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 06, 2009


Stella Miller was the daughter of Rev. Oliver (Joe) Miller and Mary Lydia Hartness Miller. She was the sister of Mildred Miller Thomas, whose articles have also been published on this blog. Stella passed away on August 17, 2006. Stella wrote “Remembering Papa”.

“Remembering Papa”

A very dear friend of mine, Patsy Robbins, asked me to write about this incident that happened to my daddy years ago, so I'll try to write it just like he told it. Papa was pastor of Coker Creek Baptist Church and back then he had no car so he had to walk all the way across Coker Creek Mountain and down the other side a few miles. As most of you can remember, it was a rough, steep road before the new highway was built. At this time we lived three or four miles below Tellico. Back then country churches only had services once a month; on Saturday morning at 11 o’ clock, Saturday night and Sunday morning. Papa would walk there for services and then back home, so he would get up early Saturday morning and get started in order to get there for the 11 o' clock services.

So this Saturday morning he had gotten almost to the top of the mountain when he said he was so tired and his feet were hurting so bad he decided to rest a while before going on to church. He set down on the side of the road on a big rock and pulled his shoes off. He said when he pulled his shoes off he saw that he had blisters and they had burst and the blood was running out of his socks. While sitting there he looked up the mountain and saw this man coming down the road. He recognized him as a sinner man the church had been praying for so long, but it seemed that no one could reach him or touch him in anyway. He came on down the road and stopped and talked to Papa a while. He started on down the road, but later told that he couldn't get that off his mind. He said something kept ringing in his mind,--that man is a servant of the LORD--over and over, a servant of the Lord, a servant of the Lord. It rang in his mind until he got under conviction and was saved. I don't remember if he came to church and was saved or was saved at home, but the important thing is that he was saved after seeing Papa sitting there on the side of the road resting with the blood running out of his socks. Papa wasn't boasting when he told this, he was just saying that the life you live before your sinner friend is more important than all the words you could say.

Below are the words to a song I used to hear them sing when I was a child. When I think about this incident that happened to Papa I think about this song.

I saw a way worn traveler in tattered garments clad. He was struggling up the mountain it seemed that he was sad. His back was heavy laden, his strength was almost gone but he shouted as he journeyed, deliverance will come.

The summer sun was shining; the sweat was on his brow. His garments worn and dusty his steps were very slow, but he kept pressing onward for he was winding home still shouting as he journeyed, deliverance will come.

I saw him in the evening, the sun was getting low. He had over topped the mountain and reached the vale below. He saw the shining city his everlasting home and shouted loud Hosanna deliverance has come.

Then Palms of Victory, Crowns of Glory, Palms of Victory I shall wear.

“The Way-Worn Traveler” is the title of this song.

Stella Miller

April 1998