Blacksmiths were once an essential element in any community, manufacturing and repairing items which couldn’t be purchased – or if they could be, were too difficult or expensive to bring into the mountains. These skilled tradesmen produced axe heads, plowshares, pots and pans, door latches and hinges, nails, and so much more; they also provided the vital service of horseshoeing.
Equipment in a blacksmith’s shop included his forge with bellows, his workbench with anvil, tongs and hammer, a coal bin, and a water tub. There would be tool benches and racks with the iron he used in his trade and for horseshoes and other items he forged.
Known as “Uncle Wilse” to many, Wilson Smith Jones (1875-1958) had a blacksmith shop from early in the 20th century until his retirement in the 1940s. His forge was located just outside Bakersville, where today the road cuts off from Highway 226 to the fire department. When the road was built to Toecane, Jones worked the steel they used. He also made hoes, plows, axes, and other farm implements for local folks.
This photograph was taken by James Blaine Jones, son of W.S. Jones. Jim Jones was one of Mitchell County’s noted “Picture Men.” Information about W.S. Jones was supplied by his granddaughter Louellen Peterson.