Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Adventure Than Anticipated

It's Labor Day weekend here in the U. S. There are lots of festivities, observances, and of course sales going on. So when my husband informed me yesterday that he was going to take our boys canoeing and camping today, I saw it as an opportunity. For a day filled with shopping you ask? Oh no no dear reader. I went down to Lincoln County, Tennessee in search of ancestors and answers.

Lincoln County sits right at the border of Alabama in Tennessee. It is very rural by today's standards. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like when my ancestors lived there. Fayetteville is a sleepy little town in Lincoln County where the cars still park on a diagonal around the town square. It isn't difficult to imagine how it must have looked 50 years ago. By the time I arrived it was a little before lunch time and I was slightly hungry. However, I was also eager to look at what I had come for so I decided to eat later. This would prove to be a mistake.

My first stop was in Fayetteville-Lincoln County Library. I was pleasantly surprised by the library. It has two floors with a genealogy room on the second floor. I walked into the Genealogy Room and was greeted by the volunteer, who asked what I was looking for.  She helped me locate the book I had come for (about the Jobe's), and then we got to talking. She gave me a bunch of oral history on the current Jobe's that live in the area, and showed me on a current map where the old Jobe place used to be and warned me about a speed trap in the area. I also got the numbers of "the two Jobe boys" who still live in the area. Based on census records and deeds I suspected my Jobe ancestors must have lived very near where Lincoln, Marshall, and Bedford counties meet. After looking at the map I discovered I was correct.

The unexpected find today was a book on the Luttrell's. My Luttrell line is out of Knoxville, so it wasn't on my radar to look for them in Fayetteville at all. Even better, this book was published in April 2013! The author had included her email, Facebook name, and her website on the back of the title page. Yes!! It even had a few interesting citations in it too. At this point I realize time is getting away from me. It's 4 o'clock and the Civic Center and Museum closes at 4:30. So I grab my copies and get to the Civic Center by 4:08. It's closed for the day. Grrr. I also realize that I never had lunch, I'm hungry, and there are no restaurants open. Maybe I'll find something on the way out of town.

Out of town turns into country just about immediately. I'm going a different way out than how I came in. I want to go to a cemetery and see that house the volunteer was telling me about. As I am traveling along this rural road I make a cool discovery:

I'm curious about what is down the road but I have a cemetery and a house to find. Plus I'm still hungry. After driving down a couple winding country roads and minding my speed for the warned speed trap, I find the Talley Cemetery.

You know you have done a lot of research in an area when you recognize surnames on mailboxes while you are driving along. Anyway, as I pull in there are a few things that occur to me at once. It has just rained lightly which will make for a wet tromp through the cemetery, and I could use a restroom. Classic. I'm also getting hungrier. These concerns are soon replaced by my concern over possible snakes, ticks, and chiggers. The cemetery is surrounded by pastures and I soon realize... cows.

At any rate, there are a few people I'm looking for at the cemetery. They are already on Find A Grave, but I want to see where they are in the cemetery, who they are placed with, and who else is around them. In particular I'm interested in Jane Jobe. Her gravestone on Find A Grave doesn't look old and I want to check it out in person. Then I find her.

Well, crud. Her stone looks newer than I thought it would. I start to think about how I can find the paperwork for this stone. I plead with her to help me find some answers to a particular problem. I realize I'm talking out loud. The cows ignore me. Meanwhile, I wander around the cemetery taking photos for Find A Grave requests and finding my ancestors. By the time I'm done, I'm dripping with sweat in the 90 degree humid heat. My legs feel itchy from the bugs. I'm ready to find the old home the volunteer told me about. So off I go and then suddenly there it is:

And it's for sale:

As I get out of my car to take these photos, some guy in a bright red pick up honks at me. Great. I vaguely wonder if he has a sandwich. I'm really hungry now. I haven't eaten since breakfast. As I tromp through the front yard I worry about snakes and ticks. This place appears abandoned. I turn to make my way back to the car and walk through a massive spider web. Now I'm doing that "I just walked through a spider web dance" on the front lawn of this 1858 Antebellum home. You know the dance..... it's where you're sort of jogging, turning in circles, and waving your arms all around over your head. My list of worries now includes; snakes, ticks, spiders, and an imminent arrival of the sherif to investigate the crazy woman on the front lawn of the old house for sale. For the next couple of hours I will be finding and picking off cob web from my person. Oh joy.

Time to find food. I'm driving.... and driving.... still driving. While driving I'm passing a lot of cafes and restaurants. So what's the problem? They are all abandoned and the properties are for sale. I pass a place called, Coon Den Lodge. What?? I'm too hungry to turn around and investigate, plus I still need a  ladies room. 

After what seems like forever, I get to the highway and to a restaurant. I'm too hungry to go home and make something. I must look a site. The whole drive I've been raking my hands through my hair to get off stray webs and I'm paranoid that every skin tickle is a spider, tick or chigger. When I sit down and order, I give a whole new meaning to inhaling food. I think I scared the waiter. I don't care, I'm just that hungry and I've had an ordeal. If I weren't so food deprived I'd order a drink, instead I order dessert to go. Now that I've eaten I just want a shower.

Overall I discovered quite a bit today. I still need to evaluate it all. Some things I learned? Next time pack boots and snacks.


  1. Genealogy is an ADDICTION, else why would supposedly "sane" people ignore - for hours - the rumblings of a hungry tummy and a bladder begging for relief to keep looking for an out-of-the-way cemetery or an ancestor's former home. In reality, one as to be about 99% certifiable to maintain this addiction.

    That said, thanks for the huge belly laugh on reading about being in the "right" area from the names on the mailboxes! Been there, done that, many times!

    My own additions to your list of take-alongs: containers of ice water (not just for drinking), a roll of toilet paper (I've yet to visit a cem that doesn't have at least one clump of bushes or trees big enough to squat behind!), and an umbrella for shade from the sun OR as a shield against head-high spider webs.

  2. Cinamon,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!