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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

THE "REAL" PRINCE OF DARK CORNERS


The wonderful thing about the portrait of Mayor Lewis Redmond and his wife Adeline, is the "embellishments." Both have been given a full head of dark hair. The original, which I first saw in the Tinsley book that was published in Brevard is quite different. Lewis is partially bald and Adeline's hair is grey. I guess, eventually, if we qualify as "folklore figures," we will all be improved.


Kind Hearts, I just got back from Greenville, South Carolina where my play, "The Prince of Dark Corners" was performed twice in the Upcountry History Museum. Those folks pulled all the stops and did some first-class publicity. As you see, they even sold "Dark Corner" caps and I have a "Dark Corner" sticker to go on my car. I took a lot of photographs, up until the time that I used up my little computer chip film card. The pictures are mostly bad since everything was encased in plastic which reflected my flash. I was interested int he fact that these folks use a singular form "dark corner" instead of "dark corners."
Many of the exhibits were borrowed from other museums. For example, they had the "real" pardon that Redmond received from President Chester Arthur, and a reproduction of the actual "Hoghead Seal" that went on the end of the whiskey barrels when Redmond operated the government-owned distillery in Wallhalla.

I heard a lot of stories about the "real" Redmond in Greenville. Some illustrated his humanitarian virtues and some described incidents that suggested that he was capable of shocking cruelty. I learned a long time ago "legendary folks" usually acquire the personalities that we want them to have. Major Lewis R. Redmond is no exception.

17 comments:

  1. I gotta get one of those for our good buddy Edgar Atkins.

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  2. I bought mine at the museum and paid waaaaay too much for it. I also bought an over-priced decal to go on my car. Given the fact that I was overpaid for my contributions, I guess that is okay.

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  3. So cute in your cap over one eye! Reminds me of Spuds Mackenzie!

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  4. You're a real "legendary folk" yourself Gary,
    reckon what they'll say about you a hundred years from now? I love the cap!

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  5. Well, the experience was a mixed blessing. One of the Redmond descendants brought a jug of shine to
    Milton and Milton, trying desperately to please the
    ass, not only accepted it, but sampled it. He was
    knee-walking drunk during the first performance, but I don't think the audience knew ....they just thought he was "into the role." It upset me a good but.

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  6. Incredible cruelty? In this world? Can't be.
    However, you look spiffy as the legendary storyteller. You should write an autobiography.
    I've enjoyed the stories you tell from your own life for some time.

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  7. Rebel Fan, you can get one of those caps at the UpCountry Museum in Greenville. Let me know if you need a better address. They have bumper stickers, too! James, I'm thinking we ought to name the writers' group "The Boys from Dark Corners." If we get some ladies, we can change it to "The Dark Corners Gang." If we keep meeting at the Calhoun Inn, we can be the Calhoun Gang. I think we should all wear bandanas and cowboy hats to the next meeting and pose for a picture with all of us looking dangerous and grim. Wadda ya think?

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  8. I hear you will be in Pickens, SC, soon. True?

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  9. I've already been in Pickens, S. C. with a production of "Prince of Dark Corners." However, there is a chance that I will be back with my other plays this fall.

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  10. Gary,
    Looking at your hat it seems logical to me that the use of the singular term “Dark Corner” vs. the plural “Dark Corners” is a PR thing. The singular form in this case is exclusive, emphasizing the corner of one particular state- SC; on the other hand, the plural form refers to an area where the borders of NC, SC, and GA meet. Speaking objectively, if you look down on that area from the top of Whiteside Mountain you don’t see any of those things. There are no lines on the earth after all. I don’t know what term was used by Redmond in his day, but historically speaking he lived and operated in all three states. The hideout was located in a no man’s land that occupied the remote convergence of all three states as you point out in the play. And boundaries were somewhat fluid and ill defined back then too. I prefer the viewpoint that we share a regional culture and history. But I guess we can’t fault our friends at the museum in SC for not putting NC and GA on those hats. They are selling SC history after all. No offense intended whatsoever neighbors.

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  11. You are right, although the historians agree that the "Dark Corner" that became a haven for outlaws began just outside Tryon, N. C. and extended into South Carolina/Georgia. It is described in Margaret Morley's book, "The Carolina Mountains," and she even makes a "veiled reference" to Redmond.
    I was surprised to discover that Oconee County in
    South Carolina has a lot of "dark corner" stories.
    Oconee County runs right to the boundary with Transylvania County, N. C. Of course, there are several other "dark corners."

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  12. found lewis redmonds grave his wife and his daughter married to keaton how did they end up where they are !

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  13. grave stone he was the sunshine of our home

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  14. Major Lewis Redmond was my Great Great Grandfather. I hold pride in his history, as well as my dad, Major Patrick McGarity. It is truly funny how so many people get the story wrong, and how no one has ever approached my father for any history verification. And he lives locally in Greenville, SC!

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