120 year old Cashiers Petroglyph

Perhaps the petroglyph photographed in this article isn’t old enough to be designated as such, as the American College Dictionary gives the definition of petroglyph as “a drawing or carving on rock made by prehistoric or primitive people.” 

The two Cashiers Valley boys who did the carvings were neither primitive nor prehistoric. Their names were John Alexander Zachary, born 1881, son of T. R. Zachary; and Charles Bracken Fugate Jr., born 1878, son of Charles Bracken Fugate Sr. 

John and Charlie were second cousins, once removed. In an attempt to estimate when the boys kneeled or sat on the large outcropping of granite, on land owned at that time by a Zachary family member, spending many hours with some kind of sharp tool digging down into the granite to leave their initials to mark the spot for generations to come, several methods were followed. 

It takes some muscle and lots of patience to carve granite, so I imagine the boys were 12 years old at the youngest when they did their work. Charlie was three years older than John so let’s say it was between the years of 1892 and 1895 that they followed the millions of humans who through time wanted to let future generations know, “I was here.” 

Since it’s known that John A. Zachary in May of 1899 graduated from Cullowhee High School’s Normal Department, evidenced by a hand-written letter of recommendation by the school’s principal, Robert L. Madison, I assume John was too busy with his studies after 1895 to take out time for the arduous task of granite carving. Why John’s initials are so much larger than Charlie’s initials is anyone’s guess.

By 1901, John Zachary was teaching grades one through 12 in a one-room school house in the Atlanta area. He was fulfilling Robert Madison’s prediction of his becoming a responsible teacher to his students. He also found time to court and marry Miss Viola Crossley in Georgia. John and Viola were my maternal grandparents. I never knew John as he died young at the age of 38 years – a tuberculosis casualty, but Viola, who lived to the age of 87, was a great influence in my life.

A picture of Charlie Fugate has not yet been located but an article is planned to tell the interesting life story of Charlie, who spent most of his life in Cashiers – a highly respected and much loved man.