Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 12, 2013

Frost one of the most beloved women on the Plateau

By Old Uncle Gib
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — While rambling through the county last week, I passed by the Frost Cemetery and thought about the pioneers who are buried there. It was almost 40 years ago that I first visited this cemetery. What a mess it was. It was almost impossible to enter more than a few feet into the cemetery due to the growth of briers. A path had been kept cleared to just a few graves, those being mainly the Bandy family. When speaking with friends about this, it was ascertained that Mr. Bandy who had been keeping the entire cemetery clean had gotten too feeble to be able to keep it up, and he had been unable to get help.

Knowing of his ability to get people motivated, Mr. Lindell Agee was contacted and he got a group together who took on the daunting task of cleaning the cemetery off. Though it never got back to the deplorable state of 40 years ago, in a few years it was getting overgrown again.

At that point, Mrs. Vancieneta Wisdom was contacted, taken to the cemetery, and asked if she could get the City of Crossville to take over the upkeep of the cemetery due to its location in the city and its historic value to the community. She is friend of over 35 years, so I can say that it is easier to do whatever she wants than it is to ignore her. Thankfully the city assumed the upkeep of this cemetery, located on Sparta Drive. In the next few columns we will look at some of the people buried in this cemetery.

Emelia Lonsome Patterson Frost, born May 29, 1801, died Sept. 14, 1876, and was the wife of Elijah Frost Sr. The family came to this area from Virginia about 1815. The Chronicle reported in 1931, she was one of the most beloved women of the Plateau. She was a midwife. A great rider and horsewoman, she would ride 25 or 30 miles when called to deliver a baby. She rode side-saddle and took two horses. She rode “Old Jim,” and took a sorrel along. Reportedly Jim could swim like a duck, so Emelia would put her feet between the saddle horns and ride across swollen streams to arrive on the other side dry. An 1899, article says, “When 80 years old she could rise at midnight and ride over the country as readily as she could fifty years before. This is a striking instance of health and longevity on the Plateau.”

Not only did Emelia deliver many of the babies born in the county prior to 1900, but she also had 24 children of her own. She was said to have brought more children into the world than any woman in Tennessee. Sixteen of the children lived to have their own families. The family tree lists 17 of the 24 children as follows: Micajah, Elijah, William, Thomas, Matthew, Nancy Ann, Joseph, Elizabeth, Sevier, Rhoda, Mary, White, Snow, Winter, Young, Sarah, Hiram. There's more to come on this family.