Getting Local Advice

July 25, 2011

Minnis House proprietors, the Stapletons

What an incredible week it has been! We finished up a great family reunion in South Carolina, visited my Haworth ancestors’ hometown of New Market, Tenn., and when I got home I received the Civil War pension records I had ordered for all four Haworth brothers! (I don’t think I’ll have a problem finding blog post topics for the next few weeks.)

First, let me sing the praises of Kim and David Stapleton, proprietors of the Minnis House bed and breakfast in New Market. We had less than 24 hours to spend researching in New Market and that included a trip to the Jefferson County courthouse in nearby Dandridge, Tenn. When my stepmother Cheryl suggested finding a B&B, my father doubted there would be such a thing in a town as small as New Market. Naturally, Cheryl proved him wrong and found one immediately. Oh Dad of little faith.

When we rolled into town in the late afternoon after a full day of driving, we went straight to the Minnis House and checked in. When we explained to Kim and David, lifelong residents of New Market, why we were in town they literally sprang into action. David pulled some books about the area from the house library for us to read during our stay. Kim called a friend, Jimmy Taylor, who is a retired mail carrier and consequently knows the area very well, and invited him over to meet us. She called the pastor of the Quaker church my Haworth ancestors attended (yes, it’s still there and in use!) to see if we could look inside the church. She called another friend, a local author, who had written a book about the Civil War in Jefferson County. In short, the Stapletons marshaled every local expert they could think of which led to some lovely, unexpected discoveries I will be writing about soon.

The morals of this story?

  1. Never underestimate the power of the local community. If we’d decided to stay at Generic Motel, we never would have had the experiences we did in the small amount of time we had available — or at all.
  2. When in the Knoxville area, stay at the Minnis House.
  3. Occasionally, father doesn’t know best.

To be continued!


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

Join Nancy and many Family Tree University instructors at FTU’s Virtual Conference, August 19-21, 2011!

2 thoughts on “Getting Local Advice

  1. I was not as lucky as you were. I had a local lady who was a certified genealogist look up two names for me in Wayne County, New York, and she found nothing. This lady felt really bad that she had not found anything, but apparently there was nothing to find back in the 1820/30s there. I had already found 2 deeds, one for a lot purchase and the other for another lot sale-nothing for the sale of the one and nothing for the purchase of the other. That’s Genealogy.

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