Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I took my mom out for lunch. The dh took me. My son took my daughter-in-law and the kids. What a handy thing that we were all going to the same place -- the Classic Restaurant in Denton. (This would be the one with the 60-foot buffet of country cooking and a pizza and salad spread -- the "picky eater" in the family didn't stand a chance.) Suffice it to say, the day was beautiful, and the meal and the company, excellent.

On the way back, we swung by Matton's Grove United Methodist Church. My mom had mentioned that she wanted to see it, and it wasn't all that far. My grandfather had told me about the church some years before he died, the fact that we had "people" buried there. I had been there once on a "roots" quest years ago, and I wasn't sure I could locate it again, but I did. When my mom saw it, she remembered that she'd been there at some point in her childhood, but she didn't remember with whom or why.

This is the "old" church, the one in her memory. It was built in the 1890s and it's no longer in use. See what a bright sunny day it was?

The first grave I located was that of Elizabeth Plyler, my great-great grandmother. I don't know what her maiden name was. It's not on the headstone.

And this is my great-great grandfather, H(enry) D(avis) Plyler's, grave. I'm told he was called "Davis," and not "Henry" or some other unofficial name. My no-greats grandfather, by the way, is a prime example of the Southern custom of having "unofficial" given names. His actual, birth certificate first and middle names were "Norman Brown." People outside the family called him "Gene," and they undoubtedly believed that that was his true name. My grandmother, on the other hand, called him "Bill." No one knows why because no one thought to ask. Anyway, my grandfather, Norman Brown Gene Bill, said that his grandfather, H(enry) D(avis), liked to entertain the grandchildren by counting in German.

And this is the backside of H(enry) D(avis) Plyler's headstone. The iron cross thing signifies that he was a soldier in the Civil War -- the losing side, that would be. As I recall, his regiment had a very straightforward name that would leave little doubt as to their true intent: The Stanly County Yankee Hunters.

From the mid-1700s onward, there was a large German settlement in this part of North Carolina -- it's the area I used as the setting for my novel THE BARTERED BRIDE. All the surnames I happen to notice in this particular cemetery were German, except for one -- "Smith."

And that's it for this time...

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