Road Trip June 2020 – Lonesome Valley Road in Claiborne County, Tennessee

What a great time in Lonesome Valley! I can’t tell you how much fun we had. First off the characters in this story are Freddie, my cousin who lives in Claiborne County, my sister Rhonda who was visiting from Colorado, and myself. Whenever my sister says lets go on a road trip, I am in! Our similar goals on our trip are 2 fold, experience God’s beautiful outdoors finding old things. The differences between us is that Rhonda is looking for herbs and I hunt dead people! LOL Hang in there, I promise it gets better!

I have had an infatuation with this area for a couple of years. It started as I was researching for information for the book I co-authored with Betty Russell, The 125-History of Underwood Grove Baptist Church. Two of the 4 elders who organized the church were my ancestors. Rev. Henry Burrow Poore was my 3rd great-grandfather and Rev. John Thomas Freeman, Jr was my 4th great-grandfather. This my mother’s heritage and not my Chumley history, but it is so worth sharing.

Both of these men lived and raised their families in…wait for it…you guessed it, Lonesome Valley. In fact there are Freeman and Poore cemeteries in several areas of Lonesome Valley and in the surrounding communities of Combs, Bacchus, Goins, and Blair’s Creek areas. I find the history so interesting and with the help of many of my Chumley family in the area and from our Chumley Research Group members, I found so much information that I just had to visit the area. So, when my sister, Rhonda was onboard with a road trip, I knew the place to go and then I knew the person who could get us there, our cousin Freddie.

Freddie shares my love for our family history and the history of Claiborne County, Tennessee. He is an amazing historian in his own right and we can really come up with interesting theories about both subjects; family and area history. Freddie had taken the Chumley research members on a couple of other road trips in the past and we are never disappointed what we find on these trips.

Kathy’s Lonesome Valley Map

I had already done some preparation for the trip before I left Virginia. I had created a map of the area with a legend of cemeteries, mills, schools, homesteads based on my research of these families that I did for the Underwood Church book. I had taped the map on a piece of cardboard and mapped out our itinerary, best as I could from the research I had found. I had no idea how accurate it would be, but I figured that Freddie’s knowledge of the area would make up for what errors I may have made on my map.

Freddie checking out Kathy’s map before the trip

We turned off the highway between Cumberland Gap and Tazewell and headed West to get to Lonesome Valley Road. Just before our road, we passed the location where Cline’s Shop was located. Of course the building has been long gone, the sign serves to remind us where it once had been.

Cline’s Shop 1917-1945

The deeper we get off the highway, the more narrow the road gets and eventually we are on a one lane, dirt road and I started to feel like the adventure had begun. I had taken the trouble to mark the roads on my map that we would pass along Lonesome Valley Road, giving us a point of reference to places we were looking for. Not far into the ride, we came to Holt Cave Spring and the remains of an old grist mill.

The spring was evident, but it was hard to see the remains of the mill, due to the high overgrowth over the years.

According to my research, this is the area where Mayes Elementary School had been and it was just before where the town of Duo had been. Edgar A Holt wrote Tennessee county history series : Claiborne County in 1981. There were a series of these Tennessee County History books published by Memphis State University Press, but by different authors.

Edgar Holt dedicated his book to the people of Lonesome Valley:

“This book is dedicated to those whom I hold especially dear: To
the hard working farmers; operators of grist, flour and carding
mills; doctors, Civil War veterans, teachers, ministers, and merchants
who created a vigorous community in historic Lonesome
Valley, centering at Duo, the post office, and at the general store.
This community was exemplified in the hearts and minds of
its people who combined industry and religious faith with an
insight into themselves and the future furnished by dedicated
teachers in a one-room country school. Nothing seemed
beyond us.”

