Summer 2014 Newsletter
Reunion time is almost here, and we’ve got our most ambitious Mt. Airy Reunion ever, with TWO great days of great action-packed activities scheduled this year! That’s TWO days of family, fun, and all the great memories we can make together, just like we did in Williamsburg!
Rodey’s Grist Mill! The ‘highlight” of the weekend will undoubtedly be our return to Archie’s Creek, for a closer look at the foundation stones of Rodey’s Grist Mill on Saturday afternoon. At the end of this column, I’ve included the story that I wrote last year, of the discovery of the grist mill stones, so you can again share in the excitement, and picture yourself there at that moment.
We’ve also planned two other incredibly exciting “First Ever” events for this year, and you won’t want to miss either one! Starting Friday morning, local historian Randle Brim will lead us from the Holiday Inn Express on a car caravan journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway into Virginia, to see up to four (4) of the historic “Rock Churches” built during the early 1900’s by famous Presbyterian Minister Robert W. Childress. Immortalized in the book “The Man Who Moved a Mountain”, these churches are each beautiful architectural wonders, which Rev. Childress and his parishioners lovingly built by hand with fieldstones gathered from their own field lands. Nestled amongst the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we will spend this special day visiting these great American landmarks, and hearing Randle tell us the stories of how they came to be. Bluemont, Mayberry, Buffalo Mountain, and Slate Mountain churches are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and weather permitting, we hope to have our picnic lunch at Slate Mountain church, not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just think of the tapestry of fall colors that await us amongst these wondrous hills of southern Virginia.
If that’s not exciting enough for you, then Saturday morning will eclipse even that! For all the years we’ve been going to Mt. Airy, each time we have looked down from the bluffs at the North Carolina Granite Company Quarry below, we’ve thought about how exciting it would be to tour the quarry. Well, Randle helped me visit it before our reunion in 2012, and at that time, I asked NCGC President William Swift if we could ever have a group tour of the quarry and its machine shops, where they cut the granite into everything from table tops to road curbs. He was so kind and said “Yes”, so our Board relocated the 2014 reunion to Mt. Airy, just to take advantage of his kind invitation. Makers of the world famous Mt. Airy (frosty white with black specs) granite, William’s team will give us the grand tour, so this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity that you won’t want to miss! Even to a geologist like me, this is a very impressive place on earth!
Still not enough excitement for you? Well, then how about bringing your bootwaders and slogging up Archie’s Creek in search of more foundation stones of Rodey’s Grist Mill? If you read the newsletter last year (see reprinted story below), you will recall the excitement of this tale of discovery from that day. Well, since our last visit, Joyce Browning has told me that years ago, Merle had found a pile of stones up on the creek bank, up creek from the ones that we found, that might have been part of the grist mill operation. So this year, we will expand our search up creek. Can it get any more exciting than this? What will we find? What will it mean? What more of Rodey’s Grist Mill remains for us to find? Will you be the one that makes a big discovery? The only way to do so is to come to the reunion, but bring your bootwaders!
Of course, our Mt. Airy visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Rodey’s Cemetery, to lay wreaths on the beautiful granite gravestones that our Association established there, marking Rodey’s grave, along with first born son William Moore, William’s wife Jane, their son Hardin Moore, and his wife Ann. Lovingly cared for by Linda Puckett and her family, we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful resting place for Rodey and these family members. A picnic lunch will be again organized by Priscilla & Louise, at Shelby Puckett’s wonderful “Hollow History Center”, where history comes alive with this magnificent recreation of the Hollow.
And then, there are all the other sweet moments and fun that we have built into our schedule, with even a stop at the William Alfred Moore house before dinner on Friday. With dinner both nights at the Mayflower Restaurant in the private dining room back in Mt. Airy, we should be well nourished and replenished with food and energy for our activities. At dinner Friday, Randle will tell us the story of Thomas Woodruff, the founder of the granite quarry. There’s even a Moore family part to this quarry story, but you’ll have to attend the reunion to find out. Lastly, Saturday night dinner at the Mayflower will bring an end to a truly incredible two days of Moore Family fun, discovery, and memories, as we recognize our dedicated family members with our annual award presentations, and relive the joys of the reunion just experienced.
