Tennessee Traveling: DAY NINE

Last Night in Tennessee

Stills Grocery

I woke up early and finished packing before I headed out early to meet Hayley for a final goodbye and to deliver all the leftover food we had while staying at the hotel.  We avoided eating out as much as possible and kept some food in the hotel room.  I met Hayley at the Bean Barn for coffee and a hot chocolate.

Before our trip, before coming to Greeneville.  I got on Facebook to check out what the locals thought I should see.  Someone said I should visit the Stills Grocery Store.  Now, where I grew up, I was the only Stills, I never saw my surname anywhere outside my family, I was constantly asked if I was related to Stephen Stills. So I started research his family tree.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a Stills connection.  So seeing the name Stills elsewhere was interesting to me.  But, each time I drove through Greeneville and the surrounding area, I kept my eye out for the Stills Grocery. Unfortunately, I was never able to find it.

Old TN License Plate
Crooked TN License plate. Uncle Ross tells a story that the Crooked Tennessee License Plate is a result of the Tennessee landscape. With all the mountains in East Tennessee, when they went to make the plates, the machine rested on a hill side and as a result, all the plates came out crooked. Here is the proof.

As Hayley and I were leaving the Bean Barn, she introduced me to the waitress behind the counter who was another Stills, through her mother.  The owner over heard us talking and asked if I was a Stills. Upon replying yes, he said, “This place used to be owned by a Harold Clifford Stills (he is a descendent of William Henry Stills); this place used to be called Stills Grocery.”  Well, we spent another 20 minutes talking about that story.

Cracker Barrel

Next,  I headed back to have breakfast with my Uncle Ross and Aunt Maggie for the last time and another final farewell.  It was wonderful spending time with them and getting to know them so much better.  I will be visiting them in Florida sooner than later, I am sure and I hope to make it back to Tennessee again as well. (Uncle Ross just called, they are safely home in Florida after a 9 hour drive.)

On the drive back to Nashville, we must have passed 10 Cracker Barrels in 4 hours, some as little as three miles apart. Wow, I just went to their site and discovered that not only can you find the locations, as you might expect, you can enter your route and see where they are along the way.  And I was correct!  There are exactly 10.

Dinner with a Friend

I used to be a law enforcement Explorer Scout with the LAPD.  One of my good friends, Vince Lowder was an Explorer as well.  His brother Brett lives in Nashville and he invited me to get together.  We met him and his wife at Sals the same restaurant we ate in on Halloween night when we first arrived in Nashville.  We spent three hours together telling stories.  It is good to hear how well all the Lowders are doing as well as Rick Branam and his wife.  Rick was another Explorer as well.

Mike Stills and Brett Lowder at Sals
Mike Stills and Brett Lowder at Sals

It was a great trip.  I still have lots of research left to do in Greeneville, TN and someday I will have to return.  But I reconnected with close family, met a whole lot of cousins distant and near, obtained new photos and new stories and have a whole new appreciation for my roots and the good folks I met in Greeneville, TN.

Tired Tennessee Traveler

With the trip over, I will not be posting as often, but as I review the materials I gathered while there, I will post the info for all the new Stills and friends reading so we can share and learn more about our common family history.

Remember: There are more Stills in Greeneville than anywhere else in the United States.

Megan is now safely home as well.

And I am going home tomorrow.

Good Night!



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