His tree traces back up the same main root as ours does. He was separated from his father's family at a young age. His parents split up and he had little contact with his father's side of the family. The years passed and he married and had a family of his own.
He began to think about his roots, as most folks do, and began the search to find them. He got in touch with a girl that I had emailed, during my search, and she pointed him in my direction. Sure enough, he was from our line. He was so excited! And so was I !
He logs onto my little blog and leaves it up at work, to listen to the old-timey music. He says it feels homey and comforting to him. It does that same thing for me. :-) Must be our roots. Grin.
Well, he made it ' back home' all the way, this fall. He did it!
He went to Happy Valley and stood there on that knoll over looking that beautiful valley and touched his past.
He wrote and told me and you could just feel his emotions pouring out of that email.
Before I could finish reading it, I was crying, too.
Excerpt from Steve's email:
Martha, I think if we grew up in 'them there hills' and down in the valley, we would/could have known each other a long time ago.
I pretty much see that yours, and mine, pretty much take up, make up, Boone Cemetery, and OOOO, but what a great place to be buried in.
Trees, fresh air, and a view.. What a view..When the trumpets sounds, it looks like our kin as high up on the mountain, as they are, could very well be the first in line, at the Pearlie Gates.
I think 'Our Kin' were hard pressed to the land with tough times and tougher life styles, I just pray they looked up and around them, at the wonder and beauty of this place, somehow I think they did..
Reading what this dear cousin wrote, and how the experience of visiting Boone Cemetery and Happy Valley affected him, enforces that he is, without a doubt, one of us.. Kindred Blood - A Correll. GRIN
He sent me pictures of his adventures and I would have dearly loved to have "went back home" with him.
What a wonderful trip that had to be. I know how special it was to me.. A 'never forget' moment!
Message From Cousin Steve:
Happy Thanksgiving Day, and for your upcoming holiday's. Yes, I would love for you to write some more about my journey, Looking 'back toward home' ... :)
Your writings are good for the soul to me/all who read, its a gift you have and share with the world, thru your blog. (thanks so much, Steve! that means the world to me)
Some notes I jotted down from the trip, hope they help some ...
With your help, and the Arrowood / Correll website, I have learned more in the last six months, about my Mountain Heritage and our kin folks, than I have known for the past 60 years of my life.
I been away from there so long, and I only have the memories as a small child, in Happy Valley, way back in the early 50's .... It's just I wasn't running from my past, I just never went looking for it either.
I started down this path, equipped only had a few fond memories of the faded faces, and soft voices, the few faint remembrance's of my distant family now long past.
I remember a few places too, but most have been lost in time from my Happy Valley past.
But now with some help of some new found friends and some newly found family, I have enough information, to start into my family tree. I planned a short trip, to Happy Valley, and the Cade's Cove area, for the ending of the fall break. Its been some 55years, before the Mountain Valley tugged hard enough for me to take notice, and come...back toward home.
You see, on my grandfather's side are the Corrells from Happy Valley, and on my grandmother's side are the Tiptons, from Cades Cove, so the tug is pretty strong.
It was the last weekend in October, over the fall break, that I returned to the Mountains and the Valley, I once called home.
I drove down from Indiana to Tennessee, and arrived in Pigeon Forge late in the afternoon, on Saturday.
Armed only with the knowledge obtained from a few emails, and information from your website, on the Arrowood/Correll family ties, along with Find-a-Grave website, and Goggle Earth maps, I drew out a plan to search and find four cemeteries.
Lower Chilhowee cemetery, Upper Chilhowee cemetery, Happy Valley cemetery, and Boone Cemetery.
As you say Martha, I was another 'rabbit' turned loose, and in need of searching and finding information about those who footprints I followed from my past ancestors.
I wanted to find, and see my ancestors for the first time, close up and personal, so to say.
I wanted to kneel and touch their Tombstones and feel the soil they were laid to rest in.
I wanted to see where I was from, and where my people were from.
I left Pigeon Forge, about 3 in the afternoon, heading toward Townsend on route 321.
I found the Foothills Mountain Parkway and drove down southwest toward Chilhowee.
I made an important discovery right then as I viewed out my car window, why our ancestor's might have stayed in this area.
I found out while driving that high parkway road, that I needed to stop a few times, it was an area southwest, what is called Look Rock on my map, I needed just to gaze out the car window, over the Happy Valley area landscape.
The Valley is deep down, and runs for a ways out of sight, both left and right of my view.
It's backed up, on the far side, by the mountains and just over those mountains, with what I pictured in my minds eye, is Cades Cove, not much farther away.
From my reading and research, our kin moved into this area, thru the Cove, down along the Abram's creek into the Valley area.
As I was standing there with tears in my eyes, I was seeing what our ancestors must have seen, to me it's one of the most beautiful areas or places on Earth, God has made.
