Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tombstones For Annie

Hughes satellite internet service is moving with as much enthusiasm as the dead. The post I am working on could take a while and I am likely to give up soon and go to bed. I thought I'd do a short one in the meantime for Annie at The Transplantable Rose.

The Palmer Chapel cemetery marked the lives of many of the families of Cataloochee.

Annie it seems is fond of doing research in the US census and local records. From the name on a tombstone in a previous post she traveled back in time to assemble a partial portrait of the life of Elizabeth Hannah. Check out her comment in The Ghosts Of Gardeners Past.

This was an unusual name, 'Gudger'.

Infant mortality was well represented in the cemetery.

"Budded on earth to bloom in heaven." Only a people intimately connected to the earth could think of such things.


Lola said...

There is so much to be seen in the mtns. A lot of history. A lot of questions. Glad you are getting the chance to see some of it.
BTW saw the doc of Ken Burns tonight & it was on the Smokies. Hope you got to see it.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Old cemetaries are so interesting. I always wonder at the life of these people. Especially when you see several of those infant stones. Life was difficult.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I love cemeteries, especially old ones. That one has so much atmosphere and history to it. I also enjoyed your post about the families who settled the area that is now the national park. I can't imagine how hard life must have been.

Rose said...

I always find it so sad to see the infant tombstones in old cemeteries, but I know that was a tragic, but common part of life before the mid-20th century.

I'm so glad you linked to your earlier post, Christopher, and Annie's comment. Fascinating! And I'm so impressed by Annie's research. It has taken my mother years to trace her great-grandfather. We were amazed how many men with the same name lived in the same area in Indiana.

Siria said...

I've walked through that cementary before and it's so interesting to see it through different eyes! I can't wait to see what Annie comes up with. Her last post was so interesting! (Thank you Annie!)

Christopher C. NC said...

Lola I missed the Smoky Mountain segment of that. it should be repeated. I see a little more of the area all the time.

Lisa seeing quite a few infant markers you know things were different for them.

MMGD, I think we are so spoiled now if things get ugly we just might not make it.

Rose that was a treat from Annie. The US census stuff must be free to look at. I know other places like to charge.

Siria of course I will have to go back. I did not get to Little Cataloochee. I did not think there would be enough time for that hike.

Annie in Austin said...

Thanks, Christopher - these are interesting names! Now that it's not 100 degrees I've been out in the garden, but an expected rainy spell this weekend should keep me in, and provide the right atmosphere for a little genealogy ;-]

I believe access to the 1880 census is free, but most of what I found was through my years-long subscription to Ancestry.

Hope to have something interesting before Sunday night.


Annie in Austin said...

Christopher, I tried to comment, but Blogger says it's too long. Maybe splitting it up will work - here's Part One

Your lovely posts make me want to see Cataloochee, Christopher. We've been in the Smoky Mountains a few times. When we drove through them on our honeymoon we saw old structures near the main road but not this remote settlement.

My hunts up and down the lanes and cul-de-sacs of a paper trail are similar to Philo's daily NYTimes crossword. I decided to work the census, birth & death records first, before checking out the many articles and websites about Cataloochee. Following are probablities, not certainties.

Gudger Caldwell's stone gave February 1879 and October 1907 as the birth and death dates. His name appears only once, as "Gudges Coldwell" on the index to the 1900 US census. The census roll lists each person in a household by relationship to the Head of the house. For 1900 the "Head" is a Cataloochee farmer named Andy Coldwell, with wife Charlott Coldwell and son Gudger Coldwell, age 20, a farm laborer.

The 1900 index gives Andy a 17-year old daughter-in-law, "Coma" and an infant granddaughter, "Taz Coldwell". When I looked at the images the names didn't really look like Coma and Taz - what could they be?

