Thursday, February 4, 2016

On Birthdays and Deaths, Lessons Learned

Me with my Grandmother, my Mother and my Great Grandmother

Southern women are often portrayed as frail women drinking tea in fancy dresses, they are seen helpless women who seem to need the assistance from men at every turn. Nestled in the Tennessee, we are not exactly Southern and not exactly mountain folk, but we have some common traits. Don't be fooled by the exterior, we are tough as nails and we are devoted to family.

At this point, I had to take a break from writing this story because when I looked up the dates, I realized that I was only four years old when this happened. For some reason, it seemed to me that I was a little older.

The winter that is four was one that I will always remember because it had such a powerful influence on me.

For Christmas, my Grandmother gave me an electric train and she gave me bunkbeds for my room. These were lavish gifts, not the sort of gifts that most children received. The train was a Gilbert Silver Bullet and the track was laid out on the floor in a small circle. It had an engine, a coal car, and two passenger cars.

The bunkbeds were maple and you could have bunkbeds or two single beds. They also had a ladder that you could use to climb to the top bunk and a rail to keep you from falling. My Mother made matching bedspreads from a mattress protector (think of an all white quilt) on which she appliqued puppies and kittens that she cut from a yard of patterned fabric. All was well in my world.

Just after Christmas, everything changed. Both my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother were sick and in the hospital. My Mother was gone a lot and I spent time with other family members and even stayed with a neighbor. I had never stayed with anyone who not part of my family before.

A few weeks later, my Mother told me that my Great Grandmother had died. But when she died, we did not go to her funeral. I was puzzled by this because I could not understand why we did not go. I was angry at my Mother for not going because I knew that when someone in your family died, you go to the funeral. Specially, you go to the visitation at Rose Funeral Home, you go to the survive, then you go to the cemetery. After you have done all of these, the family sits down to a meal consisting food brought by your friends and neighbors.

When my Grandmother died two weeks later, I understood that Mother could not leave her Mother. Well, maybe I didn't actually understand this at the time.

My birthday was just a couple of weeks after this happened. Mother baked a birthday cake for me and I had presents that were wrapped and on the coffee table. At the time, I didn't realize how difficult this must have been for her. It was my birthday and I was five years old!

I don't know if there is a word for this, but I call it doing what is in front of you. If you lived on a farm, you still had to milk the cows, no matter how sad you were. Your family's life depended on your being able to raise food that would feed you family. When people moved to the city, they brought these values and this work ethic with them.

I am not sure if Mother realized the lessons that I learned from her that year. I certainly did not realize how difficult this must have been for her to have a party so soon after her Mother's death, but I do now. They have guided me through some of the most difficult times of life. I hope that I have passed them on to my children.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Murder of Hugh J Moore

Hugh Moore was born on June 28, 1839 to Thomas Moore and Frances Stallard in Scott County, Virginia.

He enlisted in Company C, Virginia 25th Cavalry Regiment on 16 Aug 1862.

After the war, he married Malissa Cocke (or Cox) on September 18, 1871. They lived in the Floyd District. The closest town was Dungannon.

On November 13, 1899, Hugh More was killed by Dack Ramey. The Alexandria Gazette carried the following story on November 16th:
"Wednesday night, at Osborne's Ford,Scott county, Captain Hugh Moore, a wealthy citizen, was shot dead by Dack Ramey. It is supposed the purpose was robbery. Six years ago Ramey-then seventeen years old was sent to the penitentiary for twelve years for the murder of John Lee. On account of the evidence being circumstantial Governor Lee pardoned Ramey.
(Source: Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.), 16 Nov. 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Link)

Family history said the Malissa Moore was walking toward the house with her younger children, the youngest, Della, was only six moths old, when she heard the shot. She looked up and saw Ramey riding away from the house on his horse. The story also continues that Ramey saw Moore sitting in the front room and shot him through the window. The family believed there was a dispute over a horse.

