~ The pieces are all sewn together, stitched with love.........and a quilt tells a story and the story is our past ~

The Arrowood family immigrated from England to Maryland in the 1700's. They went south, eventually settling in the mountains of North Carolina. Later , some went further south, into the Piedmont of North Carolina, in search of work and a better way of life.

I am in search of my family.

I search for those that came before me, and lived their lives as best they could. I am in search of their stories, how they lived, and how they loved.

I shared this love of seeking the past with my Dad, sharing each new finding with him, the thrill in his heart intermingling with mine. I continue this search in his honor, and hope to know these people of ours when I join up with them all in heaven.

~ Steve Lewis Arrowood 1932-2008 ~

Come with me, back to a simpler time and place. A place far removed from the hectic pace of today. To a time when life was hard, but the rewards were great. When your quality of life was determined by your own sweat, your own toil, and your own ingenuity.

Would you like a glass of sweet tea? Let's sit out on the porch where we will catch the sweetly scented breeze of summertime. Maybe Grandma will fry up some of her wonderful chicken... Time slows here.


"We shape our lives not by what we carry with us, but what we leave behind."

~You live as long as you are remembered.~

"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories. " Author: Unknown

"But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations."


Arrowood Family

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Bee Keeping Preacher Named John Henry

John Henry Arrowood was born January 02, 1872, in Brummetts Creek, Mitchell Co, N.C.
He was the child of Samuel Augustus and Sarah Ellen Winters Arrowood. Born the sixth and last child to this couple.

John Henry was a "Preacher Man" in the mountains.

He married Nora Barnett. Nora’s father was Rev. Spencer Barnett. Nora was born July 03, 1875, in Poplar, Mitchell County, North Carolina. They married on December 18, 1892, in Mitchell County. They had a total of 13 children:
Richard, Frances “France”, Spencer, Sarah, David, Welzia “Welzie”, Robert Henry and Henry Robert (twins), Garrett, Lemuel, Esther, Dessie, and Johnie.

John Henry was written about by a local man by the name of Harvey J. Miller  (John Henry's nephew by marriage). The following are excerpts from the articles:

The Rev. J.H. Arrowood of Pigeon Roost area recalls seeing and hearing a crowing red bird in the Pigeon Roost area about 60 years ago, but does not recall ever seeing a white robin, recently discovered inhabiting the area. Arrowood said the red bird would alight on a hill near his home and crow like a bantam rooster.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller.

Rev. and Mrs. J.H. Arrowood spent last week at Johnson City, visiting Arrowood's brother, the Rev. Sam Arrowood, who was seriously hurt when he was kicked by a horse.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller, writer for the Spruce Pine, N.C. newspaper, dated 11/9/1950.


Bears, once plentiful and feared by man and beast in Pigeon Roost area, are seldom seen now. But such places as Bear Wallow, Bear Cove and Bear Knob are reminders of the early days when the area was a howling wilderness and bears roamed the wilds.

In pioneer days, the bear population was so numerous, the animals prowled among the settlers in search for food. Oftentimes they tore up the beehives to get honey, and they raided the streams for fish. They also made it hard for the moonshiners. They raided for mash and whiskey, and upset the barrels and vessels used around the distilling plant. The animals were so destructive and so plentiful that the settler's often had to get out their guns and go in search for them.

Early settler's trapped bear for food and clothing. The meat was used for food, and the hides for clothing, bed covering and carpets for the homesteads.

Names given certain areas by the early settlers, because of the bears, have been retained through the years.

John Arrowood, great-grandfather of the Rev. John H. Arwood, now nearing 90 years old, came over from England. He settled his family on the upper reaches of Pigeon Roost Creek. Due to the number of bear wallowing in the mud where he drove his stakes for a homestead, he called the place Bear Wallow. For years, bears continued to wallow in the mud near the old homesite.

The Rev. Arwood now resides in Spruce Pine, but when he lived here a few years ago, he told us his ancestor planted and grew an orchard at his Bear Wallow farm. He said when the trees began to bear, the bears would climb the trees for fruit. The older bears would shake the trees so that the cubs on the ground could have some.

Note: The community of Bear Wallow NC still exists today!

Excerpts taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller, dated 4/12/62.

Ever since he was a boy, the Rev. John H. Arwood of Pigeon Roost has found diversion in keeping bees. Through his years in the ministry, he has learned to respect the value of a hobby. While he has studied insects all his life, he fully believes that bees are the most interesting of all insects.

Despite his advanced age of nearing 84 (to be exact, his 84th birthday is January 2nd), he has found this season to be the most wonderful one of his long career in the keeping of bees. This probably is because experience has taught him much in the bee business.

He has saved ten more hives this season. When there are two or three swarms at the same time-that never occurs very often-he places them all together in the same hive, which makes over a bushel of bees. But he has gums, as he calls them, that hold over two bushels, which handily take care of the big swarms.

He said when he accumulated the different swarms together, the bees would kill all the queen bees but one. He said the bigger the late swarms were, the better they got along.

Arwood stayed able this summer to climb trees and ladders to saw off the limbs where the bee swarms had collected, so he could let the limbwhere the bees were down with a rope to the gum. Then they are shaken into their new home and the lid placed on top. At night, when the bees have quieted down, the gum is placed where it is to stay.

