 1800â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. For example, another of Cherryvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s larger churches, First Methodist, currently under the shepherding of the Rev. Rick Fite, was founded in 1883 in the granary of one of Cherryvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early pioneers, Henry Summitt. Throughout the years there were many new buildings as the congregation grew, until in 197273, the building they are currently in was built. They too have family members, and family members of family members, that call the church home. It is the place of promise from which they sprang and to which they return for spiritual guidance and solace. Cherryvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s First Baptist can claim its foundation being in 1893 in, what was originally a Methodist church building. It had 24 charter members, according to Mr. Robinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history book. In 1907, First Wesleyan

Dwelle, Mrs. W. S. Dilling, Mrs. D. C. Mauney, Mrs. M. E. Herndon, Mrs. W. K. Mauney Sr,, Mrs. A. H. Patterson, Mrs. E . W. Griffin, Mrs. F. W . Finger, Mrs. D. C. Mauney, Mrs. Grady Patterson, Mrs. Aubrey Mauney, Mrs. E. Lynch, Mrs. J. K. Willis, Mrs. E. A. Shenk, Mrs. Otto Hehn, Mrs. Jacob Mauney, Mrs. I. G. Patterson, Mrs. George Houser, Mrs. Jacob Cooper, Ms. D. W. Blanton, Mrs. W. T. Weir, Mrs. Jack Arnette, Mrs. Edward Heine, and Mrs. W. D. Werner, all deceased. Other past presidents are Mrs. L. P. Baker, Jr., Mrs. John Cheshire, Mrs. John H. Gamble, Mrs. Don Dixon, Mrs. Laurence Meunch (Esther Plonk), Mrs. Wendell Bunch and the 2011 president, Mrs. Steven Sutherland.

came into being. They celebrated their 100th anniversary a few years back. Growth resulted from some great preaching and soon they too were needing a new building. This came about, according to the church history, in 1978, when they also erected a building to house their growing congregation. Other churches and their organization dates, as mentioned by Mr. Robinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cherryville: Past and Presentâ&#x20AC;? (pages 16-18) are (and this list is by no means conclusive): The Church of the Nazarene, founded in 1950; and Missionary Methodist Church, whose founding date was not then known when the book was written and updated in the 90â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. It is to be noted that, according to Mrs. Bobbie Rudisill, who wrote an addendum to Robinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history of Cherryville churches, that â&#x20AC;&#x153;...(T)his is only a skeleton history (page 88).â&#x20AC;? She seems to catch the true spirit of promise of those old-time congrega-

tions, noting in the last sentence of her addition to Robinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s compendium, how the churches from back in the day used to help each other out in times of trouble and adversity. Mrs. Rudisill writes: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We think of all that hard work, dedication, and giving on the part of those early pioneers. Life was certainly not easy. As a result of their sacrifices, we have a wonderful, unique heritage.â&#x20AC;? Standing on the promises... Mrs. Rudisill says those who read the small Cherryville history book should note and remember that â&#x20AC;&#x153;...history is made by those who dare; history is preserved by those who care.â&#x20AC;? Cherryvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many churches are rich with history, but they are also rich in the promise of something better: a life that lives beyond the span of what we call â&#x20AC;&#x153;history.â&#x20AC;? That is what their promise is all about.


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Page 6B

My Hometown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My HOmetown Players

Whether on the field or in the boardroom, players come in all shapes & sizes

Page 2C

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

1969’s IM hoops squad high scorer has great memories “Missing” game film adds to game’s history, mystery By MICHAEL E. POWELL C H E R RY V I L L E — Sometimes all it takes is an email to create a great memory and inspire a little mystery, as in the “whatever happened to...” type mystery. It was just a few years after the “Summer of Love,” and America was still embroiled in and accelerating her involvement with the Vietnam War, when a team of stalwart young men from the Piedmont area of western North Carolina set out on their way to win a state championship. They were hoping they would triumph, and had a veritable busload (or two) of fans all preparing to make the trip to their version of the “Big Dance,” this time playing Avery County’s tough Vikings (and their big star center Tommy Burleson) in Newland. “We were 20-3 going into that game,” remembers Alphonso “Al” Graves, who was part of that squad and played some of his best ball, he says, against the 7’3” Burleson, who later went on to play college, Olympic, and professional basketball. Back to that email: it came in from a sports fan who was sitting around one day talking with the coach, Bill Hinson. They were remembering the game film, wanting to find out if anyone knew what might have happened to it. There was another “hitch” to the game for the Cherryville fans, according to the email sender, former CHS ‘69 grad, Mickey Payseur. “I also seem to remember a busload or two of Ironmen fans who wanted to go to the game being turned away before they got there by the NC

(photo submitted by Al Graves)

The 1969 CHS Ironmen basketball squad, seen here in Al Graves’ own “1969 Chenoca” yearbook photo, led at the time by Coach Norm Harris, went up against some of western North Carolina’s best and won. Front row, left to right: Mike “Doodle” Bumgarner, Roger Beck, Alphonso “Al” Graves, Robert Young and Melvin Littlejohn. Back row, left to right: Steven Hoyle, Steen Moss, Gary Beam, Jimmy Fisher, Dan Stroupe, Kenneth Chapman, Marty Beam, Jimmy Beam, Monty Helms, and Steve Owens. The team’s coaches were Bill Hinson and Lester Jenkins. Highway Patrol who said the game had been canceled, or something like that,” Payseur says. He didn’t remember whether the Eagle’s then-indomitable sports writer Ronald “Scoop” Kiser was on one of the buses that was turned away, and Graves himself says he doesn’t remember the Scoop being there either. “Scoop usually rode with the team and sat with us, but we went up earlier and I don’t remember him being with us. He may have come up later, with the fans,” Graves says. When told the fans’ buses were turned back, and that if Kiser was one of those buses, he most likely was turned back as well, Graves replied, “Oh! Well, I don’t know. I know I didn’t see him there.” Nevertheless, there was a story filed by Kiser from

Newland, under the by-line of “Ronald Kiser, Star Sports Correspondent,” and another article, each dealing with the Ironmen’s 72-65 loss in that ‘69 game. Graves’ memories of the game are that the Ironmen squad was winning as they went into the fourth quarter of the game when he says Coach Hinson decided they were going to “...come into that quarter with a four corners offense, in order to stall the ball and keep them (the Vikings) from scoring.” “We were used to a running and shooting offense,” Graves remembers. “We just turned the ball over too many times and that hurt us.” Graves, the center, says, that at the outset of the game Roger Beck and Robert Young were forwards, while “Doodle” Bumgarner and See 1969 HOOPS, 4C

Kings Mountain... With active progressive local leadership and strong citizen participation, the City has grown aggressively in recent years with emphasis on infrastructure, support services and the quality of life. The City consistently works to improve the quality of life in our community by supporting the Historical Museum, the Southern Arts Society, YMCA, the Joy Performance Center, Keep Kings Mountain Beautiful and the award winning Patrick Senior Center. There is a array of special events and opportunities for passive Rick Murphrey Mayor recreation at the Children’s Playground, area parks, and walking tracks. Kings Mountain has become a model of community policing and problem solving. Kings Mountain is committed to a balanced strategy of prevention, intervention and enforcement. Whether you are interested in community services, education, healthcare, outdoor recreation, the arts, dining or shopping, Kings Mountain is constantly improving its quality and availability. In City government, like any other successful business, you must be a strong team of visionaries working closely together to build a better future. We have a strong team.

Blanton doesn’t skip a beat KINGS MOUNTAIN - Music has always played a big role in Mark Blanton’s life. He created the band Mink in 1975. He’s toured the world and performed on stages in 48 states and in over 20 countries. He’s opened for Bob Seger, Heart, and Buddy Rich and played with beach bands like Catalina, the Tams, and the Drifters. For six weeks, he toured the world with James Brown. And one year, he just barely lost the award for male vocalist to the artist Lou Rawls. Although a lot of his life is now spent running his nearly three-year-old restaurant, Oak Grove Grill - a local hot spot, his love for music hasn’t skipped a bit. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6-8 the Mountaineer-themed eatery is transformed into a concert hall. He takes the mic or drum sticks and serenades his customers, accepting song requests from the crowd. “Under the Boardwalk” still makes them swoon. The Beach classics many have

See BLANTON, 4C Mark Blanton, lead vocalist and drummer of Mink, sings tracks at his restaurant Oak Grove Grill. photo by EMILY WEAVER

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known and loved to hear him sing ring out in the restaurant. Rock-n-Roll, Blues, Funk, Country, Gospel, nothing is off limits, except for maybe gangster rap. His young help, students of Kings Mountain High School who work part-time at the diner, tease him to be more hip. But don’t let him fool you…this cat’s hip. It all started to take form in the third grade when Blanton would serenade the girls on the playground, singing Beatles and Ricky Nelson songs while strumming a makeshift guitar. In fourth grade, he picked up a real guitar and in eighth grade he moved on to drums. “Luckily, I was able to get into the school band in the ninth grade. They needed drummers and M r . (Donald) D e a l called me d o w n there, auditioned me in the band room, took me out of


