Thursday, February 28, 2008

Livingston County, Kentucky in 1847

The following information is found at the end of the 1847 Livingston County, Kentucky Tax List (microfilm) and provides a good look at the demography of this county.

136,762 1/4 acres valued at $418,912

Number of town lots - 223 3/5

Value of same - $167,508

White males over 21 - 936

Slaves over 16 - 428

Total no. of slaves - 821

Value of slaves - $264,221

No. of horses & m. - 1,670

Value of horses - $46,882

Number of mules - 66

Value of mules - $1,902

Number of jennies - 5

Value of jennies - $200

Number of stores - 25

Value of stores $65,200

Pleasure carriages - 2

Number of buggies - 7

Number of pianoes - 4

Gold Spectacles - 7

Gold Watches - 38

Studs Jacks & Bulls - 8

Silver Lever Watches - 22

Tavern Licence - 2

Children between 5 & 16 - 919

Total value of property - $1,032,559

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Appointment of Guardians, Crittenden County, Kentucky 1861 - 1864

If an underage child inherited property, a guardian was usually appointed to protect his interests. A guardian might also be appointed to represent the child in a law suit (guardian ad litem). At the age of 14 years, a child was allowed to choose his own guardian, but with the county court’s approval. If under age 14, the county court had the responsibility of appointing the guardian for the child. The following entries have been abstracted from Guardian Bond Book 1853 - 1871 and County Court Order Book 3 (1861-1868), Crittenden County Clerk’s Office, Marion, Kentucky. Additional information may be found in a separate Guardians' Settlement Book.

14 Jan 1861 - P. Cruce appointed guardian of James R. McCain, minor of Wm. McCain dec’d.

14 Jan 1861 - H.L. Leigh appointed guardian of Jane W. McCain, minor of Wm. McCain dec’d.

19 Jan 1861 - Wm. A. Jacobs appointed guardian of Henry T. Jacobs, Ben Milton J. Jacobs, McLin G. Jacobs, Silas D. Jacobs and Henry P. Jacobs, minor of B.H. Jacobs.

11 Feb 1861 - W.B. McConnell appointed guardian of Alfred B. McDowell.

11 Feb 1861 - Francis N. Wilson appointed guardian of Julia Ann McDowell and Louisa Jane McDowell.

11 Mar 1861 - F.M. Conditt appointed guardian of Mary Jane Harmon, minor of James H. Harmon.

11 Mar 1861 - A.T. Crider appointed guardian of J.G. Crider, F.J. Crider and Louisa M. Crider, minors of John H. Crider.

11 Mar 1861 - Jacob James appointed guardian of Mary Jane James, "a minor of his."

16 Mar 1861 - A.T. Crider appointed guardian of Cynthia A., Mary A., and Wm. H. Crider, minors of John H. Crider.

8 Apr 1861 - H.W. Woods appointed guardian of R.H. Woods and J.E. Woods, infants of sd. H.W. Woods.

10 Jun 1861 - Harriet Cooksey appointed guardian of R.L. Cooksey, P.K. Cooksey, R.P. Cooksey and N.L. Cooksey, minors of P.P.H. Cooksey.

9 Sep 1861 - J.C. James appointed guardian of Andrew J. Aaron and Martha Jane Isabel Aaron, infant children of John Aaron dec’d.

9 Dec 1861 - John T. Younger selected Willis N. Threlkeld as his guardian. It appearing that Younger has not sufficient estate to be maintained, it is ordered that Younger be bound as apprentice to R.W. Foster until Younger is age 21 years.

