Rocky River Springs Fish Logo







Much of this information contained herein was obtained from writings of the late Mr. W.A. Greene, a long time resident and supporter of the area surrounding Rocky River Springs. OUr deep gratitude is hereby expressed for the contribution to this book by Mr. Greene's interest and writings about Rocky River Springs.

Editor's Note

As one who is unfamiliar with the past of Rocky River Springs looks at the overgrown area which once was one of the playgrounds of North Carolina, it is difficult to comprehend the days of happiness and leisure spent here in another time by other people.
But if you stand under one of the lordly oaks and discuss the past of this area with one who remembers first hand the people and the things that were a living part of this playground, you can almost hear the laughter and see the smiles on the faces of the people who were here and were a part of a different but glorious era.
The remembered days spent here lies in the hearts and minds of many people, and these memories, so cherished will be passed down to countless generations, and because of this, Rocky River Springs will never really succumb to the forrest and die.


In order to get a logical setting for the history of Rocky River Springs, we must turn back the curtains of time to the days preceding the American Revolution.
In those days, the territory embraced in this narrative was a part of Montgomery County. The county seat was a small town Tindallsville, located on the west side of the Yadkin River, not far from the present day Swift Island Bridge. In this town was located the court house which was destroyed by fire, and all records and documents were destroyed, which makes it impossible for us to give dates of transactions taking place prior to that time. AFter the court house in Tindallsville was destroyed, the large county of Montgomery was divided and Stanly County came into existence. This was in 1841, the Yadkin River being the dividing line. Albemarle, a cross-roads village, located at the junction where the old Turnpike road from Fayetteville to Salisbury crossed the old Stage road, which connected Raleigh with Charlotte, became the county seat.


Rocky River Springs is located about ten miles south of Albemarle and about one and one-half miles north of Rocky River. A small stream flows through the spring's property, as it winds its way to Rocky River. This stream, known as Alligator branch was a long time ago, according to Indian lore, infested by Alligators. The place where it empties into Rocky River is very deep and has always been called Alligator hole. Legend has it that this hole has no bottom. Objects thrown into the water there will remain for days, circling around which gives to that belief that it is a bottomless suck hole, and all through the years fishermen and divers have been afraid to venture its waters, or search for solution as to the depth.
During the time which elapsed throughout the era mentioned in the heading of this article, history was in the making as one of the then most interesting sections of the county was in a stage of development, and on that was destined to serve the interest of many hundreds of people because it would have to do with their health and happiness for many generations.


In the years follwing the Revolutionary War, there was a desire on the part of many people whose ancestors had come over from England and France and settled in Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states to come South. Thus, in this movement, Stanly County, then a part of Montgomery County, received many of its pioneer citizens. Prominent among them were the Efirds, Cobles, Foremans, Biles, Smiths, Simpsons, Greenes, and many other families who have, through the years, had a hand in the affairs which shaped the destiny of Stanly County. But the names mentioned are just a few of those who have been directly or indirectly connected with the growth of Rocky River Springs, and of necessity other names will be mentioned during the process of writing this narrative as we proceed with the undertaking.


A few years after teh Revolutionary War, or about the year 1808, one Joses Greene, who had a few years previously settled n Montgomery County near the present town of Wadeville, moved from that location to a new home located south of Rocky River. The large grant of land acquired by him extended from the river and included many acres of good farm land in Anson County. ON this land he built a home, and a large family of sons and daughters were reared. This pioneer family, besides operating the farm, built probably the first powere and grain mill on Rocky River in the section. It was here that Jonas Greene, the eldest son, grew up, and who, as a young man looked across the Yadkin River to the community where his father had first settled, and courted, and won his wife, a Miss Deberry, with whos, after their marriage, settled on the north side of Rocky River, across from his Father's estate.


