Category Archives: BACKROADS



Cemeteries I have visited for photo requests and family visits.



I late fall 2013, I attended my first DAR meeting. I met two ladies at McDonald’s one afternoon. They were planning the Good Citizen awards for the local chapter. They needed a calendar, I provided an iPhone. I had been listening for some time, and deduced from their discussion they were DAR members. We sat for a while and talked about local history and our ancestors.

In October of 2000, my Mom and I travelled to Pennsylvania to do some investigative work on her side. That would be the descendants of Alexander Ewing, Patriot. We went to several court houses on our travels, Butler county, Lawrence and Venango, all placed some had lived in the 1700-1800’s. We were able to locate his grave in Plain Grove cemetery in Lawrence county cemetery. It took quite a bit of walking too!




I have been contacted by the local chapter director, I need a few more documents for authentication. I need to send my parents birth certificates and marriage record. That should be the final items to get my membership approved.



It has been a while since I have posted….lack of inspiration I guess. But, I do still have several adventures I need to share. This summer and into fall, I went on several two to three day trips. And on all of them, I tried to find out some history, not my own family necessarily, just family history.

Eiffel Tower

I had the pleasure of traveling with my mother-in-law to her home of Cottage Grove Tennessee. Right next to Paris. Paris Tennessee that is. Home to Allegro Marinade, McCartney Produce, Clifty Farms ( ham ) and Paris Winery . We did manage to go to the winery, of course!

My mother-in-law has three sisters and we were able to spend time with all of them. We all five went to Jones Family cemetery to visit many relatives.

My husband once said to his grandmother when they visited the cemetery, " I'm scared ", she replied " there's no reason to be, they're all family"

My husband’s grandparents

Patrick once visited the cemetery with his grandmother. He said to her ” I’m scared ” she replied ” I don’t know why, they’re all family ” .

Smith sisters

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It was agreed when James Jones married his second wife, Mary Summers, that the cemetery would have both Jones and Summers families buried there. There is a distinct division in the cemetery. Jones Mill is an area nearby where there was a general store. James Jones and wife were the proprietors. Everyone knows everybody in this quaint small town.

Jones Mill store

drawing of the mill that made baskets

the owners

old heater

Just like it was

House next to store

tin ceiling

The same day of the cemetery visit, we went to an Amish store, yummy!!! Oh my gosh, they had everything!! I bought Jerky, candy and pickled beets!

Here are some additional pics of the Paris Winery, I did the tasting, although, it may look like Mary had her fill!!! Ruggeros Best was absolutely delicious!!




One of my recent trips to central Alabama, gave me some insight as to some ancestors burials.I had been in Lowndes county already, and on the way back from the beach, decided on a different route.This trip was full of discoveries and unexpected surprises.

I had known of the Sullivan line in Perry county, from the late 1700’s. This line comes from my father, his father, his mother, and so on. Alice Davidson married a Pickens, my g grandfather. Her family was both from Tennessee and Alabama. Her grandfather was Hewlett Sullivan. This family lived in Alabama and later in Texas. Hewlett’s father was William Dunklin Sullivan. Throughout the family, you see Dunklin, Duncan, Dunkin, Hewlett and Hewett in the boys names.

When I went to the cemetery in Perry county, Marion cemetery, I expected to only find Dunklin Augusta Sullivan, which would have been an uncle. Because, on FindaGrave, he was the only Sullivan listed. So, I expected little, and got lots!! I had been driving through the cemetery, and I spotted a headstone with the name Parrish. I knew that one of the sisters had married Elam Parrish. This was my sign!!! So, I thought, I may be here awhile.

I walked around and started seeing a few Sullivans, taking notes and lots of photos. First, I saw Martha, then Dunklin then the big one!! William Dunklin Sullivan, and wife Mary.

William Dunklin Sullivan, Marion cemetery, Perry county, Alabama

A bit of history on WIlliam Dunklin Sullivan…..born 1791 in Greenville district South Carolina. He later moved to Tennessee where he received a good education in law. Later to Marion county Alabama, where he became Perry county’s first state senator. He married Mary Polly Mayberry, daughter of George Washington Mayberry. William Dunklin Sullivan died in office in 1837 while attending a session of the Alabama legislature. He also served a Probate judge and representative.