14 Apr 1862 - Eli Swansey, over the age of 14 years, made choice of Wm. Flanary as his guardian.

19 Apr 1862 - Celety Waddle, over age 14, made choice of Wm. Waddell [sic] as her guardian.

6 May 1862 - Sarah Swansey appointed guardian of Nancy E. Swansey and James M. Swansey, minors of John Swansey dec’d.

9 Jun 1862 - David Kimsey appointed guardian of Wm. Kimsey, Eleanor Kimsey and Jesse Kimsey, minors of David W. Kimsey.

14 Jul 1862 - William Bennett Crider selected as guardian by Mary C. Aaron, who is over the age of 14 years.

14 Jul 1862 - Cicero H. Giles appointed guardian of Preston C. Giles and Elizabeth M. Giles, infants of P. Giles dec’d.

26 Jul 1862 - W.H. Stokes appointed guardian of Mary E. Chadwick.

26 Jul 1862 - William H. Thompson, who is over the age of 14 years and the infant of Wm. B. Thompson, chose Wm. M. Clark as his guardian.

8 Sep 1862 - T.J. Flanary was appointed guardian of his daughter, Julia A. Flanary.

8 Dec 1862 - Nancy M. Durham was appointed guardian of Samatha Jane Durham, Lucinda C. Durham and Green Henry Durham, infants of G.W. Durham dec’d.

8 Dec 1862 - U.G. Witherspoon was appointed guardian of Amelia Davis, Melissa Davis and Wm. Davis, minors of Terrell Davis.

8 Dec 1862 - S.F. Crider was chosen by J.W. Green as his guardian, J.W. Green being over the age of 14 years.

12 Jan 1863 - W.N. Threlkeld was appointed guardian of Newton Younger, infant of J.C. Younger. It appearing that Newton Younger, infant orphan, has no estate sufficient for his maintainous and R.W. Foster having signified his willingness to take him as an apprentice, Newton Younger is bound to Foster to learn the trade and business of a spinster [sic] until the age of 21 years, he being now age 14.

25 Apr 1863 - R.B. Phillips was appointed guardian to Catharine S. Phillips, Wm. P. Phillips, Mary C. Phillips and Thos. N. Phillips, infant heirs of Wm. C. Phillips dec’d.

9 Jun 1863 - Miss Adaline P. Elder, who is over the age of 14 years and a minor of John S. Elder dec’d, made choice of James S. Mayes as her guardian.

13 Jul 1863 - Wm. Flanary was removed as guardian of Eli Swansey and Wm. Swamsey was appointed in his place.

13 Jul 1863 - R.F. Haynes was appointed guardian ad litum to defend for Mary E. Joyce, Lurinda Jenkins, Missouri Jenkins, Mary J. Jenkins and Joann Jenkins, infant heirs of J.W. Jenkins dec’d, in a case of R.W. and J.W. Taylor against J.W. Jenkins heirs [Order Book 3, p. 112]

15 Jul 1863 - James H. Travis was appointed guardian of Joseph L. Travis, Mary E. Travis, Martha L. Travis and Alice Gertrud Clinton, the first three being over the age of 14 years.

10 Aug 1863 - W.W. Brown appointed guardian of Ayres Brown, infant heir of J.N. Brown.

14 Sep 1863 - James E. Yeakey appointed guardian of Martha E. Conditt.

14 Sep 1863 - J.W. Hill chosen as guardian of J.H. Pickens, who is over the age of 14 years.

13 Oct 1863 - W.J. Brantley appointed guardian of Marcus F. Travis.

17 Nov 1863 - Wm. Chadwick was appointed guardian of John L. Chadwick, Mary A. Chadwick, Andrew J. Chadwick, Sarah C. Chadwick, Malvina J. Chadwick, Wm. M. Chadwick and Martha E. Chadwick, minors of the said Wm. Chadwcik.

14 Dec 1863 - W.J. Brantley was appointed guardian of John E. Travis.

14 Dec 1863 - U.G. Witherspoon was appointed guardian of Buchanan Nelson, James N. Nelson and Charles W. Nelson, minors of Nathaniel Nelson dec’d.

