Saturday, May 31, 2008

Apprentice Records for Freedmen 1866-1867

After the Civil War (1861-1865), many former slave children were without means of support and were often bound out as apprentices to people in the community, sometimes their former owners, to learn a trade. In exchange for food, lodging, clothing and medical attention, the apprenctices were to faithfully and honestly serve his or her master until attaining the age of 21 for males or 18 for females. The following information has been abstracted from Apprentice Bonds for Freedmen, Crittenden County Clerk's Office, Marion, Kentucky.

Susan Moore was bound to Alfred Moore to learn the trade of a spinster 11 June 1866.

Wesley Moore was bound to Alfred Moore to learn the trade of a farmer 11 June 1866.

John Taylor, age 11, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a farmer 8 Oct 1866.

Charles Taylor, age 9, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a farmer 8 Oct 1866.

Abraham Taylor, age 13, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a farmer 8 Oct 1866.

Julia Taylor, age 9, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a spinster 8 Oct 1866.

Hattie Taylor, age 6, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a spinster 8 Oct 1866.

Isaac Taylor, age 4, was bound to R.W. Taylor to learn the trade of a farmer 8 Oct 1866.

Zarilda Taylor, age 4, was bound to J.G. Taylor to learn the trade of a spinster 8 Oct 1866.

Joseph Woody, age 4, was bound to Thomas J. Woody to learn the trade of a farmer 8 Oct 1866.

Betsy Hodge was bound to Singleton Hodge to learn the trade of a spinster 9 Oct 1866.

Burk Hodge, age 9, was bound to Singleton Hodge 9 Oct 1866.

Lavina Thurmond was bound to Phillip Thurmond to learn the trade of a spinster 11 Feb 1867.

Emma Thurmond was bound to Phillip Thurmond to learn the trade of a spinster 11 Feb 1867.

Netter Pearce Thurmond, age 11, was bound to Phillip Thurmond to learn the trade of a farmer 11 Mar 1867.

Vency Thurmond, age 9, was bound to Phillip Thurmond to learn the trade of a spinster 11 Mar 1867.

Zella Thurmond, age 6, was bound to Phillip Thurmond to learn the trade of a spinster 11 Mar 1867.

Wm. Mahala Cain, age 5, was bound to Dr. W.S. Cain to learn the trade of a spinster 9 Sep 1867.

Andrew McGee, age 10, was bound to Samuel L. Nelson 13 Sep 1867.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Powers of Attorney 1818

When one person appoints another person to act as his agent to perform specific acts in his behalf, he files an instrument of writing called a Power of Attorney. The following Powers of Attorney have been abstracted from loose papers in the Caldwell County Clerk’s Office, Princeton, Kentucky.

I do hereby impower Justn. Cartwright to sell & transfer my platt &c for 200 acres of land granted to me on a County Court Certificate from Livingston County May 7th 1804 lying on flyns fork of Tradewater adjoining Elisha Thurmonds 200 acre claim on the S.W. [signed] Polley Cartwright. Wit: Justn. Cartwright Jr. Dated 23 Jun 1818. Recorded 30 Jun 1818.

Know all men ... I constitute and appoint Jesse Cobb of Caldwell County my lawful attorney & agent with full power to let, lease or rent for me a tract of land which I own lying on Cumberland River about 4 miles below this place on the south side of the river containing 141 acres. [signed] Elisha Grady. Wit: M. Lyon Jr. Dated 7 Aug 1818. Recorded 27 Sep 1821.

Know all men ... I C.H.J. Briscoe do hereby constitute & appoint John Bradley of Eddyville my true & lawful agent & attorney to sign my name to a replevin bond to Jacob Doom, should Doom get a Judgment against me in Caldwell Circuit Court on an action of Covenant now pending in which Doom is Plaintiff and I am Defendant. [signed] C.H.J. Briscoe. Dated 8 Aug 1818. Recorded 8 Dec 1818.

Know all men ... I Jeremiah Murray of Caldwell County constitute and appoint my brother John B. Murray of Union County, Illinois Territory my true and lawful agent and attorney to commence a suit of Slander against Samuel Hunsacker of Union County, Illinois Territory to prosecute the same ... to obtain a judgment against Hunsacker and to sign my name to all necessary instruments. [signed] Jeremiah (X his mark) Murray. Dated and recorded 9 Aug 1818.

