John D. Bridgers M.D.
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The Newlywed's House

When my wife's younger sister, Marietta Hamrick Heinlien, known affectionately as Met, moved back to North Carolina from Colorado she built a home on the outskirts of Boiling Springs.

Some years before Met had lost Jim, a splendid young husband, to a somewhat mysterious heart ailment which came much too early and at a cost too dear.

She continued teaching until retirement, raising her daughters, Kathy and Jamie, until they went their adult ways. Met then elected to "come home," partly from loneliness and partly to escape the bitter winters on the eastern slope of the Rockies.

Situated in the rolling red clay hills of the southwestern Piedmont, the view from her new home was enhanced by the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the western horizon.

From her new yard she could see the house in which she had been born and raised, the house that had been the home of her grandparents and her mother, the house that had been the home of her great-grandparents, the home of her brother's widow and the homes of her two first cousins -- both of whom of the same age as the Hamrick children and considered much as siblings.

The most unimpressive of these neighboring abodes was the most humble, and, by far, the oldest.

It was the old Holland home, a rude, unpainted vernacular log and wood-sided farm house that has since been razed but served as an important landmark in the affairs of the family.

Boiling Springs started as a cross-roads settlement at the intersection of two rural colonial trails -- one running more-or-less north and south between Shelby, the county seat, and nearby South Carolina and the other running somewhat east-to-west, looping down from Shelby towards the mountains and connecting the scattered farms and hamlets along the way.

One of the first European families to settle in this area of North Carolina were the Hamricks, the paternal line of my wife Edie's family.

Edie's maternal lineage was the Moore family while her maternal great-grandfather was a Holland.

The Hollands arrived some years after the Hamricks but before the Moores.

Over the years, all of these clans intermingled with others in area, but for our purposes here we'll talk mainly about the Hamricks, Moores and Hollands, and more specifically of those that came in the last few generations.

The first Hamricks arrived in the mid-1760's settling mainly along the north-south road where they yet remain clustered to this day.

The Hollands and Moores settled several miles away along the east-west road in the area of Met's new home.

Thomas Carl Hamrick, when he married Marietta Moore, brought the Hamrick surname into the Holland-Moore compound.

The former homes of all these folk are now located in what is called Cleveland County but they had their beginnings far up the eastern seaboard.

So first, let's step back …

Benjamin Franklin, ever busy seeing to the needs of his adopted city, realized that farm families must be brought to Pennsylvania to feed a burgeoning Philadelphia, which was then the largest, and fastest growing, metropolis in the American colonies.

In the mid-eighteenth century, central Europe -- particularly the upper German states -- were beset by a series of violently cold winters, which left many facing the pangs of near starvation and shivering through what became known as "The Little Ice Age. "

Here was where "Poor Richard" found folk ready to clear and till the frontier soil of Pennsylvania.

They settled just to the west of Philadelphia and gave rise to what has since become Germantown, now a part of greater metropolitan Philadelphia.

Within a few years these early colonial homesteaders, ever looking for new and fertile lands and places to accommodate their growing families, spread across the southern reaches of the colony -- thus was created "Pennsylvania Dutch Country."

As was so with most of the early American settlements, religious oppression in Europe played its certain role, and thus came the Amish and the Mennonites.

This early movement to the west was impeded by the Appalachian Mountains so the flow took the path of least resistance coursing down the mountain valleys to the southern colonies.

So constant became this traffic that it was entitled "The Great Wagon Trail," extending from the populated areas around Philadelphia through the middle Atlantic colonies and down to North Carolina where it finally lost its identity at Salisbury, a Piedmont community that was rapidly becoming the major population center in central North Carolina.

In the late 1700's one could travel for days in western North Carolina without hearing English spoken.

This restiveness was the instrument that brought George Homrick and Nancy Koch from Rotterdam to Philadelphia in the 1731, who, once in America, became known as George Hamrick and Nancy Cook.

They lived out their time in Germantown and were there buried, but not before they had spawned a brood of some twenty-four children.

Three of their sons -- George, Benjamin and Moses Richard -- moved their families south to Piedmont Virginia, and it was the progeny of these families who filled the lands to the west of Salisbury in what was to become Rutherford County.

