Reflections on the Kingstree to Hemingway Highway
Vanik S. Eaddy
July 14, 1998

The article, "Bark off the King's Tree:  Haven't We Left Some of the Simple Things Behind?," is indeed a wonderful visit back to some times "when the world was young".  I have traveled that road described from Kingstree to Hemingway many times and have heard Charlie Walker's radio program countless times.  He was an "institution of his own making" and was the funniest man alive.

He gave nicknames to all of the local towns and committees, such as "Blood and Thunder Crossroads" (Brunson's Crossroads) which was known for large Saturday night crowds and heavy drinking - especially among African Americans. Nearly every weekend someone would be shot or knifed there. Lake City was called "Kiss me Quick Crossroads," for the ramps leading up to the railroad crossings. I tried that one time, and caused Julie Floyd's lip to bleed.

Charlie was controversial for his "double entrée' statements. He once announced that many people were critical of his radio program, and that if they did not like his comments, they could "...kiss my ass and you will find him tied outside the radio station."  A donkey was reported to be found there to give his statement legitimacy.  He was widely sought as a master of ceremonies for beauty contests, plays, and any other occasion such as a new business opening.  If Pete Doster's vocabulary could "remove the chrome from a trailer hitch," then Charlie Walker used words that could make a rusty plow shine like new chrome.  It is incredible how he could remember names, and he frequently dropped names on his programs, which naturally caused people to listen to hear what gossip he might release.

Cooper Brothers was an immense general merchandise and farm store.  The Coopers were prosperous plantation owners and had beautiful homes nearby. Vera Owens operated a country grocery store at the intersection of Indiantown-Kingstree Highway and the Indiantown-Prospect Road.  This was across from my grandmother's home.  Rebecca Jannetha Brown and L. L. Rogers were the parents of Effie Rogers, my mother.  She inherited 100 acres of this farm, a place dear to my heart.  I was born in her home and spent many days there as a pre-teen.  She suffered from heart problems and asthma and needed someone to go for help if she became disabled.

Indiantown was indeed an enchanting place.  The Presbyterian Church, established in 1757, is located on a curve in the road and can be seen for two to three miles as you travel Highway 261 from Kingstree to Hemingway.  The church building is fronted by a second story porch supported by four large columns and is an impressive structure which appears to be standing in the middle of the road as you travel east.  The school was initially begun in the church and was always controlled by the same persons who were the elders and deacons in the church.  Robert James Eaddy, Sr., my great-grandfather, was a teacher at Indiantown Academy.  He served in the Civil War Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi and died after the surrender from disease in Vernon, Mississippi, where he was buried in an unmarked grave.  I have been able to locate the cemetery through the help of some local people.  The Indiantown Elementary and High School provided an academic learning environment without parallel.  It was also a fun place to grow up because of all the persons named there who insisted on making it a wonderful place.

I knew nearly everyone named in the article "Bark off the King's Tree: Haven't We Left Some of the Simple Things Behind?," and have patronized almost every business listed.  Dr. Ulmer was our family doctor and would mix up some chalky tasting liquid from the many colored jugs on his shelves.  I don't know if the medicine worked but his charm always did.  You had to love him, and his confidence would make you well.  He attended the birth of my brother, Leland Eaddy, but did not attend my arrival.  Our descendants should know about the simple and wonderful past we experienced in Kingstree, Hemingway, Lake City, Johnsonville, Nesmith, Henry, Indiantown, Brunson's Crossroads, Muddy Creek, Roper's Crossroads, White Oak, Bartell's Crossroads, Browntown, Half-moon Creek on Lynches River and a thousand more romantic sites.

My parents were Dewey P. Eaddy and Effie E. Rogers and our home was equidistant from Vera's Store and Bartell's Store, one mile in each direction.  My parents have now died and the stores have closed.  Those wonderful memories will live on forever if we care enough to write about it so that the next generation can read what we experienced, "When the world was young and beautiful."

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