Monday, January 21, 2013
"Tales from Old Iredell County" by O.C. Stonestreet (2012)
Mr. Stonestreet was speaking at the DAR meeting last Saturday in Mooresville, and Sue; who is a member; bought a copy of this book which details all of the local legends in the county. Some are suspect, but others ring very true, even explaining some of the things I see; or wonder about; as I travel the local roads each day.
Among the stories related here, which vary from Tom Dooley’s hanging, which made a great folk song; to some more important; although not fully proven tales. We also can boast that Iredell County was the birthplace of Kit Carson, the legendary pioneer, and North Carolina’s version of Daniel Boone. Remember, these events took place when North Carolina was the western frontier of our nation.
I especially liked the story about Abraham Lincoln, whom I have written of several times here and is one of my favorite Presidents. It seems that Abraham Lincoln may have been fathered by a man named Abraham Enloe in Rutherford County; about 60 miles from here; who had a maid named Nancy Hanks. She became pregnant by her employer; and although he was already married with kids; he did the honorable thing by paying Tom Lincoln $500 and a wagon; with a team of oxen; to claim the child was his. Tom Lincoln was on his way to Illinois and just passing through, so he readily agreed to the arrangement. Moreover, Tom Lincoln; who was never overly fond of his son; was short and stocky; while Mr. Enloe was tall and lean, just as Abraham Lincoln was. Even pictures of Mr. Enloe’s son bear a striking likeness to the President. This story has never been definitively disproven, with even some of Lincoln’s own words alluding to the uncertainty of his parentage.
From crimes and punishments, lynching’s and murders; with a bit of mayhem thrown in; there are some truly colorful stories in this book. Along with some stories concerning gravestones; the book is a wonderful thing to have in the car as you go about your daily business. It will enable the reader to expand upon the little tidbits of tales which he may have heard about, but thus far been unable to verify. So much of local history has been lost to the ages, and Mr. Stonestreet’s little book may go a long way in stopping some of that loss.