Carl Leonard Brannon

Carl Leonard Brannon

Death 24 Sep 2003 (aged 94)
Burial Horse Shoe, Henderson County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 12451388 · View Source
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Carl Leonard Brannon keeps history alive in a changing world. He can look across lush farmland to what used to be Brannon Mountain when his grandfather owned it, but it's Horse Shoe Mountain now, framing the far edge of the 465-acre farm his mother inherited and he has lived on for almost 90 years.
He holds a plaque awarded him by the governor of North Carolina in recognition of a farm that has been in continuous operation for 100 years.
Modern equipment was still a long way in the future when Carl began working the land. I asked him what an average day was like back then.
"In summertime", he said, "our day started at three o'clock in the morning and it went on until 10 or 11 at night. Besides the farming there were cows to milk, only 40 or 50 at first, but later on we had 250 and we had to hire help then." For a long time he had a horse or a mule to pull the plow over a particular 12-acre plot. "It took five days to get all of it plowed," Carl Brannon said.
Knowing he had to walk behind that plow I thought how tiring it must have been, but he set me straight with a simple, "We got used to it."
"I'll bet you bought the first tractor on the market," I said. And he answered, " I didn't, but my daddy did."
No wonder Carl became accustomed to walking, though. He sometimes drove cattle from Horse Shoe to the stockyard in Hendersonville, along what we know as highway 64 West. He said there was almost no traffic, "and we didn't see more than five or six houses all the way into town."
Carl has vivid memories of the 1916 flood, when the French Broad River rose above its banks and covered all of the bottomland.
"We'd already cut the grain and stacked it and the water came and picked up those big stacks and down the river they went. Horses, cattle, everything went down the river. We didn't even get a roastin' ear out of that whole crop. Houses, trees - a lot of them went."
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The Great Depression left its mark, too, with people earning only 50 cents or a dollar a day not being able to pay the 10 or 15 cents a gallon of milk was costing.
Something had to be done to make those 40 or 50 cows earn their keep, so Carl's daddy and some others put up a small building where they could make cheese to sell. That helped out until an ice cream company moved into Hendersonville and bought so much milk that the cheese factory was discontinued and the herd of cows was enlarged.
"People had it real hard during that depression," Carl said, remembering some who were unable to meet the expenses of maintaining their homes.
"They were lost. They didn't know where to go, and a lot of them worked just in return for something to eat. Local people who raised more than they needed tried to help."
Carl probably chuckles, as I do, when newcomers to the area think our recent mild winters are the usual thing. He could tell them about a cold spell back in 1940 when the temperature stayed on zero so long the French Broad froze hard enough to walk on. A strong-armed fellow rolled a boulder off the bridge and it hit the ice below without even making a scratch. Carl said a car could have been driven on the river if anybody'd wanted to try it.
A dairy the size of Carl's was bound to be affected when World War II took away many of our young men and it was difficult to keep the five extra hands needed to do the daily work.
But for Carl's farm, help came from the German prisoner of War camp on Haywood road - men available and willing to work. Carl said they were pleasant to deal with and one who could speak English was always among them. "They worked hard, and although employers weren't required to feed them, I gave them dinner anyway." There's no doubt that a home-cooked meal of home-grown products was appreciated.
Clouds hid the mountain range the day I visited the Brannon Farm, but I knew several peaks were there and I asked Carl to tell me the names of them. He did, then he said half in fun, "But I never had time to look at them."
It's no wonder, what with working on of the oldest farms in North Carolina - land that had been in his mother's family, the Sittons, since they came into the valley some 200 years ago.

Times-News, Hendersonville, NC, Monday,
September 15, 2003

Carl L. Brannon, 94

Carl Leonard Brannon, 94, of Brannon Road in Horse Shoe, died Sunday, September 14, 2003, at Pardee Hospital following an extended illness.

He is survived by two sons, Andrew Carl Brannon of Brannon Road, Horse Shoe, and James Love Brannon of Charlotte; and by a grandson, Scott Brannon of Horse Shoe. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 60 years, Helen Love Brannon, on June 22, 1996, and by his brother, Clifford Brannon, who died on February 21, 1978.

He was a descendant of one of America's oldest families. Three Brannon brothers, then called O'Bannon, migrated from Ireland to America and arrived at Jamestown, Va., prior to 1770. All three brothers fought in the Revolutionary War. William, his great-great-grandfather, became a Captain and fought under Col. Pickens at the Battle of Cowpens in January of 1781. They fought against British Lt. Col. Tarkenton, who had been sent by Lord Cornwallis to "wipe out those savages from the Carolinas who have all the vices of the Indians and none of the virtues." Later, with other families of Irish descent, the family moved to Spartanburg District, S.C. William's grandson, Patrick, born February 25, 1816, moved his family from South Carolina to Henderson County, where Patrick's grandson, Richard McKendry Brannon, enlisted on May 5, 1861, in Henderson County Company 1, 16th Regiment, North Carolina Troops. He was wounded at the second battle of Bull Run in August 1862.

On Oct. 2, 1889, Richard bought 328 acres of land on a mountaintop at Horse Shoe, and later purchased nine adjoining acres. The property was known for years as "Brannon Mountain", and is now called Horse Shoe Mountain. His father, Andrew Pierce Brannon, was on the board of directors of the Cheese Factory, a cooperative started and financed by local farmers in the 1920s. The milk from surrounding dairy farms was hauled to the factory in wagons and there made into cheese. This was the beginning of the dairy industry in Henderson County. Andrew Pierce Brannon had the first registered heifer in the county, named "Pioneer Beauty." She was brought to the Brannon farm in the back of a Model T Ford from Chester, S.C.

He was vice-president of Brannon Farms Inc. at the time of his death. He was a member of the Farm Bureau, ASCS, the Holstein Club and Allied Farmers. He was also a member of Cummings Memorial United Methodist Church in Horse Shoe, having joined the church in 1922, and served on the church's official board.

A funeral will be conducted 2 p.m. Tuesday at Shepherd's Church Street Chapel by the Rev. Phillip Park and Bernice Thomas. Burial will follow in Campground Cemetery on Broyles Road. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors.

Family Members

Gravesite Details Was married to Helen Kathleen Love. Was a son of Andrew Pierce and Josephine Etta Sitton Brannon

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bert Sitton
  • Added: 21 Nov 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 12451388
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Carl Leonard Brannon (19 May 1909–24 Sep 2003), Find a Grave Memorial no. 12451388, citing Shaws Creek Methodist Campground Cemetery, Horse Shoe, Henderson County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave (contributor 8) .