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.

My Photo
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.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Cousin Daisy Murray just wrote to tell me that she has a granddaughter, Chazmin, who was born six years ago on October 23, (2000), which happens to be the wedding anniversary of John J. Self and Lydia Avaline Waters Self. How interesting!

Friday, October 20, 2006


Cousin Duane Hill wrote me this evening to share that he and his wife, Vickie, are grandparents once again. Olivia Irene Large arrived Wednesday, October 18, 2006. She weighed 6lbs. and 10 ozs. and was 19 3/4 " long. Parents are Charles and Karie Hill Large of Manchester, TN.
Duane Hill is the son of the late Lucy Self Hill and Howard Hill.

Welcome to the family little Olivia Irene Large.

"Mountain Memories" Page 14

to them from below.

Trees had to be cut with only axes and crosscut saws. Before the railroad was built in the mountains, the trees were all dumped into the river and men had to ride the logs down the churning white water that was filled with huge rocks. To try to keep the logs from lodging in the rocks and stopping the flow of other logs coming behind, they had special tools with which to handle the logs. It was very dangerous work. If their foot happened to slip from the logs and they fell into the river they would be crushed.

Then the railroad was to be laid and more men were hired to make and lay crossties. The long shining rails began to wind up the mountainsides. The peace and quiet of the forest was ended. And the wild animals were no more, for a monster more powerful than them all had come to invade their wilderness with a growl that shook the very mountainsides and a scream that echoed through every valley. Now only the ring of the axes and saws could be heard, accompanied by the crashing of falling trees and the warning call of "high timber!"

Horses were used to pull the logs from the forest to where they could be loaded on the train. There were skids where the logs were slid down the mountainside, and on each side were trenches called "jay holes" for the protection of the animals in case the logs came loose or went faster than the animals could move. They were trained (by experience) to quickly jump aside when the loggers yelled "Jay hole!" In the early days of the lumber company they used some steers, but they were slow and not as quick to move when the jay hole call was made. Many a poor steer came into the camp after a day's work with bloody feet and legs.

Lots of families lived in the lumber camps but train cars were also provided for living quarters. These were called "shanty cars," and were strung up and down the railroad, usually very close to the tracks. It was very dangerous, but these people lived with danger every day. It was not unusual for a train heavily loaded with logs to derail and roll down on cabins and cars, killing the occupants.

Sometimes the cars became uncoupled and rushed with high speed back down the rails. When they came to the sharp curves, so numerous in these mountain railroads, they were unable to make them at such speed and the cars leaped high in the air then crashed down the mountainside, leaving families screaming for their dead loved ones.

When they were children, Joe Miller and his sister Lula were sleeping in a bedroom while their parents held church services in another room of their home, when suddenly logs from a derailed car came rolling down the hillside and crashed into the house


"Mountain Memories" Page 13

forth, back and forth. Each steel driver had a "shaker," a man who held the steel being driven into the rock cliffs where they could place the plasting powder. Why they had to shake the steel spikes I don't know, but with a nine-pound hammer going wild swaying back and forth over one's head, I couldn't wonder that John Henry told his shaker he'd better pray "that if I miss this little piece of steel, tomorrow's gonna be your burial day!"

I have often wondered why they made the hammer handles thin and limber but I never thought to ask when I was told this story many years ago.

Babcock Lumber Company made a big difference in the lives of these mountain people. Before, the men struggled to keep bread on the table, and what few vegetables they could raise on the slopes and hollows of this rugged country too soon were eaten up by the large families they also raised. There was hardly any way to preserve the garden vegetables. They dried a lot of their fruits and vegetables to be eaten in the winter months: berries, pumpkins, and most of all apples, from which they made delicious applesauce stack cakes and apple pies.

They also bleached apples. I wish I had the recipe for this, but I never asked my mother for it. In all the years she made these apples she would not let us kids watch her do it. In the process, she somehow burned sulphur and it is a very suffocating odor. She was concerned that the odor would strangle us. She always bleached the apples in the attic and "bleached" was a good description of them: they were very white and tasted strange but good.

When these old timers canned with zinc lids and rubber bands they could not can vegetables, just fruit, and often it would spoil. Sometimes they turned the jars upside down and threw a quilt over them and let them sit over night.

The cattle and hogs were allowed to run loose in the forest and people fenced them out instead of fencing them in. They made slats (thin strips of wood) and put around their gardens. They cut slits in the hogs' ears so they could tell which hog belonged to whom.

