Appalachia Brasstown

Friday March 8, 1929 Brasstown NC


1929 – Mountain Valley Creamery truck parked outside Fred O. Scroggs store in Brasstown



Friday, March 8, 1929 – The Cherokee Scout, Murphy

The winter term of the John C. Campbell Folk School ended last Thursday, after a very satisfactory session, in spite of influenza and the inconvenience of living in a partly finished building. The students left that afternoon, several having to go as far as Robbinsville, Highlands, and Virginia. Mrs. Campbell spoke briefly at morning exercises after which there was singing, and then a ball game. Each member of the school planted a tree on the school grounds some pines, several red maples, and a dogwood. At dinner the school’s birthday cake was proudly brought in, with its three red candles-two years old, and one to grow on. Everyone made some wish for the school.

Though school will not be in session until next November 1, the spring and summer months promise to be very busy ones. Mr. Holder of Murphy will begin work at once on the heating system in the Community House, so that the rest of the carpentry work may then be completed. Rooms must be furnished, lighting fixtures and water installed. The building will also be painted as soon as weather permits. Driveways and planting must be put in order.

One of the heaviest pieces of work this spring will be the finishing of the water system. The pipe is in the ground, and ditches and reservoir were dug last winter. The flow of a number of springs will be gathered into a basin, and thence pumped to the reservoir-which will hold 33,000 gallons, where it will be distributed by gravity over the whole place. The pumping will be done in an eleven foot steel waterwheel driven by the branch running through the farm. A dam is now under construction and it is expected that the little lake so formed will furnish a pleasant swimming hole for the summer.

A stone shop and laundry will be built in connection with the pump and water wheel.

By November 1, it is hoped that all will be in full readiness for school, which can then offer adequate rooming space, full weaving and sewing courses for the girls and wood and iron working for the young men, in addition to the regular course.

The Brasstown Woman’s Club met Wednesday, February 27, at Mrs. William Clayton’s. Abut 20 members were present in spite of rain and slick roads. Mrs. Ellis gave a biscuit demonstration, and told about the contest which is to beheld in April. There was a short discussion about handwork, and afterwards a social hour was enjoyed, and very delicious refreshments were served.

There have been several guests at the Folk School these last few months. Miss Stone, the founder and head of the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky, and Miss Hale who has been connected with the Experiment Station in Kentucky, and is soon to undertake some new work were at the school last week, and attended the Woman’s Club meeting.

On Saturday, Miss Pettit who founded Pine Mountain School in Kentucky, and is the present head, came to spend several days. Miss Jessie Ross of the Spinning Wheel, Asheville, and Miss Helen Dingman of Berea College, editor of Mountain Life and Work and Executive Secretary of the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers have also visited the school.

Mrs. Wessell’s Normal Class visited the Folk School at Brasstown Wednesday morning and greatly enjoyed the classes. They took gymnastics under Mr. Bidstrup’s direction. Mrs. Campbell spoke for a few moments on the purpose and method of the school, and Miss Butler told of her experience in rural school work. After this the whole group visited the Folk School Museum.


I hope you enjoyed this peek into the history of the John C. Campbell Folk School as much as I did-truly fascinating!


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be at Martins Creek Community Building Saturday March 24. Concert free, hamburgers and hot-dogs available for purchase, singing starts at 6:00 p.m.

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  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    March 25, 2018 at 9:14 am

    The photo of the Scroggs store in 1929 was what prompted me to write today! Your post today was very interesting to me because my wife is the Director of the “Lowell Historical Museum” of NW Arkansas.. We have plans to raise money to build a new Museum Building about 2 miles west of the present location. We are excited about it the prospect of having a larger building and what the new name will be! . . . . . (I cannot reveal that until after April 6th!)

