This story was published in June 2007 in the Hendersonville Times-News. To view the three stories with photographs, visit www.blueridgenow.com/article/20070625/NEWS/706250342 or www.blueridgenow.com/article/20070625/NEWS/70624001 or www.blueridgenow.com/article/20070630/NEWS/707010417 or http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=20070625&id=VXk0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=TCUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3958,6308615
By Jennie Jones Giles
From Civil War shootouts to eccentric characters, anecdotes and stories abound from the Mountain Page community. Not only is the community possibly the oldest in the county and filled with nature’s beauty, it also holds a treasure trove of stories and genealogical information.
James Metcalf with radio station WJFJ in Columbus lives in Mountain Page. His Metcalf ancestors settled on today’s Polk County side in the mid-1700s. Just a few yards from the Henderson County line sits the historic Metcalf Cemetery, containing the graves of some of the first settlers into Polk and Henderson counties, including the Statons.
The Metcalf version of the Civil War shootout goes like this:
“Two Staton boys who were hiding out from the Home Guard were caught in Mountain Page. One died. The other escaped and hid out on top of Mine Mountain beneath corn stalks in a pasture. While he was hiding out, the Home Guard went from door to door searching for the missing Statons. They came upon the home of Elizabeth and Warner Metcalf on what is now West Fork Creek Road. The Home Guard, seeing her alone, threatened her, shot bullet holes in her pots and urinated in her cooking ware, terrorizing her to find out information. Warner Metcalf returned home. He was the community magistrate at this time and sent three of his boys off to fight with the N.C. 54th Regiment, the Tryon Mountain Boys. He heard his wife tell what the Home Guard had done. Upset, he gathered a posse of community men and surrounded the Home Guard that night while they were camped at Old Mountain Page Church. With guns pointed, the men told the Home Guard to leave immediately, peacefully or with bullets flying. This version of the story was passed down verbally.”
The Staton version of the story, from descendants in Cherryville, goes like this:
“It is documented in a letter from a Revis woman who lived nearby writing her son during the Civil War and telling of the story. Anderson and Reuben Staton, sons of John Walter Staton and grandsons of Benjamin Staton, joined the 35th N.C. Confederate Regiment. Later in the war, the regiment was called to serve in Henderson County as the Home Guard. When spring rolled around, both brothers deserted to go home to their family, their mother being widowed, to help out for a week with spring planting. During this time, a Capt. Garren of the 35th and his men went searching for the brothers. When they knocked on their mother’s home, the brothers ran out the back door. The soldiers ran around back. Anderson Staton got caught in a rail fence with his coveralls and was shot. Seeing this, Reuben Staton turned around and killed Capt. Garren and then fled. Both Anderson Staton and Capt. Garren died. According to family, Reuben shot Capt. Garren, but returned to duty and served up until the last weeks of the war with the 35th until he was captured by the Union Army near Louisville. Reuben and his wife, Laurett Heatherly Staton, are buried in the Metcalf graveyard not far from where we believe John Walter Staton and Benjamin Staton are buried. Elizabeth Metcalf, the woman who refused to give information and had her cooking pots terrorized, is also buried there.”
Recently, people traveling from out-of-town and descendants of Benjamin Staton asked James Metcalf if they could visit the Metcalf Cemetery. Benjamin Staton and his family came to the Mountain Page community some time in the early 1800s. The family is listed in 1800 in the old Rutherford County census (this places them somewhere in today’s Rutherford, Polk or Henderson counties). Family tradition states that Benjamin Staton was a Revolutionary War soldier. He lived to be 103.
“They said how their dad and grandpa talked about the Statons around Mountain Page. They believe the grave in the cemetery marked ‘BS 1854’ is that of Benjamin Staton. I never thought of anyone older than John Walter Staton (1795-1838, son of Benjamin) being buried there because I had never heard before (prior to the stories in the Times-News) that Benjamin Staton lived to be 103. This grave being that of Benjamin Staton now makes a lot of sense, since many of his descendants are buried here, including sons and daughters. This could very well be the grave of Revolutionary War patriot Benjamin Staton.”
Author, storyteller and historian Louise Howe Bailey said two of the most fascinating people to live in Mountain Page were the Fauntleroy brothers. Bailey knew the two eccentric characters. Author Frank FitzSimons also told the story of the brothers in his book, “From the Banks of the Oklawaha.”
Robert Randolph Fauntleroy was a state judge in Virginia. The story is told that he had a “nervous breakdown” and moved to the Mountain Page community for his health. His brother, Dr. Joseph Fauntleroy, came with him to Henderson County sometime in the early 1900s.
“Judge Fauntleroy became a familiar figure on the rural roads and streets of Hendersonville and Saluda,” FitzSimons writes. “Often wearing a frock coat and carrying a gunny sack over his shoulders, he could be seen in all kinds of weather, standing by the side of the road and thumbing a ride.”
The judge was said to get food out of garbage cans and visited butcher shops for the discarded bones.
“On a hot summer day, the odor surrounding the judge and his bag of garbage was unbearable,” FitzSimons writes. “The person who offered him a ride never repeated the offer.”
The description is true, Bailey said.
The judge’s brother, the doctor, was the only medical help in the isolated community of Mountain Page. He rode from mountain house to cabin by horseback, sometimes staying for a week or more to tend the sick.
“It has been told that several times when it was impossible to cross the river because of high water, Dr. Fauntleroy rode his horse across the railroad trestle to reach a patient,” FitzSimons writes.
The doctor was described as an immaculate and dapper dresser.
“He dressed fancy,” Bailey said, “and always wore his Panama hat.”
Each year, the doctor attended the annual parties held for the Henderson County Medical Society at the Bailey home in Flat Rock, she said.