Monday, March 30, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry Fenn

Henry Fenn
Sept. 11, 1832
Feb. 7, 1876

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed January 2009. Click on the tombstone for an enlarged view.

Henry Fenn first appears on the Henderson census in 1860. He was born in Germany and was a tailor living in the household of August Grubbe. In 1864, he opened his own tailor shop. [See above advertisement from the Henderson Reporter, 21 July 1864]

Fenn married Margaret Geible in 1865 and had two children, Jacob and Katy. He died in 1876 and his widow married Henry Busch in 1878 in Henderson. By 1880, Henry and Margaret Geible Fenn Busch and the two Fenn children were living in Evansville, Indiana.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Disastrous Fire At Slaughterville 1914

Fire was always a threat in the small towns of western Kentucky. The following article is from the Henderson Daily Gleaner, Thursday, 15 June 1914.

The little town of Slaughterville was visited by a very disastrous fire Wednesday morning, which for a while threatened to destroy the whole town.

Five buildings, three of brick and two frame, were totally destroyed.

The fire started in the barbershop of C.M. Dickerson about 2 o'clock Wednesday morning and spread so rapidly that the efforts of the volunteer firemen were fruitless and very little merchandise or household goods were saved.

The origin of the fire is still unknown, as very few people were on the streets at that time. most of the buildings were covered by insurance. The list of the buildings destroyed and their occupants is as follows:
C.M. Dickerson, barber shop, $200 insurance on furniture. W.P. Cosby, who owned the building, carried no insurance.

O.F. Coffman, general merchandise store, $2000 insurance.

Masonic hall, over Coffman's store, $500 insurance.

Oakley restaurant, $1000 insurance.

White restaurant, $350 insurance.

Prather Hotel, occupied by Kelly Gill, $450 insurance.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

News From Morganfield 1914

The following news items from Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky are found in the Sunday, 18 January 1914 issue of the Henderson Gleaner and were reprinted from the Morganfield Sun.

Mrs. Fannie B. Connell left of her home in Paducah Wednesday after spending a few days with her sister, Mrs. S.V. Hale in Henderson and Mr. J.L. Sale of this city.

Mrs. S.V. Sale returned to her home in Henderson after spending a few days with her sons, Messrs. James Lee and Arthur Sale of this city.

Mr. S.E. Haynes, years ago a resident of Morganfield, and son, Mr. Jack Haynes, of Wichita, Kan., are spending the week here.

Miss Della Newman of near Boxville is quite sick. A trained nurse has been called.

Mrs. Maggie Berry and Mrs. W.M. Wright will leave on the 19th for an extended visit to Mrs. Henry W. Tyler of East Haddon, Conn.

Mrs. Lou Gip Brown returned Tuesday from Nashville, where she has been visiting her daughter, Mrs. George Clark.

Mrs. Mary Cargile and son, Harris, leave Tuesday for Darlington, S.C. for a month’s visit.

Miss Matilda Young, our resident trained nurse, has been called to the bedside of Mrs. Berry Conway, who is ill with pneumonia.

Mrs. John Wall left Monday for Evansville, where she will visit her daughter, Mrs. Noel Harris, for several days, leaving Tuesday for an extended visit to Mrs. Hugo Phillips in Texas.

Mrs. G.A. Gailor, who has been confined at the Deaconess Hospital in Louisville, following a severe operation, is reported still in a critical condition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Klan Rally in Western Kentucky

The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1865 by veterans of the Confederate Army at Pulaski, Tennessee. Its purpose was to restore white supremacy following the Civil War. The Ku Klux Act of 1871 did away with the Klan, but it came into being once again in 1915. Membership exceeded 4 million in 1920s, when it reached its peak. Today there are a few thousand members in splinter groups, including the Imperial Klans of America, which is based in Hopkins County, Kentucky with chapters in several other states.

Saturday, the 4th of July 1925 was a holiday like no other in western Kentucky. On that day between 30,000 and 35,000 persons attended the Ku Klux Klan celebration in Providence, Webster County. The report in the next day’s issue of the Evansville Courier and Journal read as follows:

“Grand dragons, grand cyclops and many other high-ranking officers of the organization from Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky were present. A parade of several miles in length, which included numerous floats and hundreds of horses, was held. The celebration was staged in Edmondson Park and arrivals for the affair began coming Friday night. Klan leaders say that it was one of the largest gatherings of its kind ever held in the state.

“Very little disturbance was encountered, a report being made that youths attempted some practical pranks, which temporarily caused a little trouble. The all-day celebration opened at 8 o’clock in the morning with a parade and wound up by the burning of a large fiery cross at night.