Jonas Greene obtained a large tract of land consisting of about one thousand or more acres. Here he engaged in farming and became one of the county's leading show, harness, and saddle makers. Some of his characteristics, besides farming and leather working, were hunting and fishing. As this farm was in easy access to both forest and streams, one of the greatest assets connected with his farm was the location of a fine group of mineral springs. Prior to the settlement in this locality, roving bands of friendly Indians frequented this historic spot and spoke of it as "the place of healing water", an assembly ground for their chieftains and tribes. Naturally, this pioneer settler and his young wife wished their home to be located near the springs. So, on the summit of the hill just east of the springs their home was built in an oak grove overlooking the famous springs which were located on a spot in a depression at the base of converging hills on the north, east, south, and west. Several of the large oaks which formed a circle around this old home remainded with all of their original beauty until just a fe years ago when the large hotel which replaced the original Greene home, was destroyed by fire, and the heat caused the destruction of those ancient trees which were probably two-hundred years old and under whose foliage many thousands of people had gathered all through the years to enjoy their shade and admire their beauty.


After locating amid such ideal surroundings as this, the original owner set about to beautify and to dig out and enlarge the springs, which, as has already been stated, had already been made famous. As previously stated, the springs, which through mineral in character, were independent in their natural characteristics. One contained in its analysis iron, and perhaps this was the most popular spring in the group. Another contained a mild arsenic ingredient, and another whose main ingredient is sulphur.
Another was stong in magnesia, but a very palatable drink, and last, but not least by any means, is the spring sometimes referred to as the poison spring, the water of which is really not poisenous, but has a taste a little like copperas, and which was highly valued for its healing powers. Many people used this water for their daily baths when afflicted with skin disorders, or other infections, and many people claimed to have been healed of serious body maladies by water from the spring.


So, realizing the effectiveness of the waters bubbling out of old Mother Earth, and which had been so highly recommended by the Indians and old hunter and fishermen who had so often visited this spot, Mr. Greene, through letters to some of his friends living in different sections of this state and South Carolina, induced them to come and share with him, not only the benefits of the healing waters, but the hunting and fishing possibilities of that section.
In the intervening time since settling here, Mr. Greene was rearing a large family of sons and daughters, who were by this time growing into young man and womanhood. During these years many people visited the Greene family, and, although their home could not be classed as a hotel, it was spacious enough to accommodate a number of guests, who, once becoming acquainted with the wonderful opportunities afforded them, would return again, and so more and more people come for recreation and relaxation.


As stated before, Dr. Tom Ellerbe was the first resident physician and lived in his own home until his death, which occurred about the year 1850. This, the first town which was located just north of the springs, was due to become a ghost town when, after the death of Dr. Ellerbe, and when such notable men as the Dargans, the Lowerys, and Cashes from South Carolina, either died, became too old, or for one reason or another failed to keep on coming to the springs. Interest for a few years began to wane. Fire destroyed the main buildings, the others were deserted, and in the midst of this depression a new day was about to dawn which was to mean more for future activities and a revival of interest in building and housing facilities not heretofore experienced.
The land on which this once thrifty town was built, and where for many years many people had been entertained, was repossessed by the former owner, Jonas Greene and deeded to a son and daughter, Dr. Jackson Greene and Miss Sallie Greene, neither of whom were ever married. Their home, a commodious structure, had escaped the ravages of fire and decay that had befallen the other buildings of the town. It was here that Dr. Greene and his sister lived and where Dr. Greene, who had recently completed his study of medicine and surgery, graduating from Medical University in New York in 1861, became the resident physician and where he practiced medicine in the years just prior to and during the Civil War.


It was during the reconstruction period of the South that Dr. Greene became ill from exposure and died of pneumonia. It was said of him that he was a good doctor, and one who never refused to attend a patient, however poor or however bad the weather. It was during his lifetime and for several years after his death that Rocky River Springs was without a hotel, but health and pleasure seekers continued to come to this now famous resort, where they found lodging in the homes of those living near, or lived in tents and cabins of their own construction. Many of the older persons who had so long frequented the place had died, prominent people whose names had been inscribed on the large flat stones that once surrounded the springs.
Many years have elapsed since the events mentioned in the first of this narrative. Jonas Greene has now become old and his steps uncertain. (This was in 1850) Still living in his comfortable but somewhat weatherbeaten home with his gardener and helper for many years.


