Thursday, December 4, 2008

A name is in what?

Most often we ask, "What's in a name?" However, while I'm busy trying to get more information together to post on family history, you might want to have some fun asking a different question with this site:, where your may find where the greatest concentration of a particular name is located. After you see the international spread, you may click on a particular country or state or county to find the statistics. Pretty interesting! Be sure to try the various spellings of a name, such as "Rosenbalm" and "Rosenbaum."

For instance, the greatest number of Lovedays are located in Australia. In the U.S., Tennessee leads with the most Lovedays. What Tennessee county would you suppose has the most Lovedays?

The Loveday name is of Old English orgin, "Leofdaeg," and may be found as far back as the Domesday Book of 1086. It was originally a woman's name, given to those born on the Love Day holiday, when disputes and transgressions were to be forgiven and reconciled. The Love Day is mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Piers Plowman. Loveday is still a common name for women in England, where the surname also prevails.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


As we honor our Veterans this week, I feel it's appropriate to post about an interesting find I had on a research trip. Daddy and I had driven in search of a cemetery off Wilhite, where he remembered attending a funeral as a little boy. I was looking for the graves of my great, great grandparents, but we stumbled across something else.

As we turned onto a small lane, we stopped to ask a man in his yard whether he could tell us about any cemeteries on that road. I explained that we were doing a little research on the family tree and mentioned some names. The man, whose last name was Branam, then said he had something I might want to see, and he brought out this flag. He explained that during World War II, Bethany Baptist Church had sewn the names of local soldiers onto the stars. There on the flag was my Uncle Doyle Loveday's name. To this day, I regret not offering to buy the flag, because I honestly think the man was almost suggesting that I might want to do that.

Other names include Hurst, Thomas, Webb, Rolen, Williams, Odom, Ball, Blalock, Elidge, and Branam. If you click on the photo, you can see some of the names a little better.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Speaking of Water Wheels

My Uncle Doyle Loveday is shown here with his wonderful water wheel he built on his property off Kodak Road. (He is also shown below as a little boy.) His daughter Lois (Loveday) Chesney told me that her dad was a mechanical engineer, "partially educated in the military, and just a natural," who was very knowledgeable about mechanical things. Among other things throughout his life, he worked as an auto mechanic and driver with Lewis Bus Lines and with Knoxville Construction Company (now APAC) as supervisor for the heavy equipment that was used on building the local interstate highways.

Building the water wheel was a dream of his, so before he retired, he had a pond dug. He built the wheel all by himself during the summer of 1989 and designed it so that the overflow run off from the pond would allow water to drip onto the wheel to make it turn. He put a swing beside it, and the site became a special place for dreaming and reflection. The family cherishes this monument of his work, and his granddaughter Denise held her wedding at the site this past September.

Uncle Doyle went with me on several "hunting trips" for family information in Sevier County over the years, and I have a precious recording of him telling about family history. I visited his water wheel several days ago and couldn't help but touch it to make it turn. It is so perfectly balanced, that even today I believe you could just blow on it and make it spin!

Friday, November 7, 2008


"Tuckahoe" is a Native American word for the large, truffle-like fungus that grew in the rich, moist soil along waterways, as well as for "tubers" like Indian Turnips. From those edible "bulbs," the Cherokees and others got starch to make their bread.

I am amazed that my Loveday ancestors from the 1700s lived along the Tuckahoe in Talbot County, Maryland, and then my Loveday grandparents coincidently lived along the Tuckahoe in Knox County, Tennessee!

Cousin Guy Merritt shares that all of our Tuckahoe and Thorn Grove area was once owned by the Derioux family. Peter Derioux was next in line to be the King of France, but when the French Revolution beheaded the king and his wife, Peter decided he should leave. He lived across the road from Thomas Jefferson, and Peter's grandson, also named Peter, came to East Tennessee, where he was a doctor in Dandridge. He owned many acres, and local families, including the Cokers, married into the Derioux holdings.

The Coker/Tuckahoe Mill stood just below the location of our grandparents' home place and was run by Guy's great grandfather William Lafayette Merritt. Mr. Merritt first ran a mill in Wear's Valley for Ahas Bryan and then moved to Newport to run the mill downtown there before eventually moving to Tuckahoe to run the one pictured here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Family Trees: The Effects of Decades

Lots of folks talk about their family tree, but our Lovedays have family TREES!

Throughout the years at my Loveday grandparents' home at Tuckahoe, many of us roamed the woods and left our marks on the trees there. (Thanks, Cousin Mike Loveday, for reminding me that they are BEECH trees!) Scattered along the hills and stream beds are names, initials, dates, and drawings from several generations, and they include my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their offspring, as well as some loves that have come and gone! The oldest ones I've seen are from the 1950s, when the land was bought. My particular line of carved initials I've found includes my dad's, brother's, nephew's, son's, and my own. Daddy carved mine when I was nine.

In the 1980s, I went back into the woods and took some black and white photos of the trees I could find.

After our recent reunion (11/1/08), a few of us went back to the woods again at the old home place, and I took more photos. (Thanks one more time, Cousin George Brooks, for being my hiking buddy AND for keeping me from sliding off the ridge into the creek!!)

While I was busy hunting old carvings, my husband Don secretly carved the initials (HB) of my new grandson. He didn't tell me what he had done until long after we had left the woods. What a special gift to me! Now I can take my grandson there some day and find it!! See here to possibly find your tree.

We Still Do

What was I saying about family, food, and fellowship? A week ago my cousin Ginger (Farmer) Evans woke up with an intent to get us all together for a Loveday reunion. How many kin can you herd in a week? I was amazed yesterday that we managed to have about 60 in attendance. The food was excellent, and the fellowship was even better! So good to see aunts, uncles, and cousins to the first, second, and third degree!

Can anybody total how many family members come from the Jesse and Jocie (Oakley) Loveday family line? They would be so proud!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Grandmother: Josie Oakley Loveday

Josie (Oakley) Loveday always seemed to me to be a very quiet woman. When we would visit her home after my grandfather died, I would wait for as long as I felt was just long enough to be respectful, and then I would ask if we could go for a walk in the woods.

There my grandmother would show me the wildflowers, plants, and trees, and tell me their names and their uses. She would break the twigs, crush the leaves, pull up the roots and have me taste, feel or smell them accordingly. What wondrous things things she knew! I wish I could remember now all she said and showed me.

My cousin Guy Merritt talks about what a great dominoes player she was and the deep conversations he would have with her. I missed all that, but I have no doubt about her intelligence and wisdom. I believe it was those intimate woods experiences that partly helped shape my own love for nature.

Mamaw is shown here at about age 29 with her daughter Alma, Guy's mother.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Place to Live

Speaking of houses, here's a great photo of my grandparents, Margaret Jane (Hopson) and George Washington Kitts, with her sister Eliza Jane and her parents, William and Mary (Rucker) Hopson. Again, I love to see the details, like the mailbox and the front gate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reigning Rucker

I love this photo. This is my mother's Aunt Mary Rucker, wife of Dewitt Rucker. I think she looks very regal, like a queen in her porch rocker. However, my favorite part of the picture is the fan, made of what appears to be turkey feathers. (Thanks, Cousin Tony White, for the clarification from the other side of the family!)

By the look of the rocker and the house details, Mary and Dewitt seem to have lived comfortably.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Just like my mother's family, my father's family had two children who died in childhood. This beautiful little baby is Jesse and Josie Loveday's daughter Ewla. The other one's name was Edith. One died when the family lived at Wilton Springs (above Newport in Cocke County), and the other one is buried in Lockhart, SC, where my grandmother Josie worked for just a few days in a factory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sarah and Jim Whited

My great grandmother Sarah (Webb) Oakley's second marriage was to Jim Whited. They are shown here with Sarah's daughter (my grandmother) Josie, who is on the far right, and Sarah's son Earnest, who stands at the back. The little ones are three of the children that Sarah and Jim had together: Oscar, Lu, and baby Verna. They later had Esta and Shirley Mae.

Jim and Sarah lived on Jones Cove Road, and she served as the postmaster for that area. Jim's parents were Ben and Mary Whited; Mary's parents were George W. and Catherine Hurst. The Whited name is also spelled Whitted and Whitehead.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fond Memories

Another strength we had as a family was for food and fellowship! This photo reminds me of so many wonderful times together, when we would gather for a holiday or just to hand crank a few freezers of ice cream (complete with fresh fruit toppings!) or cut several watermelons. Both my parents grew up among 9 siblings, which means I have dozens of cousins on both sides. At either gathering, we always had enough folks for at least two teams to play ball, as well as red rover, tag, hide and seek, etc. Once darkness fell, we played hide and seek by flashlight or we competed catching lightning bugs. If we were confined to the house, we played Rotten Egg and other quieter games for which I can't even remember names.

For Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, my immediate family divided its time between my two sets of grandparents' homes (Kitts and Loveday). At each place, we would have tables and counter tops laden with food, fresh from the kitchens of wonderful cooks. After filling our plates, we would find or make seats throughout the house, spilling out onto the porches and into the yard if the weather was good. Even if the weather wasn't good, the food was! And the memories are precious!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Family Talent

I suppose because I didn't inherit any of it, I am amazed by the abilities of family members who could play musical instruments with ease, even though they never had any lessons with their instruments of choice. My grandfather George Washington Kitts was like that, able to play a song on the piano after simply hearing it. At least two of his daughters were like that as well, and possibly even a son or two. They played the piano, the guitar, and the banjo and maybe even other instruments.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Searching for Edward Loveday

Years ago when I first began my quest for family history, Jerry Loveday, now retired Gatlinburg postmaster, told me about a small, forgotten cemetery off Jones Cove Road where an Edward Loveday was buried. The place is called Mt. Pleasant, and the sunken graves there are overgrown with weeds and vines. I got permission from the landowner first, and it's a snaky place I wouldn't have gone without my father with me! At least a couple of the markers there are for Civil War veterans, and many graves are marked with simple field stones. This Edward might be the husband of the Minerva (Houk) Loveday, buried in the Fairgarden Cemetery.

Personally, I believe he is and that this Edward is one of the nine children of Jobe and Sarah "Sally" (Thomas) Loveday and the grandson of the Sevier County Loveday progenitor, Edward. My theory seems to be supported specifically by the 1850 census, though the general year of his birth seems to vary from census to census.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crockettsville School

Because my paternal lines lived for generations off of Jones Cove Road in Sevier County, TN, most of them attended Bethany Baptist Church and Crockettsville School. My grandparents, Jesse and Josie (Oakley) Loveday were sweethearts at Crockettsville, where they played on the playground together as children. My grandmother told of how she and Jesse shared a seat on the see-saw.

When my father attended there, he and his friends would ride home-made "bulger wagons" down the hill. He said they also had to cross the hill over to Wilhite Road to fetch water at the spring.

The school still stands but is now a private residence, as pictured here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Having a Home: The G. W. Kitts Family

My maternal grandfather, George Washington Kitts, worked in the quarries and held different jobs during the Great Depression, and he moved his family from Luttrell in Union County to Knox County, where he eventually worked at Lay Packing Company. They lived for a while in a little house off Roberts Road in Corryton, near the railroad tracks, and also at Marbledale, off Kennedy Road. (That's where my parents met as neighbors!) Mamaw and Papaw lived in a house in the field behind where would eventually become their home.

Among their many interests and activities, they owned a store at the corner of Wayland Road and Strawberry Plains Pike, and they eventually bought the Osborne Road house. At one time, Mamaw had shelves built into their dining room wall, so that the young people of the community would have a "library" where they could get books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beginning a Family: My Kitts Grandparents

My maternal grandparents, George Washington and Margaret Jane (Hopson) Kitts first lived with Dr. Atkins, (Adkins?) and his wife for a few months, but Mamaw didn’t like that Mrs. Atkins wanted to tell her how to cook, so she told Papaw she wanted a place of their own! Eventually, Dr. Atkins provided a house for them. Their family began a year later, and a little one was born about every two years or so... until 11 children had been born! In the summertime, their children would cross Clinch Mountain (which has a peak called Kitts Point) to enjoy Lees Lake.

One son, Elmer, died at the age of one, “after eating too many cherries.” The next one, Willis, died the same day he was born, and both are buried in unmarked graves near one of the cedar trees in the Luttrell Cemetery shown here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Callie's Bethany Baptist Church Obituary

As was the custom of the time in that area, when Callie (Spurgeon) Loveday passed away, her fellow church members at Bethany Baptist wrote her obituary:

"On March 13, 1918, the death Angel, whispering in a calm voice to sister Callie, 'Thy work is done,' and she fell asleep in the arms of our Savior who doeth all things well. Sister Callie was 51 years, 3 months, 18 days old.

She professed faith in Christ at an early age, joined the baptist church and lived a faithful Christian until her death. Her maiden name was Miss Callie Spurgeon, and in early life was married to Brother Eli Loveday. To their union was born 9 children, all of whom are living.

When the Angel of death come for Mother alone, murmuring and said, 'home sweet home, farewell to all. I can see into the portals of heaven,' the children stood back and said 'Farewell to Mother; you are not yet gone but yet oh sleeping to live again in bliss for Ages.'

She leaves 9 children to mourn her loss. God through his mysterious wisdom, saw fit to call her from her earthly home to that Beautiful City of the redeemed. We mourn her loss when we see her vacant seat at church which can never be filled. That seat at home is still vacant. Oh Mother, love and tender care has left our home and heartaches here. God in his infinite wisdom, called from our midst Sister Callie; earth has been made poorer, heaven made richer; our loss is her gain.

Our dear father and mother have crossed over the tide and landed on heaven's bright shore to dwell with angels and Jesus our King, the one whom we love and adore; they are looking for us to come and meet them above the skies, there to dwell with them forevermore, where cometh no sad goodbyes.

Be it therefore resolved that we bow in humble submission to the will of him who doeth all things well, while our church has lost one of our most esteemed members, another jewel is added to that mighty host.

That we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family.

That a place be set apart on our church book and these resolutions be spread thereon and that a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the family of the deceased, if called for."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eli Loveday and his Bible

Eli Loveday (born October 17, 1861; died August 1917) and his wife Callie (Spurgeon) farmed in what was known as Loveday Hollow (now called Hagg Hollow) off Jones Cove Road in Sevier County, TN. Both were very active in their church, Bethany Baptist, and when one young man felt called to preach, Eli taught him how to read. Eli had dark skin and a handlebar mustache. (Look at that pipe!)

In his later years Eli became blind in one eye from the cancer that eventually took his life. Callie "grieved herself to death" within the year. If our dates are correct, they had been married since they were 13 and 14 years old!

Shown here is Eli (back row, left) with his nephew Tally Breeden and "Sprig" Williams (who married Eli's niece), along with Eli's daughters Etter and Dicey and his Uncle David Loveday.

Eli's 1909 Bible records the family births and deaths, and I was able to have it photographed for the Daughters of the American Revolution Bible Project, as well as for the Sevier County Library.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Familiar faces: Callie (Spurgeon) Loveday

My father's paternal grandmother, Teressa Caldonia (Spurgeon) Loveday, was born on November 25, 1861. Her father was John Spurgeon, and the family called her "Callie." She married Eli Loveday on June 30, 1878, and they had at least nine children. She died on March 13, 1918, and is buried in the Mize-Thomas Cemetery of Bethany Baptist Church, off of Wilhite Road in Sevier County, Tennessee.

She is shown seated here with several of her children (back row: Jesse, Etter, Dicey; front row: Sally, Winnie, Lloyd, and Georgia) and a couple of nephews (back row right: Luther & Britton). Also pictured here is my oldest cousin Lois (Loveday) Chesney, who I think bears a close resemblance to our pretty great-grandmother Callie. Lois has accompanied me on some interesting cemetery adventures!

Many years ago, I was told that I looked like Aunt Ada. I always thought they meant my father's sister Ada, but I didn't see the resemblance. Then one day I saw a photo of who I think is my grandfather's sister Ada (Loveday) Hurst as a child, and I realized she was the one everyone had meant all along. Here's who I believe is that Ada, along with a young me. What do you think?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Collins line and the Melungeon connection

My mother's paternal grandmother was Nellie Lucinda Collins. She was born February 2, 1872 to Aaron and Elizabeth (Vandergriff) Collins, who are pictured here. Aaron served the Union during the Civil War in Company B of the 2nd Tennessee cavalry.

Aaron Collins' parents were Freeling and Hannah (Stephens) Collins. Freeling was born on March 16, 1816, in Tennessee and died May 19, 1888. Oral family history tells that Hannah (born August 18, 1821; died August 19 1896) was tortured during the Civil War to learn where someone was hiding. Aaron and Hannah are buried in Clapps Cemetery, Cracker's Neck, Grainger County, TN.

Freeling's parents were Amos and Muriel (also spelled Meriel, Mariel, Marie, Mayvilla) Collins, who moved from Tennessee and lived in Kentucky near Big Creek in Clay County. Amos' children and their families were sometimes variously listed in the census records as Free Persons of Color or Mulatto, as so many of the Melungeons were often listed.

What's in a name? Joe Wheeler Kitts

My mother's paternal grandfather was Joe Wheeler Kitts (lovingly called "Grandpa" in her story copied in my Melungeon Roots post). When I see a name that seems to reflect someone else's last name as well, I immediately wonder what the connection or affinity is. Surprisingly, this great-grandfather of mine, born in 1867 to Joseph and Elizabeth (Boles) Kitts, was named for Confederate General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, although most other family lines seem to have held Union sympathies.

Wheeler commanded all of the Army of Tennessee's cavalry and was recognized for his fighting in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, La Vergne, Chicamauga, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Bentonville, Ringold, and Atlanta, where he helped stand against Sherman. General Robert E. Lee considered him one of the two outstanding Confederate cavalry leaders.

Joseph Wheeler Kitts married Nellie Loucinda Collins, the daughter of Aaron and Elizabeth (Vandergriff) Collins. He is shown here with his son, George Washington Kitts, my grandfather. Joe had eight children and was widowed and married more than once.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Maryland Loveday Legacy

Although the Loveday lines in Maryland have dwindled since the days of the Revolutionary War, their name is remembered in local landmarks.

Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, was the first Proprietary of the Province of Maryland. He named Talbot County, established in 1661 along the Eastern Shore, for his sister Grace Talbot, wife of Sir Robert Talbot. Initially, Talbot County stretched to include all territory between the head waters of the Choptank and Chester Rivers and eastward to the Delaware border. Later, portions of Talbot were divided among the counties of Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Kent. In 1706, the boundaries of Talbot County were clearly defined to include Sharps Island, Choptank Island, Poplar Island, and Bruffs Island, as well as all the land north of the Great Choptank River up to the Tuckahoe Bridge and over to Sweatman’s Mill, then down the south side of the Wye River to the bay.

When colonists came to the Eastern Shore area of Maryland, they divided the settlement into “hundreds,” like those established by the Angles and Saxons a thousand years earlier when they first arrived in old England. The old English custom divided the lands among ten families, estimating that each family and its servants numbered ten people, totaling a hundred people in each area. Although the Maryland divisions of hundreds were originally just geographic divisions, they were later used as election districts. The Lovedays owned land in the Tuckahoe Hundred, as well as others.

Their original holdings dated back to the 1600s and over the years included several hundreds of acres and parcels named Friendship, Upper Range, Jordan's Hill, Middle Spring, Matthew's Chance, Francis Plains, Swine Yard, Parker's Farm, Dudley, Middle Neck, Hampton, Bloomsberry, Baildon, Bennetts Freshes, Crooked Lane, Frankford, St. Michaels, Hatton, Knave Stand Off, Holland's Spring, Loveday's Hope, Loveday's Purchase, and Loveday's Lot.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Revolutionary War Repercussions

So what happened to those Maryland Lovedays and their wealth? After reading much about the history of Talbot County and looking at its records, I personally believe that the situation was similar to what happened in Sevier County during and after the Civil War. The people of Talbot County were divided in their loyalties, many of them being Quakers who were pacifists, while others were passionate colonists fighting for independence. Although the Loveday men fought in the Revolution, they were also closely associated with their Quaker neighbors, even attending many of their meetings. During the war itself, their area was ravaged by the burning and looting of plantations and the pirating of the waters, and the cost of the war itself took its toll.

Details may be found in Oswald Tilghman's book, History of Talbot County Maryland, 1661-1861, Vols. I & II, published in Baltimore by Williams & Wilkins Company in 1915.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Edward Loveday's Birth State: Maryland

One of the most exciting adventures I've had in my genealogical research involved a trip to Maryland, Sevier County progenitor Edward Loveday's birth state. Although we've not been able to determine which of the Maryland Loveday sons was Edward's father, we do know a lot about them.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, they were great landholders, owning several tracts in Talbot County and even some in other counties as well. Imagine the thrill I had as my husband and I drove through the county and began to see roads that bore names similar to the lands those Lovedays once held. Amazingly, I discovered that the Loveday home established in the 1600s was still there! What an incredible experience to introduce myself to the owner and be given a tour of the house and grounds, seeing the cellar, the footprint (an impression in the back yard that reveals a brick floor) of what was probably an early detached kitchen, the household tools and implements found in the walls during remodeling, the shards of kitchenware found in the dirt, and a lonely grave, which is all that remains of a cemetery on the property (located at the tree on the right of the field in the photo). Our lovely host generously gave me one of the original bricks, and I in turn gave her a piece of pottery I created, which now sits in her window sill, holding some of those broken treasures from the past. It was a wonderful connection to the Lovedays of the past with a Loveday from the present.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rosenbalm Origins & Resources

David Rosenbalm and his wife Elizabeth were living near Tazwell, Tennessee in 1860, but by 1870, they had disappeared from the records and are presumed to have died by then.

*Much of the Rosenbalm history was shared with me in 1977 by Mildred Garvey (daughter of Mary Hopson Majars and granddaughter of Jesse Hamilton Hopson) of Redondo Beach, California, and can be found in Clifford R. Canfield's book, The Rosenbaum-Rosenbalm Family of Southwest Virginian, which is 726 pages long and about the size of a large Sears catalog!) The name Rosenbaum is of German origin and means "rose tree." The Rosenbaums were a German Lutheran family that arrived in America as early as 1710. In 1660, the Rosenbaum name was entered into the records of the Lutheran church in Westphalia, Germany. There are also many Rosenbaums of the Jewish faith from Central Europe living in the U. S., but that is a different line. Rosenbaums (of various spellings) settled in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Southwest Virginia, and have scattered across the nation, but our particular line can be directly traced to Anthony Rosenbaum, who lived in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rosenbalms at Damascus, VA

Mamaw Kitts' father was William Harrell Hopson. William’s mother, Eliza Jane, was born on December 17, 1833, in Claiborne County, Tennessee, to Elizabeth (Harrell) and David Rosenbalm. Elizabeth Harrell was born March 10, 1811, in Tennessee, to Polly (Hopson) and Drewy Harrell.

Mamaw's great-grandfather David Rosenbalm was born in Washington County, Virginia, to Catherine (Stubblefield?) and George Rosenbalm (Rosenbaum). Elizabeth and David were married on February 2, 1832, in Claiborne County, where they lived and farmed. In February 1834, David returned to Washington County, Virginia, where he sold to his Uncle Valentine Rosenbalm his interest in his father George Rosenbalm’s part of his grandfather John Rosenbalm’s estate near Damascus, Virginia.