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Page 3C

My Hometown

Hall - home Music runs in their blood run hitter! By KYRA A. TURNER

Broke record set by ‘the Greatest Hitter who Ever Lived’ By BOBBY BROWN Belmont Sports Hall of Fame Committee

BELMONT—Ted Williams was one of the greatest athletes ever to play American professional baseball. Known as “the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” Williams’ record with the Boston Red Sox is the stuff of legend. But did you know that a fellow from right here in Belmont broke the Splendid Splinter’s rookie-year homerun record? Williams held this record—31 homeruns!—for 24 years. And it was broken by none other than Jimmie Hall, back in 1963. Jimmie, now 73, hit 33 homeruns for the Minnesota Twins that ’63 season—an American League rookie record that still stands to this day. Slugger Mark McGuire also broke Williams’ record. Yet he had already played 18 games in the Big Leagues and was still considered a rookie. So as a true rookie, Jimmie holds the American League record. His baseball career was outstanding. He played with a number of Major League teams and enjoyed exceptional years with the Twins, California Angels, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. He enjoyed a career batting average of .254 and racked up 121 homeruns. An accomplished outfielder, he batted left and threw right. Jimmie was born in Mount Holly and grew up in East Belmont or “the East End,” as it was known, on the National Mill Village. He was never taught any basic baseball skills. Nope, this fine athlete was a pure natural. And what skills he didn’t have naturally he learned and honed from dawn to dusk at the old Crescent Ball Field in East Belmont. This field was built for the community back in 1919 (when Williams was a year old), by the Crescent Mill Company. Hundreds upon hundreds of kids and men have learned to play baseball on that field. Today it has a fence and gray, sandy soil for the infield. And it has been renamed Dwight Frady Field in honor of the late editor of “The Belmont Banner,” a man beloved by all of Belmont, whose many recognitions included being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year back in the 1960’s and membership in the Order of the Longleaf Pine, the See HALL, 7C

Photograph courtesy of Bobby Brown

Jimmie Hall is seen here back in his baseball glory days. A Mount Holly native, Hall is a 2008 inductee of the Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame.

KINGS MOUNTAIN Like The Jackson Five, The Partridge Family, and The Osmonds, music runs deep in the Humphries family. Ronnie Humphries and his son Jon Humphries are both musicians. Ronnie got into it watching his cousin play the bass and his mother play the piano. Starting out, Ronnie tried the piano and found out it just wasn’t for him. He learned the bass and fell in love with it. He, his mother and a few of his cousins started the first band he was ever in called “Silver Street”. They played bluegrass. Through the years Ronnie ended up playing with a great deal of different bands and toured with many of them. He played with Mike Blanton and the band Mink, with Ronnie Whistnant’s Legend Band, with Artemus Pyle, the Progressive Band in Spartanburg, SC, Billy Scott and the Georgia Profits (a beach band), and the State Line band (country). He’s performed locally with John Daniel Coe from Gastonia, and briefly with Patti Lovelace. Ronnie met his wife Mercedes while touring with one of his bands. After the two married, Ronnie stopped touring, and playing music eventually, took a back seat to family. Their children, Deanna (firstborn) and Jon were the lights of their lives and the apples of their eyes. And one day, Ronnie noticed that at least one of those “apples” didn’t fall far from the family tree. After Ronnie returned to playing the bass, first at his church, First Baptist, and then at plays and pep rallies at Kings Mountain High School, Jon seemed to fall more and more in love with music. The attraction was always there. When Jon was just a tyke, Ronnie remembers hearing his son bang on pots and pans with wooden spoons and perhaps a little more rhythm than the average kid. At the age of five, Jon traded those wooden spoons for drum sticks. While his father was helping out at “Grease” on stage at KMHS, band member Ron Feemster invited the fiveyear-old to help him play the drums. He was hooked. With years of practice, Jon’s talent grew. By the age of eight, he was filling in for

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Jon Humpries and Ronnie Humphries rock it out with Southern Experience at the Cleveland County Fair on October 1, 2012. the occasional absent drummer in his church’s youth band. Jon studied with Tim Blackwell, a college professor, for three years, and Jackie Potter, former member of the Marshall Tucker Band who is now a pastor. The father and son musicians played in a band that Potter started called Titus. They’ve played together at KMHS pep rallies. Both, now play for bands at the church (Ronnie – the contemporary praise band and Jon – the Overflow praise band). About two years ago Ronnie got a call from one of Jon’s childhood friends, Scott Sanders. Sanders and J.T. Fitch, both juniors at

KMHS, had a band called “Southern Breeze” and needed a bass player last minute for a fundraiser at Cleveland Early College High School. Ronnie agreed and saw that these guys had talent. After playing with the guys a couple of times, Ronnie found out they were looking for a drummer. They held drum auditions, decided to add Jon to the band and changed the group’s name to “Southern Experience.” Their first gig was at a pep rally and then at the Grover Fall Festival. The popularity of “Southern Experience” continues to grow with regular performances at J. Oliver’s Coffee Shop and

local charity events. When asked about how father and son like to play together in a rock band, the answers were surprising. “It is rewarding to play with such a talented bunch of young guys,” Ronnie said. “All the boys played in church and now playing with these young guys it is personally and musically the most rewarding band I’ve ever played in.” Assuming that most 19year-old guys wouldn’t like to spend all their time with their father in a band, Jon commented that, “On stage I don’t see or feel age at all. I have learned lots of life lesSee FATHER & SON, 7C

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Page 4C

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

BLANTON: doesn’t skip a beat From page 2C study hall and started working with me every morning, teaching me to read music,” Blanton said. Mr. Deal worked with him every morning in private lessons beginning in September and come December, Blanton was performing with the band in the Christmas concert. In 10th grade, he took up his sticks and joined with the marching band, in which he grew closer to his future wife, Elaine Wright, who played the clarinet. Playing in bands in and outside of school, Blanton’s love for music continued to grow and his popularity sprouted. After graduating from Kings Mountain High in 1973, he joined the Air Force in 1974. He passed an audition to join the Air Force band in Warner Robins, Ga., in 1978, but opted to resign. His group, Mink, had an ever-growing fan base. They shared the spotlight, touring and performing with groups such as Billy Scott and the Georgia Prophets, Percy Sledge and The Platters. And then came 1984… Mink won a beach music award for New Band of the Year. “Even though we’d been together since 1975, that was the year of our first record release,” Blanton said. It was also the same year he lost the award for Top Male Vocalist to Lou Rawls and the year he, now regrettably, turned down a drum technician job with the group Alabama. But at the time, Blanton could just taste the stardom that awaited him. Mink’s first 45 rpm record was etched with “Dancing Girl” and “But It’s Alright”. The band had many successes and although the entire world may not have known them, there are few in Kings Mountain that haven’t heard them perform somewhere. One of Kings Mountain’s most popular beach bands, Mink has played at several city events in the past, including National Night Out, Fourth of July, Relay for Life and the former Mountaineer Days. The group has got crowds swaying and couples shag dancing at Patriot’s Park, the walking track and

the American Legion Post 155. And soon the band will return to Oak Grove Grill. After the sad and sudden loss of two of his band members, Blanton took a break. His bass player and one of his closest friends died in January. His guitarist passed away in July. Blanton’s drums and microphone grew silent - until a couple of months ago. With his son-in-law, Chris Smith as his sound engineer, Blanton set up to perform in the restaurant. A month ago, he was just singing tracks, but had plans to bring the band in to perform soon. The crowds have continued to grow on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Blanton hopes they’ll keep growing as he weathers the storm of an economy that claimed four restaurants in Shelby last month. One of the restaurants was 15-year-old Jackson’s Cafeteria. Blanton said that he talked about opening up a restaurant for quite awhile with his family before the opportunity came up a few years ago. “People tell us we’re crazy doing it in this economy but we’re going to prove ‘em wrong,” Blanton said. “The economy has taken a bite out of things and for these mom and pop operations it’s hard when they fight the franchises.” Oak Grove Grill has grown. In the restaurant’s first location next to Tom’s Mini Mart on Stony Point Road, the building only allowed four dine-in seats. His spot today, across the street, at 1053 Oak Grove Road, offers room for several more seats… and even a dance floor should the need arise. The Grill’s varied menu includes daily lunch specials with meats and vegetables, made-from-scratch country cooking, homemade vegetable soup for those cold nights and Big E’s BBQ. Blanton stays true to his school as an avid Mountaineer fan, who never misses a game. Mountaineer memorabilia decorates the walls in his restaurant. Mountaineer burgers (1/2-pounders) and 4-oz. JV burgers are on the menu. Blanton, lead vocalist and drummer of Mink, has been performing 48 years. Married to Elaine, the Blantons have

