December 31, 1943 - August 25, 2012
Murphy, North Carolina
I was one of those people who were touched by his generous spirit and sense of adventure when it
came to genealogy.
I first got in touch with him regarding an ancestor I was researching who turned up out in Colorado.
I got some excellent information from Lonnie Dockery (email), and while I don’t think we share an
ancestor, his family’s past and ours coincided in Huerfano County, Colorado while researching John
McClure (1801-1881) I came across a small link that had his name attached to it as a contributor.
I have since discovered his family (Dockery, Erwin) and ours (McClure, Reece) traveled very similar
paths. We corresponded regularly and he for several years he continued to be my ‘boots on the
ground’ when I need something looked up locally. Lonnie was very helpful and even went to the
cemetery and took updated photos for me as well as taking side trips to some of the local
courthouses in the search for documents. I will always be very thankful for his assistance!
I was fortunate enough to meet him when my daughter and I visited looking for our past during the
summer of 2012. He climbed in the back of our rented Prius (because we had air conditioning!) and
graciously offered to show us around Blairsville and the surrounding area. I was deeply saddened
when I heard of his passing. Click here to read the tale of the Roads traveled.
I was not the only one who appreciated his friendship and genealogy help –
Lonnie helping me find an ancestor in Old Union Cemetery, July 2012.
Lonnie Dockery taught me a lot about the area where my people were from. It was difficult for me
to grasp where places were. So in addition to the little road trip he also shared things like this:
Towns and Union Counties border each other in Georgia and both border North Carolina
(Cherokee and Clay Counties). Hiawassee is the county seat of Towns and Blairsville is the county
seat of Union. The Pine Log Community is four or five miles from Brasstown (which is itself just a
community) was usually included in "Brasstown" on the census records.
They are so close and the communities so intertwined that you never know where you will
find the documents.
My [L.D.] great grandmother lived in Union County (GA) just at the foot of the mountain
where the Clay County (NC) line passed along the ridge. She is buried across the mountain, at
Pine Log Baptist, in Clay County--but just a few miles from Towns County (GA).
Caswell Reece is buried at Pine Log Baptist in Clay County--probably 300 yards from the
Union County line!
Interestingly, Pine Log and Gum Log and Ivy log communities all sit on the state line- with
Pine Log in NC and Gum Log and Ivy Log in GA. The people there have always seemed just as
comfortable going to one state as the other. They seem to be more of a community within
themselves than a part of either state. They might go grocery shopping in Blairsville (Union Co.
GA) and to the doctor in Murphy (Cherokee Co. NC) and when they go out to eat go to a
restaurant in Hayesville (Clay Co. NC).
We [L.D.] lived in Gum Log when I was born--but I was born in the hospital in Murphy. My
great grandmother lived in Pine Log forever--I honestly doubt she had ever been to Blairsville, but
I found her death certificate in the Georgia State Archives. She is buried at Pine Log Baptist
Cemetery in NC. Until recently the residents of Gum Log (GA) got their mail at "Route 1, Warne,
NC"--another community in Clay Co. North Carolina.
Lonnie also did a lot of on-the-ground searching for my gg grandmother, Texana’s, death
certificate for . He said:
…There is a road that crosses Brasstown Creek and runs along Pine Log Creek which goes
through Gum Log and eventually to Blairsville; the Union County line of which Blairsville is the
county seat is about 16 miles from Brasstown to Blairsville though Pine Log and then Gum Log –
both of which are just communities – not even a post office. He wonders if they didn’t come back
from Haywood County after 1910 and go back to where they were living in 1900. If so, that would
put them in Gum Log and “near Blairsville”.
In 1920 Cass Reece lived in Gum Log (in Union County Georgia); in fact, there were just two
houses between him and my (Lonnie’s) great grandfather, John Long. One of those families, right
next door to Cass, was Alfred Erwin, an uncle to my great grandmother. The other was my g
grandfather's youngest son, Gordon Long. I know almost exactly where they would have lived. It is
within a mile or so of the house I was born in--several years later of course.
I'm betting if we find any record of Texana's death it will be in Georgia. Living in Gum Log would
explain the comment about her dying "near Blairsville". Community of Gum Log, Towns County is
North of Blairsville by about 6 miles. It is actually closer to the border NC/GA and only about 1
mile as the crow flies. Pine Log Cemetery is 8 miles (by road) North.