Barry's Genealogy Diary

This online genealogical diary is hosted by Barry T. Self. It is primarily for information pertaining to the SELF surname, more particularly for descendants of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, who were married in Union County, GA in 1851. Barry Self is the SELF proclaimed family genealogist and historian, having spent over 20 years researching this Self line. This diary is dedicated to preserving and sharing the findings of his research.

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Location: Madisonville, Tennessee, United States

I am married to a wonderful and sweet wife, Svitlana, who is from Ukraine and we have a beautiful daughter, Lydia Elizabeth. I have worked in the funeral business since 1988 and thoroughly enjoy researching my family roots.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Mountain Memories" Page 1

My mother, Mary Lydia Hartness Miller, was named after her grandmother, Lydia Avaline Waters Self, and was the daughter of Louisa Self, who married Harvey Hartness. From time to time throughout her life, she talked of her childhood and of the young adult life she spent with her parents, members of her family, and her friends living in the Turkey Creek area of the Cherokee National Forest of East Tennessee. She told it over and over again until it almost seems like I can remember it myself.

It's a story about a rugged people living in a rugged land, and I don't know if I can put into words the drama of the life these mountain people lived; however, I am going to try because for
years I have thought it should be written down and preserved for future generations of Selfs, Hartnesses, and Millers, and the offspring of other families living in that small area of the Cherokee Forest.

If you could see the old time Selfs gathered together in a group, you would remember them as small people with dark hair and dark beady eyes setting deep behind large cheek bones. (Of course there were exceptions; Nancy Self was heavy-set and Louisa Self had blue eyes.)

Thomas Self was born in North Carolina as was his son John Self, though John left that state before he married Lydia Avaline Waters because their marriage is registered in the state of Georgia. This leads me to believe that Thomas Self moved his family to Georgia before John was married. In those days, as a general rule, siblings didn't leave the family nest until after they married.

I have often wondered how they came to be living in Georgia. I have heard the old timers tell how Thomas Self (my great-great-grandfather) helped "run" the Indians out of the Cherokee Forest. "Run" is the word they used but probably it was more like herding them than running.

I suppose soldiers were sent there to see that the Cherokee Indians were moved out and sent to Oklahoma. I doubt if Thomas Self traveled on the Trail of Tears, but according to what I have been told, he, along with other mountaineers living there at that time, helped gather the Indians together at the start of the Trail of Tears.

It would have been pretty well impossible for people who were not familiar with the territory to hunt down all the Indians living in those mountains; the terrain was so rough they would have become lost in the laurel thickets. Those mountain men were equal to the Indians, knowing every trail and tree and probably had no trouble rousting out hiding Indians and turning them over to the army. Or did they? As we all know, some Indians escaped


NOTE: Mildred mentions that the father to John Self was Thomas Self. This has not been proven with documentation. I am still searching for documentation to prove what his father's name was. (Barry)