Caudill Reunion was started in 2002 and was originally intended to be a forum serving to ‘Reunite’ Caudill’s from all branches of the family. It was also intended to be a ‘Repository’ for the abundant information related to our rich heritage.
My name is Lenny Famon Caudill, II. I am the son of Leonard Frank Caudill Jr., grandson of Linnie Famon Caudill, and great grandson of Alford Martin Caudill (Caudill Cabin). I’m also the webmaster.
I’ve been studying the Caudill family history since September 12, 1993. I remember this date quite well because my daughter Nicole was not quite three weeks old and we attended our family reunion in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Since I was in Carolina, my brothers Phill and Larry asked if I’d like to hike to the Caudill Cabin since I’d never done so. I hiked into Basin Cove for the first time on September 11, 1993 — I still have the home video we made that day. Watching Phill swing from the vines on the trail is emblazoned in my mind forever.
As we hiked that fall day, I understood immediately, and intuitively, that my life was changing before my very eyes with every step I took — with each creek crossing. Basin Creek fell in love with me, and I with her. My soul is at peace in Basin Cove.
We walked that day long as Phill, Larry, and our uncle Chester spun wild and very tall tales about my great-great-grandfather, Harrison Caudill. You must understand from the outset that the males in my family, especially my brothers, are prone to ‘pull-your-leg’ as it were from time-to-time. Being a Caudill male myself, there’s no way humanly possible they’re catching me — I’m not buying a word of it.
We made it to the Caudill Cabin some several hours later. We passed ‘lunch rock’ which is a small waterfall and rock outcropping; we sat in ‘Jacuzzi Rock’ which is a natural trough water flume leading to a magnificent waterfall; we looked at the millstone in the creek; we saw several old chimneys which according to them, were all family at one time or the other.
So if you are gullible enough to believe my brethren, then you must honestly believe that Harrison married twin sisters, marrying the wrong one at first, promising to return someday to marry the other. Perhaps you find it reasonable to think that between the two sister wives he fathered twenty-two children? To make their tale simpler to remember I suppose, they said he had eleven boys and eleven girls, eleven of which were redheads. If you’re going to spin a tale, at least make it believable!
Then there’s that whole thing about the flood. Supposedly, there was a ‘Great Flood’ in 1916 that all but devastated the cove. As the story goes, my grandfather’s first wife, Alice Adams Caudill, her mother Wady Adams, and his younger brother Cornelius Caudill were ‘washed away’ as they stayed in his cabin while he was working in Virginia.
Well … that’s how this all started, now twenty plus years ago: that’s how I became inextricably immersed in my family’s history. As soon as I returned to civilization, I immediately went to see my grandfather’s oldest child, my father’s older sister, my Aunt Ruth. It was ‘Reunion’ after all, and unlike my brothers, she’ll certainly give me facts!
Little did I know when you answer one question about your family history, two new questions arise. Through the process of investigation and discovery, you end up with more questions than you do answers: my curiosity had begun to feed upon itself.
As it turns out, Harrison did marry the Tilley sisters! He first married Mary Tilley in about 1860 and they had six children prior to her death in 1871. Shadrick Franklin Caudill was born at this time and I’ve always just assumed her death was related to child birth. Presumably, Sarah Tilley, Mary’s younger sister, came to live with the widower when this event left Harrison alone with six small children, including an infant. Sarah and Mary were born fourteen years apart so the whole ‘twin story’ went out the window. I suspect Sarah got attached to Harrison and the kids and just never left, eventually marrying Harrison. Did Harrison tease the young child Sarah back in 1860 that he’d marry her later as he was wedding her older sister? See, all the Caudill men are fabricators of tales … it’s genetic I tell you!
As I dug deeper, I learned that John Calvin Caudill, Harrison’s older brother, also married one of the Tilley sisters (we’re up to three for those keeping count). On September 19, 1860, John married Susan Tilley. Since John and Harrison both married Tilley girls in 1860, did they wed on the same day? One answer — two new questions — so the pattern goes.
Much to my amazement, almost every story they told me proved to be true (at some level). I should know, I’ve researched and documented almost every piece of every story. I even added a few of my own!
Enjoy the site ~ it was built with long hours, private funds … and a passion for chronicling our heritage.