The need for a hotel and recreation facilities had become very acute. Mr. Greene, as stated before was becoming old and inactive. So during the years of 1858 or '59 he began to dispose of his vast landed estate. To his children he deeded approximately 100 acres of land each. This land was transferred to William H.D. Greene, who during the Civil War, after some service at the front, was placed on home guard, or patrol durty, and remained in his home county during the remainder of the war, and after the war taught school for a number of years. Another son was Lafayette Greene, who after selling the land allotted to him, moved to Albemarle, where he became a pioneer merchant, justice of the peace, and represented his county in the State Legislature, serving with W.W. Holden, Zep Vance and other men of note..


Dr. Jackson Greene and Miss Sallie Greene have already been mentioned. Other children receiving shares in teh estate were: Mrs. Jane Biles, wife of John Biles, Mrs. Rosanna Smith, who married John Smith, David Greene, who later moved to the Palestine Community, and who was the father of Joe Lee Greene.
Another daughter, Catherine, became the wife of Isiah Underwood, who was the father of the late Jackson Underwood, who lived to be nearly 100 years old, and who was the father of Ivey Dolphus Underwood, who for a number of years taught in the county schools and who was the father of Mrs. Jim Lilly, who, like her father, bacame a well-known and much-loved teacher in teh Stanly County School System. Another son, John Underwood, was for many years a Methodist Minister and presiding elder.


During the few remaining years of his life, after his children were all provided with homes of their own, the owner of the property embracing the grounds on which a large hotel was soon to be built, and the land surrounding the springs, sold to property to Sam Wright, reserving the right to his home for the remainder of his life and also for his posterity, a one-eighth interest in teh acre lot containing the spring forever.
The new hotel was built, large and spacious dining halls and kitchens were erected, chefs and butlers, the best that could be found were put into service. Dance halls, pool rooms, and bowling alleys were installed, and people began to come for their health and pleasure by the hundreds. Indeed, a new day had dawned for this well know resort.
The hotel and Rocky River Springs, after being successfully operated for several years by Mr. Wright, was sold to Rev. C.C. Foreman, a well known Baptist minister, who, with the help of his wife, sons, and daughters, operated the hotel for a number of years. It was during his ownership that patronage grew to the extent that additional space was needed. Cottages were built, a large annex to the hotel was constructed, and stores were opened. The old mail post at Rocky River Springs was replaced by a post office, and the place became a flourishing community center. The Fourth of July celebrations which had been held for many years, were now attracting thousands who came annually to celebrate our national independence. Brass bands from Mount Pleasant, Norwood, and other nearby towns were originally one of the main attractions of the day. In later years merry-go-rounds, carnival paraphernalia gave the placee the appearance of a city circus.
The memory of writer (W.A. Greene) goes back to the time when Mr. Foreman owned and managed the hotel and springs, which was many years after the death of the original owner, who was the writer's great grandfather. A good portion of this narrative as written, came to the writer through tradition, and though true in substance, cannot be verified as accurtely as the events relative to Mr. Foreman's ownership and later owners.
It was during this administration that a new form of educational system was felt. It was Rev. Foreman who was instrumental in securing teachers for the opening of a successful school, known as Rocky River Springs Institute. Prof. D.A. Thompkins became principal of this school, with Miss Anna Parker as his assistant. Quarters for the school were upstairs over the large dining hall. This was in the year of 1888 or '89.
Students enrolled in this school from Stanly, Anson, Richmond, and possibly other counties.
The next session had as principal Prof. H.S. Pickett and Miss. Query as his assistant. The school outgrew its quarters and a new large two-story building was erected about two-hundred yards north of the hotel, which was used for several years for school purposes. Other principals of the Rocky River Springs School were Prof. Davidson Nance and Rev. C.J. Black, who each conducted good schools. By this time the hotel and the adjacent buildings were proving inadequate for the needs of the ever-increasing numbers seeking rooms and the large school building was moved and placed along side of the old hotel building, with porch and walkway connecting the two buildings. In the meantime, while events related above were taking place, Rev. Foreman had died, his children all were married and the hotel changed ownership. D.N. Bennett, prominent citizen of Norwood and W.E. Blalock, also of Norwood, became owners, and the hotel was leased and operated by several different proprietors for several years followings the death of Mr. Foreman.
In the writings heretofore contained in this narrative, we have described conditions prior to the development of Rocky River Springs by Jonas Greene and briefly noted a few of the friends whose inspiration spurred him on to a successful career as promoter, and builder of one of the South's best known health centers. WE have traced ownership and the management of others who in turn made improvements which transformed "the land of healing waters" into a veritable playground and health center that attracted many thousands of people to this haven of rest, recreation, and sport during one-hundred years of its active existence.


