Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life of Miss Pattie J. Barner

  Copyright on photo and text by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG  
 May not copy without written consent
After you have researched a family for a long time, do you ever feel like you really and truly know them; you would recognize them if they stepped into your life today? I’ve been researching the Barner family of Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky and that’s the way I feel about them, especially Pattie J. Barner - or Miss Pattie, as she was often called. I'm not related in any way to the Barner family, but I am very interested in all of the early Smithland families. Pattie's father, Sterling M. Barner, was a prominent steamboat pilot for many years, but that was before Miss Pattie was born. After he moved to Smithland about 1840, he went into business with his brother, Benjamin Barner, who was a prominent merchant and landowner.
Benjamin Barner never married so when Sterling’s family moved to Smithland, they lived with him. Their house still stands on Charlotte Street in Smithland, just one block back from the confluence of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. The other family members were her mother, Sarah J. West, and the Barner children, Joseph, the oldest, Mary and then Pattie. There was also a baby who was born and died the same day in 1855. There will be more on the Barner family - their joys and their tragedies - at a later date. Now, about Pattie.
As a member of a prominent family, Pattie’s life was far different than that of the majority of young ladies in Livingston County. She lived “in town” and as a town resident, she saw the activity along the river front as steamboats delivered travelers and goods to this busy little town. There were slaves to help with housework. Most likely, Pattie and her family were part of the lively social scene during the years prior to the Civil War.
For at least part of her life, Pattie was educated at a boarding school in Louisville and her clothing was of the best quality. At the age of 19, she married Benjamin Waller Taylor, who was born in Florida Territory, but whose family had lived in Henderson, Kentucky for a number of years. How they met is unknown, but they married 26th of March 1868 in Smithland. Miss Pattie was now a young matron with a husband.
It wasn’t long before Pattie was pregnant. She had a son, Sterling Barner Taylor, born in May 1869. Sadly, Pattie did not survive childbirth either. She passed away 12 May 1869 at the age of 20 years, one month and ten days. She was buried high on a hill in Smithland Cemetery near the gravesites of her Barner relatives. The picture at the top of this page is of Pattie’s tombstone. Click on the picture for an enlarged view.
By 1870, Sarah Barner, widow, had taken her grandson, Sterling B. Taylor, and was staying with her sister in Logan County, Kentucky. Sterling would stay there for a number of years, but also spent some time with his father, B. Waller Taylor, who had moved back to Henderson, where he lived with his family. At some point, B. Waller moved to Evansville, Indiana, where he was an agent for a shoe company. B. Waller did not remarry until 1892, when, at the age of 53, he married Ruth Tunnock in Evansville, who was many years his junior. They had three children before B. Waller died in 1901. He is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky.
Sterling B. Taylor attended Bethel College, graduated from the Starling Medical College in 1890 and practiced medicine in Columbus, Ohio. In an article from the Ohio State Journal in 1908, it is stated that Dr. Sterling B. Taylor, while searching in an old trunk which had been the property of his grandfather, Capt. Sterling M. Barner, he found a letter written by Andrew Jackson in 1828, a deed to property in Illinois and a letter written by his mother when she was age 16. It also states that his mother died when he was an infant. The trunk had remained undisturbed in an attic in Dr. Taylor’s former home in Russellville, Kentucky for many years.
Dr. Sterling B. Taylor, a well-known physician, was a surgeon for the Ohio National Guard. He was also active in political circles in Columbus. Sterling’s first marriage ended in divorce after the birth of two sons, Emerson and Harold. On 23 October 1908, Sterling married Miss Mayme Pickett of Bellaire, Ohio. They had no issue. Sterling Taylor died in Florida in the 1940s.
In a future article, I’d like to tell you what I have learned about the rest of the Barner family.
Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Register, page 259.
1840 - 1860 Livingston County, Kentucky census records
1870 - 1880 Logan County, Kentucky census records
1900 - 1930 Franklin County, Ohio census records
Henderson County, Kentucky 1850 - 1870 census records
Vanderburgh County, Indiana Marriage Book 16, page 357
Evansville, Indiana 1899 - 1901 City Directories
“Letter Written by Andrew Jackson,” Duluth News Tribune reprinted from Ohio State Journal 5 July 1908, accessed on 11 July 2008
William Alexander Taylor. Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio (Chicago-Columbus: The S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1909), accessed 11 July 2008 at
Estate file of Benjamin Barner, Livingston County Clerk’s Office, Smithland, Kentucky

