Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Lacy

September 17, 2017

I went to the Lacy Hotel last week. Only it’s not a hotel any more. It’s a gift, antique, and home furnishing shop. 

I wasn’t shopping. I have a #CousinNotCousin whose grandmother and aunt worked at the Lacy, back in the day when it was an actual hotel. They cooked there for many years, and their cooking was legendary. One friend said she could still taste the rolls, warm from the oven, even though the Lacy as a hotel has been out of business for many years. 

It opened during the 1920s. It was a place where you could get a meal, book a room, or attend a meeting. Ladies’ society clubs met there. Men’s business groups met there. Families went for a meal. 

My family went the same places over and over, and the Lacy wasn’t one of them. I don’t know why. 

So that made my visit extra-interesting. My goal was to snap a few shots for my #CousinNotCousin Beth in Illinois. The Lacy was so beautiful that I got carried away. 

Walk straight through the front door to the room behind, turn around, and you see this room…

Then across the room at a diagonal to the doorway beyond which is the old dining room. 

I made myself stop taking photos of the stairs. It was an unusual layout. 

There are 6 rooms upstairs. Nooks and crannies are full of wonderful things. 


I’m rather astonished that a gift shop is alive and well in my hometown. 

I bought some mulling spices and also a heritage book “Windows to the Past”, which was published in 1982 as part of Lenoir City’s Diamond Jubilee. 

I got the book with the thought that I would send it to Beth in Illinois as a token of remembrance from the Lacy. Much later, I was looking through it, and I saw a photo of the graduating class of 1938. Y’all? There was my mother. 

I hope Beth enjoys her mulling spices. 


William Collins, Mystery Man

September 8, 2017

Where did he go? What happened to him?

Our mystery man is the son of Ruth Gamble Collins. We don’t know who his father is, because a recent discovery by a new DNA cousin shows that Ruth’s husband Deaderick A. Collins was killed in a train accident on October 2, 1871. William was born about 1874.

Well, that’s awkward. Even more awkward is that Ruth had a total of 4 children after Deaderick Collins died.

Two of those children were born before 1880, and two more after 1880. Before I found out about the train wreck that killed Deaderick in 1871, I knew that Ruth reported herself as a widow on the 1880 census. When I put on my thinking cap, I decided that perhaps the two children that I knew were born after 1880 were foster children, adopted children, or her grandchildren.

Learning that Deaderick died in 1871 meant that 4 children were born after his death:  William, Birdie, Ivy, and Joseph.

There are no family stories handed down that our ancestor died in a train wreck, or that his widow Ruth sued the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad Company.

From a Google books search, my cousin found this court case.: Ruth A. Collins v. East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad Co.

The accident which occasioned the death of said Deaderick Collins, occurred on the 2nd of October, 1871. He was a fireman on the defendant’s train which, on that day, ran over some cattle, whereby the engine and tender were thrown from the track, and the tender upsetting fell upon said Collins, killing him instantly.

But who was William Collins? He was the first child born, in 1874, after Deaderick died. YEARS after Deaderick died.

Another cousin that I corresponded with about 18 years ago had a theory that William had gotten into some trouble and moved off and changed his name. Two things back up this theory.

“Carolyn calls Uncle Walt Uncle Will”

William Collins

A letter from Ruth’s brother Larkin Boling Gamble to their sister in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, in 1913 that mentions all the living children except William. Instead, the letter mentions Walter Oliver.

Here’s the link to that post with the letter. Click here.

We don’t know which sister he was writing to. Martha Rhea, also known as Mattie? I requested a death cert for a certain Walter Oliver in Siloam Springs, and the cert could not be located.

This might call for a trip to the archives…




Lenoir City High School Commencement Program, 1938

September 8, 2017

Have you heard?

The entire Southeast is preparing for a hurricane.

Hurricane Irma is bearing down on us, only a few short weeks since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

We’ve done this before, most recently last year with Hurricane Matthew. I rode that one out.

This year I had planned a trip away for several nights. I never worry about the place if I step away. Sugar is not far from here, and he tends to the cats and such for me. This year is going to be different. I’m not just packing for travel, I’m packing with the possibility of being gone for an unknown period of time. I have feeders and waterers and bedding set up in the shed for the cats. They have perches and cubbies and lofts to claim.