Every man in the mountains that wanted to work had jobs after the arrival of Babcock Lumber Company. The company had come in from the "flat lands," as the mountain people called it, to buy the timber that clothed these mountainsides and choked up the valleys like a jungle and spread out on every side as far as the eye could see. Lumber was big business, and Tellico Plains became a booming town. People came from allover the country and men were hired on every side and put to work. Huge buildings had to be quickly thrown together for temporary living quarters. These buildings were called camps and were numbered as you came



Monday, October 23, 2006 will be a significant date for the Self Family. John J. Self and Lydia Avaline Waters Self were married October 23, 1851 in Union County, Georgia. This was 155 years ago. John was approximately 26 years old when they married and Lydia was 18 years old. They had 11 children together during their 58 years of marriage. John died in March, 1910. Lydia lived 5 years longer and died in May, 1915. They are buried in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. To see a photo of this couple, go to the July, 2005 Archives on this site. See the article "Our Earliest DOCUMENTED Ancestor". John and Lydia are my earliest documented Self ancestors and yours too if you are a Self cousin to me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'Mountain Memories" Page 12

ordinance of the Baptist church in those days. He loved music. Before his conversion, he would come into his home with a dance in his steps. One day he noticed his young daughter Mary imitating his dance steps. After that, he never danced any more and he refused to let his sons play the fiddle or banjo, saying it was music for dancers.

His oldest son, Sherman, found an old fiddle with no bow somewhere in the house. Knowing it took resin on the bow to bring the music from the fiddle string, he simply went to the kitchen where his mother kept pine splinters to start her fire in the kitchen range. He selected a long one, rich and clear with resin, and it wasn't long until he was making music with an old fiddle and a pine splinter for a bow. When his father heard the music and went to see where it was coming from, he had to smile.

His second son McKinley (Kin) took up playing the zither harp. Unlike the autoharp, the zither has no bars to chord the strings. Each note is plucked out on the double strings (two strings very close together tuned to the same note) by the right hand, while the left hand strums out the rhythm on the bass strings. It is a beautiful sound.

Arthur, the youngest son, began to join in the music with a guitar. Soon a band was formed and the three brothers were going here and there to make their music. They played not for money but for their own enjoyment. Mary played the accordion and also the zither harp, but she would not play in public. Up until a few years before she died at age eighty-five, she would sing the old mountain songs while working in the kitchen. Often she sang by notes, never looking in a songbook. These songs were not in any books owned by the people of that age. They were songs that were surely brought over from the old world, songs such as "If religion was to buy, the rich would live and the poor would die."

Harvey taught music and penmanship to anyone who wanted to learn
it. For a living, he worked on clocks. If he had several in the house he would be sure they were all striking at the same time. One time he walked all the way to Madisonville from where he lived in the mountains beyond Tellico Plains to work on the courthouse clock. He also worked on guns and anything else that took delicate handwork.

After Babcock Lumber Company came to the mountains in the early part of the century, he made ax handles for the loggers and hammer handles for the steel drivers who were part of the crews that cleared the way for the railroad tracks. Handles of the nine-pound hammer were not like ordinary hammer handles. The handles had to be made thinner at the base next to the huge hammer so that they would be flexible. When the steel driver would swing them back to hit the steel, they would swing back and


(Note: This page marks the half-way point through Mildred's "Mountain Memories".)

"Mountain Memories" Page 11

knew Harvey would be walking in a little while. Sure enough, he soon heard footsteps coming along the path, and then he heard voices. He had hoped Harvey would be alone, but Ollie knew he might not get the chance again and he planned to kill him anyway.

But when they came in sight, he was shocked. It was Louisa walking along beside Harvey. They were walking and talking happily, but Ollie was so enraged by the thought of Harvey killing his brother, he was determined to go through with his plan and he put the gun sights right on Harvey's heart. He hesitated as they came closer, thinking. Louisa's brother Cicero had married Ollie's aunt. Louisa might get in the way of the bullet. What would the poor girl do if she saw her sweetheart shot down right before her eyes? No! He just couldn't do it. He turned and walked away.

There was some good in that man, but the Hartness family wasn't taking any more chances with Harvey's life. They packed up their belongings and moved far away, to Oklahoma. Louisa was left behind. She and Harvey were not married.

Oklahoma was Indian country, wild and desolate. One could stand and look as far as the eye could see and not see a tree, just grass and loneliness. But the Hartness family stuck it out; how they made a living, I don't know. They made friends with the Indians and two of the Hartness boys married Indian girls.

Harvey was not content. He could not forget the blue eyes of Louisa Self. One day, after about two years, he bought a train ticket for a trip back to East Tennessee and the girl he had said he was going to marry.

Time always changes things, for good or for bad. Oklahoma was a
far-away land. Weeks and months had turned into years. Louisa never expected to see Harvey Hartness again. It was a lonely time for her and she began to accept the invitations of other men, even though they could never take the place of Harvey. She finally found a man she "liked" and they were going to get married when she heard that Harvey was on his way to back East Tennessee.

Somehow she had to get down to Tellico Plains to meet the train ­- and she did. When Harvey stepped off the train she ran into his arms.

Was Ollie Whitmore going to try to kill Harvey again? As far as I know, he never bothered him any more.

After Harvey and Louisa married, Harvey changed his way of living. He joined the Baptist church and became almost a fanatic in his desire to live a good Christian life. He would walk for miles to attend a "foot washing," which was considered an


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Mountain Memories" Page 10

so the fighting began. I am told it all happened very quickly. The Hartnesses had guns, but apparently the Whitmores had left in such a hurry they had only the knives that all mountaineers carried in their pockets.