1969 HOOPS: high scorer has great memories From page 2C Mel Littlejohn were the guards. “When we left here (Cherryville) a day earlier, the weather was fine, about 55-60 degrees,” he says. “We went up and spent the night at Appalachian State University, had a ‘shoot around’ that morning, and I was able to get my confidence built up in order to go against their big man, Burleson.” Graves says Hinson told him to just “ your regular game (against Burleson) and don’t change anything.” When they played Avery at Newland (up past Boone, he says), there was snow on the ground at Appalachian State, “...maybe six or seven inches”, which is not unusual in March, Graves notes. “When we got to the game, it seemed there was a foot (of snow) on the ground. The area was really hilly; mountains to us from down here.” Graves says he thinks the game may have been announced on the Shelby radio station and he distinctly remembers an old Super 8 film being made of the game, by, possibly he says, “someone from our high school, I don’t know for sure though. My best recollection is that it had to be a school film because it was shown later to the student body in Starnes Au-

ditorium.” Graves says the team didn’t find out the NC Highway Patrol had turned the Cherryville fans back until after the game. In Kiser’s article he notes the SWC’s IM “blew a 13-point lead in the fourth and final stanza” in the loss to the NWC champs Avery in the Bi-Conference finals. Scoop says with Graves and Beck “showing the way,” the IM pulled into a 54-41 edge over the Vikings, but adds that the giant Burleson led his teammates on “like gangbusters in the final frame.” Graves remembers it well. “He (Burleson) was something, that’s for sure! I did, however, out-jump him, which surprised him, I think. He wasn’t expecting that! “All four of his (Burleson’s) teammates lined up in front of him because he was used to out-jumping everybody because he was so tall. When I stepped in to jump I saw what was happening, backed out, looked at Coach Hinson for instructions. He told me to step back, that I could out-jump him. I did, and we got the basket after I tipped it to Doodle, who scored,” Graves notes. He remembers Burleson as being “…a very tall, skinny, and gangly junior.” Graves adds he wasn’t that intimidated by him mainly




ence and All-Tournament that season, scoring 28 points and hauling down 17 rebounds in the Avery Co. loss. Graves finished his 24game ‘69 season with a total of 518 points. Roger Beck scored 14 points on that memorable night and finished with a total 291 points, or “markers” as Scoop called them. Young had four points; Doodle had nine points; Stroupe had one point; and Littlejohn scored seven. The lead in the game changed hands six times, and the IM outgunned the Vikings 27-25. Free throws killed the IM, though, as the IM were 11 for 21 from the line to the Vikings’ more precise 22 for 33. Bumgarner picked up the game’s first basket, off the Graves’ tip. But the tale of the tape, as they say, came in the fourth period as the big Burleson led the Vikings back to win the game. At the end of the game, Coach Hinson said, “I’m real proud of this team,” and he took “full blame” for the defeat. “We started stalling too soon in the fourth period, but I thought we ran off some time,” Hinson tells Kiser in the article. But what of the mysterious “missing” game film? Graves, Payseur, and Hinson all would love to see it, if it still exists somewhere out there. Maybe some day they will.



four children, Ashley, Nicole, Mark Jr. and Kevin, and 10 grandchildren. All of his children played in bands growing up. The restaurant is open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

because he was a senior and was still of the mindset that he could “...beat any underclassman that I played.” As far as the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” of the game, in Graves estimation, he feels the IM should have stuck to their running game. “They (the Vikings) were getting tired. They couldn’t keep up with us.” Graves, whose basketball career began in the ninth grade at Chavis, played four years of basketball at Gardner-Webb, but didn’t go pro. He worked for Sears for seven years, lived in Florida for seven years, and has been employed with Timken for the last 30 years. He is married to the former Brenda Glenn, who attended Burns High, and they have two children and two grandchildren. While at G-W, Graves says they finished fourth in the nation in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), mainly for small colleges in his junior year. He majored in physical education and teaches sports, mostly basketball, on occasion. As for the giant Burleson, he has his own ministry in Avery County and is currently employed as a building inspector for Avery County. As for the IM, their stats on that memorable, if enigmatic, game were great, according to the Scoop: The ‘69 IM won 20 games and lost four; Graves was named All-Confer-



Restauranteur and lead vocalist of Mink, Mike Blanton smiles while Bailey Wright, left, and Brandi Griggs, who both work at Oak Grove Grill, sing a Gretchen Wilson song for the crowd at the Grill.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Page 5C

“The Comeback Kids” By MICHAEL E. POWELL “The Comeback Kids” “A team of firsts.” Former 1953 American Legion Tryon (later Cherryville) Post 100 third baseman Ronald Whitaker remembers all those monikers as if they were handed out yesterday. Much can be said of the 1953 Tryon Post 100 American Legion “Cherries” Junior team, Whitaker notes. As the name implies, they were known as the “Junior Legion” team then. Today, the modern Post 100 squad under winning coach Bobby Reynolds has an “A” team and a “B” team. They weren’t so lucky then, Whitaker says, but adds, “We still had some great ball players. I’d put any of ‘em up against the players of today.” Mainly, Whitaker remembers, it must be said they were a team of “firsts.” These young guys were “first” in just about everything back in ‘53, because this part of the Old Tar Heel State had nothing with which to compare a young, fledgling Legion team. The American Legion organization itself wasn’t very old. Whitaker, the former third baseman and former Western Carolina diamond king, says they were the first team to grab an Area IV title, beating a tough-as-nails Gastonia ball club 2-1 to get it. “We played on a neutral field in Kings Mountain back then,” Whitaker said. They were the first NC State Champs, winning four out of seven games against foe Wilmington. They were the first Post 100 Legion to make an appearance in the Regionals after going undefeated, and finally the first team to play in the Little World Series. “We didn’t start out that way, though, back then,” Whitaker says. “Our path to the Little World Series was one that we fought hard for, coming back and beating all comers! That’s when ‘Scoop’ (the late Eagle sports writer Ronald “Scoop” Kiser) and a couple other sports writers started calling us ‘The Comeback Kids.’” Whitaker sat in the Eagle office and looked out the window, remembering. “Those were great days! They sure do go by in a hurry though,” he said. “It was the greatest summer, and one I will never, never forget!” The scrappy little “Cherries’” nickname, “Comeback Kids,” came about as they fought back from a slow start in the 1953 North Carolina State Legion games, according to sportswriters Tom Northington, then a “Daily News” Sports Writer, and Scoop Kiser. After defeating Wilmington 14-5 in the seventh game of the ‘53 State championship, Northington said the young athletes were on their way to represent the state in the Area IV Regionals. He said the team “concluded their regular season tied for fourth place in their own league,” adding that such “didn’t discourage their stout hearts.” In the article he went on and noted how the “Cherries” (in the State playoffs) “...knocked off such Legion powerhouses as Gastonia and Shelby,” and how “Concord fell victim next in the Western finals.” And all this with

(photo courtesy of Ron Whitaker)

1953 Tryon Post 100 (later Cherryville American Legion Post 100) Legion ball club that played in the Post’s first Little World Series appearance. Front row (all are left to right): Randy Whitaker and Guy Eaker (bat boys); middle row: Johnny Mosteller (deceased), Ron Whitaker (3rd), Jerry Gates (C), Jim Lail (2nd), Hugh “Buzz” Peeler (P), Darrell Lail (SS), Larry Armstrong (SS, deceased), Jim Lineberger (3rd), Bob Lineberger (P, deceased), and Ray Jenkins (AO, deceased). Third row: Norman Harris (coach, deceased), Bob “Cornbread” Turner (CF), Marion Miller (C), Ron Turner (LF), Darrell Smith (C, deceased), Terry Gates (OF), Ray Cloninger (1st), Walt “Pooch” Cornwell (P, OF), and J.L. Randall (asst. coach, deceased). This photo was taken in Miami, Fla, at Miami Stadium, where the Little World Series was played. only one player, as the Daily News writer pointed out, “hitting over the .300 mark.” According to the article, the “Comeback Kids” made the most of all their opportunities, which Whitaker said was exactly what happened as they defeated the other clubs by taking advantage of errors, or getting walks, and such. Left-handed pitcher Hugh “Buzz” Peeler apparently was the talk of the town, according to Northington’s article, as the “165 pound southpaw” came into the games “hurling for his club.” Cherryville, by the way, scored 10 or more runs off Wilmington in three of their contests. With this win, Northington noted, “The Cherries have their eyes set on the Regional crown and a berth in the semifinals at Sumter, SC.” Of the Regional play (which the Post 100 team needed to win also), Kiser wrote back then, that “There’s no doubt now that Cherryville is the No. 1 comeback Legion Junior outfit in the state.” This thought was echoed in another of Whitaker’s scrapbook newspaper gleanings, this time from “Daily News” sportswriter Irwin Smallwood. Smallwood sang the praises of “Buzz” Peeler, whose contributions to the three victories the Post 100 Tryon (Cherryville) team were stellar pitching, fielding, and in the last game of that series, batting skills (he hit a home run and collected a pair of doubles on the night). Peeler went into the Sumter, SC, games with a 14-3 season record, 11 of those being consecutive wins. On to the Sumter finals. Scoop Kiser relates in his article sent in from Sumter how “Ironman ‘Buzz’ Peeler delivered the mail” there on Aug. 28, 1953, as the Tyron Post 100 “Cherries” ball club fought their way to the Sectional American Legion Junior baseball championship, downing the Monroe, LA, club 5-2. Monroe won the first outing, defeating the Cherries, 19-8, but the Post 100 boys, forever known as “The Comeback Kids,” did what they did so well back then: they came back and snapped up the last two games, and the rest, as third baseman Whitaker remembers, “is history!” And what a history, he adds, as he relates that the Cherries’

