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DR. JOBE SAVES HIS ‘HIDES’: PART XXX

DR. JOBE SAVES HIS ‘HIDES’: PART XXX

By: Dr. Abraham Jobe  

(Editor’s Note:  This is Article XXX in a series of  memoirs from the manuscript “Autobiography or Memoirs of Dr. Abraham Jobe of Elizabethton, Tennessee: By Himself.”  The series is continued from the 26th  day of October 2010. The document contains some 300 pages of text.  This installment begins on page 176 of  the transcript being used for these articles.  The page was numbered 189 in Dr. Jobe’s  original text. “Digging For Your Roots” has now published nearly 60 per cent of  Dr. Jobe’s account.  I have enjoyed  reading and preparing for publication the material he wrote in 1893 about his  adventures. The text printed here is as written by Dr. Jobe with only occasional  editing to clarify his commentary.   – J. L. Kiener)

     While Isaac Click was  my head workman in the tan yard, and a better workman and more industrious man I  never had in the year, since I could trust him to take the oversight of all the  work when he could be kept there, but his home was in an adjoining county and he  would absent himself from his work, when there was no necessity for it. He  worked for me a little over a year — say 14 months — and in that time he lost 93  days (working). He never could leave without injuring the business and he knew  it and he cared nothing for it.   (Editor’s Note: Dr. Jobe then  labeled this next section: “Demoralization of Labor After the  War.”)

      When he finally  concluded to leave for good, he selected a time when he knew I had no one to  take his place, and also had reasons to believe, and did believe, that it would  be utterly impossible for me to hunt up a hand to do all the work that he knew  must be done at once, or lose a large lot of hides.

       Mr. Click  came up and ate his breakfast as usual, leaving his hat and coat at the yard. I  went down shortly after to see how he was getting on working the hides out of  the bait, which I was so uneasy about. I saw “Mr. C.” was not there and his hat  and coat were gone, and I knew that was the last of Mr.  Click.

       No one  could be procured at Elizabethton to save the hides. What should I do? I went to Johnson  City and  boarded the train and went as far as Greeneville, stopping at every place where  there was the least chance to get a hand and failed everywhere. On my return I  went on to Bristol. Failing there, I came home and went horse  back to see Mr. Russell Cordell in the upper end of Crab Orchard, near the North  Carolina  line, failing here as Mr. Cordell had hides in the same  condition.

       I got home  just at night, put my tired horse in the stable, ate my supper, procured lamps  and went to the tan yard and pulled off my coat, rolled up my sleeves and went  to work, and worked and sweated till nearly daylight. I had the satisfaction of knowing that my  energy had saved my hides.

                                     REEMS  CREEK WOOLEN MILLS

            During all the seven years, I was devoting my time mostly to other things  outside of my profession. Still I could not wholly give it up, when pressed by  old friends in whose families I had practiced for many years. I would yield to  their importunities and do some practice and in chronic cases and more  especially in surgical cases.

            In 1875 I left my farm in the hands of my wife. She attended to that  department and managed the farm better than I could. I went to Weaverville, North  Carolina and  built a woolen mill on Reems Creek, called the “Reems Creek Woolen  Mills.”

            I had lost hope in making my tannery and shoe & boot shop a paying  institution. I wanted to wind it up. So I left John A. Biddle in charge, while I  was building and running the Reems Creek factory.

          The Reems Creek Woolen Mills were owned and operated by a joint stock  company. The stock was owned by A. Jobe, E. D. Jobe, and K. F. Snyder. We made a  success of building up a good and popular custom, woolen factory. After I  completed the buildings and placed machinery in them, and got every thing in  regular order and all started, I canvassed several counties, with samples of our  goods, so as to induce the people to increase the number and quantity of their  sheep.

            In this way, I built up a considerable business. I ran the factory after  its completion in two years. I then  I had to give it up on account of my very bad health and my son, E. D. Jobe, one  of the owners, took my place as manager temporarily, as I had also done. As our  business and our citizenship were in Tennessee, we both sold out pretty soon to parties  living at Weaverville, North  Carolina  and, in that neighborhood.  They  have been running it successfully ever since. This woolen

mill is (illegible?) strategically  located and surrounded by counties whose inhabitants are generally well to do  people. It is located only seven miles east of Asheville, the largest and most prosperous and  wealthy town in western North  Carolina.

