Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - What's Her Name?


This lovely tombstone for John Bebout and his mother Katherine is located at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. There is just one thing wrong with the tombstone - the mother's name is likely incorrect. Most records list her name as Harriet or Harriet C. Bebout. It would be easy to assume the C. in Harriet's middle name stood for Catherine, making the name on the tombstone correct. However, in the will of her father, John E. Wilson, recorded in Crittenden County Will Book 1, page 46, she is listed as "Cassa Bebout wife of Peter Bebout." When her daughter, Harriet Ann Bebout, married James P. Sullenger in 1863, the wedding was at "Casander Bebout's."

Her full name might be Harriet Cassander or Harriet Cassa , but it surely was not Katherine. Harriet C. and her husband, Peter Bebout, were my 4th great grandparents. Harriet C. Wilson Bebout was born in 1824 and died in 1908. Peter Bebout was born in 1823 and died in 1862.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

First Baptist Church - Henderson, Kentucky

The First Baptist Church of Henderson, Kentucky was formed in 1839. A church building was erected at the corner of Center and Elm Streets, the same place where the church is currently located. This photograph was taken 18 December 2009.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oliver Research Donated to Martin Library

The Glenn Martin Genealogy Library in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky has received a wonderful Christmas gift in the form of a donation of the research files of the late Willis "Pat" Oliver, a native of Lyon County, Kentucky. The files were donated by Pat's widow, Trevah, and will be available for use by other researchers after they have been sorted and catalogued. Pat, a long time genealogist, was the original county coordinator of the Livingston, Caldwell, Crittenden, Lyon and Trigg County KYGenWeb sites. Among the families he researched were Oliver, Galusha, Parent, Throop, Chittenden and McCracken.

Watch for more information when the files become available for research.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Letters to Santa 1911

Letters to Santa Claus appeared in the Henderson, Kentucky Gleaner shortly before Christmas each year. The following appeared in the issue of Saturday, 16 December 1911.

Geneva, Ky.

Dear Santa Claus,
I am a small girl [and] am going to school every day. I want a doll, doll buggy, ring, Bible, work box, candy, nuts, figs, oranges, grapes, apples, bananas and raisins.Remember Mother, Father, Grandfather and Grandmother and sister and teacher, Miss Carrie Crenshaw.

Your little girl, Avolin McDonald.

~ ~ ~

Happy Hollow Neighborhood

Dear Old Santa,
I will write you a few lines as I think it is time to let you know what I want. I am a little boy only four years old and I am a little orphant, I live with my good old Uncle. I want a cap pistol and plenty of caps to shoot. I want a little toy horse and a dog and a pair of rubber boots and a suit of clothes and candy and all kinds of raisins and nuts of all kinds and that is all for this time. Do you think it is little for myself, but don't forget me, good old Santa, and don't forget my uncle and aunt. Goodbye.

Lockett Buckman.

~ ~ ~

Henderson, Ky.

Dear Santa,
I am a little girl five years old. I am going to move to Hot Springs, Ark. and please don't forget to come down there and see me Christmas. Please bring me a doll, doll buggy, candy, nuts, oranges and some bananas. Don't forget mama, papa and my little sister, Tommie.

Yours truly, Ethel May Koonce.

~ ~ ~

Henderson, Ky.

Dear Old Santa,
I am a little girl twelve years old. I want a nice locket, a trunk, story book, some handkerchiefs and candy, oranges, apples and squibs, roman candles, raisins and nuts of all kinds and figs and I hope I do not want too much for Christmas.

Your truly, Ida May Pyle. Please bring me a box of writing paper.

~ ~ ~

My Dear Santa,
I am a little boy ten years of age and am tolerably good some times. I want you to bring me pistol caps, a rubber ball, candy, oranges and all kinds of nuts and some squibs. Well, I guess that is a plenty for this time, as I want you to remember the orphans and poor. So goodbye.

Roscoe Christison.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Little Laura Davis

Have an angel in heaven
Little Laura
Daughter of
C.B. & Ida C. Davis
Nov. 15, 1877
4 years, 7 months
17 days

Tombstones on the graves of children are usually the most poignant, often including artwork of cherubs, lambs or angels. An example of such a tombstone is that for little Laura Davis in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Laura was the daughter of Charles Bertrand Davis (1845 - 1927) and Ida Cade (1851 - 1930). Photographed 21 December 2009.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Zion United Church of Christ

Zion United Church of Christ, corner of North Ingram and First Streets, Henderson, Kentucky. High on the front of the building is the following:

Photographed 18 December 2009.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Livingston County, Kentucky Tavern Licenses 1863 - 1864

Taverns were important places in early Kentucky. Not only could one obtain a beverage, but news and gossip were discussed, debated and digested. Travelers bearing news of the outside world were in demand to tell all they knew of current events. There was some regulation of taverns, though, with certain requirements needing to be met and rates for the area were standardized.

In order to receive a license to keep a tavern in Kentucky, the prospective tavern keeper had to appear before the county court and promise to keep an orderly house, vow not to sell or give liquor to anyone who was intoxicated or was a minor. The license was renewable yearly. The following information has been abstracted from Livingston County Tavern Keepers Bond Book 1853 - 1894, Livingston County Clerk's Office, Smithland, Kentucky.

J.W. Kayse requested a license to keep a tavern in Salem 31 January 1863 and requested a renewal 7 March 1864.

Joseph Bridges applied to keep a tavern in Karrsville 6 April 1863 and asked for a renewal 4 April 1864.

W.F. Mitchell requested a license to keep at tavern at the Elliott House 7 September 1863.

J.L. Hibbs requested a license to keep at tavern in Birdsville 6 October 1863.

John S. Leffler posted bond to keep a tavern at the American House (in Smithland) 7 December 1863.

R.L. Caldwell requested a license to keep a tavern in Pinkneyville 4 April 1864.

C.A. Berry requested a license to keep a tavern in Salem 4 July 1864.

C.G. Halstead posted bond to keep a tavern in Smithland 6 September 1864.

Robert Crotser applied to keep a tavern in Karrsville 4 October 1864.

E.T. Duffen applied to keep a tavern in Salem 5 December 1864.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Books to be Mailed Soon

After being out of print for almost 10 years, the following book has been reprinted:

Livingston County, Kentucky
Deed Books D - E 1818 - 1822
Miscellaneous Loose Papers 1799 - 1804

148 pages with full name and location indices, soft cover
$27.00 postage paid.

During this time period, the county seat was in Salem. Both Salem and Smithland were small towns, but were growing. In addition to the conveyance of land, bills of sale for personal property (including slaves), mortgages, powers of attorney, and divisions of estates are also found in this book. The second portion of the book contains transcriptions of miscellaneous loose county court papers (bonds, depositions, advertisements and judgments) and lists land claims, including the name of the claimant, number of acres and the owners of the adjoining property.

I'll be mailing books soon to those persons who have already ordered placed orders. Those of you who want the book and have not yet ordered it, keep in mind that this is a very limited printing and will not be reprinted again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - George Woodfork

Dec. 29, 1879
Aged 50 years

Buried Uniontown Cemetery, Union County, Kentucky. Photographed 21 June 2009.

This type of metal grave marker, fairly common in this area, takes on a bluish cast and becomes brittle over a period of time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Christian Church - Sturgis, Kentucky

First Christian Church, 702 North Adams Street, Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky. Nate Harper, minister. Photographed 4 December 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Town of Weston, Kentucky

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

Flynn's Ferry Road, which led from the direction of Princeton, Kentucky, had been a favorite route to the ferry crossing at the Ohio River in early Livingston County, Kentucky for many years. However, it wasn't until the early 1850s that the owner, Richard M. Ford, grandson of the notorious James Ford of Fords Ferry Ohio, decided to establish a town at the site of the ferry crossing. Richard M. Ford and his brother, William, had inherited the land from their father, William M. Ford.

On the 14th of August 1854, Richard M. Ford, proprietor of the land, "including the place known as Flynns Ferry," petitioned the Crittenden County Court of his intention to establish a town. According to law, Ford posted his intentions in three public places, including the Courthouse door in Marion and in the Paducah newspaper. The location of the town began at the "lower edge of Cedar Bluff at high water mark ..." and contained about 15 acres. He proposed calling this new town Weston. Ford, who had married Nannie, daughter of Claborn and Frances V. West, named the town after his wife's family. The following persons were appointed trustees of the town: W.P. Miles, N.S. Long, Richard M. Ford and Jackson B. Hill.

In early October of 1854, a license was issued to Richard M. Ford to keep a tavern at his wharf boat on the Ohio River at Flynn's Ferry. Apparently, the new name of Weston had not taken hold yet.

Two months later, Ford petitioned the court for a license to establish a public ferry. In order to have the ferry rights at Weston, Ford was required to "keep at all times one good substantial ferry boat and not less than one good hand to manage same ..."

The sale of lots in Weston progressed slowly at first with Hugh McKee, Stephen H. Walker and John Darby being among the earliest lot owners.

Being located on the bank of the Ohio River, Weston offered a ring side view of skirmishing throughout the Civil War, but especially during the summer of 1864. In June of that year, guerrillas fired on the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on board the steamer Nightengale as it passed Fords Ferry. The news was passed along to the steamer Mercury, who was headed towards that town. As the Mercury reached Weston, the ladies of the village, in a supposed friendly manner, waved to passengers on the steamer. On the bluff on the northern extremity of the town, as the steamer approached, bullets tore through the air toward the boat. Fire was returned and the rebels were seen retreating. Some took shelter behind a house. A volley was fired at the house and was literally riddled by bullets. The rebels retreated in every direction, carrying their wounded with them.

After the war, Weston began to grow and sported hotels, dry good stores, taverns and churches. Many who died were buried in the cemetery on top of the bluff. While Weston's location on the river was advantageous in shipping and receiving goods, it also flooded every time the river rose. The great Flood of 1937 devastated every town along the Ohio River, including Weston. Weston never recovered and today the town consists of only a few house and exists mainly in yellowed newspaper articles and in the memories of former residents.

Crittenden County, Kentucky Court Order Book 2, pp 102, 115, 121.
Evansville Daily Journal 23 June 1864

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Virginia Dallam Atkinson

Virginia Dallam
1863 - 1941

Virginia Dallam Atkinson was born 26 February 1863 Henderson, Kentucky and died 29 December 1941. She is buried at Fernwood Cemetery.

Virginia Dallam Atkinson was the daughter of Virginia Josephine Dallam, born 20 February 1834 Caldwell County, Kentucky and died 1 May 1869 Henderson County, Kentucky, and John Cunningham Atkinson, for whom Atkinson Park in Henderson is named. Siblings of Virginia Dallam Atkinson were John C. Atkinson, Kate Atkinson and Anna Webb Atkinson. The Dallams were members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sturgis United Methodist Church

Sturgis United Methodist Church, 1001 N. Adams Street, Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky. Photographed 4 December 2009.

Friday, December 4, 2009

After the Fire

The following photographs show the condition of the old Barner (or Massey) House in Smithland after the fire earlier this week. The photographs were taken today.

The oldest portion of the house, consisting of a log cabin, was on the right side of the photo. Only a smoldering pile of logs and ash remain.

The following two photographs show the newer portion of the home.

The fire has been ruled arson.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Landmark Gone

Copyright on photo and text by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent

Smithland has lost another of its old landmarks. The old Barner home, which began as a log cabin and was also known as the Massey house, was destroyed by fire Tuesday night. I believe this home was possibly built by Benjamin Barner, an early commission merchant of Smithland. His brother, Sterling M. Barner, and family came from Nashville, Tennessee to live with Benjamin Barner in the 1840s. I've written about Sterling M. Barner's daughter, Miss Pattie, and the Barner family several times on this blog.

The above photograph was taken about a year ago. The last time I saw this old house, the gutters were falling down and the roof was falling in. Remnants of its beauty were still there, but neglect had taken its toll.

The electricity had been disconnected and the cause of the fire is unknown.

One-by-one, the old buildings of Smithland are being destroyed and, as a result, we are losing relics of the town's history.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Margarette Sherar

Mrs. Margarette
native of
Nova Scotia died
Novr 17th 1843
Aged 28
And closed for ay
the sparkling glance
that dwell on me
so kindly

Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. Margarette Sherar was likely the first wife of Robert Sherar, who was born 21 October 1805 Canada. Sherar arrived in Smithland the middle of 1842 and purchased part of lot 49 on the corner of Main and Charlotte streets. After his wife's death, he moved to Paducah, Kentucky. Sherar married secondly Mary Adkins 5 September 1852 McCracken County, Kentucky and can be found on McCracken County census records thereafter. He died 31 January 1887 and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah.

The tombstone of Margarette Sherar was photographed 4 April 2009.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chronicling America

I don't get excited about too many genealogy websites, but Chronicling America, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, is an exception. This project is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) and is especially exciting as it is a free site and can be accessed from the comfort of your home. You can browse through issues or search by a specific name and time period.

Available newspapers of special interest to western Kentucky genealogists are the Crittenden Press (1886 - 1906), the Hickman Courier (1900-1908), the Hopkinsville Kentuckian (1894-1910) and several Paducah newspapers (1896-1906). If you research a county other that the four named here, don't discount the value of searching these newspapers. Newspapers often covered adjoining towns and counties. For example, the area around Salem in Livingston County was routinely covered by the Crittenden Press and the Paducah newspapers usually covered events around Smithland in Livingston County and Eddyville in Lyon County.

The addition of these small town newspapers is a tremendous resource for genealogists. Check them out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Miracle Word Church - Salem, Kentucky

Miracle Word Church, 100 West Main Street (U.S. 60), Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky. For many years, this building housed Matlock Memorial Christian Church, where my parents and grandparents were members. Photographed Fall of 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Checklist for Citing Sources

We have all been cautioned to "cite your sources," but do you remember to do it? If you don't, maybe the following checklist will be helpful in reminding you to do this necessary task.

1. Have I listed a source for each fact not of common knowledge?

2. Have I used the proper format for the source, therefore providing a clear path so other researchers can find that source? Did I include the title of the book or article, name of author, date of publication and the name of the publishing company? If it was an original source, did I include the book title and page number and location of the record (i.e. Caldwell County, Kentucky Will Book B, p. 25, Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky) It is also helpful to add the date the source was checked just in case that book or record gets moved or lost.

3. Have I acknowledged the work done by others? Have I unfairly passed off the work of other researchers as my own? If John Jones shared his research with me, including material I did not have, do I list him as the researcher?

4. Have I included original sources in my search for information? Thorough research includes an exhaustive search in a variety of records, not just online material.

5. Am I aware of the difference between oral tradition and facts? If Aunt Mary tells me Grandpa Jones died in 1899 and she saw the date listed in a Bible, did I list Aunt Mary as the source rather than the Bible I have not seen? Oral tradition can provide new avenues in our research, but should not be labeled as fact unless proven.