An Officer Shoots a Murderer —
A dispatch from Estillville, Va., says that on
Saturday about noon S. W. Wax and John
E. Mass met Dock (Dack) Ramey, the murderer of
H. J. Moore, near Osborn's ford, accompanied by
his brother Bill and father, John Ramey.
The officers ordered the Rameys
to halt and surrender. Dock (Dack) and Bill drew
their Winchesters, and four shots were fired simultaneously.
The Rameys shot too soon, and the officers' fire was fatal.
Dock (dack)fell to the ground, and was in the act of firing
when another load of buckshot quieted him forever.
(Source: Staunton spectator. (Staunton, Va.), 15 Jan. 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Link)

Murder on the Clinch: Killing of Dack Ramey was written by Omer C. Addington to tell the other side of the story. Dack's father maintained that Dack shot Hugh Moore in self defence and that the men who shot him were part of a vigilante group that led Dack into a trap and shot him in cold blood.

We will never know what actually happened. We do know that this was a tragedy that eventually let to the death of three people: Hugh More, Dack Ramey and his brother Bill.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Town of Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park
State Bill 179
(by Mr Morrell)

AN ACT to incorporate the town of Lincoln Park in Knox County Tenn to define the corporate limits thereof to define the rights powers and liabilities of said town to provide for the government and control of the same to authorize said town to issue bonds not in excess oi $20,000 for the purpose of purchasing school grounds building public schools and for educational uses also for the opening extending constructing grading paving and macadamizing the streets and sidewalks of said town of Lincoln Park.

Corporate Limits

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That that section of Knox County, Tenn, comprised within the following metes and bounds to wit: Beginning at a point in the west side of Broadway at the intersection of Broadway and the first alley north of Hiwassee Avenue; thence a westwardly direction with the south line of said alley to a point where said alley intersects with the old dummy line (now abandoned); thence northwardly, a direct line running at right angles with the line last described, to a point where said line intersects with the KC and G Ry right of way; thence northwardly with the eastern line of said right of way to a point in said right of way; where a line drawn parallel with Hiwassee Avenue and three hundred feet north of Hiwassee Avenue intersects with said railway right of way; thence westwardly with said line drawn parallel with said Hiwassee and three hundred feet north thereof to a point at the intersection of the lines of the Piedmont Addition and the Edgewood Land and Improvement Company's addition; thence northwardly a straight line drawn at right angles with the line last described to a point one hundred and fifty feet north of Faragut Avenue thence a direct line westwardly along the side of Sharp's Ridge to West Street; thence with the west line of West Street southwardly to Chickamauga Avenue; thence with the south line of Chickamauga Avenue eastwardly to the point where the Metler property and the property of the Edgewood Land and Improvement Company meet in the south line of Chickamauga Avenue then a direct line southwardly to a point in the south side of Shamrock Avenue west of Willow Street; thence with the south line of Shamrock Avenue eastwardly to a point in the west side of Holston Street, where Holston Street and Shamrock Avenue intersect; thence northwardly with the west line of Holston Street to a point at the southwest corner of Preston Avenue and Holston Street; thence with the south line of Preston Avenue to a point in the east side of Ontario Avenue, or Street, at the intersection of Ontario Street and Preston Avenue; thence northwardly with the east line of Ontario Street to a point in said line where an alley intersects with said street, being the first alley south of Atlantic Avenue; thence with the south side of a said alley to Broadway thence with the west line of Broadway in a northwardly direction to the point of the beginning-- and the inhabitants thereof are hereby incorporated as a municipality under the name and style of the Town of Lincoln Park and shall have perpetual succession by its corporate name to be sued and sue, plead, and be impleaded, may acquire and hold real estate or personal property within or beyond the limits of said town, for all municipal purposes, and may sell, lease, or dispose of same. for the benefit of said town and may use a corporate seal changeable at pleasure.

(Acts Passed at the ... General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, A.A. Hall & F.S. Heiskell, 1913, p. 1570)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Waycross, Tennessee

Photo credit: Google maps

GPS coordinates: 36° 35' 35" North, 82° 38' 55"

Near the Virginia state line in Stanley Valley. The area is also called Cameron for the local church and Waycross for the railroad station1 (on the CC&O railroad). Link

Other descriptions say it is in Churchill, Mount Carmel or Carter Valley.

1The Bellamys of Early Virginia, Joe David Bellamy, iUniverse, 2005, p. 242


Cameron Methodist, just over the Virginia state line
Photo credit: Google maps


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Old Christmas

Celebrating Christmas on January 7th began as early as 354 AD, some places celebrated on the 5th or 6th of January. When England and Scotland switched over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, 11 days were dropped to make up for the calendar discrepancy that had accumulated with the use of the Julian calendar.

