My Life’s Story: Chapter 5

 

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My Life’s Story

by Eleanor Van Dusen Bowen

 

Chapter 5: McPhee Colorado

 

It was in June 1924, that McPhee, Colorado became the next place for me to live in for a short while. It was near Delores but it does not exist anymore. A new sawmill was being built here with a huge logging operation in connection with it. It was here that Charles had come to find work and he was hired to work as a carpenter in the building of the mill. ‘The pay was out of this world!!’ as they say today. It was all of four dollars a day!

To move us, Mother hired a man who had a Model T Ford truck to haul our stuff over to McPhee and he took us along. While I was riding on top of the load and were about half way to Durango, the pin came loose where the steering rod joined in a ball and joint connection to the rods of the front wheels. Suddenly the truck careened off the road onto a slightly slanted shoulder. Luckily, I was holding on to a rope when I was thrown to the other side hurting my back. As the truck righted itself, I was thrown to the other side before he brought the truck to a stop. I wasn’t badly hurt, but, Mother made me ride in the cab the rest of the way. It didn’t take the man long to put in a new pin and we were soon on our way again.

At McPhee, we moved into a three room, board house. The rooms were in a row with no doors, just doorways between them. When the front door was opened, one could see straight through to the back door. Mother put up curtains at the inner doorways for a bit more privacy, and of course, there was the outdoor privy with two holes in the seat. There was water piped behind each row of houses with a faucet in each yard and we had to carry our water into the house for every need.

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I remember that Mother bought two dozen laying hens. She sold eggs at one dollar per dozen all winter. I had to take care of them and deliver the eggs to her customers.

That summer was fun for me, because there were tea parties and sewing clubs for the girls. The boys played ballgames and swam in the Delores River for their entertainment. Then at night, both the boys and girls played games of hide and seek or kick the can and many others that I do not remember the names for them. We were allowed to play outside until nine o’clock which was the curfew hour for all children.

When it was time for school to start, the school was not ready, so we had to have classes in a four room house until it was finished and ready to use.

The only church service was a Sabbath School on a Saturday afternoon sponsored by five ladies who were Seventh-day Adventist. After attending it regularly, it became the only church, of which, I ever wanted to be a member.

In August, I had my first date. It was with an older man. He was nineteen years old and he was working in the mill. He took me to the movies in Delores that night, and his folks went with us; or as I look back, maybe it was they who took us. He had the unbelievable name of Cicero!

I experienced my third introduction to death, here. The Company had given a picnic for all the young people, down by the river. Floyd Bales who was sixteen, drowned August 16th in the Delores River. I think he had cramps. His body was rescued and he was carried back to his home in camp and the doctor was called. Then he was loaded on a truck and his body was taken to Mancos, Colorado, his home, for burial.

That fall, I had my first spell of partial blindness. A traveling eye doctor, as we called him, came to McPhee. On one of my good days, he tested my eyes and then he sent to Denver, Colorado for glasses for me. When I received them, I put them on and I could see clearly again. They were the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I took off at night when I went to bed.

Mr. Austin came home in December. I think he must have had itching feet like a hobo, because we were soon planning a trip to California. Before we could talk Mother into leaving, Bill and Elmer Austin, Mr. Austin’s sons, showed up at our house. Bill was included in our plans for the trip but Elmer went to work in the woods under a Mr. Attie Roberts.

I had received a big, beautiful doll for Christmas. I was kidded about it a lot, I didn’t care as I liked dolls and I spent hours making clothes for it.

The winter months were cold, snowy and muddy under foot. After the holidays were over, I had another attack of not seeing very good and this influenced Mother to agree to the trip to California. She seemed to think that I was suffering from snow blindness, even though the report from Denver stated that I had astigmatism.

February found us packing, storing and getting the old Model T Touring car ready to go. We had to see that the curtains were in good shape so as to keep us comfortable from the wind and cold and possible snow on the way. I seem to remember that we got cold and miserable several times before we finished our trip, which turned out be almost a complete circle back where we had started from.

We started out for Gallup, New Mexico the latter part of February. It was a real nice day when we left, but it did not stay that way long.
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If you wish to know more about McPhee Colorado the National Parks Service has a webpage detailing the town’s history. It is also the sources of the pictures above.

 

Catch up on Eleanor’s Story: Chapter 4, Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

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How To Preserve A Husband Part 2

 

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Yesterday I posted about an unexpected find in a cookbook my late mother-in-law had given me. It was a recipe on how to preserve a husband. It held good advice wither you are a new wife or a veteran.

