Thursday, August 21, 2008

Update on Miss Pattie J. Barner

The picture above is of the old Barner home on Charlotte Street in Smithland, Kentucky. It was taken in July 2008.

New information has been found that casts a different light on the Life of Miss Pattie J. Barner. [See blog of 31 July 2008]

It appears that Benjamin Waller Taylor, with whom Miss Pattie intermarried in March 1868, had a change of heart. In December of that same year, he wrote his young, pregnant wife a letter from Henderson. In this letter he said he was returning the ring Pattie had given him last March and asked for his ring to be sent to him. He went on to say, “I will have nothing more to do with you in this life - have lost all love & respect for you.” He also said that the watch Pattie’s mother had given him had been placed as security for a loan of $20 to pay for attending Pattie’s business in Smithland.

From the general tone of the letter, it sounds like money played a part in B. Waller’s decision to end the marriage. Perhaps her new husband was unable to maintain the standard of living to which Pattie was accustomed. In his letter, B. Waller stated that he had a “situation” in one of the largest wholesale dry goods house in Louisville at a salary of $1500 per year and was to start work in January 1869. Whether or not he actually did work in Louisville is unknown, but he is listed as a farm hand on the 1870 Henderson County, Kentucky census and was living in a relative’s household.

B. Waller addressed that December 1868 letter to Pattie in Smithland, but, at some point, she went to Nashville, where her only child, Sterling Barner Taylor, was born in May 1869. She was ill and required the care and attention not only of her mother, but also a physician, a servant and a nurse. Pattie’s mother, Sarah Jane, was a native of Nashville and must have been familiar with the city. It is known that Pattie’s cousin, son of her father’s sister, lived in the area and also provided services during Pattie’s illness and death.

Pattie survived the birth of her child by only a few days, dying on the 12th of May 1869. After her death, Pattie’s body was returned to Smithland, where she was buried on the crest of a hill in Smithland Cemetery, next to the grave of her sister, Mary.

Pattie and her mother, Sarah Jane Barner, had inherited the considerable estate of Sarah Jane’s brother-in-law, Benjamin Barner. When Pattie died, B. Waller Taylor became co-heir to Benjamin’s property, which included a number of Smithland town lots. Sarah Jane sued B. Waller to recover expenses she had paid for Pattie in Nashville. She stated that B. Waller Taylor left Pattie destitute when he abandoned her and she, as Pattie’s mother, had to provide all financial care. There was no response to the charges from B. Waller and Sarah Jane re- gained possession of the lots as compensation for the expenses she had paid for her daughter and new grandson.

Sarah Jane actually filed the law suit against B. Waller Taylor, and his son, her grandson, Sterling B. Taylor, but it is clear that the action was directed at her son-in-law. Sarah Jane kept a record of every item paid for her daughter and submitted an itemized account of the amount paid, including $50 spent for a wardrobe for little Sterling.

There is still much I do not know about Pattie J. Barner and her family, but, with each new document found, a clearer picture of them is emerging.

Sarah J. Barner vs B.W. Taylor &c: Petition in Equity, Livingston County Circuit Court Case File August term 1870.

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

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