Monday, April 28, 2008

H.B. Lyon

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent

Matthew Lyon wasn’t the only famous person in the Lyon family. Lyon County, Kentucky was named for his son, Chittenden. Another son, Matthew Lyon Jr., had a son, Hylan Benton Lyon, who became well known also - but for a different reason. H.B. Lyon’s fame resulted from his activities as a Confederate general during the Civil War, during which he orchestrated the burning of a number of courthouses in western Kentucky, including those in the counties of Trigg, Christian and Caldwell. According to Selections From Sam Steger’s Historical Notebook, “After the war, Caldwell Countians were assessed a heavy tax to rebuild the county courthouse. This tax was unpopular and it was a common conception in later years that when Gen. Lyon had business in Princeton, he was most cautious not to be caught in town after dark.”

Gen. Lyon was a graduate of West Point and afterward served in the United States army on the frontiers of Texas and Mexico. At the commencement of the Civil War, he cast his lot with the South and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General.

Following the war, H.B. Lyon was connected with the state penitentiary at Frankfort and served on the commission that eventually established the branch penitentiary at Eddyville, Lyon County. The last years of his life were spent in retirement on his farm two miles from Eddyville.

Gen. Lyon was married three times: In 1863 he was married to Laura O’Hara, in 1869 to Grace Machen and his last marriage was to Ruth Wolfe. On 25 April 1907, at the age of 71 years, he died on his farm and was buried in Eddyville Cemetery. According to his obituary, survivors included his wife Ruth; three sons and three daughters, Capt. Frank Lyon of the United States Navy; Mrs. Grace Kevil, of Princeton; Hugh, Ernest, Maybelle and Loraine, who remain at home.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pause As You Pass By

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Death isn’t funny, which is probably why we need to laugh at it now and then. Don’t we all sing along with the Munchkins when they chant “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead” in the Wizard of Oz? Haven’t we all joined in singing “Ring Around the Rosy” when we were children? That song actually refers to the bubonic plague, you know.

Death pursues us from the moment of our birth and we all know that someday, somehow death will catch us. So, why shouldn’t we have the last laugh. Hence, the epitapth.

There are actually a number of different types of epitaphs - from the factual to the cautionary to those that tell a story and then there are the epitaphs that are just plain funny.

Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph is factual and, as he requested, reflects the things that he had given people, not what people had given him. His epitaph reads thus:
Author Of The Declaration
Of American Independence
Of The Statute Of Virginia
For Religious Freedom
And Father Of The University Of Virginia
Born April 2, 1743 O.S.
Died July 4, 1826

Notice that it does not state that he was President of the United States of America.

It is easy to identify cautionary epitaphs - they have a lesson to convey. The most well known of the cautionary epitaphs is the following:

Traveler, pause as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you shall be
Prepare for Death and follow me.

A briefer version of this epitaph says the same thing, but in fewer words:

Death is a Debt
By Nature Due
I’ve paid my Shot
And So must you

Tombstones with cautionary epitaphs often have artwork to replect the same theme. These tombstones usually date from the 1700s or very early 1800s and often have a skull and crossbones, Father Time or an hour glass showing time has run out. One reason for such graphic artwork is that many people could not read at that time, but they surely could get the message from the artwork on the tombstones.

Many of these tombstones were made of slate, which often look as sharp and easy to read as when they were erected. Many examples of these tombstones can be found in the old church graveyards in older cities in the East and Southeast. Few, if any, will be found in western Kentucky graveyards as our area was settled much later.

Epitaphs on the tombstones of children fall into an entirely separate category. Often the grave markers for young children will have a lamb resting on top of the tombstone or may have a cherub on the front of the stone. The epitaphs are usually very poignant.