“Klansmen from several states attended the meet and three bands were in the parade line of march. Over 50 head of sheep were barbecued in the park and the showing of a Klan motion picture film was a feature of the program. Klansmen in white robes were stationed all about the town, directing autoists to the center of activity.”

Apparently, the “very little disturbance” mentioned in the Evansville newspaper consisted of firecrackers thrown by a Providence man from a store roof into the midst of men marching in the parade and one landed in the flowing tresses of a woman on a float. The men stomped out the firecrackers in the street and the fire in the woman’s hair was quickly extinguished. The thrower was arrested.

The Klan continued to be active in Webster County. In the 2 September 1925 issue of the Henderson Morning Gleaner, details of the funeral of a Sebree man were given under the headline of “Klan Funeral Held At Sebree.” It was held at the Missionary Baptist Church and at the conclusion of the funeral sermon, robed Klansmen took charge of the burial. They accompanied the body to the Shady Grove Cemetery at Poole, where the deceased was buried with ceremonial rites. The body was wrapped in the white Klan robe at the request of the dead man. As a finale to the funeral, a fiery cross was burned.

This was not a bright spot in the past of western Kentucky, but it is part of its history.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Nathan and Sarah Dallam

Col. Nathan S. Dallam
who was born Dec. 19, 1782
departed this life June 1, 1837
In the 55 year of his age
[box stone at top]

To the
Mrs. Sarah Dallam
widow of
Col. N.S. Dallam Decd.
who was born June 5,
died Jan. 12, 1839
[stone at bottom]

Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. The footstone for Sarah Dallam is leaning against the tombstone of Nathan S. Dallam. Tombstones photographed March 2009.

Nathan S. Dallam and Sarah Hicks were married 1807 Clark County, Kentucky and moved first to Christian County and later, Caldwell County.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Dallam Family - Public Servants

Home of James L. Dallam in Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky.

Public service appears to have been the motto of the Dallam family. The progenitor of the family in western Kentucky was Nathan Smith Dallam, who left Harford County, Maryland about 1804 and settled in Clark County, Kentucky, where he married Sarah Hicks 14 October 1807. The following year he moved to Christian County, where he served as clerk of court and was also elected to the state legislature.

The year 1827 was an eventful one for Nathan S. Dallam, who was then living in Caldwell County, Kentucky. In October, he was chosen clerk of court, which included both county court as well as circuit court, and the following month he purchased land where the family was residing on the road leading from Princeton to Eddyville. Dallam continued to serve as clerk of court until 17 April 1837, when he tendered his resignation due to the state of his health and recommended his son, Charles B. Dallam, as his successor.

Charles B. Dallam was not the last of the family to serve as clerk of court. In 1833, James L. Dallam, the oldest son of Nathan S. Dallam, was appointed clerk of court in adjoining Livingston County and he chose another brother, Francis Henry Dallam, as his deputy. Ten years later, James L. Dallam chose still another brother, Edward Winston Dallam, as deputy clerk. James L. Dallam was clerk of court during the removal of the Livingston County seat of justice from Salem to Smithland in 1842.

Nathan S. and Sarah Dallam had ten children, six of whom were sons and almost all of them were involved in public service. This family also produced prominent business men, including brothers Francis Henry Dallam, a lawyer who moved to Henderson, Kentucky; William J. Dallam, who was in the shoe and boot business in several Kentucky counties before settling in Evansville, Indiana and Lucien Clay Dallam, a banker who settled in Henderson, Kentucky. If any family served the public in western Kentucky, it was the Dallam family.

There will be more articles on the Dallam family in future blogs.

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

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mrs. Jailer of Webster County, Kentucky

Appointing the widow of an officeholder to fill out a term is not a new phenomenon. It has occurred often in western Kentucky as well as other locations. An example of such an event is recorded in the Tuesday, 7 July 1925 issue of the Henderson Morning Gleaner.

Widow Named As County Jailer

Dixon, Ky., July 6 - It is now Mrs. Jailer, not Mr. Jailer should Judge N.B. Hunt address the custodian of Webster County’s prisoners, for Mrs. Maggie Hayes has been appointed by County Judge George E. Vaughn to fill out the unexpired term of her late husband, Sam Hayes, who died last week, with the remainder of this year yet to go.

It is a new experience for this plain country woman, whose life has been lived in quiet places, content to be the wife of a farmer, going with him to the county seat when in the beginning of 1922 he succeeded Ed Littlepage as Jailer of Webster County, after the latter had served two terms.

