Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Preacher Willie Lee "Bill" Church at Cool Spring Baptist Church

Our family reunion last weekend was a gathering of the descendants of Francis Marion Powell and Laura Emaline Church Powell, known as Mama and Papa Powell to their grandchildren, which include my mom.  Through a torrential downpour, my intrepid Aunt Joan led an expedition to visit the site of Cool Springs Baptist Church, which is on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Ashe County, North Carolina.

This is the reconstructed church described in the sign pictured at the top of this page.  Elena, my first cousin and Aunt Joan's daughter, Tony Powell, my second cousin and the grandson of Chester Powell, and I ventured out of the cars to explore the buildings at the site where Willie Lee "Bill" Church once preached as a Baptist circuit-riding minister in the mountain communities of his day.  According to Elena, he was our third great grandfather.  We three adventurers are all great grandchildren of Francis and Laura Powell, mentioned above.

The replica of Jesse Brown's house gave us a bit of shelter from the rain.  I was pretty damp by the time this snapshot was taken.

Cousin Tony, pictured here in the shelter of the Brown house and whom I met for the first time on this trip, came all the way from California with his wife, Bertie, for the reunion.  Because our mothers are close in age, my sisters and I have visited with Elena and her brothers, George, David and Andrew many times since we were all kids playing in Grandmother Isenhour's back yard.  It was really cool to have so many cousins together in one place to swap stories about our family.

This is a view of the sign and church building from the Parkway.