Monday, September 17, 2012

A visit to my roots

Ashamedly, I admit I have neglected this blog.  My only excuse is that life got in the way.  Moving for the second time in a year, taking a new (very busy) full-time job, and just trying to adjust to being on my own all conspired to keep me away from my hobbies.

However, a visit to Georgia over Labor Day has motivated me to get back to genealogy and studying my family's history. 

My cousin, Keith Tapley, is very interested in the history and origins of the Tapley family.  He had never visited the place where it all began... in Georgia anyway... Johnson County.  So on the Sunday before Labor Day, Keith, my mother, and I headed south from Augusta.  We began with a visit to our cousin, Bennett Wesley Tapley, Jr.  Wesley Jr. knows everyone in Johnson County and most of the people in Jefferson and Emanuel Counties.  He listened and absorbed all the stories his father, grandfather, and other old-timers told while sitting around under the shade tree in the backyard.  He is a great resource on many things Tapley.  Keith had not met him before.

Bennett Wesley Tapley Jr and Keith Tapley, September 2, 2012, Kite, Georgia

After sharing a few stories and pictures with Wesley Jr., we proceeded to Minton's Chapel Advent Christian Church Cemetery in Tom.  That is where Keith's great grandparents, Franklin Morgan Tapley and Lainey Minton Tapley, are buried. 

Next, we visited the Wheeler Cemetery just outside Kite and the Poplar Springs Methodist Church Cemetery just outside of Adrian.  These cemetery visits were strictly for me and not necessarily of interest to Keith.  On my mother's side, I am descended from the Schwalls and several members of that family are buried at the Wheeler Cemetery.  (I will share pictures in future posts.)  In addition, the Wheelers and the Tapleys intermarried several times.  I have been meaning to visit there.  My Drake ancestors are buried at Poplar Springs.  I have been wanting to go there for years and finally got the chance this trip.  However, have I mentioned it was 100 degrees the day we were there?  It was so hot that my poor dog, Daisy, would not even get out of the car at Poplar Springs.  She has learned that cemeteries tend to have few trees for shade.  Because of the heat, I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked at Poplar Springs.  I will just have to go back!

After visiting Wesley Jr. one more time, I took Keith and showed him where his great-great grandparents (my great-grandparents, James Madison (Jim) and Rebecca Page Tapley) lived.  Then we rode dirt roads past Fortner's Pond, which is where the Tapley land was originally.  It was a long day, and I am sure we overloaded Keith with information.  But it was so satisfying to reconnect with our roots.  To walk where our ancestors walked, to drive the roads where they probably rode their horses and buggies, and to visit their final resting places to read the names and make the connections. 

Keith at the old homeplace of our ancestors, Jim & Rebecca Tapley

This might be a good time to map the relationship between Keith and myself:

- James Madison (Jim) and Rebecca Page Tapley... among their children:
  -- Franklin Morgan Tapley
  -- Lucian Keman Tapley

Franklin Morgan and Lainey Minton Tapley... among their children:
  --- Homer Frank Tapley

Homer Frank Tapley... among his children:
   --- Homer Frank Tapley, Jr.

Homer Frank Tapley, Jr.... among his children:
  ---- Keith Tapley


Lucian Keman and Nealie Drake Tapley... among their children:
  -- Gilbert Tapley

Gilbert Tapley... among his children:
   --- Me!!

So Keith and I are second cousins, once removed.

Keith found me last year through this blog.  I got lucky when I got him for a cousin!

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