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.

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.