Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Civilian Conservation Corps Program

Kay Rippelmeyer will present a program on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Indiana, 1933-1942 in the Browning Gallery of Willard Library on Saturday, 26 August 2017,  from 9:30 to 11:30 am. 

The Great Depression left many families in need of assistance. One of several government-sponsored programs designed to provide a means of support was the CCC. Originally intended for unmarried, unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 25,  the men lived in camps and built roads, national and state parks.  Ms. Rippelmeyer will explain the organization, work projects, sports and educational missions. She has also prepared a list of camps in Kentucky and Indiana to share in addition to other research sources.

I am especially interested in this program as my father enrolled in the CCC shortly after finishing high school, as did many other young men of this area. 

Reservations, while not required are suggested, can be made  Here 

Published 16 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Little Gussie Keene Weeb (Webb)

Gussie Keene
Dau. of
D.S. & Minnie Weeb (Webb)
Born Feb. 26, 1905
Died Apr. 18, 1905
In heaven there is one [illegible]

Who was Gussie Keene Weeb?  Her life was short, being only two months old when she died.  Under what circumstances did she die and why was she buried in Smithland Cemetery?

Were Gussie's parents, D.S. and Minnie Weeb, just passing through the area when she died and, thus, was buried in the nearest cemetery? Whatever the situation, they cared enough to mark her grave with an unusual tombstone.

No D.S. Weeb was found on the 1900 or 1910 census in Livingston County or any neighboring county. No information was found on her parents or any member of the Weeb family.

Update: Reader Janet Hawkins has solved this little mystery of the identity of this family. Janet found that the last name should be Webb instead of Weeb and they were, indeed, a Livingston County family. See Janet's comments below.  Thanks, Janet!

Published 15 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Letter from California 1855

When a person under the age of 21  years planned to marry, it was necessary for a parent or guardian to give consent for the license to be issued. Most of these consent notes are brief and to the point, but occasionally a consent note surpasses  "ordinary" and gives us a glimpse into the personality of the writer.  An example of this is the letter below.   On the 3rd of September 1855, Willis L.  Hobby, who was temporarily in Grass Valley, California, wrote his son, William M. Hobby of Caldwell County, Kentucky about William's intended marriage. 

"Grass Valley California   September the 3 - 1855   William M. Hobby:
Dear Sun I have Jest recived your compliments and vary unexpectedley had I thought of being addrest on A Subject of Such magnitude as yours and having but few moments to reflect I shall bee at great loss for the form of my letter however I feel willing to gratify you as fare as I can consistent with my feelings and intrest.  William you have complied with your duty as an obedient Sun to me being your Father, and I feel willing as a Father to comply with my duty to the child.  William in the first place I feel it my duty to ask you some important questions.  The first question I ask have you give your Self time for [illegible] and Sober reflection in regard to this matter; also have you taken into considderation the great responsibillity which involvs upon the head of the family and also the Solom oath that is binding through life.  William I never intend to make or brake matches and if you think you had rather ingay A retyard life exersise your one free will and if you do well it will bee well for you and if not dont reflect on me. William let the result bee as it may  I hope you will Stay with my children till I return  I will start home the 15 of November next if I live and able to travel.  William Studdy your intrest and act in accordance is all that I can say at present  I will do no more  I remain your  Father     Willis L. Hobby"[1]

William M. Hobby and his bride, Lucinda Crow, were married  the 8th of November 1855[2] and Willis L. Hobby did return to Caldwell County, but probably not in time for his son's wedding.   

Keep in mind that gold was discovered in California in 1848 and many men left their families behind to travel by sea or overland to California in hopes of making their fortune. The 1850 Nevada County, California shows a number of men living in Grass Valley who listed their occupation as "miner."   Apparently, Willis L. Hobby did not find a fortune as he was back in Caldwell County in time to be enumerated on the 1860 census.[3]

[1] Letter from Willis L. Hobby, Grass Valley, California, to his son, William M. Hobby, Caldwell County, Kentucky, filed with original marriage records (1855), Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1854-1865, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1997) 11.
[3] 1860 Caldwell County, Kentucky Census, Farmersville Subdivision, page 133, dwelling #990, family #990, family of W.L. Hobby,, accessed 29 July 2017.

