Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rebecca M.J. Pell

In memory of
Rebecca M.J. Pell
Was born Jan. 24
1807 died Jan. 29

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 24 June 2009. Click on the tombstone for an enlarged view.

Rebecca M.J. Smart married Jesse Pell 13 Mar 1828 in Livingston County, Kentucky. They had two known children - Jane and Amanda.

According to the 1850 Livingston County census, Jesse Pell was born about 1807 in Kentucky. He died before 3 April 1854, when Craig S. Harris was appointed administrator of the estate of Jesse Pell.

Jesse Pell may very well be buried beside Rebecca. This tombstone looks as if it might have been taller at one time. There is a thin line of mortar around the stone where it connects to the base, which appears to be of concrete. The tombstone and base do not match.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Visit to Lola, Kentucky

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

One of the many little villages dotting the western Kentucky countryside is Lola, in Livingston County. As a child I often visited my cousin and her family and remember several businesses, including my aunt's grocery store, home of the famous Mustard Jar.

A recent visit to Lola shows a different picture. The stores are all closed and the only activity was centered on a house where a woman was moving out. The post office has been closed for several years and my aunt's store, which adjoins the post office, is also vacant.

Melva's Store and Post Office

Just across the road is the store once operated by Tommie May. This brick building was built in 1896 from bricks made from material taken from a nearby slough.

Tommie May's Store

Traveling down Hwy. 838, Lola Baptist Church is on the left. This neat, well-kept church fairly glistened in the bright sun.

Lola Baptist Church

The destination of this trip came as we turned off onto New Union Church Road. Many of my Vaughn ancestors are buried in the cemetery adjoining New Union church and my great-grandfather, David Vaughn, lived just over the hill. While the church is now called New Union Church, my family never called it anything but Ditney. In addition to Vaughn, other names found on the tombstones are Wright, Belt, Dalton, Curnel, Champion, Singleton, Damron, Tabor and many others.

New Union Baptist Church

Several members of my aunt's Fisher family are buried here, but most do not have tombstones. Among those buried here with no tombstones are the following:

Martin Van Buren Fisher born 19 May 1835, died 21 April 1926
Horace Greely Fisher born 15 May 1882, died 1 January 1916
Mary Fisher Hosick born 20 Dec 1841, died 19 June 1919
Katharine Fisher Smith born 19 Dec 1844, died 19 May 1926
The information on these folks comes from their death certificates.

It was a beautiful day for a trip to Lola and it brought back many memories of times past.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Archives Trip Tips

Are you planning a trip to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives this summer? If you do a little preparation before you leave home, your time at the Archives can be more productive.

Planning to spend the night in Frankfort and need to reserve a hotel room? There are a number of reasonably priced hotels not too far from the Archives. For a list of motels and hotels, see here:Frankfort Hotels Since I always arrive in Frankfort on US 127, I usually stay at the Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express, both located just off US 127. There are a number of restaurants nearby too. It is about a 5-10 minute drive on the East-West Connector from this area to the Archives.

The Archives is located at 300 Coffee Tree Road. Their hours are from 10 am to 4 pm EDT. If you plan to spend the day, take along snacks for lunch as the only food and drink at the Archives comes from vending machines. There is usually plenty of parking available in front of the building, but if it is full, you can park behind the Archives.

Upon entering the building, go the guard's desk, where you must show identification and fill out a form listing your name and address. As only paper, pencils and laptops are permitted in the research room, you will be assigned a locker for other items. It is helpful if you are wearing something with pockets as you will be issued a locker key on a large ring - you do not want to lose it.

If this is your first visit to the research room, take a few minutes to look around. Spend some time at the table with 3-ring notebooks with names of the counties on the spines. These notebooks list what county records are available at the archives. If it is a microfilmed record, the number of the microfilm roll is listed. Write it down. There is open access to microfilm from the drawers and, when finished reading the roll, return it to one of the nearby carts. Records in original form (not microfilmed) are ordered with the assistance of an employee at the desk. When those records arrive, you will be given a pair of disposable cotton gloves to use when handling the records. If you need copies of documents, the employees will do this for you. Payment for all copies is made when you are ready to leave the research room for the day.

A wide variety of records are available at the Archives - deeds, some vital statistics, wills, marriages, county court minutes, circuit court minutes and case bundles, some military records, and much, much more. An overview can be found here: Archives

Visiting the Archives is exciting, but also allow time to visit historic downtown Frankfort and the Kentucky History Center

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Order LDS Microfilm from Willard Library

Great news for those living near Evansville, Indiana. Willard Library is now a designated FamilySearch Center and an affiliate of the Genealogical Society of Utah's Research and Library System. What does this mean? It means that you can now order microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and read it at Willard Library.

