On Aug. 15, 1855, John Asbury Terrell married Asenath Elizabeth Patience Priscilla Leake in Cassville, Georgia. They were my paternal great-great grandparents.

I want to know my paternal great-great grandparents’ story. I want to know how they met each other. I wonder if they were in school together. Were there subjects in which they excelled? Did they attend the same church? What were their Christmas traditions? Did they like to entertain?

The Leake family is prominent in Bartow County and a lot of those family members live in Bartow County. Asenath Terrell’s parents were Sarah Anne Holland Leake and John Simmons Leake. Her paternal grandparents were Martha Simmons Leake and William Leake. Her paternal great-grandparents were Providence Bryant Leake and William Leak, Sr. That is nine generations of the Leake family from whom I am descended.

As I continue to research this family, and work on my family tree, I steadfastly wonder what these people were like. They all owned land and farmed in Bartow County. What were their farms like? Were they worried about their crops getting enough rain? What did they like to do for fun? What were their Christmas traditions? Were there those among them who may have played practical jokes on the others? Were any of them gifted story tellers or writers? Who among them could draw or sketch well? I wonder if any of them were skilled artisans. I imagine the women excelled at quilting and sewing and they were probably exceptionally good cooks.

I have learned a great deal about my family as I created our family tree. The naming patterns are very interesting and, as I researched my great-great grandmother’s family, I was able to see the people for whom she was named. I do not know why her parents gave her four names. I wonder if they felt compelled to name her after four family members and not doing so would hurt someone’s feelings.

Terrell cousins’ reunion

On Saturday, June 5, 2021, from 1 to 4 p.m., I am hosting a Terrell Cousins’ Reunion Picnic at Pine Log Methodist Church in Rydal. I am exceptionally excited about this reunion and optimistic for a good turnout.

Attending the picnic will be descendants of John Asbury Terrell and two of his sons, John Wesley Terrell and Robert Lee Terrell. Also attending will be descendants of John Asbury Terrell’s brother, Danielly Terrell. I am trying to locate descendants of John Simmons Leake and his father, William Leake, and invite them to the reunion as well.

Historic Pine Log

Historic Pine Log Methodist Church was established in 1834. John Asbury Terrell, whom I mentioned was my paternal great-great grandfather, was a charter member of the church.

Services were initially held in a barn until the church was built in 1842. When the church was built, the log structure served as a schoolhouse during the week. The original log structure was replaced with a two-story frame building built by the Masonic Order in 1958. Pine Log United Methodist Church, the Campgrounds and Cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Districts.

Many years ago, my children and I attended a worship service at Pine Long Methodist. Being in that church was mesmerizing. I sensed the presence of my family and all the people who worshiped there through the years. That historic, iconic church had an atmosphere all its own. I sat in the pews and wondered about the people who went to church there long ago.

At the Terrell cousins’ reunion picnic next summer, there will be picnic tables filled with fried chicken, deviled eggs, sandwiches, watermelon, strawberries, squash casseroles, baked beans, cookies, cakes, and pies. If the church is open that day, we may well gather for a hymn sing.

Next week is Thanksgiving. One of my primary thoughts at Thanksgiving is my family. I look forward to spending the holiday with my children and grandchildren. Planning the reunion has been fun. I have enjoyed contacting distant cousins whom I anticipate seeing at the reunion next summer and I am looking forward to that.

It is very fitting that June 5, 2021, the picnic shelter at Pine Log Methodist Church will be filled with laughter and great conversation of the descendants of John Asbury Terrell of Bartow County, Georgia.

Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, a writer, an avid cyclist, history enthusiast, and an ardent reader of Southern fiction. She is the author of “People, Places, and Memories of Rome.” Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

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