Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Little Client Work

I have a friend, Amanda, who is a National Park Ranger.  She's what's called a "seasonal" ranger, meaning she works only from May to November.  For the last few years, she has served at Doughton Park, North Carolina, even though she lives in Florida.  Her specialty is as an "interpretive" ranger, which means she talks about the history of the park's specific location, or about features at the park.  At Doughton Park, Amanda's feature is the Brinegar Cabin, built by James Martin Brinegar, known to all as Martin Brinegar, in about 1881.

The Brinegar Cabin, east view, Doughton National Park, North Carolina. Photo by Karen Packard  Rhodes.

Coming up real soon -- like this next weekend -- is the park's celebration of the family and their legacy at the park.  The celebration, titled "Brinegar Days," features the cabin and Amanda's talk there.  Inside the cabin is a loom that Amanda has set up and at which she gives weaving demonstrations.  She talks about weaving, and about many other aspects of the Brinegars' daily lives.  One of the aspects of the Brinegars Amanda wants to discuss this year is their family history.  So she contacted me to do a little quick research, since there is not time to delve deeply into the Brinegar genealogy.  I checked Ancestry.com and did discover several of the family members' death certificates -- including two for two infants, children of John William Brinegar and Nannie (or Nonnie) Blevins Brinegar that Amanda seems not to have known about.  Also available was some birth-index information, from which Amanda can obtain copies of the birth certificates from the North Carolina State Archive.

Brinegar Cabin, rear, Doughton National Park, North Carolina.  Photo by Karen Packard Rhodes.

Martin and Caroline Brinegar had three children:  Susie Alice Brinegar (known as Alice), Sarah LouRenna Brinegar (whose middle name has seen a variety of spellings), and John William Brinegar.  Alice married Robert C. Caudill, having at least four children:  Charity Mae Caudill, Kate Louise Caudill, Hallie Caroline Caudill, and Levi James Caudill.  Sarah married Squire Lawson Pruitt, bearing at least three children:  Elmer Pruitt, Leonard Pruitt, and John Sherman Pruitt.  John William married first Cessie Choate, who apparently died of pneumonia when her first and only child, Verl Milton Brinegar, was just an infant.  John William married second Nannie (or Nonnie) Blevins.  John and Nannie had five children  Breese Foy Brinegar, Homer Cecil Brinegar, Jimmy Brinegar, Cletus Brinegar, and Kyle Brinegar, who all apparently lived into adulthood; there were also two children who died in infancy.  These were Iva Grace Brinegar and Ralph Lee Brinegar.

James Martin (known as Martin) Brinegar and Caroline Joines Brinegar.  Plaque at Doughton National Park, North Carolina.  Photo by Karen Packard Rhodes.

Some of the family have proved more elusive, and on-site research at the surrounding county courthouses and the state archive is probably in order.  One of the problems of family research in this area, especially vital, probate, and court records, is that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, county boundaries in this part of North Carolina were quite fluid, changing with the whim of politicians who decided they needed these or those votes.  It was also a practice in days when transportation was difficult that people would transact their official business at the nearest county courthouse, whether it was their own county's courthouse or not!

It is nice to be able to say that I have done some "pro bono" work for the National Park Service.

Amanda and I, Doughton National Park, North Carolina.  Photo by M. K. Rhodes.


Amy Coffin said...

How cool! I enjoyed reading this post, looking at the photos and learning what you did for the park service. Kind of like stepping back in time, but with details of the future. Thanks!

Julia, IBSSG said...

As a tax-payer, I thank you for your service!

Elaine Brinegar Wade said...

Hi, My name is Elaine Brinegar Wade. My grandfather was John William, son of Martin and Carolyn Brinegar. My father was Cletus Clay Brinegar who died in 1991. He was the youngest of John and Nannie's children. All of the Brinegar sons are now deceased. Kyle, their first born, was the last to die, I think 2004 or 2005.Can't remember the exact year. All children of the five boys are still living and reside in Wilkes, Caldwell and Iredell Counties in N.C. I live in Fayetteville, AR....a total of 11 children of their five deceased sons.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Thank you for commenting, Elaine. If you see this, please contact me privately by e-mail at bitbucket001@comcast.net. My friend Amanda is a National Park Ranger at Doughton Park, and she spends most of her workdays in your great-grandparents' cabin there, doing demonstrations. She has had me research your family's genealogy for the Park Service, for their "Brinegar Days" celebration during the summer, and I am sure Amanda would be very pleased to hear from you.

Thanks again for commenting.

john said...

My name is John Brinegar, son of Henry Arthur Brinegar, Jr. I never met my grandfather, Henry Arthur Brinegar, who died in 1989, in Madison, Indiana. I'm just trying to find out any information you might have.

My mom and dad have both mentioned the Brinegar cabin, and I've even been there in childhood, I believe.....

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

John, if you see this, could you e-mail me at bitbucket001@comcast.net? I'll see what I have on hand, most of which I have sent to the rangers at Doughton National Park for their use in connection with the Brinegar cabin. My friend Amanda spends her summers as a ranger there, and her specialty is the cabin and its history, and the crafts, especially weaving, that people practiced in those days.

Sarah Pruitt said...

I just came upon this, I am related via the Pruitt connection. My uncle did some research and mentioned this cabin in our genealogy. Do you have a full family tree?