Full text of “Tennessee county history series : Claiborne County / by Edgar A. Holt ; Joy Bailey Dunn, editor, Charles W. Crawford, associate editor”

So this tiny town of Duo, long forgotten, even by the locals who live there, was at one time a thriving community. The general store was the hub of the community. This is where you could get your mail, trade what you had for dry goods and clothing, and where town meetings were held. Mr. Holt writes that many incoming settlers had knowledge of grist mills that could be powered with water. Early settlers built their home along the creeks and rivers, which also offered means to transport products to market at little cost. He writes that the talents and hard work of these people helped them to develop an industry, a way of life, to provide for their families and improve their community with religion, schools, and social life. I was so excited to see a group photo in his book, “Good Friends and Leading Citizens.” This photo included a distant cousin of mine, Pleasant H. Poore, Duo Postmater. There were other thriving communities around Lonesome Valley. Combs, Goin, Bacchus, and others, but none of the communities were ever incorporated and eventually outlived their usefulness.

Our next stop was at the lonesome valley train trestle. The impressive structure was first built in 1889 and provided a route connecting Knoxville, Tennessee to Middlesboro, Kentucky. According to an article in The Claiborne Progress, Wednesday, January 21, 1987, the trestle was was constructed of Georgia Pine and had 3 tiers of wooden construction, costing $30,000. This article was written about the trestle collapsing in 1892.

The wreck made news in Indiana, when the Madison Daily Democrat printed an article of the incident on June 16, 1892, the day of the accident.

Lonesome Valley, TN Trestle Collapse, June 1892
Submitted by Stu Beitler
Tennessee | Train Wrecks and Accidents | 1892


Knoxville, Tenn., June 16. — A horrible railroad accident without a parallel in this section, occurred on the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville road, forty-five miles north of this place, Tuesday morning at 9 o’clock. At Lonesome Valley, Weird Mountain gorge was spanned by a trestle 300 yards long and 139 feet high. The structure was made of wood and approached each side by heavy grades and sharp curves. Trainmen have been suspicious of the trestle for some time, but it was recently inspected and reported in good condition.
A long and heavy loaded coal train pulled by two engines struck the trestle while running about twenty miles an hour. The timbers gave way and the engines and the cars fell to the narrow rough bottom below. The engines and cars were crushed into a shapeless mass. Engineer, ANDREW ALLISON and Fireman JAMES SHELTON, were instantly killed. Conductor DUCKWORTH, was fatally injured and two brakemen received serious injuries.

Madison Daily Democrat Indiana 1892-06-16

The Tennessee State Library and Archives had photos of the train trestle, including one of the rebuilding of the trestle in 1893.1

This massive structure is so impressive, despite the history of its collapse and it is haunted. Yep, ghostly noises in the night, train whistles and such. We didn’t stay around to prove that theory, but it adds a bit of interest to the story. It was a beautiful day for taking photos of the bridge and we lingered here for a bit, admiring the engineering

Tennessee State Library and Archives, Keyword search: Lonesome valley in Claiborne, County, page 10

Freddie drove us all the way to the end of Lonesome Valley Road. There were some beautiful scenic views and my sister and Freddie would periodically point toward the side of the road or woods and yell out, “There’s some ginseng.” or “Go back, I some some blood root.” I admire their knowledge of the Tennessee plant life and the healing properties of the various herbs and roots. A long forgotten knowledge of our ancestors, but they care enough to hold on to that knowledge and share for future generations and I think that is admirable. Meantime, I will keep looking for dead people, that’s my thing, and we are all good with that on this trip.

One of the things I most wanted to find was where the Poore homestead was located and find the graves of some of my oldest Poore ancestors. The Powell River was flowing over it’s banks and I kept thinking we were at the end of our journey several times, but Freddie pushed on toward the homestead. My sister took some amazing photos along the way.

We made it to the homestead, where Rev. Henry Burrow Poore and his wife, Lavin Caylor, made their home and raised their 7 children. A beautiful farm it must have been, located on the Powell River.

The 3 of us searched all over the place, trying to figure out where they were buried, but no luck. We were disappointed and feared the worst, that someone might have tossed the headstones in the woods to make room for farming land. However, a couple of days later, I discovered that we had not gone far enough and the cemetery was there, probably just 1 more field away from where we were! (I feel another road trip coming on, who’s with me?)

