Genealogy is the study and tracing of ones family lines or ancestors. As many people who trace down their family lines can tell you…you will eventually end up in the graveyards. Now this is not to be grim, but headstones often lead to a wealth of information that might not be available through documents. One of the most well hidden spots in Wise, County is the Laurel Branch Cemetery.
A beautiful spot on the mountain that over looks Addington, Rocky Fork, and parts of Stephens in Virginia. Laurel Branch Cemetery in Wise, Virginia is a place to re-discover the past. As you are coming from Wise, Virginia to Rocky Fork, on the left is a dirt road that winds its way up the side of a large hill. On top of this hill you will find the graveyard.
Decoration Day is still a very real event during the month of May in the mountains and the graveyards come alive with real and silk flower arrangements. Many of the arrangements were gone by the time I visited this place during the month of June, so the graves once more stand as they are, bearing silent testimony to the person who lays beneath them with a few arrangements still on the graves as they had not faded away yet.
There is a quaint beautiful chapel that sits quietly at the bottom edge of the very well kept up cemetery. The chapel is set up in a lean-to style. There is a White wooden backdrop with a small pulpit at the front of it. To the right on the backdrop is a wooden cross and wreath of flowers. The wooden benches are held into place by cinder blocks for the people gathered to have seating.
As you walk up the slope of the hill, there are a number of graves that are marked only by little white wooden crosses. The names and dates of the people who are at rest in these quiet places have been lost in time..only known to God.
There are also two rather large stones that mark the Addington plots. There are several graveyards around the area that do have several members of the Addington and Adams family in them. Not all of them were buried in one spot even though they are the same family members.
One Addington grave, belonging to William Addington born March 10, 1856 and died July 3, 1883 was among the oldest of the grave sites we found there.
Two of my Great Grandparents are buried there. C. Finley Adams and his bride Della Hunsaker Adams. Finley also has a Military Grave stone placed on his grave showing his time of military Service to the U.S. Guards during World War I. Also, during the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu, Finley was onboard a transport ship. His job was to gather up the deceased soldiers in New York. Because there were so many that had passed on from the illness, many had to be buried together in a mass grave.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Katie Adams. You continue to encourage us and help us in search of our history. We love you Mom.
We thank you for continuing to support Kentucky Tennessee Living. As we bring to you the history of the Appalachian Mountains.
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When we forget our past and who we are as a people, then we become who “they” say we are. ~~ David Sergent
I have attended the University of Kentucky. I have an Associates Degree from Hazard Community College and Technical School. I have also attended the University of Pikeville. I have taken several classes in Journalism as well as in the Appalachian History, Literature, and Sociology during my time at those schools.
I was born in Florida and grew up in Burdine, Kentucky. I have been married to David W. Sergent since May 4, 2013. I have two children and four grandchildren from a previous marriage. I currently live in Tennessee but my hope is to one day come back home to live in the beautiful mountains once more.