team was the first NC team to win a Sectional since the Shelby club did it in 1945. In the words of their late coach Norm Harris, the GardnerWebb coaching wonder and Legion mentor (as related by the Scoop and reaching across 58 years to us), “Friday’s (Aug. 28) win was a team victory all the way. Everyone in the Cherryville lineup, from leadoff man Ronald Turner to shortstop Larry Armstrong, played bang-up ball to walk off with the Sectional title.” But all good things must come to an end eventually. Whitaker says the hardy team, which boasted three sets of brothers: Darrell and Jim Lail; Terry and Jerry Gates; and Ronald and Bob Turner, finally ran out of steam. “Our (‘53 Legion) team went to Miami and we were one of only four teams left to play in the Little World Series,” Whitaker says. “We played ‘em hard, and gave our best. But, we got eliminated in two straight games by the team from Yakima, WA,” he says. Incidentally, and if you’re wondering, the Yakima Logan Wheeler Post 36 team won the Little World Series that year, with the Winetka, IL, Post 10 team finishing in second place, according to Legion historical stats. Many of that team’s members went on to play ball in college and some returned to their home towns and became active in various business endeavors. More than a few of them were elected to local sports halls of fame. The Lincoln Co. Sports Hall of Fame, established in 2000, nominated Walter “Pooch” Cornwell, speaking of his career on their web site thusly: “The brilliant high school and college sports career of Walter Cornwell compelled a sportswriter to write this tribute in the mid-1950s: ‘The North State Conference and Lenoir Rhyne College saw the end of one of the greatest, if not the greatest, athletic careers in the state’s history when Walter Cornwell bowed out with the basketball season.’” Cornwell was a three-sport standout at Lincolnton High School from 1949-53. While in high school, he was a pitcher and outfielder on the 1953 Cherryville Post 100 American Legion baseball

See POST 100, 7C

Page 6C

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Dashin’ Don Gladden City Stadium, site of star running back’s greatest athletic exploits, is also his final resting place By GARY STEWART KINGS MOUNTAIN— Don Gladden often told his family that some of the happiest days of his life were spent playing football for Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers at City Stadium. Gladden was a star running back for the Mountaineers in 1957 and 1958 and was probably one of the fastest runners to ever play the game here. Many times during his adult life - even before he became seriously ill - he told his family that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes spread on the City Stadium playing field. So after he died in 2007, his daughter Ava Joyner granted his wish. Starting at the 50-yard line, Ava ran just like she had heard her father had done, “dashin” to the north end zone for Don’s final run. “The happiest days of his life were playing football,” Joyner said recently from her home in Tennessee. “I have a scrapbook that has all of the Kings Mountain Herald articles in it. He’d sit and tell us about every game. He could recall every game he ever played.” Gladden teamed with his good friend Ken Baity to form one of the best running duos in school history in 1957. Baity, a senior who was Kings Mountain’s second Shrine Bowl pick, was the leading rusher with 1,289 yards. Gladden, a junior, gained 717. The next season Gladden was the go-to back and became just the third 1,000 yard rusher in school history with 1,051 yards. Baity topped the 1,000 yards

In a photo from the 1957 KMHS football season, head coach John Gamble talks to some of his star players. Left to right are Coach Gamble, Don Gladden, Don Fisher, Jimmy Blanton and Ken Baity. mark as a junior and senior. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Gladden’s exploits on the field is that he was just 5-7 and weighed only 145 pounds. He weighed only 165 when he died. Gladden and Baity complemented each other well. “Gladden was a great runner,” remembered Dale Hollifield, a freshman lineman in 1957. “He could get to the outside. He was small with speed. “He got off a lot of long

runs - thirty, forty and fifty yards. Baity was stronger and could go either way - outside or inside. Gladden ran around end. He caught a lot of passes, usually short ones that he turned into long ones.” A lot of fans and teammates also remember Gladden for his exploits in track. He held the school record for the 100-yard dash for many years. “He was very good in track,” Hollifield said. “He won a lot of 100-yard dashes and 200-yard dashes. Back

then, if you played football you had to run track or play baseball in the spring.” During Gladden’s two years as a starter the Mountaineers compiled a 13-5-2 overall record, losing the Southwestern Conference championship to Shelby both years. In 1957 the Mountaineers fell to the Lions 1413 when a 65-yard touchdown run by Baity was disallowed because officials said he stepped out of bounds. The KM fans were so outraged that some of

them turned the referees’ car over after the game. In 1958, the Mountaineers were leading the SWC but were involved in an unexpected 7-7 tie with Lincolnton. Still leading the league by a half-game going into the ninth game of the season, the Mountaineers fell to Shelby 3-0. Gladden’s best game, as far as rushing, came against Forest City in 1958 when he ran the ball just eight times for 219 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 38-6 win.

He scored on runs of 90, 37 and 19 yards and also returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. His daughter, Ava, said she envisions Don as a back much like Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. “Titans fans call him The Accelerator,” she noted. “When he gets room he’s gone. From what I’ve been told Daddy was the same way.” Gladden was often referred to in Herald articles as See GLADDEN, 9C

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Father & Son: music is in their blood From page 3C sons from him and how he plays. We also don’t get in any trouble playing and touring. It’s all of our passions.” Even with all three guys in college now at Cleveland Community College, the future of the band looks good. “We have all been writing songs and singing them at our gigs. We decided to do that on our first full length album,” Ronnie explained. “All the songs are originals and we all sing (harmonies) on the album with Scott.” The CD will be produced by Tim Lawter, from the former Marshall Tucker Band. “We did an EP (extended play) called ‘Beginnings’ and released a music video commercial in South Carolina,” Ronnie said. Jon is majoring in music and minoring in

business. After two years at Cleveland Community College, Jon and the guys are looking to transfer to Berkley to finish their undergraduate degrees. Ronnie and Jon have loved playing at their church on Father’s Day. Southern Breeze has enjoyed playing for more than 2,000 people at the 4th of July event in Columbia. The band was also chosen to play for the Nashville Showcase. “When you are invited to the Nashville Showcase, you get to play in front of multiple record companies and we were considered but it fell through in the end,” Ronnie commented. “But just to be considered was an honor.” Southern Breeze played with Travis Powell, Scoot Pittman, No Alibi (from Bessemer City), and Rockin’ Dawgs for a benefit concert on Nov. 6th at Barnes Auditorium

Hall: home run hitter From page 3C Tarheel State’s highest civilian honor. But in the old days of the 1930’s through the ’50’s, that field was a different place. The infield featured a fine, red clay that would cover players in dust from head to toe. There was a deep ditch crossing left field. And there was an old store sitting on high brick columns in deep centerfield. Any ball hit under there was a ground rule double. Catawba Street was deep right field and extra base or homerun territory in or across the street. Now I was born in deep right field, exactly 387 feet from home plate, in the house that stood on the corner across the road at Catawba and Seventh streets. There was a time when I was the only person in the whole world that knew that measurement! There have been some homeruns stolen by good right-fielders who actually played on the road when certain left-handed batters took their swings. And Jimmie Hall was one of them. Even in the old days, we all knew Jimmie was destined for big things. His natural abilities at both batting and fielding were evident to everyone. I met Jimmie for the first time on this Crescent Mill Village Ball Field back in 1949. That means that I’ve known him about as long as any person around. I played with Jimmie on this field, just after he moved to Belmont. Broken bats and skint balls During the summer mornings, all the guys would gather to choose up and play. If there were no mill league play, then it was organized playground play. We had the field to ourselves. We played with electrical-taped baseballs, balls with half the cover gone or no cover at all. The bats had been broken two or three times, nailed together and taped. But they still worked. There was a boy named Bobby Rice who played. He was the only boy that had ever had a new Louisville Slugger and a clean, white ball without tar tape. If you made him mad, he would take the bat and ball and just go home. So we tried not to make him mad.

