The largest unmortared stone wall in the United States was created by Mr. Tom Hendrix as a memorial tribute to his great-great-grandmother.
The wall is located in northwestern Alabama, just off the Natchez Trace Parkway
The story that Mr. Hendrix will tell you (if you are lucky enough to meet him when you visit this incredible stone wall and rock garden memorial) is that his great-great-grandmother was a Native American. And that, as a young teenage girl in the late 1830's, she and her relatives were forced to re-locate to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
The young girl, Te-lah-nay, along with her sister and their grandfather, were members of the Yuchi tribe, who were removed from their homeland in northern Alabama as part of a mop-up operation following the Trail of Tears re-location of the Native American people from the Southeastern United States.
As the story goes, Te-lah-nay spent one winter in the Oklahoma territory and then, amazingly enough, walked back home by herself because of her longing for the surroundings of her original home, especially the Tennessee River—which her people called the “Singing River.”
She is the only Native American ever to have made this return journey!
In researching the history of his famous and determined relative, Mr. Hendrix learned that the Native Americans honored their ancestors with stone, and thus he decided a fitting tribute to her would be made in the form of a stone wall. “We all pass away—only the stones endure.”
Mr. Hendrix spent more than 30 years creating this rock wall memorial, laying one stone at a time in tribute to Te-lah-nay’s remarkable journey that was made one step at a time.
The wall contains more than 6½ million pounds of stone, and in the course of building it, Mr. Hendrix says he wore out “3 trucks, 27 wheelbarrows, 1,800 pairs of gloves, 2 dogs, and one old man!”
The wall contains rocks from every state in the United States, as well as rocks from 127 countries, territories, and islands—even including a rock from Mt. Everest.
One section of the wall is a memorial to her journey away from home, and another section is a tribute to his great-great-grandmother’s journey as she returned home.
Special places along the wall are dedicated to kind and compassionate people who sheltered her and helped her on her incredible journey.
One section of the wall is built as a prayer circle and another part is a music circle. The total length of the stone wall is more than a quarter of a mile!
Mr. Hendrix has also published a book about Te-lah-nay’s remarkable journey. More information about obtaining a copy of the book and about Mr. Tom Hendrix and his amazing stone wall can be found at: www.ifthelegendsfade.com