Crotts Cemetery Reunion A Success

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As you saw posted on this blog last week, a Valentine Crotts reunion was held on Saturday the 29th. I did not get to attend, but I asked a friend, Dru Tiliakos, who came all the way from Orlando, Florida to visit Crotts cousins and attend the reunion about it and she responded. Sounds like it went very well, Tim. Here is how Dru responded:

“Tim is a lot of fun and was very warm and loving. We had plenty of food, no rain and a beautiful deck overlooking the large spring pond fed by three springs. The cemetery is just across the pond on the rise behind the deck. We all walked across a sort of foot log bridge and up the slope to the cemetery after the meal.

The cemetery is in terrible condition, overgrown with brambles, bushes and trees, not to mention leaves. Only two stones we could identify whose graves they were..Young John Crotts, confederate soldier…this would be a son of Emanuel Sr I’m sure. Then near him is John H. Crotts…I think this is probably another son of Valentine JR. Other than that, they are marked with just rocks. But there are about thirty graves Tim said. So now Tim is planning cleanups for the next two or three Saturdays and they’re going to clear it all out so we can find the graves. It’s a shame it was abandoned so long. The farm owner and his family were so nice and came over to meet us. He’s very accommodating. Floyd Williams is his name.

On Sunday, we attended St. Paul’s Baptist Church, met some folks there including Max Cooke who talked to me quite a bit. I wished I could have had more time to visit with others. The pastor stayed and talked quite awhile with us. I took a brief walk through the cemetery and looked at a lot of Crotts and Cook stones. It’s a pretty church and we enjoyed the services. I spoke a few words to the congregation too which was nice. You mentioned Mike’s voice…well when we were singing the hymns, the lady in front of me turned around and whispered, “You all need to join our choir!” I got a kick out of that as I never think of myself as being a good singer although I can follow a good leader and have sung in choirs before. My husband sings in his Greek choir every Sunday and has natural talent anyway.

Later in the evening we went to dinner at the Golden Corral with Rick Blanton and his wife. It was just like being with old friends. On Monday, we decided to come on home. My husband was anxious to get home and back to his routines so we got home about five pm yesterday.

Yes I met all the folks you mention and had a chance to talk with Martha quite a bit. I gave her my phone and email as she may not have had the more recent ones.”

The note below is one sent to those who attended the reunion by Tim Crotts and I think he has started a wonderful project — that of cleaning us the cemetery.

Subject: Crotts Family Picnic and Reunion

Hey Folks,
I’d like to thank everyone who came out for the first annual Crotts Family Picnic and Reunion at the site of the home place of Valentine Crotts, and the Crotts family cemetery.

I think it was a real success with 23 people in attendance. It was a thrill to have 4 great, great grandchildren of Valentine Crotts and Elizabeth Bumgarner Crotts present with us: Virginia Buff Scruggs, Frank Buff and Martha Ann Self Hamrick and Dru Tiliakos.

The weather was great and the food was fantastic! I think we should designate the last Saturday of October as the date for this event. Therefore, please reserve on your calendar, October 25th, 2014 for this celebration of our family, and spread the word to everyone that’s related.

For anyone that can, please come out this Saturday, November 2, at 9:00 to help clean up the cemetery. As you could see, it has been neglected for many years. Bring your chain saw, bush axe, sling, weedeater, rakes, etc. We owe it to our ancestors to preserve their final resting place. Until next time, take care and God bless you. Timothy Wade Crotts   tcrotts001@carolina.rr.com

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I specifically want to thank the owner of that property, Floyd Williams, for making the cemetery accessible and letting the family help take care of it. We realize the tremendous work it is in keeping the cemetery clean. You are commended for allowing the descendants of Valentine Crotts to come and have a memorial celebration each year at their graves. Thanks so much! We need more citizens who realize the need to be able to return to the grave sites of their folk.

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Saint Paul Baptist Church – A Living History

Just wanted  the Foothills NC readers to know about a recent publication about a church in the area.  Rick Blanton, Historian and long-time newsletter editor for Saint Paul Baptist Church,  Casar, NC  researched and wrote a book entitled: “Saint Paul Baptist Church-A Living History.”  He was commissioned by the conference on Sunday, March 25, 2012 and it was published in July of 2012.  If your ancestors lived in the area of the South Mountains of Burke and Cleveland County, as well as Rutherford, Lincoln and Catawba, you just might find a link in this book. Rick has turned over a lot of stones that he did not expect to find.  He has become more and more excited through the process of his research and is so ecstatic now that it is finished. The first publication sold out immediately and the second printing is almost out  the last I heard.  He is planning on doing a Second Edition in the future, so you might want to read this book and send him your comments.  He has several pastors that he is researching that he cannot find much information for and needs some help.

Rick took his information from these sources, as he commented in the Preface of the book:

1. Minutes of Saint Paul Baptist Church business meetings.

2. Saint Paul rolls, attendance records, Associational letters and reports.

3. Handwritten documents of former pastors and members.

4. Minutes of annual meetings of the Catawba River Baptist Association.

5. Minutes of annual meetings of the South Mountain Baptist Association.

6. Archived newspaper clippings.

7. Cleveland County Memorial Library in Shelby, NC.

8. Photographs provided by brothers and sisters of various Baptist congregations.

9. Photographs and personal recollections submitted by current and former church members.

Rick carefully tried to substantiate the facts, exclude errors and adhere to a chronological order.  You can reach Rick Blanton at rickblanton@bellsouth.net.  I am very impressed with Rick’s ability to uncover so much in such a short amount of time and his ability to sort through discrepancies in the organization of the church.  The photographs, which are many, of the folks who went to Saint Paul to church and their relatives and connections is astounding.  

Saint Paul is the church where I attended in my early and teenage years, and is the church where my husband and I were married. Many of my COOK folks were charter members and attended there until the day they died. They lie buried in this beautiful serene setting, where the cemetery is kept clean and neat.   I just love going there and visiting my kin from time to time. 

Thanks to Rick for all his hard work; we can all certainly benefit from this profound work.