Glendale's Palmetto Ramblers
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker

The Glendale “Palmetto Ramblers” was a Country/Western String band composed of Paul Crocker, J. C. Quinn, Eugene White and Clarence Crocker (this writer) of Glendale, S.C. We played over Spartanburg’s WSPA am Radio for a few months in 1938. Going on the air February 17, 1930, WSPA am radio was the first commercial radio station in S.C. As I remember, the station was located just off Main Street about half block down on South Liberty street. Mr. Virgil Evans was the owner. Scotty The Drifter, Cliff Gray (Farmer Gray), Fred Gentry with Hal Moore at the organ were all big names in local radio at that time. Crazy Water Crystals, Vim Herb and Scalf’s Indian River Medicine were big radio advertisers. 

Crazy Water Crystals were supposed to aid in relieving the pains of some 10 different human ailments, everything from sore eyes to rheumatism. Scalf’s Indian River Medicine was a tonic supposedly made from some 22 different herbs which was supposed to help appetites while Vim Herb was supposed to be the best natural laxative available. As a matter of fact, many a bottle or package of these products were sold in the Glendale Mills Store in the thirties, forties and fifties. 

Paul the leader, played the fiddle which was featured at least once in every program. He delighted in playing such tunes as, The Orange Blossom Special, Old Joe Clark, Turkey In The Straw, or Little Liza Jane. It was in fact an old type violin which most people called “fiddle“ in that day. It was hand crafted and had a rattle snake rattler inside which was supposed to give it certain special sounds. 

J.C. and Eugene who were brothers, played guitar and I must say, they played them well. They had terrific musical voices and did all our solos and duets. For the most part, I played the banjo. Except for the fiddle which only Paul played, we all exchanged instruments from time to time, playing the guitar, banjo, mandolin and the ukulele. Of course we all sang as a group at least once on most every program. 

Our program was aired once a week. Our theme song was, “Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet”. The chorus went something like this, "now Lisa sat down on her bonnet with a bumble bee upon it, she did not know the bumble bee was there, the bumble bee got busy and stung poor Liza..on her golden wedding day day”.

We played bluegrass, ragtime, polkas and sang popular country western. Also popular folk songs of that day such as, Blue Moon, Tumbling, Tumble Weeds, Back In The Saddle Again, Buffalo Gals, Home on the Range, You are My Sunshine, Listen to the Mockingbird, Goodnight Irene and Mama Won’t Allow. One of the most popular songs of that day was an old folk song which I believe came out of the 1800s entitled “Wabash Cannonball ”. Roy Acuff recorded the song about 1936 and it was reported that 10 million copies were sold. We always had one or two gospel songs about the middle of our programs. 

Though we had invitations to play on other programs, we had to turn them down due to work and other interests, (I was still in High School). As these began to claim more and more of our time, not allowing for practice, it resulted in our disbanding since we had no interest of making music our goal of life. 

J. C. Quinn and Eugene White were blood brothers but due to their mother’s death, (appendicitis) they were adopted by their aunts and their husbands when they were just small children. J. C, was about 2-1/2 years old and Eugene was about 6 months old. They were both born in Converse, S. C. and were the sons of Mr. Ernest and Mrs. Rosy Mae Crossley Quinn. 

J. C, Quinn was born June 2, 1918 and was adopted by Mr. Minor and Mrs. Pearl Crossley Riddle of Glendale. They did not choose to have his name changed.

J. C’s first job was in Glendale Mill’s weave room. He entered the Army during WW2, doing service in Germany under the Command of General Patton. He also did service in Korea, retiring from the army in 1970 after 26 years of service. Moving to Georgia, he was employed by the Georgia State Department of Corrections. 

J.C. was first married to Miss. Edith Frances of Glendale, S. C. and they were the parents of seven children; Eddy, Gene, Jimmy, Robert, Dorothy, Judy and Sue. Following their divorce, J. C. married Miss. Merline Kuehnle in Germany. They were the parents of one child; Jackie. Following their divorce, J. C’s third marriage was to Miss. Ute Roewer of Neustrelitz, Germany. They have been married some 40 years and have no children . Moving back to Glendale in 2010, they bought the house on Jackson street located directly in front of the house J.C. lived in with his Aunt and Uncle when coming to Glendale as a child.

