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Odds And Ends, Notes From Local History

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Remembering Chico Bolin

By - Roger Jewell

Travelers Rest High School coaching great had many excellent seasons in football, basketball, baseball and track.  However does anyone recall the 1963 athletic season that was probably the school's best ever?  We are talking about all sports within the 1962-63 school year.

During that school year, Travelers Rest established a 49-4 record in all athletic events.  That included the Devildogs' third Skyline Conference baseball championship.  In football Travelers Rest lost only one game and that was to Skyline champ Liberty 12-7.  In basketball the Devildogs had an excellent season going 22-1 and earning the state championship.  And in track, Travelers Rest lost only 1 out of nine meetings to win the Skyline championship and a third place finish in the upstate meet.

Athletic awards went to Tommy Brown (most valuable runner),  Fave Hodgens (most valuable in basketball),  Penny Hopkins (most valuable alternate in basketball),  Wayne Ward (most valuable alternate in basketball),  Chuck Werner (best batting average in baseball), Pete Buchanan (most valuable in baseball and best alternate in football), Alvin Crisp (most valuable field man in track), Don Ballenger (most valuable in lineman in football), and Roger Hayes (most valuable back in football).

Success would not stop there in 1963 which was Bolin's fifteenth year at TR.  In observance of his fifteenth year Bolin was given an anniversary party.  The party included a football game.  Former players returned to TR and formed two teams, the Devils and the Dogs.  Bolin coached the Devils and coach Joe Small coached the Dogs.  Afterwards, Bolin said, "You would think on my anniversary they would have let me win.  But they beat me 13-6."

Bolin picked up his 100th career win in 1964 by defeating Berea, 13-0.  Five short years later he recorded his 150th career win in 1969 with a 41-22 victory over arch rival Slater-Marietta.  By the way, his Devildogs went 10-0 through the 1969 season.  "I am just as pleased at our undefeated season as I am at winning the 150th,"  Bolin said. 

 

Former sportswriter, Gary Boley described Bolin accurately when he wrote, "Chach Chico Bolin prowles the sidelines at Travelers Rest High School games liken to an enraged lion in captivity.  His head hung low, he paces swiftly when there is no action on the field.  When there is action on the field, he casts a sharp eye toward the line of scrimmage.  He shouts, his face turns to a bright red and he literally grabs boys from the bench and pushes them onto the field.  He wins ballgames.  Bolin gives the game all he has.  He expects his boys to do the same and he can detect at a glance when they are and when they are not.  Bolin has entertained the fans of the Travelers Rest Devildogs for many years.  He endures his agony not only in football but basketball, baseball and track.  He won over 150 games in football alone.  But he doesn't take credit.  He says the wins were presents from his boys."

It Happened In February

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February, 1927 - The Travelers Rest High School girl's basketball team set a shutout victory world's record by defeating Fork Shoals High School 80-0.  Pictured above the team consisted of:  Annie Sue Nabors, Mary Howard, Alma Mayfield, Myrtle Tate (captain), Oleta Ashmore, Iris Hadden, Pauline Bridwell, Ruth Morgan, Carrie Coleman, Corene Hart and Lena Foster.  The team was coached by B.B. Knight.  Otis "Blackie" Carter was assistant coach and became head coach the following year.  The Greenville News reported, "This bevy of basketball beauties brought fame to Travelers Rest High School by establishing what is believed to be the best shut out record ever made this side of Mars.  They beat Fork Shoals High School 80-0.  It is a mark for other teams on this planet to shoot at."

 

February 1, 2927 -  Poor Roads In Travelers Rest.  And you thought our roads are bad today.   Read this February 1, 1917 letter to the editor describing Main Street, Travelers Rest.

 

"Travelers Rest is now shut off on every side on account of bad roads.  We are sorry for and yet amused at the autoists going through our town.  Though when one gets through they don't pass this way again.

 

Last week one was drawn by three yoke of oxen right through Main Street of Travelers Rest with engine helping the six oxen all it could.  But in spite of all this the car stuck and had to be pried out.  Think of it!  And it is a very common thing to see cars being being drawn by mules and to see some people down in the mud prying and cussing the engineer and road commissioners.  It is rumored the convicts are all to be moved to the mountains and it is a shame that this last gang of road hands will be moved and leave us in this condition.  If all of the road gangs are moved to the mountains, how are the engineer and commissioners going to see the work.  They can't get through Travelers Rest.

 

It is dangerous to drive through here with a horse and buggy.  A number of single trees have broken and people had to get out and repair the brake so they could manage to get out.  Where it is possible the cars, buggies, wagons and even folks on horseback, are taking the liberty to drive through people's yards to avoid the dreadful mud.  If north Greenville had what was due, we would not have such a complaint neither would we see poor old horses stall going down hill.  We can only boast of eight miles of good roads north of Greenville while a greater portion of the money we are taxed is spent and will the amount of money that is left do us any good.  It is strange this road is not completed to the mountains as all of the people from Greenville and from all other cities through the lower part of the state even as far down as lorida, travel this road to the mountains." -  The letter to the editor was signed, "A Resident of Travelers Rest."