Most of the tombstones found in western Kentucky are factual with the following being recorded: name of the decedent, date of death and often the date of birth or age at the time of death. Sometimes you will find one that gives more information, such as the tombstone of Esther Love, who is buried at Piney Fork Cemetery in Crittenden County. Esther Love’s epitaph says:
My Name was Esther Love, Daughter of Wm. & Nancy Calhoun of Abbeville, South Carolina. Esther was born Sept. 30, 1765 and died Mar. 2, 1844. It goes on to say “My Husband Wm. Love, Killed by the Harps Aug 1799. Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord.”

As you can see, the last line or two was below ground level when the photograph above was made in 1990. The last time I visited Piney Fork, this stone was in sad shape.

Other epitaphs will tell a story and you might have to listen closely to get the meaning. My all-time favorite epitaph is the following:

He found a rope and picked it up
And with it walked away
It happened that to the other end
A horse was hitched they say
They took the rope and tied it up
Unto a hickory limb
It happened that the other end
Was somehow hitched to him.

A perfect example of the “down right funny” epitaph is the following, which is said to be found on side-by-side grave markers in an old Pennsylvania church yard:

Grieve not for me my husband dear
I am not dead, but sleeping here
With patience wait, prepare to die
And in a short time, you’ll come to I.

On the husband’s tombstone is written:
I am not grieved, my dearest life
Sleep on, I’ve found another wife
Therefore, I cannot come to thee
For I must go and live with she.

All joking aside, death isn’t funny, but if we can create a little laughter in the midst of sadness, it may be easier to deal with the death.

Published 25 April 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Murder in Livingston County, Kentucky 1807

John A. Gooch took the oath of the office of Deputy Sheriff of Livingston County, Kentucky on 1 July 1805. Less than two years later, on the 7th of March 1807, Gooch was shot and killed by Robert Trimble Jr. What prompted Trimble to shoot Gooch has faded from memory, but it is known that the Commonwealth of Kentucky charged Robert Trimble, William Trimble, and Lewis L. Portee with the murder of Gooch. The trials of two of the defendants took place at Centreville, which was then the county seat of Livingston.

Some details of the case can be found in Livingston County, Kentucky Miscellaneous Files 1807, Accession #A1986-289, Box 1, Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Commonwealth of Kentucky
William Trimble and Lewis Portee

William Trimble and Lewis L. Portee ... was taken on the 24th day of March 1807 ... by John G. Lofton, one of the Commonwealth’s Justices of the Peace in & for Livingston County by warrant to my custody & possession with a command ... to commit them to the jail upon a charge of having with Robert Trimble Junr. on the 7th day of March 1807 at the house of George Brown in Centreville feloniously killed and murdered John Gooch, late Deputy Sheriff of Thomas Gist, late Sheriff of Livingston County, by shooting and William and Portee in my custody or in the Jail or prison safely to keep and further to be dealt with as the Law directs and until discharged by declaration of Law ... [signed] David Kline, Jailor.

May term 1807 Livingston Circuit Court: The Grand Jurors Impannelled and Sworn ... present that Robert Trimble, yeoman, and William Trimble, yeoman, and Lewis L. Portee, yeoman, not having the fear of God before their Eyes, but being moved & seduced by the Instigation of the Devil the 7th day of March 1807 at the house of George Brown of Centreville ... with force in and upon the body of a certain John A. Gooch, late Deputy Sheriff of said county ... feloniously, willfully, voluntarily and of their malice aforethought an assault did make and that ... Robert Trimble, a certain pistol of the value of four dollars, then and there charged and loaded with gun powder and a leaden bullet, which pistol Robert Trimble in his right hand ... upon the right side of the belly of John A. Gooch ... did strike, penetrate and wound John A. Gooch ... to the depth of six inches and breadth of one inch of which sd. mortal wound John A. Gooch instantly did die and that William Trimble and Lewis L. Portee ... was present aiding helping and abetting comforting assisting and maintaining Robert Trimble ... The Jurors upon their oaths do say that Robert Trimble, William Trimble and Lewis L. Portee feloniously, willfully, voluntarily and of their malice aforethought ... did kill and murder contrary ... and against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [signed] John Gray, attorney for the commonwealth.