In my visit with J.C. and his wife in Glendale on January 3, 2011, I was greeted with a big smile and a warm welcome. It had been over 50 years since we had been able to sit down and talk. I found J.C. to be the same friendly and jovial guy I had come to know some 75 years before. It was hard to believe that he was 92 years old. His wife has a wonderful personality and a big smile. She was gracious to both J.C. and myself during my visit. She was quick to get info and pictures of J. C. together for this article. My deep appreciation is extended to them for their assistance in pulling this story together, 

Eugene Quinn White was born December 11, 1920 and was adopted by Mr. Boyce and Mrs. Della Crossley White of Glendale and chose to have his name changed. 

His first job was with Glendale Mills where he worked in the cloth room. Leaving Glendale Mills, he was employed by Duke Power Company as a bus driver which he continued to do until he was moved inside as a sales representative. 

 Eugene had married Miss Lee Mira Sherbert of Spartanburg, S. C. and they were the parents of three children, Dianne, Sandra and Gerald. He was a member of the Glendale Baptist Church, the Spartan Masonic Lodge #70 and the Hejaz Temple. He was a WW2 Army Veteran and served also in the Korean conflict. 

One day while driving with his son he saw a lady have a very bad wreck. The car burst into flames. Eugene stopped, ran over and pulled the lady out of the car preventing her from burning to death. For his act of compassion and heroism he received Duke Power’s highest Robinson Award and was moved to the sales office where he became the top salesman. 

He was working with Duke at the time of his death. His obituary appearing in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal on January 15, 1975 stated that he had died on Tuesday January 14, 1975 at 5:15 PM in the Mary Black Hospital at the age of 54.It also stated that he had been a salesman for Duke for 31 years. 

His funeral was held at Floyd Mortuary with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Spartanburg. He was survived by his wife Mrs. Lee Mira White and two daughters; Mrs. Dianne Fowler of Lima, Ohio and Mrs. Sandra Crowe of Lake Bowen, S. C.; one son, Gerald White of Spartanburg; one brother, J.C. Quinn of Atlanta, Ga. and six grandchildren. 

Eugene was a peach of a guy, friendly and always dressed immaculately. During the days of our radio program he drove a new red and white Plymouth pickup truck. Continuously washing and polishing the truck, it sparkled like new money. His brother J. C. jokingly told him that he had washed and polished the truck so much, it turned to a pale pink. 

 J.C. and Eugene were two of the nicest and best friends anyone could ever have. I am glad they were my friends. 

Incidentally, they have a sister Ethel Smith who at 84 years of age, has a “Dixie Jazz Band” in which she plays the banjo and sings. Among other places, they perform on an Alaskan Cruise Ship from time to time.

My appreciation to Dianne and her husband, Newell Fowler, another good friend of old times, for their help in getting dates and pictures together for me. 

Paul Revere Crocker was the son of Albert E and Ella Elnora Crocker and was the brother of this writer. He was born September 25, 1919 in the family home on the Glendale/Clifton road. 

Paul married Miss. Nellie Geneva Johnson daughter of Mr. John Jessie and Mrs. Eliza Melinda Neely Johnson. She was born in their home in Hancock, Tenn. Paul and Nell became the parents of one daughter, Martha Ann. 

Paul’s first job outside the family farm, was in Glendale Mills for a short while. He was self employed, operating a dry cleaning route at the time we were playing as a band. In September of 1939 ,at the age of nineteen, Paul was employed by Liberty Life Insurance Company as a Insurance Salesman where he remained, except for a three year tour of military service, until he retired. 

Paul was a veteran of WW2 having served in the U. S. Army in numerous places in the Pacific theater. He was credited with silencing a Japanese machine gun position in Okinawa. He was discharged as a Technical Sgt. (First Class) having been awarded a Purple Heart for injury received in action and a Bronze Star for Heroic Action. 

Paul was a member of the Glendale Baptist Church for 54 years and had served as a member of the choir, taught the Young Men’s Bible class and had served as Sunday School Superintendent during which time the Sunday School experienced it’s largest attendance in history having 602 persons in study one Sunday morning. He received a 47 year perfect attendance Sunday School pin. 

Following the death of his wife, Nell Johnson Crocker on September 23, 1987, Paul married Mrs. Janie Sprouse of Clifton, S. C. 

Paul died on October 19, 2000 from pancreatic cancer. His funeral was held in the Glendale Baptist Church with interment following in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, Spartanburg, S. C. I was honored by being asked to bring the message for the service. He was survived by his wife, Janie; his daughter Martha and her husband, Ben Dearybury and two grandchildren. 

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