I James Cannon of Missouri Territory constitute and appoint Arthur H. Davis of Caldwell County my true and lawful agent & attorney to defend a suit now pending in the Caldwell Circuit Court wherein Thomas Brooks Jr is Complainant and I am defendant in Chancery; also appoint David to transact all business in which I am concerned in the state of Kentucky. [signed] James (X his mark) Cannon. Dated and recorded 21 Aug 1818.

I John Lyon appoint Thomas Barlow of Caldwell County my attorney to proceed in obtaining a pattan [patent] for a tract of land in his own name that was surveyed in my name on a Certificate of 265 achors [acres] originally granted to Catsey B. McNabb by Livingston County Court in 1806. [signed] John Lyon. Wit: John Hall. Dated 21 Aug 1818. Recorded 22 Mar 1819.

Know all men ... I William Brown of Illinois Territory & County of Gallatin have made, constituted & appointed my trusty friend Mr. Thomas Hail of Caldwell County my true & lawful attorney to sell & convey a title to a certain tract of land in Caldwell County granted to Wm. Brown, assignee of Isaac Job, containing 200 acres on the waters of Eddy Creek in the Eddy Grove, dated 15 Nov 1807. [signed] William (X his mark)Brown. Wit: John Haworth, Gatley Davis, John Jones. Dated 1 Apr 1818. Recorded 25 May 1818.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Breaking the Sabbath

Breaking the Sabbath was not taken lightly in early Kentucky as Sunday was supposed to be a respite from labor. Those who dared to do otherwise were sure to be tattled on by neighbors and had to suffer the consequences.

In May of 1847, Jeremiah Dunning, yeoman of Crittenden County, Kentucky, was accused by Bennett Crouch of presuming to “violate and break the Sabbath day by then and there labouring at his usual business, work, or avocation, to wit: packing timber for making staves, the said work, or labour, not being the usual and ordinary household and domestic business, nor other work of necessity or charity.”

That same month, William Walker, also a yeoman of Crittenden County, was accused of breaking the sabbath by “taking coal from the pit and transporting it to a place of deposit for sale.” T.S. Phillips and John W. Phillips were his accusers.

In November of 1847, Isaac Dilbeck of Crittenden County was accused by J.C.J. Bennett and Wylie Jones, of breaking the Sabbath by “driving his horses in a sled for profit on a Sabbath Day, which was not a work of necessity or charity and Dilbeck not being a member of any religious society who observed as a Sabatth any other day of the week than Sunday.”

Although breaking the Sabbath was considered serious, fines set by the jury were generally small. Part of the punishment was the embarrassment of your neighbors knowing you had not conformed to the mores of society or the laws of the commonwealth.

The law/tradition of not working on the Sabbath was still common just half of a century ago and perhaps later than that. I can remember my parents and grandparents visiting with family and friends on long Sunday afternoons because all work ceased on Sunday. Blue Laws were still in effect then and there was little to do outside visiting, reading and napping.

Source: Crittenden County Circuit Court records, Accession #A1994 267, Box 4, Bundle #21, Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CSA Pensions

Kentucky was one of the last of the southern states to provide financial help for veterans who provided service for the South during the Civil War. These pension applications, which begin in 1912, are a great source of information as they contain the veteran’s date and place of birth, his unit designation and terms of service. The application may also contain depositions of persons familiar with the veteran’s military service and his current situation. If the veteran served in another state, the application will state how long he had resided in Kentucky. Remember, though, the pension application was filed in the state in which the veteran lived when the application was made, no matter where he lived when he enlisted in the service.

An index of Kentucky CSA pensioners has been published and is available in many libraries. Copies of pension applications of CSA veterans filed in Kentucky are available from the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Below is the application of John A. Thompson, who served in a Virginia regiment and filed from Livingston County, Kentucky, where he was living in 1912.

On 26th of April 1912, John A. Thompson of Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky, applied for a pension based on his service in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He stated he served in Company G, 14th VA Regiment, Armstead’s Brigade, Picket’s Division, Longstreet Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.

Thompson stated he was born in Halifax County, Virginia 17 Mar 1843 and enlisted in the army in 1861. He got out of the army at Five Forks, Virginia on 2 April 1865 - “We cut and fought our way out.”

