Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 1: No 2) >> Simms in Spartanburg >> Page 29

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Page 29

Illustrations | 1993
Transcription Simms himself accurately described the resort in his Southern Quarterly Review
(September 1850, p. 52) as "one of the most fashionable of the watering places
of South-Carolina" where "you will make the aquaintance of the gentry of the
middle and upper country generally, and with a slight sprinkling of others from
the seaboard. The former here are in considerable numbers throughout the season.
You will find them equally courteous, intelligent, and frank; easy in their manners
and prompt and gracious in their hospitalities."
In Polk County, across the North Carolina border from Spartanburg, was
the home of Dr. Columbus Mills, Simms's experienced hunting companion named
in his "Sharp Snaffles," Voltmeier, and elsewhere. Mills' residence, a large, well-
built, two-storied dwelling, stood at presentday Mills' Spring, east of what is now
Tryon. In around 1940, this dwelling was moved to the north side of Tryon,
where it still stands as "Seven Hearths." Its excellent craftsmanship demonstrates
both Dr. Mills' taste and affluence.
In late September 1847, it was at Mills' residence that Simms stayed next,
after leaving Spartanburg, and where he would have naturally joined his hunting
companion for their journey to Mt. Tryon and the Balsam Range of mountains
described in "Sharp Snaffles." Simms's pencil sketch of the range of Mt. Tryon
made around 25 September 1857 in his mountain journal is notated in his hand
as being drawn from "Dr. Mills's House.""Sharp Snaffles," as fiction, does not depart from the truth when Simms says that
"Columbus Mills, one of our party," is "a wealthy mountaineer, of large estates,"
and "of whom I have been for some time the guest." This is the literal truth, and
a "peg on which no lie is hung."