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,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Okay, I have been very busy winding up details for the Oct. 9th event in Elkin for the 4th and 8th grades. I have participated in a webinar about social networking in general and it was great! (see my tweets!)

A Webinar was essentially a conference call about social networking using the web to distribute the visuals. I need a microphone on my computer, but I don't have one so I used my telephone. I only had the audio to listen with the phone. However, I was able to type "chat" messages to ask questions or make comments. A powerpoint and the cursor were on screen. If they wanted us to pay attention to the details, they moved the cursor around. They were very responsive to my questions. It was like I was in a conference in person. Most importantly, I learned things! Now I want to take a class... You get a certificate. And honestly, they wanted to sell the class and their outsourcing abilities, but they gave back information for free that was helpful. I guess they succeeded in creating trust and if I can find capital I want to take the four week class. It will help explain what I have been doing with my "time off". (Not to mention recovery from neck surgery...)

I won a grant!!! to help with some of the OVTA event. Tiny, but powerful and I confess I have worn out facebook for some reason instead of this page, but I have missed you!!!!

I do feel like I am rather slogging through the mountains but I remind you we are coming up on the area of the overmountain men's expedition to Kings Mountain and things are going to pick up!!

Let me investigate Mitchell county and see if I find anything new.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Avery county, home of tall mountain men

Get ready for a weekend Autumn in Oz. In Avery county the first weekend in October, they recreate the home of the Wizard of Oz in the amusement park we remember as the Land of Oz. Now I've not been since the amusement park closed, but this party's coming up so I thought I'd tell you.

AND, by Jove, the courthouse in Newland, still in use, looks just like the Wilkes County Heritage Museum which used to be a courthouse. There is another one like it in Ashe county too...

It is historic too. It was the last county formed in NC. The old 100th was formed on land granted to Col. Waightstill Avery on November 9, 1783. Obviously, he was a Revolutionary colonel and finally, a settler in the far west with English origins. Here is his family history and his stories from the Revolution. Col. Avery lived pretty much all over the state. His father was from Groton, Connecticut. He graduated from Princeton in 1766 and delivered a Latin salutatory. He became a lawyer. He was one of the group which wrote the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence; of the Hillsboro Congress which formed a plan of government for the state; a member of the Halifax Convention of 1776 when it instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence; also a delegate from Mecklenburg County to the convention which drafted the State Constitution of 1776. He was appointed the first attorney general of North Carolina under the new constitution.

So, he was very well known, educated, well-liked and eccentric. Listen to the following stories...

"......Col. AVERY was very fond of honey and ate it in unusual quantities. On one occasion he met a woman on the road as he was traveling; discovering she had a bucket of honey, he asked what she would charge for as much as he could eat. Supposing he could not eat more than a pound, she said, "Twelve and a half cents." Getting off his horse, seating himself under a tree, he began eating from the bucket. The owner, seeing her honey was rapidly diminishing, said: "Stranger, if you will stop, I will charge you nothing for what you have eaten." "That was not the bargain", he said, finishing; he gave her double the amount promised."

But he was particular... He was in the habit of taking his dinner, when in town, at my grandfather's, and was fond of a very rich pudding; before eating, he would invariably ask the writer, "Does this pudding have any butter in it? I cannot eat anything that has butter in it." The servant, who was prompted, would answer, "Oh, no, sir." Eating heartily of the pudding, although rich in butter, he never discovered the fact.

AND of his character.. My grandfather McENTIRE became blind several years before his death, so that he couldn't read. His good friend, Col. AVERY, sympathizing deeply with him on account of his bereavement, would read to him for hours the newspapers of the time, always beginning with the name of the paper, where published, editor, date, etc., including every item, and ending with advertisements."

Well, I'm interested in Avery county because it was the place the western overmountain men entered NC at Yellow Mountain Gap in 1780. This is on the Appalachian Trail. Here is another video. Check out how LONG the Appalachian Trail is.

