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Life In the Carolina's Podcast

Apr 28, 2022

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, Carl sits down with historian Doug Mitchell of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association. Originally born in Ohio, Doug now lives in North Road, North Carolina with his wife of 40 years, three daughters, and seven grandkids.

Doug recalls the moment that began his love of history and culture at age 16 when he was asked to help auction off his late grandfather’s belongings. It was there where he came across a Civil War-era letter written by his great-great-great grandfather. Reading that letter sparked an endless curiosity: Young Doug had caught the history bug.

He believes that “each town has its own unique flavor. To cover that up is a loss for everybody.” History, Doug continues, isn’t only limited to that of the individual—there is also community history, county history, state history, country history, all the way to world history. To him, history offers a multilayered appreciation for our culture and brings us all together in a way that simply cannot be captured if we remain in the dark about our past.

Doug shows Carl an amazing artifact that he and his grandson recently discovered while looking around Big Elkin Creek: a 250-year-old remnant of iron ore beside David Allen’s forge—one of about 2000 pieces found in the area.

Doug also is passionate about living history, which led him to meet Mary Bohlen of the North Carolina Daniel Boone Heritage Trail. “Meeting Mary,” he says, “set me on this whole new path where I’m not only reading about history, but am a participant in it.” He loves seeing children’s eyes light up as he tells stories about the past, clad in historical attire.

For Doug, this journey started with a box of letters. Firmly believing that the study of history is for everybody, he encourages us all to “get past our grandparents” and remember that we all came from someplace.

“Take time,” says Doug. “Get out and explore.”