Apparently, Robert Trimble did not remain in Livingston County to face the jury. The following comes from the Danville, Kentucky Mirror, 10 April 1807:

Murdered: In Centreville the 7th inst. captain John A. Gooch, of the above town, of a pistol ball shot by Robert Trimble. The amiable, generous and humane disposition of this young man, endeared him to every person of his acquaintance. He has left an amiable young widow. All his acquaintaince laments his untimely death, and the citizens of Centreville and others of Livingston county, pledge themselves to make up and pay a reward of $200 to any person or persons who shall apprehend the sd. Robert Trimble, and lodge him in any jail in the United States, or that shall secure him so that he may be brought to punishment.

Robert Trimble is a young man about 5 feet 11 inches high, straight and heavy made, about 23 or 24 years old, regularly featured, but in general of a downcast look of his eyes and eyebrows, dark hair and eyes. [signed] Hiram McDaniel, Enoch Prince, Robert Leeper, James Richey Sen., David Kline, Joshua Scott, Jesse Ford, Robert McConnell, A. Gooch, Moses Shelby, Horatio Merry, Isaac Bullard, [?] Armstrong, James Deacon, Robert Hodge, George Brown.

The Jury returned their verdict:
"We of the Jury ... find William Trimble Guilty of Manslaughter and do adjudge him to be confined in the jail & penitentiary house for the space of two years. [signed] Robert Love, foreman.

"We of the Jury impanneled for the tryal of Luis L. Portee Charged with murdering John A. Gooch do find him Not Guilty. [signed] W. Birdsong, foreman."

Robert Trimble was not found.

John A. Gooch left a young widow and one child, John S. Gooch, for whom Moses Shelby was appointed guardian. An inventory of his estate, filed 29 April 1807 provides a glimpse into his life: One home spun suit; one coat; pantaloons & waste coat; several lots of clothes, including "another lot of clothes in which the deceased was murdered;" one fine hat band and buckle; two umbrellas; one Helmet & Horse Sword; Scale, protractor and dividers for Surveyors; a hymn book; surveying book; one writing desk and two pocket books; two trunk locks and two horses. Because slaves were considered personal property, "one Negro Boy named Stephen betwixt fifteen & sixteen years old" was appraised at $450. One has to wonder what John A. Gooch might have achieved if his life had not been cut short.

Published 23 April 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, April 21, 2008

June Weddings

Has June always been the favored month for a wedding? Why? According to the tradition dates back to the 1500s, when people took their yearly baths during the warm weather month of May. By June, they were still somewhat “clean” and any lingering odor could be masked by a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Well, I don’t know that I believe that, but I have noticed there were more marriages in some months than others. I checked marriages in the counties of Crittenden and Caldwell 1850 - 1855. The results of this very unscientific survey reveal fewer marriages in June than any other month and the majority of marriages occurred in January, followed by December and November. The majority of folks in these counties were farmers and were probably too busy planting and then harvesting to think about a wedding until the end of the year. A winter wedding would be just the thing to spice up a dull social calendar.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Explosion of the Pat Cleburne

Another steamboat disaster occurred at 11 p.m. on 17 May 1876 when the Pat Cleburne exploded her boilers while landing along side the Arkansas Belle, six miles below Shawneetown, Illinois and just across from the Kentucky shore. The Arkansas Belle was tied to the bank and disabled by a line of coal flats, which fouled her starboard wheel and could render no assistance.

The Cleburne floated down about a mile and burned. Capt. Dickson Given “Dick” Fowler was caught in the timbers and burned to death. Four others were killed and ten were injured.

The Arkansas Belle was badly wrecked - the chimneys blown overboard, staterooms shattered and on fire in many places.

