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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Andrews Geyser

Andrews Geyser

Christy and I took a mini-Appalachian Journey of our own Wednesday. We spent the day in Old Fort and after we visited the Gateway Museum and the Andrews Geyser (which was repaired and working this time!) we headed up Stone Mountain to visit Stone Mountain Baptist Church with the graveyard where Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch and many of the other characters who populate the Appalachian Journey series are buried.

Since our husbands were with us to handle the driving, we were able to take a few detours and get some pictures of our old stomping grounds!

Aunt Bessie’s and Uncle Fletcher’s house, May 2015

First, we took the cutoff to Aunt Bessie’s and Uncle Fletcher’s old house. The road is still mostly gravel but the house has been completely remodeled and it’s very hard to recognize unless you know what you’re looking for. There have been so many changes and, of course, it doesn’t help that Christy and I are looking at it through the eyes of childhood memories–I swear this parcel of land was flatter back then! The bridge over the creek in the front is no longer there, the barn has been torn down, and it has a new front porch and new dark siding.

Aunt Bessie and Uncle FletchThis is what the house looked like shortly before Uncle Fletcher died in 1958. I’m not sure exactly when this picture was taken but that’s Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch standing in front of the chimney and that’s how I remember Aunt Bessie so I think I’m safe in saying this was taken sometime in the early 1950s. Even taking into account the trees and foliage, which has grown substantially, the house just appears smaller and more compact in this picture, but maybe that’s just me.

After that, we went on to our grandmother’s house which actually looks bigger since it’s been remodeled and had several rooms added on. Sorry, we forgot to take a picture because the people who bought it, Greg Miller and his wife (I think her name is Sue) were at home and we stopped to talk to them and ask about Camp Elliott. Greg was very helpful and actually took us up to the camp and gave us a tour.

Camp Elliott Lake

Camp Elliott Lake

We hadn’t been to Camp Elliott since our childhood and wow, has it changed. It sits on the site of the old Elliott homestead where Fletcher grew up and the old Elliott graveyard sits. Since it was donated to the boy scouts for a camp long before we were born, we only visited once in our childhood. All we really remember is the lake and a very primitive camping ground. Most recently the camp has been used as a school for boys with behavior problems. They added lots of cabins and a bathhouse plus a kitchen/dining hall, a small community center, and a beautiful chapel.

Stone Mountain Baptist Church and the graveyard haven’t changed much since we last visited. It’s still a lovely little mountain church and though the graveyard has almost doubled in size since we were children, it remains a peaceful and lovely resting place for those residing there.

Camp Elliott Chapel

Camp Elliott Chapel

So, there you have it, another day of walking in the footsteps of our ancestors. It was a wonderful day and driving home we even found a route that’s much shorter and many times more beautiful to get there and back which I hope means more visits in the future!

I’ll leave you with a picture of the Camp Elliott Chapel. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

 

Chasing the Brown Mountain Lights

Into the Brown Mountain Lights

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