‘Tracts-of-Land’ Tuesday- My View

My SIL, Becky who blogs at Down in the Root Cellar, challenged me to join her in a month-long photo-a-day challenge. This is nothing new- this business of challenge invitations between us. We’ve looked at a lot of them (even non-genealogy challenges), done some of them (like Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks), talked about doing some of them (like Hunger and Thirst’s Wild Food Round Up challenge), and skipped on some of them (like Amy Coffin’s 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenge). This time we’re doing an Instagram challenge (even though I have no Instagram) from @GenealogyPhoto. Today (the first day of the challenge) Becky decided to increase the challenge a bit and couple her photo with a blog post. She knew how to get me! (Or maybe to get back at me!) You see, Becky’s an incredible photographer. She has a knack for grabbing that perfect photo without even trying. Me? I’m more of a writer. Say “genealogy blog post” and I’m all in. So here we are at Day 1 with a theme of “My View”. Becky did a great post with her photo here. You should read it.

This is my view:

One view of my driveway.

My attempt at an “artsy” view of my driveway.

This is the entrance/exit to my own personal paradise. My 87 acres of solitude and peace- Honeysuckle Ranch. We bought this place in 2003. It was all uncleared land with a very crude “driveway” of sorts up the hillside. We blocked off the old “driveway” and we put in this new driveway you see in the photograph. When I look at this driveway it brings back a lot of memories. It took a lot of time and effort and machinery to put it in.

I can remember walking the land from the area where the gate is now to where we built our house about a quarter mile up the hill. We plotted out the driveway by walking it, marking a tree here and there where we wanted a curve in the drive for aesthetics. Before the driveway was in we would come out to work on the place anytime we could. The kids would play on old grapevines hanging from trees. They’d climb the hill, grab a vine, and push off with their feet- swinging out back and forth until the vine broke. Then they’d find another and start over.

Another driveway memory is of one of the years when ice and snow was very bad. I had to go to work and the kids had to go to school so we loaded up and headed out. We got to the top of the driveway and looked down the steep hill with the curve at the bottom of the hill. I started out slowly but (as my husband says), gravity works! Between gravity and ice we slid down the hill from top to bottom with the kids screaming all the way and me praying all the way that we didn’t crash through the gate. Times like those are funny- after a few years to think about it.

As the seasons went by we discovered where the wild onions and wild mushrooms were in the spring; where the raspberries, huckleberries, dewberries, and blackberries were in the summer; where the passion fruit and persimmons were in the fall. We never had any blackberries along the driveway because each day when the kids got off the bus (or got on in the morning) they would eat the blackberries for a snack.

But this land has a history all it’s own and my family and I- we’re only a small part of that history. This land used to be Cherokee tribal allotment land. My family was Cherokee, but we didn’t get any allotment land- at least not that I know of. The land where the driveway is was first given as a Cherokee Nation Allotment Deed to Charles OWENS, Cherokee Citizen, Roll #19697 on 19 August 1907. Charles OWENS was 37 years old and was enrolled in 1902 on census card #8495. He was a full-blood Native American. The land was designated as exempt from taxation and was “restricted” land. Charles had to leave his thumbprint on the original record and there were two witnesses to his thumbprint- Ben F. SMITH and Carlotta ARCHER.

Charles died in 1944 and his land was probated. Some of the probate records are included in my abstract so I know that Charles was married to Susan OWENS, Cherokee Citizen #19698. He had 5 daughters- Maggie OWENS WILEY (married Frank WILEY), Betsy OWENS KETCHER (later married a PARCHCORN), Jennie OWENS SAPSUCKER (married a SIXKILLER before she married Homer SAPSUCKER), Esther OWENS COCHRAN (married Willie COCHRAN), and Annie OWENS. All the daughters were enrolled Cherokee citizens except Annie. Charles also had 3 sons- Scott OWENS, Judge OWENS (married a woman named Jennie), and Arch OWENS (married a woman named Laurie). None of his sons were enrolled Cherokee citizens. All the children were full-blood Cherokee.

We’ve found evidence of old house places all over our land. I enjoy reading the abstract books because it’s like the genealogy of my land- a way to learn about the people who were here before us who also called this place ‘home’. This land means a lot to us. My son helped build our house a few years before he died. Everywhere I look, I see memories of my children and my family and our lives together. For me, that’s priceless. It will be a sad day when I leave this place behind. Until then, I’ll enjoy learning about the people who were here before me and I’ll enjoy making new memories with people I love. If you are related to some of the families who owned this former Cherokee Nation reservation land, I’d love to hear from you some time.

I hope everyone has a great week making beautiful memories with the people you love!

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Blog

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