Thursday, February 23, 2012
W.J. Absher Chapter 4 , McDonald Mill Community, where he grew up.
This is a view of Dad's home place through the window of McDonald Mill United Methodist Church. I had the privilege of worshiping this morning(4/3/11) in the church where Dad accepted Christ about 80 years ago.
Before I went into the church I stood outside the door and looked up the road which I'm sure Daddy walked many times. Here is what my mind's eye saw: Off to the right I saw a house on the hill, the same one framed by the window from inside the church. There were stones arranged as stair steps snaking up the side of the hill from the creek to the yard gate. At the creek there was a bridge mad with two logs serving as the supports and boards with large cracks nailed to the slightly twisted logs. The twists made the floor of the bridge a bit wavy which warned the walker to slow down, beware, or be splashed into the creek.
There was enough space between the road and the bridge for a store building that was operated by the Absher family in the 1920s. William Avery had moved his family to the McDonald Mill community when William Jessie was less than a year old. The store building had unpainted weather board siding and a sloped roof which gave it a higher front than back. A small porch was the buffer between the road and door to the small room that was lined with shelves, had a small counter and another door that led to to the warehouse in which bagged goods such as animal feed, seed, flour, and other bulky items were kept. It was not necessary to keep a big inventory on hand since there was another store at the Mill, Custer's Store , up in Roanoke County and another at Dry Run. The senior Absher moved to the county two buy a track of timber and the two houses and the store building were a part of the deal.
The second house was closer to my vantage point but not as easy to see as the house on the hill. This house was actually older that the one on the hill and was just immediately across from the store building. The house on the road was only as wide as the builders could make it as they eked out a flat piece by moving rocks up to where the mountain took a sharp jut upwards. The house had to go up rather than out so it just consisted of four rooms, two stacked on the other two. This was truly a "road house" and it had housed family and travelers for many years after the Indian fort at McDonald Mill became non-functional. (To be Continued)