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NC School of Science and Mathematics

2004 Student Intensive

The Search for Fish Dam Road

Notes from the Field

Fahmida Azad, Student

Friday, April 2

  After an exciting night of camping out in the Eno River State Park just by Fish Dam Road, I woke up Friday morning to a very chilly and brisk morning to see Joe, accompanied by Shae, making a delicious breakfast for us.  Eggs and sausages and plenty of warm soothing drinks were waiting for us along with muffins and breakfast bars.  After eating breakfast, we all cleaned up the campsite, took down the tents, and packed up all our things for Day 4 of Fish Dam Road to begin along with our other fellow "fish dammers".

The day began on a light note as we all gathered standing right on fish dam road, learning a very very beautiful song about the biggest thrill of all J  After walking through the roadbed, crossing the creek, seeing the quarry and finding yet another deer skull, still attached to its spine, we were finally on our way out for what had to have been the biggest highlight of the day.

A warm and gracious welcome greeted us as we stepped inside the beautiful Scarlett House.  Beverly Scarlett was absolutely delightful. We went upstairs and made ourselves comfortable sitting on the carpet floor eagerly and patiently waiting for the three big elderly chairs to be taken soon so we could hear the stories.  We met Mary Scarlett Jones (91) , the granddaughter of Levi Scarlett and shortly after we were joined by John Scarlett (84), Mary Scarlett's brother and Beverly Scarlett's father. 

Ms. Beverly told us about her great grandfather, Levi Scarlett, who inherited 150 acres of land from his former slave owners, Mariah and Delilah Scarlet, after agreeing to take care of the sisters for the rest of their lives.  The Scarletts still live in the same area around Fish Dam Road.  Ms. Beverly told us about her quest to find Levi's house with Joe.  They did not find signs of the house, but they did find the huge oak tree that was to be by the house.  On their way back they accidentally came across what happened to be a part of a plow dated 1878, the same year that Levi inherited the land. 

We were all fascinated and absolutely taken back by the stories we heard.  From Mary's stories of how she along with 9 other children grew up in a log cabin, to John's stories about hog killing.  Beverly showed us a flat iron along with the part of the plow that she had found with Joe.  We were also treated with seeing old receipts from the early 1900's, old paychecks, slave records, documents of the Scarlett family tree, Mariah and Delilah's actuall will to Levi, and a beautiful scrapbook of the Scarlett family.  John left us with wise words that we will carry with us forever.

"Remember your creator, and keep a sober mind", he told us, "respect and your elders and your parents and be careful for what you say to people." 

We enjoyed a beautiful picnic lunch by a log cabin built by William Green Scarlett  (Levi's son). After enjoying our lunch, and the delicious pound cake brought out by Beverly, we headed out to clean out some junk from the roadbed behind the Scarlett House.  Even that was quite exciting and fun.  We found things from parts of old cars, old bottles, cans and even a pile of old shoes.  At the end of the long day, some of us entertained ourselves and found great joy in playing catch with apples J.  

It was finally time for us to go as we said good bye to Beverly and Levi's youngest great great grandkids, Paige and Donovan (so adorable).  We were extremely thankful for their hospitality and the warmth that we were given in their house.  We headed out to school, carrying everlasting memories with us.  All of us were ready for the weekend!!

~Fahmida Azad

Here are the words of the song Fahmida mentioned above:

(Set to the tune of "Okie from Muskogee")

We're on the Magic Bus this morning.
We'd rather be out here than at the mall.
We don't care what people say about us.
Fish Dam Road is the biggest thrill of all!

Here we are stuck by the roadside.
Road people are bouncing off the walls.
We're gonna be stuck down here forever.
Fish Dam Road is the biggest thrill of all!

We're gonna track that road all through the hillside.
We have learned to hear its sweet and gentle call.
We're gonna bring that road back to the sunlight.
Fish Dam Road is the biggest thrill of all!

And in case you missed it, here is a link to the wonderful article that Jim Wise had in Saturday's Herald newspaper:
http://www.herald-sun.com/durham/4-466126.html