Every day as I drive through this town I look at these mountains, and I am in awe. They amaze and humble me with their beauty.
I am often looking upon a range of mountains called the Plott Balsams, named so by the US National Park Service upon creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and marked with an interpretive sign at mile marker 457.9.
The Plott Balsams are named for the same family known for the creation of the breed of dog recognized as North Carolina's state dog, the Plott Hound. So with today's Friday Fact, I am able to honor both my beautiful home and my sweet new foster child, Honey.
In 1750, 16-year-old Johannes Jorgen Platz left his home in Germany aboard the ship Priscilla, bound for America. With him was his older brother, who died at sea, and five dogs--three striped and two yellowish. He arrived in Philadelphia on September 12, 1750, his name now anglicized to Jonathan Plott.
After a short while in Philadelphia, young Jonathan made his way to North Carolina, taking along his dogs so that they could be used to protect him and his livestock from predators. He settled in Cabarrus County, purchased a farm, married, and raised five sons, four daughters, and a pack of hunting dogs. His family prospered, his children grew, and each left home for different parts of North Carolina, taking along their own spate of hunting dogs. At the age of 30, Jonathan's son, Henry, moved his family and pack of dogs to Canton, NC, and then moved west toward the Balsam mountains, where there was abundant game.
Henry became widely known for his hunting dogs and was often called upon to help rid his neighbors of wildlife that was attacking their livestock. When Jonathan became too old to hunt, his dogs, too, went to Henry, who, with his sons John and Amos, continued to breed and hunt the hounds. Seven generations of the Plott family bred their dogs exclusively within the family, developing a truly American breed of hound--the only American hound without British ancestry.
The breed is known today for cold-trailing raccoons and bears throughout the Appalachian, Blue Ridge, and Great Smoky Mountains. They are efficient in the search for coyotes, wolves, and wildcats. Unlike the deep-throated howl of other hounds, the Plott's voice is curiously sharp and high-pitched. Extremely hardy, the breed has been developed for its determination, strength, and courage, and will readily take on a 500-lb bear or raging boar. In addition to its trail personality, however, the Plott hound is loyal and intelligent, quick to learn, quick to love, and good with children, making them and good family companion. However, they are seldom kept as such, for most people get these dogs for the hunt.
When the Blue Ridge Parkway came through in the 1940's, the Park service honored Henry Plott, his family, and his dogs by naming for them the mountains that were their home and hunting ground. In 1989, the state of North Carolina honored the Plott Hound by naming it the official state dog. In 1998, the AKC recognized the Plott hound in the Miscellaneous category, moving them to the Coonhound category in 2007.
And that's a Friday Fact!
Information for this post was taken directly from www.dogbreedinfo.com/plotthound.htm and the website (Lucky's Plott Hound website) of Libby Bagby, whose book on the Plott Hound's history, titled Talking Plotts, is expected to be published in 2008.
The photos are by me: the first of the Balsam mountain range from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and second of our new stray friend, whom we've been calling Honey, and who appears to be someone's lost Plott Hound.