A Few Revelations!
~Thursday, June 3, 2021~
We had a fun day planned in Knoxville with Sharon and Tiffany, hoping the weather would cooperate at least for a little bit of fun back at our campsite. It rained most of the night so we weren’t sure what we were in for. No use having them drive 2 hours roundtrip, only to be cooped up in our 200 square foot peanut. With homemade breakfast burritos in hand, we headed out for the hour-long jaunt to Sharon’s.
Little did I know what was in store. Sharon kept talking about taking us to a spot that was going to blow our mind. Some relic from her childhood? An awesome view from some lookout point? Never in my wildest dreams would it have been a cemetery. But this was not just any cemetery. This cemetery, Middlesettlements Cemetery is where my great, great, great, great grandparents (that’s 4 greats on our grandfather’s side), are buried, in Middle Settlement, TN.
Of all the places, we have roots just a hop, skip, and a jump from Sharon’s home. Who knew? A while back, Sharon had been doing some research through a genealogy website and received a notification from them, about this connection to our family. And it’s right HERE!! Really gave me chills. My great, great, great, great grandfather was Martin Bonham born August 9, 1773 and died November 23, 1861 (88 years-incredible in those days) and my great, great, great, great grandmother who was 16 years younger, Orpha Bonham, was born 1789 (no specific day written) and died September 23, 1872 (83 years-again incredible!). As if that wasn’t enough news, Sharon then drove us to another site which had some significance to our family lineage. Again, I would have had no idea. Even though my grandfather Sidney Lanier had an unusual name, (like so many people did back then), I never knew where the name came from. Sharon had once been told by our grandmother that Grandpa was named after a famous poet/novelist. But who would have known that that writer would have frequented the Knoxville area at a place so near to where Sharon lives. Montvale Springs/Chilhowee Mountain, currently run as a summer camp/retreat, was formerly a resort hotel in the 1800’s. One of their patrons……...Sidney Lanier.
His best-known poems are “The Song of the Chattahoochee” and “The Marshes of Glynn”, so I will definitely have to check those out. Maybe between Sharon and I, we could get the entire lineage really dialed in. One thing’s for sure…..it has piqued my interest to do so.
We would definitely have seen more of the Merryville area had we not had a 2:30 vet appointment for Sadie. Sharon had a recommendation to use their veterinarian, in which we took her suggestion. Just a simple annual check up and of course, Sadie had a clean bill of health. Even her injured paw from a few weeks ago is healing fabulously.
After the appointment we then met Tiffany and Sharon in downtown Knoxville at a brewery called Balter Beerworks. With the light sprinkles we decided to take a seat under cover on the outdoor patio. A delicious “dunch” as Sharon called it (lunch and dinner). We all had blackened fish tacos except for Tiffany who had a burger.
While we were there, we also got on the phone with our campground to look into extending our stay by one more day. Heading into the weekend, it would be doubtful, but low and behold, there was a site right on the lake, for one night. Site #48 was ours, IF we fit. The site is labeled for a 25’ rig and ours is 29’. The manager, Lisa said she would hold it for us until we got back to check it out for ourselves. Now to call our campground in Chattanooga. Some campgrounds will give up your site if you don’t show up by the evening of your booking. This one, I found out, holds your site for the entire booking. So we’re good there. Yeh…..one more day visiting Sharon and Tiffany.
Next, we got the tour of downtown Knoxville. It was bigger and more vibrant than we expected. My first glimpse of Knoxville, and it’s hard to miss, was the Sunsphere Tower built for the 1982 World’s Fair, with the theme being solar power. We walked historic Gay Street with all of its nostalgia and historical significance. We learned that back in 1796, Gay Street was the site of the Constitutional Convention that in turn, founded the state of Tennessee. Knoxville is also home to famous theaters. I just loved all of the old, refurbished buildings with their original signage. What an awesome city with restaurants, galleries, building murals, breweries, the Market Square, and the energy of this city. But nothing struck me as much as the Burn Memorial. Erected in 2018, and sculpted by Alan LeQuire, the statue depicts Rep. Harry Burn of Niota and his mother, Febb, and honors their roles in the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1919.
Burn’s opposed the amendment until he read this letter from his mother:
"Dear Son... Hurrah and vote for Suffrage and don't keep them in doubt ...
I've been watching to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet ...
Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. 'Thomas Catt' with her "Rats".
Is she the one that put rat in ratification, Ha! No more from mama this time.
With lots of love, Mama."
His one vote swung the vote to ratify. This would be the third thing to give me “chills” that day. Amazing! We found the perfect spot in Market Square to enjoy a few refreshing brewskies while Sharon took a brief violin lesson from an older street musician. And it looks like we just missed the Dogwood Festival in April, so will have to come back as well, for the Christmas festivities.
Then for the long drive back, but luckily in time before dark, so we could examine site #48. Oh my goodness. What an amazing site. And yes!!!! We will fit. Now that it’s a done deal and we know Sharon and Tiffany will be coming over tomorrow for a sunny day at the lakeside, I got a jump start on cooking a few items ahead. I even had energy left to make some delicious banana muffins, a few of which I would give to the campground managers, Lisa and Robbie, and of course Sharon and Tiffany.