He reported he was a prisoner for 10 days at Fort Norfolk, Virginia and was paroled there in 1863. He took the oath of allegiance after Lee surrendered.

Thompson is now a tenant on a farm in Livingston County. He has no estate except for a little household furniture. He has been a resident of Kentucky since 1865.

On 29 April 1912, W.H. Mann gave a deposition regarding Thompson’s service. He said he had served with Thompson in the Confederate Army and for a while they were members of the same regiment. He said he was captured at Five Forks on 1 April 1865 and never knew what became of Thompson at that battle until he met him about 30 years ago in Livingston County.

James B. Thompson, brother of John A. Thompson, gave a deposition on 5 Mary 1912 in Livingston County. He stated John A. was in the 14th VA Regiment and enlisted in Halifax County, Virginiia. He has known him all his life and he and his brother belonged to the same regiment.

The pension was allowed and his pension number is #393.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Appointment of Guardians

A guardian was often appointed for a minor child following the death of the father, providing, of course, the father left assets sufficient to support the child. There were other occasions, too, when a guardian was appointed.

If a minor child had inherited money or property, a guardian might be appointed to conserve that property until the child reached the age of 21 years. The father was often appointed guardian is such cases, especially if the inherited property had come from a grandparent or other relative.

If the father planned an extended stay away from home, especially in the case of a war, a guardian might be appointed for the duration of the father’s absence.

An underage minor orphan wishing to marry commonly chose a guardian to give permission for the marriage license to be issued. The guardian was often chosen the same day as the marriage.

A guardian might be appointed to represent the interests of a non resident child owning property in the county.

A guardian ad litem is often appointed by the court in which a particular litigation is pending. The guardian’s duty is to represent the minor person in that particular litigation only.

The county court appointed guardians for minors under the age of 14 years. Once the minor reached age 14, he could choose his own guardian. The guardian’s responsibilities included keeping records of expenditures paid or collected on behalf of the minor. An accounting would be necessary when the guardian’s term of service ended or in the event the child died.

Guardian appointments are recorded in the county court order books [court minutes] and in a separate guardian appointment bond book. Be sure to check both books as there may be more information in one than another.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Research From Home

Was your ancestor a party in a lawsuit or divorce and you would like to obtain a copy of the case file? You can do it by mail and it is really quite easy.

Civil and criminal cases, as well as divorce cases, are filed in circuit court in Kentucky. Almost every Kentucky county has transfered their circuit court case files to the Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, Kentucky. To determine the location of the circuit court records for your county of interest, go to the Kentucky Dept for Library and Archives website at Scroll down to Court/Government Records Research, click on the link to a list of counties and dates of civil and criminal case files available at the archives.

Right below that link are links to request Civil Case Records, Criminal Case Records and Divorce Records. These links will take you to a form which you will fill out and mail to the address listed on the form. You will need the names of the parties involved and an approximate date of the action. If you are a Kentucky resident, you will need to send along a $10 fee. Non-residents of Kentucky should send a check for $15. If you have a question about availability of records in your county, you may call the Archives research room at 502-564-8300 ext. 207 or 210.

With the price of gasoline increasing almost daily, we may all need to find alternative ways to do research.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obediah Terrell, Long Hunter

This article was originally written for and published in Vol. XIV, No. 1 (Winter 2007) of the Western Kentucky Journal.

by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
copyright (c) 2007

Several years ago I came across an 1805 original Livingston County document in which Obediah Terrell listed his property and then gave it all away. The document was copied and filed away until there was time to learn more about Obediah Terrell and the purpose of this document.

A few months ago, while reading about the early settlement of Tennessee, the name Obediah Terrell jumped out at me. His name was listed among a group of adventurers, who, in 1769, left their homes in North Carolina and Virginia, traveled through what is now Middle Tennessee and up into the area of present-day Wayne County, Kentucky. These men were known as Long Hunters. They acquired this name because they were gone for a long time, sometimes two or three years, traveling, trapping and hunting, hence, the name Long Hunter. A complete list of the 20 or so men has not been found, but a partial list gives the following names: John Rains, Kasper Mansco, Abraham Bledsoe, John Baker, Joseph Drake, Uriah Stone, Henry Smith, Ned Cowan, Robert Crockett and Obediah Terrell.

