Monday, June 22, 2009

Part - 14l - Dirt Pits



The original pit was just at the top of the hill across the road where the old CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) pit, about two acres in size was located. This was primarily sandy soil. The CCC trucks had to be loaded by individuals with shovels. So it would take a WHILE to get a truck load. Then most of it was hauled to the old CCC road that ran from the top of the hill by Providence Church over to Highway 29 (now Highway 17). Not long after WWII, one of the very sandy hills on that road was washed out by heavy rains and the county never repaired it, and abandoned it.

We’ve always thought that it was a shame that they closed that road as it would have saved about 5 or 6 miles in traveling over to 17 and northward rather than having to go all the way to Millry and back north. Occasionally someone would get a load or two of that sandy soil to put on bad clay areas of the Millry – Isney road (now Sam Wood Road).

I remember once that Daddy and some of the Whigham men were trying to improve a bad place that lots of vehicles would get stuck during wet weather at the top of the hill north of the house. Daddy had some rough about 2 X 8 boards on the tractor wagon. They’d hand load the wagon, then pull it up there, flip the boards over to let the sand drop into the clay area. While they were working on that, I’d keep the crew supplied with a bucket of water and a dipper. Mr. Grace Whigham commented several times that, “Uncle Jim's a good water boy!”

There was a third dirt pit on the place. This one was located about ¼ mile north of Providence Church. It was strictly a Sand Pit. Emmett Wood had a concrete block plant on the south side of Millry and used the sand from that pit to mix with the concrete to make the blocks.

What was a large cotton field atop the hill in the cow and goat pastures across the road "grew up" in trees. Then when the county started to pave the road, they wanted to buy the fill and base dirt from our pit on top of the hill. At that time, only the

In 1959, the county took out over 43,000 cubic yards for the road. Since then, the county and lots of contractors have hauled dirt out and the pit has grown to about twenty acres in size. The pit is on the land that Sylvia inherited. The county trucks were still hauling, up to about the end of 2002, but were not doing a very good accounting job on the pay going to Sib for the dirt. The town of Millry and occasionally an individual contractor will haul some dirt from the pit. Most of the good, red sand/gravel base material has been hauled out of there leaving mostly sand, dense white clay and quite a bit of sand stone chunks.

One of the top uses for the pit nowadays is for little children and a few AU students to go up and slide down the banks and get good and dirty. I guess that fun thing goes back to when we were all young and would slide down the banks of the gully that runs along side of the pit. That ended when Sylvia slid down one day and stuck a sharp pine lightered know up into one of her feet!

After a sizable rain comes, the road up to the pit gets pretty badly washed up. So I try to keep it graded up so if anyone does need to get dirt they’ll be able to get up the hill.

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