29 Jan 1864 - Mary S. Wells, who is over the age of 14 years, made choice of John Marr as her guardian.

8 Feb 1864 - Henrietta Bristow was appointed guardian of Marietta Bristow, minor of John S. Bristow dec’d.

8 Feb 1864 - T.L.R. Wilson was appointed guardian of Joseph G. McCain and Alcy E. McCain, infants & heirs of Joseph McCain dec’d.

5 Mar 1864 - John E. Clark appointed guardian of Synthia J. Garrison and James P. Garrison, minors of J.S. Garrison.

7 Mar 1864 John Yates was chosen guardian of Wm. J. Brown, over age 14 and minor of Samuel Brown dec’d.

14 Mar 1864 - Nancy Scott was appointed guardian of John L. Scott, Mary L. Scott, James J. Scott, Jo ann Scott, Matilda J. Scott, Richard F. Scott, Robert F. Scott, Frances M. Scott, and Alexander F. Scott, infants and heirs of Alexander F. Scott dec’d, the first three children being over the age of 14 years.

14 Mar 1864 - Harrison Right appointed guardian of James David Johnson Cowsert, heir of James Cowsert dec’d.

23 Apr 1864 - Miss Harriet E. Love, being over the age of 14 years, made choice of R.S. Peyton as her guardian.

13 Jun 1864 - Rachel Bozwell, late Rachel Tabor, was appointed guardian of Sophina Jane Tabor and Delila Ann Tabor.

13 Jun 1864 - Benjn. B. Beason was appointed guardian of Rebecca F. Lack.

11 Jul 1864 - R.S. Peyton was appointed guardian of C.S. Love, infant heir of R.A. Love dec’d.

12 Sep 1864 - D.W. Carter was appointed guardian of Nancy E. Bennett and John J. Bennett.

11 Oct 1864 - James W. Paris was appointed guardian of Paulina E. Conger.

12 Dec 1864 - John W. Mabry was appointed guardian of Joel Grace Taber, John Oliver Taber, George Mansfield Taber, Sarah Jane Taber, James Anderson Taber and Hezekiah Lincoln Taber, infants and heirs of Hezekiah Taber dec’d.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Migration to Marengo

It seems to me that people traveled more in the early to mid-1800s than we realize. Think about your ancestors. How many moved after 1810? I will wager quite a few had not yet settled in their last home. But, which way did they go?

In early days, the typical migration trails were from Pennsylvania and Maryland south to Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and eventually Kentucky. Moving from Kentucky to the deeper south was a bit unusual, but that is exactly what a number of families did when they left their Caldwell County homes and headed toward Marengo County, Alabama. Marengo County was created in 1818 from land acquired from the Choctaw Indians and that appears to be about the time the folks from Caldwell County headed down there. Had there been an 1820 Marengo County census, I just bet we would find some familiar Kentucky names. As it is, some of these same families are shown on the 1830 Marengo County census.

One of the people who moved to Marengo County was Levi Greer, who had witnessed the will of Jesse Jenkins in Caldwell County on 18 August 1815. In August 1824, a commission was directed to Marengo County to take the attestation of Levi Greer regarding Jenkins’ will.

In July of 1811 in Caldwell County, Greer and William Barton had witnessed the will of William Gillehen. In Marengo County on 31 Aug 1846, Greer appeared before a justice of the peace and stated he was well acquainted with Stephen H. Doss and his wife, Minerva, now deceased but who was formerly Minerva Barton, daughter of William Barton, formerly of Caldwell County, Kentucky. He also stated that Minerva departed this life in 1825.

Giving a deposition at the same time was Thomas Ringgold, who stated he became acquainted with the parties stated above in 1818 in Marengo County when Minerva was living with her father, William Barton, but afterwards she married Stephen H. Doss. Thomas Ringgold stated that William Barton frequently stated in his presence that he moved from Caldwell County to Alabama.

