Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Alpha Omega Evans

My life in appalachia - Alpha Omega Evans

A few weeks ago, the Blind Pig Family visited Paynetown Cemetery near Fontana Dam. The cemetery was established in 1901 by Greenberry Payne.

Funny to say cemeteries are beautiful, but to me they are and this mountain top one seemed especially beautiful, peaceful, and lonesome all at the same time.

When visiting a graveyard for the first time we look for the oldest marked grave. Of course we figure the graves only marked by rocks are the oldest of all, but they seldom have names on them.

Chitter was the first to spot the handmade gravestone of Alpha Omega Evans. She called out to us and we all ran to look and see the unusual name.

It pleased Chitter that she knew what the name meant and that she knew where to find the words in the Bible. She decided right then and there that her first child would be named Alpha Omega-“Cause it would be a good name for a boy or a girl right?” she said.

It pleased me to see my teenage daughter run back to kiss Alpha Omega’s gravestone one last time before we descended the steep trail back to lower territory and present day life.

Tipper

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

 

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Dana Plemmons
    May 10, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    My family is buried on that mountain top. I remember going as a small child that the trip seemed like torture. I would get car sick on the way there, and I was terrified of crossing the dam, and then the climb up that trail. I had not been in many years, even though my mother went every year. As she got older one of my boys would always go with her but last year there was a misunderstanding about when decoration was and my boys were unable to take her. So at the last minute I told her that I would take her, and I am so grateful that I did. The trip there was filled with stories that her father had told her, and the dam was a beautiful sight to behold. My grandfather helped build the dam and that provided many more stories of my precious grandfather. The trail, although still a straight up climb, was not as tremendous as I remembered as a child. And once we were at the top,!WOW! There’s a peacefulness there that is difficult to explain, it was as if you were in a different world and none of the stress and chaos that was at the bottom of the mountain could make it up that high. I saw my great grandfather’s grave stone. I have a picture of my grandfather standing next to the tombstone and I remember him telling me that was his dad. His name was David Rollins Davis and my grandfather was named James Rollins Davis after his dad. I remembered so many stories that I have heard over the span of my lifetime of these amazing people. The babies and the mothers all of the people there have a story to tell and deserve to be remembered.

  • Reply
    Jacquelin Steward
    January 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I love visiting graveyards–especially the old, overgrown, and forgotten ones! It’s the inscriptions/epitaphs that I love to read! So many heartfelt, unusual, and sometimes humors ones–all strike a chord in my heart. May they all Rest In Peace!

  • Reply
    TM
    May 13, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I just happened to stumble upon your website through a couple of links this morning and found this post. Alpha Omega Evans was my great, great grandmother and the cemetery you found is home to my great grandparents and grandparents as well. I’m 34 and can remember visiting each Mother’s Day for most of my life. It warms my heart to know that others visit and are so respectful throughout the rest of the year. Thank you for sharing her marker for your kindness toward her memory. Also, thank you for the blog. I’m currently out of the area and a little homesick so it’s nice to get pieces of home where I’m able online. Take care!

  • Reply
    Luann
    April 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Suzi asked this question, “I wonder if people outside of Appalachia wander old cemetaries or if just peculiar to mountain folks?”
    No, lots of folks wander old cemeteries. There are organizations such as the Association for Gravestone Studies and sites such as Find a Grave to help with info.
    There is so much to be learned from gravestones and cemeteries: history, architecture, art, natural history, and much more.

    • Reply
      Alene Adkins
      May 21, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      I love walking through all the cemeteries in reading the epitaphs. My grandparents and my great-grandparents, some of my aunts and uncle’s, and some of my first cousins are buried at the paynetown Cemetery in Fontana North Carolina. You have to cross the dam then turn right on a little dirt road, then go up maybe a quarter of a mile little more and there’s a trail that leads up to the top of the mountain with a beautiful little Cemetery up there. How we loved to go up there with Mom and Dad and our cousins aunts and uncles and even our grandmother and grandfather when they were living Every Mother’s Day to decorate the graves. We called it decoration Day. I had the pleasure of going back this year May 19th 2019 and spending some time there was some of my first cousins and their families. We had a wonderful time and anybody who loves the mountains and loves to wander around over cemetery’s you really should try to find this one.

