Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Powell's the Seagraves family Tennessee connection

More e-mails from my sister Deanna Seagraves, with the story of how the Powell's and the Seagraves are connected.

Martha Powell is the name of-Jerome Milton Seagraves Mother-she married Joel Seaton Seagraves in Oct. 31, 1871, if my infromation is correct. And a Powell Uncle(?) and his sons would help bring in the harvest at the family farm.

An interesting side note here as many early Seagraves family members have the name Powell as a middle name. So I think there is more of a Powell connection than just Martha. And with so many Powell's in Tennesse there are places and streets named after them, and one of our cousins lives on a Powell street.

Hey Jan -

As requested, here's my first installment of my narration
of my trip to TN and NC. I do eventually plan to put this
together with the photographs that I took. That will take
more time, as I said, since the technology is a bit more of
a challenge to me than that of letters. :-)

July 4, 2005 - after visiting Mt. Pleasant, Campbellsville
and Pulaski, not to mention North Carolina, I’ve learned
that there are just tons of Powells in that area! There are
even places like Powell Point and Powell’s Farm Market out
by the Outer Banks! The only family name I ran across on my
whole trip across Tennessee and North Carolina, as a matter
of fact, was Powell!

In Mt Pleasant there is a little museum focusing largely on
the posphate mine that operated there. “Pop”, grandpa
Jerome Milton (it appears he went by Milt, actually) worked
at that plant at some point. I wish I had put that together
when I was there. I looked for any mention of anyone in our
family, and asked the curator if he had heard of any
Seagraves, Graves, or Powells, and he had only heard of the
Powells. I found a couple of Powells in the museum, one a
high school girl, and I found two Powell gravestones, but
precious little direct clues.

One display in the Mt. Pleasant museum was a letter from
the Civil War era. I’m going to attempt to translate it as
best I can from the photos I took of it -

It is a letter, written in Misouri Bay County (?) on May
the 31st, 1861, addressed “Dear Brother,”

I (received?) your kind letter some time ago and (and) was
very glad to hear from you as I had wrote you a year before
and had never gotten an answer from you I thought you had
forgotten or was not able to write but you letter assured
us that you were still living and able to (tend?) to your
(laman) (damn?) business as to (Monroe?) mands our nephew
in California I only say that I have no money I am willing
to send to bring him back (her) at this time as is very
(sick) here at present is (likely) to be learchar(?) if the
war goes on There is a Mr Camans(?) in our (nighborhad)
that came from California last spring that knew him here
and knew him in California and says he was doing tolerable
he Believed there and never knew him distressed for means
of any kind and that he finds friends there who would take
care of him if he were sick or in distress of any kind as
to his legacy in North Carolina his guardian has sitted as
was coming to him there when he came to this country he
left some two or three hundred dollars in an agents hands
there to collect it for him which he did and (washington?)
was back there some seven or eight years he came to him to
pay over the to having no doubt he had his (Renps?)(Banks?)
for the purpose But knew nothing of it (next page)
No (fant?) a large (magarity) of the people of Misauris
Sipasis’ (sypathises) with the South but we are not willing
to (but?let?) our (Thants Bines?) Tennessee and other
states have seen proper to but theres us we believe I think
shudder at the thaut (thought) that our country is to becam
(become) a dispatism (despotism) and Be ruled by a Napalian
(Napoleon) or Cecar (Caesar) as Emperer (emperor) I see the
South Manifest a Dissasition (or difsasition?perhaps he
meant disposition) to give to Davis unlimited power in the
South without even the form of an election and the same
Spirit in the North to give Lincoln and his advisors the
same rite (right) in the North But perhaps the time is come
that god is going to free the negro and he is going to let
the masters worke (work) out their own distruction
(destruction) an feel satisfied god is at the helm and will
make all things work for his own glory, the heart of the
Christian and patriot must sink in despondency when he
looks at the deplorable situation of our country now and
look at our glorious future we anticipated (taula?tonla?)
(twelve?) months ago and for what the Southern dimagags
(demagogues) makes the Negro or the baby (hobby) horse to
ride into power on and this is what they want to be
president and rule the nation The North got power in the
same way by making the Negro their baby (hobby) and the
South (zuaurs?) (swears?) they must divide the government
before they can get power in the same way But I believe we
will yet be a unided (united) and happy people and those
who have Brat (brought) there (their) present evils on us
will (hide?) and (Sirihe?) into (alilli?) (game?) and (& te
all will and baving will?) (Dissolves into illegibility at
this point) It is signed L. H. Smith, or possibly LL Smith.
The letter is written on one large piece of paper folded
and written on both sides, so the pages between the first
and last pages are on the other side of the paper where
they cannot be seen except as faint marks where the ink
soaked through the paper.