There seems to be a division among historians about the true nature of these early adventurers. Some portray them as brave men who left their homes and families to venture out into unknown territory for the good of God and country while others believe they were more likely poor men seeking the means to support their families. Whatever the case may be, the Long Hunters did push the frontier beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains and paved the way for later explorations. Also, it would have taken some courage to travel through areas inhabitated only by wild beasts and often hostile Indians.

Could Obediah Terrell, the Long Hunter, have been the same man who left the record in Livingston County, Kentucky? A bit of research into the early history of Kentucky proved helpful.

Kentucky was still part of Virginia until 1792, when it became a state. Prior to that year, records of the Long Hunters in Kentucky would be found in Virginia.

Obediah Terrell was living in old Fincastle County, Virginia in 1773 when he obtained judgment against Uriah Stone, another Long Hunter. In 1778, Obediah was appointed administrator of the estate of Thomas Kindrick in Washington County, Virginia and sometime thereafter he moved to Tennessee. Obey’s Creek, Scott County, Virginia, was named for Obediah, who lived on the creek before he moved to Middle Tennessee. He recorded his stock mark in the Minutes of the Committee of the Cumberland Association in Tennessee on 23 Apr 1783. In December 1791 Obediah bought land from Isaac Bledsoe in Sumner County, Tennessee and sold a portion of the land in 1793.

The trail of Obediah Terrell disappeared at that point, but he was found, this time in Kentucky, in May 1799, when he received a grant of 200 acres of land on Crooked Creek in Christian County, Kentucky. This land fell into the new county of Livingston, created that same year, but would be in Crittenden County (created 1842 from Livingston County) today. So, with the exception of about six years, his path from Virginia to Tennessee to Kentucky was fairly easy to follow. If this was the same Obediah Terrell. I still was not sure.

If this was the same man, most likely he was at least 18 years old when he traveled with the Long Hunters in 1769. That would make his year of birth at least 1751. Again, if this was the same man, he was at least 48 years old when he acquired the land in Kentucky and, at that time, would no longer be considered a young man. Most likely, he was ready to settle down to a less strenuous life.

Obediah appears on Livingston County tax lists through 1809 with one white male age 21 or older and land on Crooked Creek. No record of him has been found after 1809. For a man who was active in the exploration and settlement of Tennessee and Kentucky, Obediah Terrell’s name is seldom mentioned in the early records of Livingston County. From tax lists we know he lived on Crooked Creek, possibly where it spills into the Ohio River. No record was found to indicate that Obediah married or had children.

One of the few records generated by Obediah in Livingston County was that 200+ year old document, which was actually an inventory of his property and was accompanied by a deed of gift to his friend, George Flynn.

The inventory, dated 31 December 1805, lists Obediah’s property as follows: “one Fethear Bed & furniture 2 putere dishes and five plats two Iron pots & tow Iron Kettles Three axes and Three Augers five Chisels one Hand saw & Draw Knife one Iron & one Iron wege Three Clives four Drawing Chains & hangins two sets of Plough Irons - Four head of horses Twenty head of Cow hide marked thus the Right ear a Crop & underbit The Left ear a Slit under and over Twenty three hogs with the Same Mark Three head of Sheep the same mark one Mattic and 2 weeding hoes Two Negroes Doll the name of one and fan her child the other “ Obediah signed his name and the document was witnessed by Wm. Hughes and Thomas Hughes.

The deed of gift states the following: “To all people to whom these presents Shall Come I Obediah Terrell do send Greeting Know ye that I the said Obediah Terrell of Livingston County State of Kentucy [sic] for an in consideration of the Love good will and affection which I have and do bear towards my loving friend Georg Filynn of the same State & County have given and granted and by these Present do freely give and grant unto the sd. Goerg [sic] Flynn his heirs executors or administrators all and Sundry my goods and Chattels now living in my present dwelling house in the same State & County afore said of which before the Signing of these presents I have delivered to him the said flynn an inventory Signed with my own hand and bearing even date to have and to hold all the Said goods and Chattels in the said premises or dwelling house to him the sd. Georg flynn his heirs executors or administrators from henceforth as his and their property goods and Chattels Absolutely without any Manner of condition In witness whereof I have here unto put my hand and seal.”

