Rutherford Store is 100 Years Old
By Mrs. Sam Presson | FEATURED ARTICLE IN REMINISCENES OF CHARLOTTE– CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY 1939
Operated By Three Generations of Washburns In Historic Rural Section Of County—E. Nollie Washburn Founded Bank in Bostic.
BOSTIC, R-1 – A department store has been operated at the Washburn Crossroads by the Washburns for the past one hundred years. Salem Methodist church in its community was organized by the in the year 1831, and it was near that date that the Washburns settled there, migrating to this country from Worchestershire, England. Gabriel Washburn is the ancestor who came over from England and Benjamin Washburn is the first Washburn that is known to have operated a store here.
Washburn was then situated on the old Lincoln- Rutherford highway, and was a popular camoing place for travelers before the War Between the States. People coming from Burke county and from the sections of the statefurther to the north and even from Virginia and the northern states (the latter happening several times a year) would stop here at the Washburn tavern (then operated by Benjamin Washburn) for the night and here many strange tales and legends would be exchanged between people of different sections of our state. Other people would come up from Columbia, South Carolina, and sections from further south and bring stories from and tales of adventures from the southlands. Men of all classes stopped here...
Benjamin Washburn represented Rutherford county, which was then several times as large an area as it is today, in the State Legislature in the year 1858
Sometime before the war Benjamin Washburn moved to Rutherfordton and his brother, Perry Washburn took over the business. After the war, Perry Washburn moved to Cleveland county and his youngest brother, Rev. Reuben Washburn, began business here. After running a business for about 35 years Rev. Reuben Washburn died at the age of 75 years.
His youngest son, Edgar Nollie Washburn, started into business as a young man. Nollie Washburn ran an extensive business here all his life, began a funural here [in] 18885, established the Bostic bank at Bostic in 1917 of which he was president until the time of his death
in 1935. The Bostic Bank is one of the few banks in Rutherford county that did not break or close in the hard years of 1929 and 1930. It is today the largest bank in capital in Rutherford county.
He was a great churchman. Salem Methodist church here stands as a living memorial to his generosity and planning. The large brick structure on a hill at Washburn can be seen from Forest City, a distance of six miles, and can be seen about the same distance from the other three directions of the compass. Nollie Washburn died suddenly in New York while visiting his oldest daughter, Mrs. Myrtice Washburn Martin, who lives on Long Island.
Nollie Washburn, merchant prince, was one of the largest merchants in the state and was a Christian gentleman – the latter compliment he was the proudest of and it is said of him that he was ever humble, a grand old man, and a friend to all. He died in the early spring of 1935 and since that time the store and funural home have been operated by his oldest son, E. N. Washburn.
In February of this year E. N. Washburn organized the Washburn Mutual Burial Association with E.N. Washburn, president; Benjamin Washburn, vice president, and Margaret P. Washburn, secretary and treasurer. The association has grown rapidly and now serves this part of Rutherford county in a manner which the community around Washburn is justly proud.
There have been three Washburn schools here since about 1885, Washburn academy, Washburn High school, and Washburn Grammar school. Robert Lee Washburn the first schoolmaster that is known. The present brick school here near the church has been discontinued, consolidated with Sunshine High school and the building converted into the medical headquarters of Dr. H. W. Knight, retired medical missionary from India and Africa where Dr. Knight served during the World war as captain in the British army.
The Washburn community presents one of the most attractive dwelling sights in the county and state, being four miles southwest of the famous Cherry mountains, it is connected with Bostic and Forest City by a new hard surface highway. Washburn is six miles from Forest City, two miles from Bostic, four miles from Sunshine, and lies on the historical old Piny mountain road six miles from Ellenboro, and 20 miles from Shelby.