Sunday, December 13, 2020


In my last blogpost I mentioned being a part of family members' lives even when we're physically on they're not in town. They're a part of it doesn't matter how far apart we...we're never far apart.

Yep, I've had family on my mind.

I've been working on my family tree and discovering more stories. There are so many stories waiting to be discovered. I was reading a book—Memoirs of Grassy Creek—about the county part of my family was from—Ashe County, NC. The author used my family surname and a first name I recognized. I have the same name and the right birthdate in my family tree. But honestly, that side of my family reproduced like rabbits and the recycle so many of the names over and over. LOL So he might be a direct relative, or he's a shirttail cousin. Either way, it was cool to see his name. 

I fell back down the rabbit hole and started research. I found United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet and more mention of my family mentioned in the 112 page report. 

"Settlers to the county came south from Virginia or west from the Catawba and Yadkin valleys. Most were of British or Scots-Irish descent, but German and Swiss ancestry were also common. One of the earliest settlers was Martin Gambill, who was born in Culpepper, Virginia, to parents who had also been born in Virginia. Gambill came to Wilkes County in 1768 and settled on the South Fork in 1778. In July 1780, Gambill, played a prominent role in the Battle of Big Glades at Old Fields, where local troops defeated a detachment of ISO Loyalists. The incident was part of the larger regional contest settled at Kings Mountain in October 1780. In the days leading up to the battle, Gambill made a famous 100-mile ride to Seven Mile Ford, Virginia to deliver a message to Colonel William Campbell. The message alerted the American commander to move his men to Kings Mountain. Gambill was seriously wounded at Kings Mountain, but recovered to become Ashe County's first tax collector and in 1806, as well as the county's' first sheriff. In 1810, Gambill was elected as the first State Senator from Ashe and held that position until his death in 1812."

I'd heard about Martin before. As a matter of fact, I have a print of his ride hanging in my house. His is one of the stories I love.


I think that's what I love so much about the research. Some of the stories are amazing. An Irish doctor marries the daughter of a British aristocrat. They move to the US settle around DC. Two generations later his grandson was a sharecropper. I wonder what happened in the family. And I marvel that their house still stands outside DC. I found a family member who was one of the founders of Brown University. Another one who was one of the original founders of Penn State. I've found immigrants. Politicians. Soldiers. Doctors. Train engineers. Farmers.


I found that one relative was one of the first settlers in the area around camp. As I dug through information about the family, I realized that a road I drive on to get to the cottage was named after family. Then I found his homestead listed and realized it was the corner of my road and the family's named road. I've passed it thousands of times. I could walk there from our place.

So more than stories, connections. Realizing I'm connected to all these people. If they hadn't done what they'd done, lived the lives that they led, then I wouldn't be here. That's amazing to realize. Just how many puzzle pieces had to fall into place to build my life. The life I love.

Stories. They're what I do and they're where I come from! I hope you'll check out some of my Hometown Hearts series. Something Borrowed will be out in January and three more are coming in 2021. Plus two Christmas books are on sale at Amazon right now! Hopefully those stories will make you smile this very strange holiday season!

Stay safe!


If you haven't visited yet, come see what HollysWoods Studio has to offer.

Christmas in Cupid Falls and Everything But a Christmas Eve are both on sale for $.99 for Christmas!

And check out Hometown Hearts:

Crib Notes
: Hometown Hearts #1

A Special Kind of Different: Hometown Hearts #2

Homecoming: Hometown Hearts #3


Suddenly a Father: Hometown Hearts #4

Something Borrowed: Hometown Hearts #5
PREORDER. Available 1/21

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