On the way out of Lonesome Valley we had time for one more stop. We took a turn back where the town of Duo would have been and headed North a couple of miles to visit the Poore Cemetery located at Logan and Shipley Roads. This is where one of Henry’s brothers, Richard Turner Poore’s family are buried. There were a lot of stones that had worn away with the weather and no longer had writing on them, but there were a few that you could read, and I made sure to give them a memorial on

What a great day. Despite the very hot and extremely humid weather, we had a great time and experienced some history together. My sister and I did a little more exploring before we headed back to Knoxville to our mother’s house. Freddie was the perfect guide and I couldn’t have been happier with his hospitality.

At the end of the day, I just had to ask my sister, Rhonda, “What was the highlight of the day?” Her answer was finding the herbs. She ask me in turn what the highlight was for me, which I replied, “My map worked!”

Til next time…happy hunting!

June 1, 2020

Since we last talked, so much has happened.  I am slowing getting my office and research materials in shape.  It is that work no one likes to do, but it sure makes better use of our time if we know where to find things.  I am still finding things I forgot I had or stumbling on new information and trying to figure out where I should file that information while organizing my older work.  By next month, I am sure things will be so much closer to working on the actual book.  Here are some examples of the progress I made this last month.

1 – I posted the descendant report for Robert and Betsy Chumley through 5 generations.  Check out the post under Family trees.  One member of our group already found a format error, so I will have to update that report toot sweet.  I explained in the post, I am sure we will find some corrections, but our efforts were worthy to be posted and this blog is the only place it has been posted, so yeah team!

2 – I paid extra for removing ads from the blog.  One of my cousins sent me a screen shot he was seeing on a blog he read, and I am like Whaaaaa???  It was funny because he said his first thought was “Is Kathy doing a yoga pose, and why is she doing it in the middle of this blog?”  LOL  we got a good laugh out it, but if you are like me, I very much dislike ads interrupting me when I am trying to read something.  Most often, I find they pop up and confuse me how to get back to what I was reading.  So problem solved, no more ads.  If you see one let me know, thanks!

3 – The Underwood Book is done!!!  We just need to decide where to get it published.  I will be making a trip to Tennessee sometime in June and lay down some plastic to get er’ done.  I learned so much about the history of my home church and how many ancestors involved in the church were in my family tree!  It was crazy cool to see another side of my tree, and not just Chumley’s.  Anyone who follows my ancestry tree and sees when I add tons of people was probably scratching their head and saying, “that’s not a Chumley.”  LOL  I really should write a blog about the process of writing that book.  Geez Louise!  I was a real learning experience.

4 – Still planning and hoping on being a part of the October Genealogy Jamboree in Cumberland Gap, TN this year.  Mark your calendars for the weekend of Friday and Saturday, October 16 & 17.  I have a couple of cousins going to sit and keep me company while sharing stories of our family history and history of the Cumberland Gap area.  The more the merrier I say, so please let me know if you can come on by and sit a spell. 

5 – I am updating my member lists for our group.  I am amazed that when we started our research group in 2010 there were just 8 of us.  While updating my list, I discovered that just 10 years later we have 50 members in our group and 26 are active members and not just contacts.  This is so encouraging, and I am so happy to be a part of this project.   

Moving ahead with our work and loving it!  Please give me some feedback and don’t miss a post.  All you need to do is enter your email under the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” Click Follow and you will receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thanks for checking our update page.

Till next month…happy hunting.

Revised 5 generation file

Okay, I have a revised 5 generation file for you, and I deleted the first file I loaded on this page. I was able to put the marriages in the correct order for our descendant report, but it wasn’t easy. I use FTM version 2019. The only way I could fix the order of the marriages was by going to each multiple marriage of each person and then sort them. I tried to figure out how to globally do this for the entire tree, but no luck. I even went online to look for support, no luck. Thanks to our research team, I also fixed some errors that were in the report. I feel I should use a disclaimer posting this “Revised” descendant report, but let me just clarify that this is our 5 generation report as it stands with our research at this time. Ha! All of us know that our research is a never ending, ongoing task and there is always new information coming at you from so many directions, right? This report will serve as our baseline as we move forward and it will be revised as needed. Enjoy and leave me some feedback on the report.

