Friday, October 23, 2009

Yadkin Valley Craft Guild

I am in the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild Shop on Main Street in Elkin. I'm learning the ropes to volunteer. I've got an opportunity to immerse myself in arts and craft now. I'm signing up for an on-line graphics certification with instructors graduated from my alma mater, FIT in New York. This do-it-yourself training is not helping. I want a portfolio - a real one. I need personal critiques and remember the Clayworks? I can pick up the heavy clay now, so I'm going back and making clay pieces for Christmas presents and to sell in the shop.

We are such a small place and the economy is still reeling, I expect to write to you from this computer regularly. I have a little window and I can see the door. If customers come I will jump up. But truly we've had three customers these two hours - one wanting art suppliers, one wanting to learn to do claywork, and one who grew up here wanting to talk.

I hope I can help change that over the next few months. I want to also write/look for grants.

This is should help sustain my poor resume until the jobs return or I convince myself to go it alone.

I did get a response from a house in New York to design top-of-the-bed to be made in China. She said to let her know if I was interested in moving to New York. I've got to illustrate the method of teleconferencing. Perhaps I will buy the webcam camera and software to upgrade her PC. But first I must design.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The earth is not flat. The world is flat.

I am feeling that feeling they felt when the earth was proven to not be flat. Everything opens up. Everything changes.

So, while I struggle in my pursuit of the Revolution in the South, I am uncovering many people who have already done so, and now there are profitable, national businesses draped around the American Revolution. I can't decide if I'm late or just a prophet to the masses. Perhaps only the minority and wealthy can take these tours and attend these meetings. I'm telling you, those businesses would explode when/if there is a television series filmed in Wilmington and the masses discovered their ancestors. Then those small service businesses would follow, increase the quality of life and bring back the manufacturing to NC.

If you haven't had vacation yet and can spend the same time and money as a trip to Europein the fall, try this tour. AND I say finger-shaking to us, this company organizing this history tour is from South Dakota!!! SD!!! (We have no idea what we have in NC history.)

© 2009 HistoryAmerica TOURS4265 Peridot Lane • Rapid City, SD 57702(800) 628-8542 • (605) 348-2250 • Fax (605) 342-8471

This I imagine, is like the experience I had in Japan. I lived for two weeks with a family in Osaka. We were traveling with the Friendship Force. Seems like I told you about that experience. But, anyway... our hosts, particularly the lady of the house, were interested in our Christian culture and our faith. I can't say that I overwhelmed her with my knowledge of the Bible. I have always regretted that and wondered how a person like myself could go through Sunday School for over 30 years, been baptised and born again, and NOT have a passionate story to tell. I remember being timid about all of that, not wanting to express that all Shinto faith-believers are going to hell... I don't actually believe that. I believe God is bigger than my understanding and I trust Jesus to lead me through it. Still, was an opportunity lost??? I couldn't express my own story. It is not one of those saved from drugs like Nicky Cruz or anything stories, so is it less passionate? or do I just not know what it is???!!!!!! This is an analogy to NC and the story of the Revolution in our state. Yes, we have been to Gilford courthouse. No, we do not have too many sites yet available to see from the 1700s. But still, is our story any less passionate? I guess those folks in SD are impressed enough. (South Dakota???? They'd even benefit from an increased awareness of the story of the Revolution.)

South Dakota! Come'on NC...

And PS. “Trust in the Lord and do good…commit your way to the Lord…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” (vv. 3,4,7)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Honest Scrap Award! a meme traveling...what does it mean?

My friend Kheli, has awarded me the Honest Scrap Award! “This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.”

I am "sweet, beautiful, smart and passionate" according to Kheli !! I am blushing, but I'm not turning it down. So, with GREAT humility I express my thanks. I think her blog, remember your karma, is far more engaging than mine. She actually makes stuff!! She makes quilts and makes them fast and makes them beautiful and then will educate you about them too and then you can probably buy them. Check her out!

Here is how the award works:

1) Say thanks and give a link (in your next blog) to the presenter of the award

2) Share "10 Honest Things" about myself.

3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.

4) Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving.

So, here goes!

10 things about me:

1. I LOVE stories! I love to visit and tell stories. I love to listen to stories. But, I do not tell jokes very well. Go figure.

2.Today is my anniversary. It is the end of the seventh year. Marriage has been a wild ride. But I see it in full bloom now. If he tells me I am "sweet, beautiful, smart and passionate" I will know the bumpy years are behind. You know when we were dating, I once told him he was so beautiful (handsome) and his response was "You're so intelligent." What? HAHAHAHAHA! He was a bit chagrined. So, I decided it was a compliment.

3. I enjoy research. Of all kinds, but especially the meaning of things, the method of things and the next BIG thing.

4. I've been told my gramma was a little clairvoyant. She "knew" things. And really every once in a very great while, I "know" things too... It has not served to keep me out of normal trouble however.

5. I love my coffee in the morning too!

6. I am spending FAR too much time on the internet. I only received permission to drive after a surgery a couple of days ago, so I"m making that my excuse.

7. I want to read a lot, but I don't make time for that regularly. I do have a collection of books that span two rooms. I keep visiting the library used book sale. I like information books, history books, classic books, picture books and science or science fiction. I just love to hold those books and I guess I will read them all by osmosis. I will do fantastic origami, yoga, southern cooking and speak Japanese. I will know all there is to know about design elements and the Southern Campaign. I will understand Einstein and the Plantagenets.

8. I love my son. He is one of the kindest and smartest people I know. He now goes after the thing that catches his attention and invests himself without prodding. I'm trying to be encouraging, but he is so ahead of me. Last night I was educated about some CAT thing on the iphone. I will have to ask him again, but I realize he is a GREAT DESIGN RESOURCE. Just don't give me a test yet. And he is SO much help especially when I could not drive or pick things up. And I love my husband. He is one of the most creative people I know banjo playing ALL the time- He is creative even more than I am and sometimes it is chaos in our house, but it is never boring. We go so much, I often just want to be home.

9. That said, I am a travel nut. AND, I love vacations. AND I love going on vacations where you do NOT have to perform or do the work, hosting or entertaining. I am about playing games, getting a tan and sweet tea. Those of you who know me, cannot believe that. When was the last time I invited you to visit for family game night, or found time to lie in the sand at the ocean, or ever ordered sweeet iced tea on purpose. However, I used to do that. I'm thinking of doing it... probably all the time. I have my priorities. This is the 21st century and we are playing with fire... doing all these things in our heads, virtually, as if we really do them.....Or thinking about when we did do them and when we were younger, only not recognising that thinking about doing things does NOT stand in for actually going outside and we are not "younger". I'm really understanding Jesus' comment about lust in the heart, only in my case its not lust, but its the virtual exercise I get sitting here thinking about family game night, or sand or sweet tea. It feels real and yet nothing really happened. So I blame my performing husband and not the internet. NOT!

10. I do love the revolutionary war. Not that I love war or revolution, but the stories! Reading a first hand account, just like reading a letter, is like visiting with the writer. For example, I have a note from my other grandmother, MaMa, that she wrote to explain the list of names on the back of an envelope from a letter written in about 1907. It is the list of relatives her father told her about when she was ten and reading it makes me hear her voice again. The note was written a very long time ago and was not a note written to me, but a note written to generations to come. Still I hear her and when I see the writing, I see my great-grandfather's handwriting. When I read about the revolution I recall that the great-grandfather of my great-grandfather was there. Its like a letter from him too.

Here are my 7 award winners in addition to remember your karma:

Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations - Bill is married to a high school classmate of mine. I have his autograph when he played on the WKIX cagers and I was in 9th or 10th grade and he is a lead anchor at WRAL. BUT, most, importantly, he comments on your comments on his blog and its always about the life and times in NC.
Box Of Peanuts- I don't know Chris, but I LOVE his tweets and I keep up with the mindset of ECU. He follows mine too.

Homesteading in a Condo - My friend and former coworker (and her husband) who is also very passionate, sweet, beautiful and VERY Smart and is also a creative who DOES STUFF, not just in her head, but with her hands, who will teach you to compost with your own worms in your own kitchen. Most incredible to me, she knows about food and grows it in container boxes and lives at the top of a large apartment/condo building in Detroit. I am in awe.

Leibson's Law - an engineering blog bringing the future to you. AND he wrote back a time or too.

Overmountain Victory Trail Association- for doing all they do to keep the story alive
Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Mo...- Steve's a wonderful writer and he is also a pastor. I follow his adventures as a soldier and from time to time his analysis of baseball. I've never met him, but his writing has touched and informed me.

Pastry Methods and Techniques - This is another food blog and she is fun! Again, we've never met, but she is from near my hometown and reminds me NC can be REAL, and quite up-town too.

Thanks again to all these bloggers for your inspiration, and thanks to all who read this blog!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Riding around the Backcountry is safe and in fact tourism now.

Ride around the backcountry and see the wineries with Yadkin Valley Wine Tours. I noticed in my research there was a summary of NC in 1790 when things settled down and the country finally had a constitution. Grapes were included as an asset of the state. The attitude toward slavery is evident and distasteful. I believe it was the Ronald Reagan half-a-loaf concept. It took another 100 years to correct it and it wasn't easy. The summary follows:

The following minutes concerning the State of North-Carolina, will tend to shew the situation and prospects of that state.

A CENTRAL seat of state government has been fixed and a State House and other necessary public buildings, have been erected at the City of Raleigh.

A University for the Education of youth, has been lately established. Formerly a liberal education was sought, at a great expence, in the more northern states.

A light house has been completed at the mouth of Cape Fear River, on which lies Wilmington, the principal sea port. use to all the other ports of North-Carolina.

A lighted Beacon, at the important inlet of Occacock, is erected and is under the same circumstances.

The complete establishment of the settlements and State of Tennessee has relieved all the counties of North-Carolina, from the inconveniences and injuries of Indian neighbours. The Tennessee settlements and State contain above 100,000 persons.

There is no extensive portion of North-Carolina in a wilderness state. It is well divided into sixty four counties, each having a court-house, and intersecting roads, and there is not one of them, which have less than 10,000 inhabitants.

Iron ore is very abundant in North Carolina. There are iron works in most of the counties of the middle and in almost every county of the Western districts. They however are not capital.

Wheat, rye, indian corn, barley, oats, upland rice, indigo, tobacco, cotton, hemp, flax, the white or Irish potatoe, the red and yellow sweet potatoe, the pumpkin, the gourd, the water melon, the musk melon, the turnip, the carrot, the parsnip, the cabbage, the grape, the peach, the pear, the apricot, the nectarine, the plumb, the clover, blue grass, timothy, spear grass, and most of the productions of the northern, middle and southern states, are raised in North-Carolina. Tar, pitch, and turpentine, rozln, spirits of turpentine, ship timber, ship plank and boards, iron, and almost every important article for the building and equipment of ships, are made in North-Carolina.
The whole state of North-Carolina lies on the easterly or Atlantic side of the blue ridge or Appalachian mountain except a part of one single district out of eight districts into which the state is divided.

The natural growths of the Eastern districts of the state, are the pine of every denomination, with cypress, live oak, and red cedar. But all the various oaks, hickory or white walnut, chesnut, poplar, maple, buckeye, mulberry, black walnut and locust, the grape-vine and pea-vine, prevail in the middle and more western districts.

Horses, neat cattle, sheep, hogs, and other animals, usually raised by farmers, in the middle and northern states, and in Europe, abound and thrive in North-Carolina. The mildness of the winters is particularly favorable to them. Even in the most rough parts, North-Carolina is not represented to be a stony country. The hills and mountains are often rich and fertile, and are said to be very seldom what is called barren, in the more northern states.

The latitudes of this state correspond with those in Europe, most distinguished for the value of their wool, but it will always abound in cotton.
The latitudes of this state correspond with those of Europe, which produce abundant and valuable vintages. The western district is well adapted to the vine.

The population of the state is 344,807 free persons, besides blacks which are chiefly in the eastern districts.

It has much fewer slaves in proportion to whites, than Maryland, Virginia, South-Carolina, and Georgia. All these states, have prohibited the importation of slaves. In the western district of North-Carolina, not more than one person in 16 or 18 is a black--In Delaware, they are as 1 in 7, in New-Jersey as 1 in 16 or 18, in New-York, as 1 in 18.

This state abounds in mill seats, particularly in the middle and western districts--and has in those districts, great capacities for watering grounds.

The latitudes of North-Carolina are nearly those of Arabia, Barbary and Spain, which three countries produce the three finest breeds of horses in the world--A curious attention to the breeding, management and feeding of those three kinds of horses, has improved them greatly in more rigid climates, but without great care in all those particulars, the Arabian, Barbary, and Spanish horses degenerate in countries having a very severe winter. The ass and the male have thriven well, in the latitudes of the eastern continent, corresponding with those of North-Carolina.

The rivers emptying into the sea on the coasts of North-Carolina, Virginia, and South-Carolina, afford a very great share of inland navigation to the people of this state; and two important canals are now making, which will greatly extend the natural advantages of that kind. That of the Broad River, Pacolet and Santee, is made passable by boats.

In most of the countries, brick clay is more frequent and abundant, than stone.
The land rents of New-England and New-Jersey, are at this time higher, than the price of as good lands in North-Carolina. The British land rents are far higher.

The Quakers, and the Moravians and other Germans, have made considerable and thriving settlements in North-Carolina.

The cotton ginning mill by water, is erecting in many of the counties of North-Carolina, and particularly along the South-Carolina line. There are two or three in Rutherford county. At the little town Fayeteville alone 500,000 pounds of Cotton, in the seed, are annually brought to market.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One more day to regroup

We have a Carolina Renaissance Festival. Did you know that? Well, I've heard about it. But I had no idea it was so BIG. This is the 16th year.

And the STATE FAIR starts on Thursday!

I am regrouping from my OVTA event and cleaning house, job hunting and so on. I'll get back on the counties soon.

I go to see Dr. VanDerVere tomorrow. Hopefully, I can drive tomorrow. We will see. Physical therapy is going okay. My head moves pretty well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

OVTA Field Days

The OVTA Field Days in Elkin thanks to the support of the National Parks Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, Member's Credit Union and help from Comb's Hometown Butcher shop, All-Star Rentals, and Lowe's Home Improvement was... a complete success!!

However, I feel like a bride. You plan for weeks, months or years. The big event unfolds. Everyone's nerves are on edge and NOW they are telling you what to do. It rains in the morning when it wasn't supposed to, but suddenly the sun appears, you get help, everyone follows the plan, each function functions as its supposed to do, you get MIRACLES, compliments start to fly and everyone has a wonderful time.

We had about 300 kids and adults who walked 3.7 miles each inspired by our Active Trails grant. They learned about history, met Senator Broyhill, asked good questions and watched in awe as the iron in the blacksmith's fire grew red, the powder exploded in the rifles, a chicken cooked outdoors hanging on a string, candles grew, blowguns flew, they drilled, they met a native American, they walked on the trail and learned to read "the signs". They captured a tory escapee and returned him to camp but voted to parole him to fight with the patriots. It was a fun filled day full of real and imagined, past events and inspirations for their future.

Why do I feel like a bride? Well, I heard all about it. I just missed it. I was in the command center so to speak and all of it happened all around me. I have to read about it in the newspaper tomorrow. But, apparently, my plan worked out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

That's 7:30 PM!

:-) !

They're here!

They're here! They're here! OVTA has arrived in Elkin. They freaked out the folks at the Bonfires Steak House, but they were really handsome in those backcountry outfits... handsome and scary.

Okay, tomorrow is a huge day! I will be occupied until Saturday morning. Hope I get back to my e-visiting then.

By the way, if you are within driving distance, the OVTA will present a dramatic re-telling of the campaign to Kings Mountain to the public about 7;30 at Elkin City Park.
Y'all drive up or down.

Monday, October 5, 2009

OVTA has found the computer

Enough said. Check them out. It's Oct. 5. In two days they will be at Kings Mountain.
"Hang your head and mourn, George III". It's the beginning of the end of the British rule in the United States.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More News!

Last interesting news..... from my friend I have yet to meet below Charlotte - Free interesting things to do with the American Revolution in NC/SC. I've got to get myself there.

Revolutionary War Enthusiast:
We have some exciting programs lined up for the fall which you are invited to attend:

October 10, 2009 – Saluda, SC – Corps of Discovery - free, public invited carpool tour of Saluda County, SC historic sites, some F & I War, Revolutionary War, some later, but all interesting. Tour led by guides Dean Hunt and Roy Vandergrift, III. Rain or shine. For more information see

October 31, 2009 – Grover, NC – Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable at The Inn of The Patriots. If you are interested in attending this meeting please contact
Charles B. Baxley. For location see: and more information:

November 6 – 7, 2009 – Camden, SC – SC Archives and History Foundation Annual Meeting. Starting Friday, November 6th at 1:00 pm with lectures: “The Journey of Explorer and Naturalist John Lawson, 1700-1701” - Val Green; “Joseph Kershaw and the Founding of Camden” – archaeologist Kenneth E. Lewis; “The Revolutionary War in the Carolina Backcountry” – historian and author Michael C. Scoggins; “Churches in the Revolutionary Era in South Carolina” – historian Daniel Tortora; and “The Cash-Shannon Duel” – William B. “Rusty” DePass, Jr. Saturday, November 7th tours: Clarence Mahoney will lead the Quaker Cemetery waking tours; Battle of Camden led by Charles B. Baxley and Dr. Jim Piecuch bus tours; tour of Camden’s historic churches led by Walter “Buddy” Clark bus tours; and the Battle of Hobkirk Hill bus tour led by David P. Reuwer and John Allison. 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm - Gen. Francis Marion Papers Project – David Neilan. Sunday, November 8th - 9:30 am - brunch at the antebellum home of Gov. John G. Richards in Liberty Hill, SC. For fees and registration information:

November 21, 2009 – Charlotte, NC - Historic Mapping Congress – Central Piedmont Community College

We hope to see you at these events. For other Revolutionary War events see our on-lone calendar at:

Charles B. Baxley
Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution

Just how many Apple festivals are there in NC?

Today is the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival. Guess where RG is? I should have gone probably, but remember that house I live in and my surprise guest? Well, shame works wonders. If we just lived in an RV and traveled, we could invite folks to the great outdoors or under a fly during rain or snow. I knew there was some reason I liked 18th century America.

Anyway it occurred to me that there are lots of apple festivals in NC. So I have set about looking for them. Here are some more:
NC Apple Festival oops missed it..
Apple Festival, Bethabara, -rained out? Maybe next year.
Lincolnton Apple Festival - oops , another miss and same day as Winston!!
The Historic Orchard at Altapass - is one year long festival, but special when OVTA comes - missed it again!!!!
Apple Harvest Festival in Waynesville, Oct. 18th -- there is still time!!!!!
Taylorsville Hometown Apple Festival, Oct 17th - another one, two in one weekend. go west!
Eden Apple Festival - hummmmm, maybe not be one this year, can't find it....


In my e-search, I hear a lot of northerners, my fellow Cary/ChapelHillites complaining about the lack of variety and great apples. They are simply not down there, though I have wonderful memories of the little tart green apple-pie apples in my aunt's yard which still stand in someone else's yard near Miss Georgia Court in Cary (named for my Gramma "Georgia").

Come to the mountains - TODAY! you can make it to the Brushys from the Triangle in 3 hours by car. It's NOT RAINING!!! 70 degrees! (F, for the rest of the world - its not hot)

And then there is this Black Walnut Festival in Bethania. Now that's what I want to see. Maybe I can get my mother-in-law to make the famous Elkin fruitcake she saved from the Winston-Salem Journal article of 1963 (made by the grandmother-in-law of one of my friends in Elkin who sings in Community Chorus with me and now is a famous facebook buddy)

I'm here to tell you the news!

All this social networking is simply a brave new world. I sent a wild email via linkedin to a former boss. We had lost contact. We have both remarried and changed names since we worked together. Anyway I took a wild guess and it was her! The other day she just showed up on my doorstep. My house was strewn with papers and graphics I'm working out for the program for our event and thus piled-up dishes , laundry, stacks of reference books, and general mayhem. (AHHHggH!) My beautiful southern living room is invaded with amplifiers, various musical instruments, picks, pliers and dust cloths because RG is off and running this time of year with all these festivals and book signings. Let me not talk about PJ's bathroom which is supposed to be the main/guest bath, but which since no one EVER comes over has ...well... evolved. I blamed my neckbrace, drew a deep breath and invited her in. We had a wonderful catching up talk. Inspite of that, I am just determined to give everything I own and live in a box with my computer to avoid having all these things to take care of. Unannounced visitors are the purpose of libraries and country clubs. This is after all the 21st century.

If I really want to go back in time when every grand house was a rest stop for travelers I have recently found all this great news! The Inn of the Patriots for example and its adventureous American Revolutionary War Living History Experience in Cleveland county at Grover, NC. They even have a Colonel Cleaveland Museum!!! (note: old weird spelling for good 'ol Roundabout) Shelby, NC, named for Isaac Shelby of Kings Mountain fame, is the county seat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Okay, this is the filming related to Ken Burns

Saturday October 10th 2009 Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail/W. Kerr Scott Dam & Reservoir7:30 AM - 4:00 PMSaturday October 10th 2009 will be National Public Lands Day/NC Big Sweep from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as the public is invited to help care for our public lands by planting trees, work on trails, and clean up litter. Free lunch will be provided to volunteers and afterwards everyone is encouraged to enjoy the many exhibits we will have such as live snakes, a bee cage, traditional archers, mountain biking, and much more. The Overmountain National Historic Trail Association will have revolutionary war re-enactors, demonstrate traditional crafts, and provide guided tours of the Overmountain Victory Trail. There will be a book swap hosted by UNC-TV's Read-A-Roo. Kids....remember to bring an old book you would like to trade! Click here for activities.

Well its too bad we missed the Aug. 29th meeting of the OVTA board due to two surgeries. I wouldn't have led you astray... I found the email with the NPS director's notes and discovered the OVNHT is not in Ken Burn's series. I still have 50 minutes to hear even a mention of it. Tonight they already included the Appalachian Trail which is part of the Parks Service. Since the trail was not a park until 1980, maybe, just maybe they will mention it.

In 2005, I talked to Ken Burn's agent to inquire what it would take to get him to our anniversary event. I had heard him speak in Charlotte. I knew he would be interested in our history story. Well, it takes A LOT to get Ken Burns to speak. But I did convey the idea.

Here's a secret. I conveyed the idea again this week to a star and I asked him to adopt it. We will see.

My Press Release to any who wish to publish Nationwide

Press Release---
Oct 1, 2009
Wilkes-Surry OVTA

The National Park Service and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association are pleased to announce that the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is a recipient of the 2009 National Parks Foundation “Active Trails” grant. The Wilkes-Surry Chapter of the OVTA assisted by Elkin JROTC will host an OVTA Field Day on Friday Oct. 9th for Elkin students in the 4th and 8th grades with the proceeds from this NPF grant funded by the Coca-Cola foundation and with donations from local supporters.

Special guest, Senator James Broyhill will address the students at 12:00 pm in Elkin City Park about the efforts to establish the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, as a part of the National Park Service in 1980.

There are eight National Parks that will receive the grant this year and this is the first time a National Historic Trail has been selected. The purpose of the “Active Trails” program is to provide funding to National Parks to bring people to trails.

The National Park Service and the National Overmountain Victory Trail Association formed a partnership comprised of Paul Carson, Alan Bowen, Fran Dahl, R.G. Absher of Elkin, Marc Bowen and Mike Dahl to put this grant to work. This committee developed and submitted a plan to the National Parks Foundation on June 19th . It was approved later this past summer.

The plan specifies that OVTA will manage the grant and support the communities to plan these events that will bring people to the Trail during the annual OVTA March in September and October and again on National Trails Day on June 5, 2010.

The National Parks Foundation Active Trails grant will be used to assist and support communities in starting new events and programs, or to expand existing events and programs, that will attract visitors to enjoy the recreational opportunities and learn the historic significance of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in their community.

The communities that were specified in the grant request to receive funding are Abingdon, Virginia, Bluff City, TN, Spruce Pine, NC, Morganton, NC, Rutherfordton, NC, Polk County, NC, Elkin,NC and Cowpens National Battlefield.

The anticipated benefits derived from employing the grant will include increased community awareness of improved health derived from outdoor activities, an increased sense of ownership by the communities for their heritage, a stronger community willingness to expand and grow the events and programs in future years and increased membership in the OVTA.”

The grant has a provision that allows matching funds up to $10,000 with the National
Parks Foundation. If successful, this could increase the grant up to $70,000. Elkin has received a financial donation from Member’s Credit Union in support of this match. In addition, All-Star Rentals, Comb’s Hometown Butcher Shop, and the North Carolina Forest Service in Dobson have provided in-kind donations in support of this event..

