Charles Sylvester Felts
Charles Sylvester Felts
Year Inducted: 2016
Charles "Charlie" Sylvester Felts was born May 20, 1891, in the Hays community of Wilkes County to Aaron and Julia Wood Felts. He married Elsie Dinsmore Wilkes in 1927. Felts was a most diversified person, having served as an educator, veteran, farmer, ATU agent and magistrate.
Felts joined the Army in 1919 and served his country proudly. Felts was a World War I veteran who served his country in France with the 221st Military Police, 81st Division. He graduated from Appalachian State Normal School in Boone. Felts worked as an educator for 18 years, teaching and serving as principal in most of the schools in Wilkes. Many years ago, Wilkes County Schools was divided into numerous districts. Felts served the school districts of Oak Grove, White Plains, Rock Creek, Oak Ridge, Sulphur Springs, Mountain View, Cricket and Flint Hill.
He was a Prohibition agent for the Internal Revenue Service, a division of the US Treasury Department, and was the group leader in the Wilkes County office of the Alcohol Tax Unit until he retired in 1961 at the age of 70. Felts participated in 2,500 arrests and assisted in destroying more than 5 million gallons of mash and more than 70,000 gallons of illicit whiskey. At the age of 81, Felts was appointed to be a magistrate for the District Court in Wilkesboro. He was re-appointed for his second term, but passed away the day after his re-appointment.
Felts was a man whose integrity was recognized and respected by citizens of Wilkes from various walks of life. It was known of Felts that he would not "sear your back." This meant if Felts saw you running away from a still and never saw your face, he would not sear in court that he could identify you. Felts had a reputation of never stretching the truth.
In June 2014, the North Wilkesboro Town Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution asking the N.C. Board of Transportation that part of N.C. Highway 18 North be named in memory of the Wilkes County native who spent 30 years destroying liquor stills and arresting people associated with them. The request is for the 5-mile section of N.C. 18 North from Felts Street in North Wilkesboro, where Felts lived, to Mulberry Elementary School.
Felts joined New Covenant Baptist Church in Hays at an early age and later joined Oak Ridge Baptist Church, where he served as a church clerk and a Sunday school teacher. Felts was also a member of the American Legion.