Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions 2011

It's  time to  review the past year and make resolutions for the new one. Now, I know my resolutions may very well be broken by the middle of January, but until then, these are my goals for 2011.

1.  I vow to devote one full day each week to filing the stacks of paper on my desk, on the floor and around the computer. If not accomplished, I'll simply sweep everything into the round file and start new stacks.

2.  I promise - really, I do - not to laugh when someone talks about their ancestor who was a Cherokee princess and was left by the side of the road as they traveled the Trail of Tears in Kentucky. I won't even giggle when they say they know she was Native American because she had high cheek bones and "looked like an Indian."

3.  I swear I will take the time to follow each lead, each clue and each hint in solving the mystery of my ancestors who never owned land, never married or had children, left no wills,  and had no parents or tombstones. If you can tell me how to do this, please inform me right away. In fact, would you write a book about it?  It is sure to be a bestseller.

4.  I intend to devote one day a week sorting the photos that have been resting undisturbed in a shoebox for 50 years. No matter that the people and places are not identified; I'll just write something  on them and let the next generation of genealogists sort them out.

5.  I will not poke fun at the novice genealogist who enthusiastically tells me that her whole lineage is online. No matter that sources are not given; it must surely be right because it's online - Right?

Finally, a friendly tip from this old genealogist. If you work ten years on a line and find out you have been following the wrong people (as I did on my Flood family), chalk it up to "taking a detour, but look how much I learned." 

Happy New Year!

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - E.S. and S.J. Littlepage

1847 - 1927

Sarah J.
His Wife
1849 - 1922

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 October 2010.

Ezekiel Scott Littlepage was born 4 June 1847 Kentucky and died 7 March 1927 Henderson. According to his death certificate, E.S. Littlepage was the son of Martin Littlepage and __ Hightower.  Sarah Jane Littlepage was born 17 December 1849 Indiana and died 2 September 1922 Henderson. She was the daughter of James Davidson and Caroline Clendenen, according to her death certificate.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Livingston County History Book Now Available

The Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society has announced the publication of their new book, Livingston County, Kentucky Family History Book, Vol. II.  A limited number of books is available now.  The book is $59.95 (Kentucky residents please add sales tax of $3.00 for a total of $63.55) plus $6.00 for mailing and can be ordered from the Society at P.O. Box 138, Smithland, KY 42081.  For more information, contact the society at 270-928-4656 in the afternoons.

The book is entirely new and includes information on Calamities, Community Histories, Legends and Landmarks and much more plus over 1,000 photographs of life in Livingston County. I found the history of Smithland especially interesting.

Membership in the Society remains $10.00 per year. Current officers are Judy Wasko, President;  Barbara Riley, Vice President;  Mary Lou Smith, Secretary and Corresponding Secretary;  Jim Edmonds, Treasurer.

In Memory of David Vaughn 1846 - 1924

Aug. 7, 1846
Dec. 26, 1924

This blog entry is in memory of my great-grandfather, David Vaughn, who died 86 years ago today.

The son of Julina "Lina" Vaughn and an unknown father, David Vaughn lived much of his life near New Union "Ditney" Cemetery, where he is buried. The above photograph of his tombstone was taken 20 March 2010.

David Vaughn married Sarah Myers 1 April 1872 in Crittenden County, Kentucky and then married Margaret C. Riley 24 January 1875, also in Crittenden County. My grandmother, Nettie C. Vaughn, was from the second marriage.

 Published26 Dec 2010, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Letters to Santa 1912

The Henderson Gleaner published Letters to Santa each year shortly before Christmas. The following letters were published in the 14 December 1912 issue of the Gleaner.

Reed, Ky.
Dear Santa:  I am a little boy 11 years old. I want you to bring me a gun, ball, candy, oranges, apples and nuts.    

Your little boy,
Jim Henry Haynes
~  ~  ~

Henderson, Ky.
Dear Santa Claus:  I want a new dress, a pair of shoes, a new hat, some candy, fruit and nuts, and don't forget my little brothers, Curtis and Robert. They want a wagon with a seat on it, some new waists and a new hat, also some candy, fruit and nuts, and please don't forget my little baby sister. She wants a doll and a rocky horse and a little broom and candy, nuts and fruit. That will be all. Please don't forget us.

Marie, Curtis, Robert and Gladys McBride
We live at 611 Second street.
~ ~ ~

Hebbardsville, Ky.
Dear Old Santa Claus: I am a little girl four years old. I want you to come to see me Christmas; also come to see papa, mama, my brothers and little sister. Bring me a doll, dishes, stove, necklace, oranges, nuts and candy, and all the nice things you have to spare. I will be good until Christmas.