  • Reply
    RB
    April 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I find most cemeteries peaceful places and find the really old ones extremely interesting.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Darlene
    March 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    One of my good friends has the name Alpha. She’s the only one I ever heard of.

  • Reply
    mike echols
    March 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I like to visit old graves also. I think of all the things they “missed”,but then maybe they really have not missed anything !

  • Reply
    Jane
    March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    When I was a little girl, my parents started a project.. to copy all of the headstones in the cemeteries in our county. It took years of weekend trips to the country and the deep woods. I’ve spent a lot of time in old cemeteries! We used to take paper and chalk and make impressions of the pretty markers. They published their findings in the 70’s and the local genealogical society did an update a few years ago. I was raised to appreciate what came before me and make it available to those yet to come.

  • Reply
    Jerry in Arkansas
    March 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I just read a novel with a character named Genesis Revelation ____. I know that is fictional, but we do find many unusual names in cemeteries and even in our family trees. One of my relatives was named Dorthula Ophelia.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

    There is such a sense of peace in a graveyard, one of my favorite pastimes is wandering through them; much to my husband’s dismay. However he has become tolerant with my “craziness” Collecting photo’s of unusual/beautiful grave stones is also a passion.

  • Reply
    Charline
    March 28, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I love everything about this latest adventure! And especially the apparent identity of Alpha Omega.I’m sure others discovered the death year is quite clear when the photo is magnified.Also, it’s terrific that a whole family enjoys this activity. I have to do it alone, or drag someone.
    Thanks, Sandy, for the info on Cedar Key. Cemetery touring is not so fulfilling in FL as in more established places.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    March 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    With that name, you have to wonder what the story was.
    Like your music!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I wonder if people outside of Appalachia wander old cemetaries or if just peculiar to mountain folks? I’ve loved old mountain graveyards my whole life-one of my favorites is the Phillips cemetary in Cosby. It’s a solemn place, but with the White Rock guarding & the mountains embracing it, the residents there seem to sleep so peacefully.

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    March 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    As long as they don’t call that child alphalpha. Love the history. Nana

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    My aunt, who lived back in those times, named her daughter Alpha Omega and she stuck with the oath she made as she gave the child that name: “She is my first and she will be my last.” Not a common naming but not my cousin, who was born in ’26 and died just about five years ago.

  • Reply
    Charles Ron Perry
    March 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Ed, If he grants permission to use the photo, would you post it on the Fuller Family site with a link to this site? By the way, we have a Fuller Family site with lots of old photos for descendants of Samuel P. Fuller and Marium Leathers. Alpha Omega Fuller was the 4th of 10 children. She and 3 of her sisters married Evans brothers. Any descendants of these families can contact me at [email protected].
    Thanks

  • Reply
    NCMountainwoman
    March 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    We also love wandering around old cemeteries. Actually Alpha and Omega might have been good names for Chitter and Chatter. Of course you had no way of knowing then that Chatter would be the Omega child.
    I actually used to know a man named Alpha Omega but they called him A.O. (Or perhaps he chose that himself when he got older.) I had never heard that as a name before. Perhaps it’s more common than we thought.

