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Sunday, June 23, 2013

The home of WWI Medal of Honor recipient Sgt Alvin C. York.... and geocaching

The Sgt. Alvin C. York home
During our recent visit to the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee we had some free time to visit about. One of the places on my "must visit" list was the home of Tennessee's most famous WWI hero, Sgt. Alvin C. York. The home sits beside the main highway that runs north-south through Pall Mall, Tennessee. The home is now a museum. As you walk up to the side door you pass by a small monument commemorating his service in the Argonne Forest of France. The quick story is that this peaceful man had originally signed conscientious objection papers at the beginning of his service. Later he became the hero of the battle on 8 October 1918. The citation for the Medal of Honor reads,

The 82nd Infantry Division, later to sport the
Airborne patch above it
"After his platoon suffered heavy casualties and 3 other non commissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machine gun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns."

Because of his heroism the country and his state were proud and thankful of his service. He was rewarded with this nice home and the opportunity to become a celebrity. While Alvin York did go on some speaking tours he turned down the opportunity to become a wealthy man for the chance to serve his community of Pall Mall, Tennessee. He dedicated much of his life to improving education for rural children and operating a small Bible School in that community.

As we entered the side door to the museum I was eager for two things. First, I wanted to find the geocache. The cache page tells you to walk in and that someone will help you. When we walked in there was no one at the little desk. According to the page the regular
Along with friends we posed for this picture with Ranger
Andrew Jackson York, son of the WWI hero
size cache was there. I looked down and there sat an ammo can by the base of the desk. Just a few second later in came the park ranger. I asked if I might look in the ammo can. With a smile he encouraged me to log the geocache. I picked up Sgt. Alvin C. York // Hero // Statesman (GCV02Y), signed the log along with my new found geocaching friends, and replaced it and the cache where they were. As I looked more closely at the name tag on his jacket I noticed it said "York". It turns out that one of Sgt. York's younger sons, Andrew Jackson York, is a park ranger. We were told that today was his last day before retirement. Andy York accompanied us through the downstairs portion of the house. He would always refer to his father as "Daddy" when telling some little story from his childhood. The house is outfitted with most of the original furnishings and is set mostly in the 1940's. Across the street sits the general store that the family operate. It has a small
theatre with a great introductory video about the life of Alvin York.

York General Store
In and around Pall Mall there are many other geocaches worth visiting. One of my favorite stopping places along the same highway and further north was the Forbes General Store. We stopped in on a rainy day to enjoy the old store. It still serves the community. You can go back in the back and find the farmers and hunters sitting around the wood stove swapping stories, get the lady to fix you a breakfast sandwich to go, buy fudge and just walk around looking at all the old stuff inside. On the front porch you'll enjoy the chainsaw-carved wooden statutes of animals and people. Someone's a pretty good artist. Nearby you can grab cache The General Store (GC1CBZC). We had a great time and know that you will too if you cache in the Valley of the Three Forks around Pall Mall and further north towards the Kentucky line.
Forbes General Store



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