Chestine Newman
~ ~ ~

Baskett, Ky.
Dear Santa Claus: I am a little boy 13 years old. I want a Daisy rifle, 50 shots, and a harp and a watch and some apples and some oranges and candy. That is all for this Christmas. Don't forget my little brother, Isadore. He is two years old. He wants a rockying chair, a box of building blocks, a rubber ball, a little rubber doll and candy and apples and oranges, a pair of shoes. I will close for this Christmas.

Lonnie Beals

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kentucky Historical Society Seasonal Hours

The Kentucky Historical Society has implemented seasonal hours. What this means is that KHS is closed to the public from 12 December 2010 through 11 March 2011 with the exception of Saturday, 8 January 2011, and Saturday, 22 February 2011.

Reference services will continue to be available by email, mail and telephone.
For more information, check their website.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Harriet Johnston

Wife of
Joseph P. Johnston
July 26, 1837
Sept. 13, 1863
[below ground level]

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 29 October 2010.

Joseph P. Johnston, who was born circa 1820 Pennsylvania, married Miss Harriet Cook, daughter of Elbert and Malinda Cook, 9 June  1856 Livingston County. Harriet was 18 years old when she married and was born in Pope County, Illinois. On the 1860 Livingston County census, Joseph P., Harriet and their three-year-old daughter, Ann E., were living with her father's  family in Smithland.

Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Demographics of Livingston County, Kentucky 1847

I love statistics, especially as they relate to a particular place. At the end of the 1847 Livingston County Tax List, James L. Dallam, county clerk, listed the numbers of people and things. This is what I found:
White males over age 21 = 936
Slaves over age 16 = 428
Total number of slaves = 821
Number of horses = 1670
Number of stores = 25
Pleasure carriages = 2
Number of buggies = 7
Number of pianos = 4
Gold Spectacles = 7
Gold Watches = 38
Silver Lever Watches = 22
Tavern Licenses = 2
Children between the ages of 5 and 16 = 919
Total value of property = $1,032,559

The listing that surprises me the most are the four pianos. Were they transported to Livingston County by steamboat? Who played them and on what occasions?  I am also curious about the pleasure carriages and buggies. Surely the roads were in no condition to allow such vehicles to be used in the country. Were they driven only by people who lived in the towns?

I would have guessed there were more than two tavern licenses in the county. Surely there were more than that in Smithland or Salem alone.

These listings help provide a view into life in Livingston County in 1847. I wish more items had been shown, but I'm sure Livingston County residents wished that fewer were listed as they were taxed on these items.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jeremiah Wilson Lamb 1850-1900

Wilson Lamb
Jan. 3, 1850
Oct. 9, 1900

Jeremiah Wilson Lamb, the son of Ruth Malvina Wilson and James Madison Lamb and the grandson of Jeremiah Wilson of Bells Mines, was born in Crittenden County. When he was about four years old, the Lamb family moved to Caseyville, Union County, Kentucky. 

In 1879, Wilson Lamb married Bettie Baker, who only lived a short time after the marriage. In 1889, he married Annie McLesky. Annie and Wilson and their son, Robert M., are found on the 1900 Union County census, where Wilson is listed as a fire insurance agent. Earlier he had been editor of a newspaper in Caseyville. The family attended the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

According to a brief death notice in the 18 October 1900 issue of the Crittenden Press, "Mr. Wilson Lamb, prominent citizen and old newspaper publisher of Sturgis, died Oct. 9." He is buried at Pythian Ridge Cemetery, Sturgis, Union County. His will can be found in Union County Will Book G, page 192.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Margaret Newcom

Wife of
M.W. Newcom
July 1, 1834

Buried Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 15 October 2010. The bottom line of the inscription is not visible.

Margaret Ann Hoyt married M.W. Newcom 8 January 1852 in Crittenden County. The 1860 Crittenden County census shows only M.W. Newcom and two children, Francis A., age 6, and Wm. D., age 3. It is assumed that Margaret died between 1857 and 1860. M.W. Newcom died by 11 February 1861, when E.H. Bennett was appointed administrator of Newcom's estate.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jeremiah L. Brewster 1809 - 1842 A Smithland Tragedy


Jeremiah Brewster did not live in Smithland very long.  He never appeared on a tax list or census record; he did not buy or sell land; he left no marriage record, but an account of his death does survive.

A tombstone in Smithland Cemetery attests to Brewster's life and death in  Smithland.

to the Memory
Jeremiah Brewster
formerly of Strafford
N.H. born March 6th
Died Decr. 30th
Safe in the bosom of thy
God  beloved Brother
art thou gone now
with thou then  [illegible]

Jeremiah L. Brewster  is mentioned in a news item in the  14 January 1843 issue of the Alexandria Gazette , reprinted from the Louisville, Kentucky Journal and  accessed through GenealogyBank. Under the headline of Smithland Tragedy, it is stated that in the process of attaching the steamboat Princeton, the local sheriff went on board and  cut the wheel-rope to render the boat unmanageable. An exchange of words and fists took place between the sheriff and captain, with the sheriff attempting to strike the captain's throat with a Bowie knife. Being unsuccessful, the deputy handed the sheriff a pistol, which was fired at the captain, wounding him in the arm. The captain got his rifle, aimed at the sheriff, but, by mistake shot the  Smithland ferryman,  Jeremiah L. Brewster, who then died.

