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.
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.]
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.
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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.
It started out innocently with a simple search for information on Timothy J. Alvord, who is buried in Smithland Cemetery. The following is inscribed on his tombstone: Timothy J. Alvord born North Hampton, NY. Died Aug. 15th 1840. Erected by his wife & Daughter – Julia V.J. Alvord.
Buried beside Timothy is his daughter, Julia Alvord Mitchell. The inscription on her tombstone states she was born at Parkersburg, W.Va. Sept. 27, 1836, died at Smithland Novr. 26, 1873.
While researching the Alvord family, I became intrigued by Louisa, widow of Timothy and mother of Julia. I had to learn more about her. Have you ever felt like someone was guiding you in your research? Louisa became almost real to me and her personality began to shine through those old, dusty records in the courthouse and in the cemetery. Let me tell you what I learned.
Louisa, who outlived three older husbands and an adult daughter, surely had a sense of humor. On the 1850 Livingston County census, she was age 32, but in 1860, she had only aged 8 years and in 1870 she aged another 8 years. By 1880, she had only aged 2 years. Her year of birth ranges from 1818 to 1830, depending on the census. When she died in 1892, she was age 75, which would make her birth year 1817. Maybe her hand over her mouth muffled the answer as she gave her age to the census enumerator. Of course, a lady never reveals her true age.
Another sign of her humor is the arrangement of the final resting places of her dearly departed family members. Buried directly behind first husband Timothy J. Alvord and their daughter, Julia Alvord Mitchell, is Matilda Green, second wife of Ezekiel C. Green, who was Louisa’s second husband and is buried next to Matilda. According to his tombstone, Ezekiel C. Green was born Aug. 22, 1795 Pendleton District, S.C. and died April 6, 1851.
Then there is our lady Louisa, who is buried between Ezekiel and husband #3, Dr. Milton H. Carson. The following is inscribed on his tombstone: Dr. Milton H. Carson, Husband of Louisa B. Carson, Born near Dandridge, Tenn. Jan. 20, 1807, died Smithland Dec. 9, 1886.
Buried behind them are children of Ezekiel C. Green. I think family was important to Louisa, don’t you?
Louisa’s greatest claim to fame is the inclusion of the birth places on the tombstones of her husbands and daughter. Did she have the foresight to know this would be important to some unknown person over 100 years after her death? I like to think so. It is a shame that whoever ordered Louisa’s tombstone did not include her birthplace. From census records, we know she was born in Maine, but I would really like to know the county or town. While we are wishing, I would like to know where she and Timothy J. Alvord married. Louisa’s tombstone has this simple inscription: Louisa B. Carson Died Aug. 6, 1892, aged 75 years Requiescat in pace
First husband, Timothy J. Alvord, arrived in Smithland about 1837 or 1838. He was a carpenter and built at least one house before his death in August 1840. Louisa, who was in her early 20s, had to support herself and her 4-year-old daughter, Julia. In June of 1841, Louisa married E.C. Green, who was twice widowed, and was about 20 years older than Louisa. His second wife, Matilda Harrison Green, had died in 1839.
E.C. Green and Louisa were married until his death in 1851, when Louisa became a widow again. But not for long. In December of that year, Louisa married Dr. Milton H. Carson, who was only about 10 years her senior. Their marriage would last the longest – until his death in 1886.
It is easy to become caught up in the lives of people being researched, especially when they are as interesting as Louisa and her families. She arrived in Smithland when it was a busy river port with lots of activity. She witnessed the many changes of Smithland, including the Civil War, the decline of river traffic and the removal of many residents to larger towns offering more opportunities. By the time of her death, Smithland had become a quiet, little town, far different than when she arrived in the late 1830s.
For some reason, the Evansville Courier printed news of Uniontown more than any other Union County, Kentucky town. I don’t know what the connection was, but we are happy to have this information, especially as there are no surviving Union County newspapers from this time. The following items were found in the Evansville Courier on Monday, the 11th of October 1920.
Uniontown, Ky., Oct. 10 – The opening number of the Lyceum for this season was given at the high school auditorium Monday night. The Symphony Girls, a quartette, gave a program of singing, reading and instrumental music that was fine.
Joe Pfeffer, Roy Mills and Willis Bolds gave a very delightful dance at the K.C. hall Friday night.
C.Z. Cambron was in Evansville Saturday. He is contemplating buying property there and moving to that city.
Dr. C.P. Cottingham attended the races at Lexington this week.