Students will spend one school day walking between stations to meet period re-enactors and to participate in hands-on learning experiences. The stations explain how people lived in the Yadkin Valley during 178O. Students will accomplish activities incorporating math, science, history, writing, visual and performance arts when they encounter colonial soldiers, long hunters, women, and militia. They will discuss loyalists, patriots, African-Americans, Native Americans and Surry families; explore textile creation, candle making, cooking, games, blacksmithing and other necessary colonial skills; and experience modern trail discovery by walking the original path followed by Yadkin Valley men to the battle of Kings Mountain. Each child will accomplish walking approximately two miles during this focus on Active Trails.
This is the fourth event of this type in Elkin since 2003. Modeled after an award-winning event in Abingdon, Va., this year’s event is intended to create and grow an annual program in Yadkin Valley counties.


Dear Press,
We appreciate your interest in this story and in the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.
The Schools are prepared for you to join us. We invite you to attend and report as you wish. The events will primarily take place in Elkin City Park at the trailhead of the OVNHT and continue along the trail by the Yadkin River. Fourth graders will work in activity stations in the morning and walk the trail after lunch. Eighth graders will walk the trail in the morning and participate in activities after lunch. Sen. Broyhill will speak at noon.,,

Donna Absher
Project Coordinator
Elkin, NC

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A schedule change yet again

I am finally, finally finished. Then a breakthrough. Senator Jim Broyhill will visit the OVNHT in Elkin and speak to our students about the story of sheparding the idea of the trail to Kings Mountain as a National Historic Trail through the Congress in 1980 until Pres. Jimmy Carter signed it into law. Both men, from opposite sides of the aisle, shared a common interest in the history of the militia campaign to defeat the British. My schedule has changed yet again.

Ideas are like babies. They will likely take many years of care and attention if they are to grow up sucessfully.

I am anxiously watching the series by Ken Burns "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" to find the bit about the Overmountain Victory Trail. It seems to be unfolding in chronological order. If so, the OVNHT may be one of the last. They did mention the Trail of Tears tonight. And the Great Smoky Mountains... I hope it didn't land on the cutting room floor.

Back to work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Andy also taught chorus in public school - Goldsboro!

Well I found this interview series with Andy Griffith. You have to see it. He knows NC from coast to hilltop. You know him for the Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD, Matlock, and all...I'm going back for more details...

Was Paul Montgomery Uncle Paul on WRAL in Raleigh????? I'm about sure I marched around in a circle with him for one of by birthdays, probably the first or second year he was on when I was 5 or 6.

Small Stories for a Big World

Small Stories for a Big World is a lovely children's book written by Kim Underwood and illustrated by Garnet Goldman. I saw it at the Pumpkin Festival in Elkin and met Kim. He is the writer from the Winston-Salem Journal. This book is directed at ages 10 and under, but the beauty of it is worth having just for its own sake. To tell the truth I got talked out of buying it for my nieces and now I wish I had just bought it for me. I want to read the stories the more I think about it. His first book, His Dogness Finds a Blue Heart, is a 32-page picture book that came out in 2004. The story begins with His Dogness coming upon a blue heart in a ditch. He and Lord Kelvin take the heart on some adventures around Winston-Salem in hopes of cheering it up.

So there are adventures around Winston-Salem to see Old Salem, Krispy Kreme etc??? I need to find out. I see I missed an adventure at the garden in Old Salem this weekend. But HOW can you possibly do everything there is to do in NC on a September weekend? We should just go ahead and declare September the SeeNC month. Then folks will have to come back year after year to see it all. In fact festivals in NC are probably like restaurants in NY - you can go to one every day and never, EVER go to the same one twice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Well! What a weekend. PJ is off to help his Dad. RG sold books and played his hammered dulcimer in Wilkesboro where a child observed to his parent, "Hey Mom, LOOK! Free credit report .com" pointing out the tricorn hat and colonial britches.

Saturday, we went to the Pumpkin Festival and despite the rain ( 3 inches in 3 days) there were people out and about. I met two authors - one a writer for the Winston-Salem Journal and the other - with MANY books of history interjected with historical fiction around his family- pointed out a mill "The Old Mill of Guilford" still in operation in Guilford county which Cornwallis visited just prior to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781. His historical fiction is wrapped around the 1800s, but surely if he is a native of Yadkin county, he had relatives in the Revolution. I encouraged him to write another book further back in time around that mill and I referred him to my blog to find the spoom folks. Its uncanny how the dots always lead somewhere. I didn't know I was going to talk about grain mills or that I would meet a mill reference within 24 hours at the Pumpkin festival.. It must be some infamous meme trying to be born. HAHA!

RGs ghost book is a hit! Between ghosts and history, he sold about 50 copies this weekend for the stores distributing it. And people kept coming up to give him more stories!!!! We plugged the paranormal conference in Wilkesboro on Oct. 23rd-25th. Y'all come.

Last night in POURING rain we attended an event at the Wilkes Heritage Museum showcasing the filming of memories from central Wilkes County funded by the Preserve America reward Wilkes County received .

NC, you should all look into being Preserve America communities. Out of these funds, many WW2 veterans gave testimonies, histories of schools, churches, businesses and so on were preserved and out of that, programs for public TV were put together and Wilkes has been all over NC Weekend this year. Wilkesboro home of the father of Sequoyah, leaders in the Revolution, the start of NASCAR, Lowes companies, and Holly Farms -now Tyson chicken has had an impact on the whole country and you never really know that unless you study it. So, academic, genealogical, and tourism aspects all came out.

The showing was attended by very few die hard relatives of the interviewees given the weather, but RG made a nice speech and I took photos and manned the lights.

I did make him promise a date with no performing or hostessing or booth-working soon. Sometimes our relationship feels like a job. I need romance!!

Sunday, RG had to work in exchange for a day off this coming week. But some friends invited me to attend "Moon over Buffalo" in Wilkesboro and RG met us at Don's Seafood for lunch. It was great! They fly in the fish from the coast every day except Mondays. So its fresh and consistent. The restaurant is family owned. Moon over Buffalo is SO FUNNY! and fast-paced. That good have been a date. But I enjoyed my friends and the meal was fun too. If you ever go, its only open for lunch on Sundays and go early, because otherwise you will have to wait 45 minutes for a seat and you will think you are in Cary.

Anyway, this morning I could not go to church because everyone was gone ( I could have attended the early service and phoned for a ride....) so I found a free colonial typeface that includes the weird way the colonials would changes the s to f. So my next project for our event in two weeks will be creating paper products of whatever we need. AND I must work on a press release to send ASAP to the news. It is almost too late two weeks before the event.

So, all I want to share with you today is this video about lye soap from Tryon, NC and then I came across the news that Masco promoted someone from Liberty Hardware to a high position. I thought maybe there was some interesting history to it concerning the revolution. But I found a wonderful job in Winston-Salem , a VP - if you have experience like at Lowe's Hardware. Not me unfortunately, but I want to spread the information around. Some one I know may want to apply.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Soap for my camp-followers

Oh, I must share. I'm listening to the President on CSPAN talking about the G20. But I'm also telling you I have overlooked too many things in Mitchell county. I'm e-visiting my own e-visits. Can I trademark that term "e-visits"? Well, anyway..

In the great 101 lists from Mitchell county, note also these cool things I want to see.

Luther Stroup’s Hobby Shop
Storytelling Festival in Spruce Pine
NC Rhododendron Festival
milk a cow at the Annual Mineral City Heritage Festival ...that's what I want to do...


Blue Ridge Soap Shed

I found this wonderful site. I need some soap for my textile-morphed-camp-followers exhibit for the OVTA Active Trails Field Day. So I've called them to find out the details. Meanwhile, this is from their site and I think it explains the product I need...

Lye Soap - Homemade Lye Soap

The Appalachian Cure All- Yup, we actually make the true, old-fashioned homemade Lye Soap, made with lye and lard and nuthin' else, not even any of that sweet smellin' stuff that's in all the other soaps we sell.

Our customers have taught us well - there's nothing quite like this homemade lye soap recipe for stopping the spread of poison ivy or oak, or taking tough stains out of clothes, especially salvaging antique linens.

This homemade lye soap is an Appalachian tradition, with its historical use including the elimination of head and body lice, bed bugs, mites, as well as general household and floor cleaning. There was a time when a Lye Soap recipe provided the only source of basic hygiene available. Lye soap was generally made once a year, coinciding with Autumn Harvest and the killing of hogs in preparation for Winter.

