Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Cove: In the Shadow of the Devil's Post Office
Mr. Steve Oakley, Director of the Union County Historical Society Museum in the majestic, restored old courthouse on the square in Blairsville gave Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D., my telephone number. She called me. The first time we talked, after precursory introductions, we were like old friends who had been reconnected after years of separation, although we have not yet met each other in person.
The tie that binds Eva Nell and me is a common love for and appreciation of history. And some common family roots. But more about the shared family roots later. The intention of today's column is to introduce the reading public to Dr. Wike's book published in 2006 with the inviting title of The Matheson Cove: In the Shadow of the Devil's Post Office. Consider this a review of the book, and even with my words of commendation, I cannot do justice to Dr. Wike's book published by Tennessee Valley Publishing, PO Box 52527, Knoxville, TN 37950-2527 (The publisher may be reached online at www.TVP1.com. The hardbound book may be purchased from the publisher or from the author, Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph. D., 109 Oklahoma Ave., Oakridge, TN 37830-8629 for $25 + $4 S&H [$29] Copies are available at The Book Nook in Blairsville and at Phillips & Lloyd Book Shop on the Square, Hayesville, NC.)
This is a book of history, a book of remembrance, a book of family solidarity in a changing era, and a book about a place, almost magical, yet real and inviting.
Matheson Cove is a real place, a valley overshadowed by the Shewbird Mountain. The cove is located near Hayesville, N.C., and was the place where Eva Nell grew up in a hardworking family with not many of this world's goods but an abundance of love and values.
The Devil's Post Office was a
cave in the
Matheson Cove got its name from
Matheson settlers who left the highlands of
Eva Nell heard fascinating
stories of her
maternal great, great grandmother, Matilda "Minny" Little, a
fullblooded Cherokee maiden, who hid in a cave in the region of
Little married Asa Thomason on
The book is well illustrated by the author's husband, James Wike, an artist who has the ability to add interest to the true story by his drawings and enhancement of old photographs. The book is a treasure of history and memoirs, of hardships and change.
Dr. Eva Nell Mull Wike has captured much of the grace and way of life of the Matheson Cove. Get a copy of the book. You will be enthralled by its pages, written by one who truly loves the place. It is fortunate for readers that she stored away memories and recorded them for posterity. We hope we will experience more books from this retired mathematics teacher turned author as she explores other stories of beloved ancestors who paved the way for us all to have a better life.
(Note: Dr. Wike is available to speak to groups or to have book signings. Anyone interested in scheduling her as a speaker may contact her at 865-482-2545.)
c2006 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 17, 2006 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]
Updated August 8, 2009