Why begin with Shiloh?

I imagine at least some readers of this blog about memories associated with the Cartwright and Starr families will scratch their heads about the fact that I have chosen to use the almost forgotten community of Shiloh as the principal location for this set of explorations. Aren’t there better locations to use as the focus for exploring family history?

1. Cartwright siblings and cousins who remember visiting Grandma Millie Cartwright in Mansfield, Arkansas might point to one of the locations where family reunions were held in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Why not use the house on the hill above the lumber mill in Mansfield where Millie lived in the latter part of the 1960s?
  • What about the house located around the corner from the old Mansfield movie theater where Millie Cartwright lived until her death in 1976?

2. Cartwright siblings and cousins who recall “the old home place” down Hwy 23 near the curve before you get to the junction with Hwy 71within walking distance of one of the forks of the Petit Jean River?

  • Why not pick the site where Jess and Millie lived (after they moved back from Tucker, OK) in the late 1940s and early 1950s?
  • Or why not use the nearby location of the house where Joe and Addie Cartwright lived in that same vicinity.

As far as I know neither of these dwellings exist, and the Cartwright family never owned the property despite the fact that these are sites where my father and other Cartwright family members hunted from time to time over the years.

3. Cartwright siblings and cousins who know a bit more about our family’s genealogy might ask similar questions that remind us of other locations beyond the terrain of Scott County and Sebastian County.

  • Why not use one of the first places where our family settled on the American frontier BEFORE Eliza and her children made the trek to Arkansas?
  • For example, why not choose the little community once known as “Cartwright” north of Carthage, Tennessee (where Robert and James Cartwright settled after 1800)?
  • Or why not choose the little community of Temple located outside Carrollton, GA where Joseph and Eliza appear to have met in the 1840s?

To this latter set of questions, I can say that my initial explorations in these locations have yielded limited information. While records exist and some graves can be located, there are more gaps than connections (so far at least).

The simplest answer, however, is that Shiloh cemetery is the point of departure for going forward and backward in time to trace immigrant journeys. I have found enough information about the community around Shiloh Baptist Church to begin to be able to put together some stories that I find interesting. At the same time, I find myself asking questions that arise from the “gaps” in the family history that exist before and after the homestead at Shiloh.

It is quite possible that these other locations can also be mined for such purposes (and I encourage other Cartwright siblings and cousins to do so) as they have time and interest. In the meantime, Shiloh is the object of my own personal pilgrimage (May 18-20, 2015) and the place I have chosen to use as the basis for reconstructing the history of Eliza Hope Danes Cartwright and her ancestors.–MGC

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About mcartwright1957

I am a member of the senior administrative team at the University of Indianapolis where I have served since 1996. I am married to Mary Wilder Cartwright. We are the parents of four children: Hannah, Erin, James, and Bethany. I currently live in Nashville, IN.
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