Christmas Gift!

The traditional game of Christmas Gift - Jenkins Family -Culberson NC

Granny with her mother Gazzie 1963 - Ranger NC

We have always wished everyone Christmas Eve Gift and Christmas family and my husband's both used this wish. My mother and my mother-in-law both said it came down through their families. Their parents and grandparents used this term. Back in the 1800's and early 1900's people did not have money for might get a piece of penny candy or a piece of fruit, but not much else. Families and friends would travel to a neighbors house for a holiday meal, and upon greeting the visitors they would say 'Christmas Gift'. The visitor was the gift!  And of course the was being happy to spend time with each other and share a holiday. My mother was born in 1930, and her parents in the late 1800's. Mom remembered Christmas with no gifts, just family and maybe something sweet to eat. One year, her dad exchanged his boots to a man for 2 little for my mom and one for her baby sister. Hard times back then.

~Susan Kauffman


When I was growing up the very first thing Granny did on Christmas morning was call her sisters and say "Christmas Gift" loudly into the phone. Some years one of her sisters would beat her to the punch and call her first.

Once our gifts were opened on Christmas morning we went to Granny's mother, Gazzie's house to eat Christmas Dinner. Throughout the evening a stream of people would drop by to visit. One bunch would say their goodbyes and then before you knew it they were replaced with the next bunch coming in the front door. It seemed every time the door opened to a new face someone would shout "Christmas Gift."

I never gave the little game Granny and her family played much thought when I was growing up. It was only after I started the Blind Pig and The Acorn that I learned the ritual was wide spread throughout the mountains of Appalachia. 


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Christmas Time near the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains

Christmas In Appalachia - Western NCChristmas Time near the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains written by Mary Lou McKillip

This is very true story that took place in the Mountains of Marble North Carolina. The year was 1959. There was a blizzard of snow on the ground, but us old mountains folks never let snow keep us put in the house. Matter of fact we had deep snows in the winter while I was growing up and we never would have labeled this one a blizzard but now days it would be.

Before lunch we opened packages and were amazed with all the goodies. I got a box of chocolates and a necklace from my boyfriend Ed. We couldn’t wait to eat Miss Julie’s turkey and dressing and apple pies along with other food stuff on the table.

I was so much in love or I guess you could say I had more stars in my eyes than love in my heart. Dad had bought me an old Chevrolet car (1954). That thing would run like a salty dog. My boyfriend was working on him a car. He braved the weather to come see me. He only lived as city folks would say three block away in the big town of Marble.

We watched the birds feed on an old crude piece of tin over saw horses. We had one bird come back three years who only had one leg, sure enough High Pockets was there feasting on bird seeds and dried cornbread. While sitting watching the bird I wrote a song: It is snowy in the mountains of Caroline the ground a blanket of snow, the poor little birds they have no home while we sit in a warm cozy house.

We arose and went to the dining room for more entertaining while I sat down at the piano and struck up a tune for my song. My friend seemed to enjoy or pretended he did anyways. I became bored and said, "Hey let’s take the car out for a spin." Miss Julie had big ears that evening after lunch and voiced her opinion right away. My mentor (Dad) chimed in and said, "Miss Julie let the kids take the car out and Ed can drive."

She knew when she had lost the vote and away we ran to get started. Last thing I heard Miss Julie say was get your heavy coat and may God be with you two nuts. I bet Dad got the third degree for allowing us to go, but God does take care of drunks, idiots, and babies.

We went across the railroad tracks and never slid once. We got out on the main drag of Marble where we saw another idiot who was drunker than a skunk. He was sliding all over the road and I just knew he was going to hit us and tear up my car. We couldn’t turn around and when we got up near him he slid over to the other side and licked out his false teeth at us.

We had laughter on a cold day mixed with fear and pleasure. We finally got turned around and headed for home. We made it fine until we started back across the railroad track. Ed tried and tried but we were stranded. I tried to think of a way to get us across the track. Ed said we need some traction "Does your Dad have any toe sacks in the barn?" I didn’t want to leave the car at the mercy of the drunk, but I had no choice. We bailed out for the barn and got some toe sacks for traction and in no time we were back home safe and sound.