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My Hometown

I played three years as a non-designated hitter. The non-designated hitter was chosen last and put into right field. I only got to play if they didn’t have enough players. You had to chase, run down or sometimes catch balls that came to you. But you didn’t get to bat. The good hitter always batted in my place. Jimmie was one of those hitters. We didn’t have an umpire most of the time. The catcher called balls and strikes. The catcher had to be mean as a snake, because he got into a lot of fights. After about three years as a nondesignated hitter, I finally got to bat at least once or twice during the whole day of play. I don’t think I caught a single ball that Jimmie hit, because they were always line drives or long balls over my head. I probably ran down a hundred. Jimmie was a great player from the very beginning. I still remember his fluid motion of second or short and the beautiful left-handed swing. I tried to copy the swing since I was lefthanded. But you don’t get much practice as a non-designated hitter. I remember one pitcher that gave Jimmie a hard time in those days—a wild lefthander named Charlie Chastine. His glove was two pieces of leather, sewn together like a first baseman’s mitt, which clasped down over his hand. And he would flip it up and catch the ball when you threw it to him. His wind-up took two minutes, and you never knew where the ball was going. And he could throw hard. I don’t recall Jimmie or any other left-handed batter crowding the plate when he threw to you. I was glad I was a non-designated hitter! The first organized team that Jimmie ever played on was the Crescent playground team, featuring such old buddies as Pete Deal, Cleon Mason, Buddy Burch and many others. Guess who the coach was! Another Belmont Sports Hall-of-Famer, Jim Biggerstaff. In conversation with Coach Big, you would think he taught Jimmie everything he knows. Jimmie played his first organized ball with the playground of Belmont, then

sometimes with the well organized Mill League of the Belmont community. If you lived on the village and could make the team, you could play with the men. Jimmie, of course, made the team. He then went on to play with the very successful Gastonia American Legion team that travelled to Yakima, Wash. That team finished as the runner-up in the World Series in the 1950’s. Jimmie was a good pitcher in those days. He usually played second or short. I did proudly play one year of high school ball with him. At that time, I was a utility player and the designated catcher. That meant I was designated to catch batting practice every day. I really liked Jimmie as a pitcher. When he was called in for relief, I sometimes got to go to left field to replace Doug Mauldin, who replaced Jimmie at second or short. I’d had a lot of practice chasing balls in the field. I still remained the undesignated hitter, for I was usually the pinch hitter for the next inning. We are all proud of Jimmie. His achievements shed light on all of us who played with him in the early years. His baseball accomplishments are well earned and well documented. We are pleased by a successful career that has brought much honor to our community. Some years ago, I was privileged to speak at a banquet honoring Coach Big for his contribution to sports and the young men of this community. At that time, I gave him something that has been in his possession ever since. It sits in a place of honor on his TV in his home. This is one of the first homerun balls—if not perhaps the very first—hit by Major Leaguer Jimmie Hall. It’s a treasure that I had in my possession for many years. But I gave it up to my good friend, Jim Biggerstaff, at his honor banquet. This ball carried some 387 feet across Catawba Street into my yard, then bounced under my front porch where I grabbed it and ran away with it down the next street. It’s a fine memento of Jimmie Hall—a gentleman who brought Belmont some truly Major League honor, both on the field and off.

(KMHS). The event was to benefit Jeff Stacy who is in need of an operation. “When you get audience members coming up to you saying ‘what a classy young band’ it all seems to be worth it,” Ronnie

said. Catch “Southern Experience” online at or on facebook.

Post 100: The Comeback Kids From page 5C team that played in the Little World Series in Miami, Fla. At Lenoir-Rhyne from 1953-57, Cornwell became the first L-R athlete to earn all-conference and all-district honors in all three major sports (football, basketball and baseball). That record remains intact nearly 50 years after Cornwell graduated. And of 2007 inductee Ray Cloninger, another ‘53 Post 100 team member, the website notes, in part, “From baseball to basketball to the equestrian arena, Ray Cloninger has been a lifelong participant and supporter of sports. As first baseman at Rock Springs High School, Ray was a member of the 1953 Class A State Champions. That same year, his Post

100 Cherryville American Legion Team played in the 1953 Work Series Finals, and he was named to the All State American Legion Team. Ray later played semi-pro baseball for Lincolnton in 1954, and Duke Power’s Riverbend Steam Station team from 1955-1957. His love of the game continued as he coached for 15 years with East Lincoln Optimist, where he was Charter President of the club. Ray played four years of high school basketball for Rock Springs, and the 1953 teams were Little Ten Conference Champions. From 1956-1976, Ray was a basketball official for high school and small college conferences throughout the region. He also coached area youth with the East Lincoln Optimist basketball pro-

gram for 15 years.” Other ‘53 Legion team members inducted into the Lincoln Co. Sports Hall of fame are Bobby Lineberger (2004), and brothers Jerry and Terry Gates (2008). As for Peeler, Whitaker, Jim Lail and a few others, they all found homes in either the Cherryville or Gaston County Sports Halls of Fame, all with equally glowing honors and accolades. Coach Norman Harris’ “Comeback Kids” had no equal among their peers. Only time will tell if there is another bunch of “Comeback Kids” in Cherryville Post 100’s future. For his part, ‘53 “Comeback Kid” third baseman Ron Whitaker says it could happen, adding, “I can’t wait to see it.”

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 9C

My Hometown

The Old Howell Mill Ball Club team. Front row, L-R: Bill Coday, Ralph Williams, Lewis Ramsey, Howard Ford, and Ken Sigmon. Second row, L-R: Hub Sneed (holding trophy), Fred Houser (didn’t play, according to Darril Sigmon), Glenn “Buggie” Benfield, Ben Sigmon (Darril’s father), Fred Carpenter, and Ray Sigmon (Ben’s brother). Back row, L-R: Webb McGinnes (mill superintendent), and Doc Garland Sigmon (Ben’s brother and assistant superintendent). photo submitted by Darril Sigmon

Gladden: City Stadium site of athletic exploits, final resting place From page 6C “Dashin’ Don.” Most folks would assume it was because of his running style. But Ken Baity has another idea: “That’s because he was so dashing off the field,” Baity said. “He was dashing with the girls. Don was a real outgoing person. He was a good dancer and he loved the girls. “And he could really sing,” Baity added. “I remember one night he and I went to a club in Charlotte. They had a live band there. The next thing I know Don’s up on the stage singing with them.” Baity and Gladden were good friends from their youth until Don’s death. “He and I argued all the time about who was the fastest,” Baity recalled. “With both of us it was always ‘I was the fastest.’ ‘No, I was the fastest.’ Until the day he died we’d both say ’I was faster than you.’ ” “I would’ve never admitted it to him, but he was faster than me,” Baity says now. “I wasn’t slow, but he was fast!” Baity recalled that Ken Alexander, executive sports editor of the Gastonia Gazette, once referred to Gladden as “a crazy-legged halfback that could break open a game at any time.” “Don was a good running back and a good receiver,” Baity said. “He could catch the ball and run with it. In the sixties he was still the fourth leading scorer in school history behind me, Punch Parker and John McGinnis. And he held track records for a long time. He ran track and I played baseball.” KMHS produced numerous all-star football players in the 1950s under head coaches Shu Carlton and John Gamble. “Don was a real important part of our program,” Baity

noted. “Those teams back during that time are the ones that really got the football program going and Don was a very big part of it.” After high school, Gladden married Maudavia Owens. According to Ava, they were married for 15 years. He later met Judy Alexander and they were together for 25 years. “Don really loved racing and football. He always hated that he didn’t pursue football after high school,” Alexander said. “We went to some Panthers games and we’d often drive from our home in Greer, SC to Kings Mountain on Friday nights to see the Mountaineers play.” Don also played a lot of golf. He worked in the trucking industry for about 20 years and later owned a restaurant and bar. He also worked for plants in quality control. A small number of family members and a minister gathered at City Stadium shortly after Don’s death to grant his final wish. “He always wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered on the playing field,” Ava said. She promised him she would do it. “When we did that it was really cool, but it was sad,” she said. “It was a hard thing to do. It was very emotional. “I started at the fifty yard line and ran his last touchdown for him. I ran it just like I thought Daddy would and I cried the whole way. I ran it toward my MawMaw and PawPaw’s (Mr. and Mrs. Fred Owens) house up on King Street. “I still miss him,” Ava said. “He was a special person and a fun person to be around. He loved music. He could really sing. He loved football, and he loved me. He loved his momma, Ruby Gladden, and his family. They had a real big family. Daddy loved to get together with family whenever he could.”

Don Gladden and his daughter, Ava Joyner, at a family get-together. Ava said one of the great things about her father’s ashes being scattered on the stadium turf is that the stadium is visible from Don’s mother’s grave in Mountain Rest Cemetery. “It’s like she’s still looking after him,” Ava said.

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Page 10C

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

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Page 2D

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

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By ELIZABETH STEWART KINGS MOUNTAIN— Patriots Park, just across the railroad tracks in the heart of the city, is more than just a scenic attraction - it’s a place to be enjoyed. The old Ware & Sons roller mill stood on the site for years on West Gold Street and turned wheat into flour and ground corn into cornmeal and was one of Kings Mountain’s oldest landmarks. What those early ancestors would find now is a beautiful gazebo, the centerpiece of a downtown park where various city-wide events are held during the year, a venue for entertainment and open air festivals, and the perfect background for outdoor weddings and receptions. The octagonal structure topped with the cupola from the old City Hall, a weather vane and a chiming clock is also a charming spot for residents to rest while out for walks. Recently, crowds attended the Gateway Festival and most recently city workers and volunteers harvested a big crop of sweet potatoes from the park’s grounds to feed the hungry.