Henry Woolf went to Marengo County and exchanged letters with his sons back in Caldwell County. Copies of these letters can be found in the family files of the Martin Genealogy Library, Princeton, Kentucky. An obituary for Henry Woolf provides wonderful details of his life.
"October 18, 1823
Died at their residence, in Marengo County, Henry Woolf in his 78th year and wife Elizabeth in her 76th year, after having lived together for nearly 60 years and raising 13 children, eleven of whom are now living. Both fell sick on 25th of September and expired within a few hours of each other on the 3rd and are buried in the same grave. He was a native of Virginia and fought in the Revolutionary War; he emigrated to this state from Kentucky in 1819, since which time he has resided in Marengo County."

Other Caldwell County people who migrated to Marengo County include Jarret Cherry (and possibly Henry and Joshua Cherry), William Selman, Thomas A. Holland and the Wood brothers (see the Hooper divorce mentioned in this blog on 12 January 2008). When you find your family in a new area, look around for families they may have known in their old county. Families usually migrated in a group for safety and convenience.

1. File marked "Notes 1846," Caldwell County Clerk’s Office, Princeton, Kentucky.
2. Pauline Jones Gandrud. Marriage, Death and Legal Notices from Early Alabama Newspapers 1819-1823, (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1981), 8.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Smith Family

When the good Lord passed out ancestors, he must have thought, "I'll give Brenda a challenge and make her work a little bit harder to find her ancestors." That's the only reason I can think to explain my ancestor, John Smith. If that weren't enough, he put John Smith somewhere in Virginia and gave him an approximate birth year of 1777. Do you have any idea how many John Smiths there were in Virginia at that time? A bunch would be a mild estimate.

In John's defense, he did give two of his children (the only ones I can prove) names that should set them apart from all the other Smiths: Morgan and Giles. Notice I said "should" and not "did."

Morgan, my ancestor, was born about 1804 in Virginia, may or may not have lived in eastern Kentucky at one time, married an unknown woman sometime, somewhere and then married Sarah Holder, daughter of Shadrach Holder, in 1834 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. He is found on the 1840 and 1850 Hardin County, Illinois census records and, in 1860, was living in Lyon County, Kentucky separately from his wife and children. Then he did the famous disappearing act by going to "parts unknown." That is just about all I know about Great-Great Grandfather Morgan Smith.

Well, I do know the names of Morgan's children: Rufus, Angeline, James A., Cassander, Reddick (my ancestor), Susanna, Morgan W., and Giles. No son named John for Morgan's father - at least, to my knowledge. And I do know that he lived in iron manufacturing areas.

My next step is to make a list of exactly what I do know and then make a list of what I need to learn and where I might find that information. This will be my research plan on the elusive Smith family and, with luck and a little divine guidance, maybe it will pay off. In the meantime, if you run across a stray John Smith born somewhere in Virginia about 1777 or a lost Morgan Smith born about 1804, let me know. They might have fallen off my family tree.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sale of a Slave 1803

Because they were considered personal property, one would think that the sale of a slave would be recorded in the deed books. Not so - at least in most western Kentucky courthouses. Only rarely have I found such a record in the deed books. However, in the loose court papers, these sales are often found. The following sale is found in Livingston County Clerk's Papers, Box 1. Edward Mitchusson lived in the area of Livingston County that became Caldwell County in 1809.

January 5 - 1803
Know all men by these presents that I Edwd. Mitchusson of the state of kentucky and county of Livingston hath Bargained sold and delivered unto John Drury Mitchusson of said state and county a certain mulatto boy child about the age of three years named ben for the sum of one hundred & fifty dollars to me in hand paid which child I do warrant and forever defend from myself my heirs or any other person to said John Drury Mitchusson his heirs or assigns forever. [signed] Edwd. Mitchusson. Test: Jacob Pennington, Moses (X his mark) Stagal.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter Storm 2008

A terrible snow/ice storm hit my area of southern Indiana Monday afternoon. Schools have been closed the past two days and people have been advised to stay off the roads if possible.