Citing sources should become a habit and is the mark of a good genealogist.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - James Crane

James Crane
Dec. 9, 1833
Jan. 11, 1873
He has gone from our midst
The dear husband and father of our home
And our once happy hearts
Are cheerless and lone

Buried at Uniontown Cemetery, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 21 June 2009.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Missionary Baptist Church

First Missionary Baptist Church, 20 South Elm Street, Henderson, Kentucky.

The church was founded from the First Baptist Church, when African American worshipers formed their own congregation in 1845.

Photographed 18 November 2009. Note the steeple of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the background.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Capture of the Alice Dean


Western Kentucky genealogists and historians are familiar with John Hunt Morgan and his activities on land during the Civil War. Fewer of us are familiar, though, with his capture and destruction of the steamboat Alice Dean. The following account is found in the Henderson Reporter of Thursday, 16 July 1863.

From Captain James H. Pepper, who was in command of the Alice Dean at the time she was captured and burnt by the rebels under John Hunt Morgan, and who arrived in this city yesterday, we learn particulars of the occurrence.

The Alice Dean was on her way from Mound City to Cincinnati and when, on Tuesday last, near Brandenburg, Kentucky, Capt. Pepper discovered the steamer McCombs lying near the shore, apparently in distress, making signals for him to bring his boat alongside. As the Alice Dean came up, in obedience to the summons, Capt. Pepper discovered that the McCombs was in possession of rebel troops, who evidently intended to board and capture his boat as soon as she came within reach, but all his efforts to get his boat again underway, and escape, were unavailing. She was immediately boarded by a large force of rebels, and himself, officers and crew placed under arrest, the soldiers in the meantime helping themselves to such valuables as came within their reach. When Capt. Pepper found that it would be impossible to escape with his boat, he ran to the office with the intention of secreting the money there belonging to the boat, the silverware &c, but he found himself confronted by a number of soldiers, who leveled their guns and ordered him to desist.

The rebel commander, General Morgan, informed Capt. Pepper that a large number of his troops had arrived at Brandenburg; that he wanted to take them across the river; that having no boats of any kind of his own, he was compelled to take possession of the Alice Dean to be used for that purpose and that as soon as his men and their horses and equipment, artillery &c were safely on the Indiana side of the river, she would be released and allowed to proceed on her way.

There were but few stores on the Alice Dean at the time she was captured, which were taken possession of by the rebels.

Tuesday evening Capt. Pepper received an order to prepare supper for 50 men, which, he informed the officer bearing the order, it was impossible as he had no provisions. The next morning a similar order was received and a like answer returned.
Capt. Pepper and his crew were engaged about 2 days in ferrying the rebels and their equipment across the river, during the whole of which time they had not a mouthful to eat, nor were they allowed to take any rest.

After all the rebel troops had been ferried across the river, Capt. Pepper received the following order:
"Indiana, U.S., July 2.
Capt. Pepper: Sir, in keeping with order from my superior officer, Major General John H. Morgan, I hereby order you to move your crew from your boat, Alice Dean, together with all your individual property as I am ordered to burn your boat. I am, sir, respectfully, Your obedient servant, Jas. W. Mitchel, Captain and Provost Marshal. Second Brigade, Morgan's Div. C.S.A."

Capt. Mitchel very politely informed Capt. Pepper that he could take from the boat such articles as he desired. Capt. Pepper placed the silverware belonging to the boat and a few other articles in a satchel and then went ashore, when his men were drawn up in line in front of the rebel soldiers. Capt. Mitchel told his men they could go on the boat and take such articles as they desired as he intended to burn her. Capt. Pepper asked the same privilege for the crew as a compensation for the labor they had performed for the rebel General, which was readily granted. They all helped themselves to bed clothing and such things as could be removed when the noble vessel, the finest on the Ohio River, was fired by the rebel Captain, and in a short time all that remained of the beautiful, finely furnished and fast running Alice Dean was a charred and smoking hull.

The Alice Dean was valued at $60,000 and was not insured against the vicissitudes of war.

Added note: Way's Packet Directory, 1848 - 1994, p. 12 states that a steamer of the same name was built in 1864 and ran the Cincinnati - Memphis route With Capt. Pepper commanding. After only three trips, the second Alice Dean hit the bank in March 1864 and sank.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - A. Barret Dade

A. Barret Dade
1865 – 1923
Erected By Friends,
Horsemen and Breeders
Of the United States
And Canada

A. Barret Dade is buried at Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. His tombstone was photographed 10 November 2009.

Barret Dade, a native of Virginia, died of pneumonia in New Orleans 11 January 1923. Dade was survived by a wife, mother, brother and sister, all of Henderson. A resident of Henderson, he was a director of the Green River Jockey Club, which built and operated Dade race park between Henderson and Evansville, Indiana. Dade Park was named in honor of A. Barret Dade when it was built in 1922. Today it is known as Ellis Park.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Brick Wall Starts to Crumble

Tombstone of C. Wilson, Crooked Creek Cemetery

One of my brick walls for a long time has been the family of Rev. Claibourne Wilson of Crittenden County, Kentucky. I have no trouble researching Claibourne, but his family has been a different matter.

Claibourne, the son of John E. Wilson and a Miss McVay, was born 16 September 1809 probably in Tennessee and died 12 February 1849. According to his obituary in the Baptist Banner, Claibourne was taken ill shortly after giving a sermon at Piney Creek Church. His illness was so sudden that he could not go home, being taken instead to "Brother Crane's, who lived near the meetinghouse." After twelve days, he passed away of "New Monia," leaving a widow, the former Martha Brown, and four children, Frances, John E., Thomas B. and Felix Ann Wilson. Claibourne was buried at Crooked Creek Cemetery.

A little over a month after Claibourne's death, his daughter Frances, usually called Franky, married Henry H. Cannon. The marriage didn't last long, though. Franky left her husband and, in 1850, Henry Cannon filed for divorce. It was stated in one of the divorce depositions that Franky "in company with her mother & others" left Kentucky and went to Missouri. The divorce was granted to Henry and all the rights of a single person were restored to him.

Claibourne's sons, John E. and Thomas B., are found on the 1860 Carroll County, Missouri census. John E. had married Sarah Woodard in 1853 in Carroll County and by 1860 had the following children: George C., age 4; Mary M., age 2 and Charles M, age eight months. Thomas B. Wilson was unmarried and living with his brother's family, also. By 1870, this whole family had disappeared.

Also, what happened to Martha Brown Wilson and her daughters Franky and Felix Ann? No marriages for them have been found and they do not appear using the surname Wilson on the 1860 Carroll County census.

I had decided there is a very large place somewhere known as "parts unknown" and that is where all of my elusive ancestors settled. I put this family aside again and planned to check on them later.

Maybe one last look might turn up something. Sometimes later is better and, in this case, it was! Using ancestry.com, I did a search for the John E. Wilson family on any 1870 census and there he was - listed as J.E. Wilson in Otoe County, Nebraska. Who would've thought he went to Nebraska! His wife is not listed so maybe she died, but children G.C., M.H. (ok, so it's not M.M.) and C.M. are with him and they are of the right ages and their birthplaces are correct. By 1880, J.E. Wilson has remarried, left Otoe County and was living with his wife, Mary E., in Butler County, Nebraska.

This is like a fresh beginning and there is much work to be done, but at least I know in which direction to go. The lesson here is don't give up, put your material aside for a while, and then come back to take another look. Sometimes it pays off.

