A woman before her time, out of the ashes of violence and abuse, she truly was the Phoenix Rising

Oney’s Story: Phoenix Rising

Part I

RB
12 min readFeb 17, 2019

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One Woman’s Struggle to Overcome Violence and Abuse

‘Oney’ was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina in 1843 to George and Elizabeth Johnson. She was their fifth and youngest daughter. We know that her father and mother were born in South Carolina; George Johnson’s parents’ origins were Virginia. George made his living as a farmer and a cobbler. Why Oney’s family left the extended Johnson clan in South Carolina and moved to Polk County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is unknown. She was 16-years-old. It was a time in her life when she should have been dreaming of girlish things… anything but the horrific events that were about to unfold…

1861–1865

She was born into a turbulent historical period. In the mountains during the civil war era there was a split in loyalties between the North and the South. In 1860 the South seceded from the Union; tensions ran high in Polk County. Many people lived vulnerable and isolated lives from others in the hollers and upon mountain tops leaving few choices for future mates and socialization. Men were preparing for war. She never got the chance to be a proper young lady; it was stolen from her on one fateful night…

Since time began, it has been recorded that some men have preyed upon others and ruthlessly have taken what they wanted without mercy. Hiram King Jones was one such man. We don’t know when he first laid eyes on the beautiful young Oney and decided he would do whatever necessary to have her, but he did in a most malice way. It was soon after her family moved to Polk County. She was a child living at home. He was a 38-year-old married man with ten children and a pregnant wife preparing to deliver their eleventh child. Hiram was a fairly prominent, influential, and wealthy business man. He was known for his womanizing and sexual prowess.

On February 6, 1859, Hiram invaded the home of George Johnson with the intent to do what was necessary to abscond with Oney. Kidnapping, rape, and first degree assault were the result. Nothing would stop him. Exactly how the events unfolded are unknown but the outcome was criminal and well documented in the Polk…

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RB

RB is a retired psychotherapist, storyteller, genealogists and lover of family.