Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 101

Tonight I am in a fringe area of Roanoke, VA at a Ramada Inn that is hanging on to its two star by a thin thread. When I pulled around to the back and my room, a group of about 8 young men were hanging out on the balconies, some with their shirts off, all calling back and forth to each other. I asked them if they were going to give me any problems - they looked like a football team ready to celebrate. It turns out the are here from Arkansas for the Miss USA pageant and at least half are probably gay. I should be alright for one night.

The day started with pouring rain. I made my way back to the Augusta County Historical Society and finished the references from Tuesday. No new information. I then went around the block to the county circuit court. I made copies of James Robertson's will and estate inventory and Joseph and Elizabeth Kennedy's deed transfer for the New Providence church. There are many more deeds that could be copied but I have most of the information through Chaukley's abstracts.

A quick lunch and I headed south, back to the country area I covered yesterday. (I couldn't bear to take the freeway for 90 minutes. For anyone every taking this trip, US 11 and Hwy 252 between Staunton and Lexington are beautiful. ) I was intrigued by some of the land descriptions from the Kennedy family deeds and wanted to locate where the original home stood. I went looking for Kennedy's Mill Creek/Ott's Creek. It runs a course similar to Moffatt's Creed but a bit farther east. I turned off 252 at New Providence Church and headed cross country. Absolutely gorgeous hills, tree tunnels, and streams with no traffic and few homes. I ended up on Newport Road without knowing for sure which creek was the Kennedy's.

A few miles further south I saw a sign for Kennedy-Wade's mill, open to the public. I drove in and to my surprise, the mill was the one constructed by Joseph Kennedy in 1742 and IS STILL IN OPERATION! It is a grist mill for grinding flour. Kennedy sons and descendants operated the mill for 100 years before the Wade's purchased it in the 1800s. They owned it for 150 years before the current owner purchased the mill in 1991. Today, the mill produces an array of flour and baking mixtures all without preservatives. They run a small kitchen wares shop on the main floor. I ran up and down the stars taking photos of everything. So Excited. You can see the hand hewn beams with wooden pegs in the beam joints. The stone foundation was covered with plaster on the inside but visible in many areas. The original building was three stories but a 4th was added at some point, reason unknown. The Kennedy's stone house is gone but the mill is a fabulous find and made my day!

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