Saturday, February 28, 2009

Henderson Vital Statistics (Deaths) 1900 - 1909

There is something comforting about numbers - comparing them, sorting them, finding the median of a set of them. Therefore, I am always pleased when numbers are used to define a situation or give a picture of life in past years. The following abstracted article appeared in the Henderson Journal on Friday, 7 January 1910. See what you learn by these numbers for the city of Henderson.

Decrease in Death Rate
“Our local death rate is lower than that of any year since 1900,” says Health Officer W.V. Neel in his report for 1909.

He says further that it is highly gratifying for him to state that the year just closed “shows a most excellent record in our vital statistics and sanitary condition of the city.” He gives the comparative death record from 1900 to 1910, as follows:
1900 - 123 white deaths, 124 colored deaths
1901 - 143 white deaths, 135 colored deaths
1902 - 91 white deaths, 140 colored deaths
1903 - 107 white deaths, 103 colored deaths
1904 - 119 white deaths, 122 colored deaths
1905 - 113 white deaths, 96 colored deaths
1906 - 155 white deaths, 106 colored deaths
1907 - 128 white deaths, 107 colored deaths
1908 - 123 white deaths, 106 colored deaths
1909 - 101 white deaths, 87 colored deaths

One hundred and 59 sewer connections were made during the year, and the total for the past three years is shown to be 609.

Contagious and infectious diseases for the year 1909 - 122
Tuberculosis - 33
Epidemic diseases - 11

Deaths by Violence
Deaths by burning - 2
Pistol shot wound - 6
Self destruction - 2
Death by drowning - 1
Accidental traumatism - 3
Accidental poisoning - 1

Other Diseases
Typhoid fever - 36
Pneumonia - 25
Scarlet Fever - 20

The very important fact of the decrease in the number of cases of typhoid and in the death rate, is attributable to sewer connections, many of which were made under compulsion. The report estimates the population of the city at 17,500. Total deaths, 188; annual death rate per 1,000 - 10 and 26/35.

[The average number of white deaths for the 10 year period was 120 and the average number of colored deaths for the same period was 112.6. I would be happier if I knew how many of the 17,500 population were white and how many were not.]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Runaway Fliver

Even though written as a straight news story, the following tickles the imagination with all sorts of images. For those of you under 80, a “fliver” was another name for the Model T Ford, produced from 1908 through 1927, according to Wikipedia. This article is from the 16 May 1917 issue of the Henderson Daily Journal.

Morganfield, Ky., May 14 - Last night about 10 o’clock Luke Henson was standing on the sidewalk at the corner of Main and Court streets talking to a friend. There were many autos in the street, but he paid no attention to them. Suddenly, one of them, a “fliver,” darted at him, climbed the sidewalk, struck him and knocked him 20 feet.

When Dr. Conway, into whose office he was carried, got through with his examination, he found Henson had a dislocated shoulder, broken arm, broken nose, had numerous cuts about the face and head and was generally bruised.

The autoist steered his machine into the street again and made his escape. Later it was learned the driver was Robert Crooks of Uniontown and he has been ordered to appear in police court Monday morning. Spectators claim Crooks appeared befuddled. Henson is 22 years old.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Mississippi Queen

Mississippi Queen churning down the Ohio River past Newburgh, Indiana and headed toward Henderson, Kentucky. Photographed early 1990s. Click on the photograph for an enlarged view.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - R.E. Fowler


Robert E.
Feb. 4, 1832
Sept. 2, 1919

Buried Pilot Knob Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photgraphed 1994. Pilot Knob Cemetery was formerly known as the Fowler Cemetery and I suspect that this was land originally owned by Stephenson Fowler, who died in 1816 when this area was still part of Livingston County.

According to his death certificate, Robert E. Fowler was the son of J.M. Fowler and Terricy Williams. Robert E. Fowler left a will [Will Book 1, page 531] by which he left his entire estate to Will Fowler, R.G. Fowler and J.A. Fowler.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Civil War General Order No. 23 - 1863

The following flyer was found among loose county court papers, Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky, in 1999.

