The Story of Odus Watson - A Mountain Morality Tale

(Editor's note; After the 1940 flood that killed sixteen Watauga residents, many harrowing stories were told to reporters. This tale of mountain survival was related to the Charlotte Observer by one Odus Watson).

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"When I first started logging on New River, my boss went broke, so I went to threshing with a new machine I bought. I geared my tractor so high that it blew up and I lost all I had in it. Then I went to Montana where a horse threw me, and I strained my back; so I began work in irrigation. At this job I took inflammatory rheumatism and spent all my money in the hospital, so I went to California to get a job in the redwood forest, but I couldn't pass the health examination there.

I then came back to Deep Gap and bought a pickup to haul cattle, but it wrecked. I then went into the filling station business, but soon afterwards took pneumonia. One day a man came in and tried to swap me a gun, but it went off and shot me in the leg, which laid me up for two months. To cap it all, Tuesday's slide took my filling station and farm crop. But I ain't going on relief. I'll go back to farming, filling station, or cow trading. The Lord knows, I'd rather have been washed away than to be on the relief."

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