When the Past is Still Present

We are getting close to our peak fall color here in the Ozarks,

arkansas grand canyon fall color

and it was a gorgeous day for drive

arkansas grand canyon fall color

so Dad and I took a trip to Boxley Valley to visit my mom.

The old cemetery was beautiful as ever.

mossville cemetary in fall

The church, which was built is the late 1800’s, still holds services twice a month.

Mossville Baptist Church

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.

mossville outhouse

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.

mossville post office

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,

mossville post office

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.

boxley mill

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.

dad and the boxley mill

boxley mill

How does a three-story building, with all of it’s machinery, stay on top of this?

IMG_0006 IMG_0007 IMG_0008

Ax marks on all the beams show hours of work for someone.

IMG_0015 (2) IMG_0014 (2)

Part of the raceway is still present.

boxley mill

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.

fishing cabins at boxly mil

The old barn at the mill is still being used to this day as are many barns in the area.

barn at the boxley mill

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.

mossville post office

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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12 Responses to When the Past is Still Present

  1. I was already thinking about that “high on the hog” and how we don’t appreciate what we have today when I got to your last paragraph where you summed up my thoughts. Somehow, I think the more grateful folks of yesteryear will hold a higher place in God’s eyes than the people of today, many of whom think of nothing but themselves. One of those fish camp cabins looks like it’s built of stone. I’m with you on wondering how the mill stood on those rickety rock foundations.


  2. Dawn says:

    Brenda, it was so interesting to visit Boxley Valley with you and your dad today! It’s so important to document the special stories and places in our family history. Living in the early days has always interested me. The Ozarks look so lovely in Autumn! I’m so glad that you shared this special day with all of us. Hugs! ♡


  3. Awesome post and photos!


  4. Becky says:

    Your posts always inspire me. :- ) Thank you for sharing your day.


  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A beautiful post about a special day and a simpler time. We are often ungrateful for all that we have and take for granted things that used to be special and extravagant treats (Oranges for instance, fresh vegetables in all months of the year and baked goods with exotic spices like cinnamon.) Your post is a good reminder to me to be more grateful for all of my blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bittster says:

    What an interesting area, and good for you and your dad that your own personal history is so close by and preserved. Plus it’s always nice to see a spot which isn’t overrun by development. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bill says:

    I love these photos. Thanks for sharing them. The church reminds me of the little church I attended when growing up. It was a big deal a few years ago when the outhouse was finally replaced with an indoor bathroom. As for the stone foundation, all the old buildings on this farm are sitting on foundations like that. When we started restoring the old farmhouse I knew we’d need to put in a proper foundation so I had an engineer come out and look at it. He did some measurements, looked around a bit and said the saw no sign of settling or tilting. He said something like, “That house has been sitting on that foundation just fine for over a hundred years. I wouldn’t change it at all.” It left me really impressed with the building skills of those days.


  8. This is such a beautiful post, and I agree that we’ve largely lost sight of what matters…it is the little, simple things


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