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Who was "Carrie H"? Someone truly loved her-three hundred years ago- and left evidence of that love. We found the evidence.

     This project is about creating a work of art, solving a 300 year old mystery and preserving something from the past for future study. We want to save some of that past and in the process solve the mystery of "Carrie H" and who loved her enough to take the time to engrave her name into the underside of a three ton capstone on a dam built around 1710.

Carrie's Capstone
Carrie's Capstone

     A beautiful, full color 17th century style map showing the locations of mills and mill remains in Wake County, North Carolina (Raleigh) and a digital photography archive are the actual work products of this project and our legacy to future generations. Even if you don't live here, you could be part of the team that makes this information available forever. Every backer will receive a digital version of the map, suitable for printing, framing, and leaving to YOUR future generations.

     Water powered flour or grist mills were once important community centers and the earliest example of harnessing the natural power of falling water to create the basic staples of our diet: flour and corn mill. Everyone has seen a road or street with the word "mill" as part of the name. Revolutionary and Civil War battles were fought to gain control of them; some of them were converted to produce gun powder during times of war. Artists have rendered them in paintings for hundreds of years.

Falling water has both power and beauty
Falling water has both power and beauty

     These mills sustained us but, like many things, were quickly obsoleted once electricity became widely available and large, commercial milling operations began. The water wheel mills were abandoned during the forward march of technology. However, if you search along watercourses off the beaten path you can still find relics of another time: the silent, dignified remains of these old servants.

So few are left standing...
So few are left standing...

     There is a national movement to breach and remove old mill dams. Some of these dams are beautiful works of art and we should document as many of them as possible before they are destroyed. The very methods used to build these dams were amazing and the craftsmanship superb. Something should be left behind to tell their stories. Some of these dams have very interesting stories indeed.

     Help me bring to completion a long term project started in 1978 to locate, map and photograph the remains of water mills built in Wake County, North Carolina as early as 1710. We have already located 100 of approximately 170 sites; time is of the essence as they are quickly being destroyed to make room for shopping centers and housing developments. Sadly many of the known locations are falling victim to vandalism. 

Dr. Karl Wegmann (left) and me clearing debris from a dry laid wheel pit built before the Revolutionary War.
Dr. Karl Wegmann (left) and me clearing debris from a dry laid wheel pit built before the Revolutionary War.

     These sites are fragile and in some cases only a few stones of the foundation remain. In other cases there are nearly complete mills hidden in remote locations. This project has been ongoing almost 35 years and is now at the point where we really need to create the products from this research: the map, a searchable image archive and an atlas and other guide materials. And maybe, most importantly of all, we need to find the answer to that one intriguing question: Who was Carrie H?

     Help me produce something that will provide a permanent repository of information for future generations of researchers and especially children who will never have the opportunity to see one of these early industrial wonders.

     And in the process help me solve the mystery of "Carrie H".

March 17, 1978...the day the project was started.
March 17, 1978...the day the project was started.
Some of these mill dams are tricky. We didn't find this one until I moved that big stick...with fellow photographer Eric Jones.
Some of these mill dams are tricky. We didn't find this one until I moved that big stick...with fellow photographer Eric Jones.
The Huffine Mill Dam
The Huffine Mill Dam
Secret location, all that remains of a mill foundation from the mid 18th century
Secret location, all that remains of a mill foundation from the mid 18th century
Detail of dam built in 1753 showing the pond drain gate.
Detail of dam built in 1753 showing the pond drain gate.
Built in the 18th century and still standing....
Built in the 18th century and still standing....
Sometimes after weeks of searching all you find are the rusted out remains of a mill destroyed by fire or flood.....
Sometimes after weeks of searching all you find are the rusted out remains of a mill destroyed by fire or flood.....
Sometimes you only find one remaining stone....
Sometimes you only find one remaining stone....
Sometimes, miles from the nearest road, you will find it all, left just as it was before all the men went off to WWI
Sometimes, miles from the nearest road, you will find it all, left just as it was before all the men went off to WWI
And sometimes you will find stonework cut and carefully placed by a master European stonemason
And sometimes you will find stonework cut and carefully placed by a master European stonemason
All that's left of the Chapman Mill....
All that's left of the Chapman Mill....

And finally-she was important to him. We found her name engraved on the underside of the capstone of a dam built around 1710. Her name was "Carrie H". I wonder if she ever knew.....

Thanks for supporting this project.

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    3 backers

    High resolution scans of antique maps, more than 100 of them, some from as early as the 18th century including some old railroad maps. A Google Earth KML with approximately 700 NC mill sites. To be delivered electronically.

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    11 backers

    A beautiful, high resolution digital image of a standing mill, suitable for printing up to 30x40 inches plus a PDF of the mill map. Update: This level will also contain digital scans of antique NC maps from as early as the 18th century. These maps are works of art in themselves.

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    5 backers

    A KML (Google Earth) file showing the locations of approximately 700 mill sites in North Carolina where remains can still be seen plus the $15 reward PLUS GPS file sets for Garmin and TomTom units so you can go on your own mill hunting excursions.

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    6 backers

    A DVD with hundreds of images of old mills I have taken over the years plus some vintage black and white photos taken long before the days of digital cameras plus the $25 reward PLUS rare out-of-print milling periodicals from the early 1900s.

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    1 backer

    Beautiful printed map suitable for framing approximately 20 by 24 inches plus the previous rewards.

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    One museum quality (double braced frame) mounted canvas wrap of the photograph to the left (on the front page of this project), in your choice of sizes up to 30x40 inches plus the $50 level reward.

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    48x60 inch Wake County Mill Map printed on heavy stock with wooden rails, mounted and ready to hang.

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