Headq, 1st Brigade,
2D Division 23D Army Corps,
Russellville, KY., July 30, 1863

General Order,
No. 23

In order that the Proclamation of the Governor and the laws of the State of Kentucky may be observed and enforced, Post Commandants and officers of this command will see that the following regulations are strictly compiled with at the approaching State election:

None but loyal citizens will act as officers of the election.

No one will be allowed to offer himself as a candidate for office, or be voted for at said election, who is not in all things loyal to the State and Federal Government, and in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war for the suppression of the rebellion.

The Judges of Election will allow no one to vote at said election unless he is known to them to be an undoubtedly loyal citizen, or unless he shall first take the oath required by the laws of the State of Kentucky.

No disloyal man will offer himself as a candidate, or attempt to vote, except for treasonable purposes, and all such efforts will be summarily suppressed by the military authorities.

All necessary protection will be supplied and guaranteed at the polls to Union men by all the military force within this command.

By order of Brig. Gen. J.M. Shackelford, Commanding. J.E. Huffman, Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Oath To Be Taken At The Election.
I do solemnly swear that I have not been in the service of the so-called Confederate States, in either a civil or military capacity, or in the service of the so-called Provisional Government of Kentucky, that I have not given any aid, assistance, or comfort to any person in arms against the United States, and that I have, in all things, demeaned myself as a loyal citizen since the beginning of the present rebellion, SO HELP ME GOD.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Civil War Act - 1862 Kentucky

Kentucky proclaimed itself a neutral state during the Civil War, but feelings among its citizens were far from neutral. Openly favoring the Confederate States of America was not acceptable and those who did had to face the consequences. The following Act, issued in 1862, stated that any person who entered into the service of the C.S.A. would no longer be considered a citizen of Kentucky. The Act is transcribed as it appeared in the 30 July 1862 issue of the Weekly Reporter, Henderson, Kentucky.

An Act to amend chapter 15 of the Revised Statutes, entitled “Citizens, Expatriation, and Aliens.”

*1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, That any citizen of this State who shall enter into the service of the so-called Confederate States, in either a civil or military capacity, or into the service of the so-called Provisional Government of Kentucky, in either a civil or military capacity, or having heretofore entered such service of either the Confederate States or Provisional Government, shall continue in such service after this act takes effect, or shall take up or continue in arms against the military forces of the United States or State of Kentucky, or shall give voluntary aid and assistance to those in arms against said forces, shall be deemed to have expatriated himself, and shall no long be a citizen of Kentucky, nor shall he again be a citizen, except by permission of the Legislature by a general or special statue.

*2. That whenever a person attempts or is called on to exercise any of the constitutional or legal rights and privileges belonging only to citizens of Kentucky, he may be required to negative on oath the expatriation provided in the first section of this act, and upon his failure or refusal to do so, shall not be permitted to exercise any such right or privilege.

*3. This act to be of force in 30 days from and after its passage.

Passed and became a law, the objections of the Governor to the contrary notwithstanding, March 11, 1862.

In June 1862, there issued from the Provost Marshall at Paducah to George Huston, Judge of the Union County Court an order that all persons appointed officers of elections must be “good, sound, reliable Union men and loyal Citizens.” When the list of such men was made, it was to be sent to the Provost Marshall for inspection. Candidates who were considered “disloyal” by reason of their allegiance to the C.S.A., were to withdraw from office. The warning was made that “Unless proper attention is paid to this order all concerned will be put under arrest and forwarded to the Headquarters of the U.S. Forces at Louisville. “ Judge Huston considered the situation, declined to comply and resigned his office.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Smithland Cemetery Two Views

The top photograph is of Smithland Cemetery in 2008. Note the large magnolia tree on the right side of the driveway. The bottom photograph is of the same tree following the January 2009 ice storm. Many large trees have been broken or splintered from the storm.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - G.A. Haydock

G.A. Haydock
March 5, 1850
Aged 46 years

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2008. Click on the tombstone for an enlarged view. Note the Masonic symbol at the top of the tombstone.