We will, as we proceed, describe conditions and happenings during and after the demise of that grand old man, Rev. C.C. Foreman. As previously stated, Rev. Foreman bought and began the development of the property on a much larger scale than any of the previous owners. To enhance the natural beauty of the grounds which contained only the stately oaks as before mentioned, he had elms, cedar, and water oak trees set around whereever shade would be needed, and a row of the same variety of trees placed on each side of the walkway leading from the springs to the hotel. The writer (W.A. Greene), who spent a lot of time around the place a an 8-year-old, held the small trees after they had been placed in the holes dug for that purpose, while Ed White, a faithful Negro, who was one of the best chefs and general utility helpers ever employed by the institution, filled the holes. The much-liked Negro servant lived in Wadesboro and lived to the ripe old age of 80 or more years. The trees planted by him still stand as a tribute of the great love and respect the old colored man held for his employer, and for whom ge gave some of the best years of his life.
As we proceed with this narrative, it seems fitting to say something of the life of Rev. Foreman, his family and his successors in the ownership of this historic resort.
To begin with the story covering this feature of the subject in mind, while we are not in a position to give accurtely the date of his birth, we might say that Rev. Foreman was born about the year of 1848 or 1850. Early in life he married a Miss. Mauldin, a daughter of the late Benjamin Mauldin, of Stanly County, and a member of one of Stanly's best known and respected families. Before coming to Rocky River Springs, he owned and operated a large farm about three miles west of the springs. Besides farming and serving several churches as pastor, with the help of his son, James C. Foreman and his son-in-law, Titus A. Coble, operated one of the largest corn and wheat mills, and he also maintained a cotton ginnery on Rocky River. The son and son-in-law succeeded him in the mill business and also became the owner of the springs property.
At that time two sons, Will R. and Ben Foreman, were in school and grew up to tbe fine specimens of manhood. Both of them received a college education. They were a great help to their father in the management of the hotel, and the springs, and it was largely through their personal ambition, business ability, and foresight that the resort prospered so much as the years sped swiftly by. IN the late years of Mr. Foreman's occupancy of the hotel, Ben married and moved into a large, new home near the hotel, where he resided and helped with the hotel management during the remainder of his father's life, and after his fathers death, he became one of the leading business men of Albemarle until his death which occurred about the year 1930 or '31.
Will R. became one of the best known business men of Charlotte, a church man and a civic leader. His death occured severaly years ago.


