Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Looking for Love

When the attraction of the world would begin to reassert its subtle reminiscent forces, these renegades of civilization were wont to repair anew to this fountain to quaff again of the ancient delirium and to revive its potent spell.
Charles Egbert Craddock, "A Victor at Chungke"

I savor that phrase, "quaff again of the ancient delirium." It sounds like the title of a song on a Yes album. I can almost hear Jon Anderson’s falsetto and Rick Wakeman’s synthesizer in all their Prog Rock glory, "re-pair-a-new-to-this-foun-tain." But no.

Several months ago, I reported all that I knew about the potent fountain, Herbert’s Spring, located somewhere on the headwaters of the Cullasaja River. The story, dating back to the 18th century, is that those who drink the waters of Herbert’s Spring are unable to leave these parts for seven years. Unfortunately, I’ve hardly begun to narrow down the possible locations for the source of this ancient delirium, although I have in mind what’s needed to continue my investigation. It’ll be quite a task.

Instead, I'm about to launch another expedition in search of another legendary spring, this time on the headwaters of the Tuckasegee. I have a much better idea of where I might find this one, but imagine it will still be a needle in the haystack scenario once I get out there. Worth a try, though.

In preparing for this trip, I came across a name from a prominent family of antebellum Jackson County. A few people still know that the area stretching more or less from Walmart to beyond Ingles was called Love’s Field, or Lovesfield. The Loves were among the wealthiest landowners in the area that became Jackson County, and indeed, they had a big farm and dozens of slaves working the ground that's been smothered by acres of asphalt.

Until today, I did not know about the Love cemetery. Once I had an idea of where to look, I was able to spot it while driving north on 107. The cemetery is near the abominable hotel under construction next to the Sonic, and you can see the stone wall surrounding it from as far away as Lowes.

Parking between the Ford dealership and the Sonic, I got out and scrambled up a steep bank to the cemetery. More than a dozen Loves are there, starting with Dr. John G. Love, laid to rest in 1866, and continuing on to Caldwell Calhoun Love, buried in 1919.

The place is a mess. Apparently, Al Frady managed to muster the Sons of Confederate Veterans long enough to cut some brush a couple of years ago, but it looks like they've deserted. That's too bad, but they must have better things to do, like plastering "Heritage Not Hate" stickers on their pickup trucks. By the way, I'll go on record right now as someone who qualifies for membership with the Sons, seeing as how my great-grandpappy got his arm blown off during the War of Northern Aggression. I'd join, but I never quite know what the Sons mean when they start talking about "the Cause." Restoring the Love cemetery evidently ain't it.

Perched on a pine covered hill, the cemetery must have afforded a gorgeous view a century ago, but it overlooks a hideous scene of retail blight today.

I found the Love I was looking for, took a few pictures, and strode back down the hill.

Soon, I’m off to find Mr. Love’s famous spring.


Anonymous said...

maybe sleep inn can use this in their advertisement. something like come sleep with the sleeping. yet the noise from the road will be quite lullaby. thanks for making us aware again.

GULAHIYI said...

Right! Sleep Inn can provide the option to guests upon check-in..."Do you want a view of the Walmart parking lot...or do you want a view of the Love cemetery?"

kanugalihi said...

what would ed abbey say about Love Field. i dunno.

there is a small cemetery like that at the mars hill exit off the new highway. it's on the hill above you, behind the gas station with the subway, right on the point of the hill above the roads.

unless SCV is sponsoring a reunion tour recesecession (in the face of recession) then I am not really interested. i guess reenactments are good excuses to dress up and play old timey fiddle tunes and drink mead though.

Carol said...

Charles Egbert Craddock Aka Mary Noallies Murfree, is one of my favorite writers. I am not familar with this particular story, could you tell me which book it is in?
This is a wonderful post!

GULAHIYI said...

Thank you very much, Carol. As far as I know, her story first appeared in the March 1900 issue of Harper's Magazine, and was included in her 1904 book, The Frontiersmen. Good news! The full text of that book is available online.

Enjoy! And thanks again.