~ 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

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fiddle Maker Named Garrett~Far In The Mountains

Also check out Laura's Blog about Garrett and Nora! 

Garrett Arwood was the son of John Henry Arwood. John Henry was a circuit Minister in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. John Henry just up and decided that spelling Arrowood was too cumbersome, apparently, and started spelling it "Arwood" after his children came along. The descendants have stuck with that spelling. I was told at an early age that we were related to "all those Arwoods" up in the mountains, too.

Never really could quite figure out why that was until now...Uncle John Henry was the culprit.

Garrett was born October 01, 1904 in Pigeon Roost. He became quite a musician. He made over 50 fiddles in his lifetime.

He married Nora Jane Hughes in 1926. Together they made music and had at least four children that lived to adulthood.

Garrett and Nora are mentioned in an article about an Englishman, named Cecil Clark, that went to the mountains in search of the area's musicians. He produced several albums that focused on the mountain music made in that area. An excerpt from that article is below:

"I also decided to visit Mitchell and Yancy Counties in NC. Between 11th September and 10th October, 1918, Cecil Sharp had collected no less than 199 songs and ballads in the area around Burnsville in Yancy County. It was Sharp's final collecting trip in the mountains before he returned to England for the last time. I found few singers, but I did manage to trace a number of good instrumentalists, including Garrett Arwood, a fiddle maker, and his wife Norah, who sang while making beautiful quilts, Mitchel Hopson and John Hobson. Roan Mountain stands only a few miles from John Hobson's home. It is just in Tennessee, and it was here that I recorded some of Ethel Birchfield's many tales. I loved the music played by her family and was captivated by Ethel's traditional way of telling all manner of folktales."

There is something about that type of music that just 'sets your toes to tapping'.

We went to a local park recently and listened to an impromptu "jam session" and it renewed my thoughts of picking up a banjo and figuring out how to play one.

I have one that was handed down from my grandmother. Music is just in our Arrowood blood, I guess.

You just never know until you try...grin.

Garrett was the ninth child born to John Henry Arwood and Nora Barnett Arwood.

Garrett Arwood made beautiful fiddles. He put his name, year, and number of the fiddle inside each one. He was quite a craftsman and an accomplished musician.

He and his wife performed on a folk music CD entitled "Far in the Mountains".

They sang and played, four cuts on the album. Track numbers, #11,12,13,14.

They also played on the "Little Glass of Wine" (Poison in a Glass of Wine), Appalachia, The Old Traditions Album, Vol. 2, Home Made Music LP-002, LP (1983), cut #A.08 [1983]

Shady Grove, Appalachia, The Old Traditions, Vol. 2, Home Made Music LP-002, LP (1983), cut #B.06 [1983]

Garrett is listed as a fiddle maker in Volume 4 of the Foxfire books (Anchor Press, New York. 1977. pp.116-122). Garrett, and Nora, who was a fine quilt maker, lived at the head of Pigeon Roost in Mitchell County, NC, far back in the mountains.

Old-time music is a genre of North American folk music, with roots in the folk music of many countries, including England, Scotland, Ireland and countries in Africa.

It developed along with various North American folk dances, such as square dance, buck dance, and clogging. The genre also encompasses ballads and other types of folk songs. It is played on acoustic instruments, generally centering on a combination of fiddle and plucked string instruments (most often the guitar and banjo).

I actually found an old radio recording of Garrett and Nora, from Asheville.

Garret died in 1993 and Nora in 2009, but the sweet, old- timey mountain music they made, lives on.

They are buried in Pontiac, Illinois.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd E. Smith. Thank you, Lloyd!

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