Sunday, September 19, 2010

Be Prepared

Twice now I've tried to locate old family cemeteries many miles from my home and couldn't find them. As it turned out I was within 50 yards both times and if I had better directions or equipment could have found them easily.

Once we were in North Carolina and the cemetery was easily visible 200 feet down a side street but were were looking in the weeds on the main road.

This fall we were camping with family near Chattanooga, TN and tried to locate the Pendergrass Family Cemetery and apparently walked right by it. Mary's GG Grandmother was Elizabeth M.Pendergrass who married William Anderson Jones. Elizabeth's parents and grandparents are buried in Pendergrass Cemetery.

We drove home from our camping trip via Soddy Daisey, TN and knew the Pendergrass family had lived there. I had heard of an old family cemetery and even had GPS coordinates. We drove to the location and found Pendergrass road clearly marked with street signs. As we got to the end of the pavement the GPS said to turn right onto another road that clearly did not exist.

We drove to the end and only saw woods and high weeds. As we were backing up we found an older couple driving a golf cart and stopped them to ask for directions. They didn't seem surprised or think it strange two folks from Memphis would be in front of their house asking about it. They told us we would have to walk about 3/4 of a mile because the road was blocked with downed trees.

We drove down the rut they called a road until we couldn't go any farther and parked the car, got our Weimaraner out to protect us from the snakes and took off. About the time we were ready to turn around we found a place they described and hoped to find the cemetery on the other side. Unfortunately as we searched we saw no markers. The afternoon sun was breaking thru in a few breaks between the tall trees and shadows were playing tricks on our eyes. We went off a couple times thinking we saw a marker or fence in the distance to only find and old broken commode and shadows.

After 30 minutes with no success we gave up and walked back to the car. I had a GPS in the car which probably could have helped us but forgot it when we walked off. GPS coordinates are not always perfect but I wish I had taken it along.

I also had seen this video of the cemetery years ago and had I looked at it before our trip probably would have easily found the right place.

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