A daughter, Phonia, married the late John S. Efird, who at the time owned a large farm, and in connection with the farm owned and operated a large flour and feed mill, cotton gins, and general store in the St. Martin's Church Community on Long Creek. Later, after selling his farm, he moved to Albemarle where he was instrumental in teh organization of the Efird Cotton Mills, of which he became president. He lived to see this venture become one of the most successful business enterprises in the town he loved so well, and one in which he became an integral factor in its development. We might add that his first wife died a few years after coming to Albemarle, but he later married to Miss Bertha Snuggs who survived him for several years, but has sinced passed away while a patient in an Albemarle hospital. Much could be said in the praise of this worthy Christian lady who so efficiently filled the place of wife and mother, amde vacant by the death of the former Mrs. Efird.
Another daughter grew to womanhood and married the late James Poplin, a former farmer of the springs community. However about 60 years ago he moved with his family to Texas where both have since died. His daughter, Mary, was married in early womanhood to Willie Russell of Big Lick. They settled and lived on a farm in the Silver Springs Community reared a family of two sons and three daughters, who became substantial citizens of that community.
As has already been stated, Titus A. Coble married his daughter, Wincie, and on their large farm reared a fine bunch of sons and daughters, one of them the former Miss. Bettie Coble, who married the Rev. Dr. J.W. Whitley.
So with his biographical sketch and the other facts related to the life of Rev. C.C. Foreman, owner and proprietor of the Rocky River Springs Hotel at the time the writer (W.A. Greene) first remembers the institution, we pause for awhile to bring to our readers more of the events of the later years.
After the death of Mr. Foreman, the ownership of the hotel and springs property was purchased by a group of Norwood business men with David N. Bennett and Merrit E. Davis assuming ownership. Business began to take on new life. Many people came to spend the summer. The hotel was crowded, and it soon became evident that the large hotel with its annex could no longer btake care of so many visitors. Summer homes began to dot the hill sides, and still they kept coming. The Fourth of July celebrations grew in attendance until the grounds around the springs could not take care of the thousands that came. The hills and valleys would often be completely covered with people and their conveyances, which consisted of wagons, surreys, buggies, and carts. Many nearby dwellers walked or rode horseback. So time passed on. The years went swiftly by. The hotel changed hands several times during the ownership mentioned above. It was leased or rented to a Mr. & Mrs. Drake from Wadesboro for a season and then about 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Maynor, their son and daughters, leased and operated the hotel for a while, and with good success. It was during these years that many fancy balls were given, and while orchestras played, dancing was indulged in until late at night. These attractions drew many who enjoyed the sport from all the nearby towns. A large dance hall had been provided in connection with the hotel, while yet anohter large dance pavilion was always kept in readiness down at the springs. This pavilion was alos used for roller skating, and for public speaking.
The next occupant of the hotel was a young man from Raleigh, Dr. Beckwith, and his family. People kept coming. Some for pleasure and relaxation, others for their health. We might say here that in the many years the writer had the opportunity of observing hundreds coming for their health, one can truthfully say that among the many who came for that purpose, many cures were made manifest. Many more were greatly benefitted. We will mention two cases that came under teh writer's personal observation.


The first we wish to mention was that of Rev. J.T. Gibbs, a Methodist minister from Salisbury. He had three children, Mary, Eunice, and Johnny. Mary had been stricken with fever. When she arrived at the hotel she was emaciated, very pale, and unable to walk or be out of bed. The family remained at the hotel several weeks. Mary began to improve and when they left for their home she had not fully regained her former weight, but here cheeks had recovered their fresh, pink color, and she left smiling and thankful that she had the opportunity of receiving treatment in such nice surroundings, and the great benefits received during her stay.
Another, a Mr. Stubbs, from lower Richmond County, arrived at the springs one Sunday afternoon. Getting out of his car he began to ask questions about the curative effect of the water, stating he was almost dead from a stomach ailment. His appearance showed that he was telling the truth. He was almost a walking skeleton and leaned heavily on a cane as he walked. It was a pleasure for the writer (W.A. Greene) to give him the needed information, and to help him in securing reservations. IN two weeks much improvement was noticed in his condition. His cane disappeared, and his steps became spry. He lived many years and spent the summers at Rocky River Springs. Many more cures that happened could be cited, but this would require much space and perhaps would not be of interest to our readers.
Befoe getting too far with thsi story, we should mention that sometime after the death of Dr. Jackson Greene, Dr. Ephraim R. Burris bought a small tract of land adjoining the springs property, built a comfortable home, practiced medicine for a number of years, and operated a general store and kept the post office. He was a suyccessful practitioner in his day, but eventually restrictions became so rigid in the practice of medicine that he quit his practice and moved to Albemarle where he lived a quiet life with his wife near the home of a son, Watt. The venerable old doctor, after the death of his wife, lived on in the home which he finally deeded to a family caring for him in his old age. He died several years ago at the age of 97. Many people knew Dr. Burris and he was affectionately called "Uncle Dock" by nearly everybody. There is one incident that happened at Rocky River about 50 years ago that W.A. Greene remembered very distinctly. Near the old iron spring on Fourth of July, with thousands of people on the scene, Dr. Burris stood in an open space and said, "ladies and gentleman, I wish to introduce to you the oldest man in North Carolina, my uncle, Mr. William Whitely, of Revolutionary War fame." The crowd cheered wildly as an old gentleman arose from a chair with his old flint and steel army rifle and fired a salute from the gun he carried through the war. Teh kindly looking old gentlemen had just passed his 115th birthday.


