Saturday, December 09, 2006

chasing history

With the help of the paramedics we encountered at the grocery store in town we found Bartons Creek. Just over the creek heading out of town is this historical marker denoting the location of my great-great-great-grandfathers original log home (spelling of this name alternates in the records with one or two t's). The marker stands on the highway next to a drive that reaches up and over a small hill. We drove a short distance up the lane and saw the homestead. Sometime in the 1800's a more modern farmhouse structure had been built around the original log home.

It was obviously a private residence and we didn't feel emboldened to rap on the door. The weather was grey and we were tired and hungry so we headed back to town. Our departure back to Illinois was scheduled for first thing in the morning and we sat up that evening reading excerpts from a book written about our family in the 1960's entitled, "West From Edrom". The title refers to the Nesbitt brothers journey from the borders region of Scotland west to the new world. I can't imagine setting out knowing that I would most likely never see my homeland or family again.

They were motivated by the idea of a better life and being able to have some choice in their destiny. A friend who travels in extremely remote regions of the world has noted that many people in this world are prisoners of the lack of opportunity to create something better. He tells a poignant tale of a woman running a frontier-type bar in Nepal, who like a person dying of thirst, drinks greedily on his tales of life outside her microcosm. She reminded him to be aware and thankful everyday that he enjoyed the ultimate luxury.

This was the luxury Robert Nesbitt was seeking....leaving a place where his destiny was dictated by an English king and being a part of deciding who would govern and how we would be governed. And that he did just that, fighting in the Revolutionary War for which his new government awarded him land in the territory which is now Tennessee. Meetings were held in his home to create Dickson county, carving it from two larger areas, and the first court session of the county was also held in his home.

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