                                                 RESIGNED BECAUSE OF HEALTH

     I was compelled to  resign my position as Superintendent of the Reems Creek woolen mills on account  of my extreme bad health. I kept my office in one end of the factory and slept  there, and when I was taken sick and my case became so bad, I called in three  doctors. They did not realize how bad I really was until the noise of the looms  and other machinery had so destroyed my hearing that I have never recovered from  it to this day, although I have it treated repeatedly. I am  now

very hard of hearing. This is a greater  misfortune than any one can conceive of, who never had defective hearing. It  puts me to great disadvantage among strangers, who do not know I am hard of  hearing. When I quit the tanning business, I had quite an amount of debts  against people for transactions covering so many years. A large amount of these  were judgments, notes and acts against insolvent parties, yet many of them could  have been collected by proper perseverance and management. But I could never  find time to stop every thing and ride round and see how many of these debts I  could collect.

            I never was a good collector. Some men could have collected the large  bulk of these debts, but I had indulged them too long. The older a debt becomes,  the less the debtor feels like paying it as a rule. Even most men, who are good  for their debts, are in a measure so.

            I ought to have known better for I had the benefit of an early and sad  experience of selling goods in Georgia on a credit. I was too candid, and confess that I  lacked something in my makeup of being a business man. I could not say “no” often enough to men asking for credit. I know now that the hundreds, who know  they owe my just debts, amounting in the aggregate to over ten thousand dollars,  are not as good friends to me as they would be if I had denied them credit. That  disposition followed me through nearly half a century, in the practice of  medicine. I could not refuse to go  to see the sick, though I knew I would never be paid for it.

            Oh! How often I have gone  when I was as bad off as the patient I went to see.

            The several books which I have used to keep accounts in don’t show the  amount of practice I’ve done — for where I did charity practice, I made no  account of it.

            I continued to farm and do a little practice, especially in surgery,  until the East Tennessee  and  Western North Carolina Railroad was finished to Cranberry.

                                                    MOVED TO ELK PARK

            I moved my family to Elk Park, North  Carolina on  the first train coming through. This was on 13th of June, 1881. We moved into a  railroad “shantie” on Esq. Ellis’ land, near Ellis’ residence. Shortly after  that, I bought six acres from Esq. Ellis above the railroad cut.  It then was a part of the old brier  field and running to the top of the ridge and back to the  railroad.

            The same is now known as the Nat  Taylor property. On this property, there is a fine mineral spring. I at once  commenced building on my property and immediately bought three more lots for my  three married daughters.  Where the  hotel is, I bought for Emma Miller; where the Watauga House is, I bought for  Mollie Hunter; and where the L. M. Banner residence is, I bought for Hattie  Taylor.  So we began to turn the  brier field into a town site.

            We soon wanted a Post Office here and I, having been special agent at the  Post Office Department for several years; those interested in the establishment  of the Office requested me to correspond with the Department at Washington.

     I soon found many  obstacles thrown in my way. I was satisfied that Cranberry did not want a  business place to grow up there and compete with Cranberry in the sale of goods,  etc., but I kept hammering away until I got the office.

      I had L. M.  Banner appointed the first Post Master.  Since then we have had as Post Masters: Wm. C. Walsh, Henry C.  Norman and now John F. Davis. The office has been established about 10  years and has been a money order office about four years. The office has always  been well managed and is a great help to the people.

      Elk Park, notwithstanding its humble beginnings,  has become a place of considerable importance.  Millions of feet of lumber have been  shipped from here. It is the greatest lumber depot on the E. T. and W. N. C.  Railroad.

       Besides  the great amount of lumber of all kinds, the shipments of ivy roots, tan bark,  etc., etc., has been immense. Elk Park is also becoming a great summer resort and  with a little capital invested, could be made one of the most popular  watering

places in the south. The mineral water on  the Taylor place here is unsurpassed. The chemist,  who analyzed the water, says the combination is the best he has ever  seen.

            Parties who have spent the summers here for several years are much  pleased with the water, and invalids who have used the water after it was  shipped to them was much benefited by it.

            After running my steam saw mill here for seven years, I found I had  injured my health and my pocket to such an extent that I sold my saw mill to Nat  G. McFarland and sold my property at Elk Park to Nat W. Taylor and moved back to  Elizabethton.

                                                   THE LUMBER  BUSINESS

            One more reference to the hateful lumber business, then I  want

to forget it.

            When I first thought of going into the lumber business, I very naturally  looked at the quotations of prices in the various markets.  I relied on these quotations — supposing them (to be the) approximated truth but I was wonderfully  deceived.

            These quotations are published and controlled by lumber buyers and  commission merchants in the cities, and they quote lumber at fictitious prices  to induce large shipments. When the lumber is shipped, it is too late to repair  the damage to the shipper. This lumber is on the yard and it must be sold for  just what it will bring.

