Slow Tire Leak Leads to Discovery of Ousley Cemetery

Handmade Lamb HeadstonesJim said I had a flat tire.  The PSI was down to 17.  He was able to use a bicycle pump to get it back to normal but within days it went from 31 down to 29 PSI.  Time to get my slow tire leak fixed.

I did a Google search for “tire repair maynardville” and most of the Google Places listings were either out-of-business or had old / incorrect information.  I ended up calling a muffler place and they recommended Heiskell’s Auto Repair near Hardee’s on Rt-33.  They said to ask for James or Jason.  I called and talked with James and he said they could do it.

The place was a little hard to find.  He said it was “behind Hardees” near the 2nd traffic light.  I ended up turning at the light and then turning again on a little country road (now called John Deere Rd. but was originally Old State Hwy 33) that ran behind Hardee’s, parallel to State Hwy 33.  There was a tourist sign that said that this was the “original Thunder Road”.   Who knew?   But no tire repair shop.   On the phone, he said It used to be a BP station, so I started looking for that. I circled around and found it on Rt-33.  It did not have a sign on the street. I have since learned that he went independent and covered the BP sign up.  Now the only sign is over the door.

Heiskell’s Auto Repair – Gasoline
2835 Maynardville Highway
Maynardville, TN  37807

When we got there, I went inside and was struck by the dichotemy of tires and auto supplies alongside a bushel of sweet potatoes and a watermelon.  I was intrigued.

James Heiskell, the owner, immediately started fixing my tire, first spraying a soapy water mixture on it to find the slow leak.  He then proceeded to plug it.  As he was working he started sharing how he started his business 35 some years ago.  I love to talk with people about their history and I knew I was in for a treat.  I had so many questions.

We talked about so many things.  He sells 100% gas — not many stations do.  He personally likes to navigate by landmarks (hence the “behind the Hardees at the 2nd traffic light”).  He’s 68.

But what I remember most clearly was that James mentioned that his family used to have a business making cemetery headstones back in the little wooden structure on the old road behind his business and he helped carve the lambs on the headstones out of marble.  He said they used to take a pencil to draw out the lettering before they started carving it out and they used a lead chisel (hammer?)  — darn, I wish I had taken notes.

I’ve always been drawn to headstones with sweet little lambs on them.  You see them in many old cemeteries – usually for children’s graves.  I couldn’t wait to see them myself.

Ousley Cemetery SignOriginal Wood Structure of Heiskell Monument BusinessClose Up of Front Door to Heiskell Monument BusinessLamb HeadstoneHeiskell Family HeadstonesBas Relief of Lamb Headstone CarvingClose Up of Bas Relief of Lamb Headstone CarvingOusley Cemetery Maynardville TNUnusual Double Heart Fieldstone HeadstoneMiner Statue Near HeadstoneThe cemetery is called “Ousley Cemetery”  (location), established about 1790.  We did indeed see a number of headstones with lamb carvings.  Naturally, there were a number of Heiskell gravestones as well.

I am not really into geneology, so I don’t know all the websites out there that are available for research.  I was surprised to see that there was a website where you can research a grave by the deceased person’s name or by the cemetery name.  It appears that locals are helping to maintain it.  Lots of opportunity for someone out there to make their mark locally in this area.

P.S. My tire is doing fine.  So I do recommend James.

Life is an Adventure.