Uncle Arnold says his great-great-grandfather died in a
Civil War prison, behind “barbed wire”, as he described it,
up near Chicago, captured as a Confederate spy. He died
there after an accident “rasslin’” with another inmate, or
so the story goes. He had written one last letter to his
son before he died. I’m not sure, and I need to follow up
on this, but it looks from my notes as if this might be
Grandma’s father, Minor, who received that letter.

In response to a message I posted to GenWeb, I received
three messages providing information on that Civil War
prison camp. There is a website on the general subject of
that dismal prison and the conditions of the prisoners
there at: , and
there is a page about the memorial to the soldiers who died
in that prison camp located at:,
and there is a list of the soldiers who died there - at
least the ones they have records of - located at:

A tombstone in Mt Pleasant had the name of Albert Powell,
born 1885, died 1977. It was the only tombstone in that
cemetery that bore the name of any of my ancestor’s
families. In Campbellsville, in the Campbellsville
Cemetery, I found the only other possible family grave, a
Jennie Powell Bue, 1850 - 1900.

The Campbellsville Cemetery was a very interesting
cemetery. There were several graves with granite slab
tombstones about the size of a grave, propped up level
about two feet above the ground on piles of stone. None of
these were familiar names, and the weathering made them
very hard to read. But they were very interesting to look
at, and I have pic’s of those, as well.

It was in Campbellsville that I also found a spring next to
(formerly behind/beside) the foundation of an old store,
just as described to me by my Uncle Arnold. I spoke to a
life-long resident, about my age, who was able to fill me
in on quite a bit of history. My apologies to the fellow,
as I failed to remember his name and did not write it down.
The houses across the field behind the spring house were
the homes of the original Campbells who settled the town,
and are still occupied by the family.

The garage was originally a blacksmith’s, and later became
a trucking company who hauled the milk for the area, as
described by Uncle Arnold! The man I spoke to seemed to own
it at present, and used it for a workshop and storage. Next
to is was the former bank, a small stone building.

Pulaski was actually a very pretty town. Although the girl
who was also staying at Janna’s house with us, named Robin,
said it was the birthplace or the capital for the KKK!(Shutter). But very
pretty, with nice homes, a beautiful downtown, well-kept
and well-preserved. They had some fairly large businesses
going, and things looked pretty prosperous. The downtown
area was neat and clean, and again, well preserved. It
looked like a postcard of an old-fashioned American town!
There was a large and impressive old courthouse in the
middle of the town square (complete with a little gazebo
where you might imagine there would be bands playing of a
summer evening). They had the requisite Confederate soldier
memorial statue across from the courthouse, this one for
Sam Davis, killed by the Federals as a spy in Pulaski in
1863. The courthouse clock still kept time. I was surprised
to see a Methodist College there, housed in a beautiful
historic mansion right off the town square. It was in the
Governor John C. Brown House - it has a Historical Monument
board in front. The historic building was purchased by the
college in 1996. The town is pretty much made up of
historic buildings and find old trees. Quite lovely.

I took a photo of a very plain Church of Christ building in
Pulaski. It doesn’t look old enough to have served the
Seagraves clan when they were in the area, even if they had
lived close enough to make the journey every week, which I
believe they did not.


E-mails from my sister from her trip to Tennesse

I got these e-mail from my sister Deanna Seagraves sometime in 2005, and I ment to post them then. So better late than never here is the e-mails from Deanna's trip and her digging up some of our family's roots.

Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2005 16:12:44
From: "Deanna Seagraves"To: "JANICE HARRELL"

I found Grandma's(Hattie Seagraves) grandpa - Minor Henderson Graves
was her dad, and David Alexander Graves was his dad. He's the one
who was captured and imprisoned and died in the Civil War.
I found a page about his company - check it out -
It's got the company flag and stuff.

