Columbia, Tennessee!

almedia_phillips001

Next week I leave my home in Columbia Heights here in Washington and drive to Columbia, Tennessee. I’m totally psyched!

While I wish I were going there for Mule Day, I just feel in my bones that this Tennessee city will do a good job of blending the spirit of Columbia and Christmas cheer.

Columbia, a city of almost 35,000 people situated on the Duck River, is the seat of Maury County. The Polk home in Columbia is the only extant residence of President James Polk, and is now a museum.

My ancestor, Russell McCord Williamson, settled there, and was friendly with the Polks. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is also headquartered there in an antebellum mansion. I claim descent from J.W. Phillips, a surgeon in the Confederate Army. You can find something about both these men here (Grace Estes, noted in the article, is my great-grandmother).

I hope to be photographing at both of these Columbia landmarks next week. I am also contacting organizations that I find on the Google Map, making contacts and finding people and places to photograph for this portrait of America By Another Name. Alas, my Couchsurfing shout-outs have garnered no responses.

I like looking at the Google Map of Columbia—its borders extend out along road routes and encompass new neighborhoods and a piece of the interstate. I hope I may discuss with someone there how all these extensions became incorporated.

Please wish me luck on this journey!

Here is a photo of my great-great-great-grandmother, and Russell McCord Williamson’s daughter, Almedia Phillips, widow of the Confederate surgeon. She was born in what is now Columbia. Withs this image having been taken in Hanford, and with snaps of Grace Estes visiting there, too, would lead me to conclude that cousin Jessie Bowman, mother of the child here, lived in this California town. Almedia died in Memphis in 1908.

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