Capt. Dick Fowler, of the Pat Cleburne, was the eldest son of Judge W.P. Fowler and was born 8 Feb 1830 in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Dixon Given, who lived in early Livingston County and is buried in Smithland Cemetery. Dick Fowler was educated at the Kentucky Military Institute near Frankfort and began his business career in 1849 as a clerk on the Paducah wharfboat owned by his uncles, H.F. and D.A. Given. In 1855, he went to Cairo, Illinois, where he formed a partnership in a wharfboat business, but returned to Paducah the following year. There he secured the contract for carrying the semi-weekly mail between Paducah and Evansville. Dick Fowler purchased the sidewheel steamer Dunbar and placed his younger brother, Gus Fowler, in command. The Dunbar continued as a mailboat to the beginning of the Civil War.

Dick Fowler gave allegiance to the South during the Civil War and was made captain in the Confederate ordnance department. His brother, Capt. Joe Fowler, kept his interest in the river business and when Dick Fowler returned at the end of the war, his brother gave him command of the Jim Fisk, which ran between Paducah and Cairo. Subsequently he commanded the Idlewild and then took charge of the elegant sidewheel steamer Pat Cleburne, which took the Idlewild’s place in the Paducah trade. That ended with the explosion on the night of 17 May 1876.

When the Cleburne was blown up, he was caught in the wreck and burned to death with no one near and able to save him. He was laid to rest in the Fowler plot of Smithland Cemetery, which is high on a hill and has a view of the Ohio River.

The Dick Fowler, a steamer, was named for the revered captain. The Dick Fowler was launched in 1892 in Evansville, Indiana and Capt. Dick’s brother, Capt. Joe Fowler, and other citizens of Paducah made the first trip on the steamer. They were greeted in Paducah with crowds on the wharfboat and along the river bank. There was great excitement and fanfare to welcome the new steamer to Paducah.

In June 1911, the Dick Fowler was sold at public auction to satisfy a debt of $1400 and, in November of the same year, the Dick Fowler sank during a wind storm.

Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur. Annals of the Fowler Family, (privately published, 1901), 93, 94.

“Terrible Steamboat Disaster,” The Evansville Journal, 19 May 1876.

"Famous Steam Boat to be Sold at Public Auction," The Lexington Herald, 15 June 1911.

Friday, April 18, 2008


At 4:35 this morning and perhaps to commemmorate the 102nd anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake of 18 Apr 1906, Mother Nature let us know that she has the upper hand in all things weather related. Shaking of buildings accompanied by a loud noise pulled us from our beds and made us wonder if this was the “big one” that has been predicted for the Midwest for years. Fortunately, it was only a 5.2 quake followed by smaller aftershocks. I hesitate to say “only a 5.2” as it might be interpreted as teasing Mother Nature and having her retaliate with an even stronger one.

Keeping this in mind, I tiptoed quietly to the family room, turned on the TV and watched for news of the sleep-shattering event. Everyone agrees that it could have been worse. What if it had been worse? Are we prepared? No, not the food supply; most of us have enough food to keep us from starvation for days. I’m talking about all of the research we have done - our files, CDs, charts, and computer programs. Will they be safe until all systems are restored? If you haven’t done so yet, make copies of your computer programs and files. Store them in safe places - in a bank safety deposit box or with a friend or relative out of town. Scan those charts and documents onto CDs and place them in a safe place too. Think about it. Will your material that took years to gather be wiped out in a brief moment?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Burning of the John L. Lowery


Although the “Golden Age” of steamboating began in 1840, according to “Steamboatin’ on the Cumberland” by Byrd Douglas, passengers and goods continued to be transported on the rivers well after 1900. Steamboating was not without its dangers, though, as witnessed by the many fires, which destroyed the steamers and sometimes resulted in loss of lives.

The following article from the Crittenden Press describes the burning of the John L. Lowery in 1911.

