Tag Archive | Tazewell

my old wrought iron cemetery fence

If you ask my children about traveling to Mimi’s in the old Volvo station wagon, they would immediately recount the time we brought cemetery fencing and a huge gate back to Florida from Virginia. From my point of view, the 100 year old wrought iron fencing was too wonderful to pass up and, after all, I had a station wagon.

Thank you girls for indulging Mama and being so patient ~

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My little ones were under 10 and every year when we went to Virginia to visit, they usually stretched out in the back of the car for the long 700 mile trek. On this trip back home, we threw blankets over the fencing for padding and hit the road. Yes, I felt slightly guilty about putting my children in that position, but I had to have it!  And – I still enjoy it after all these years.

I must say that one of my favorite adventures acquired from researching ancestors is visiting cemeteries; especially the older ones with their charm and ornate headstones and antique fencing. While visiting the grave of Altha Rudolph Brooks Davis, my maternal grandmother, I noticed by the maintenance shed that the grounds crew had removed the entire fencing and gate from an old cemetery plot. HOW COULD THEY?

When I inquired, I was told that the family wanted the fence removed, and that it would be thrown away.
THROWN AWAY? – I COULD NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN!

MAPLEWOOD - Davis Altha R. Brooks Grandma Davis 1884-1980  MAPLEWOOD CEMETERY

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For many years the old wrought iron fence had protected a family plot at the Maplewood Cemetery in Tazewell, Virginia. Made by Stewart Iron Works, Cincinnati, Ohio by the Stewart family whose roots were in blacksmithing. The emblem on my gate is difficult to read today due to the corrosion and rust over the years. …but I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

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I’ve decided to share my fence at the Sweet South French Country Flea Market on October 19th, 9-4. Yesterday, my husband was kind enough to cut (yes – that kind of gives me the heebie jeebies) one piece of fencing into sections that others may use in their own vintage home or garden. Because I needed a rusty, crusty piece of 3-pickets to hang in my house, I decided to make 7 small pieces available at the market. Two 6-picket pieces at $65 each, two 3-picket pieces at $50 each and 3 single pickets (price to be determined when I figure out how useful they are??).

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I can only hope that the new owners of these special pieces will enjoy them half as much as I do. Perhaps I should take applications to determine their new homes. maybe Adopt-a-fence so I can come by and check on them…. just kidding!

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Vintage Photo Album Music Box

Mary Jane (Davidson) Buckland was the railroader’s mother, my grandmother. I have her vintage music box – photo album full of family photographs and it has been a treasure of information to me in researching our family history. Researching ancestors is a bit like working a jigsaw puzzle. Each little bit of information is a clue to the larger picture or leads to fitting yet another piece of the puzzle into place. Between Grandmother Buckland’s SCRAPBOOK and this album of old family pictures, I’ve been able to piece together a few wonderful details.

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Just inside the family keepsake, on the first page is a picture of Mary Jane’s parents. Erastus Granger Davidson and Eliza Greever Gregory. They were married on January 20, 1880 in Tazewell County, VA. (source TC Courthouse Vol 3, pg 54 line 9)

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Page 2 is the precious baby picture Mary Jane & Watt’s 3rd born child,
my Aunt Bertha Ward (Buckland) Lawrence.     9/19/1911 – 10/06/1975

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Page 3 is a very old image of the husband of MJ’s grand aunt, Mary Clay Gregory. Mary Clay married John D. Peery on October 8, 1848
John Drew Peery 10/01/1807 – 07/29/1894
Mary Clay Gregory 04/03/1828 – 07/20/1880

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And her cousin, John Peery (picture taken April 1987)

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Her family photograph (back row l-r) Cosby Isabell, Mary Jane, Charles Lewis, Sallie Elizabeth
Samuel Patton, Granger & Eliza DAVIDSON, Nannie Crockett, Luther Hufford

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MJ’s grand uncle (her grandmother’s brother) David Allen Daugherty  (see blog post)

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Other pictures include Luther Hufford Davidson (MJ’s brother) and two GREGORY couples that I need to identify and find their place on their tree.

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Women Trapped on Rail Trestle at Wittens Mill

June 13, 1931

As I recollect the story as it has been passed down, Grandmaw Altha Davis and *Aunt Jo  were picking berries along the railway near Wittens Mill in Tazewell County, VA (just off Route 460 between Tazewell and Bluefield). It is my understanding that they were crossing the trestle to get to the other side when a train came round the curve on the mainline and over the trestle – catching the two women. Grandmaw’s big toe  was cut off and she was tossed off the trestle but landed on a bail of wire that cushioned her fall. Aunt Jo was fowled beneath the locomotive which resulted in a broken coccyx but no other serous injuries.

I remember Grandmaw showing me her big toe. It was just the top of her big toe that was cut off, but I can’t image being in that difficult and frightening predicament.

The story always amazed me because this same family of Asa Davis (Norfolk & Western Maintenance of Way Foreman) who moved their entire household in a box car from Russell County to Tazewell County obviously knew the dangers on the rails. Why anyone would walk a trestle is beyond me.

Fortunately, by God’s grace, the two recovered to pick berries another day.

trestle

Mrs. A.C. Davis and Daughter, Mrs. Forrest Mace, Seriously Injured
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Mrs. Mace is Fouled Beneath Locomotive While Mother is Tossed Bodily From Structure; Victims Are Patients In Bluefield Hospital
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Trapped by a locomotive as they were crossing the Norfork and Western railroad….

Altha

The white cabinet now sits in Mom’s house, but was originally her grandmother’s,  Nancy C. “Nannie” (Jessee) Davis.

MACE NF and Joella

* Aunt Jo Ella (Davis) Mace with Uncle Forrest Mace