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  • The Tribune

    Jonesville man shares history of local park

    By Jimmy Sloop Special to The Yadkin Ripple,


    Brave men and women stepped forward to protect their freedom and taxation and many gave their lives during the Revolutionary War. One such place and people was the Adams family. They moved to the banks of the Yadkin River in what is now Jonesville in the early 1700s. They traveled, as my ancestors and others did, from Holland/Germany/England/Ireland etc. to Philadelphia then traveled what became known as the Philadelphia Road. It followed the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina. My ancestor, Conrad Schupp, settled in Salisbury, Rowan County. He later went to the county seat in Salisbury in mid 1700 and changed his name to Sloop. It was common for the immigrants to do that back then.

    The Adams family became very prominent people and expanded across the Yadkin River to what is now Elkin. Daniel Boone settled in the area along the Yadkin River for a time before moving on to Wilkesboro. Wilkes County was at one time part of Surry County. The Adams family is a prominent family in the area till this day. The Adams family, along with others, discovered ore (mine still exist in Jonesville but closed), established a shoe factory (Brogans), textile mill and other businesses in Elkin. One such business became known as Chatham Blankets. They made blankets for military in WWII, car upholstery, and many other items.

    There is a Veterans Memorial Park on River Road in Jonesville and Jonesville Historical Society across the street. The park is where the Adams family first settled. The spot has a good view of Yadkin River.

    And then the politicians came. They began to tax the people and build themselves big fine homes and tried to control the people. So, the people moved to the mountains to what is now Tennessee and became known as the Mountain Men. Ten years after they moved to the mountains the British came into the area during the Revolutionary War. They established a strong hold at what is now Kings Mountain. They thought they were secure but did not know mountain and woods fighting tactics. The Mountain Men returned to Jonesville and rallied a militia to fight the British. They overcame the British at Kings Mountain and that was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Had it not been for them this nation possibly could be under the British rule. The Mountain Men returned to their homes to never fight again.

    Life Goes On

    Jonesville became the crossroads for the trade route which is now Highways 67 and 21. The town developed and became prosperous. The town started educational and academic intuitions.

    When I was a boy, before school age, I had a Radio Flyer wagon. I used the wagon to haul neighbors’ laundry for my mother. She worked at Chatham Blankets and “took in” laundry. She first washed the laundry by hand until she earned enough money to buy a washing machine. She heated her irons on a wood burning stove. Then I returned the laundry after she finished washing it.

    I also used the wagon to pick up scrap iron and take it to Browns Machine Shop which had moved from Jonesville to Elkin. Browns Machine Shop helped develop and make the trigger mechanism for the Atomic Bomb that was used to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan to end WW2. The Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, is at the Dulles Airport Museum in Washington DC.

    Then when I was 10 years old, I delivered The Elkin Tribune and got my social security card. I walked the route until I saved enough money to buy me a bicycle. I installed a siren, light, speedometer, and handlebar tassels. When it snowed, I wrapped a small rope around the back tire for traction.

    Jonesville and Elkin produced some infamous people. Barney Hall became NASCAR’s announcer for some 50 years. Leon Reese wrote songs and sang for many people and if I am not mistaken, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Both worked at radio station WIFM in Elkin during their early years.

    The Yadkin River often flooded the rich farmland along its banks. At times it would rise to the streets in Elkin. The Kerr Scott dam was built in Wilkesboro to help control the flood waters. The lake is now a great recreation and fishing area with beautiful campgrounds. Wilkesboro is where Lowes started with a grocery store and is now one of the largest retail stores in the nation. Tyson Foods also has a large plant there which was formerly Holly Farms. I drove a truck for Holly Farms for a short time. Junior Johnson also called Wilkesboro home. He was instrumental in developing the race car track there.

    Elkin and Jonesville continue to prosper. The racetrack in Jonesville is now Lila Swaim Park. The racetrack was at one time “the” track for racing. It hosted drivers like Lee Petty, Ralph Earnhardt, the Flock brothers, Curtis Turner, Junior Johnson, and many others. A committee was formed and developed a Jonesville Historical Society and Veterans Memorial Park mentioned earlier. Both are in dire need for restoration as of this writing. Shameful to allow a place of this prominence to deteriorate. As people traveled through on foot and wagons, they stopped at the spring in Adams Settlement (Veterans Memorial Park) to rest and fill their water jugs. There was a dipper there for people to use. I was there before this writing and the spring is still active with clear water coming from Mineral Springs Hill.

    It is suggested that the citizens and businesses of Jonesville and Elkin support this great historical place and get it back in a respectable condition to represent the Veterans and both towns.

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