Speaking of which, at last year’s Mooresburg 2013 Reunion, we had a wonderful family gathering at Priscilla’s The Home Place B&B, with a grand tour of the family cemeteries, as well as a breathtaking trip up Short Mountain, to see the magnificent view of the mountains and valleys around Mooresburg. What a majestic and magnificent view, and so wonderful to share it together, and play in all the white frosty sand at the top.
As many of you know, one my most favorite reunion activities is the bestowing of awards to family members and family friends that have been outstanding supporters of the Family association in past years. I bestowed President’s Awards to 1) Johnny Moore, for his outstanding care of the Moore-Dickson Cemetery, 2) to the Killians for their years of dedicated service to preserving and protecting the Cleon Moore Cemetery, and 3) to Nelson Dalton, for his years of dedicated service to preserving and protecting the Williams Cemetery.
Most importantly, we awarded two Distinguished Service Awards; the first one to Pauline Malos, for her outstanding generosity, dedication, service, and family commitment to the Moore Cemetery in Bolivar, Missouri, for which she established a trust to maintain, and continues to fund. Pauline is a remarkable and wondrous person, for she shares our undying love of our Moore family, through her dedication to this cemetery. We’ve placed both Ewell & Gallahue Moore’s granite gravestones in this cemetery, and thanks to Pauline’s vision and leadership, we’ll be able to maintain this cemetery there for generations to come.
Our second Distinguished Service Award was bestowed posthumously on a great American and Moore Family member, Maj. Gen. Marc Moore, for his invaluable board service, his commitment and remarkable Moore family research, and his outstanding presentation at the last Texas Moore reunion. In emails with his daughter Ginny and his wife Mary, I reiterated my remarks that night by emphasizing what a great treasure Marc was to us all. His enthusiasm for the mission of our association was so appreciated, as was his great intellect and humor.
We also lost Georgia Puckett last September, mother of Linda Puckett, our great Rodey Cemetery guardian. Georgia was 94, and had always greeted us on their porch in our visits to the cemetery, and we will always be so grateful for her care of our family treasure on their land during her many years.
I also want to recognize the passing of one of our most dedicated family reunion members during this past decade. Bessie Rutherford passed on to Heaven this past April, at the young age of 87. Bessie will be missed by many, many of us, who were blessed to see her at almost every reunion for the past 10+ years. Traveling with brother Herb and sister Edith, and thanks to Larry & Jerry’s capable driving, she always brought her humor, wit, and infectious personality to every reunion. Bessie was a blessed treasure too, and a treasure trove of fun and joy to all who had the privilege to meet and know her. Last year, she was too physically challenged to make the journey to Mooresburg, but we all knew she was with us in spirit, and she will now be forever remembered as one of the great family members who loved our reunions and contributed so much to them. As time marches on, let’s all remember Bessie’s example of trying to attend every reunion. By being in Mt. Airy this fall, you’ll not only have a great time, you’ll be making memories for others, just like Bessie did for all of us.
May God bless both Bessie, Marc, and Georgia, keep them in our hearts and minds forever.
As I close this column, I want to emphasize the importance of remembering to contribute your annual dues, which directly funds the preservation of the cemeteries, the publication of this newsletter, and the website that we maintain. Even if you can’t afford the full $25 per year, please send us $10 or whatever you feel you can afford, to help pay for these vital family programs. Our goal this year is 100% participation of every newsletter recipient, even if it’s just $5. Please help out as best you can. We’re providing you with this handy return address envelope, so all you have to do is write the check and stick a stamp on it, and you’ve been a great help to your greater Moore Family Association. Thank you again for your prayers, dues, and support. We can't do all these wonderful deeds without your financial help.
