One of my goals for 2015 is to visit 30 states by the time I turn 30. It all started as an idea from a friend. The purpose is mainly just getting out there, making memories, and experiencing more of what America has to offer. I have until September 9th, 2015 to complete this goal, so I better get traveling!! Pack your road trip gear and come along for the ride!
Several weeks ago (most) of my family went on a genealogy road trip! We knew the general location of a very old family farm in Ohio, and decided to go on the trip we’ve been talking about for years. We’ve always wanted to find it (again for my dad), clean up around the area, and get rubbings of the gravestones. To get there I drove through several other states had never been in before- Indiana, and West Virginia.
Pretty quickly I realized that although just on the cusp of Spring and still more more brown than green, Ohio is beautiful. We drove in the countryside north of Marietta looking for the old family farm. The hills and vistas were impressive. My ancestors were pioneers and people of the land. They had to have been strong to make a living from lands these – while beautiful- are certainly not the plains of Kansas they eventually came to settle in. We found Chapman Cemetery which is the burial place for my four times great grandmother, Sarah Flanders- wife of Thomas. We got a rubbing of her grave first, and were entertained by Charlie freaking out over his first cow experience.
Before this trip I was always interested in my heritage, but from a standpoint of what countries they had come from and stories they lived. This trip got me thinking about how they really lived day to day, and how that translates to my life. Almost every single one of my ancestors- on both sides as far back as I know, until recently were farmers. Although I live in Kansas I live in the city- and my day to day is about as far removed from farming as possible. My dad asked me during the trip if I believed in ancestral imprinting. At the time I said no, but that was before I spent time in among my ancestor’s graves, tending to them and helping to get rubbings of the head stones. I feel connected to them now in a way I can’t explain or even understand really. I wonder if my love/obsession with indoor gardening is from them? I wonder if I would make them proud? Would they have made me proud? I think so.
After some searching we found the family graveyard which sits at the top of a crazy high hill, situated so that it overlooks a beautiful vista. They couldn’t have picked a prettier spot. As dusk came on we were still finding new headstones. There have to be many more we have yet to find. I sense another trip in our future! It would be great to really get in there with better tools to clear out the overgrown vegetation, more head stone rubbing supplies, and more time to really get it right.
Some of the headstones of my ancestors we found include:
– W.H. Flanders – who served in the Civil War in the 26th Ohio Infantry. They were a volunteer infantry that called themselves ‘The Groundhog Regiment’. We left a little paper version of the Regiment’s National Flag at his grave.
– Jacob Flanders, my three times great grandfather. Buried next to his wife Sarah. His head stone holds an image of two shaking hands this usually indicates a farewell to earthly existence and God’s welcome into heaven. If the sleeves of the two hands are masculine and feminine, the handshake may symbolize marriage. While it’s hard to tell for sure it looks as though the hands are both uniform indicating the latter. The inscription on his grave reads, “He has left cares and sorrow, his heartaches and his pains. And who __ left behind him hope to meet in heaven again.”
– Sarah Flanders wife of Jacob Flanders, my third great grandfather. By doing a rubbing of her grave we could make out the roses which are usually indicate a meaning of love, victory, triumph, and/or purity. I believe in this case they are meant to mean love. Perhaps she loved roses as well. There were overgrown rose bushes planted nearby. The inscription at the bottom reads, ‘We shall meet again, sweet mother; in a brighter time than this, Where the anguish of this world of ours is lost in death’s bliss.’
– We found many infant graves and several young children, all of which were heartbreaking.
Marietta had several of the best places we ate at for the entire trip. The Boat House BBQ even let us bring my dog Charlie on the patio! Not only that, but they had a big chair for photo opportunities, and the best cheeseburger maybe ever. Cheese and burger- PLUS a fried egg and avocado! That evening we ate at Las Trancas, which is maybe the best Mexican food ever.
The morning we left we stopped at Mound Cemetery inside Marietta town limits. This cemetery holds a Native American burial mound, which is the burial place of many chieftains. Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, and many of those settlers were officers and soldiers of the American Revolution. It is said that there are more Revolutionary officers buried in this county than in any other region in the United States. This cemetery alone has a long list of them. My fifth great grandfather Enoch Flanders and his wife Anna Flanders are buried somewhere in this cemetery. This is where planning and research would have come in handy as there is no one to help locate graves (at least not when we were there), there are so many to look through, and so many headstones were virtually unreadable. Although we didn’t find them, I’m certain we could at a later date.
We had a fantastic trip, I’m happy about the work we completed on my ancestor’s head stones and we had really good family time. This trip sparked a fire in me to work on the family tree and to get my DNA tested to discover and confirm knowledge and suspicions of my ethnicity. Stay tuned for those posts!
That’s 29 down, one states to go!!
The states I have now been to are: