Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Melisa Phillips

Mary Melisa
wife of
Ed Phillips
Jan. 24, 1869
Aug. 5, 1935

Buried Duncan Cemetery, located off Hwy. 365, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 20 March 2010.

According to her death certificate (#665), Mary M. Phillips was the daughter of James Samuels and Jane Oneal, both born Crittenden County. On 9 March 1887 in Crittenden County, Mary Melisa Samuels married E.W. Phillips.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Benjamin Barner Tombstone Update

It's a sad fact that tombstones are damaged in a variety of ways - by the elements of weather or vandalism or by being hit with a lawn mower. I have been visiting the Barner family plot in Smithland Cemetery in Livingston County for several years. I lamented the fact that Benjamin Barner's tombstone has apparently been sinking into the ground, with only his name barely legible, but at least there was enough to identify the spot where he was buried.

This is how his tombstone appeared when I photographed it in 2008:

The date of his death was found on the order for his tombstone in his estate file at the county clerk's office. He died 16 February 1865 at the age of 74 years, 5 months and 11 days.

Sometimes within the last month, something struck his tombstone and it now looks likes this:

The tombstone is very soft and crumbly and will, without a doubt, disintegrate more. I suspect that little, if anything, will be left within a few years. This is a testimony to the value of photographing tombstones.

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mine Disaster 1939

Mining has always been a dangerous profession and claims lives every year. The now-defunct Evansville Press, on Sunday, 16 July 1939 reported on the explosion of the Duvin mine in Webster County, Kentucky.

Providence, Ky., July 15 - Thirty-eight miners went deep into the Duvin mine last night and only 10 came back. Of the others, 19 are known dead tonight and the remaining nine are feared to have perished.

Bodies of the dead will be brought to the surface as soon as ventilating fans can blow away the breath of death that caught those not killed instantly by an explosion Friday night.

All hope for the nine missing is not yet gone. T.C. Powell with the U.S. Bureau of Mines safety station at Norton, Va., led 20 rescuers into the mine tonight in a last desperate attempt to reach them.

They may have erected barricades in the entry in which they were working. Some say such barricades would provide breathable air for 24 hours; others say they may survive three days.

Throughout a long night, and a longer dreary day, hope for some of the 28 remained high until rescue squads, wearied by 15 hours of ceaseless toil, stumbled from the mine cage.

But hope is at a very low ebb tonight. They had found 19 bodies, some horribly mangled by the blast, some slumped over their machines.

They had come within 600 feet of the section where nine other men had been at work, only to be forced back by deadly carbon monoxide gas that overcame four of their number.

They were spared the task of facing the mine folk whose husbands, fathers, brothers and sons had died, for the mine property had been cleared of all spectators. But along the property edge remained hundreds, hopeful to the last, and to them several of the rescue workers told a story of the horror they had found 200-250 feet below the surface.

It was a gruesome story of mangled bodies of men killed instantly by the explosion, of bodies sprawled in ghastly postures over machines, life snuffed out by gas, of machinery torn to pieces, rails ripped off ties and then jerked from the ground.

An announcement by the coal company named the following men who died: Bernard Barnes, foreman and his son, D.B. Barnes; Richard Byron, foreman; Bob May; Ira Campbell; Randall Green; Earl Woodring; George Clark; Lee Mitchell; Dan Byron; Ferrell Dunbar; Ellie Chandler; Robert Williams; Ned Fugate; James Gaither; George Springfield; Arthur Little; Carl Holloman Jr and David Ivy. Nine others are unaccounted for and nine were rescued.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rachel A. Reburn

Our Mother at Rest
Rachel A. Reburn
1846 - 1917

Buried Masonic Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 4 June 2010.

According to her death certificate (#36962), Rachel Reburn was born 11 April 1846 and died 8 December 1917. She was the daughter of John Givens and Nannie Connell.

The family of John A. Givens is found on the 1850 and 1860 Trimble County, Kentucky census. Rachel Given married John F. Reburn 31 May 1866 Union County and is found on the 1870 Union County census.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Livingston County, Kentucky Courthouse

Standing watch over the town of Smithland for the past 165 years is the Livingston County, Kentucky courthouse. That may end, though, when the county clerk's office, the last of the county offices still in the courthouse, moves to a new building next door where the historic Dunn house was located before being demolished. Because of fears that the courthouse will suffer the same fate as the Dunn house, a movement has begun to save the old courthouse. Several meetings have been held to discuss possible uses for the old building.