In making this homemade lye soap we experience the same variations in pork fat (lard) that our Appalachian cousins did, caused by the diet, age, region, breed and processing of the, well, the 'donor' for lack of another way to put it. There's a difference between the body fat of a hog raised on corn and commercial grains, and one raised on 'slop', and sometimes this soap will be a little soft and beige in color, and other times white and powdery.

The variance in color and texture is a result of the natural materials it's made from: it's not something we can control, nor do we try to. Lye soap is a part of Appalachian history, and we make it the historical way. For those of you who have regaled us with 'fond memories' of childhood, remembering soap so strong 'it practically took your skin off,' well, THIS ONE'S FOR YOU!!!

We make our homemade Lye Soap in the tradition of Fels Naptha Soap.
Lye Soap comes in a big 5-6 ounce chunk you can grate for laundry or whatever your little heart desires. Our Lye Soap is handcut and there will be rough and uneven edges due to the unpredictable texture of the natural fat - it will not have smooth edges like our vegetable oil soaps.

Visit You Tube and enjoy seeing and hearing the old 'Grandma's Lye Soap' folk song:

The fellow playing this banjo-uke reminds me of our trip to Ireland and England in 2004. The Wednesday before Christmas we were in a pub, McDonagh's, and a fellow was there with a banjolina he called it. RG jammed with them with his fiddle. Eventually along with the standard guitars, fiddles, bodhran et al, there was a flute and African drums or maybe other Irish drums. Anyway, the Banjolina was exactly a little banjo, like a piccolo of banjos. The banjo-uke on the You-Tube looks homemade, but the song is silly and will make a smile. The banjolina here sounds a little electric. I remember it was just exactly like a big banjo only high pitched. Maybe this is really it.

My only other experience with soap was when we went to Philadelphia to the Mutter Museum to see the "Soap Lady" and the deathcast of Eng and Chang. THIS IS WEIRD. Don't click if you are squimish. This is the original medical library. ..You can see the link. Anyway I read the soap lady was found in a burned down building from the 1800s. After some time, her fat covered in ashes, had experienced a biological change, saponification, into ... SOAP. .. and I used an article about her from a journal to grab the attention of my high school biology students. (Hey, my mentor teacher had it her program) It so intrigued me that when I went to Philadelphia and discovered her location, I dragged my family to see her.

Eng and Chang's cast was bonus. They lived in Wilkes and later Surry county. They were the original "Siamese twins". They married sisters(!!!!!!) and between them had 21 children. Their descendants are still here. I don't think there is any tourism of a house here, but there is an exhibit about their life in Mt. Airy in the Mt. Airy Museum of Regional History. And a few years ago, there was a book, Eng and Chang.

hummm..... how did I get from a lovely country soap and flowers shop to the Mutter museum?

Let's think about sweeter things... Mayberry Days is going on this weekend in Mt. Airy celebrating all things Andy Griffith. Enjoy a bottle of pop while playing checkers, relax to music from many local bands playing the same songs that Andy grew up with in Mount Airy and be sure to get your picture with the TV Land statue of Andy & Opie. Thelma Lou , more, will be there and so are the Darlings with Charlene Darling!

Don't miss the Pumpkin Festival in Elkin tomorrow too!!! RG will be signing his Ghosts of the Yadkin Valley at Diana's Book Shop.

There are SO many festivals in NC this time of year.

Ken Burns is all over the place right now. OVNHT will get a lot of publicity this fall because he's really promoting his new documentary, The National Parks, America's Best Idea which starts on Sunday, Sept. 27th, and the OVNHT is included.

Ah, better thoughts...

The beauty of pancakes

FINALLY, I've reached another version of the events for Oct. 9th. I think it works in all ways and I've creating individual schedules for each group of kids and each reenactor. It shouldn't be so complicated, but we are walking them all around the OVNHT, and we want to keep the grades separated. Everyone has to eat and everyone has to have an opportunity to visit the W.C. before the grand marche!

So, I'm taking a brief break. PJ just came running in the house. He has locked his keys in the car. He is using his cross county training period to run home, get keys and water and run back to practice. I just love living this close to school.

Yesterday, we went to Winston to celebrate his birthday. We went to Coldstone and I fed six teenagers and me and RG. Then to the movies at an older theater where we could still see "9" and we had the entire theater to ourselves. We got coke and popcorn to share. Do you know that popcorn cost more than the gourmet ice cream or even the movie itself!!!

We determined on the way home that a date to "dinner" and the movies for two teenagers would cost about $100 if you throw in the gas and the carwash (well of course). I told PJ he was going to have to find a job or forego that dating business.

I was just shocked. I should have just had a wii party at home and taught them to make pancakes.

...back to the drawing board only not all the way back :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Steadfast, I press on toward the goal...

I know I can be boring ...or is that steadfast? Pressing on toward the goal...Phillipians something...

But Boring only happens when you forget your mission or sink into your own difficulties ignoring everyone else and everything else. SO, again I apologize for my inward focus the last week or so. I was so uplifted, if that's the way to say it, when someone, actually two!!!, commented on my Mitchell county post, "Where am I?".

I entered the post kind of like it was a chore and I left a little cheered up by finding the list of 101 things to do and envigorated by the responses. I went to read the first one directly and at that moment, less than five minutes before, another post from out-of-state had arrived. The writer, was so pleased to read about a place as nice as Mitchell county, that I completed had a change of attitude. While my curiosity was peaked, the importance of sharing especially that 101 list was revealed to me when other folks found it useful or made them happy. Now Mitchell county is more important to me too!

Okay, every county should have a 101 list of things to do. Every shop, restaurant, and hotel should educate their employees about it. I might mention Lewis Forrest who helps with business plans etc professionally said employees only need 10 things within driving distance. But imagine if we all took time to learn about our state and shared it word of mouth with our visitors...Wouldn't they come back again and again?

I even shared with myself, rereading my blog and clicking on links and I found this interesting effort to save mills, Spoom.

okay, I have a big day. I'll be back...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Study uses game theory to slow spread of diseases - News

Study uses game theory to slow spread of diseases - News This is Just interesting to me... Better than war games.

But you won't believe it...

1. PJs Dad is in the hospital after collapsing in the front yard trying to get to his car. Neighbors called 911. He had a bleeding ulcer he did not recognise til he lost a LOT of blood.

2. My sister will also have to have surgery (!!!) for gall stones. That is not something anyone else in my family has had.

That is every family in my immediate family's sphere.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about RGs niece 's surgery just after PJs and she is so young!

What is it this year???

Fortunately, RG is mending. He is just back from entertaining 1342 kids with revolutionary period music in Abingdon. He will be ready for Elkin. We might try to catch another event in Spruce Pine or Morganton.

I can take off my brace this week!!! I'm so ready to drive... Soon, very soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where was I?

Ah yes, Mitchell county. Well, this is another one of those counties formed later and they start their history at the formation. I hate that. It misses the significance of the ones who lived there before it was a "certified place" and I have to hunt elsewhere for things of interest to me. I am being a grouch today and I have to apologize. I am stuck here in this brace (can't drive til its off) and everybody is at the march in Abingdon for the Overmountain Victory Trail annual reenactment of the Campaign to Kings Mountain. In fact Mitchell County is on the trail I believe. That will likely be my start.

