Friday, December 31, 2010

Mending Fences

While the holidays are a time for many families to mend fences figuratively, in ours we do it literally. We moved some cows into winter pasture yesterday, but before we could do it, a couple of places in the fence had to be fixed, and sons Tristan (above) and Devin (below) jumped in to provide the labor.

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pocket Watch

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Black and white still-life of my Grandfather's pocket watch that he carried daily.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kidd's Mill

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

The rock dam at Kidd's Mill on Sandy Creek is a local landmark here in Grays Chapel, North Carolina, but it has a very special connection for me. My great-great grandfather McMasters once owned the mill there and then sold it to my great-great grandfather Routh, who rebuilt the dam and ground flour and feed for several years. Unfortunately, the mill itself is long gone, though I do remember going inside it to have feed ground when I was a youngster. The dam is still in pretty good shape and presents an idyllic scene on a recent snowy day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Liberty Farm and Garden

In rural areas of the country, general stores and farm supply stores act as social centers as well as retail outlets. I stopped by Liberty Farm and Garden in Liberty, North Carolina on a cold winter day to pick up some farm supplies. I was greeted by old friend and classmate Mike Foust on arrival and I found owner Melvin Nunn inside close to the stove.

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Out the Window on a Snowy Day

We had an unusual Christmas in North Carolina this year in that we actually had a white one. Snow fell late on Christmas Day and into the next. The views from the windows of my house were quite wonderful.

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh}

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

As we pause for the holiday season, I am thankful for my two sons and daughter-in-law who are all home with us and thank you for following this blog. To all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010


(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Image of a lineman from a commercial workwear fashion shoot.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grading Tobacco

Earlier this summer I posted some images of my neighbor Gary McMasters harvesting his burley tobacco on his farm in Grays Chapel, North Carolina. The tobacco has been hanging in his barn drying for several months. Saturday when I stopped by I found Gary starting a fire in the stove in his pack barn so he and his neighbor Charlie could work on grading his crop. Grading burley tobacco involves stripping the leave off the stalks and separating them by "grades" into piles. The piles are then placed into a press and made into bales which are sold at market. The stove is necessary because for one thing it's pretty cold in the pack barn, but the heat also helps put the tobacco in "order", or in other words, it helps Gary keep the humidity right so he can work with the leaves without too much or not enough moisture.

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

40 Ford

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

A 40 Ford pickup sits in neighbor's shed near my home in Grays Chapel, North Carolina.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Churches in Passing

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

A few church images from my travels around North Carolina.

Friday, December 17, 2010


(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Still-life from Mill Creek Forge, near Seagrove, North Carolina.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lone Tree

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Lone tree, Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, North Carolina.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saturday Afternoon and Dressed for the Weather

It's a Saturday afternoon and there is a light rain/sleet falling. Most of us are either out shopping at the mall or sitting in a warm place watching football or basketball. At Williams Dairy in Grays Chapel, North Carolina, for Greg, Rick and Michael Williams, Saturday means cleaning up the cow lot and getting things ready for milking a herd of Holsteins no matter what the weather.

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Still-life

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Still-life photograph of Eastern White Pine cones.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dominecker Rooster

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Dominecker rooster, Grays Chapel, North Carolina.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Faces

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Neighbor Gary McMasters in the tobacco field earlier the year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Buffalo Ford

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

If you stand on the bridge over Deep River on Hinshaw Town Rd in southeastern Randolph County, North Carolina, and look north, you see a tranquil yet nondescript scene. Nothing special is there to let you know that this is probably the most historically rich spot in Randolph County. Within just a mile or so from this spot are the Hinshaw farm and Evergreen Academy I posted about in an earlier blog post, as well as Cox's Mill, the last intact water powered grist mill in the county. Closer still are two eighteenth century mill sites, an eighteenth century sawmill site, and at least 3 bridge sites. Buffalo Ford was a major crossing point of the Deep River on the route from Hillsboro to South Carolina, and in 1780, several thousand American Continental troops were camped here for several weeks when General Horatio Gates took command at this spot and then marched his army south to the ill-fated Battle of Camden. In 1781, Tory leader David Fanning's base camp was located here from which he raided patriot forces in the neighboring areas. That's a lot of history in a very compact area. That's the up side. Ask most folks in Randolph County if they have any idea that Buffalo Ford exists, and most won't know what I'm talking about. That's the downside. Pity.

(Postscript: The name Buffalo Ford comes from the fact that in the 18th century, there were native bison still alive in the area.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Details

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Close up detail of indian corn.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cox's Mill

A mile or so from the Hinshaw Barn near Buffalo Ford on the Deep River in Randolph County, North Carolina is Cox's Mill, the last intact water powered grist mill in the county and one of the last in the state. Built around 1900 on Mill Creek by a Beane, it was run by several different millers during it's history. It sits adjacent to an 18th century mill site also called Cox's mill. Raymond and Flossie Cox ran the mill from 1938 till around 1983, grinding flour and cornmeal and then feed, using water for power till 1953 and then converting to diesel and electricity. The mill is closed now, but all of the equipment is still on site and intact including the wheel.

I stopped by the mill on a snowy day to take a couple of photographs and spoke to Miss Flossie as she is called. She talked about the history of the mill she and her husband worked for over 40 years (and she worked the equipment beside her husband Raymond) and she told me of some of the other folks who were connected to it. I found out her mother was my great aunt's sister; small world. Then she told me that John Routh also once ran the mill. I was floored. John was my great grandfather and I live in his house. I knew he was a miller all his life, but never knew his connection with this mill.

I don't know how long Cox's Mill will remain. Though intact, the roof is failing and the creek is slowly eating away at it's foundation. Unless someone restores it, and that's not likely, it will soon disappear and along with it the last chapter of a part of Randolph County history.

Flossie and Raymond Cox (Photo courtesy of Flossie Cox)

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Detail From the Back Yard

(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)

Detail of a Southern Yellow Pine cone.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Master blacksmith Jerry Darnell works in his shop, Mill Creek Forge, on Busbee Rd near Jugtown in Moore County, North Carolina. Jerry is a retired high school math teacher who now produces colonial style iron works full time. He started working with metal when he was young, learning welding and metal work from his father, and then learning blacksmithing from several nationally known smiths. Jerry has been forging metal for some 40 years. He now also teaches blacksmithing at several national craft schools such as the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. For more information on his business and his beautiful work, go to

(Photographs copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)