I knew from previous research that the Flynn family owned a ferry on the Ohio River in present-day Crittenden County and the road leading to the ferry from the direction of Caldwell County was known as Flynns Ferry Road. But what did that family have to do with Obediah Terrell? There was an older George Flin, who died in Livingston County by 23 July 1799, when letters of administration on his estate were granted to Thomas Hawkins. Could Obediah have been connected to that George Flin? Maybe so, but that still didn’t answer my question about a possible relationship between Obediah and the Flynn family in 1805.

Then, I remembered reading in Selections from Sam Steger’s Historical Notebook that George Flin or Flynn accompanied the Long Hunters on a excursion through the lower Cumberland Valley in the early 1770’s. According to the author, Flynn was paid by the government for serving as a guide and spy.

Perhaps Obediah Terrell became acquainted with Flynn when he was with the Long Hunters or maybe they met in Tennessee.

This hunch was confirmed by a sketch of Obediah Terrell, found in the Draper Manuscripts:

“Obediah Terrrill was a chunky, small sized man, with a club foot - lived in early times in the Nashville region - & finally lived & died in the family of Geo. Flinn, whom he raised, above Ford’s Ferry, in Livingston Co., Ky, about the time of the War of 1812. He was fond of boasting. He had no children - perhaps never married. Genl. Ramsey knew him well. He was an early explorer of Tennessee.”

Not only does this entry prove that the Long Hunter, Obediah Terrell, was the same man who settled in early Livingston County, but shows there was a relationship between him and the Flynn family and throws another name onto the scene. Who was Genl. Ramsey and what did he have to do with Obediah Terrell?

On the same page of Draper’s Notes where the physical description of Obediah Terrell was found, it was mentioned that Josiah Ramsey was a Major of Militia when he resided in Tennessee County (now Robertson County, Tennessee). It also states he received a pension for military service and died about 1834-1835 at his son’s in Calloway County, Missouri.

While too young to have a distant memory, Josiah was captured by Indians in the 1750’s in Virginia and remained with them for several years. After a treaty with the Indians, Josiah was claimed by Thomas Ramsey as his son, Josiah. However, Josiah stated he knew he was not a member of the Ramsey family and believed he belonged to another family. Nevertheless, Josiah remained with the Ramsey family. Josiah served as an Indian spy off and on from 1775 until the fall of 1780. He moved to Kentucky in the winter of 1780 and then to Tennesee in 1781, near the future site of Nashville. In the summer of 1782 and 1783 he served several tours, amounting to a total of three months.

In 1787, Josiah Ramsey received a grant from the state of North Carolina for his services as a Commissioner’s Guard. The tract containing 320 acres was located on Half Pone Creek in Davidson County, Tennessee.

By 1795, Josiah and his son, Jonathan, were back in Kentucky, where they appear on the Logan County tax list. At that time, Logan County included the area that became Christian County in 1796 (effective 1797) and Livingston County was created from Christian County in 1798 (effective 1799).

By 1800, Josiah Ramsey and his son, Jonathan, are found on the Livingston County tax list. At no time was Josiah listed as a land owner in Livingston County, although Jonathan owned quite a lot of land on Clay Lick and Deer Creeks.

On 27 Aug 1807, Josiah Ramsey appointed Jonathan Ramsey his attorney to redeem land in Montgomery County, Tennessee, which appeared to have been sold for taxes.

The Ramsey family left Livingston County before 1820 and settled in Callaway County, Missouri. The following sketch is from A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri, written in 1876: “Jonathan Ramsey was born in Livingston Co., Ky. His father was Josiah Ramsey, who was captured by the Indians when he was 7 years of age, and remained with them until he was 30. He became a celebrated hunter, and settled in Callaway Co., Mo. in 1819. Jonathan was married in Kentucky to Hannah Lampkin, by whom he had Allen, Ewell, Maria and Jane. Mr. Ramsey was a delegate to the Constitutional convention in 1820, and afterward represented Callaway Co. in the legislature for several years.”

A little project to learn about an early settler of Livingston County resulted in learning quite a bit more. Not only did I learn that Obediah Terrell, who left the 1805 Livingston County document, was a Long Hunter, but at least one and possibly two other early residents were connected to the Long Hunters too.