  • Reply
    Dorothy
    March 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Several years ago, well maybe 35, my husband and I went to Arkansas to look for his grandfather’s grave. We never did find it nor was there a record of it in the court house of the county we were in. It was a hot August day and not an enjoyable experience. But I wish we could have found this grave for my husband. No one in his family had any idea where it was and now I am sure we or future relatives of his will ever know. My husband was 85 last week and the last living sibling of a family of 14 kids. And he is not the youngest.
    Tipper I have seen beautiful cemetaries and I don’t find that odd that they are beautiful. But some of those in AR were not beautiful as no one took care of them. I find that very sad.
    I don’t think I would like that name for a child but not everyone can like the same name. Right??
    Love your posts Tipper, even though I don’t live in the south nor have I been there. Just to LA one summer and on down to FL.
    Summer is on its way we are having such beautiful Spring weather here in the Heartland: Kansas. Dorothy

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    March 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I’m so glad you are instilling in your daughter an appreciation for Appalachian culture. That sure is a lovely name. It’s interesting to stroll through a graveyard. You can find a lot of history in these old graveyards.

  • Reply
    quinn
    March 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Alpha Omega would be a fine name for a child…if you only plan to have the one! 😉

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Seems Alpha and Omega are one name. Neither makes sense without the other. That God calls himself Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end indicates to me that they are one and the same. That there is no beginning and no end. God is also I Am. Not I was or I will be. What say you?

  • Reply
    Becky
    March 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Neat!
    Makes me wonder why someone would name their child that.

  • Reply
    Ken
    March 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Tipper,
    Those are interesting finds. I also enjoy seeing old graveyards
    and discovering who was there way
    before we were even thought about.
    Some of my generation are buried
    at Bobby Hill in Nantahala dating
    back to the mid 1700’s…Ken

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Away back when Alpha Omega ______ who later married an Evans was born, parents looked in the Bible to find a name for the new baby. I can imagine they liked the sound of Alpha…Omega, and maybe didn’t give any thought to the meanings: Alpha–the beginning; Omega–the end. And the fact that these words are letters, Alpha being the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega the last letter. And good for Chitter for knowing where Alpha and Omega are in the Bible (and that these are names the Lord uses for Himself!)
    I think my grandparents may have done a similar “search” before or soon after my mother was born, but instead of naming her Alpha Omega, they named her Azie (pronounced A-Z). I never was told how Mother got her name; we didn’t have other relatives named Azie that I knew about. Interesting grave visit and beautiful old stone on which Alpha Omega Evans’ name was carved. The other comments indicate that we’re close to knowing who this Alpha Omega was! Thank you for the visit and the picture!

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    March 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Love graveyards too – they are, indeed, very peaceful and that peace seems to be shared when we visit.

  • Reply
    kat
    March 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I also like to read names on old tombstones. Never heard of this being anyones name but never heard of Greenberry either. Was an old man that went to church when i was a small child and his name was Green Carter.

  • Reply
    kay dallas
    March 27, 2012 at 10:24 am

    May their hearts always be tender toward the things of Christ. Alpha and Omega. Luv luv luv your site!!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I like Chitter’s appreciation for the name. From what I’ve seen of Miz Chitter, if she had it in her mind to give that name to a Boy, Girl, Lamb or Lion, they’d be named, like it or not 😉
    One thing’s for sure, it would give a feller or a gal a name they’d never be able to live up to.
    And it is really cool that you have the great-great granddaughter of Greenberry Payne among your readers!

  • Reply
    Belva
    March 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Tipper, I enjoy visiting old cemetaries too. There is such a feeling of peace and rest to be found along with a feeling of lonesomeness. I like to think of the people who rest there and how their lives might have been and the people they have left behind. I know that they are in a far better place with our Lord and Savior. I have been in the hospital and away from my computer, and I have missed your posts everyday! I am going back and trying to read what I have missed. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 27, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Alpha would be good name for a male child. You know, like the Alpha male, the leader of the pack.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    March 27, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Clint-you forget were talking about Chitter. I believe shed say I can do anything I want too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

    According to “Cemeteries of Swain County, North Carolina” the date of Death on Alpha Omega Evans Tombstone is Jun, 1933. She is interred next to James Evans so my guess is that this is “Meg” Fuller Evans’ resting place. She was related by marriage to the many Jesse Madison Smiley descendants. Many of these descendants still live in Swain Co., finds like this is what makes searching through Cemeteries interesting to those of us intrigued by genealogy.

