Thursday, January 18, 2018

Burial of Civil War Soldiers in Smithland, Kentucky

I  have been asked several times about the burial of soldiers at Smithland, Kentucky during the Civil War. If they died in Smithland, where were they buried.  I came across a newspaper item that addresses the burial question.  The article appeared in the Connecticut Courant,  [1] Vol. CI, 21 May 1864, p. 2.

"Died, at the Mitchell House, Smithland, Ky., on Sunday evening, May 8, of typhoid fever, Horace Talcott, of Glastenbury, Conn., AE 26.[2]

"This patriotic young man was a paymaster of the U.S. gunboat Brilliant, and had been in the service nearly two years ...

"The body was encased in a metallic coffin, and deposited, under the direction of the Provost Marshal of Smithland, in a beautiful cemetery, overlooking the waters of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers ... from which position it will very soon be transported to find its resting place among the graves near the homes of his kindred in Glastenbury."

So, that tells us the deceased soldiers were buried in Smithland and some, if not all, of the remains were later disinterred and reburied in their home area.  It is very possible that the "beautiful cemetery, overlooking the waters of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers" referred to Smithland Cemetery.

The gunboat Brilliant "was a steamer purchased by the Union Navy during the ... Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat assigned to patrol  Confederate waterways."[3]

No proof has been found that Talcott's body was later removed to Glastenbury, Connecticut. No listing for his burial was found on Find A Grave.[4]

[1] Connecticut, online edition,,  accessed 5 Jan 2018.
[2] Age 26.
[3] Wikipedia, U.S.S. Brilliant,, accessed 5 Jan 2018.
[4] Find A Grave,, accessed 5 Jan 2018.

Published 18 Jan 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday - Susan Shelby

In memory of
Wife of
Andrew N. Shelby
Dec. 24, 1800
Feb. 20, 1853

Buried Nunn Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed February 1993. This cemetery is located on the old Ira Nunn farm.

Andrew N. Shelby married Susanna Owsley [Woosley] 3 November 1819 Livingston County, Kentucky.[1] They can be found on the 1840 Caldwell County, Kentucky census.[2]

This cemetery is on private land and is not accessible without obtaining permission.

[1] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. 1 (Oct 1799 - July 1839), (n.p., 1992) 55.
[2] 1840 Census, Caldwell County, Kentucky, [database online], Roll: 106; p. 31, line 25,, accessed 20 November 2017.

Published 16 January 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Smithland Blue Law 1884

The following notice was posted in a conspicuous place on Court Street in Smithland, says the  Sentinel. [Livingston County] [1]


To the merchants in the Town of Smithland, Ky:  You are hereby notified that after this date any dealer or dealers in merchandise or groceries that is found guilty of keeping open doors or selling goods or groceries on the Sabbath day, will be reported to the Grand Jury at the next term of court unless in case of sickness or death and if you do not heed this notice, you will [sic] after January, 1885.  For it is a shame for any man that is raising a family to teach them such or set such an example.  If you do not believe that there is a hereafter, for the people's sake have respect for the day; for there are people in this town that do believe that there is a God and a hereafter, too. Now remember the above notice for there is a law to protect us, and we intend having it carried out to the letter.
 A Law Abiding Citizen.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

[1] The Hickman Courier, Hickman, Kentucky, Friday, 3 October 1884, p. 4. 

Published 11 January 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday - Elizabeth A. Leman and Children

Elizabeth A.
wife of
E.M. Leman
Apr. 11, 1834
Feb. 25, 1864
My daughter Laura E. lies on my
left  my Infant on my right

Buried Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 1990s.

The tombstone tells the story of a woman who died when she was not quite 30 years old and had been married only a couple of years. During that short time, she had two children, both of whom died and were buried on either side of her.  This sad story was repeated in many families at that time.

Miss A.E. Edmonson married E.M. Lemen 30 January 1862 Crittenden County. She was the third of his four wives.

Published 9 January 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Livingston County, Kentucky Divorce Index 1841 - 1853

This information on  divorces granted  in 1841 - 1853 has been gleaned from Livingston Circuit Court Order Books  K (1841-1843), L (1843-1845), M (1846-1850) and N (1852-1854). The case files, which contain the details of the divorce petition, are found at the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives (KDLA). The case files usually give the date and place of marriage, reason for filing for a divorce and if there are  minor children. To download a request form for a case file from KDLA, go Here

OB = Order Book

Browder, Jane A. vs Thomas W. Browder. Divorce granted 14 Dec 1852. Her maiden name of McCawley restored. She is prohibited from marrying for 1 year. (OB N, p. 576)

Burns, Cynthia vs Marcus Burns. Divorce filed 20 June 1853. He is a non-resident. (OB N, p. 501, 547) No deposition found.

Catin, Mary vs Jeremiah Catin. Divorce granted 15 Dec 1853. Maiden name of Mary McCoy restored to plaintiff. She cannot remarry for 12 months. (OB N, p. 543)

Croft, John C. vs Polly Croft. Filed 12 Mar 1841. Divorce granted plaintiff 21 Mar 1842. Defendant failing to appear. (OB K, p. 362) "About 10 Aug 1832[1] John C. Croft married Polly Dodds in Livingston County. Soon he discovered she "was anything else than a prudent loving & confiding companion ... and in one of her Wild & imprudent fits, was induced to abandon your Orators bed & board... with Wm. Lantrip left the state and settled in Illinois where she has remained for 4 years ..."[2] Depositions given by Henry Hardin, Theo Killen and Frederick H. Croft, brother of John C. Croft.

