Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Wake Wednesday - New Historical Marker Honors Christopher Woodward's Mill and Store in Holly Springs

A historical marker was installed in Holly Springs in late January. The marker commemorates Revolutionary War Patriot Christopher Woodward’s mill and store; and also nearby Rev War era Camp Middle Creek where Lt. Col. Hardy Sanders mustered troops to protect the North Carolina legislature during the Revolutionary War.  The marker was placed at Virginia Creek Drive near the corner of Sunset Lake Road, at the entrance to Creekside at Sunset Lake.  

Woodward operated a mill near this location as early as 1781. A frequent gathering place, the business milled lumber, ground corn and wheat, and ginned cotton. Tax records from 1819 indicate the Woodward family ran a retail store on the site, the first in this area.

Photo - Frances Collum Morgan

Frances Collum Morgan is a direct descendant of Christopher Woodward and a diligent researcher of all things Holly Springs. She spent many years gathering documentation of Woodward's mill, store and the nearby mustering ground used in the Revolutionary War. Frances was in attendance at the ceremony and provided this recap:

"I was very pleased with the marker. It was a small gathering. Mayor Sean Mayefskie spoke first outlining the historical significance of the Woodward land, followed by Angie Staheli who read my remarks for me. Others attending included council members Annie Drees and Danielle Hewetson, town clerk Linda McKinney, president of the HOA for Creekside at Sunset Lake Thomas McGinty who allowed the marker to be erected at the entrance to their community, a few of the nearby homeowners, at least two representatives for the DAR (I can't remember their names), and my friends Zack and Abbie Lanham who gave up their day to see to it that I could attend too."

More photos of the marker and event can be viewed on our Facebook page. The photos there are provided by Angie Ottosen Staheli, who attended with Frances and read her prepared statement. 

Wakecogen is grateful to Frances Collum Morgan for her tireless research and efforts to preserve Holly Springs history. She is well versed in all things Holly Springs and is my go to person when I have a question about that part of Wake County. She has always shared graciously with us. At this moment I have at least three sets of her research notes on various topics including this one that she has shared with WCGS. In the coming months, these notes will be made available for all to read thanks to Frances' generosity and her passion for preserving Holly Springs history. Updates will be provided as the files come online. 

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