I have spent a lot of time in the woods this summer, exploring what is out there. My passion for local history has been reignited by finding ruins of homes, barns, mills, wells, and roads. In other words, bones in the woods.
This week I went in search of an old sawmill that is depicted on a trail map for the area. Let me rephrase that, there is a trail called the Sawmill Trail on the map, so I assumed it would take me to an old sawmill. It is also shown on an old map from 1870 I found online although I can only assume this is the same one as the map isn’t as detailed.Walking around this site, once again I am amazed by the work that went into building this. For example, looking at the picture above, the wall closest to you is about 6 to 7 feet tall. It is about three feet wide. Further up the stream is a smaller one. Along the stream there is evidence of large boulders having been repositioned by human effort in order to direct the flow of water to where the turbine would have been. Although I don’t have a time when this was built it was at least 150 years ago, in other words, when the only power what was provided by man and beast.
Walking through the area I am overwhelmed by the work our ancestors were willing to go through just to try to make a living and settle the area. It wasn’t easy to establish this country, but they were willing to do it because they believed in the founding principles, the foundations this country was built on. Were there problems? Certainly. We can’t ignore slavery or the way the Native Americans were treated. But the people who worked clearing these forests and who built these mills were only interested in survival, in making a living and doing the best they can for their families.
In today’s culture, more and more people wait for someone else to provide for them. They want handouts and assistance from the government and the government perpetuates this. Look around at the health of so many of us and you can see many of us (and I do include myself) would be hard-pressed to build a structure like above. I wonder how many of us would even try?