The Overmountain men entered NC in the Gap between Yellow Mountain and Roan Mountain. In the expedition to King's Mountain, Col. Campbell, Col. Shelby, and Col. Sevier rendezvoused at the Sycamore Flats, on Watauga, at the foot of Yellow Mountain, on the 25th of September, 1780. Next day, the 26th, they ascended this mountain, mostly on horseback, and encamped at night in the gap of the mountain on the opposite side. The ascent over this part of the mountain was not very difficult. There was a road; but not one on which wagons could pass. No provisions were taken but such as each man could carry in his wallet or saddle-bags. The sides and top of the mountain were covered with snow, shoe-mouth deep. On the top of the mountain there was about one hundred acres of beautiful table land, in which a spring issued, ran through it, and over into the Watauga. Here the troops paraded. On reaching the plane beyond the mountain, they found themselves in a country covered with verdure, and breathed an atmosphere of summer mildness.

It must be a beautiful land. It was formerly part of Watauga county. In 1780 it was part of the Old Watauga Settlement "Washington District " and later the state of Franklin. The state of Franklin only existed for four years. Later it broke away from NC and became Tennessee.

These men really came from the back side of the mountains to fight the British at Kings Mountain.

Now, one of the famous families other than the Averys is the Burlesons. I have to mention them because their famous son, Tommy Burleson, is the only man I have ever met taller than PJ. I had a student when I taught science, Victor Davila, who is playing basketball at Virginia Tech, but PJ is now the same height as Victor. Tommy B. on the other hand is over 7 feet tall. He was at NSCU when I went there. Every year he sells Christmas trees on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. He is there the day after Thanksgiving. We stopped to visit with my brother one year. Tommy met PJ and RG. RG threatened to bring his banjo back and hang out. "Come on!" Tommy said. We have to do that this year. Tommy is expecting it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What is fun to do?

After that Cherokee story of the little men with slanted eyes, I have been very distracted in Buncombe county. So, I'm going to refocus today.

I want to list a few fun things sites just because, as much as I like e-exploring or e-visiting to find out about the American Revolution in the counties of NC, it is really not worth much if there is nothing fun to do after all the sacrifice was made that brought so much opportunity to America 200+ years ago. Once freedom is obtained, then it is up to the free to make the most of their freedom.

So, the Pisgah National Forest is in Bumcombe county too. I've already mentioned in this blog the art community which thrives there, particularly my favorite fresco artist, Benjamin F. Long. The town of Asheville is the home of Biltmore Estate. The Cradle of Forestry is an interesting place. Music is central. There are trails especially for horseback riding and camping.

The Grove Park Inn is a famous, fabulous place to stay anytime of the year. If you go in January with Our State Magazine, as we did a few years ago, you will get a real crash course in North Carolina culture, great food and interesting people to visit with at their annual Best of Our State retreat. Cecilia Budd Grimes was there when we were and she is so funny and so TRUE to the Carolina way of thinking, its worth the entire weekend just to hear her explore what it REALLY means to be southern.

Our State is a wonderful magazine. They also have a TV show and of course these grande events! Take this quiz and see how much NC you have already absorbed. (Move to Cary and you too can be a native tarheel in less than six months. )

ForbesLife:The Style Issue Sept. 09, recognised NC as one of four fastest growing states in the US because of the affordability of our fun-in-the-sun lifestyle. I was kind of proud to read that.

Tomorrow I get to go to Charlotte, see the Doctor and perhaps regain some freedom from this collar. Enough e-visiting. Time to visit!

PS. What will you be doing tonight at 09/09/09 09:09:09 o'clock pm?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Reenactors everywhere...

This has got to be the last I find about Edward Buncombe. One of the primary instigators of the rebellion in NC, he paid for outfitting the first continental regiment with his own money.

Today, I've made a to-do list for tomorrow. I MUST wrap up details for 250 showing up for the Active Trails/Overmountain Field Days in Elkin, NC. I MUST write press releases and nail down contracts and donations. I still can't drive, so until RG or PJ returns I will be telephoning, walking, emailing and facebooking.

I have found a reenactor group of Edward Buncombe's own 5th NC Regiment of the Continental Line in eastern North Carolina and they are very ACTIVE. I sent an email this morning and got one back already. They will be in Williamsburg, Virginia for our event this fall, but I'll bet they will return for National Trails Day in June. So, I'm thinking, I haven't overturned every stone for the National Heritage Area if I missed them. I must go back and look for more.

