Sunday, May 31, 2009

Midnight Madness

Willard Library, 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana will host its annual Midnight Madness 15-19 June 2009. Special Collections (second floor) will be open from 9 am until midnight with plenty of time between classes to use the large selection of microfilm, books, CDs and maps for personal research.

Classes will be given on a wide variety of subjects - from Newspaper Research to Tombstone Art to Finding German Origins and Relatives to Victorian Mourning Customs to Blogging for Beginners to Evansville in WWII to Becoming a Certified Genealogist. All classes are free. Reservations are requested, but not required.

To register or for more information, call 812-425-4309 or email A list of classes and activities can be found at Willard Library Calendar of Events

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wood - Kelley, Bastardy Case 1812

Complaint of Mary Wood against John Kelley in a case of bastardy. Click on document for enlarged view.

On the 7th day of September 1812, Mary Wood, single woman, appeared before Arthur H. Davis, a Justice of the Peace, and stated she was delivered of a “Mail Bastard Child in Caldwell County on the 9th of December 1811 and Sayeth on hir said oath that John Kelley labourer of said County is the father of hir child and said child is likely to become Chargeable to the County.” Kelley was ordered to support the child by paying five pounds annually for several years.

This was the normal procedure when a woman gave birth to an illegitimate child in early Kentucky. In some cases, however, the woman’s family might guarantee to provide maintenance and support of the infant and publicly naming the child’s father was unnecessary.

Once the woman had filed her statement, a summons was delivered to the alleged father, who had to post bond to guarantee his appearance to answer the charges. If determined he was the father, support payments were established.

These bastardy records are often found among loose county court papers in the county clerk’s office. Occasionally, they are also recorded in the county court order book (court minutes).

Just as today, some women appeared more than once to name a man as the father of her illegitimate child. On the 7th of February 1821, Abigail Johnson swore that she was “delivered of a male child at her own place of residence 30 July 1819” and charged James M. Hall with being the child’s father. On the 2nd of May 1822, Abigail, “a free woman,” appeared before a justice of the peace and stated she was delivered of a female child on the 29th of January 1822 at the home of Benjamin Johnson. Again, she charged James M. Hall with being the father. It is unknown if these children carried the name of the mother or the father.

Whatever your personal opinion about children born out of wedlock may be, these bastardy records do provide information that may not be found elsewhere.

Published 28 May 2009, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Dunn Home

Dunn Home, Court Street, Smithland, Kentucky. Built in 1867 by the Grayot family, the house takes its name from D.A. Dunn, who later owned it. This home is located next to the old Livingston County courthouse. Photograph dated April 2009.

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas S. Chapman

Thomas S. Chapman
Dec. 10, 1877
Aged 66 years

Prudence F. Huston
Wife of
T.S. Chapman
Jan. 17, 1817
Nov. 27, 1897

Both inscriptions are on the same tombstone in Masonic Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Photograph dated 24 May 2009. Click on photo for an enlarged view.

According to History of Union County, Kentucky, published by the Courier Company of Evansville, Indiana (1886), Thomas S. Chapman was born 2 February 1811 and was the son of John Strother Chapman and his wife, Polly. Thomas S. Chapman married Prudence Huston 20 February 1834 in Daviess County, Kentucky. Among their children were John S. Chapman and Lucy Allen Chapman Mason, both featured on this blog in previous weeks. Thomas S. Chapman was Union County Court Clerk for eight years.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tribute To My Grandfather

Joyce and Smith families circa 1906/07 in Washington state. Standing: Edward Smith. Sitting in chairs: Reddick Smith and Mary Ann Wolstenholme Smith. Sitting on ground: L. Mino Joyce holding Lacey Hebbert Joyce and Beatrice Mary Smith Joyce holding Charles Oakley Joyce.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I would like to pay tribute to Lycurgus Mino Joyce, the grandfather I never knew. He was born 3 February 1878 in Hardin County, Illinois and was the son of James Pinkney Joyce and his second wife, Martha Minerva Womack.

