Here is an anonymous letter to the editor dealing with what the writer believes is the unappreciated patriotic history of Bell’s Mill and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
It’s something I found while reading the September 28, 1922 edition of The Courier, published then in Asheboro once a week.
What interests me more than the over-wrought history is the author’s description of recreational fishing and picnicking in the ’20’s; it has been a while since a net or a seine was standard equipment for fishing on the Deep.
That’s why I’ve coupled it to the above photograph, also probably dating to the 1920s or 30s, which has lost any identification other than it came out of a handful of snapshots I bought in an Asheboro second-hand store.
The photo at least can serve to illustrate this happy, long-gone day at Walker’s Mill.
Here is a transcription of the article (typos corrected):
Fishing in Deep River.
Some days ago quite a number of the people in the community of Walker’s Mill, on Deep River, met at the mill for a day’s fishing. It was one of those days that come occasionally in life that makes us feel glad that we are permitted to be present. The day was lovely, and there was that unmistakeable evidence of hospitality and good will among the entire number present that caused those of us out of the community to know that we were welcome. Some time near 12 o’clock the ladies began to fry fish as they were brought in from the men handling the seines. This was kept up till near three o’clock, when they quit fishing, after having caught more than two bushels of fish, some of them weighing as much as six pounds.
Under a table groaning with other good things to eat, and then piled up with fried fish, it was all that any human could ask.
In looking around the place I was told by one of the citizens there that this place was once known as the Bell Mill. It then quickly dawned on me that this was the place where Cornwallis marched his army the next day after the hard-fought battle at Guilford Courthouse. The effect of which was to break down the English power in our state, subdue the Tories and was the blow that broke the chain of tyranny which bound our country to England. For a month the American people had been in breathless anxiety. Cornwallis had sought eagerly a trial by battle with Gen. Greene, but after this he avoided any other conflict with the American army.
I would not help but compare in my mind, the happy and peaceful spirit which characterized the social gathering on that day, with the troublesome times, which the people must have undergone, when there was encamped on the very same ground that well-trained and dangerous foe to American freedom, the British army under control of the skilled and brave Lord Cornwallis.
It was a pleasure to be with these people on the day first referred to, and to know that they have in their veins the very same blood that marked their ancestors as people of pure patriotism, unsullied devotion to liberty, and unyielding opposition to every form of tyranny. The Bell old mill has been replaced by an up to date roller mill, which is now owned by Mr. Will Coletrane, Mr. Routh, and I think one other.
May the people of that section live long and happy, and again meet at their annual fishing place.