Our 5 generation file

We have been on the job proofing our 5 generation report and are slowing making headway. I will make the changes in our report and re-submit the revised report as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience,

Kathy Chumley

July 2020

More thoughts on Organization – Webster defines it as,

1a: the act or process of organizing or of being organized (the organization of his material into a speech).

  b: the condition or manner of being organized (a group with a high degree of organization).

May I expound on the word?  Did I hear, “Yes, please do?”  Thank you. 

1) “the act or process” – the act most often is plural; it takes many acts to organize your work.  The process is ongoing.  Whether you are collaborating with a group or on your own, the process can get bigger than your ready to take on. 

2) “the condition or manner” – I almost laugh at the word condition.  Do you recall the tune by The First Edition that was released in 1967; “I just dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in)”?  By the way, Kenny Rogers was the lead singer, don’t you love it.  All that nostalgia aside, my condition of being organized, “ain’t so pretty right now.”  I often have a problem of making a wet mess out of things before I can achieve my goal. 

The good news is there is hope for getting all your research and go-to sources you collect over the years in functional order.  Aren’t you glad we never stop learning?  I am.  I am also inspired by others who are willing to teach me what I need to know to achieve my goal, to encourage my efforts, to remind me of my end goal. 

Our Chumley Research Group is made up of several people who have collected information on our Chumley Family, dug through paper or digital files until they found a gem of information related to our Chumley Roots, and then took their information, shared it with each other, and brainstormed the possibilities of where to find more information.  I love what each of us brings to the table and how easily we all get on.  If you have not checked out Our Researchers tab, please do.  They have information how you can contact them and find out the answers you are searching.  We have also listed their affiliations and their direct family line to our Robert and Betsy (Ford) Chumley. 

On the same topic of organization, I have a link to share from Roberta Estes blog that puts getting organized all in perspective.  The article is titled, “10 ways I wish I had organized my research library.”  This woman is a wonder, and on her blog, she has so much interesting information pertaining to genealogy.  I especially enjoy reading her posts and following her thought process of how and why she reaches her conclusions.  Here is the link, check it out:

Our research group is a great resource to network and learn about your Chumley family genealogy. Anyone interested in joining our Chumley/Chumbley Research Group, please contact me at

Watch for some upcoming blogs:

Road Trip June 2020 – Lonesome Valley Road in Claiborne County, Tennessee

Until then, happy hunting!


Descendant Report for Robert and Betsy Chumley through 5 generations

I expected to have revisions to my report and I am extremely happy one of our Research Members found a format error. This tree was generated through Family Tree Maker program and there are many ways to print a report. The default is set so the family report follows the most direct line of your tree. The multiple marriages in a family line would therefore not be in chronological order. I will be fixing that error in the near future. I just wanted everyone to be aware of it and please check back here for an update. Don’t miss a post. All you need to do is enter your email under the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” Click Follow and you will receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thanks everyone,


Robert and Betsy Chumley – through 5 generations

Years ago, seems so very long ago, a couple of researchers helped me with proofing and creating a complete family tree through 5 generations starting with our oldest proven recorded ancestors, Robert and Betsy Chumley. What an endeavor we undertook. It was a lofty goal and it took all our research talents to complete the list. We were just wrapping up our research, when life through me a curve ball and I had to put my participation to the research project on hold. I am sure others in the group were discouraged that we would ever get our project of someday writing our Chumley History completed. If they did, they never shared it with me. Instead, a few came along side and sent me words of wisdom, prayers, loving advise, cards and emails kept coming and I got through it all. We have now achieved a huge hurdle; getting this complete family tree out for the world to see. Let me try and explain the process of completing this tree.

Our research group is always looking for more people to help us in our goal to write the Chumley History, people who will bring more information and share it with us and others. We started with just a handful of people, but what each of us had to contribute was amazing! I have a spreadsheet of each person in the group, what talents and skills they bring to our group, and the really amazing part is that we have a representative from each of the family lines that branch off Robert and Betsy Chumley. I think it was just logical for us to think a book must be printed and our history must be preserved.