Friday, November 13, 2009


After being out of print for almost 10 years, the following book is being reprinted:

Livingston County, Kentucky
Deed Books D - E 1818 - 1822
Miscellaneous Loose Papers 1799 - 1804

148 pages with full name and location indices, soft cover
$27.00 postage paid.

Not only will you find land conveyances, but also mortgages, a few apprenticeships and estate divisions (naming heirs). The miscellaneous loose papers include bonds, road petitions, road orders, estate appraisements and sales, depositions and undated land entries. During this time period, Livingston County also included the area now in Crittenden County.

The book should be available by early January 2010. Order now to reserve a copy.

This is a limited publication and will be the last printing of this book. Order from:
Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
PO Box 325
Newburgh, IN 47629-0325

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remember Our Veterans

We pause on Veteran’s Day to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices made by veterans of all wars. Let us not forget those who fought a losing battle. One such veteran was Richard Digman, a veteran of the Civil War who is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. The obituary appeared in the Henderson Gleaner, Sunday, 7 January 1917.

Richard Digman, aged 82, formerly of this city, died at the Confederate Home in Peewee Valley.

He was well known here by many of the older citizens, he having been a resident of Henderson since 1866, and for many years up to the time he went to the Confederate Home, successfully engaged in the business of a brick contractor. Quite a number of the residences and business houses here are specimens of his handiwork.

He served in the Confederate army under Gen. Joe Lewis. He was in Gen. Buckner’s bodyguard at Fort Donelson and escaped with Gen. Forrest at the surrender. He also served with gallantry and bravery under Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson; was in the battle of Shiloh, and other engagements of historical note. He was in the raid of Gen. John H. Morgan through Ohio and Indiana, and was with others captured at Portsmouth, Ohio, and taken to Fort Douglas. After 18 months imprisonment, he was exchanged at Amherst Court House.

In 1870, he married Miss Mollie B. Jeffers, a half sister of Mr. R.C. Blackwell, of this city. Two daughters were born to this union – one of whom survives. He was a loyal friend and a good citizen.

The remains will probably be brought here Sunday and the interment will be on the family lot in Fernwood Cemetery

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Ann M. Flournoy

Ann M. Flournoy
Born in
Powhatan Co, Va
in 1787
in Princeton, Ky
Jan. 2, 1873
Aged 86 years

Buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 October 2009. Click on tombstone for an enlarged view.

Ann M. Flournoy is named as a child in the will of David Flournoy (Caldwell County Will Book A, p. 435, dated 5 June 1825). Ann M. Flournoy left a will (Caldwell County Will Book B, p. 274), in which she names her sister Mariah L. McNary and brother-in- law, Thomas L. McNary, and their children Ann E. McNary, Mary L. McNary, Hugh F. McNary, Walter Scott McNary.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Willard Library

I've mentioned Willard Library of Evansville, Indiana a number of times on this blog. Special Collections, where the genealogy collection can be found, is located on the 2nd floor. The library is open Monday - Tuesday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm; Wednesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:30 pm; Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 - 5:00 pm. This is not just a local library; they have a great deal of material on other states, including Kentucky.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Researching Steamboats on the Ohio River

The past few months I have become very interested in steamboating on the Ohio River. I like looking at pictures of steamboats, reading about them and learning about the types of cargo they carried. Steamboating was big business in this area. Evansville, which is practically next door to where I live, was the home base for a number of steamboats back when steamboats were a major source of transportation.

If you are familiar with Jefferson’s Nephews: A Frontier Tragedy by Boynton Merrill, Jr., you will recall that the steamboat New Orleans was launched in March 1811 at Pittsburgh. It is stated in Jefferson’s Nephews that the steamboat had “some features of a sailing craft … was painted the improbable color of sky blue. These odd features, along with her paddle wheel and belching smoke stack, guaranteed that she was the most curious if not the most frightening apparition that had ever come down the Ohio.” You can imagine how suspicious people were of this new mode of transportation.

It wasn’t long, though, before steamboats were common, going up and down the Ohio, carrying cargo and passengers to larger cities, where they disembarked to visit friends, do business or to simply enjoy some leisure time. The steamboat opened up the world to those living in rural areas.

I am fascinated by the number of men in Livingston County, Kentucky who worked on the steamboats as pilots, clerks or general laborers. I had heard people say “I can’t find anything on my ancestor. He worked on the river and there is no information on him.” Don’t believe it. There is some information online, but I have found my best sources to be newspaper items in the Evansville newspaper. Titled “River Intelligence,” the daily paper, the Evansville Journal, began reporting the activities of steamboats as far back as the late 1840s. Willard Library in Evansville has three published volumes of abstracts of “River Intelligence” ending in 1875. After 1875, you need to search the Journal for information. Not only is there information on the activities of the steamboats, but also the crews, marriages and deaths of family members, and the types of cargo carried by the steamboats.

I thought all cities of any size on the river that had a newspaper might have newspaper information on steamboats. The Paducah, Kentucky newspaper had a similar column on river news, but it was not as extensive as in the Evansville Journal. The Henderson, Kentucky newspapers carried very little steamboat news, unless it dealt with a disaster. I suspect the Louisville and Cincinnati newspapers did carry a lot of river news.

The other really great source of information is Way’s Packet Directory, 1848 – 1994, compiled by Frederick Way Jr. I bought my copy through Amazon.com, but your local bookstore might be able to special order it for you or your local library might have a copy. The book is arranged in alphabetical order by name of the steamboat, contains the date and place it was built, years in operation and what happened to end its career. For example, the John L. Lowry was built in Cave in Rock, Ill. 1909, the size of its engines and boilers was listed, states that the owner was Capt. John L. Lowry and the boat ran between Evansville and Paducah. It burned at Hamletsburg, Ill, opposite Smithland, Kentucky in June 1911.

Another entry states that the John L. Lowry was rebuilt in Evansville in 1913, sank in a storm in 1919 and returned to activity in a different capacity the next year.

Willard Library has some photographs of steamboats, and you will find some on steamboat.org, but the best place is the Inland Rivers Library in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the largest collection of river books and photos.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Black Patch War Marker

Marker located on Caldwell County, Kentucky courthouse lawn. Photographed 10 October 2009.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Adaline P. Vanallen


Dear Mother
Adaline P. Vanallen
Born Oct 5th
Died Apr. 6, 1850

Buried Smithland Cemetery
Livingston County

Adaline P. Vanallen was the daughter of Stanley P. Gower. She married James Vanallen 28 June 1821 in Franklin County, Kentucky. By 1827, the Vanallens had moved to Livingston County, where James Vanallen operated a tavern before his death in 1829.

Adaline P. Vanallen is buried next to her grandchildren in the McGraw plot of Smithland Cemetery.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Courthouse for a Church

Undated photograph of Livingston County Courthouse, Smithland, Kentucky

In today’s world, when a large commercial building closes, it is often difficult to find a use for that building. Rather than let the building set and be of no value to the community, the town leaders search for a new use for the edifice.

When Crittenden County was created from Livingston County and the seat of justice was transferred from Salem to Smithland in 1842, the county leaders faced a similar problem. First, though, the court had to decide on a location for the new courthouse in Smithland and they did just that. On the 4th of July 1842, the county court chose out lot #7, which had been deeded to the court by James M. Lillard and wife. Plans were drafted for a two-story, 40 feet by 50 feet building and advertisements for bids for the erection of the building were placed as far as Nashville and Louisville. Until the building was completed, several other buildings were used as temporary courthouses, including the Episcopal Church and the Gower House.