The Recipe:

How To Preserve A Husband

Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young. When once selected, give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in a pickle, others are constantly getting them in hot water. This makes them sour, hard to get along with and sometimes, bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well-sweetened with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared they will keep for years.

Found in an old cook book

Mrs. James A. McNamara

 

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Concerned over the condition of the paper the recipe was printed on I decided to put it under glass with a little flair.

Using scrapbooking paper, bits of sewing odds and ends (also given to me by my late mother-in-law), and a decorative frame purchased from a garage sale, I proceeded to create a family heirloom that could be passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter (hopefully, fingers crossed).

What little bit of unique family history that may seem like nothing can you create into a family heirloom? I would love to hear from you.

 

How To Preserve A Husband Part 1

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

 

How to Preserve a Husband Part 1

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One of the things I love about my dearly departed mother-in-law is even after two years she is still giving me wonderful little gifts. While looking through a stack of her old cookbooks, I found a golden nugget of wisdom, a recipe for preserving a husband. It is a lovely piece of advice pickled in farmhouse humor.

The recipe for a relationship is timeless. The quote cleverly restates the golden rule. That universal proverb we all learned as children. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The quote is not attributed to an author. It only reveals that it was found in an older cookbook. My mother-in-law’s well-loved cookbook, tattered and worn, appears than dirt. I can only wonder how old the quote is. Finding its origins could take considerable digging. In what time era would you place the farmhouse quote?

It is a recipe for preservation worth preserving.

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Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

Visit me on Facebook and Twitter

Deadly Tuberculosis

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Image Source: knowitall.org

Genealogists and family historians no only need to know how to find and preserve records, expand family trees, and write histories; they need to have a solid sense of history.

What was going on in the world and locally during the life of your ancestors?

Tuberculosis is a disease that has touched many lives throughout history. It is a disease that, today, does not get as much attention as cancer, influenza or casualties of war. Nonetheless, TB was an avid killer up until relatively recently.

In medical arenas, Tuberculosis is called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. However throughout history, consumption, phthisis, and the white plague.

What is TB? According to the CDC:
The bacteria usually attack the lungs. But TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. People who are infected, but not ill, have what is called latent TB infection. People who have latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. But some people with latent TB infection go on to get TB disease.

It appears that Tuberculosis may have emerged 9,000 years ago in Africa. Trade routes, animals such as goats and cows, seals and sea lions all aided in the spread of the disease.

There are written records all around the ancient world from India, China, and Greece. Even in pre-Columbia America have records of TB written in the DNA of skeletal remains thousands of years old.

Fast forward to 1830. In New York City (population 202,589) alone 16,400 people died in that year alone. 8.1% of New York’s population perished from Tuberculosis.

In 1882 Robert Koch asserted that Tuberculosis is an infection disease meaning that it is transmitted from person to person. Armed with this information sanitariums popped up isolating the infected. Still, they did not have an effective way to combat the disease. One out of seven who contracted TB died.

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Image Source: Blue Ridge Sanatorium

By 1900 Tuberculosis was at a crisis level in Great Britain. So much so that in 1901 a royal commission was formed to study TB transmission between humans and animals.

A hundred years ago Tuberculosis was considered the biggest killer in America. It is estimated that in the United States alone at least 450 people died of Tuberculosis every day. To put that into perspective, that means 164,250 lost their lives every year.

It was only in the 1940s that scientists discovered the first medicines to treat TB. We still use the same medication today. However, since 2000, there is a rise in tuberculosis cases with the disease becoming more resistant to the medicines available.

Unless new treatments are discovered, we could face similar devastating effects of TB as did our grandparents and great-grandparents.

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To Learn More:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Research History

Harvard University Library

Wikipedia

 

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Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

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Zella Cole and Tuberculosis

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Zella Cole Ensor

This lovely lady is Zella Cole Ensor. She was the daughter of Robertson J. Cole and Mary (Mollie) C. Lowe. The Cole and Lowe families are old residents from Carter County, Tennessee.

Zella was born 24 April 1889 in Carter County, Tennessee. During the winter of 1907, at the age of seventeen, Zella married George W. Ensor. Four years later, they had a daughter named Hazel. She was born 15 June 1911 in Carter County, Tennessee.

