Saturday, March 23, 2013

Searching for Allens

Rambling through cemeteries, and searching for tombstones, was always a favorite pastime for my mother and me, when I would come home for a visit. For over 30 years, I've been researching my family - the various branches on the many trees of Walker, Anderson, Allen, Gibson, Duckworth, Miller, Hester, Langford, and the list goes on and on. Going back just 10 generations, to your 8th great grandparents, you have 1,024 ancestors from which to select. In addition, if you choose to track some of your indirect lines (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.); you will have a database with thousands of names.

My mom and dad's grandmothers were sisters, making my parents third cousins. My mother had a great memory and seemed to store as much information in her head as I do, on my laptop. She knew as much, or more, about my dad's family than he did (and was a lot more interested than he was!)

On one of my trips home, mother had a cemetery trip all planned. Dad's grandmother, on his mother's side, was an Allen. Someone had told mom, that there was an old Allen cemetery, in the county, and she wanted to find it. She pulled out the directions she had been given, and we headed out on our adventure. We were just certain this was to be a great day for collecting names and dates of ancestors.

Up Hwy 531 we went, and from there, I have no idea what country roads we took or how we finally made our way back home much later that same day. We stopped, several times, to inquire about the "Old Allen Cemetery" and were usually met with blank stares and shaking heads. Finally, we found someone who thought he knew where it might be.

We found the burial ground (it was no longer a cemetery). The few graves, many of the stones were broken and destroyed (reminiscent of our family's Old Miller Cemetery) sat in the middle of a pasture filled with cows AND bulls. Not being a brave soul, anyway, I was not sure just how interested I was now. My family tree might have to exist without these Allens!

Mom had a brilliant idea. I was to stop and let her out of the car on the road at the far corner of the pasture. Mom would call the cows, and bulls (as far as I was concerned, the bulls were the ones I was worried about) to the fence. While she had them "cornered" I was to get into the pasture and record the information. Now, mom was an old farm girl, and knew how to call the cows in, so I had no doubt this would be a success.

After mom was in place, I turned into the little road to the pasture and stopped just short of the cattle gap. As we had planned, I tooted the car horn to let her know I was ready to go in. As soon as I heard mom calling and saw them turn to go to the sound of her voice ......I began to make my way over the cattle gap and the downed, but treacherous, barbed wire fence.

I was wandering slowly, with my pad and pencil, through the few remaining stones when I heard mom yelling (quite frantically) "Run, Sarah, Run"! My feet didn't stop until I was over the barbed wire and across the cattle gap. Now, I'm sure cattle gaps keep bulls in, but I didn't feel safe until I was back in the car. Staring at me and pawing the ground, on the other side, was a very mad bull. 

When I stopped to pick mom up, she asked "Did you find many Allens?" My reply "Not a one! It wasn't an Allen Cemetery."

And I'm still searching for Allens!
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