Ruth Ann Grissom

Writer, conservationist

Biography

Ruth Ann Grissom grew up on a farm in Montgomery County and earned degrees in journalism and social work at UNC Chapel Hill. She divides her time between Charlotte and the Uwharries.

 

Articles

  • ui.uncc.edu
    Jan 31, 2020
    Mama has a knack for finding four-leaf clovers. We’ll be strolling along, chatting, and she’ll stoop down and pluck one. She doesn’t break stride to stop and search – they just jump out at her.  She doesn’t focus on finding the oddity. Instead, she takes in the sameness of the masses until something different catches her eye. I’ve tried her approach, but I still fail miserably with four-leaf clovers. I guess I didn’t inherit the luck of the Irish. But I have trained my eye to pick out goldenrod galls among the millions of stems in our early successional habitat in the Uwharries. 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Dec 05, 2019
    In December, the familiar Fraser fir population reaches its fleeting peak in the Piedmont as Christmas trees are harvested from farms in the North Carolina mountains and brought to market.  But two other species of conifers largely restricted to the mountains have found surprising refuge in our region — at least for the time being.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Nov 20, 2019
    In the years after World War II, my dad could roam the Uwharries with his .22 and his trusty squirrel dog, a feist named Spot. A boy didn’t have to worry about trespassing on a neighbor’s property; he only had to avoid the occasional moonshine still. Despite changes in land use — and an influx of outdoor enthusiasts from across the Piedmont and beyond — boys (and girls) in the Uwharries can still enjoy a reasonable facsimile of my dad’s experience, assuming they can tear themselves away from their screens. The area’s steadily growing range of recreational opportunities provides an opportunity to draw in more visitors from across the region — but also poses challenges for locals used to long-standing traditions like hunting.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    This story is one of seven vignettes in the series Rural by Choice: Navigating Identity in the Uwharries.  Hard-earned paychecks in the Uwharries are all too often spent at chain stores with headquarters in far-flung locations, or at restaurants and shops in large cities, sending cash from rural to urban areas instead of keeping it in the local economy.   The Eldorado Outpost has helped reverse that flow.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    Education is often seen as the ticket out of a rural area. But the Robledo family has sought higher education – often in urban areas – to provide them with job opportunities so they can make their home in the Uwharries.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    Newsom’s Jewelers was a fixture on Main Street in Troy for almost 50 years.  Tracy Newsom Garner’s grandfather moved from High Point to start the business in 1952, following in the footsteps of his brothers, who’d opened jewelry stores in Salisbury and Denton.  His son, Charles, worked alongside him and took over the business when he died in 1972.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    As Ron’s retirement approached, they turned to the faith that had brought them together and prayed for a sign to guide them to the right tract of land.  They found it along the banks of the Pee Dee River in Stanly County, as the flight of an eagle formed the shape of a cross.   Now called 3 Eagles Sanctuary, this 170-acre tract of forest and farmland is being managed for wildlife habitat and sustainable agriculture.  Ron and Nancy have gone from being activists to stewards.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    Chappell Russell and Justin Foley were living the millennial dream.  They met at Appalachian State.  He worked for a large CPA firm in uptown Charlotte.  She helped run a small dog-training business.  They had an apartment in South End.  On weekends, they walked their dogs Oliver and Indie on the Rail Trail, stopping at breweries and local shops like the Canine Café.
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    Danny Alderman puts 1,200 to 1,400 miles on his truck each week.   As the general superintendent of North Carolina projects for Branch Builds, he oversees about $250 million worth of work across the state, including schools in Cabarrus County and Indian Trail — as well as the rare project close to home, the new high school in Montgomery County. “I’m in such a rat race during the day,” he said.  “That’s why I choose to live in the Uwharries.” 
  • ui.uncc.edu
    Oct 14, 2019
    The land at this particular crossroads in southern Randolph County has a storied history.  It once belonged to Miles and Healy Lassiter, and some of it still belongs to their descendants, including Jerry Laughlin.   Miles was born into slavery circa 1777, but apparently this status wasn’t fully enforced.  At the time of their marriage circa 1810, Healy was a free woman of color who already owned land in the area.  Together, they eventually held 400 acres, a vast estate in a mountainous area inhabited by small-scale subsistence farmers.