On the 17th of January 1843, Daniel Brewster of Stafford County, New Hampshire appointed a son, Ira A. Brewster of Salem, Massachusetts, tanner, his attorney to settle the estate of his son, Jeremiah Brewster. The document, which appears in Livingston County Deed Book GG, page 482-483, states  the following:  "Whereas my son Jeremiah L. Brewster late of Smithland ... has recently deceased leaving estate and property in sd. state  ... and whereas I am the father and sole heir at law ... but being advanced in years and unable personally to go to ... Kentucky ..." This tells us that Jeremiah left no widow or issue as well as the name of his father and brother.

Wesley B. King was appointed administrator of Jeremiah's estate on 6 February 1843, according to County Court Order Book I, pages 417-418, with Wm. Smedley and Jesse Pell as his sureties on the administrator's bond.  When D.A.  Given, John E. Wilson and George Hagey appraised Brewster's estate, the only assets were his interest in Smedley, Brewster and Company and the amount of an open account against Jesse Pell.

Wesley B. King died before completing the administration of Jeremiah Brewster's estate and William Gordon was appointed the new administrator. The estate would not be settled, though, until 1852, ten years after Jeremiah's death.

My hunch is that Jeremiah L. Brewster was in Smithland less than a year, but even in that brief time, there is enough information to tell us he was there and how he died. A sad ending to a short life.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Louisa J. Williams

Louisa J.
Wife of
B.B. Williams
Aug. 1, 1840
May 1, 1864

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 7 August 2010.

B.B. Williams and Louisa White married in Henderson on 6 October 1859. Benjamin B. Williams, age 32, and L.J. Williams, age 19, appear on the 1860 Henderson County census. Also in the household was M.J. White, age 23.

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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Up She Goes!

New Livingston County Office Building
Photographed 1 December 2010

Progress is being made on the new three-story Livingston County office building, which will house the county clerk's office and the new county library.  The building, which is located next to the old courthouse,  is expected to be completed in late 2011.

Friday, December 3, 2010

John and Juda Franks

When my  ancestor, John E. Wilson, married his third wife,  Nancy Franks,  in March 1831 in Livingston County, Kentucky, Nancy's father, John Franks, signed the consent note.  I descend from John E. Wilson's second marriage so Nancy Franks isn't my ancestor, but since I don't like loose ends, I wanted to know more about John Franks.   

My first thought was that since John Franks does not appear on the 1840 Livingston County census, maybe he  had died shortly after signing the consent note.  So I looked for a will or estate settlement in Livingston County.  No luck, but no problem. There were other records to check.

My local library has many  Kentucky tax lists on microfilm so I began reading those. Taken yearly, tax lists provide a variety of information,  including the amount and location of land owned, how many white polls in the family and if slaves were owned. I knew that if a man was listed on the tax lists and then disappeared, it might indicate he had died or had moved away.

 John Franks was listed on Livingston County tax lists from 1831 to 1837 (1832 and 1834 tax lists are missing).  In 1831, 1833 and 1835 he owned no land, but in 1836 and 1837, he owned 100 acres of land on Crooked Creek, which is today in Crittenden County. In 1838, John Franks was not listed, but Judah Franks was shown with 115 acres on Crooked Creek. Was she John's widow and, if so,  was she listed with the same land John had owned prior to 1838? Juda Franks also appeared on the 1840 Livingston County census as well as the 1840 and 1841 tax lists (the 1839 list is missing) , but did not appear on the 1842 Livingston or Crittenden County tax lists.   Hmmm. Did she die between 1841 and 1842?

A deed in Crittenden County Deed Book A, page 560 provided the information I needed. In this deed, dated 6 April 1842, it stated that John Franks, deceased, was the father of Nancy Wilson (wife of John E. Wilson), Sarry Chandler, R.C.W. Franks, James D. Franks, William M. Franks, John M. Franks and Jesse B. Franks and died seized and possessed of a small estate consisting of about 115 acres of land on the waters of Crooked Creek.  It also stated that Juda Franks, late relict of John Franks was also deceased. Bingo!  This document ties Nancy Franks Wilson to both her father and mother, John and Juda Franks, who are both deceased at the time of this deed. By listing Juda as the relict of John Franks, I know she survived him. If he had been living when she died, she would have been listed as his consort.  From the tax lists, it appears John Franks died 1837/1838 and Juda Franks died 1841/1842. 