When the seat of justice was moved to Smithland from Salem in 1842, the county court chose Preston Grace of Caldwell County to erect the building on the upper portion of out lot #7 on land owned by James Lillard. Opened in 1845, the courthouse has been the place to go to have deeds recorded, obtain marriage licenses and submit wills for probate for generations of families.

Below is the courthouse as it is today.

The interior shows the high ceilings and tall doors.

Inside the county clerk's office are deeds and loose county court papers in archival boxes.

Deeds are on the left, mortgages on the right and marriage records in the distance.

Ground has been broken for the new office building. It will contain the county clerk's office and other county offices plus a library. This photo is dated 17 June 2010.

Let's hope that the old courthouse will survive and continue to be a part of Livingston County - not only its past, but also its future.

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grave Marking and Dedication Ceremony

A Grave Marking and Dedication Ceremony for three - and perhaps four - of the earliest settlers of the Fredonia area of Caldwell County, Kentucky is planned for Saturday, 2 October 2010. These settlers were Revolutionary War patriots Robert Leeper (1759-1823), James Hawthorn (ca 1750 - 1808), John Elder (1754-1799) and William Hamilton (1750 - 1800).

This special ceremony will begin in Old Fredonia Cemetery, where Robert Leeper is buried, and continue about 150 yards to the Livingston Presbyterian Church (Centreville) Cemetery, where John Elder, James Hawthorn and William Hamilton are buried. John Elder's tombstone is the oldest known grave marker in the area. Because of the remote location, transportation to the cemeteries will be provided from the home of Don Boone, 21804 Marion Road, Fredonia. Attendees should bring lawn chairs. A reception by the Gen. John Caldwell Chapter, KYSDAR and the Fredonia Valley Heritage Society is planned at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Fredonia after the dedication ceremonies.

If you have information on the four patriots or are a descendant, please contact one of the following persons: Dr. Scott Giltner at stgilt@earthlink.net, Ken & Peggy Gilkey at kengilkey@wowway.com, Jane VanHooser at mjvanhooser@yahoo.com, Pam Faughn at pamfaughn@att.net or Don Boone at dfbtab51@yahoo.com. More information on the ceremony will be announced later.

Photo by Jared Nelson of Caldwell County.

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - R. Alice Singleton

Childhood deaths were common during the 1800s. Tombstones for infants were often graced with figures of lambs or angels. If the child was past infancy, the tombstones often resembled those of adults. Because Smithland, Kentucky had so much river traffic, bringing people from all parts of the country, the tombstones are varied - from the very precise, controlled artwork of the East to the simple engravings of name and date of death common in small town Kentucky.

The tombstone for R. Alice Singleton stands silently beside the graves of her mother and her brother, both of whom died in 1845. The inscription on Alice's tombstones is simple, but seems to indicate resignation of her death. The tombstone was photographed 4 December 2009.

To the memory
R. Alice
Daughter of Dr. S.F.
& Louisa
born May 19th
1835 Died
Sept. 23, 1843

Of such is the
Kingdom of Heaven

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

Browning Obituary Website Expanding

Many of you are familiar with the Browning Obituaries website. Previously it contained obituaries listed in the Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana newspapers. The site is being expanded with several new databases, which will make it one of the most valuable sites for genealogists and historians with any connection to southern Indiana, southern Illinois and beyond.

Added to the Browning Genealogy and Obituary Research is a Cemetery Database, which is being developed for Rose Hill Cemetery (Warrick County, Indiana), Snake Run (Gibson County, Indiana), New Salem (Vanderburgh County, Indiana) and James Parker (Spencer County, Indiana).

Also in the works is an Immigration Database for Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, Indiana 1850 - 1920 and a Veteran Database of Vanderburgh and Pike Counties, Indiana for World War II soldiers and Posey County, Indiana for World War I soldiers.

In addition, the Genealogy and Obituary Research has expanded its holdings to include Gallatin County, Illinois 2003 - 2007 with additional years (back to 1950) coming within the next two years.

This website is one to be bookmarked and used regularly. Just because your family was from Kentucky, don't discount this website. Many folks migrated from western Kentucky to Evansville to work and ended up settling in this area.

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

Lincoln's Assassination - Another Theory

There were various theories behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. One theory was that Lincoln's murder was planned by government officials. Bob Lynn, the only surviving Confederate Civil War veteran in Union County, Kentucky in 1937, disagreed with this theory and gave his version of the cause of the President's assassination in an article in the now-defunct Evansville Press on 25 April 1937.