February 6, 1927 - Otis "Blackie" Carter, famous Furman basketball star, left Travelers Rest to join the New York Giants, National League baseball team in Sarasota, Florida for pre-season training.  Known in the East as "Nick" Carter, he spent the winter keeping mentally fit by teaching and physically fit by coaching at Travelers Rest High School.

It Happened In January

January 1, 1922 - News from Travelers Rest on New Year's Day reflected the accomplishments from 1921.  The Travelers Rest Telephone Company was reorganized during the Winter of 1921 and work was completed to restore phone lines connecting Travelers Rest with Greenville.  This allowed citizens of Travelers Rest to connect with the outside world.  Another big development took place with the reopening of Wings Quarry in what would become known as the Renfrew section.  The quarry, located on what is now Rock Quarry Road, provided much needed employment to area residents and place much needed money in circulation.  The granite company had  daily capacity of approximately 500 tons of crushed stone.

Regular train service resumed in 1922 on the Greenville and Northern Railroad which pleased all citizens of Travelers Rest.  The railroad provided the only connection with Greenville and the outside world.  Prior to the resumption of services Travelers Rest and area residents had to resort to automobiles and trucks for freight and passenger service.

January 8, 1922 - Citizens of the area were interested in the roadwork which was being done on the link connecting Travelers Rest with the White Horse Road.  The road, which was about two miles in length, was blessed with the beginning of a widening project.  The roadbed was also straightened in many places eliminating unnecessary curves.  It was believed that when the work was completed trade would grow in Travelers Rest.  Also work started on the Tugaloo Road, running from New Liberty Church to Tigerville by work forces of the county.  The road started in Tigerville and was going to be improved all the way to New Liberty.

January 3, 1923 -  The 1923  new year was troubled with the arrival of an influenza epidemic in Greenville County.  Travelers Rest was hit hard by the sickness as an average of 24 cases were reported over the first three days of 1923.  Doctors attributed the epidemic to extraordinary weather conditions which prevailed from early winter.  Rapid changes from mild to cold and vice versa resulted in severe colds, lagrippe and when the sickness assumed a more aggressive stage it became influenza.  Almost all locations in the count were stricken, Travelers Rest was considered the worse with physicians reporting they were being worked hard here to handle patients.  Several people died in Travelers Rest.  Patients were advised to self quarantine at home.  There were no protests.

January 1924 - The new year opened with an epidemic of measles during the last part of the month.  The out break was brought under control by January 31st.  Measles forced the closure of Pleasant Retreat School for a period of at least two weeks.  The school at that time was a two teacher school with an enrollment of 65 students.  Both teachers were stricken as well as many students.  Measles also hit Ebenezer.  Several students of Ebenezer School were stricken but the school did not have to close.  Prompt action in quarantining cases kept the growth of the illness in check in the Ebenezer community.

January 28, 1922 - WOLVES IN MARIETTA.  A group of young hunters in Marietta ran across four large wolves while hunting rabbits about one mile from Marietta.  One wolf was killed while three got away.  During the first part of the day, with three inches of snow on the ground, the boys killed three rabbits.  During the afternoon, young Duff Stroud strayed away from the group and started following a strange set of tracks.  At the end of the trail he came to a large hole in a bank.  He placed his rifle against a tree and grabbed a long stick and poked the stick inside the hold.  A large wolf jumped from the hold and knocked Stroud down.  He grabbed his rifle and fired two shots at the running wolf.  The second shot struck the wolf down.  Then Stroud heard movement behind him and saw three more wolves.  He ran back to his group and brought them to the den.  The dead wolf was gone but there was plenty of blood on the ground and many tracks.  The boys followed the tracks and found the dead wolf being devoured by the other wolves.  They fired their guns and the wolves ran away.  Many years later in August of 1962 Duff Stroud, age 78 was killed when he was crushed by a piano.  He was helping his son move to Old White Horse Road when the piano slid off of the truck in the Ebenezer community.

It Happened In December

DECEMBER 3, 1914 - John T. Wood was appointed postmaster of the Tigerville Post Office.  Jasper E. Watson was reappointed postmaster of the Travelers Rest Post Office.

DECEMBER 5, 1910 - Salaries were increased by Greenville County, the Travelers Rest magistrate's salary was increased to $45 and the Constable in Travelers Rest salary was increased to $45.

DECEMBER 20, 1911 - Ten dollars in gold was given to Elliot Batson of Travelers Rest for growing the biggest pumpkin in Greenville County.  Batson's prize pumpkin weighed 47 pounds.  The winner was announced several months earlier but the prize was not awarded until December 20th.  The ten dollars in gold was presented to Batson by the Traxler Real Estate Company.

DECEMBER 4, 1911 - 73 year old Confederate veteran Jerry Hall was buried in the Ebenezer Baptist Church cemetery in Travelers Rest.  Hall served faithfully in the War for Southern Independence as a member of the 16th South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers, Confederate States of America.  He passed away on December 1st at 20 Store Street, Poe Mill, Greenville.

