Published Tuesday, August 31, 1897 in The Observer, Fayetteville, NC
E. J. Hale Editor and Proprietor - E. J. Hale, Jr., Business Manager

The Heartstrings and the Birthland
by Mr. W. L. Murphy to Dr. J. W. McNeill

Shared by Christine Meinert Spencer    Posted September 12, 2008 by Myrtle Bridges

"Our old friend and former county man, Mr. W. L. Murphy, of Mexia, Texas, whose visit to his former home 
we recently mentioned, has written from Morganton a letter to Dr. J. W. McNeill, son of his father's nearest 
neighbor and friend, from which we are permitted to make the following extracts.":  E. J. Hale, Editor:

I am about on the eve of my departure for Texas, the home I adopted in 1873, when I left good old Cumberland 
county for the "far West," but I cannot leave this land of my nativity without again expressing to you the 
sincere thanks of myself and wife for the many courtesies extended us by yourself and your good wife during 
our stay in your midst.

My wife is carried away with love and admiration for the people of good old Fayetteville and Cumberland county. 
I have often told her of these people, and she felt that she knew them before she visited your section. Now she 
says the "half has not been told."

Every tree, every creek, river and spring in Cumberland county is dear to me. Our trip out to my old home, 
on Rockfish, I shall never, never, forget. After a quarter of a century's absence from the old home, strange 
and queer emotions arise in one's bosom when "viewing the landscape o'er," and hard, hard indeed, must one's 
heart be who would not shed a tear on such an occasion. Sacred in my memory shall ever be the last glance at 
my old home, and the graves of my father and mother, when we left old Rockfish a few evenings since.

I shall never forget the meeting with your dear old father, the venerable, hale and healthy old gentleman. 
He looked as he did 25 years ago, when I bade him good bye. May I, in after years, again have the pleasure 
of grasping his hand, and I believe I shall. His physical condition is wonderful to me.

While I found but little changes in Fayetteville's appearance from what it was 25 years ago, still, it was 
with sadness that I missed so many faces, the old "landmarks" of the town. Many of them have "passed over 
the River." The Williamses, Lillys, McKethans, Robinson's, Hinsdales, and many others-all men whose examples 
would do to follow. Strive to get the young men of Cumberland county to emulate their example. While some or 
your citizens seem a little down-hearted over the future of Fayetteville, still, I have hopes that some great 
thing is in store for her. Old Fayetteville is too noble a town to ever exist only in history. Her people are 
too clever to allow it.

I could spend a year in your section and then not get through handshaking. Plead this as my apology for not 
meeting all; my time was limited. It hurts me more not to meet my friends than it do them not to see me.

Oh, that we could find the "fountain of Youth," drink and live forever, but it cannot be, so my wish is that 
we may live to a ripe old age, and when we are called to the "other side," may we all be prepared to pass 
over and have a re-union from which there will be no parting forever and forever, and where all is eternal bliss.

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