Patriots Park got its name from Kings Mountain High School students in Holly Melton’s class in 2000. They entered a contest sponsored by the Kings Mountain Business & Professional Association in which 50 names were presented for consideration and as the winner the class got a 100, dollar bill. They wrote in their essay that “The Battle of Kings Mountain has been referred to as the turning point of the Revolutionary War and this is a nice tribute to those patriots.” Patriots Park proved to be what the name implied - patriots not only served in the military but patriots serve in the community. It was during the administration of Mayor Scott Neisler that the city bought the old roller mill property with an eye to extending Gold Street. For several years the property was vacant. Local realtor Joe R. Smith, who had been instrumental in organizing the KM Business & Professional Association, suggested a park and a gazebo there. The idea caught on. “I was on the KMBPA board at the time,” said Ellis Noell, adding, “Joe Smith was certainly a patriot.” Noell, in his 12th year as the city of

Kings Mountain’s special activities coordinator, said the sponsorship of numerous Park projects by the Kings Mountain Rotary Club have added to the beauty, charm and versatility of the city-owned park. Shirley Brutko, manager of the Kings Mountain Branch of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, and Holly Galloway, a building code inspector, drew the design for the gazebo. Al Moretz was city engineer for the project. The perfect location was the old roller mill property owned by the City of Kings Mountain. At the park’s groundbreaking on Friday, August 7, 1999, then-Mayor Scott Neisler said, “the gazebo should have already been finished. I guess I held things up by wanting to preserve some of the city’s history as part of it”, he said. The delay proved profitable, however, because Gastonia real estate agent Caswell Taylor heard about the project and donated a $7,000 chiming clock that is located in the cupola. The clock was given by Mr. and Mrs. Caswell Taylor Jr., Jonathan and Stephanie, in memory of Leonora Plonk Taylor.

Much labor and materials for the gazebo and park were donated by the community. The city put up some money as did some individuals. Scott Neisler built the tower portion of the gazebo in his back yard, and when the old city hall and old police station was razed (beside the Harris Funeral Home) the cupola was saved to top the gazebo in the park. The 30-foot wide gazebo was built on a brick and concrete pad. It is surrounded by tree-shaded sidewalks and a flower bed plus enhancements provided by Kings Mountain Rotary Club. The gazebo, its steel beams supporting inside circular columns, was dedicated at the Oct. 13-16, 1999 Mountaineer Days celebration in Kings Mountain. The embellishment of an entry way, rose garden, splash pad, and benches was a Centennial anniversary project of the Kings Mountain Rotary Club, which spent thousands of dollars to enhance the beautiful spot for such city events as the finish line for the Overmountain Triathlon, Beach Blast, which See Patriot’s Park, 7D

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 3D

My Hometown

They don’t make stores like this anymore! By MICHAEL E. POWELL CHERRYVILLE—Long before there was a “supermarket,” long before the age of the big box food markets, and long before fast food places there was Roy and Troy’s Grocery and Market. They don’t make grocery stores like Roy and Troy’s anymore. Nope. Not even if you drive across the country and try to lose yourself in the wilds of some wee small town in some outback somewhere in God’s great wilderness will you find their like again. Ask Lee Roy Carpenter. He knows. His dad was Roy Carpenter, and Roy Carpenter was a grocer’s grocer. Heck, Lee says, he was a butcher’s butcher! Cherryville folks who needed fresh meat would go see Roy at Roy and Troy’s. Need fresh produce? No problem. Pick up the newfangled telephone (still in its infancy on its way to its glory days) and place an order for some fresh snap beans or carrots, potatoes, or squash and “cukes” with Mr. Troy, their grocery and produce man! All of it came from local farmers and was fresh right off the farm. Sure ‘nuff! Lee Roy Carpenter, the youngest of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Carpenter’s three children (he has two older sisters, Nancy Beacham and Sarah Phelps), says his father would have been 86 or 87, he couldn’t remember which at the moment, if he had lived another month. “Mr. Troy, his cousin, preceded him in death,” Lee says. Lee notes that many people still think his father and Troy were brothers, but they were in fact “just cousins.” The June 18, 1980, “Cherryville Eagle” carried the story, written anonymously, of the retirement of

the two from the grocery business they began on Sept. 30, 1938. “Back in the day,” Lee says, as he looks over a copy of the advertisement that first appeared in that Depression era Eagle, “can you believe being able to get steaks cut the way you wanted for 30 cents a pound? Or veal chops for a quarter?” Other items that could be had at Roy and Troy’s Grocery were brooms (19 cents), pink salmon (10 cents), fat back (12 cents), a quart of salad dressing (22 cents), beef roast (18 cents), a pint of oysters (25 cents and shipped in fresh from the Carolina coast, on ice, no less!), as well as live chickens (your choice, just step right out the back door and take your pick from the small coops), fresh eggs (from the aforementioned chickens and from a few nearby farms), fresh caught fish (also from nearby and every now and then, the Carolina coast), and the list of fresh locally-raised goodies seems endless, to hear it from Lee. Carpenter says his dad and Troy’s business lasted 40 years. Not bad for a couple of boys who started out working for local grocers and business folk like Bedie Stroupe and others around the area, he says. “Dad also learned the butcher trade from Jesse Van Dyke, and was also selftrained,” he adds. “Also, as far as I know, I believe Troy may have worked driving a bread truck, but I’m not that sure on that.” Lee Roy remembers other markets in the area, such as Tillman’s Supermarket and Weatherly’s, to name a couple. “Troy’s twin daughters, Sandra and Sylvia, are still in town, and his son David still lives here,” Lee says of his cousins.

A nice close-up of the now faded Coca-Cola sign that was handpainted on the Oak Street side of Roy and Troy’s Grocery and market, a long-time Cherryville business and shopping staple. Old-timers used to say that “if Roy and Troy’s ain’t got it, it cain’t be got!” (photos submitted) When reached by phone, Sandra Carpenter says her memories of the store, like Lee’s, were great ones. She and her twin sister Sylvia (Norton) and older brother David all have wonderful memories of their dad and his cousin and the venerable old store that so many on Cherryville came to love as well as depend on. “Truthfully, we never had to go in there much because being the daughter of a grocery store owner meant that he brought home our groceries when we needed them,” she says. She says her father Troy, who passed away in 1984, was a “workaholic” who loved his family, his church (First United Methodist of Cherryville) and his work. He also loved helping others, she adds. “I’ve had people tell me

much later how he always would ‘carry’ them on their paying him until the end of the month so they would have food. He (Troy) made quite an impression on you,” Sandra notes. When it came to church, like Roy, Troy never missed a Sunday and was always there “whether it snowed or not,” she says. Sandra says people would give him their grocery list and he would not only get it together, but would take it to their house and put it in the refrigerator for them; meat and milk and all! “You won’t see that these days!” she adds. Perhaps Sandra’s fondest memory is Christmastime. “We would go in to see him and there would be bags of candy lined up, waiting to go to all the church kids and mill kids!” she says. “They

did all those bags for those kids so they would have a wonderful Christmas.” Regarding the early groceries, the Eagle article notes that Roy and Troy’s was one of six similar stores existing on Main Street. According to Lee, when the original store opened in a building rented from Dr. Morrison, one of Cherryville’s leading citizens, it was next to the popular Goldiner’s Department Store. Lee says it was never air-conditioned in the summer time. According to the Sept. 29, 1938, Eagle, the two men offered “free prizes” to the first 20 ladies entering their store on opening day. No mention of what those actual prizes were, though. And, again, according to their first ad in the newspaper, they invited all to come in and

check out their stock, “whether you buy or not.” Lee said the partnership was a “50/50” situation between the two. His first memories of the store are fond, but he adds he doesn’t remember “thinking too much about it.” It was, after all, his dad’s job, and most little kids don’t normally question what their moms or dads do for a living. “It was where he worked for many years,” Lee says, “putting in 10 and 12-hour days, six days a week” at the store. Additionally, Lee says his dad was the fire chief in Cherryville for 25 years, was on the school board and a member of the Lion’s Club. “He was also a member and deacon of First Baptist Church and never missed a Sunday,” Lee says. See ROY & TROY’S, 7D

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Page 4D

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Cherryville’s West School fourth grade class, circa 1943-1944 This photo was submitted by Ms. La Rue Brittain, who was a student then. Ms. Brittain said that while she could remember many of the names (or name spellings) of the kids in the picture, there were some she either wasn’t sure of or simply didn’t know. They are (in no particular order): Jimmy Upton, C. A. McGinnis, Don Carpenter, Roy Eaker, Kenneth Williams, Arbeth Edwards, Laura Jean Knowles, Margaret Watters, James Brown, Paul Black, Theda Heavner, Levon Bucanon (Buchanan?), Betty Jo Craig, Bobby Bumgardner, Jimmy Newton, La Rue Brittain, Pansy Halman (Hallman?), (unknown) Smith, Ethel Black, Irma Brittain, Ella Ann Brooks, Margaret Dellinger, Ruth McSwain, Betty McSwain, Max Carpenter, Betty (unknown), Kathleen Seegial (Seagle?), Mamie Short, Grady Randal (Randall?), Harold Lundon (London?), Bobby George, Ralph Goins, Lester Tarry, Bobby Shell, Merry (Mary?) Lou Heavner, K. Seeagel (Seagle?), Dolphene Dellinger, and (unknown). Ms. Brittain said she didn’t remember the name of the teacher, who may (or may not) be standing in the back row. (photo submitted by La Rue Brittain)

Remembering the Belmont Tunnel. . . By JOE CLINE Special Writer for My Hometown

BELMONT—It was WAR! Well, not exactly like Britain vs. the French or Russia vs. the Turks or the American North vs. the South. But back in the early 1960’s, Charlotte radio stations WBT and WAYS were definitely at war. ’BT had led the ratings in

the area for over 25 years. But Big WAYS, as it was known, had taken over in recent years. And the battles were still going on in ’64, when I was in the last class of graduates from the old Belmont High School. That summer, I worked for “The Belmont Banner” and its editor, Mason “Scoop” Rodden, as a photographer, proofreader and general flunky. That summer

also, WBT was promoting the station by visiting as many towns in the area as possible. So to Belmont, they sent the morning man, Ty Boyd, and the afternoon guy, Bill Curry, to meet and greet the locals. Now Curry had decided that Charlotte had gotten big enough to rate traffic reports, just like New York City or Chicago or LA, including the state of the tunnels to the city.

