Ash Hopper Hollow, located in the beautiful hills of Smith County, is where I lived for the first sixteen years of my life.  I've heard it was named Ash Hopper Hollow because it had so many high hills, and the hollow emptied out way down on the river banks, therefore, being shaped like an ash hopper.


Have you ever wondered what an "ash hopper" is?

It is the vat that was used by early settlers when they made lye soap.  Believe me when you have lived in a place by this name, you make sure you know what it is, how to spell it, and how to pronounce it.

Read on. . . 

In making soap the first ingredient required was a liquid solution of potash commonly called lye.

The lye solution was obtained by placing wood ashes in a bottomless barrel set on a stone slab with a groove and a lip carved in it. The stone in turn rested on a pile of rocks. To prevent the ashes from getting in the solution a layer of straw and small sticks was placed in the barrel then the ashes were put on top. The lye was produced by slowly pouring water over the ashes until a brownish liquid oozed out the bottom of the barrel. This solution of potash lye was collected by allowing it to flow into the groove around the stone slab and drip down into a clay vessel at the lip of the groove.

Some colonists used an ash hopper for the making of lye instead of the barrel method. The ash hopper, was kept in a shed to protect the ashes from being leached unintentionally by a rain fall. Ashes were added periodically and water was poured over at intervals to insure a continuous supply of lye. The lye dripped into a collecting vessel located beneath the hopper.

If you would like more information concerning the history of soap making visit the following website.   The Handcrafted Soap by the Soap Factory


Life in Ash Hopper Hollow