MYERS CEMETERY PRESERVATION ASSOCIATON NEWSLETTER
Vol. 2 No. 1March 8, 2013 Myers Cemetery Preservation Association is grateful for your past interest and support in preserving Myers Cemetery. Your membership fees and donations have enabled M.C.P.A. to provide regular maintenance for the cemetery grounds.
We deeply appreciate the work of Ronnie Webb in providing the mowing services.
During 2012, MCPA board members and volunteers scheduled work days and to clear the overgrowth and repair several stones. In late 2011, MCPA contracted with Maryville Monumental to realign the Carver Stone. Seeing the need for additional restoration, MCPA Board members scheduled four work days during 2012. During those work days, several grave markers were realigned and repairs were made to approximately twenty older stones. Glenn McCampbell, with City of Townsend, provided valuable assistance in realigning one of the larger grave markers. In addition to the restoration work, three MCPA members Glenn Myers, Walt King and J.T. Tipton, built an informational kiosk for the cemetery. All labor and materials for this project were donated. The kiosk provides space for cemetery mapping, posters, photographs and space for a donation box. Many local residents and out of town visitors come to Myers cemetery in search of ancestral ties. Cemetery steps, originally built by CCPA in 2004, were rebuilt by Glenn Myers in October of the past year. In August of 2012, MCPA again held a MCPA fundraiser at Townsend High School. Receipts from concessions and membership donations have helped in MCPA’s efforts to continue cemetery maintenance. This event also offers MCPA board members a good opportunity to meet with many who are or were former residents of Townsend. It has been good to share and learn more of the history of Myers Cemetery and the community of Townsend. We are most appreciative to the THS Alumni Association for their support in our efforts. During the past year, President of MCPA, Glenn Myers (the Golman Myers Family) donated several wormy chestnut boards that once stood on his great grandfather’s Peter Myers farm in Cades Cove. Local craftsman, Mike Clemmer, (Wood n’ Strings Dulcimer Shop) joined with MCPA in crafting a one of a kind dulcimer from these boards. The dulcimer was offered in a successful bidding fundraiser (October 15th through December 15th.) Proceeds from that bid ($1200) will be used for further restoration work and maintenance. The Myers Cemetery Preservation Association is grateful for the help and encouragement we continue to receive from Cades Cove Preservation Association members who share a common heritage and interest in preserving history. The MCPA website, created by CCPA.Webmaster Gloria Motter, has been a tremendous tool in sharing the history of Myers Cemetery and the ongoing preservation efforts of MCPA. www.myerscemeterytownsend.comGlenn D. Myers, MCPA President
MEMBERSHIP/RENEWAL OF MEMBERSHIP FORM- Date_______________
List ancestors buried in Myers Cemetery unless you have previously provided that information.
Thank you for your annual $10 individual membership donation which will be used for upkeep of the cemetery. Mailing address-Glenn Myers 8161 Cedar Creek Road, Townsend, TN 37882
The annual Decoration for Myers Cemetery is scheduled for the 4th Sunday of May (May 25-26) which coincides with the Bethel Cemetery Decoration. This is a good time to remember and pay respect to our ancestors who made these Coves their home.
MYERS CEMETERY ANNUAL MEETING
MCPA’s annual meeting will be held a week earlier this year due to travel schedules. The planned meeting is scheduled at Townsend Visitors Center Pavilion on Saturday, May 11th at 4:00 PM. Please watch for the notice in The Daily Times—for confirmation of this date. We invite all members and other interested persons to join us for the business meeting. This allows attendees to share family information and be brought up to date on cemetery restoration and preservation.
MYERS CEMETERY PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION FILINGS
On June 10, 2010, Myers Cemetery Preservation Association was officially designated by the State of Tennessee as a non profit corporation. An annual report is filed each April with the Secretary of State.
On receipt of MCPA’s 1024 application for income tax exemption, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury determined (September 21, 2013) that MCPA had met those requirements and is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Follow up reports on earnings and operation of a non profit corporation will be filed as required.
A record of MCPA minutes and treasurer reports are maintained and made available to officers and on request to MCPA members and required governmental agencies. MCPA’s current budget needs are $2400 annually. Membership fees, donations, and fund-raisers help us meet that budget. Voluntary labor, specified donations and supplies for restoration have been most helpful.
During the past three years the work of MCPA has focused on:
•Providing regular mowing for Myers Cemetery- approx. 15 mowings for year •Design and erection of Myers Cemetery Sign •Scheduling work days to clean debris each year •Scheduling work days to realign and repair broken gravestones •Building an informational kiosk •Rebuilding cemetery steps •Mapping of cemetery gravesites- posted on kiosk •Development of Cemetery website/by CCPA webmaster Gloria Motter •Membership recruitment- approximately 100 current members •Support and appreciation for the Cades Cove Preservation Association •Fund raising events to support budgetary needs- budget $2400 yearly Dulcimer bidding netted MCPA $1200 winning bid-- THS Concessions •Preservation of Myers Cemetery history through presentations and participation in festivals and special events
TANG, POST OFFICE OF TUCKALEECHEE COVE
For several years, Tang (named for a popular liniment) was the name given to Tuckaleechee Cove post office. Its first postmaster was ‘Sleepy’ John Myers, the second son of William Myers (1817-1895) who owned much of the land surrounding Myers Cemetery. According to the 1870 census, William’s real estate value was $10,000 and personal property valued at $1300. Likewise, his son Sleepy John, the postmaster, owned considerable property and had many business interests. Sleepy John was a man of faith and could be found on Sunday mornings sitting in the Amen corner of his church.
