Pauline Johnson Anderson of Moravian Falls, who turned 100 on Aug. 16, made her first trip to downtown North Wilkesboro riding in the back of a wagon in the early 1920s.
Mrs. Anderson’s father, William “Willie” Johnson, drove the wagon while she and Minda Parlier and Dola Parlier Hawn, who were sisters, sat on a load of wild horsemint tips they helped gather. The horsemint was to be sold to S.V. Tomlinson Wholesale.
It was a wagon trip of several hours from where they lived along upper Rocky Creek in the Brushy Mountains to town, taking Brocktown Road to Moravian Falls and the Moravian Falls Road to Wilkesboro.
Just a few years earlier, in 1920 when she was 5, Mrs. Anderson made an even longer wagon trip with her family when they moved from Turnersburg just north of Statesville to a home along upper Rocky Creek at what now is the end of Brocktown Road near the Alexander County line.
“We had a two-horse wagon pulled by two big old white horses,” she said.
At least through the 1950s, Brocktown Road continued farther downstream along Rocky Creek and connected with other roads that provided access to Alexander and Iredell counties.
“My daddy had gotten into the timber business and had a sawmill” when the family moved, said Mrs. Anderson. “We had picked cotton in Iredell, but then my daddy had started buying timber.”
She said she still remembers being struck by the difference between the mountains in Wilkes and the flatter land where they lived in Iredell.
Mrs. Anderson added, “My mother (Pearlie Harris Johnson) was never happy (with the move) and always wanted to go back to Iredell.”
She said her father always made sure the family had plenty of food, plus enough to help neighbors when needed. The Johnsons always had a garden, hogs and other animals.
Mrs. Anderson said the closeness among neighbors then is considerably less common now. She said one of the most important lessons she learned from her parents was to treat other people like you want to be treated.
She attended Piney Grove School on lower Bethany Church Road while growing up, but also Roberson School closer to Brocktown Road. Her teachers included Beulah Johnson Moore, Roxie Fletcher Jennings and Bessie Brock.
She first saw the man she eventually married, Wilburn Anderson, after his family moved into the community from just west of Wilkesboro in the early 1930s. Anderson’s father, Ruben Anderson, came there to work at a sawmill.
“I was looking out the window and saw him (Wilburn Anderson) sitting on a horse. He had curly hair and I thought he was the most handsome man,” she said.
Social activities, including courting, largely revolved around church.
“We usually walked to Bethany Baptist Church,” she said. Bethany at that time was about a mile away near Piney Grove School and Rocky Creek Baptist Church was also nearby.
As people moved away from the area where the Parliers, Johnsons, Andersons and other families lived, these churches were relocated closer to where more people lived.
Bethany Baptist was moved to its current location, about three miles away at the intersection of Bethany Church Road and Brushy Mountain Road. Rocky Creek Baptist was moved to its current location, on Brocktown Road closer to Moravian Falls.
Mrs. Anderson said Allen Bobbitt owned and operated the nearest actual store when she was growing up. It was near New Hope Baptist Church in the Brushy Mountain community.
She said Bud Lowe got salt, pepper, coffee, flour and other staples for people when he hauled eggs to North Wilkesboro. He visited his neighbors, taking orders for staples and collecting money to pay for them, before going to town.
Lowe had a blacksmith shop near his home at what now is the intersection of Pores Knob and Brocktown roads. “Bud Lowe had a Delco battery that produced just enough electricity to power a small light,” she said.
She and Wilburn Anderson got married at the Wilkes County Courthouse in 1933, when she was 18. They rented a two-room house from Foote Fletcher and attended Rocky Creek Baptist Church. Their closest neighbors included the Bud Lowe and Jonah Costner families.
The Andersons’ oldest child, Bill Anderson of Moravian Falls, was born in the house rented from Fletcher. Their other children were Buddy Anderson, who died this past January, and Rick Anderson of Moravian Falls.
They later moved to a home about a mile away in a gap between Fletcher and Snaggy mountains, called Bud Lowe Gap on maps from the early 1900s.
Wilburn Anderson initially worked for his father in the logging and sawmill business. He later was in this business on his own and became known for his ability to judge the value of timber and position and build logging roads well in mountainous terrain.
Anderson sometimes worked with his brother, the late Ralph Anderson of the Oakwoods community, in the logging and sawmill business.
When Anderson operated a sawmill for Oak Furniture Co. in North Wilkesboro, Mrs. Anderson and her sister-in-law, the late Grace Johnson of Moravian Falls, earned extra money stacking lumber in “hacks.”
Anderson started growing apples in the late 1930s and had an orchard on part of a large tract near the end of Treadway Road that the family still owns. He hauled apples in a Ford A Model pickup to Statesville and sold them there.
The Andersons and their three young children moved into a new home on Brocktown Road, near where it intersects with N.C. 16 in Moravian Falls, in 1944. Mrs. Anderson still lives there.
She said her husband, like her father, was a good provider and was dedicated to his family. Anderson “never thought anything was good enough for me,” she added.
Anderson was a strong Republican and was always interested in issues and politics, she said. “When he was 21, he went to register to vote and they asked him what party. He said, “Republican because I believe in what the Republican Party stands for.”
Anderson passed on his interest in politics and support for the Republican Party to his sons. Bill Anderson was elected Wilkes County sheriff and was chairman of the Republican Party in Wilkes for many years.
The Andersons started attending Cub Creek Baptist Church in Moravian Falls when they moved out of the mountains. Electricity came to the area where they lived around 1948.
Mrs. Anderson had four brothers and one sister who lived to adulthood. One of her brothers, Robert “Bob” Johnson, lives in Moravian Falls.
Her brothers included the late Jessie James Johnson of Moravian Falls, the late W.G. Johnson of Lincolnton and the John Johnson, who lived most of his life in Wilkes but was living in Iredell when he died. Her sister, the late Lilla Belle Hayes, married Ed Hayes from Wilkesboro and lived in Catawba County.