|By Alias ||
Posted 05-02-2004 at 07:01:23
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Hope you enjoy this.
Did Ye Have a Fight?
Yesterday, Nancy and I went to the Mason-Dixon 1st Intertribal Powwow which was held at Mason-Dixon Fairgrounds in Delta Pa. It was a gala event and it appeared that all in attendance enjoyed themselves. A circle had been laid out using hay bales for the folks to sit on while watching the entertainers perform their Native dances. There was a tent at an opening in the bales where the Drummers and Singers (Chanters) were seated. The dances performed ritual dances to the earth, fire, water and wind. And, a few other things like the Bear for strength, and the Cougher for stealth and swiftness. There were a lot of colorful costumes and an overkill on the beads and Bangles they wore. But,, all in all it was a well spent afternoon.
Before each performer did his/her dance, they would describe what the dance was about and elaborated on their desire to keep their heritage alive. And, I guess it caused me to think that keeping ones past alive is a good thing. After all, I had spent many hours over the years researching and tracing my own family tree. For, I’ve always believed that to know where you’re going, it’s best to know where you’re from. Now, it seems that getting involved with family genealogy wasn’t something that I just decided one day. No, I’m sure it started when I was just a wee tiny little lad listening to the elders tell stories before the fireplace or around the kitchen table. For story telling was way of life around our household during my growing up years. And, like the Indians at the Powwow, I try to keep alive the heritage of my family through the stories I tell.
Now, it’s important to point out that my youngest sister Charlotte not only joined me in the research, but, she devoted many, many more hours to the investigation than I. And, every time either of us found anything of significant importance, we would immediately get on the phone and tell of our discovery. Now, since she lived in another state our phone bills nearly landed us in the poor house. But, it was for the overall good of the family and especially our children so we went cheerfully with the cost.
Through our research, we learned that our great-great grandfather was wounded during the battle of Chickamauga. He had ridden with, If I remember correctly, the 149th North Carolina Calvary. We found a letter of record in which his Commander started that “Lt. Putnam advanced further against the enemy than anyone under his command. We also learned that he was raised in Rutherford County, NC near the town of Shelby. So, Charlotte and I planned a trip to Shelby to see what we could find. At the time of our departure, Nancy, my wife, couldn’t get off from work, so the two of us set out together on our adventure.
Our trip carried us from my home in Harford County, Md., down I-95 to the Washington beltway and southward across the Potomac River and into Virginia. Then it was open road all the way to Petersburg were we left I-95 and took I-85 all the way to charlotte and beyond to where we left the Interstate and took route 74 west to Shelby. When we arrived there we took rooms at a motel and the next morning we were up early and rushing to get started.
Through earlier communications with a woman in the area, Charlotte had learned that our g’- g’- g’- g’- grandfather had donated the land and had helped to build the Zoir Baptist Church a few miles south from Schelby. Now when we arrived at the Church, we noticed workmen with a crane truck putting up a new memorial stone, or monument. We parked well out of their way and went about our business of looking for familiar names on headstones. As we traversed through the many isles of markers, a man approached and asked if he could assist us. He explained that he was the minister of the church and would be glad to give whatever assistance he could. When we told him that we were looking for the headstone of a certain Elias Putnam, he declared, Now, that is a coincidence. Those people over there are erecting a monument to the same man. He was the founder of this church. Come, he said, let me take you over and introduce you. By the time we walked over, the workmen were just taking their slings of the huge granite Stone. The minister went ahead and spoke to a man and woman and explained our visit to the site. It turned out that the woman was the same lady that Charlotte had spoken with several months before. And, she too, was a g’- g’- g’- g’- gdaughter of the man whose was being honored on the stone, Elias, Putnam.
we spent a couple of more days in and around Shelby, mostly in the courthouse hall of records. We found some pleasantly interesting and rewarding things about our family. Too many to tell about here. For, I fear it would only serve to bore the reader. Putting that aside, we left Shelby and traveled to Ashville and toured the Biltmore Estate. Then we drove east on route 70 toward Marion and to route 228, across the Blue Ridge at Little Switzerland and down to Spruce Pine. It was getting late when we got there so we decided to put up for the night. But, the only motel in town had apparently been sprayed for bugs because the smell was more than we could bear. It’s a good thing we asked to see the rooms before we paid the fair. So, we left there and drove on into the night toward our Dear Aunt Martha’s house at Buladeen. She was in bed when we arrived but one of her daughters, Doris was spending the night there and was still awake.
Of course, in the old time tradition of the hills, whenever a visitor comes, it is a must that you make them feel as though they were at home. So, even at the late hour, food was places on the table and the four of us sat and enjoyed being together. Before we left the next day, the word was sent out and several members of the Putnam clan came out to shake our hands and say hello. It was a bitter-sweet parting as we drove away. It would be the last time we’d see Aunt Martha alive. About two years later she died at a ripe old age. If I remember rightly, she was ninety.
Next we crossed the Iron Mountain Gap and dropped down into the limestone Cove in Unicoi County, Tn. Stopped and visited more relatives. Went on to Woodby hill and visited some more then we went down to Hampton and on to Elizabethton to visit our Brother Frank and his family. The next day, we got a late start on our return trip home. It was nearly noon when we left Betsy town and headed for Bristol and Interstate 81. Toward twilight, we stopped at a Best Western motel on the out skirts of Lexington, Va. When we went in to the office to register, I said to the woman behind the counter, “We’d like two rooms, Please” . And, without considering the possibility that we were anything other than man and wife, or old man and lover, the clerk said, “What’s the matter, didjes have a fight”? And, that’s when the wit and humor kicked in and I responded as cool as the center seed of a cucumber with , “Look lady, I’ve listened to this D@@med womans’ mouth all day. And, I’ll be d@@med if I’ll listen to it tonight. Well, you could have heard a pin drop. The woman’s mouth flew open and she cast a quick glance at sister Charlotte who picking up on my que, dropped her eyes to the floor and in an instant displayed her world famous Charlotte Rose Putnam, lower lip pout. And just as instantly, one could see all the care and compassion in the world in the eyes of the room clerk.
that’s enough for now so i’m going to call this...... THE END...........gfp