Fort Defiance and General William Lenoir

10/20/13 Sunday at Lenoir, NC (Green Mountain Park Resort-TT/MA)

Gorgeous sunny day. After our fun breakfast of freshly grilled pancakes we went to church. The unique thing here is that after the lector recites various entities we pray for, then she invited the congregation to include their own and they did, out loud, one at a time. Even a little school girl. Nice.

Back at home we were reading a bit before lunch when we noted that our neighbor (across from us) was having troubles getting out of his site. It seems like the best site because you can pull through, BUT the back end is low, the front end goes high swiftly, then the “curb” concrete drops quite a bit, soon. Thus as he tried to pull his 5th wheel up the front end, then down the “curb”, his jacks high centered on that concrete. Our neighbor Austin was already talking to him, then John and I joined in. In the end, he used Austin’s long 2X6 boards to drive his truck’s rear wheels over, to give lift to the 5th wheel. It worked!! He also seemed to have sprung some leak for water was flowing out the lower side. We wished him safe travels home. Austin is leaving tomorrow, earlier than he’d planned, because his motorcycle’s battery doesn’t seem to get the engine going. He’d rather have the technicians in his home town look into it than strangers. Always something.

We’d seen signs for “Fort Defiance” so we thought we could take a Sunday drive to visit it, just for fun. It was only 13 miles away, but we didn’t really know that as we twisted around the 2 lane country roads. Fort Defiance is actually the name of the mansion Major General William Lenoir built in 1792. They figure it’s because the actual fort (to protect against Indians) was nearby, so a good marker for directing people to his plantation. It took him 4 years to build it, with unique features. He was an inventive man. Born the youngest of 10 children, he didn’t go to school (his father died when he was 14, so no money), but studied until he passed the certification to become a teacher. That’s when he met his lady love, moving from Virginia (his home state) to North Carolina where her people were. As their family grew he felt he needed more income than teaching provided, so he became a surveyor. That’s how he came to discover this frontier part of North Carolina and decided to move here. Much has been given his name besides the city we are near: roads, counties. He was a hero at King’s Mountain in the Revolution (thus a Major General eventually), wounded in his arm and leg. A bullet shot off his “que” (ponytail), so in memory of how close he’d been to death, he kept his hair short.

Before the tour ($6/person) we strolled the grounds (5 acres). The oldest grave is for Elizabeth (Wm Lenoir’s daughter) in 1875 up to the newest (2000) in the small family cemetery.

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A Bald Cypress (normally growing in water/bayous)

IMG_3082 Bald Cypress IMG_3084

200 year old hybrid European Chestnut with it’s chestnuts on the ground. I’ve never seen these kind of husks. Our guide tells the children they are porcupine eggs (so they won’t pick them up)

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Beech Tree – the largest in the state

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No photos allowed IN his home so this is what I have of it and the smokehouse:

IMG_3071 IMG_3078 IMG_3080 Smokehouse

Some unique elements: he built closets in several rooms at a time when few had them because they only had the clothes they wore. He had a winter kitchen – a room inside the house with a brick floor and a firewall of brick separating it from the other side of the house. Because of this he had 2 stairways to the upstairs rooms (separated by that wall). One room was called the “honey room”, so they think it was for the chamber pot – a bathroom inside the house then. He built a unique 3 footed table with a narrow triangle surface that had a drop panel you could lift to make your table surface larger. Interesting but not so unique, he built an addition when in his 70’s in 158 days. The original house took 4 years. This addition was for he and his wife Sarah to live in peace, separate from their grandchildren who were left in the main house. 5 generations lived here, thus many of their furnishings remain.

We enjoyed a pleasant Sunday drive back to Miss Zanzibar for a relaxing evening.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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