Photo Corner

Rebecca Hoxit Aiken, called 'The Witch of Caney Fork' Contributed by Dan Johnson, Granada, Spain
My third great-grandmother, Rebecca Hoxit Aiken, was called ‘The Witch of Caney Fork’ a legendary figure of the Caney Fork area of Jackson County, NC. She was married at least once and possibly was of Indian background.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Louis and Yetta (nee Struckler) Becker, 1898Contributed by Edward Becker, Flushing, New York
Grandparents Louis and Yetta (nee Struckler) Becker with six of their children in 1898. The two oldest children, Harry and Molly are standing in the back, with Sylvia, Barney, Bessie, and Bertha in the front row (left to right). Bessie, the youngest child is sitting on Yetta’s lap. Yetta gave birth to three more children in later years, including my father Abraham, born in 1899.

16 thoughts on “Photo Corner

  1. Would love to hear more about Rebecca Hoxit Aiken and her being “The Witch of Caney Fork” She looks like a lady who lived a very hard life as did so many of our people of that time.

    Thank you, Susie

  2. As a quilter I’m looking at the fabulous quilt on the wall behind Rebecca Hoxit Aiken. Is that wonderful piece still in the family? Rebecca looks like such a strong woman.

  3. What a fantastic picture!

    I would like to know why she was called “The Witch of Caney Fork”
    Was this something that caused her to be distressed? Was this label more of a “Fox Fire” type of label pertaining to her being a person that healed with herbs and potions associating her with being a type of backwoods doctor. Did the surrounding neighbors think of her as being a good person or someone to fear?
    Her eyes are so expressive. She seems to have the look of a person who has lost something very precious. I’ve seen this look in my own family members after the death of a child. During her lifetime I expect that losing a child was quite common.

  4. I too would like to know why the moniker for Rebecca, but being a quilter myself I was equally facinated by the quilt in the background!

  5. I was fascinated with this beautiful womans face and think someone should paint a portrait of her. The quilt in the background shows frugality with all the different sizes of patchwork. Every scrap was saved and used again as a person wore out the clothes. A story about her would be very interesting and mysterious.

  6. I hope Dan Johnson tells us a little bit more of the story of Rebecca Hoxit Aiken. She obviously fascinates us.

  7. What a poignant picture of an older woman. I would be interested in knowing more about her life.

  8. I also am enjoying Mr. Becker’s Grandparents’ family picture. Yetta looks of sturdy stock to have that many children one right after another and Louis looks sweet. How long did each of them live?

  9. I think I may have an copy of a John Parris article on your GGGmother. Parris was the editor of the Ashville (NC) Times and published many articles on the old timers in Western NC during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The article is in a book collection published in 1957 that was given to me some years ago. I always take it with me when I hike in the area.

  10. Granny Beck was quite the legend! The ‘witch’ label comes likely from her herbalist, country-medicine, Indian? background. She also had quite the temper! I have written an article (published in the Jackson County Genealogical Society journal) that I can send as an attachment to anyone who is interested. [email protected]

  11. Christopher!

    I have looked for that article for YEARS! Family members had mentioned it to me, but no one has a copy–PLEASE write me! [email protected]. I have looked far and wide, and this is the first solid lead I have concerning it!

  12. I would so love to recieve more info on granny the witch. I find her very interesting. She must have been well known to others as a great medicine woman. They must have come to her from near and far, to recieve her herbs to be healed. You offered a copy of your artical, and I would love to recieve one. I am of Cherokee blood And in a way feel conected to this great woman! Wa-Do

  13. Looking for photos or information on the my kin folks, my grandfather was Lewis Sheppard b.1892-1897 he died in 1950 due to drowning in flood waters. I am no sure where he was born, I believe his father was Harry Sheppard and his mother was Martha Brewster I think maybe from the KY or WV area. My grandmother married Lewis and her name is Bessie Ratliff b.1895-1897 she died in WV in 1966. Her parents were John L. Ratliff and Mary Norman. Lewis and Bessie had about 8 kids and my father Fred Sheppard was one of them. I would appreciate any help, since I never was able to meet any of these aunts, uncles or know anything about them. My father has since pass away and my mother does not know any history on this side of the family. I would be most grateful for any kind of input or leads. Thanks! email me at [email protected]

  14. Hello, think we talked once before. I am sure that the picture of Bessie sitting on the lap of Yetta could be kin as my grandmother was Bessie Ratliff and she married a Louis/Lewis Sheppard from the Ky Pike Co area. Please email me with all help you can offer. I feel that maybe there is some link with this picture. Thanks again.

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