Washington Henderson, born November 7, 1873, was the eighth of George and
Millie Henderson’s eleven children. The
Henderson family had moved from Macon County into the old Tom Cantrell cabin in
the Tiptop (later renamed Quebec) area of Transylvania County in 1872.
Henderson was instrumental in establishing Oak Grove Baptist Church. He was actively involved in the church his
entire life and ensured that his children were as well. According to son, Charlie, “Father and Mother
never sent their children to Church and Sunday School. They always took them.
That gives us an example we never forget.”
|The old Quebec School.|
children attended school in the old Quebec log schoolhouse when it held short
sessions but had limited opportunities for education outside of the home. As they got older, the boys went to a private
academy in Jackson County, later attending high school and taking courses at the
State Normal School for teachers in Cullowhee.
Four of the boys would teach school at some point in their lives and two
went on to careers as preachers.
young man, Charlie Henderson worked in a grist mill and a saw mill, he drove an
oxen team to market, worked on a railroad construction crew and taught school
for four years. He was paid $77.76 to teach a three-month session at Montvale’s one-room
school in 1898. There were 72 children registered from the A.B.C. class
through 8th grade.
|Charlie Henderson, a carpenter, built this large
Craftsman-influenced house around 1930
after the family’s home burned.
married Janie Cash on December 24, 1905. They had a 137-acre farm near Quebec
where they kept chickens, milk cows and hogs, as well as a large garden and an apple orchard. They also raised eight
children, plus three grandchildren after the death of oldest daughter,
Berdell. Henderson spent most of his
career working as a carpenter though. He
is reported to have cut the first board for the Toxaway Inn.
or Uncle Charlie, as he was fondly called in later years, was a natural
storyteller and had a sharp memory. In
1975 the Transylvania Times ran a series of his reminiscences in the
newspaper. These stories provided a
history of the Henderson family and a vivid picture of growing up in the mountains
in the late 1800s.
of the sheep the family raised, adventures with brother, T.C., to earn money
and much more. His mother sheared the
sheep, then cleaned, carded and spun the wool into thread, which she used to
weave cloth. She sewed all the family’s
clothes by hand. His father made their
young men, Charlie and T.C. decided to walk over the mountains to Asheville for
jobs. They spend some time working as
carpenters, shingling the roof on the Skyland Hotel. After a quick walk home to check in with
family, they walked back to Asheville, then caught a train to White Pine,
Tennessee where they spent a season harvesting wheat.
advice for a long life was not to worry.
He said, “A body should never sit down and brood and worry about his
mistakes. He should forget them and look
ahead and plan ahead.” Charles
Washington “Uncle Charlie” Henderson died October 12, 1976 just shy of his 103rd
birthday. He is buried at Oak Grove
Baptist Church Cemetery in Quebec.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. For more information contact Marcy at 828-884-1820