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wood - Phillips Marriage Contract 1842

There is a marriage contract in Livingston County that provides quite a bit of information on the family of Mrs. Mary Phillips (widow), formerly married to Allen Hodge and Mark Phillips. The contract was written 18 Apr 1842, just before the marriage of Mary of Livingston County and John H. Wood of Christian County, Kentucky, and can be found in Livingston County Deed Book GG, pages 316-317.

In the contract, provisions are made for Mary to keep the control and management of property acquired during her former marriage(s), including five slaves, Elijah, Anthony, Dred, Mary & Caroline. Also named are Mary's children by the marriage to Allen Hodge: Mary Louisa Berry, wife of Cuthbert Berry; Richard Hodge and James Hodge. Richard and James Hodge are to live with Mary and John Wood after the marriage and John is to clothe and school them without cost to Mary.

If your ancestor marriage more than once, be sure to check the deed books to see if there is a marriage contract. You may just learn some new information.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bond - Stone Marriage Contract 1845

It is common for a couple contemplating marriage to draw up a contract whereby the property of each person is to remain within their control and, after their death, to go to their own children. The following contract between William B. Bond and Mrs. Alley Stone is unusual in that Alley is to continue to act for herself, her children are to live with the couple after their marriage, but Bond is to support them without cost. It seems rather modern in content, but dates from 1845. This marriage contact is located in Livingston County, Kentucky Deed Book HH, pages 155-156. William B. Bond and Mrs. Alley Stone did obtain a marriage bond in Livingston County on 11 Oct 1845, but no return has been recorded. William B. and Alley Bond appear together on the 1850 Livingston County census, page 339B.

This Indenture made and entered into this 11th day of October 1845 between William B. Bond of Crittenden County, Ky and Mrs. Alley Stone, widow of Caleb Stone of Livingston County, Ky. Witnesseth that whereas a marriage by Gods permission is shortly intended to be had and solemnized Between the sd. Wm. B. Bond and Alley Stone and whereas Alley Stone has four children living with her, viz: Washington T., Andrew J., Wm. H. and Jas. W. She has one other child, a daughter married off Anna Hill wife o James Hill not living with her all heirs of Caleb Stone dec’d and whereas Alley Stone owns property now of various kinds consisting of Beds, bedding, crockery ware, one clock or in other words Household and Kitchen furniture, one waggon, Horses and Mares, Killing Hogs, stock Hogs, Steer and cattle. Now it is distinctly understood and agreed upon by and Between Wm. B. Bond and Alley Stone that Bond is to have no claim, right or interest in sd. property whatever by reason of the marriage now intended. The whole is to be and remain subject to the use, control and management exclusively of her Alley Stone after the marriage as now and free from any hindrance of him Wm. B. Bond. And if Alley Stone should hereafter or shall at this time be entitled to any money property or land or other thing of Value by Will descent or devise It is distinctly understood by the parties of this writing that it is to belong exclusively to the sd. Alley Stone free from any claim right or incumbrance of him the sd. Wm. B. Bond in any poprible [sic] event whatever. Alley Stone is in the same manner as above to have the exclusive control use management and direction of it. It is her privilege and right will to dispose of all of it at her death or before if she things proper and no incumbrance is to be thrown over it by reason of this intended marriage with Bond.

