06 November 2014

Virginia Stones

Sherry wanted to research her family ties in the Alleghany County, Virginia area. She has a great-great-grandfather, John McKinney, that moved to the Rich Patch area south of Covington around 1840. He married Lucy, who was from that area, and they settled down and raised a family. About the time of the civil war, after the 1860 census, he disappeared. We haven't found a burial notice for him anywhere, so we thought we would go down in person to check a few possible spots.

So we packed up everyone in the car and headed to Virginia. The boys were intent on their video games and didn't seem to notice the drive much until we got to our first stop.

When we got to the first cemetery, the boys immediately found fields to play in and a hill to climb. So while we quickly surveyed and photographed the Johnson-Helmintoller-Plymale cemetery, the boys ran and played and had a great time. They weren't alone. When Sherry and I finished up, we went rock climbing as well.

The cemetery was well maintained and the majority of headstones were readable. We photographed the location.  The McKinney family was not against the headstones.  Our adventure continued to find the burial location of the McKinney family.

From here, we drove south, and found a church cemetery which we quickly surveyed.  We found multiple families at rest here. We took pictures and pushed forward.

Through the use of the Internet, we found another possible cemetery. We found a reference for a cemetery in Oriskany, which was in the next county over from Alleghany. It turned out to be a fabulous drive over the mountain and through the Jefferson National Forest, with many scenic views along the way.

The last part of the drive follows Craig Creek through fertile bottom land. We came into Oriskany and immediately found a cemetery right in the middle of town. We asked at the house if we were in the right place, and the owner pointed us to another cemetery down the road. We had to follow a farm road down to the swinging bridge, which sounded interesting.

We found that the road doesn't go over the bridge - it's for pedestrians only. The road crosses the creek at a shallow ford. We took it in stride, and the kids loved it. Upstream, we could see the swinging bridge, and we all eagerly anticipated exploring that adventure. But we saved that for the trip back.

The family cemetery gleamed beside an old cottage after the road crossed the ford. We dropped the boys off to run through farm fields and explore, and we checked out the what the boys referred to as the "boneyard." A quick overview revealed a family cemetery not established on the name McKinney. We consoled ourselves by mapping the 30 or so graves,.  Eventually I retrieved the boys from the cow pasture and literally dropped them in the creek.  Sherry stole off to the swinging bridge to check its safety. When the boys spotted her crossing the bridge it triggered a rush of adventure.

Sherry and the boys ran back and forth from the creek to the fields across the bridge and through the creek. The bridge was a great challenge - if you walked at more than a crawling pace, it lived up to it's name immediately.

The boys, Sherry and I, chatted excitedly about the day's activities of cliffs, swinging bridges, and creeks crossings. So much so, that the flinging of wet socks to be replaced by dry didn't elicit a "phew," or disgusted faces.

On the way home, we stopped at Pizza Hut for lunch, the boys gamed, while Sherry and I discussed the day's genealogical accomplishments.  In spite of finding little evidence of the McKinneys' final resting place (Sherry likes to point out, that we know now where they are not buried,) we had an awesome adventure!

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