But what could be done with the old courthouse in Salem? The problem was solved when trustees of several churches bought the courthouse from the County Court. The following information can be found in Livingston County Deed Book HH, page 608:

Between James L. Dallam for and on account of the Livingston County Court & Thomas Smith trustee for the Methodist church, William Pippin trustee for the Baptist church, W.B. Greer trustee for the Old Presbyterian church & Presley Gray trustee for the Cumberland Presbyterian church. At the November term 1845 of the Livingston County Court the following order was made, viz: It is ordered by the Court that the Court house & clerks office together with the ground upon which they stand in the town of Salem and belonging to the county be sold to the highest bidder … The sale to be made in the town of Salem before Thomas Smith’s tavern door after having been advertised one month. And it is further ordered that James L. Dallam be appointed a commissioner to make sale of same taking bond payable to himself for the benefit of this court and he will give certificate of purchase &c and whereas on the 17th day of February 1846 Dallam after advertising did openly & publicly offer same for sale ... when and where Thomas Smith for the benefit of the churches aforesaid and to have a house of worship for those denominations of the town of Salem and its neighborhood did bid off and purchase the old courthouse & immediate ground upon which it stands in Salem for the sum of $10, that being the highest bid ... Dallam, agent for said county, doth here grant bargain sell convey & confirm unto Thomas Smith Wm. Pippin W.B. Greer & Presley Gray, trustees & their successors in trust the sd. courthouse & immediate ground upon which it stands ... [signed] Jas. L. Dallam, agent Livingston County Court. Recorded 5 September 1848.

Problems solved. Smithland had a courthouse and the church trustees had a church.

Friday, October 30, 2009

News From Eddyville, Kentucky 1879

The Paducah (McCracken County) newspapers covered a wide area in western Kentucky and the Jackson Purchase. Among the events covered were social activities, vital statistics and a little gossip. The following items appeared under Eddyville Letter in the Paducah Daily News of Thursday, 24 July 1879.

Eddyville, July 21, 1879 – On Saturday night the Dycusburg string band came up and favored the young ladies of our town with some excellent music. They serenaded till 2 o’clock, and were laden with bouquets and cards.

Last week some of the machinery of Woods Bros. saw mill boat broke and one of the men employed there was struck with a chain and severely wounded. At last account he was improving, but still suffers considerably.

Quarterly meeting was held at the M.E. church on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday last as Mr. Tom Johnson (who lives in the “bend of the river,” ten miles from here) was on his way home from Eddyville, he was waylaid and shot. The party who did the shooting was armed with a double-barreled shot-gun. At the first fire he thought it was accidental, his horse receiving most of the charge (buck-shot). He spoke to the man telling him to look out he had shot him. The fellow then squatted and shot him with the other barrel, making wounds in his neck, breast and back. He was doing tolerably well this morning, though recovery is extremely doubtful. The shooting occurred within a mile of Mr. J’s house. It is hope that the damnable, cowardly assassin will be caught and think that Judge Lynch should preside and mete out to him his deserts.

Capt. Cantrell addressed the people here at the Court-house today. He is a splendid orator, is well posted on the issues of the day and is altogether a most entertaining speaker and an elegant gentlemen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Pleasant Grove Church

Pleasant Grove General Baptist Church, Crittenden County, Kentucky

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Milly C. Gill

Milly C.
Wife of
Wm. R. Gill
Mar. 1, 1821
July 13, 1894

Buried Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 28 September 2009.

W.R. Gill and his wife, Mildred “Milly” appear on the 1850 Union County, Kentucky census. Thereafter, Mildred appears only with her children.

In 1860, she was living in Crittenden County and is shown as a washerwoman with children James S., Henry C. and W.F. in her household. On the 1880 Union County census, Milly is listed as Malissa, age 59, and was living with her son, Henry C., a coal miner in Caseyville, and a grandchild, William W.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lamb Family Dedicates Memorial Marker

By Matthew T. Patton and Linda Lamb Monticelli

Nearly 100 descendants and friends of the Lamb family gathered Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009 at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Princeton, Kentucky, to honor Revolutionary War patriot Longshore Lamb (ca. 1748 – ca. 1828) and his wife, Sarah (Lee) Lamb (ca. 1760 – ca. 1844).

The day began at noon with a welcome speech by Matthew T. Patton of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Patton submitted a supplemental application for Longshore Lamb in 2008 to the Sons of the American Revolution. His early research was aided by fellow Lamb descendant Janet Humphreys, the first to join the Daughters of the American Revolution under Longshore Lamb.

The program also consisted of a flag presentation, including ten flags associated with the early Lamb family, as well as a large flag flown over the United States Capitol on June 15, 2009. A certificate accompanying the flag states, “At the request of the Honorable Jim Gerlach, Member of Congress, this flag was flown for Caldwell County Settler and Revolutionary War Patriot Longshore Lamb, who assisted in establishing American Independence.”

Following the pledge of allegiance to the flag, Tyler Clay Collins played “Taps.” Afterwards, attendees joined to recite a tribute to Longshore and Sarah and to “all of the men and women who have served the United States with integrity and devotion.” After the Lamb memorial marker was unveiled, Matthew T. Patton and Linda Lamb Monticelli placed a red, white and blue wreath at the memorial site. Patton and Monticelli organized the day’s events, which also included a family reunion reception catered by Riverside CafĂ© of Dycusburg, Kentucky.

Caldwell County resident Richard P’Pool secured a government-issued marker from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and placed the stone at the site. P’Pool, also a Lamb descendant, was honored in 2003 for his efforts to place markers for U.S. veterans. P’Pool has helped apply for and received more than 300 markers from the VA at his own expense. This process requires hours of tedious and detailed research because the documentation required, including the muster rolls and the extracts from State files or land warrants, is often not readily available. The marker reads, “Longshore Lamb. Pvt SC Militia. Revolutionary War. 1748-1828.”

Longshore Lamb was the son of Thomas Lamb and Alice Longshore; he was born sometime between 1747 and 1754 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania or about 1755 in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Lamb family lived in Bucks County from 1744 until 1754 when they moved to Fairfax County, Virginia. The Quaker Fairfax Monthly Meeting was located on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains south of the Potomac River. The Fairfax Meeting was located in Fairfax County until 1757 when they divided Fairfax County leaving Fairfax Meeting in Loudon County. In June 1766, the Lamb family moved from Loudon County, Virginia to Kershaw County, South Carolina.

On October 30, 1779, the Friends at the Bush River Monthly Meeting, located in Newberry County, South Carolina, disowned Longshore Lamb who was a member of the Padget’s Creek Meeting house, located in eastern Union County, for marrying someone who was not of the Quaker faith. Since the state of South Carolina had no laws requiring marriage licenses or registration until 1911, we use the date of October 30, 1779 as the marriage date for Longshore Lamb and Sarah Lee, daughter of Michael Lee.

In late spring or early summer of 1780, Colonel Thomas Brandon, who was camped five miles south of the present town of Union, South Carolina was in the process of recruiting volunteers to support the Patriot cause. It was sometime after the fall of Charleston on May 12, 1780, that Longshore Lamb was recruited into the Second Spartan Regiment of Militia under Colonel Thomas Brandon in Union County, South Carolina. Longshore’s brother William Lamb was also in this same Second Spartan Regiment of Militia under Colonel Brandon.

