Uncle Charlie Jones
and
Dry Fork Corncobs

By S. Dail Yeatts, 2005

Dry Fork Milling Company Flour Bag

“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 Oliver Jones

Jake Jones, cousin of author Dail Yeatts and son of Charles Hannibal Jones, in his 1928 school picture.



Charlie and Jake Jones

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.



Notes


Book by S. Dail Yeatts

(Available from the sponsor.)

Along the Dry Fork Road

Along the Dry Fork Road



Other Books Concerning Pittsylvania County History

(Available from the sponsor.)

History of Pittsylvania County, VA

Clement: History of Pittsylvania County

Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past

Fitzgerald: Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past

Eighteenth Century Landmarks of Pittsylvania County, VA

Hurt: Eighteenth Century Landmarks of Pittsylvania County


An Intimate History of the American Revolution in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Hurt: An Intimate History of the American Revolution in Pittsylvania County

Footprints from the Old Survey Books

Dodson: Footprints from the Old Survey Books

Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina (Dover)

Byrd: Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina


Pittsylvania's Eighteenth-Century Grist Mills

Melton: Pittsylvania's Eighteenth-Century Grist Mills

Pittsylvania's Nineteenth-Century Grist Mills

Melton: Pittsylvania's Nineteenth-Century Grist Mills

Thirty-Nine Lashes, Well Laid On

Melton: Thirty-Nine Lashes, Well Laid On


Pittsylvania County's Historic Courthouse

Melton: Pittsylvania County's Historic Courthouse

Tales About People in a Small Town

Jones: Tales About People in a Small Town



This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.