In our last blog post we shared some interesting information about the history of Farming at Rockbrook. During our research on the history of the farm, we also found a fascinating news article from The New York Times about The Carriers bringing the first motorized tractor to the area saving the farming season with their new machine. Mr. Carrier was in the automobile and tractor business down in SC, and that is how he came to Brevard in the first place. H.P. Clarke, founder of Rockbrook Farm and father of Nancy Clarke Carrier (camp founder) ordered an automobile from Mr. Carrier’s dealership. While delivering the car, Mr. Carrier met Nancy Clarke and their romance began. They would eventually marry and Mr. Carrier would relocate to Rockbrook Farm. It is during this time that Mr. Carrier joined Mr. Clarke in his farming business and eventually purchased the tractor that would come to serve such an important role in farming of the French Broad River Valley.
The article states that:
When Mr. Carrier took over Rockbrook and became a farmer, he carried his auto-traction interest with him. He had his car and his truck, and he got a couple of tractors. He sold one tractor to the town of Brevard for street and road purposes, and then the French Broad River got busy. It flooded the valley three times before May 1. Farmers who had lost their crops in the bottoms before began to despair. Not a grain of corn was planted in the whole valley, but then came a few precious days of dry warm weather and the tractor got busy. It plowed up whole fields in the time when a team of mules had previously covered only acres. It ran from sunrise until after dark, without a whimper. It carpeted the young green valleys with mighty areas of rich dark brown. The sound of its chug-chug as it sturdily turned its wide furrows from river’s bank to mountain side, echoed back from distance coves and told the wondering mountaineers that a new era had dawned on the French Broad. Excerpt from The New York Times, September 12, 1920
Isn’t it interesting that this bit of news made it all the way to The New York Times? Mr. Carrier really did save the day! It is said that not only did he lend out the tractor to local farmers, he also traveled with the tractor to teach his friends how to use the new gas powered machine.