Another incident happening here on the Fourth of July about the year of 1924 that caused much comment, and at the time was very exciting, when Rev. Jimmie Little, a well known evangelist, stood just inside the open-air pavilion and began to preach. Throngs of people stoood outside in the shade of the great oak that for many years stood as a giant sentinel, and under whose limbs the Red Men of former days had held many pow wows. As the evangelist got warmed up to his subject, someone began to play a piano waltz and a veby of the younger set in regular formation began dancing the old round dance style, and their noise completely drowned out the words of the preacher, who paused a moment, wiped his brow, and asked God to stop the dance so that he could be heard. Almost immediately, there was a crash of breaking timbers, and suddenly the floors gave way and the center of the hall became a vast bowl in shape.
There were no casualties as the dancers scurried to their feet amid the confusion. The evangelist called for order, thanked God for stopping the dance, and proceeded with his sermon calmly and with the utmost serenity and tranquility. There are many people living today who can attest the truthfulness of this statement.
Many incidents worthy of note happened throughout the years which, if related, would require much space, and we will not attempt to mention but just a few. For a hundred years or more Rocky River Springs, because of the crowds that so often frequented the place, became the scene of much policical speaking and a place where many fiery debates were engaged. On one occasion, prior to the Civil War, two men who were seeking the governship of the state were trying to gain support. One of the speakers trying to rouse the people to action, warned that war was inevitable, and that destruction and blookshed would be awful. In his statement he saide that war would be so dreadful that blood would run down the streets of many of our towns. His opponent stated that if the South stood firm there would be no war and further stated that he could take up all the blood that would be shed on a pocket handkerchief. Well, regardless of which one got elected, war and much bloodshed did come and we are aware of the result of that war.


Another notable speaker, a shor while before we entered World War I, was the honorable Cameron Morrison, who stood on the steps of the hotel and addressed a large crowd assembled there on the Fourth of July. His slogan, "Vote for Wilson for President", was used as the basis for one of the most eloquent speeches ever heard in this section. Although his discourse was based on facts, relationship between the nations of the world had become so strained that a war to end wars was inevitable. And so it was this famous old resort became the scene of many stirring scenes, and the arena of many events great in inspiration and effecting the human side of the lives of many individuals.
We have traced the ownership of Rocky River Springs from the original Jonas Greene down to its present owners, and through several who leased or rented the property for one or more seasons.
There were times when under the management of some of the parties mentioned and some that we failed to mention, that the patronage dropped off seriously on account of bad management.


But these were times of short duration, and when others who knew the hotel business took over and through much advertising and competent service, throngs of people would again come for pleasure and health and relaxation. There were many times when accommodations were so crowded that many who came could not get reservations.
ONe of the most prosperous eras in history of the Springs began when Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Brasington and their children came from Wadesboro and assumed management of the hotel business and property. They thoroughly understood the hotel business and knew how to cater to the needs of those who desired to spend the summer there. They set about to improve conditions that had previously been a handicap to the successful operation of the hotel and its recreational facilities.


Hitherto, the grounds were lighted by large oil-burning lamps located on posts at convenient places here and there in the grove surrounding the hotel and springs, and oil lamps furnished the illumination for the hotel kitchen and the dining hall; to remedy this condition, a large power unit was installed which generated electricity not only for the company's need but for use in many of hte cottages and summer homes of those who spent the summer months at or near the springs.
Also during the Brasington management a much-needed water system was installed. Prior to this time water had to be carried to the hotel in great quantities for general use, which required much effort and additional servants.
But under the supervision of this management, deep wells were bored and a large water tank was built on a high tower on top of the hill just south of the springs. A large pump was installed which was powered by a large motor with electricity from the big generator which furnished lights.