It is not known how many or which military engagements Longshore Lamb may have actually been involved in while serving under Colonel Brandon. These militiamen served for 4 months, oftentimes working one day and fighting the next. The Patriot militia spent much of their time protecting the local rebel population from the Indians and the many Tory loyalists in the area. On June 12, 1786, Longshore Lamb received ten pounds, two shillings, and ten pence farthings for Militia duty after the fall of Charleston in Brandon’s Regiment. Longshore Lamb signed his full name on this receipt for his service during the American Revolution.

On September 13, 1788, Longshore Lamb purchased 163 acres on Frenchman’s Creek of the Enoree River in Ninety Six District, present day Union County, South Carolina. It is possible that Longshore used at least some of the money he received for his military duties to purchase this land.

Between 1779 and 1800, Longshore and Sarah Lamb had nine children: Mary, Elizabeth, Levi, William, Margaret, Jane, John, Moses, and Martin. All of these children were born in South Carolina. After Longshore Lamb and Sarah Lee were married they lived first in Union County, South Carolina and then in Spartanburg County, South Carolina before finally settling in Caldwell County, Kentucky by 1809 or 1810. Longshore Lamb and his family and Longshore’s son-in-law William Crow and his family were among the very early settlers of the Lewistown community in Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Longshore’s mother, Alice Longshore Lamb, died about 1791 in Union County, South Carolina and his father, Thomas Lamb, died in early August 1800 in Union County, South Carolina. Sarah’s father, Michael Lee, died in early December 1807 in Union County, South Carolina. We do not know who Sarah’s mother was; some researchers say that Michael Lee’s wife was Drusilla Murphy.

Longshore Lamb died intestate sometime from about 1826 to about 1828 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. His wife, Sarah Lee Lamb, remained a widow for the next 16 years or so until her death about 1844 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. Martin Lamb, the youngest child of Longshore and Sarah, and his family moved into his father’s home after his father’s death to care for his mother.

The exact location of the graves of Longshore and Sarah remains unknown, there has never been any grave marker found for either Longshore or Sarah and there are no records known to exist indicating where the graves of Longshore and Sarah Lamb are actually located.

Fourteen states were represented at the reunion: Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oregon and Washington. Sharon Lamb Davis traveled from Redmond, Washington to the ceremony to honor her great-great-great-great grandfather. “If he hadn’t joined so many others to fight for our future we would not be where we are today. And I am thankful that I live in this free country,” Davis said. “Also, of course, because of the 13 years I have communicated with fellow Lamb researchers Linda Lamb Monticelli and Janet Humphreys, I had a need to meet them face to face and cement our family relationship and thank them for the work they have done over so many years.”

She added, “We are who we are, in part, because of our ancestors and what they passed from generation to generation. I truly believe the morals, integrity, and respect that we may possess is a direct link to our ancestors’ beliefs.”

Because the exact burial location is not known, the memorial, funded by donations from descendants and friends of the family, was placed in the Princeton city cemetery because of its ensured perpetual care.

“By erecting this Lamb memorial marker, the descendants of Longshore and Sarah have marked a spot, if not their final resting place, then at least a place in Caldwell County where Longshore and Sarah Lamb’s journey upon this earth ended,” said Linda Lamb Monticelli.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Florence Littlefield - A Woman Ahead of Her Time


Florence Littlefield
Nov. 9, 1842
July 19, 1879
How desolate, bereft of thee

S. Littlefield
April 26, 1877
66 years
A man of usefulness

If Florence Littlefield had been born in the 20th century, she could have been the CEO of a large corporation or a banker. But Florence was born long before it was acceptable for women to be successful in business. Her world was confined to a small, river town where the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers merge.

She was born 9 November 1842 in Smithland, Kentucky to Solomon and Mary J. (Shaw) Littlefield. Of the four Littlefield children, only Florence is thought to have lived to adulthood. Details of her early life remain a mystery, but we know that she followed in the footsteps of her father in the financial affairs of Smithland. Solomon was also a steamboat captain, storekeeper, town marshal and loaned money to others. When she was barely 28 years old, Florence also began loaning money to local residents who needed money.

Her first financial transaction was as a partner with William H. Mantz in granting a mortgage to Mary A. and Mary E. Brownell. As collateral, the Brownells put up two brick storehouses on lot 17 on Water Street and lot 53 for the sum of $660. The next month, Florence Littlefield alone granted a mortgage to S.K. Green, who put up a mule, a horse and a crop of corn to guarantee payment of the loan.

Florence’s business career was short lived, though, as she passed away in 1879, at the age of 36 years. Her tombstone stands beside that of her father in Smithland Cemetery. It is likely her mother, Mary Jane, who died in late August or early September 1893, is buried there too. In her will (Will Book C, p 137), Mary Jane Littlefield left a house at the corner of Mill and Adair Streets to her friend, James Campbell Hodge, and bonds and household furniture to other friends. No mention is made of any children so it is likely they had all died before 1893. There is no tombstone for Mary Jane in Smithland Cemetery, but, in her will, she requested a friend to “keep in order and care for the lot in the cemetery wherein my loved ones repose and where I expect soon to rest.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cedar Hill Cemetery

Box or chest tombs marking graves in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Kentucky. This type of tombstone is fairly common in western Kentucky, especially during the 1820s – 1840s. The monument is a box with a “lid” over the top. The body is not buried inside the box, but is interred below ground. The inscriptiion is on the "lid." Photograph dated 10 October 2009.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - William A. and Mary E. Heater

William A.
Mar. 19, 1842
Sept. 8, 1926

Mary E.
Apr. 16, 1850
Oct. 9, 1920

There will be no parting there.

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 14 August 2009.

The 1860 Livingston County census shows William A. Heater enumerated in the household of Elisha Heater. William Heater and Mary Gupton were married in Livingston County 1 November 1870. Mary Elizabeth Heater’s death certificate lists her death date as the 10th of October 1920 and her parents as Oscar Gupton and Elizabeth Matheny.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Civil War Memories of Jeremiah V. Hair

Henderson, Ky. - The thing that Jeremiah Vard Hair recalls best about the Civil War is that he was hungry most of the time.

To this starvation diet of Civil War days he attributes the fact that he now weighs but 133 pounds while he is just a fraction shy of being six feet tall.

Mr. Hair is going on 94 years old come next Sept. 14, and he was as spry up to a week ago as any of his youngsters. (These youngsters range from 50 to 65 years of age.)

“Why, he never used the front steps to get off the porch,” said Youngster Pedry Hair, age 65. “He always jumped up or down.”

The jump is about two and a quarter feet.

Jeremiah Hair was born down in the mountain country near Marion. He enlisted Sept. 14, 1861 in Company H., First Kentucky Cavalry.

He was mustered out in ’64 with nothing more serious by which to remember the war than a gnawing, hungry ache in his stomach and a burnt finger. The burnt finger came about this way:

“We were marching thru the mountains,” said Mr. Hair. “I was hungry, who-ee, but I was hungry.

“I asked the captain if I could drop out of line and go to some house along the way to get a piece of bread. He just cussed at me.

“So I asked my lieutenant. He said ‘sure, and bring me a piece.’

“I stopped at the next house and asked for water. The woman gave me a cup. Thru the open door I could see some corn bread cooking in a skillet.

“I was so hungry I didn’t even ask whether I could have a piece. I just stepped in, picked it out of the skillet, broke it in half, and walked out again.

“That’s how I got the burnt finger. That corn bread was sure hot. But it was the best I ever ate.”

The cavalry took part in many a battle. The mounted men were used hard under General Thomas. They even aided in chasing Morgan and his raiders.