Sadly, like so many living in the area at the beginning of the 20th century, Zella contracted Tuberculosis during the winter of 1914. A few months later in March of 1915, Zella passed away at the age of twenty-five. She left a husband and a three-year-old daughter.

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Image Source: FamilySearch

Thankfully, a picture of Zella Cole still exists to remember by.

Tuberculosis (formerly known as consumption) is not widely talked about today since we can treat it with success. However, only a hundred years ago TB was a major problem. Many individuals lost their lives to the disease.

Some of the symptoms Zella would have suffered from fatigue, night sweats, and “wasting away.” According to the University of Virginia, at least 450 people in America died every day from Tuberculosis. Most victims were between the ages of fifteen and forty-four years old. The disease was so common that it became a synonym for death.

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Deaths from TB during 1945. Image Source: University of Virginia

Tuberculosis was rampant in the cities especially among the poor. It was not until the late 1800s/early 1900s doctors used isolation to keep the disease from spreading.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Tuberculosis click here.

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

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My Life’s Story: Chapter 4

 

My Life’s Story

by Eleanor Van Dusen Bowen

 

Chapter 4: Bayfield Colorado

 

Mother bought a herd of twelve Jersey milk cows to take up to the ranch in Colorado. We loaded up the covered wagon to make the move with. She drove the wagon and Charles drove the cattle behind the wagon. We arrived at the Marr’s home, which was a short way north of Bayfield, about three weeks before Christmas. The snow wasn’t so bad yet, but that we could get up to the ranch and get settled in. Mr. Marr assured Mother that there would be enough hay and other feed for the cattle and mules until spring.

Charles made a trip into town on snowshoes to get things for Christmas and to pick up our mail and a package that was from my father. We had a wonderful Christmas. Charles went out and cut a tree as tall as the ceiling in the living room. Harry and I made all of our tree decorations, and decorated the tree ourselves.

On New Year’s morning we awoke to find snow four feet deep against the window and it had blown onto the porch and against the door. Charles had to literally dig his way to the barn that morning, so that he could do the chores.

When we all went ty a party on a ranch, every woman that came brought food and everyone stayed all night eating and dancing until morning. The children were bedded down on pallets and beds. We usually made the trip to the party in a sleigh with hot bricks for our feet and blankets to wrap up in. It was real fun and we looked forward to every party that was given.

Since school would not start until the first of April, we had plenty of time to play in the snow, to snowshoe and ski on the mountain side behind our house. We would walk the trapline that Charles had set out soon after we got settled. We thought that we were helping bring in the furs from the animals that he had caught in the traps. He made quite a bit of money from the sale of the furs.

When school started, Harry and I went to school in a little one room building with two cloakrooms. We always had a hot drink with our lunches. We rode horse back to school each morning. It was about seven miles by the road and five miles by the short cut through the gap. The pony that we rode was mine and her name was Penny, because she had a shiny coppered colored coat of hair. She had a colt that spring and its name was Redwing. Mother gave the colt to Harry for his own pony when it was grown up.

Mrs. Painter was our teacher and she taught eight grades. Many times, Mrs. Painter would have me listen to the first grade children read or maybe it would be giving out the spelling words to the second and third grade children. I often thought how nice it would be to be a teacher, but I never got the chance to go to school to learn to become one because of ill health when I was young.

In September, Harry became ill with appendicitis and died in the Mercy Hospital in Durango, Colorado.

When School was out, Mother and I moved into Bayfield, but Charles remained on the ranch until the cows were sold. Mr. Austin went south to find work. I went to the Bayfield grade school and I had to take the seventh grade over due to some rules they had of children coming in to town from a country school.

Our fun, that winter, was skating on the ice in the river and the ice on the ponds, and sledding down Wheeler’s Hill on the hard packed snow on the road, and roasting marshmallows over a camp fire. We would use the campfire to warm ourselves by between trips down the hill or after skating for a while. At night the stars were clear and bright and when the moon was full, the country side looked like a fairy winter wonderland. The air would be cold and crisp and we see our breath like a fog in the air. At the end of the evening we would walk home where our mothers would have hot chocolate waiting for us to warm our insides, before we had to go to bed.

When school was out for the summer, Mother and I got ready to move to McPhee, Colorado where Charles had already gone to get work, as there was a new sawmill being built there.

