John D. Bridgers M.D.

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Edie's Family

Chapter 10, Thomas Carl and Marietta (Moore) Hamrick

When Edie was growing up, cotton was the money crop in the area.

Edie's parents  -- Thomas Carl Hamrick, the son of Elijah Bly Hamrick, and Marietta Moore, daughter of John Franklin Moore  --  were married in the early 1900's.

Generally known as T. Carl, Edie's father bought several hundred acres of property adjacent to his in-laws, the Moore's.  His new farmlands were on the opposite side of Boiling Springs from the land holdings of the Hamricks.

T. Carl along with his father-in-law, "Grandpa Moore"  -- as John Moore was known in the family  --  and Edie's uncle, Dan Moore, farmed their land together.

Edie and her seven brothers and sisters would attend school in August of each year.  School would close for the month of September and everyone  --  children as well as adults  --  would toil in the cotton fields.

Over the years I was often told by Edie's elders that she had been a particularly diligent and careful worker and that you could always tell the cotton rows she had picked because they were picked clean.

Edie carried this same work ethic into her life as a homemaker and mother and her children have carried it from her into their adult years.

T. Carl Hamrick attended Boiling Springs High School  --  a boarding institution started by Baptists in the area before there were public schools  --  after graduation he attended Massey Business College in Richmond, Virginia.

This was a popular graduate course of study providing training for the bookkeepers and secretaries necessary to run a business in those days.

Both Edie's father and my own -- Samuel L. Bridgers -- acquired such training including the mastery of Spencerian manuscript handwriting  --  a flowing, but extremely legible form of cursive writing used for ledgers.

After finishing school, T. Carl went to work for The Gordon Coal and Coke Company, a mining company in West Virginia and, not long after, leaving home, his father Elijah Bly contracted typhoid fever  --  a scourge that swept through the state around the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth century leading us to another "shaggy dog" detour.

Typhoid, though most commonly thought of as a skin eruption due to the "rose spots" that erupted over the body at the height of the fever, was actually an enteric disease. 

The reservoir of the disease lay in the primitive sewage disposal of that era usually and resided in the outdoor privies common everywhere.

Its mortality lay not in the fever or the skin rash but in the dehydration and bodily electrolyte imbalance caused by the egregious diarrhea that also marked the disorder.

The vector for infection was through the contamination of the water system. 

In those days, drinking water came primarily from wells and the infection leeched into the wells through the many streams that threaded through the area.

Those of my age well remember taking "typhoid shots" as children.

The shots obviously helped stem the recurrences of typhoid fever, though, of equal importance were the improvements in water treatment and sewage disposal.

Interestingly enough, this age-old disease is now rarely encountered so inoculation is no longer a routine measure.  However, it is quietly reintroduced immediately after periods of extreme flooding to prevent not only typhoid fever but also cholera and other such water-spread infections from re-establishing their foothold.

The hospital in High Point  --  the community where Edie and I would raise our family and I would work as a doctor  --  was founded in the wake of the typhoid outbreak that infected Elijah Bly. 

That hospital  --  first known as Burroughs Memorial then High Point Memorial Hospital and today as High Point Regional Hospital --  has gradually transformed from an old home into a medical complex.

This was the case in many North Carolina communities.

In High Point, the hospital is now a campus of four buildings and is one of the largest enterprises in town with a sizeable "medical community" having developed around the hospital.

This too is true in many communities and these developments were surely not expected a hundred years ago when an exterior pathogen found its way into the state's local water supply.

T. Carl returned from West Virginia to help nurse his father and one would suppose  --  his being the oldest son  --  to help manage his father's affairs.

In addition to working his farm, T. Carl would became a traveling salesman in the Carolinas  --  first for the Craddock-Terry Shoe Company and then with Harris and Woodson Candy Company of Virginia.

Later, he gave up his sales position and returned to Boiling Springs to again work as a farmer.  He became an active member of the North Carolina Cotton Owners Co-operative Association but would again leave farming for sales  --  this time for The Kendall Drug Company, a wholesale medical house in Shelby owned and operated by his brother, C. Rush Hamrick.

The alleged reason for these changes of employment was so that he could be closer to home and have more time to teach his sons John and Felix "how to work."

