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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This is the second in a series of eight short stories by Lucille Linton as told to her by her mother Lila Self Hunt.

Sometime around 1880, four friends planned a trip to hunt for gold. Mary Ann Tucker, daughter of John Tucker, had prepared a lot of food for her father, Newt Hunt, and Alec and Billy Plaster to take on the trip. The day arrived on which they had planned to go into Tellico Mountains on this expedition. Although it was raining and heavy storms threatened, they could delay the start of their adventure no longer.

When they finally reached an old cabin, the roof was leaking so badly they had to find some bark and patch the roof. To take advantage of the final rays of daylight, Billy Plaster was standing in the doorway while shaving. Lightning struck him and killed him instantly. Because Mr. Hunt knew the mountains better than the other two men, he went to get help to carry out the body. Alec Plaster had been shocked so badly with the lightning that he lay asleep all night while Mr. Tucker sat up and made coffee and drank it to keep awake.

Morning finally arrived, and Alec Plaster was feeling a little better. They continued to wait for Mr. Hunt to return, but then decided he must have become lost during the wet night. Mr. Plaster and Mr. Tucker secured the cabin so no wild animals could get in and started out walking. On the trail, they met Mr. Hunt with several men to help with the body.

Later, the three survivors considered a return trip, but John Tucker said, "I know there's a gold mine in that area because I saw gold flecks in the branch where I lay down to drink on a previous trip there, but I know it's not for me so I'll never again try to find it."

Mary had seen a streak of lightning go straight down into the mountains that evening, and she always thought that was the bolt that killed Mr. Plaster.

Note: The Plasters were family to Lillie Plaster Self, wife of J.R. Sherman Self.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Cousin Christy Lucas emailed me a picture of her soldier husband, Rob Lucas, recently. Rob is in Kosovo serving in the military. Christy and her two children will get to visit Rob in Germany in May. Let us remember to keep all the men and women serving our country in our thoughts and prayers. This picture of Rob has Mt. Duke in the background.

Friday, March 07, 2008


This will begin a short series of eight stories I was given by Lucille Linton of Tellico Plains, TN. Her mother Lila Self Hunt, told Lucille these stories and Lucille was kind enough to pass them on to me a few years ago. I ran across them recently in my filing cabinet. I thought some of you might find them interesting. Lila Self Hunt was the daughter of Rev. John Simpson Self and Mary Ann Tucker Self and the granddaughter of John J. Self. Lila was born May 1, 1902 and died February 9, 1995. She was a wonderful person and had a sharp mind even though she was over 90 years old when she died. I learned a lot from her about the Self family. I appreciate Lucille sharing these stories with the rest of us. Below is the story "Oh The Heartache Caused By Strong Drink!".

Around 1908-1910, Obie Butler was planning to marry Sissy Ellis, daughter of Rev. John Ellis. With help from his neighbors, Obie held a house raising and erected a rail fence around the yard. He had been married previously and had several children. Upon completion of the log cabin, Obie decided to have a party there in celebration. As he left his house for the party, his children said, "Daddy, where are you going?" He replied, "I'm going to hell."

Some of the party-goers brought along some moonshine, and nearly everyone partook as the jar was passed around. As the party progressed, drunkenness increased.

Miss Ellis, her dad and Onie Phillips decided to leave. Obie thought she was leaving with Onie, so he started shooting at them. One bullet shot out a lock of Miss Ellis' hair as she ran down the path. John Headon saw Obie shoot Onie Phillips and try to kill Miss Ellis, so he shot Obie. Obie' s brother (maybe Allen), in turn, shot John Headon. When the shooting was over, three Rafter men lay dead, one being draped over the rail fence.

Someone went to tell John Headon's wife that her husband was dead. Although filled with fear, she and their little boy took the horse and sled, got his body and took it home. Where John’ s blood seeped into the floor, there was a dark stain as long as that house stood. Vinie Debety Shaw lived at that house in later years and says no matter how much they bleached and scrubbed, that stain remained.

Rev. John S. and Mary Self got Rach Roberts to stay with their children while they attended the interment of the slain men. Upon lowering of Obie's body, Dove Self Butler stepped up to the grave and said, "There lies the best Butler of the name, and I married one of that family." You could hear many in the crowd saying, "Then I'd hate to see the worst one!"

Following the burials, Rev. and Mrs. Self went to the Phillips home for dinner where many neighbors had carried in food. There was a large crowd there, but only a few folks had gone to console the Butler family.

Later, some of the party crowd teased Rev. Ellis about running away on that fatal night. He admitted, "Yes, I ran…I ran like a turkey! I'd have been killed if I hadn't."

Note: Rev. John Ellis was the third husband of Dovie Self Miller Butler Ellis, daughter of John J. Self and Lydia A. Waters Self. Rev. Ellis married Dovie on November 30, 1913. Obie Butler was a brother to Allen Butler, Dovie's second husband. Dovie's first husband was Sam Miller.