Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Granny's Pantry # 33: Finding Newsom

on the road to Newsom

Have you ever heard of Newsom, NC? I'm guessing not. In all of my years going to High Rock, I only heard talk of Newsom as a place where folks could eat seafood, not that common in rural Piedmont NC back in the day. Who needed seafood restaurants anyway? Granny Cole’s cooking met my requirements--Granddaddy's catch from his own fish trap in a tributary of the Yadkin fried up with Granny's homemade French fries. 

As it turns out, I should have gone to Newsom back then. Most of it is no longer there.  


I love to learn about places that "used to be," but it’s difficult to find much information online about the little dot of a place in this southwestern corner of Davidson County.  According to one source, a Mr. Nixon Newsom was Newsom’s first settler in the 1770s.  In 1908, the coming of the Winston-Salem South Bound Railway brought growth to Newsom, and had you visited in 1910, you would have found “a post office, a railroad (passenger) depot, two general stores, a factory, a lumber mill, and a quarry” (
Newsom’s heyday, if this out of the way settlement had a heyday, lasted for fifty years. But change comes, and it came to Newsom in the form of the Tuckertown Dam located downriver on the Yadkin.  Most of Newsom sank beneath the river due to flooding of the area when the dam was finished in 1963.  According to the source above, “few remnants [of Newsom] remain—said to be only a few brick footings sometimes visible at the edge of the lake.”

To find what's left of Newsom, travel south down Highway 8 from Healing Springs and turn right onto Newsom Road (unless the sign is down and then you have a problem because there's really nobody around to ask). I'm guessing it's about 10 miles from High Rock. Don't hurry to get there because the view on the way in is worth the wait. 
on the road to Newsom

Don't expect to pass a lot of houses on Newsom Road. But there are a few, and this one is special. A sign says it's the Newsom Stokes House. It is the heart of a farm that looks like it could have been there for two hundred years. There's a family graveyard near by that would help tell the stories. Wish I knew more.
Newsom Stokes House
Newsom Road crosses Stokes Road, but just keep going. There's another house on the left that would make such a good writer's retreat---not sure if it's even occupied, but it should be. 
Don't miss the heart-shaped vent
A little further down the road and off to the left, there's a lovely old mountain rising up behind the Yadkin River--hard to see here but easy to enjoy in real life.    
HB Newsom Road turns off to the left, and a sign warns visitors that the area floods. But not this day.

Take the short road to it's end, and in front of you lies Newsom proper, resting in peace beneath the waters of the Yadkin River.
Here lies Newsom

Backtracking to Newsom Road (just past the trailer park where I think the old seafood restaurant still sits waiting for customers who are not coming), look to the right to find this beauty hidden beneath its lush covering...
Back at the corner of Newsom and HB Newsom, it's worth your while to turn left  and again go to the end of the road. Along the way there are more hidden stories...
so many stories...
The road ends at the Winston-Salem Southbound Railway and beyond that, the river. 
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
(Psalm 1: 1, 3)

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