The name of another child of Juda/Judith Franks was found  in Crittenden County Court Order Book 1, page 72, when Cinthia Ann Franks, infant orphan of Judith Franks dec'd, made choice of James Parris as her guardian. Since she "made choice" of her guardian, we know she was at least 14 years old, the age at which a minor could choose her own guardian. 

Still another child is identified in Crittenden County Circuit Court Case #2 (Franks vs Franks) in which the heirs of John Franks sued for the distribution of property. Among the heirs listed is "Pherby Stevenson, who had intermarried with David Stevenson ..." 

Could there have been more children?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the News - Providence, Kentucky 1925

Where would we be without the local news? That's where we learn of births, marriages, deaths and who was visiting from out of town. The following news items from Providence, Kentucky were  published in the Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Journal on Sunday, 5 July 1925.

The outstanding social event of the week was the marriage of Miss Chlora Traylor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Traylor, and Mr. Baker Thompson, at 7 o'clock Wednesday evening at the home of the bride's parents. Only the families of the bride and groom were present. Mrs. Lander Chisholm played the wedding march and Rev. J.T. Rushing performed the ceremony.  The happy couple left for a short motor trip after which they will be at home to their many friends at their cozy home on Willow street.

Misses Flossie Martin and Pearl Snow entertained Monday afternoon in honor of Miss Chlora Traylor.

Dr. J.H. Taylor has returned from a visit to his daughters, Juanita and Almeda in Chicago. Miss Almeda, who is an accomplished musician, graduated with high honors on Tuesday evening from the Chicago Musical College.

Master Wilbur Little was given a dinner in honor of his 4th birthday Tuesday afternoon.

Kenneth Doris, of Dixon, on the staff of the Cincinnati Inquirer, who is spending his vacation at home, accompanied by his mother, visited Mrs. J.B. Benjamin this week.

Mr.J.B. Benjamin has returned from a visit to his boyhood home and relatives in Rome, Ga.

Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Malloy, of Eddyville, were weekend guests of her sister, Mrs. Samuel Gugenheim, of Marion, Ky.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Elisha Conger

Elisha Conger
Aug. 23, 1820
Apr. 20, 1885
God gave - He took. He shall restore.
He doeth all things well

Buried Crooked Creek Church Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 1 September 2010.

Elisha Conger was enumerated on the 1860 Crittenden County census with his wife and several children. He died testate and named  wife, Jane R.  Conger, grandchild Ida May Turley and her father Thomas F. Turley in his will.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crittenden County, Kentucky Tavern Keepers 1862

In order to operate a tavern in Kentucky in the 1800s, the prospective tavern keeper and his surety, had to sign a bond to guarantee that he would "provide in said Tavern good, wholesome, cleanly lodging and diet for travelers, and stabling and provender, or pasturage, for horses or mules ... and that he will not suffer any gaming in his house, or on his premises, and will not suffer any person to tipple or drink more than is necessary in his house, or on his premises; or at any time suffer any scandalous or disorderly behavior in his house, or on his premises."

The following information on tavern keepers in 1862 has been abstracted from Crittenden County, Kentucky Tavern  Keeper Bond Book 1857 - 1893.

John Little  obtained a license to keep at tavern at Fish Trap 10 February 1862.

Jake A. Lowey obtained a license to keep a tavern at Weston 10 February 1862.

William Williams obtained a license to keep a tavern at his house 10 February 1862.

W. Wagar obtained a license to keep a tavern in Marion 14 April 1862.

J.A. Joyce obtained a license to keep a tavern at Shady Grove 14 April 1862.

John F. Crisp obtained a license to keep a tavern at Weston 14 April 1862.

John N. Flanagan obtained a license to keep a tavern at Dycusburg 9 June 1862.

J.G. Young obtained a license to keep at tavern at Fords Ferry 9 June 1862.

P. Randell obtained a license to keep a tavern at Crittenden Springs 14 July 1862.

Frank Lofink obtained a license to keep a tavern at Bells Mines 11 August 1862.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - John Brasher

John Brasher
Apr. 21, 1797
Mar. 29, 1858

Buried Koon Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 3 November 2010.

John Brasher and Elizabeth Crouch married 25 April 1822 Livingston County, Kentucky. The 1850 Crittenden County census shows that John Brasher was born in South Carolina.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Caldwell Springs Baptist Church

Caldwell Springs Baptist Church, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Church photographed 3 November 2010.

Caldwell Springs Church was organized in 1844. The current building dates from about 1890. Caldwell Springs Cemetery is on the hill above the church.

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Samuel A. Kingman

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

Smithland, Kentucky has been at various times the home of many prominent men. Some achieved fame as military officers and others through politics. One of the most renown former  citizens was Samuel A. Kingman, who lived in Smithland during the mid-1800s.