Telling the story was a delight for me. We had Miss Julie and Dad in stitches for over an hour. Miss Julie was concerned for the drunk. I was too. I ask God to take care of him and p.s.  for him not to lose his dentures.

This is one memory of  many in my book of memories on Christmas Day.

Mary Lou McKillip


I hope you enjoyed Mary Lou's Christmas memory as much as I did!


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Orange Slice Cake for Christmas

Going to Granny's for Christmas in Appalachia

Paul, Tipper, Granny Gazzie, and Steve - Christmas 1980s

When the girls were small and couldn't find something they wanted to eat I'd send them down to Granny's and Pap's to see what they had. Actually the girls are still known to head down to Granny's for something to eat on occasion. There's usually leftovers in the frig, biscuits on the table, and cornbread on the counter. Not to mention, Granny has a stash of candy in a drawer and a supply of Little Debbies in a cabinet.

We lived too far away from Granny Gazzie to raid her house for food. Since I didn't spend as much time there as my girls do at Granny and Pap's I never felt comfortable prowling through her cabinets or drawers for a snack. But Granny Gazzie did have candy to share.

She always had orange slice candy, stick candy, and those foam looking peanut shaped things. I can never see those candies that I don't think of her offering me a piece, especially at Christmas time.

Over a year ago I came across a recipe for orange slice cake in my favorite Appalachian Cook Book: More Than Moonshine by Sidney Saylor Farr. The recipe immediately made me think of Granny Gazzie, but I never got around to trying it. A few weeks later Granny found the same recipe in the Nov/Dec issue of the NC Farm Bureau Magazine. She made the cake and shared it with us and Chatter just loved it! 

You need:

  • 1 cup margarine or butter (I used butter)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp baking soda mixed in
  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 box dates chopped fine (I used the 8oz. box)
  • 1 can flake coconut (I didn't have a can-so I used a cup of coconut)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries cut in half
  • 1 pound orange sliced candy cut fine (I use the 14 oz bag)

Orange slice cake

Old time orange slice cake

Appalachian orange slice cake

Cream butter and sugar
Add eggs one at a time-mixing well after each.
Alternately add the buttermilk and 3 cups of flour-mixing well after each addition.

Recipe for orange slice cake

Use the remaining 1/2 cup flour to coat candy, dates, nuts, and cherries. 

Appalachian fruit cake

Add flour coated items and coconut to the batter and mix well. It's a very stiff batter at this point.

The recipe calls for a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan baked at 250° for two and half hours. Since I like to share our cake I divide the batter into two regular size loaf pans and two mini loaf pans. I also bump the oven up to 300°. It still takes well over an hour for the cakes to bake, of course the mini loaves finish before the regular size ones.

Granny's fruit cake with orange slices

Even though the Orange Slice Cake takes some time and energy to make it is very good and the flavors make it seem perfect for this time of the year.


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Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem

Oh beautiful star of bethlehem

Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem was written by Phillips Brooks, the pastor who spoke at Abraham Lincoln's funeral service. Before becoming a pastor, Brooks taught at Boston's Latin School. Brooks was discouraged by his students lack of interest and left his position to attend the Episcopal Theological Seminary. After Brooks graduated in 1859 he was asked to pastor the Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia. 

Brooks was very successful. He was widely known as a powerful and persuasive speaker. Under his guidance the church grew and prospered. But as the Civil War began to take a tole on the entire country, members of the church began to fall away and Brooks found it harder and harder to offer them the peace they so desperately needed.

When the war finally ended, Brooks thought the healing of his church and the country might began, however the unexpected death of Lincoln shattered his dreams.

After speaking at Lincoln's funeral Brooks took a sabbatical to the Holy Land in an effort to reconnect with his God and to allow his mind and body to rest. He visited during the Christmas season and was able to ride a horse along the route Joseph and Mary took from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

As he rode alone in the darkness with the stars shining above him he was moved in an overpowering manner. He felt like he was able to experience a small taste of the magic and wonder that must have been alive on that very first Christmas. 

