~ 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

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Grist Mill on Cane Creek ~ Dellinger Mill

On the ride up the mountains, to Mitchell and Yancey counties, I had time to quietly think. I thought about simpler times, a time that my ancestors knew well. I thought about surviving during cold, harsh winters in an unforgiving forest. I thought about storing up food and wood , to keep your family safe and warm during the cruel winter months. It had to have been difficult, not an easy life. "Survival" was in every waking thought, no doubt.

As we winded our way along the curvy mountain roads, I thought about a horse and wagon making that steep ascent up the mountain . Not a wonderful thought. I remember my grandfather telling the tale of coming to Gastonia from Shelby with a wagon and a mule. But then again, that is pretty much flat lands compared to Mitchell County.

We found our way to Hawk, North Carolina and followed the signs to the Dellinger Grist Mill. The wood sign along the road proclaims the Grist Mill’s rightful place on the National Historical Registry.

The Dellinger Grist Mill.
I was told a story, under tall pine trees, that gently sifted down sweet smelling pine needles, with each gentle breeze. A story about a mule named “Jack" and a small boy that played along that creek and was taught how to grind the corn into cornmeal.

We were finally there. What a moment of discovery.

This mill has been in the Dellinger family for over 130 years.

It sits nestled in the trees, in a low place by the road. Sitting proudly alongside Cane Creek, with it’s clear, cold, water surging past it. A relic from another time and place, it has reclaimed it’s glory, and grinds away, just as it always has.

We were greeted with a warm handshake and a smile to match, when we entered the drive. It was Jack Dellinger, owner of the mill. His great-great-grandfather Henry (Georg Heinrich) Dellinger and mine, are one and the same, (my 4th great grand). That is where our life paths connect.

I felt like I had just “come home”. His face 'lit up' when I told him my connection. He has a deep, rich, family history flowing in those waters of Cane Creek. He also has a deep 'river of love' for the place, flowing through himself. You cannot help but feel that love. It just spills over like water over the dam, just up-creek about 200 yards.

Oh yes, back to the story of the mule. Jack’s grandfather, David Dellinger, had two mules, one named “Ruby” and one named “Jack”. He thinks that just maybe, just perhaps, he himself, is named after that mule. I sort of doubt that, but it does make one pause for thought, a smile slowly spreading, as he tells that story.

He is a storyteller from the heart, for sure. Simply captivating. He knows that place by every stone and stick. He restored the mill, saving it from certain ruin and loss. He restored it back into operation, but not by 'conventional methods' alone, but by the love he poured back into it.

He told me that he had retired, without a hobby, to keep him busy. No golf for him. So one thing led to another, and he began the difficult task of restoration. After getting permission from the 'Missus’' first, of course. (grin) One man and one mill, and a wonderful legacy of love, that just won’t quit. We walked across a log foot path that crossed the creek, to the site where the Cane Creek Church once stood.

We saw the old chimney of the homestead of Jack's grandfather, now gone. I touched that cold hearthstone and imagined the fireplace glowing, and a family gathered round the warmth.

He has grits and cornmeal for sale, ground on the premises, of course, just the way that our great-great grandfather did it. He will autograph your book, if you ask him kindly. The book is a treasure trove of Dellinger information.

He has a wonderful DVD that tells the story, too.

But don’t take my word for it. Go see the mill for yourself. Go meet the man full of love for the old Dellinger Grist Mill. Hear him tell the tale. Maybe you will get lucky and get the warm, genuine, bear hug that I got. We are family, after all. You will come away richer and with a better understanding of our past, just as I did. Tell Jack “Hello!” for me.

Directions to Dellinger Mill:

From I-40 in North Carolina or I-81 in Tennessee and from the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Go to Bakersville, the county seat of Mitchell County, NC.

There is one traffic light in Bakersville and it is located adjacent to the courthouse. Turn onto Mitchell Avenue going east, which becomes Cane Creek Road
( State Road 1211 ) as you leave Bakersville. Go exactly four (4) miles, with no turns. Dellinger Mill has a large wooden sign on the right side of the road. The mill parking lot is near the Mill, down the access road on the right side of Cane Creek Road.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Destination: Pigeonroost, NC- Scenes from the trip

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
Their winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir~

Pigeon Roost Freewill Baptist Church Along the road in Pigeon Roost A family cemetery behind the barn The Blankenship- Arrowood Cemetery on Prices Creek in Yancey County, North Carolina. This cemetery is located atop a steep mountain. Amazingly they manage to get the deceased and the tombstones up there! It is about 40 feet wide and about 150 feet long, just along the ridge of the top of the mountain. The view is beautiful! The view from the Blankenship-Arrowood Cemetery, atop the ridge.

This is the view from an apple stand where we stopped for apples..Wonderful apples! An interesting old house and barn along the way. The Mitchell County Courthhouse. A view along Cane Creek.