The Myers Cemetery Preservation Association will be forever grateful to
J.C. for his volunteer service to Myers Cemetery. Back in 2004-2005 the
Cades Cove Preservation Association members worked hard to reclaim Myers
Cemetery from several years of neglect. Needing someone to provide
voluntary mowing services for the Cemetery, J.C. responded to that need;
he did so from 2005 to 2010 until his health prevented his doing so. He
often said "the true spirit of a people can be seen in the way it honors
his dead." During those years he learned much of the history of those
buried in Myers Cemetery and was most helpful to visitors coming to the
historic Myers Cemetery. J.C. served as a member of the initial Myers
Cemetery Exploratory Board in its formation of the Myers Cemetery
Glenn D. Myers
Myers Cemetery Preservation Association President
THE RAIL TRAGEDY AT JAKES CREEK IS STILL REMEMBERED
Two lives were taken in a train wreck that occurred at Jakes Creek at Elkmont on June 30, 1909. Charlie Jenkins and Dan Daddy Bryson were the two men who lost their lives on this fateful day. Amanda and Maggie Candis Carver, daughters of Noah and Anna Myers Carver, of Townsend married brothers Tom and Charlie Jenkins of North Carolina. Both men worked for the railway hauling timber from the mountains-Charlie worked for Little River Railroad at Elkmont while Tom worked near Hazel Creek, North Carolina where he and Maggie lived after they married. Two other daughters of Noah and Anna Carver, Kate and Joanna Katherine, also married loggers-Kate married Robert P. Headrick while Laura married Grant Miller. Even though Bob Headrick was a witness to the tragedy he talked very little about the circumstances. Later in life he granted an interview with Knoxville Journal writer Vic Weals. Grant Miller, who married Laura, worked for the lumber industry and was also a minister in Townsend. Amanda Carver Jenkins and husband Charlie are buried in Myers Cemetery in Townsend as are Amanda’s parents Noah and Anna Ellen Carver Myers.
The train wreck that took the lives of Dan Bryson and Charlie Jenkins left families to mourn the loss. Daddy Bryson and Charlie became folk heroes; as a memorial, their lunch buckets were left hanging in the tree for some time. Three others Bob Headrick, Aaron Jones and Hoot Foster were not injured. No one is really sure what caused the runaway train to wreck on the switch back near Jakes Creek however; the logging industry was a perilous industry. Charlie and Amanda had only been married less than two years with a one year old daughter and a son born shortly after Charlie’s death. Amanda took the insurance money and purchased an 85 acre farm in Townsend. Her father Noah lived with them after the death of Amanda’s mother Anna. Noah helped with the farm work and also helped with the family expenses. This was the time before social security benefits. Amanda and Charlie were attracted to each other since both enjoyed square dancing and buck dancing- family stories reveal that Amanda danced like a vapor and Charlie could dance all night. Both Tom and Charlie were well known dancers.
Just five days after the wreck the long planned for excursion rides along this same track went on as scheduled from Knoxville to Elkmont. These weekend trips from the city life of Knoxville were a respite from the work week. The site of the train wreck heightened the interest of those on the excursions.
Charlie’s brother Tom and his wife lived in North Carolina. Even though Tom had had worked for a short time for the railroad Tremont, he and Maggie moved on to West Virginia and finally back to North Carolina working for the logging industry. During those six years Tom had numerous close calls According to his close friends he was a nimble person who was able to jump free from many wrecks; they attributed his agility to his reputation as a expert buck dancer always sure footed in choosing the time and place to jump from a train leaving the track. Tom’s death in 1915, approximately six years after his brother Charlie, was the result of being buried by a pile of spilled logs.
Tom death left his widow with four children to raise.
The details and story surrounding these untimely deaths were remembered by Bob Headrick(and later by his son Fred Headrick of Alcoa) and also by S.P. McNiell, Sr., Bookeeper and historian for Little River Railroad in an interview with Vic Weals, Knoxville Journal feature writer.