Particularly, I want reenactors of continental soldiers, British soldiers, William Washington's Calvery or Tarleton's Dragoons, and of course, we represent the militia in OVTA. It is important to see the diversity of men here so along with the British there should be Hessian soldiers, (almost slaves themselves), perhaps the reenactors from the Moravian towns or highlanders from the area of Cross Creek and certainly black Americans. In the Surry militia as you recall we had a free black patriot, Esaius Bowman, whose Captain said he shot Patrick Ferguson to end the Battle of Kings Mountain. There is also a reenactor, Kitty Evans, who protrays black Americans as slaves. She was at Abingdon last year, works at Brattonsville, and is also already spoken for this October 9th. She called me back and we had a great conversation. I got to tell her about Esaius Bowman though I think she had heard of him. and she told me to be sure to get her scheduled to come in June. Esaius Bowman needs to be research by History Detectives TV too. Now, whether or not anything else is found, well there is another episode in my Southern Campaign TV show...

This afternoon I made contacts with the pottery people at the guild. I have also found another reenactor group in the Piedmont, Locke's militia. I declare, we are just behind up here. There is revolutionary interest all over this state.

The first call for a provencial congress

Well, a new book from 2005 says the meeting in 1774 of a provenical congress called-for by John Harvey, Samuel Johnston and Edward Buncombe never occurred indicating NC was not quite ready to rebel in early 1774 even though there was organization of committees of correspondance, safety and militia self-forming all over the colony by March. But when the British closed Boston's port later that year, the fire was ignited. The people started to believe anything was possible and anything would be better than this. The pot stirred up by Edward Buncombe and the others overflowed and we all know what came after that.

Melanie Oudin just won quarter final of the American Open. Her shoes say "believe". I know she was influenced by that greeting card from Mary Englebreit - Believe. Don't you think so? That art is an icon. Thank-you Mary!

Another first....

A prominent member of the community, (Tyrell county) Col. Edward Buncombe acted as Justice of the Peace and commander of the local militia regiment. When the Revolutionary War began to threaten Buncombe hosted a meeting between John Harvey, Samuel Johnston, and Buncombe. The three men agreed to call an assembly in defiance of the royal governor. This was the first such illegal assembly in the American colonies.

Born in the Caribbean to wealthy parents and educated in England, he came to America when his uncle died and left him an estate.

Colonel Buncombe then joined the colonial militia, where he was "appointed a colonel of that branch of the service on the 9th of September, 1775, by the Provincial Congress at Hillsboro."

On April 17, 1776, Colonel Buncombe was transferred from the militia to the Continental Line, or regulars, and served as a colonel in the Fifth North Carolina Regiment. The Fifth North Carolina Regiment left in November of 1776 to join General Washington's troops, but before they reached Washington the troop was ordered to march to St. Augustine instead. However, their orders were changed again, and the regiment stayed near Charleston, South Carolina for the winter of 1776-77.

In March of 1777, the regiment was again ordered to join Washington. This time their orders were not changed, and they arrived at Washington's headquarters in Middlebrook, "where they were joyfully greeted by their compatriots with 'a salutation of thirteen cannon, each fired thirteen times.'" (1905. Ashe, Samuel. A Biographical History of North Carolina. Vol. I. p. 198).

On September 11, 1777, Colonel Buncombe's regiment was involved in the Battle of Brandywine. They also fought at the Battle of Germantown shortly afterward on October 4. This battle was Colonel Buncombe's last. "In the course of that action he was shot down and left for dead on the field. Being recognized by a British officer who had been his schoolmate in England, he was removed to Philadelphia (then occupied by the British) and paroled within the city limits. Here his condition began to improve, but owing to a fall while walking in his sleep (he being given to somnambulism), his wound opened afresh and he bled to death. This was in the middle of the month of May, 1778."

I think it is interesting to note that the urge for liberty emerges from people with some means like Col. Edward Buncombe. The pattern appearing is that the poor and oppressed have more to deal with than planning a revolution which is why poor and oppressed people exist to this day. Sometimes when you are stuck in the mud, you have to have assistance to stand back up on your own feet just to find health and subsidence.

Then what happens? The elite continue and the poor become less poor... or the elite are destroyed by avenging poor and the poor come under totalitarian government ....or the poor become middle class and regulate the elite which may be the best or... Well, I surely don't know.
And what if the "poor" aren't really poor, just different. Example, the Native americans of the 1700s.

