Monday, October 31, 2011

I Found Her - Serendipity Strikes Again!

We got back from our research trip a few days ago, my genealogy gal pals and me. I had gone down to Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky with low hopes of finding anything. But I agreed to go a couple of years ago and I couldn't back out now. So I went determined to try to find something on my great grand aunt, Rachel Guffey-Terry. I had already made one trip there a couple of years ago with a little luck and had found some of her children at the Burnside Cemetery where I thought most of the family was buried - but no Rachel! So my objective this time was small, just to get a few marriage records for the daughters, and maybe some obituaries, to see if I could track them down.

On my first day there I found four marriages for two of the Terry daughters and two of the Terry sons. John Logan was married to a Helen Gibson Apr. 5, 1928, Tilda was married to Joseph E. Spencer July 25, 1916, Emma Terry was married to Andrew E. Guy July 25, 1921, and Jacob Richard Terry was married to Dora Marie Duncan Feb. 10, 1927. I then checked for obituaries for all the children, thankfully the Historical Society has a nice obituary collection so that saved a lot of time. I only found a couple though for John Logan Terry and Joseph E. Spencer.

That evening after their library had closed my traveling companions and I decided to check out a couple of the cemeteries we were interested in seeing. Seniority won out and we decided to find our oldest companion's cemetery, Freedom Cemetery, on the north side of the county. We had a great time riding around seeing the countryside and we finally found it, taking photos and looking around. So now it was my turn. By the time we headed back to Somerset and started down south to Burnside it had gotten dark on us. Okay we'll locate it tonight, but come back for photos tomorrow when we can see better.

The next day my research questions had already been mostly answered so I decided to get more information on the area my kin had settled in, the town of Burnside. Burnside used to be a river town in the 1920s with ferryboats and barges running up and down the Cumberland River. One that I had heard about before was the Rowena Ferry. My grandfather had applied for a job on the ferry, I still have his papers. So I wanted to get a good photo of the ferryboats, and one of the Rowena Ferry would be a bonus. They had several great photos of the ferrys and several great articles of Burnside in the river days. You see, that part of the river is under Lake Cumberland now, so that's one part one could not visit today. After my research companions had gotten their fill of data gathering for the day we decided to hit the cemetery on the way home to Indiana.

The Burnside Cemetery is on a very steep hill and in places the hill is so steep the tombstones are falling over the hill. So I told my older companions to wait in the car as it might be insecure footing for them. I went up the hill to photograph one of the daughter's tombstone, Eva Terry-Conner. She has several bare plots around her and I assumed either her family was buried near her in an unmarked grave or possibly her mother, and my Rachel Guffey. But that was something that I might never know for sure. I backed down the hill slowly to get a good photo of Eva's stone along with the empty plots next to her. I tripped over a small fieldstone - good thing I didn't go rolling down the hill myself. At first I didn't pay any attention to it because it was located right next to another stone with the surname Jones on it. Being that close together I assumed they were both Joneses. After my photo of Eva's stone, I glanced down at the fieldstone again and it seemed to have something carved into it, but it was barely legible. My heart started racing, I could make out what looked like the name Rachel. I got down even closer, I could barely make out one letter at a time by tracing my finger along the grooves. I could make out a T then a E and then an R and another R. The edge was broken off but I just knew what that last letter was. This was my Rachel Terry!

Reading the rest of it was a real pain as the dates were even worse, it had a born and a died date but couldn't even make it out. I didn't care though, I had finally found my great grand aunt, Rachel Guffey-Terry. I raced back to the car to tell my friends. We hadn't even thought to bring anything to help read the stone any better. It was getting late so I decided to take my small victory and go back to Indiana. What am I saying - small victory? This find was worth the whole trip! Now we're planning another trip already, we all found some good information. We all had such a good time and formed some good memories together. Don't you worry, Great Aunt Rachel, I'll be back. And this time we'll spend some more time together.


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

I just visited Pulaski Co. for the second time in almost a dozen years just last May! I was at the Freedom Cemetery too. None of your names is a match with mine but I'm always excited to find someone else with roots nearby!

Lisa Swanson Ellam said...

I love this story! Sometimes our Ancestors have to help us out a bit in our searching. Even if it means tripping you to get your attention! Hahaha!