  • Reply
    Shirla
    March 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

    My parents are buried high on a mountain cemetery in the town where they lived most of their life. My heart breaks when I see stones where the same family lost several children in a short time. There is an old cemetery on the land next to mine. The old folks say an entire area is graves without markers. One grave has a stone similar to the one in your picture and a smaller one next to it. The name and date has worn off many years ago. It is said to be a mother and her baby.

  • Reply
    Lise
    March 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Cool gravestone and name:)

  • Reply
    Clint
    March 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    if you name your first child ‘alpha omega,’ can you have anymore children? it would be false advertising. also, as a boy, i would not want that to be my name.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

    One just never knows what one will find in the cemetaries of the past. While being in a cemetary might be sad for some, walk through a military one and wonder about the lives given for this great country. For me, honoring these heroes is important to me. God bless America!

  • Reply
    Tammy Davis
    March 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Greenberry Payne (the founder of this cemetery) was my Great-Great Grandfather! He and several of my other ancestors are sleeping there. We have been to this cemetery and you’re right…it is a beautiful, peaceful place. We were so excited to see your blog today!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Wow, you find this cool grave marker and Ed researches it back to a known person with a history. Everything really is connected isn’t it.
    I like old cemeteries cause there is such a peaceful feeling there. Nobody is in a hurry there. lol
    Chitter with the tender heart but then both your girls have beautiful hearts!

  • Reply
    Caroline Davis
    March 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I find it pretty neat that you went to this cemetery. Greenberry Payne was my great, great, great grandfather!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    March 27, 2012 at 7:51 am

    A couple of the daughters and I walk old cemeteries when we can.
    We have found birthdates as old as the 1780’s and names that we would never think of these days, never yet an Alpha Omega.
    They are a treasure trove of history and wonder

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 27, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Tipper,
    I am sorry but I am not in the mood for graveyards, cemetaries and such today….LOL
    But, what a (R)revelation in more ways than one….(pun intended)!
    Sorry, the devil is back! LOL
    Thanks Tipper for a great post

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    March 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Wow, my mother’s last name was Evans before she married, my be related, who knows? I to enjoy looking at old grave yards and wonder about folks lives, knowing no doubt how hard it was, we have all the modern conveniences and still seemed to have no time to get it all done, a little elderly neighbor of ours told me one time, she said “son the more you do the more you see needs to be done”. And she’s right.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    March 27, 2012 at 7:22 am

    The Cochran Family Cemetery in Dawson County, GA is a beautiful place. High on the mountain in a grove of trees, 27 of my kin lie waiting for the trumpet. In the past few years, all the graves have been marked with stones and all known data. I have heard many great stories about these folks and the founding of the family plot during the late unpleasantness.I always enjoy visiting there especially in August on Reunion Day with all the cousins.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 27, 2012 at 7:14 am

    that is such a unique name and gravestone. I love going to old cemeteries and looking around.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    March 27, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Ed-the stone does have a date on it. I can’t decide what I think the year is-but it for sure has the month June. Looks like the year might be 1935 or maybe not. I’ll send you the photos I have-and you can decipher them.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    sandy
    March 27, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I too love love love old cemetaries. If you ever find yourself in Cedar Key Florida, there are some really old ones there. A lot of the graves can only be found by looking for the clam shells that cover the entire thing. The shells are about 6 inches across and cover them like a blanket.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 27, 2012 at 5:51 am

    You didn’t happen to get the dates off the stone did you? I have Alpha Omega “Meg” Fuller in my family. She was born 1 Apr 1843 in South Carolina and died 20 Jun 1930 at Forney in Swain County. She was the daughter of Samuel P Fuller and Miriam Leathers. She married James R Evans. She died of Diabetes Mellitus and Dropsy at 83. She was buried at Payne Cemetery at Fontana. If she is the same person, may I use your photo in my family tree?

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