The bits and pieces came together to help Kelly fill in gaps in the story of her kinfolk.
“This is information I’ve wanted to know since I was 16, and I’m 75 years old now!” Kelly said of the finds. “It’s just fantastic.”
Abernathy and her husband, Billy, set up shop at the Cave Spring Welcome Center on Saturday for Ancestry Day to help residents like Kelly not only understand more about who their families were, but also how their family histories tied into the history of the city itself.
“Her family kept up with the history over the years,” said Billy Abernathy. “The Tumlins were one of the big names in Cave Spring, and we have a lot of history because they kept up with everything.”
Visualization of those ancestors’ lives included items such as the Abernathy’s collection of Cave Spring postcards, found on places like eBay or locked away in dusty attics. Postcards with pleasant scenes of Rolater Park without the now-present pool and scenes of devastation shown in pictures from April 1908.
“It was one of the deadliest nights of storms in America until 1974,” Billy Abernathy said. “Ten people alone died in Cave Spring, and it all happened in the middle of the night.”
The Abernathys hope the snippets of history they have found or had passed down — newspaper clippings from decades ago, copies of posts cards and their collected research — will continue to help inform the residents of Cave Spring learn about the residents of the past.
“We plan to have more events like this throughout the year to help educate the public about the history of Cave Spring,” Billy Abernathy said. “We know a lot and we’d like to share it with everyone.”
Click to see the Cave Spring Historical Society’s Facebook page.