May the Lord bless you too, and keep you and your family healthy and safe.
Hope to see you in Mt. Airy on Friday morning October 24th! Please fill out the registration form, book your motel room, and send back your check to pay for the delectable picnic lunches that Pris and Louise are arranging. Low airfares into Charlotte are available, so make your plans to attend today! With a big wedding in town, the motel will release our unused rooms blocked on 10/10, so don’t delay!
GRIST MILL DISCOVERY STORY
(From last year’s 2013 President’s message)
As we drove east toward the county corner lines, where Surry & Stokes county come together west and east, and the Virginia Patrick county line comes along the north line, we turned in to the Thomas Jessup farm road, proceeded across the plain toward his beautiful home, and the dirt road down into the Archie’s Creek valley. As divine providence would have it, we later learned that Thomas’s ancestor, Joseph Jessup, bought Rodey’s land, with its Grist Mill, from Rodey in December 1795, and then died a few months later, with his 4 sons dividing up the land years later. It was only in the last decade that Thomas bought the land, and did not know that his family patriarch had owned it as well. It was an exciting discovery for all the Jessups, as well as we Moores, since Rodey had received this 500 acres as a land grant on August 9, 1787, and sold it to Joseph, eight years later. Did Rodey build the Grist Mill? Did he live there? Maybe or maybe not. The land grant was granted with an “improvement” on it, and Rodey owned over 5,000 acres of land within Patrick County, VA. and Surry County, NC. Since land was the main source of wealth, Rodey’s land acquisitions and divestitures were a key part of his estate, and he obtained several land grants over the decades of his adult life.
As we walked down the gravel road to Archie’s Creek, there was great anticipation among all our family members. Especially our “centurion” Herb Moore, as he rode in the front seat of Thomas’s John Deere 4x4. As we got down to the creek, it became clear to me as a geologist, due to the walls of sandstone on either side, that this was a narrowing of the creek floodplain, and would have been a good place for a Grist Mill to funnel water through it, to run the milling wheel.
Before I had left Houston for the reunion, I had used Google Earth and downloaded the closest coordinates for that 3-county corner into my Garmin GPS device. It told me to cross the creek and find the three corners on the creek bank on the other (east) side. So across the babbling creek I went, followed by Herb’s other son, Mark Moore from Michigan, who crossed and walked the creek bank barefoot, like a young Indian brave.
As the Garmin took us to a spot, we came across an iron rod wrapped in pink surveyor’s tape a short distance away, and a few feet further, was a surveyor tree with horizontal ax marks circled in yellow paint. Obviously, we had found the most recent surveyed corners, probably surveyed within the last 15 years, but no grist mill ruins could be found on the soft, leaf-covered creek bank. So, up and down the creek bank we walked, and I soon came upon an old green covered 4”x4”x3’ bright green moss-covered post lying on its side, and next to it….an old stump of the post with a very old rusty surveyors medallion no more than 15’ from the creek bank. This must have been an earlier survey marker, for the three county corners, perhaps over 50 years ago, now located more than 100 feet from the new one. I later learned from county records staff, that there had been a surveyors’ adjustment of the entire state line, several decades ago.
Then, looking back toward the creek I saw the rock pile, in the middle of the creek, and from this side of the creek, square cut stones could be seen along a ridge running across the creek, barely inches under the water. I yelled “Mark, come look at this”, and there it was to both of us. As we circled back across the creek, it became even clearer as to what we were looking at. Right there, in the middle of Archie’s Creek today, as it probably was centuries ago, was a foundation of man-cut stones that looked awfully like a foundation to Rodey’s Grist Mill would have looked back then (see below). As you can imagine, we were all quite excited, and everyone laughed and rejoiced over the discovery, took pictures with the creek flowing over and around the stones, and then headed back up the hill to thank Thomas Jessup, and tell him of the exciting news.
Cut Stones in Archies Creek near Tri-County Corner