Cultural Objects, Music

“The Mabry Mill Band”

Maker/Creator: Dea Felts
Meadows of Dan (Burks Fork District)


  • Softbound book
  •  49 pages including ten pages of photographs

First person narratives from nine people associated with string music and dancing at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway plus information about other musicians associated with this venue who were deceased as of 2003.

Mabry Mill is located in Floyd County very near the Patrick County Line. A number of the musicians playing here over the years were from the nearby communities of Meadows of Dan (Patrick County) and Laurel Fork (Carroll County). Featured musicians from Floyd County include Ivan Weddle, Hubert Roberson, Herbert Epperly, and Max Wade.

Mabry Mill, flatfooting, grist mill, Old Time Music, Bluegrass Music

Several of these musicians came from milling families. In the 1980s and 1990s, employees operated Mabry Mill, demonstrating milling processes and selling the cornmeal and grits they ground. Musician Arnold Spangler worked as a miller there from 1982-1992.

Mr. Spangler recalled, “The dancers were a big attraction on Sunday evenings. There were a bunch of them that came up there regular. One of the ladies came down to where I was working to get cornmeal to put on the dance boards. You see, that makes your feet slip good. So I asked her, how about some grits? Well, she didn’t know. So she took them up there, and they was so slick they couldn’t stay up there to dance. The next week she came back to get some cornmeal, and I asked her, ‘How about some grits?’ She said, ‘No more grits. No more grits.” They were just like roller bearings. When they tried to dance, they’d fall or go off of there. Now the cornmeal’d just make them slip good.”