It was late afternoon, the sun was just right, shining from behind me, down on the leaves, they were the bright colors of fall, there was a glint of a stream down low in the bottom land, and there was peace in this valley.
I could feel, it's hard to describe, but am sure our ancestors must have felt it too, and that's why they made this this area, their home.
Down the road, at both Chilhowee cemeteries, I found names of my uncles and aunts and cousins I had not known, but now will do some research on.
Up the road in the Happy Valley cemetery, I found Nancy Clementine (Tipton) Correll, who is my Grandmother, buried there. I was only 6 months old, when she died, but as I knelt and prayed at her grave, I think I could see her, as she smiled down at me. Boone cemetery was my last stop for the day and it was getting late.
You get to it from the Valley road, and its location is somewhere between Chilhowee Baptist church and Happy Valley Baptist church. The cemetery of Boone is located high up on a ridge, with only a small sign along the road, to let you know where the path starts up.
I parked along the bottom of Happy Valley road, because the road heading up to the cemetery, was washed out with ruts and groves, I was sure I could not drive up, with my 'city-fied' car. I walked up the road to the top, not knowing what I would find and along the way up, there were some billy-goats grazing along the side of the mountain there.
I could here gun shots in the distant, and it make me think of past times our ancestors hunted deer, turkey, and wild bore, just to have something to eat, to survive in this area. It was a steep climb, but soon made it to the top of the hill, up the old dirt path road, and once there, I found this very small cemetery right on top.
Its a small fenced in cemetery, maybe no more then 30 or 40 tombstones, buts it's ours, the Corrells, the Arrowoods, and the Borings. I thought, neighbors we were in life, and longer still are we neighbors, in Death.
There was my grandfather, Joe Thomas Correll, who I remember calling "Daddy Joe", and not many paces from his grave, was my Great Grandfather William (Bill) Correll, (brother of Isabell Correll) and GGGrandfather David Correll.
I had to stop a moment, I couldn't see where I was going, I wiped my eyes with my shirtsleeves, and started to look around behind me, to my surprise there were my footsteps too ...... mixed in amongst my ancestors.
I stood still while looking at all around me, the tombstones, the view from high up on the mountain, and thought, I found what I came looking for, here are my ancestors, my kin, my roots, it's an Honor to walk among them.
These graves are shaded by some huge old oak trees, and I gathered a few of the acorns that had fallen on the graves, to give to my daughters, and to the grandchildren, and to remind me of this place, as I retell my story to them.
As I looked out again once more, over the valley, before heading back down the mountain to the car below, I think I gained a lot more respect for what some people call "Hill-folk", some my say 'Hill-Billy'.
I was proud of my Heritage.
This Mountain and Valley with all its beauty and splendor, demanded a lot from all those that lived here once, long ago. It had to be a tough existence, just to live and get by, making a living out of the daily struggles you and your family experienced.
Respect for them, you bet, these folks were tough, I was so proud just to think I came from them, it just about made me do a little buck dance, just like I did when I was 5 for my daddy. I traveled to Cades Cove the next day and did the loop road.
I was lucky to be at the Cades Baptist Church about 10:30ish on Sunday morning, there was a small group of local Baptist, who comes there the third or forth Sunday of each month, and they played a little music and preached a bit. I thought, so strong in their faith, our ancestors were, too.
The service was short and to the point, but as I sat there in the old pews, it's as though loved ones from the past were there, too, and with tears in my eyes again, I prayed and thanked those who came before me. As the service ended, we sang 'Amazing Grace', I sang it so those above could hear me.
Afterwards, I walked the path behind the church to the old cemetery, and sure enough there were the Tipton's tombstones there, too, I felt a kinship to them, too. The drive around the Cove was as beautiful as the mountain tops and Valley drive, the day before.
I made the complete circle and left the Cove back out thru the park, and again thought what a beautiful place it would have been to grow up in. The next day I started the journey back up North, but now my heart is much fuller and richer than it was just a few days before. I am energized and feel a need to do more research and dig deeper into our roots.
I will to return in the Spring, but this next trip I am bringing my two daughters, and three grandsons, so they too, will see the footsteps that have gone before us. I hope they begin to feel the tug of their Heritage sooner then I did, and to explore their roots before time passes by, too quick.
I hope to give and share with them, some of this same feelings I have received and felt over these last few days.
As the cold winter moves thru Indiana this year, I will continue to 'Look Back Toward Home', thinking on family and places time has gone by....
Wishing you all Traveling Graces, this Holiday season, Hoping you all share with those young ones, that follow us, stories of old times, of by gone days, so they know what steps to follow, as we all 'Look Back Toward Home'.
To all the readers of Arrowood Through the Mountains, if any one has remembrance's of the family or friends, of Kenneth Correll < Joe Thomas Correll & Nancy "Clemmie" Correll please email me thru a 'comment' on the blog. Martha will see that I get the message. Steve Correll Thank you so much, Steve, for allowing me to share this with the family!