Turns out I have roots in Tennessee. About two weeks ago, I made a little pilgrimage to the old country. It was a surreal experience.
Here I am, standing at the grave site of my ancestor, Coonrod Pile. In the distance, of course, is one of the seven mountains that surround the beautiful, peaceful valley of Pall Mall, Tennessee, birthplace and home of Sgt. Alvin York, the war hero. Alvin York was the great-great-grandson of Coonrod, who helped settle the valley in the 1790s.
Here's the plaque beside the grave. Coonrod and his wife Mary are buried side by side there, with a daughter. The "Three Forks of the Wolf" refers to the river that flows through the valley. Below is a shot of it, from the suspension bridge you cross to get to from Alvin York's house to the gravesite.
You probably can't tell how green the river is. It's quite lovely.
From this place - not a place like it, but from this very place - one of my ancestors set out in search of his own farmland, though his daddy was rich: I mean Coonrod Pile's son Daniel. He made his way to Indiana then Illinois. It was very moving to retrace his steps.