A Virtual Conversation with Susan Speight | White Oak Mountain

A Virtual Conversation with Susan Speight | White Oak Mountain

November 5th 2020 | 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join us for a virtual conversation with local author Susan Speight on Thursday, November 5th, at 7PM! The author of As We Climb the Mountain, Up the Winding Roadway, Camp Skyuka, 1954-1985 is back with her second book which also features Polk County, NC: White Oak Mountain, North Carolina: The Cast of Characters and the Places They Loved.

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White Oak Mountain, North Carolina

by Susan Speight

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A quarry man from Ohio, a millionaire from New York, a former First Lady, and a notorious mountain man - these characters and more are featured in this new book about White Oak Mountain, Columbus, NC.

The foreword is written by cultural historian, Mike McCue: "In this book, Susan has pulled together a rich opportunity to add to our knowledge. One of her goals is to gather memories--first-hand and second-hand accounts presented here, which are valuable primary sources. Her even greater achievement here is to share fruits of extensive research into the more-distant past. She brings to light much material that has never been published. Susan's work offers fresh perspectives we haven't had before, and suggests additional intriguing avenues for future research and interpretation."

This is a fascinating and little known story for anyone interested in the history of western North Carolina. There are more than 200 images in the book, some of which have never been seen outside of family albums.


Susan Story Speight grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee against the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. Girl Scout and church group activities were always held in the Smokies and summer trips to Aunt Carol’s cabin near Gatlinburg formed fond memories. Susan’s grandfather, George F. Barber, was one of the founders and the first president of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club and was involved in the local effort to develop the Smokies into a national park. All of the above contributed to her love of the mountains.

After attending the University of Tennessee and completing coursework in journalism at the University of South Carolina, she participated in a four-year extension course in theological education from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. As the promotions director for the Central Area Partnership in Greenville, South Carolina, she developed “Fall for Greenville,” now in its 39th year. She was also the community involvement coordinator for Richland School District One in Columbia, South Carolina, 

In 2004, Susan and her husband, Charlie, bought a stone cottage on the old swimming hole at Camp Skyuka on White Oak Mountain, North Carolina. When former campers started showing up at their door to reminisce about their memories, Susan realized that the camp story needed to be told. In 2006, she published, As We Climb the Mountain, Up the Winding Roadway, Camp Skyuka, 1954-1985. Susan has continued to research and explore the other characters and special places that make up the history of the Mountain. 

Susan and her husband, Charlie, have a blended family with six children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The best part of living on the Mountain has been making memories for their family, especially their grandchildren.

Missed an event? Visit our YouTube channel here for event recordings from our virtual events and other fun recorded content!

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