L. Mino lost his mother when he was only a year old and then, when he was three years old, his father died. He was reared by his older sister, Joanna, and lived near the old Iron Furnace in Hardin County.

On 10 December 1902, L. Mino Joyce married Beatrice Mary Smith in Hardin County. By the time their second son was born, they were ready to start a new life in another area. They sold all of their property and, with Beatrice's parents and younger brother, traveled by train to Washington state. The picture above was taken during their short stay in Washington. L. Mino's father-in-law became homesick so they packed their bags and returned to Hardin County.

L. Mino had a little farm and also worked as a fluorspar miner in Hardin County. On the 10th of February 1921, he died of lobar pneumonia, leaving a young widow and four children, the two youngest, John Morgan and Mary Arvetta having been born in 1913 and 1914. L. Mino's obituary in the Hardin County Independent described him as a "generous and upright man in every respect; being loyal, kind and affectionate to his family and all with whom he came in contact." He was 43 years and 7 days at the time of his death. He is buried in the Joyce Cemetery near Pleasant Hill Church, Hardin County, Illinois.

A few years before my Uncle Oakley died in 1995, my cousin and I took him to visit our family cemeteries. During that visit, Uncle Oakley described his father as "a good man, an honest man who did the best he could for his family." There is no higher tribute, in my opinion.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ALL Dressed Up For Memorial Day

Rose Hill Cemetery, Highway 261, Newburgh, Indiana. The cemetery was established circa 1845. Photograph dated 21 May 2009. Click on photo for an enlarged view.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Masonic Cemetery

Masonic Cemetery, Morganfield, Kentucky. Located two blocks off U.S. 60 and across the street from St. Ann's Cemetery. Photograph taken April 2009.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Jacob Green

Son of
Wm. H. & Ella Green
Oct. 8, 1890
Dec. 29, 1905

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

William H. Green married (1) Miss Susan C. Miles 14 December 1865 Livingston County. He married (2) Mrs. Ella Marshall 13 August 1889 Livingston County, but the marriage is recorded in Crittenden County. Both parties were residents of Livingston County. William H. Green appears with his first wife and children on the 1880 Livingston County census. By 1900, Green, his second wife and children were living in Lyon County, Kentucky.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Corydon High School Graduation 1917

Corydon High School in Henderson County, Kentucky graduated its largest class in 1917. Details are given in the following article, which appeared in the Henderson Daily Journal on Wednesday, 23 May 1917:

“The week of the 27th will mark the close of one of the most successful years’ work in the history of the Corydon High School. The exercises of the week will begin with the baccalaureate sermon Sunday evening, May 27, by Rev. J.M. Price of Louisville. Services will be in the Methodist church and will begin at 8 p.m.

On Tuesday evening, May 29, the class play, ‘When Dreams Come True,’ will be presented at the High School auditorium.

The commencement exercises will be held Thursday evening, May 31, at the High School auditorium, when seven young men and ten young women, wearing gray caps and gowns, will be given their diploma by Supt. E.L. West. The class of 1917 bears the distinction of being the largest class that has ever graduated from the school.

The officers of the class are:
Robert Hughes, president
Basil Raymond, vice-president
Elizabeth Conley, secretary
Joseph Brown, treasurer

The other members of the class are Albert Chandler, Sarah Lee Loyd, Margaret Ball, Mary Ball, Owen Stapp, Zelma Pritchett, Lucille Jones, Ralph Gibbons, Stella Alderson, Frances Anderson, Eva Smith, Della Head and George Martin.

The faculty of the Corydon High School is composed of the following members: E.L. West, superintendent; Miss Rixie Brooks, first assistant; Miss Laura Harris, teacher of English; Miss Nell Powell, teacher of history and geography. We have a faculty that cannot be excelled in the state and the people of Corydon are proud of the excellent work and the high standard on which they have placed Corydon High School.