My dear friend Gail stuck it out until the very end. Together, we managed to make contacts within our group and find out where they got their family information and try and find proof for all names, dates, and events that we had in our Chumley Tree. The platform we used to help us work together was Several in our group had an ancestry account and this was any efficient way we could compare dates and other information, and if there was a discrepancy, we could discuss it as a group and decide the information we would go with. One of the most frequent questions in our group was “Are we going with the headstone date or the death certificate?” Now that might sound like an odd question, but here is the problem with information. Genealogy information is only as good as the person who gave the information. Here are some examples of what I am talking about.

1 – I learned the very quickly from Glenda about the error of dates. I was astonished when she told me how many headstones had the wrong dates on them in my own family cemetery in Claiborne County, Tennessee. This revelation did not detour us from our research, but it did encourage us to dig deeper.

2 – Census records – forget about it! There are many things to beware when taking information from census records. Did the information come from a family member, a neighbor, a child? Did the census taker really visit each home or did he just sit at the end of the road and talk to passerbys?

3 – Death certificates – it is not uncommon that children do not know their mother’s maiden name, or have the incorrect birth date. This is just a couple of examples we found with death certificates.

4. – Draft cards – young men would sometimes lie about their age so they could serve their country during times of war.

I could go on and on, but you can see the quandary of it all. It was painstaking to identify each families data, let alone each person in the household. However, we did persevere and I am so happy to show the fruits of our labor. I feel I need to write some disclaimer at this point, but please understand this was our groups best attempt to give an account of the descendants of Robert and Betsy Chumley. I welcome all questions and please let me know if you disagree with any information.

See Updated 5 generation report dated 7/31/2020.

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

The month of April was Crazy.  I am happy to say we are now putting the final touches on the 125-year History of Underwood Grove Baptist Church.  I am so excited how it has turned out.  The collaboration between Betty Russell and I was amazing.  Betty has done the grunt work, running all over Claiborne County for research to fill in the blanks of what we found in the church minutes.  She made phone calls, sent me photos and information via text messaging, and I think she has caught the geno bug!  Yep, she has actually started researching her own family tree and is so excited to find connections to the history of the church to her own family!  It has been awesome to watch her get excited about her family history.

Organizing my digital files that I have collected on the Chumley history has been a challenge, but I have my files on my computer down to 3 main folders with numerous folders under each of the 3 main folders.  That was a real mindbender putting those in some kind of order and there were so many duplicates!  Geezers!  Next goal is to get my paper files and books in order so that as I am writing I have every resource within reach.  Once the Underwood Book is completed, I will have more time to tackle my Chumley Research Project to-do lists.  I am not ready to set a date for when I will continue the writing of our Chumley history book.  I will certainly be excited to let you know when I do get started.

I am excited about setting up a surname tent at the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee Genealogy Jamboree in October this year.  One of our Chumley Researcher had suggested this a few years back and I have just been waiting for the right time to plan it.  So, I contacted the Claiborne County Historical & Genealogy Society for information and I making a to-do list to get ready for it.  One thing I know, I will need help at the tent.  So, I am looking for volunteers at the event, which will be Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17, from 9-5.  Also, I am looking for ideas about specific things we can offer at the tent, besides information.  Send me an email as soon as possible and let me know if you can sit with me a few hours at the tent and let me know your ideas at

During April, I did achieve many of my short-term goals.  I renewed my membership at the Claiborne County Historical & Genealogy Society, and I became a member of the Ameila County Historical Society here in Ameila County, Virginia.  I also became a member of the Virginia Genealogical Society here in Richmond, Virginia.  I am glad I was able to join these groups without having to leave the house, and I feel being a member of these organizations will be very helpful in our Chumley Research Project.

Another short-term goal I can cross off my list, I invested in some business cards and mailing labels I can use when I need to contact others for our Chumley Research Project.

business card

This photo shows the front and back of the cards and would love some feedback, good or bad.  If anyone wants some cards, you can leave your mailing address at the above email address and I can send you the number of cards you want.  I think these will be useful at the October Genealogy Jamboree.  A little marketing will help our cause to get a book published on our family.

Hope you are encouraged where we are headed with our Chumley/Chumbley Research Project.  Send me some feedback and let me know your ideas.