Kingman was born  26 June 1818 in Worthington, Massachusetts, the son of Isaiah and Lucy Kingman. He began teaching school at the age of 17 and two years later he moved to Kentucky, where he studied law.  

During the 1840s, Kingman moved to Smithland, where he soon became involved in local politics. He was permitted to practice law in Livingston County in 1844 and, in 1845, he was appointed County Attorney. The following year he was one of three commissioners appointed to advertise and let out the building of the jail. Kingman and four other prominent residents were nominated to be Trustees of the Cumberland Hospital in 1851. He also was a member of the Kentucky Legislature in 1849-50 and again in 1850-51.

In October 1852, Benjamin Barner, Joseph Watts and Samuel A. Kingman were appointed to draw a plan for the clerks' office. It is believed the office building, which sits next to the courthouse today, was constructed from the plan drawn by these men.

When David Flournoy, Livingston County Clerk, died in  December 1854, Samuel A. Kingman was appointed to serve until the next election in August 1855. With Sterling M. Barner and Tom M. Davis,  his sureties, he executed bond and promised to fulfill the duties of the office of County Clerk.

Kingman, who had married Matilda Willett in Vigo County, Indiana in 1844, moved his wife and  children to Iowa in 1857 and a year later they moved to Kansas. It was in Kansas that Kingman achieved his greatest fame. He was a member of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention in 1859 and was elected Chief Justiceof Kansas a few years later. He also served as Kansas State Librarian.  He was President of the State Judicial Association and the Kansas State Bar Association and  Kingman County, Kansas was named in his honor.

In 1865, Kingman traveled from Atchison, Kansas to the mouth of the Little Arkansas for a meeting with the Keowa and confederate tribes, the Commanche and Apache, with the hope of a treaty resulting in greater safety on the Santa Fe trail. Kingman kept a diary of this month-long journey beginning 21 September 1865.  This  Diary can be read online.

Samuel A. Kingman died in Topeka, Kansas 9 September 1904 and was buried  at Topeka Cemetery. His wife and one daughter are buried there also.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Frances H. Rawleigh

In Memory
of Frances H. Consort
Levin W. Rawleigh
A native of Virginia
Born May 17th 1818
Died March 25th 1844

 Dearest thou has left
Here thy loss we deeply feel
Yet again we hope to meet
When the day of life has fled
Thou in [two lines illegible]
By her Husband

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 17 June 2010.

Frances, daughter of William and Peachea Doyle, married Levin W. Rawleigh 7 October 1841 Livingston County, Kentucky. Levin W. was born in Maryland and was a ship carpenter and farmer.  Two years after the death of Frances, Levin W. married Nancy Alsobrook, who died 10 September 1847 at the age of 21 years.   Levin W. Rawleigh moved to Paducah, where he married Eliza Smith and had several children. The death date and burial place of Levin W. Rawleigh are unknown.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Justice of the Peace and His Oath of Office

Justices of the peace in early Kentucky were usually prominent and influential men of the community and wielded a great deal of power. Collectively, they formed the county court and oversaw such cases as the granting of licenses for ferries and taverns,  appointing county officials, guardians and estate administrators, road surveyors, setting fees for ferries and also sat in judgment in cases of minor crimes.

In selecting  new justices of the peace, the county court offered  the names of two candidates, which were submitted to the Governor, who then appointed  one of the candidates.  After being chosen, the new justice of the peace was required to take the oath of office, which included promising to suppress dueling. This anti-dueling oath was established by the General Assembly by statute in 1812 and is a requirement for all officers, legislators and lawyers. The oath was later revised to state the person had never engaged in a duel. Today there is a movement to eliminate the oath against dueling.

The following entry was found among Caldwell County loose court papers in a bundle marked "Oaths." It reads as follows:

"State of Kentucky Caldwell County to wit
This day Abner Smith Came before me and produced a Commission from his Excellency The Governor of Kantucky appointing him and other Jestises of the peas for said county and and [sic] Took the oath to Seport the Constitution of The United states the oath of fidilety as well as the oath moore affectualy to Sepress Dueling as the oath of office  Given under my hand this 15th July 1816.  [signed] James Morse J.P."


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Manerva Purkins

Mem ory
Born july
8th . 1821
& Died May .
7th . 1843

Buried Koon Cemetery, near Frances in southern Crittenden County. Tombstone photographed 3 November 2010. This style tombstone is common in the Crittenden - Caldwell - Livingston County, Kentucky area during the 1840s.

Manerva Hamby married Adam B. Perkins 7 July 1842 Crittenden County. An infant son of Adam and Manerva was born 8 April 1843 and died 16 April 1843. He is buried beside Manerva.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dycusburg Methodist Church

Dycusburg Methodist Church, Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Church photographed 3 November 2010.

