“No man owns land . . . Some are privileged with keeping it in their lifetime, but then it passes on to future generations. The greatest contribution a man can make to his fellow man is to take that land in his charge, make it more beautiful and productive than it was when he was chosen for its care.”
These words from Deck Lemmond are perhaps the best way to sum up the Hinson-Lemmond-Helms Family History display, which now graces the walls of Novant Mint Hill Medical Center. With Mint Hill Arts, Novant Mint Hill celebrated the unveiling of the Family History on December 17.
“As we had the opportunity to start designing and thinking about building this facility, we were really trying to create a space that would tell the story of Mint Hill and surrounding areas,” said Mint Hill Medical Center President Joy Greear as she welcomed those gathered to the unveiling. “One of the things we felt very strongly about was being able to tell the history of this area. As the construction trailer sat on the land for a couple of years prior to the hospital being built, Jerry [Helms] stopped by often to share tales and to show me maps and talk about family history.”
The stories that Jerry shared with Joy shaped the one that now graces the lobby’s wall. The photos and captions share a story spanning over a century and tell the tale of the land on which the hospital is located, land that was once a 1000-acre farm owned by Confederate Veteran and prominent “Clear Creek” citizen Eli Hinson.
The centerpiece of the display is a narrative written by Carol Timblin, who served as the first president of the Mint Hill Historical Society. Timblin tells the story of how Hinson’s grandson Dexter “Deck” Lemmond farmed the land while also operating a full-service gas station and grocery store on Albemarle Road – now Jake’s Good Eats. Deck’s wife, Minnie Lowrance Lemmond, was a beloved school teacher who taught at Bain Academy for over 45 years. Although Deck passed away in 1963, Minnie continued to manage both the farm and the service station and remain active in her church and community until her death in 2001.
Minnie and Deck had one daughter, Margaret Sue. Born in 1943, Sue had grown up on the farm helping both Minnie and Deck. Sue and her future husband Jerry Helms met on a blind date and were married at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in 1965. Upon Minnie’s passing, Sue and Jerry moved back to the farm on Albemarle Road. The couple served as co-presidents of the Mint Hill Historical Society and played a large role in the expansion of the Carl J. McEwen Historical Village before Sue’s passing in 2012.
Nowadays, what’s left of the farm is managed by Sue and Jerry’s son Brian. The Helms family – which now includes Sue and Jerry’s seven grandchildren – plans to turn the farmhouse into an arts center to honor the Lemmond, Lowrance, and Helms families and to share Sue’s love of art, culture, and history.
With the display unveiled and Timblin’s narrative shared, Greear invited the crowd to a reception in the community room. The path to the community room led visitors down a walk through time beginning with an antique doctor’s buggy and tools on loan from Mint Hill Historical Society and ending with a timeline of Mint Hill’s history spanning the building of Philadelphia Presybterian in 1770 to modern day.