Since I now live nearer to Damascus, I think more about that particular family line on a regular basis. If you haven't ridden the Virginia Creeper bike trail there, I encourage you to do so and enjoy the glorious beauty of the area. It's a 17 mile coast DOWNHILL from White Top Mountain on what was once a railroad route. I promise! It really doesn't require much pedaling, and it crosses lots of wonderful trestles and bridges zig-zagging the creek (pictured). I can't help but wonder whether the Rosenbalms were in the vicinity when men from the surrounding area were called to arms for the Battle of King's Mountain.

John Rosenbalm had died on June 18, 1821, but because he had not left a will, his estate was not finally settled until about 1826. Catherine and two of John, Sr.’s other sons, Jacob and John, were the administrators. I have a copy of the estate inventory, which is three pages long and lists every tool, basket, utensil, head of livestock, piece of furniture, etc. and its individual worth! David’s father George apparently died young in about 1815 or 1816, and David’s mother Catherine remarried to a James Mountain. David and his brother John shared in their father George’s portion of their grandfather John Rosenbalm’s 1826 estate, along with George’s five other brothers and three sisters.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Revolutionary War: The Battle of King's Mountain

As the Revolutionary War was fought, the people of our area played an important role in helping to turn the tide toward freedom so that our family lines could enjoy their pursuits of independence. Colonel Ferguson of the British army became frustrated with the havoc being caused by the renegade Overmountain Men and sent word that if they didn't lay down their arms and cease their actions, he would cross the mountain himself and hang their leaders and ruin their lands. Well, that was the wrong thing to say to those strong-willed men who were determined to have victory. In short, the frontier farmers and woodsmen living over the mountain pulled together and marched to King's Mountain to defeat Ferguson and his men!

I've had the pleasure on Thursday and Friday this week to watch the present day Overmountain Victory Trail Association (OVTA) members, shown here, re-enact and retell the story of that march and victory during their annual trek along the original trail taken to King's Mountain. They provide demonstrations and presentations for schools and civic groups along the way. What a wonderful celebration of history and a gallant effort to preserve the details of this important heritage! For more information about the OVTA, visit their website.

Participating in that battle that was a turning point of the Revolutionary War were men by the names of Breden, Collins, Harrell, Webb, and Williams, names from our family lines. Were those any of our ancestors represented there? I hope to find out!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walnut Grove Lovedays

Among the Lovedays buried at the Walnut Grove cemetery are Civil War veterans Perry and Tennessee, who both served in the Union Army in Company D, 2nd Tennessee Cavalry. Their father Henry, son of Edward, served in the War of 1812.

Perry, born May 14, 1834, enlisted at age 29 in Sevierville for three years. His enlistment papers show him as 6 ft. tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. Perry married Angelina McMahan, daughter of Redmon and Rebecca McMahan, in about 1853, and they had at least 7 children. He died on May 16 1867.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Edward Loveday, Sevier County Progenitor

Before the Ogles and Huskeys settled in what would become White Oak Flats, the Lovedays were already settled in Tennessee before 1800. Edward Loveday, who was born in Maryland, brought his family south of the French Broad River to live along the East Fork of the Little Pigeon River. Later post office addresses for him and his sons include Fairgarden and Harrisburg, near Walnut Grove and Flat Creek.

Land in the 4th district of the French Broad and Holston surveyed on June 12, 1807 (land grant #898, November 23, 1809) for Edward Loveday was 39 acres with a road for $39.30. The grant was signed by Governor Willie Blount's authority on May 12, 1810. At least some of Edward's land adjoined that of George Manning and Nathan Layman. Other neighbors included Foxes, Pattersons, Staffords, and Birds, as well as his sons Henry and Robert. At least an additional 25 acres was surveyed on May 2, 1832 and was granted on September 29, 1837.

Bethel Baptist Church (above) on Jones Cove road was established around 1801 and is one of the oldest churches in Sevier County. Church records show that several Lovedays attended there in the 1850s, and in 1875, 20 men and women agreed to go from Bethel to establish a church at Walnut Grove. Edward's grandson Ira Loveday, son of Henry, was among the first three deacons at the new Walnut Grove Baptist Church. More than 80 Lovedays are buried in the Walnut Grove cemetery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How They Met: My Kitts Grandparents

Soon after my grandmother Margaret Jane Hopson's family moved back near Washburn, TN, she caught the eye of George Washington Kitts one day as he was fulfilling the civic duty that each man had of taking his turn repairing the roads. He took one look at her and declared that she would be his wife some day! He came by her home one day, along with a young man who worked for her father on the farm, and the whippoorwills sang all night, but her parents had no idea then that George was interested in their daughter!

Papaw was born October 5, 1894, in Powder Springs, Grainger County, Tennessee, in an area Mamaw said was known as Dutch Valley. His mother, Nellie Loucinda (Collins) Kitts, was ill and passed away when he was young, so he was raised by the doctor who delivered him, Dr. Atkins, and his wife. They lived next door. For whatever reason, Mamaw's parents really didn't want her to be seeing that Kitts boy, so she secretly carried his photo in her "bosom" (see the worn crease in the photo) and eventually sneaked a few dresses out of the house before they eloped one Saturday, May 13, 1916, after a morning church service and were married at the home of the Reverend Phillips in Powder Springs. Ernest and Ula Needham were their witnesses. (These details came from Mamaw's Bible.) Mamaw knew she was supposed to be 16 to get married without the consent of her parents and her birthday was still a few weeks away, so she wrote the number 16 on a slip of paper, placed it in her shoe, and told the minister that she was "over 16!" She and Papaw returned to visit her parents home that night, where "they didn't throw a fit or nothin'."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Speaking of Unique History: Melungeon Roots

I never knew my mother to do any creative writing, but I found a few note pages she wrote with the following story, which is obviously based on her personal memories and questions:

"As she drove up the narrow valley road, the blue, blue sky enhanced the floating cotton puffs of clouds as they drifted over the mountain to her right. The mountain, Clinch by name, stretched out as far as she could see in either direction. A spiral of smoke drifted up above the ridge a distance in front of her. Shortly, a train came into view on the tracks that paralleled the road. Her mind wandered back to her childhood when the engineer gave a toot on the whistle and waved to her and her brothers and sister. They often played in the strip of land between the road and the railroad tracks in front of their home, romping in the lush green grass and clover. Smiling to herself, she wondered how far along the track the chains of clover she and her brother and sister made would stretch. Would they stretch from the little town or hamlet that nestled on the valley floor, practically at the foot of the mountains, to the little community of Powder Springs (She mused, "Wonder where the name came from?") on further up the valley, and also nestled at the base of the mountain, where her paternal grandfather lived in a little three room cabin? Reveling in thoughts of those long, gone days, she could still see her grandfather, sitting outside the cabin, his twine-bottomed chair against the wall, strumming on his banjo. She remembered he always, even in summer, wore a hat. Wishing she had a photo of that scene, she dwelt on the image, visioning clearly the white mustache, flowing white beard, the suspendered pants, and crumpled shirt. He lived there with three grown sons until they married, then he was alone. Her mother always cooked a big dinner for them as they spent a Sunday with her grandfather. Grandpa, as he was lovingly called, would go out to the smoke house and cut a big hunk out of a home-cured ham. The thoughts of the delicious, tasty, ham made her mouth water. Then she was brought back to reality, a constriction in her throat. Yearning to know more about her ancestry, she wa heading to the courthouse of a county across the mountains. Not too far, as the crow flies, from the county seat lived the Melungeons -- those tall, dark-skinned mysterious people. There were many theories as to their origin. She was sure they were her people. Her dad was tall and dark-skinned, high cheek-boned and his mother was of a family same as one of the Melungeons. The name went back as far as anyone knew or heard."

Because I had begun my research focused on my father's line and never seemed to finish, it was many years before I began to work on her family line. Fortunately, others I encountered had researched her Collins ancestry. And yes, my grandfather Kitts' mother, a Collins, descends from the Melungeons! Pictured here is my mother's father, George Washington Kitts, described above.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cherokee blood

Many families that are native to the Sevier County area claim some tie to the Cherokees. Although physical features may certainly seem as evidence, determining the actual family link may be very difficult. Even with my green eyes and light brown hair, I've been told by more than one dentist that my front teeth seem to indicate a Native American gene or two, because they are "shovel shaped," cupped with a ridge at the upper inside. Other cousins have distinctive cheek bones, and some family members are very dark skinned. I've heard the Cherokee lore about more than one of my family lines, but who can prove anything?

Most individuals from older generations were very reluctant to speak about their Cherokee ancestry, simply because of the former stigma and the Trail of Tears experience that killed so many in the relocation to reservations. Those who wanted to stay in the mountains made every effort to be inconspicuous, explaining their dark skin as being a "Black Dutch" characteristic. However, no one is even certain what that is supposed to mean. Who are the Black Dutch?

In this day, those of us who feel a connection to the Cherokee spirit and roots are left to only imagine how we inherited it, but some of us take it pretty seriously. Pictured at top in a Cherokee ribbon shirt is my cousin George Brooks, who diligently seeks to learn more about the Cherokee ways and to celebrate them. Below is the back of his wife Gail, whose dress illustrates the sheathed knife typically worn by the women. If anyone can identify the Cherokee link in any of our family lines, we would like to know it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gatlinburg's first settlers

Wiley Oakley's mother, Elmina Conner, was a great granddaughter of Gatlinburg's first settler, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, whose cabin is pictured here next to the Arrowcraft shop. Oral history tells that Martha's husband William came to the area as a hunter and trader with the Cherokee and fell in love with the beauty of what would become known as White Oak Flats. He felled the trees for a log home and returned to South Carolina to prepare to move his family. While storing up food for the coming year of travel and settling the new home, he became ill with a fever and died.