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What’s that you say? Charlotte didn’t have any tunnels? Well, it should have! And from Charlotte, where else would a tunnel go but through Belmont? So Curry, after each time check, would report on the traffic through the Belmont Tunnel. “It’s 4:20 p.m.,” he’d announce, “and traffic is flowing smoothly through the Belmont Tunnel.” It got to be a big deal—at least here in Belmont. So, when Scoop heard that Boyd and Curry were on the way to lunch with the Rotary Club, to meet the mayor and all the other public relations gimmicks that ’BT could come up with, he told me, “OK, Cline, go take a picture of the Belmont Tunnel.” “But Scoop,” I protested, “what Belmont Tunnel?” “Well,” he said, “you’re the photographer; go out and FIND the Belmont Tunnel!” So off I went, armed with

the “Banner’s” camera and flash, to FIND that tunnel. But where could it be? I searched and searched. No tunnel. I asked around. No tunnel. I spent at least five minutes scratching my head (dandruff, not fleas). Still no tunnel. But then… There was roadwork going on. The Park Street Extension was being built from the Sterling Mill down to Wilkinson Boulevard. Neely Chevrolet was clearing land at that new intersection for their move from North Main Street to the boulevard, and a culvert was just finished under the intersection. It LOOKED (sorta) like a tunnel. Of course, there was water on the “floor,” but it would probably work for a badly printed, black-andwhite photo, printed on the old flatbed press that we used, sitting in the back of the building at South Main

and Myrtle streets. “Grab the picture,” I told myself, in my best “Casey, Crime Photographer” voice. So I did, slogging through the old creek bed, red mud up to my knees, losing my shoe in the mire and ruining my new khaki pants. (Red mud doesn’t come out of fabric once it’s in there, as my mother informed me.) But it was a picture of a “tunnel,” and Scoop ran it in the paper the next week. My old friend, Jim Scancarelli (who now draws the “Gasoline Alley” comic strip and at the time worked as an artist for WBTV) tells me it is the only on-location photo of the Belmont Tunnel he knows of. At the end of the summer, I was off to Chapel Hill for college. But working for Scoop (who passed away some years back) is one of my fond memories of the “good, old days” in Belmont.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 5D

My Hometown

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Page 6D

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Hometown

Mount Holly Old Gym is place of memories By GARY NEELY and BOBBY JOHN RHYNE Mount Holly Historical Society

MOUNT HOLLY—If buildings could talk, the old gymnasium at the former Mount Holly High School would have a lot to say. The gym, located on Hawthorne Street across from what is today Mount Holly Middle, was built by the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930’s. By 1940, it was open for use. The gym was a multi-purpose building from the beginning. A stage was recessed into the wall opposite the stands. The gym was used for graduation exercises for about 10 years, before the auditorium was built and opened in 1952. Countless graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. The stage was used by bands that played for the many dances held there, such as the homecoming and junior-senior dances. Eventually, the stage area was walled off, and an entry was made on the street side of the building. That part of the gym served as the band room for the late and locally legendary Robert Black, Mount Holly High’s beloved bandleader, and his fine-tuned marching musicians. Black’s baton led many students from the 1950’s through the early ’70’s. The gym’s locker room was always damp and dank, as it is today. The old windows cranked outward to allow ventilation in both the gym area and locker rooms. The locker rooms never had adequate ventilation, and so they maintained their unique odor from the start of school through the end of term each spring. And that same odor is prevalent to this day—even though the shower facilities have not operated for close to 10 years! While the gym continues to be used, it is now leased to the City of Mt Holly for a nominal fee. The locker rooms

are off limits. In fact, a new gym was built for the middle school some 20 years ago, and it is the main sports facility serving the MHMS teams today. The WPA built the athletic fields as well as the gym, starting back in 1938. Teacher Frank Rankin said when the football field was built, he expected that some day a player would be running the ball downfield and be struck by an erupting artesian well. He said this because he had observed the work crews laying crossties and dirt over the springs that crossed the property. This was done in order to build up the field to its current level. So far, Rankin’s prediction has not taken place. But the underground springs may explain the dampness, mildew and yes, that odor, all found in the gym to this day. Semi-pro baseball teams sponsored by local textile mills were among the first teams to use the locker rooms and baseball field. When first built, the baseball field was positioned with home plate and the backstop located farther to the north, close to the three school buildings that made up the school at that time. The Hawks’ baseball teams at the old Mount Holly High enjoyed much success, with conference championships in 1954 and ’55, led by ace pitcher Max Sherrill and coached by Ken Bost to consecutive 13-and-four and 14and-four records. Delmer Wiles coached the Hawks in baseball for the venerable, old institution’s last 12 seasons as a high school, 1961-1972, compiling a record of 104-48, including six conference championships. The final team, in 1972, tied for the most wins with a 14-and-three record. The 1964 and 1965 teams, led by Tony McConnell, Dewayne Moore, Larry Hartsell and Steve McCotter, advanced to the Western North Carolina State Semi-Finals, with respective

Photograph by Thomas Lark

Seen here is the Mount Holly Old Gym. According to Gary Neely and Bobby John Rhyne of Mount Holly, it has been the site of many memorable athletic displays. records of 12-and-two and 12and-one. Football over the years has been consistently outstanding. George Fincher was among the first football players to play on the field created by the WPA, prior to the outbreak of World War II. A bruising running back, Fincher was the only Shrine Bowl player ever to come out of Mount Holly. It is said that at the 1942 Shrine game, Fincher carried the ball downfield several times, only to have the North Carolina team give the ball to an Asheville player by the name of Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice to carry into the end zone. Justice, who would later reside in nearby Cherryville, gained much fame as a halfback and an all-round player who could do it all. He could kick, run, pass and more— skills that stood him in good stead at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (following four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II) and subsequently for the Washington Redskins. Hawks soar At Mount Holly High, the

t ? o s G Kid

1941 Hawks were coached by Seaton Holt for his 15th and final year. They were unbeaten at eight-and-none and outscored their opponents by a margin of 167-13. The team was one of three unbeaten high school teams in North Carolina that year. Its members were led by the likes of Howard Horton, Boyd Arndt, Paul Harkey, Paul Springs and Gwyne Baker, in addition to Fincher. Coach Holt’s previous best team was the 1938 Hawks, a team that finished seven-none-and-one, prior to the completion of the new field. The 1942 team, the first under Coach Dick Thompson, was eight-one-and-one, with many top players back from the unbeaten team. It is interesting to note that the postwar teams of 1945 and ’46 featured several players who had dropped out of school to join the war effort, then returned to school and played football after the war as 20-somethings. The 1956 Hawks of Coach Vernon Morrison, with Tommy Wilson and Perry

“Cannonball” Toomey leading the way, were undefeated until falling to Granite Falls by a touchdown in their second play-off game, after having one touchdown called back on a tough call. Then Wiles led the 1963 and ’67 Hawks to unbeaten Western North Carolina State 2A Championships. The ’63 team was 11-and-0, outscored the opposition by 273-40 and featured Bruce Bolick, Gene Thompson, Larry Hartsell, Johnny Carpenter, Steve McCotter and many other outstanding players. The ’67 team that finished 12-0-andone and outscored opponents by 343-61 was led by Eddie Wilson, Eddie Womack, Rick Anthony, John Farrar, Danny White and Hugh and Tim Frazer. Wiles led the Hawks for 12 years and won seven conference titles while compiling a record of 86-30-and-five. Billy Megginson led the Hawks to conference titles in 1957 and ’58 to round out Mt Holly’s football domination of the Little Six and Little Seven Conference on the field that

was built by the WPA. In the early 1940’s, Hutchison-Lowe Field near the Madora Plant was lighted for nighttime use by the semipro baseball and women’s softball teams that were very popular at that time. The Hawks’ football team played many of its home games at that site under the lights. Its members also played a few games at the field behind the gym. When playing at Hutchison-Lowe, the Hawks would dress out at the locker room and then run a quarter-mile uphill to the football field. Their practices were conducted at the athletic field outside the locker room, Monday through Wednesday, while Thursdays were reserved for a full-dress walkthrough, similar to game night, with a jog up to Hutchison-Lowe Field. The 1953 season brought about the dedication of the athletic fields to Uncle Jim Costner, a businessman who was known as the biggest sports fan in Mount Holly at that time. Costner and his wife, Aunt Gertie Costner, a beloved schoolteacher, were never blessed with children of their own. So they “adopted” local athletes as their surrogates. Mr. Costner was known to help transport local players to away games, usually taking four players in his personal car, in addition to himself and his driver. He never missed a home or away game if he could help it. Fred Hutchison donated the lights from HutchisonLowe Field, and Duke Power donated lights that it owned at Superior Yarns, as well as the labor to relocate all that equipment to the newly upgraded field. Costner Field went on to host home games for the Hawks for 20 years, until Mount Holly and Stanley high schools merged to form East Gaston High in 1972. Costner Field has continued to serve as the home field for Mount Holly Middle and various