As bad as it is here, Crittenden County, Kentucky is worse. To see a short video of the conditions there, click here:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Importation of Slaves

In 1849, an act was passed that stated slaves could not be brought into the Commonwealth of Kentucky with the intention of selling them. The owners of newly arrived slaves had to testify that the slaves were to be used for their own benefit. The value of these records lies in the fact that the slaves are identified with their owners and the ages of the slaves are given. The following document was found among loose court papers in the Crittenden County Clerk's Office, Marion, Kentucky and was recorded in Deed Book B, page 569.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky Crittenden County
The following is a true and correct list and discription of each and all slaves that I have brought to this state for my own private use along Viz: A Negro girl slave named Linsay, aged Eleven years in December last, dark complected. Given under my hand this 30th Day of March 1850. [signed] John H. Moore.

This day personally appeared before Robert L. Bigham clerk of the County Court of said County John H. Moore and made oath that the said slave named Linday was brought into this state for his own private use alone and that the said slave was not brought for speculation to be sold again for profit, or as merchandize and that the above List is a true and correct list and discription of each slave brought by Moore into this State since the passage of "An act to amend an act entitled an act to amend the law to prohibit the importation of slaves into this state Approved February 24th, 1849." [signed] John H. Moore. Sworn and subscribed before me this 30th March 1850. [signed] Robert L. Bigham, clk.

Recorded 27 Septr 1850.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Petition 1860

The following petition of voters for a new district at Farmersville, Caldwell County, Kentucky was filed in open court Friday, 2 March 1860. The petition was located in a file marked "Petitions" in the Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky. The original spelling has been retained.

Boundary of New Dist.

Beginning at New Liberty Church near Mrs. Harpers old place, thence to Joel Beckners, thence to the mouth of the Buffalow branch, thence up Tradewater River to Smiths Mill, then to Thomas Jacksons, thence to Bartholomew Creekmurs, thence to Thomas Youngs, thence with a line of the new district to the beginning

Mr. J.N. Turner County Judge

Sir the undersigned partisioners wish to be attached to the Farmersville district as we are more convenient to the voting place then we now are we ware originally in the oald 2nd district, a complyance with this request will obligie your partitioners.

Samuel D. Graham

John T. Trayler

Joel Beckner

Furdenan Boitnott

M.H. Dixon

Wm. R. Davis

Andrew H. Beckner

James Jackson

John H. Harris

Timothy Creekmur

Martin Jackson

J.H. Martin

William Hammock

Matthew McNeily

John Dunbar

J.J. McNeley[?]

Shadrack McGrigger

James McGriger

Levi Malone

Francis Dunbar

Isaac Beckner

William H. Sigler

Wm. Creekmer

Wm. Dunbar

Isaac Young

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Newspaper Abstracts 1923

Even though your local newspaper might not have extant issues for the period you want, you might find information in the newspaper of an adjoining county or even in the nearest large town newspaper. The newspapers of Paducah, Hopkinsville and Evansville, Indiana often contained news of the smaller counties. The following entries were gleaned from the Evansville Courier, which is available on microfilm at Willard Library, Evansville. Items from the Henderson, Kentucky newspaper will be presented at a later date.

30 May 1923
Norten Jones, 60, died of heart trouble at his home in Spring Grove yesterday at noon. The funeral was held at Woodland church this afternoon after which interment took place in the cemetery there. He leaves a widow and two half-sisters, Mrs. Jim Tom Curry of Henshaw and Mrs. Robert Hagon of Sturgis.

1 June 1923
The contract for the grading of the federal highway on the 16 miles between Morganfield and the Crittenden County line was let at Frankfort yesterday at a bid of $125,300 and went to W.W. Carter of Clay, Ky.