And yesterday I discovered the Masai of Africa being driven from their lands in the same way by "an award-winning US eco-tourism company, Thomson Family Adventures" .

My brother went on safari to visit the Masai last year. I'm sure he did not understand the stresses they are under. And all that is created by an ecotourism business.

I used pictures of the Masai in a presentation to Nissan in 2004 because Red was not in the color palette and I felt it needed to come back. Heritage Red I called it because every culture has something brillant to intrigue us.

I just did not know what was happening to them. But, I believe it is probably important to recognise that.

If the poor and oppressed people left in Africa are pushed aside to make room in the great continent for the wealthy of the world in the name of preservation or recreation and ecology, have we really created something of value? Is this not the very same attitude of the British government in the 1700s, that the vast American continent was to exist just to send raw materials back to Europe?

Africa is HUGE and this is not shown completely by maps because of the problems fitting our round globe on a flat map. There is certainly potential there, but it should not lose its uniqueness. Let's not let happen the same mistakes in Africa we saw in North America.

And on the other side of the coin, the problems women face around the world in certain cultures are intolerable. Just as there are parts of white American culture we try to quietly avoid today because of the inhumane portrayal of black Americans because it is discouraging to children, there are parts of other cultures that oppress women which are also discouraging and at times deadly. I see the point that some aspects of a culture don't deserve to be celebrated or remembered.

Gee, it's just all hard. This is too much for a holiday. Have a good one. Hug your children and be thankful.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Named for Col Edward Buncombe, hero of Tyrell County

What!! Buncombe county is named for a Revolutionary Hero from Tyrell County. I knew there was more to this eastern county. Must research.

Buncombe County has changed in form since its inception, but it was always within the folds of the Appalachian mountains, judged to be the oldest in the world. Named after a Revolutionary War figure, Colonel Edward Buncombe, the county was formed from parts of Burke and Rutherford counties in 1791.

Buncombe County was initially much larger than it is today. It once incorporated all of Rutherford County west of the mountains and most of the western part of Burke County while, to the south, it reached to the South Carolina border and then ran westward all the way to the Tennessee line. It has gone through at least ten distinct permutations from its creation until present day. Today it consists of 646 square miles lying on the western slopes of the eastern continental divide. It is bounded on the north by Madison and Yancey counties, on the east by McDowell and Rutherford, on the west by Madison again and Haywood, and finally on the south by Henderson county.

It is roughly bisected by the French Broad river which has the distinction of being the third oldest river in the world as well as one of the few rivers to flow from south to north.

At the county's center lies Asheville, the county seat, named after Samuel Ashe, governor of North Carolina from 1796-1798. Originally Asheville was named Morristown and known in Thomas Wolfe's novel Look Homeward Angel as Altamont.

Although the Cherokee have lived in this area for a long time, longer than any of the European immigrants, they say that they were not the first ones here. They tell strange tales of tiny white men with 'almond shaped eyes' living in this area long ago. These tales seem to be buttressed by the word the Native American Crow as well as early adventurers such as trappers and members of military survey expeditions through this area. Other accounts tell of accidently discovered graveyards consisting entirely of tiny graves.

Shades of Roswell...

More later...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Haywood county

Next in the e-visit to uncover the Revolutionary sites: Haywood County. We are still in the vicinity of Rutherford's march to eliminate the Cherokee threat to settler's. You can tell that it was quite a distance and so probably unexpected. There were few white settlers in the path toward the west in the 1700s. The closer we go back east, the more settlers will be found.

Well, lets see. What's in Haywood County? Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley and Waynesville.

Canton is an interesting place. Mainly, in the past when we went through there we knew it because of the STRONG smell of a paper factor. There isn't a nice way to say that. But, this is an important place to me because the man who started a Canton mill that became Blue Ridge Paper, was originally a publisher of books. Peter G. Thomson published King's Mountain and It's Heroes for Lyman Draper in 1881. Draper had spent nearly 40 years interviewing the veterans and their families of the Revolutionary War and gathering and gathering primary sources. He collected details about Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark and others as well. But this was the only book he ever wrote that was published.

