This page will serve to introduce readers to the characters in real life. We have several pictures of Aunt Bessie, only a couple of Uncle Fletch, and a few of the rest of the Daniels’ family from Hot Springs. We’ll also be sharing some pictures of Hot Springs  as it is now and a few from the past (thanks mostly to our cousin, Jackie Burgin Painter and her books). We’d also like to invite any family members we’ve met through the books to send us pictures they might have of any of the Daniels’ family or of Hot Springs or Aunt Bessie’s place on Stone Mountain. There’s another family member who lived on the mountain too but since we haven’t gotten to that in the books, we’ll wait to post pictures of her house when we get to it in the series. We’re grateful to any and all that contribute to this page and of course, thankful for the interest of our readers!

The page is a work in progress. We’ll be adding pictures as we have time. To enlarge the pictures just click on them.

Mama, Papa, & BessieLet’s start at the very beginning, this is Mama (Lucinda)
Papa (John) and Bessie Daniels when she was a baby.
It’s the first known picture of our great-aunt Bessie
and the only one we have of her with her parents.
Probably dated mid 1882.



Hot Springs Officials-1

There are a couple of pictures of Papa in books written by our cousin, Jackie Burgin Painter.
First, in The Season of Dorland Bell, which tells of the establishment of Dorland Institute where Bessie went to school, there’s a picture of some Hot Springs officials taken around 1900.
Papa is the one on the far left with the star on his chest and the handlebar moustache.




And in Jackie’s An Appalachian Medley, which tells the history of the Gentry family
in Hot Springs, a picture she calls Hot Springs Loafers standing in front of the Annex
Saloon in Hot Springs. Papa is the second from the end on the right in the back row,
pointing. Jackie’s books have been a great help to us and they are available on Amazon
in paperback.


Lucinda Daniels-1We have one more of Mama which we originally thought was
of her sister Belle until Daddy found the above picture of Mama,
Papa, and Bessie in his files and gave it to us. No idea when the
picture was taken but it looks to be not long before or after the
family picture.




Aunt Bessie’s diploma from Dorland Institute.





Fletcher and Bessie Elliott

Finally, a picture of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch taken on their
wedding day–or shortly thereafter. The back reads “Uncle Fletch
and Aunt Bessie when they first married” so we can’t be sure it
actually was taken on their wedding day. The original piture which
is in pretty bad shape can be seen on the cover of Moonfixer. This
one is after a few very amateur touch-ups on my part on Photoshop.


We have a few pictures of the setting which is, of course, Hot Springs, North Carolina, taken on one of the many trips we made there while researching Whistling Woman. Unfortunately, we  don’t have any of the town from the time the book took place although there are quite a few to be found in Jackie’s books, The Season of Dorland-Bell: History of an Appalachian Mission School, An Appalachian Medley: Hot Springs and the Gentry Family (not available on Amazon), and The German Invasion of Western North Carolina: A Pictorial History.

Hot SpringsMarker-1

The marker that greets you when you drive into town today.






First Baptist Church where Bessie’s graduation ceremony was held.



Dorland-Bell Chapel-1

Dorland-Bell Chapel where Bessie and Fletch got married.




Whistling Woman-e-book

And that brings us to the end of Whistling Woman! The
picture on the cover is of Miss Cordie not Aunt Bessie as some
people thought. It was painted by our dad, John Tillery and is based
on a story Aunt Bessie told him about a woman who kept a pet hen.
The story is one of many he passed on to us and is included in
the book which is why we decided to use it for the cover.


MoonFixer96dpifrontMoving on to the second book in the series, Moonfixer. The cover originally had
the picture of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletcher on their wedding day held by our
mom. When we published the third book, we used a cover designer, Kimberly Maxwell,
and loved her design so much we decided to have her re-do the first two.
This is the new and much improved cover for Moonfixer, Appalachian Journey Book 2.


Bessiestudents1We only have a few pictures from this time in Bessie’s life. She was, of course, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. This is a picture of some of her students. No idea when it was taken. You’ll notice that some of them are barefoot and some look as if they haven’t bathed in a while, which according to Aunt Bessie wasn’t unusual. She used to greet her students at the door with a bucket of water and a wash cloth to clean them up a bit.

BessieandfriendsAunt Bessie with some friends and relatives. From left to right. standing: Aunt Bessie, Lee Davis, Clarise Davis, Cordie Davis, and seated in front: Aunt Minnie Elliot, Davis is a very common name on Stone Mountain and it’s very possible some of the women standing with her are relatives through marriage. As you can see, the picture is very old and whoever took it cut off the top of Bessie’s head. She was a tall woman which is why the people on the mountain called her Moonfixer.


Lucinda's tombstone1Mama’s tombstone which Fletcher went to Newport and brought back to Hot Springs as a surprise for Bessie while they were visiting there. It still stands today, though we haven’t been able to find it–yet!–in Sandy Gap Cemetery in Hot Springs, NC. This is a picture taken by our cousin, Jackie, back in 1959 when she, Daddy, and Thee went to visit Lucinda’s grave. Green’s grave is in the same cemetery but we don’t have a picture of it, possibly because there isn’t a tombstone, just a wooden cross marking the site.