Thursday, August 12, 2010
Down the road from the Sloan cemetery is the Masters cemetery. Visitors are greeted by a very colorful statue of Jesus with a lion and a lamb. The families have put a lot of work and creativity into making their loved ones final resting place beautiful. There is never a shortage of flowers here and the stones are very detailed. Many feature art, inscriptions, and photographs of the deceased.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
The Grange City covered bridge crosses Fox Creek in southeastern Fleming County, near Hillsboro. The bridge spans 86 feet and was built sometime between 1865-70. It carried traffic until it was bypassed by Highway 111 and closed in 1968, after one hundred years in service. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and is one of only three remaining covered bridges in Fleming County, Kentucky.
Above, the view through the bridge with abandoned house in the background. Below, an interior view of the double king post brace design.
The view from the other side of the bridge.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Many years ago, two teenage boys trekked up Sloan Mountain in Carter County, Kentucky. They were on their way to enlist in the Civil War, though no one knows now which side they would fight on. It didn't matter, because the boys never made it. Instead, they were ambushed, robbed of their horses and guns, and shot dead by unknown assailants. After several days, some family members discovered the bodies, and due to the level of decomposition, they were buried where they fell. That clearing became our family graveyard. My great Uncle Milton had a farm right down the road and when I was little, I remember taking rides on his tractor to the top of the hill to visit the graves. The Sloans settled this area as far back as the 1700's and many of their descendants still remain around here. Most of the gravestones were handmade.
This stump marks a special place. My Uncle Milton made it back from WWII safely, but shortly after, was in a bad car wreck and lost his leg. He had a wooden leg as long as I could remember. Milton used to play pranks on us kids by hitting it to make us think someone was knocking at the door. He would let some cousins take a swing at the false limb with a stick and pretend that he was some kind of superman, tolerant to all pain. That is, until one cousin hit the wrong leg! His leg was buried here, right by this tree stump. A good sense of humor runs in the Sloan family. I think it's kind of sad that the rest of his body is buried in a different place. Just seems wrong....
Two sisters, Nannie May and Ada were 2/3 of a bluegrass/folk music group known as The Sloan Sisters. The other sister, Bessie, is still living in Morehead. All three played guitar, sang and were pretty well-known in the area. I have been trying to find recordings of them, but haven't had any luck so far.
Eliza Jane was my great-great-grandmother. She suffered from what would later be known as Alzheimer's. According to the stories I have been told, she had some violent delusions, and despite being a tiny woman, tried to attack several family members with knives!
Uncle John I. Sloan was the last person to be buried up here. The 'I' didn't stand for anything, just like Harry S. Truman. I only met him a few times, and the only person buried here who I really remember was my Uncle Gary. He passed away when I was four years old under circumstances we are still trying to figure out thirty years later. I only have a few memories of him, but they are very clear, even from that young age.
Many of my family members buried here were moonshiners. Meanwhile, my great-grandfather on my mother's side was the Sheriff's deputy in nearby Olive Hill. Wonder if they had any run-ins with each other...
On one of the service roads parallel to 519, sits this lovely little house. It is perched beside the road and covered in vines and greenery, but otherwise seems structurally sound. Through the window closest to the road, I saw several very old pieces of furniture. There was a sign on the door that read "No smoking-oxygen in use." Because I was wearing shorts, and was afraid there might be snakes in the tall grass, I didn't wade deeper for a closer look. Next time, I'll bring boots!
I stumbled upon this very old and well-maintained graveyard while exploring 519 near the Rowan/Morgan County line. Some of the stones are so old, the engraving has all worn away. A few of the ones that are legible date back to the early 1800's and most bear the name Blankenship. One grave has a tree growing through it. I wonder if the relatives of whoever is buried there planted it as a loving gesture in their memory.