Life has gotten in the way of my research and blogging of late and I look forward immersing myself into family history in the next few months. I took advantage of almost a two week Christmas break at work to head to Arkansas for some family history research. It was a trip I had to put off this summer due to a family illness, so I was very anxious about finally getting to go. We had a winter storm hit the night before I was supposed to leave, but I didn’t let it deter me in my quest! I left two days later than planned, but was still able to get most of my research done, and questions answered. The problem with genealogical research is that once you get one question answered, two more questions arise!

Bradley County Courthouse

On Tuesday, I traveled back to Bradley County to visit the County Clerk’s office to see if I could find any will or probate information on my second great grandfather, Major Brown Garrison. I can’t tell you how delighted I was to visit the archives at the county courthouse. The room where the older records were kept was my first foray in researching at a county courthouse in person, and I was tickled when I walked into the “vault.” The genealogist in me has never seen a more beautiful room in my life!

While I did find a probate record for Major Brown, it wasn’t quite the probate documentation I had hoped to locate. Still, it was an interesting snap shot into his life and gave me a clue that will require further research. Due to an antsy 3 year old tagging along, I didn’t have the time to delve further into locating the original plat map of the Township of Warren. The helpful Circuit Clerk also couldn’t find the particular plat map needed and was going to do some additional research for me after I left. A return visit, without my adorable but distracting sidekick, will hopefully allow me to spend time with the plat maps, deeds and assessor’s records so I can learn more about Major Brown’s property. Interestingly, I found the obituary for Major Brown and some other documents in an old envelope tucked away, long forgotten, in a cabinet at my parents house!  I can’t wait to share more about my finds in my next post.

In addition, we visited two cemeteries. We located Mary Jane Garison in one and her parents in another.  That will be for another post as well!

I had hoped to visit the Bradley County Historical Museum, pictured at the top of the post, but they were closed due to restoration work on the chimney. As I will be returning for a future visit, I look forward to visiting and learning more about the county, and what life was like for my ancestors when they settled there. If you are ever in that neck of the woods and want a true Southern style meal, I suggest you patronize Molly’s Diner on South Myrtle, just catty corner from the courthouse.

It is one of those quintessential Southern diners you see in movies. When you open the creaky front door and walk in everyone looks up and stares, especially if you aren’t from around those parts. My plate lunch included great fried chicken, mashed potatoes, lima beans, corn fritters and cornbread. It was a treat!

Warren Highway 63 house

A final intriguing spot I stopped to photograph on the way out of town on highway 63, was this grand old lady. I am determined to learn more about this structure.  She may be in great disrepair, but I still think she’s quite lovely. Some acquaintances who live in town says she’s been in such a state for at least 30 years or more.  Such a shame to lose historic structures like this one. I hope she can be saved.

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