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 privy.

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.
 
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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:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.