“I was in so many fights that I can’t remember half of them,” complained Mr. Hair. “We did a lot of bush-whacking.”

On one occasion the mountain boy had a taste of the inside of a military “booby-hatch.”

“I had a fight with Capt. Jim Dick when he ordered me to stop whistling,” he recalled. “I licked him, but they tossed me in the guardhouse. They made me tote around a big log that it took two men to lift, on my shoulders.”

Mr. Hair retired from farming some 50 years ago and moved to Henderson, where he lives now in a little home near the old Marshall Furniture Company.

“I remember exactly when I came to Henderson,” he says. “It was in the fall of that real dry year.”

It took a bit of finger figuring on the part of his wife and two of his sons to determine that this must have been in 1874.

Mr. Hair’s hair is one of the most vigorous things about him. He’s got a thick black thatch of it and a mustache to boot.

[Jeremiah V. Hair was born 10 August 1840 Kentucky and died 17 May 1940 Henderson County, Kentucky, according to his death certificate. He is buried at Fernwood Cemetery. Marion most likely refers to Marion County, Kentucky. The article above appeared in the Sunday, 26 April 1936 issue of the Evansville, Indiana Press.]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Newspaper Ads Entice Settlers

Have you wondered why your ancestor decided to move to a new area? To entice settlers to take up land in the West and Southwest, advertisements were often placed in newspapers in the Midwest and South. These ads extolled the wonders of the new land and the benefits of settling in that particular area. The following ads appeared in the 15 February 1876 issue of the Evansville (Indiana) Journal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Caldwell County, Kentucky

Caldwell County was created from Livingston County, Kentucky in 1809 and was named for John Caldwell. Ironically, John Caldwell never lived in Caldwell County. He lived on the side of Livingston Creek that is today in Crittenden County. This historical marker is situated in the corner of the Caldwell County courthouse lawn and was photographed 10 October 2009.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Lucy B. Callaway

Lucy B. Callaway
Consort of
W.D. Callaway
Now [sic] departed this life
July 4th
In the 24th year of her age

Buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 October 2009. Click on the tombstone for an enlarged view.

Lucy Brown Barnard, daughter of John Barnard, married William Dudley Callaway 10 June 1828 in Caldwell County. Buried beside Lucy is her infant daughter. One year after Lucy’s death, William Dudley Callaway was issued a marriage bond to marry Miss Amanda Wigginton. This couple later moved to Missouri.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Champion vs Champion: Divorce 1865

Prior to 1849, divorces were granted in Kentucky either through an act of the legislature or through circuit court. After 1849, only circuit courts granted divorces. The filing and conclusion of the case will be mentioned in the circuit court order books, but the particulars of the case can be found in case bundles. Most counties have transferred their circuit court case bundles to the Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, Kentucky. To order a divorce case bundle, fill out a request form here: Request Form

Details of the private lives of a man and woman usually go untold unless they file for divorce. This was the case of James W. Champion who filed for divorce from his wife, Margaret, on 11 July 1865 in Crittenden County, Kentucky. The following information has been abstracted from circuit court bundle #123 at KDLA.

The parties married in 1863 in Crittenden County while he was in the Federal service as a soldier. They lived together about two months when the “defendant became forgetful of her marriage vows and became too familiar in her conduct ...” Champion stated her behavior was unacceptable for a married woman.

Giving a deposition for the plaintiff was Emanuel Barnes, age 20, who stated he had known James W. Champion all his life. In the summer of 1863, he enlisted in the 48th KY Regt. and was connected to that regiment some 3-4 months. After his discharge, he lived in Crittenden County. He stated the defendant, Margaret Champion, lived with her father at Walker’s old furnace while her husband was in the army. He also stated that Margaret acted improperly while her husband was in the army.

William Champion, age 26, stated he had known the plaintiff all his life and the defendant about three years. He stated that James W. Champion was informed of his wife’s improper conduct a few days after his return from the army and they immediately separated.

Further testimony as to Margaret’s behavior was given by Sarah Barnes, age 33 and who lived eight miles west of Marion. Sarah also testified that Margaret acted improperly for a married lady.

In each deposition, it was stated that Margaret was in the company of another man who was not a family member.

What the divorce file does not tell you is that Margaret’s maiden name was Kimsey and she married J.W. Champion 25 August 1863 in Crittenden County. After the divorce was granted, Margaret disappeared from Crittenden County. Her father, Wm. F. Kimsey, moved to Osage County, Kansas and perhaps Margaret went with him. J.W. Champion married Martha J. Gilliland 3 October 1866. They appear on the 1870 Crittenden County census.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Rest of the Story of Henry Fenn

Sometimes information pops up when you least expect it. An article in the Evansville Journal on Monday, 7 February 1876, provides details of the death of Henderson resident, Henry Fenn, whose tombstone was featured in the 30 March 2009 blog.

"As a mail carrier entered the post office this day, he observed a man resting in a stooping position in a corner next to the door. The immobility of the figure and the fact that anyone would be there at that hour (5 a.m.) induced the postman to look closer. He discovered that the man was Henry Fenn, a well known German citizen, and that he was dead.

"The coroner was called and a jury empanelled. The evidence showed that Fenn had been seen as late as midnight the night before sitting in a saloon and left when it closed. It is supposed that he went into the Post Office, which is kept open and where a bright light burns all night, to make himself comfortable. It was a very cold night and it is likely he froze to death. There were no marks of violence on his person.

"Mr. Fenn was formerly a member of two well known clothing firms here, first Leslie & Fenn, afterwards Fenn & Kleindofer, and was once well to do, but financial disaster had lately overtaken him. He was adjudged a bankrupt on his own petition. He has since, brooding over his troubles, taken very freely to drink. He was well thought of, though, and possessed many good points of character. He was almost 40 years old and leaves a wife and several small children."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - McMican Cemetery

McMican Family Cemetery, located on Bridwell Loop Road, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Cemetery photographed 28 September 2009. Click on photographs for enlarged views.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Parthenia B. Thurman

Parthenia B.
Wife of
Aug. 26, 1839
May 9, 1903

Buried in McMican Cemetery, Bridwell Loop Road, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Photographed 28 September 2009. Click on the photograph for an enlarged view.

Robert L. Thurmond married Miss Parthenia Carrick 24 September 1857 at the home of James Carrick. Crittenden County Vital Statistics (Marriages) show that Parthenia Carrick was born in Livingston County, Kentucky.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Smithland First Baptist Church

Smithland First Baptist Church, corner of U.S. Hwy 60 and Court Street, Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. The church was organized in 1887 and the present sanctuary dates from 1913. Photographed September 2009.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weather News Is Important

The weather has always been of utmost importance in the lives western Kentuckians. Any storm, big or small, was reported in the local newspaper. When scanning old newspapers for genealogical information, be sure to read weather articles and learn how it impacted the lives of our ancestors. The following article covering a spring storm in Livingston County appeared in the Crittenden Press on Friday, 29 April 1921.

Smithland, Ky. – Damage of approximately $10,000 to $25,000 was done Tuesday afternoon by a storm that swept over Smithland, unroofing business houses, breaking windows, toppling over trees and causing general disorder. Although the wind reached a velocity of 30 to 40 miles an hour none of the citizens were injured seriously.

Will Hollingsworth, a young man, had a narrow escape from injury when he was driving down the street and a large tree crashed down on the buggy he occupied. He was thrown to the street and stunned but escaped with only a few minor bruises.