 

To be continued…

 

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Catch up on Eleanor’s story: Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1

 

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

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My Life’s Story: Chapter 3

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My Life’s Story

by Eleanor Van Dusen Bowen

 

Chapter 3: Farmington, New Mexico

 

In the spring of 1922, Mother decided to move to Farmington, New Mexico, which is in the northwest part of the state, because Father would not stay away from her and leave her alone. She began to get ready for the move just before school was to be let out for the summer and it became quite a project for her. Mother had to buy and outfit a covered wagon with a stove, supplies, our own personal effects and beds for all of us. She bought a pair of mules to pull the wagon. We took with us two cows who names were Bess and Heart. We made a coop for a half dozen hens which would lay eggs and a white dog of mine, I had named Yep, who had a black spot around one eye.

When we were ready to go, Grandfather insisted on sending along a young cowboy, whose name was Charley Rhodes, for our protection. He rode a horse of his own and carried his bedroll across the back of his saddle, and had a rifle strapped to the side of this saddle. I often wonder what Grandfather thought we might encounter. Was it a bunch of wild Indians or maybe it might be a drunken cowboy or two? Anyway, we got Charley Rhodes for an escort.

We would average anywhere from ten to fifteen miles a day, according to the weather and the terrain of the countryside. At night, we would find a wide place beside the road and camp in it. We did not have to worry about water, since, we carried a barrelful on each side of the wagon. There was always the chores to do night and morning. We had to feed and water the livestock and milk the cows and tend the chickens.

Harry and I walked most of the way to Farmington, either behind or ahead of the wagon and team. One day when we were running ahead of the wagon, Harry and I found a little, lost lamb who was very weak. We took it into the wagon and taught it to suck old Bess to get its milk. It soon learned to tag along behind us in the road, after it became strong enough to run.

Once Harry and I encounter a bear in a roadside cave. Another time, we ventured into what we thought was a haunted house until we discovered that it was bats in the attic, because they flew out of a window while we were there.

One night, we ate what Mother called a two legged, red rabbit. It was really a red chicken that Charley Rhodes had thrown a rock at and killed it.

We were in Bayfield, Colorado on the Fourth of July. It was full of people and the Main Street was crowded with them. I could not see around, between or over the people and I had to ask bow to find our wagon that was parked in front of the Free Methodist Church. It was the first time in my life that I had ever gotten lost, and it had to be in a town of only about five hundred people, at that. There was a rodeo getting ready to start and there were fireworks going off everywhere.

It was a hot day when we arrive in Farmington. Mr. Austin, a friend of Grandfather’s, was in town, waiting, to take us out to his farm. It had taken us about thirty two days to make the trip. Now a days, we can make the same trip in about fifteen hours at the most, in a good car.

On July 22, 1922, Mother married Mr. James H. Austin which came as a big surprise to me. I think that my father coming to Farmington was partly the cause of her marrying again so soon.

Mr. Austin went to Bayfield, Colorado in November where he rented the Mars Ranch which was twelve miles north of town.

 

 

To be continued…

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Curiosity got the better of me. I did a quick check into Charley Rhodes, Eleanor’s grandfather, George Barrett’s ranch hand. He was born 1903 in Oklahoma to James King Rhodes and Laura May. His family was in the 1920 Elizabethton, Colfax County, New Mexico US Federal Census. Charley is listed among four other siblings; Elmer Thomas, Let a Rosetta, Era Mural and Floyd James.

 

Catch up on Eleanor’s story: Chapter 2  Chapter 1

 

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

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Independence Day Memorial and Thoughts

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Image Source: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=43684

 

The Revolutionary War Monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Smyth County Virginia holds particular importance for our family on our nation’s Independence Day.

The monument was built in 1996 by the Royal Oak Chapter of the DAR. The pillar memorial is located in Marion Virginia on the front lawn of the Smyth County courthouse.

Names of soldiers who fought for our freedom against the British Empire decorate the sides of the memorial topped by an eagle.

Inscription:

South Side

Dedicated to the eternal memory of the American Revolutionary War Soldiers and patriots from the area which in 1832 became Smyth Couty, Virginia, who sacrificed their lives and fortunes that we might have our freedom and independence.