William Dunklin Sullivan was my 4th great-grandfather. So, on this trip, I had the pleasure of finding TWO 4th great-grandfathers. Stay tuned, there is more to come……

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I decided to go out today and fulfill a few photo requests. I headed west, somewhat southwest. My plan was to go toward Trinity and Moulton. I had not yet surveyed any cemeteries in this part of Lawrence county.

I visited Grange Hall cemetery, also know as Morris cemetery in west Morgan county.

Grange Hall

As soon as a saw it, I though of a recent post by LS Moore, about people putting fencing around burial plots. This one had more than I had ever seen. And highly decorated. I researched online about it, and saw that each June, families come to decorate and cleanup the cemetery. This was a tradition I had never seen until I moved to Alabama. Most in Florida were flat, plain and unadorned. No interest, unless they were old! Every step I took today, uncovered a new group of headstones. In a cluster of bushes or trees, overgrown in the furthest areas, most could not see. You have to look beyond the new areas for the old. I would scan the distance and there I would see an obelisk. So many wrought iron fenced areas grouping the family together. And smaller stone fences surrounding single burials. I was able to find the photo request way back in a fenced area. It had been awhile since this gate had been opened. It is John Speer.

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Eddie Thickston was just 13 years of age. He died while rock climbing in 1900.




I had plotted my path in a large square. It went from Athens Browns Ferry Road up to north of downtown Athens. I had a plan. I HAD a plan. You know what they say about the best laid plans….I got slightly off track. I pulled up GPS on my iPhone, and started out to the first one.  Now, I only had three on my list, I went to seven, and attempted two more that were inaccessible. When I say inaccessible, I mean, I can’t see it directly from the road, or there is no ” good” access. Before I even got to the first one, I went to three others. When I use my phone, I also go to maps and search cemeteries. Little red dots appear and I’m off!!! Hot on the trail! The first one I spotted that sounded interesting was Polly Malone cemetery. Off a fairly well-travelled road, although, between corn fields and soy beans.

Farmhouse in front of Polly Malone

It was only about a half mile off the main road, on dirt and large gravel. I went. It was pretty old and broken. The earliest burial was 1815, no Polly though, but, it appeared most of the Malone family was there. A blend of old and new. Polly and husband Henry were listed in the 1870 census for that area as being farm laborers, probably for Dr. J W Proctor, who also had a farm. Several others in the census were listed as domestic servants.

Polly Malone cemetery

I then went on the Anderson cemetery, I figured, it’s just down the road, why not? This was easy to get to, behind a farm, on a road that leads to county property. It said “private drive”. I went. The Findagrave site only listed six burials. The cemetery was full, and I took 79 photos. This will take some time. There were a lot of ” homemade headstones.

Anderson cemetery

Anderson cemetery, homemade headstones

I stopped for gas on the way to the next one. It was another Anderson cemetery with just two burials listed. It was in a small clump of trees among fields of corn. Corn that didn’t have much life in it either. We had a drought and it showed. This Anderson was listed as Madison county, but, it was still in Limestone. It was not quite as far as the county line road.

Anderson # 2

Anderson # 2

I finally got to the cemetery on my list, but, not before I found Collier, but, could not get to it! So, I went on to Cambridge Church cemetery. It was no longer a church. The marker for it was down the road about 1/4 mile. There was a request here, so I was able to fulfill it.

Cambridge church

Success!! I was on the road again! Now to ONeal, not on my list , but, on my way!! Sometimes, I also see if there are any graves listed on Findagrave that have no pictures attached. I figure, eventually someone may be looking for them. So, I did find seven here. I was disappointed I could not find the request, but, took 9 photos that were not listed. At this point, I am asking myself if I will ever get the the cemetery next on my list??? It was just up the road. I did, and was glad I did. Round Island…now, it did appear to be round in form, but, behind a church. There were 3 requests, I was able to get one, really old one!!

Round Hill cemetery

Again, there were several not photographed, so, I did my best! I am done, that was the last one on my list!! But, am I? On my map I saw another as I was looking for a way out of Limestone county. Sunny Hill, it just sounds nice, right? There were about a dozen not photographed, I was able to get all but one. I felt like this was a successful venture. And worth going to that last one.