Deanna Seagraves wrote:
Hey Jan -

I'm glad you liked 'em! That was by far the best part of
the trip - getting to chase my ancestry around the
countryside! I talked to that guy in Campbellsville for
at least half an hour. If I had had more time, I could have
gotten no end of information there - he did work for one
90-something-year-old man who remembered everything that
went on there, and knew of another friendly old coot with
a good memory who would have been happy to talk, too. But
alas, there was no time. I really should go back as soon
as I'm well and strong enough to do it without having to
depend on someone else to drive for me.

I knew we would be bumping into each other on the
internet at some point - we're poking around in the same places.
I've seen your messages posted to the board before, too.
And Mike's, and Nelda's.

Did I tell you I got a message from a Dr. Richard Seagraves?
He's a minister at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and is
interested in our earliest American progenitors, Frances and Lucretia
Seagraves. He's going to mail me a copy of Frances' will! Pretty cool, huh?

Since I have time right now, I'm really getting into it.
I've traced, I believe, every branch back to at least
1800 or therabouts, and I'm going to try to trace each of them
back to their countries of origin. I've been just tooling
along out of nothing more than curiosity, but now that
I'm beginning to make some real progress I'm starting to
think about what I want to do with it.

Krista's mom just published a book on their family
ancestry, with the family trees and photos and copies of
documents. I've been kind of prodding some of the cousins
- mainly Vivian - for information, but getting little
response. I think if I had something to show for my
curiosity and my work, something to give them back - they
might be a little more willing to put out the effort to
share what they have with me. I also intend to get up and
spend more time talking to Uncle Arnold. I feel a little
selfish, but I want to get as much information from him
as I can while he's still around to share it! Besides, he's
good company, he's the only one of his generation left,
and he seems to enjoy the company, too, so I don't feel too
badly. Maybe my first book will be a family genealogy!

Well, gotta get ready for my check-up with Dr. Malone in
Stanford. It'll be the last with him (dammit). He's
leaving Stanford and moving to San Luis Obispo to start
annoncology center down there. I'd happily follow him to keep
him as my doctor, but that's too far to drive. It's about 4 hours
from here. Stanford's only an hour away. Thank goodness!
I have to drive myself these days, and that's just about my
limit! In fact, it's almost more than I can manage if
there's traffic. I still don't seem to have enough mental
capacity to be able to pay attention to that much at
once, and it scares me a bit. That's just what I need, isn't
it? To survive leukemia just to get smooshed in a stupid car
accident driving myself to a check-up with my
hematologist? :p

Ahh, I'll be all right. If I can do this research, I can
manage that little trip mid-day on a Thursday! I should
have no trouble getting back before the evening rush
hour, and that's about the only time this trip gets hairy.
Well, I'm off! Wish me luck!

Love, D

Hi D,

Well, I guess Arnold has a different view of things;
were they lived and what they did, because he was older and
got to go and do more with "Pop" than Dad did or
remembered. It good to know these things, as it fills
in the gaps in Dad's stories.

I do remember the story of the cut(slice) in the
shoulder that Lionel got from Basil, because I heard it from
Lionel himself. He(Lionel) was hiding behind the
tobacco plant (I think he was going to jump out and say boo! A
lot of the "accidents" he had, had to do with his
practical jokes) and the Uncle(Powell?) saw him hiding
there, and said teasing, "I wonder if I can get this
knife(Handsaw?) all the way through that tobacco
And Basil said, "I can!"(typical! He was show off for
his Uncle) And didn't see Lionel until he hit him
(Lionel) in the arm on accident.(poor accident prone
Lionel!) Then of course the mad rush to the doctors,
and I remember Dad said, "Mom, (Grandma) was wringing out
the blood from the bandages(Sheet) and Lionel nearly bleed
to death from her doing that." But she didn't know that
would happen, she had no training in medicine(like dad
did later), or even have the practical knowledge we have

Great stuff! Keep it coming!

Love ya Jan
Hey Jan -

Hey, yeah, sure! Okay, I'm just going to paste in my
transciption of my notes from my conversation with Uncle
Arnold here and send them... (see below)


I am really looking forward to seeing what you dug up on
our family tree, and the especially what you were able to
piece together on our our branch of the tree. I've
gotten some inquiries on our leniage, and it will be nice
to put our family tree on my Seagraves family blog.

If you'd like to write up something about your trip, and
about your impression on seeing Tenneessee for the first
time, I'll post it on my blog. In that way you'll be my
field reporter for my blog.

