Author Archives: Ed Robinson

About Ed Robinson

Author, Leap of Faith/Quit Your Job And Live On A Boat

Fields of the Wood

Fields of the Wood is a religious park of more than 200 acres in Cherokee County, North Carolina, owned by the Church of God of Prophecy. It is best known for its 300-foot-wide, mountainside representation of the Ten Commandments.

A.J. Tomlinson was the visionary who built them. He was working for the American Bible Society when he encountered a sect of down-on-their-luck, speaking-in-tongues Pentecostals in the mountains of southwestern North Carolina. On the morning of June 13, 1903, A.J. climbed to a hilltop and met God; when he walked back down, he had a plan for the Pentecostals. Three years later he was running their sect, which he grew into a multinational protestant denomination that he named The Church of God of Prophecy.

Work began on The Fields of the Wood on November 15, 1940. Its first monument was not the Ten Commandments, but a globe-topped obelisk marking the spot where A.J. conveyed his revelation to the Pentecostals. The second monument was the World’s Largest Altar, 80 feet long, marking the spot where A.J. met God. A.J. said this was only right, since the Bible says that sacred religious sites should be marked with monuments.

Donations accepted.
Donations accepted.

Then A.J. died. He lived just long enough to see his mega-Commandments outlined on a hillside. Following his personal directions, The Church of God of Prophecy completed all of the monuments at The Fields of the Wood in 1945.

On the opposite side of a narrow valley, paved with large parking lots for church crowds, is Prayer Mountain, which rises nearly as high as its neighbor. Its steps are flanked with monuments for the 29 Prominent Teachings of The Church of God of Prophecy, each sponsored by a different state. The teachings include condemnations of liquor (Virginia), tobacco (Washington), freemasonry (North Dakota), swearing (Arkansas), and “the divorce and remarriage evil” (Indiana). Louisiana covers it all with its monument, “Eternal Punishment for the Wicked.”

For all its massiveness, the World’s Largest Ten Commandments are just one of a roster of religious landmarks at The Fields of the Wood. A welcome center booth displays a map, helpfully charting everything on the 210-acre property, from a replica Golgotha to a cartoon-style Star of Bethlehem atop a metal tower. There’s an Empty Tomb — built of stone taken from the mountains — and a baptismal pool big enough to hold a busload of sinners. Christian rock, broadcast from speakers outside the gift shop, fills the little valley.

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The highest point in the park is “All Nations Cross,” a prone display optimized for angelic viewing. 150 feet long, the Cross is outlined by poles flying flags of the nations where The Church of God of Prophecy is established. The Cross only has room for 86 flags even though the church now operates in 140 counties (The gift shop guidebook apologizes if your country’s flag isn’t flying on the day that you visit).

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Because the entire Fields of the Wood property was built around A.J.’s spot, no thought was given to its convenience for tourists. That makes the World’s Largest Ten Commandments a wholly unexpected spectacle. You round a corner on a backcountry road and, bam, there it is.

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*Source: Roadside America

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2613

 

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Banner Elk Breeze for 99 Cents!

 

Special offer on book one of the exciting Mountain Breeze Series:

 

Breeze escapes his demons in Florida by moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He and Brody are settling into their new life when he stumbles onto a plot of marijuana plants on public land. Knowing a thing or two about growing weed, Breeze befriends the mysterious mountain man tending to the crop.

When his new friend is killed, he tries to help law enforcement solve the crime. When the authorities prove reluctant, he is forced to take matters into his own hands. In the process, he transforms from boat bum to a true man of the mountains.

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The Town That Wouldn’t Drown – Butler, TN

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Butler, Tenn., was constantly inundated with floodwaters from the Watauga River—that is, before TVA built Watauga Dam and moved the whole town to higher ground.

As we stood atop the Watauga Dam yesterday, I couldn’t help but picture the remains of an entire town now deep underwater in Watauga Lake. 

Butler, Tenn., had always been at the mercy of the Watauga River. An agricultural community established in the most northeastern corner of the state in the 1760s, it was deluged so often that flooding was seen as a normal part of life. However, when a 1940 flood resulted in the deaths of six people, massive damage to nearby Elizabethton, Tenn., and the washing away of much of the Elizabethton-to-Mountain City railroad, TVA engineers were convinced that flood control of the Watauga was a necessity.

With this decision, the town of Butler was destined to become the largest populated community and the only incorporated town ever to be inundated by a TVA project.

Dam Interrupted

Work on began on Watauga Dam in 1942 but was halted nine months later by World War II as resources were diverted to Douglas and Fontana Dams to meet more immediate power needs in other parts of Tennessee. However, once the war ended, work resumed on the dam in 1946.

