Brocks and Morrisons and Mark Twain’s Role Model: Cemetery Walk is May 18

April 8, 2019

 

“What have you been doing since you retired?"

 

This question is often posed to my fellow members of the Historical Society and me. Here is one answer:

 

We just finished a very successful hike to the coke ovens. Last week we started handing out copies of articles written by Myrna McMahan from 1946 to about 1966 to be retyped for a book that we hope to have ready in time for sale as Christmas gifts. While that is going on, we are planning our second annual Cemetery Walk. We also work in the library as volunteers throughout the week and try to help with citizen queries about genealogy.

 

We are a bunch of people who are interested preserving what has passed. We want to find out what happened, who did it and when and why it happened. We want to infect another generation with the desire to preserve and restore things which are valuable.

 

The Cemetery Walk last year included the Baptist and Payne Cemeteries in Trenton proper. We learned a lot from our first effort. First, don’t try to do two cemeteries at one time. Historically, the Brock-Morrison Cemetery is filled with leading citizens who were the movers and shakers of Trenton and Dade from the Civil War until the 1960s. The two families are intertwined through marriage in such a detailed way that the relatives of today may not even understand their connections.

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Joy Odom and Linda Wilson are taking the lead on research for the people who will be featured as characters at the Cemetery Walk. We have chosen to feature four main characters and highlight the connections of many others.

The four that we have chosen are Dr. James Russell Brock, Col. Douglas Eaton Brock and his wife, Catherine Clarke Morrison, and George Washington Harris.

 

The family of Benjamin Brock arrived in Dade County by 1860. He and his wife, Rebecca Kimbrough, had nine children. They did not all live here, but one who did was William Eaton Brock. William Eaton Brock was married to Mollie Taylor and they reared eight children. Three were doctors with interesting stories. A couple of the sons were veterans of the Spanish-American War. Ben T. Brock ran the newspaper in Dade for several years and also ran a store. Dr. James Russell was a doctor and his story ends with a gruesome murder. Ernest Duke Brock was one of the wardens at the Dade Coal Mines.

 

William and Mollie’s daughter, Allie Hassell Brock, connects this family to the Morrison line. She married William “Bud” Morrison and they raised 12 children together. Before the 1890s boom, the community that we know today as New England was called Morrison. The Morrisons had a large home facing Lookout Mountain that was later owned by the Raulston family. Locals will remember that the Morrison family was involved in business and government in Dade County.

Douglas E. Morrison was known for his military service, but one of the best things that he did was to marry Catherine Clarke and bring her to Dade County when they retired from the military. She owned and published the newspaper for almost 20 years. She represented Dade County on the Hutcheson Hospital Board and the Cherokee Regional Library Board.

 

The last character to be featured in our walk this year will be George Washington

Harris. He wasn’t a native. He had a varied career. He was an apprentice in a jewelry store, boat builder, business man, writer and railroad man. His life was not much in Dade County, but he has been buried in Dade County at the Brock Morrison Cemetery for over 150 years. He is revered in Southern literature for creating the character “Sut Lovingood,” It is reputed that Mark Twain emulated his writing style as he created his tales and wrote his books.

 

A personal note here, I read Uncle Remus to children at Davis School almost every week for nine years. It is hard to read because it is Southern black dialect. To me, the Sut Lovingood tales are harder to read than the Uncle Remus stories. Look him up. You will quickly see what I mean.

 

The Second Annual Cemetery Walk will be held on Saturday, May 18, from 4-6 p.m. at the Brock Morrison Cemetery near the intersection of Burkhalter Gap Road and Creek Road. Because parking is almost nonexistent, we are partnering with Piney Grove Baptist Church to park cars there and to use their buses to shuttle our patrons to and from the cemetery. More details later. Save the date for May 18 and join us.

 

 

If you have ancestors with the surname Morrison, Brock, Pace, Taylor, McMahan, Wells, Pullen or Dyer, then you may have a connection to the Brock-Morrison Cemetery.

 

--Donna M. Street

donnam.street@gmail.com

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