It is further understood by the parties that if she Alley thinks proper and prudent to purchase property of any kind during the marriage she is at liberty to do so and to have it secured to her and to be used by her in any way she please free against from any claim or right of him the sd. Bond by reason of this marriage, but said property is to be purchased with Alley Stone’s own means. It is further understood and agreed upon by the parties that sd. children Washington T., Andrew J., Wm. H. and Jas. W. Stone are to go and live with them, Wm. B. Bond and Alley Stone after Marriage and Bond is to clothe and school them and protect and do for them as he would for his own without cost and charge to them. [signed] Wm. B. (X) Bond, Alley (X) Stone. Witness: J.L. Dallam. Recorded 11
Oct 1845.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Calling All Rands!

I just finished watching a program, “Black in America,” on CNN. Tonight’s program was especially interesting to me as it featured the Rand family of Texas. They are black and are descendants of a white man, William Harrison Rand, who was born in Wake County, North Carolina, migrated south and then went to Texas. William Harrison Rand was the grandson of Walter Rand (1761 - 1812), who was the brother to my ancestor, William Rand, born before 1755 and died after April 1820 in Stokes County, North Carolina. What impressed me so much is the connection between the white and black Rands. That would not have been true just a few years ago.

I am also amazed at the number of descendants of William Harrison Rand. During my 35+ years of research, I have only found one other person who shares my Rand line. Surely there are more than just the two of us. I would dearly love to meet my Rand relatives - black or white.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Murder in Eddyville 1803

Vol. X of my Western Kentucky Journal contains a series on “The Other Side of the Law,” including an article on the murder of Jimmy, a Chickasaw Indian in 1803 in Eddyville, Kentucky. A newspaper article showing a slightly different view of this murder appeared in the New York Evening Post of 28 April 1803.

From a letter dated Eddyville, 10 March 1803:
“It is with extreme regret I have to inform you, that a Chickasaw Indian was murdered in this town on Monday last. The circumstances are nearly as follows:
“Six Indians of the Chickasaw Nation, who had been hunting on the south side of Cumberland, came into this town and sold a quantity of venison, turkies, etc. They went to a tavern drank pretty freely. After night two of them left the tavern, and it appears were followed by two men by the name of Cook and Furguson, with each a large club - these men concealed themselves within the yard of Mr. J.W. Throop, and as the Indians came through the gate struck them. One fell - the other made his escape. The stroke of the club was heard by Mr. Throop’s family - some neighbors were alarmed and search made for the Indian, who was at length found under a fence with his head beat to pieces in a barbarous manner. He was removed to a house and his wounds dressed by a physician, but he died the Wednesday following. The other Indian was not very badly hurt.

“On Friday a Court was called and Mathew Cook [sic], J. Furguson and Reuben Cook were apprehended - Mathew Cook made his escape from the officer - the other two were committed to jail and are to have their trial before the Circuit Court in May next.

“The other five Indians have set off for the Nation. They carried letters to their Chief, informing of the above circumstances, and requesting one of the Chiefs with an interpreter to attend the trial.

“Every kindness and attention was shewn to the Indians - the dead was decently interred, with which they seemed satisfied. But when they took their leave, they made signs that the prisoners must be hanged.

“It is said that some of the friends of the prisoners have threatened to rescue, and it is expected an attempt will be made. They are guarded at night by seven or eight men. What the consequences will be God only knows - several families who settled on the other side of Cumberland this spring, have moved back since this unfortunate affair took place.”

All three men, Matthias Cook, Reuben Cook and Isaac Ferguson, were tried and found not guilty of the murder of Jimmy

Friday, July 18, 2008

Marriage Consent Notes

Through the years, I have transcribed quite a few marriage records, many of which include notes. As a rule, consent notes were written by a parent or guardian of an underage bride or bridegroom and simply stated that consent was given for the marriage license to be issued. Also, brides over the legal marrying age of 21 often wrote their own consent note. Lucky is the researcher who finds that his ancestor included additional information, such as birth dates or places. Below are examples of consent notes found in my research:

On 21 March 1886 in Livingston County, Kentucky, Jeptha Moxley, age 56 and a farmer, obtained a marriage bond to marry Margaret Jane Page, age 31. Both the prospective bride and bridegroom were marrying for the second time. For some reason, Margaret Jane’s father, W.T. Champion, sent along a note that provided wonderful information.