Published 10 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - William B. and Maggie Davidson

William B.
Apr. 2, 1878
Sep. 17, 1944
At Rest

Maggie L.
Wife of W.B.
Sep. 6, 1880
Feb. 8, 1917
Life, Love and Truth

Buried Union Church Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 2012.

William Buckner Davidson was born in Kentucky and was the son of Arch Davidson and Lucy Franklin, both of whom were born in Kentucky.[1] William B. Davidson married Maggie, his first wife, about 1903.[2]

Following the death of Maggie, William B. Davidson married Maude Lasher, who is buried at Hampton Cemetery, Livingston County.

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #20080 (1944) for William Buckner Davidson,, accessed 2 Mar 2017.  His burial place is given as "Old Union Cemetery."
[2] 1910 Livingston County, Kentucky Census, Dist. 7, E.D. 0108,, accessed 2 Mar 2017 shows the first child, Truman, age 6, indicating he was born about 1904.

Published 8 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Where's Frank?

There is a bit of a mystery surrounding the husband of Mary Elizabeth Watkins and the father of her son, Fountain. Mary Elizabeth's tombstone in Smithland Cemetery states she was the wife of Frank Nickels and the same name is listed as the father of Fountain Nickels on his tombstone.  

Mary Elizabeth Watkins
Wife of Frank Nickels
Dec. 24, 1845
Oct. 24, 1924

Son of
Frank & Mary E.
Jan. 4, 1866
Mar. 26, 1870

In 1860 Mary E. Watkins is found in the Lyon County, Kentucky household of her father, Washington Watkins[1], but her death certificate identifies her father as Thomas Watkins.[2] In 1870, following the birth and death of her son, Fountain Nickels, Mary E. was living in the household of her brother-in-law and sister, John W. and Sarah (Watkins) Bush in Smithland, Kentucky. Her occupation was given as domestic servant. [3]

The date and location of the marriage of Frank Nickels and Mary E. Watkins are unknown. A search of the marriage records in Lyon, Caldwell, Livingston and Crittenden Counties does not show such a marriage. Was Frank Nickels  part of one of the numerous Nickels  families in the Caldwell and Lyon Counties area or was he from outside the immediate area?

Born at a time when women did not work outside their home, Mary Elizabeth continued to live with the  Bush family in Smithland for many years. She died at the home of her niece and nephew-in-law, Corrie (Bush) and Charles C. Grassham at 105 Fountain Avenue in Paducah in 1924.

[1] 1860 Lyon County, Kentucky Census, Population Schedule, database on-line, page 703,, accessed 26 May 2017.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #23389,, accessed 26 May 2017.
[3] 1870 Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky, Population Schedule, database on-line, page  ,, accessed 26 May 2017.

Published 3 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book Sale!

I am weeding out genealogy books from my personal library in order to have room for new books. Take a look and to see if there is anything you like, then email me to make sure it is still available.

Genealogy Books For Sale

Published 2 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - W.B. Sullenger

W.B. Sullenger
Sept. 9, 1854
Dec. 21, 1934

Buried Watson Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 8 May 2017.

According to Kentucky Death Certificate #598 (delayed), Wilson Berry Sullenger was the son of Thomas E. Sullenger and Martha Elizabeth Porter, both of whom were born in Kentucky.

W.B. Sullenger married (1) Miss Sarah White 29 November 1876 in Crittenden County[1] and (2) Miss Sallie Settles 3 February 1885.[2]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome, Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. II 1866-1886, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1991), 82.
[2] Ibid, 154.

Published 1 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,