Paducah, Ky., June 15, 1911 - The steamer John L. Lowery, with 50 passengers aboard, burned to the water’s edge off Hamlettsburg, Illinois at 1:30 o’clock this morning. There was no loss of life. The place where the accident occurred is opposite Smithland, Ky., and rescue parties put out from the Kentucky side to aid in the work of saving lives.

How the flames started has not been learned, but a faulty boiler is believed to have been responsible. The steamer started burning near the Illinois bank and the glare lighted up the water front on both sides of the river. The whistles of distress disturbed the stillness of the night and were heard for many miles.

The wildest of scenes were enacted on board the vessel when the flames were first discovered. Women shrieked and became hysterical, while many men frantic with fear, fought their way to the rails. All landed safe, however.”

The Henderson Gleaner of 12 January 1913 says, “The new John L. Lowery, Capt. John L. Lowery’s fine new boat, made its maiden trip from Evansville to Paducah last night, leaving Evansville at 8 o’clock and passing here at 9 o’clock. On account of the rain, very few Henderson people saw the boat pass. It will ply between Paducah and Evansville.”

Published 14 April 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Matthew Lyon's Opinion of Eddyville

Eddyville, Kentucky began as part of old Livingston County. When Caldwell County was created from Livingston in 1809, Eddyville was located in that county. It wasn’t until 1854 that it fell into the new county of Lyon and today is the county seat of Lyon.

Many of you have heard that Matthew Lyon brought a large number of people from Vermont to settle in and around old Eddyville, Kentucky. Just recently I came across a newspaper item in the 16 January 1801 issue of the Columbian Courier, which states that Lyon petitioned the Legislature of Kentucky for a grant of 20,000 acres in the counties of Christian and Livingston for the use of himself and “certain Emigrants” from Vermont. His petition was rejected.

He didn’t give up on his quest to populate Eddyville with Vermonters as just a few days later, Lyon wrote a letter to the editor of the Vermont Gazette, in which he described the area around his Kentucky home. He said, “I am settled at a place called Eddyville, situate about forty miles up Cumberland river, which empties into the Ohio, at about sixty miles from its confluence with the Mississippi, and few miles above the mouth of the Tennessee.

“Eddyville is in the centre of Livingston county well situated to enjoy a good country trade of forty or fifty miles extent, and to command its share of the river business, the river being navigable for light boats for 300 miles above Eddyville, and for heavy flat boats down to New-Orleans, at all seasons of the years, and at high water for any vessel whatever. The country is new, having been among the hunting ground of the Indians at the time of Wayne’s treaty. The Indians have all retired some hundred miles south and west of Cumberland, and there are now a great many good farmers settled in Livingston, Christiana [sic] and Logan counties, which too last are adjacent to and older settlements than Livingston county, and whose trade will be considerable advantage to Eddyville, if the settlement prospers.

“Money is not yet plenty here nor yet to scarce as in Vermont ... The present and ensuing years sale of tobacco, cotton, hemp, wheat, beef and pork will help us greatly in this respect, as our imports are small, and salt is made in great quantities among us. Cast iron is made in Kentucky ...

“There is in Kentucky, particularly in the counties of Livingston, Henderson, Christiana and Logan, large quantities of vacant land, a considerable share of which is good for cultivation. For 2 years past I have petitioned the legislature to set apart a share of that land for such republicans from Vermont as may emigrate hither. The legislature have not thought best to comply in all points with my petition, but they have done more, they have offered their vacant land to any body that will settle it, in 400 acre lots or less, except that those settlers who have had 200 acres already, shall have but 200 acres more.”

Lyon went on to encourage people from Vermont to take advantage of this generous offer. He described “the situation” as desirable with luxuriant soil, temperate climate and provisions easily obtained. I know a number of families from Vermont did settle in and near old Eddyville, but do not know how many. Do you?

