GRANITE FALLS — Sometimes the authentic story of one family resonates deeply with the similar stories of many families. This is certainly the case with the recent local history publication — Isma: Memoir of a Catawba Valley Family and edited by Caldwell County’s Kay Huffman Gregory. What unfolds is an unvarnished history of daily life in the Catawba River Valley of Western North Carolina.
Overflowing with Southern food, religious faith, historic photographs, and fierce family love, this memoir spans from the 1895 birth of Isma Moretz Huffman to the current lives of her surviving children and grandchildren. This book is a reissue of Isma Moretz Huffman’s Memories Dedicated to my Grandchildren that she published for her family in 1967 and again in a longer version in 1972. Gregory preserves her grandmother’s original text but embellishes it with over one hundred historic family photographs. Gregory also adds new materials where eleven of Isma and Arthur’s grandchildren as well as their two daughters and one surviving daughter-in-law offer their memories of life on Huffman’s Cove.
This story begins on a small farm by the Middle Little River in the Bethlehem community of Alexander County where Isma was born. Isma lived on this farm from her birth in 1895 until her widowed mother’s remarriage in 1912. At that point, the family moved across the Catawba River to Huffman’s Cove in Northwest Hickory to live with their new stepfather, Daniel Monroe Huffman. A year later, Isma married Arthur Huffman; they settled on Huffman’s Cove, and over the next 61 years, together they raised a family of seven children. Isma shares the joys and travails of raising a farming family through two World Wars and the Great Depression. She depicts a lifestyle without modern conveniences, a way of life unknown to many of us in the early 21st century
Read Isma: Memoir of a Catawba Valley Family, and you will likely recognize your own family history as well.
“The more deeply personal the story, the more honestly it reflects not just the history of one family, but the daily lifestyle lived by most in this region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,” Gregory said.