Once Brooks returned from his trip abroad he had a renewed strength to pastor his church. He wanted to share his Christmas in Bethlehem experience with his congregation and the world at large but he always seemed to fall short when he tried to convey the feelings of awe and wonder he experienced.

A few years later, as the Christmas season quickly approached, Brooks tried once more to put his experience into the most meaningful words. Proceeding differently than he had in the past, he simply wrote down what came to mind and as he did Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem was born. 

He shared his newly written poem with his friend, Lewis Redner.

Redner was moved by the poem and finally understood the breadth of what his friend had experienced while visiting the Holy Land.

Redner tried in vain to compose a line of music that would fit the words Brooks had penned. On December 24 Redner accepted defeat and went to bed. But all was not lost, the perfect tune came to him in his sleep. The tune fit the poem perfectly. 

The song become an instant hit in the Philadelphia area and by the time Brooks died in 1893 Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem had become a favorite Christmas Carol across the country and beyond. 

A quote from the book Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas gives us an interesting view of both Brooks and the song:

"In a sermon Brooks once said, "It is while you are patiently toiling at the little tasks of life that the meaning and shape of the great whole of life dawns on you." On a horse, in a tiny village, a half a world away form his home and family, the meaning of Phillips Brooks's life and the purpose behind his work were brought into sharp focus." 

I like the quote from Brooks. I firmly believe the little bits of every day life are what make life so precious. Click on the link below to hear Pap and Paul's version of the song (you may need to click your back button to come back to this page).

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem is my all time favorite Christmas Song and I love Pap and Paul's version of it. The song is on Pap and Paul's cd Songs of Christmas

You can go here Pap and Paul's Songs of Christmas to purchase a cd of your own. 


 p.s. I wasn't able to post the Blind Pig yesterday. We were without electricity...I got my snow! I'll tell you all about it one day this week. 

*Source: Collins, Ace. Stories behind the best-loved songs of Christmas. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001. Print.

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A White Christmas

Snow Folklore

If you've been reading the Blind Pig and The Acorn for a good while you already know I'm plumb foolish about snow. I just love it! I can only remember one or two Christmases that were actually white even though the holiday certainly brings to mind snowy drifts. 

With the chance of the first snow of the year coming later this week (I'm keeping my fingers crossed!) I found myself thinking back to the Christmas of 2010. It was truly a magical White Christmas.

Keep reading to re-visit the post from the archives that I wrote about the snowy event. 

Walking in a winter wonderland 

After the lights went out on Christmas afternoon, the Three Indian Princesses went out to play in the snow, and I convinced The Deer Hunter to hike up the creek with me.

I've written about the old logging roads and trails that criss cross the acreage around my house before, if you missed it you can read about them by clicking on the following:

I'd Like To Wander Back

Springtime Hiking In The Mountains

Treasure Hunting In Appalachia-Touch Of The Past

Walking in the snow 

The scenery was breath taking. There were intricate arches to walk under all along the way. The sight made me wonder if an earthly being could create something as spectacular.

White christmas in murphy nc 

In many places the snow had weighted down the trees till there was little trail left to walk in.

Pine beetles in western nc 

Funny how the white makes things stand out more than normal. The dead pines that have been ravaged by beetles stood out like they were finally able to get someone to pay attention to their plight.

Squirrel nest 

Squirrel nests stood out like dark balls against the snowy skies.

Weather conditions in western nc 

There were icicles galore-some over a foot long.

Pinhook in the snow 

When we peeked over the next ridge into the Pinhook Community it looked like a Christmas Card.

Snow in brasstown 

The view from the ridge across from our house made it look like we lived in a forest of flocked Christmas trees.

Building a snowman 

By the time we got back home, the girls had tired of sledding and had built their very own Snow-lady named Patricia.

Chitter and chatter 

After we told them how much fun we had on the hike they both gave us this look. They wanted us to turn around and go back up the creek right then. We convinced them to wait till the next day.  You can follow this link to tag along on our second hike and to see the mysterious tracks we found on the way.


p.s. The winner of the Christmas Barn book giveaway is...Francis P. Page who said: I was blessed to grow up in beautiful Andrews, NC. My family shares a deep love for our mountain heritage even though we are scattered over the world. I was a lonely only child who GOD has abundantly blessed with large family. 29 ( twenty-nine) GreatGrandchildren. 54 kin now..from our marriage of 70 years! We are Readers, big time, and would love this book about my Cherokee County. A cousin in Hayesville put us in touch with your wonderful site. Grateful! Delightful! Have a Merry Christmas.

