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The Woman With Braids

 

I am from the oldest town in Tennessee. There are countless old stage roads and historical buildings that hold memories of days, people, and events long past. I have found many Native American artifacts--arrowheads and pottery on the family farm near a natural spring. My husband says there is a very heavy energy on the farm that I am from. I myself wouldn't call it heavy but I do acknowledge that there is a sort of power there. Since I was a little child I have always seen and felt things. I am more immune to those feelings now than I was when I was younger. For years as I child and into my teenage years I would have a recurring dream.

The dream takes place on a road that is over the hill from the farm. I am able to recognize the road even though it is not paved and the trees are younger in my dream. In my dream there is a caravan of people. Maybe they are homesteaders. They look like they are from the 1860s or somewhere around that time. There is a very pretty woman with long blonde braids. In my dream they are going down the old stage road talking and laughing with each other. There are multiple couples and children. I assume that they are immigrants because they are speaking another language--which language they are speaking I am not sure.

The dream cuts to screaming and chaos. I see bloody women and children and they are running for their lives. They are tearing through the woods, stumbling and falling. The branches and briars are ripping their long skirts. They are screaming, crying, pleading for their lives. Their eyes are wild, panicked. They run and they are being pursued by men dressed in dark clothing. Gunshots echo through the valley. Highway robbery? Are these homesteaders being persecuted for being immigrants and trying to make better lives for themselves? The dream ends with the people running for their lives. To this day the road is still desolate and I have always felt a tight feeling in my chest when I jog or drive down it.

I never told anyone about this dream.

One of my friends has a neighboring dairy farm. He and I are close in age and have always been friends. He works his tail off and he gets up at 4 am because he has so many cattle to feed and farm chores to attend to. He keeps a herd of cows on some property that is beside ours. One morning my friend called and asked if I would like to go feed the cattle with him, and that he had something that he wanted to ask me about.

He picked me up and we started making rounds and checking on the cows. He looked visibly shaken. He said, "You are not going to believe what happened to me this morning. I keep thinking that I am crazy." I assured him that whatever it was, he wasn't crazy. He is a smart guy with a Master's Degree.

He began to tell me what he experienced. He told me that earlier that morning it had been very misty outside when he went to feed one of his cow herds on the property bordering mine around 4 am. He was calling the cows and shaking the grain bucket and the cows were running up to him. All of a sudden he said he had a strong feeling that he was being watched. He looked around him but he saw no one. He was trying to calm himself down when he saw a woman running/walking very briskly toward him. He said he was perplexed as he watched her come closer. She was wearing a long dress and she was clutching her shawl. She and had long, blonde braids. He said she was beautiful. He called out to her, "Hey are you OK?" He said she didn't acknowledge him and that she just kept going and eventually passed right by him without stopping. He tried to follow her but he said that she slowly faded away.

It was after he told me this that I told him about my dream. He was understandably floored. He and I have done a lot of research since my dream and his experience but we can find no documentation of any violence or massacre of that scale nearby. Sadly at that time it probably wouldn't have been too hard for the locals to make the evidence disappear. The victims were probably immigrants so their disappearance might not have been missed.

Since my friend saw the pretty lady, he has been too scared to venture into that field so early in the morning. He now waits until later in the morning when the sun has fully risen in the sky before he goes there to feed.

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SirenBelva (7 stories) (64 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-29)
Elfstone,

Yes I think the Natchez Trace is closer to Nashville (about 4 hours west of me). I am only about an 8 minute drive away from Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough, which would have been the only town for miles. The Wilderness Road is very nearby and they could have easily been on some offshoot of it. I found an interesting timeline about the area here http://historicjonesborough.com/history/historic-chronology-jonesborough-tn.php

In the dream the people are certainly headed west, away from Jonesborough (even though they are less than 5 miles outside of it). The road is an old, old stage road that eventually passes many historic buildings. I'm guessing that they would have passed through Jonesborough to resupply. I would love to be able to find out more. I would have no idea how to narrow down where they originated from, though.
elfstone810 (227 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-28)
My geography isn't the best, but I think the Trace is on the other side of the state from you. It kind of looks like a loop of the Wilderness Road might have run through your neck of the woods though. From what I've been reading, the Wilderness Road was blazed by Daniel Boone along a path first beaten down by migrating animals, then heavily used by Native American tribes. It was connected to a web of smaller paths that followed Native trails, so, depending on their point of origin and destination, travellers could have taken any number of routes.

