Living in Pacolet Station in 1942
I lived in the town of Pacolet Station for about 6 months when
I was 5 years old in 1942. When World War II started in December of 1941,
my family and I were living in Pacolet Mills on
Granite Street. The street was generally just known as “Tightwad”. Both
my Mom and Dad worked in the mill. My maternal grandfather, Tillman Fowler,
lived with us at the time and he also worked in the mill. When the War started,
my Dad left the mill and took a job at the Charleston Navy Shipyard. He
left Pacolet Mills in January, 1942. Shortly after he left, the rest of
the family had to vacate the mill house and find another place to live.
At that time, the rule was that the man of the house had to be employed
in the mill to qualify for a mill house. It did not matter that both my
Mom and Granddad still worked in the mill, we had to give up the house.
For about 2 or 3 months, my brother Dink and I got to go live
with my Teaster grandparents while my Mom found us a new house. My Grandfather
had just retired from the mill and they had bought a farm and an old house
in Cherokee County. In moving from the mill village to this farmhouse they
only moved less than 10 miles but well over a hundred years in time. Looking
back, I know this period must have been rough for my Mom, but to me and
Dink, It was among the most interesting and enjoyable times of our childhood.
It was like living back in time. There was no electricity, running water
or cars. That is separate story in itself.
My Mom found us a very small house on what is now, Hwy 150, the
road to Glenn Springs. It was three houses down from the Methodist Church. It was right beside the large
house where Dr. Stowe and his family lived. Dr. Stowe was the town physician.
In spite of being small, it probably was typical of most of the houses in
Pacolet Station at the time. It did have electricity and cold running water
in the kitchen but not hot water. In had no inside bathroom but had an outdoor
The house sat very close to the road but there was little traffic.
Going out of Pacolet Station towards Glenn Springs, Jonesville and even
towards Spartanburg was mostly farmland and farmhouses. This was before
the community known as “Harveytown” was
built and that area was open farmland.
There was a barn out behind our house and a big open field beside
it. The agriculture students from Pacolet
High School planted a Victory Garden in this field. Every day, they
walked out from the school in a group to tend to this garden. This was before
the twelfth grade was added and students graduated after the eleventh grade.
I remember that there were lots of passenger
and freight trains that went through Pacolet Station, both day and night.
They could be heard and seen easily from our house. In some ways, travel
was easier and more convenient in 1942 than it is today. Even short trips
such as to Union or Columbia and back could be made on the passenger trains.
There were many train destinations available back then from Pacolet Station
that are almost impossible to do today with the disappearance of almost all
of the passenger trains.
My Mom made arrangements with a black lady from one of the local
families to watch us when she worked during the day. She was very kind to
us and we often played with her children or grandchildren. I do remember
that they were about the first black folks that I had ever met. I don’t remember
meeting any in Pacolet Mills up to that time.
Probably, the very strongest single memory of that time in Pacolet
Station is about the soldiers from Camp Croft. The incident must have happened
in the summer of 1942. One morning, we heard the sound of many vehicles
coming up the road from the direction of Glenn Springs. I ran out to the
edge of our yard which was the edge of the road to see to what was coming.
The source of the noise was more soldiers and army vehicles than I had ever
seen or knew existed. There were trucks and jeeps and, I think, tanks and
many hundreds, probably thousands of marching soldiers. Jeeps and trucks
would pass and then a bunch of soldiers marching along. Behind them, the
scene was repeated over and over. Several times we heard the sounds of army
airplanes overhead. Some of them were having fake dog fights with each other.
This incredible sight went on for hours until the late afternoon. It was
an unforgettable spectacle. Over the years, I have wondered what would be
the reaction of Pacolet residents today to seeing such an incredible sight
passing through their town. Click on this link to
read more about Camp Croft in World War II.
In addition to working in the Shipyard six or seven days a week,
my Dad built us a small house in North Charleston. He came for us and we
moved from Pacolet Station to North Charleston on Thanksgiving Day in 1942.
In an ironic twist of events, in 1954, my Dad bought the old house
of Dr. Stowe in Pacolet Station and eventually totally remodeled it. He
and my Mom lived in this house until they passed away. This house was right
next door to the little house that we had lived in 1942. In another strange
twist, my sister bought the little house itself in the early 1990’s and
she has it remodeled. It just seems that is destined for there to be a connection
between this little house and our family.
This web site has
been started as a public service to share the story
of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about
putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.
Contact me at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. My
regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485