Francis-email your mailing address to me at and I'll send you the goodies!

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Away In A Manger

Steve and tipper 1970

Steve & Tipper Christmas 1971

Away In A Manger is the lullaby of Christmas songs. I've always thought the simple lines of the song make it sound like a folk song and the visuals of stars, hay, cattle, and meeting in heaven help reinforce the folk song feeling. The fact that no one knows who wrote the song also aligns it with other folk songs from the same era.

For many years Martin Luther, Protestant Reformer from Germany, was credited with writing the song. No one knows why, but in 1887 James R. Murray published the song in his book Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses listing Luther as the writer of the song. Murray was a hymn writer and worked for a publishing company, so it's probable that he truly thought Luther was the person who penned Away In A Manger. The version of the song published in Murray's book only had 2 verses. During the years after the publication, the song spread in popularity as did the notion that Luther wrote it.

Two years before Murray published the song, the Lutheran Church published Away In A Manger in a book titled Little Children's Book giving credit to no writer and showing a completely different tune than the one so many of us know and love. 

Shortly after WWI a Boston publishing company published the song crediting Carl Mueller with composing the music for the song. 

During both World Wars people in the US shied away from singing Away In A Manger because of it's supposed connection to Martin Luther and Germany. But the popularity of the song returned after each war ended.

In 1945 American writer Richard Hill decided to unravel the confusing past of the song. Hill discovered Luther was not the writer of the song. Away In A Manger was practically unknown in Germany until it was introduced to the country by Americans. Hill verified that Murray composed the tune we are familiar with today. But Hill's research could not find the original writer of the song. Research did show evidence that most likely an American during the mid 1800s wrote the song and then the song was passed down orally like so many of our other folk songs.  

Watch the video below to check out Pap and Paul's version of the song.

Away in a Manger is one of the songs on Pap and Paul's Songs of Christmas cds. There are 14 other Christmas songs on the cd as well. 

You can go here Pap and Paul's Songs of Christmas to purchase a cd of your own. 


*Source: Collins, Ace. Stories behind the best-loved songs of Christmas. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001. Print.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Blind Pig and The Acorn

I'll spend today down at Granny's with the rest of the bunch, eating good food, and thinking of all the things I have to be thankful for.

Blind Pig Readers are at the top of my thankful list so you'll be one of the things I'll be studying on. 

I am truly grateful for each of you who stop by for a daily dose of Appalachia. Your visits and comments make me more determined to continue my endeavor of celebrating and preserving the rich culture and heritage of Appalachia. 

I wish each of you a day full of blessings!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Blind Pig Gang!


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Veterans - I Thank You For Your Service

Veterans day oteen nc

The good doctors at the VA Hospital in Oteen took good care of Pap's medical needs over the years. Whether you're going for a doctor's appointment in the outpatient area or visiting the inpatient floors going to a large VA Hospital is always a humbling experience.

By far the majority of patients at the Oteen VA are elderly men. There are some women sprinkled in and some younger vets too, but mostly it's old men. I was always struck by their voices. Some grown shaky with age; some so strong and vibrant it was easy to visualize them in their soldier boy uniforms standing at attention.

It's funny how the different branches of service seek each other out and sort of eerie how they seem to know if their neighbor in the waiting room is a leather neck, a ground pounder, or fly boy.

Due to Pap's health, I've been at the VA in Oteen for extended periods of time over the years. As I sat in the waiting rooms I would listen to snatches of conversation as families and friends talked of their loved one who were sick.

I also listened in as the Vets talked one with another. You could always hear a man or woman asking the others where they were stationed and what year they served. The answers always brought about talk of rations or meals, of memorable Sergeants, and trips to distant lands. Often the good folks who work at the VA joined in the conversation as many of them are Vets who are still serving, now taking care of those they used to stand beside in the chow line.