Published 12 April 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Book Sale

To view books currently on sale, visit my Western Kentucky Books Blog here: Western Kentucky Genealogy Books

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ohio River Floods


Folks living along the Ohio River are seldom surprised by the river spilling over its banks onto farm land, roads and houses. It happens just about every year. 2008 has been an especially hard year with high water damaging homes and occasionally closing schools because of roads under water. The river levels have been much higher, though.

Four of the greatest floods of the Ohio River valley occurred in 1884, 1913, 1937 and 1997. In 1884, it was reported in the Evansville Daily Courier that the towns of Smithland in Kentucky and Golconda, Elizabethtown, New Liberty and Shawneetown in Illinois were partly underwater.

The flood of 1913 almost destroyed the town of Caseyville in Union County. The town hall floated off and when a livery stable started floating away, it was caught and tied to a tree.

The Great Flood of 1937 is still fresh in the minds of many. I can remember my parents talking about people who were displaced by the flood moving in with friends and relatives who lived on higher ground. This flood would also play a part in the demise of the little river town of Weston in Crittenden County, Kentucky.

Since the earliest settlement, Weston has had problems when the river was on the rise. In 1886 the Ohio River high water played havoc with the business of John S. James at Weston. The following details are taken from Crittenden Circuit Court case file #446, which can be found at the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

John S. James, plaintiff, against The Evansville & Cairo Packet Co., Defendants.

The plaintiff states that the defendants are an incorporated Company owning and running a line of steamers between the cities of Evansville Ind. and Cairo Ill. on the Ohio River, and is known as the Evansville & Cairo Packet Co.

He states that he is the owner of a steam saw mill situated on the Ohio River at Weston, Crittenden County and that he had at great expense built a logway extending from his mill down into the River for the purpose of hauling sawlogs from the river up to his mill, which is situated on the bank of the river. He states that he also had a log float attached to his logway and that the defendants while navigating the Ohio River with their steamer Hopkins on or about the [blank] day of [blank] 1886 carelessly and recklessly ran their steamer Hopkins into and over the logway and float thereby tearing down and destroying the same and rendering it unfit for use and the log float was a total loss.

That in order to repair the logway so as to render it of use to the plaintiff for the purposes intended, he was compelled to and did expend the sum of $115.13 in repairs. In addition, he was deprived of the use of the logway for 10 days to his damage in the sum of $15per day. He says by reason of the destruction of the logway & float, he was been damaged in the sum of $265.13. Wherefore he prays for judgment against the defendants. [signed] John S. James by Blue & Blue (attorneys).

Published 7 April 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Will of Blount Hodge 1874

Transcribed from Livingston County, Kentucky Will Book C, page 19. This will has to take the prize as the most interesting one to be found in Livingston County.

In the name of God Amen I Blount Hodge of Smithland Livingston County, Kentucky being of sound mind and disposing memory though 70 years of age the 28 day of May & cannot live long at best & further feeling it to be my bounden duty as an honest & honorable man in the sight of God, do make and declare this to be my last will and testiment, hereby revoking and destroying all former Wills heretofore made by me.

First: I will and devise to Ellen Tanner mother of Charley Hodge Dec’d Thirty nine acres of land lying and being in Pope County Illinois, valued at $300, the same land on which she now lives and for a more particular description of said land see deed of same from Charley Hodge to me recorded in Pope County Clerk’s office.

Secondly: I will and devise to my son Gus. Hodge of New Orleans one undivided half part of the Marion Robertson farm in Marshall County Ky. Deeded to me by said Robertson & wife containing 186 1/2 acres the whole tract valued at $3000.

Thirdly: I devise to my son J.C. Hodge five dollars heretofore having given to him absolutely about four thousand dollars in Notes and real estate see Judge Bennett & A. Birdwell. Now the above devise is all of my estate real or personal he ever shall inherit except a full plain and radcal [sic] change in all his habits associations & dealings in every respect and I here acknowledge that I have no hope that there will any change for the better but shall look for the event and I have this day rec’d information that he is now fixing up plans to thwart and destroy this will & I do hope to God the County court of Livingston County will scout all such subterfuges if any should be attempted.

