We are the chosen.
My feelings are in each family there is one who seems
called to find the ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live again,
to tell the family story
and to feel
that somehow they know and approve.
To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts
breathing life into all who have gone before.
We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes
have one. We have
as it were, by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our
story. So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.
How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count.
How many times have I told the ancestors,
"You have a wonderful
would be proud of us?"
How many times have I walked up to a grave and
felt somehow there was
for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts.
It goes to who am I and why do
I do the things I do?
It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever
to weeds and
and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are
bones of my
bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to
contributed to what we are today.
It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their
in or giving
up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep
us a Nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they
were doing it for us.
That we might be born who we are. That we
might remember them. So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of
their existence, because we are
them and they
are us. (For we without them cannot be made perfect.)
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my
family. It is up to
called in the next generation to answer the call and take
in the long line of family storytellers.
That, is why I do my family genealogy, and
that is what calls those
young and old
to step forward and put flesh on the bones.
THE MAYFIELD FAMILY ancestral
line has grown quite a bit since our previous family history
publication. Quickly summarized,
we were able to trace our Mayfield
line back to Moses W. Mayfield
and Martha Bradley Mayfield
that we initially found living in Macon
County, North Carolina
in 1833. Moses and Martha moved
to Fannin County, Georgia in 1859 and
lived there until 1863 when they moved again, this time to Monroe County,
Tennessee, bringing their daughter Mattie and her four children, Martha,
William McKinley, Moses and Pleasant Douglas
“Gene” with them.
At the time Mattie’s husband, Noah W. Runnions was
fighting for the south in the Civil War.
After the war was over, instead of coming home, Noah abandoned his
family and married Winnie Jane Rymer of Polk County and raised a new family
with her. Indications are that
William and Gene didn’t know that their father had deserted them until
many years after the war was over.
When they did find out, they rejected the Runnions surname and
took their mother’s maiden name of Mayfield.
WE HAVE FOUND NEW INFORMATION
on known ancestors as well as discovering new ancestral lines. Some of it, we think, you will find
very interesting. Of particular
note is the new information we
have on uncle Pless George Mayfield.
We have discovered that he was married twice and therein lies the
fantastic story of Uncle Pless. We all were aware of his second wife, Geneva
Woods, by which he had two children, Juanita and Kyle. (Geneva
had a son, James, before they were
married). However, before Geneva, he married Mary
Alice Price Carter in 1906. Pless and Mary Alice’ first husband Charlie
“Buddy” Carter worked together for American Bridge Company which was engaged in the building of an
addition to the Southern Railway's "Coster
was a derrick operator and Charlie was a laborer. Charlie had been seriously injured
several weeks before and had just recently returned to work when some sort of
malfunction or failure occurred in the hoisting derrick causing the boom or
block to fall, striking Charlie in the head and upper body, killing him
instantly. There is no record
stating Pless was at fault or even that he was
operating the derrick that killed Charlie but for some reason he was fired
after the incident, thus the presumption that Pless
Just two weeks after Charlie was killed, Pless
married his widow Mary Alice. All
of this information was supplied by Frank Davis of Ocala, Florida,
who is descended from Charlie and Mary Alice through their daughter Alma. Frank believes Pless
married Mary Alice because she was destitute after Charlie was killed, and Pless felt responsible. Mary Alice died in 1916 from
tuberculosis. She is buried in the Old
Grey Cemetery in Knoxville,
A NEW LINE that we have investigated and documented is the Byram/Byrom line of Mary Ann Byram, wife of William McKinley Runnions/Mayfield.
Mary Ann’s father was Nathan James Byram
and her mother was Mary Delaney Rogers. According to some very old letters Shirley
Coyle (also descended from Nathan and Mary) of Tulsa, Oklahoma
has, Mary Delaney was a full blooded Cherokee woman and her Cherokee
name was "Jess-te-Kegeste". Being curious about this Cherokee
name, I got in touch with Dr. Kenneth Barnett Tankersley,
Anthropology professor at Northern Kentucky University, who can speak
and write the Cherokee language.
Dr. Tankersley stated “I may be wrong,
but I think what was trying to be communicated was Jess of the Wild
Potato Clan, Jess of Ketuah, the sacred
place where the Wild Potato clan people come from”. Dr. Ken, who is a super nice guy, has
written or co-written several books on ancient Americans, the last ice age,
and more recently, a book about the Cherokee Indians. Some of his writings have been used in
documentaries on the History Channel and elsewhere – and, oh yes,
he’s a native of McMinn
County. His internet site is http://www.nku.edu/~tankerslyk/.