After every visit we made to the VA there were always folks who stood out in my mind over the days and weeks that followed. Like the gentleman from Franklin who was discharged at the same time Pap was. We all joked about how we were going in the same direction once we left Asheville for home.

There was the patient in the bed across the way who looked so frail and weak I wonder how long he made it, but knew his wife and daughter would be there to comfort him and each other no matter what happened.

There was the young tattooed janitor who entertained Pap and me with his out going personality and obvious gift for gab. He was in awe of Pap because he was a Marine. He told us he'd never get over having his childhood dreams of wearing Marine dress blues crushed by type two diabetes.

One Vet stands out in my mind from several years back.

He was a tall gangly old man who could barely walk. His daughter helped him shuffle along with a walker. Once he got seated in the chair by Pap they began to compare stories of service. The old man told Pap he was at Normandy and that all four of his siblings had served too. Even his two sisters had been nurses in the war. He said they all come back home except both the sisters' husbands.

What gifts of service the man and his family gave! What sticks out in my mind till this day is the way he talked to Pap about it. He talked like it was just yesterday or last week; like he and his siblings were all still young; like they were recently home after having marched off to war for the good of me.

At Oteen I looked at the old veterans and thought "They made it." Every one of them came back home and the loved ones who hovered around them in hopes that their pain would be lessened is evidence that most of them went on to have a good lives.

My wish for all those who are serving now is that they come home and live long lives surrounded by family and friends who love them and that someday they become the old Vets at the VA talking about their past service with their comrades.

To ALL Veterans young and old - I THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.


p.s. Since Pap was my favorite Veteran it seems only fitting that I would giveaway one of his cds as part of my Thankful November. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the last cd Pap made Shepherd of My Soul. Giveaway ends Tuesday November 14. To purchase your own copy go here.

p.s.s. The winner of The Pressley Girls cds is...Gloria Strother who said:  "I enjoy Blind Pig so much! I would love to have the girls' CD!" Gloria send your mailing address to me at and I'll send you some music! If you're interested in picking up your own copy of The Pressley Girls' cd go here

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James Anderson, Sr. & Martin Maney - Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

Www.gordonbanks.comi Large Web view 
Today's Guest Post was written by David Anderson


Parallel Lives of Two American Patriots

James Anderson, Sr. & Martin Maney

It would seem an improbable scenario to consider how two Irish immigrants, both most likely being strangers in their native Ireland having led lives that ran so close a parallel to one another as they began their new lives in the English colonies of north America.

James Anderson, Sr.: 1740- 1814; County Antrim, Ireland 

James Anderson, Sr. was born in the year ca 1740 in County Antrim Ireland, a county that is situated on the northeast coast of the island and is more specifically located in present day Northern Ireland. It is believed that James was an Irishman by birth, but according to historical accounts he was of Scottish ancestry. This could be born out by the Anderson surname which is generally attributed to Scandinavian origin.

As a young man he had decided to leave his native homeland either by necessity or simply seeking the opportunity to make his fortune in the North American colonies. Several years prior to the beginning of American Revolution he left Ireland and his family along with the dismal prospects for a meaningful life in eighteenth century Ireland and boarded a ship for passage to the English Colonies in North American. James is believed to have entered the colonies through either the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or in the port near Fredricksburg, Virginia. Prior to his participation and during his American Revolutionary War experience James was found living in several of the English colonies. These included New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and finally into North Carolina soon after the conclusion of American Revolution.

James arrived in the American colonies ca 1760 as an indentured servant as was the case with most of the Irish immigrants during the colonial period. However, continued search is presently underway to find and verify accurate records documenting the Colonial landowner or other parties to whom he was indentured. His service as an enlisted soldier with the rank of private in the American Revolutionary Army afforded him the opportunity to take advantage of future benefits offered to these war veterans. This was the promise of free land as payment for service in the War for American Independence.

After reaching the American colonies he eventually made his way to county Essex in the colony of New Jersey. Many of the landowners in the colonies did not have sufficient human labor to operate their vast estates, so in order to operate their farming or other operations the landowners through agents in England would recruit men who were willing to leave their homeland and relocate to the colonies. Specific documentation as to his occupation prior to the American Revolution is uncertain, it could however be safely assumed that he probably was employed in the farming operations of one or more of several wealthy colonial English landowners and Tobacco producers who had established claims in the colonies.