Fourthly: I will and devise to Almira Wynder the house and lott whereon I am now living including all the house hold & Kitchen furniture also the red frame house and lott on which it stands on the corner of Mill [and] Charlotte streets fronting 50 feet on Mill and running back One hundred feet to the Church lott then to Charlott also the double frame house where Henry Green & Andy Miles lives, and the entire lott under fence where it stands on Adair Street these Several devises to Almira Wynder in the aggregate amounts to $5360.

Fifthly: I will and devise to Lucy Wynder a colored girl that lives with me and is a daughter of Almira Wynder the frame Looney house & lott 45 feet front on Charlott Street running with Mrs. Bates line 200 feet towards the river valued at $300. Also a lott on Main Street opposite J.W. Richardson residence sold to me by Mrs. E. Looney valued at $50. Also 63 acres of land joining the land sold to Doctor Jones being to remmant[?] of the Joseph T. Allyn land this I value at $3.00 per acre. My executors hereafter named will sell all this d_vise the first good chance and appropriate the money in Schooling Lucy which will be the best.

Sixthly: I will and bequeath to Almira Hodge jr. and Lillian St. Clair Hodge, both of which are my children and daughters of Almira Wynder, to belong to them jointly my Cooper farm on Tennessee River containing 7 or 8 hundred acres & perhaps more if it is run properly in this County which I value at 8 or 10 thousand dollars but it is my wish that my executors R.S. Boyd & A. Birdwell sell the Cooper place for the best price as soon as convenient on a good long credit as my said Executors may deem necessary to obtain as much as possible and then invest the proceeds of same in good and secure Bonds, and collect the interest and apply to the education of said children. Also I will and devise to Almira Hodge the Stable lot 100 by 200 feet on the corner of level & Charlott Street valued at $100. Also I devise the proceeds of the 177 acres of land bought of John Davis and sold to Wm. Vance & McClane. I devise she sall [sic] have the proceeds of said sale when collected valued at $1200.

Seventhly: I will & devise to Lillian St. Clair Hodge daughter of Almyra Wynder the Brick house & lott on the corner of Mill & Front Street[,] being 50 feet front by 200 back and is part of lot No. 7 which I value at $2000.

Eighthly: I desire that my personal property not devised in this Will, be sold and all the cash notes collected and the land notes collected, and if any of the land sold should have to be bought or fall back to my estate I desire the same to be resold by my Executors to the best advantage they having full power to make Deeds &c. Also I will and desire that all the money collected on notes or land notes or for land resold if any, and ater pay [sic] my just debts and expenses in carry [sic] this will fully out be equally divided 1/3 each to Almira Wynder Almira Hodge & Lillian St. Clair Hodge.

Lastly: I hereby impower and authorise my Executors R.S. Boyd & A. Birdwell to sell & convey & confirm a sale to any or all of said property devised to Almira Wynder & her 3 daughters whenever it becomes necessary as she may have to leave here, & pay the proceeds of said sales whenever in the Judgment of my said Executors it is for the best or should be deemed necessary, and should such a course be deem[?] & necessary & my Executors think it best, then in that case they will pay Almira Wyder her part to do with as she please, but be sure & Keep the children vested in good securities & to [be] used for their schooling & support.

Finally: I hereby appoint my special friends R.S. Boyd & A. Birdwell my Executors to carry this my last will and testament into effect and request the County Court of Livingston County to not require Security of them but permit them to qualify uppon their own personal bond & I wish my executors to be paid two hundred dollars each when all the services are performed which can soon be done.

In addition to the above I have this day to say that there has been an attempt to take my life with Stricnine & I now think I Know the parties that were engaged in it & I think they will produce a fraudulent Will or try evry _ evice to _estroy this. I make this will in Justice to my word and conscience before God & man. [signed] Blount Hodge.