Mrs. Wm. O’Connell, Detroit, visited her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.Z. Cambron, here a few days recently.
Mrs. Emma Chapman and daughter, Miss Lena Chapman, attended the Confederate reunion in Houston, Texas this week and are now visiting relatives and friends at various places in the South.
The chief social event of the past week was the card party given Wednesday afternoon by Mrs. Raymond McGowan, who was hostess to the “500” club.
Train service into Uniontown on Sunday has been restored effective October 10.
Mr. and Mrs. M.J. Clements, Mr. and Mrs. Nick Clements, and Mrs. V.L. Spalding were among the many who went to St. Joseph’s Friday to attend the funeral of Mother Aloysius. [The Henderson Daily Gleaner of 6 October 1920 gives additional information: Mother Aloysius of Mt. St. Joseph convent, St. Joseph, Ky., is dead at Los Angeles, Cal., according to word received here by relatives. Before she entered the Ursuline order she was Helen Willett, granddaughter of the late Dr. Thomas Wathen, of Uniontown. She was mother superior at the St. Joseph convent for many years.]
The 1880 population schedule of Livingston County shows five inmates in the county Poor House. They are listed as follows: Young Morgan, age 84, blind Judidah Morgan, wife, age 64 Loveiace Guiner, age 77, maimed and crippled Matilda Durham, age 45 Josephine Horning, age 35, palsied
A little more information can be found on the 1880 DDD Schedule for Livingston County. It shows the following: Young Morgan, admitted Oct. ‘79 Juditha Morgan, admitted Oct ‘79 Lovet Gainer, old and palsied, admitted Aug [year illegible] Matilda Durham, admitted 1876 Josephine Horning, admitted 1878
As Poor House residents were charges of the county, very often there will be a record of their admission in the county court minutes. A check in the county court order book might reveal additional information.
Buried Corydon Cemetery, Corydon, Henderson County, Kentucky. Note the Woodmen of the World emblem on the tombstone. Photographed 26 August 2009.
Ike J. Gibbons married Allie Crawford 16 December 1895 in Henderson. They appear with children Hyacinth, age 3, and Ralph, age 2, along with Louisa, Allie’s 65 year old mother, on the 1900 Henderson County census.
Copyright on photographs and text by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not be copied without written consent
It was almost inevitable that Napoleon Bonaparte Hayward would go into the steamboat business. He lived in Smithland, the home of many men who earned their living working on the rivers, so he was exposed to river talk and river men. In addition, his sister, Sarah, married Capt. Nathaniel F. Drew , who was a steamboat captain for many years.
Napoleon B. Hayward counted several Smithland families among his relatives, including Washington Beverly and James McCawley. Napoleon B.’s father, James Haywood, married Sarah Beverly, daughter of John Beverly and Anne McCawley, in Livingston County in 1822. The Haywards lived for a while in Jefferson County before moving back to Smithland before 1840.
Napoleon B. and his first wife had one child, Sarah Addie, who was born about 1854. With his second wife, Virginia Quertermous, he had the following children: Lavinia, Walter Scott, James T., Charles W., Bertha, Harry C., Virginia Grace, Ruby I. and John F.
The Hayward family lived a couple of years in Crittenden County, where Napoleon B. is listed as a blacksmith on the 1860 census. Shortly after that date, the family moved to Evansville, Indiana, where Napoleon went to work for his brother-in-law, Capt. Drew. In 1867, the steamboat Linton, was built in Pittsburg for Capt. Drew and first operated on the Monongahela River. The Linton later transferred to the Evansville-Nashville trade before it sank 25 October 1869. Napoleon later became captain of the steamer, Glasgow, which operated on the Ohio River.
Capt. Nathaniel F. Drew, Napoleon B. Hayward’s brother-in-law, died in the spring of 1874 and Napoleon was appointed administrator of Capt. Drew’s estate. Napoleon B. never completed the administration of Capt. Drew’s estate as he died about a year later. An account of his death is found in the Evansville Daily Journal on 22 and 23 April 1875. It is stated that Mrs. Hayward was on board when the Glasgow left Evansville, planning to visit Mrs. Drew in Smithland. When they reached Smithland, a physician was consulted, who attributed his illness to a severe cold. Mrs. Hayward attended her husband on board the steamer, but Napoleon B. Hayward died shortly after becoming ill.
News of the death of Napoleon B. Hayward reached Evansville before the Glasgow arrived. His obituary in the Evansville Daily Journal states the following: “Capt. Hayward was an excellent citizen and was rapidly accumulating property and become daily more and more identified with the general interests of the city. He was a sober, honest and enterprising gentleman, about 48 or 49 years old.”
