The Mckinney Spring, Cashiers History
The Mckinney Spring, Cashiers History

Not very long ago, the Cashiers Crossroads Chronicle featured a front page article about the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust adding the McKinney Meadow in Cashiers to their holdings. 

I have more information about the McKinney boarding house and the nearby McKinney spring that was written about in a book published in 1891 by David U. Sloan titled “The Fogy Days and Now.”  As a boy, probably early 1840s, Sloan had accompanied his father and other tourists from South Carolina to Cashiers Valley.  One of the places the group stayed was at McKinney’s.  Following are some of Sloan’s memories.

“The visitor to the mountains notices wonderful changes in the atmosphere, its bracing effect, the feeling of freshness and delight experienced at the high altitude.  The effect on the appetite is remarkable; first keen and then ravenous.  We will never forget our first visit of several days to McKinney’s boarding house, our relish for old Aunt Sally McKinney’s ‘yaller-legged’ chickens, fried so brown and floating in the golden melted butter, snow-white smothered cabbage, mealy Irish potatoes, cracking wide open as they were lifted from the kettle, buckwheat cakes and mountain honey, nor shall we try to erase from our memory old Mr. Mac’s mountain dew that sat out on the water shelf in the spring, before, after and between meals.

“Mrs. McKinney was quite a stout, red-faced, middle aged lady and she would enter the room where the gentlemen were talking, with her sleeves rolled up above her elbows, her arms akimbo addressed my father and said, ‘Colonel Sloan.  Is this the famous Senator John C. Calhoun that I have heard so much talk about?’  My father answered in the affirmative, saying, ‘Mr. Calhoun, this is our hostess, Mrs. McKinney.’  She grasped the offered hand, saying, ‘Do tell, you look just like other folks.’

Then Mr. Calhoun recounted an earlier trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains when he stopped at a mountain cabin home.  There was one spare room and in it a bed and a pallet.  Calhoun’s traveling companions took the pallet and Calhoun claimed the bed.  At midnight the mail-rider stopped in and seeing just one person in the bed he said, ‘Get further over, old horse, and we’ll spoon,’ and familiarly piled in with the Senator.”