Along with them came other clans that had crossed the Atlantic from the British Isles -- the Blantons, Bridges, Harden, Greenes, McSwaim and others -- all of whom intermixed with the Hamricks who were at the same time also intermarrying among their many cousins.

We once calculated that Edie and her siblings were descended from George and Nancy Cook Hamrick by some twenty-two family pathways.

More Hamricks eventually settled mainly in the Boiling Springs area and their progeny are spread among most of the older families in what is now Cleveland County.

Interestingly of those Hamricks who first came south, the descendents of Benjamin moved on to Georgia and further south while those of Moses Richard moved to Alabama and eventually west -- both sometime in the 1830's.

Meanwhile the North Carolina descendents of the younger George Hamrick trace their lineage back not to him but to his parents -- George and Nancy Hamrick of Germantown.

The lineage of the Hollands is much less well documented and most of what we know of them came from a copy of the obituary of Edie's grandmother, Susan Holland Moore, who died in the 1940's before Edie and I were married.

These folk came from the British Isles, but whether English or Scotch-Irish is not really known, though they did come to Pennsylvania fairly early and apparently before the main Scotch-Irish migration took place.

They too followed "The Great Wagon Trail," within a generation or so, settling along the way in Virginia and intermarrying with the Pleasants, Griffins and Golds.

Central to our story is Gold Griffin Holland, Edie's great-grandfather -- he of picturesque name and a legend in his own time, perhaps remembered somewhat larger than life in her family lore.

Gold Griffin Holland was presumably the breadwinner of the family when he went off to the Civil War. A member of the Lee's Army of the Potomac, he walked home after being pardoned at Appomattox Court House.

Douglas S. Freeman notes in his book, Lee's Lieutenants, that a Capt. Gold Holland escaped serious injury when a Minnie-ball was stopped by the cake of hard tack he carried in the breast pocket of his uniform; one of many such stories extant in the family and a childhood favorite of our own children as told to them by Edie's numerous aunts and uncles.

After the war he served in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Gold Griffin Holland is pictured as a large and brawny man and a prodigious worker, an attribution that apparently cost him his health.

He and/or his forebears had built a cotton gin along Beaver Dam Creek, which flowed to the back of the Holland property that fronted the aforementioned east-west road from Shelby to the mountains.

It's alleged that he suffered "a nervous breakdown" after working at his gin for 48-hours without sleep, and that he never regained his lost mental and physical vigor.

He is buried in the old graveyard in what is now central Boiling Springs. His resting place marked by an imposing obelisk stone with a metal plaque attached memorializing his military service.

His daughter Susan Ellen married John Franklin Moore of bordering Rutherford County, he being a descendent of an old Scotch-Irish tribe.

Most folk have but a vague notion of who comprised the Scotch-Irish movement into the Atlantic colonies of America.

Many confuse it with the mass exodus of the Celtic Irish from Eire in the mid-1800's due to the potato famine in their homeland -- an immigration that gave Boston it's Gaelic flavor and provided workers for the eastern railroad building which created a transcontinental railway and national cohesion.

This was about a century after the Scotch-Irish immigration, an entirely unrelated excursion.

The Scotch-Irish movement was much more of a process then an event, came in several waves and its seeds were planted by the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth I.

The settlement of the new world and the conquest of Ireland, were among the early expansions that lead to the British Empire.

The Queen rewarded her warrior-knights with land grants in Ireland for their adventures there and elsewhere.

When the English moved into Ireland it was a beautiful but backward agrarian country left behind by the technological events elsewhere which were leading to the Industrial Revolution.

The English lords brought Scotch and English artisans into the Irish towns in an effort to convert the economy to an industrial base.

Elizabeth assumed the throne amid much religious turmoil, with successive prior regimes having been Catholic and Protestant -- this business set in train a wavering Irish dichotomy of faith, which persists today with violence between the sects and between the English government and the Catholic guerilla forces of the Irish Republican Army.

In any event, those who went to Ireland from England and Scotland became known as Scotch-Irish.

When Catholicism came to the fore, many of these folk fled, and in the mid-seventeenth century they swept across the colonies of America along the eastern seaboard.