It seems he taught them well for John would go on to become a surgeon serving well the communities of Shelby and Kings Mountain; and Felix -- despite a lifetime of poor health -- was a popular merchant in Boiling Springs while managing the family's farming interests.

Edie's father, in addition to his farming and sales work, was a dedicated churchman.

During the depression, he served as chairman of the committee responsible for erecting a new church building next to the campus of what had been the boarding high school but was now becoming Gardner-Webb Junior College.

The church ran out of money before construction was complete and the congregation was not only out of cash but  --  things being tight in the depression  --  devoid of collateral from which another loan could be secured.

T. Carl Hamrick went to his then employer  --  the owner of the Harris-Woodson Candy Company  --  and told him of the church's plight.

He was given a $5000.00 loan secured by his signature providing the funds that allowed the church building to be completed.

That amount of money during the depression was a princely sum, probably the equivalent of a million dollars today. 

Eventually the church was able to pay it all back.

This happened some seventy years ago.  Boiling Springs, now a town of 10,000 people, was a crossroads community of some 1000 or so when Edie and I were married.

The congregation has built a new church on the southern edge of town and the old sanctuary now serves as the auditorium for Gardner-Webb University.

Since Edie's death two years ago on August 3, 2000, I have promoted the creation of gardens at the various churches to which Edie and I were connected during our lives. 

Plans for a garden in their memory on the new church grounds of The Boiling Springs Baptist Church are now underway.  The design of the garden will center on the old church's bell, which Mett found in someone's barn.

Edie's younger sister Mett and I talked about how few of the current members probably remember their parents much less their father's efforts on behalf of the church.

This garden will be dedicated in memory of Edie's parents will hopefully serve as a reminder to the current generation of the gift that T. Carl Hamrick  --  through a personal loan during the lowest point of "The Great Depression"  --  made to this congregation's future.

T. Carl Hamrick and Marietta Moore had eight children  --  two boys and six girls.

Their first-born child was a daughter, Marie Elizabeth who is now in her mid-nineties and the oldest surviving member of the family.  (Elizabeth died on December 7, 2003.)

Having studied art in college, she was a painter and an art teacher.  Even today her paintings are prized by many in the family.

Elizabeth married Hugh J. Mack of Buffalo, New York.  Hugh had been in the airborne troops during World War II and made a glider landing in Europe as part of the Normandy invasion.  Shortly after the war, he died of leukemia. 

Elizabeth returned to North Carolina where she went on to become director of art education in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Schools.

She suffered a stroke several years ago but before that was always active having taken up ballroom dancing after her retirement. 

Our children remember her always arriving at their grandmother's house well supplied with crayons and water colors and regaling them with stories of yoga and rose-hip tea long before these would become common in American life. 

John Carl was T. Carl and Marietta's second born and first son. 

He attended Wake Forest Medical School and became a surgeon  --  first serving as a medical officer during WWII and then practicing afterwards for many years in Shelby, North Carolina. 

He retired in his seventies and lived in Shelby until his death in 1994 at the age of 82. 

His wife, Rose Thurman of Indiana, was a nurse he met while in training.   Rose died in 1989.  They had four children. 

Their daughter, Martha Rose, and her husband, Wesley Hood, have lived for many years in Greensboro.  They have three children, now grown. 

John Carl, Jr. or "Jack" attended Wake Forest University, as did his father, and is an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Shelby.  He is married to Margaret Ann Neil and they have four children and several grandchildren.

Susan Lucille is married to Robert Mole.  They have one child and live in Park City, Utah.

Felix Elijah was T. Carl and Marietta's third child and their second son.

Felix had congenital kidney disease and developed "stag-horn calculi"  --  a kidney stone shaped like deer antlers -- in both of his kidneys.

He briefly attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill but was forced to drop out due to his health and return home to Boiling Springs.

He would marry Irene Bogue, a nurse who had cared for him in one of his many periods of illness.

Felix died in 1966.  Though prevented by his health from pursuing a professional career as did his siblings, he was a wonderful and affable man and  --  according to our children when they were youngsters  --  "everyone's favorite uncle."