Joe Hayes, a single man, youngest son of the jailer, who lived with his parents and was chief deputy under his father, with an older brother, T.D. Hayes, relieving the aging man of the burdens of office, will hold the same position with his mother. She is jailer in name only, for it is the two sturdy sons on whom she will rely for performance of the duties of office and upon whose shoulders will rest the responsibility.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Publication Policy of this Blog

Almost all material for this blog comes from public records. No records less than 75 years old - dated later than 1934 in this year of 2009 - will be published. ALL public records older than 75 years are candidates for publication. If you disagree, that's fine, but do not ask to have material removed. It won't happen.

Comments left on this blog are reviewed before publication and if your comments are deemed inappropriate, they will be deleted.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Crittenden County, Kentucky

Lane off Bells Mines Church Road, northern Crittenden County, Kentucky. Photograph taken early 1990s.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - George W. Hagey

George W. Hagey
Born Feb. 22, 1819
Died Nov. 1, 1869

Buried in Smithland Cemetery. The first tombstone photograph is from 1991. The second photograph is from 2009. Note that the urn on the top has fallen to the ground. This is the only tombstone within the fenced area. For an enlarged view, click on the photographs.

A bond for the marriage of George W. Hagey and Julia E. Bryan was issued in Livingston County 16 October 1841. According to the 1850 and 1860 Livingston County census records, George W. and Julia Hagey had the following children: George A., Lucy, Julia, Henry Given, Ben, Mattie, Fountain, Kate Darling, Thomas, Forest and Lewis W. Hagey. In May 1869, George W. and Julia E. Hagey conveyed a town lot in Smithland. This was just prior to their move to Alexander County, Illinois. According to the Nashville Christian Advocate, vol. 29, #51, dated 18 December 1869, George W. Hagey died in Cairo, Illinois 3 November 1869. Julia Hagey and her children are enumerated on the 1870 Alexander County census. By 1880, they had moved to St. Louis, Missouri.

Survey Results

Thank you for resonding to my survey of the type and time period public records should be available on this blog.

Not one person expressed concern over the types of records that have appeared on this blog. Several mentioned the use of the federal government's 72 year restriction on access to census records as an appropriate restriction for online records. That means that public records prior to 1937 are acceptable for online use. A couple of people believe that any public records should be made available as long as the persons mentioned are no longer living.

I appreciate your comments and if you have not yet let me know your opinion, you may still do so by leaving a comment at the end of this post or sending an email to me at A little later I plan to define my personal policy for using public records online and will post it here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I am taking a survey and need your help. The survey involves the types of public records that can be posted online and the part the time period plays in determining the posting of these records.

When is it not all right to post public records online for anyone to view? Should public records after a particular date remain inaccessible online? Are any public records off limits to online publication? If so, which records?

For example, it is all right to post court records involving people sent to jail in the mid to late 1800s? Is it all right to post information on people adjudged lunatics and committed to the asylum during the same time period? Is it all right to post the names of insolvent debtors of the 1800s? Would you give the same opinion if the records were from an earlier time period.

These are not trick questions, but remember these involve only public records - those that are available in the courthouses, archives and cemeteries.

Your answers will help me determine which records to make available on this blog. Please take the time to respond either through comments below or privately, if you prefer, at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Livingston County Courthouse

Livingston County, Kentucky courthouse built mid-1840s, Smithland, Kentucky. Many of the offices have now moved to a new Judicial Center, but the county clerk's office is still located here. Photograph is dated April 1941.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Jacob W. and Juda A. Bettis


Jacob W. Bettis
Jan. 20, 1823
Feb. 28, 1906

Juda A. His Wife
May 16, 1822
Aug. 5, 1912

Christ Is My Hope

Buried at Deer Creek Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 1991.

Jacob W. Bettis was in Crittenden County by the mid-1850s and appeared on the 1860 Crittenden County census. He married Juda Walker circa 1844 probably in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Juda was the daughter of Jim Walker and Nancy Williams, according to her death certificate. The couple had the following children: Nancy E., James F., Darthula Angeline, John E. and Jacob Henry.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Uniontown News 1914

Finding news items from Union County, Kentucky prior to 1924 can be challenging. The following items have been transcribed from the 9 November 1914 issue of the Evansville, Indiana Courier.

John Styles has moved into his new home in North Uniontown.

Henry Buckman of Robinsonville delivered some fat cattle this week.

Mr. and Mrs. Will Sparks of Morganfield chaperoned a motor party here each night to attend the mission services at St. Agnes. The question box, a feature of the evening services, is attracting many.