Mrs. Francis M. Scott, widow of Elbert Scott, who died a short time ago as a result of an injury received in a gas explosion in the mines of the Madison Coal company at Central City, qualified here today in county court as guardian of their children, Dorothy, Hazel and Thelma.

Marriage license was granted to William Henry Stevens and Miss Anna Louis Bingham by County Clerk Kerney today. They will be married by Rev. R.C. Raham. Their parents are well-to-do farmers in the Henshaw neighborhood.

3 June 1923
Funeral services for James A. Young, 70, who died last Tuesday of advanced age, were held this morning, Rev. Louis A. Warren of the Christian church officiating. Interment was in Odd Fellows cemetery. Deceased is survived by his widow and three sons, James, Herbert and Blanton. He also leaves three sisters and two brothers: Mrs. Dan McKinney, Mrs. J.H. Mobley, Mrs. Kate Henshaw and J.W. Young, all of this county, and Rogers Young of Paducah.

Last rites were observed today for Mason Stewart, 10 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Stewart. Rev. W.B. Brooks, Baptist minister, of Sturgis, conducted the ceremonies.

4 June 1923
Funeral services for Mrs. Thomas Thompson were held Friday afternoon and interment was made in the Catholic cemetery. She was 55 years old when she died Thursday following a protracted illness with consumption. She is survived by her husband and several children.

Funeral services for Mrs. T.W. Lamber were held at the home Saturday morning. Mrs. Lamber died Friday morning at 85 years of age as a result of an injury. She fell two weeks ago and sustained a fractured hip. She is survived by four sons and three daughters.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Drury, who lost their residence and contents in a fire May 5, have filed suit in Union circuit court for $16,000 against the Kentucky Utilities company. The suit alleges defective wiring installed by the defendant was the cause of the fire.

4 June 1923
Police are searching for Agnes Peffer, 17, and Wayne Hammock, 30, who allegedly eloped from their homes in Uniontown, Ky., in an automobile to get married. The father of the girl, Louis Peffer, asks for their arrest. Peffer informed the local police they left Uniontown Saturday morning in the automobile after telling their friends they would be married in Evansville and then go to St. Louis on a honeymoon.

Monday, February 4, 2008

New On My Bookshelf

There is something exciting about a new book. Part of that excitement comes from the anticipation of learning what secrets the books holds and part of it is that a new book looks and smells like nothing else. It is as good as having a new car, but a whole lot less expensive.

I have three new books waiting to be read. Maybe you would be interested in them too.

Harold B. Morgan has compiled a pictorial book, Home Front Heroes: Evansville and the Tri-State in WWII, which I skimmed through briefly, but want to go through page by page soon. Photographs from the Evansville area as well as Henderson and Paducah, Kentucky show how the local residents adapted their lives around the war. All partipated in the war effort, from the youngest child to the oldest resident. Many of you probably know that Evansville had a shipyard, where 19,000 workers built LSTs during World War II. There is info on the shipyards, but that is not the focus of the book; there is much, much more. I was especially interested in the photos of the women and their involvement in the war effort. The book is available in my area at Barnes and Noble bookstore.

Another book I am looking forward to reading is Frances, Kentucky: Days Gone By, which was compiled by Matthew T. Patton. This book is actually a reference book on this small Crittenden County town. There is information on everything from schools and school census records to cemetery recordings, town history, newspaper items from the early 1900s to an autobiography of James Riley Glass (1913). To learn about availability of this book, contact the author through his blog at

The third book I look forward to reading concerns one of my favorite subjects - the Melungeons. Sometimes called a tri-racial group, these folks have been the subject of many articles and books and few of the authors agree on the origin of the Melungeons. Lisa Alther has written Kinfolks Falling Off the Family Tree (My Search for My Melungeon Ancestors). The author states that her relatives had extra thumbs (Yes, that's right!), which were removed and that prompted the author to try to discover who the Melungeons really were. I ordered my copy of this book from

So, if we get a blizzard - or even if we do not - I have plenty to read.