Excerpts from a light hearted poem. TANG, are included on the next page. This piece of writing was shared by the McNiell family. This document is part of a collection of photos and documents collected by their late father S.P. McNiell, Sr. who was at one time a bookkeeper for the W.B. Townsend Lumber Mill/Little River Railroad Co. The verses, written about 1893, (later appearing in the Daily Times) give us a glimpse of life as it was in Tuckaleechee Cove during that period of history. Tuckaleechee, like Cades Cove, was a progressive community. People worked hard providing for their families, supporting their schools and churches and coping with illnesses and deaths. Several stanzas of that bit of poetry are included below. The unknown writer wanted readers to be aware of the good things going on in Tang and hoped those stories would be shared in the local newspaper.
TANG (written about 1893)
Tis seldom a letterAnd school teachers for 1893 From this place you seeI’ll just mention for fun The cause of this Rambo and Adams Is a mystery to meJosie Tipton and Ella Dunn Among so many men And doctors –There are two Great honest and trueThey move with a hustle And college boys plentiful Their names are familiar With little to doJoe Jenkins and J. Henry Russell It seems that a letterOf merchants there are four Each week should appearAnd keep a good stock Full of items of interestThey are Hunter, Emert From both far and nearBill Bird and Doc There are incidents numerousWe have two squires From mountain to stationWho work for the ‘mon’ And someone to workI am sure you will know them At every occupationThey are Jenkins and Dunn Of churches there are fourAnd the millers are numerous All prosperous and strongYou can scarcely get about In harmony and loveThey are Abbott, Sam Compton They are moving alongAnd Cool Yearout And with preachers we are blestAnd of hunters there is one They are as numerous as the rabbit, Who always leads the gang There are Adams, Hamilton, BrickeyHis right name is Myers Henry, Tittsworth, and AbbottBut we all call him Shang There are two Sunday SchoolsAnd traders-there are so many Which success fully standIt is almost absurd I love to see them prosperThe most notable of which God bless the little bandIs our own Warren Bird And singing masters? Yes, Of smiths we have many I’ll name them to a manAll try to make a show There are Adams, Uncle Headrick, They can shoe a horse Thomas Lawson and DanAnd sharpen a plow. (From the McNiell Collection)
BLOUNT COUNTY GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY
THE BLOUNT JOURNAL
The 2013 Spring issue of the Blount Journal has just been published. We appreciate the inclusion of an article on the history of Myers Cemetery. The latest copy also includes an article on the Townsend Merchantile Company which served the community during and after the W.B. Townsend Lumber Mill days of operation. Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society is a non profit organization and an affiliate of Blount County Library. These journals include excellent articles, a wealth of information and treasured photos of Blount County history. You may wish to check out their website for information on membership.www.blountcountytngenealogy.org
Since its formation three years ago, MCPA has lost some of its very devoted members. Their contributions of financial support and volunteer labor helped establish a good foundation for the work of preserving this historic cemetery. During those years it was a pleasure talk with these supporters and their families and learn of their connections to Tuckaleechee Cove and its early settlers. Their stories of kin buried here helped in our understanding of the interconnections of families who once lived in these Coves. The following is a list of those caring individuals who have passed away since MCPA’s formation in late 2009.
Stuart McNiell, Jr.Hugh MyersRex Porter J.C. MorganLawrence HodgeClaude Johnson Jr. Velma Myers DunnJohn Paul DavisDaniel Davis C.H. BradshawDon Heatherly Dave Post
CONTENTS OF OLD LETTERS HOLD TREASURED BIT OF HISTORY
William Myers, who is buried in Myers Cemetery, was a letter writer. These handwritten letters to his ‘kin’ give us a glimpse of life as it was in the latter part of 1800. Faith, family, education, economics, Illnesses, deaths, politics, raising crops, and trading were topics of daily conversation. Thanks to members of William’s family, particularly to his daughter Martha Jane and her husband Lavater Wear, and the authors of The Connections in East Tennessee Olga Edwards and Izora Frizzell, these handwritten notes were preserved and shared. Some of his quotes are included with the original spelling and expression.
William’s letters (April 1885) to daughter Martha Jane Myers Wear and school teacher husband Lavater in Arkansas talk about family concerns, raising crops and bad times. In one letter he writes, “We had the worst winter I ever saw. I sowed 25 bushels of wheet its nearly all dead. I plowed it up and sowed otes. Corn is one dollar per bushel.”