“What’s There to Do Around Here?”
You Say “Nothing”
Watch trains go by in downtown
Spruce Pine.
Watch Jack grind corn at
Dellinger’s Mill (a 130 year old mill, the state’s oldest working mill of its type) on Cane Creek in Bakersville.
Hike Charlie Woody Mountain.
Row the Toe – Canoe, kayak, or raft the
Toe River.
Play a round of golf.
Go antique shopping in Bakersville and Spruce Pine.
Visit the Home of the
Perfect Christmas Tree Store in downtown Spruce Pine featuring handcrafted work of over 70 local and regional artists. (As seen on HGTV!)
See a show and enjoy live music at the
Carolina Theatre, the home of the original Carolina Barn Dance!
Hear the hammering of the anvil at the
Fire on the Mountain Blacksmith Festival each April! (Don’t miss the handcrafted sarvis berry tree by artist Elizabeth Brim)
River’s Edge Outfitters in Downtown Spruce Pine for a fly-tying lesson and some good ol’ fishing tales.
Walk the historic bridge over the Toe River in Downtown Spruce Pine.
See handmade crafts at the annual Creekwalk Arts Festival in Bakersville.
Stay in a cabin at Bear Den Campground.
a local artist studio for a demonstration and shopping experience.
Mine for real treasures with Rock Mine Tours.
Have a home-cooked breakfast a Big Lynn Lodge (and see the site of the old Big Lynn tree).
Be a part of history at the annual re-enactment at the Overmountain Victory Celebration in September at the
Museum of NC Minerals.
Visit Wal-Mart.
Get a latte and a snack at DT’s Blue Ridge Java.
Visit the
EnergyXchange where trash is turned into treasure. Artist’s studios and a native plant greenhouse all operate from the gas of the landfill. Hwy 80N.
Stop in at the
Mitchell County Historical Society in Bakersville and learn about our past.
Visit the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Spruce Pine on the porch of Wildflowers for homemade jams, bread and fresh veggies.
See an old-time general store at
Pine Crossing Antiques.
Visit a local produce stand for the season’s freshest picks.
Mine and Shop at the Travel Channel’s pick, Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine.
See sheep sheared and wool spun at Laurel Oaks Farm in Bakersville.
Visit the world’s largest natural rhododendron garden –
Roan Mountain.
Walk the Appalachian Trail.
Learn why Spruce Pine is the most important mining district in the world at the Museum of NC Minerals.
Celtic Spirit Resort in Spruce Pine for a relaxing massage.
Get to know
NC Living Treasure Arval Woody’s family, new owners at Woody’s Chair Shop. Ask them about the $10,000 Kennedy chairs Arval made.
Hear iron sing at
Bea Hensley’s iron works shop. (Ask him to tell you the story about Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson)
Browse the area’s artistic works at the galleries in downtown Spruce Pine and Bakersville.
Stop in at the
Toe River Arts Council where you can see area art work on display or maybe catch a show.
Visit the shops at
Little Switzerland.
Stretch your legs on the Bakersville Creekwalk.
Find your own treasure at one of the many local gem mines.
Check out the mining museum at Emerald Village.
See a clock made at Luther Stroup’s Hobby Shop.
the Orchard at Altapass for a taste of a local apple (and enjoy a hayride, too).
Drive the
Blue Ridge Parkway.
Raft, canoe, or ride horses at Springmaid Mountain.
Hike to
Crabtree Falls.
Go rafting on the
Get Wet at the annual Springmaid Splash 10K and 5K Trail Races
Get the season’s freshest at the Bakersville Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
Be a Street Walker: Enjoy the shopping in downtown Spruce Pine, Bakersville & Little Switzerland.
Visit the six Living Treasures in Mitchell County: Bea Hensley, Arval Woody, Harvey Littleton, Billie Ruth Sudduth, Cynthia Bringle & Norm Schulman.
Tap your feet and dance the two step at
Young’s Mountain Music.
Fish Cane Creek, Pigeon Roost & Buladean.
Visit the “Beauty Spot.”
Enjoy the famous Friday Night Prime Rib and Seafood Buffet at The Chalet Restaurant in Little Switzerland.
Go see Gouge’s Creek Falls.
Take in a play at the Parkway Playhouse.
Climb to the top of
Mt. Mitchell.
See jewels from all over the world at the NC Mineral and Gem Festival (August).
Visit with a multi-generation mining family at Spruce Pine Gem & Gold.
Enjoy solitude without the bother of television or phones at The Alpine Inn in Little Switzerland.
Hear a tall tale at the Storytelling Festival in Spruce Pine (July).
Celebrate our famous bloom at the NC Rhododendron Festival in Bakersville (June).
Visit Sugar Plum Farm or Harrell Hill Tree Farms, for a tour and to pick out your Christmas tree for this year.
Enjoy at wonderful lunch in a quaint tea room at Dot’s Coffee and Tea Shop in Bakersville.
Penland’s Gallery.
See gems from around the world at Rio Doce Gem Mine.
Tour an inn that was once a school (Pinebridge Inn.)
Brown Mountain Lights from Wiseman’s View.
See the laser show in the mine at
Emerald Village’s Day on the Rocks and Dynamite Days.
Step back in time at Spruce Pine’s Cruise In and Car Show the 2nd and 4th Saturdays during the summer.
Walk through 1200 colors of Daylilies at the Daylily Farms and Nursery on Hwy. 261 in Bakersville.
Visit an organic nursery at Murdock Farm on Hwy. 80N. An artist studio and gallery are also at the Farm.
Camp and roast marshmallows at Buck Hill Campground.
Find that little something you always needed at Bakersville’s Annual Town Wide Yard Sale every July 4th week.
See soap made at Blue Ridge Soap Shed on Hwy 226 in Spruce Pine.
Check out the General Store at the Switzerland General store in Little Switzerland. (Have a slice of a great dessert next door at the Switzerland Café).
Check out the unique M.R. Knot boxes and “Windows in Pine” at Melawil’s Gallery in downtown Spruce Pine.
Visit the local airfield and take a tour (maybe even get an aerial view of the area!)
Have a weekend getaway at home by renting one of the local cabins.
Tour the
Old English Inn in Spruce Pine, which housed soldiers in the American Revolution.
See apple butter made and maybe even milk a cow at the Annual Mineral City Heritage Festival in Downtown Spruce Pine.
Visit nearly one hundred artists’ studios during the Spring and Holiday Studio Tours.
Park your camper or tent at the Spruce Pine Campground. Enjoy getting away while staying close to home.
Enjoy a meal just like the good ole’ days at the City Drive In!! Park your car and enjoy a lunch of cheeseburgers and milkshakes with your family.
Inspect artifacts of the Native Americans as well as rocks and minerals at the newly opened Rocks and Things on Upper Street in Spruce Pine.
Tall tales will be spun when you fish the Toe River and Cane Creek, designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Cities. You can even borrow a free rod and tackle!
See inside a mountain at Linville Caverns.
Catch some of the finest trout in Loafer’s Glory.
Browse through a treasure trove of unique gifts at Dellinger’s Christian Bookstore.
Drive over to Mayland Community College to check out one of their entertaining shows, or new exhibit.
Go cross country skiing on the trails of Roan Mountain during the winter months.
Grab a picnic lunch at an area restaurant and head over the Brad Ragan Park.
Stay in a local cottage or cabin like the Chinquapin Inn at Penland, a 1937 mountain house.
Visit the Blue Ridge Gemstone Mine in Little Switzerland.
Drive down Halltown Road to see the impressive antique collection of Calvin Hall.
Howl at the moon at the
Wolf Sanctuary on Cane Creek.
Swing your partner at the Summer Square Dances at Geneva Hall in Little Switzerland.
Visit the Richmond Inn, a half-century year old Inn in downtown Spruce Pine.
Enjoy the walking path or have a picnic at Spruce Pine’s Riverside Park.
Visit Mountain Farm’s annual
Lavender Festival in July where you can see soap making demonstrations, make your own gifts to take home and much more!
Visit the original Penland Post Office (circa 1879.)
Visit our neighbor, Grandfather Mountain, to see the bears (did you know Grandfather Mountain was once in Mitchell County?)

*101. Take a drive through the county and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.


More than a billion years ago, the Black Mountains were formed. This mighty range of peaks once stood lofty and rugged. But over millions of years, wind, water and other forces wore down the pinnacles to their rounded, more subdued profile of today. Only the erosion-resistant igneous and metamorphic rocks allowed Mount Mitchell to retain its dramatic height of 6,684 feet.

Long before explorers left Europe in search of the New World, various Native American tribes inhabited the area surrounding the Black Mountains. In the mid-1700s, the tribes were joined by settlers primarily of Scotch-Irish and English origin.

In 1787, French botanist Andre Michaux journeyed to the Black Mountains to seek the region's most valuable plants so the French government could cultivate them on their royal plantations. On his botanical excursions to the area, Michaux collected more than 2,500 specimens of trees, shrubs and other plants.

About the same time that his French counterpart explored the area, Englishman John Fraser collected plants from the region to introduce to his native land. It was for this botanical explorer that the most abundant tree along the crest of the Black Mountains — the Fraser fir — was named.

In 1835, Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a science professor at the University of North Carolina, made an excursion to the area to measure the mountain elevations. At the time, Grandfather Mountain was assumed to be the highest point in the region, but previous trips to the area had persuaded Mitchell that the Black Mountains were higher. Through the use of barometric pressure readings and mathematical formulas, Mitchell figured the highest elevation of the range to be 6,476 feet, higher than that of Grandfather Mountain. Subsequent visits to the Black Mountains in 1838 and 1844 led Dr. Mitchell to calculate the height of the peak at 6,672 feet — amazingly, only a mere 12 feet in error of modern calculations.

