~ The pieces are all sewn together, stitched with love.........and a quilt tells a story and the story is our past ~
The Arrowood family immigrated from England to Maryland in the 1700's. They went south, eventually settling in the mountains of North Carolina. Later , some went further south, into the Piedmont of North Carolina, in search of work and a better way of life.
I am in search of my family.
I search for those that came before me, and lived their lives as best they could. I am in search of their stories, how they lived, and how they loved.
I shared this love of seeking the past with my Dad, sharing each new finding with him, the thrill in his heart intermingling with mine. I continue this search in his honor, and hope to know these people of ours when I join up with them all in heaven.
~ Steve Lewis Arrowood 1932-2008 ~
Come with me, back to a simpler time and place. A place far removed from the hectic pace of today. To a time when life was hard, but the rewards were great. When your quality of life was determined by your own sweat, your own toil, and your own ingenuity.
Would you like a glass of sweet tea? Let's sit out on the porch where we will catch the sweetly scented breeze of summertime. Maybe Grandma will fry up some of her wonderful chicken... Time slows here.
"We shape our lives not by what we carry with us, but what we leave behind."
~You live as long as you are remembered.~
"Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories. " Author: Unknown
"But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations."
Saturday, October 31, 2009
We took off for Tennessee. The morning was misty, but the weather promised to clear off to sunshine and blue skies. We were not disappointed.
Our Destination: Happy Valley.
I knew a little about our destination, things I had searched for and found, but not a lot. A collection of 'maybe’s and about’s', mostly.
When you ask people, 'where it is', and 'how to get there', the answers become strangely vague. You go ‘almost’ to Maryville. You go ‘almost’ to Tallassee. When you get there you go ‘perhaps’ five miles, maybe. You will see a sign, then maybe you will not. It used to be there…I think.
The people that are local to this area simply “know” how to get there and the assumption is, that everyone else knows, as well.
Well, it was wonderfully worth the effort, despite the “unknowns”.
This area of the world, has almost been forgotten by time. There are areas around it, that are bustling cities, caught up in the hum of modern day life and the Happy Valley lies quietly, basking in the Tennessee sunshine. It is content to remain as it is, and as it has been for quite awhile. It does not want anything from outsiders. It has it’s own world and is content in it. It is just as “happy” as can be, to be left alone.
We had to take an alternate route to get there. There was a major rock slide on I-40, just shy of the Tennessee line. Mile marker 20, I believe. We decided to take highway 129 when we drove into Tennessee.
It is an area called Dragon’s Gap. It is simply beautiful. The road twists and turns and corkscrews through the mountains. The perfect place for a ride if you are a motorcyclist. There were lots of them riding in the sun, it was perfect weather for it. Every curve offering a breathtaking view of the final flash of fall colors that the mountains offered up.
Happy Valley follows along Abram’s Creek.
The Chilhowee Primitive Church, also known as Red Top, is nestled into the hill on your left as you enter.
It sits on a knoll, among trees that seem to cradle it. The cemetery is on the hill, fenced in, in front of the church. There is an ancient gnarled holly tree that stands by the gate to the cemetery, imposingly standing as the gate-keeper.
All you need do to secure a place to bury your loved ones here is mark it. You place markers on all four corners with your first and last initials and the gravesite is yours. Amazing.
There are lots of family here. I made my way down and up each row, acknowledging each one. The view of the surrounding mountains was something else.
Arminta, "Minty" , Isabell Correll's sister is buried here, along with her brother, Thomas.
Thomas married Annie Evelyn Waldrupe and they are buried side by side.
Next stop along the way is Boone Cemetery.
There is a dirt road that leads you in. Up the side of the mountain , the cemetery is over your shoulder on the left. Fenced in and quiet. The view of the surrounding mountain is lovely from the cemetery. Quiet and comforting, this country burying ground.
Fannia Barrett Arrowood is buried there.
