|Vera’s father was the caretaker at the Cedar Mountain
Hotel not far from Caesar’s Head for the
first thirteen years of her life.
Jones Stinson was born into a family of storytellers and was a natural
storyteller herself. She was born and raised in Cedar Mountain, where her
father was the caretaker at the hotel at Caesar’s Head. As a child, Vera would take visitors to the distinctive
landmark and shared stories of the rock and the valley below.
graduating from Brevard High in 1928, Vera attended Western Carolina Teacher’s
College in Cullowhee. She taught for a year in the one-room school she had
attended as a child and then in Winston-Salem for several years. Vera married
George Stinson in 1943. They raised two children in his home state of Ohio
where she taught for many more years.
review of her book a former student from the early 1960s recalled the fond
memories of stories shared and used in classes.
After retiring to Cedar Mountain, Vera continued the practice of sharing
her vast knowledge of the history and culture of the mountain people. Through her “Living Appalachia” class at
Brevard College’s community college program and regular talks for various local
clubs and groups the larger community came to appreciate her gift for storytelling.
|Stinson said, “When I look back over the span of forty-five years of teaching
in Winston-Salem and Cincinnati, I remember the little mountain school in
Cedar Mountain as the most gratifying.”
typically ended her stories with, “I’m going to put that in my book.”
Encouraged by her children, who had grown up loving these tales, she began
writing them down at the age of 90. Her book, Stumbling Blocks Were Stepping
Stones in Appalachia, was published six years later in 1996.
writes the stories as she told them, giving readers a picture of true mountain
life. She shares the stories of her
childhood in Cedar Mountain and the stories of her ancestors. She was a
descendant of Solomon Jones on her father’s side and Hugh McCrary on her
mother’s side. Readers will come away
appreciating a different time and lifestyle.
The book can be checked out at the Transylvania County Library.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at