In 1857, Dr. Mitchell returned to the Black Mountains to verify his measurements. While hiking across the mountain, he fell from a cliff above a 40-foot waterfall. Knocked unconscious by the fall, Dr. Mitchell drowned in the water below. In honor of his work, the highest peak in the Black Mountain range was given his name in 1858. Though originally buried in Asheville, Mitchell's body was reburied atop Mount Mitchell a year later.

Until the late 1800s, the Black Mountains remained largely in a wilderness state. The only apparent influence of man upon the environment was a reduced animal population caused by increased settlement and hunting. This lack of exploitation of natural resources was not to last, however. By the early 1900s, extensive logging operations had denuded much of the Black Mountain range. Logging activity had expanded rapidly by 1913 and citizens began to voice their alarm about the destruction of the forest. Foremost among them was Locke Craig, governor of North Carolina from 1913 to 1917.

In 1915, a bill was introduced in the state legislature establishing Mount Mitchell as the first state park. The legislation passed both houses quickly and on March 3, 1915, the North Carolina State Parks System came into being. In appreciation of Governor Craig's efforts, the second highest peak east of the Mississippi, with an elevation of 6,647 feet and also in North Carolina, was named Mount Craig.

Well, not much on the Revolution but LOTS TO DO. The highlight is the actual trek of the overmountain men 1780. The Orchard at Altapass is the place to see this on the evening of September 28th. There will be a program of storytelling that should make goosebumps rise on your arms. I want more information on the Old English Inn, the oldest wooden structure in NC, it was an inn during the Revolution. I found a statement that part of it was built in 1767, but no other data other than the link above.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to the drawing board.

Overmountain men are gathering in Virginia. Check them out at

But! my schedule is blown up again!!! It's back to the drawing board literally. Isn't it time to just settle on the method here guys?? It's time for press releases!!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Active Trails Grant!!

So, I walked on the OVNHT in Elkin the other day with a friend and we laid out a plan. I realized that kids who attend on Oct. 9th will WALK a lot. We have reenactors and real crafts people expressing the 18th century backcountry. I have laid out a plan so that every student gets to visit each "station" and move on to the next one walking and walking for the Active Trails grant we got to put the event on this fall.

The annual reenactment of the March to King's Mountain is about to start. This is an anniversary of sorts when Major Ferguson sent a parolee into the mountains and threatened the backcountry people saying he would "hang your leaders, and lay your country waste with fire and sword." That didn't sit well. The men mustered, and riding horseback and on foot moved over 330 miles overland from the area of Abingdon, Virginia and Elkin, NC toward Kings Mountain, now in SC. They reached there in about two weeks and fought the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780.

Here is the British view of happened:


A gentleman lately come to town has favored us with an account of the base treatment the un­fortunate officers and men met with who surrend­ered prisoners of war, last October, to the Rebel Col. Campbell, in the action of King's Mountain. A small party of the [British] militia returning from foraging, unacquainted with the surrender, happening to fire on the Rebels, the prisoners were immediately threatened with death if the firing should be repeated.

The morning after the action, the prisoners were marched sixteen miles; previous to their march, orders were given by Campbell, should they be attacked, to fire on and destroy every pri­soner. The party kept marching for two days with­out any kind of provisions. On the third day's march all the baggage of the officers was seized, and shared among the Rebel officers.

A few days after, a mock court‑martial sat for the trial of the militia prisoners; when, after a short hearing, thirty gentlemen, some of the most respectable characters in that country, had sen­tence of death passed on them; and at six o'clock the same day they began to execute. Col. Mills and Capt. Chitwood, of North Carolina, Capt. Wil­son, of Ninety Six, and six privates, were first executed. The British officers were compelled to attend at the execution of their brave but unfor­tunate men; who, with manly firmness, avowed their loyality in their last moments, and with their latest breath expressed their unutterable detesta­tion for the Rebels and their base and infamous proceedings. The remaining twenty‑one were re­prieved for a time.

Extract from a letter from an officer, dated Charleston, January 30th, 1781.
This gentleman went from New York with a de­tachment drawn from the Provincial Brigade, which was commanded by the brave Major Patrick Fergu­son. This letter gives the most circumstantial ac­count yet received of the action at King's Mountain, in South Carolina, Oct. seventh.

I think the last letter I wrote you was from Fort Moultrie, which I left a few days after. We marched to a place called Ninety Six, which is about two hun­dred miles from Charleston; we lay there about a fortnight in good quarters, after which we proceeded to the frontiers of South Carolina, and frequently passed the line into North Carolina, and can say with propriety, that there is not a regiment or de­tachment of his Majesty's service, that ever went through the fatigues, or suffered so much, as our detachment.

That you may have some faint idea of our suf­fering, I shall mention a few particulars. In the first place we were separated from all the army, acting with the militia; we never lay two nights in one place, frequently making forced marches of twenty and thirty miles in one night; skirmishing very often; the greatest part of our time without rum or wheat flour‑rum is a very essential arti­cle, for in marching ten miles we would often be obliged to ford two or three rivers, which wet the men up to their waists.

In this disagreeable situation, we remained till the seventh of October, when we were attacked by two thousand five hundred Rebels, under the command of Gen. Williams. Col. Ferguson had under his command eight hundred militia, and our detachment, which at that time was reduced to an hundred men.

The action commenced about two o'clock in the afternoon, and was very severe for upwards of an hour, during which the Rebels were charged and drove back several times, with con­siderable slaughter. When our detachment charged, for the first time, it fell to my lot to put a Rebel Captain to death, which I did most effectually, with one blow of my sword; the fellow was at least six feet high, but I had rather the advantage, as I was mounted on an elegant horse, and he on foot. But their numbers enabled them to surround us and the North Carolina regiment, which consisted of about three hundred men.

Seeing this, and numbers be­ing out of ammunition, which naturally throw the rest of the militia into confusion, our gallant little detachment, which consisted of only seventy men, exclusive of twenty who acted as dragoons, and ten who drove wagons, etc., when we marched to the field of action, were all killed and wounded but twenty, and those brave fellows were soon crowded into an heap by the militia. Capt. DePeyster, on whom the command devolved, seeing it impossible to form six men together, thought it necessary to surrender, to save the lives of the brave men who were left.

We lost in this action, Maj. Ferguson, of the Seventy‑first regiment, a man strongly attached to his King and country, well informed in the art of war, brave, humane, and an agreeable companion ­in short, he was universally esteemed in the ‑army, and I have every reason to regret his unhappy fate. We lost eighteen men killed on the spot‑Capt. Ry­erson and thirty two Sergeants and privates wound­ed, of Maj. Ferguson's detachment. Lieutenant McGinnis of Allen's regiment, Skinner's brigade, killed; taken prisoners, two Captains, four Lieu­tenants, three Ensigns, one Surgeon, and fifty‑four Sergeants and privates, including the wounded, wagoners, etc. The militia killed, one hundred, including officers; wounded, ninety; taken prisoners about six hundred; our baggage all taken, of course.
The Rebels lost Brig. Gen. Williams, and one hundred and thirty‑five, including officers, killed; wounded nearly equal to ours. The morning after the action we were marched sixteen miles, previous to which orders were given by the Rebel Col. Camp­bell (whom the command devolved on) that should they be attacked on their march, they were to fire_ on, and destroy their prisoners. The party was kept marching two days without any kind of provi­sions. The officers' baggage, on the third day's march, was all divided among the Rebel officers.

Shortly after we were marched to Bickerstaff Is settlement, where we arrived on the thirteenth. On the fourteenth, a court martial, composed of twelve field officers, was held for the trial of the militia prisoners; when, after a short hearing, they condemned thirty of the most principal and respec­table characters, whom they considered to be most inimical to them, to be executed; and, at six o'clock in the evening of the same day, executed Col. Mills, Capt. Chitwood, Capt. Wilson, and six privates; obliging every one of their officers to attend at the death of those brave, but unfortunate Loyalists, who all, with their last breath and blood, held the Rebels and their cause as infamous and base, and as they were turning off, extolled the King and the British Government.

