Hear ‘Tales of the Metcalf Valley’ at the next Live@Lanier

Published 12:46 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

TRYON–At the next Live@Lanier, set for Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m., James Metcalf, long-time Chief Docent at the Polk County History Museum and Genealogy Center, will share tales of his family since the Revolutionary War.


On a dirt trail through the Metcalf Valley, James Metcalf can point into tangled foliage and note, “My great, great, great grandfather William Metcalf, son of a Revolutionary War veteran, lived in a cabin down there built sometime before 1810. This used to be the main road from Greenville County to Saluda. Our family cemetery is ahead to the right, and straight on, are sites of the old Metcalf stills.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


In the cemetery, 66 headstones stand at random angles with varying wear and legibility. James can tell facts and likelihoods about many of them. For example, “In the Civil War, six Metcalfs enlisted in the 54th North Carolina Regiment.” James can tell you the fates of four. 


“In 1918, Mary Rhodes, an in-law, walked down the mountain to sell her eggs at Melrose. She was deaf and didn’t hear a train coming on the Saluda Grade and was struck and killed. In 1945, Woodrow Metcalf was hunting in the cemetery when he shot off his toe. His daughter Wilma was born in 1946 with six toes.” 


Of more recent times, James remembers playing as a child with cousins on the banks of Colt Creek, knowing that the water would soon drop over Pearson’s Falls.


James is also a 2-time award-winning gospel DJ and a singer/guitarist/songwriter of gospel and bluegrass music with 9 CDs to his credit. There will be no singing at the event unless it’s the audience singing praises for the “edutainment.” 


Lanier Library is located at 72 Chestnut Street in Tryon. For more information, call (828) 859-9535, or visit www.thelanierlibrary.org.


Submitted by Vincent Verrecchio