At the time, 650 families called Butler home. It had several hotels plus the usual variety of establishments found in a thriving community: drug, grocery, and hardware stores; gas stations; restaurants; doctors’ and dentists’ offices; churches and schools. The high school, Watauga Academy, was a former private school acquired by the county a few years earlier. Butler even had its own Masonic Lodge.

On September 6, 1947, TVA completed purchase of “all the real estate interests of the town, including the city hall and jail building, certain springs and pipelines, all streets, roads, sidewalks and alleys, including easements therein, and the entire water utility, sanitary and storm sewage system properties of the town.” The purchase price was $35,000.

“The next mayor of Butler will be a catfish,” quipped a local resident around that time.

Butler to Go

Early in the planning for the reservoir, TVA explored the idea of relocating the entire town, but the city dropped the idea when residents expressed little desire. However, as the moving date drew nearer, interest was rekindled under sponsorship of a local Baptist church minister, the Rev. M. H. Carder. A non-profit corporation was formed that secured options on 200 acres of farmland on the banks of the new reservoir. TVA and the Tennessee State Planning Commission mapped the site and drew up development plans for the new community, complete with street patterns and residential and business areas.

Work on this new community moved rapidly as the time for the impoundment approached. Foundations were poured and five house-moving contractors began moving 125 residences and 50 other structures. One family reported that they slept in their house in Butler on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, their house was moved to its new site, furnishings and all. Tuesday night, the family moved back in and discovered that the ice in the refrigerator had not even melted.

On December 1, 1948, the gates at Watauga Dam closed and the water that would form the reservoir began to rise, flooding the foundations that once made up the original town. On two occasions, once in 1954 and then again in 1983, former residents enjoyed a homecoming of sorts as drought and drawdown conspired to expose the long-covered community. Both times, former residents turned out to see old places and share memories.

At the 1983 homecoming, a former resident said that he didn’t think anyone really wanted to move, but there was no real organized opposition, either. “It was just something you had to do; you didn’t have a choice,” he reflected. “But in the long run, I think the majority of the people improved themselves as a result of the move.”

Life in Butler—“the town that wouldn’t drown,” as it bills itself today—continues its life apace in the mountains of East Tennessee.

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*Source: https://www.tva.gov/About-TVA/Our-History/Built-for-the-People/The-Town-that-Wouldnt-Drown

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Ore Knob Mine Murders & the Nashville Flame

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Dead bodies at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft!

Hollywood stuntman to the rescue!

Drugs, kidnapping, and death in the Appalachian Mountains!

 

What a great story from Ashe County, North Carolina. It all came to a head in 1982, when the stuntman and country/western singer the Nashville Flame descended into the mine to find two dead and frozen bodies.

The original article can be found here: https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-0dOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XBMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6697%2C2898566

The Nashville Flame was quite the character and the saga of the Ore Knob Mine was quite the story. There was even a book written about the ordeal:

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Now that’s some colorful history.

Mystery of the Moon-eyed People

According to Cherokee legend, there was a race of small white people living in Appalachia before the Indians arrived. They were described as being very pale, with blond hair and blue eyes. Their eyes appeared too big for their heads. As a result, they couldn’t see during the daytime and only moved about at night. It was believed that they lived underground.

The Moon-eyed people are said to have built ancient structures in the area. One of them is called Fort Mountain. It’s an 850 foot long stone wall that is 12 feet thick and up to seven feet high.

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The age of the wall has never been properly determined, but according to some sources it was built around 400 – 500 AD.

There are several theories surrounding the origin of this strange race, but their true history remains clouded.

One legend tells us that the Cherokee defeated the Moon-eyed people during a full moon and drove them from their homeland. Another version says that the Cherokee chased the Moon-eyed people away from their home at Hiwassee, a village that is now Murphy, North Carolina.

While clearing land near Murphy in the 1840s, and ancient soapstone sculpture was discovered. It depicts two creatures, three feet tall, conjoined like Siamese Twins. Are they images of the Moon-eyed People?

What’s your theory or what legends have you heard about this mysterious race?

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*Sculpture on display at the Cherokee Country Historical Museum

High Country Breeze now Available

 

In the mountains of western North Carolina, things aren’t always as they seem. When a college student is found dead, the incident is quickly ruled a suicide. The boy’s parents hire Breeze and Brody to investigate his death. At first, they are stonewalled by the entire community, but Breeze devises a devious and clever plan to get to the truth.

They think they’ve broken the case wide open, but soon learn their mission is not complete.