Appalachia Locations

Have You Ever Been To Suit?

suit nc

Reverend William Thomas Truett (I think!) – Henry Truett’s Father – Suit NC

A Place Named Suit written by John Parris

You can’t buy a suit in Suit. Nobody sells them and nobody makes them. “Maybe in the old days,” said O.C. Payne. “But not any more. If a man wants a suit he has to go up to Murphy.”

The 71-year-old former postmaster of Suit shook his head. “And you can save yourself a trip across the ridge,” he added. “You won’t find any vests in Vests.” He paused. A grin spread across his weathered, whiskered face. A twinkle came into his eyes and he chuckled.

“I remember once,” he said, “they sent a new postal inspector into these parts. He rode in here from Vests and the first thing he asked me was: “Where’s Pants? I’ve found Suit and Vests.” He laughed fit to be tied.

“And the drummers that came around were always making jokes about Suit and Vests. Nothing to take offense about. Just good natured joking.

We used to have a lot of post offices with unusual names in this section of Cherokee County. Ones like Guy and Bear Paw and Ogreeta and Letitia and Hothouse. But for names to set a man’s curiosity on edge you can’t beat Suit and Vests.

It beats all how many folks come in here wanting to know why Suit is Suit and Vests is Vests. They expect some colorful or outlandish tale of how they got their names. I reckon that’s why you’re here. Well, I’ll tell you. But don’t expect anything to do with a suit or a vest.

Suit was named after Johnston Suits. He got the post office established here. He was the first postmaster of Suit. That was in 1886.

A family by name of Vests got a post office established across the ridge from here and the government gave it their name.

That’s all there is to it. Sort of disappointing, isn’t it? I reckon if the folks around here were given to making up tales, Suit and Vests would really be on the map. They are, of course, but I mean like they were famous for something unusual.

Funny thing, since the Suit post office was established it’s had 21 postmasters. I took it over in 1928. Served until I retired in 1955. That’s 27 years.

Before that I was postmaster over at Birch. That’s on Beech Creek where I was born. Started out over there in 1915. All together I put in 39 years in the postal service.

At Birch and here I had a store and had the post office in the store. In those days the postmaster wasn’t paid a salary. He was paid only on the number of cancellations.

Between the store and the post office I managed to make out. Raised a family of eight children. And now me and the wife are retired. Got out of the store business last November.”

He paused a moment and looked down across the road to the little store where the usual loafers were sitting on the porch talking.

“Henry Truett runs the store and the post office,” he said. “He’s a might fine boy. I still spend a lot of time down there. That is when I’m not seeing to my fox hounds. I go fox hunting about twice a week. Winter and summer. It’s got to come and awful snow to keep me home. Been fox hunting since I was 10 years old. It’s the greatest sport in the world. And I’ve got five of the finest fox hounds you ever listened to. They’re Walkers. The music they make is really something.”

As he talked the sun spun golden mists over the land.

“You know, I’ve never been in but five states. Never have traveled far from home. I don’t regret it either. I’m happy in these old hills.”

He paused, looked over at his wife and smiled. “Suit,” he said, “suits me just fine.”

————————–

Granny hails from down in the Suit area of Cherokee County. I can remember folks calling the area Suit was I was young, and maybe some folks still do, but I don’t hear it anymore myself.

I know the moniker of Suit was still in common use in 1977 because it was listed on an old phone book I found. You can see it here.

Henry Truett mentioned in the article as being a mighty fine boy was Granny’s uncle. Funny to read of him being a boy when for my entire life he was an old man. Although I didn’t get to see him often I always loved him. I never seen Uncle Henry that he didn’t have a smile on his face and a song on his lips.

Tipper

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    September 26, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Love this kind of writing and history. It really tells the tale of REAL people.

  • Reply
    David Hilton
    September 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Tipper, I knew Henry, but mostly remember him for all the Masonic funerals he conducted. He was always a very pleasant person.

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 26, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Tipper,
    We sure do have “strange” names here in Cherokee County.
    Me and my brother, Harold pulled Big Fist (John Nelson) off the railroad tracks where he had passed out. Big Fist (as everyone called him) was a World War 1 veteran and owned a Gulf Station and his wife Mary Nelson ran the Post Office nearby in the same building. It’s still there, but the Post Office is across the road and just below. Lordy, at the times I’ve checked the Mail when I was little.
    I took my 4 Fiests with me when I was sent to the store or Post Office because there wasn’t much traffic then, and if you did meet a car, they would wave cause you usually knew them. It ain’t that way anymore. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 26, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Never been to Suit, nor Vest neither. But I have been to Frog Pond and Middle of the World. They are in southwest Virginia. Some colorful placenames out there.
    Information on historic post offices can be found on the USPS web site. They even list the names of each post master or mistress and their time of service.
    Back in 1973 I was at school in Quicksand, Ky. The post office was one corner of a little country store. The store was the last building in the northwest corner of the community, where the land beyond got too steep to build on. Last time I was there the store had fallen in and was mouldering away, an object lesson.

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    September 26, 2017 at 9:19 am

    If Suit still had a post office, it would make a great location for one of those mail order businesses. You could offer men’s and women’s suits online, and they would be sent from Suit, NC. A lot of the colorful old P.O. locations are gone or going. Too bad!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    September 26, 2017 at 9:12 am

    There was a small Post Office in Georgia called Point Peter. Earlier there was a hollow tree that a man named Peter would pick up your money you left in the tree and leave you a pint of moonshine. The area was known as Peter’s Pint. When the Postal Service put a Post Office there and researched the name they changed it to Point Peter.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 26, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Tipper,
    I love to read John Parris…He was one of us…and a great writer about us mountain folk! Ha He loved the true stories and the tales and the tall tales of Appalachian life and lore. Thankfully he kept some of it alive with his writing.
    I used to love writing down the names of places as we traveled through the mountains…Guess it kept me occupied and kept from being a back seat driver in the passenger seat! My husband hates that…but I can’t help it…Anyhow, is there were side road names on old signs, bridge names, town or city names that I could see, I would write them down. Most maps don’t show all the rural names anymore.
    You have a name in Cherokee county that I always wondered about…A friend of my Mother’s was from there…We asked and she never knew the background either. She said, “Well, I just don’t know, it’s just been called “Hanging Dog” as long as I can remember!”
    I’ve heard “Hanging Dog” was the last place there was a Civil War skirmish before the war ended… I’m not even sure about that…Sometime you might enlighten us about “Hanging Dog” sometime, I know it is close to Murphy and Brasstown! You know you might even let us know the heritage of the Brasstown name as well! Ha
    Thanks Tipper, loved your post today!
    PS…I’ve heard of my folks speak of Vests and Suits, many years ago…I think there was a great aunt or uncle lived around there in one or both places…

  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    September 26, 2017 at 8:22 am

    A quiet life of peace and freedom, surrounded by friends and family. Who could ask for more?

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    September 26, 2017 at 7:21 am

    A fun story and a great example of writing from Appalachia. Thank you, John Parris.

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