The fee for one month's rental is $5.50 and the film can be renewed.

For more information, contact Special Collections at Willard Library.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - J.H. and Maria Smith

J. H. Smith
June 9, 1847
Apr. 23, 1916

Maria Ferrel Dalton
His Wife
Sept. 29, 1853
Aug. 5, 1911

Buried at Pythian Ridge Cemetery, Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 March 2010.

According to his death certificate, Jessie H. Smith was the son of Hiram H. Smith and Artie Missie Kuykendall. Maria F. Dalton was the daughter of Hiram and Mary Dalton, originally of Jefferson County, Kentucky. J.H. and Maria Smith appear on the 1880 Union County census but were on the 1900 and 1910 Crittenden County, Kentucky census records.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mills Pioneer Cemetery

Yesterday I visited Mills Pioneer Cemetery, one of the older cemeteries in Livingston County, Kentucky. It's located about two miles outside Salem, on Highway 723S. It's on a small hill on the left side of the road. The cemetery is easy to miss as it is badly overgrown with briers and bushes and there are many fallen branches obscuring the tombstones.

Originally, I planned to get close enough to photograph the cemetery marker, but the pull of the cemetery was too strong. Maneuvering over branches and twisting free of briers, I managed to photograph a few of these very old tombstones. It was impossible to get to the back of the cemetery or to determine its size.

In 1999 in the Crittenden Press, there was a list of burials in Mills Pioneer Cemetery (1824-1925). The earliest burial date in the list is for Mary Phillips, who was born 1788 and died 1827. The latest burial date on the list is that of Isaac Linley, who was born in 1855 and died in 1933. In fact, the latest three or four burials on the list are all for members of the Linley family.

Another early tombstone is this one for Mrs. Clara Fowler:

To the Memory
Mrs. Clara Fowler
Who departed this life
Aug. 22nd 1829
in the 50th year of her age

According to Annals of The Fowler Family by Mrs. James Joyce Arthur (Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur), 1901, Clara Wright married Godfrey Fowler, both of North Carolina, and they were the parents of Wiley P. Fowler, the well known judge of western Kentucky.

It is sad to see the condition of this cemetery. The clearing of this cemetery would be a worthy project for a civic-minded organization and a great way to honor the early settlers of Salem.

Information on other tombstones in this cemetery will be featured in later postings of this blog.

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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thomas Henry - Man in the Shadows

It is difficult to get a mental picture of someone when there are few records to provide clues. I would so like to find a deed or will or estate settlement for Thomas Henry, a free person of color. He first appears in Livingston County records on the 1840 census. Enumerated in his household are one male between the ages of 10 and 24, 3 females under 10 years of age, one male between 36 and 55 (probably Thomas himself) and one female, also between the ages of 36 and 55. If Thomas is the male between ages 36 and 55, he was born between 1785 and 1804. Was the female of the same age his wife?

There are several other records that do shed some light on Thomas Henry. He appears on the 1844 tax list with one town lot, but there is no deed with Thomas Henry as the grantor or grantee. Was he renting the town lot or had he bought it, but the deed had not been recorded?

Most free persons of color settled in towns and cities as it was safer. Unscrupulous men were known to capture persons of color and sell them into slavery, no matter if they were free or not. If living in a town or city, it was necessary to have a trade to support the family. There is no indication that Thomas Henry had a trade or what it was.

The most helpful record is a tombstone in Smithland Cemetery. Because the tombstone stands at a 45 degree angle, it had to be photographed from a reclining position.

Thomas Henry
May 18th 1846
Aged 61 years

So, we know when he died and he was 61 years old, making his year of birth 1785. This fits with his age on the 1840 census. But what happened to the other people in his household in 1840? The 1850 Livingston County census shows Anne Henry, age 43, Liddy Henry, age 16 and Jane Henry, age 14, living in the household of Jacob and Mary Fairbush [Forbush], all being free persons of color. Was Anne the widow of Thomas Henry and were Liddy and Jane their children? If so, another daughter and possibly a son died or disappeared between 1840 and 1850.

On the 1850 census, Anne, Liddy and Jane are listed as mulattoes. I've been in touch with a descendant of Anne Henry's daughter, Jane, and he tells me Jane and her sister, Lidia, moved to Nashville, Tennessee before 1860. By 1880, the family is listed as white in the census and eventually ended up in California.