Capt. Hayward left a will, dated 16 March 1872. With the exception of $1000 left to his oldest daughter, he left his entire estate to his widow, Virginia, who lived until 29 September 1920.
Most of Hayward family is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville. The tall, imposing tombstone marks their burial place in section 30, lot 29. The only family member buried elsewhere is Sarah Addie, who died in 1942 Shreveport, Louisiana.
Philip Fritts Born Feb. 13, 1833 Died July 30, 1896
Buried Crooked Creek Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 24 June 2009.
Philip Fritts, the son of Peter Fritts and Permelia Williams, was born in Roane County, Tennessee and came to Crittenden County before 13 September 1853, when he married Pernecia Wilson, daughter of John E. Wilson and Nancy Franks. John E. Wilson lived on a farm near Crooked Creek Church and cemetery.
Philip and Pernecia had the following children: John McChesney, Nancy Jane, Philip G., Malvine, Mary Tom, Josephine, Anthony Hodge, William S. and Susan Alice. Pernecia died about 1877 and the following year Philip married Martha Jane Conger. Philip and Martha Jane had two children: Walker Paul and Lillie B. Fritts.
In the 6 August 1896 issue of the Crittenden Press, there was a short article announcing the death of Philip Fritts. It states, “Mr. Philip Fritts died at his residence 1 ½ miles north of Marion. Mr. Fritts was an old resident of the county, a man of unblemished character, a kind and indulgent husband and father, a warm friend and an accommodating neighbor. His disease was fever, from which he has been a sufferer for several weeks.”
An obituary appeared in the Press in the 13 August 1896 issue. It states “His remains were interred in the Crooked Creek Cemetery, Rev. E.B. Blackburn conducting the services. Again the Death Angel comes and knocks at the door of your neighbor and summons our best and oldest citizen …”
Nathaniel F. Drew Born Mar 17, 1812 Died Mar 4, 1874
Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Yes, those are weeds growing from the top of the monument. Photographed 26 August 2009. Click on photo for an enlarged view.
One of the most interesting monuments in Smithland Cemetery is the one marking the graves of Nathaniel F. and Sarah Drew. Since this monument is large and distinctive, I thought it must belong to a family of importance. The only way to be sure was to do some research. This is what I learned.
Nathaniel F. Drew appears on the 1850 Davidson County, Tennessee census as a 40 year old living in Nashville. This census shows his birthplace as Pennsylvania. Drew moved to Smithland and was living with his wife, Sarah Hayward, whom he married 27 December 1857. They appear on the 1860 Livingston County census.
What prompted Nathaniel’s move to Smithland is unknown, but it may have been because Smithland was well known as a port at the confluence of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers and a number of steamboat men resided in Smithland at that time. In 1850 he was listed as a steamboat man, but by 1860, he was a steamboat pilot. Way’s Packet Directory 1848-1994 shows the steamer Linton was built for Capt. N.F. Drew and first operated on the Monongahela River. It later went to the Evansville-Nashville trade. Capt. Nat F. Drew was master with N.B. Hayward, clerk, of the Linton, which sank in 1869.
Nathaniel F. and Sarah bought several parcels of land in Smithland, including lot #81 on Charlotte Street. Land records also show that several people borrowed money from Nathaniel and put up their land as collateral. This was a service that Sarah might have learned from her husband and continued after his death.
On the 4th of March 1874, Nathaniel F. Drew died, leaving his wife Sarah as his only heir. His brother-in-law, Napoleon B. Hayward of Evansville, Indiana, was administrator of his rather large estate. On the 1900 Livingston County census, Sarah was living alone and was listed as a “money changer.” Ordinarily, a money changer is one who exchanges money of one country for money of another. That would not seem to apply to Sarah as a resident of a small Kentucky town so perhaps she was continuing her husband’s practice of granting mortgages to area residents.
Sarah continued to live in Smithland until 1908, when she moved to Evansville to live with her brother’s widow, Virginia Hayward. Sarah lived with her sister-in-law until 1913. The Evansville Courier reports her death in the 10 September 1913 issue. “Entered into Rest. Mrs. Sarah M. Drew, 9th September at the home of Mrs. Virginia A. Hayward, 740 Adams avenue … Burial Smithland, Ky.”