Among these folk was Thomas Moore who went west into the inner reaches of Rutherford County.

He is described as a tall man with a brood of tall children, mostly sons, and in the generations since this pattern has persisted.

He is said to have settled his land just before the Revolution and served the colonists cause in those hostilities.

One of his grandsons was John Franklin Moore, Edie's maternal grandfather.

He was only a lad during the Civil War after which he worked around the area as a journeyman construction worker.

John Moore became a skilled carpenter and cabinetmaker, trades common among many young farmers of that day.

This brought him to Boiling Springs to work on the new home of Elijah Bly Hamrick and his wife, Galena Greene. They would one day become Edie's paternal grandparents.

It was apparently while there for that purpose that he meet, courted and married Susan Ellen Holland, the daughter of Gold Griffin Holland.

John and Susan Moore returned to nearby Rutherford County and bought land near Henrietta. Just as he was getting his farm into productive condition the railroad came through and with its right of eminent domain "ruined his land," as he told me years later.

The first two of their nine children were born there. The second a girl, Marietta, would come to be Edie's mother.

At this juncture, perhaps due to the aforementioned poor health of his father-in-law, John and Susan Moore moved back to the Holland farm and either by purchase, inheritance or both became owners of the Holland farmland and moved into the old Holland home.

Some years later -- apparently around the turn of the century -- John Moore built himself a larger home a hundred yards or so down the road and moved his growing family.

Thomas Carl Hamrick, one of Elijah Bly and Galena Greene Hamrick's sons, paid suit to Marietta Moore.

For several years after their marriage they too lived in the old Holland home, and it's presumed that the sobriquet of "The Newlywed's House" then came into use.

As their family grew, John Moore built a house for Carl and Marietta Hamrick on their own farmland just across the road from "The Newlywed's House."

Later, Dan Moore, Marietta's brother, and his wife, Blanche Bridges, also lived in "The Newlywed's House" early in their marriage until John Moore built them a house across the road from his own home on Holland/Moore farmland.

And thus the family compound in which Edie was raised came into being along the old east-west road outside the village of Boiling Springs.

This is the area to which Met returned and built her new home several years back. Though metamorphosis is underway, the area still retains much of its family flavor.

Nancy Carroll Moore, daughter of Dan and Blanche lives yet in the house in which she was raised while her brother Dan, Jr. (DW) and his wife Betty live across the road from Mrs. Hamrick's old home -- I call it that because Carl Hamrick had passed on before Edie and I were married -- in a house they built for themselves on their farmland.

Next door to the Hamrick home is the former house of Edie's brother Felix and his wife, Irene. After they had both passed away, Edie's older sister, Helen Hamrick, purchased the house and retired there following a long career teaching English in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Since "Gundy's" death -- a name given to Mrs. Hamrick by her first grandchildren and since picked up by the family -- the Hamrick house has passed outside of the family, though most of the land is still in the hands of her children and grandchildren.

"Grandpa" Moore's later house and its immediate acreage have likewise been sold to others.

DW, Nancy Carroll and Elizabeth, Dr. Vic Moore's widow, remain nearby as neighbors. They still hold much of the old Holland land so, though the change is slow but certain, the holdings are still largely in the family.

For much of my marriage to Edie, "The Newlyweds House" was used as quarters for tenant farmers eventually ending up on the property to which DW now holds title. Over time it became so dilapidated that several years ago DW had it removed.

Since my marriage to Edie, Boiling Springs has grown exponentially from a small crossroads and farming village into a bedroom community of 10,000 and the major educational center of Cleveland County.

The residential high school Edie attended became first a Baptist Junior College then a four-year college and is now known as Gardner-Webb University.

The bubbling springs for which the community was named has since dried up with its location now marked by a plaque on the University campus and the town proper has grown to encompass both the old Hamrick and the Holland-Moore homesteads.

However, when I think today of Boiling Springs, I still remember mostly those old farm houses -- those still in the family, those passed on to others and the "The Newlywed's House," whose day has simply passed.

__________________ __ __________________

Written circa 1995
Edited Mothers' Day -- May 12, 2002

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John D. Bridgers M.D. by Carl Bridgers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Copyright ©