UNMARKED SELF INFANT GRAVE MAY SOON BE MARKED
Lula Methodist Episcopal Church was constituted about 1880. It was located along the banks of the Tellico River at Belltown, Tennessee. Land for both the church and small cemetery across the road apparently occupied by only two infants graves was secured from Ferring Milligan.
There are no signs today of the small framed structure once known as a Methodist meeting house of worship. Whatever was salvageable was taken to the Methodist Church in Tellico Plains after the building was abandoned due to a declining attendance for regular worship services according to the locals. The building was torn down. There are hardly any signs of the cemetery across the road these days either. Ron Johnston is about to change that. He has built a fence around the two small mounds of dirt and wants to place a monument on the site. Ron came to me in search of two names to put on the monument. I know who the deceased are and I found out purely by accident.
Several years ago, I was searching for information for Amos N. Self. He and his family are on the 1880 Monroe County, TN Census…the first Self family to appear on a Monroe County Census (that I have been able to find anyway). I set out to learn how Amos is related to my set of Selfs. This ended up taking a lot of research. One day while doing research at the local library, I found the following data in a book on Monroe County tombstone inscriptions. “SELF, Infant of Mr. & Mrs. Newton Self, 1889. CAUGHRON, infant of Terrell & Callie Caughron”, (no date).
The name Newton Self caught my attention. I felt that I was really on to something when I saw this inscription. Newton appears to be the middle name of Amos Self. I then set out to find this cemetery and more importantly to see if there was still a monument at the grave of the Self infant. It did not take much effort to find someone who knew about the abandoned cemetery. Glen Shaw of Tellico Plans took me to the cemetery on August 5, 1992. We found the gravesites, but no tombstones. There were two or three almost rotten fence posts, with only a strand or two of rusty barbed wire remaining around the cemetery. I was so pleased just to know the spot where the Self child was buried.
I kept looking for the Amos N. Self family for a long time, without any success. I almost gave up. I could not find any records of them after the 1900 Monroe County Census. It was as if they had just disappeared. Several years later, I found the family on the 1920 Knox County, Tennessee Census. I also found members of the Amos Self family in the 1921 Knoxville City Directory. I had struck gold after a long and almost abandoned search. Amos Self was apparently deceased, but his wife, Margaret, and some of his children were still living. A short time later, I discovered some cemetery records that showed the following. Amos Self was interred in the Greenwood Cemetery in Knoxville on May 17, 1922. His grave was and still is unmarked according to a cemetery representative who took me to the gravesite. I was never able to locate a death certificate in Tennessee for Amos Self either. One thing that also does not make sense is that Margaret is shown as being widowed in the Knoxville City Directory in 1921. An infant of J.N. Self was buried nearby Amos Self’s grave on September 21, 1916. J.N. Self is believed to have been a son to Amos (John N. Self). That grave is also unmarked. John N. Self, his wife Sallie Self and his mother Margaret, widow of Amos Self, are buried in Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. This cemetery is located a short distance from the Greenwood Cemetery.
I am still trying to determine (prove) for certain what relation Amos Self was to my Self line. I have a good idea, but it is still to be proven. Amos N. Self appears to have been a son to Thomas R. Self and Nancy Cook Self. Thomas is believed to have been a brother to my great- great- great grandfather John J. Self, who settled in Tellico Plains, Tennessee from Union and Lumpkin Counties in Georgia.
Ron Johnston and I are planning something special for the unmarked Self and Caughron graves at the Lula Methodist Episcopal Cemetery at Belltown in Monroe County. I will keep you all posted as to the progress of this project.