Cornwallis named it: Pudding Ridge gets refurbished historical marker

Published 11:27 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

It had rained for days. It was mid-winter. It was in the heart of Davie County.

Those who have lived here for any amount of time at all know that rain in the winter equals mud – squishy, red mud that can suck a shoe off a foot.

But it was just at this time that Gen. Cornwallis and his British troops and sympathizers crossed through Davie County in early February, 1781 in his pursuit of Gen. Greene. He had already been delayed by a swollen Yadkin River near Salisbury, and was in a hurry to cross Davie.

His army of some 2,500 men with accompanying horses and supply wagons must have made quite a spectacle as they traversed Davie County.

“Cornwallis was in a desperate hurry to cross Davie County,” wrote James Wall, the late Davie County historian in his book, “The History of Davie County.”

Cornwallis and his Army crossed Dutchman Creek, near its tributary with Bryant’s Branch, now called Pudding Ridge.

“Tradition has said that Cornwallis gave the name Pudding Ridge to this place, and it would have been an appropriate name for Cornwallis to have used while trying to take an army acorss that section in a rainy February,” Wall wrote.

The ground, Cornwallis said, had the consistency of English pudding.

That creek crossing is now on Hole No. 15 at Pudding Ridge Golf Club, and a historical marker had designated the site until a couple of years ago, when it fell into disrepair.

On Monday, on the 242nd anniversary of Cornwallis’ crossing, a new sign was presented to the golf club.

Actually, it was the same sign, refurbished by Pat Pride of Mocksville.

Her husband, Allen, a Pudding Ridge Golf Club member, had noticed the shabby sign and asked club owners. They said they had tried to refurbish the sign to no avail.

Allen said no problem. His wife could fix it. “My very generous husband,” she said.

The amateur artist said she knew that Cornwallis had crossed Davie County, but didn’t know the details. She did some research. And restored the sign.

“To me, it’s amazing to think that over 240 years ago, this area was occupied by one of the biggest armies of all time,” she said. “It was intimidating when he marched through here.”

Not only was there the mud to deal with, she said his army also faced several skirmishes along the way.

Refurbishing the sign took a lot of patience, not talent, she said. “It’s a good deed for the community. I think it’s important to know our history. Just be thankful we had ordinary citizens back then defending our freedoms.”

Dan Ward, general manager of the golf club, said the offer was just what was needed. And the sign will be placed at the same site – the site where Cornwallis and his army crossed Dutchman’s Creek in Davie County.

“It’s a cool thing for Davie County,” said George Waranowitz, golf club owner. “We wanted it back and in good shape.”