A Day in the Time Machine

Quote of the Day:

I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ”Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.” I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.–President Harry Truman

Last week I happened to see a show about Emmitt Smith and his efforts to trace his genealogy. I was fascinated and it led me to dig out a stack of old xeroxed papers some distant cousin gave my Dad at family reunion many years ago. From those papers I went next to the internet where it so happens some other distant cousin in North Carolina has already done a lot of work on my family tree. Tracing through the line of my Great-grandfather, I read about some amazing exploits of ancestors in the late colonial and revolutionary eras.

The highlights include a direct descendant, Archibald who served as an interpreter for a treaty between the Cherokee nation and the President of the United States in 1794. That would be George Washington. This guy’s son, Archy, was a scout for American forces against the British in the War of 1812 in Georgia. Leading the ambush of a small British force, he personally captured their commanding officer. The officer was soon released, probably in an exchange, and came back to the site of the ambush to burn the town. In the process he captured Archy’s sister and spirited her off to Pensacola. Archy went to Pensacola alone where he saved her and engineered their escape. All of this was recorded in official reports and government records. Pretty cool.

Anyway, one of the chief sources of information for family researchers is the headstone of an ancestor. If you can find it, you can often confirm at least their date of birth and death, and often the names of their parents or even a note on their military service, occupation or social organizations (such as the Masons). I know that “my people” came to Mississippi by 1818 and settled around Yazoo County shortly after. And, I know the cemetery where all the recent generations rest. I’ve been there many times, but never to look for the early pioneers. So today, with not much going on at the office, I set out for Yazoo, travellin’ back in time to see what I could find.
It turned out the cemetery only dated back to 1866. I suspect the original church was burned in the War and the graves it hosted are now hidden in the woods, but who knows? I thought I could probably find some other graveyards, so I went explorin’. I took pictures of what I found. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the tombstones I was looking for, at least not today. But I had fun looking. Hope you enjoy.

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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4 Responses to A Day in the Time Machine

  1. Harmony says:

    That Archy sounds amazing! What a great story TB, thanks for sharing it.

    I love the pictures..especially the one of the truck in the woods. Very nice!

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    That was a nice personal historical tour and good photos.

    One of my greatest regrets is not staying in touch with the historical archives folks who contacted me while I was on vacation in Grand Cayman. I had been to some museum and mentioned my Caymanian Bodden roots and suddenly they were calling my hotel room asking questions. That was a difficult period in my life and not something I could pursue at the time. I did visit the cemetaries – many of them had photos on their headstones which was neat – I’d never seen any like that before. Those I saw looked like my relatives – dark skinned and dark eyed. My great grandmother (who I am dead ringer for color wise) was the exception. Some days I wish I’d have gotten a little bit of that dark island skin.

  3. Jessie Lou says:

    Also this great grandmother from Grand Cayman was also the hostess or tour guide at the Old Spanish Fort a/k/a Krebs-LaPointe House. She kept her caribbean accent – I loved to hear her talk.

  4. Mac says:

    Nice pics.

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