Since James later became a prosperous farmer in the Buncombe county area of North Carolina it could again be assumed that he was bringing with him the craft that he had followed earlier in his life. Many of the Irish immigrants who came to the colonies could not afford to pay ships passage, so in order to repay the expense of passage to the colonies the immigrants would enter into an agreement with the sponsors that subjected themselves to being enlisted as indentured servant for a period of years. This enabled the servants to repay the debt of passage to the sponsors to their new home in America as well as the promise of owning their own land which would have been impossible in their native Ireland.

Historical records show that James Anderson was married to Lydia Mallett and was still living in the New Jersey colony just prior to the beginning of the American Revolution. Five children were born to James and Lydia during this period. When the War of Independence began in 1775, James enlisted as a Private in the colonial Army.

Official documents filed in the US National Archives find James Anderson serving as a Private in the New Jersey Militia that was commanded by Captain James Bonnel. This Militia was part of Spencers Regiment that was commanded by Major General John Sullivan. After he was discharged in 1781 James was found to be living with his family in New Jersey until the year 1782. Further historical records indicate that he later moved to Delaware in 1784. He then again moved further south to Surrey county North Carolina sometime before 1790. His final move was to Buncombe county North Carolina soon after 1790 census.

After James had moved his family to Buncombe county ca 1794-95 he settled on land that was situated on Gabriels Creek. This farm was situated near the present town of Mars Hill, North Carolina. Land transfer records show that he also owned land in 1797 which consisted of a 50 acre tract that he received as a land grant from the state of North Carolina for his service in the Revolutionary War. A later document finds James and his family living on a farm that was situated on the Paint Fork of the Little Ivey River. James continued to accumulate land through the year 1807, finally owning several hundred acres in the surrounding area.

The exact date of James Anderson’s death is not found in Buncombe county records, however family tradition holds that he died between the years 1810-1814. A headstone was placed by the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in the Gabriels Creek Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery located near Mars Hill, North Carolina in a Revolutionary War Soldier Grave Marking dedication ceremony.

One of the grandsons of James Anderson, Sr. was Lazarus Anderson. Lazarus was the son of James Anderson, Jr. and was born in Buncombe County in the year ca. 1810. The birth place of Lazarus was at the farm of his father that was situated on the Paint Fork of the Ivey River. Lazarus later moved to Cherokee county with his wife Nancy Maney Anderson and his family just prior to, or during the period of removal of the native Cherokee people in the year 1838. Lazarus established a homestead in the Shooting Creek section of Cherokee county and remained there with his family until his death. Lazrus’s farm was located in present day Clay County.

Lazarus wife, Nancy Maney was a grand-daughter of Martin Maney. These early Cherokee County pioneers raised a large family in the Bethabera community of Shooting Creek. Numerous descendants of Lazarus and his wife Nancy remain in the area to the present time, which also includes the writer.

Lazarus Anderson died in 1875 and is buried in the Old Shooting Creek Baptist Cemetery in Clay County, Hayesville, North Carolina. Nancy Maney Anderson is buried in the Bethabera Baptist Church cemetery that is also located in Shooting Creek section of Clay County.

Martin Maney: 1752- 1830, County Wexford, Northern Ireland

Martin Maney was also an Irish immigrant who made his way to the American Colonies from County Antrim, Ireland. “In his native Ireland Martin was a farm manager on a large estate and according to record had just completed a successful spring planting on this Irish estate when an agent for Colonial plantation owners in the British colonies of North America recruited him and sixty other qualified farmers to travel to the English Colonies as indentured servant. Martin sailed from Dublin Ireland on the Brig “Fanny” which was a two-mast, square rigged ship that was sailed by Captain Richard Taylor. The ship reached Virginia in 1769 and Martin began his service to the Fielding Lewis enterprise”. pp1

His passage to the colonies was paid by a wealthy Virginia planter, one Fielding Lewis. Lewis was the owner of a successful plantation which consisted of over 1,500 acres of prime farm land located near present day Fredricksburg, Virginia.

