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On Montpelier: Heaven is a Kentucky of a place
Wherein Jim describes earth's loveliest Circle of Prettiness, a two mile radius around Montpelier, KY, partially overlapping the Esto portion of the Sacred Triangle of Sano, Ono & Esto
Click on headline for complete story with postcard from Dr. Perryman
In my generally less than humble opinion, some of the prettiest countryside in Kentucky, or most anywhere else in the world, for that matter, lies within a two mile radius of Montpelier, and it's there that I always feel more at home than any place I've ever been. The autumnal view looking south to southwest from near the intersection of Old Montpelier Road and Acree Road always brings to mind the famously attributed Daniel Boone quote: "My dear honeys, heaven is a Kentucky of a place."
It was here that my mother's families settled in the 1800s and where the bones of so many of my ancestors and distant cousins, uncles, and aunts quietly, unhurriedly repose, awaiting the Grand Reunion. Some I knew; some my mother vividly recalled from her childhood, late into her own long life; and some, while "only names on a cold hard rock," still whisper and sigh and gently sing in the wind on my infrequent visits to the Auld Sod.The family that always comes to mind are my Blair forebears. Young James and Nancy, along with their already large and growing family, made the arduous journey from the North Carolina Piedmont country to Kentucky (first to Cumberland County) in 1814; she was carrying their son Morgan at the time. (I generally told my Mama about any "finds" I made in family research but never found either the heart or the courage to mention that James' father almost certainly died in the Battle of King's Mountain wearing literal a red jacket.)
Many years later, my great-grandfather Wheat and his wife settled on what is now Acree Road, a mile or so almost due north of the Montpelier general store and Post Office. His father joined the Union army in late 1861 and died from complications of measles in January 1862 at the camp near Somerset, leaving a destitute widow and several children ranging from wee tots to early teens. Some were lucky enough to be apprenticed to good home to learn the "art & mysteries" of farming or housework; the others, not so lucky, simply survived.
My distant cousin and dear friend Margie (1898-1995) grew up nearly within sight of the Montpelier Post Office. She would often talk about "Cousin Zach" (her mother's close cousin, Eld. Z.T. Williams) and his second wife. And too, Margie told of going to Liberty Church one Sunday early in the twentieth century to hear the great Rev. George Perryman speak. He had been born and reared not far from there and had gone forth and made his mark in the world, but he had never forgotten the way home.
So yes, that wee sphere of Old Kaintuck is home. Nowhere else on this good green earth do the hills rise and slant at such the precisely right degrees or hold such mysteries as to what's just on t'other side; nowhere else do the streams run and ripple as precisely in the right direction as there; and nowhere else beckons my heart with such Siren seduction.
The images below are of one of Montpelier's best-known citizens, Eld. Z.T. Williams, and the post card he sent to his cousin, Drury Alice Williams Antle, while on a trip to the Holy Land in 1900. (Translations of his crabbed hand, 25c per.)
This story was posted on 2017-03-14 17:12:03
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