did. He tried to help them with the work but he was not able. He was sick and he resigned as pastor before they got the building much more than started. He died of cancer in 1956. He was 62 and the five preaching engagements he had received since his resignation were never filled. Mary died in 1976 of heart failure. She was 85.
I never met all of the John Self family. I just heard my folks talk about them so much it seems like I know them. I knew very well Uncle Mark and Aunt Matt, also Aunt Dove and her family, and Aunt Nance was like a "grandma" to us kids. I knew her better than I did my real grandmother. Louisa never seemed to live close to us when I was a child and I remember seeing her only twice in my life. She died when I was about five years old.
As a little girl, I can recall Aunt Nance sitting at the table eating with us, sleeping in her own bed while we sisters had to sleep piled up together. I remember her out in the cold helping with the hog butchering; the wind would swirl her long dress and you could just see part of her cottonile stockings and high-topped shoes. No matter how she dressed she always had delicate little rings of gold hanging down from her ears. Louisa had a pair of earrings just like them. They were gifts from Harvey. Nancy would play with us, sing to us, laugh with us and even scold us and sometimes we children would get aggravated at her but looking back, I can see she was an all-around good great-aunt.
I remember seeing Louis Self, but I didn't really know him. The rest I know only by what I've been told, but I believe it because it was told by truthful people. This story is true. It is about real people who lived long ago when things were so different to what they, are today that one can hardly imagine what it would be like to live in such a time.
These mountain people -- Selfs, Hartnesses, Millers, Tuckers, and all the rest -- they were far from perfect people and some may think I told some things I should not have told, but then the story would have only been half true. I wanted it the way it was, and this is the way it was.
This story was written solely by Mildred Nancy Catherine Miller Thomas, 1991 and 1992