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Mike Gourley (#47400716)
 member for 4 years, 3 days
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Bio Photo Do you ever wonder why some folks are on this site? Is it ego, boredom, or a desire to be helpful? Some folks create memorials, some like taking pictures and some do both. For some folks it is all about genealogy. As for me, I started posting at the request of a member on a hiking site. You see, my thing is hiking. My area of particular interest is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A few years ago I became intrigued with cemeteries of the National Park. As you can tell from my profile picture I seek out old home places of those that once settled in what became the national park. I continue to venture into places long forgotten by most visitors to the park. Many of the cemeteries in the national park are lost or very rarely receive any attention. Some of those cemeteries I have created and posted pictures on findagrave. It saddened me to know that some of these hard working people would someday be forgotten and their memories just dust in the wind. Some of them already are. So I do the best I can to visit these places and share what I do know with others. I write blogs that I hope leave a blueprint for future generations. Someday the settlements of the smokies will be buried beneath the dirt and leaf litter. The chimneys fall and graves stones crumble. One day they will be nothing more than a memory. A friend of mine told me about a couple graves he found on a ridge above an old home place. If not for the Boxwoods that had been planted behind the stones one would not even think them to be burials. The headstones are now enclosed by the boxwoods. The two footstones indicate that these were adults. It is off trail and a hard hike to find them. I am not even sure the Park service knows they are there. I only know because of the blood and sweat of a friend who found them and knew I would be interested. I just did the hike myself and can attest to the blood and sweat as you fight the rhododendron and feel the bite of the briers to reach this place. So why am I on here? Because I do not want those mountain people to be forgotten. Much is left to speculation about these places. Everything is subject to revision. So if I have made any errors on this site be rest assured none were made in malice. My only reason for creating a memorial is because of my belief that no one should be forgotten. My hope has always been that someone would request a transfer of management. I want and desire them to be managed by family members. My life situation today is one in which I do not really have time for upkeep so please feel free to request transfer.
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Contributions to
Find A Grave
 • 1,164 Memorials Added
 • 1,072 Memorials Managed
 • 6 Memorials/Week
 • 4,549 Photos
 • 134 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 8 Virtual Flowers
 • 2 Friends
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Dave Art, Whaley
Messages left for Mike Gourley (167)[Leave Message]
Barbara Campbell
Birdtown cemetery
The 1940 directions are: follow Hwy 19 from Bryson city east to Ela, NC. turn left onto #107 go 3 miles to Echota Church at Bird-town, turn left at church go about 1 mile pass 2 houses 100 beyond the 2nd house a path leads to cemetery. Look for large white pine which stands in cemetery.
I know, 1940's directions. Thank you for your time.
Added by Barbara Campbell on Oct 02, 2014 5:55 PM
Barbara Campbell
Carver cemetery
Greetings, I was looking at WPA records and trying to determine if those memorials were already posted on Find A Grave. I ran across a Birdtown cemetery in which Ida, McKinney and Willie Gipson are buried.The directions also reference Echota church. Is this the same cemetery do you suppose?
Added by Barbara Campbell on Oct 02, 2014 3:02 PM
R & J Black & G Key
Thank you for the kind transfers. All your contributions are most appreciated.
Added by R & J Black & G Key on Sep 01, 2014 9:49 AM
R & J Black & G Key
Mike, thanks so much for the great Millsaps stone photos. Hope you are having a great summer.
Added by R & J Black & G Key on Aug 27, 2014 10:08 AM
Ken Johnson
Mr. Gourley, do you know if maybe a Mr. Daniel Albert Sizemore might be buried in the Sizemore cemetery in Greenbrier? Thanks
Added by Ken Johnson on Aug 26, 2014 2:49 AM
Violet Wiggins
Please add your blog picture of Violet Wiggins headstone taken at Wiggins Cemetery, Hammer Br of Deep Creek to memorial #76851468. Thank you.
Added by Marie on Aug 03, 2014 9:59 AM
Violet Wiggins
Added by Marie on Aug 03, 2014 9:54 AM
Noel Ross
Mac Cemetary
Hi Mike my name is Noel Ross. I have been a member for almost eight years. I have identical interests as you. I was thinking that you may be able to help me with something. I can't find the Mac cemetery and I can't get any info on it except it's approximate location. It is in a difficult location as it is on the North side of the Oconaluftee river. It is a dead zone on my GPS. I have forded the river three times but have had no luck finding the place. If you have any info or pictures I would appreciate anything you could share.
Thank You,

Noel Ross

My e-mail is
Added by Noel Ross on Jul 30, 2014 6:25 PM
RE: Nancy Hopkins-Ford Family Cemetery
Thanks so much, Mike!
Added by andringa on Jun 12, 2014 6:50 PM
Nancy Hopkins-Ford Family Cemetery
Mike -- May I use your photos for her gravestone in a private family tree I'm creating on Ancestry for a friend? Memorial # 15820910
Added by andringa on Jun 06, 2014 10:50 PM
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