Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pigeon Roost Cemetery

Sometimes, when in search of one’s roots, unexpected but just as rewarding paths turn up. Our goal when visiting Pigeon Roost was to find where my father and his brothers lived. We were not able to find the house where they lived, so we assumed it no longer existed. However, Uncle Aster did take us to our other great grandfather’s home, Isaac Lewis. Isaac, as I mentioned before, was the father of Aster Lewis and of my grandmother, Hester Lewis Tipton (Fieldon). During our conversation with Glenn Renfro, who was now living at the former Isaac Lewis homestead with his wife Wanda Byrd (whose grandmother was Pansy Tipton, an older sister of my grandfather Fieldon Tipton), he asked us if we wanted to see where “old Ike Lewis was buried.” Absolutely! This was an unexpected treasure. All of you fellow amateur and professional genealogists know what I’m talking about. This is a graveyard with tombstones of our ancestors heretofore unknown. A real find! However, saying we wanted to see it and actually getting there was another thing altogether. The old family graveyard was located at the very top of a steep mountain and was only partially accessible by pickup truck. We had to hike the rest of the way to the summit. Imagine how the pallbearers of old Ike Lewis’ coffin must have struggled to get up that mountain. Even though this was a mild April spring day, we still worked up a sweat climbing to the top of the mountain. As we neared the mountain top , John and I began to fear for Uncle Aster’s health. He was huffing and puffing mightily. That’s all we would need….. poor old Uncle Aster keeling over while climbing the mountain to show us his father’s final resting place. Finally, we reached the top of the mountain, and Uncle Aster stopped for a few minutes to catch his breath. There, under a canopy of trees was the small old graveyard. There were the tombstones, worn by the passing of many seasons of weather, proud and erect, hidden from modern civilization here atop this wooded mountain top that borders Tennessee. My great grandfather Hiram Tipton and his wife Myra Warrick are buried in the Freewill Baptist Church Cemetery in Limestone, Tennessee. Not old Ike Lewis though, he and his first wife Mary Alice Hughes are buried in this their own family cemetery. While this cemetery may not be as fancy as the ones in the church cemeteries in Tennessee, it still possessed dignity and warranted the respect of all who entered its environs. After we looked at the tombstones and I took some pictures, Glenn made a suggestion. He asked if Uncle Aster could say “some words” to honor the occasion of our visit to the cemetery. Uncle Aster, being the preacher man that he is, thrust out his arms and beseeched the Lord to put a blessing on this grave and all those who now had their final resting place in this isolated cemetery at the top of Green Mountain Road in Mitchell County, North Carolina. John recorded this momentous event. Later I made copies of this video and shared it with my cousins in Pennsylvania, some of whom would never have the opportunity that I did at this time, to visit the grave of my great grandfather and great grandmother. This day will live forever in both my brother John’s and my memory. Even though we didn't find the homestead of Fieldon Tipton, we found something equally valuable. We witnessed a moment in time, never to be repeated. We had been to the top of the mountain. We had discovered a treasure and paid tribute to our ancestor. We had accomplished much today. To be continued……….


Ron said...

Beautiful. Thank you for creating this beautiful picture.

Dave said...

Thanks for taking us along on your trip back in time.

Grady David Tipton

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the memories,i was a resident of pidgeon roost as a young boy.My father Howard Miller was much older than my mother, gave me different perspective on childhood,many good memories, thanks ROBERT MILLER