(May 1894)William writes again to family.” The weather turned cold here about Easter and froze the wheet and otes and everything to death. Killed the peach tree, the onions and everything else in the garden.”
William Myers writing to son in law Lavater Wear in September and December of 1884- “I was glad to hear you was all well. There is a great deal of sickness in the Cove. More cases of fever than I ever saw before. Susa Tipton has been very low but is a gitting better. Her little girl is dead and her son Abe died. . Betsy Scott is very low with fever now. Joe Scott is able to go a bout but is lible to git down at any time. Richard Burnes oldest girl died a few days ago with fever. William Caler and all his family had the fever and are looking for his wife to die at any time. Old Daniel Headrick’s William died a few days ago with the fever. Joseph Scott’s son in law Sparks is dead.”
THE FANCHER GIRLS
John and Jane Dunn Myers, who owned the property on which Myers Cemetery is located, had ten children who all lived to marry. Daughter Emelia (Milly) married Caleb Fancher son of Johnson and Frances Fancher of Sevier County. Both Caleb and Milly are buried in Myers cemetery as well as Levi and Eliza Fancher. Milly and Caleb had eight children. Nancy E., Johnson W., William, Levi L. Frances Jane, Mary S., Martha L. Eliza F.,
John and Jane Myers’ daughter Millie and her two unmarried daughters Nancy and Frances Jane and another daughter Susan Myers Tipton can be credited with preserving many of their parent’s stories. Millie had in her possession pot hooks made by her father as a wedding present. The unmarried Fancher girls lived and maintained the family household which included a spinning wheel brought by John and Jane from Greene County about 1820.The Fancher girls passed down stories regarding hardships faced during Civil War years. They would tell of hiding potatoes and other stored vegetables from intruders coming into the Cove. Valued farm animals were also hid away until the troops or intruders moved on. Many of these stories were also passed down by another daughter Martha Fancher who married Dillard (Dee) Lynch Webb (son of Merry Webb). Merry Webb and several members of the Webb family are interred in Myers Cemetery.
WINTER FESTIVAL 2013
It was indeed a cold snowy day in February when the Townsend Winter Festival was held at the Heritage Center, Townsend Visitor’s Center and other locations. The shared memories and rekindled stories brought smiles, laughter and tears to those who braved the elements.
David Ledbetter presented an excellent visual overview of Little River Railroad as it was from 1901 to 1939. The lumber mill day years are rich in history and changed the face of the Coves. A second video presentation showcased archived photos of the 13 fire towers that stood in the GSMNP. These excellent old photos and narration, shared by David Ledbetter, Jr. told of those whose early work building and maintaining these towers protected the mountains of our area. Missy Tipton Greene and Paulette Ledbetter shared some terrific photos of early Tuckaleechee Cove and Townsend community. (Missy and Paulette are in the process of collecting and publishing a Photo Collection of Tuckaleechee Cove). Larry Sparks took us along on cattle drives to Spence Field and other grazing areas of the mountains. Through the stories shared by Bernard Myers we were transported back to life as it was in Myers town in Cades Cove. Betty Best provided a moving story of her grandmother’s experiences living during Civil War. Holding a piece of ‘hard tack’ she spoke about the meager rations of those who fought on either side. Women and children, left behind to look after the farm, faced intruders as well as the harsh realities of making a living and caring for their families. The personality and life of Becky Cable came to life in a presentation by Judy Myers Johns and Vernalee Myers.
In connection with Winter Festival 2013, Charlie Monday conducted two dowsing demonstrations at Myers Cemetery. Even though it was a snowy day, those attending came away with new insight regarding the technique of dowsing. Dowsing was once used by our ancestors as a way to detect underground sources of water. Myers Cemetery has one or two sections with many unmarked gravesites. Historian Inez Burns’ writings indicate that a church once stood in the oak grove next to the bike trail. During this dowsing demonstration, Charlie gave attendees a hands-on experience using dowsing rods. His findings at Myers Cemetery lead him to believe that the large area with few gravestones does have interred remains; it is thought that these early graves were once enclosed by a fence which was probably a family plot. MCPA is anxious to learn more about the early layout of the historic cemetery. We appreciate the interest and work of Charlie Monday in exploration and possible location of any lost gravesites. Early census compilations by Stinnett, Little (Burns) and most recently by Robert McGinnis, curator of James White Fort, have been instrumental in our preserving Myers Cemetery history. Once again, we appreciate any information or corrections you may share.
You may contact MCPA for more information by calling President Glenn Myers at (865)223-2477 or emailing Marilyn Myers Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org. On your request an online link to photos of Myers Cemetery will be emailed to you. A copy of this newsletter may also be sent online. Board Members- Glenn Myers, Dr. Carole Myers, David Ledbetter, Paulette Ledbetter, Rick Law Dennis Pearson, Van Myers, Robert Webb, Dale Carnes, Marilyn Myers Byrd. Advisory/THS Alumni President Joan Webb