One of the hurricane preparedness sites says to scan your important documents and email them to yourself. I have been taking that a step further since I started blogging in 2009. Lots of my important documents are saved to the blog, to, and to social media.

And yet, here I sit at 4:02AM, scanning more little bits of history. Like this:

Mom’s high school commencement program.




So I wonder if Mom would be pleased or worried that I was sitting up in the wee hours, while posting to the blog instead of packing and scurrying about?

Just thinking of you, Mom. Either way, just thinking of you.

The Treehouse Gets A Roof

September 4, 2017

Sugar had made a treehouse for the cats. 

It was perfect for lounging and feeding. 

The Butter in the Treehouse

There was one flaw in the set-up. It was a platform only, and, while the gravity feeder fit perfectly on the platform, rain would soak the dry food in the feeder’s basin. In the coastal heat, that rain-soaked food turned foul quickly. 

So Sugar built a roof. 

Mr. Friendly takes a bath

He used the same board system as the platform. I had a piece of metal roofing that a cat lady friend gave me years ago. It proved to be the answer to protect the feeder from rain. It was about 33″ wide so it didn’t completely cover the platform. Sugar pushed it to one side against the tree trunk which left about 10″ open to the platform below. The cats thought they had a hatch to the penthouse. 

Friendly went all the way to the end and lounged there. He is basically cantilevered over open space. 

Then he went to the other side and did the same thing. 

We considered putting the roof on at a slant for rain runoff. Now we’re glad we didn’t since the cats like the sun deck effect. 

I don’t have a problem with intruders. Anyone can see the property is protected by C. A. T. Surveillance. Lots of people are afraid of cats, and seeing one 8′ in the air over your head would give one pause. 

I think a “Beware of Cat! Owner is also Sketchy” sign would add to the fun. 

The Solar Eclipse When You Have To Go To Work

September 4, 2017

And it’s cloudy and rainy…

Go inside and eat a cookie.

150 Years!

August 27, 2017

No, people! I’m not a 150 years old!

(Was that colloquial? Should I have said I’m not *one* hundred and fifty years old instead of *a* hundred and fifty years old? Sometimes I write stuff, and even I don’t understand my Southernisms when I reread them. The voices in my head are loud, y’all. They’re the ones doing all the writing.)

Trinity United Methodist Church

Large enough to serve – Small enough to care


PLEASE JOIN US to Celebrate 150 Years of Ministry and Service by Trinity United Methodist Church. Our 150th Anniversary Celebration is Sunday, September 10, 2017. 

The church will also be open on Saturday, September 9, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for those unable to attend on Sunday. There will not be a service, but light refreshments will be served. You may pick up your Celebration Booklet, tour the church, and view the historical exhibits. 

Founded by the Lenoir brothers in 1867, the church moved to the present location at the corner of 2nd Avenue and C Street in the early 1900s. 

Rev. Andy Ferguson and Rev. Henry Lenoir will assist Rev. Kristie Banes with Sunday Worship. 

Worship on Sunday will be at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary, followed by a barbecue lunch in the Fellowship Hall. 

Hosts will be stationed around the church so you can tour and look at the exhibits.  

We look forward to seeing you on the 9th or the 10th. The registration table will be set up in the Education Building hallway at the top of the ramp. Be sure to register your attendance and receive your Celebration Booklet – one free to each family. 

The Trinity History Committee and Members of Trinity United Methodist Church. 

I think we know the answer to 150 years old. 

In Which I Make A Promise

August 12, 2017

Only I didn’t know I was making a promise. 

This story involves my mother-in-law, an OCD little controller. Perhaps she was this way because her father was like that, and she learned those behaviors. Perhaps it was reinforced by her Swedish mother who was a perfectionist in word and deed, an immaculate housekeeper, and an educator. 

At any rate, it took years for her to calm down. This effect was made possible by cancer. She learned to accept things and move on, because sometimes things were bigger than the control we have over them. 

She could be an angry little woman when things didn’t go according to plan in those early years when I first knew her. I wasn’t part of her plan. Eventually she learned to accept me when she was presented with her first grandchild, a granddaughter. It seemed that I was able to achieve something she had never been able to do. 

That day came when the little granddaughter graduated from high school. 

