Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Searching for my Ancestors

On Friday, July 4, 2008, a friend of mine that I met online and I met for the first time and went looking at old cemeteries in the Bland Hills. My friend, Glenn, is from Virginia and is a walking encyclopedia of family history knowledge. He and I are related several different ways way back when but this day we were just looking at connecting families. Accompanying us were my dad and my brother, who helped located graves in the overgrown cemetery. The first cemetery we went to was known as the John Warner Cemetery, it is the resting spot of several of my relatives and two sets of great-so many-grandparents. The cemetery is on a hill in a lovely location that overlooks Germany Valley.

In this cemetery, you will find the stone of my 5-great-grandfather Joseph Bennett. It is remarkable that his stone is still standing, he died in 1810. Near his grave is that of his son, and my 4-great-grandfather, Elijah Bennett. His stone is still standing as well, he died in 1871. It is sad that their wives didn't have stones, even though they are surely buried beside of these men. Elijah Bennett is my grandfather two different ways, his daughter Sarah "Sally" Bennett married George W. Burns and they were my 3 great-grandparents; and also Elijah's daughter Hannah Bennett, married John Bennett and they are my 3-great-grandparents on another side. Their daughter Phoebe Jane Bennett married George Cunningham. Phoebe and George's daughter Jennie Cunningham married Charley Burns, the son of the aforementioned George and Sally (Bennett) Burns.

Below is the headstone of Joseph Bennett.

Below is the headstone of Joseph's son, Elijah Bennett.

After visiting this cemetery, we then went to the Bennett #51 cemetery further back in the Bland Hills on Dolly Ridge. There we found the headstone of my 3-great-grandfather George W. Cunningham. He was married to Phoebe Jane Bennett (see story above). Anyway, George also went by the last name of Sponaugle. His mother was a Sponaugle and his daddy was a Cunningham. In early records the family is listed as Sponaugle but later records has them as Cunningham. It came as a surprise to me to find George's headstone as "George W. Sponaugle". No wonder people are so hard to place when researching your family tree.

After we left the Bennett #23 cemetery, we went to the Burns family cemetery above Monkeytown. Since this was my family cemetery, I had been there hundreds of times, and knew most everyone buried therein, either personally or by family stories. But, by then it was raining really hard so Glenn didn't get too much information documented, but I did get to show him where the cemetery was located and we planned a trip for the near future. Stay tuned for more.

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