Our land of Twice-told Tales is threatened

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Dark Corner area of upper Greenville and Spartanburg Counties is particularly under attack by proposed routes of Duke Energy’s massive “Modernization Project” transmission lines. My appeal for the rejection of the project to the SC Public Service Commission is being shared here. It was written with the assistance of longtime friend and Glassy Mountain defender and protector, Kathleen Jennings, and her son, Jay Gresham, my youngest godson.

After introducing myself and telling the commissioners where the Dark Corner was located, I stated:

I’m a story teller.  My stories are true.  They are the legends and history of a people who lived many years ago, right here, and whose lives still impact us all… from our culture to our history, to our heritage tourism, to our appreciation for our natural beauty, serenity and love of God’s creation.  I’m the Squire of Dark Corner, who has carried our message across SC, the nation, and throughout the entire world for over 40 years. I sing a national song of local people and place. A place and people who lived, who made a difference…and whose culture lives still in these hills, on these byways, and in documentaries, reenactments, TV specials, in lectures, classrooms and on internet sites.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


Our Dark Corner documentary premiered in 2008 at the Upcountry History Museum, made the Corner a household name, and is still aired nationally on The Documentary Channel and statewide on ETV.  Fellow historians Anne McCuen and Mann Batson joined with me to paint an authentic portrait of this unique mountain area of South Carolina. I’ve taught the Corner’s history for 12 years in Furman University’s Lifelong Learning curriculum. My series of Twice-told Tales of the Dark Corner for the Tryon Daily Bulletin is ongoing. Many of them convey the importance of moonshine to the Corner’s health, social interaction and economic stability.

I have conducted heritage tours of the Corner for more than 23 years for  thousands of Americans, including school children, and visitors from 15 countries as far away as New Zealand. Many come because they can no longer return to their own heritage, so they wish to adopt ours. Saluda Land & Lumber moved us out for our virgin timber in 1904. In 1917, we had to leave so Camp Wadsworth soldiers could use our front range for artillery practice. In the late 1950’s, everyone who lived on 37,000 of our Glassy and Hogback Mountain acres were forced by eminent domain to leave, so Poinsett Reservoir and its vast watershed could be built for the city of Greenville. We have only our front range left. How much more of what was once sacred, holy land can be taken from us? This land and its many legends are sacred to us still. The pristine beauty, the legends, the graveyards, and the tranquility are no match for 140-foot towers and access roads. It is impossible to imagine history standing under mega monstrosities.


Don’t let our stories end here! Say NO to Duke Power’s hope of more profit at the cost of our destruction, and honor the generations of souls who have held—and still hold—this blessed spot most dear!