Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mandy Falls - Behind the Legends

It is said that Mandy Falls in Livingston County is named for Mandy (Amanda) Flannery, who lived in the area near the falls. Legends about Mandy Flannery are many. Some say she was a Native American woman who ran away from her home in East Tennessee before the Civil War and made her way to Pope County, Illlnois, where she met and married a Mr. Flannery. It is also said she knew the wonders of the woods and often sat alone communicating with nature near her home.

Were these legends true? Was there a real person named Mandy Flannery? A little searching resulted in some answers.

There is a marriage record for Harve Flannery and Amanda J. Harper recorded 9 December 1886 in Pope County, Illinois. The record states Amanda was the daughter of Thomas Harper and Eady Macke, both born in Cocke County, Tennessee. With that one record we have learned that Mandy did come from East Tennessee as Cocke County is located in the Smokey Mountains. We also know the names of her parents, which should be helpful in locating them on census records prior to Mandy's marriage.

The 1880 Cocke County, Tennessee census lists T.D.A. Harper, age 51, wife Hannor, age 44, and several children, including Amanda, age 15. This places her birth date as 1865, the year the Civil War ended. The 1870 Cocke County, Tennessee also lists the Harper family, but the wife of Thomas D. Harper, is shown as Docia, age 35. Two different wives or same wife, but called by different name? The 1850 and 1860 Cocke County census identify the wife of Thomas Harper as Theodocia. Did Thomas Harper have at least two wives?

Let's go back to Harve Flannery and Amanda Harper. Where did this couple live after their marriage? They weren't in Pope County, but the 1900 census for Livingston County shows them in the Carrsville area with children Carry J., Luretta, Lollie, William S. and Thomas H. Amanda's birth date is given as March 1863.

Harve and Mandy Flannery, with two more children, Herbert and Minta, appear on the 1910 and 1920 Livingston County. Nothing indicates she was Native American. In all census records, she is recorded as white.

Harvey Flannery died 30 September 1927 in Livingston County. Mandy lived with son, Herbert, in 1930 and died on 12 March 1939. Both she and Harve are buried at Loves Chapel, Livingston County, according to their death certificates, but no tombstones mark their graves. On Mandy's death certificate, her parents are listed as Thomas and Doshia Harper and her birthdate is given as 6 March 1863.

So, we learned that Mandy Harper Flannery was from East Tennessee and she did marry a Mr. Flannery in Pope County, Illinois. However, nothing was found to indicate she was Native American and she could not have run away from her home before the Civil War as she wasn't born until 1863. It makes one wonder how legends begin.

Copyright on text and photographs
Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog


villette1 said...

Love the digging around you do, Brenda!

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

Thanks. I love research.