Sunday, January 01, 2006

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!

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