Climbing the Family Trees

Tennessee connections have been the highlight of Ann's tree climbing. What fun she and Tom have had exploring places and Newland family memorabilia with her cousins and their wives! As the bits and pieces have been woven into a tapestry, intriguing connections to pioneer migration and settlement have emerged.

Overlooking the Samuel Newland family farm in Arcadia near Kingsport, Tennessee

Tom and Ann ended their early September Cumberland Mountain tour with a trip through the Cumberland Gap as they traveled to Kingsport, Tennessee to visit with Charles and JoAnn Newland. Ann was constantly scouring the Highway 58 landscape for an historical marker for the Anderson Block House. Passing through Stickleyville, Virginia, Tom noticed a small sign advertising a community fish fry. We have never stopped at a community event like that before, but Tom suggested that we give it a try. We were greeted with a gracious welcome. Tom mentioned that we were hunting the marker for the blockhouse that had been built by Ann's great, great, great, great grandfather. They had no clue where the marker was, but did have much more exciting news for us. That launched another adventure. We were introduced to a local historian who was involved in a restoration of the blockhouse. We were given cryptic directions to the site of the restoration - Natural Tunnel State Park. By dusk Ann was standing in the door of the structure!

When we finally arrived at the Newland's house, they were surprised to hear of our adventure and to see pictures of the blockhouse. We were equally surprised to hear that Charles had been consulted about the project. Charles and Ann jumped right in to sorting through memorabilia and pictures while Tom and JoAnn chatted about all manner of things. We slept briefly and resumed the conversations at full speed the next morning. We also enjoyed a tour that included visiting graveyards in Arcadia, Kingsport, and Bristol as well as ancestral property. The original site of the Anderson Blockhouse, the site of the elusive historical marker, was on the tour. Excellent company, an interesting and informative tour, and the beautiful scenery made for an outstanding afternoon!


Charles Newland is sitting on the same bench on which our ancestors are sitting in their picture. Charles' grandfather is on the left in the back. His brother, Ann's great grandfather, is on the right in the back. Their brother Robert is seated on the left. Isaac Anderson, another relative is on the right.
We found the marker! It's protecting Moccasin Gap on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail. The Newland farms on Bloomingdale Road in Arcadia are also on the trail.

Charles generously shared stories, pictures, and memorabilia. It is so touching to have an ancestor "come alive" through a photograph, a letter, or a story. Holding a book or an object that was a part of their lives enriches the connections. Reading Ann's grandfather's handwritten farm journals was especially meaningful. We learned a lot about the details of Sam Newland's life including daily happenings on the farm, family news, who attended Sunday School each week, who visited, and who went to town. Deaths of family and friends are recorded, but family births are not mentioned. Egg production, but not baby births were recorded. What insights we gleaned into his life and thoughts!

The saga continues with the dedication of the Blockhouse and Knoxville research.

Tom's Genealogical Research