Gideon Augustus Haydock was born in New Jersey and married Harriet Conway 5 August 1832 Calloway County, Kentucky. G.A. and Harriet Haydock had the following children: Elizabeth, born ca 1833 and married Amzi D. Leech; Joseph Given, born 19 November 1835, married Mary J. Grubbs, died 20 January 1925 Stoddard County, Missouri; Augustus G., born ca 1838, died April 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh; Hannah; Clara Given, born ca 1845, living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1870; Mary, born ca 1848.

Published 17 Feb 2009, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Livingston County, Kentucky Tavern Licenses 1869

By 1869, the Civil War was over and life was getting back to normal in western Kentucky. Each little town in the county had at least one tavern, where people met and shared news over a glass of liquor. Some of the taverns were in separate buildings, but many were in private homes. In order for the tavern to operate, the tavernkeeper had to appear in county court, request a license and pay the fee, which was usually between $10 and $25. The following entries are abstracted from Livingston County Court Order Book M (1860 - 1869).

J.S. Leffler was granted a license to keep a tavern at the Waverly House in Smithland for one year, having paid the clerk $10, the tax therefore. 4 January 1869

Thomas Nelson was granted a tavern license for his Town House in the town of Birdsville with the privilege of retailing spirituous liquors for 12 months, having paid the clerk the tax of $25. 4 January 1869

Mrs. E.E. Morris was granted a license to keep a tavern for the accommodation of the public at the Planters Hotel in Smithland. 1 March 1869

U.G. Berry was granted a license to keep a tavern at his Tavern House in the Town of Carrsville with the right to sell liquor by the drink, he having paid the clerk of this court $25, the tax therefor. 5 April 1869

D.L. Vick was permitted to keep a Tavern at his Tavern House in Carrsville for 12 months with the privilege of retailing spirituous liquors by the drink, having paid the clerk the $25 tax. 7 June 1869

Phillip Grasham is licensed to keep a tavern at his Tavern House in Salem with the privilege of retailing spirituous liquors by the drink. 7 June 1869

Joseph Bridges is permitted to keep a tavern with the privilege of retailing spirituous liquors at the house now occupied by his family in Carrsville for 12 months. 6 December 1869

Friday, February 13, 2009

Death and Destruction - Crittenden County, Kentucky

On the 13th of April 1919, Thomas H. Bugg, 37 years of age, was found lying unconscious in the middle of a street in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Coming to his rescue was Circuit Court Clerk David Lowery, who carried Bugg to the Lowery home. The next day Bugg went to his own home. His troubles were not yet over.

Something went terribly wrong in Bugg’s mind as he proceded, with a can of kerosene and a box of matches, to cut a swath of death and destruction through the Piney Fork neighborhood. After sitting fire to the home and storehouse of Sherman Crayne, he entered the home of of T.J. Alexander, where he struck Mrs. Alexander over the head with a shotgun and left her dead in the yard. He then set fire to the Alexander home and storehouse. In all, ten or eleven buildings were burned, including the home owned by Rev. Carl Boucher, a former resident of the county.

Officers captured Bugg and took him to the Crittenden County courthouse, where he attacked the deputy sheriff with a knife, stabbing him in the breast and on the hand. An inquest regarding Bugg’s sanity was held and, as a result of the findings, he was sent to Western State Asylum, where he died 26 July 1925, at the age of 43 years.

Sources:"Left Death Trail, Insanity Is Charged," 16 April 1919 issue of the Lexington Herald, "Crazy Man Runs Amuck in Crittenden County - Kills Woman and Burns Buildings," 15 April 1919 issue of the Princeton Twice-A-Week Leader, death certificates of Nancy Alexander and Thomas H. Bugg. The Princeton newspaper article and death certificate of Nancy Alexander were provided by Linda Ward, Princeton, Kentucky.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cumberland River

Cumberland River from Paddy's Bluff, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Click on the photograph for an enlarged view.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Harriett Lyon

In Memory of
Mrs. Harriet Lyon
Mar. 18, 1801
Oct. 17, 1861
60 ys. 6 ms. 29 ds.

