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ROUGH, N.C., LIVED UP TO ITS NAME
By Marshall McClung
A section of West Buffalo was once known as "Rough", and according to stories from past and present residents of that area, it certainly was appropriately named. "Rough" consisted of a store, post office and nearby grist mill and was located on West Buffalo Creek near where two bridges cross West Buffalo Creek in close proximity. The area was just below Cedar Cliff Baptist Church which was said to get its name from nearby Cedar Top Mountain with its rock cliffs and cedar trees.
Newt Crisp operated the business which was more or less a country general store with groceries, clothing, footwear, and horse gear available. The store was a favorite gathering place for folks in that area, especially on Saturdays. They would come to pick up needed supplies, get their corn ground into meal, check their mail, and catch up on the latest happenings. "Moonshine" whiskey was plentiful, some referred to it as "horse swapping juice", and there was usually some drinking going on. The "Rough" post office was probably in existence from the 1920's until the 1930's. The store though, is said to have operated until around 1940.
It was the drinking that most folks say led to a lot of fighting and killing and gave "Rough" its name. Other fights were said to be over women, politics, and card playing. Whatever the reason or reasons might have been, several persons met their death both through murders and accidental deaths along a section of West Buffalo Road in this area not much more than a mile in length.
Dillard Farr was shot and killed, jealousy was said to be the motive. Gardey Waldroup was shot and killed during a reported bout of fighting and drinking. Arthur Smith was found lying dead in the road from a shotgun blast and a cut to the throat. Osborne Martin was shot and killed, Homer Martin shot and killed his son Otis Martin after being wounded himself in a gunfight at their home. Adam Reid was found dead in West Buffalo Creek. There seems to be conflicting reports as to whether his death was murder or accidental.
In addition to these killing, the area also has had its share of accidental deaths. Harley Waldroup and Reubelle "Reurie" Williams McKeldrey were killed when their vehicle plunged into West Buffalo Creek. A young boy was killed when a log rolled over him. Another young boy drowned in West Buffalo Creek near where the corn mill stood.
I visited this area recently. There was the sound of the creek roaring from recent rains and the occasional passing of a vehicle, nothing to indicate the violence that once took place here. But in another time not too distant, "Rough" was indeed a rough place.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina