Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
As a result of recently reconnecting with my mother's first cousin Varnell, we traveled back into the country today. Way back. In fact, before lunch, we'd stepped back a couple hundred years into a house built in 1812.
Just driving toward Luttrell made me cry, because I was flooded with the emotion of missing my mother and grandmother. Stopping at the cemetery where I'd taken my grandmother many years before to visit the unmarked graves of her little baby boys made me sob. However, seeing Varnell and Eileen's old log cabin retreat brought smiles, and exchanging photos and family history information was a joy.
The greatest treat, though, began with showing them the photo (circa 1917) of my grandparents (George and Margaret Hopson Kitts), his mother (Eliza Hopson Wolfenbarger), and the sisters' parents (William and Mary Rucker Hopson) at Charlie Fraley's home where they once lived and ran a dairy farm (See "A Place to Live") and telling him that my grandmother had pointed the house out to me just down the road decades ago. Varnell then told me it was still standing, and before the morning was over, I knocked on a stranger's door and we were getting zenia seeds from the present resident! The homeowner was as thrilled to get the old photo of her house (I had an extra copy) as we were to tour her home! Oh, to put my hand on the same stair railing where my grandparents and great grandparents had touched it on a daily basis!! What a blessing!!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As sad as such times are, connecting with family is always good, and in these days of electronic communications, sometimes one may then re-connect in more lasting ways after years of absence. Afterward, a family member shared this photo.
Virginia's mother Eliza and my mother's mother Margaret were sisters. I had always heard about this sweet picture of the sisters as little girls, but I had never seen it. My grandmother, on the left, was born in 1900, several years after their only other sibling, Greenlee.
Monday, August 24, 2009
At the end of an already perfect day, we decided on a whim to see whether we could find the graves of their Underwood ancestors, too. We had a map. We even had directions. We actually stopped and asked several folks along the way where it was. However, locating the John Thomas Underwood cemetery in Kodak took a while.
In the process, we met Alex Johnson who recently bought the Stella Underwood homeplace, which had served several generations of Underwoods. He pointed to the weedy top of a hill in a nearby cow pasture, so we climbed a fence and trudged to victory as the sun went down. Although the Underwoods are not in my personal direct line, I have a few cousins whose lineage traces back to those same graves.
You can read about Louise Buckner, the Underwoods, and other great stories of area history in the 1994 Sevier County, Tennessee, and Its Heritage. In fact, I encourage you to contribute your own Sevier County family stories to the NEW volume presently being compiled for publication. See: http://www.county-heritage.com/tn/sevier/overview.php or visit the Sevier County History Center for more information.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
We came back via the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I contemplated more of the sacred sites, like Judaculla Courthouse shown here. The Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook, by Barbara R. Duncan and Brett H. Riggs, is a helpful source of information. To see my photos and notes of related Cherokee sites, click here.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
These grave stones are from the Fair Garden, Kear-Loveday, Stafford, and Walnut Grove cemeteries, and they include some of the oldest Loveday markers in the county. Click here to view the markers.
(When my father would drive us down Jones Cove Road, he would chuckle and ask whether we remembered the name of the hilltop shown in the background of this view of the Kear-Loveday Cemetery. It was known to him as "Granny's Butt.")
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
My maternal grandfather George Washington Kitts' mother was Nellie Lucinda Collins, daughter of Aaron Collins. Norman's grandmother Clarissa was Aaron's niece, and she also married a Collins, her first cousin Tom Lee Collins. Tom Lee and Clarissa Collins are pictured left.
Monday, January 19, 2009
For many of us, our elusive Cherokee ties are intriguing, and I'm enjoying learning more about the history and ways. While searching for sacred Cherokee sites, I visited the mysterious Judaculla Rock, a large sandstone inscribed with various symbols and images.
According to Cherokee legend, Judaculla, the slant-eyed giant, leaped from his lofty mountain home on Tennessee Bald and scratched the rock as he landed. Rocks with similar carvings can be found in other Cherokee places, such as Georgia, and all of them are estimated to be hundreds and hundreds of years old.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Dow is shown here with his wife Bessie.
Here, you see Kituhwa, one of the original mother town locations that was lost during the Removal in the late 1830s. The townhouse that held the sacred fire was built upon a 15-20 foot high mound that has been reduced to about six feet, as a result of the years of farming by others. What's left of the mound is the slight green rise visible in front of the wooded hill. This 300 acre river bottom land, which lies along the Tuckaseegee below the towering height of Clingman's Dome, was bought back by the Cherokee in 1996.