Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Source of The Yadkin

Sources claim the Yadkin River is 215 miles long. They are counting the PeeDee and the Great PeeDee in this estimation. Like a road, that changes names at the city limits, or when it connects to another road, the Yadkin ceases to be called the Yadkin at its confluence with the Uwharrie River. At this point, it is called the PeeDee River and the waters continue down into South Carolina where they meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Stanly County, my Homeland, lies on the West Side of the intersection where Papa Yadkin and Momma Uwharrie join together to birth the PeeDee River. Montgomery County lies on the East Side. This convergence can be see at the boat
landing  at Morrow Mountain State Park.  Historically, the boat landing is very close to what was once known as Lowder's Ferry.  If you travel up the Three Rivers Trail  that begins near the parking lot, you'll come to a hill where an Inn once stood, a clearing with nothing more than a rubble of rock and deep trenches, where erosion had cast the wagon cuts, that was once the road to the ferry crossing. That is Morrow Mountain on the left. Part of the Uwharrie range, a very old, worn down Mountain range. The hills that make up Albemarle are part of that mountain range, but they are now nothing more than hills and ridges.  For many years, this river and its tributaries were the main source of travel for people coming up from South Carolina or down from the foothills. On Saturday, July 21 2012, we decided to journey to the
source of the Yadkin and enjoy the scenery along the way. This bridge to the right is on Hwy 601, crossing the Yadkin at the borders of Rowan and Davie County, just north of Salisbury. Salisbury is one of the oldest towns in this part of the state, once the western front. It grew near the Trading Ford, where Indians and Europeans both met to cross the river and trade long before American settlement of the area. There was a village of the Native American Sapona tribe said to have been on the Davidson County side of the river, which was called Saponi by the tribe.  Now it's (Sapona) a golf course.

The day of our trip followed a week of rain and the mighty Yadkin was a bit muddy after being all stirred up.
 Montgomery and Stanly were one county until 1841. Montgomery had broken off of Anson in 1799. These are important things to know when doing genealogical research. A family farm may not have moved, but changed counties three or four times in a lifetime. Knowing when the divisions occured aids in knowing what county to search for someone at a particular time. The crossing of the Yadkin was the impetus for the citizens of the West Peedee community to petition for a separate county. It could be hazardous just trying to get to the courthouse. Tindallsville was the only place designated as county seat of the old Montgomery County that was on the West Side of the PeeDee. Henderson was right across the river from it and Laurenceville, more down river near the Swift Island Ferry, which is now the site of the Swift Island bridge.
All that is left of Tindallsville is the restored homesite of Dr. Francis Kron, which is inside Morrow Mountain State Park and was on the outskirts of Tindallsville. Lawrenceville is just a roadsign that leads to ....nothing. Two houses and what looks like it might have been a church at one time and the road ends there. Henderson exists in no form at all.

The Yadkin grows marshy below the damn that created Kerr Lake in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Many damns all the way down the river has changed the topography, size and path of the Yadkin. The river my ancestors saw was much different than this one.

This beauty decided to pose for me in a beam of sunlight. The Yadkin is
home to an array of wildlife.

Below is a picture of the W Kerr Scott Reservoir. A series of damns follow the Yadkin down. Our county is just south of the High Rock damn and begins at Tuckertown, followed closely by Falls Dam, Old Whitney, Narrows, and Norwood. 
Eventually, as the Yadkin makes its sharp right turn near Ferguson, North Carolina and heads out of Wilkes County into Caldwell. By this time it is no more than a creek. There are three smaller rivers that flow into it here, that make it what it shortly becomes. Next blog....finding the source..and being surprised...and disappointed.

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