published in 2011, captured the stories of some of Transylvania County’s older
residents through oral interviews. Peggy Hansen recorded their memories of growing
up in the 1920s, local life during the Depression and into the 1940s and then
compiled it into a book. Each chapter offers a unique perspective of growing
up in what they all agree was a simpler time.
|L.C. Betsill’s father, Victor came to Brevard to at
Transylvania Tanning in the early 1920s. He opened his own
barbershop, pictured here, on Carver St. in 1924.
Betsill shared his experiences growing up in the African-American community of
Rosenwald. When asked about segregation of schools and businesses Betsill
stated, “People accepted a lot of things because it had always been that way,
but that didn’t mean they was satisfied.” He went on to talk of the respect
children had for their elders, the strong work ethic and the sense of
community. These were common themes
throughout the memories.
“Jerri” Raxter Paxton stated, “Children were more responsible back then. You
were expected to do things the right way.
That was the only way. You did
what you were expected to do. The older
kids would teach the younger kids their manners.” Paxton told of the many
chores she and her siblings had but also of the fun and games.
|Employees at Silversteen’s Transylvania Tanning located on the south side of Brevard.|
Gravley Powell agrees regarding people’s work ethic and strong family bonds.
Her family, like Betsill’s, came from South Carolina for the jobs Silversteen’s
timber and tanning industries offered. Even during the Depression her father
had a job and the family all worked on the farm to put food on the table.
people interviewed included those who grew up in the towns of Brevard and Rosman, as well as those from the rural areas around Balsam Grove, Cedar Mountain, Cherryfield, Dunn’s Rock, Lake Toxaway,
Middlefork, Old Toxaway, Pisgah Forest, Rosenwald and Silversteen.
Regardless of where they were raised though, all spoke with pride of the
community they called “Home.”
of those interviewed for Transylvania Memories have since passed away
and are reminders of the importance of capturing the stories of loved one now.
The book is available to 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