The children's mission services, which began last Monday at St. Agnes, closed yesterday. It was well attended.

Mrs. Robert Compton of this city was taken to Morganfield this week and was adjudged insane. She was sent to the asylum at Hopkinsville.

N.T. Wathen was in the city yesterday and after his recent accident in a runaway, his friends were glad to see him out and so much improved.

Mrs. Helen Wedding has returned to her home in Henderson after a short visit here with relatives.

Several of our citizens have been going to the capital this week attending court. Among them were A. Hatfield, Carrol Cody, C.J. Cambrom, George Moore and others.

Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Pike of Henderson motored here to be the guests of Charles Pike and family Friday.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking for Patterns

As part of my project on the early history of Smithland, I am researching a number of the early families. Among these families were the lawyers, doctors, merchants, hotel keepers - all those who conducted the business of the town. My goal is to learn where they lived before arriving in Smithland and where they went, if, indeed, they did leave Smithland. During the course of this research, I have learned several things.

When Smithland began to decline in the mid-1800s, the majority of the business people moved on. This is especially true after local residents rebuffed attempts to have the railroad pass through the county. At the same time, steamboat traffic was declining and those who depended on the river for transportation began seeking new homes.

Of the families who left Smithland before the town’s decline, several went to Nashville, Tennessee, where I suspect some of them had lived before settling in Smithland. These people were mainly merchants dealing with the transportation of goods by river. After 1850, it appears that Paducah and Henderson were the most popular destinations. Some folks went on to Evansville, Indiana from Henderson. So far, the families I have researched include the following families: Dallam, Hagey, Haydock, Mantz, Sanders, Smedley and Weston. I’m sure there were others, but my research has not progressed far enough to include them.

Another destination for at least one Smithland family was Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois. In the mid-1850s, George D. Williamson took his family to Cairo, where he had formerly lived and where he became a forwarding and commission merchant with his own wharf boat. Williamson’s first wife was Mina McCawley, daughter of Smithland pioneer, James McCawley. In 1856, Williamson married Mrs. Harriet Wood Smith and shortly thereafter they migrated to Cairo. Apparently, he was accompanied or joined by the following Smithland residents: Joseph G. Haydock, George Thrift and John Hagey, who appear in the Williamson household on the 1860 census, but are gone by 1870.

It was not uncommon for some of the former Smithland residents who died in Paducah to have their bodies returned for burial in Smithland Cemetery. Of the others who died in Paducah, almost all were buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. Those dying in Henderson were, for the most part, buried at Fernwood Cemetery. Those dying in Evansville were usually buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. Researching burials in these cemeteries has been made easy by using online databases.

Another pattern I’ve noticed is that certain professions are prevalent in these families. If there was one lawyer, there were several lawyers. If one man was a merchant, the chances are pretty good that some of his sons were merchants. The same is true of physicians. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are living in Smithland or Paducah or Henderson.

Time and again, when I find one family from Smithland, another will show up, often in the same neighborhood. Being cognizant of Smithland names is helping me to spot patterns in migration, which is always a good thing. I don’t know where this project will lead when the scheduled May program is over, but it is fun to track the different families and see how they fit into the area around them. And I believe I am learning techniques that can be carried over into other areas of research

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Aunt Jane's Shed

Aunt Jane Underdown's Shed or Tabernacle, off Highway 91 North near Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky. According to an article by Sister Lucy Tedrick in Crittenden County, Kentucky History and Families, Aunt Jane's Shed is the "last of the open air sheds, or tabernacles [used as a place of worship] ... in Crittenden County."

The photograph was taken in the early 1990s.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Update on Maggie V. Snodgres

Winning the Gold Star of the day is Steve Eskew of Marion, Kentucky, who emailed me the following message:

Hi Brenda,

Your blog entry for Maggie V. Snodgres sounded like a challenge, so I did a search on and found death certificates for her as well as her husband, James W. Snodgrass. She is listed in the index as Mrs. J. W. Snodgrass.

I also found them in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 Morganfield, Union County, KY census. In 1900 James W. Snodgrass was listed as Jailer.

Steve attached copies of death certificates for Mr. and Mrs. Snodgrass. Mrs. Snodgrass was born in April 1853 (year written over so could be different) and died 21 June 1921. Thanks, Steve.

Tombstone Tuesday - Maggie V. Snodgres

Maggie V.
1852 - 1921

Buried St. Ann's Catholic Church Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky.

No information has been found on Maggie V. Snodgres or Snodgrass. She is not listed on any Union County census and there is no Kentucky death certificate for her.