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                 Robert Wilse Woodward  and Family                


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In Search of The Woodward Cemetery

It was a real challenge researching and locating the James Berry Woodward and Elizabeth Blankenship gravesites. We found the general location of the sites by reviewing old topographical maps and correlating them with information that we had found at the Tennessee State Archives. We knew in advance that it would require hiking in rough terrain to be successful in finding our relatives gravesites. I made sure we had our two-way radios (I did not want my wife hiking in the mountains), boots, protection, maps, and a compass before we left Nashville. We drove North on Highway 23 from Flag Pond, TN to Exit Number 5 (Tennessee); turned right then another immediate right on Higgans Creek Rd; turned left on the small Gentry Mountain Rd; went to the last farm house on the left just before a dirt road going up a large ridge. I knocked on the door, while watching out for the bad dog (there was a warning sign), to obtain permission to look for the gravesites. A lady came to the door and told me several people have tried to find the cemetery with no success, but I was welcome to try. We drove down a farm road to the right of the house to a barn and parked the car, checked the maps and radios, got the digital camera, received a "good luck – thumbs-up" from my wife and proceeded to walk down the road. I came to a very sharp bend down the ridge along a large gully and I knew from our research that I was getting closer to where I suspected the cemetery to be located. I started up the steep ridge to the right of the old road. I could not find the cemetery when I reached the crest of the ridge. Thank Goodness! I could barely see the crest of the adjacent ridge (I should have taken the second ridge from the bend of the road) and the top of an old tombstone. I hiked to the next ridge and found the Woodward Cemetery. The cemetery was located in a dense forest, not maintained and the old fence had fallen down in some places. I cleared some brush and limbs from the cemetery, took pictures of James and Elizabeth’s gravesites, recorded the other six gravesites in the cemetery, meditated for a while, gathered my equipment, communicated our success via radio with my wife and hiked down the ridge back to our car. James and Elizabeth’s tombstone was relatively new in comparison to the other stones in the cemetery. Also, there was evidence of someone visiting the sites because they had left some artificial flowers. We have wonderful memories of the hours of planning and accomplishing this quest.

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James B. Woodward and Elizabeth Blankenship Woodward's Tombstone

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Woodward Cemetery, Flag Pond, TN

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