Pages 6 - 10




                   (Note: There is no page 6.)                                                                                                                        7

When I decided to check into my “roots,” I intended to simply to write down a few names and dates to record in our family Bible for my children. I learned that getting that information was more involved than I had expected, and that it was not easy to find a stopping place. Furthermore, I found that I wanted to know more than just names and dates about all these people I am “related” to.

I also began to realize that we are truly a part of every generation that has preceded us, so in order to know ourselves completely, we must know “from where we came.”

I found myself asking Mammaw at least one thousand questions, and delighting in some of her answers. I found myself visiting many old cemeteries looking for graves of relatives, spending hours and hours in libraries, touring through old records in courthouses, visiting other relatives, and writing literally hundreds of letters.

One day, I realized that I had collected so much information that others might be interested also in learning about our family. I also realized that it would be wrong of me to NOT share what I had, and that I had an obligation to preserve this materical so that future generations could have access to it. I soon realized that the only practical way to do this would be in the form of a book.

It was indeed time consuming to try to get information about relatives that are no longer around to tell about themselves, and at times, it seemed an overwhelming task, first because of its magnitude, and then because of the almost incomprehensibility when you consider the time span covered. It is almost breathtaking when I think, “My great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Pierre (Peter) Chastain who arrived in Virginia from France in 1700” or “Rachel and John Folsom who came from England to America in 1638 (over 300 years ago) were my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents.” I wonder if they ever even dreamed that a great granddaughter would even know their names.



All in all, I probably spent close to two thousand hours doing things related to the making of this book.  Much of the time was unrewarding, laborious, tedious, frustrating and discouraging.  On the other hand, there were also many experiences that made it worthwhile, truly an unforgettable time of my life.

 SO, here it is, a history of the families of Mary Effie Harrell and Luther Cleveland Chastain.

I made it as comprehensive as I could within the limits of time and resources available to me.  The information within is as accurate as possible.  At times, valid sources revealed conflicting data, and in those instances, approximations are give, or the information that seemed to be the most reasonable.

This was written in hopes that our immediate living family will learn about who we are and where we came from.  As we all learn about our forefathers and foremothers, it is inevitable that we will also develop pride in our heritage.  It is also written so that future generations of our descendents will have a source of information about us that they will cherish. 

“People will not look forward to posterity who never looked backward at their ancestors.” ~Edmund Burke, 1790

“When a society of civilization perishes, one condition can always be found.  They forgot where they came from.” ~Carl Sandburg

Let us not forget.







There were many people that participated in the making of this book.  To all, I am sincerely grateful.  In the “Sources” section, there are names of those, people other than immediate family members, who were kind enough to supply me with information.


There were a few close relatives that gave more help than was absolutely necessary.  To them, I owe special recognition and appreciation.


First, there is Mammaw, Mary Effie Harrell Chastain.  Without her, none of this would have been possible.  She was my primary source of information, truly a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the family.  She was also my helper, my encouragement, my friend, and part of my reason for it.  She gave me many hours of her time and help.  Many, many.


Next, there is my husband, Ronnie Beal.  He was primary financier, willing babysitter, eater-of-cold meals, and loving tolerator of my inconveniences that were visited upon him because of my constant involvement in this project.


Another special helper was my son, Ron Beal.  He often went with me to cemeteries, libraries, courthouses, and relatives.  On these trips, he would help by doing such things as: running to the far out graves to read the names (so his mother would not have to walk so far if it was not a relatives’), carrying materials or opening doors for a mother who was overloaded with books, mashing buttons, etc.


I made a point of telling Ron about his ancestors every time I learned something new.  Many of the stories I repeated more than once at his request, as he enjoyed them so much.  Then one day, after another new ancestor story, Ron spoke up.  “Mommy, why do you keep telling me about our ancestors?  Why don’t you sometimes tell me about our ANBROTHERS?”  Dear little Ron had apparently thought I was guilty of sex discrimination, as it seemed to him I was only telling him about the girls and women (anSISTERS) of the family, and completely neglecting all the boys and men (anBROTHERS).




There is one person who helped in the actual research. It is Gwen McQuigg, who had access to census records I did not have available, and to people who had information. Gwen willingly offered her help, and enthusiastically searched census records, called people, and went directly to people when necessary to get information. I do so appreciate her time and work.

Teresa Chastain, my sister, was also helpful. She checked courthouse records for me and gave up a good bit of her time to babysit while I sought out information. She also proofread the complete manuscript and retyped pages.

Others that helped over and beyond what was required were Pat and Pixie Chastain, Billy and Beth Chastain, Eileen Dupree, Pat Chastain, Sr, and also Sylvia Clark Ingram.

I appreciate all the information given to me by descendents of my grandparents, that is, my uncles, aunts, and cousins about themselves and their families.

To all, thank you so much.

Karyl Beal

Abbreviations used in this book:

(MG) = Marked Grave
(UMG) = Unmarked Grave
Bur. = Buried
D. = Died
c = circa or approximately
m. = married
m1. = married, first spouse
m2. = married, second spouse
m3. = married, third spouse