He owns two veils, but did not use a bee cap or gloves when working with the bees this summer. He often dipped up bees with his bare hands and used one smoker that he made out of cloth rags. He got very few bee stings this summer. He said he had learned to work gently with bees.

Arwood has different types of hives or gums. Some are patent; others around hollow log with set crossbars inside. A few of them are long, square gums made out of lumber with set crossbars inside of them too. He has some hives that he calls bee palaces that once had small glass windows in them. He has one gum log that belonged to his mother, that probably is about 75 years old. He said his mother always kept many bees.

He has his bees located in one place in straight rows at the foot of a little hillside, with a small shed in the background where he has stored away empty bee hives. The shed is covered with clapboard. Arwood at the present time is the owner of 31 bee hives. He has more than any bee-keeper in the entire Pigeon Roost section.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller.

The Rev. and Mrs. J.H. Arrowood, an elderly Pigeon Roost couple, are probably the only family in the Carolina mountain country which will still buy roasted coffee beans and grind their own coffee. The Arrowoods grind their own coffee as they use it on an old-time coffee mill. They claim the flavor is much better when it is fresh ground.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller.

The last corn mill on Pigeon Roost that was pulled by a water wheel was owned and operated by the late Rev. and Mrs. John H. Arrowood, located in the upper section. He had one of the small water wheels that was called the undershot kind. He had to aleays catch water in the mill race to get enough water to keep the wheel rolling. This mill wheel was hooked to a dynamo machine by Arrowood's son, R.H., and they had the first electric lights on Pigeon Roost, as well as the first electric radio.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller, dated 3/16/72.

For several years, there had not been any services held in the "House of Welcome Church" in the upper section of Pigeon Roost until the doors were recently opened for Sunday School, now slated for each Sunday morning and two preaching services scheduled each month, but the time is yet to be announced by the pastor, the Rev. Harrison Street. The church was named "House of Welcome" when it was first established many years ago by the late Rev. John H. Arwood.

The church is located just below the little hilltop where the Bennett Cemetery is located and where lies buried Mr. and Mrs. Elac Bennett, one of the early pioneer couples of the Pigeon Roost area. Mr. Bennett was a farmer and herb doctor, and Mrs. Bennett was a midwife.

There was first a Freewill Baptist Church in the old log school house that stood about a mile down the road from the present "House of Welcome Church".

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller, dated 8/6/64.

***Aunt Hilda remembers going up to see the family and going to church at the "House of Welcome", where they were having an old-fashioned 'Foot Washing'.***

Fonzer Miller attended the funeral services Saturday of his uncle, the Rev. John H. Arwood.

Preacher Arwood, as he was affectionally called on Pigeon Roost, lived here practically all his life until about 10 years ago, when he moved to Spruce Pine where his son Robert lived.

Preacher Arwood had been an ordained minister of the Freewill Baptist Church denomination for over 60 years, and pastored churches until poor health prevented him from doing so some several years ago.

His ministerial work was begun a long time before good roads ever came to this mountain area, and he traveled from one church to another on horseback. The writer recalls that he once told us that several times the church that he wanted to preach at was so far away that he would have to start on the trip Friday so he could get there and he would stop at some of his friends somewhere on the way and stay the nights.

Cold or disagreeable weather hardly ever prevented him from meeting with his appointment, but he said, as he was telling us one time about his ministerial work, that his shoes had many times been frozen to the stirrups.

So, with the going away of Rev. Arwood, another pioneer preacher has passed on.

Excerpt taken from the writings of Harvey J. Miller, dated 11/21/63.

Notes for Rev. John Henry "J.H." Arrowood:
John was given the last name Arrowood, but later began spelling it Arwood. In his family bible, John spelled all the children's last names as Arrowood with their births, until he got to Johnie. He then used Arwood. He may have changed the spelling between 1914 and 1916.

John Henry Arrowood was ordained as a minister on December 17, 1904. Ordaining council signatures: N. Honeycutt, A. Badamo, G. Hopson, A. N. Benfield, and T. H. McCoury. J. H. was in Relief, Mitchell County, NC in 1935. When he died, he had been ill for 2 years.

John Henry passed away on November 02, 1963, in Spruce Pine and was buried at Sinking Creek Cemetery, (Barnett Cemetery) Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee. Nora Barnett Arrowood passed away on March 01, 1967, in Erwin, Tennessee. She was buried alongside John Henry at Sinking Creek Cemetery.

John Henry also operated a cement factory and produced cement products.

My Aunt Hilda remembers fondly the visits up to the mountains to visit with Uncle John and Aunt Nora. They had a mountain home that had a creek running right under one corner of the house. The creek water ran straight into the house and into the sink in the kitchen, running continuously. She said that the food was unbelievable when Aunt Nora put on a spread. The kids were plentiful and there was fun to be had by all. Hilda remembers going into their root cellar being quite an experience. She said it was scary and dark as a child. John and Nora had an old hollowed out trunk of a tree, nestled under water in the creek. This is where they stored their perishable items such as milk and butter. It was right upstream, of course from the outhouse that was located over the creek. That was fortunate for the outhouse to be downstream of the outside ‘refrigerator‘, but not so fortunate for the neighbor’s that lived further downstream…

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