A Jackson County woman celebrated her 100th birthday with friends driving by wishing her well on this momentous occasion.
Dorothy (Dot) Gooch Hayes Craven, surrounded by her four children, Tony Hayes, Keith Hayes, Ann Tompkins and Sue Ellen Whiddon, waved as friends and family passed by Galilee Christian Church.
Mrs. Craven was born December 8, 1920, in the Jackson Trail Community of Jackson County. Her fraternal grandparents migrated from Suches, Ga., to Jackson County to the Jackson Trail Community, via of wagon and on foot.
She and her parents, Carl and Estelle Gooch, lived on what is now known as Lewis Roberts Road in Jefferson. She recalls that in the early to mid-1920s the Boo Weevils were destroying the cotton crops for landowners and sharecroppers. This led to the exodus up the eastern coast of the United States.
Her Dad purchased a new truck, the cost in those days was approximately $ 500, and he started moving people to Dover, N.C., about 400 miles from Jefferson. Then, her family moved to Dover, where they were able to get jobs. She was approximately 2 years old then and, while in Dover, NC, her baby brother was born. Her parents named him Dover after the town in which they were living.
After several years, her family moved back to their home place in Jackson County. She has lived through the great depression and has lived through 17 different presidents serving the United States.
Mrs. Craven started to school at White Plains Baptist Church, at the age of 6. She walked probably one-half a mile or more by herself until she met up with some other children on the same road and they walked together the rest of way.
She started to school at Jackson Trail School when it was built in 1931. Once again, she had to walk to and from school daily which was approximately two miles. Even with her Daddy driving the county school bus, it was determined she lived to close to school to be allowed to ride the bus.
Mrs. Craven remembers the morning she was at school when the deadly tornado of 1936 hit Gainesville. The clouds were very dark and finally the principal dismissed school and she had to walk home. She made it to her maternal grandparents, Isum and Aliliae Hogan’s, just before a terrible storm hit.
Her Hogan grandparents owned a general store, a grist mill, a wooden-shakes making shop and a blacksmith shop all on in the same location, which is now Hogan Mill Road.
She remembers she and a cousin getting a “twist” of tobacco and going out behind the store and chewing it and becoming deadly sick.
These grandparents owned a Delco Battery System which produces electricity for their house. She remembers people from the community coming to her grandparent’s house to listen to the radio describing the destruction of the Gainesville Tornado. Then she and a bunch of people loaded up on the back of her Daddy’s truck to go to see the devastation.
While still in school she and her brother, Dover on their Thanksgiving Break, would have to set out acres of cabbage set/plants while all their friends would be out hunting and enjoying their Thanksgiving holidays. Her father was a produce farmer and he would go by truck to the Atlanta Farmer’s Market and stay, sleeping in his truck until all cabbages were sold. Mrs.Craven got a chance to go to work in Winder, GA at one of the textile manufacturing plants. She was so happy not to have to work in the cotton fields.
Once again, Mrs. Craven had to walk approximately a half mile every morning and evening to catch a ride with Claire Lou Wilson who lived out in the Thyatira Church Community Claire Lou would take workers in her car to Winder to work.
The only form of entertainment in those days was attending church, even then they had to walk to church.
In 1940, she married Dewey Lee Hayes, from Barrow County. They had four children, Ann Hayes Tompkins, Sue Ellen Hayes Whiddon, Anthony Lee Hayes and James Keith Hayes. She now has six grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
In the1925s, she and her family ran a chicken and cow farm, operating one of the first chicken farms and selling Grade “B” milk.
In the late 1970s, Dot and her only Sister, Doris Wilbanks, operated several greenhouses still on the same farm. Dewey Lee, a Navy veteran died in 1981. In the mid 1980s, Dot moved to Winder to semi-retire. Being an excellent cook, Dot published a cookbook in her own hand-writing of her favorite recipes exclusives for her family members.
One of the most enjoyable and memorable things Dot ever did was in 1990. She, her good friend, Janice Barnett and her brother, Dover, took a three-week trip out west to the Canadian Rocks and the Western State. The fun part of this entire trip was traveling and sleeping in this Van her brother, “rigged up”, not your Airstream by any stretch of the imagination. They camped in National parks. Only one night did they stay in a hotel and that was in Las Vegas, during a severe storm outbreak.
In 1993, Dot married J. W. Craven of Gillsville, she and Mr. J. W. worked for Craven’s Pottery until they both retired at the age of 87. She lived in Gillsville until the death of Mr. J. W. in 2012, she moved back to Jefferson in January of 2016 where she currently resides.