            I soon found, to my sorrow, that there was no confidence to be put in  Commission Men, as a rule.  When they receive your lumber or anything else you may send them, they  then have everything in their own hands.

     In prosecuting the  various kinds of business, in which I have been engaged during my somewhat  active life, I have had – what I would call a pretty fair experience with  Commission Men.

          Running through several years, I shipped the following products to  different cities.  My first  experience was in shipping wheat to Richmond, Virginia.  It was a few years before the war.  (The Civil War – Editor.)  I was selling my wheat at a dollar a  bushel at my barn at Elizabethton, which was satisfactory to me.  My brother in law, who was then selling  goods at Johnson’s Depot (Johnson City), persuaded me to haul it to Richmond and get $1.60 for it.  I waited a good while before I received  my money, and counting out Commission, freight, storage, etc., etc., I got 43  cents a bushel for it, for my share.

                         (To Be Continued: Part XXXI will begin on page 183 of the transcript; 196  of Dr. Jobe’s Writing)

                                                    THE PARTHENON

     (Editor’s Note: This  continues the series on the Tennessee Centennial Exposition held in Nashville from June 1,  1896 until November  1, 1897.  Today’s selection is from page 7 of the  Exposition Handbook together with the back cover on page 48 explaining the cost  of railroad fares to Centennial celebration. – J. L. Kiener)

            A great critic has described  architecture as “frozen music,” but exactly why, we are not told; and yet, there  is a degree of appropriateness in the description. There it stands, beautiful,  majestic, and it all but gives forth heavenly sounds. It is not only an  imitation of the glorious Parthenon standing on the Acropolis at Athens, but it  is an exact reproduction, rising in beauty and grandeur, with its gaze fixed  upon the lovely Valley of the Cumberland, and facing the splendor of the rising  sun. This glorious temple, securely built of stone, brick and iron to render it  fire-proof, will be the repository of the fine arts collection. Happy thought  that suggested the Parthenon, the most perfect and the grandest achievement of  all architecture as the temporary home for a gallery of art treasures  representing the best work of every school and emporium of art. Ample wall  space, a flood of natural light by day and of electric light by night, a  collection of canvases surpassing any ever before seen in the South, broad  aisles and perfect ventilation, the Art Gallery of the Centennial will give  unalloyed pleasure to every visitor.

     ART — There is no more potent antidote to low  sensuality than the adoration of the beautiful. All the higher arts of design  are essentially chaste without respect to the object.

They purify the thoughts as tragedy  purifies the passions. Their accidental effects are not worth consideration – there are souls to whom even a vestal is not holy. — Schlegel

                                        RAILROAD FARES TO  THE

                                                      EXPOSITION

                               A DETERMINING  CONSIDERATION

            Inasmuch as low railroad fares  will determine many persons to visit the Exposition who would not otherwise do  so, the action of the General Passenger Agents representing  railway lines into Nashville, in  agreeing upon the following rates and terms, was in the highest degree wise, and  will inure to the advantage not only of the public, but of the railroads and the  Exposition:

            It was agreed by the General Passenger Agents that the railway fares to  the Exposition should be placed on a sliding scale, and regulated by zones of  from 25 to 50 miles each.

            In the first zone of 50 miles the rate for the round trip will be  3

cents a mile.

            From 51 to 100 miles, 2 3/4 cents per mile.

            From 101 to 150 miles, 2 ½ cents per mile.

            From 151 to 200 miles, 2 1/4 cents per mile.

            From 201 to 275 miles, 2 cents per mile, with 50 cents  added.

            From 276 to 300 miles, 2 cents per mile, with 75 cents  added.

            From 301 to 325 miles, 2 cents per mile, with $1  added.

            From 326 to 350 miles, 2 cents per mile, with $1.50  added.

            The fare, however, is in no instance to exceed 80 per cent, of the rate  one way, on the zones from 201 to 350 miles.

            For military companies and bands in uniform, of twenty-five or more, the  rate will be 2 cents a mile, plus arbitrary, for the round trip. The same rate  applies to schools, when accompanied by teachers. These rates limit the use of  tickets to seven days after the date of issue.

            These rates of transportation are in every way as favorable as have ever  been made, and they are upon a more liberal basis than the rates charged to  Chicago until within sixty days of the close of the great World’s  Fair.

            Low rates have been made from all points in the country, including the  East, and all interested should inquire at their railroad offices for rates. The  railroads have made it to the interest of every one to attend The  Exposition.

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