About a year and a half ago, I decided I should take a trip to the cemetery to visit Hannah's gravesite. I had wanted to visit the little town in western North Carolina for decades, and I finally made a point of it Memorial Day weekend in 2012. At that time I had no idea I would be starting a blog, so I didn't take as many photos as I should have. I will go back.
Spruce Pine last May.
After leaving Tennessee, I headed east. The western mountains of North Carolina are difficult to fully describe: majestic, daunting, breathtakingly beautiful. I had to be incredibly careful not to look around too much as I soon realized running off the road and rolling down the tree covered mountains is a definite possibility!
I located the church and graveyard in Bakersville and wandered around looking for her headstone. The entire cemetery has a beautiful backdrop of the mountains. I came upon Hannah's parents, cousins, brothers, grandparents. Almost giving up, I found her resting place almost right at the entrance to the cemetery.
I made my first stop in Jonesborough, Tennessee, where my late father's cousin lives. To my knowledge, only one portrait of Hannah exists, and it hangs in a house in Jonesborough. I had to see it in person, mainly because there are no copies, and I wanted to take a photo to have as my own. The portrait is actually a painting from (my best guess) the 1890s, painted when Hannah was probably around 20 years old. When I stood close to it, I could see the aging and chipping of the paint at the top, and it probably will not survive for too much longer. But I did my best. And now I have a picture of Hannah.
After spending time in Spruce Pine and Bakersville (and a big thank you to the Bakersville Public Library for being so kind to this freaky intense woman in their Carolina Room), I headed to Morganton to see the hospital where Hannah died.