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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kentucky Hollars

Kentucky Bound



Every year my beautiful daughter and I go on a trip for her spring break.  One week of genealogy research in some place our ancestors lived or somewhere there are lots of records.

In 2015 and 2016 we went to DC. Both were amazing trips and we enjoyed ourselves and found lots of neat information on our families.  She is researching her father's line (FILIPEK, BUCKHOLZ, DAY, ZEMPEL) While I focus on my father's line (DEBE, PEQUETTE, CULVER, HAYDEN)

During our 2016 trip, we discovered the DAY line was in Kentucky, so we planned the 2017 trip to go to Kentucky.

image of stqte of kentucky
Kentucky map


We drove from Charlotte, NC to Frankfort the capital of Kentucky.  Now Frankfort isn't what most would consider a Capital city, but rather a quaint, small town, full of friendly people.  There were no tall buildings, traffic jams, or lack of parking. 


We stayed at the Blue Grass inn while we were there.  Now the hotel is a small town hotel, so its not the Ritz or even a Holiday inn or Marriott, but it did the job we needed.  There was hot water, a bed, a desk, fridge, and microwave and FREE continental breakfast including waffles.  The staff was amazing, and they have  a coupon in the Hotels book you get at the rest stops.  However you do need a coupon for each night you are staying.

We went to the Kentucky Historical Library every day from the time it opened until they threw us out.  My daughter found many DAY families in the area.  We looked through the stacks, microfilm and their vertical files, and made copies of everything we found.  The staff was amazing.  Being the library was closed Sunday through Wednesday, we went to the cemetery on Sunday and went to the KDLA on Monday and Tuesday,  

Our adventure started on Sunday at the cemetery, and all week Monday - Friday inside looking at books and microfilm.  By Friday night we were "libraried out".  We decided to check out early Saturday morning and travel out to the Hollars of several counties to find the cemeteries where the DAYs were buried and then head home to NC via Virginia, being an impending snow storm was due to hit Asheville, NC on Sunday morning. (I wasn't keen on driving through a snow storm to get home.) 


abandoned building image
Abandoned building next to Hogtown Cemetery
Our first stop was Hogtown Cemetery in Rowan County. The building in the photo is right next to the cemetery road sign so it was pretty easy to find the road...until we turned up the road.  We traveled about 50 feet, and the road split to the right, and it was a gravel road, and went behind some more abandoned buildings and I think to a house.. Option 2 was up a STEEP paved road, and when I say STEEP, it seemed to be at a 45-60 degree angle,  It was something I was not comfortable driving up in my little Hyundai.  I parked my car in the middle of this "road" and we walked up that steep hill.  I have a photo of the hill somewhere, but can't put my finger on it at the moment.




Hogtown cemetery street sign

Needless to say, by the time we got to the top, it took about 10 minutes to catch our breath, The terrain flattened out and we could see for miles.  Absolutely gorgeous.  As a volunteer for Find A Grave, I began searching for those who needed photos taken and started taking photos, as my daughter looked for the DAY names she had collected.  They were all in one section, but the sun on that plateau made photographing them a bit tricky, and our reflectors were down in the car, and I was not walking back up that incline once I went back down so we made due.

I thought to myself, if this is what country Kentucky cemeteries were like, I didn't think we would have any issues with the other cemeteries we were looking for, boy was I wrong!!!!



After leaving Rowan County we traveled to Morgan county, where there were six different DAY cemeteries.  The directions on Find a grave were spotty at best. Here are the directions: Middle Fork on Highway 589.  That's it.  Looking at a map there is not town called Middle Fork, no road called Middle Fork, but lo and behold there is a Creek called Middle Fork....progress...



Except......



Middle fork runs the ENTIRE LENGTH of Highway 589....  Thankfully 589 isn't very long, and one of the other cemeteries was at one end of the highway and another cemetery at the other end.  

The cemetery we were looking for has 8 graves in it, and has a photo of the cemetery...the same cemetery photo that all of the other 5 DAY cemeteries have, so no help.  We turn to the locals.

A local florist shop called around to find where it was, but to no avail.  The funeral homes were closed, and the town offices were also closed.  Then we stopped at a gas station, where the clerk stated he knew the EXACT location of this cemetery and gave directions.

When we hit highway 589, I realized we were no longer in Kansas.  We lost our GPS and the phone signal, thank goodness I had everything printed out and we had a map of the state that I picked up at the rest stop.  

Driving down this 7 mile stretch of road, there was a cemetery on every hilltop, about every half mile.  We went to the end as the clerk told us, and took a right then a left, down a dirt road with trailers and houses on either side, we passed a home with one or 2 stones in it, and then we came to another fork.  The left seemed to go up a hill to someone's drive way, and to the right another hill like Hogtown, except it wasn't paved, and it was more like 65-75% incline.  I was not attempting to take my baby up that hill, so my daughter got out to walk up the hill as there was a flag pole at the top.  As she got out we heard gun shots, not a good sign.  I made her wear a bright pink jacket over her camo jacket so she wouldn't be mistaken for whatever some one was shooting at.

I realized we were in the Hollars of Kentucky. It was a narrow valley between 2 large land masses and we couldn't see over either one.

I turned the car around to go talk to some gentlemen who were outside and discovered they were the ones shooting the gun.  At least I knew my baby would be somewhat safe on her trek up the hill. Unfortunately these guys didn't have any clue where the cemetery was at. I went back to get my daughter who had descended from the hilltop, and reported yes a cemetery was up there but it had more than 8 graves in it, not the DAY cemetery we wanted.

It was almost 5 pm and we decided to do more research to try and find the cemetery for another trip. It was dark by the time we left the Eastern mountains of Kentucky, but it was beautiful country and we cant wait to go back.

If anyone has info on this particular DAY cemetery in Morgan County, I'd love to get GPS coordinates or even some photos from the actual cemetery.