~ 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."
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The Stacked Stone Chimney~
Deep in those rocks stacked beside the pond, nestled between the rolling hills and plowed under fields, lay over two and a half centuries of memories.
The quartz and river stones have all been washed, over and over, with centuries of relentless rain, changing seasons, and generations of lives.
Over time, the rocks have changed their shapes and some have become more flattened, some more colorless and are crumbling on the edges, due to the continuous exposure to the elements. Green moss is now growing in the crevices of those old stones, the mortar between them falling away.
I picked up a small crumbled chunk and held it between my thumb and forefinger. A chalk deposited itself onto my skin.
I imagined him standing there, staring into the distance with eyes full of dreams and seeing the changing of the seasons. Pondering the future, looking out over his land.
Behind me, the remnants of a stone chimney had stood the test of time. Beneath my feet, the ground showed no trace of where a floor, surely, once had once been.
A log cabin once supported this chimney.
This was their home place, called the White Oak Farm. My sixth great grandparents. Heinrich "Henry" Weidner.
Henry came here to this wilderness, alone, and then brought his young wife back with him. Into hostile territory. What a brave woman she was. Catharina "Cate" Muehl "Mull" Weidner. Daughter of Christophel Stoffel Mull and Anna Catherine Mull.
Christophel "Christopher" Mull was my 7th great grandpa.
He came over on the ship, "Pennsylvania Merchant" in the year 1731.
Nothing much else remains here now, from those days, except the old bones of our kin.
New trees have grown, new deep dark creature holes have been burrowed and new footsteps have trudged across the earth. I added my own to the collection.
The tree that once stood, not thirty feet from his chimney, is long gone.
This is the same tree that was painted bright red by the Catawba Indians as a sign to stay away, war was imminent. Danger was here.
I stood there and allowed myself to become as close as I could, to the man that once stood here, at his hearth.
Pioneer. Indian Fighter. Proud. Strong.
I am proud, too. So very proud to call this moment my own. My excitement could hardly be contained. I had found them. (With much appreciated help from a fellow descendant and new email buddy, I was given invaluable instructions on how to find the cemetery.)
I wished for the hundreth time, that my Dad could have been with me to experience this discovery.
Henry’s remains lie up the hillside from where the stone chimney stands. He is surrounded by his family, of his own generation and those down from him. This is the very place where the Memorial Service for Henry was held on May 30, 1894.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to have walked where he once walked. And to touch the stones that he himself, placed. One by one. His home, his hearth.
Without his courage, this German tenacity, who is to say that we would even be here now?
Henry Weidner was a brave North Carolina pioneer and had the first settlement in Catawba county, arriving in Philadelphia, on the ship ‘Molly‘, on Oct. 17, 1741.
The Indians were very hostile and Henry Weidner and Daniel Warlick II were camping under a tree one night when the Indians attacked them. Weidner and Warlick made a rush for their horses. Weidner took the lead shouting to Warlick to follow him. When they reached a swamp, instead of following Weidner, Warlick took a short cut and his horse became mired in quicksand. The last Weidner saw of his friend Warlick was when he was trying to fight off the Indians using his gun as a club, he was killed by the Indians. When a party of men returned to the scene a few days later and came to the tree where Weidner and Warlick had camped, they found the tree had been painted red as a sign of warning to the white settlers.
The "painted" tree was supposedly the result of an earlier massacre of the Mull Family during the French and Indian War. Tradition says the Weidner's and others were forced to leave their homes for safety. The friendly Catawba Indians painted the tree trunk red and agreed to keep it that way until it was safe for the settlers to return. Weidner and a man named Warlick had come back to the present Catawba County area to see if the danger had passed. That is when the attack occurred in which Warlick was killed.
The tree no longer stands, it was felled by a strike of lightning and crashed down in the mid 1940’s, according to Pete Robinson, a descendant that still resides on the land. He planted a tree where the massive old giant, once stood. His family's home (built in the 1800’s) stood where his modern house stands today. Mr. Robinson was very kind and hospitable to allow us access to his property, taking time to tell us tales and family history. A very nice man. He showed me the paintings, done by his wife, of the old Robinson homeplace and the old massive tree. The painting of the tree was done from an old actual photograph of the tree.
