JEFFERSON — The Museum of Ashe County History (the 1904 Courthouse on Main Street in Jefferson) was privileged to host Mr. Walt Bauguess,98, who traveled all the way from Texas to visit his old home town.
He left in 1930 to seek his fortune, but always remembered his roots and the good times he had growing up in Jefferson. On July 23, he shared his recollections with family and friends at the Museum. He recalled his visit in the letter below:
To: The Ashe County Historical Society and Museum
From: Walter Bauguess
Date: July 2015
First, let me say that my meeting with you while I was in Jefferson was the highlight of my visit. You helped me relive my youngest years of living there and I am forever grateful. I was home.
When I was a very young boy, I would sit on our front porch and gaze at majestic Mount Jefferson for hours. I know that mountain like a book. I would relive a trip that we boys had taken a few days before. Maybe we had explored the cave, or perhaps we were riding the young sapling trees down the steep incline. There were not many places we missed. Reliving the day was as much fun as being up there!
I was asked several times, “How do you remember all these things?” And I answered, “I don’t have to remember them because I never forgot them.” My theory on remembering things is to not allow myself to forget. I always make it a point to relive good things that happen so I will never forget them. I relive them daily for a while, then every month. For example, I have relived our meeting 40 or 50 times since I left the museum that night. I will continue to do so many times in the future.
One of the questions I was asked during my meeting with you was, “If you had to describe Jefferson in a few words, tell us what makes this mountain town so very special?” What would I say? Who could answer this question in a few words? I can’t. However, as we were leaving Jefferson and Ashe County that next morning, I sat in the back seat of the car admiring the town as we slowly left the mountains, going down the beautiful road, the ever familiar sights. The old jumping off place came to mind — what a view to behold… then the switchbacks winding through the mountains. In the horse and buggy days, we could look down below and see more switchbacks on the old dirt road. It was an all day trip to Wilkesboro and it made no difference which road you took. There was more beauty each way.
Well, anyway, I’m going to try to answer the question:
When God made the world, I’m sure he must have made Ashe County last. I imagine He looked things over and decided to keep Ashe County for himself, but later said, “No, I’m going to give this beautiful town to the people.” So he picked a few special folks and put them in Jefferson. Their descendants were, and still are, those special people. This is evident with today’s residents. You are a chip off the original block. So I would have to say, the beauty and the people are what makes Jefferson so very special.