Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trail of tears

My wife Mary and I took a vacation to Mentone Springs, Alabama two years ago during spring break. We had a great time staying at a small B&B that was once a hotel, built over 120 years ago.

The spring that gave them the name was destroyed by a CCC water project in the 1930s. We were there during their off season so had the place to ourselves.

The Mentone Springs Hotel has a lot of antiques and interesting decorations. Mary found an old "Uncle Sam" quilt and has now made one just like it, using our photos as the only pattern. After she has made quilts for pretty much all our family and friends, I told her this one was mine.

Mentone Springs is a few miles from Fort Payne, Alabama which was one of the main army forts used to imprison Cherokees prior to their removal to Oklahoma. We were surprised there wasn't much of a recognition of this in the community.

We found a small road marker and that was about it. They have dozens of billboards and a big museum honoring the band Alabama which was from the area but not much for one of the big events in the history of the South. Moving the Cherokees out of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee allowed it to be settled by whites, the creation of the large farms and plantations and set the groundwork for the economy for the next 100 years.

While at Mentone Springs we took a day trip about 20 miles away to Stevenson, Alabama where her Longacre ancestors were supposed to have lived. We had only vague information about a cemetery where Thomas and Judith Ireson Longacre were buried. Amazingly we found Longacre Cemetery very quickly.

Thomas and Judith are the only Longacres buried there so I guess it was named for them. They owned land in the area and it looks like their graves were the oldest.

Judith Longacre died in 1858 and Thomas died in 1863. His marker has been broken but is still readable. Judith's has ornate carvings.

Their children left Alabama around 1860 and moved to Texas and Missouri. I doubt their children ever came back to see their grave markers so we were probably the first relatives to see them in over 100 years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Cousins!
Am sending an e-mail. Thanks for posting the gravestone. I'm glad you found Thomas' stone. I looked for it years ago but the area was over-grown.