“marget Jane Page wast were marget Jane Champion first madon name wer born July the 6 day 1855 her mothers name was Crowfford george Crowffords daughter Nancy Jane Champion now she was bornd September the 29 day 1822 & now the wife of W.T. Champion. W.T. Champion wer bornd 1819 february all three of the 12 dau[?] as wer bord in Livingston County W.T. Champion This is a full State ment of all the facks in the case that I know of in the case. W.T. Champion” Oh, to have a note like this for some of my elusive ancestors!

Another favorite note is actually a letter written by Willis L. Hobby, to his son, William M. Hobby, who was to marry Miss Lucinda C. Crow in Caldwell County, Kentucky. The letter is dated 3 September 1855 and was sent from Grass Valley, California. The marriage occurred 8 November of that year.

“Dear Sun: I have Jest received your compliments and vary unexpectedley had I thought of being addrest on A Subject of Such magnitude as yours and having but a few moments to reflect I shall bee at great loss for the form of my letter however I bee willing to gratify you as fore as I can consistent with my feelings and interest; William you have complied with your duty as an obedient Sun to me, being your Father and I feel willing as a Father to comply with my duty to the child. William in the first place I feel it my duty to ask you some important questions; the first question I ask have you give your Self time for [illegible] and Sober reflection in regard to this matter; also have you taken into considderation the great responsiblity which involvs upon the head of the family and also the Solam oath that is binding through life. William I never intend to make or brake matches and if you think you had rather ingay a retyard life exersise your one free will and if you do well it will bee well for you and if not dont reflect on me. William let the result bee as it may I hope you will Stay with my children till I return. I will start home the 15 of November next if I live and able to travel. William Study your interest and act in accordance is all that I can say at presant. I will do no more I remain your father. Willis L. Hobby.”

Then there is the note filed with a 1909 Hopkins County, Kentucky marriage license for a couple from Paducah. It says: “Dear Sir I return license issued on the --- as illness over taken Miss --- & we will bee unable to get to Hopkins County in limited time so we wish them to bee cancled & the record distroyed we have kept it a secret ..."

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kentucky Land Grant System Seminar

McCracken County Genealogical - Historical Society and McCracken County Public Library are hosting a seminar on Saturday, 16 August 2008 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the meeting room of the library at 555 Washington St., Paducah, KY. The speaker will be Kandie Adkinson, of the Kentucky Land Office in Frankfort, and her topic is "Kentucky Land Patent System." This is a free program and refreshments will be available.

The first half of Ms. Adkinson's program, Overview of the Kentucky Land Patent System, will focus on the history and development of the process in Kentucky, with special attention paid to Jackson Purchase patents. After a short break, the second session will give the tools you need to begin retracing history. Resources for Researching Kentucky Land Patents helps you navigate tax lists and the Secretary of State's Land Office website.

This is the perfect opportunity to learn from the authority on the land grant system of Kentucky.

For more information, call 270-442-2510 Extension 24.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Old is a Relative Term

What is old to those of us who live in the Midwest or Upper South, isn't necessarily old to those living in other parts of the country. This is a picture I took of Angel Oak, which is reputed to be up to 1,500 years old. It is located on John's Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, where I visited last week. One of the limbs is 89 feet long. No matter how you look at it, this is one big old tree!

Click on the picture to get a feeling of just how large this tree is.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Piney Fork Church and Camp Meeting

Transcribed from the 23 August 1906 issue of the Crittenden Press, published in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.

The Piney Fork annual camp meeting will begin Monday night, September 10, where there has been a camp meeting held for over 80 years with the exception of two years. It will be an old time camp meeting conducted by Rev. J.L. Hudgins of Union City, Tenn.

The first annual camp meeting which has made this church so famous was held in May 1812. The services were held under an arbor on the beautiful knoll now occupied by the camp ground and the people who attended the meetings lodged “in camps” or rude huts. The ministers present were Messrs. Finis Ewing, Alexander Chapman and Wm. Harris.

