Yeah, We’s Rough
Wilson Herman

We used to be rough, us Clear Creeks was, no doubt about that, we’s rough,” said Herman Wilson, Clear Creek-native and spinner of a darn good yarn. 

One of his favorite tales was about Wiley McCall getting shot by his first cousin, and coming a gnat’s eyelash away from meeting his maker. 

Herman, Wiley, the Picklesheimers, Lyman and Alfred, and some Rabun pals were having a good ol’ time, swapping jokes and shooting the breeze as they hung out on the dirt Walhalla Road, near where Bryson’s Food Store is today. 

Radford McCall, a tall, curly-haired, hot-headed fellow came along and ordered them to stop their carrying-on or he and some others would make them stop.

We hadn’t done nothin’ to him, you know, and it wasn’t none of his business anyway,” said Herman. “Wiley McCall …went to giving him some bad language, you know; I mean the worst kind.”

Radford said, “If you call me that again, I’m gonna kill ye.” 

“And he did, shore ‘nuff,” said Herman. “He whipped his pistol out from under his belt and shot him six times.”

Herman yelled, “Don’t shoot him, he’s had too much to drink, you know, don’t do it.” 

But he shot Wiley. His white shirt turned crimson. They thought he as a goner.

They managed to get Wiley to the sanatorium where Dr. Rogers and Dr. Lyle (Macon County’s first surgeon) extracted several bullets. Wiley clung to life for several days, one bullet having struck 1.5 inches from his heart.

He eventually recovered, but suffered a logging accident several years later. The tending physician asked if he’d ever been shot. Wiley answered, “Yep.”

The doctor said, “Well, I see the damn bullet right through the skin on your back. You want me to take it out?”

Wiley replied, “What’ll it cost me?”

The doctor said, “Five bucks.”

Wiley said,  “Take her out.” 

Herman concluded, “It’d (that bullet) been all through him and just barely through his skin in his back there. Yeah, we’s rough. We’s rough.”

Read the entire tale in Ran Shaffner’s “Heart of the Blue Ridge.” Research, email, or visit The Highlands Historical Museum, 524 North Fourth Street for more information.