It started out innocently enough when a then 5-year-old John Wesley Breedlove asked his father, David, about John W. Breedlove Drive in Gratis and was it okay to pose in front of the road sign as proof of the road he believed to be named for him.
More than 16 years later, not only do David and John Wesley know which John W. Breedlove carried the name of the street but have steadily been restoring the tombstones of two family cemeteries off Ike Stone Road including the patriarch and matriarch —Richard Foster and Sarah Breedlove. That initial question has become a labor of love and dedication to one of Walton County’s first settlers.
Relying on the 1965 family history by Hope Perry Breedlove and the magic of the internet, Wesley corralled his mother, Christy, into retyping the opus last summer and picking up where Hope Perry finished.
But the facts are not enough.
“I work at the UPS Store in Monroe. Sometimes when people come into the store, I see their name as a course of business and find they are related to me. I had no idea how many relatives still live in Monroe and we have no connection to them except a name,” Wesley recalls. “I want to change that. It’s interesting to look at the dates and names but I want to know the stories behind the people. There are Breedloves in different counties and even states.”
“We’re just beginning to unravel the history. I like to picture history as a tapestry. Everyone is a piece of thread and when we come together, it makes a full picture.”
To that end, they created a database and entered every Breedlove beginning with the first immigrant in Virginia to up through today’s families. There are more than 2,300 entries and when printed out, was over 16 feet long. They also are reaching out through the country via a dedicated Facebook page and email to gather stories, anecdotes and pictures for inclusion in the newly updated family history.
David and Wesley have been traversing all over the state taking pictures of tombstones and old family houses. An offshoot of this has dovetailed into restoring old grave monuments of many veterans and updating the website “Find- A-Grave.” But meeting distant living family members has been the highlight of this quest.
David Breedlove, who is on the Walton County Board of Education, knew that remembering the past and one’s roots ensure that future descendants appreciate the struggle and the history of from where they came.
“My children are the seventh generation of Breedloves that call Walton County home. It is the only place they know. They both went to Walker Park, Carver and ultimately graduated from Monroe Area. With my son interacting with members of the community and my daughter, Regan, being a first responder, both have jobs serving the public. It is important for them to continue to improve their home and call to service. I think Richard Foster and Sarah Breed love would be proud.”
If family members or members of the community want to participate in the quest, please email the firstname.lastname@example.org or visit, the Facebook page at @TheBreedloveFamilies.