In "The Way It Was", 3-Wilhelmina (Bee) Garris King 1918-2007, 4-William (Billy) King 1954-, Bee Stories, FAMILY: BEE & BOB TOGETHER, Round O, S.C., STORIES on May 12, 2013 at 7:43 am

He also had a cotton gin and ginned cotton. I’ve played around the gin many times and see those big bales being turned out. They threw away the seed in those days because they knew no use for them. So they use them in Oleo and a lot of things.

They had a lumber mill and sawed trees into lumber.

Also they had the grits mill (spelled grist in those days). Every Saturday, some of the dry corn would have to be shucked and removed from the cob to run through a grinder which removed the corn kernels from the ear. Billy, this is why I cried that day you came in from Allen’s and you had run some corn through one of the mills and you were so excited. It was one of the things I was raised with and had never been able to share all of this with my children. Anyway the next step was to take some corn to the grits mill and they would grind it up in two bags; one grits and one corn meal. They would keep enough to pay themselves and sell that to someone else. There was no money exchanged.

– “The Way It Was,” Chapter Ten: “Grandma and Grandpa Dodd,” 1999

  1. What is Oleo? See the discussion the past post about cheese grits here:

  2. I can remember hearing the mill on the corner across from Dodd store. When we slept at my Grandmother’s house, it would wake you in the morning with its rumbling.

  3. I think that a mill that grinds corn to make grits is still called a “grist” mill. I think that term refers to the stone grinding mechanism and is not a derivative of the word “grits”. 🙂

  4. Here is a link that talks about a grist mill in SC that still operates.

  5. The cotton gin building is still there although I think the front is different now from the picture. As we were leaving the last time, I saw Martha walking around it with a couple of guys, but I think it’s not still in operation. I remember an old family story about someone losing a hand in the cotton gin. There are lots of moving parts to a cotton gin, and not many covers or guards in those days.

    This from Wikipaedia: “Although the terms “gristmill” or “corn mill” can refer to any mill that grinds grain, the terms were used historically for a local mill where farmers brought their own grain and received back ground meal or flour, minus a percentage called the “miller’s toll” paid in lieu of wages. Most towns and villages had their own mill so that local farmers could easily transport their grain there to be milled. These communities were dependent on their local mill as bread was a staple part of the diet.” I think Momma was talking about the “millers toll” as far as “… pay themselves”. If the grist mill ground wheat, you’d get flour; if it ground corn, you could get cornmeal or grits, so “grist” meant any grain that needed to be milled to use.

    Oleo was, of course, short for Oleomargarine, the “butter” made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. I think Oleo was Momma’s favorite brand.

    Daddy said that the wood for the house at 1806 Tryon Road came from Round O. It was heart pine cut from the Garris’ farm, sawn at that lumber mill, and shipped to New Bern to build the house.

  6. When Momma talked about the Tryon Road house being built from Round-O heart pine, she said if it ever caught fire to run out fast not stopping for anything. She said it would blaze up like kindling. Funny what things you can remember!

    • Momma told me the same thing. We had an oil furnace, which made the warning very realistic. There was a big oil tank on a frame outside my bedroom window. I used to climb on it when i was a kid. It’s safer now with a heat pump.

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