I don't know why no "Gudger" Caldwell or Coldwell appears on the 1880 US Census, but an Andy and Charlott Caldwell are
in Cataloochee. This census names a "Head" but no relationships are given, just a list. "Head" Franklin Owen, age 54, then Julia Owen, age 50, 32-year old Andy C. Caldwell, Charlott Caldwell, Milie M age 9, Allice E age 7, Mary E age 6, James age 3, Oliver age 1. John Caldwell age 25 follows, with Nicie Caldwell age 20 and Charlie Caldwell age 1. The Owens are Charlott's parents according to other sources.

Gudger died in October, 1907. The 1910 US Census lists farmer Andrew C Caldwell as Head, with wife Charlotta M Caldwell. Andrew has a widowed daughter-in-law named Annie M Caldwell so maybe that "Coma" in 1900 was "Anna"? Annie's 1910 entry says she has given birth to four children, two of whom are living. Following on the roll are the names of four minor children but the census doesn't tell us if their parents are Annie(& Gudger). The census just says that Gay Caldwell, Charles R Caldwell, Grover S Caldwell and Maggie O Caldwell are the grandchildren
of the Head - Andrew. Andrew died in February 1916 & Charlotte in 1935.

(On to part 2)

Annie in Austin said...

Part 2

The other headstone said Alvin H, son of GN & AC PALMER, Sept 22, 1911 -June 16, 1913.
Alvin H Palmer's less than 2 years were spent between census years so he doesn't appear on the lists, but George N Palmer and Alice
C Palmer could be his parents.
On the 1910 US Census George N Palmer, farmer on home farm and his wife Alice L Palmer, were enumerated as being married 20 years, with 8 children: Nellie M, Flora E, Charles J, Elizabeth, Ray G, Ida, Andrew S and Robert G Palmer. (Alvin is not born at this time)

On the 1920 Census George N Palmer is Head, Alice C Palmer, his wife. Children Nellie and Ida are not here. Still listed are daughters Flora E and Elizabeth, both teachers, while sons Charlie J and Roy G work on the home farm, younger sons Andy S & Robert G attend school and
daughter Mary A is too young for school.

A record for an Alice C Palmer stated that she died in 1947 and is buried in the churchyard of the Palmer Chapel in Cataloochee.

The record gave the names of her parents as Andrew and Charlotte Caldwell. It seems likely that the tombstone for Alvin Palmer
belonged to Alice Caldwell Palmer's child and that the one for Gudger Caldwell belonged to Alice's brother. Another death record states
that the full name of Alice's son Robert G was Robert Gudger Palmer. I wonder if Alice requested the motto "Budded on earth to bloom in heaven".

One more thing - Gudger is a pretty common name around North Carolina - both as a family name and as a first name. Last month a 100-year
old man named Gudger Palmer attended the rededication of the National Park.

He and other former residents have shared tales of the Cataloochee community.

A child named Gudger Palmer is a character in a story from the book Barking at a Fox-fur Coat by Donald Davis, published 1990.

There are novels about this place, like Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell and stories by Hattie Caldwell Davis.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. NC said...

Annie it is really quite amazing that you could connect these two tombstones to Alice Palmer. I went to look if by chance I had a photo of her grave site and didn't. I do recall seeing a couple markers that were dated after the park's founding and the people had moved out.

You are quite the researcher. If I ever actually write something I'll have to hire you. It would probably be better than my memory.

The story from the Smoky Mountain news was very interesting to read. I have that newspaper on the computer favorites and should read it more often.

The Smoky Mountains is where my parents went on their honeymoon and they have been coming back ever since.

Annie in Austin said...

It just happened, Christopher - I had no idea things would go in that direction. But once your eye was caught by the Gudger I found it an irresistible name.

Growing up, my 11 cousins and I learned about infant mortality when we were told about two babies of our grandparents that died. We found it terrifying but fascinating to have this mythical Aunt and uncle who should be older than our dad. A few years ago my sister & I found the location where the infants were buried and they now have markers.

As to the data, it's probable, but needs more documentation and some oral history. Cataloochee back them seems to have offered a hard-working life but a full one.