Martha and their seven children traveled with her brother and his family to Virginia to deliver the news of William's death to his family there, then came to build the cabin from the cured logs that William had cut. They continued to live there, and Martha was among the members of the Fork of the Little Pigeon Church who requested in 1817 that an arm of that Sevierville church be established in the White Oak Flats community. Martha is reported to have been part Cherokee.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cherokee roots

Henry Oakley's son Wiley (b. September 12, 1885; d. November 18, 1954) was greatly influenced by the Cherokee heritage of his mother Elmina Conner's family. Wiley seemed to innately follow their ways and demonstrate their spirit in his appreciation and respect for nature. After Elmina's death in 1894, he spent much of his time wandering the hills and woods in search of a connection with his dear mother. His knowledge of the land earned him the nickname "The Roamin' Man of the Mountains." He served as a trail guide to many, and his entertaining stories won him the attention of some pretty important people like Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, just to name a few. His wit and wisdom earned him the reputation as the Will Rogers of the Smoky Mountains. As a result, Wiley served in far away big cities as ambassador and spokesman for promoting the establishment of the Smokies as a National Park. However, he declined offers for lucrative contracts and preferred instead to live a simpler life near his beloved mountains, the home of his Cherokee kin.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Henry C. Oakley & The Battle of 'Burg Hill

My great grandfather Henry Coleman Oakley recalled the Civil War Battle of Gatlinburg from his role as a "home guard," when he was just a teenager.

Saltpeter, used to make gunpowder, is said to have been mined at Alum Cave. Both sides would need it and yet would want to keep it from their foes. It was near the cave that Confederate commander William H. Thomas and his "legion" of about 200, comprised primarily of Cherokee soldiers, met Union Lt. Col. Lemborn and his group of 50 men. The skirmish lasted only about an hour, as the two sides battled their way in and out of Gatlinburg.

Henry Oakley told how he watched from a big rock overhang on Turkey Nest Mountain as the Blue Coats of the Union army rode around Burg Hill and the Confederate Gray Coats came around Graveyard Hill. They shot at each other across what would become the main part of town.

One Union soldier was captured. Although no one died, several wounded soldiers escaped, and all the Union supplies were taken, as the fighting dissipated between Gatlinburg and Kodak.

Henry Coleman Oakley, father of my grandmother Josie Oakley, died in 1920. Shown in the top photo is the reenactment group of the 63D Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, CSA, led by their captain, Henry's great-great grandson Jeff Noland, also pictured at right. Period photos of the modern 63d TN impressionists were taken by Wendell Decker of Vintage Studios, using the authentic war photography process.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hopson Cemetery

In 1998, Mother and I visited several members of extended family lines (Ritters) in Washburn, TN, and they were very helpful in telling us details and stories of family history. They also showed us where specific cemeteries were for our Rucker, Kitts, and Hopson families, and that same year, we went to the Hopson Cemetery for a reunion.

My great-great grandfather, David Ross Hopson, was born December 25, 1825, in Dutch Valley to Carolyn (Lively) and Jesse Hopson. David’s father Jesse was born in 1800 in Wake County, North Carolina, to Sara (Bunch, daughter of Ann and Martin Bunch) and Harrod Hopson. Harrod, the son of Richard Hopson, was born in North Carolina in 1778 and died before 1870 in Claiborne County. Sara divorced Harrod in 1835, and he later married Prudence (Henderson) Cunningham, the daughter of Elizabeth (Maples) and Isaac Henderson.

Oral history states that the Hopsons were traveling in a covered wagon with all their belongings, looking for a place to start a living but not knowing where to stop, when the old man Hopson died of pneumonia fever. His wife buried him and never continued their intended journey, settling nearby the cemetery that became the Hopson Cemetery we know today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hopsons and more Hopsons?

The photo of the two couples includes William and Mary (Rucker) Hopson (standing), but who is the older couple? One way that William and Mary are easily identifiable in photographs is that she was just a little bit taller than he was!

Is the seated couple the same couple that's pictured in the this old tin type photo that's disintegrating? I believe it is. See how the the height of the man and woman is the same in relation to one another. Look at the shapes of the faces and the hair lines.

Personally, I think this is probably William's parents instead of Mary's, because neither of the seated individuals looks anything like the other Ruckers. If I'm correct, then the names of the seated couple are David and Eliza Jane (Rosenbalm) Hopson. They lived in the Dutch Valley area of Washburn, TN.

Eliza Jane (Rosenbalm) and David Ross Hopson were married in about 1851 in Claiborne County and lived and farmed in that Dutch area of Grainger County. David fought in the Civil War and is listed in the Civil War veterans census of 1890.