We returned to the Minnis House from our visit to Lost Creek to find that our intrepid innkeepers, the Stapletons, had invited a friend over to talk to us.
Jimmy Taylor is a retired rural postal carrier and knows the area inside and out. We told him about the Haworths and he knew immediately which cemetery we were looking for. Since it was still daylight, Cheryl and I talked him into driving out with us to find it. (Dad declined to go and stayed behind to read up on the area.)
It was early evening and while still very warm, there was a breeze and the shadows were long. Cheryl drove, Jimmy navigated—and no, we never would have found the cemetery without him—and gave us a history lesson at the same time.
When we arrived at the crossroads where the cemetery should be, he hesitated. The trees were thick and as I mentioned before, it was off the road on private land. We drove around the corner and came to a home where a man was out in the yard, grilling dinner. Jimmy directed Cheryl and I to stay in the car, while he got out and talked to the man. This was a prudent move on his part. While Oklahoma is a southern culture in many ways, I still don’t have the requisite southern drawl of a Tennessee native and Cheryl hails from Iowa, which makes her definitely a Yankee. (You’d know this about Cheryl if you ever came to Thanksgiving at our house. Her turkey stuffing has …. wait for it … NO cornbread in it! Sacrilege! But her pies are to die for so we figure it evens out in the end.)
After a minute, Jimmy (in the middle of the photo below) waved us out of the car and introduced us to Julie (left) and Carmen (right) Caprio, the landowners.
The cemetery was up the hill behind their house and they not only agreed to let us go up there, but accompanied us. We pushed through some shrubs and around a fence and there it was. Someone had cleaned it up in recent years, but no one seemed to know who had done it. It was in much better shape than the Lost Creek cemetery.
An old road ran in front of this cemetery. It dead-ended at the fence we had just come around, but continued for a short way in the other direction, leading to another house a few yards down. Carmen told us that this road was once called Haworth Road and used to extend through what is now his property. The cabin the Haworths would have lived in is long gone, but I suspect that it had been somewhere in the vincinity.
This whole area is nestled in a bend in the Holston River, like a small peninsula surrounded by the river on three sides. In fact, several of my ancestors listed “Haworth’s Bend” as their birthplace. In his Civil War diary, David Haworth talks about swimming this river to escape capture by the Confederates. But the river wasn’t really visible from the cemetery.
So Carmen and Julie thought we should meet their neighbor Gilbert. Gilbert had lived on the land next to the river most of his long life. We would be able to see the river from his property and also get more information about the Haworths from him. After a quick phone call, we were on our way to Gilbert’s house just down the road.
Next time: A ferry, an Indian cave and the legend of the 200-year-old willow tree.
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!