At Home in Fincastle

One thing in my favor is that I think growing up in LaFollette, and being born in the same house in which my sisters, Ann and Gail, and brother, Allen, were born and raised and attending the same elementary school which our Dad attended is a bit uncommon today. Also since it was a quiet little neighborhood, the only other place we had to go as children was to the Fincastle Methodist Church.

That little church would become a greater part of our lives than we could ever have imagined. It became our childhood Recreation Center, even if we did not realize it at the time. I have so many memories from there.

Our Grandfather, Andrew Jackson Miller, was a Constable at one time to all of Campbell County. When I was small I stuck to him like a bee on honey because I wanted to know everything he knew about LaFollette and Fincastle. When he was Constable, he had to shoot a man and I was known as "the nosey kid " so I asked him, "Grandpa, how does it feel to kill a person?" And I will never forget what he answered, even though I was just a very small kid. Grandpa said," Patti, killing someone is something you never forget as long as you live, but when you are the Law and the man draws on you first and it is either you or him and sometimes you are forced to shoot". Grandpa was almost 90 years old when I asked that question, but tears ran down his face and he turned away so I would not see his face.

When Grandpa grew too old to farm and do anything else he became the caretaker for the cemetery and when Grandpa Miller died my favorite Uncle Jim Miller took over the care of the cemetery. I became his shadow always asking him every question I could think of. I know where every slave is buried and where every soldier is buried because when Veteran's day came, we placed little flags on the soldiers' graves. I gave tours of the cemetery and when people could not find a family member's grave, they came to me because we just lived next door.

Very near to Grandpa Miller's house was a very young boy's grave who had lost his life in a saw mill his Father ran. His Father placed an iron fence around the young boy's grave so no one could get in. The iron fence was very high and I had to climb over it for Grandpa and Uncle Jim and pull the weeds. You could not get a lawnmower close enough to mow the grass but we kept it cleaned by Grandpa lifting me high enough to get over it and pull the weeds. The father had placed a very tall straight tombstone on the grave and because the little boy's head had been cut off, his Father took a large tool and broke the stone in half signifying that his son had been killed in that manner. That used to make me cry, but I cleaned the grave for the little boy.

I loved and still do love to talk to older people. When an older person dies it is like a library burns down. They are almost an endless untapped source of information.

'Til next time....Patsy Marguerite