Sunday, November 11, 2012


Visiting my mother these past few weeks, during this early November of 2012, has made me appreciate my “sweet home, Alabama” setting-- rural Winston County, near Nauvoo.  My daddy’s land is the land on which he was reared and it is also the land where I was born and grew up.  How many people can return to the land of their roots and still see everything as it was?  My brothers, sister, and I are fortunate to be able to do just that.

I have observed that in Alabama we usually have our peak fall colors during this time of year.  As I walked in the woods on the home place of my childhood, the beauty of autumn is in full display. The word ubiquitous comes to mind when I think of all those leaves.  As nature makes a move toward dormancy, there are all kinds of leaves clinging from twisting branches in different arrays of color.  In contrast, the falling leaves have blanketed the ground underneath those trees in varying faded colors.

The scene ministers to my inner spirit.  Life has a slower pace.  All this results in a  personal sense of appreciation.  God has blessed our family so much as we lived out our lives on this land. We have a great heritage.  With reverence I walk the land.  I feel the fresh air of an early morning dawn as the chill of the night disappears in the mist.  It is as if nature has created its own special lens for viewing the moment. All is tranquil.  I see beauty in the simplicity of the old home place.  The land is at rest. All is well. 

As I walked up the road from my mother’s house, the same house where I was born more than 67 years ago, the thought came to mind that I needed to capture all this on camera-- the light shining through the trees, the early sun spotlighting the house, the road itself winding through the woods, and the leaves covering the ground. 

 Let the pictorial journey begin. Needless to say, the camera does not capture what I saw.  It does create a record of the land and structures that are enduring to the Kilgore family.

The following photographs are of the property of Cecil and Beatrice Kilgore, who moved there in the early 1940s.  They bought the original house from Cecil's Father, Virge Kilgore for $600.00.

Winston Co. Road 21 from Poplar Springs to Nauvoo

Gate to the property and signs posting for
personal property and alarm system

Upper house cottage moved to property
from Double Springs, Alabama and is
location of Cecil Kilgore Family holiday gatherings

Private Drive from the upper cottage to the main house
Distance is approximately 1/8 of a mile.

Circular drive from mail box and  wooded yard near
main house

Main House of Cecil and Beatrice Kilgore
Originally it had only 4 rooms.
Presently it has 8 rooms.

The following photographs are the old Virge and Sarah Kilgore country farm.  The property in these pictures is the front acreage of the old home place that Daddy signed over to me.  The back portion of the land belongs to my brother, Mike Kilgore.

Off of Winston Co. Rd. 21, this is the driving
entrance to the Virge and Sarah Kilgore home site

Woods taken from the dirt road on to the property

Dirt road entrance on the old homestead
Tagged wire gate on road entrance
 recently put up by cousin, Jimmy Kilgore
next to a no trespass sign

Dirt road ends into a big field going to the house

Field which has been bush hogged
and a portion cut with a riding lawn mower  ready
for winter

The 100 year old house of Virge and Sarah Kilgore.
9 children were reared in this small home.

The chimney side of the old house build
by Virge Kilgore

Front view of the old Kilgore home place

The early morning sun is shining on the front porch
of the old house as you see a panoramic view of
the blacksmith shop and the old barn shaded by two
enormous oak trees.

Petunias blooming in November
near the foundation of the old house's front porch.
Originally the house foundation
was open and supported by large rocks like those in the chimney
on the ends and ever so often under the support beams.
All wood in the house was from the land and made into lumber
at the hands of  Papa Kilgore.

Two big trees overshadow the barn structures

Small Shed on the property used for a garage and
also for a storage area
Originally this structure was a small barn but was
mainly used as a blacksmith shed.

The early morning sun beams through the trees and unto
the large barn in the distance

A front view of the blacksmith shop

A large back field behind the large barn.  The very back
portion of the field belongs to my brother, Mike.
He bush hogged the field for winter.
 Our cousin, Jimmy Kilgore has a deer stand
on the edge of the field.

The woods next to the back field.
As a child we use to raise corn in the field,  and also
watermellons, and peas.

From the back field, this is a back side view
of the barn.
The old barn has been used for storage for some time.

Inside the old barn

Taken from the barn, this view is of the two big oak
trees and the blacksmith shop and the old house
in the distance.

The oak tree branches span  across the yard between the
house and the barn.  There use to be a bigger
oak tree next to the house, but a portion of it fell
on the ground a few years ago.  Presently, all that is
remaining is the trunk 

 Front roof line of the barn 

Side view of the old house.
Side view of the front portion of the old house

Side roof line of the old house

This view is taken from the field
behind the old house looking toward the
barn and the larger back field with a panoramic view
of the woods circling the back field.

This is an outhouse built on the property when
we started having Kilgore Cousins' reunions there.

A panoramic view taken from the back
side of the front field to capture the
trees and house from a different angle.

This completes our visual tour of a special place which holds multiple memories for all the Kilgore cousins as well as for me.  My mother, brothers, sister and I are privileged to be the overseer  of such a special place.  Things are changing in the area.  Coal companies have bought up land near by and are strip mining.  There are evidences all around us of their venture.   Large machinery is coming in to the change the face of  the land.  Timber is being cut.  The land is being cleared.  Strip mining is the ultimate result.  Winston County Road 21 is heavily traveled with coal trunks and lumber trunks going back and forth.  The road has not been paved in years and is in need of major repairs.  At one time I counted approximately 90 pot holes from Poplar Springs to my mother's home.  There is dust everywhere.  This does not paint a picture of a land at rest, does it?   I am grateful that I can feature the land of my fathers as an oasis in contrast to the incredible negative affects of industry moving in.   May it always remain so--sweet home, Alabama.

Johnny Kilgore 

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