Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hopson Sisters

The passing of my mother's dear cousin Virginia seems like another one of the final links to my parents slipping away from me. She was a beautiful lady, and she and my mother talked almost daily, sometimes SEVERAL times a day, for most of their adult lives. At her funeral, I talked to many relatives I had not seen in years.

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

Kodak Underwoods

In June of this year, I took two sisters in search of their Sevier County roots. It was a great day of memorable encounters and pleasant surprises, as I showed them the location of several cemeteries where their Trotter, Robertson, and Emmert ancestors were buried. We even found some of the old homeplaces, and to their delight, we were invited by their distant cousin to tour their great grandfather's Century Farm house that I learned bore the handiwork of 1800s famed wood master craftsman Louis Buckner. What incredible work! The stairs in that 100+ year old home didn't make a squeak!

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.