Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Smackass Gap

I’ve always liked Hayesville. I've been to Clay County many times over the years, and just learned something new about the place. If you’re driving west on Highway 64, you’ll cross Smackass Gap shortly before reaching the county seat.

I’m serious.

I never knew this until I took a close look at a topo map for the area. Smackass Gap is just west of Ledford Chapel, a church on the south side of Highway 64 overlooking one cove of Lake Chatuge.

According to the Board on Geographic Names, the official federal place-namers, there is only one Smackass in the United States, Clay County's own Smackass Gap. It begs the question, "Why in the world did they name it Smackass Gap?"

I have no idea.

While searching for the answer, I did come across a website for Miz Eudora Rumph, a noted author (In the Sweet By and By) who proudly hails from Smackass Gap. I also learned that Miz Eudora will be hosting a tour of Smackass Gap on September 19 and 20. Apparently, a motor coach full of Red Hat Ladies will be arriving for two days of festivities, including dining at the Hayesville Family Restaurant, a visit to Clay’s Corner (home of the possum drop), Moonshine Mash, a picnic at Chatuge Dam, and lunch at the Jarrett House in Dillsboro.

For real.

Presumably, if you pay the $216 to attend this shindig, you will find out why the place is called Smackass Gap.

On US 64 at Smacksass Gap, Clay County, NC


Glenda (Writerlady) said...

We live in the Smack Ass Gap area and we love it here. So beautiful just as all of Clay County NC is beautiful. I ran across a poem by Fred Chappell about Clay County. He came here many years ago with his father and told of some rather unsophisticated happenings like a mule falling down right in the middle of a parade. And the mule, I believe was pulling the wagon that carried the model moonshine still.
Well, today Hayesville and Clay County are a far cry from those days when Fred made fun of this place.
I'm proud to say I live in Smack Ass Gap. I've heard the reason it's called Smack Ass Gap is because long years ago when the mules and horses had to pull wagons on these mountain roads, the driver had to smack them on the ass to get them to pull up the rise and across the gap.
Don't know if that is true, but sounds good to me.

Todd McCuen said...

I have some family that lived on Smackass Gap. The Lands (John and Artie). I so want to go by there they lived on my next visit to Hayesville. Any suggestions in tellming me how to get there.

GULAHIYI said...

US 64 takes you through the gap. As far as the Lands go, I wouldn't know. I'd just start knocking on doors and hope that someone in the neighborhood might know.

Charles Thompson said...

Growing up a mile below Smack Ass gap. I was told by my grand mother Phillips. It got its name from the wagon masters having to smack their oxen on the rear for them to make the pull thru the gap. 1930-40