Knowing that the my first stop should be the library, I wandered around the town streets of Mountain City. I had a general idea of where the library was and this wasn't a big town. I parked the car and walked into the library, set my stuff down and began to look around some of the books. I picked a few up and walked back to the table. Across from me was another woman looking through her own books...and naturally we started a conversation. We began talking about the family lines that we were looking at (this is a great conversation starter for anyone research genealogy). She told me her families and I told her mine...and when I mentioned Dollar and Friddle - she told me that I needed to contact Carmen Johnson. I looked at her and pretty much said "That wouldn't be hard...as I am Carmen Johnson." She then told me her "handle" on the Johnson Co., TN newslist (Back in 2001 - genealogy information availability on the internet and email contact was still in its infancy. Genealogy newslists were a great way to make contact and get information.) and I immediately recognized her. I didn't know her real name because I either hadn't paid attention or she hadn't mentioned it. I learned that her name was Jenny and ironically she lived in Spokane, WA and here we were in Johnson Co., TN sitting in a library when our home towns were only 2 hours apart.
Jenny was actually a native of Johnson Co., TN and was just visiting family. I decided to take advantage of her knowledge of the area and asked her if she knew where the Star Gap cemetery was. I think the answer was no...but we got directions and we were on our way. I will never forget going to that cemetery. We turned off the road to go to Star Gap cemetery and it was probably a little more of a back road than my Dollar cousin wanted me to travel on. It was a narrow dirt road but to me it seemed just fine...after all it wasn't on the side of hill climbing a steep road. This was pretty simple compared to the Idaho dirt roads I was used to. It seemed like we had been traveling for quite a while and it seemed as if the trees were closing in on us as the road was narrow and the vegetation was thick. While I am not worried about dirt roads...there is one thing I don't like...when another car is coming from the opposite direction. I had to back up about 20 or 30 feet to find a spot where I could pull over and let the other car pass. I did roll down the window and ask how much further we need to go and was advised that it was in another few hundred feet. It was really rather remarkable...we traveled on this narrow road surrounded by trees and it suddenly opened up in rather lovely meadow with a cemetery just off to the left. We got out and walked around the cemetery and while I found a lot of familiar names, I didn't find the gravestone I was looking for which was my great grandmother's little brother, Charles Frederick Dollar. I should have looked further because it was there - see FAG # 74609427 .
|Bessie Friddles Cress - Phillipi Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN|
|Moses Friddles - Hawkins Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN|
That few hours was over 16 years ago. Neither one of us has ever forgotten that day and we never hesitate to remind each other of our adventure. Life may never give us the opportunity to spend any other time together (I hope that isn't the case) but neither one will ever forget that meeting.