In the June 20, 2012 issue of The Anson Record, page 8A (“TDA talks budget,increasing tourism in Anson”), I was struck by my experiences as a child growing up in Wadesboro and as an adult planning a family reunion.
The Bennett-Ramsey family have been attending family reunions in and near Wadesboro for 42 years. We hold them every three years. Our first was held in 1973, so we will proudly wear 14th on our T-shirts. This year’s gathering will occur July 13, 14, 15. We have a vested interest in the Old Westview Cemetery; therefore some members of our family are involved with the restoration and historical recognition Washington Meetings guided by Rose Young.
My paternal grandmother, Gatheren Bennett, and her father, Austin Bennett, started Ramsey Chapel on the extended northern stretch of which is now Salisbury Street. In the spring and summers the children and grown-ups would sit on a low hill under the pear tree next to the church and watch cars, trucks, and a few horse and buggies rush down the road (Highway 52). The intent was to gain speed for the upward push under the railroad trestle to hightail it out of Wadesboro. So it seemed to me. Winston-Salem, Charlotte to the northwest and Pinehurst to the northeast and another land cut to South Carolina.
Even though we knew that there were sports and vacation destinations we could not attend, we knew what towns they were headed for: Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, race car venues, etc. No restaurants, no gas stations, no food or farm stands, were around to draw revenue.
My family wanted to have some sleeping accommodations for our traditional visits but Monroe was the closest town we could find accommodations in. Charlotte motels suggested after one reunion searches that we look to Charlotte. Our last time in Monroe found us sharing a motel with the filming crew for the “Color Purple” movie. Talks with Whoopie Goldberg was a bonus.
I offer this wish that Wadesboro find the strength to do as some of the towns near Charlotte have done: be resolved to move closer to the main routes that can draw trade, culture, jobs and vacation promises. I look forward to the peaches near the Pee Dee River. How’s the fishing? The 300th year will be here before your progeny realize it. I was around for the 200th. (I am 76.)
I decided to answer this particular [article] because of the fond memories I have of Wadesboro and because of my observations of Charlotte’s “spread” and my musing of when it would reach Wadesboro.
Janice Paula Bennett Smith
Central Islip, N.Y.