Dutchtown, Loveville, Graveyards, and Progress

You’ve probably passed this little church and cemetery hundreds of times on your way to Turkey Creek.  Maybe you’ve never even noticed them.  At the corner (sort of–the road has been closed here) of Dutchtown and Lovell Roads stands the little Concord Mennonite Church, still open although with a congregation of only about 25 souls.
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The congregation has been around since the 1870s, the building since 1887.  A group of Pennsylvania Dutch, led by one John Stoltzfus, came down from the North to start this church (hence the name of the road, y’all).
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This is a small and very well-kept little cemetery, mowed, trash-free, and with most stones readable and in good repair.  There’s not much if any burying still going on here, but at least some graves are still being visited.
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The stones and inscriptions are typical of the other cemeteries I’ve visited, including the familiar lamb stones signifying the death of a child.
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The names are not as familiar.  They are–predictably–mostly German, and apparently many of the congregants left the area over the years.  There was one distinctly non-German name that was a big surprise to me, though:
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Della Myrtle Raley was my great-grandmother.  Raley is an Irish name, and I was immediately curious about exactly who old WT was and what he was doing in a Mennonite Cemetery.  I can’t yet answer the second question, but I can tell you that his full name was William Thornburgh Raley and that he was my first cousin thrice removed.  Our common ancestor is my great-great-grandfather, Daniel Raley, who is buried in Carr Cemetery in Union County (more on the cemeteries of Union County another day).  To put it another way, WT and Della were first cousins and surely knew one another.
Isn’t it strange to imagine what this area must have been like when Tennessee John (as he came to be known) and his family arrived in this area?  I found the following online in a Knoxville application for the Historic Register:  “Loveville (Lovell) was a rural community about one mile east of Campbell’s Station and was named for Robertus Love who settled there around 1797. Loveville contained a tannery, rope walk, store, blacksmith shop and cobbler’s shop. The businesses gradually disappeared over the years, and most were torn down when Kingston Pike was widened in the early 1940s. Cavett’s Station, Campbell’s Station, Ebenezer and the communities of Erin (Bearden) and Loveville (Lovell) were all located within a valley of approximately twelve square miles, Sinking Creek Valley (also called Grassy valley) in west Knoxville” (remember Grassy Valley Baptist Church–AHA!).
Now, granted this was some years later but I’m willing to bet that Loveville then was a lot closer to the Loveville of 1797 than to the Lovell of 2014.  I tired to produce picturesque shots for this post by editing out as much modern-day ugliness as possible, but it was hard.  Just look at the contrasts:
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It occurs to me that we owe a debt of gratitude to the people who founded churches and their accompanying cemeteries in the 18th and 19th centuries.  “Progress” has destroyed Loveville, leveled its blacksmith and tannery and general store.  But the God-fearing folk of East Tennessee are a lot less likely to knock down churches and dig up graveyards.  Oh, it has happened, I know.  I have forebears who lie in cemeteries that were created so that TVA could flood their previous “final” resting places.  In fact, some of the folks in this cemetery were relocated from Karns for the construction of the high school.  But it’s not as common.  And so we still have a little left of this
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albeit surrounded by this
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and for that we should all be thankful.

And This Is Why They Call It Gallaher View

Oh, I’m so terrible.  It’s so nice of everyone not to mention that I claimed I was going to blog every day during Lent.  That didn’t last long.  I have GOT to figure out a way to carve out the time to blog every day.  Trust me, my silence does NOT indicate a lack of things to tell y’all about!
I’m still trying to make a graveyard visit every weekend, and except for one soggy Saturday, I have accomplished that.  Yesterday I checked out Edgewood Cemetery.
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It’s a newer graveyard, having been established in 1928, but it encompasses an earlier burial ground:  The Gallaher View Baptist Church  Cemetery, which is still the property of the Church it sits directly behind.
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I first became interested in this cemetery a few years ago when I happened to be driving up Kingston Pike and took my eyes off the road long enough to notice the graves up on the ridge.  This is a pretty large cemetery, and the long expanse of silent graves offers an interesting counterpoint to the unbridled commerce just below.

Gallaher View - get it?
Gallaher View – get it?

This is a cemetery that is currently being used (there was one grave only a week old), and it is beautifully kept–nice to see after some of my recent jaunts.  The grass is cut, the space is clear of broken branches and debris, and all the stones are in one piece!
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Given its location, the most memorable feature of this graveyard is the view, and it’s impressive in all directions.
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Y’all, I might have gone just a little bit crazy taking pictures of the view!
Another item of note:  the grave markers.  I have never ever seen such massive ones.  I didn’t have anything with me to show scale, so you’ll just have to trust me or go see for yourself.
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The Knoxville history buffs among you will appreciate the array of family names:   Walker, Gallaher, Lones, and others.  Visiting graveyards brings Knoxville history alive for me. When I was a child, Vanosdale was a road we took to drive to the Mall.  To old-time West Hills residents, I think it’s the name of a farm.  But when you are in the graveyard, it’s the name of a family, and I will think about them the next time I drive there.
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Those stones are from the original cemetery, and that’s where you’ll see more ornate and unusual markers.  The rest of the place is fairly standard as modern cemeteries go, with a lot of large markers with family names and then the in-ground plaques to commemorate individuals.  There were a few creative ones though, that let me “get to know” the people who lie there (or in the case of this one, who will eventually lie there):
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Entering a new graveyard is always a little adventure.  There are almost always surprises, stories, mysteries.
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You will see stones that make you sad.
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You’ll see stones that will make you want to know more.
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And you may even see some that make you wish you knew less.
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