John D. Bridgers M.D.

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Edie's Family

Chapter 6, James Young and Catharine (Harding) Hamrick

Returning to Edie's branch of the Hamrick family, James Young Hamrick, born in 1810, was the son of the third generation George Hamrick. 

He married Catharine, or Kate, Harding.  We know little of the Hardings except that they lived on what is now known today as Gold Road  --  a road connecting the two main roads running between Boiling Springs to Shelby.

By my reckoning the Hamricks & Hardings were there before the Golds but this name probably refers to the road's use as the route from Boiling Springs to the Gold homestead.

James Young and Kate lived on Gold Road near her family's homestead.  When Edie was a youth, the original Harding home on Gold Road was known as the "Kate Harding Old Place" to distinguish it from Kate's later home with her husband.

One day while visiting Boiling Springs Edie's uncle, Clifford Hamrick  --  another person with an abiding interest in his family's history  --  took us to see the Harding family graveyard.

It was situated in the woods behind an old farmhouse of no particular distinction. 

The house was still standing which is more than could be said for the burial grounds where most of the graves had been reclaimed by the trees and most of the gravestones were crumbling.

At another time, Clifford, when describing an idiosyncrasy of another of his kin once simply remarked, "He's like those crazy Hardings."

Maybe it is just as well that little is known of the Hardings. 

As for James Young and Kate Hamrick, legend has it that they were an odd couple in their own right.

James Young, a prominent citizen in his day, was elected in 1844 to be  the first representative to the North Carolina General Assembly for newly established Cleveland County.

This James Young is not to be confused with his grandson James Y. Hamrick II, or JY, who would serve in the State Senate in the late 1800's and as the Commissioner of Labor and Printing under Governor Daniel Russell around the turn of the century.

Cleveland County history makes much of the fact that James Young, on several occasions, rode a horse bareback from his home to the capital in Raleigh this being a rough journey in those times taking about thirteen days.

When returning to Raleigh after his re-election in 1848, James Young Hamrick contracted pneumonia from exposure to the elements and nearly died save for the nursing his fellow legislators accorded him in their boarding house.

After his recovery he wrote the following letter to Mr. George Green, Postmaster at Sandy Run, describing his close call.  The spelling errors are James Young's own as transcribed in The Chronicles of Cleveland County


 Wake County,

         December 3 day 1848.

 Dear Sir,

    Suppose you have heard that sins I left my native home for this city that I have bin uncommonly sick, I was so unwell that I lay by a day and half as I came to this place my company left me, however I made a shift to git here on Monday the 20 and was qualified and voted 2 for Speaker.  On Monday night I was taken very ill I had a sever cough a pain struck me in my breast so I had to set up in bead, part of my time I could not lie down.  Next moring I sent for Doc Miller he came and said I must loose a large quantity of blood, he took 3 pints or half gallon from me.  I taken medison and a plaster of musterd seed put to my breast, by this time the citty was in a uproor.  My room was crowded with doing all they could for me, I got sum better.  This was no place for a sick man, politicks is so high the sinate is tied, the house would of bin tied if Samuel Fleming had not resind.

     The whigs was contrary, we offerd at the out set to take one speaker and give one, they refused.  We set to work and by the nominees giving scattering votes the 59 dem prevented 60 whigs from getting a majority for 3 days.  I told my friends that I had a loving wife and 8 children that I loved dearly.  I also loved my country and was sent here by the people of Cleveland as there agent and without my vote every thing was lost.   I felt resolved on this occasion to sacrifice my life for my country.

     My friends had a horse and a bugga at the dore and hope me in carried me to the dore of the capitol and the loss of apatite, the loss of so much blood, the loss of so much sleep the sevear pain in my breast the tremendous sick fits that I had to under go all so much against my feble sistom that it was all I could do with help, to git to the capitol.  I was then conducted to a choice seat.  My pale complexion and weak and feble appearance and my punctuality in voting almost alarmed the hole house three days.

