Farewell for this time Dooleyland - and Whippoorwill Academy
Yadkin River spills over a small dam in Patterson, Caldwell County.
It had become the last Saturday of the vacation and the next day I had to return to Washington Dulles and fly back to Denmark. Since this was the third Saturday in July, and the Whippoorwill Academy and Village in Ferguson therefore was open, I decided to round off the vacation with a visit to the museum. When I had visited the place on Friday the previous week, I had been with Charlotte and Bill Barnes and some of the people they had introduced me to and we had chatted more than anything, and never left the Tom Dooley Art Museum. But this time I wanted to see more of the place or rather see it once again, because I'd visited the museum several times before. However, the museum doesn't open until 1 pm, so I had some time to spend until then.
As the weather was ok, if not bright sunshine, then at least it didn't rain, I decided for another trip around Dooley country with my dashboard cam on, in order to hopefully make a better video than the one I had recorded some days earlier. See the article Finally Success. I left the hotel around 10, as I was in no hurry and drove out to the area and passed through this, so I could record my trip from west to east. I actually don't know why I didn't just recorded it driving east to west, but anyway, I didn't. I took the same route as the first time, but this time I stopped the camera on the longer drives, where there was nothing to see, and only turned it on when I passed some where I had something to tell. This meant that the entire video lasted about 25 minutes when it was done, in contrast to the 65 minutes, the original video, which was never published by the way, lasted. On the other hand, the actual tour still lasted the same hour and a half as the first one, but this time I managed to complete it with no rain at all.
When I had completed the video - or at least the recording - it was only about noon, so I'd still have to spend an hour before the museum opened. I drove around on some of the small roads in the area where I had never been before just to be able to say I'd been there. At first I took a road that led to Buffalo Cove. I had never been that way before, at least not very far. On a few earlier occasions I had driven about 1 mile or so down the road to a side road, which I had taken. This side road, Riverside Drive, circled back to North Carolina Route 268, the main road through the area. This time, however, I continued past the side road and all the way to Buffalo Cove. In Buffalo Cove itself, the road I was on, which had the number NC Road 1162, turned right, which I didn't notice, so I continued straight ahead on a road that quickly became a dirt road. This dirt road apparently didn't have a number (later I found out that it had, but that wasn't until I saw it on a map). It had a name though, Old Sampson Road, it said so on a sign. Even though I was out in the country and didn't know exactly where, I decided to continue, as I had enough time on my hand and wouldn't run out of gasoline anytime soon. Shortly after, I was back on a paved road, which turned out to be 1162 once more, so the dirt road had just led me in an arc through the hills. I therefore continued east on 1162, and suddenly I reached a road which name I knew, Elk Creek Darby Road, and I knew it would take me back to Ferguson, or at least to NC 268 in Elkville. I had often driven this road, albeit not as far out as I was now, namely in the settlement called Darby. As 1 pm approached, I set my course toward Elkville, and then on to the museum in Ferguson. Along the way I passed a plot where once had been a house, but now only a chimney was left, nothing else. I must have passed it several times on earlier visits to the area, but without noticing it. I wondered about it, and would later get an explanation.
Margaret Carter Martine (left) and Renee Frost outside the Dooley Cabin on Whippoorwill Academy and Village. In the background the Chapel of Peace, where many weddings take place.
When I arrived, it was around a quarter past one, and there were already some other people gathered at the entrance, so when I had parked the car, I gathered along with them J. One of them was the lady who had opened the Tom Dooley Cabin for us, the previous Friday, see article Two days with lots of experiences and nice people. It was on this occasion that I found out that the lady in question was Margaret Carter Martine and that she was the daughter of the late Edith Ferguson Carter who had founded the museum and who had received me so kindly and been so helpful and informative on my previous visits. Also accompanying us on the tour were Margaret's cousin, Renee Frost. In addition, about 3 or 4 people, all of whom would like to see the museum. Initially, Margaret guided the tour and we made several stops along the way, including a stop in the replica of Daniel Boone's home from when he lived in the area. Inside we were told about Daniel Boone, and about the annual Daniel Boone day organized by the museum. In the cabin that houses the Tom Dooley exhibition, which consists partly of artifacts from the time of the crime, and partly of drawings and paintings done by Edith Carter, we also made a stop. Unfortunately – for the innocent bystanders (the other people who were joining the tour) – Margaret and I got to talk about not just Tom Dooley but also about her late mother, whom I had visited a few times and had appreciated a lot. I told about my visit to her grave a few days earlier, and all in all it was very nice, but probably not for the other participants in the tour, though if they listened in on our conversation, I'm sure they learned something about the background of the song "The Ballad of Tom Dooley". At one point during our chat another lady came entered the cabin. Margaret presented us to each other (at that time the rest of the company had gone outside the cabin). The lady was film producer and director, Tamara Nance, who was just finishing a movie based on part of the Tom Dooley story. Also the two of us had a nice talk (and are today friends on Facebook). At one point, Margaret had to leave as she had a meeting with someone about a wedding. Many people like to get married in the little romantic chapel on Whippoorwill Academy and Village. I actually watched a wedding on my visit in 2013, though from a distance. Renee took over the tour that led us to the other buildings in the museum, including a cabin with an exhibition of beautiful paintings, among which were a few I would have liked to buy, but unfortunately I couldn't afford them and also they would have been impossible to bring home to Denmark on the plane .
Before Margaret left, she asked me to stay until we had spoken again, so when the tour was over and her meeting was done, we met again in the Tom Dooley cabin. Here she told me that she would like to take my picture in the cabin. She would use that as an illustration for an article in the local newspaper in Wilkesboro, as she was the local reporter for Ferguson and surrounding area. She got the picture all right, and later she sent me a copy of the article, proving that I'm also world famous in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Before we said goodbye, I asked her if she knew anything about the reason for the lone chimney, and she told me the tragic story. The house in which the chimney originally was a part had belonged to a family but the husband had murdered his wife and set the house on fire. The story was longer and with more details, but that was the essence. Eventually I had to leave as as it was now almost 4.30pm and I would like to get my baggage packed before I went out for dinner.
On my way back to the hotel, I just drove a "lap of honor" in the area and took a few pictures of the chimney, as well as some of the many donkeys found here, to protect calves and lambs from attacks from hungry coyotes. I returned to the hotel where I packed most of my stuff, including my wine and other things I had bought along the way – all except toiletries and the clothes I would wear the next day, and then I went out to eat at a restaurant that was right next to the hotel but where I never had eaten before, despite several visits to Wilkesboro. It was called Tipton's Bar-B-Que and proved to be excellent. Back at the hotel I set my alarm to wake me up at. 6.30 the next morning, and then I called it a day.