Day 521: Old Trap

Laetitia and her group left Rich Square and headed northeast toward Merchants Millpond State Park. The millpond was constructed in the early nineteenth century to provide waterpower for gristmills and a sawmill. Later other businesses were established in the area, and it became known as Merchants Millpond. Laetitia’s group went canoeing, following a marked route through the cypress trees that afforded excellent views of wildlife, including alligators. Later they moved on to Dismal Swamp State Park, where they went kayaking among the cypress trees and hiking on the extensive boardwalk trails. That afternoon they headed in the direction of Albemarle Sound and arrived at Camden, where they were spending the night.

Several local residents at the next table in the bar where Laetitia went for a pre-dinner drink were talking about the history of a nearby community called Old Trap. The gist of the conversation was this: Europeans settled the area that is now called Old Trap in the seventeenth century. By the eighteenth century there was a church, and by the time of the Revolutionary War there was a store. The town’s location close to sea level just north of Albemarle Sound made a watermill impractical, so a wind-powered gristmill was built in the area for grinding grain. The local store sold liquor by the drink. Wives in the area often were irked when their husbands stopped to drink at the store instead of coming directly home from the mill. They called the store “The Trap,” and after it had been around awhile, it became the “Old Trap.” Laetitia condensed the conversation into the limerick of the day.

A small store that had liquor on tap
Very soon became known as “Old Trap”
A name that derives
From the disgruntled wives
Of the men who stopped for a wee drap.