Vacation / Genealogy Trip
Day 5 – October 18, 2016
I am never amazed at what my mother says, and when I visit, I get to see and experience in person, rather than just hearing on my nightly phone calls. As I was putting my make up on this morning, mama strolls in the living room… sticks her hands in her pockets to straighten them out and out comes a $1.00 bill...”I bet every one of my britches has a dollar in the pocket”. Me…“well let’s go through all your pants, I bet we could find over a hundred dollars to spend today.” Mama quickly explained… “I keep a dollar in them because on my way to the center I stop at the store to buy two donuts to take with me to the senior center.” To read more funnies of what mama says, click on Conversations with Mama.
After a quick stop at Hardee’s for breakfast… I had to have my Southern fix of country ham and biscuit, we were on our way. I decided to check maps on my phone to see if traveling by I-20 to Sparta was a faster route… and it seemed it was, but guess who wasn’t happy! We usually drive the backroads, but I didn’t want to dawdle in arriving there, as I had a full day planned of places I wanted to see and photograph, and people to meet. I don’t know if it was a wise choice as mama wasn’t happy on that highway route – and never ceased to let us know that it was taking longer; constantly telling us that if we had went the old way…we would have been there already. She also reported from the backseat that she was “swishing and a swaying” on every turn. Next time, note to self.… go the old way… for a more peaceful trip.
Located on Rt. 22 was both the Powelton Methodist Church and the Powelton Cemetery.
Sparta was my first destination this morning for photos of the Hancock County War Memorials on the square, just across from the courthouse. Their 1881 “historic” courthouse burned in 2014 and has just recently been rebuilt and dedicated in August of this year. Besides photographing the war memorial, I planned to meet with the editor of the Sparta Ishmaelite newspaper; she married my third cousin. We recently met on the Facebook Hancock County group page after I posted a photograph of the 1900 Civil War Veterans in front of the historic 1881 courthouse. After reading of my search for names to match their faces, she offered to run my editorial in the local paper; at this point, I sadly report that I have not had one contact from that editorial. I actually didn’t really expect to, as I felt that probably in 1900 they were just taking a photograph, not necessarily thinking to document the picture with names…. for future descendants; but maybe one day I might be surprised.
My cousin Lyn, who shares the same great-great grandfather, Joseph T. Sharp… who we think might be in that photograph, searched through every issue of the 1900 issues of the Sparta Ishmaelite, but came up empty handed. So whoever took that photo, we’re hoping they ran it somewhere else and I’ll discover it along with names one day! Maybe I’ll try a google goggle search on that specific photo. In searching newspaper sites, I did find many mentions and photographs of Civil War Veteran reunions… seemed to have been quite popular in the early 1900’s.
Finally we arrived at our exit for Sparta and as we had time to spare before meeting up with my new cousin, we leisurely drove the backroads in. My agenda “list” was to find the Antioch Church that I had saw online…. and not far off the exit there it was. Hubby had to turn around as we missed the road; I hadn’t told mama I actually had a list, as she would have rolled her eyes in the backseat!
Who doesn’t love these old country churches… hubby always remarks that beside every church in the South is a cemetery. I guess what I have taken for granted, in seeing all my life, he pays more attention to those details; it isn’t that way in Connecticut.
We lucked out in finding the doors open – and if they are open, well I am going inside. Even though this church seemed to be in need of much help… it was still in use. We discovered that upon entering and even found a money basket, with money, on the front table… and a note stating that “service was held randomly.” While I took photographs, hubby left money in the basket as our “thank you” for allowing us to enter their church. We silently closed the door behind us and ventured over to the small cemetery on the side and I explained about the reason for the stone tables we found on the side of the church; they are used for Sunday picnics.
I walked around photographing the outside while he was busy checking out underneath and explaining to me that all that’s actually holding up this building, is the stone foundation of rocks stacked for support. It’s amazing to see that type of construction of just “stacked rocks”; these old buildings are still standing today, so I guess they knew what they were doing. It did look like some work had begun underneath to repair and support the large wooden beams that had cracked. These older country churches have such character, how could anyone not enjoy visiting them…. well maybe mama wasn’t, but while hubby and I explored, she busied herself in taking a few cutting of a rose bush she discovered. She keeps looking for a white rose to take a cutting of; I offered to buy her one, but she wants to find one to root herself… so she keeps looking. (If anyone reading this has a white rose bush, please make mama a cutting)
Take a moment to enjoy a slideshow of the Antioch Church
We came back to the car to find mama brushing off her pant bottoms and fussing about “beggar lice.” After we looked at her funny, she explained that sometimes walking in grasses or brushing up against bushes, these little pieces of grass attach to your pants. I didn’t remember ever hearing of them, but when I looked down, I had them on my pant bottoms and shoe laces also…. and hubby was picking them off his shoes too. We hadn’t brushed up against anything, so I guess they just flip on you from certain grassy areas. They were almost like tiny pieces of velcro attached, very strange. So we all stood there in the dirt area by the car, picking off beggar lice… and laughing about them.
After leaving Sparta we stopped at the Methodist Powelton Church and the Powelton Community Cemetery where my great grandmother Rosie Sharp McKinley is buried.
Gated cemeteries beside the Powelton Methodist Church. If I had my way, I would have dawdled to study the gravestones and write down the family names, but mama was “swishing” in the backseat – not sharing my interest.
The Powelton Community Cemetery is just down the road from the Powelton Methodist Church. My great-grandmother Rosie Sharp McKinley is buried there next to her son Lonnie McKinley.
On a genealogy note, today was Day 18 of 31 Days to Better Genealogy and Amy’s topic was “Use Other Censuses“. Well I knew that was going to keep me busy the rest of the night. There are several types of censuses, and they can give you a deeper insight into your ancestor’s life – you just need to study them. They are much more detailed than the regular ones listing their residence, and especially helpful if your ancestors were “dirt farmers” like most of mine. I did not write an in-depth blog post on this as my time was limited; at some point I will add to that post.
Like to read more… click Genealogy Road Trip
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