I've made a start on putting the pieces together on Thomas Henry's life, but there is still much to learn. If you have any knowledge of Thomas Henry and his family, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas J. Malone

Thomas J.
Oct. 9, 1850
Apr. 23, 1885

Buried Uniontown Cemetery, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 21 June 2009.

Thomas J. Malone, his wife Annie and daughter Florence appear on the 1880 Union County census. According to the death certificate of Florence Malone Elder, her parents were Thomas Jefferson Malone and Annie Taylor.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Books Being Reprinted

The following books are being reprinted and will be available by the middle of April:

Caldwell County, Kentucky Court Court Order Book A (May 1809 - October 1815).

Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1854 - 1865.

For information on ordering, go to Western Kentucky Genealogy Books

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fearless Female - Harriet C. Wilson Bebout

I received a wonderful gift a couple of weeks ago. One of my Bebout cousins shared a photo of two people, possibly my great- great-great grandmother, Harriet C. Wilson Bebout, and her "afflicted" son, John. I had never seen a photo of either of them. In Harriet's face I could see my mother, especially around the eyes. My daughter thinks she sees me in Harriet. Perhaps there is a family resemblance. This gift is also special because Harriet has always fascinated me. Let me share a bit of her life story with you.

Harriet was born in December 1824 in the part of Livingston County, Kentucky that is today Crittenden County and was the daughter of John E. Wilson (ca 1780 NC - 2 November 1853) and Harriet Brooks. Harriet Wilson's mother died when she was about 6 years of age and she was reared by her step-mother, Nancy Franks.

Harriet grew up in a large family. Her father had at least four children by his first marriage to a daughter of Hugh McVay. These children were Manerva, Claibourne, Martha "Patsy" and Letty Keziah. Five known children blessed the marriage of John E. Wilson and Harriet Brooks, his second wife. They were Mary, Eleanor Brooks, Sarah, Harriet C. and Frances Jane "Franky." Then, by his marriage to Nancy, the third and much younger wife, the family expanded to include three more children - Pernesa, another Sarah, and another Claibourne. I think they ran out of names for the children as they named two daughters Sarah and the only two sons were named Claibourne. I don't know if the two Sarahs were named after someone in the family, but the two Claibournes were most likely named for Claibourne McVay, John E. Wilson's first wife's brother.

Harriet was not quite 21 years old when she married Peter Bebout, the son of Abraham and Elizabeth VanOstrand Bebout. Together they had the following children: Harriet, Elizabeth, Pernecia Rebecca, John, Jesse B., Chester C., Margaret/Ellen. We don't know a lot about their lives, but we do know that Peter was a farmer and they probably attended the Baptist church. One child was born in Iowa so they did spend a short time in that state. They never owned slaves and it is not known if they had strong feelings about slavery. We do know that Peter enlisted in Co. D, 20th KY Voluntary Infantry (U.S.A.) rather than in a C.S.A. regiment. Unfortunately, he did not survive the war and died in Columbia, Tennessee in 1862.

Rearing the children fell solely on Harriet. It must have been difficult providing food and clothing for the family. By the end of the 1870s the children were all married except John, who would never marry. Harriet and John lived the last years of their lives with her youngest son, Chester. In 1908, Harriet passed away and was laid to rest at Pleasant Grove Cemetery on the 17th of June.

Harriet lived to be almost 84 years of age. Many events occurred during her long life. In the 1830s, thousands of Cherokee Indians walked through this area as they headed toward their new homes. On 1 April 1861, the attack on Fort Sumpter signaled the beginning of the Civil War and would result in a life-changing event for Harriet and her family. Was she aware of that wonderful invention, the telephone? Did she know about the machine, the automobile, that would change the mode of transportation of her children and grandchildren? What a treat it would be if I could hear the story of her life in her own words.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sanborn Maps

From Steve Eskew comes the reminder to check out the Kentuckiana Digital Library. You may have seen the images and newspapers available at this site, but be sure to check out the Sanborn maps. [Click on Maps on left side of the main page.]

These maps were used for fire insurance purposes and show all buildings within the town. They show the type of structure (frame, brick, etc), whether it is a dwelling or business and the type of business. Maps are available for the following towns: Providence, Sebree, Henderson, Marion, Morganfield, Sturgis, Uniontown, Dawson Springs, Madisonville, Princeton, Eddyville and Cadiz. There are no Sanborn maps listed for Livingston County.

Spend some time with this site - you will be glad you did.

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - B.F. Hockman

At Rest
Capt. B.F. Hockman
1855 - 1912
Lenora C. His Wife
1860 - 1905
John B. Their Son
1889 - 1896

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 1 January 2010.