Signed and acknowledged by Bount Hodge as and for his last will and testament in our presents at his request this 13th August 1874. [signed] Ben P. Cissell, J.K. Huey, W.D. Greer, Thos. C. Leech, W.H. Sander, Jno. W. Lockett, R.S. Boyd, J.K. Hendrick, R.W. Martin, A. Birdwell, J.R. Hooks, Willie Marble.

Codicil: I, Blount Hodge of Smithland, Livingston County Kentucky being of sound mind and disposing memory do hereby make publish and declare this codicil to my last will and testament, and hereby make it as a part of my said will, that said will being the one connected herewith and dated the 15th day of August 1874. In my said Will by the third clause thereof I devised to my son J.C. Hodge Five dollars in addition to the property which I had given him before, and I stated in said clause that the above devise is all of my estate rent or personal he ever shall inherit except “certain” change valued therein took place.

Now to avoid any question on this subject and for good reasons I hereby declare that the said Five dollars is all of my estate which I intend or devise my said son to have making no exception whatever.

There is some property which I have acquired since my last will was written now I hereby will and desire that my executors herein after named, do sell the same and any other property real or personal which I may own at time of y death not disposed of in the foregoing Will and appoint[?] such terms as they may deem best, and that the proceeds be equally divided between Elmira Mynder & her two children Elmira Hodge & Lilliam St. Clare Hodge, but the interest of said two infants to be invested in bonds or appropriated by my executors in educating & maintaining them as my executors may deed best.

In view of the fact that one of my executors appointed in my will aforesaid viz: Anthony Birdwell has recently died and the other one R.S. Boyd lives remote from Smithland I do hereby nominat constitute and appoint my two friends John L. Vick and W.D. Green as the executors of my last will and testament & of this codicil thereto in the place of Birdwell & Boyd and hereby give them every right power and authority that said Anthony Birdwell & R.S. Boyd were given by said will and full and complete power to carry out out [sic] my said will & codicil thereto in all respects and to make and execute deeds to the property they are authorised to sell, and in the event that either one of them cannot or fails to quality and act as my said executor then I hereby empower the other one to act and carry out sais will & condicil into effect and request the County Court of Livingston County not to require security of my said executors but permit them to qualify uppon their own personal bond. I wish my executors to be issued for their services when performed by them three hundred dollars each. Signed and acknowledged by Bounty Hodge as and for a codicil to his last will and testament this November 27th 1874. [signed] Blount Hodge.
Witnesses: W.D. Greer, John L. Vick, W.H. Sanders, H.H. Duley.

Produced in open Court and proven to be the last will of said Decedent by the oaths of T.C. Leech and R.S. Boyd two subscribing witnesses thereto and other testimoney and said Codicil was fully proven by the oaths of H.H. Duley, W.H. Sanders, and John L. Vick, subscribing witnesses thereto and other testimony and said will was approved by the court as the last will and testament of Blount Hodge Deceased and said Codicil was approved by the Court as a codicil to said Will and ordered to be recorded. 9 March 1877. [signed] John L. Vick Clerk.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thumbs Up!

Politics can be a dangerous business, but words are usually the weapon of choice. That wasn’t the case, though, 200 years ago in old Livingston County, Kentucky. According to an article from the 27 Nov 1806 issue of the New York Evening Post, a confrontation occurred on election night in Eddyville. A Mr. Cofield was introduced to Matthew Lyon, who stated he did not wish to be acquainted with the man as Mr. Cofield had not voted for him and, therefore, Cofield could not be Lyon’s friend. Cofield became upset, which resulted in Lyon being knocked down and somehow Cofield’s thumb became positioned in the mouth of Lyon, who promptly amputated it at the first joint.

With the current election campaign getting more passionate daily, let’s hope the candidates can refrain from a situation of this nature.