Monday, October 31, 2016

Yes, you can call me an Arkansas hillbilly

I have written before about how deeply I feel my ties to Pensacola. I have, however, omitted that I live in a state where I have several family ties. I didn't know until I was 20 that my grandfather's family came from Arkansas, but it was many more years before I knew just how strong my ties to Arkansas are.

From the window of the hospital where I worked, I could look out and see a church in Benton that was built on land donated by my grandfather's great grandmother and her two brothers. A few of the cousins I have found a long the way have shown me where the family lived and are buried. Through them I walked on land that my family owned when my grandfather's father was born.

Pop never knew his father, so that's what makes the discovery of his father's family, and of his half brother's children so special. I know that for all of his life, what he wanted more than anything, was to know about his father. Sadly it was about a decade after he died, but I found them.

A few weeks ago we took a drive up to Mount Magazine to see the fall foliage. On the way we drove through the area where my Adams, Roger and Hager family settled around the time of the Civil War. I know we were not far from the family cemetery for the Rogers, and a cousin told me that on the way up the mountain, I pass the remains of the saw mill ran by Henry Rogers. ( I still haven't seen it though).

I am not allowed to stop at  cemeteries on family outings any more. My daughter doesn't even want me to mention I have noticed one, and well, my mom isn't too fond of it either. So I plan on making a trip up there I hope soon with a co worker, whose husband is my fourth cousin. At least she shares my interest in visiting the family grave sites.

My mom and daughter did reluctantly agree that they could see why the family settled there. On the plateaus of the Ozark foothills, with scenic vistas I can picture the lives my family lived 160 or so years ago. And if she doesn't share my interest in family history, my daughter shares my interest in architecture.

We drive by and point out the interesting older homes, and she absolutely fell in love with the Franciscan Abby at Subiaco, Arkansas. I talk a lot about the history of our country, our state, or our family on these trips.  I hope she remembers at least half of what I say, and that someday, she may drive the same roads, walk the same land, and feel the same connections to her own history.

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