My mother is full of many amazing stories from years ago. She is a wealth of knowledge, a lover of history and a great example of godliness and wisdom.
As a child, she shared many stories, that I am ashamed to admit, were boring or did not seem of interest to me at the time. I want to write down many of those stories now while I still have her and she can share them with me.
Here is one such gem.
My mother told me that we have a connection to Ruth Bell Graham. She was a great lady of faith from my generation as she was married to world renowned Christian evangelist, Billy Graham. I had a great aunt that I never met named Miriam Calhoun. She was my mother’s aunt. She died in 1940 at a very young at age 39 from cancer. She was a trained singer. My mother comments every time I sing in church, that one day in heaven I will get to meet her. Perhaps I inherited some talent from her. In this we share a wonderful bond.
The interesting part of the story is that Miriam was engaged but never married. Her fiancee was David Bell. He was related to Ruth Bell. The family connection was through a descendant in Tinkling Springs. I have not been able to determine the actual lineage connection but am currently doing research. A Reverend John McCue established a Presbyterian church there around 1783. He died one Sunday on his way to church when he was thrown from his horse in 1818. He would have been Ruth Bell’s great-great-great grandfather. Here is another interesting side note. The house in which my grandfather was born has always been referred to as “Old Stone Fort” in our family. It was on a dairy farm when his parents owned it. It was purchased from a member of the McCue family. Sadly, my grandfather’s parents lost the farm because they either were forced to sell or foreclosed after losing a number of cattle, their source of income, during a terrible storm.
The story about Miriam continues. She decided not to marry David since she began caring for her ailing parents. She did not want to burden David with further responsibility. Neither ever married after the broken engagement. Miriam died. I am sure David was broken-hearted by her death. She was buried in the Tinkling Spring cemetery outside Fishersville. I remember visiting the gravesite as a child. It is in a family plot with her parents, my great-grandparents. The cemetery rests in a beautiful spot nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains with bubbling sounds of a brook and trills of wild birds in the distance.