Donakey, Rachel vs John S. Donakey. Granted 21 Dec 1853. Court empowers plaintiff to use, enjoy and sell for her own benefit any property she may acquire or which belonged to her when she and her husband separated in 1848 or 9 or acquired since that time. Defendant to pay to court $20 for her benefit.  (OB N, p. 587)

Duncan, Allen vs Francis Duncan. Divorced granted 21 Dec 1853. Mutually abandoned each other and all rights of single persons restored to both, but neither can remarry for 12 months. (OB N, p. 582)

Goodrich, William Walter vs Sarah Goodrich. Filed 6 June 1851. They married 1839. She eloped from their house and lives in adultery with Joel Howell and goes by the name of Mrs. Howell. (OB N, p. 242)

Gunter, William T. vs Nancy Gunter. Deft. not an inhabitant of KY. Filed 30 Sep 1845. (OB L, p. 474)   Discontinued 15 Nov 1845. (OB M, p. 245)

Jarrold, Laura vs Alfred Jarrold. Dismissed without prejudice for want of jurisdiction 14 July 1845 (OB L, p. 378)

Lillard, Matthew vs Frances Lillard. Filed for divorce in Caldwell County, but case filed with Livingston County cases at KDLA. Married a few years ago.[3] Maiden name Frances Alcorn. " ... seemingly virtuous woman but was in truth ... without modesty, without virtue ... in short, she was a whore at heart and in practice ... set up a house in orator's neighborhood and kept a house of ill fame then left ... descended the river and is now in the city of Natchez in Mississippi."[4]

Lillard, Thomas vs Sarah Lillard. Defendant not an inhabitant of KY and failed to appear. (OB L, pp. 378, 474)

Patterson, David W.  vs Rebecca B. Patterson.[5] Granted 21 Dec 1853. Defendant cannot remarry for 1 year. (OB N, p. 582)

Rowe, Wiott vs Louisa Rowe. Defendant not an inhabitant of KY.  Appears she is guilty of adultery since she became wife of Wiott Rowe. Marriage annulled and divorce granted plaintiff 11 July 1844. (OB L, p. 175)

[1] Livingston Co., KY Marriages (Oct 1799-July 1839) by Joyce M. Woodyard, 1992 gives marriage date as 9 Aug 1832. Consent for bride by her mother, Ally Dodd. Bondsman: Caleb Stone.
[2] Croft, John C. vs Croft, Polly case file  A1986-289, Livingston County Equity, Ordinary and Commonwealth Cases, Mar 1842-Jun 1842, Box 63,  read at KDLA 5Aug 2015.
[3] Woodyard. Livingston Co., KY Marriages (Oct 1799-July 1839), 130. Matthew Lillard obtained a bond to marry Franky Alcorn 26 Mar 1834 Livingston County.
[4] Lillard, Matthew vs Lillard, Frances case file, A1986-289, Livingston County Equity, Ordinary and Commonwealth Cases, Mar 1842 - Jun 1842, Box 63, read at KDLA 5 Aug 2015.
[5] Woodyard. Livingston Co., KY Marriages (Oct 1799-July 1839), 97. David W. Patterson married Rebecca B. Coffield 6 Nov 1828 Livingston County.

Published 4 Jan 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, January 1, 2018

My New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of the year when, full of optimism, we make our New Year’s resolutions. Most of us promise to eat less or exercise more and those are great resolutions, but I have chosen to make my resolutions pertain only to genealogy. The following resolutions were originally published here in 2007, but they are still pertinent today.

1. I resolve to re-read all of my research notes and files on my families in the hope that a new clue will emerge.

2. I resolve to cite all sources and will use the correct format so that if my genealogy cousins want to check my sources, they will be able to easily do so.

3. I resolve to file all of my paper document copies in the proper place so they will not be lost when I want to re-read that document.

4. I resolve to be kind to novice researchers when they ask for help or offer an opinion on a genealogical puzzle. Novice researchers sometimes mature and maybe they will, in turn, be helpful to another beginning genealogist.

5. I resolve not to laugh when someone tells me they have researched their line back to Adam and Eve. Someday, somehow, someone may just be successful in achieving that goal.

6. I resolve to respond to a query if I know the answer even though the last 10 times I did so the person inquiring never acknowledged the response or the time it took to look up the answer.

7. I resolve to thank those who have helped me in my search for family information.

8. I resolve to decide what I want to be done with my research papers, books and files and put it in writing so that when I can no longer make that decision, my family will know my wishes.

9. I resolve not to portray my ancestors as anything more than who they really were - hard working, honest people, who cared for their families, reared a house full of children, and were good citizens. Not a one of them was president or in charge of anything except their own family and that is quite good enough.

10. I resolve not to take myself and my research so seriously that I can not enjoy the everyday pleasures of living.

Published 1 January 2018 Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, December 31, 2017

10 Years of Statistics

Let's take a look back at the statistics pertaining to this blog since it began in 2007.

There have been 1458 posts in the past 10 years and there are 163 followers of this blog.

The three most viewed blog posts during this time were:
1.  Tombstone Tuesday on 8 June 2010 - Andrew Jackson (4551 views)
2.  Visit to Lola, Kentucky on 27 March 2010 (3447 views)
3.  Board of Health 1901 - 1902 on 28 April 2011 (2601 views)

The most popular referring sites were these: 

No surprises here - these referring sites were what I would expect. Number 7, though, was  Pinterest and that does surprise me as I thought it would be Number 4.

I've learned a lot while writing these posts.  I've learned that it takes me much longer today  to finish a post than it did in 2007. It takes longer to do the research and longer to write the post. In spite of the additional time it takes, I plan to continue, at least for a while, and I hope you will continue to join me.

Published 31 December 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,