Day 1

With the help of an audio book, THE SHACK, I made the 700 mile trip in one day. I highly recommend putting a CD of some great book into the player. The day slipped away until I reached the tunnels. Both Big Walker Mountain and East River Mountain have tunnels that make the once painfully dreaded distance from Wytheville to Bluefield a breeze.
An exit sign immediately following the opening of the tunnel leads up the exit ramp to John forbes Nash, Jr. Highway, named for the Nobel Prize Laureate and economic genius from Bluefield. these things are fun, but there is nothing like capturing the beauty of the glorious mountain towns called HOME.

Day 2

Success on the very first outing! Accompanied, actually led, by my big brother Buck, we discovered the DAVIDSON plot at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Bluefield, WV. The central figure of the interment, Joseph Davidson, was the son of John Goolman Davidson, Irish immigrant and pioneer of this area. His home is preserved at the city park and will open the festivities of an upcoming Bluefield Mountain Days Festival.

Day 3

My brothers are so good to help me in my endeavors. Although I don’t believe that cemetery jumping is a point of deep satisfaction to them, they give in to my interests and help me in the hunt. From directions given by Browne Hollowell, Larry found Mays Chapel Cemetery near the old Wittens Mill location along the banks of the Clinch River where the water falls gently over the large river rock creating a most peaceful and soothing sound. The calm is most appropriate for those loved ones placed lovingly in the fenced, but not well kept plot.

Stated in obituaries and death records, my great grandfather, Erastus Granger Davidson (1852-1924), his wife Eliza Greever (Gregory) (1857-1922) and their daughter Nannie Crockett McHaffa (1900-1928) are buried there. Unfortunately, there are no markers for them, and many other unmarked sunken graves.

Two Davidson’s are there, but I must piece together more records to place them in our lineage. If anyone suspects they may have relatives there, please contact me at I took photos and recorded all monuments there. I would love to share your family monuments with you.

May’s Chapel Cemetery at Wittens Mill.

Take 19/460 east from Tazewell, turn left at Rt. 651, go 2/10ths mile to a small metal bridge on the right crossing the north fork of the Clinch River. There is only a bit of stone wall remaining from the actual Wittens Mill, just north of the bridge.

Cross the bridge to the right and continue on the little road there. Park. On foot, cross the N&W tracks at Marker N381. There is a wide metal gate. The cemetery is approximately a two acre plot with a barbed wire fence. Many graves have no markers, and some have fieldstones. May’s Chapel Methodist Church was here before Willows Chapel was built further up towards Wrights Valley.

Day 4

Family dinner at Mimi’s house. In her perfectly “better than Paula Deen” style, Mom laid out a spread for the masses. About sixteen friends and relatives showed up at the appointed 12:30…or there about for a fabulous meal. That’s how Mom’s shows her love, and I must say, she loved us well.After Susie and I cleaned the dishes away and all the dessert was gone, we gathered outside to take some FAMILY shots on the steps before Christine, Briana and Peter Charles hit the road going home. I’ve always loved the picture at Grandaddy Buckland’s house where the family gathered on the steps, so once again, my family accomodated me by posing there. Pictures with Mom and Buck and his family, pictures with Mom and Larry, Brian, Stephanie, Carson, Will and Brian Alexander. Even a picture of Mom playing croquet with Peter. Thank you Tina for taking such great pictures.

Eureka!!!!!Day 5

At the Tazewell County Courthouse, I obtained the copy of a marriage record (1-22-1880)for Erastus Granger Davidson and Eliza Greever Gregory. According to Volume 3, Page 54, Line 9, Granger Davidson’s parents were Samuel P. Davidson and Vicey Allen. This information proved invaluable to me. Although it is always a good find to have a marriage record for ancestors in my line, this is the only information that proves Vicey Allen was his mother, my 2nd great grandmother.

Day 6

Yearbooks from the 40’s – what a find! Brother Buck is always going to estate sales and auctions. At one auction, he purchased some local high school yearbooks. Before putting them away, he took a spin through the annuals to see if he recognized anyone from back in the day. And yes-sur-ee, he surely did!A 1940 Beaver revealed Uncle Robert on the football team. Wow, who knew he went to Beaver when his brothers opted for the cross town rival. The Class of 1942 at GHS uncovered many wonderful faces. Walter Buckland and Garland Thompson (freshmen). Nancy, Loraine and Hazel Wimmer (children of Robert (Uncle Bob) and Sallie Davidson Wimmer). Football heros Richard McHaffa and Charles Buckland graced the pages in the most hilarious uniforms. What a funny find!

Day 7

Tazewell County Historical Society is a great resource for genealogical information and a great spot for reuniting with an old (I mean that ever so gingerly) high school classmate. I can say “old” since we are about the same age. I must say that time has been kind to Anthony and he looks fabulous. Besides that, he was most helpful in supplying information on my pioneer ancestor, David Ward. My 4th great grandfather settled the land known as THE COVE or Ward’s Cove. Mom and I took the day trip past Tazewell, down the Liberty Road, past Maiden Springs to the Cove. The area is absolutely beautiful, some of the most beautiful that I have ever seen, even on a rainy day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s