Dycusburg Methodist Church was organized in 1857. The current building was dedicated in 1948.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Book Sale

Several genealogy books are now on sale and are ready for delivery before Christmas.

For information, see here:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Administrators' Bonds - Henderson County, Kentucky 1860

An administrator of an estate was appointed by the county court shortly after the death of a person who had an estate  and who left no valid will. The appointment of the administrator was recorded in the county court minutes as well as in a separate administrators' bond book. The appointment of an administrator is a good way to determine the approximate date of death. The following entries have been extracted from Henderson County Administrator Bonds 1853-1861, located in the Henderson County clerk's office, Henderson, Kentucky.

Gabriel D. Sugg was appointed administrator of the estate of Wiley Sugg 23 January 1860.

W.G. Melton was appointed administrator of the estate of Jesse Melton 23 January 1860.

Samuel Sugg was appointed administrator of Harvey Peed's estate 8 February 1860.

John M. Shaw was appointed administrator of the estate of Joseph Grant 10 March 1860.

Lucie H. Allison was appointed administrator of William D. Allison's estate 26 March 1860.

Alexander Clayton was appointed administrator of the estate of Sallie Hicks 26 Mar 1860.

Isham Cottingham was appointed administrator of the estate of Thomas Sutton 9 April 1860.

Isham Cottingham was appointed administrator of the estate of Peter Wise 23 April 1860.

Joseph C. Allen was appointed administrator of the estate of Thomas F. Robinson 26 April 1860.

John R.Dixon was appointed administrator of Charles Dixon's estate 28 May 1860.

J.J. Melton and Hamilton A. Shelton were appointed administrators of the estate of Elisha Melton 10 July 1860.

William Catlin was appointed administrator of the estate of Lewis J. Walden 10 July 1860.

Susan Jane Melvin was appointed administrator of John Melvin's estate 23 July 1860.

W.R. Kinney was appointed administrator of the estate of Dr. A.H. Posey 23 July 1860.

Isham Cottingham was appointed administrator of the estate of C.C. Baker 23 July 1860.

James B. Lyne was appointed administrator of  William B. Abernathy's estate 14 Aug 1860.

William Kebenegh was appointed administrator of the estate of Wm. Goodson 23 October 1860.

William E. Bennett was appointed administrator of John W. Settlemire's estate 16 November 1860.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - J.T. and Sarah A. Crider

J.T. Crider
Nov. 4, 1851
Mar. 24, 1908

Sarah A.
His Wife
Dec. 16, 1847
June 22, 1926

Buried Rosebud Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 15 October 2010.

James T. Crider married Miss Sarah A. Walker 20 May 1872 Crittenden County. The death certificate of Adaline Crider shows she was born 16 December 1847 and died 22 April 1926. Her parents were listed as William Walker and Polly Morgan.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preservation of Livingston County Court House

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

The Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society and its Preservation Committee hosted "Haunting Tales From Our Past" on 29 October 2010 at the Livingston County, Kentucky court house in Smithland. Attendees were greeted by musicians as they entered the lawn of the 165-year-old building. Upstairs  the beautiful old court room was festive in seasonal decorations.  Almost every seat was filled as storytellers related the colorful history of the area.

Court room showing judge's bench

Court room showing murals on back walls

Justice Bill Cunningham of the Kentucky Supreme Court - Henry Bennett and the Night Riders
Brenda Joyce Jerome, C.G. - Murder of Lewis Sanders and Murder in the Gower House
Stuart Peek, local attorney - Smithland's role in the Civil War
Carroll Walker, Livingston County Clerk - local ghost stories
Faye Teitloff, local historian -  Jefferson's nephews and murders on the bluff
Linda Defew, writer - murder at Little Heaven

The event was to inform  the public of the movement to preserve the old courthouse and the adjoining county clerks' offices. Donations to the Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society [Preservation Committee], PO Box 138, Smithland, Kentucky 42081 are being accepted and will be appreciated.

Court room showing jurors' chairs and spectators' benches

I feel a personal attachment to this court house as my ancestors settled here very early. This building is where they obtained their marriage licenses, registered their deeds and had their wills probated. This beautiful structure has seen many floods and wars. Throughout each event, it was a beacon of hope when the world did not always seem normal or even sane.

No visit to Smithland is complete without a drive through Smithland Cemetery. I've photographed the cemetery in the morning and early afternoon in every season. This was the first time I had photographed it in late afternoon, shortly before dusk.

Smithland Cemetery shortly before dusk 29 October 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Visit to Bells Mines

One of my favorite areas of western Kentucky is the Bells Mines neighborhood of northern Crittenden County.  It was settled in the early 1800s and settlers from North Carolina and Virginia and South Carolina took up land and reared their families in these hills.  Then, coal was discovered and miners from England and Germany and other countries came, bringing their customs, beliefs and dreams.