Shortly after 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon a dark cloud appeared from the southwest and it was accompanied by the hard wind that unroofed the Masonic building and damaged the roofs of nearly every business house in Smithland. During the windstorm a heavy rain descended and large hail stones dropped for several minutes. The hailstones rivaled in size that of large marbles, broke window panes in every section of Smithland. It is feared that the hail did damage to growing crops.

The roof of the building occupied by the produce store of Rudd & Wilson was lifted off, also that of the residence of Mrs. M.B. Smith. Trees in almost every section of Smithland were blown down and caused considerable damage to the telephone wires.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Bells Mines, Kentucky

Scenic views of the Bells Mines community in northern Crittenden County, Kentucky. Most of this area has reverted to its natural, beautiful state. Photographed 28 September 2009

Caney Branch, crossing Bells Mines Road

Along Bells Mines Road

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Jesse Mussen

Jesse Mussen
Co. F
3 Ky. Inf.
Sp. Am. War

Jesse Mussen was born 19 November 1865 Union County, Kentucky and died 26 May 1938 Henderson County, Kentucky, according to his death certificate, #11670. He is buried in Fernwood Cemetery. This is a government provided tombstone.

His parents were John Mussen, born Canada, and Mary James, born Indiana. Jesse Mussen appears on the 1880 Union County census with his parents and siblings, John S., Lucia and Nellie Mussen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big and Little Harpe

Recently I discovered several historical articles in the Henderson newspaper written by Miss Salibelle Royster about 1920. One reason these articles interest me is that they were written by a teacher at my high school and college ‘way back when. Miss Royster taught English at F.J. Reitz High School and Evansville College. Her teaching career spanned over 40 years before her death in 1975.

The following article appeared in the Daily Gleaner 3 October 1920 and, for brevity, it has been abstracted. Miss Royster interviewed an octogenarian friend, who related the terrible deeds of Big and Little Harpe in what is today Webster County, Kentucky. The friend had the information from his father, who, in turn, heard it from his father, who was one of the men in the party that captured and killed “the wickedest outlaw whose feet ever defiled the soil of western Kentucky.”

It seems the Harpes, who were unlike in appearance, the one being taller and more stalwart than ordinary men, the other stocky and short, came to Kentucky from Eastern Tennessee. They had been unjustly imprisoned there and upon being released, swore to wreck vengeance on mankind in general. They pledged themselves to kill and steal and plunder until they themselves should be killed.

They came into Kentucky over the old Wilderness road, robbing and murdering. The settlements were so widely scattered that their most dastardly deeds went unpunished. They feared neither God nor man.

There lived a family by the name of Stigall. Mr. Stigall, who was away from home, met the Harpe party in the woods, and told one of the Harpe women to stop at his home and ask his wife for a dollar he owed the Harpes, giving directions to where Mrs. Stigall should look for the money.

Big Harpe’s wife lost no time in obeying instructions. Seeing the apparently well-filled purse from which Mrs. Stigall paid the debts, she promptly reported the fact to her husband.

That night one of the bloodiest tragedies in the history of Kentucky occurred. The Harpes robbed and murdered Mrs. Stigall and her young child, as well as a young school teacher by the name of Love, who was spending the night at the Stigall home, and burned the house, together with the bodies of the victims – all for the paltry sum of $40.

In order to shift suspicion upon someone else, the Harpes arrested two men whom they met and accused these perfectly innocent strangers of their own crimes. One of the men was killed in the struggle.

Moses Stigall was well-nigh frantic with grief and rage when he learned the news. He immediately suspicioned the Harpes and lost no time in obtaining help from Captain John Leeper, one of the most fearless and powerful men in the country, in raising a party of 10 or 12 men who were resolved to win the reward offered for the capture of the Harpes, dead or alive.

The company started out, hot on the trail of Big and Little Harpe. Overtaking the outlaws, who were talking to a man named Smith near a stream, they fired and wounded Smith, but missed both the Harpes. Little Harpe fled into a thicket and was not seen again. The pursuers followed Big Harpe back to the camp, where he rushed to make hasty preparations for taking the women and children with him.

Big Harpe fled on his horse and the other party gave chase, but was finally overtaken in a creek bottom. Big Harpe was called to surrender. “Never” he yelled and dashed off again.

Again, Big Harpe was overtaken. “Stand off or I’ll kill you!” snarled Harpe as Leeper came within 30 yards of him. A skirmish followed and Harpe was mortally wounded, but he managed to get away on his horse. Leeper again overtook Harpe and threw him to the ground.

The rest of the party caught up with Leeper and the outlaw. The enraged Stigall whipped out his huge knife and severed Harpe’s head from his body. The head was fastened on top of a young tree trimmed for the purpose, where the fleshless bones were to remain for many a year as a gruesome reminder that the wages of sin is death. This tree grew near the intersection of what are now the Henderson, Morganfield and Madisonville roads.

No one knows what became of Little Harpe. As for his wife and the two wives of Big Harpe, they were captured and brought to Henderson, where they were imprisoned in a little log jail near the present site of the Henderson bridge. Upon trial, they were convicted as accomplices in the murder of Mrs. Stigall and her child, but were subsequently sent to Russellville, where they were cleared by the grand jury. It is said that Little Harpe’s wife afterward married a highly respectable man from Tennessee and she henceforth lived an honorable life.

[Buried in Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, is the wife of William Love, who was killed by the Harpes. The inscription on her tombstone reads as follows: “My name is Esther Love Daughter of Wm. & Nancy Calhoun of Abbeville South Carolina. Born Sept. 30, 1765, Died Mar. 2, 1844. My husband Wm. Love was killed by the Harpes.” The tombstone was photographed in 1990.]

Book Sale

The following books are on sale until 1 November 2009. On that date, the original prices will prevail.

Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1874-1884 $25
Original price $30. All information from marriage register, original bonds and returns, plus consent notes.

Crittenden County, Kentucky Notes, Vol. I $15
Original price $21. Obituaries, approximate death dates determined by a variety of sources, circuit court records,including divorce records, copies of original tombstone orders, plus much more. Records date pre-1930.

Crittenden County, Kentucky Notes, Vol. II $18
Original price $25. Same type of information as in Vol. I, but of a slightly later time period.

Livingston County, Kentucky Deed Book CC 1829-1833 $19
Original price $24. All recorded deeds within this time period.

Send order with payment to Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG, PO Box 325, Newburgh, IN 47629-0325. Indiana residents please include 7% state sales tax.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Dixon Baptist Church

Dixon Baptist Church, Dixon, Webster County, Kentucky. Photographed 11 September 2009.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Sterling M. Barner

The headstone for Sterling M. Barner has disappeared or disintegrated, leaving only this foot stone as a reminder that he is buried in Smithland Cemetery in Smithland, Kentucky. When photographed on 12 September 2009, it was leaning against the headstone of Dr. Milton H. Carson.

Buried in the Barner plot are his daughters, Martha “Miss Pattie” Barner Taylor and Mary E. Barner; his brother, Benjamin Barner and sister, May/Mary Barner Wells, wife of Henry Wells. Sterling’s widow, Sarah, moved to Logan County, Kentucky after Sterling died and her burial place is unknown.

According to the order for a tombstone from Cassavant, Raynor & Co. of Evansville, Sterling M. Barner died 21 June 1862 at the age of 69 years, 1 month and 11 days. The tombstone was to have the Masonic emblem and “to be got up in the best style & highly finished as to polish.” The tombstone for Benjamin Barner, who died in 1865, was ordered at the same time by Sarah J. Barner, widow of Sterling.