“Pride of Dry Fork” (see flour bag at right) was one of several flour brands produced, along with cornmeal, by Dry Fork Milling Company in Dry Fork, Virginia.
It is difficult to imagine how much corn the Dry Fork Milling Company ground for cornmeal. There was a time when people not only ate cornmeal but many people drank it. It was told that, in the Callands community and in the Mountain View community, it was not unusual for an entire truckload of cornmeal to be delivered to a single house!
Since so much corn was ground there was always an abundance of corncobs just outside the mill where the corn sheller machine would shoot them out into a pile. They were there for the taking and the people of the Dry Fork community took advantage of them.
There was nothing better to start a fire than a few dry corncobs under some small wood chips with larger wood or coal on top. Uncle Charlie Jones made regular trips to the corncob pile and filled guano bags with them. He would take some to his house on the Dry Fork Road and to the post office building, where he was postmaster. He not only went himself, he also sent his sons Fred and Jake to gather the cobs for the same reason.
I myself went to the mill with both Uncle Charlie and Cousin Jake in order to help them gather corncobs. It was an excellent way to get a good fire going. Back at my home, I used to split kindling wood to start fires in the stoves, and often wished we lived nearer the mill so we could get corncobs, too.
The younger generation at Dry Fork will not remember that bit of history. The harnessing of corncob energy does not equal the discovery of electricity (see “When Electricity Came to Dry Fork”), but it did provide people of a bygone day with a quick and easy way to bring warmth to the heater for comfort, and to the cookstove for food — maybe corn bread, like my wife Claudine baked for me today!
Jake Jones, cousin of author Dail Yeatts and son of Charles Hannibal Jones, in his 1928 school picture.
In a photograph taken around 1950, Dry Fork postmaster Charles Hannibal Jones (left), and his son Jake Oliver Jones stand in front of the home of Charlie's sister Madie Jones Yeatts, 3968 Dry Fork Road.
Along the Dry Fork Road
Clement: History of Pittsylvania County
Fitzgerald: Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past
Hurt: Eighteenth Century Landmarks of Pittsylvania County
Hurt: An Intimate History of the American Revolution in Pittsylvania County
Dodson: Footprints from the Old Survey Books
Byrd: Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina
Melton: Pittsylvania's Eighteenth-Century Grist Mills
Melton: Pittsylvania's Nineteenth-Century Grist Mills
Melton: Thirty-Nine Lashes, Well Laid On
Melton: Pittsylvania County's Historic Courthouse
Jones: Tales About People in a Small Town
This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.
Copyright © 2005 S. Dail Yeatts.