I also read that it was common for entire church groups to relocate together, and that the way was so dangerous, between Natives, bandits, and wild animals, that thousands of pioneers died en route.

I was thinking (sorry this is so long!) that, if you assume they meant to take the Wilderness Road, or had come off the road (depending on which way they were headed) and you plot them on a map relative to the road, it might be possible to figure out roughly where they came from or where they were headed.

If it looks like they were aiming for the Wilderness Road, you could check in the direction they came from for towns with a large immigrant population. Then you could see if any of the old churches have a record of a pioneer group that never reached their destination.

If it looks like they were coming off the road, you could check for immigrant settlements and look through land purchase records for multiple plots purchased by a church, in case the church bought the land ahead of time. Then, again, check church records.

Sorry! I know this would be a lot of work, with slim chances of a payoff at best. It's just the only avenue of research I can think of right now to try to find out the truth behind this truly fascinating story you've brought us.
SirenBelva (7 stories) (64 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-28)
Elfstone, the county is Washington, Tennessee and the town is Jonesborough. They had oxen, horses, and covered wagons. If I had to guess, they were speaking German (or one of Arwen's suggestions since I am by no means a linguist) though I cannot remember any distinct words they said. Arwen, I think that is a very valid theory. It could have very well been set up to look like an Indian raid if that is what happened. I know this area was full of a lot of highwaymen at that time (so I've heard) who came west to escape prosecution and make a fortune. Swimsinfire, I have often heard that Appalachia resembles Germany and that is also a very reasonable theory. Elfstone, I am looking up the Natchez Trace route and I will get back to you! Thanks everyone.
elfstone810 (227 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-27)
Do you live anywhere near the old route of the Natchez Trace? I wanted to ask before, but I didn't remember exactly where it ran and I didn't want to sound like an idiot if it happened to not run through Tennessee. So, anyway, the article I found said that after it stopped being important as a national route, a lot of the sections in Tennessee wound up as rural roads.

The Trace was notorious for the outlaws that travelled along it, preying on innocent people like the immigrants in your dream. A lot of the bandits were eventually caught and told their stories (confessed? Bragged?) before being hanged. I was thinking, if what you dreamed happened on the Trace, it might not be in local history accounts because maybe no one knew exactly where it happened. But maybe there's a record somewhere of a group of immigrants being attacked along the Trace. Maybe?
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-27)
This is just on a limb, but I have dreams like that a lot and this worked for me. If the dream reacures and it's a lucid dream, try just asking the moment, like the dream is a person, what everybody is saying. Just politely tell them you need to here it in English.
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-27)
I'm thinking of the German settlements in Tennessee. A friend of mine is a history buff, and he said something about a group of German immagrants that were given land in Tennessee as payment for work. They liked it because it was like the mountains they came from in Germany, so they invited poor relatives to come. This might have created conflict in the area. I'm in Tennessee, I think I know where you mean. Good story.
Arwen1957 (7 stories) (46 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-27)
My first thought was a group of "bad people" living in the area wanted to get rid of the people in your dream. Maybe they wanted the land or the people had seen something they should not have. It was set up to look like an Indian raid but those involved were not native Americans From your description of the girl I am thinking that the language could be Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Russian, or Norwegian
elfstone810 (227 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-10-27)
This story is absolutely fascinating! I can relate to the dream thing. I used to dream about going to a party in a little town south of my house, along the little dirt road I live on. Years later I found out that there used to be a town there. By the time we moved here in 1970, nothing was left but overgrown foundations hidden back among the trees.

I'm trying to think of ways you still might find out about the girl in braids. Can you remember any more details about the dream? About their clothing? Were the wagons being pulled by horses or some other animals? You said they were speaking another language -- did you catch any words?

Do you mind if I ask what county you live in?

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