A smile came to my face when I saw this picture. There are not too many photos of Clara Nell Pennington as a young girl, and even fewer of her in a dress! Yet, there she stands, front left, in this photograph of Sloan siblings.
Tootsie, as everyone calls her, is the daughter of Hugh and Dee Sloan Pennington and my great-aunt. She grew up in Peaceful Valley surrounded by her Sloan cousins, and it was at a recent Sloan family reunion that Lee Sloan shared this picture of his family. Pictured on the front row with Tootsie are her cousins Una (who this month, at the age of 90-something, shared some of her life experiences with students at IAHS) and Grace, along with Una and Grace's mother, Dora Ridings Sloan. On the back row is Troy Newton who married Johnnie Sloan, and sisters Dorothy and Afton, also daughters of Dora and John Gainey Sloan. Not pictured here are brothers Acqulis, Johnnie, and Shirley ("Squire") Sloan.
The Sloans were and are musically gifted. Tootsie has fond memories of hearing the Gainey Sloan family play music on their front porch. Someone would whistle a tune and after a short time listening, others would join in with their instruments. Tootsie could sit on her front door steps and hear their music from just down the road.
Gainey was Dee Sloan Pennington's brother, and the two siblings lived within shouting distance of each other in Peaceful Valley along with other siblings and their families: Luther, Zadie, and Cliff. Today, only Dee and Zadie's grandchildren live in the area and few signs remain of the many Sloan households that populated the little holler at the foot of Burdine Hill.