Love ya
Hi Jan

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Okay, finally transcribing the notes I took from my
conversation with my Uncle Arnold just before flying out to
Tennessee and North Carolina.

Arnold’s aunt Myrtle Calvert lived close to Elk River.
Arnold was born in Mt. Pleasant. They lived in
Campbellsville from 1925 - 1936 (?). He said they lived in
Vito, Alabama for about 3 years prior to moving West.
Prospect - Elkton road

Random notes - I think he was talking about Campbellsville,
but I’m not positive; I waited too long to transcribe my
notes -
Downhill, turn left - Lotus Street - used to have brick
high school, 3 general stores, bank, garage, mill,
blacksmith’s shop (note: I did find the bank and blacksmith
shop buildings still standing in Campbellsville)
… from Pulaski - Campbellsville 1st houses close to main
street look for big house on left on right (??) - set way
back behind auto shop - rebuilt (he was talking about how
the house was falling down but they rebuilt it after moving
in (Note: I took pictures of houses in Campbellsville that
I thought could possibly be the house he was talking
Truck from Pulaski - milk delivery (Note: The garage,
formerly the blacksmith’s shop, that I took a photo of in
Campbellsville used to house the milk delivery trucks that
brought the milk from Pulaski.)
Mt Pleasant is on the same road 25 miles or 30 to the
Arnold tried to catch a train, fell and got a hurt leg and
then walked all the way to Campbellsville. It got infected
and he had to have it lanced.

William Big Boyd(?) in Petersburg, last to die, hired a
woman to cook for him and married her. She moved, sold the
house and moved to Petersburg. House next to sidewalk big 2
story steps from 2nd street where you can see where it
Francis Atkinson, maybe? (dunno what that means)
Spring in town used to be a garage on west side of square
parth went right by left side of garage - used to have to
cross a stream from it. The… Clarence Campbell founded -
Big Creek - followed creek to the spring and settled, had
his two brothers join him there. (Note: it really is called
Big Creek, and I found the spring and took pictures of it!)

Swimming - Basil, Lionel and Arnold swam in Big Creek north
of Campbellsville. Fished - caught catfish - there was some
sort of animal similar to a dog lived in holes in the banks
of the creek - they would reach in for fish and get bit. 4
X 8 seine net used to fish, or caught by hand. Pop wore
only pair of bib overalls - caught big trout in his “dry
goods” (his corset, Arnold explained). Arnold said they
“knew where everybody else was”, but the younger ones
weren’t with them on these excursions.
Frog hunt - went out in a 10 ft. wooden boat Pop built. It
had a seat across the top and paddles. They would go out on
the 30 - 40’ wide creek and have either a flashlight or a
light they made from an old Chevrolet car headlight, hooked
up to 4 telephone batteries. The frog froze, allowed them
to catch him if you kept water out of its eyes. Basil was a
good rower. Put frogs in gunny sacks hung over the back end
of the boat. Found a fish line “trot line” (even then they
were against the law) - and stole 4-5 fish off the line.
They caught mostly perch, trout, “sickers”, whatchacall
suckers. The guys who ran the trotline came along, and
asked them what they were doing there. They told ’em they
were frog hunting.

They used that same big light used to go in a big cave, the
“Salt Peter Cave” way back in the hills. Some old people
said it went for miles, never been mapped. In the
Revolutionary War (I think he meant the Civil War) they
used salt peter to make gunpowder.