On the morning of the fifteenth, Col. Campbell had intelligence that Col. Tarleton was approaching him, when he gave orders to his men, that should Col. Tarleton come up with them, they were Imme­diately to fire on Capt. DePeyster and his officers, who were in the front, and then a second volley on on the men. During this day's march the men were obliged to give thirty‑five Continental dollars for a single ear of Indian corn, and forty for a drink of water, they not being allowed to drink when fording a river; in short, the whole of the Rebel's conduct from the surrender of the party into their hands is incredible to relate. Several of the militia that were worn out with fatigue, and not being able to keep up, were cut down, and trodden to death in the mire.

After the party arrived at Moravian Town, in North Carolina, we officers were ordered in dif­ferent houses. Dr. Johnson (who lived with me) and myself were turned out of our bed at an unsea­sonable hour of the night, and threatened with im­mediate death if we did not make room for some of Campbell's officers; Dr. Johnson was, after this, knocked down, and treated in the basest manner, for endeavoring to dress a man whom they had cut on the march. The Rebel officers would often go in amongst the prisoners, draw their swords, cut down and wound those whom their wicked and savage minds prompted.

This is a specimen of Rebel lenity‑you may re­port it without the least equivocation, for upon the word and honor of a gentleman, this description is not equal to their barbarity. This kind of treatment made our time pass away very disagreeably. After we were in Moravian Town about a fortnight, we were told we could not get paroles to return within the British lines; neither were we to have any till we were moved over the mountains in the back parts of Virginia, where we were to live on hoe cake and milk; in consequence of this, Capt. Tay­lor, Lieut. Stevenson and myself, chose rather to trust the hand of fate, and agreeable to our inclina­tions, set out from Moravian Town the fifth of No­vember, and arrived at the British lines the twen­tieth. From this town to Ninety Six, which was the first post we arrived at, is three hundred miles; and from Ninety Six to Charleston, two hundred, so that my route was five hundred miles. The fa­tigues of this jaunt I shall omit till I see you, al­though I suffered exceedingly; but thank God am now in Charleston in good quarters.”

Thanks Lt. Allaire.

Well, here is a call for reenactors posted on the I'm repeating it here. If you want to follow the marchers day by day, they will try to blog and post pictures there.

RG is participating in Abingdon for three days next week. I'll be sure to write about it in Elkin AND I'm calling the associated press.

All, Well, it's time. I'll be leaving for Abingdon Sunday about mid day.

Great job to Doug Ledbetter and the
Nolichucky Settlement Chapter for their work in preparing for the first ever March of Sevier's route to the muster at Sycamore Shoals.

The communities have done an extraordinary job of preparing what will be the most intensive out-reach OVTA has ever been involved in. The communities project 5,530 school kids for program attendance for those venues that have been funded by the
National Parks Foundation Active Trails Grant. Plus, we may have as many as 2,000 more from venues that were not funded.

We have funded events in 13 of the 15 counties in the Trail corridor. The counties that were not included were Avery (somebody call Tommy Burleson...) and Caldwell where we have no active OVTA people working (at least not yet--I think Avery will be on board by next year). As of about an hour ago, we have disbursed a total of $37,196.83 of the $50,000 Active Trails Grant to the communities to fund their events. We have received a total of $4,100 so far in donations that will be used to match the National Parks Foundation. They will match what ever we raise up to $10,000 so we're almost halfway there.We have $16,903.17 remaining in the grant, plus add in the $4,100 in match we've raised. Those funds are what we will use to plan and conduct the National Trails Day event on June 5, 2010. Paul has already supplied with a list of the 70 miles of trail that are open to the public and walkable that will be the focus of that event.

Alan, Paul, Fran, Marc Bowen, RG and I have served as the grant committee. Hats off to each of the them for making my job of working with the communities as easy as they could. They did good.There is a whole new energy along the Trail that is born of the opportunities the grant has brought us. I am including an excerpt of an email I received today from Anne Swann who has led the planning for the events at the
Joseph McDowell House in Marion on September 29th.

"For many years we have wanted to find some way to make this program work in
McDowell County. Seems that we were always "on the edge", but never could quite make it happen. Thanks to you, this year's event will be the biggest and best that we have ever hosted! We expect an enthusiastic crowd of fourth-graders, 16 demonstrators!!and a lot of tired, but happy, volunteers! "That's pretty cool isn't it.

I've been getting raffle ticket money in the mail this week. As of today, after making the final bank deposit before the March, we have sold 199 tickets bringing in $716.00 for an average of $3.60 per ticket. Ronnie Lail and Jerry Mustin are the sales leaders up till now.

I've received word that the Muster Ground in Abingdon is still wet and soggy from the deluge they suffered in late July and early August. As a result, we probably won't be able to set up where we usually do. I won't know where to set camp until after I arrive in Abingdon or maybe even on Monday morning. But, as always, we will made do.

Per the board vote last month, I have disbursed the $500 grant from OVTA's general fund to Anna McVey to produce the first trial run (market testing if you will) of the Overmountain Victory Trail Mix. We've kept in touch and she will have the packets with the OVTA logo ready. We decided to hold off on putting the "history card"inside the packets until National Trails Day.

There just wasn't time to get the text written for the cards and the production things that needed to be done. Hey Gary Werner and Steve Elkinton--How about this for an idea--Overmountain Victory Trail Mix--a healthy mix of fruit and granola in a 2 oz package with that name and our Logo on it.

The next phase will have a small card the tells a piece of the story of the Trail in it. The first school to collect all the cards--thewhole story--will win... Cool huh.

Christian Thompson, the grad student from the East Tennessee State University Story Telling program is already at work. He is in
Spruce Pine this weekend to work with Bill Carson to take a look at how they conduct their program during the Overmountain Festival at the Mineral Museum. (AHA! Mitchell county!!!) We paid the university $6,000 out of the Active Trail Grant to cover Christian's time for the fall and winter semesters working 20 hours a week. After the March, he will be working with several communities telling the story of the Trail and doing some training of their own volunteers. Cool, huh.

Heather from the new
Chesapeake Bay National Historic Trail will be visiting us in Abingdon. She'll arrive on Sunday evening and leave Tuesday evening. She is coming down to see how Abingdon conducts their education days. She wants to observe on Monday and actually help out in the stations on Tuesday. We met Heather in Missoula in July at the Partnership for the National Trails System conference. Nice lady. Look forward to doing what we can to give her ideas on how to make her Trail better. First time I recall we've had a visitor from another NHT come look at us. That's pretty cool, and of course Abingdon is the place to come.

Speaking of Abingdon, I have gotten their Model Trail Community plaque made and we will be presenting it to the town leaders on Monday, September 21 at 6PM at the Muster Ground. The first award of its kind. And I can absolutely guarantee that it won't be the last. I've sent the Model Trail Community strategy out to all the communities leaders we've worked with on the Active Trails Grant. Asked them to compare the events they have planned against the check-list in the strategy to see how much they have accomplished towards completing the Trail in their community by this one endeavor using the Active Trails Grant money.

A step at a time folks. And before you know it...

Been working with Paula Messing, she's the part-timer working for Paul on the Trail. She's been the liaison with all the planning and disbursing of funds at Cowpens. Couldn't write them a check directly, so we sent checks to each of the 7 schools covering the cost of transportation so they could come to Education Days at Cowpens. She will be visiting all the schools that will be part of the Active Trail Grant events and programs before the OVTA Marchers arrive giving them some background and getting them excited about what's coming down the Trail. That way, when we arrive, they'll be ready for us.

Richard Luce, that fine artist friend of ours, will be on the March again this year. He will be judging the art and poster contests at the Active Trails Grant venues. How cool for the kids to have their artwork judged by one of the top historic artist in the county. Richard will also be doing a station at the programs. His station will focus on how art is used to tell the story of history and actually work with the kids on sketches and building a painting. Now that's cool. Never been done on the March before.

So, Jerry Mustin came over today and we cleaned out the trailer and reloaded it for the March. Took as much out as we could to save weight and space. So the trailers loaded now. I'll start preparing and packing tomorrow. Having had a chance to get my own stuff ready, but I'll get it tomorrow.So, again. It's time.

Been a bunch of work getting ready this year with the Grant and bringing opportunities to several new communities. To date, I've put in 233.4 hours on the contract implementing the Active Trails Grant. Been worth every minute. I'm sitting here smiling now that everything has come together. Not a single problem that didn't just crumble and disappear. So, again and again. As Paul Carson has been saying for the past three years now, "This will be the best March ever".


Let me say that again, Yup. So, again and again and again.

Folks, it IS time for the March. It is time to bring
the American Spirit home.

Get ready, here it comes.

Have a good one,
See you in the spaces between the footsteps,