~ 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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

'Seven Devils' In The Tree

Located centrally, between Boone, Blowing Rock, Sugar Mountain, Banner Elk, and Beech Mountain, there is a town called Seven Devils, North Carolina.

Boasting an elevation of 5,200 feet, the town of Seven Devils was founded in 1775. The lower end of the mountain was used to farm everything from cabbage to tobacco and the upper end was used for raising cattle. Hanging Rock, Four Diamond Ridge and Hawksbill Rock were the highest peaks in the area.

Seven men on horseback braved an old wagon trail and observed these peaks one fortunate day in 1964. The four Reynolds brothers; Buck, Frank, Dan, and Herb, Ray Smith, George Hampton, and Gardner Gidley saw this magnificent mountain as something that should be shared by many. The L.A. Reynolds Industrial District of Winston-Salem, NC formed the Seven Devils Ski Resort in the town, in 1965.

Have you ever heard the story about an old man on the mountain who had seven sons "as mean as the devil"? People were heard commenting, that in the winter, the mountain was "as cold as the devils" or "as windy as the devil".

There is a repeated appearance of the number seven, including the seven predominant rocky peaks surrounding Valley Creek, as well as the many coincidental references to "devils".

Well, naturally these “devils” figure in to our tree…grin.

William Winters, born about 1767, in Ireland, most likely, married Miss Mary Balew on September 30, 1795 in North Carolina.
They had a son named John James Winters , born about 1795 in Burke County, North Carolina.
John James Winters married Nancy Daniels on March 13, 1814 in Burke County, North Carolina.

John James and Nancy Winters had five children.
One of these children was William “Billy” N. Winters.
William “Billy” Winters married Elizabeth "Liza" Shell in 1837.

Boy, did they have some kids.
Seven boys and seven girls.

One of the seven girls was our Sarah Ellen “Ellender” Winters Arrowood, wife of Samuel.

Children of William and Liza Shell Winters:

Mary Jane Winters, Born 1838
Sarah Ellen Winters, Born May 1840
John H. Winters, Born 1843
William "Billy" Winters, Jr., Born 1844
Malinda Winters, Born 1845
Albert Tipton Winters, Born 1847
Martin W. Winters, Born 1854
Carrick W. N. Winters, Born 1855
Elizabeth Harriet Winters, Born February 10, 1855
Charlotte "Lottie" Elizabeth Winters, Born 1856
Martha A. Winters, Born March 1858
Charles Winters, Born 1860
Nathaniel Winters
Daniel Wilbur Winters, Born 1844

The old story went that there were "seven blue eyed boys and seven green eyed girls". Some family members said the girls were dark eyed. I think the eye color of the girls was just a matter of perception.

Note (The eye color of the male grandchildren was said to be as blue as the sky.)

"There were seven devils and seven angels".

It was commonly believed in those days that all of the boys were devils and the girls were all angels.

Dan Winters reviewed the character of the members of the family and reached the decision that two of the boys were of general good character, and two of the girl were "mean as devils", therefore he listed two of the girls as 'devils'. One of the girls changed her ways after the days of her marriage. She was Malinda, married to William Hobson. William was a good man and apparently he had a good effect on Malinda. Elizabeth was tough to the end, she left her first husband and children to marry her second husband. She made his life difficult to the very end.

Dan Winters can remember the old time Winters mentioning that there were two girls named Mary, the Winters family. One girl grew up and married and raised children, the second, which we have assigned the name of "Mary Nancy" to determine her from Mary Jane. Mary Nancy was listed on the 1840 census and was not listed on the 1850 census, she died before the age of 12. She is buried in the same cemetery as her father at his feet and to his left.

Daniel Wilbur Winters was generally a good man, he had one child out of wedlock but beyond this, he was a good man. Albert Winters was generally a good man. He got his reputation because of his ability to fight. In the 'tough man' contest that they held during the summers, Albert won the event 15 years running. He could defeat most or all of the men of his day in a fist fight, thus the misconception that he was one of the "Devils". Understand, he was a tough customer, in those days anyone who lived in this area was tough, and they had to be.

The Devil List ~

John H. Winters. (The Second Meanest of the Group)
Malinda Winters (She became a Reformed Devil, in her later years and turned good.)
Martin Winters (The Meanest of the Group)
William H. Winters (Fair to Middlin’ Mean)
Carrick Nelson Winters (Loved Mischief)
Nathaniel Winters (Middlin’ To Mean)
Elizabeth Harriet Winters (One Tough Customer)

The Angels list ~

Mary Jane Winters (Good Woman)
Mary Nancy Winters (died as a child before 1850)
Sarah Ellen Winters (Good Woman)
Daniel Wilbur Winters (Good man, died young)
Albert Tiption Winters (Good man, lived to a good old age, married the daughter of a Baptist preacher)
Martha Winters (Good Woman)
Charlotte Winters (Good Woman)

John H. Winters is buried in the Ellis Cemetery in Elk Park, North Carolina.
Daniel Wilbur Winters is buried in the Richardson Cemetery on Morgan Branch.
Albert Tiption Winters is buried in the Albert Winters Cemetery at the top of Little Elk Road in Elk Park, North Carolina.
Martin Winters is buried in the Richard Donnely Cemetery on Highway 91 North in Mountain City, Johnson County, Tennessee. (He has no marker for his grave.)
William H. Winters is buried in the Owens Cemetery, on Deer Run road, off Highway 91 North.
Carrick Nelson Winters is buried at his cemetery at the end of the Claude Jones Lane on Little Elk Road in Elk Park, North Carolina.
Nathanial Winters is buried beside John H. Winters in the Ellis Cemetery in Elk Park NC.