While researching Nathaniel F. and Sarah Hayward Drew, I learned quite a bit about her brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Hayward and his family. Quite an interesting family - I’ll tell you about them later.
Minor children were often apprenticed, or bound out, to members of the community to learn a trade. The county court had the power to bind out orphan children with insufficient means of support. Parents who wanted their children to learn a trade and perhaps had little means to support them, often requested the county clerk to place their children as apprentices.
Males were usually apprenticed until they reached the age of 21 and females were apprenticed until they were 16 or 18 years old. In exchange for the master providing food, clothing, lodging, instruction in reading, writing and “ciphering to the rule of three” and sometimes a sum of money at the expiration of service, “the apprentice shall well and faithfully serve his master, keep his secrets, readily obey his lawful commands; he shall do no damage to his master nor willfully suffer any to be done by others; he shall not waste the master’s goods, play cards, dice or other unlawful games. Also, he shall not commit fornication, contract matrimony or haunt or frequent taverns, ale houses or tippling shops, or gaming places and not absent himself from the service of the master.”
The following entries have been abstracted from Indentures of Apprenticeship 1845 – 1886, located in the Caldwell County Clerk’s Office, Princeton, Kentucky.
Israel Cannon and Fanny A. Cannon, infants and children of Israel Cannon dec’d, bound unto Thomas J. Hale. Israel, who will be age 12 the first day of March next, to learn the trade of a farmer until he is 21 years old. Fanny, who will be age 9 on the 26th of July next, to learn the trade of a spinster. 1 June 1846.
James Shelby, who will be 9 years old the 17th of May 1847, apprenticed to Bayliss Phelps to learn the trade of a farmer until the 17th of May 1859, when he will be 21 years old. 18 July 1846.
Thomas Bridges, who will be age 9 on the 1st of March next, bound to Isaac Gray Sr. to learn the trade of a farmer until 1 March 1859, when he will be age 21. 18 January 1847.
James Armstrong, a free boy of color who will be age 16 on the 1st of August next, apprenticed to William R. Mott to learn the trade of a farmer until 1 August 1852, when he will be 21 years old. 20 January 1847.
John Anderson, a free boy of color who will be age 12 on the 18th of July 1847, apprenticed to William R. Mott to learn the trade of a farmer until 18 July 1856, when he will be age 21. 20 January 1847.
Benjamin Dyer, who will be 13 years old the 1st day of March next, apprenticed to John H. Dyer to learn the trade of a farmer until 1 March 1855, when Benjamin will be age 21. 29 January 1847.
Elbert Dyer, who will be age 12 the 1st day of January next, apprenticed to John H. Dyer to learn the trade of a farmer until 1 January 1857, when he will be 21 years old 29 January 1847.
James Madison Burks, who will be 9 years old the 1st of September next apprenticed to Richard C. Groom to learn the trade of a farmer until the 1st of September, when he will be age 21. 20 April 1847.
William Voluntine Burks, who will be age 5 on the 1st day of May next, apprenticed to Richard C. Groom to learn the trade of a farmer until the 1st of May 1863, when he will be age 21. 20 April 1847.
Thomas Scales, who will be age 15 the 15th day of September next, apprenticed to Thomas J. Johnson to learn the trade of a farmer until 15 September 1853, when Thomas will be age 21. 1 June 1847.
Moses Josiah Swinney apprenticed to Samuel C. Palmer to learn the trade of a cooper until 1 March 1855, when Moses will be age 21, he being 14 years old on the 1st of March 1848. 4 August 1847.
D.J. Burr Reeve B. Richmond, VA. June 12, 1838 D. Henderson, KY. Jan. 25, 1909 Blessed Are The Pure In Heart For They Shall See God
Lucy H. Reeve Sept. 12, 1842 – Feb. 12, 1918
Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Photographed April 2009.
According to the obituary of D.J. Reeve in the 26 June 1909 issue of the Henderson Journal, Mr. Reeve had lived in Henderson 47 years, being engaged with his brother, Maj. J.J. Reeve, in the tobacco business. In 1872, he married Miss Lucy Hopkins.
At the beginning of the Civil War Mr. Reeve enlisted in a Virginia company and served until Lee’s surrender, being mustered out as adjutant in Col. Scott’s regiment.
The funeral was conducted from the First Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Reeve was an elder.
Mrs. Reeve’s obituary appeared in the 14 Feb 1918 issue of the Henderson Journal. Her funeral also was conducted from the First Presbyterian Church. She was a sister of Mrs. B.G. Witt, who passed away one year before Mrs. Reeve.