See GYM, 7D

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Page 7D

My Hometown

Patriots Park: bring the family and enjoy the day

Gym: a place of fond memories

From page 2D

From page 6D

began in July 2000, annual National Night Out with the KMPD, the Gateway Festival, the Great Pumpkin Halloween parade, Easter Egg hunts, and other community-wide citysponsored events. The landscaping work added green space to the park, plenty of trees, such as cherry, crepe myrtle, maple, and ginko, a rose garden, picnic benches... a big enhancement to downtown Kings Mountain. In recent months bright, white lights have been added around the gazebo. At the dedication of the gazebo 11 years ago, city officials were recognized, including Jimmy Maney, city manager; Mayor G. Scott Neisler, and Councilmembers Norma F. Bridges, Bobby G. Hayes, Philip Hager, Jerry M. Mullinax, M. Eugene White, Rick Murphrey, and W. Clavon Kelly and Al Moretz engineering firm. Kings Mountain City Council in its wisdom has purchased additional, adjoining property - an estimated 7-10 acres - which allows for expansion and future growth and development of a wide area in the western section in the downtown area of the city.

youth football and baseball teams since that time. One of the first outstanding teams to use the locker rooms at the gym was the Hawkettes of 1945, led by Lois Herring and coached by L.C. Ward to a 13-five-and-one record. Wells Sigmon coached the girls the next year, and they improved to 15-three-and-two, with a conference championship. As a senior, Herring and Coach G.D. Wilson won another conference crown with a 12-oneand-one record. Megginson coached the girls’ team to another conference title in 1960, with a 10-and-two record. Coach Joe Spears came to Mount Holly in 1960 and led the Hawkettes to a record of 148-80 over a 12-year period, ending in 1972. He coached four conference champions, including 1966 at 17-and-four; 1968 at 18-and-three; 1969 at 13-and-six and 1971 at 14and-eight. Some of the best performing Lady Hawks on those teams included Jan Williams, Barbara Moore, Lynne Williams, Wanda Adams, Debbie Baker, Debbie Priest, Kristen Wiles and Janet Frazer. Perhaps one of the best boys teams in the early years of the gym was the 1950 Hawks, coached by Max Beam, with star players Harold Helton, Jim Cross and Charlie Drumm leading the way. Spears began coaching the boys in 1964 and coached both the boys and the girls for the last eight years of Mount Holly High. The members of the best Hawk team ever in terms of winning percentage were the ’68 Hawks. They finished 21and-four, losing out in the regional finals. The next year, the Hawks finished fourth in the state in all of 2A basketball. Finishing the year hot, the 1969 Hawks won the conference tournament for the second straight year, then won the district tournament. At the state tournament, the Hawks upset the top-

Roy & Troy’s: they don’t make stores like this anymore From page 3D Lee notes he remembers helping out some when he was a little older, but that was rare, and usually on Saturdays. “That was usually (working) until 8 or 9 at night, then we would all head up to the Triple H restaurant to have dinner,” he says. Lee says everything had to be clean. “There was sawdust on the floor in the butcher area. It helped absorb blood and liquids. They kept it swept and fresh every day. They didn’t have stainless steel tables and such back then,” he says. “They would also scrape the meat block.” Lee says he still has his father’s old meat block. “It’s just a big old chunk of laminated wood, four foot by four foot. I have a computer sitting on it now,” he says, with a smile. One thing Lee says his father was most remembered for was making some of the best pimento cheese in Cherryville. “It was the best you ever ate! He would make a washtub full!” Lee says. “he made his own liver mush too.” There was also a fish market with fresh seafood coming from a supplier in Gastonia. The store was also a dry goods store, selling small cans of kerosene, which was used for

This slightly out of focus photo of the inside of Roy and Troy’s store is undated. There was no identification as to “who was who” in the photo, but it appears all the men were taking time out from a busy day to pose for the picture. Stores like Roy and Troy’s were the “big box” stores and supermarkets of their day! many things back then, Lee says. The store had delivery boys and was always making deliveries to various homes and businesses in Cherryville. “They had a bicycle and a truck. Dad would sometimes drive the truck,” Lee says. “Just about all the kids in Cherryville High School back then worked as delivery boys for Roy and Troy’s in the summertime. The last two I remember were Gene Harris and Dan Parker.” Lee says the two men would take orders by phone, get the

groceries lined up, then when they had a good load, they would load up the truck and go around and make their deliveries. “They were great guys,” Lee says, of the two legendary grocers. “They were gentlemen. Their times? They were tough times for everybody and they understood that. But they helped out as much as they could. People like those two are a dying breed. They were dedicated family guys and were equally dedicated to their business and to this

town!” When they shut the old store down, Lee says they sold everything, lock, stock, and pickle barrel. All that’s left of Roy and Troy’s today are great memories of the smells, sights, sounds, and a faded, painted Coca-Cola sign, on the side of the old building, facing Oak Street. Sometimes though, that’s enough to bring a smile to the faces of the old-timers who remember that wonderland known as Roy and Troy’s.

ranked Vaden-Whitley team, which was unbeaten at 26and-0. The Hawks lost the semi-finals and the consolation game to finish 18-andnine. Dan Hope and Chick Moore led the 1968 team. Returnees and leaders of the 1969 state tournament team included Richard Jessen, Gary Neely, Keith Hopper, Robbie McCorkle and Freddie Whitt. Some of the best performing Hawks of the hardwood not previously mentioned include Don Killian, the other Jessen brothers Bob, Barry and John, and Roger Lawing, to name a few. The history of the old gym would be incomplete without a mention of the ropes that hung from the rafters all those years. As a rite of passage, all freshman males were required to take PE, which included the mandatory daily climbing of a rope and touching a rafter. There was a great gnashing of teeth by many rawboned freshmen as they prepared to climb the ropes for the first time. In the end, all but a couple dozen of the hundreds of young men who attempted to master the ropes failed to meet the challenge. Nevertheless, it was an imposing challenge for many before they learned the knack of making the climb. Finally, the gym holds memories for sixth graders who were taught to promenade to the Virginia reel by Miss Bell, who later became Mrs. Johnson. For many, that class served as the introduction to the gym. Most would eventually return at some point to use the gym in one way or another—to take gym class, to compete in basketball or intramural boxing, to cheer teams to victory, to attend convocations, to elect class officers and often to bring their second and third-generation gym rats to repeat the process. Many thanks are due the WPA and to the many coaches for providing and fully utilizing this facility, Mount Holly’s gym.


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Page 8D

My Hometown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Global Impact... with a local touch Chemetall Foote Corp. traces its origins to Dr. A.E. Foote who founded the Foote Mineral Company in 1876 as a purveyor of rare minerals. It became a major producer of Lithium chemicals when it acquired the right to mine spodumene ore at Kings Mountain, NC in the early 1950’s. As Foote grew in the production of Lithium, it also expanded its R&D effort in the development of new products and applications for Lithium chemicals. In the 1960’s Foote pioneered the production of Lithium carbonate from brine with the opening of the Silver Peak, NV plant. In 1984, the world’s richest commercial brine deposit began production at the Salar de Atacama located in the desert of northern Chile. The New Johnsonville, TN facility of Chemetall Foote has produced normal and secondary butyllithium since the early 1960’s. New product development is accomplished at Chemetall Foote’s pilot plant located right here in Kings Mountain producing experimental quantities of a wide variety of new products including amides, hydrides and alkoxides. We are in the process of constructing a new lithium hydroxide plant in Kings Mountain in order to meet the growing demand of lithium raw materials for the all-important Lithium Ion Battery, the battery of choice in the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle markets. Lithium Hydroxide will complement the other specialty chemical products manufactured at Kings Mountain - lithium bromide brine for use in industrial absorption air conditioning systems; lithium chloride brine for dehumidification in food and other industries where moisture control is critical; USP grade lithium carbonate for use in treatment of bipolar disorder; and we are a leading producer of lithium metal products for the primary lithium battery industry including lithium ingot and lithium metal foils. Our new technical center with R&D laboratories and office complex is due to open in 2012 and we hope to continue to be a part of the Kings Mountain community for many years to come!

Foote Mineral has been a faithful employer and corporate citizen in Kings Mountain for nearly 60 years. We are proud to be a part of Our Hometown.

Chemetall Foote

MH 112311  

My Hometown 11/23/2011

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