Monday, September 8, 2008

Newport TN, Cocke County, Research

Sure there are deeds from 1879 and wills from 1879, there are also tax records, and…? If you are looking for good genealogical resources, good luck! I believe I met with the Newport Historian expert and the man who without a doubt is an endless river of knowledge. I dropped in on Duay O’Neil. He not only writes for the Newport Plain Talk newspaper, he is on the board of Stokley Library. Duay was able to narrow and focus my search, quickly reaching for books and accessing info on his computer in the way only a knowledgeable person can do. Straight to the source, verifying his off the cuff data. Oh, and I must thank Missy at the Tanner Culture Center, for leading me to Duay.

I leafed through pages of newspaper articles filed in a notebook that captured the African American history from slavery to present at the library. The history of the African American Education in Newport and the African American churches were both well documented. But where are the original records of these churches? I’d love to see the Member Lists. What about pupils at the school? I have records that a Franklin K. Bird was a pupil for one year under a Professor William H. McGhee, in the Newport High school in 1871.

This leaves me with a few questions: 1) High school in 1871? Every thing I’ve read said there wasn’t a high school for coloreds until after 1872. 2) Perhaps if I could narrow down the poles, bounds, and trees of the 3 acres of family land, maybe then, I could verify the town this High School was in. 3) FK Bird’s biography was written for the AME Zion Church in 1895, how much of it is accurate, how much is misremembered? This is in consideration of the fact that I haven’t found a William McGhee in any of the educational articles I’ve read.

Believe me, more questions is not what I needed!

Kathleen
a3 Genealogy
Accurate, Accessible, Answers
stradercom@aol.com

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prayer of Thanks

Finally I reached the beginning. It all began in Rutherford North Carolina in around 1817, and continued in Eastern Tennessee in 1869. I won’t be able to explore Rutherford for another 3 days, but I’m sitting in the Newport, Tennessee, Comfort Inn as I write this blog.

I’ve exhausted the accessible and inter-library books, newspapers, microfilms and fiche, as well as online and database searches of the family. I’ve received the results from a preliminary 12point DNA - I know, basic, but it was all I needed to get 11/12 match all with the surname Morris in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, no trace in Africa which is what I was trying to locate. Logically the last step, at least for me, is to now scour the local courthouses, see the land, try to connect the dots, and fill in the holes (and there are many).

So today I landed in Charlotte and drove the 3 hours to Newport Tennessee through the majestic Appalachians, crossing the so well-researched French Broad River, imagining the rugged path they crossed on horses December of 1869. I minded the speed limits closely 65, 55, 70, as to slowly take in the terrain, the sites, the greenery, the home-place of Wiley, the slave, the blacksmith, the man who paid for his own freedom in 1855. The man who successfully established his family in Rutherford and Eastern Tennessee, in spite of his less advantageous start in life as a slave.

As I did the trek, I could only say a continuous prayer of gratitude thanking God for His generosity in opportunities, and my ancestors for their ever-growing flicker of American hope .


Kathleen
a3 Genealogy
Accurate, Accessible, Answers
stradercom@aol.com