Even though western Kentucky was settled after the rest of the state, sometimes we forget that this area also has a long and exciting history.

Kentucky Mines Deadly

Mining has always been a very dangerous occupation and Kentucky appears to have been particularly hard hit with mining disasters. The following newspaper articles record the often-deadly accounts of some of these events.

From the 1 December 1910 issue of the Crittenden Record-Press, we learn that two men died in a mine owned by the Bell Coke & Coal Mining Company mine, located about a mile from the Tradewater River, in an isolated spot in the hills of the northern part of the county.

“The first intimation neighbors had that anything had happened was shortly before midnight by the shaking of houses and rattling of windows. The machinery at the Bell mine was being run at night in order to pummp waters out of the shaft. The men in charge were J.T. Glifford and Charles Travis. When last seen by the other men, they were alive and well, but when the men rushed to the mine after the explosion they found only mangled pieces of human beings.”

“The big boiler had exploded with terrible force, wrecking the building and hurling the men high into the air and mangling them almost beyond recognition.”

Charles Travis was a brother of E. Jeffrey Travis, county school superintendent. Glifford was from St. Joseph, Missouri.

Two years later, on Tuesday, 23 April 1912, the Henderson Twice-A-Week Gleaner reported that a terrific explosion occurred two nights previously in the Coll mine near Madisonville. The explosion caused the death of Wm. Hughes, who was blown out of the shaft quite a distance, and probably killed James Hollowell, and three other men. It was thought that the explosion was the result of gas accumulation in the mine. The odor of burning gas was coming from the mine.

In 1924, mining conditions were still dangerous. The 15 February 1924 issue of the Crittenden Press reported that two persons, Allie Crider and Ewell Cruce, were seriously injured by a premature blast at the Lafayette mine near Mexico, Crittenden County on Thursday, 7 February.

Allie Crider, 23 years old, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Davis Crider, who resided near Crayne. He suffered broken arms, a large hole through a thigh, deep cuts and bruises on all part of his body.

Ewell Cruce, age 21, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cruce of Emmaus in Crittenden County, suffered a deep wound in the head and serious cuts.

Both men were employees of the Lafayette Flourspar Company, owners and operators of the Lafayette Mine. At the time of the accident, the two men were at work about 140 feet underground. While they were about to set off a shot, the blast exploded prematurely. Both men were placed on the evening train for treatment in Evansville, Indiana.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thurmond vs Bumpass 1819: A Case of Slander

Sometimes the only asset a person has is his good name. To accuse a person of misconduct is to malign his character and damage his reputation in the community. Human nature is such that some folks must point a finger at those they believe have hurt them and these accusations, of course, often result in a law suit. Early records of the circuit courts in Kentucky are full of cases of slander.

One such case is that of Philip Thurmond, plaintiff, against Augustine Bumpass, defendant. Thurmond stated that from his youth he was of good fame and credit among his neighbors ... was known for honesty and propriety of conduct. Thurmond charged Bumpass had defamed his character and reputation ... “and did, on the 20th day of December 1819 in the presence and hearing of divers good and worthy citizens utter the following words: “I (meaning himself the defendant, Bumpass) believe he (meaning the plaintiff, Thurmond) burnt my barn,” meaning that the plaintiff had intentionally & unlawfully burned the plaintiff’s barn or house in which Indian corn & other grain was kept and which had recently been consumed by fire.

On the 30th day of December 1819, the defendant “speaking and conversing with a person of & concerning a house in which tobacco fodder indian corn & other grain was kept by defendant and which house belonging to the defendant and had recently been consumed by fire & was supposed to have been set on fire by an incendiary.” Thurmond charged Bumpass said that he believed Thurmond had set it on fire and reported that Bumpass had repeated his accusation on two different occasions in early January of 1820.

Bumpass entered a plea of not guilty and the jury, composed of Moses Hurley, Elisha Stalion, Elisha Smith, John H. Troop, Jonathan H. Smith, Asa Edwards, Jacob Houts, Andrew Stevenson, John A. Pickens, Enoch Dooly, Cornelius McLaughlin and William Tipson, believed the charges against Bumpass. They decided in Thurmond’s favor and fined Bumpass $45 in damages.

