Sunday, February 28, 2010

R.I.P. James Lincoln Blue Jr.

I was saddened to read the obituary for James Lincoln Blue Jr. in the local newspaper this morning. According to the obituary, Mr. Blue, age 91, died 26 February in Henderson, Kentucky. He is described as a farmer, retired environmentalist with Henderson County Health Department, a World War II Army veteran and a member of First Christian Church. He was also a genealogist of long standing and was extremely knowledgeable about Henderson. He walked and recorded cemeteries in several western Kentucky counties with the recordings filling several large notebooks. These notebooks are available in the Henderson Library.

For years Mr. Blue was a fixture in the Henderson Library, either recording census records from microfilm or talking to other genealogists. He was a nice man and always willing to answer questions about the history and settlement of Henderson. He will be missed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Surname Saturday - Wolstenholme

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

Some time ago I told you about the mystery of my Wolstenholme family of Tennessee. I've been sorting and filing old photos and files and found this photo of Elizabeth Wolstenholme, also known as "Aunt Bet." The same day, while searching Find A Grave,, one of my favorite sites, I came across photos of the tombstones for both Elizabeth (1846-1932) and her brother, Henry, in Oakwood Cemetery, Gibson County, Tennessee. So, on this sunny Saturday, I would like to pay tribute to Aunt Bet Wolstenhome, sister of my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Wolstenholme Smith. Thanks to the internet and people I have met here, my knowledge of the Wolstenholme family has increased greatly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

Remember the days when we filed our genealogical information in 3-ring notebooks and kept in touch with fellow researchers by ground mail? We've come a long way, but where do we go from here and what does the future hold for genealogists?

I'm not a fortune teller, but I can tell you this: Our appetite for digitized records has been whetted and we want more - more military records, more newspapers, more vital records and please, please let there be more digitized court and land records. I do foresee the day when vital records will be available for immediate download with the flash of a credit card. No more downloading the form and sending the completed form to the proper agency.

I've heard people say that all genealogy resources should be free. No more subscription services. That would be nice. I'd like my groceries to be free too, but it's not going to happen. I will continue to pay to feed my thirst for information just as I do to feed my body. Both are necessary for my growth and well being.

In addition to using subscription services, I use several online tools, including Google Maps and Images, in my research. For some time, I have been working on the genealogy of a town - the people and businesses and on which town lots they were situated. With the use of Google Maps, I can walk the streets to see what buildings are located there today - all without leaving the comfort of my home. Google Images allow me to see photos of people and places of interest in my target town. Research without Google would be very difficult.

Online tools do come with advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that these records and images are available to use at home. With the easy access comes the possibility that we forget about other resources not online. For those records we must visit the courthouses and cemeteries and read the microfilm. Good research involves the use of all possible resources.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rev. R.S. Clark

Holy Bible

Rev. R.S.
Aug. 28, 1845
Nov. 18, 1893

He died as he lived - a

Buried Hurricane Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Photographed 1993.

An announcement of Rev. Clark's death in the 23 November 1893 issue of the Crittenden County newspaper states the following: "Robert S. Clark, local Methodist preacher, died at his home at Tolu Saturday. He had been afflicted several months with throat and lung trouble."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Revolutionary War Pension Act of 1832

Several acts dealt with pensions for veterans and widows of the Revolutionary War. The act of 1832 stated that every officer or enlisted man who had served two years in the war was eligible for a pension, whether he was needy or not. If the veteran died after being granted a pension, his widow or children could collect any money due from the date of his last payment until his death. The following entry in Caldwell County, Kentucky Court Order Book E, page 355, Monday, 16 February 1835 is important as it verifies Benjamin Ogden was a R.W. veteran and pensioner, gives his death date and states his widow was still living. Also, it suggests Nancy Ogden was was due money from her late husband's pension.