     I was carried to the capitol to vote on important questions for 3 days I then cep myself in my room for 3 or 4 days still taken medison, still mending at this time.  I enjoy tolerable good health  I have a good apitite to eat I look well and thank God I feel well one time more.  I room in sight of a large grave yard and after I got so I could begin to walk over my room words came to me more than 20 times. 
     Amasing grace how sweet the sound that saved a reach like me.  Mr. Green I woant you to take this letter out of the office and you and your wife to go to my house and read the hole of it to my family and if you make pleas right me a letter for my wife.  I am anxious to hear from home, direct your letter to Wake County Raleigh P. Office.  Dear wife I rote you a letter a week ago and directed it to Birchells Villa.  I dont nou whether you will git it or not and if you do, I dont nou whether any of you can read or not.  I am anxious to hear from you, if you have not written to me Mr. Green will right for you.  Dear wife I don't nou whether W W Wright alarmd you or not, I was very sick when he left here.  I told him not to alarm you but thank God this time I am well.  except my strength, loosing so much blood cept me week and I am as well satisfied as I expected to be it is true.

     My wife and childring my home is the last thing of a night and the first thing of a morning that I think of.  Your must excuse my weakness but in hesitating on the subject of home, the Springs start out of my head runs down my cheeks, perhaps while you are a sleep but you now that I never take more to hurt than I can kick of at my heels. Li is uncerting when the legislator will break.  Theres is a grate many questions of importance before us and the parites is so near tied what we get along slow.  We expect a member from Yancy County in a few days that will be both houses.  Capt. Berry election is contested in the senate and a demacrat has contested the election of a whig in the house.  The result in very uncertain but I think that I will be at home by the 15 or 0 of January. 

    Dear wife be composed and try to take care of the family and the stock.  Send the childring to school.  If brother right has not got that bundle of notes into possessions, do take good car ot them and cear of everything.  Charles you are a good boy for to work, be attentive, git up the sheep attend to the horse, cattle and hogs, is you hant got salt anough, Druey Rolins oos me and he will let you have salt or must borrow, keep the stock off the wheat, have shoos made and mended as the nature of the case requires, hall leaves and put in the tables, keep plenty of wood, keep the potatoe banks civered, in warm weather open a hole n the banks, if there is any young pigs attend them.

     Take the shoos of the mare if you hant.  Load that little bottom in wheat, you had better do it, yet you had better not go to school very much your self but send the rest of the childring, If the new school is made up send everyday.  Dear wife I must come to a close and if anything should happen either with me or you, so that we never are permitted to see each other again in this world, I earnestly hope that we will meet each other in that upper and better world where we shall beet to pat no more, where sickness, sorrow, pain and death are felt and feard no more, wher sickness, sorrow, pain and death are felt and fead no more.  Where congregations never break up and Sabbaths never never never ends. 
     I remain your affectionate husban and friend.

       James Y. Young

Since Kate Harding Hamrick was illiterate, James Young added a postscript asking Mr. Green to read the missive to Kate.

     Mr. Green I have news of importance enoug to right out a small book but you see I am compled to come to a close.  I hope these lines will find you and your famaly well.  Tell my friends that I have got nearly well, read this letter to my family, write to me and you will oblige yours. 

  J Y Hamrick

Edie once had a copy of this letter but I don't know what happened to it.  According to The Chronicles of Cleveland County, the original is still in the possession of the family of James Young Hamrick II.

Another family story from this time and a favorite of my son Raymond tells of when James Young Hamrick came home from Raleigh accompanied by the Lieutenant Governor of the state, his friend.

Apparently worried whether his less erudite wife would be on her best behavior in welcoming this notable into their home, James Young sent a message ahead to Kate advising her that she was to watch her demeanor though with Kate being illiterate I'm not sure who he got to read it to her.

By whatever means, the message is said to have greatly angered Kate who planned her retribution.

When James Young arrived with the Lieutenant Governor, they were welcomed by his wife from up on the roof where she was nailing down new shingles and tossing the old ones down into the yard.

Later at the evening meal, Kate had set the table with her finest bone-handled silverware only for James Young to discover that she had removed the original bone handles and substituted corncobs in their place.

My wife, Edie  --  bless her heart  --  must have inherited a fair share of Kate Harding's genes for she suffered poorly anyone that she felt had belittled her or her family in any way and I can well imagine her reacting much as did her great, great grandmother if I had I ever leveled such a slight her way.

Next chapter    Chapter 7, Henry and Lucy (Reaves) Green

Previous chapter    Chapter 5, The Golds, the Hollands and the Moores

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