Livingston Circuit Court Order Book E, pages 460B, 462, 471.
Livingston County Circuit Court case files, Thurmond vs Bumpass, Accession #A1986-289, Box 27, Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mother's Day Memories

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Setting aside a time to honor mothers possibly dates back to an ancient Greek Festival which honored Rhea, the mother of gods and goddesses. Anna M. Jarvis organized “Mother’s Work Day” about 150 years ago and after her death, her daughter continued the program until President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed 9 May 1914 as the first official Mother’s Day. Since then, mothers all over the world, but especially in the United States, have been receiving Evening in Paris cologne.

What? Isn’t it traditional to give all mothers those little blue bottles of cologne? When I was a child, a trip to the dime store the week before Mother’s Day was absolutely necessary. Once there, I plunked down my 25 cents and received that little blue bottle, which was clutched against my chest so I wouldn’t break it before I got home. On “The Day,” the special gift was handed over to Mother, who accepted it with a smile and said it was just what she wanted, which is amazing since she also received the same gift at Christmas and for her birthday! She must have received enough of those blue bottles to stock the dressing table of every woman in our small town.

As we both grew older, other gifts replaced Evening in Paris - usually flowers and a dinner in a nice restaurant. But we often commented on those little bottles of cologne. I asked her one time if she minded receiving the same gift for every holiday. “Why, no. I loved every one of them.”

Mother is gone now but memories of her and those long-ago Mother's Days linger. I can still see her smile and can almost capture the scent of Evening in Paris. After being unavailable for years, I understand the cologne is back on the market. Maybe I’ll drop a hint to my children that I would like a little blue bottle for Mother’s Day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Will of Robert W. Foster 1895

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

Several weeks ago we looked at the will of Blount Hodge of Livingston County, Kentucky. Today I want to share with you the will of Robert W. Foster, whose very interesting will was written 7 September 1895, just one week before his death. R.W. Foster never married and that is quite evident in the way he outlines his last wishes regarding his house. Even more interesting, though, is that it appears he had a fear of being buried alive. But first, a little background on this very interesting man.

R.W. Foster, who was born in Oldham County, Kentucky 7 September 1817, came to Crittenden County shortly after 1850 and built a home in the Hurricane community. He had one brother, Anthony, who settled in Missouri and a sister, Susan, who married Willis N. Threlkeld as his second wife, and lived in Crittenden County.

Willis N. Threlkeld lived only a few years after marrying Susan, but they did have two children, Foster and Clara Threlkeld. After Willis Threlkeld’s death, Susan and her two children moved into the home of her brother, R.W. Foster.

Susan must have done a good job of running the household as in his will, R..W. Foster gave his “Sister Susan Threlkeld the controlling privilege of all house hold affairs during her natural life ...” To his nephew, Foster Threlkeld, he left over 600 acres of land in two tracts near the Ohio River. To his niece, Clara Threlkeld Brown, he left land in Hardin County, Illinois. Foster and Clara also received cash, notes and stock.

R.W. Foster’s will begins to get interesting when he gave instructions for the repair of his home: “I exact [sic] that my Room shall have the ceiling renailed, and above the base boards replastered, also my Room Nicely papered. I also must have my fire place repaired with good fire brick and done by a good Experienced Mason. This repairing must be done before winter of 1895.”

He goes on to discuss his burial: “I must also have one lot bought at the new cemetery at Marion Ky for my burial. I also exact [sic] that I be Kept out of the ground when dead until it is positive fact that I am Dead. I also want my funeral preached by the Revend. Preacher Miley.”

From the date the will was written and the date it was produced in court, it is most likely that R.W. Foster was ill, perhaps on his death bed, when he left these final instructions. His fear of being buried alive is very clear and I am surprised he did not request a coffin with a little bell inside that he could ring if he was still breathing when placed in the coffin.

It makes you wonder what caused this fear ... did he know of someone who had been placed in his coffin while still alive or ... what?

R.W. Foster died 14 September 1895 and is buried in Mapleview Cemetery in Marion. Buried beside him is his sister, Susannah Foster Threlkeld (16 February 1826 - 4 August 1911).

