Day 8

Picked up two great books. One is a historical account of Tazewell County with sooooo much information about our pioneer 4th great grandfather David Ward. The details of the many heroic battles with Indians and the responsible manner in which he, along with others, were willing to take steps essential to forming a county government within one day’s horse ride from home. With bravery and brains, both men and women did whatever was required to forge ahead; courageous settlers made their way.A second book on the genealogy of the Harman’s will make clear some of the doubts I had in adding more ancestors in that line. I was introduced to the granddaughter of Henry Harman and took a likin’ to her right away. What a jewel! She and I share a love for plundering and preserving the many neglected family cemeteries and spending time there. She reminded me not to wear good clothes to the cemeteries and explained her attire includes a cemetery hat and even a cemetery purse. One can be assured that I’ll take these bits of advice to heart. After all, these sacred places where our ancestors rest are loaded with vital records. Thank you Mrs. Bettie Byrd!

Day 9

The phone rang opening up another connection to my Dad’s first cousin. I didn’t even ha
ve her in my data base, but quickly enough, we found ourselves bound together by the family ties. Her father and my grandmother were siblings. There must be a wealth of information between us. We will be corresponding and sharing photos for a long time to come. Cousin Carolyn was a delight to talk with and I look forward to meeting her on a future journey.

Day 10

Compton Cemetery – Falls Mills
Although I had specific directions in hand, there is no way I could have ever found this cemetery. I already had pictures of a few stones supplied by the generous Judy Llamas, there is nothing like a hands on experience in the middle of the woods. Brother Buck had been guided to the location on a previous trip with his wife Susie, so he took me directly to the somewhat fenced graveyard. We photographically recorded all interments as best we could, and with machete in hand, whacked down weeds covering the engravings. We even plucked a wild fern from the woods in hopes of it surviving my less than green thumb.

Dudley Cemetery – Falls Mills

No relatives in my lines are deposited in this lovely spot, but those there are blessed with a most gorgeous location. Blowing breezes, swaying trees and the calm waters of the Falls Mills Dam offer serenity beyond compare. The Dudley family is part of my sister-in-law’s line, so we also photographically recorded the monuments. Some as old as the Civil War.We also stopped for a quick chat with Uncle Robert. He is always glad to entertain family with his railroad stories. He reminds me of my dad in that way, and that puts a smile on my face. Buck and I came upon Uncle Robert as he sped across the road in his wheel chair. Who knew he could do wheelies and race around at speeds of up to 10 MPH. He looks good and appeared to be feeling well.In a short but painful stop by Grandview Memory Gardens, I captured Aunt Margaret’s grave stone. It is surreal. I didn’t expect to be there so soon. I really miss visiting with her.

Day 11

Happy Mother’s Day

Buck honored us with breakfast yesterday morning; Mom, Susie and I enjoyed our time with him and appreciated his thoughtfulness. What a great idea to celebrate on Saturday instead of fighting the crowds on Sunday. That leaves Sunday for church, crockpot comfort food and naps. What more could a Mother hope for.I had calls this morning from the girls and loved hearing their sweet voices. Mom and I headed for church where she has worshipped for many years. The actual church may be the oldest in the county and was built on land donated by the Wallace family a little more than 100 years ago.Tomorrow morning, we are off to St. Paul to visit a first cousin of my dad’s, Roberta “Bertie”. I look forward to hearing her memories and the beginning of another family relationship. In the afternoon, we’ll stop back in Lebanon to visit with another cousin and her mother, my great aunt Kathleen.Pray for good weather; Wading through these muddy hollers may give us a bit of a problem.Just kidding, the heavy rain is appreciated and just in time to start planting victory gardens. These hillsides are bright green with the rich soil plowed over, awaiting the seed.

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