Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lost Grave of Elizabeth Patterson Ponder

Elizabeth Patterson was born in the 1750's and was a daughter of Robert and Sarah Patterson. Robert was my gggggg-gf, and I descend from him two ways, through his son Thomas Patterson, and also from his daughter Sarah who married Joseph Black.

Elizabeth married a man named Daniel Ponder (Jr) in the early 1770's in York Co SC. Around the turn of the century they moved to Buncombe Co NC and attended the same church as my John Patterson family, Newfound Baptist Church, about 8 miles NW of Asheville, NC. Daniel and Elizabeth Patterson Ponder were very active in the church. Daniel died in 1817, Elizabeth some years later.

Not knowing the locations where any of the children of Robert and Sarah Patterson are buried, I was hoping to find Elizabeth's grave recently after reviewing some notes I have online. A distant cousin through the Ponder branch of the family is genealogist and author, Patricia Saupe. "Pat" authored both books on the Ponder clan, Kentucky Ponders, and Kentucky Ponders Supplement. In 2003 Pat emailed me the following statement, which recently caught my attention again:

Robert Ponder was in Clay Co. KY with the rest of the boys when Daniel died 1817. He went back to Buncombe to live to care for Elizabeth and I can't tell you off the top of my head which census, but you will see an elderly lady with him at some point. The grandson we talked to said Elizabeth is buried atop that hill with Robert on Robert's old property.
So I emailed Pat this week to get more details about the location of Elizabeth's grave. To my utter disappointment, here was Pat's reply.

The way I understand it, the graves atop Ponder mountain were taken up and the land used for farming in about the 1930's when times were tough.  This came from an old fellow (Ponder) who was born there and lived just up the road.   The property was on Little Ivy and Ponder's Branch and went from mountaintop to mountaintop.  It has been too long to tell you the name of the road but there's a Sprinkle Cemetery somewhere near the crossroads that has Robert Ponders daughter Elizabeth Ramsey in it.   I am talking about 25 years ago though on all of this.   We did not climb up the mountain to see if the graves were gone because he was so certain that they were and we didn't want to insult him.
Such is life when it comes to genealogy research. In the words of Forrest Gump's mother, "Life's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

You win some, you lose some. I guess I struck out on this one.

WP