Monday, July 2, 2007

VA Excursion: Days 9, 10, & 11

Yes, I know I'm way behind on getting this final installment of photos posted, but I've been recovering from my vacation. It doesn't help that the Internet access advertised at the last two motels at which I stayed didn't work.

Day 9:
Returning to Fayetteville (the motel where I stayed was to the west of town on the Interstate), I first sought out the Rhea family cemetery, located in Fayetteville itself, not far from the road leading out to Mimosa township. After talking to some locals, I finally found the actual cemetery, located beyond a shop in a pen containing geese. Sadly, most of the stones were unreadable. The owner of the property told me that the graves of the cemetery were documented in a book compiled in the seventies, so I'll need to do some digging to learn more about it.

After grabbing some breakfast, I came to the conclusion that there would be no time to dig through records at the courthouse. That would have to wait for another visit. Not that I mind. I've become quite enamored of this lovely little county.

Heading up to the Mimosa township, I lucked out and found someone at home at the location of the Isom cemetery, and the gentleman who answered the door was kind enough to show me where the stones were. I would have never found them on my own, despite even if I had a GPS device with me, since they were hidden away in the underbrush.

Afterwards, I decided to explore "Toddy Hollar," taking Toddy Hollow Road as far as it would let me into the old stomping grounds of the Keith family. It is a pretty little valley, with the tree-lined road running alongside lovely pastures. Several times I spotted cardinals and bluejays darting in an out of the folliage, but they were always gone by the time I managed to get my camera out.

Next, I hit the road for Nashville for a return visit to the Tennessee State Library & Archives. Sure enough, the photocopies of the journal of Rev. Joseph Rhea from his Atlantic crossing were completed and waiting for me. I continued to sift through the remaining portions of the Rhea family papers, but failed to find what I was seeking: memoirs discussing the Rhea family's descent from Matthew "the Rebel" Campbell.

With closing time approaching, I waited for a sudden rain to pass (as I didn't have my umbrella on me, and I didn't want the rain to damage the photocopies that I had come so far to acquire), then hit the road once again, passing through wave after wave of rain. I just barely managed to cross Old Man River early enough to have daylight for snapping a few shots.

Day 10:
After stopping for the night in Little Rock, AR (Executive Inn - genuine dump), I hit the road and made my way home to Texas.

My first stop was the Lamar County Genealogical Society in Paris, TX, followed by the Lamar County Clerk's office, where I had a decent amount of luck digging up some source records (including probate records and will for David K. Pace, a brother of Jesse K.H. Pace, as well as several deed records). Next, I hit the road for Gainsville, passing through quite a few storms on the way.

Day 11:
Waves of rain were still passing through northern Texas. Fortunately, my business was indoors at the Cooke County Courthouse. There I found the probate records and will for David Wright Pace (as well as several folks from the Petty family). Grabbed lunch at a place near the courthouse that specializes in fried pies (the apricot was yummy), then hit the road for McKinny to check through the Collin County records. Here, my search started to hit a snag. I visited the building which houses the probate court and asked the clerk there about searching old records, but I was told I would need to visit another facility located in a strip mall where the original records are kept. There I learned that I could see the records if I know the book and page number I wanted, but they had no indices on hand and referred me to the county clerk's office located in an annex next to the main courthouse building. (This is all so much simpler in less populated counties.) There I was able to find indices for deeds (and spent most of the afternoon writing them down two and a half pages worth of references to Pace land transactions, as well as being able to search for marriage licenses online. Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I had no time to pull the microfilms for the deed transactions, and the microfilmed marriage licenses that I printed out were of such poor quality that the clerks woudn't even charge me for them. In the end, I never found anyone with indices for Collin County probate records. I finally decided that I would have to request microfilms for the probate indices through an LDS family history center and then make a return visit to the records repository.

My searching done for the day (and for the trip), I headed home, passing through still more waves of rain. On top of everything else, it didn't help that I found myself passing through downtown Dallas during rush hour. I finally arrived home around 9:00pm, and collapsed. So tired of driving....