Chief: Avery County Years
Chief, the founder of the Washington County Ghost Riders and the Ghost Riders Nation, has been in Johnson City, TN for so long that most people have no idea that he is actually from the mountains of Avery County, NC.
Chief’s real name is James Clayton Moody and he was born March 21, 1933 in Banner Elk, NC. At that time the hospital was located at what is now the Lees-McRae college.
Chief’s family home was in Elk Park, NC. He was the son of Lucy Moody but he was raised by his grandparents, Tom and Julia Moody.
This is what Elk Park looked like in the 1930’s when Chief was born.
This is a winter painting of Elk Park around the 1930’s time period.
They started working on the Blue Ridge Parkway December 1, 1940.
This is a train magazine cover pic of what Elk Park looked like while Chief was growing up around 1945.
This is a close up view of the train depot in Elk Park. As a 12 and above boy Chief hung out here.
This is the Grist Mill in Elk Park. As a boy Chief would carry garden products from his home there to have them milled. He then carried the milled products back home.
At around 13 Chief worked for Brinkley’s Hardware. (This is a before Chief picture.) Chief unloaded box cars and stored the newly arrived merchandise in the Brinkley storage unit.
Also part of Chief”s job was to help deliver ordered supplies to job sites or people’s homes.
Chief attended church at the Elk Park Christian church as well as many others.
As a boy Chief and his friends rode their bicycles down to the Elk Falls to go swimming, as they still do today.
This is a pic of a 1940’s Elk Park winter. Chief used to love to dig snow tunnels as a kid.
This is the TN side of 1940’s Elk Park. The road going up hill to the right leads up to the old Moody homestead.
This is Constable Paul Cook who was the law enforcement when Chief was growing up in Elk Park. Paul Cook was older than this picture when Chief was a boy. He wore a suit and not this uniform.
This is Chief at age 79 at a Ghost Riders party in Johnson City, Tn on Feb. 9, 2013. This picture was taken just a few days before this interview was conducted.