Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sloan Family Cemetery
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...