Monday, November 23, 2015

A Trip to Mullins Hill Cemetery

Living in Rutherford county affords me a whole new set of places I can visit when the opportunity arises. Case in point is a trip I took one Sunday afternoon a couple weeks back. I had been doing some work on the Gwyn family, who were split between the Baird's Mill branch in Wilson county and the Smyrna branch (coming soon) in Rutherford county. In particular I was working on George Washington Gwyn, who had relatives join as early as 1881. I wanted to know where his home stood and when it had been torn down. But in the process I found where he had been buried. Sunday afternoon was open for a change so I on a lark I hopped into my car and drove out to Smyrna.

Of course I checked a map first, and found the cemetery was right across from a big box hardware store. It seemed rather easy to find, though it was pretty far off the road, and it wasn't obvious where the access road would be. So I would have to guess, and keep circling the rather large block until I found it. As luck would have it, I found the entrance on my first try.
Tennessee law allows cemetery visitors to cross private land to reach the graves of their relatives, provided that they are maintaining the site. Of course I'm not related, but I've not let that stop me, not do I worry too much about the private property signs. As long as I stay on the dirt road to the cemetery, I'll be fine. The gate isn't locked, but there is a chain hooked on a nail keeping it closed.  I make sure I close it after I drive through.

A the top of the hill I get a better view of the are and the cemetery.It is larger than I thought, [ when I get home I check Find A Grave and see that it lists over 300 graves, larger than most cemeteries I visit.
But since it is larger I will have to spend more time finding the one I want. Cemeteries are sometimes organized. Often the older graves will be near each other. So I look around for markers with the style used in 1917. It only takes about 10 minutes to find the one I want. And it only took that long because I stopped when I started seeing other names that might be related. Once I focused however, I found the one I was looking for: George Washington Gwyn and Jennie R Hager.
The two shared a single marker. For those who want to follow my path, the marker is straight back from the gate. Follow the ridge that runs along the center of the cemetery for about 150 feet. The stone will be facing you.

Right next to this stone I find another one with the same last name. It is in pretty bad shape but it sounds familiar so I snap a photo thinking I can figure out the relationship later.
Turns out it was George's brother [William] A Gwyn, which I could confirm based on the partial information still visible. I count this as a very lucky find since William (called Bill by his siblings) was  possibly the earliest convert in the family, and maybe the first convert at Baird's Mill. 

Though it was raining, and cool, I couldn't think of a better way to spend the afternoon.


Ardis said...

Fantastic, Bruce. I wish there were more people like you, ferreting out and preserving the history of their own areas. And I'm glad you got there while there was still enough of the second stone left to identify.

BruceCrow said...

Thank you Ardis. This is satisfying work, even if only a few people see the results. But wow! That stone is nearly unreadable!