Mary Jane Winters Franklin is buried at the Taylor’s Chapel on Buck Mountain, North Carolina.
Mary Nancy Winters is buried at the Richardson Cemetery on Morgan Branch Tennessee, near her father.
Sarah Ellen Winters, Mount Olivet Methodist Church Cemetery, Gastonia, North Carolina.
Malinda Winters Hobson is buried in the Albert Winters Cemetery at the top of Little Elk Road Elk Park, North Carolina.
Martha Winters Caraway is buried at the Caraway Cemetery on Morgan Branch Tennessee, in the Richardson Cemetery.
Charlotte Winters Greer is buried in Idaho, exact location, unknown.
Elizabeth Harriet Winters Nelson is buried in the Blackwell Cemetery on Buck Mountain, Tennessee.

The family of the Seven Devils carried on with a practice that caused the members of the community, to believe that they were, “Devils“.
Every summer, from about 1865 until about 1900, they came to the Doll Flats (the Doll Flats is a mountain meadow at about 4500 ft. above sea level on the North Carolina & Tennessee state line). They would hold a tough man contest (men only), the one stipulation was that each member must be a blood descendant of John Winters. Anyone else would be forcibly removed. They would fight in rounds, until a champion was declared. This process was close to the fighting style of the Vikings, that terrorized Europe, from 700 AD to 1100 AD.

They would start the process with a "Ditty", of which one line went, "Come and join our social group".

Albert Winters won the event for fifteen years running.
It took a week or more for the fighters to recover from the wounds they received in this contest. The rest of the community would see the distorted faces of the men with these wounds and conclude that normal people did not do this type of thing. The men loved a good fight, William the father was a bare knuckle fighter, he was a large man with great strength, he once picked up a grown horse and set it over a fence, (a grown horse could weigh 800 to 1000 pounds).

This family developed their attitudes before and during the “War Between the States” we can only guess at what it was like to live in those times during the unsettled conditions of the war. This family, like so many others, took a long time to return to the concept and execution of ‘living in times of peace‘. The Sheriff was twenty miles away and could not get to the area for a day or two, even if he wanted to. The people of this era and location had to fend for themselves, Mr. Frank Fields stated that men of this era would settle disagreements among themselves, they did not like outside intrusions.

This is the game board that the pieces moved on, the men and women were the pieces and the players, the interplay between the players fills out and embellishes the story of the ‘Seven Devils‘.

One thing of interest is that during the summer tough man contest when darkness came, they would take a break and gather the rails from William Hobson's fence, and build a bonfire (like the Vikings) and then carry on with the contest. I think William Hobson probably split some extra rails and hid them away so he could quickly rebuild his fence each year.

The rails were made from the chestnut trees that covered the land in those days.
These men were his in-laws, so he did not disagree much with them.


  1. I have spent many, many, hours and logged many, many, miles, researching and finding info about my family, as well as documenting their final resting places.
    It has become a quest for me, in honor of my father.
    You cannot simply take someone's years of hard work and claim it as your own. This search has been, and continues to be, very dear to me. I began quite a long time ago when the answers I sought were not readily available on the internet.

    The simple fact is, if I wanted my copyrighted works placed on 'Ancestry.com' or other formats, don't you think I would have done so, myself? Please do not take the works of others and claim them as your own. Do not consider copyright laws as something that does not pertain to you. It does. I have been around and around, on this matter and have finally decided to seek legal representation.

    If you choose to take, prepare for the consequences of your actions.
    All of my info has been encrypted to allow me to "see" where it is currently located.

    I strive to find the branches of our wonderful family in accurate manner and will continue to do so. I also chose to share this info with others, via my blog.

    Many continue to attribute photos to the wrong individual, on various other sites, which is a terrible misdeed to the many that will follow and seek in the future.

    This community of 'copy/paste and viola!' Instant Family Tree is terrible.
    Thanks for all my faithful followers who have diligently supported me in this matter. I truly appreciate you.

    Martha Jane

  2. Wow I just found this online and it is so nice to be able to look back into the past. My Father is Allen Eugene Winters born in Statesville, NC 1937. His Father was Robert "Bob " Eugene Winters born 1912. Roberts Father was Jonathan A. Winters but that is as far back as I can find in the papers I have from my father. Any help or insight would be appreciated.
    Thank You,
    Jennifer Dawn Winters

    1. Hi Jen! Nice to hear from you. I have a Jonathan Winters in my data, b. 1869. Does this sound like yours? He was the son of Zachary Doctor Winters, born 1838 in Quaker Meadows, Burke County, NC. This Zachary was the son of Zachariah and Temperance London Winters buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Burke. Of course, Zachariah was the son of William and Mary. If this is your line, we are definitely related! Let me know what you think and I will gladly share what info I have. Martha Jane :)