"Satisfactory proof was this day made in open court by the oaths of Asberry Harpending and Stephen F. Ogden that Benjamin Ogden late a pensioner of the United States, departed this life on the 16th day of November 1834, and that the said Benjamin Ogden was the identical person named in an original Certificate Now here shewn to the Court bearing date the 6th day of November 1832 and signed Lew Cass Secretary of War, granting to the said Benjamin Ogden a pension of Eight dollars per year and Numbered 1535, and it was further proven to the satisfaction of the Court that Nancy Ogden is the widow of the said Benjn. Ogden and that she is now living."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Full Gospel Church - Salem, Kentucky

Full Gospel Church, 112 South Church Street, Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky. Formerly the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Smallpox Epidemic of 1899

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

There have been epidemics of deadly diseases throughout time. The cholera epidemic of the 1830s was rampant in parts of Kentucky, wiping out entire families in some cases. There were epidemics of other diseases, too.

Even after a vaccine became available, there were smallpox epidemics. It is a nasty disease and often deadly. Smallpox, caused by the variola virus, is acquired from inhalation. It starts in the lungs and then invades the bloodstream and spread to the skin, intestines, kidneys and brain. The vaccine can prevent smallpox, but a concentrated effort to vaccinate everyone and to isolate those already infected is necessary.

In the Spring of 1899, smallpox began showing up in Union County, Kentucky. Few safeguards were taken to prevent it from spreading. It was thought that the "migratory classes, such as farm and mill hands," had carried the disease into neighboring Henderson County also.

By November, smallpox was rampant in Union County, especially in Uniontown. On the 21st of November, the Kentucky Board of Health quarantined the whole town. No one was allowed to enter or leave the town. Guards with shotguns were stationed to enforce the quarantine. The Illinois Central Railroad discontinued train runs between Morganfield and Uniontown, a distance of eight miles.

The majority of the smallpox cases were at Uniontown, but there were also a few cases at Grove Center. Some cases were so mild that persons stayed home only a few days and then resumed their normal activities. This probably contributed to the spread of the disease.

The headline of the Evansville, Indiana Courier on 24 November 1899 proclaimed "Uniontown Reeks With Smallpox." It was reported that more than 100 cases were present in Uniontown with people ill with the disease walking on the streets. Posey County, Indiana Board of Health stated their cases of smallpox could be traced to Uniontown.

At a meeting of the Morganfield District Medical Association, it was stated the Uniontown physicians did not want to admit the disease was smallpox for fear of injuring the business of the town.

Not all western Kentucky counties had an epidemic of smallpox. Crittenden County reported a few cases, mostly in Dycsusburg, but efforts were being made to keep it from spreading. The hardest hit counties appear to have been Union and Livingston.

Smallpox had also showed up in the spring in Livingston County. Eight cases were reported in Grand Rivers and the County Judge called for measures to be taken to stop the spread of the disease. At the end of November 1899, the Livingston County Court of Claims met in a special term to determine the means to prevent the spreading of smallpox within the county. The disease was then "near the limits of the town of Smithland." The Livingston County Board of Health presented a notice stating that one house in the black neighborhood contained people infected with smallpox and ordering that house, as well as all others in the neighborhood be quarantined. Authorization was given to hire guards at $2 per day to maintain the quarantine. Also, a committee was appointed to purchase the farm of Richard Stokes to use as a pest house.

The measures apparently worked as, by the middle of December, the quarantine of Uniontown was lifted, freight trains were again running and residents of both Union and Livingston County were allowed to move about freely.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Friends

John Workman and Alma Lavern Croft (my mother), Livingston County, Kentucky 1936.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Dr. A.L. Pemberton

A.L. Pemberton M.D.
died June 18
Aged 33 years

Vale Amice et
Fraler sis Felix

Buried Old Fredonia Cemetery near the Caldwell-Crittenden County line. Photo submitted by Jared Nelson of the Times-Leader. He provides the following translation of the Latin inscription: "Goodbye, friends and family. May you be lucky [happy?]." Note the Masonic symbol inthe middle of the tombstone. Click on the photo for an enlarged view.

Allen L. Pemberton married Mary A. Stewart, daughter of Dr. Washington Stewart, 16 June 1831 Livingston County, Kentucky. Dr. Pemberton and Dr. Stewart were in medical practice together in the Centreville area.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Journal Sale!