Wife of John Arrowood, mother of Samuel, grandmother to Welzia. My third greatgrandmother. What a moment that was, finally “meeting“ her! Her grave lies just to the left of her daughter, Fannie Arrowood Whitehead. I was really into the moment of discovery and tracing my finger over her name and dates when something caught my eye, over to the left, behind another row of headstones, it was the name “Correll“.
It was David and Nancy Correll. The parents of Isabell Correll, wife of Welzia.
David and Nancy are my great-great-grandparents. I cannot tell you how that felt. It was simply one of those unforgettable “moments’.
I felt ‘welcome’ and at peace there. I was ‘Home’. Also resting there is Mary Calla, Isabell's younger sister.
My husband, Russ, sometimes is confused with exactly why this is so important to me. He tries to understand. But he knows that it is important , and he is always a help. He was armed with a brush, some baby powder, and a piece of soft chalk. He always carries these things with him when we go to the cemetery. If the markings on the stone are weathered or time worn, the powder or the chalk can make the writings more evident without harming the stone.
While we were there the only sound you could hear was the gentle blowing of the wind through the leaves. The leaves were falling from the trees with a slight crunch as they landed on the ones that had fallen before. I was struck at the soft silence and stood there and took it all in.
I can see why they settled there. It was protected by mountains all around and it was such a peaceful place.
Not one car passed on the road below while we were in the cemetery. Only leaves falling softly. Even the birds were quiet because they knew we were there, disturbing their peaceful chirping.
Below the cemetery lives a family member, a distant cousin.
A Boring that married into the family down the line.
There are houses along the valley that have root cellars, still. They stand off from the houses, huge mounds of grass covered earth, with a door on the side. I am intrigued with these and really would have loved to venture inside one. I am told they are dark, cold, and musty, not a most wonderful place, but fascinating to me.
Aunt Hilda has spoken of going into Aunt Nora’s and Uncle John’s in Pigeon Roost. She remembers it was a scary place for a kid. A place full of dark corners.
The Boone’s, Hearon’s, Boring’s, Marine’s, Sellar’s, Correll’s, Arrowood’s and the Whiteheads are among those buried in this valley..they are all our family.
Also there in Happy Valley is 'Happy Valley Church' Cemetery.
We visited there and stood among the family and paid our respects. This cemetery is across the road from the church and sits on a knoll, overlooking a wonderful view. A beautiful place.
Resting there is Nancy Correll and her husband. She is Isabell's sister. Also resting there, are a lot of our extended family, generations of them.
If you ever find yourself in the area, you should definitely stop in. The family would all love to meet you.
Happy Valley is an unincorporated community in Blount County, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park . Although it is not a census-designated place, the area that is designated for the zip code (37878) that serves Happy Valley, had a population of 529 as of the 2000 U.S. Census.
Happy Valley is situated in a narrow valley of the same name on the northwestern fringe of the Great Smoky Mountains. Chilhowee Mountain - an elongate ridge stretching for roughly 35 miles (56 km) between the Little Tennessee River and the Little Pigeon River watersheds - spans Happy Valley to the north.
The valley is walled off to the south by several low ridges— namely Pine Mountain to the southwest and Hatcher Mountain to the southeast— which run roughly parallel to Chilhowee Mountain. Cades Cove is located opposite Hatcher and Pine Mountain to the south.
Happy Valley Ridge provides the valley's eastern barrier, splitting it off from Lake-in-the-Sky and the Top of the World community. Gregory Bald and the main crest of the western Smokies rises beyond Pine Mountain approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) to the southwest.
Abrams Creek, which rises in Cades Cove, flows northwestward through the gap between Pine Mountain and Hatcher Mountain.
Before it reaches Happy Valley, the creek turns southwestward and flows for several more miles before emptying into the Chilhowee Lake impoundment of the Little Tennessee River. Happy Valley's two major streams - Mill Creek and Bell Branch - are tributaries of Abrams Creek.