Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Finding A Place To Quit In Junaluska – Cherokee County NC


Alvin Yonce and Tipper - Junuluska Cherokee Co 2017

Alvin and Tipper – September 2017

A few days back I had the great good fortune to spend a little time with Albert Yonce. Albert is 95 years young and as you can see from the photo he’s still spry as a young man. I can assure you he’s pretty charming too.

Albert told me he came from a family of long livers. He said his daddy lived to be 92 because he just couldn’t find a good place to quit along the way.

Albert said his daddy was a logger and he moved the family all over Long Branch until he finally moved them to Junalusk’ie and the children told him they weren’t moving again! His daddy was also an old time Baptist preacher who quoted long passages from the Bible right up until his death.

Albert’s family is famous for another thing besides longevity – growing Yonce Beans. If you missed my post about Yonce Beans you can go here to read it.

After that first year of growing the Yonce Bean we fell in love with it. We grew two plantings of the bean this year. The first planting produced at least four good pickings. The second planting didn’t do as good and we only got one picking from them because it was during the driest part of the summer.

Alvin told me his grandpa was the first to have the bean seed that he knew of.

Five generations later, the family is still planting the Yonce Bean and saving the seed from year to year. And if you hadn’t already guessed, Alvin is still growing the Yonce Bean and saving the seed for next year too.



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  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    September 13, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    What a sweet face he has.

  • Reply
    Robert Yonce
    September 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Glad you got to meet Alvin, I met the Dear Hunter a couple of weeks ago when you all played in Andrews and he told me he wanted to come see Alvin. Wish I had known you were down there
    I would have came and met you, I live right above Alvin, I might have brought my guitar down
    and let you play him a song.
    Robert Yonce

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    September 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Alvin looks closer to 70 than 95. I need to get me some of those Yonce beans if that’s what does it. Very enjoyable post.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 13, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Alvin Agustus Yonce born 26 Aug 1922. Yep that’s him. 1st cousin 1x removed of wife of 2nd cousin 1x removed. Married Mary Ruby Rogers. She lived to be only 89. They had no children. What a shame that they couldn’t have passed their long liver genes on. I could go on and on but this looks like a good place to quit.
    PS: There used to be a country comedian that told about coming from a family of long livers. He would stretch out his arms and say “Why grandpa’s liver was this long!”
    Now I am really going to quit. For now anyways.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I know Alvin Yonce, he’s kin to Myrtle and he use to live at the top of Granny Squirrel on the right as you go up. Alvin use to feed wild Turkeys in his backyard. Myrtle told me one time he had about 25 of them things to feed. Alvin use to have a Sawmill near the Red Light on the 4-lane as you turn into Andrews.
    I went to the dentist over near the same place where I had my eyes fixed. Only this was a young guy named Verle Thompson at Peachtree Dental. I didn’t even know when he pulled it. Was in a little bit of a rush this morning when I commented earlier and didn’t notice about Alvin Yonce. …Ken

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Heirloom beans is my favorite gardening project. After I lost seed to all my grandfather’s beans, I search for good tasting heirlooms. If Mr. Yonce ever gets seed ahead and decides to take them to market I would be very interested. When I get a new bean I plant and mark it, then save the seed without cooking any. I presently save diligently something they call a pink tip.
    That is such a wonderful picture of you and Mr. Yonce. Thank you so much, and I look forward to future updates on him and his Yonce bean.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Good picture, if the good Lord leaves me here 95yrs, I hope I’m that spry.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Alvin doesn’t look anywhere close to 95. He is saving seeds for next years garden because he knows he will be right back out there doing what keeps him young. That tells me he has no plans to quit, just like his daddy. His smile does look charming.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 13, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Sounds familiar. I’ve heard some several people say they had found no place to quit. There is a world of understated meaning in that phrase, especially when it comes from someone who has lived a hard life.
    I saw a Chickasaw garden a few weeks back and it was growing ‘the three sisters’; corn, beans and pumpkin. There were 4 to 6 stalks of corn in raised hills about 4 feet apart. The corn was at least 8 feet high and the beans (purple-flowered) were climbing the corn. The pumpkins were vining on the ground below. To my regret, I did not learn the name of the corn or of the beans. I could kick myself because I have been wanting to grow genuine cornfield beans for years and have discovered that most people don’t even know what I’m talking about.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 13, 2017 at 9:11 am

    It is wonderful that you got to meet Mr. Younce. I love hearing the stories of the older generations youth. So he could tell the stories of the Great Depression as he was living through the times as a youth. I dare say families, like my own grandparents saved just about everything. Stretching and using everything to the max. These folks were masters of frugality. Repurposing and recycling just about everything.
    It was years before I could convince my own 93 year old Mother that it was OK to toss away some things. However, I am so glad she saved every button on practically every garment….and if the fabric sleeve or back had an inch of good solid tread it was repurposed….a quilt if cotton, sewing hams if it was wool, etc. or crazy quilt, finally making to the rag bin…Ha
    I still have some of Mom’s flower seeds she saved in repurposed old envelopes from junk mail…ha
    Great story of the Yonce bean heritage.
    I would love to have a few of those magical beans that sound like they make their own soup…yumm!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….I happen to love Junaluska. The first Bream I ever caught was in Lake Junaluska…my Uncle from Canton/Clyde took me there fishing when I was just a young girl….I was “hooked” on fishing since that early age. I miss going to the bank, cutting a y-stick and poking it down intp the wet shoreline. Then baitin’ the hook with a big old night crawler and getting a big rock to hold down the end of the pole in that y-stick, just in case the floater dunked and the biggin’ bit before you could grab the pole…Ha
    That lake is also where I first learned to skip a rock from my Dad and Uncles….
    Great memories stirred from your writing today Tipper…
    May all our days last until we make our wooden casket from the grown tree that we plant tomorrow!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I know some of the Yonce folks that lived in Nantahala. I’m sure he knew Myrtle Yonce and Jesse Allen, they were my friends. Myrtle’s daddy was Harvy Yonce and he was a Preacher also. I use to work with David Solesbee at American Thread. He was married to Shelvajean, Weaver Cochren’s daughter. (I still have her Oatmeal Cake recipe.) They still live on Long Branch.
    All sure did make wonderful White Runner Beans. Jesse and Myrtle introduced these beans to me several years ago, and I’ve given seeds to many of my friends. I called them “Nantahala White Runners.” …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 13, 2017 at 7:08 am

    That’s amazing, both his age and his beans! How does one live that long and still have brain function? What a sweet countenance he has, it must be the sweetness in him that has allowed him to live so long!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    September 13, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Oh, you’ve started my day with a smile!

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