Vacation / Genealogy Trip
Day 2 – October 15, 2016
As we neared Charlotte toward the end of Day 1, my mind flashed to Steele Creek Cemetery, near Charlotte in Mecklenburg County… I quickly googled the address in maps to see how close we were and discovered that the exit was actually on our way. Don’t ask me why I didn’t have this planned already or why I never planned it… I have no answer other than I guess I thought it might be too hard to find, but after going there today.. well it couldn’t have been easier to find. So at the end of Day 1, I planned our morning genealogy road trip to search out my McKinley ancestors final resting place in Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co., North Carolina.
I woke up early, anxious to get on the road for my quick side-trip to visit Steele Creek Church and Cemetery. In this cemetery are my first “found” McKinley lines in the United States; I know they came from somewhere, but everyone who has searched this line has not found of from where they came… before setting in North Carolina.
In needing coffee first, we pulled off at the first Dunkin Donuts for coffee and… We were quite entertained while enjoying breakfast as we watched two cars pull up, guy exits and walks back to the second car while the girls are pulling out boxes and boxes of shoes and then out came a couple of suitcases he loaded into his open truck. He’s pulling off his shoes to try on new sneakers, while pants falling down… I did take a couple of photos but you’ll just have to imagine… I was hoping for a police cruiser to come for coffee – now that could have gotten more interesting. I could have used a new pair of sneakers, maybe I should have walked over. Sitting in your car having coffee… well you never know what you will see. Maybe that will be my next blog!
We arrived at the cemetery within about 10 minutes after exiting I-485 just outside of Charlotte. I couldn’t believe how close I had been to this cemetery all these years and never thought to stop. My cousin in North Carolina visited and took photos for me many years ago, so now I felt like I was walking in his footsteps – finally seeing it for myself.
Steele Creek Church
Please visit the link for a more detailed story on Steele Creek Church and cemetery.…
It was a surreal moment for me as we pulled into the church driveway and I was constantly telling hubby, stop… stop… stop for photos! I wanted to document everything, but I know from this trip – I will be back!
After spending a couple of our morning hours walking and riding through Steele Creek cemetery, we were back on I-485 headed toward Charlotte. As we left the cemetery I popped online to see what Amy’s topic was for my 31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 15. Today’s ideas is “Use City and Court Directories”. I quickly began scribbling my outline for today’s post as hubby drove. My plan was to write in my notebook while in the car… gathering all my ideas, and at night in the hotel I’d type and post. So far it seemed to work for me unless the research was too time consuming. Click on the highlighted link above to read Day 15.
Another one of my planned photos was of the Mecklenburg County sign, and while I knew where it was… my head was buried in travel directions and looked up just in time to see it pass me by… I was bummed, and once again I missed it! Hubby would have gladly turned around for a “do-over” but I hate backtracking, so we kept going as I wanted to make Georgia and mama’s by nightfall.
North Carolina isn’t a long ride thru on the Western side and South Carolina is even shorter, so we made S.C. by lunchtime and stopped at a fleamarket in Greer. I browsed while hubby was looking for something specific. I was happy to find my favorite paper item – notebooks! Even though I had brought a couple extra blank ones, a girl can never have enough and at 2 for $1.00 – a bargain…stock up time!
I love the antique cast iron coffee roaster they roast their peanuts in… and once you get a whiff!!! Next time I’ll have to ask how many peanuts they go through daily… people constantly walked up to buy.
As my nose guided me over to the peanut stand….. from the whiff of both roasted and boiled peanuts – well I couldn’t wait to dive into that
warm hot cup I was handed. I quickly handed hubby the cup as I was intrigued with the antique roaster behind the counter roasting peanuts, and wanted to snap a few photos; I bought a bag of them too. I’ve learned in the past, don’t just buy one, buy them both… as you know down the road you’re going to really want the one you didn’t buy! I could now finish the ride to mama’s…. I had my peanuts! They were still steaming when we got back in the car. Have you learned yet – never give me a choice!
Scuppernongs and Gravestones…. Oh My!
On our way out I passed by another favorite, Scuppernongs, a member of the Muscadine grape family. Granddaddy Bryan had an arbor of them by the car shed – loved hanging under there when they were ripe. There was also wild ones at Granddaddy McKinley’s farm, just by the road. You can smell the sweetness when they are ripe, and so good! I passed on them today and also passed on the gravestones for sale. I see gravestones at several flea markets down South – haven’t seen any up North yet, but probably will soon. I’ve noticed that things are tried down South, if it works, then it moves elsewhere.
We hit Georgia around 2 o’clock and took a detour off I-85 in Commerce, home of Lodge Cast Iron; outlets are far and few between…. never pass one up. It also felt good to stretch our legs, and what better way than to walk around the Lodge store! Trivia: Did you know there is actually a town in GA called “Between”? It’s in the same county as where mama lives – note to self – look that up!
The Lodge Outlet is always a fun place to browse, and we never leave without a few odds and ends. We don’t often buy our pans there as we favor the older cast iron pieces, but I did find Steve a leather cast iron handle holder, a new item for us. (The leather handle cover works great) The staff in Commerce are always so friendly and they will ship items for you, so you don’t even have to carry them home!
While stopping at Lodge and a few more antique stores around town, mama called a few times… “when you gonna get here“?
Heading out of Commerce we passed a few interesting sites like the junkyard guarded by “junkyard cows.” They mow and guard all at the same time! The Bulldog Inn looked right out of the 1950’s – and still open. I really wanted to peek inside the rooms but we were too close to mama’s for a night on the road.
Bulldog INN – Looks right out of 1950!
Finally around 5 o’clock, we pulled into mama’s, sneaking in on her napping – while waiting for us all day. Now to bring in all our stuff…. we don’t travel lightly! Mama stood guard at the door – opening and closing – while we came in and out – making sure Boo didn’t make his great escape; no one wanted to chase him down at that point! I need to take photos of all our “stuff” we bring, before we find places for it. Mama constantly looks and shakes her head at all we travel with; we have a few “must haves” when traveling.
Before we could get settled, I had to pick up the royal cat Boo’s special pillows on the floor by our chairs. While I moved them, he sat and looked at me, as if to say….”that’s my spot.” He truly rules the roost there, we’re often awakened at night by mama feeding him at all hours when he cries and he only drinks water from the bathroom sink… oh, and it must be trickling. Did I say spoiled!
After settling in, our choice for dinner was BBQ and Brunswick Stew; mama had went to Holcomb’s on Friday to stockpile our favorite food! Sorry for no photo of my plate, it looked so good, and I was so hungry, not even a thought of a photo!
Watching TV there is a real challenge – we are used to having a remote with an info button that tells us what station we are on, what is playing, and info on the show. It’s definitely not that way with mama’s cable system; they give you no info…. they make you guess where you are, and if you find a movie – well good luck in ever finding out what the name is! I keep a list handy of where my favorite channels are on her TV or we end up surfing all night, while actually watching nothing. Another challenge there is “internet”… which really drives me crazy. Last year my phone tethering hardly worked at all, but I had found certain times of the day was better than others – strange. On this trip, with a new phone, I didn’t have problems tethering internet to my laptop, but I was eating up data! Luckily a neighbor let me use her wifi across the street – it was often a hit or miss, but it helped when I could grab it.
Like to read more… click on Vacation – Genealogy Road Trip!
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