Jackson's Mill or whatever
Before leaving Gettysburg, we planned to go for a run, so we got up early, and put on our running gear. When we got out of the motel room and and out to the parking lot, we looked at each other and turned around and went back to the hotel . Though the time was only 7:30, the temperature was already above 90, and the humidity was in the 90th. We therefore agreed to postpone the running until the next day. As it were, it wasn't any better the next day or the day after that either, so in the end, we never got to run on the entire vacation. We saw many locals, who ran, but for us it was simply too hot and humid.
So in instead of running, we ate breakfast at the hotel, and then we left Gettysburg via Chambersburg Pike (where the hotel was located), to Chambersburg, and then south along I-81. At Hagerstown, Maryland, we changed road to I-68 West through the Maryland Panhandle and into West Virginia. The Interstate is a very nice route through the forested mountains. At the West Virgina border we visited a Welcome center as usual before we continued west. At Morgantown we changed to I-79 South through the northern part of central West Virgina. After passing Clarksburg, we left the interstate to visit Jackson's Mill.
Jackson's Mill is a sort of mini open-air museum with a range of buildings from
the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Some of them are orginally built on the site, while others have been moved to the area
from elsewhere in Virginia and West Virginia. The site is owned and operated by West Virginia University, Center for Lifelong
Learning, and they have a campus just next door. Why did we go there?
Well, this place is where Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson grew up.
He was born in Clarksburg, a little further north as the third
of four children.
When he was two years old, his four year older sister got typhoid.
Their father, who was a not particularly successful lawyer with large debts,
tended his daughter, but in the end, both died a few days apart.
The mother, Julia, was pregnant and gave birth soon after to another
daughter who was named Laura Ann.
Because of the large debt that the husband had left, she soon got into
economical troubles, having to provide for three small children.
Four years later, in 1830, she married again, but her new husband did not like
Thomas and Laura Ann were sent to their father's family in Jackson's Mill, while
their older brother Warren was sent to his mother's relatives.
In 1831, Julia died of complications after giving birth again.
Tom attached himself much to his sister, and he also saw his brother now and
until the brothers death from tuberculosis in 1841.
During the Civil War Jackson also lost contact with his sister, who was a
convinced union supporter, while Jackson, like many others in this area of Virginia was a nationalist and therefore chose to
side with his state, when it seceded from the Union.
Jackson grew up in the home of his (half)uncle, Cummins Jackson, at Jackson's Mill.The mill was founded by Thomas' grandfather in 1801. Stonewall
Jackson worked in the mill, went to school a little,
and later taught the other children, and for a time acted as an aid to the local court, until he in 1842 at the age of 18 was
admitted to West Point Military Academy.
After the visit to Jackson's old mill, we
visited a second
mill (Blaker's Mill), that were stilll in operation.
Ron told us that we could watch him grind flour if we came next Labor Day or at other
selected times. We completed the tour by visiting an old smithy and a few
When we got back to the General's Store, we paid for the tour, a mere $ 8 per
person. So we decided to add a $10 tip to Ron as a kind of saying "thank you",
for the many "whatevers".
Next day we had planned to go
to Bowling Green,
There was really no special reason that we chose this city, but maybe it was the
old Everly Brothers īsong, that made us chose it.
Along the way, we would visit some caves.
The road is one of the many scenic routes in the U.S. and it was a rather pretty drive to Elizabethtown. Here we returned to the Interstate and continued south towards Bowling Green. Just outside Bowling Green is Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave is the world's largest known cave complex with more than 350 miles of passageway, which stretches into the Tennessee. Besides Mammoth Caves, there are other caves in the area, not associated with either each other. We had to visit Crystal Onyx Cave. We had read about it in one of the brochures, we got at the Welcome Center. It looked exciting, and the in cave was found traces of prehistoric humans, so we left the interstate once again, to go cave hunting. When we found the cave, Dorte didn't like the ticket office. It was a little shabby hut, and Dorte thought that if the security of the cave reminded the shed, it would be too risky.
Instead we decided to visit Diamond Caverns, which has a reputation of being Kentucky's most beautiful cave. It was about 6 miles from the Crystal Onyx Cave, so it was not much of a detour. Here, the ticket office was very nice :-) and with the mandatory souvenir shop. In return, we were told that we should go down 350 steps and the same number of steps on the way up, so we gave up. Later we discovered that it was throughout the cave complex, one would up and down a total of 350 steps, and had we known it, we had probably taken the tour anyway. Now we decided to continue to go to Bowling Green.
At this time we were a bit
hungry, so we located a Dairy Queen somewhere in the Kentucky Outback. It was
the only dining place we came across, but it proved to be "not up to standard".
Usually chain restaurants are rather clean, but this specimen was
probably the dirtiest restaurant I have ever put my feet in, and when we saw the
restroom facilities we decided to starve until dinner.