Members of the Board of Education are as follows: Dr. J.R. Sigler, president; John W. Powell, secretary; J.T. Anderson, treasurer; V.G. Conley; Rudy Head; E.D. Ball; Robert I. Hughes and W.A. Muncaster.

On the night of the commencement, Echols’ orchestra, of Henderson, will furnish the music and President R.H. Crossfield will deliver the class address. Admission will be by ticket and a large audience is expected to be present.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Genealogical Research in Kentucky

The March 2009 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly contains an article that should be of interest to all Kentucky researchers. Bettie Cummings Cook, CG has presented a virtual check list of resources and repositories available to all genealogists researching Kentucky records. The article is titled "Genealogical Research in Kentucky" and runs from page 39 through page 72.

The repositories include archives, libraries and society collections. Also listed are major resources, such as atlases, gazetteers and maps, biographical guides, business records and the Draper Manuscripts. Ms. Cook also discusses records from the time prior to statehood when this area was part of Fincastle County, Virginia (1772-1776)and District of Kentucky (1777-1779) and then when the first three Kentucky counties (1780-1792) were created. Of particular interest to me is the explanation of the various Kentucky courts and the function of each.

The article also deals with military records through World War II, African-American and Melungeon records, land records, newspapers and religious records.

This is the most up-to-date source available on Kentucky research. It is well-written and presented in an easy-to-read format. Ms. Cook is a recognized authority on early Kentucky and her knowledge shines in this article. If you are not a National Genealogical Society member, be sure to check your local library for this issue of the Quarterly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Smithland Cemetery

Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Photograph taken 9 April 2009. Note the burning brush from the late January ice storm. Click on the photograph for an enlarged view. This is surely one of the prettiest views in Smithland.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Aaron and Lucy Mason

Aaron Waller
Born Aug. 28, 1852
Died June 8, 1906
“Revelations 21-7”

Lucy Allen
Wife of A.W. Mason
Born Dec. 22, 1856
Died Dec. 7, 1893
“Ecclesiastes XII”

Buried Masonic Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed April 2009.

Aaron W. Mason was the son of Joseph A. Mason and Elizabeth Waller. Lucy Allen Chapman was the daughter of Thomas Strother Chapman and Prudence Huston and a sister of John S. Chapman

Saturday, May 9, 2009

John S. Chapman of Union County, Kentucky

John Strother Chapman was the son of Thomas Strother Chapman and Prudence Huston of Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. On the 15th of August 1861, John S. Chapman enlisted in Company B, 4th Kentucky Regiment Infantry, CSA and was elected 2nd Lieut. 9 September 1861. During the battle at Fort Donelson, he was taken prisoner and sent to Camp Chase. He escaped 1 March 1862 and went to Corinth, Mississippi, where he was assigned to Gen. William Preston’s Brigade. Chapman later resigned and returned to Kentucky to recruit for Company H. (later Company F), 10th Kentucky for Col. Adam Rankin Johnson, who was responsible for much of the skirmishing in western Kentucky.

As a captain, Chapman was captured 20 July 1863 in the “Ohio Raid” at Cheshire, Ohio and sent first to Fort Delaware and then to the Ohio State Penitentiary, where it was believe that no escape was possible. This claim was proven false as Gen. John Hunt Morgan and six other men did make a daring escape from the penitentiary in November 1863. Chapman did not participate in the escape and was finally paroled at Richmond, Virginia in the spring of 1865.

After the War, Chapman returned to Union County, where he married Hettie Ann Hite, daughter of William Hite, in 1868 and settled down on his farm a few miles from Morganfield. Five children were born to this couple, but two died young. John S. and Hettie Chapman also died early, he in 1885 and she in 1882. The family legend is that all, excluding one son, died of tuberculosis. Chapman is said to have been buried in the Catholic cemetery, possibly St. Ann’s, Morganfield.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Livingston County History Book

The Livingston County History Book Committee is compiling and publishing a new history of Livingston County, Kentucky. The book will consist of histories of the county, families, communities, churches, schools, businesses, farms, organizations and more.