April 1, 2020

Update as promised: I must admit that getting started on the Chumley book has been overwhelming. I had to order a new computer, which was a downer. I am sure that 1990 called and wanted their computer back, as it was acting up and getting reallllllyyyy slow. I don’t have the patience for slow. When my thoughts are working faster that the computer…well!!??

Besides getting a new computer, I have boxes and boxes of hard copy files to review and get organized in my new home in Virginia. I found a file cabinet at Goodwill for $15, which helped me get rid of 5 banker boxes. I hope it doesn’t take too much time to inventory, but it must be done for me to be organized when I do my writing. I was given a desk when I first moved to Virginia. It was originally my Great Aunt Hassie’s desk and it is huge! Not much storage, but the top is large enough I can spread out research and gather papers I need while I write. I read an article from one geno writer who said her first desk was an old door with a file cabinet on each end to hold it up, so I feel very fortunate to have my Aunt Hassie’s hand-me-down.

I found some great tips on Family Tree Magazine webpage.  I found this article very helpful in not just organizing my “stuff” but also how to organize my time.  This is where I have the most difficulty…what should I be working on now?  The link below will take you to the article.  I do not not if you have to set up an account to read this article, but even if you do have to set up an account, it is free.  I have subscribed for a couple of years now and my email is not flooded with unwanted emails from them.  I have bookmarked their site, so I have easy access and they have soooo many tools to help you with your genealogy needs.  I encourage you to click on the link and check out this article. Organizing Your Genealogy Workspace Like the Pros

Here are some ideas from this article that I used to get organized:

Semi-Circular Command Center, Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor – I appreciate the logistics of her setup.  She is the one I mentioned above, that started out with a door sitting on 2 file cabinets for her desk…talk about determination.  She was setting herself up to do her job and then when she was able, she upgraded based on what she experienced from workspace that she had.  She likes her semi-circular work area because she has easier access to her resources; books, files, computer, scanner, etc.  My takeaway from this article was take a look around and see what you already have, test it out, make improvements as you are able.

I also love the schedule she set up for herself.  Her tips on having 2 to-do lists; one list for ongoing projects and one list for the day, week, etc.  This has freed my mind people!  How much stuff I tried to keep track of and nothing I came up with ever worked.  Now that I have used this advice, it is like common sense…like a real “duh” moment when you realize how natural it all comes together and how at the end of the day you feel like you have made some progress toward your ultimate goal.  For me, it is in my writing.  I have a daily morning routine, checking email, returning messages, phone calls, but then I allow myself a set time for 2 major projects I am working towards.  I give myself 4 hours a day on the Chumley/Chumbley Research/book project and then 4 hours on the publication of the 125-years of Underwood Grove Baptist Church.  If something comes up while I am working on one of those projects, I decide “does it go on my short to-do list or my ongoing to-do list.”  Put it on the list and get back to my project.  This has set me free people!  Maybe it is just the way God made my mind work, but I am doing my happy dance due to this routine.

Okay now, my allowed time for this blog is over and time to get to work.  I hope you enjoyed the blog today.  Please give me some feedback; all comments are welcome, as I could use all the help I can get right now.  LOL

A reminder to you who follow along, I will be posting an update on the first day of each month.  So, until next time, God bless, keep safe during this COVID-19 pandemic, and use some of your isolation time to get going on your genealogy!


March 1, 2020

February 28, 2020

Well it has been awhile since I initially started this blog and so much of “life” has gotten in my way, but the life events demand priority at times.

I have worked sporadically on the research and organizing digital files as well as paper files.  I have learned that part of writing a book is never ending and seldom satisfying, but very necessary.  The good news is that I have kept a good paper trail of contacts and the actual writing and I have my first of many to come rough draft on Chapter one of the book.  But now it is time to get back to serious commitment.

I am officially setting my 1st goal. In 1 month from now, I want to have my office completely setup with the tools I need to write our book.  I have my designated work area and filing system already set up.  I also have my general office supplies, printer, scanner, etc.  In one month, I will begin posting here, on the first day of each month, the progress I have made, which I believe will also help me reach my goal.

So with all that said, here I go!  Wish me luck!