See that black strap around my MIL’s neck? She carried a small spray water bottle in a holder that she wore everywhere she went. The radiation for her mouth and throat had destroyed her salivary glands, and she suffered from dry mouth. Enter the water bottle. 

On this day, while we were waiting in the auditorium for the graduation to start, my MIL considered that the next grandchild’s graduation would be about 17 years later in 2017. She said that she would be in a wheelchair because she would be 79, and I said that I would be using a walker, so I could manage somehow and push her in her wheelchair. 

But in 2006, that woman up and died. 

She and my FIL were out to dinner. They were in the bar having a drink while they waited for their table. He said, “We were sitting there having a drink, laughing like hell, and she fell off her stool.”  She had a massive stroke. She was flown to the medical university where they kept her on life support while preparations were made to harvest her organs. Heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, skin, and anything else that was needed. 


Rest well, Barbara. I’m thinking of you.

Sugar Builds A Fence

June 19, 2017

Remember when his next-door neighbors burned the buffer zone along the common property line? And surprise! The buffer zone turned out to be his. 

I can’t forget it. So much weirdness involving that event. 

They started a fire and left it unattended. They left home completely. That fire was so close to jumping into the woods by the time Sugar discovered what was going on. The man next door had also been walking through the buffer zone and chopping at bushes and trees with a machete. He walked along Sugar’s driveway with a blower and cleared a path along at least 100 feet, intentionally making a fire break on property that wasn’t even his. Their first language is not English, but in what country is any of that behavior acceptable? 

Sometimes we turn things over and over in our heads trying to work out stuff just right. Sugar really didn’t want to build a privacy fence. But he wanted privacy. The kind of fence he was going to build would look like a wall, but he was only going to make it long enough to block his view of their house. He just didn’t want to look at their collection of junk any more. They are hoarders, of sorts, but also sloppy. An old motorboat that doesn’t work, a junked truck, a camper shell, children’s shoes, a half-built playhouse, discarded clothing, overflowing trashcans, plus other random items. 

It was a multi-purpose fence. You stay over there; I stay over here. I don’t look at your junk; you don’t look at mine. You don’t burn Sugar’s property; he won’t mutter crazytalk in your direction. 

During the planning and execution stages, Sugar took to quoting Robert Frost about fences and neighbors. 

Machete-wielding neighbor has hacked at Sugar’s trees and bushes.

This reminds me of a child tramping through the woods with a stick, striking out at anything and everything he encounters. 

Finally the fence is done. 

It’s about seven feet tall and sixty-four-ish feet long. 

We wonder what message this sends to the neighbor children. 

We also wonder what kind of message the children receive from seeing their parents leave an unattended fire to burn their neighbor’s property. 

At any rate, it is done. 

Mending Wall

Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963
 Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,

But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather

He said it for himself. I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father’s saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

The Butter in the Treehouse

June 18, 2017

The Alt-Reunion

June 18, 2017

Sugar and I didn’t go to the annual reunion. 

It’s complicated. 

There was a misunderstanding at last year’s reunion, in which someone thought that I had taken a brick from a wall in a historic cemetery that was being refurbished, and that I had sent it to a descendant in California. 

I didn’t do that. The brick was from a rubbish pile off in the bamboo undergrowth at another location, not a cemetery, an hour and a half away from the cemetery. 

Then there was when I called another descendant, at the request of the film crew who was filming for 23andMe, to find out who could grant access to the cemetery and if the crew could get permission to film there. 

The person I contacted gave me the phone numbers that the crew needed, but told me that this idea of filming in a historic cemetery was a bad idea, and that she was against it. And she wanted to know when was the last time I had been there. 

Seriously? Because I had been there at the cemetery during the reunion when everyone else had been there, and never since then. Plus the property owners allowed the filming to happen the following day. And nobody took a brick. 

Then the capper was when I was reading on the SC Dept. of History and Archives website about a certain historical house, and I saw a reference was made to Sugar’s Uncle Edward’s book “Saga of the South”. 

Because we knew that Uncle Edward had never had an association with that particular house, we were curious as to the historian had linked the two together, so I emailed the historian. 