East Side

George Killinger, Thomas Woolsey, Jr., Richard Williams, Elisha Dungan, Edward Crowe, Joseph Williams, James Scott, Phillip Greever, John Broady, Jacob Anderson, John Anderson, Jr., Henry Bowen, Samuel Buchanan, Justice Hubble, John Mercer, Richard Woolsey, James Houston, Moses Allen, Zachariah Hurt, Joseph Starnes, II, Jenkins Williams, Peter Groseclose, Henry Townsend, Edward Faris, Zachariah Blankenbeckler, Daniel Reamy

North Side

Henry Burkhart, James Buchanan, Nathaniel Harris, John Snider, John Shannon, Thomas Crow, Alexander Outlaw, James Crow, Matthew Bishop, Benoni Banning, Richard Poston, William Armstrong, William Humphries, Lily McIlhaney Bowen, Frederick Slemp, Zephaniah Woolsey, William Woolsey, Sr., Hugh Cole, William Reagan, Nathaniel Hurt, Nicholas Starnes, James Crabtree, John Hennigar, John Jamison, Andrew Hays, Joseph Atkins

West Side

Gen. William Campbell, Col. Arthur Campbell, Capt. Joseph Cole, Jr., Capt John Buchanan, Capt. Levi Bishop, Capt. Robert Davis, Gen. William Tate, Gen. William Russell, Capt. Arthur Bowen, Capt. Charles Bowen, Capt. John Campbell, Col. Robert Campbell, Capt. David Campbell, Lt. Patrick Campbell, Capt. Robert Bowen, Maj. David Campbell, Lt. Robert Sinclair, Capt. John Hays, Ens. William Hays, Capt. James Thompson, Capt. John Campbell, II.

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Image Source: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=43684

 

 

The fifth great-grandfather of my husband is listed, Frederick Slemp.

My ancestry included four names on the memorial. Lily McIlhaney (my seventh great-grandmother) and her sons Henry Bowen (my sixth great-grandfather), Capt. Arthur Bowen, Capt. Charles Bowen, and Capt. Robert Bowen. Also, the names Lt. Rober Sinclair and Gen. William Russell can be found in my family tree.

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Amid all the political chaos we find ourselves in today on our nation’s birthday, let us remember that 242 years ago political turmoil surrounded our ancestors. Many stood up for independence from Britain, many supported the British Empire and equally many remained neutral.

The Revolutionary War was not cut and dry. It was not colonists against the big evil British Empire. It was messy. Divided families fought against each other. It was a time of death, grief, and sorrow along with hope and determination.

The Bowen family, which was resoundingly patriotic, had divisions themselves. The Bowen brothers, who fought so hard in the war, had a sister (Rebecca) who married Jonathan Whitley a Torie, a British supporter.

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Bringing the Revolutionary War to present day, the lessons learned 242 years ago are still valid in our modern society. Many people believe history is irrelevant to what is happening today. Why study history? History is in the past.

They could not be farther from the truth. Those who do not take lessons from the past and apply it to the present are doomed to repeat history over and over.

Those who fought in the Revolutionary War were living, breathing, and dying human beings whose concerns were surprising close to our own. They sacrificed everything for what is being taken away from us now.

Divisions are forming in our country today. It is in the air. You can feel it.

However, before tensions in this country erupt irrevocably, take a moment to reflect on the past. Ask yourself, what can we take from history to minimize the damage to our families?

 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

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Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

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Bean Station

Bean Station in Grainger County Tennessee has deep roots in post-revolutionary America. Captian William Bean along with Daniel Boone scouted and hunted in the area as early as the 1760s. Both explorers are legendary frontiersmen who discovered a way through the Cumberland Gap in the spring of 1769.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, William Bean was granted 3000 acres of land for his outstanding service. He decided on a piece of land in what is now Grainger County Tennessee.

It is possible that William Bean had seen the area that he had chosen before while hunting and surveying land with his buddy Daniel Boone.

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William Bean and his wife Lydia Russell are said to be the first permanent Caucasian settlers in Tennessee.

Located below Clinch Mountain, Bean Station became a place of safety from the chaos of the frontier.

A shrewd businessman William Bean built Bean Station at a significant crossroads. Outside of the fort, William built the Bean Tavern which was the largest tavern between Washington D. C. and New Orleans. Travelers coming from far and wide stopped there on their journeys. It was a busy hub for the surrounding settlements in East Tennessee.

Interesting Note: Abraham Lincoln’s mother was a waitress at the Bean Station Tavern for a time.

To read more about Bean Station, click here.

 

I hold a particular interest in Bean Station as I am a descendant of William Bean and Lydia Russell who are my sixth great-grandparents.

 

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Thank you for reading

J. R. Findsen

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