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Conversation with Clarence Armstrong
August 5, 1992

Clarence Armstrong standing in Sifford Cemetery located in woods on old "Rutledge Property."

We lived in a log cabin in Stanley in 1904. It was an old cabin at that time, made out of logs and belonged to Lee McLurd. He had three houses at that time, log houses, down what is now Plum Street, and we lived in the middle one, right where Gaston County Dyeing's warehouse is now.

I remember when the Mercantile Store was built in Stanley. Wilkie Abernathy and old Mr. Gus Stroup had the Mercantile Store. The building is still there yet; it is there on the corner of Main and East Chestnut. The first building past Gaston County Dyeing was called Rutledge and Thompson Store. It belonged to Mr. Will Thompson and Mr. Graham Rutledge. It was a brick building, back so far. After Gaston County Dyeing bought the front part of it they built the frame building from there on back, where they had the machine shop.

Then on down past the Mercantile Store, Frank Carpenter(?) (was actually Robert Carpenter) lived in the house that later became the Kenneth Moore house. The next house was Mr. Bill Sherrill. He made coffins. They weren't called caskets in those days. If you lost a person you took his measurements. He made the coffin out of wood boards and he made it with a shape to it and after he got down to the lower body he closed it in. He made a lid to fit that thing and he covered that thing with a velvet cloth.

The next house was where Mr. and Mrs. Fox lived. They ran a store and lived in one side of it. There was another building next that Mr. John Wallace owned. He ran a grocery store in it (after you passed the Foxes). He later tore down the old wooden grocery store and built the brick building that is there now. He ran a funeral business with Mr. Nelson Hammack. He had the funeral business in the forks of the road here where the road goes down to the railroad and the highway goes on down past the Lutheran church. It sat right in the corner.

The first old railroad depot built here burned down and burned the side of the trees across the street in front of the Mercantile Store. They didn't want to cut them down so they peeled that burned part off and filled it with concrete. (Some of the trees are still standing - almost 65 years later.)

There was a flood in 1916. Oh, in 1916 that was the awfullest thing we had ever had. It started to raining on Thursday and Thursday night, sometime up in the night, it came up a big thundercloud storm. There was a wind storm on Thursday night and it rained all day Friday, all night Friday night and Saturday morning up until 8 or 9 o'clock when the rain cut off. There was a telephone call from up in the mountains and said to warn all the people that's anywhere close to the river to get out and get out now; said Lake Toxaway Dam burst a few minutes ago and let eleven foot more water come down the Catawba River. It washed the bridges all away there in Mt. Holly. I think the river rose up about 50 feet.

Dr. Hunter had an automobile. My mama and her oldest child, Mamie who had little Gus Chronister on her lap, were riding in a two horse buggy and headed home. They met that automobile down there and this old mule got scared at it and took out across the field right below the Dave Jenkins house. Dr. Hunter was the doctor in Stanley then. Dr. Hunter had a big stomach and he carried his drug store with him. There was no drug store in Stanley at that time. He would call it a valise. He opened that thing up and on one side he had bottles and on the other side he had powders. He would mix the powders with the liquids in the bottle and give you medicine. He would come carrying that old valise into houses that had sick folks in them.

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