Friday, April 1, 2011

Genealogy Adventures - continued

We'd already been to two cemeteries, up and down a ridge and down a holler.  Where would our genealogy adventures take us?  We were headed to a cemetery further into the mountains.

To set the scene for you, Jakie's husband was driving the truck with the cousin we'd "kidnapped."  In the back of the club cab, was Jakie, my birth mom and myself.  As we approached the main road, our cousin's wife (who's a cousin as well, but we won't talk about that) was coming home.  We told her where we were headed and she agreed to meet us there after she put groceries away.

As we discussed where this cemetery was located, I kept thinking, "I know where this is."  We reached the end of the road and made our way to the gravel, one lane road that led to our destination.  As we headed down yet another ridge, I said out loud, "I've been here.  I know where we're going."  Jakie looked at me in amazement.  "You have?"  "Yes.  This is the Sparks Cemetery.  Just further down the road is where I took the picture of the old Reece house. And just beyond that is the cave with the spring in it."

We made our way over the creek and up the hill to where the old barn was.  Our cousin told of working the level spots on the ridge just to our right when he was a boy using a horse and plow.  We stopped the truck and, indeed, this time "Just over there" proved to be...just over there.  Our cousin's wife arrived and off we went.

 We made our way to what appeared to be a small cemetery in a grove of trees.  There were only five markers, but what markers they were.  We were standing in the John Reece Cemetery!  I knew about this cemetery, but had never been to it.  Yes folks, there are a few cemeteries on Barnes Mountain that I've not been to.  We found Jakie's ancestor, Samuel Fox, who served with the 47th Kentucky Infantry during the Civil War.  We found David Reece, another Civil War veteran, along with his son, John Reece.  Making our way through vinca minor covered ground, we were careful not to step on (or in) any of the sunken graves.  We found a Sarah Plowman and in the back, we found the fifth marked grave.  It was dated 1858!  As the six of us stood in various areas, the calls of "Here's another one." rang back and forth.  As we counted and estimated, the numbers grew.  There were at least ten rows of between ten and fifteen graves across.  The length of the graves ranged in size of a baby to an adult.  It was a sobering time, there among the vines and flowers.  To realize that there were relatives and friends that were only known to each other around us made each of us walk with a softer step and reflect on these people who were neighbors, families and friends.

Jakie's husband was asking about the location of the former oil fields that were on the top of the mountain.  A friend of mine and I'd found them years before and I told him that I could direct him there.  Once again, we piled into the truck, minus our cousins/guides.  We drove to the oil field ruins and, as I write this, I'm reminded that I need to take pictures of them the next time I go up there.  You can see foundations as well as old pumps.  As we made our way back to Irvine, we discussed the Granny Richardson School that had been located there, before it was moved to the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

As we came off the mountain, Virgil realized that he had three hungry women in the truck that he needed to feed quickly!  We spent the the last hours of our day at a local restaurant with the best "home-cooked" food that could be found.

Too quickly did their truck return us to the motel I was staying in.  Where had the day gone?  Like so many things, the fun times, the times one anticipates, the day had passed too quickly.

I'm already planning my next trip.

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