The water, after being pumped into the large reservoir or tank on top the high hill, was piped to the large hotel and surrounding cottages by gravitation in sufficient quantities to fill the needs of many people and supply bathtooms; it was a much needed convenience.
This was indeed the beginning of a new ero which placed Rocky River Springs on the map as a first class summer resort.
Another factor in the increased number patronizing the springs was the ushering in of the automobile age. Prior to this era patrons and supplies were transported by carriage and wagon service, which was slow and cumbersome.
During this period embracing the years from 1906 to 1914, and later periods under other management, cars and trucks became much in evidence in Albemarle, Wadesboro, and other near-by towns. The trip to the springs could be made on short notice and with much greater speed, and thus Rocky River Springs, with an overflow of patrons, and the many residents and families became a boom to farmers and truckers living in the near-by radius.
Vegetables, chickens, and eggs were in great demand, and the farmers and housewives found a ready market for these products. It was a sad blow when in later years the sideline which brought the farmer much ready cash ended with the downfall of the hotel, and the cessation of transient summer dwellers.


As this chapter is based mainly on the management under the guiding hands of Mr. and Mrs. Brasington, it would be perhaps best to say something this worthy couple befoe we go further with the story. Mr. Brasington married a daughter of Sheriff J.T. Gaddy of Anson County. He and Mrs. Gaddy and their family were among the best known and most respected citizens of Anson. Mr. Brasington, himself, a well-known business man, with many friends and businesses associated in Wadesboro and Cheraw, S.C., and with the popularity of Mrs. Brasington, with a large circle of friends in both North and South Carolina, made them an ideal pair for the job of running the hotel undertaken by them.
After they assumed management, patronage from Wadesboro and Anson County began to pour in, filling the hotel to its capacity, and many more from Cheraw and Darlington became attracted to the place.
New reservations were in demand, and more and more new cottages were built. Such men as John Hickson, a large lumber dealer and orchardman from Virginia, came and purchased real estate and built a nice home which he and his family occupied for a number of years.


Also, Judge Monroe Spears, a well-known jurist and lawyer from Darlington came, and after building a nice home, he and his family spent the summer months for several year's duration. Mr. Spears like the place so well that he proceeded to build several smaller cottages which were occupied by his friends.
We could go on and mention men and families of renown who came from far and near to get the benefits derived from this place of healing waters. We will mention just a few of those who purchased building sites and erected summer homes and cottages near the springs when the resort was at its best. J.M. Morrow, a well-known business man of Albemarle, erected a large two-story residence on a hill north of the springs in which he and his family would spend many happy weeks each summer.
D.M. Bennett and family owned a beautiful cottage near the springs. Ex-Sheriff Boggan owned three cotages and spent much time at the springs. Eil Griggs and family of Wadesboro had a nice residence near the springs in which he spent several summers. Esquire W.F. Crump, a well known farmer and business man of Cottonville was willed the home place of the late Sallie Greene with the stipulation that he build a home and live on the premises.


This he did and spent the last years of his life in a nice home overlooking the springs. These and many others, including the Hicksons and Clayton Brasingtons, the Ratliffs, Tottens, and many others we will not try to mention, had summer homes here and spent much time here during the summer and fall.
All of these buildings have now either burned or have been moved to other locations.


But now to get back to the springs under the management of the Brasingtons. AS stated before, immense throngs of peoploe came during his period. The hotel enjoyed a patronage perhaps larger than any other time in its history. All classes of people came; preachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, business men, and farmers. All came together and became one large brotherhood of men, all seeking the same thing, namely rest, health, pleasure, and relaxation from their daily occupations.
It was an inspiring sight to behold when well-informed men like Titus A. Coble, who was always due to arrive at the Iron Springs each Sunday about two in the afternoon, ex-Sheriff Gaddy, Sheriff Boggan, W.H. Biving, and some of our leading farmers would meet for a regular Sunday "pow-wow".
All sorts of conversation was indulged in, such as religious denominations, politics, wars, and racial issues, business techniques, and farming. The writer (W.A. Greene) has been present when their arguments waxed warm, and things began to look serious, but there was usually a happy ending when conversation ceased and the participants began to make their way homeward.


All classes of people represented the patrons who came for accommodation at the hotel. A good many years ago two men spent about two or three weeks there who seemed to be perfect gentlemen, chivalrous in their manners and suave in their conversation. AFter meeting men who had money, some of them farmers in the community, others who were business men, they represented themselves as stock salesmen for a sure-fire automobile tire manufacturing company. These men who seemed so nice and so desirous that men with ready cash invested it with their company, persuaded several of our best citizens to invest their hard-earned dollars in one of the most fraudulent concerns that ever hit this state. But all through the many years of the Springs' existence, swindlers and thieves were few and far between.


