Today started out to be a terrible day. :( Here's how it went:
1) I wanted to go out for breakfast in Chickamauga. The restaurant was closed.
2) I found a place open on Rt. 27 heading towards Lafayette. I ate breakfast. I'm still suffering heartburn!
3) I went to the Lafayette (Walker Co.) library to do genealogical research. The only lady who knows anything about how to use the resources doesn't work on Mondays.
4) I stopped in the Walker County Messenger office on the way home, thinking I could at least check the obituaries. All the archives are in the library. See 3)!
5) I stopped at an antique store that said "Open." As I got closer, I could see that they're only open Thurs. - Sun.
6) I crossed the road to a metal barn fabrication place to get information on potential improvements to our structures. They don't install any longer--strictly manufacturing.
7) I finally headed to the Chickamauga Public Library, wondering if they might have a genealogical section so I could redeem my lost day. EUREKA! Two hours later, here's what I had found out about Mattie Norman Ayers, the woman our road is named after who used to own our property:
She was born on March 3, 1889 in Tennesse, to parents both born in Tennessee. She was married at age 15 (c. 1904). I have not been able to find out whether Norman was her maiden name or her married name. She had 3 children: Maggie, born c. 1906; Aaron, born c. 1907; and Hugh Lee, born c. 1910. By 1920 she was living in Chattanooga, divorced and the head of her household, although she shared a house with a family of 3 and a lodger. On October 15, 1924, she was married in Bradley County, Tennessee (north of Chattanooga) to Jim Ayers. The marriage record was marked "Do not publish." Was it a secret marriage in a different county because she had been divorced? By 1930, James and Mattie Ayers lived on Lafayette Road in Rossville, Georgia (just over the border from Tennessee). That census reveals that James and Mattie were both 41 at the time, but that he was 38 at his first marriage (presumably to Mattie). Also listed as "Ayers" were: Maggie, age 24, married at 17 (c. 1923), and widowed; Aaron, age 23 and single; Hugh Lee, age 20 and single; and Betty Ann, grand-daughter, age 3 4/12 (born c. 1927). James owned his home and was a farm laborer. Mattie did not work. Maggie was a waitress in a cafeteria. Aaron was the proprietor of an ice company, and Hugh Lee worked for him. Mattie died June 24, 1987 in Walker County, Georgia. Her age is listed as 88, but she really would have been 98!
I already knew that our property was sold in March of 1988 by Maggie Guyton and Betty Ann Hopp, executors of Mattie Ayers' estate whom I assume to be Mattie's daughter and grand-daughter. I also know that Maggie Guyton is deceased, but Betty Ann apparently still lives in MD--next trail for Susan the bloodhound to follow! I know that Mattie bought our property in 1952 when she would have been 63 years old! Since James' name is not on the deed, I'm assuming he was deceased by then, but that's another trail to follow.
I still don't have a clue who built or lived in the old cabin in the back pasture. I know that Mattie lived in an old house up on the hill where our current house is, so it wasn't her. Those old pineapple pear trees are ancient, so they and the cabin must have been there for a long, long time.
It's a beautiful setting and must have been a lovely place to live, if you didn't mind having no indoor plumbing, living in two rooms with a loft, and getting your water from the creek!
It's evidently been a while since the cabin had any TLC, and it's definitely the worse for cattle having sheltered on the front stoop!
The inside is obviously another project waiting to be tackled! But I have several requirements for that job:
1) Cold weather, before snakes come out of hibernation!
2) Heavy boots and gloves!
3) Herb's help!
But while I'm waiting, it's fun to see what I can find out. Will Susan the bloodhound be able to track down this cabin's long lost owners? Will busy bees Herb and Susan be able to save it from ruin? Stay tuned . . .