Marker at former site of Bells Mines Church

The hills were dotted with homes, often with family cemeteries located within walking distance.  Many folks attended Bells Mines Cumberland Presbyterian Church or Greens Chapel Methodist Church.  Both churches are gone now - first Greens Chapel and more recently, Bells Mines,  but the adjoining cemeteries remain  in use.  

Bells Mines Cemetery
15 October 2010

Even with the houses and barns gone, it is easy to imagine what this thriving community was like.  In its heyday, there were farms and schools and churches. The mines were active and coal was loaded on boats to be shipped to distant places. Babies were born, young couples married and old people died, surrounded  by their family and friends.

Then, the mines closed and people began to move away.  In the 1950s Alcoa purchased over  11,000 acres of land on both sides of the Crittenden - Union county line, including Bells Mines, with the intention of building an aluminum smelter.  Families relocated, leaving the land to return to a natural state, but the projected plant was never built.

On a recent afternoon, the trees were alive with color. Bells Mines Cemetery seemed almost desolate with some  tombstones fallen and others weathered so they were unreadable. Nothing, though, hides the beauty of the area and it is easy to see what drew those early settlers here.  

Bells Mines Church Road
15 October 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary C. Weller

In Memory of Our Dear Mother
Mary C. Weller

Born in Albemarle
Co., Va
Mar. 6, 1802
Died at Princeton, Ky
Aug. 30, 1848

Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 October 2009.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

History of Fredonia Valley Available Soon

It is not too late to order "The History of the Fredonia Valley," which is being published by the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society.  The price is currently still $35, but  will increase to $40 on November 10th.  There is an additional $6 if the book needs to be mailed.  Orders can be sent to Fredonia Valley Heritage Society, P. O. Box 256, Fredonia, KY  42411. 

The book will have 552 pages, hardback, and includes an area within a six mile radius of Fredonia, Caldwell County, Kentucky.  Covered in the book are the early settlement of the area, the history of Fredonia, the history of other small communities in the Fredonia Valley, churches, schools, homes, memories of growing up in Fredonia, farming and agriculture, barns, tobacco in the valley, people, places, and events, organizations, past and present businesses, memorials and tributes, and family histories.  

The book has been delivered to the publisher and should be available for Christmas giving.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preservation of Livingston County, Kentucky Court House

The Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society and its Preservation Committee are planning a Halloween event at the Livingston County  Court House in Smithland on Friday, 29 October 2010. The theme is "Haunting Tales From the Past."  The evening will begin with music at 5 p.m., followed by stories of the Night Riders, murders and Civil War activities in Smithland and other stories of the area.  Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham will be on hand for a book signing. The Livingston County High School FFA will have food available for purchase.

Livingston County, Kentucky Court House 2008
Built 1845

The new Livingston County Justice Center opened in 2009 and a new County Office Building, which will contain the county clerk's office, is currently being constructed next to the old Court House.  When this happens, the old Court House will be empty for the first time since it was built in 1845.  The purpose of this Halloween event is to make residents aware of the movement to preserve  the Court House  and adjoining  old clerks' offices (built circa 1853) and provide the opportunity to contribute to the future of the Court House.  This is the perfect way to have a family-friendly good time and support the preservation movement.

New County Office Building
Under Construction September 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Levi and Frank Pippin

Levi Pippin
Co. D
8 U.S.C.H.A.

Frank Pippin
Born Feb. 20, 1874
Jan. 5, 1907
Gone but not

Levi and Frank Pippin are buried next to each other at Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Both tombstones  were photographed 2 October 2010.

According to the 1900 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Levi Pippin was born September 1841 Kentucky.  Listed in the Levi Pippin household was Frank Pippin, who was a porter on a steamboat. Note the Masonic symbol at the top of his tombstone.

Levi Pippin served in Co. D, 8th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. Note that his tombstone is one provided by the U.S. government.

Levi and Frank Pippin were part of the African American community in Smithland.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Or What Do You Blame?

Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information? Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?  Did your interest stem from your child's school project on genealogy?  If you have been researching many years, it may be hard to pinpoint one reason for this  journey.

I place the blame for my passion for genealogy on the family storytellers and also on being a naturally nosy person. As  a child, I grew up hearing stories about my relatives.  It was inexpensive entertainment and there was an abundance of characters. When my dad told the story of how Hugh Wolstenholme crossed the mountains and "washed his hands in the clouds," I wanted to know which mountains he crossed.  How old was he when he crossed those mountains and where was he coming from?

When my grandmother told me the story of being dressed all in blue when she married my grandfather in 1902, did she mean even her underwear was blue?  And why blue - why not pink or yellow or green?

