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We received a wonderful email the other day from one of our awesome readers, Gail Strong who lives in South Carolina. Along with some really lovely words about our Appalachian Journey series. Gail, who does restoration on old pictures, she was nice enough to include four of the pictures we have on our Meet the Characters page which she had restored. They are absolutely gorgeous and seeing them just blew me away. I’ve included a copy of the business card she sent and want to encourage all of our readers to contact her if you have any pictures to be restored (just click on the pic and it should give you a larger version). We can honestly say Gail does impressive work!

The pictures she restored for us are below. The first one is of Bessie’s parents, Lucinda and John Daniels, and Bessie as a baby. The second is of Lucinda. In both these pictures, you can really see Lucida’s Cherokee heritage. The third picture is of Bessie and Fletch on their wedding day and the fourth is Bessie and Fletcher many years later.

 

 

 

 

 

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After Christy found the picture of Aunt Bessie as a young girl with her family, we started thinking about all the pictures our dad has given us of her at different points in her life. Some of them are already posted here on the blog on the “Meet the Characters” page but there are so many more, especially of her in her later years. And yes, I know, I really do need to get back to adding the other pictures to that page, but with working on the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, I just can’t seem to find the time.

So, because we’re sure our wonderful readers would love to see them, we decided to do a blog post with all the pictures we have. A sort of walk through Aunt Bessie’s life.

Mama, Papa, & BessieThis is the earliest picture we have of Bessie which shows her as a chubby-cheeked baby sitting on Mama’s lap with Papa beside them. Even looking at the picture through a magnifying glass, I can’t make out what’s on Papa’s lap but it appears to be material of some kind. You can see his boots below it but the rest just isn’t clear. This picture appears on the new front cover for Whistling Woman, the first book of our Appalachian Journey series, propped up against the painting of Miss Cordy by our dad.

bessie and familyNext, of course, is the picture Christy shared with you in the last post which shows Bessie as a young girl, probably between 6 to  8 years old. Of course, I’m only guessing at her age and the fact that we know the family moved to Hot Springs in 1886 when she was 4 years old.

BessieFletch300The next picture we have is of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletcher on their wedding day or shortly thereafter. The note on the back says “Uncle Fletch and Aunt Bessie when they first married”. We know from the Madison County Marriage records that she and Fletch were married in Madison County on February 20, 1902 at age 21 and 22, respectively.  This one appears on both the old and new front covers of Moonfixer, the second book of the series.

05-27-2013 05;53;11PMAfter that, we have the postcard she sent to Papa after he and the rest of the family moved from Hot Springs to Knoxville. There’s no date on what’s written on the back and the postmark is faded but it looks to be 1914 when she would have been 33 years old. This one appears (partially) on the front of Beloved Woman, the third book.

Then, there are several of her with some of her students and one with some womenBessieandfriends friends and relatives. Not sure of the date on any of them so we have no way of knowing how old she was but I’m guessing most of them were taken when she was in her 20s and 30s. Left to right on this one is Aunt Bessie (with her head cut off), Lee Davis, Clarse Davis, Cordie Davis and Aunt Minnie Elliot (sitting down). The pictures of her with her students are on the “Meet the Characters” page here on the blog.

Aunt Bessie and DaddyThe next one is my favorite of all the pictures we have, the one used on the front cover of the final book, Wise Woman. It’s a picture of Aunt Bessie and our dad standing in a field of wildflowers with the family dog, Fritz (you have to look really hard to see him!) off to the right. This one isn’t dated either but it had to be shortly after Daddy moved in with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch in 1934 which would make Bessie around 43.

Bessie and Fletch outside their houseThen we have one of her and Uncle Fletch standing outside their house by the chimney. Not sure how old they are with this one either or when the pciture was taken but they’re bolth pretty old. I’m guessing it was taken shortly before Uncle Fletch’s death in 1958 which would make both of them in their 70s. You can see Aunt Bessie has a scarf around her neck which she took to wearing in her later years because she had a goiter.

Bessie,Daddy,MamaDaniels,JimmyDavisThis picture is of a much older Aunt Bessie with Daddy, Uncle Thee’s wife, Myrtle (who we called Mama Daniels), and Bessie’s second husband, Jimmy Davis. Not sure when this was taken either, but judging by Daddy, it was sometime in the early to mid-60s. I’m not sure but I think they’re sitting on the steps of our grandmother’s (Jack in the books) house on Stone Mountain. Notice Bessie’s scarf wrapped around her neck. I don’t remember a time when she didn’t wear one!

