Friday, August 01, 2008

Bear Creek

I spent last Tuesday evening with some really good friends poring over the Bear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Mitchell County. There are probably 1,500 burials at Bear Creek, including about a dozen Union and Confederate soldiers.
I picked out two to talk about briefly. The first stone here is that of John P. Davis. He enlisted in Company C (not “D” as on the tombstone), 13th Tennessee Cavalry (US) on January 14, 1864. Just what became of him after that is unclear. He might have transferred to Company M, and then transferred to back to Company C, but that is unclear. At some point, over 50 years ago, someone ordered Davis a stone to denote his service in the Federal army.

The other tombstone (which was broken and lying in the grass) in the photograph is that of Matthew L. Sparks. On December 30, 1861, Sparks enlisted in the Mitchell Rangers, Palmer’s company that was charged with defending western North Carolina after the bridge burning in east Tennessee. Sparks was 49 years old when he enlisted. He served but two weeks – being discharged on January 14, 1862. The reason he was discharged is not listed, but I am willing to hazard a guess: his age.

So many times, when doing this type of survey, one runs across so many names with proper birth dates (1820-1850), but just cannot link them up with a soldier. In our survey we found a Adam Mace, born in 1847 and died in 1867, but we could not find an Adam Mace in Broadfoot or Soldiers and Sailors. There was also a Keith Sparks, born 1840, but we have found nothing for him either.

I’m off this weekend to Cumberland Gap. I’ve got a lead on a location for a Confederate Cemetery. Just maybe I can find a final resting spot for those dozen or so members of the 58th NCT who died between September and November 1862.


Another Lost Tarheel said...

I have to family members in that cemetery. The Delap Cemetery- Jason Burleson and John Green both of the NC 58th. ( I really love your blog)

If you ever come to Nashville, Please let me know

Tim Smith

Michael Hardy said...

Thanks for reading! I was in Nashville, oh about four years ago. I visited the military museum, the big park (centennial?), walked around the capital, a couple of cemeteries, and visited the Franklin battlefield.

I have no plans to visit anytime soon. Trying to stay at home and get the 58th NCT book finished. My recent trip to Cumberland Gap evolved around a wedding in my wife’s family.
Thanks again for reading!