Mr. Lewis was then developing this vast Plantation holding into what was later to become known as Kenmore Manor of Virginia. Kenmore Manor is still in existence today and is operated as a National Historic site. Kenmore Manor is located in the town of Fredricksburg, Virginia and is situated on adjoining property to the home of Mary Washington. Mary was the mother of George Washington who was to become the first President of the United States and generally referred to as; “the father of our country”.

On May 7, 1750 Mr. Fielding Lewis married Elizabeth “Betty” Washington, the only sister to George Washington. It is documented by Kenmore Manor Historical Society that many of the early American Patriot leaders gathered at the home of Fielding Lewis for “Council of War” meetings prior to the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Included among the Patriots attending the meetings hosted by Mr. Lewis was George Washington.

As customs during the colonial period would dictate, indentured servants were expected to always keep themselves separate from the ruling gentry. However, Martin certainly could have at times been in reasonable contact with the Kenmore owners in his position as overseer of the Plantation. One would have to assume that during the several years of his indentured servitude at Kenmore Manor, he must have sensed the tension of the times and perhaps to some degree was able to see and observe many of the early Patriots and other founders of the emerging country as they gathered for councils of war at the home of Mr. Lewis.

After Martin had completed his period of indentured servitude at Kenmore Manor; "he enlisted in the 8th. Virginia of Foot that was commanded by Brig. General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg who was later known as “The Fighting Parson”. His enlistment on December 4th 1775 found him serving with 278 other men that were formerly from the Shennandoah Valley of Virginia. The 8th Virginia Regiment was made part of the Continental Army by an act of Congress on May 27, 1776." pp9. National Archives and other historical records from Blount county Tennessee Judicial Court show Martin describing his military service in the American Revolution. His unit participated in the battles of White Plains, New York on October 28th, 1776, the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania on October 4th 1777 and finally engaged in the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey on June 28th, 1778. Martin was soon thereafter discharged from his first tour of Revolutionary service at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania by General Muhlenburg.

At the time of his discharge from his first tour of service Martin, as well as many other men were informed that the Colony of North Carolina was offering enlistment bonuses for veterans coming to serve in their militia units. Martin met with a Colonial enlistment officer at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and signed for this bonus to serve for a short tour of duty in the, “over mountain territory” of North Carolina. This area is located in the present state of Tennessee and more specifically is situated in Washington and Unicoi counties. He was assigned to the Campbell Garrison that was located on Big Limestone Creek in present day Washington county Tennessee.

During this time as the attempt was made to create the new state of Franklin, General John Sevier was chosen to lead the effort toward statehood. “When General Sevier was threatened by death from the Loyalists and Tory supporters, Martin along with two other men, David Hickey and Isaac Davis were chosen as personal bodyguards for General Sevier.” pp21. Martin also served as a forward scout for the Campbell Station and was engaged in numerous skirmishes with the Cherokee tribe as well as loyalist and Tory supporters.

“In 1779 Martin reported his personal property in Washington County, North Carolina. The records indicate that at the time Martin was a single man who owned one horse and six pounds sterling with a taxable value of thirty-six pounds sterling”. pp23.

When the town of Jonesborough was in the process of being established, the town was surveyed into lots and a land lottery was put in place allowing individuals to participate in the drawing for town lots. Due to his veteran status in the War of the Revolution as well as a member of the North Carolina Militia, Martin was able to purchase four lots within the new town. Historical maps on file in the Washington county courthouse show that Martin won lots; 36,53, 62 and 71.

In September 1781 Martin married Keziah Vann, the daughter of John and Agnes Weatherford Vann. In 1770 British colonial officials hired John Vann on the death of his predecessor John Watts as the official Cherokee interpreter. At the time of their marriage Martin and Keziah were living near Big Limestone Creek in Washington County near the present town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. Martin was still enlisted in the service for North Carolina at the time of their marriage and while he was away on duty with the North Carolina Militia, Keziah was found living with her mother and father.