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed January 2009. Click on the photograph for an enlarged view.

Harriet Cook, daughter of John and Ann Cook, married first to John Davis and second to Stephen Lyon. Born to John and Harriet Davis were the following children: Thomas M., John N. and William R. Born to Stephen and Harriet Lyon were Charles S., S.B. and Ann Eliza Lyon. See the 12 November 2008 entry of this blog for additional information on Charles S. Lyon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Read the Advertisements

Our ancestor’s life was defined by his place in his family, the community and the world. His life was also influenced by everything available to him during his lifetime.

Newspapers have long been recognized as a source of genealogical information. We search for annoucements of births, marriages, deaths and movements to a new area, but how many of us read the ads to see what types of businesses were operating? Where did our ancestors buy their dry goods or groceries? Were doctors and dentists available locally or did residents have to travel to other towns? What products were available? Learning the answers can help us see our ancestors as real, living people instead of just names and dates on a chart.

If our ancestor lived in a small town, he would have done business with the companies there. Reading the advertisements in the local newspaper will tell us what resources he had to rear his family and conduct his business.

The Crittenden Press, which was published in Marion, Kentucky, shows that, in 1879, R.A. Moore was “prepared to furnish the country with anything and everything in the Drug Line” plus Fine wine and Liquor (for medicinal purposes only), fine perfumery and toliet soaps - Also a Select Stock of Paints, Oils, Dye Stuffs, Putty, Brushes and etc, etc.” Almost every family was in need of these items at one time or another. Was your family one of those families?

Harry A. Haynes was a dealer of the same items at his store in Weston, but he also sold school books. Tyler Elliott of Marion operated a livery stable and a horse and buggy could be rented for $1.50 a day or they could be rented separately for just 50 cents each per day. Both men provided services used by a majority of citizens. Perhaps your ancestor was one of those citizens.

Henry & Crayne owned the Marble Works in Marion and advertised that Monuments and tombs were a specality at their shop and their work was first class in every respect. Most likely this company would have provided tombstones for our ancestors living in this era.

E.E. Jennings, Forwarding and Commission Merchant at Fords Ferry, stated he had a “good, commodious warehouse and stock pen and [was] prepared in every respect to do the shipping of the County. Feed furnished for stock at cost.” If your ancestor shipped goods on the Ohio River, he probably utilized the services of E.E. Jennings.

G.C. Gray’s Dry Good Store had “the largest stock of Men’s and Boy’s ready made Clothing” with a large stock of overcoats, boots and shoes. M.L. & H.D. Hays made boots and shoes to order in the latest materials at their shop in Marion. This company may have provided the new shoes or suit your ancestor wore at his wedding - could it be?

M.D. Coffield was proprietor of the Bell City House at Fords Ferry. He advertised good rooms, dining room supplied with everything the market affords and special accomodations for commercial travelers.

Subscriptions to The Youth’s Companion, was available to anyone who could pay $1.75 per year. The magazine included “Brilliant Sketches ... Practical Articles ... Short Religous Articles.” Could reading this magazine have shaped the opinions and beliefs of your ancestor?

C.T. Davis was the proprietor of the barber shop in Marion. Shaves and hair cuts were needed by all and probably included your ancestor.

Dr. Akin of Princeton in Caldwell County made the rounds pulling teeth in Crittenden County.

We all want to learn as much as possible about our ancestors and how they lived. Reading the advertisements of the local newspaper may provide a better view into their lives.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Lee Cruce - Crittenden County Native and Oklahoma Governor

Every county has at least one famous son or daughter. One of the most illustrious natives of Crittenden County, Kentucky was Lee Cruce, who was a son of James W. and Jane (Hill) Cruce, and who served as governor of Oklahoma from 1911-1915.