I have been following the story of the Lawton-Seabrook Cemetery on Edisto, and how it has been nominated for the National Register.
While looking at the SC Archives and History website today, I noticed that one of your references for John Lawton is a book “Saga of the South”, by Edward Percival Lawton. The author is the uncle of Leslie Lawton Bateson, and Leslie thought it curious that his uncle would have mentioned John Lawton of Jericho Plantation in a book that only dealt with Edward’s direct lines. 

When he checked his copy, he cannot locate a reference to John Lawton on page 97 or in the index. Perhaps this was an error on your part?

He did not appreciate being questioned. 

I am in receipt of your email from yesterday. 

To be clear, the question you have raised refers to the already finalized and listed nomination of the John Lawton House in Estill, SC, which I authored nine years ago. It is unrelated to the currently pending nomination of the Lawton-Seabrook Cemetery.

This morning, I went into the attic and dug out my notes on the John Lawton House nomination. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the footnote in question is a “for further information” footnote with multiple sources contained in it, rather than a footnote verifying a specific claim in the main text of the nomination document. In reviewing my notes from the Edward P. Lawton source, Saga of the South, it appears that I was particularly drawn to these lines: “The village itself [Lawtonville] was virtually killed when, in 1891, the southbound railroad, now the Seaboard Air Line, was put through two miles to the east of Lawtonville. Most of the villagers then moved to a new location near the station, which was named Estill in honor of Colonel H. H. Estill of Savannah, the railway’s president.”

As it turns out, this material does appear on page 97 of the source in question. As it also turns out, John Lawton was one of the Lawtonville villagers who “moved to a new location near the station” with the construction of his new house in town. This initiative is described at great length in the preceding paragraph of the nomination, while the “more on John Lawton, Sr.” reference in the footnote was to the context provided in Edward P. Lawton’s book for why John Lawton, Sr., would have moved there. And as the very next sentence in the nomination text further explains, Lawton “maintained intimate business ties with local railroad authorities, who were often his competitors.” One might nitpick that this reference to the material on p. 97 of Saga of the South is better placed under footnote 3–something I thought about at the time–but I made a conscious choice to list it under footnote 4, along with the other “for more information” sources.

So, to answer your question, no, this was not an error on my part. The reference was intentional and correct, since John Lawton, Sr., was among the folks to whom Edward P. Lawton was referring when he wrote those sentences on page 97. Clearly, both you and Leslie Lawton Bateson were not aware that Edward Percival Lawton’s book contained material that was about more folks than just “Edward’s direct lines” and the people listed in the index. I hope our correspondence helps you both see that broader picture. 


Now, something that not many people know about me is that I was exposed to carbon-monoxide poisoning in the workplace about 20 years ago from a faulty gas water-heater. 

Part of my reply to the historian:

About twenty years ago, I was exposed to carbon-monoxide poisoning in the workplace from a faulty gas water heater. This was not discovered until it had been going on for several months. The levels were very low, imperceptible at first until the gas leak became evident. As a result, my reasoning, retention, and memory skills were affected. It is harder for me to learn new things because of the memory loss. It is harder for me to understand someone else’s train of thought. 
So I ask questions in an effort to understand, not to challenge. 


I felt humiliated after that exchange. Then a friend reminded me that there is a learning technique called the Socratic method that involves asking questions. 

I was so relieved. I am not a weirdo. I ask questions all the time for knowledge and affirmation and understanding, and frankly, it challenges people unintentionally. So I try to be quiet, but it does help me to write it out. I have already written it out in my brain multiple times before I put fingers to keyboard. 


So, the reunion. It seemed like I had ruffled too many feathers. Some people had said that I wasn’t even blood. How then do you explain how spouses and fiancés and adopted children could be allowed, and I couldn’t? I don’t have anything to prove, so if it upsets people that I am there, then I just won’t go. Problem solved. 

However, there were going to be people at the reunion that we wanted to see. Enter the Alt-Reunion. 

YoursTruly, Sugar, and Sugar’s cousin Elisabeth

So the photo above is complicated. That’s Boyce on the left. He’s my cousin on his mother’s side, and Sugar’s cousin on his father’s side. 

More complications. Boyce; Rebeccah, who is related to no one in the photo, but is related to a Lawton cousin Lynda, but only related on their Moseley side, not the Lawton side at all; YoursTruly, Sugar, and Elisabeth. 

One saga closes, another saga opens.