Have you ever looked in the distance and saw a clump of trees in the middle of a field of corn, soybeans or whatever grows in your area? Check your map, it just may be an old cemetery. I have found, at least locally, there is not mush out there on the history of our cemeteries. You almost must have someone famous buried there. So many of these I have found were on farms, perhaps the owners, or maybe workers, or earlier, slaves. It would be interesting to know who they were.



Samuel Pickens, my 4th great-grandfather

This was the perfect opportunity for a genealogy trip. My in-laws were going to the beach……they asked me to come along. I knew that along that route were some places I had been longing to visit. This is the story.

I left on Thursday, August 9, 2012. I had planned my trip to go south, and to make stops at specific places along the way. My first stop after Montgomery , was Hayneville, Alabama. This is a very small town, but, everyone was so nice, and answered all my questions. I was looking for a marriage record for my 3rd great-grandparents that married there in February 1841. I knew it was a long shot, but, it was worth a try. No records were kept there. The young lady suggested the archives in Montgomery. She also recommended I visit the library across the street. I did, and there was a book on the History of Lowndes county. I searched through to find the main names of Pickens and Kirkpatrick. Many mentions of those names, but, not particular to those in which I was searching. However, it did mention that both names were prominent members of Little Sandy Ridge Presbyterian church, just south of there, near Fort Deposit. I did know already that Samuel Pickens was buried there, so off I went.

When I got back on Interstate 65, I saw that the town of Fort Deposit was west of the interstate and the church was east. I had time. I headed to the town of Fort Deposit. It too, was a small town, worn from the years, like Hayneville. But, it had character. Above the buildings that were abandoned, I saw spires. I followed them along a side street and saw a beautiful church. Fort Deposit United Methodist stood strong against the older structures that did not survive as well as she. I took some photos, and off I went again.

Letohatchee old grocery

The cemetery was easy to find. I just followed hwy 185 to hwy 79, headed south for a few minutes, and there it was. My goal was to take my own photo of Samuel’s headstone, and, hopefully find a few more relatives. Dead relatives that is. There were also several photo requests here as well, and wanted to help those looking for photos too. It was not too large, only about 500 burials. I started walking…..I saw large headstones with Pickens, these were not the ones. They were too new. I looked further back, and I saw some Kirkpatrick headstones. BAM!! There he was next to them. He married a Kirkpatrick, Eleanor Kirkpatrick, daughter of Valentine Kirkpatrick. There it was, I was excited! After I had seen all I could of my family, I proceeded to search for the requests. Then, I saw a car pull along the fence and turn around. It stopped at the main gate. An older gentleman got out, came into the cemetery, and introduced himself as Joseph Cates. And he knew all about this cemetery. In fact, later in the day, I would find he documented all he could about it in 1963. He spoke to descendants of those buried there, got stories and information on them. He put it all in a binder. Yep, he knew all about this cemetery. He asked me which names I was looking to find, and I told him. He helped me find some others, and told me of his family Cates.

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He said he had something I would be interested in seeing if I had time. Not too far was an old homestead of Kirkpatrick. I told him I did have time. He went to get in the car with is wife Nancy. He could not get his car started, so I gave them a ride about 500 yards to their home.

My story gets better from here.

” I live just down the road, I’m sorry to trouble you”. It was most assuredly no trouble to take them, he had helped me a great deal already. ” I live on the old Lloyd Pickens property”. WHAT????? Lloyd was the son of Samuel, and bother to my 3rd great-grandfather, William H. Pickens. I could not believe this. He was definitely the right person to come along. He then told me the homestead was only a mile or so down the road, if I would follow them. I did, and he stopped on the side of the road. I didn’t see anything at first. The, I got out, he pointed to a sign. And said, ” You take as long as you like, then I will tell you what I know”.

Valentine Kirkpatrick property

He remembered the old home, that had been gone several years. He described it as if it was still there. The area was know as Kirklville. I told him he made my day! We went back to the cemetery, because, I had one last photo request I could not locate. He got his book and told me where to look. He told me young people are never seen in cemeteries. They don’t appreciate it. This is one person, although, not exactly young, who can truly appreciate the history and reverence that should be given to our ancestors. I thanked him, he gave me his contact info, and I hope to be in touch with him.

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