G-G-grandfather he was captured. Tennessee was called the
volunteer state - he was a Confederate soldier caught near
Chicago. They put him in prison for a spy. It was just a
barbed wire fence. He was wrasslin’ and got hurt- killed
him. Arnold used to have a letter written to g-grandfather
from that prison. Mentioned Minor Graves - Grandma’s
father!!! Gotta ask Robin if she’s got the letter. Joel
died before Arnold was born - brother named Will, Les &
Joe, Annie May’s dad (Anne James) Geneva’s sister may still
be in Mt. Pleasant. When they came out to CA, there was a
boy named Joey who babysat Sue and David for Arnold. She
came out again about ‘76 - ‘77. Regina (Arnold calls her
“Ricky”) and Arnold went to Tennessee. Northern part toward
Columbia. (okay… don’t know what that refers to)
I asked about Lionel and his “rocks in his head” and
accident-prone-ness. Lionel got hit in the head with a
hammer. They were living in Mt. Pleasant - big house with
couple of barns - sharecroppers - landlord provides land,
teams, and plows, and they raised corn, then tobacco. The
door came off corn crib - there was a hall that went all
the way through the barn 3-4 feet above the ground. The top
piece to the sliding door came loose. Basil was fixing it,
hammering, swung back and hit Lionel.
They had an old Surrey hard-top in the hay shed. The shed
was 60’ high, both ends open. They would drive the hay
wagon in and unload - high - it was rigged up pretty high.
They would get up on top of Surrey, throw their pitchfork,
then jump up and follow. Lionel went first, then Basil,
Aubrey(?) had short one went in points-up, and Lionel slid
down onto the points. It went through his belly and groin.
Called the doctor, and he came out. He was only allowed the
white of raw egg to eat. He was about 8 or 9 years old. The
wound didn’t bother him again until after moved to CA. From
1922-1937 it didn‘t bother him - but then left leg swelled
and shrank. Doc checked veins, and it turned out they had
crossed at the wound instead of going down the leg, both
major veins just went down one leg. They performed surgery
and fixed it. Never bothered him again. Another time,
Lionel jumped off the barn with an unbrella (with wooden
tines) for a parachute. They were always building
Pop worked in the phosphate plant (note: there is a little
history museum in Mt. Pleasant with a lot of stuff on the
phosphate plant) - they had a lot of 1” pipe - train track
wheels - drag line ran on - made cart and track down steep
hill and ran out of pipe. Rolled log down hill, ran up on
log (to stop). Lionel had to be first all the time - hit
the end of the pipe track and tumbled head over and over
and over. Another time, they were gonna build an airplane,
biplane (from WWI) out of galvanized roofing tin, boards on
that, and a board tail. Lionel had to be first, pulled it
up on hill. Held up on shoulders, fell about 10 feet,
knocked out 2 front teeth - 4 new teeth grew in where the
two fell out.
They grew tobacco in Campbellsville, Arnold was 14 or 15,
Lionel 16, had help - a sucker grew above each leaf that
had to be removed, then the tobacco had to be cut. Some of
them used a 2 foot long knife - Pop made out of a handsaw -
black, sharp on bottom and on the back - they split the
tobacco stalk to hang over a stick in the barn to dry. 2
uncles, 3 nephews came to help - “whole bunch of us” Sam
Powell - cousin, Willi (?) lived with family during tobacco
season - Sam was 250 pounds, very tall.
One time the tobacco pile was getting high, so Lionel laid
down on the stack. The others continued working, laid it
2-3 feet on top of him. They had a contest to see who could
run their knife all the way though the pile, and Basil hit
Lionel on the shoulder, drove the knife all the way through
his shoulder. Cousin drove 1922 Model “T” to Pulaski.
Grandma used sheets to stop the bleeding, and he bled so
much they had to stop and buy another sheet on route when
the first sheet got too full of blood.
Used to go upon real steep hill on the farm that was
covered with big trees and grape vines and cut the vines
and use them to swing way out over the low land. Lionel -
had to be first - backed way up, started swinging, vine
pulled loose, and he landed 50 feet down hill.

Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

An up-date on our cousin Becky Seagraves

This is an edited e-mail from Cusin Nelda from Pulaski Tenn. That I wanted to share with everyone, as she mentions cousin Becky's condition. (Becky is the one who was in the terrible accident, that killed her husband David Seagraves early in December '05).

Hi Cuz',

We had a Seagraves holiday get together on Christmas Day night and it went very well I felt it so important this year since we just lost Dave and his birthday would have been the 26th, and Joe(Dave's father) needed his family.

Becky is improving, I am happy to say, that she has been moved to a nursing facility closer to home and gets to see the boys everyday. She recognizes them and soon they will be removing her tube that helps her breath and she will be able to talk. Still it's too soon to know the extent of her injuries as far as having a "normal" life but we are thankful for her progress so far.

I saw the news about all this in the blog and thank you for caring and passing it along to everyone else. Please email me soon and as always so good to hear from you. Oh yeah, some of the family are getting together for a small New Years celebration tonight and sure wish you could be here, that would be great!!

Love Ya -Take Care Cuz!!!

Thank you Nelda, for the up-date. And I hope and pray that Becky makes a full recovery.
Happy New Year to you, and all the Seagraves family.