Who was the mysterious "Temus" Joyce and how was he related to my great-grandfather, James Pinkney Joyce?

Did my Joyce family really leave Lawrence County, Tennessee during the early days of the Civil War because they didn't believe in slavery? And did they really turn their wagon around  at night so it would appear they were heading south instead of north? Was this done because my great-grandfather was trying to avoid being drafted and having to fight against his older brother who remained in Tennessee?

Why did none of my close relatives in Livingston and Crittenden counties, Kentucky fight for the South during the Civil War? A few served on the side of the North, but most of them didn't fight at all and none favored the South. Were they opposed to slavery or in favor of states' rights or what? 

Through research, I've learned a few answers, but enough questions remain unanswered to keep me researching the next 30 years - at least I hope so.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Scyster Family

Wife of
J.V. Scyster
Oct. 6, 1869

Robert E.
Infant son of
Jacob V. & Martha
Nov. 9, 1854
June 16, 1855

Daughter of
J.V. & Martha
June 5, 1861
Died July 4, 1862

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 17 June 2010.

Jacob V. Scyster, who was born  1823 Livingston County, and Martha Ellis, daughter of John and Mary Ellis, were  married about 1849. To them were born Mary E., who married Capt. John Hamilton Throop; John E. Scyster, who later lived in Carmi, Illinois and Fannie and Robert E. Scyster, both of whom died as infants.

Jacob V. Scyster married Barbara Morrison in Illinois in 1872. They had two children, Flora Walton Scyster and Capt. James Von Scyster.

Jacob V. Scyster celebrated his 90th birthday in 1913 and, according to a newspaper account, was at that time known as the "oldest man in Smithland."

Published 12 October 2010, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In the News - Caldwell County, Kentucky 1888

News of smaller communities was often reported in the newspaper of a nearby large town. The following news items were originally published in the Princeton Banner [Caldwell County, Kentucky]of 14 January 1888 and reprinted  in the Paducah Daily News of Monday, 16 January 1888.

Rev. A.E. Debo, of the Farmersville neighborhood, died last night from the effect of a paralytic stroke received some time since.

The Harmony neighborhood was shocked last week by the tragic death of Mrs. Frank Ladd of that community. In returning from a spring Mrs. Ladd had occasion to pass near where her son and a Mr. Baily were cutting a tree, when near them the tree started to fall. Mrs. Ladd ran to get out of the way, but misunderstanding the direction given by the men, went the wrong way and was struck by the falling tree and killed almost instantly.

The trial of Jim Gatewood at Eddyville last week resulted in a hung jury. Gatewood was released under bond of $3,000. Gatewood , it will be remembered, is the man who killed W.J. Bigwood in Lyon County about a year ago, and who was kept a prisoner here in Caldwell County jail until the recent term of the Lyon circuit court convened a few weeks ago.

Last Monday night "Uncle Tommy" Lighton, a well known character among railroaders and a track walker for the N.N. & M.V. railroad, who was accustomed to taking his whiskey at all hours both day and night, got up at a late hour for his usual midnight "pull" at his bottle. He made the mistake of getting hold of a pint bottle containing diluted carbolic acid. A long and vigorous "pull" at the contents was made before "Uncle Tommy" was made aware of his mistake. His sufferings were frightful. Medical assistance was immediately called in. "Uncle Tommy" is much improved and getting on as well as can be expected. His condition is yet considered critical and his fiery draught may yet prove the last and fatal one for him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Renouncement of Will Provisions

When a man made provisions for his wife in his will, she did not have to accept the provisions. Perhaps what  he intended her to have was less than one-third of the total value. In cases such as this, the wife might notify the court to renounce the provisions made for her. Once she renounced the provisions made by the will, she could accept her dower right of one-third of the value of her late husband's property. This is what Susan Ellen Dallam of Caldwell County, Kentucky did following the death of her  husband, Charles B. Dallam,  who left a will in Caldwell County Will Book B, page 94 and which was proven in county court 17 January 1848.

Susan’s renouncement states as follows:
“To the honourable County Court of Caldwell County, whereas my husband Charles B. Dallam lately departed this life in this County leaving a last will and testament which has been duly proven and admitted to record before your honourable body at your last January term 1848 and whereas my said husband made certain provisions for me in said will which is herein referred to, but for reasons satisfactory to myself, and which were not (I am satisfied) anticipated by my husband, I have determined and hereby declare that I will not take or accept the provisions made for me by said will, or any part thereof, and I hereby  renounce all benefit which I might claim by said will.

In testimony whereof I have hereto signed my name and affixed my seal this the 21st day of February 1848. [signed] Susan Ellen Dallam. Signed, sealed &c in the presence of us. Attest  T.L. McNary, Jas. Blue.”