Issues of the Western Kentucky Journal are on sale for a short period of time. For more information, go here Western Kentucky Journal

SORRY!  All copies have been sold.

Henderson Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church of Henderson, Kentucky. Located at 100 South Main Street, across the street from the public library. Photographed 18 December 2009.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Memories of Days Past

James Edmund Robinson and John Phelps are the only two surviving Negroes in Hopkins County, Kentucky who once were slaves. Both are in their nineties, and like many of the thousands of slaves, they took their last names from the owners of the plantations on which their parents worked.

The men are not at all alike. Robinson is tall and has a stately bearing. His hair and impressive beard are white and he's inclined to moralize a bit on whatever he says. Phelps is wizened, toothless and bent. He walks haltingly with a cane.

"I belonged to the Ward brothers, Wallace and Henderson," Phelps recalled.

"My father worked on the Robinson farm and my mother on the Ward place down near Russellville, Ky.

"They were never permitted to marry until after they were freed. But the Wards were good to their slaves. We always had plenty to eat and plenty to wear, more than we have now. All the yarn for my clothes were woven up at the big house."

Robinson remember seeing many a slave sold "down at the market house."

"Some of them brought as high as $2000," he said, "while mules and horses brought only about $150."

"I remember the day they sold Uncle George down to the cotton country. I can speak of a heap of things that other people just don't know about," he said as he peered over the top of his glasses.

"I can remember hauling many a barrel of whiskey in the old spring wagon - I can remember tapping many a barrel, too," he chuckled.

"Whipped? Sure I got whipped with a little lash four or five feet long with a cracker on the end. My mother whipped me many a time so the folks at the big house wouldn't have to. But I deserved it most of the time."

Both Phelps and Robinson are familiar figures around the Madisonville Courthouse Square. They don't like it a bit that old Courthouse has been torn down - it has ruined their afternoon sitting place.

The above article appeared in the Evansville, Indiana Press on Sunday, 31 May 1936.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Jordan and Isabella McVay

Sacred to the Memory of
Mr. Jordan M'Vay
who was born Apr. 3,
And died Sept. 8,

to the Memory of
Mrs. Isabella Hughes
who was born Oct. 30th
departed this life
Oct. 26, 1831

Buried Hill Cemetery, off Highway 91, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 1993.

Jordan McVay, the son of Hugh McVay, was likely born in South Carolina. He first appears on Kentucky tax lists in Livingston County in 1814. The following year he is listed in Caldwell County and remains on tax lists for that county until his death. Jordan married Isabella Cruse 17 July 1815 Livingston County, Kentucky. Isabella married Thomas Hughes, as her second husband, on 27 February 1827.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Marriage Numbers

Playing with numbers in the 1899 Crittenden County, Kentucky marriages revealed some interesting results. Forget the notion that most brides were about age 16 when they married. Of the 130 plus marriages recorded for 1899, I found that the average age for brides was 22. The youngest bride was age 14 and the oldest bride was age 48.

The numbers were a little different for men. The average age for bridegrooms was 27. The youngest bridegroom was age 17 and the oldest was 75. I also found that more men married at older ages than women. It was not unusual for a man to marry when he was in his 60s, sometimes chalking up his second or third or, in one case, his fourth marriage.

If either of the couple was under age 21, a parent or guardian had to give written or verbal consent. Few of these consent notes have survived in Crittenden County.

Marriages for Caucasian and African-American couples were recorded in separate books at this time. The African-American marriage books did not include the ages of the couple and, thus, are not included in this survey.

Crittenden County first recorded personal information on the bride and bridegroom in the middle of 1898, although other counties recorded this information much earlier.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Registration of Freedom Papers 1852

An act concerning free Negroes and Mulattoes was passed by the General Assembly of Kentucky in 1851. This Act required that the assessors of tax in each county, beginning in 1852, keep a register of the names, age, sex and color (black or mulatto) of each free Negro and mulatto living within the county.

In July of 1852, a summons was to be sent to the county sheriff, commanding all free persons of color between the ages of 21 and 45, if a male, or between the ages of 18 and 45, if a female, to appear before the judge of the county court the following month and exhibit evidence of their freedom - whether by deed or will or if born free. When the free persons of color appeared in court, a physical description was recorded, noting any scars or marks. The county clerk was to make a report of the information, give a copy to each person and the free person of color then had to pay $2.00.

