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MARY CABLE SHARES MEMORIES OF BYGONE DAYS
By Marshall McClung
Mary Cable celebrates her 87th birthday on Thursday April 16. She was born April 16, 1911. Her parents were Columbus Higdon and Texie Hall Higdon. Mary was born and lived several years of her life in the little community of Wayside which was located near where Tuskegee Creek enters Fontana Lake. When Fontana Dam was constructed, the lake covered Wayside.
Wayside was located near a railroad siding and a ferry. Mary's father Columbus operated the ferry. He also served as a county commissioner when the present courthouse was built. A lot of the business the ferry received was from wagons hauling lumber from the Big Springs section of Yellow Creek to the railroad siding. Mary says she can recall seeing as many as thirty lumber wagons lined up waiting to cross on the ferry to unload She recalled as a little girl seeing the river frozen over so deep that the wagons could cross without breaking the ice. In times of high water, the ferry would not operate, and people would have to wait until the waters receded. Mary said they had eight beds in her home, and people stranded by the high waters would stay with them often for as much as three days at a time. Her mother, Texie never knew for sure how many people she would have to cook for.
Mary's grandparents, Creed (Craton) Hall, and Mary Dills Hall built the Hall Cabin on Hazel Creek which is now within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The Halls are thought to be the first white settlers in the Hazel Creek/Bone valley area, having moved into the area around 1880. Creed (Craton) Hall is buried in the Hall Cemetery at Bone valley. A painting of the Hall Cabin now hangs above Mary's fireplace.
Mary recalled that a store and post office stood near where the pavement now ends on Lower Tuskegee Road. It was operated by a John Golden, then by Samuel Cable, and later by his sister, Cordelia Cable. The post office closed around the late 1950's.
Mary spent extra time in the ninth grade, not that she failed, but because students were waiting for Stecoah School to be completed
Mary recalled that she played basketball for Stecoah. At one time, there were not enough players for the girls team, so two teachers, Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Hamilton played for the team. Not long after Stecoah School had been built and while students were out for Christmas, the school burned to the ground, but was built back on the same foundation. Mary was a member of only the second class to go through Stecoah. School.
Mary was wed to Earl Cable in 1931 when she was twenty years old. They were married in Swain County by Reverend Jess Millsaps. The couple lived at Wayside for a while and then moved to Cable Cove. There was a schoolhouse and church located in Cable Cove at the time, with the church being down farther in the cove than the present Powell Branch Church. The couple moved to Andrews in 1947 and to Friendsville, Tennessee in 1948. Earl worked as a coal miner and carpenter among other things.
The couple eventually moved back to Tuskegee and had eight children; Polly Cody, Hugh, Tommy, Larry, Douglas, Jackie, Jerry, and Aliene Cable. Aliene at age two, and Douglas at age four, contracted whooping cough and pneumonia at the same time. Aliene died, but Douglas survived after being treated with penicillin.
The house burned in 1963, but was built back near the same location. Mary lives in the same general area as Nell's Cabin. Mary never saw a movie, and televisions were nonexistent in her earlier days. Sanders Calhoun had the first radio in her community when she was ten or twelve years old, which was also about the time she saw her first automobile, a Model T.
Happy birthday Mary!
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