He showed me the rough hewn log from the old homeplace that proudly serves as his mantlepiece over his fire. He also showed me the front door, original to the old house, as well, complete with antique door knob and locking mechanism. You can see the glow in his eyes as he speaks, he is proud of his heritage.
Mr. Robinson built a pond near the old stacked chimney, in later years. He said while digging for the pond, he discovered the remnants of the foundation for the springhouse that once stood over Henry's spring. Story has it that the house was built over the spring to allow constant access to water in times of war with the Indians.
There has been a memorial marker placed recently, by descendants. The original markers for our ancestors have been replaced with new ones, the old worn markers are now proudly on display at the Catawba County Museum.
The site is on Robinson Road, outside of Hickory, North Carolina. The cemetery is up behind the barns that belong to Mr. Robinson, at the end of a gravel path through the trees. Sitting on a knoll, quietly, surrounded by trees and plowed fields below. Sunlight dapples through the trees, bidding you a friendly welcome.
Just waiting for you to come and visit.
NEW INFO FOUND about Heinrich "Henry" Weidner~
Heinrich probably began his exploration of North Carolina when he was only in his teens, as his mother's will notes that he left home "several years" before it was lawful. He evidently made several trips, trapping animals and selling furs back in Philadelphia as early as 1738. meanwhile scouting out the area, although he did not remove there permanently until 1750. Sometime during those earlier years he engaged in a wrestling match with a Scotsman, Joseph McDowell, in a friendly bout to determine which of them would settle in the area now called McDowell county. Needless to say, a quicker Scot got a knee trip on the heavier German. This match is still commemorated in that area. They remained friends, as in 1781 Col. McDowell convened the Militia Officers at Henry Weidner's to raise supplies to feed the army and horses. 1750 was the year he signed a quit claim deed for his brothers, (to the property in Cocalico Twp., PA.) outfitted his wagon at the blacksmith shop of Abraham Bertolet of Berks County, PA, and headed down to stay, with his 17 year old bride of less than a year. His stories of the area induced many others to follow him on down and become his new neighbors in Catawba County. He received his first land grant for 1000 acres in Sept., 1750, and eventually gained possession of 2,840 acres. He sold small portions to Michael Weidner, who may or may not have been related, Conrad Yoder, and George Wilfong. His property was located on the South, Henry and Jacob Forks of the Catawba River. He was sometimes referred to as "King of the Forks". Heinrich and his friends made themselves available for civic duties and responsibilities, and were much respected. In 1757 then Col. George Washington had recruited some Cherokee Indians to help fight the French. They were so much trouble he sent them back, and Henry Weidner was one of the militia officers asked to assist. He picked the group up in Ft. Dobbs in Statesville and escorted them to their lands in western North Carolina, being "careful to conceal all alcohol from the Indians". In 1759, an Indian attack on their settlement resulted in the death of his brother-in-law, and two nephews. The settlers evacuated to the home of his brother, Jacob Weidner, then in South Carolina, until a sign left on the white oak on his property by friendly Creek Indians let him know it was safe to return. The new home they built when they returned has since been torn down, but we have a picture of the stone fireplace remaining. This house, called the White Oak Farm, became a center for social and political activity for the county.
Heinrich was instrumental in solidifying his community in support of the Revolution, while at the time many parts of the South were wavering in their loyalties between King George and independence. The resolve of this local militia was instrumental in the defeat of Ferguson at Kings Mountain, which historians credit as the turning point for American victory. Heinrich lost one son in this battle, and another, our ancestor Daniel, is credited with shooting one of the fatal shots to Major Ferguson of the British forces on Kings Mountain. He used his father's six foot long rifle, kept for a while at the museum at the Guilford Battlefield, but it's present whereabouts are unclear. Heinrich and Catherine had eight children. Soon before his death he deeded or sold the rest of his property to his sons and sons-in-law. An indication of the high regard shown for Heinrich Weidner is the fact that a special memorial was held in his memory 100 years after his death on his old home-place, attended by hundreds, with speeches by all the local dignitaries, which are still on record.