Monday, October 27, 2014

Family History on the Road - Day Three

From Joplin, Missouri we drove over an hour east to Crane Creek. Day three of our family history road adventure found the weather uncooperative. The drive had us navigating winding country back roads through intermittent rain showers. Our first destination was Mars Hill Cemetery.

Followers of this blog will recall that I recently broke through my Brickey Brick Wall, and was able to locate the burial for my 3rd great-grandmother Pauline (Brickey) Winkler Lee. It was gratifying to be able to pay my respects at her grave after having discovered her whereabouts less than a month earlier. She's buried in the Lee family plots near the front of the cemetery. Her stone was covered in pale green lichen. I gently wiped the lichen growth off the lettering to make the inscription legible.

Back in the car, we snaked our way south out of Missouri and into the top northwest corner of Arkansas. After another hour's drive, we pulled into Springtown Cemetery. The landscape was a vibrant green, paved with a lush carpet of clovers. If I didn't know better, I'd think I was in Ireland.

My 4th great-grandparents George Henry (Jucket) Hawks and his wife Amanda Miller (Johnston) Hawks are buried on the grounds. For me, this cemetery was like coming full-circle. The day before - in Rossville - we paid our respects at the grave of their son Edmond. 

George also represents a bit of an intriguing family mystery. 

Amanda Miller (Johnston) and George Henry (Jucket) Hawks

There's a question about the identity of his birth parents. Family lore says his father was a Jucket, but when his mother died young, he was entrusted with a maternal aunt to raise him. The story suggests the aunt gave George her surname of Hawks. I'm collaborating with distant cousins - each descendants of George's sons - to crowd-source an answer to this mystery and locate definitive proof to substantiate the stories.

Our final stop was Jackson Creek Cemetery. What an adventure to get here! We turned off a paved county road onto a dirt path. I was apprehensive about whether the rental could manage the ruggedness. The ride was bumpy, but the view was spectacular. Lush hills surrounded a green valley dotted with hay bales and curious cows.

Although it was only four miles, the dirt path made movement slow going. There were no other vehicles to be seen. Eventually, the car began climbing a hillside and a clearing in the dense trees opened to our left. A beautiful fenced-off cemetery was tucked alongside the road. We opened the gate and began searching the old weathered stones.

My 3rd great-grandparents John J. Herriman and Mary Ann "Polly" (Reeves) Herriman were buried beside each other. Their beautifully tall stones were recently decorated with silk flowers. It was moving to see that the secluded location of the cemetery didn't prevent folks from decorating the graves. I added my own.

Mary Ann "Polly" (Reeves) and John J. Herriman
Mary Ann's father was buried to the left of her grave. Jeremiah Turner Reeves was a veteran of the War of 1812. A small gold star commemorating his military service was placed in the ground in front of his stone.

I look forward to researching more about his War of 1812 service, and seeing what records - if any - exist for him in the National Archives.

Day Three Recap
Miles Traveled: 240
Direct Ancestor Graves Visited: 6

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