About the Book
Whittle's Mill is the site of an old 18th Century grist mill along the
Meherrin River in Southside Virginia. It is one of the most beautiful
small river sites in the Southside. Its remarkable history is deeply
intertwined with the story of America.
Here is an expedition through history and the Meherrin Forest to
capture the story of the river, the old mill and a remarkable
American family that called it home for nearly a century. It is a
story of America told largely through the lives of the Davies and
Whittle family of Mecklenburg -- the "real 'Gone with the Wind'
family of America." From the bitter winter of 1775 with George
Washington at Valley Forge to Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg,
their lives were swept up into the most extraordinary episodes of
the American experience.
The chronicle of an ancient mountain range, the prehistoric people
of the river, the American Revolution, the Irish Rebellion, the
Mexican-American War, the War of 1812 and the darkest days of
the Civil War all converge at the old mill on the Meherrin River.
Written by a great teller of tales, the story of Whittle's Mill is a
fascinating journey through time, an eloquent argument for
remembering our past and a principled stand for preserving one of
the best-kept secrets in Virginia.
An American History
A True Story of America,
The Ghosts of the River,
And the Secrets of the Old Mill.
Along with a rather handsome and noble group of friends and colleagues, he spent five years searching the forest above the Meherrin River Valley -- thrashing through briars, thorns and poison oak, unearthing suspicious rocks, dancing around copperheads, wrestling the occasional black bear and sasquatch and systematically walking over acres of deep forest -- all in search of the long lost and forgotten graves of Revolutionary Officer Colonel William Davies, Irish immigrant Fortescue Whittle and Confederate Colonel Powhatan Bolling Whittle,
Their graves were finally discovered deep in the Meherrin Forest in 2007 after being lost to history for 70 years. The old family cemetery was restored the following year. This book began to take shape as the history of the Whittle family of Virginia and their mill on the Meherrin River began to spill from old deeds, wills, military records and family lore. The story that emerged is a fascinating history of America told through the lives of one remarkable family.
Long an adventurer, he survived multiple encounters with Virginia's whitewater rivers and once walked away unscathed from an airplane crash in the Alaska wilderness. He was a tireless advocate for preserving historical sites and for the protection of Virginia's scenic rivers. His was a leading voice in the Meherrin River being designated a Virginia Scenic River in 2013 by the Virginia Legislature.
The Town of South Hill named the Whittle's Mill historic site Max Bagley Crowder Memorial Park in 2013.
Copyright © 2010 - 2013
All Rights Reserved
About the Author
Max B. Crowder was one of Southside Virginia's favorite sons and a respected historian widely known for weaving our regional lore into the grand story of America. He spent much of his time researching our past and telling the tales of history as the popular Curator of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum of Virginia. Mr. Crowder passed away in the spring of 2013. This site is maintained by his friends and family.
Images and Themes from the Book
A hidden Virginia river, the ancient native cultures of the Meherrin
Valley and a remarkable family swept into the most extraordinary events in the American experience are the subjects
of the book. The river and the Old Mill are the common threads
of their history. This video captures some of the themes and imagery of the story.
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