Obituary of R.W. Foster, Crittenden Press, 19 September 1895.
Crittenden County Will Book 1, page 285.
Crittenden County Genealogical Society.
Crittenden County, Kentucky Cemeteries, Marion, Kentucky Vol. V (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 2006) 174.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Webster County News 1906

If there are no extant newspapers for a particular time period, try searching in other area newspapers. The Henderson, Kentucky newspapers were particularly faithful in reporting community news from Union and Webster counties. The following items on Sebree (Webster County), Kentucky are taken from the Henderson Daily Gleaner, Friday, 16 July 1906, page 6.

Died, on Monday morning at his home, Mr. Ewing Clark. Mr. Clark was born in Hopkins County, Ky Dec. 25, 1838, and has been a resident of this place for 25 years. He was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. He leaves a widow, almost blind, and four children, Richard Clark, of St. Louis; Mrs. Sam King, Wheatcroft; Mrs. Zacie Eakins, Lisman; Mrs. Will Doyal, Providence; besides four brothers and one sister, who are Aaron Clark, Earlington; Rev. D.F. Clark, Nortonville; Green Clark, Morton's Gap; Rev. Melton Clark, Rich Hill, Mo; Mrs. N.B. Page, Chelsey, Ky. All attended the burial except his son Richard and brother Melton, who could not get here. Rev. W.N. Clark, a nephew, of Earlington, was also present. Mr. Clark was a good neighbor and a kind an affectionate husband, a dutiful father, and has left many friends to mourn his departure. He suffered patiently for about five months. The funeral, by Rev. J.C. Hoskinson, of the Methodist church, at the grave, closed with a touching and pathetic prayer by his nephew, Rev. W.N. Clark, after which he was laid to rest in Springdale Cemetery.

Mr. Oscar Cecil and wife and babe arrived in our town from Evansville Tuesday and are welcome guests of Mrs. Cecil's parents, Mr. and Mrs. General Shelton.

Mr. W.D. Purtle and bride came over Tuesday to visit his mother, Mrs. Mary Purtle. They will return to their home in Evansville today.

Mr. Clyde Edwards and wife left Tuesday for Petersburg, Ind., to visit Mrs. Edwards' old home and relatives. Clyde has resigned his position with the Sebree dry goods store and purchased an interest in the photograph gallery of Mr. Leander Groves.

The Sebree canning factory opened up for work Monday afternoon and began canning blackberries.

On last night there was an ice cream supper given by the Christian Endeavor at the home of Mrs. Sadie Bailey.

Mrs. Ewing Clark will leave tomorrow for Providence, where she will make her home with her daughter, Mrs. Will Doyal.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Willard Library - The Tri-State Treasure

Have you started thinking about summer vacation? Do you plan to include research in your trip? I have a suggestion for a trip to a great facility for genealogical research. Willard Library, located at 21 First Avenue, just off the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville, Indiana, is planning their annual Midnight Madness 16-20 June 2008. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the resident ghost, the Grey Lady. For information on Willard Library, go here:

The Special Collections Department, where all those books, CDs, microfilm, and computers are located, will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight on the above dates. In addition to extended hours for personal research, a number of workshops will be held on a variety of topics. In addition, A representative of Evansville Bindery will be available by appointment to discuss Publishing Your Family History. A special event during Midnight Madness will be the Red Bank Reunion Band performing a concert on the lawn. All workshops and the band concert are free, but it will be helpful if you make reservations to insure seating. I’ll post more information about Midnight Madness on this blog a little later. You may also call 812-425-4309 or email for additional information.

I want to mention some of the holdings of Willard Library’s Special Collections. The library may be located in Indiana, but the collection reaches far beyond the Hoosier state. The book and CD collections consist of county and state records throughout the United States plus a large selection of family histories. Many Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois county records on are also on microfilm.

Former readers of the Western Kentucky Journal may remember that several articles were published in the WKJ of western Kentucky people who married in Vanderburgh County (Evansville), Indiana. If you have been unable to find a marriage in western Kentucky, you might just find what you are looking for in the Evansville marriage records. This is especially true if you are searching for people from the Kentucky counties of Henderson, Union, Webster and Hopkins. The database of Evansville marriages can be searched here:

The Evansville newspapers are also often overlooked when searching for information on western Kentucky ancestors. Death notices and even community news are often reported in the Evansville Press or Courier.

To be most effective, you must expand your research to include resources outside western Kentucky. The place to look might be Willard Library.