Friday, April 24, 2015

Old Time Sayings - Are They Part of Your Heritage?

Many of us grew up hearing odd sayings from our parents and grandparents. Taken literally by outsiders, they usually made little sense, but to those of us living in the South or had parents from the South, they were perfectly understood.

My grandmother Joyce had several she would pull out when the occasion warranted. Many of these sayings pertained to the weather. If the sky was getting dark, she would say, "It's coming up a cloud."  Other times she would recite the following: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning." I wonder how accurately the sky can predict the weather.

If Grandma was planning to do something, she always added the word " fixing." In other words, if she was going to town, she was "fixing to go to town" and she might add the word "dreckley" to the end of the sentence to tell when she was going. Now, Grandma lived very little in the South, actually just a few months were spent in Arkansas. The family was there just long enough for my father to be born in January 1913. Then they returned to Hardin County, Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Crittenden County, Kentucky and Hardin County's population included many folks from the other side of the river. Also, her mother, Mary Ann Wolstenholme Smith, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee so perhaps those old sayings came from her.

Grandma had a couple of other sayings that are probably familiar to you. If someone didn't move fast enough, she would say they were "slow as molasses" and if they were angry, she would say they were "mad as a wet hen." There is another one she often said that is my favorite. If someone had their dress on backwards, she would said it was on "hind part before." That is so much more colorful than saying backwards.

Another one I have heard - not from Grandma, but from a Kentucky friend. Describing someone who is contrary and hard to get along with is said to be "meaner than a junkyard dog."

Are there sayings in your family that have been passed down to your generation? Do you use them, too?

Published 24 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, April 23, 2015

High Water at Smithland

Almost every spring the rivers overflow, sending water to uncomfortable heights. So far, the rivers aren't as high as they have been in the past. When you live along a river, however, you keep an eye on it to make sure it behaves.

The Point from the river bank at Smithland

A closer look at The Point.
Note the muddy Ohio River separating itself from the Cumberland River. 
Photographed 22 April 2015.

Published 23 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Franklin Sipes

Franklin Sipes
Born Feb. 28, 1892
Died Sep. 23, 1923
There is no pushing in heaven

Buried Shady Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 March 2011.

According to his death certificate #26969, Frank Sipes died 25 September 1923 in Providence, Webster County, Kentucky. He was the son of J.W. Sipes and Nancy E. Bean and is shown with his parents on the 1910 Caldwell County, Kentucky census.

The 1920 Caldwell County census shows Frank E. Sipes as head of the household with his wife Lisy M, age 24; Ediline E., age 3 11/12 and Mary A., age 1 1/2.

Published 21 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Livingston County, KY Apprentices 1879 - 1886

Children who were orphans were often apprenticed or "bound out" to someone in the community to learn a trade. Males were usually bound out until they were 21 years old and females were usually bound out until they were 18 years of age. In addition to teaching the child a trade, the master was to provide the apprentice with food, clothing, lodging, medical attention and was to see that the apprentice was taught to read and write and learn arithmetic to and including the "Rule of Three." At the end of his service, the apprentice was to be given a new suit of clothing. Occasionally, the apprentice was to receive a sum of money in lieu of receiving an education.

The following entries are from Livingston County, Kentucky Apprenticeship Bond Book 1876 - 1904, pages 6 - 13.

John Rose, age four on the 15th day of March 1879 and orphan of --- Rose, bound to Antene Lavique to learn the trade, art and business of a farmer.  13 Feb 1879. [p. 6]

Charlie Crawford, age 15 years on the 25th day of Dec 1878 and orphan of Rosa Crawford, bound to J.M. Gardner to learn the art and business of a farmer. Master to pay $100 in lieu of being taught to read and write and arithmetic to the Rule of Three.  12 May 1879.  [p. 7]

Lorenzo Jones, age 5 years on the 5th day of January 1880 and orphan of F. Elizabeth Jones dec'd, bound to E.M. Jones to learn the art & trade of a farmer. 23 Sep 1879.  [p. 8]

Benjamin F. King, age 11 years on the 13th day of Mar 1881 and orphan of F.M. & Janie King dec'd, bound to R.D. Cullen to learn the art and business of a blacksmith. "Said apprentice will arrive at the age of Twenty one years on the 13th day of March 1891."  21 Jun 1881. [p. 9]

Elisha Dowell, age 9 years on the 4th day of Nov 1882 and orphan of R.W. Dowell and Laura Dowell, his dec'd wife, bound to J.H. Dean to learn the trade of a farmer.  11 Nov 1882.  [p. 10]

Silas Dukes, age 4 years on the 1st day of Jun 1884 and orphan child of Lina Dukes, bound to J.L. Fleming to learn the trade of a farmer. 2 Jun 1884.  [p. 11]

Silas Dukes, age 6 years on the 1st day of Jun 1886 and orphan of Lina Dukes, bound to Allen Sexton to learn the trade of a farmer. 6 Sep 1886.  [p. 13]

Apprenticeship Bond of Lorenzo Jones

Published 16 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - John Flint

to the Memory
Mr. John Flint
who was born Aug. 9th
and died Feb. 5th

Buried Hill Cemetery, off Hwy. 91, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 13 May 2011.

There were two men named John Flint who lived in the area at the same time, causing quite a bit of confusion. The above John Flint died first. The inventory of his estate is dated 5 Marcy 1817 with Hugh McVay, Wm. Ford Senr., and William Johnson as appraisers.[1]  The other John Flint left a very detailed will dated 23 November 1819. The appraisers of his estate were John Craig, Elijah Stevens and Tacy Cooper.[2]

[1] Caldwell County Will Book A:305.
[2] Caldwell County Will Book A:333.

Published 14 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Col. E.L. Starling 1840 - 1910

Col. E.L. Starling, age 70, died at his home in Henderson 15 May 1910. He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary B. (Stewart) Starling  and seven children, five of whom lived in Henderson and two who lived at a distance.

Col. Starling was highly regarded as a writer in western Kentucky, having been owner of the Reporter and managing editor of the Henderson Gleaner.[1]  He also served as mayor of Henderson twice and was responsible for the building of the city water works. He was a veteran of the Civil War. Col. Starling is also well known to genealogists as the author of Starling's History of Henderson County, Kentucky.

 Col. Starling is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. His tombstone was photographed 19 April 2014.

[1] Evansville Journal, Monday, 16 May 1910, p. 7

Published 9 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - J. Elbert Ellis

At Rest
J. Elbert
Dec. 31, 1873
July 10, 1899

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 19 July 2010. Notice the handshake, symbolizing an earthly farewell.

Elbert Ellis, age 6, was enumerated as a son of James (age 54) and Agnes A. Ellis (age 36) in District 80 on the 1880 Livingston County, Kentucky census.

Published 7 April 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,