Nathan James Byram was the son of Amos Henry Byram and Martha of Pickens County, South
Carolina. Amos Henry Byram
was the son of Jesse Byram. Nathan and Mary Delaney had eight
children, many of whom went west to Oklahoma
ANOTHER NEW LINE we have investigated is the Bradley line,
ancestors of Martha Bradley, wife of Moses W. Mayfield.
Just about all of the information we have on this line came from Joyce
House-Reeves, 621 SW 32nd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73109-2515, who is
descended from a son born out of wedlock to Martha’s sister, Frances
Bradley, and fathered by Moses Mayfield
just a few months after Moses and Martha were married.
AND ANOTHER NEW LINE of interest is the Crowder line. Martha Bradley’s mother was a
Crowder and what makes this line interesting is that the Crowders
came to Monroe County, Tennessee about forty years before Moses
and Martha Mayfield came. Unlike Moses and Martha, who seemed
somewhat poor after coming to Monroe
County, some of the Crowders became doctors and lawyers and owned mills and
other businesses. One Crowder in
particular that was somewhat famous in Monroe County was Atlas Overstreet
Crowder, an old herb doctor that lived high in the mountains between two
peaks called The Little Fodder Stack and The Big Fodder
Stack in a clearing that is today called Crowder Field. He moved into this wilderness after
divorcing his first wife, Sarah Ann Hunt, when he learned she had been
unfaithful to him. He eventually
married Nancy Gentry and fathered and raised six children on top of
the mountain. Atlas was a second
cousin to Martha.
INVESTIGATION OF THE CROWDER
LINE led us to what we believe is the “old home place” and possible
burial place of Moses and Martha Mayfield. This home place is located in the Mount
Pleasant community in an area know as Polly Ann Hollow. Mount Pleasant is located on top of
the mountain between Citico Creek and Chilhowee Lake and Polly Ann Hollow is only one of two
areas where rich bottom land can be found. Moses’ and Martha’s
neighbors during that time were Joe Dekson,
James Williams, Lafayette Williams, Richard Stratton, Riley Stratton and W.
R. Carringer. Moses died sometime between 1870 and 1880. In December of 1888 and January of
1889, Martha (listed as Patsy on the deed) sold two forty acre tracts
of land, one to Richard Stratton and the other to W. R. Carringer. We know that this wasn’t all the
land they owned because William McKinley and Pleasant Douglas Mayfield, (Moses and Martha’s
grandchildren) still lived there in 1900.
On a wooded knoll overlooking
the Polly Ann Hollow, is a primitive grave yard. The name of this graveyard is known
locally as the Dale/Crowder Cemetery. There are several Crowder graves there
with fabricated headstones, the best known of which is Atlas Overstreet
Crowder. It is also known
that some of the Dale family are buried there and possibly some of a Millsaps family. Although unprovable
at this time, we suspect that Moses and Martha Mayfield are buried there also.
WE HAVE ALSO FOUND INFORMATION
on another of Moses Mayfield’s
daughters named Nancy Burnum Mayfield.
Nancy married James M. Grant in Macon County, North
Carolina and from there they moved to Cherokee
County, North Carolina
then in the late 1860’s, they moved to Monroe County, Tennessee,
living in or around Sweetwater.
They founded a business called J. M.Grant
& Sons but were eventually sued and lost everything but their house
which was in Nancy’s
sold the house and moved into McMinn
THE MAYFIELD FAMILY, as a whole
seems to have been a very industrious and adventurous people. An inordinate number of them seems to
have been doctors. All of us are
familiar with the Mayfield Dairy
of Athens, Tennessee. This line has been traced back to John
Mayfield and Mary Stanwix but there is doubt by many about the validity of
what’s been found. Of the
one hundred and eighty plus people in the Lewis and Clark Expedition,
thirteen of them were Mayfields!
Another Mayfield of high
achievement was Stanwix Greenville Mayfield who served as state senator of South Carolina between
1892-1898. Some Mayfields even made it into Hollywood Stardom. Jane Wyman
was born Sarah Jane Mayfield
in Saint Joseph, Missouri, on January 5, 1917 before being adopted out to the
Fulks family. Another actress with Mayfield roots was Mary Todd but I seem to have
lost what information I had on her.