DECEMBER 13, 1913 - Ralph Tate of Travelers Rest won a trip to Washington, DC for raising the largest quantity of corn in Greenville County on one acre of land.  Tate raised 117 bushels of corn.

DECEMBER 15, 1915 - Dr. C.P. Benson announced he is building a new drug store in Travelers Rest and it is being erected by J.N. Williams.

DECEMBER 1921 LETTERS TO SANTA:

Dear Santa, As Christmas is almost here, I think that we ought to be nice and good as we can, for mother tells me that Santa does not like bad boys and girls.  Please Santa remember all.  It makes me so sad when I think there are so many little children that will not be merry on Christmas.  Fred Carroll, Greenville, SC.

Dear Santa,  I want some gloves, pearl beads and some fruit and candy.  Please Santa, I want to tell you I am so glad I am not like the little girl I read about in the news who wanted you to bring her another daddy because she was naughty and had to be spanked.  Your Little Friend, Ina Mae Forrester, Greenville, SC.

Dear Santa,  I want a train, bicycle and all kinds of fruit.  Please bring my teacher a box of chalk.  Clinton Baty, Greenville, SC.

Dear Santa, I want a set of furs, a story book, a false face, candy and all kinds of fruit.

Lillie Bates Davis, Travelers Rest, SC.

Dear Santa, Please bring me a locket, a doll carriage a little blackboard and some old maid cards and all kinds of fruits.             Ruth Greene, Travelers Rest, SC.

DECEMBER 10, 1930 -  The cornerstone of Travelers Rest High School was laid by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina.  The Grand Mason I.C. Blackwood of Spartanburg presided and with the beauty and dignity of the Masonic ceremony presented for such occasions, laid the cornerstone after declaring it to be tried, true and trusty.  The Grand Lodge convened with Cooper Lodge of Travelers Rest at 11:30 and at high noon the procession moved to the site of the beautiful new high school building, which would become one of the finest rural high school buildings in this part of the state.  Placed inside the cornerstone were:  a list of students by grades, pictures and news materials about the old building, names of trustees, contractors, pictures of 1930-31 students, histories of the PTA of Travelers Rest and complete histories of the school and town.  The high school was the second building to be erected in Travelers Rest during 1930.  The elementary school was completed at the cost of $16,000 and the cost of the high school was $30,000.  The two schools had a combines enrollment of 330 students, 200 in the elementary school and 130 in the high school.

DECEMBER 10, 1930 - 200 students of the Fountain Inn school were vaccinated against Smallpox by Dr. Baylis Earle, county health commissioner and other county health employees.  Several other vaccination clinics were scheduled across Greenville County.  No protests were held.

DECEMBER 23, 1931 - Travelers Rest Methodist Church presented a Christmas Tree and Yuletide program consisting of choruses and recitations by members of the church Sunday school.

CHRISTMAS, 1931 - While citizens of Travelers Rest were celebrating Christmas, thugs tried to rob the Farmers Bank in Travelers Rest.  Thugs pried open a window and attempted to open the bank vault by hacksawing the combination dial.  The attempt failed to open the safe but the vandals ransacked the bank.

Also during Christmas in Travelers Rest prowlers attempted to rob Jerry Batson's store but did no more damage than kick out a plate glass window in the front of the store.  Mr. Batson had heard noises several times during the night at his store which was a short distance from his residence.  Around 2:30 a.m., he heard noises and went outside in time to see someone kick out the the store's front window.  there were four persons around the store.  Batson fired several gun shots and the four people disappeared around the corner of the store.  The culprits were never captured even though county officers followed their footprints but lost the tracks near the railroad.  

DECEMBER 16, 1944 - Mrs. Gladys Butler of Travelers Rest was presented the Distinguished Service Cross which was awarded posthumously to her husband, 1st Lt. George W. Butler for extraordinary heroism in action in Dutch New Guinea on June 11, 1944.  Lt. Butler volunteered to lead an assault against the enemy within 100 yards of our defensive line.  Boldly, aggressively and with complete disregard for his own safety, he led his men in a well organized attack.  Near the end of the action, while still leading his men, and pressing the assault, he was killed.  The courage of Lt. Butler was an inspiration to his men and resulted in the complete destruction of the entrenched enemy.  Lt. Butler was the son of Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Butler of Travelers Rest.

DECEMBER 31, 1944 - Pvt. Calvin C. Turner, son of Mr. and Mrs. John T. Turner was reported missing in action in France since December 9, 1944.  Pvt. Turner was a graduate of Travelers Rest in 1942 and prior to entering the military, he was employed in the office of Slater Mill.

DECEMBER 19, 1945 -  The Bank of Travelers Rest announced it would be opening for business by January 15, 1947.

DECEMBER 1945 - Lt. Joseph Ralph Cunningham, son of Mr and Mrs Sload B. Cunningham was declared dead by the War Department.  He had been listed as missing since August 15, 1942 when his plane went on an unescorted mission from which it never returned.  He was a graduate of Travelers Rest High School and attended Clemson before he entered military service.