Memories & Stories of Norris Basin & its People



Source:  Lincoln Star, Lincoln, Nebraska , September 23, 1934
contributed by Angela Meadows

Five Pioneering Sharp Brothers to Visit Former Tennessee Home
by Art Wolf

Five brothers, whose average age is 78, left Lincoln Wednesday mornng on a drive to their ancestral home in Union county, Tenn., where they have not been for 70 years. They expected to arrive at the home place on September 22, 1934. just 70 years to the day from the time they pulled away from it in a covered wagon.   Driving in two cars with three drivers- relatives of the quintet, the Nebraska pioneers are going back to see the place once more before it is submerged by water from the Norris dam project.   Pay Visit At Capitol.   They are William R. Sharp. 84. of Liberty; Nicholas Sharp. 82. of Lincoln: L. B. Sharp, 78, of Liberty; N. C. Sharp, 74. of Soldier, Kas., and G. L. Sharp, 72, of Omaha.  

Just before leaving Lincoln they all gathered in the office of Frank Bowers in the state superintendent's office at the capitol where a reporter found them.  All of them were eager to get on the way, to travel the ground over which they fought so bitterly 70 years ago. It was September 22, 1864, that Jonathan Sharp and his wife Elvira packed their worldly goods and eight children into a covered wagon and pulled out for Covington, Ky., by way of the Cumberland Gap. by way of the Cumberland Gap. For some 10 days the party wended its way to Covington, 150 miles away. During the journey, the older boys remember, they spent one night on top of Wild Cat mountain, where a battle of the Civil War, then going on, had just been fought.  They remember that there were still bodies of dead soldiers lying on the field. At Covington, they took a train to Springfield, O. and on to Taylorsville, Ill.  At Taylorsville, near what is now Sharpsburg, they spent the winter with relatives. They had planned to go on west but soldiers of the opposing armies had torn up the railroads through Illinois and Missouri and travel was almost an impossibility.   On St. Valentine's day. 1865. the party of 10 left Taylorsville by train for St. Joseph. Mo., the jumping off place for the west. At St. Joe they bought an ox team and a horse team and one wagon and started overland for Axtell, Kas.  

Recall Bitter Trip. 

William Sharp and Nicholas Sharp, the oldest of the brothers, remember that it was a bitter, hard trip. The distance was only a little more than 90 miles but it took 18 days through frigid winds and blowing snow storms. Father and mother and the oldest children were forced to walk along in the snow beside the wagon.   At Axtell, they stayed with relatives for a week, then drove on to Liberty, Neb, where they settled on April 1, 1865, a few days before the end of the Civil war. There they located on the Jonathan Sharp homestead, west of Liberty, where he still lives.   N.C. Sharp later bought a part of the Otoe Indian reservation, where he lived for many years. 

During the early years life was difficult but it is a peculiarity of the brothers that they cannot remember the bad times, only the good.  They traveled to Table Rock or Beatrice to the mill.  Beatrice had only one store owned by a man named Hazen.  

Raised Cotton and Sheep 

The Sharps raised cotton and sheep, carded and spun the wool and cotton and the women folks made all of the clothes.  Nicholas Sharp recalled that he was married in a suit made by his mother. During their second year they built a log school house and were forced to include an area 12 miles long and 2 1/2 miles wide to get 10 pupils necessary to make a district. They had little or no trouble with the Otoes who were peaceable.

George Sharp, who lives in Omaha, is the family historian and in his pocket he had records of the entire family. He said the three sisters who accompanied the party from Tennessee to Nebraska were Martha, the oldest, now Mrs. Martha Jimmerson, 87. of Liberty; Susan, who is dead: and Mrs. Sarah Ellison. 76. of Liberty. Mrs. Jimmerson is the head of a family of five living generations the fifth of which is a little girl about 5 years old.   Three more sislers were born to the Sharps in Nebraska. They are Nancy C., 67: Margaret P.,  65; and Mary Mellssa,  "Lissy", 63, all of Liberty.  

244 Direct Descendants. 

We're quite a tribe, we Sharps, George said. "You mav be interested to know that there are 244 direct living blood descendants of Jonathan and Elvira Sharp.  That number includes marriages into the family but no in-laws.  There was a total of 285 but 42 have died.   We have a family reunion on the fourth Sunday of every August in the opera house at Liberty.  Ben Garrison is president of the Sharp's this year.  He is Will's son-in-law and lives at Liberty.  Paul Rice, of Beatrice, Ella's son, is Secretary-Treasurer.  

Driving cars for the brothers are Kirk Sharp, Nicholas' son, Lou Sharp, George's son, and Clyde Ellison, Sarah's son. They expect to return in two or three weeks.

If you have any stories, articles, or ancedotes to post about the region, the impact of TVA on your family, or the families that lived in this area please email them to the address posted below.  Thanks much!


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