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Sunday, June 13, 2010


Everyone could have profited from having an old home place. It is a place of comfort where you feel secure about your existence. Before me, about four generations ago, my family secured several hundred acres of Tennessee hill country.

The borders were referred to as being from the creek to the river and beyond. By the time I was born it had shrunk to about forty acres, and as I walked over the land that used to be part of the whole holdings, I would wonder why we had lost so much of it.

Eventually I learned that the families were fairly large, and each time the older generation died off, the land was divided between the heirs. It was like if a man had two hundred acres and died leaving it to five kids it would end up as forty acres each, and no longer two hundred. Finally I understood that process, and was glad ours wasn’t any smaller.

The main thing about our property was it had the big house on it, (which sadly burned down) and the family grave yard. Many of my relatives were buried there. At times neighbors would want to bury their kin there also. I used to look at the head stones and read the inscriptions on them. There were several that had been there prior to the Revolutionary War. I felt that we had a piece of history right on our property.

Almost every year while plowing, we would find some Indian arrowheads that were made from Flintstone, and I could envision the Indians hunting many years ago, right where I was standing.

As a kid all these things meant very much to me, this was the real America I came to know by learning of the past for myself. Today it is hard to give up that America, the America that so many will never know.

My grandfather as he was getting old, in his wisdom, he selected one of his sons (who was not the adventurous type) to leave the home place to. He sold it to him at a very reasonable price so no one could say he gave it to him. My uncle lived there until his death some fifty years later. All this time we still had our old home place, for we (the rest of the family) were always welcome there.

The time came when uncle Wiley died, and everyone had scattered, and because he had no children to leave it to, it went to his heirs. For awhile we tried to put together a family trust to keep it, and dedicate the historical parts to the state, but because the love of money that ruled some of our shirt tail relatives, who had no sense of tradition, the place had to be sold. There were so many heirs that each only received a few hundred dollars.

The people that bought the place have been generous to let any of the family visit the grave yard when ever they want to. It is still being used for burial plots today.

These days the old home place still lives in my memory. I took my children to visit there, and to see my roots, “from whence I came.” I wish every child could have had an “old home place.”

For the Christian there is a new,”Old home place,” that is still in the future, but it could be soon in the past at any time.

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