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A whole week had come and gone… and I’d somehow managed to keep my excitement in tact long enough to make it to that day, my favorite day of the week. ROAD TRIP DAY!!! This week our main destination was to visit the Harris family cemetery. (I thought we were going to Union United Methodist Church) but in actuality we were headed to Fawn A.M.E Zion Church located in Fawn, PA.

Our first stop started very similar to the last one – once again on the side of a road, this time facing a large field. My grandfather (Odell) wanted to show me the field where he was born. I had to ask though, after what happened with my grandmother the week before if he was born “in the field”or if he was born in a house located in the field. There was a house that stood on the field and thats where he was born…

We traveled down old country roads, wooded areas, and corn fields until we came to a charming little church on the side of the road. A building easily missed if you were in a rush; but we were in no rush because that was our destination… FAWN AME ZION CHURCH ~ The home church to the Harris side of my family. Located at 177 Alum Rock Rd, New Park, PA 17352-9493. Originally built in 1830 and then rebuilt in 1954. The building itself was quite beautiful, and showed no signs of being old or abandoned, even though its been unoccupied for the last two years or so for various reasons. The grounds were up kept and although scorching hot outside the slight breeze gave welcoming feeling of home.

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To the right of the church is the cemetery with plots dating as far back as 1829. How do I know you ask? I saw it of course! I can only imagine that the need for the church came about one people began to be buried there. Or many they held church services on the ground before erecting a building. I’m not sure, but either way I’m grateful there there is a building that united so many of my family members in life and afterwards…

We started in the back of the cemetery where the headstones were the oldest and worked our way forward. Midway through I came across the headstone of John Aquilla Harris ~ I’m jumping up and down hyperventilating with excitement over finding this headstone… Why??? Because I didn’t know he was buried there…. Who is he you ask??? Well…John A. Harris is the father of Benson S. Harris who is the father of Clara Ringgoold (my great grandmother) I’m sure you can sense my excitement here. I have met my 4X Great Grandfather!

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There was an additional stone nearby that had the initials J.A.H – I believe that also belongs to him. There were no other people buried there with his initials.

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Next to his headstone was this marker….

14663571812_3ef7127571_o copy G.A.R. = Grand Army of the Republic – Fraternal organization for men who fought and were honorably discharged from the Union Army during the Civil War.

So today I’ve learned that my 4x great grandfather may have served in the Civil War… checking on that later on today…

(Back story of John A Harris – A few years ago when I first started my research my grandmother (Marva) told me that a cousin could have given her some information – it was an 1850 US Census with the Harris name… I didn’t know any of the people on it and it took me almost a year to get to the point where I was able to identify the then 9 year old John A Harris was in fact my 4X Great grandfather!!

I finally got to see the resting place of my great great grandparents (Mary Etta & Samuel Benson Harris). Even though I will never meet them, I feel like Im a little bit closer to them. I’m not going to get all weird but I’ll just say that being there made things a little full circle.

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This is one view of the cemetery, from this angle it looks very small but trust me it’s not. I took the liberty of photography EVERY headstone that I could reach. (You can find the link to those pictures here https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZ5E8cN) Given the extreme heat that we had to deal with combined with whatever strange fascination that the wildlife (flying insects) had with my skin I had to move fast.

In case you don’t know me that well please know that I am not one for the heat… It makes me cranky and apparently it makes me have nose bleeds which I found out after my little adventure was over. Now please keep in mind that I’m outside walking and photographing with my grandmother who is in her 71st year of life and she’s just fine and I’m sitting in the backseat of the car sweating bullets with a moist toilette up my nose lol. Now we have had the conversations regarding not having air conditioning and just having to deal with heat so I have come to conclusion that I was just not bread to deal with heat…

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As is custom on our road trips we stopped for ice cream on our way home… Arctic Circle soft serve ice cream…

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Weather permitting we are planning the next road trip – but I think from now on I’m going to plan to do something historical somewhere away from my computer at least once a week. There are local places that I can go to so off to the drawing board I go…

 

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