According to an article which appeared in the 8 July 1911 issue of The Grand Forks Daily Herald (as seen at, Lee Cruce was born in Marion 8 July 1863. “The death of his father threw him upon his own resources at an early age and it was by hard work that he was able to obtain an education. He studied law during one year at Vanderbilt University and in 1888 began the practice of his chosen profession. Three years later he removed to Oklahoma, locating at Ardmore. In 1901, he abandoned the legal profession to engage in the banking business. About the same time he began to take an active interest in political affairs, and in 1910 he was nominated and elected governor of Oklahoma on the democratic ticket. In 1893 Governor Cruce was married to Miss Chickie Le Flore, a young Indian woman.”

The Crittenden County newspapers recorded Lee Cruce’s move to what was then Indian Territory. In the 11 September 1890 news of the Crayneville (Crayne) neighborhood, it was reported that “Our friend Lee Cruce is arranging his affairs preparatory to going west.” The 15 January 1891 issue, under a headline of Off for the West, it was stated that “Lee Cruce and R.M. Moore left for the West to grow up with the country and make their fortunes. Mr. Cruce will enter the law office of his brother, A.C. Cruce at Ardmore, Indian Territory, and Mr. Moore will continue in the practice of law in the same country.”

During the law illness of his mother, Lee Cruce was telegraphed to return to Crittenden County, but she had died by the time he arrived in Kentucky. This was reported in the 22 October 1891 issue of the newspaper. In June of the following year, Cruce returned to Kentucky for a long visit. The visits to Kentucky became less frequent as time went by and as other members of his family moved to Oklahoma.

More information on Lee Cruce can be found Here

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Pleasant Grove School

1930s photograph of some students of Pleasant Grove School, Crittenden County, Kentucky.
Front row: Corene Croft, Helen Stalion
Middle row: Margaret Aldridge, LaVern Croft, Charlene Curnel, Ralph Stalion
Back row: Loma Madry, Macie Little, Maurice Stalion, James Guy Aldridge

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph and Amanda Parker

Joseph Parker
Nov. 22, 1847
May 15, 1932

Amanda J. His Wife
June 27, 1849
Aug. 6, 1912


Buried Salem Cemetery, Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 18 January 2009. According to their death certificates, Joseph Parker was the son of Mack Parker and Tryphenia Lindley, both born in Kentucky, and Amanda was the daughter of I.W. McColum, born Kentucky, and Martha Wilson, born Scotland.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation

John F. Baker Jr., author and descendant of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation - One Family's Journey to Freedom, will speak at Willard Library, 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana, Saturday, 7 February 2009 at 1:00 p.m.

Mr. Baker's book is the culmination of more than 30 years of research. The Wessyngton Plantation in middle Tennessee held as many as 274 slaves by the mid 1800s. The births, deaths and families of generations were documented in the plantation's extensive records. With additional research from archives, DNA, and interviews, Mr. Baker shares his personal journey of discovery in a story of survival and family while presenting a fresh insight into the institution of slavery and its ongoing legacy today.

The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation has just been published and has already been declared "the most exciting work on African American history since Roots."

Reservations for this event are requested, but not required. Call Willard Libary, 812-425-4309, or email There is no charge for admission.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Uniontown, Kentucky Deaths 1912

Can't find an obituary for your ancestor in the county in which he lived? Try the adjoining county and, if that doesn't work, try the newspaper of the nearest large city. The following deaths were reported in the Evansville, Indiana Courier on Wednesday, 3 July 1912.

Uniontown, Ky., July 2 - The death of Mrs. George S. Pike occurred here yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Death resulted from cancer of the face. Mrs. Pike is survived by one daughter, Miss Marguerite, and one son, George. The funeral will take place tomorrow with high requiem mass at 9 o'clock from St. Agnes Catholic Church.

The death of John Wesley Randolph took place here at 3 o'clock this morning, due to bowel trouble. The deceased is a retired farmer about 72 years of age. A wife and eleven children survive. The funeral will take place tomorrow.