Alton Rowan (Alapaha, Georgia)
Alton Rowan lets no grass grow under his feet. He also must have followed the frequent admonition of my grandmother ("An idle mind is a devil's workshop.") Thus, it takes but a few seconds to appreciate that he is a doer and a thinker, as the slides below will demonstrate. I also have a special connection to Mr. Rowan. He lived on the farm as a teenager during the tumultuous WWII years, and he and his stepfather, Saran Parr, built the last tobacco barn there. The tobacco barn is gone and so are all reminders of the military airplane that crashed at that time about 60 yards from the house. (By the farm, I refer, of course, to the Buck Sutton Place, which my great-grandfather purchased from Steve Lewis in '78. My great-grandfather did not inherit land as my great-great grandfather was lost in the war in Virginia and left a widow with children but no means of support.)
Slides 1 and 2 show Alton's Columbus No.18 cane mill. Note the interesting way that the mill is powered. A tractor pto drives a pneumatic tire that engages the mill pulley. This system works well, except in rain, when it slips.
The kettle is in an enclosed area with rustic cypress-log benches for invited friends. (Slide 3) Mr. Rowan fashions his own burners (Slide 4), using a design found on propane weed burners. Slide 5 is a spare mill, a Chattanooga No.12 mill.