Jewel Burgin Barr

Page 18-19 of Descendants of Captain Henry Woodward


A TOUR OF THE LAND OF MY FOREFATHERS

"We left home on a beautiful day late in September of 1966 for the land of my ancestors in Lee County, Virginia. Beautiful highways carried us there quickly. When we climbed over Cumberland Mountain, I scarcely realized we had reached the tip, as the grade seemed much steeper in 1932 when we made the trip through that area. The descent into beautiful Powell's Valley made our hearts leap with anticipation. Fields of luxuriant green tobacco waved in the sunlight. Have never seen such large leaves and they were starting to cut and store them in sheds to cure.

We rode several miles until we came to the old Jonesville Camp Ground. The first camp meeting was held on this site in 1810. The people camped on the grounds and, for several years, worshiped under a rudely constructed brush arbor. In 1824 a permanent shed was built with benches made of split logs and covered with old-fashioned clapboards. The large posts, plates and rafters of this old structure were hewn out of logs. Henry WOODWARD, my great-grandfather, and others did the scoring and hewing. This structure still stands and, with proper care, will endure for years to come as a lasting monument to the memory of these old servants of God.

We passed the three-story home of former Judge Wesley ORR on our way eastward. He was father's cousin. He is buried on his land, as is the custom with so many in that area.

We saw a road side marker in memory of Dr. Andrew Taylor STILL, physician and founder of Osteopathy, who was born two miles from there in 1828. He established the first American school of Osteopathy in 1892 at Kirkville, Missouri. He died there in 1917.

Old Jonesville appeared soon. The town was established in 1794 as the county seat of Lee County. Father delighted in the trips to their trading center when a youth. Union troops burned the courthouse in 1864, destroying many records. The present courthouse was erected in 1933.

We passed through Jonesville and a short distance from there we turned left into the east end of the valley of Sugar Run. Here my immediate ancestors settled. We came to the Pleasant Hill Methodist Church. There is a beautiful new brick church, colonial design, on the little hill. Here the WOODWARDS attended in early days and Grandfather BURGIN preached here. The present church was built with funds left by a cousin, Atty. Olen WOODWARD, who lived on Sugar Run. He provided endowment for three Methodist churches - Pleasant Hill, Bethel and the Camp Ground church.

We came to the farm of Great-Grandfather Henry Hyden WOODWARD and his wife Elisabeth ELY WOODWARD. Found their graves on the land near the house. They were covered with ivy and a cedar tree was over them, but no markers in their memory.

Next we passed the farm on the opposite side of the road when Grandfather Simpson BURGIN and Grandmother Barbara Jane WOODWARD, his wife, lived. Here father and his brothers, who were Flanery and Henry, were born and spent their early boyhood days. the family left there in the fall of 1852 when father was nearly eleven years old.

Across a little creek and on up the hill we found the Bethel Methodist Church where the Burgins worshiped. A cemetery is on the hill directly back of the church.

A short distance southwest was the Old John (Jackie) BURGIN farm. He and Susannah ELY were my Great-Grandparents. Down a rocky lane we came to the old log cabin, built about 160 years ago, in which they reared their twelve children. Never saw so many huge rocks. The soil must have washed off through the years. I gazed down the hill past the spring and Trading Creek and across the valley to the mountains beyond. The autumn colors made it a beautiful sight. I thought how many times Great-Grandmother must have enjoyed this scene and wondered what her thoughts may have been. Those were rigorous days and they did not have many of the conveniences of life, but they had plenty to eat and their religion to warm their hearts.

It was with regret that we retraced our steps and left the land where my forefathers trod. To our knowledge, on close relatives live on Sugar Run now and most of the older inhabitants have gone to their reward.

We hope to past this way again in the not too distant future." -

                                (signature)
                                Jewel Burgin Barr
May 17, 1967           (Mrs. Charles N. Barr)





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