Farm Legend: Theron Maybin shines in local history

August 3, 2017 Hendersonville , Pete Zamplas 2907 Views
Farm Legend: Theron Maybin shines in local history

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The paver is among more than a dozen antique vehicles and agricultural equipment he displayed for years, on his front yard along his Green River farm property’s long driveway. This impressive outdoor antique museum included a disc plow, large kettle cart, and several tractors from various decades.

Theron Larnce Maybin, Sr. (1943-2017) died Feb. 17, at age 73. He stands out as by far the most recently-deceased of the new local Walk of Fame’s initial 17 honorees. He is the only one chosen for long-lasting impact on agriculture.

“Theron’s contribution in the field of agriculture has had a significant, everlasting impact” locally, Maybin’s wife Mary Lois Jackson Maybin and her sister Betsy Copolillo wrote in nominating him. “Without people like Theron Maybin, we would not enjoy the agricultural benefits we now have. With his initiative, Henderson County will continue to grow as a significant, agricultural center for all of North Carolina.”

His imprint on farming and soil conservation is vast. Maybin was an elected supervisor of the Soil and Water Conservation District, a colleague of Drew Brannon, and was board vice-chairman. He worked with the EPA to slow soil runoff from logged hillsides that polluted Upper Rock Creek.

Maybin recently chaired the county’s Agriculture Economic Development Advisory Board.

Maybin and wife Mary Lois are reigning co-farmers of the year, as chosen at the latest Farm City Day last fall. He had a herd of 35 cattle. He grew beans, squash and other produce on a small segment of a once huge, 103-acre farm. He was a regular at Farm City Day, in the local Apple Growers Association, and at 4-H activities for youth.

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This paver was reportedly used for the first paving ever of Hendersonville’s Main Street. It is shown while on the late Theron Maybin’s farm, among many antique vehicles there. Maybin, a 6-3 gentle giant, has been huge in local farming. Photos by Pete Zamplas.

He taught at Tigg’s Pond Retreat, and mentored many children in the Green River-Tuxedo area, for decades. Theron and Mary Maybin, his wife of 43 years, had five children and six grandchildren. Theron’s parents were Luther and Carrie Capps Maybin.

Theron Maybin was very gentle-natured and easy going. He had a rough low voice and burly 6-foot-3 stature, but assuring smile and firm handshake. He was recognizable as a farmer, usually in overalls and a ballcap — even at many formal functions. His family touts his strong Christian faith and work ethic, that he passed on to those around him.

“Theron was a plain-speaking person. He was as real as anybody you’d ever meet,” historian Tom Orr said of his late colleague on various committees. “He treated people with great respect. He was a church man, a good man. He believed in the goodness of people and that we need to stay tied to the earth and soil, and replenish what we’ve been given. He was a great farmer and conservationist. He loved the soil, to harvest the crops it produced. He produced prize-winning vegetables and fruit, that he took to the state fair in Raleigh.”

Orr noted “our rich agricultural heritage is getting away from us. Land is becoming housing developments. Theron fought for the farmer, and keeping agriculture.”

Maybin helped found Green River’s public library, its volunteer fire department and station, and Tuxedo tailgate market. He was a deacon of Cedar Springs Baptist Church. The church was founded in 1847 — nearly a century before his birth. He was in East Henderson’s inaugural class of 1961.

“Theron was a good friend,” Orr said. “I’m very upset” by his death. “He’d say ‘come down to our church. I once got there at 6 a.m. that Sunday. There he was, frying sausage” for the post-service meal.

Orr hailed Maybin’s county-wide historic civic service. “He was on the original committee of 21, to save the Historic Courthouse. He also worked hard, for establishment of the Heritage Museum” in the courthouse off Main Street.

Maybin helped salvage neglected cemeteries. He teamed with late historian George A. Jones to put gravestones on unmarked graves of military veterans, Orr noted. “He went around trying to identified unmarked graves of soldiers, to make sure they were given the respect that a soldier deserves. He loved his country, and believed in veterans.”

Theron Maybin served in the Vietnam War, supervising 10 combat helicopter mechanics in 1965-66 in the Army 121st Aviation Division. He was sprayed with the Agent Orange, the herbicide the U.S. used to remove forest cover for enemy troops. His exposure to it was so severe, he was temporarily blind at first and it is suspected as contributing to his gout and a stroke, his family said.

They said his stroke was a week before last Christmas, around the time Walk of Fame selections were publicly announced. So he knew of his selection in his final two months, when in nursing then hospice care.

The Maybins’ extensive military service history goes back at least to the Revolutionary War, and Matthew Maybin (1756-1840) and Theron’s maternal ancestor William Henry Capps Jr. (1761-1847). Irish native Matthew Maybin reportedly killed 20 British soldiers soon after escaping from capture and fought in five revolutionary battles, according to Theron.

Matthew Maybin settled first in Newberry, S.C. in 1772. He traveled through the Green River during the War of Independence, and after it settled there. The area remained in South Carolina until 1838, when the border was realigned to the Continental Divide. His son George Maybin was Cedar Springs’ first church clerk in the Green River area and made it his home, Maybin said.

Matthew Maybin was huge for his day, listed on his grave as 6-foot-4 to 6-6 which is a foot taller than the typical 5-6 soldier then.

East Henderson football lineman Trevor Maybin, a junior, is 6-5 and recently weighed at 345 pounds. That makes him likely the largest football player around — at least in this county. Trevor said he is a descendant of Theron, such as a grand-nephew. He continues the extended Maybin family’s local legacy, in and on various fields of endeavor.

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