Happy New Years – Cherryville Style…

Image care of Rusty Wise’s “The History of Cherryville New Years Shooters” web site.

I grew up in a small mill town in the foothills of North Carolina, Cherryville (pronounced Cher’-vel). I recollect three stop lights in the town, when I was growing up. They’re up to seven now, that I can count.

Settled in the 18th century by Scots-Irish and German immigrants, including my surname’s ancestor, Daniel Johann Wahrlich (spelled to Warlick by a near-literate ship’s clerk), a German tradition was carried over and still observed in Cherryville — that of traveling from home to home, reciting a chant (below) and firing overloaded mustkets to “..drive out demons, witches, and other non-desirable entities on the property and bless the land for the upcoming year.” ((Wise, Rusty. “The History of the Cherryville New Years Shooters.” The Cherryville New Years Shooters Inc.. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Jan 2011. <http://bit.ly/5q0OQM>.))

Here is a video, produced in 2007 by, Cherryville resident, Rusty Wise that includes the chant (posted below) and much footage of the shooters.

Happy New Years to you, everywhere!

You can also enjoy a New Year’s Shooters music video here.


Chant of the New Years Shooters

Good morning to you, sir.

We wish you a happy New Year, Great health, long life, which God may bestow

So long as you stay here below.

May he bestow the house you’re in,

Where you go out and you go in.

Time by moments steals away,

First the hour and then the day.

Small the lost days may appear,

But they soon mount up to a year.

Thus another year is gone,

And now it is no more of our own,

but if it brings our promises good

As the year before the flood,

but let none of us forget It has left us much in debt,

a favor from the Lord received

Since which our spirits hath been grieved.

Marked by the unerring hand,

Thus in His book our record stands.

Who can tell the vast amounts

Placed to each our accounts?

But while you owe the debt is large,

You may plead a full discharge.

But poor and selfish sinners say,

What can you to justice pay?

Trembling last for life is past

And into prison you may be cast.

Happy is the believing soul,

Christ for you has paid the whole.

We have this New Year’s morning Called you by your name,

and disturbed you from your rest,

But we hope no harm by the same.

As we ask, come tell us your desire,

And if it be your desire,

our guns and pistols they shall fire.

Since we hear of no defiance,

you shall hear the art of science.

When we pull trigger and powder burns,

you shall hear the roaring of our guns;

Oh, daughters of righteousness, we will rise

and warm our eyes And bless our hearts,

for the old year’s gone and the New Year’s come

And for good luck, we’ll fire our guns!

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.