They had one child, a daughter Edith Suzanne.  Suzanne and her husband, Dr. Pete Morrisett, a nuclear physicist, lived at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and had a family of five children. 

Tragically, Suzanne died in 1987 from osteomyelitis of the jaw.

Next for T. Carl and Marietta came Helen Virginia.

Helen died in 1998 at the age of 82 having retired from a long career as a junior high English teacher in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Her mother lived with her for many years, spending winters in Greensboro and summers in Boiling Springs hosting various combinations of visiting children and grandchildren in the Hamrick home. 

Helen returned to Boiling Springs after her retirement and purchase the former home of Felix and Irene   --  next door to her parent's home. 

That house is now the home of Jack's son, John C. Hamrick III , a deputy sheriff in Cleveland County.

Then came Edie, or Edith Holland.  She was born in 1918. 

Edie attended Gardner-Webb Junior College and Women's College in Greensboro majoring in English.  She taught school before enlisting in the Navy during World War II.

After the war, she was a devoted wife and mother for some fifty-five years before her death two years ago.  Though she always claimed that she was never happy teaching school, her training served her well in overseeing her own children's education.

Like her brother John and sister Helen, she too died at the age of 82 and is sorely missed to this day.  There shall be more about her and our children later in these chronicles.

Her sister, Sadie Moore Hamrick, came along next.  Sadie and Edie were constant companions during their adolescence, though it was often to Edie's annoyance according to Sadie.

Sadie and I are the same age.  She married W.W. (Bud) Williamson in 1950 and they lived for many years in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Bud was a technician for Minneapolis Honeywell Instrument Company and others in that industry while Sadie, a CPA, taught accounting at Charlotte College, which during her tenure would become the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. 

Bud's true love was farming and horses.  In the 1970's he and Sadie built a home on Bud's family lands not far from Boiling Springs.  Their house was designed by our son, Carl. 

They too are "favorites" of the younger generation and have, over the years, been exceptionally close to many of their nieces and nephews. 

These relationships are now being carried on with that generation's  children and their home has become a popular gathering place for the current family. 

Cora Margaret  --  known by her middle name  --  was the next to the youngest.

Margaret majored in business administration at The Women's College in Greensboro, North Carolina and then went to work for General Electric Company in Connecticut.  There she met and married Thomas Kerr, an electrical engineer. 

Tom went to work with the AMP Corporation, and they lived first in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before moving to Japan where Tom rose in the company to become the head of their Far Eastern branch.

After their separation, Margaret and her two daughters, Virginia  Margaret (Spicey) and Cynthia Susan (Cindy) returned to Harrisburg . 

I believe Tom is now living in retirement in Australia.

Margaret became an account executive with Merrill-Lynch and enjoyed a successful career as an investment advisor before her own retirement a few years back.

As an aside and a thank you, Margaret handled Edie's and mine investments during the "up" markets of the 80's and 90's doing quite well for us. 

Finally, came Marietta, or Mett. 

Mett majored in biology in college and became a high school teacher.  She married James Lawrence Heinlien of Colorado, one of the finest men I've ever met.

Jim was also a science teacher and, in the early years of their marriage, they traveled across Europe and the Mid-East teaching at the sundry overseas schools maintained by the U.S. government for the families of Americans stationed around the world in various Foreign Service capacities.

When their daughters, Katherine Joan (Kathy) and Jamie Lynn, reached school age they returned to Colorado and were living there when Jim died in 1975 from degenerative heart disease.

After her children finished college, Mett retired and returned to Boiling Springs where she built a home on a piece of land that had been part of her parents' farm.

Mett is the last of Edie's siblings to live in the immediate area of the home place settled by the maternal branch of their family on the east side of Boiling Springs.

Within sight of her house when it was built were the homes of her parents, her maternal grandparents and her great grandparents by her maternal grandmother.

As for the grandchildren of T. Carl and Marietta Hamrick many now have children of their own and, as with my own family, I leave the telling of their story to those of their generation.

For our story, it is now time to consider the other side of Edie's family.

Next chapter    Chapter 11, Across the Cross-Roads from the Hamricks

Previous chapter    Chapter 9, Elijah Bly and Galena (Green) Hamrick

Back to Edie's Family index

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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 ©