The first event of the 2014 NHIA schedule was a hike to the remains of the 18th century Robson Mill on New Hope Creek, which was constructed at about the same time as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1790s). There were 12 hikers including leader Stewart Dunaway who has researched and written a book on the Robson Mill. The group also included a descendent of the Robson family who still lives in this area and had heard about the hike!
We explored the ruins of the millhouse just upstream from Wooden Bridge on New Hope Creek and the dam and millpond which are further upstream. We then moved to an area on the hill above the mill where there are foundations of farm buildings and perhaps a house as well as the Robson graveyard with several intact headstones. Stewart related historical facts and speculations about the layout and daily functions of the mill/farm complex. We had a great time and Feb. 22 was one of only a few warm sunny days all winter long! There are several other interesting routes and sites along our part of New Hope Creek and more hikes will be planned.
Stewart Dunaway’s book, Johnston and Robson Mill History – Orange County, NC and his numerous other works are available online from various retailers including Lulu.com, and locally from Flyleaf Books, Bull’s Head Bookshop, The Regulator, and many others.
Thanks, Stewart! And thanks to all the participants.