Some area continued to celebrate Christmas in January and this is called Old Christmas. Old Christmas is celebrated in the mountains of Appalachia, by the Amish and in other areas as well. Orthodox Christians in central and eastern Europe and other parts of the world celebrate Christmas on January 7, where it is called Orthodox Christmas. Orthodox Christmas has its own traditions.

One Appalachian tradition is that animals kneel at midnight to pray and that they are able to speak. To encourage them, give your animals some carrots, apples or an extra bit of hay. I give my dogs a dog biscuit.
Another belief is that Elder bushes will bloom (or sprout from the ground) on Old Christmas Day.

Old Christmas
Roy Addison Helton, b. 1886
"Where you coming from, Lomey Carter,
So airly over the snow?
And what's them pretties you got in your hand,
And where you aiming to go?

"Step in, Honey: Old Christmas morning
I ain't got nothing much;
Maybe a bite of sweetness and corn bread,
A little ham meat and such,

"But come in, Honey! Sally Anne Barton's
Hungering after your face.
Wait till I light my candle up:
Set down! There's your old place.

Now where you been so airly this morning?
"Graveyard, Sally Anne.
Up by the trace in the salt lick meadows
Where Taulbe kilt my man."

Taulbe ain't to home this morning . . .
I can't scratch up a light:
Dampness gets on the heads of the matches;
But I'll blow up the embers bright."

"Needn't trouble. I won't be stopping:
Going a long ways still."
"You didn't see nothing, Lomey Carter,
Up on the graveyard hill?

What should I see there, Sally Anne Barton?
Well, sperits do walk last night."
There were an elder bush a-blooming
While the moon still give some light.'

Yes, elder bushes, they bloom, Old Christmas,
And critters kneel down in their straw.
Anything else up in the graveyard?
One thing more I saw:

I saw my man witb his head all bleeding
Where Taulbe's shot went through."
" What did he say? 'He stooped and kissed me.'
What did he say to you?

"Said, Lord Jesus forguv your Taulbe;
But he told me another word;
He said it soft when he stooped and kissed me.
That were the last I heard."

"Taulbe ain't to home this morning."
"I know that, Sally Anne,
For I kilt him, coming down through the meadow
Where Taulbe kilt my man.

"I met him upon the meadow trace
When the moon were fainting fast,
And I had my dead man's rifle gun
And kilt him as he come past."

But I heard two shots." "'Twas his was second:
He shot me 'fore he died:
You'll find us at daybreak, Sally Anne Barton:
I'm laying there dead at his side."

So, on January 5th, make a cup of hot tea and give your animals a treat. Then give yourself a pat on the back for helping this old traditon survive another century.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas 1861

Christmas tree from The Graphics Fairy

"In October, 1861, there was not an exile in Kentucky who did not expect to be back in East Tennessee in a few days or a few weeks. Mr Maynard, who was at that time with the soldiers, confidently declared that he expected to eat his Christmas dinner in his own home in Knoxville. But these fond hopes were doomed to bitter disappointment. The expedition to East Tennessee on which their hopes rested was suddenly abandoned, and all they could do was to wait. When the advance movement was countermanded, and the exiles, now in the Union army, were ordered to turn toward Ohio, their hearts were crushed within them. They shed bitter tears of anguish. This was not childish weakness. It was the sad condition of their families at home that filled their minds with trouble. How the long weary months passed with them can not be described. It would reveal many a sad, heavy, heart as the months slowly passed, and there was no forward movement." East Tennessee and the Civil War By Oliver Perry Temple, pp. 464-465

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Before Brown, there was Red:

If you wanted to ship a package during the 1880's from Thornburgh, Gap Creek or other shipping points, in Knox County, you took your package to the Thornburgh or other Post Office to be shipped by Adams Express, which was one of the country's largest express companies.


Alvin Adams was 50 years old when he presided over the meeting in New York City where the Adams Express Company was formally incorporated on July 1, 1854.  It was the start of a small company that would struggle at times, but it would continue to grow.

Read the Adams Express Company's pdf produced for their 150th Anniversary