The following article on the death of Capt. Hockman appeared in the Henderson Gleaner, Saturday, 14 December 1912:

"Capt. Hockman Dies in Mississippi. Formerly ran the ferryboat at Henderson - Body to be shipped here. News was received in the city Friday morning announcing the death of Capt. Benj. F. Hockman, a veteran river man, who died suddenly at Rosedale, Miss., where he had gone on a hunting trip.

"Capt. Hockman's home was at Mt. Vernon, Ind., but he was a former resident of this city, having been engaged in the ferry business here for a number of years. He was a son-in-law of Capt. Ben Carson. The remains will be shipped to this city for interment."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Filling in the Gaps

In genealogy, things are not always as they appear. Red herrings may appear and force us to rethink our research plans. Maybe the name on the tombstone is misspelled or the death date is wrong. I ran across a tombstone inscription not long ago that caused me to pause and think.

In Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky is the following tombstone:

The inscription reads:

Dr. S.F. Singleton
Died Dec. 24th 1845
Aged 33 years and 1 day

Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord

Note that the tombstone is broken and Singleton is a bit hard to read. Buried nearby are R. Alice Singleton and Samuel F. Singleton, children of Dr. S.F. and Louisa Singleton. At first glance, it appears that Dr. S.F. Singleton died in 1845 and was buried next to his children. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

There is a problem, though. S.F. Singleton, age 45, appears on the 1850 McCracken County census in Paducah. In his household are Elizabeth R., 28; James W., 20; Mary E., 12; John C., 9; Fanny W., 9 months; Reuben L. Radford, 7; Hannah W. Singleton, 16 and L.J. Pace, 24. This S.F. Singleton was born circa 1805. If he died in 1845, how could he be enumerated on the 1850 census?

Were the two S.F. Singletons the same man? Let's back up a minute and check the Livingston County records. In Deed Book GG, page 586, 11 October 1843 we find Samuel F. Singleton mortgaging his stock of drugs, medicines and other articles to Henry F. and Dixon [sic] A. Given, merchants, for the payment of supplies they purchased for Singleton. Then, in Deed Book HH, page 94, 18 March 1845, S.F. Singleton mortgaged all of his property, including his stock of medicines and drugs contained in his drug store. From prior research, I have learned that physicians often had drug stores.

Livingston County tax lists show that S.F. Singleton first appears in 1841 and disappears after 1847. That fits with his appearance on the 1850 McCracken County census.

According to McCracken County Vital Statistics (deaths), Saml. F. Singleton, age 73, married, died 23 November 1875. He was born in Virginia, lived and died in McCracken County, and his parents were unknown. This S.F. Singleton was born circa 1802. Close enough to possibly be the same man as on the 1850 census.

McCracken County marriage records show that Samuel F. Singleton married Elizabeth Radford 9 May 1848. S.F. Singleton's household shows a 28 year old woman, Elizabeth, and a young boy, Reuben L. Radford. Hummm. The wheels in my head began to turn. What if ...

The Livingston County Dr. Singleton had a wife named Louisa, according to the tombstone of their two children. What if the tombstone in Smithland Cemetery was for Louisa, Dr. Singleton's wife - his first wife? The top portion of the tombstone has broken off and I just bet the inscription read "Louisa, wife of Dr. S.F. Singleton."

What if Louisa died in 1845 and was buried in Smithland, the family moved to Paducah in 1847/1848, and Dr. Singleton married, as his second wife, Elizabeth Radford in 1848. The entire Singleton family then appeared on the 1850 McCracken County census. It all makes sense. What do you think?

Copyright Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG. Western Kentucky Genealogy. http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are

The long-awaited telivision series, Who You You Think You are, premieres Friday, 5 March 2010 at 8 EDT and 7 CDT on NBC. You will follow several celebrities as they learn about their ancestors. This series is sure to spark an interest in many people to discover their ancestry. For more information, go Here

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Robert Leeper

Memory of
Robert Leeper
who departed this life
January 25th
in the 64th year
of his age

Buried Old Fredonia Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Robert Leeper married Jane Neel, who died 3 May 1850. She was the daughter of Col. Thomas Neel. A ceremony is planned later this year to honor Leeper and other Revolutionary War veterans in the Fredonia area. Photograph submitted by Jared Nelson of the Times-Leader.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kentucky Ancestors Online

Need something to cheer you up on a gloomy, dreary late Winter afternoon? Try reading back issues of Kentucky Ancestors, genealogical quarterly of the Kentucky Historical Society. There is a lot of good reading here and it's free. A sure-fire way to perk you up!