BessieSquareLast but not least, thanks to Kimberly Maxwell, our awesome cover designer, a close up of Aunt Bessie cropped from the same picture. Since she died in 1970, she had to be in her 80s in this one. She may not look too happy here but this is the Aunt Bessie of my memories and I know from Daddy’s many stories she had a long and happy life and she was, to me, the epitome of a Whistling Woman.

So there you have it, a picture journey through our Aunt Bessie’s life. I hope you enjoyed the trip!

 

When we began our research for this series some six or seven years ago, we didn’t know it would create a keen interest in our heritage. Of course, we were aware of our Cherokee ancestry through Bessie’s great-grandmother Elisi but didn’t know of any other lineage flowing through our blood on our father’s side of the family. Although we both have a bit of fascination with all things Scottish, we never came across information or even suspected a connection to Scotland even though many Appalachians proudly claim that right … until this year’s Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs when Peggy Huff McConnell came to the festival and stopped by our booth.

Peggy had read our books and came by to tell us that we are distant relatives. We love it when family members stop by to meet us at these events but Peggy had more to share: we are a part of Clan Henderson through Lucinda, Bessie’s mother, Mama in the books. Needless to say, we were thrilled. Not only did we meet another family member who informed us of our Scottish ancestry, but also, Peggy may have solved a mystery we’ve been puzzling over since the first time we visited the Genealogy Room at the Madison County Library where we found Lucinda’s family listed in the 1880 Census. Problem was, the names on the census didn’t match what we’d found online or the family tree our cousin, Jackie Burgin Painter sent us–both of which were different, by the way.

Peggy was kind enough to send us the official genealogy chart of Clan Henderson and information on how we could join. which she did a couple of weeks ago. Thanks, Peggy! You’ve been a great help! The Clan Henderson chart shows … drum roll, please! … Lucinda’s parents were Robert Henderson and Lydia Roberts. At last, we’re hoping we can finally lay to rest who Lucinda’s and Belle’s real parents were.

As for Clan Henderson, here’s some interesting information we’re proud to share with our readers. TheHenderson badge family of Henderson is as old as any clan in the Highlands, descending from Eanruig Mor Nac Righ Neachtan (big Henry, son of King Nectan) in the 11th century. Henderson is the most common surname for the sons of Henry (MacEanruig). Clan Henderson has been involved in the mainstream of history from the clan battles in the Highlands to the plantation of Ulster, the Jacobite uprisings (fans of Diana Gabaldon’s series Outlander will recognize this!), the Massacre at Glencoe, and emigration to North America and Australia.

Clan Henderson’s motto is Sola Virtus Nobilitat!  which means Virtue Alone Enobles!

Henderson-TratanThe Henderson tartan is a predominantly green pattern with wide, alternating blue and black bands highlighted by facing alternating fine yellow and white stripes. It appears in several different versions – ancient, modern, weathered, dress – with the sett count remaining constant while the colors vary. For those like me who didn’t know what sett means, I’ll explain by first describing tartan: Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over — two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett. The average-sized sett for a kilt in modern times is 5 to 6 inches which gives around 250 threads per sett using a medium weight wool yarn. If you were using a much thinner yarn such as silk then that thread count could multiply by three or four.

The Clan Henderson plant badge is the cottongrass or as it is known in Gaelic, An Canach.cottongrass

Cyndi and I have recently joined Clan Henderson and look forward to learning more about our Scottish ancestors. For those family members we’ve met both online and off who are descended from Lucinda and anyone else who might be interested, you can find out more about Clan Henderson – just click on the name!

Now, if we can only solve the mystery of which grandmother it was who donated the Elliott land to the YMCA way back in the 20s to use as a camp. Well, actually, we think we’ve found her name but we’re not positive and would like confirmation before Wise Woman comes out, so off we go on another quest!

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights

Through the Brown Mountain Lightss

Brown Mountain Lights Book 1

Wise Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 4

Beloved Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 3

Moonfixer

Appalachian Journey Book 2

Whistling Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 1

Madchen, die pfeifen

Whistling Woman (German)

Les deces arrivant toujours par trois

Whistling Woman (French)

Christy Tillery French Cynthia Tillery Hodges

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