Livingston County, Kentucky History & Families will contain material from 1798 through 2009, with approximately 200 - 300 pages. This hardback, library quality book will be bound in leatherette with a gold foil stamped seal on the cover.

If you or your ancestors have lived in the county, you will want to be sure your family history is included in this book. Your story should be written in the third person and be 500 words or less, double spaced. One photograph may also be included.

The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2009. The estimated date of publication has not been determined. Cost of the book is $49.95 plus $6.00, if mailed, and can be ordered from Livingston County History Book, P.O. Box 138, Smithland, Kentucky 42081. You may also call 270-928-4656 or email for additional information.

Sturgis News 1926

You may wonder why I post these neighborhood news items on this blog. It is among items such as these that we find little gems of information. Where else would we learn where a woman was employed before her marriage or that a person had suffered from a stroke? This is the type of information that adds “flesh to the bones” of our ancestors’ lives. The following items appeared in the Sunday, 7 March 1926 issue of the Evansville Courier and Journal.

Sturgis, Ky., March 6 - Miss Mabel White and Gilbert Gilchrest were quietly married Saturday, February 27, in Detroit, Mich. Mrs. Gilchrest is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. White of near this city and was before her marriage employed at Holt’s Dry Goods store here. Mr. Gilchrest is the son of Mrs. Maria Gilchrest of Sullivan and is now employed in Detroit where they will make their home.

The surprise wedding of Miss Nadine Johnson to Russell Syers took place at Equality, Ill. Saturday, February 27. Mrs. Syers is the oldest daughter of Steve Johnson of this city and was a junior in high school. Mr. Syers was formerly of DeKoven, near Sturgis, but is now employed at Harrisburg, Ill., where they will reside.

Mrs. W.H. Taylor suffered a paralytic stroke Tuesday morning and remained unconscious until Wednesday morning. She is slowly improving.

Mrs. Necie Burton and daughters moved to Blackford this week to make their home. Miss Bernie was chief telephone operator and Miss Gladys, her assistant. They accepted similar positions at Blackford.

Walter Sprague of Charleston, Mo. spent the weekend here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Sprague. He was accompanied by his brother, Biddle, of Denver, Colo., who remained for a visit before leaving to accept a position in Alabama.

Mr. and Mrs. L.E. DeShon spent the weekend at Earlington, the guests of his mother, Mrs. M.A. DeShon, who accompanied them home for a visit here.

Mr. and Mrs. I.T. Sholar have announced the arrival of a baby girl, Margaret Jane, on Sunday, February 28.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Point

"The Point," the confluence of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers, across from Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. This was a military land grant to William Brown for his services in the Virginia Continental Line during the Revolutionary War.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Dr. Louis Sanders

Louis Sanders
Departed this life
Dec. 26, 1835
Aged 26 years

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. Murdered by Townsend Ashton. Tombstone photographed April 2009.

The tombstone is plain and simple. The story of Doctor Sanders' death is not. For details, see this blog of 7 June 2008 for Murder on Christmas Day 1835

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Smithland, Genealogy of a Kentucky River Town

I have mentioned my on-going project on Smithland, Kentucky several times on this blog. I will be doing a Power Point presentation called "Smithland, Genealogy of a Kentucky River Town" at the Tri-State Genealogical Society meeting on Tuesday, 12 May 2009, at 7:30 pm at Willard Library, 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana. The program will deal with the demographics of Smithland, photographs of historic buildings and some of the early residents I’ve met while doing research on the town.

If you are in the area and inclined to attend, please do so. Visitors are always welcome and be sure to yell at me so I will know who you are. I’ll be the one up front with the terrified look on her face.