On the 3rd day of August 1852, several free persons of color complied with this act in Livingston County, Kentucky by appearing in court. This information obtained is recorded in Livingston County Court Order Book L, pages 75 - 79. The following information has been abstracted from those pages.

Lidia Howard exhibited her freedom papers, which are recorded in Butler County, Ky. She was emancipated by James P. Howard on 14 August 1831. She is about 23 years of age the 30th of August 1831, is a bright mulatto, about 5 feet 2 and 5/8 inches high and has no scars or marks.

Bazil Jenkins exhibited his freedom papers. He was emancipated by the will of William Jenkins dec'd, dated 7 June 1848. He was then 37 years of age. He is 5 feet 11 inches high, light mulatto color with a large scar on his right wrist and thumb occasioned by a burn.

Minta Jenkins, represented by her husband, Bazzel Jenkins (a free man of color), exhibited her freedom papers. She was emancipated by Deed of Emancipation of Bazzel Jenkins. She is 37 years old, about 5 feet and a half inches high, yellow complexion, no scars. Her certificate of freedom is dated 8 August 1849.

Jacob Furbush exhibited his freedom papers. He was set free by deed of emancipation executed by Benjamin H. Logan in the county court of Todd County, Ky on 11 November 1838. Jacob is ascertained to be 49 years old, a mulatto, 5 feet and 1/2 inches high, has a severe scar on his left wrist caused by a cut and by profession is a barber.

Amanda Emdine Mitchell exhibited her freedom papers recorded 4 March 1850 by her mother Cynthia Ann Mitchell. Amanda is 18 years past with marks occasioned by chicken pox on her forehead and nose, she is about 4 feet 10 inches high, rather light complexion. The deed of emancipation bears the date 6 February 1849.

Betsy Dimery having no freedom papers to exhibit, David W. Patterson testified that Betsy Dimery was brought into this country about 7 years ago by a man calling himself Tucker who offered to sell her and she asserting her freedom, Tucker went off and left her here and she has ever since passed for and been regarded as a free woman. Upon examination she is found to be a bright Mulatto, 4 feet 3 & a half inches high, a small scar on her left arm about half way between wrist and elbow and about 35 years of age.

Polly Ann Leech, not having all of her proof present, future time is given her till next court to produce her proof. [Not mentioned in later court sessions]

Mary Ann Bowles exhibited her freedom papers obtained from the Justices of the Livingston County Court on the 3rd day of December 1838 and thus described: 18 years of age, of a light complexion, about 5 feet 5 inches high. Upon examination today the above seems to be correct except the increase of her age, there are no perceptible scars or marks.

Lucinda Bowles exhibited her freedom papers, which she obtained from the Livingston County Court on the 3rd day of December 1838. She is described as of a light complexion, about 5 feet 4 inches high. This seems correct except the increase in age and she being now about 5 feet, 5 and 1/2 inches high.

Edmund McCawley exhibited his freedom papers. Edmund McCawley was emancipated and set free by deed of emancipation executed by Mrs. Martha McCawley on 20 July 1849 and recorded in Livingston County court 3 March 1851. Edmund, being inspected, appeared to be 25 years of age, with a scar on his left arm on the inside of the elbow and a small scar between the eyes just above the nose and is 5 feet high.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Nola Butler

Nola L.
Wife of
July 31, 1892
Feb. 24, 1907

Tombstone at Crooked Creek Cemetery, Crittenden County, was photographed 24 June 2009.

An article in the 25 July 1907 issue of the Crittenden Record-Press gives the following details of the burial of Nola Butler:

"The remains of Phil Butler's wife were shipped from Charleston, Mo., to this place last Friday morning. Mrs. Butler died last March [sic] and was buried at that place but were disinterred and brought to her old home for burial. Mr. Butler is the son of Pierce Butler and Mrs. Butler was the daughter of Robt. Todd of Sheridan vicinity. The interment took place at Crooked Creek."