Land transfer records show that Martin and Keziah had moved to the Big Ivy Creek section of Old Buncombe county where on July 17, 1797 he was in possession of a land grant for 100 acres. This land grant was payment for his service in the War of The Revolution. During their years of living as one of the first pioneer families in the Buncombe county area their family grew to include several children. One of the granddaughters of Martin and Keziah was Nancy Maney. During this same time period James Anderson Srs. Family was already living in the same general area. One of the grandsons of James Anderson Sr. was Lazarus Anderson.

Lazarus Anderson and Nancy Maney

Nancy Maney and Lazarus Anderson were married ca1840 and started raising their family there in Buncombe County. This union of Lazarus Anderson and Nancy Maney merged the families of the two American Patriots, Martin Maney and James Anderson Sr.. It presently is unknown if these two Irishmen were acquainted in their native homeland. The parallel lives of these two men immigrating from Ireland to the English colonies, each man becoming soldiers in the War of Revolution, then migrating to Buncombe then Cherokee county North Carolina, and finally ending in uniting of the two families by blood somehow seems too unlikely to be true. It is however, true and is cherished by many to the present day. The descendants of these men who still reside in the general areas number in the hundreds.

Nancy Maney Anderson was the last surviving member of the old generation and was considered the matriarch of the family. Nancy was affectionately referred to by the name “Granny Tote” by all who knew her. This name was given to her since due to her advanced age of 100 plus years she was ‘toted’ from place-to-place by members of her family. Boyd Anderson, a great-grandson of Nancy’s who was born in 1902 once told me that he remembered seeing her when he was a child and remembered her smoking a corn-cob pipe, and that he remembered her as being bedridden. Nancy died April 6, 1921 and was buried in the Bethabera Baptist Church Cemetery. Her husband Lazarus had died in 1875 and was buried in the Old Shooting Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

By present count there are four known descendents of Martin Maney, and James Anderson, Sr. who are members of the Sons of The American Revolution. Membership in the SAR requires proof of direct bloodline from a soldier of the Revolution. These members are;  Mr. Milus Bruce Maney, John Denton, Ray W. Anderson and David C. Anderson. Each of these individuals are members of the Button Gwinnette Chapter, Georgia Society, Sons of the American Revolution.

There are presently members of the tenth generation of these two Patriots living in the Clay county area alone. This represents 251 years of occupying or having citizenship on the American continent with 170 years presence in present day Cherokee and Clay counties.

Acknowledgements; Martin Maney; 1752-1830, A Revolutionary War Soldier and Related Families; Milus Bruce Maney, c1999; pp; 1,9,21,23., et al.; State Archives of Tennessee


A few thoughts that come to mind about the fascinating lives of James Anderson, Sr.  and Martin Maney. 

  • Like David I wonder if the men knew each other before leaving their homeland, if they met while fighting for the new country they had become part of or while finding their way to Western NC. 
  • David pointed out the unlikelihood of the two Patriots living such parallel lives and then to top that their children ending up married to each other. His words made me think of the time Pap told me he thought mine and my brother's lives had been so blessed because of prayers our Papaw prayed for us. When Pap told me that I questioned him saying "But Papaw's been dead for years." Pap said "Well you don't think his prayers died with him do you? Prayers keep on going and if there was one thing Papaw prayed for it was his grandchildren." So maybe in the way of Papaw Wade, Maney and Anderson's prayers continue through the descendants which still populate this area supporting many blessings along the way. 
  • Thinking on those ten generations of Maneys and Andersons still living in the same area, one can see why our rich Appalachian culture has survived even till today. 

I hope you enjoyed David's guest-post as much as I did.

Happy Independence day to you and yours!


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn in 2010

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing on Friday July 7 @ 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Art Walk in Murphy NC and on Sunday July 9 @ 1:00 p.m. at the Festival on the Square in Hayesville NC.

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Father's Day - Take Two

Matt and the girls
The Deer Hunter, Chatter, and Chitter

Last Sunday I jumped the gun and published my Father's Day post, not realizing it wasn't Father's Day till after the post was live. My sentiments are still the same-you can go here to read the post if you missed it: Father's Day in Appalachia.

And you can follow the links below for more Father's Day goodness from the archives of the Blind Pig and The Acorn.


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