Screen shot 2020 07 14 at 2.15.24 pm

N.F. McGill and Son’s service station served KM residents for 66-years

By Loretta Cozart 

On February 2, 1926, Norman Fuller McGill took management of N. F. McGill and Son’s Standard Oil Station at the corner of E. King Street and N. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain. Many people remember the building that housed a family business for three generations and the way the McGill family made them feel. The McGill family appreciated their customers, and the customers knew it.

In a story in the Herald written by Lib Stewart in 1976, McGill shared that he “made the motion at a city board meeting in the early 1920s that resulted in the rezoning of the Ella Harmon property for construction of a one-room service station.” He had no idea at the time that just two-years later he would become the operator of the station for Standard Oil Co., then Esso and later Exxon in 1972. 

When the station opened, there were few other service stations in town. One was located at the intersection of Battleground and W. Mountain Street, where the Cleveland County Chamber once kept an office. That station was operated by I.G. Patterson and Charlie Falls. W.A. Mauney Stores was open at that time and remained so until 1929, the year Andrew Mauney passed. 

Other downtown stores of that era were Kiser and Mauney, Carpenter Brothers Hardware, and Plonk Brothers. All those businesses are gone now but for the buildings that once housed them. The same is true for McGill and Son’s service station.

McGill shared in the article that Zeb Means, son of a preacher, was a loyal employee who worked for him before N.F. McGill, Jr. was born. He sometimes washed as many as 25 cars on Saturdays in an open wash pit beside the station.

One of McGill’s busiest days was the day in 1932 when President Herbert Hoover came to town for the celebration at the Battleground, before it became a National Military Park. “I had a front row seat,” McGill said. “But the crowds who lined the streets from the depot (then located downtown) and streets by the station did not cheer Hoover. There was only one man who did,” he said. The nation was in the throughs of the Great Depression.

That day, McGill had a continuous stream of cars stopping at his station on the corner to fill up and his nephew enjoyed a booming business with a refreshment stand.

McGill was asked to come from Sunday Church services at the ARP Church, which was then located where the Mountain View Restaurant is now, to gas up 40 – 50 motorcycles in the president’s motorcade. Those were the good ole’ days. 

The McGill family operated the business until N.F. McGill, Jr. retired in 1992, celebrating 66-years of service to the people of Kings Mountain and those who passed through town on their way to points west, or to view the fall leaves each year.

For 46-years, the building was owned by Standard Oil Company as noted on the Cleveland County Ledger Sheet, from April 15, 1926 until 1972. 

McGill and Son’s was a full-service station. Many Kings Mountain residents visited the station religiously. Jackie Jordan Davis commented on a recent Facebook post, “Trip, I love the picture of your grandaddy pumping gas in his suit and hat!! My grandaddy always dressed the exact same way. He never went anywhere without being ‘dressed’ and had his hat on.”

Gladys Jones shared, “We couldn't have survived our ten years in that town without McGill’s Service Station and even more importantly - without knowing and being friends with the McGill’s.”

Chris Ledbetter reminisced, “As a teenager with a bike I remember going there for free air for my tires that where always flat. I still love to see that landmark as I ride by in my truck with air filled tires...”

Byron Fite wrote, “I was born in 1954, and remember the station when service stations were Service Stations, with full service, and clean windshields, oil check, gas fill ups, and tire pressure checks in one stop... Just Saying, how old I am I reckon...”

Jeff Bogan shared the sentiments of many who commented, “I’d hate to see that building go away. It holds some good memories for me.”

Norman Fuller McGill, III (Trip) recently shared some photos on Facebook of the service station the year it opened., “100 E. King Street was the home of my grandaddy and dad’s business for years. The original building was built in 1924 and my Grandaddy, Fuller McGill, operated the business starting in 1926 and my dad closed the doors in 1992!” 

He added, “Pictured here is the original building before the bays and restrooms were added. My grandaddy standing in front as it was Standard Oil of NJ and then later McGill’s Esso and McGill’s Exxon. Also pictured is a story about my grandaddy and a picture of me with my dad sitting on the doorstep of the service station when I was about 3 years old, which would have been 1963.”

Three generations of McGill men, and countless others, worked at N.F. McGill and Son’s service station in its 66-year history. A new era of service stations began here in 1926 and the McGill family proudly continued that tradition until they closed the business. 

Fuller McGill and his son, Norman, were veterans of WWI and WWII respectively. They were civic minded family men who served the community on town boards and in a variety of roles at the ARP Church. 

The example they set while in business remains unequalled in Kings Mountain today. Humble men who did their job well, and served their community with their energy, time, and talents.

As Lib Stewart pointed out in her 1976 article, “McGill prides himself that his station has offered ‘first class service’ throughout the years and on the walls of the renovated modern establishment is a 40-year service award fromEsso and other citations.”

“McGill is apt to tell you very quickly that he doesn’t want to return to the ‘good ole’ days,” Stewart reported. “I just count my blessings every day,” he said.
Screen shot 2020 06 25 at 12.05.49 pm

DAR holds virtual Continental Congress online

By Loretta Cozart

This pandemic has impacted every part of our lives, from work, school, and play and the same applies to the Daughters of the American Revolution’s (DAR) annual meeting, referred to as Continental Congress. This year marks the 129th annual Continental Congress held in Washington, DC, just blocks away from the White House. But this year’s event will be virtual, and members are able to enjoy the events from their homes, or in small chapter gatherings across the country from June 24 – June 28.

Thousands of DAR members make the trip to Continental Congress around July 4 each year. Groups fill hotels inside the beltway and travel back and forth from the DAR buildings via shuttles and taxis during the day. From start to finish, Continental Congress is busy from morning to night with meetings, award ceremonies, and honoring our military and veterans.

Many go to Continental Congress to take advantage of the DAR’s Library, an extensive collection of genealogical records gathered from across the country. Others go to meet like-minded individuals who share similar interests and goals in the organization. 

DAR members join for a variety of reasons as diverse as the members themselves. Some join to foster good citizenship, educate youth, preserve history, learn about American history, research genealogy, coordinate local service projects, or to participate in commemorative events.  

A good example of a commemorative event witnessed locally occurred in 2016, when the Col. Frederick Hambright DAR Chapter dedicated a marker to African American Patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain at the Kings Mountain National Military Park. All patriots who participated in the American Revolution deserve to be recognized for their service and three black patriots, among others unknown, are honored there.

In light of recent events, the DAR President General recently shared the society’s continued commitment to equality on its website saying, “DAR is an organization committed to historic preservation, education and patriotism, and knows that examining history helps us to better understand our nation’s long struggle to provide equality, justice and humanity for all Americans.”

She went on to share, “Our National Society encourages and celebrates a diverse membership, and we embrace the opportunity to support our members of color. DAR reaffirms to the membership and the public alike that our organization condemns racism. Bias, prejudice and intolerance have no place in the DAR or America.”

DAR members are women who come from diverse backgrounds and have a variety of interests. Their common bond is their lineal descent from patriots of the American Revolution – any woman, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove this lineage is eligible to join.
Ovid

Cleveland County Reports Third Death Related to COVID-19

The Cleveland County Health Department is sad to report the third death associated with COVID-19 in Cleveland County.
The individual, who passed on June 23, was in the age range of 25-49 and had multiple underlying health conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about this individual will be released.
“I am deeply saddened that we have lost another member of our community to COVID-19,” Cleveland County Health Director Tiffany Hansen said. “My thoughts and prayers are with this individual’s family. This reinforces that we must continue to take this virus very seriously.” 
As of today, there have been a total of 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cleveland County. Of these, 70 are currently active, 175 have completed their isolation period and recovered, and 9 are hospitalized. 
“The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our county continues to rise on a daily basis,” Cleveland County Deputy Health Director Deshay Oliver said. “The virus has become widespread throughout our county, and we are seeing ongoing community transmission. Since moving into Phase 1 and 2 of reopening, things seem to feel more normal, which can lead people to become more relaxed about taking precautions. However, it is more important now than ever to be responsible when leaving our homes by waiting six feet apart, washing our hands, and wearing a cloth face covering or mask. We must maintain the mindset that anyone could have the virus and take appropriate precautions.”
To view the Cleveland County COVID-19 case count update on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, visit www.clevelandcounty.com, click on “County Departments,” select “Health Department,” and then click on “Coronavirus Information.” You can also receive COVID-19 updates by following the Cleveland County Health Department’s Facebook page @clevelandcountyhealthdepartment.