In the entire history of the springs there was never a murder or serious crime against society reported or heard of, though on different occasions fights did occur during the Fourth of July celebrations, and many provocative incidents happened.
On one occasion two stalwart young men from Union County, late on one Fourth of July afternoon, got in their buggy and started for home. In driving through the crowd one of the buggy wheels accidentally ran over the toe of a young man's shoe...the man was from Norwood...he cursed the driver and told him he would whip him and used a lot of vile epithets, whereupon the two brothers leaped from their buggy, saying if that's what you want, go to it.


A general fight ensued with many as half dozen boys taking part. When it looked like the boys from Union would get the best of it, someone in the Norwood crowd brought a knife into action which ended the fight in short order.
Both the Union County boys were seriously cut, and one of them came near to dying as a result. Another instance which caused a lot of confusion occurred when a young man from Anson County hitched his horse to his buggy to leave for his home. The horse reared and backed the buggy against a tree, breaking the shafts to pieces. Not to be outdone by the broken shafts, the young man proceeded to take off his broken shafts, and, as if everything was in order, took the shafts from a new buggy belonging to a prominent young man living in the Silver Springs Community, put them on his buggy in place of the broken shafts, leaving the broken shafts hooked on the new buggy belonging to the Silver Springs young man, drove calmly away as if nothing had happened.


Imagine the feeling that came over the offended party when the time came for him to leave, finding his brand new buggy with an old pair of shafts. In due time satisfaction was made by the offending party, who claimed that he was so badly intoxicated at the time he didn't remember the incident. We mention these occurrences in order to show that even in the time of quietude of a place like Rocky River Springs occurrences frequently came up to mar the peace and to give thrills to the many who frequented the place on the Fourth of July.
But after all is said, taking into consideratin the thousands who gathered there, it is wonderful to think of the gallantry and good will exhibited there throughout th years and the happiness of those who went there to meet with friends and to make new acquaintances.


We have described briefly conditions as existing during the years when Mr. and Mrs. Brasington operated the hotel and improvements made, but with the coming of the Norfolf and Southern railroad, Mr. Brasington soon decided to quit operating the hotel at the Springs and purchase a large tract of land on which most of the business section of Aquadale is built, and laid the land off in lots and sub-division on the south side of the railroad for which he found a ready sale, and a new development was started which resulted in the making of this progressive little town.
On the north side of the railroad he built a large two-story building which he used as a hotel, installed a brick manufacturing plant and for several years, was a leading citizen and church man, as well as a prosperous business man of the community.


In the meantime, W. Titus Efird of Albemarle had assumed control of the Rocky River Springs property, and under his capable management bid fair to keeping the place in line for a good business venture. He set about to make many improvements in the place; spent thousands of dollars in improving the springs property, added a large and modern swimming pool with dressing rooms with all modern conveniences, drilled a deep well in order to get an abundant supply of water for the pool, and in so doing, and in grading and blasting the bed of the pool, the water level at the springs was lowered, and in spite of all the efforts to get water for the springs, the water refused to come to its original level. Interest in the springs began to wane, and after more than a century of growth and expansion, the famous resort of Rocky River Springs died a natural death, and the once thriving town became a ghost town, as did its predecessors of many years ago.
And here the glorious era of Rocky River Springs as a resort area passes from the scene. It is and has been for nearly thirty-five years, a humiliating thought to many people who are still living to have to face the reality that this once famous sopot is now a spectre of the past with all of the landmarks removed and only the springs remaining with the water once conductive to health and happiness still flowing, but its energy and beneficial qualities lost as it flows quietly on its way to Rocky River where it is swallowed up and, with other waters, flows steadily to the sea.
It fills one with much remorse to stand on the grounds which have encompassed so much happiness in days past and see the bush tightening its hold on the very earth which was so chrished by so many. Man in a renewed understanding of what God has given, is now in the process of opening again this area, in a small portion of its magnitude, to be enjoyed again by those with cherished memories of Rocky River Springs in a bygone era, and we hope by those who can build many memories during future pleasant sun-filled days under the great oaks, beside the ever flowing waters.


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