As the fight became fiercer, Rollie whipped out his knife and began to slash Ed Hartness's back, up and down, back and forth, until blood was splattering all around. Marian Hartness saw that Rollie was going to kill his oldest son and he pointed his gun to shoot, but he didn't. Both these. fathers, Hartness and Whitmore, were Masons, pledged to defend and uphold each other regardless of the situation. When Whitmore saw Hartness on the verge of killing his son, he looked him straight in the eye and said, "You don't know what you're doing, do you, Marion?" Recalling the vow he had made when he joined the Masons and the determination he had to keep it, Marion dropped his hand. Harve didn't belong to the Masons and he declared venomously that he never would. He grabbed his gung, fired, and Rollie Whitmore fell to the ground, mortally wounded.

The fight was over. Everyone was stunned, paralyzed over the tragedy that had happened between these two families that had been friends. There were eleven siblings in this Hartness family, of which Harvey was next to the oldest. No doubt but what the women began to scream and lots of frightened little faces were pressed against the windows wondering what had happened between their "Paw" and brothers and their neighbors. Of course there was a hustle to get the Whitmore boy home and in bed and to try to do something for his wound.

Harvey and Rollie had once been friends, and Harvey stayed with the family that night. Whether or not he was welcome, I don't know. The family was only concerned with the welfare of their son and brother at that time. There were no doctors, no blood transfusions, no antibiotics, no painkillers -- just home remedies. Rollie died and everyone was sad, including Harvey.

Ollie was smoldering inside over the loss of his twin brother and soon began to plan a way to get revenge. He found his chance one day (he thought) when Harvey's little eight-year-old brother Ben was sent to the mill to get corn ground for meal to make bread for the family. When the boy wasn't looking, Ollie put some kind of poison in the meal. Evidently Ollie didn't care if he killed the whole family, children and all. Mary Hartness (the mother) made cornbread from the meal and all the family became sick--that is, all except Harvey! He wasn't home.

What did I say about a guardian angel watching over people?

No one in the family died, but that wasn't the last attempt Ollie made on Harvey's life. Next he set out to ambush him. He concealed himself among the bushes close to the trail where he


Rollie Whitmore's brother, Ollie, that Mildred mentions was actually named George Washington Whitmore. He was a twin to Rollie. George was the one who was shot and died.

Boyd Miller, a brother to Mildred Thomas, said that Mildred did not know all there was to the shooting story between the Hartness and Whitmore faimiles. His grandpa shot two Whitmore brothers Boyd said. One of them died and the other almost died. When the one that lived was told that his brother had died, he sat up in the bed and fell backwards, passed out according to Boyd.

"Mountain Memories" Page 9

Harvey Hartness was not quilting. It could have been at the home of his parents, because there were several girls in that family. After he met Louisa he told someone, "I'm going to marry that girl someday." Little did he know what lay between their meeting and the time he would marry her.

Louisa said later that she was afraid of him when she first saw him, not because of the way he acted, but because of the way he looked. Harvey had a thyroid problem and there was a huge goiter in his neck. When he looked at himself in the mirror, he could understand her feelings. So in spite of the uncertainty of life in this wild country and without even knowing where to find a doctor that could perform an operation, he was determined to have the goiter removed. It was back in the late 1870's. I don't know where, when, or how he had it removed, but he did.

The next time Louisa saw him he was a striking figure with black wavy hair and dark eyes. He was tall enough that she could stand up straight under his outstretched arm. His grandmother was a part (probably half) Cherokee Indian by the name of Barbara Panther before she married Marion Hartness.

There was a tragic happening in the lives of these two lovers that separated them for a time and that could have resulted in a permanent separation, but fate intervened.

The story goes that Harvey's young sister, a mere teenager, and young man by the name of Rollie Whitmore had a baby girl. I don't know if they were married or not but Harvey's sister was home with her parents at this time. Rollie was the nephew of Cicero Self's wife. The Hartness girl had been letting him have the baby from time to time, but for some unknown reason this time she refused. Rollie and his twin brother Ollie, along with their father, were covering the roof of the family home. He had already asked for the baby and been refused, but he said, "I think I'll go over there and get her." Rollie's mother, fearing the worst, said, "There's going to be trouble. Stay here and I'll go talk to her."

Harvey Hartness was a hot-tempered young fellow in those days. He asked his sister if she wanted Rollie to have the baby for a while and she answered, "No!" When the mother of the Whitmore twins arrived, Harve was sitting there in his parents' "big house" with a scowl on his face and a gun in this hand. (The "big house" is what these mountain folks called a living room or sitting room.) .

Harvey told Mrs. Whitmore she could not take the baby. When she returned home and reported the news to her sons and husband on the roof, they came scrambling down and they were mad. They headed for the Hartness residence in a hurry, but they met more than Harvey Hartness. His father and brothers had joined him and



Rollie Whitmore was a brother to Cicero Self's wife, Mosurie Whitmore, not her nephew.