Thompson published the first 1000 copies which unfortunately didn't sell very well. In a letter to Draper he expressed the view that while his (Thompson's ) new toy business was going well, Draper's book was not moving and he imagined it was because it was a local story and the only people who cared too much about it were just too poor to purchase a book.. or something like that.

I read a xerox copy of the handwritten letter collected by Bill Stonach from the library where Draper's paper are kept. Bill's grandson, Bill the III, handed me a stack of his grandfather's papers about creating an Overmountain Victory celebration in schools from the 1970s. I found the old letter copy in the stack and read it to RG on the way home from a OVTA trail dedication at Patterson School in Caldwell county last spring.

That struck me. The second edition of Draper's book came out in the 1930's I believe. And if he hadn't have written this one book down and if Thompson had not felt it worthy to publish, we would probably not known about the details of the Battle of Kings Mountain. They'd be locked in the depths of the colleges. You never know how important your recollections are, your stories and your journals. You never know, even when at first you don't succeed. Advice.

It makes me want to see more of what is locked away in colleges and museum collections all over America and Europe that has not been researched as of yet.
You know, they just found another copy of the Declaration of Independence in the British museum. I just know there is information in Lafayette's letters to his wife tucked away in France. Perhaps he left one in Salem or Bethabara to be sent to her on his first trek to Philadelphia from his landing at SC and she kept it...We need to send the History Detectives out for a dozen different NC Revolutionary hunts...

Okay, back to Haywood county. This is fun. Ghost Town in the Sky. Has not too much to do with NC, but it does bring the old west back east. We have a couple of other places like that. Love Valley in Iredell county ( strickly a weekend town) for example.

Also, Folkmoot International Festival. Now I would like that. Let's put that on the calendar for next year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I've got to stop this and go to work... but... hear this!

I have to share this with you because I've been using this list for marketing fabrics for about 10 years. It is the thinking patterns of freshmen entering college. It was developed to remind professors who they are teaching. It is the Benoit college Mindset List.

I'm listening to this lecture from cultural resources by the marketers from Yankelovich, Inc. about trends in American/North Carolina culture. It's a couple of years old, BUT it is still relavent. Our markets are changing in a tremendous way. It starts a little like a speech, but it's got me now... Look on the bottom of the page and click on J. Walker Smith.

It's kind of like PJ reminding me we can use hulu to watch TV. Do we have to pay for satellite TV? Especially if all we watch is the news and the news is only talking heads saying the same thing over and over again and saying it with that stressed-out tone of voice. If our TV finally dies, he doesn't care about High definition, he says we can just use the computer. If he wants high def, he will attend the ball game.

from Cultural Resources

Interesting NC Facts

Jackson county

Well, we know this county was named for Andrew Jackson. There are interesting towns and shops here in Jackson county. One of the odd kinds of things you can see here are chainsaw artists. Here's one. I've only seen these guys in the mountains. Truthfully, I've never bought this. Except at one Merlefest, PJ bought a "mountain sprite" created from the laurel. It's interesting hanging in the window, kinda like a kitchen witch I guess.

One of my favorite towns is Dillsboro because of the family style restaurant in the Jarrett House. Now I stayed there once in the 1980s and while it was quaint like grandmas, it also had those mattresses like grandmas that roll you to the center. I see on the travel comments that today the mattresses are great and the sheets are very high count cottons making it worth it to stay just to be in those sheets. Humm...
Now they say the food is less than it was, but the last time I went, probably four years ago it was great, but it is traditional FRIED Chicken. I'd still go for the vinegar pie. That's famous enough.

Sylva is another interesting town. I spent a summer at Cullowhee with my mother when she was renewing her teaching certificate. I learned to clog, took a watercolor class and went ruby mining. We rented a trailer for the summer. Well, it was an experience. My Dad came up with my siblings in the middle of it all and we went to Cherokee and some amusement park. I can't remember where in the world it was. Anyway, Sylva was interesting because it, at that time, was still the only town. People came to it on Saturday mornings down from the hills to visit each other and trade whatever. I see it is still only half the size of Elkin.

Two other important things to do are tubing in the river and riding the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad from Dillsboro to Bryson City.

As for the American Revolution, humm....Rutherford scatterd the native people. One hundred years later, these little towns showed up.