We are getting close to our peak fall color here in the Ozarks,
and it was a gorgeous day for drive
so Dad and I took a trip to Boxley Valley to visit my mom.
The old cemetery was beautiful as ever.
The church, which was built is the late 1800’s, still holds services twice a month.
The outhouse is still present and was being used (although I never used this one since it was the boys) until just a few years ago when indoor plumbing was installed in the church.
Down the road from the church, there is a distant relative that oversees the cemetery. Back when the community had a post office, he was also the postmaster. The post office literally sits just a few feet from his front porch.
There was one person that delivered mail. This was not his only job, though. People in this area did not have cars. The nearest “big town” was 25 miles away through rugged mountains and wilderness. If folks needed something from town, they would slip him a note,
and he would bring it back on his return trip.
Several miles from the church, tucked away from the highway, the Boxley Mill still stands. Mills and general stores were a main hub of activity back in the day. Not only did it grind corn and wheat, but also served as a day long gathering place for people coming from all over the mountain.
When my dad was younger, he said there were several mills in the area. Even though he lived several miles from this one, he did not even know it existed until now. The closer mill his family used also had a general store. He recalled how excited he was to be able to take the horse ride to the mill every other week. Not only did he get a piece of candy that day, he also got to watch the shooting match that was held. Anyone could enter the match for a nickel and whoever won the match got all the money. If his grandfather won, (which he often did), this meant they could have extra groceries and “live high on the hog” for an extra week.
How does a three-story building, with all of it’s machinery, stay on top of this?
Ax marks on all the beams show hours of work for someone.
Part of the raceway is still present.
The mill-pond was also used for fishing. Commonly called fish camp cabins, they were rented not only to fisherman but also people needing a place to sleep for the night.
The old barn at the mill is still being used to this day as are many barns in the area.
Sometimes I think we all need a reality check when it comes to living the life we are accustomed to today. Little things meant so much years ago. People had to work hard every day just to survive. “Living high on the hog” didn’t mean having luxuries, it meant “we ate good this week”.
How times have changed.