Moonfixer, Appalachian Journey Book 2

MoonFixer96dpifrontI the dawning years of the 20th century, Bessie Daniels leaves her home town of Hot Springs and travels east over the mountains to live with her new husband Fletcher Elliott in the Broad River section of North Carolina.

Bess and Fletch stay with Fletcher’s parents for the first five years of their married life with Bessie teaching in a one-room schoolhouse and Fletcher working at the lumber mill in Old Fort while they save to buy property of their own on Stone Mountain.

In 1906, they purchase 400 acres of the old Zachariah Solomon Plantation which includes a small house with a shack beside it, a branch of Cedar Creek and a row of dilapidated slave cabins…and ghosts.

Thus begins Bessie’s next phase of life where the gift of sight she inherited from her Cherokee ancestors grows stronger, her healing abilities are put to the test, and she encounters a vicious secret society that tries to force her and Fletcher to turn their backs on a family sharecropping and living in one of the cabins.

When Bessie and Fletch refuse to give in to their demands, the group strikes back, bringing pain and suffering to their once serene existence on Stone Mountain.

Dedication

To our father, Raymond Earl “John” Tillery, for your constant encouragement and unending support as well as all the wonderful stories you told us over the years about Bessie and her family. We love you very much, Daddy!

To our uncle, Ken Elliott, for wharing antecdotes about growing up on the mountain which brought the mountain people so vividly to life and for your generosity in allowing us to pen some of those stories here. We send our love.

And, of course, to our great-aunt Bessie Daniels Elliott and great uncle Fletcher Elliott for sharing this journey with us in spirit. We can only hope we’re doing your story justice!

Acknowledgements

Once again, we find ourselves with many people to thank for helping us write the second part of our great-aunt Bessie’s story, Moonfixer:

First and foremost, we want to thank two talented storytellers: our dad, John Tillery, and his brother, our uncle, Ken Elliott. This book could not have been written without the memories you shared with us about Bessie and Fletch and we are so appreciative.

We especially want to give a huge shout out to the readers of Whistling Woman, especially the ones who took the time to like our Facebook page, comment on the Whistling Woman blog, and/or leave us a review. Our amazement at your support and love of the book has been nothing short of…well, amazing! Thank you for letting us know what you thought and for encouraging us to continue Aunt Bessie’s story in Moonfixer. We know it’s been said by countless authors in the past but you are truly the absolute best readers ever!

The people we met and talked with in Old Fort, NC. Including the docents at the Mountain Gateway Museum and at the Old Fort Train Station and Museum, who were very helpful and kindly gave of their time to answer our many questions about the area where Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch spent the greater part of their lives. A special thanks to Peggy Silvers, docent of the Mountain Gateway Museum, for sharing interesting history with us regarding secret societies of North Carolina as well as her research on this subject.

Kimberly Maxwell, fellow author, photographer, and cover designer for giving us the idea for the cover. We may not have followed all your instructions but you were definitely our chief source of inspiration.

Our mother, Margie Clark, for making Kim’s idea a reality by allowing us to use her hands holding the picture of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletcher for the cover.

Meghann French Parrilla, for her awesome photography skills. Thanks, Meghann for taking the time to get the picture right!

Beta readers are an important process in writing a book and we want to give a big thanks to Sherry Cannon, absolutely the best beta reader out there, who helped shape this into a much better read.

There are, again, too many online sites and print books used for research to name them all here but we would like to mention a few: Find A Grave at http://www.findagrave.com for the lovely pictures of Stone Mountain Missionary Baptist Church and the cemetery where more than a few of the characters in this story are buried;

The North Carolina History site at http://www.learnnc.org/lp/projects/history/ for the informative NC history digital textbook;

Discovery Fit & Health’s Herbal Remedies site at http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies for your Herbal Remedies page;

The Online Etymology Dictionary at http://www.etymonline.com/ for helping us get the words right.

In print, we once again relied on “Long Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokee” by Lloyd Arneach, “Medicine of the Cherokee, The Way of Right Relationship” by J. T. Garrett and Michael Garrett.

All the family members we’ve met since Whistling Woman came out. We enjoyed getting to know each of you through the miracle of cyber-space and hope one day we can actually meet face-to-face!

Our husbands, Steve French and Mike Hodges, who manage the sometimes crazy world of living with an author with patience and fortitude. Thanks, guys!

And finally, as in Whistling Woman, we stayed as true to the family stories and the history in Moonfixer as we could but there are times where we took liberties with both. Any and all mistakes and liberties are entirely our own.

Table of Contents

Chapter One
They ain’t been married long enough to wrinkle the sheets.

Chapter Two
Those young’uns could worry the dead.

Chapter Three
They ate supper before they said grace.

Chapter Four
He’s crooked-er than a $3 bill.

Chapter Five
He ain’t got the good sense God gave a billy goat.

Chapter Six
Scared as a sinner in a cyclone.

Chapter Seven
If that don’t get your fire going, your wood’s wet. (Teaching stories)

Chapter Eight
If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

Chapter Nine
Wadn’t nothin’ between him and the Lord but a smile.

Chapter Ten
Old stomping grounds.

Chapter Eleven
Busier than a one-eyed cat watchin’ two rat holes.

Chapter Twelve
Well, don’t that just take the cake?

Chapter Thirteen
Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.

Chapter Fourteen
She ain’t worth the salt in her bread.

Chapter Fifteen
Madder than a mule chewing on bumble bees.

Chapter Sixteen
Finer than frog hair split four ways.

Chapter Seventeen
You better give your heart to Jesus, ‘cause your butt is mine.

Chapter Eighteen
Old devils never die.

Chapter Nineteen
The mill stone grinds slow, but it is always grinding.

Back Cover

In the dawning years of the 20th century, Bessie Daniels leaves her home town of Hot Springs and travels over the mountains with her husband Fletcher Elliott to live in the Broad River Section of North Carolina.

Bess and Fletch stay with Fletcher’s parents for the first five years of their married life with Bessie teaching in a one-room schoolhouse and Fletcher working at the lumber mill in Old Fort while they save to buy property of their own on Stone Mountain.

In 1906, they purchase 400 acres of the old Zachariah Solomon Plantation which includes a small house with a shack beside it, a branch of Cedar Creek, a row of dilapidated slave cabins…

And ghosts.

Thus begins Bessie’s next phase of life where the gift of sight she inherited from her Cherokee ancestors grows stronger, her healing abilities are put to the test, and she encounters a vicious secret society that tries to force her and Fletcher to turn their backs on a family sharecropping and living in one of the cabins.

When Bessie and Fletch refuse to give in to their demands, the group strikes back, bringing pain and suffering to their once serene existence on Stone Mountain.

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