New Appalachian Moments Blog Post!
By Scott Ballard
Many of our “modern” roads are built upon the trails of ancient game or native peoples and often those roads cross and the same is true for Todd, North Carolina.
Humans have been visiting the crossroads of Todd, for…well, a long time…millennia! The earliest documented human activity in the Todd area was at soapstone quarry located about ½-mile northwest of the Todd Post Office. Soapstone is unique properties that allow it to be easily carved.
Archeologists have dated the quarry back about 6,000 years and believe that native peoples used the soapstone deposit, which is a large outcropping of rocks on a mountainside – to fashion bowls and vessels. Many of these have been found as far away as Ohio and the Midwest…indicating a busy and vast trading network
Todd, the community, was called Elkland or Elk Cross Roads because it was literally at a crossroads. Old maps from the 1800s show a road from the town of Council’s Store (now known as Boone) to Jefferson crossing with a road between Wilkes County and Mountain City, Tennessee right there in Todd.
And by the way, anybody else notice how many times the word “Elk” appears in North Carolina High Country place names???
Elk River, Banner’s Elk, Elk Park, Elk Creek, Elk Falls, Elkland, Elk Cross Roads, Elk Shoals, Hog Elk,…Elk Knob…does the Elk’s lodge count?
And they are being reintroduced…Elk that is…right now mainly in the Smoky Mountains! Interesting to note that the last elk to be killed in NC was reported in the late 1700s!
Ok, back to Todd…In 1894, the Post Office of Elkland was formally renamed Todd in honor of Joseph Warren Todd, a native son and Civil War vet who was credited with restoring order and thwarting bushwackers in Watauga and Ashe counties right after the Civil War.
Todd served during the entire conflict between the North and the South. Under fire in no less than one hundred skirmishes and battles, he was slightly wounded at Ream’s Station…AND he had his horse shot from under him at Middleburg, Five Forks and Gettysburg….translation: that was one tough hombre! Just look at that photo!
When he wasn’t keeping law and order, Todd studied law, and then and opened up a law office in Jefferson…which still stands on the grounds of the 1904 courthouse…
And while most folks are not looking for soapstone, people are still visiting Todd, we think you should too!
Please feel free to share your reflections in the comments section and remember to like and share this post so more folks can see it, Thanks!