The following is a list of the original members who perfected the organization of this grand old church: John Travis, Rebecca Travis, Wheeler, Susan Wheeler, James Clinton, Ann Clinton, Rev. Wm. Henry, Mary Ann Henry, Mrs. McGough, Mrs. Zachariah Bivens and Mrs. Wm. Leach.

For a year or two this small society met for occasional preaching at the residence of Mr. John Wheeler, who lived four miles southeast of Marion, nearly opposite the place where Rev. Frank Paris now lives. In 1812, the organization was completed by Rev. Finis Ewing at a school house in the neighborhood of Mr. Wheeler’s home. Being situated between the forks of Piney Creek, it was called Piney Fork Church.

John Travis donated a tract of land to the church of about 13 acres. Afterward George Green donated three acres. A log church house was at once erected upon it, situated in what is now the cemetery. A second log church was built in 1843. The present church, a brick, of which the future represents, was erected in 1867 at a cost of $3000. The brick was burned on the ground and the building erected by L.M. Hill and C. Turk. The following were the building committee: Jas. Ordway, L.M. Hill, T.M. Butler and W.B.
Crider. Two large sheds have been built; the present one is 60x80 feet and has a seating capacity of about 2000.

The pastors of this historic church have been pre-eminently self made men, as they were nearly all, in early life, without the advantages of a liberal education or any large degree of social culture. They have been chiefly poor men, obliged to assist in supporting themselves in their early ministry by their daily secular labors. Rev. Finis Ewing was the first pastor of Piney Fork Church. He was born 1773 and died 1841.

The camp meeting began in 1812 and has continued until the present time with two exceptions. It is reasonable to presume that more annual camp meetings have been held on Piney Fork hill than any other place in the world, whose meetings having commenced at this place soon after their origin and continued almost successively down to the present time. Thousands have been converted on this sacred hill and the shouts of the redeemed have seemed to make the dome of heaven ring. During the earliest meetings it was not uncommon for them to have 100 professions of faith at a meeting.

Quite a number of noted ministers who have filled important stations in many states in the Union sprang from this noted church. Among them are the Rev. Geo. W. Hughey, presiding elder of the M.E. Church, who has filled position of importance in St. Louis, Mo. and in various parts of Illinois; Rev. J.H. Hughey and J.L. Hughey, who have been the pastors of some of the most noted churches in Missouri; the Rev. P.H. Crider, who served as pastor of the most prominent churches in Iowa and other states. The Rev. J.T. Rushing, now a presiding elder of the M.E. Church, South was once a member of Piney Fork, as well as Mack Green of the Baptist Church.

Published 10 July 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

County Fairs

Everyone looks forward to the county fair, just as they did 100 years ago. This advertisement appeared in the Henderson Daily Gleaner, Sunday, 12 August 1906.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Webster County News August 1906

Newspaper items in the 31 August 1906 issue of the Henderson Daily Gleaner, tell of the day-to-day events of life in the Webster County community of Slaughtersville. No other source allows us to read about life as it was.

Slaughtersville, Ky., Aug. 10 - Rev. B.F. Orr, of Henderson, delivered a very interesting lecture Wednesday evening at the Methodist church on "The Bright Side of Life."

On Wednesday evening of last week a most delightful moonlight picnic was given at the lake. Those who attended were Misses Birdie, Addie and Janet Toombs, Lula, Annie and Myrtle Coffman, Ray Prather, Mr. and Mrs. Otho Fowler of Kuttawa, Mr. W.B. Maple, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Hutchen of Louisville, Mrs. C.L. Ashby of Madisonville and Warren L. Reynolds.

Rev. Joe Randolph, of Cerulean, is visiting his parents, Rev. and Mrs. T.J. Randolph.

Miss Nellie Ashby, of Madisonville, was in town Tuesday en route to Evansville, where she is attending school.

A big crowd of country people were in town Thursday to attend the circus and all of the town folk turned out with the children.

Mr. John W. Hutchen, a representative of the Children's Home Society, who has been here with six children, was fortunate enough to find homes for each of them with the best people of our town and vicinity.