    We have a Gas Pump from the Scroggins Gas Station in our museum, which station was formerly on the corner of McClure and Hwy 71B. Mr. Scroggins is still living, I think. We also have the domino table which was built by the men to gathered at the station to play dominos! It has been a wonderful 5 years and we are looking forward to many more years for the Museum.
    I also have a link to the N.C. area because ancestors on Dad’s Grandmother’s side were descended from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee! (Text of article taken from “The Cherokee Scout”) Our ancestor moved out of Georgia before The Trail of Tears.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I enjoy looking at old photos, and especially if they have a story behind them, nice reading.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    March 22, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I enjoyed this historical memory!…..When Mary and I get moved to the North Georgia Mountains, we would like to come hear your Presley Girls sing and play!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Several years ago just before Christmas, I was at one of the stores in Brasstown. I bought a set of wooden pens from the older man and his wife. They were as nice as you could ask for, but they talked different. You could tell they weren’t from around here, but those pens had the prettiest color I ever saw. My oldest daughter and husband were very proud to show them off at Chapel Hill and they were homeade, and from the Mountains. …Ken

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I’m having trouble figuring out what model of truck that’s parked out front. I’m pretty sure it is a Ford. It looks like a T-Model but most of them didn’t have a bumper in front. That’s is so you could get in there to turn the crank handle. The one in the picture has a bumper but also has a hole where the crank handle would go. The wheels appear to be the wooden spoked ones which was what TT-Models used.
    I think this could have been a crossover between the TT and AA Model. They were made in 1926 and 1927. The AA wasn’t built until 1928 and if the picture is 1929 the truck would have been only a year one. It looks older than that. Maybe one of your readers is an expert on old trucks and can get me straight on this one.

    Daddy had a friend Avast Price who lived in Indian Trail. Avast offered to give Daddy an A-Model truck for free if he would come and get it. Daddy turned it down 🙁

  • Reply
    David A. Brose
    March 22, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Miss Cindy.

    We still struggle with the various dates given for the founding of the folk school. I am just doing a timeline right now that will be in the newly renovated History Center. I also just did an oral history/interview with John C. Scroggs, whose name is John Charles Scroggs (named after John Charles Campbell—-A.K.A. John C. Campbell.) John C. Scroggs is one of Fred O. Scroggs’ sons. The store as pictured in the photograph is gone—–the building is no longer. Fred O. had two store locations, one on Green Cove Road. If you turn right onto Green Cove at the present location of the Brasstown Post Office, One of Fred O.’s stores would have been on the left hand side of Green Cove. That was confirmed this morning in a conversation in my office at the Folk School with David Anderson, a seventh generation Brasstown native. We usually give the founding of the Folk School as 1925, and 1926 as the year when the first classes were held. So after 28 years of employment at the Folk School, and seeing many newsletters, documents, and much oral history, I would say that by 1929 we were not two years into the start of the school, but actually 4 years given the 1925 founding date. But again, dates do vary some from source to source.

    • Reply
      Byron Hampton
      August 23, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      I appreciate the history of the Scroggs family, and even the interview you went to do last year of my great-uncle J.C. Scroggs and my grandmother, Wanda Scroggs Hampton. I enjoy the history of my family, and even grew up and built my own house right here on Green Cove Road in Brasstown. So much history surrounds this area with houses still standing of Fred O. Scroggs (my great- grandfather) relatives, and even the Scroggs Family Cemetery or Hickory Stand Methodist Church Cemetery within 1/2 mile of me, where most all the relatives are buried. Thanks for your work, and I appreciate Tipper Pressley’s hard work!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    March 22, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Very amazing and interesting Folkschool info. We will have to research the Scout archives to see what jewels they contain.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I enjoy reading old accounts, as they give fascinating glimpses of what life was like at that time. I like the old picture, too.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2018 at 8:35 am

    They certainly have come a long way. The water system and how it worked was amazing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 22, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Wow Tip, that’s a real window into 1929 Brasstown and the Folkschool. I wonder if those two buildings in the picture are part of the ones standing now. The look like they could be. Next time I go to town I’m going to look and see if I can identify them.
    So, 1929 is two years from the start of the folkschool and I notice the mention of Community House, which is still there and I bet the trees they planted are still there as well!
    Thank you for the little window into the past it’s fascinating!

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    March 22, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Thanks so much for this fascinating glimpse at the history of Brasstown and the Folk School.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 22, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I wonder if there has ever been a comprehensive treatment in a book of all the schools mentioned and others like them. It would be educational to look at the various efforts as they began compared to today. It would probably be hard though to restrict the subject because of the wide range of efforts.

    Another thing I wonder is whether, and how much, those kinds of efforts are commemorated in such things as the National Historic Register, state historic sites, etc. The buildings mentioned in your post, if still existing, would be potentially eligible for listing for example. However, I do not know what downsides there would be. I expect there would be some.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paul
    March 22, 2018 at 6:20 am

    What a picture of the early days of John C. Campbell School and Brasstown. Interesting, thank you.

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