Lynn stated John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in Ford's Theater in Washington, DC "to avenge the death of Booth's friend, a Capt. Beal, Confederate officer." Lynn says he heard the story from officers of his regiment right after the death of President Lincoln.

According to Lynn, Capt. Beal commanded a Confederate gunboat during the Civil War. "He launched an unsuccessful effort to go up the Mississippi River to Rock Island, Ill., and free Confederate prisoners held there. The boat reached Rock Island, but was captured. Capt. Beal was sent to New York, tried and sentenced to death."

John Wilkes Booth, who was a friend and college classmate of Capt. Beal, asked Lincoln to commute Beal's sentence to life imprisonment and Lincoln agreed. However, two members of Lincoln's cabinet (Chase and Steward) overruled him and Capt. Beal was executed. Thus, the reason Booth shot President Lincoln was revenge for the death of Beal.

Bob Lynn was born 24 October 1844 in Union County and enlisted in Adam Rankin Johnson's cavalry 1 August 1862 at Madisonville, Kentucky. The regiment was transferred to the command of General John Hunt Morgan and Lynn then became part of Morgan's Raiders.

In August 1863, Lynn was captured while attempting to escape across the Ohio River following a raid into Ohio. He spent 18 months in a Chicago prison camp and was exchanged three weeks before the war ended. He was with his regiment near Lynchburg, Virginia when Robert E. Lee surrendered. Lynn walked to Greenville, Tennessee and then rode a train to Nashville. From Nashville he got a ride on a boat to Uniontown, Kentucky and walked home from there.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Andrew Jackson

Copyright on photographs and text by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Tomb of Andrew and Rachel Jackson

Andrew Jackson
Born March 15, 1767 - Died June 8, 1845
Grand Master of Tennessee 1822-1823
President of the United States 1829-1837

Today is the 165th anniversary of the death of President Andrew Jackson. He is buried at The Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee. The photographs were made 20 May 2010.

Andrew Jackson, son of Andrew Jackson Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth, was born in the Waxhaws, South Carolina. Andrew Jr. settled in what became Nashville, Tennessee in 1788 and, in 1791, married Rachel Donelson Robards for the first time, according to tradition, in Natchez. When the divorce from Rachel was granted to her first husband, Lewis Robards, in 1793, Rachel and Andrew Jackson married for the second time in January 1794.

Having had no children of their own, in 1808 Rachel and Andrew adopted her nephew and named him Andrew Jackson Jr.

Andrew Jackson was a farmer, soldier, race horse owner, lawyer, politician and is known to have visited Smithland, Kentucky, also known as Mouth of the Cumberland, before he became President.

In November 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States and shortly before Christmas of that same year, Rachel died and was buried on the grounds of The Hermitage, the Jackson home in Tennessee. Andrew Jackson's first term of President began in January 1829 and was inaugurated for his second term in 1833. After he left office, Andrew returned to The Hermitage, where he died in 1845, age 78.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Midnight Madness 14 - 18 June 2010

REMINDER! Willard Library will host its annual Midnight Madness 14-18 June 2010 in the library's Special Collections Dept., 2nd floor of the library at 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana. Nineteen different free classes will be offered during the event with plenty of time between classes for researching the holdings of the department.

Are you a beginner and want to learn how to get started researching your family? Lyn Martin, Special Collections librarian, will tell you how to begin in her class at 10 a.m. on Monday, 14 June.

Maybe you have been researching a long time and are curious about how to become a certified genealogist. If so, join my class on Wednesday, 16 June, at 10 a.m. Learn who can become certified, what certification means and how to become certified.

Have you thought of writing your memoirs? Sue Berry of Henderson, Kentucky, will tell you how in a class at 7 p.m. on Thursday, 17 June.

These are just a few of the classes scheduled at Midnight Madness. Willard Library will be open from 9 a.m. until midnight the week of 14 June 2010. To reserve a seat in a particular class, email Lyn Martin at lmartin@willard.lib.in.us or call 812-425-4309. A complete listing of classes can be found at Willard Library - click on Genealogy and June.

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Henderson Female College

An Act to Incorporate the Henderson Female College was approved 30 September 1861. Trustees were appointed and included John H. Lambert, John Rudy, Joe Adams, Col. Jackson McClain, Shelby Nunn, John H. Barrett, F.B. Cromwell, Thomas D. Telford and James Henderson. The location in Henderson of the College is unknown. No mention of the Henderson Female College was found in Starling's History of Henderson and I have not found this institution mentioned anywhere else except for a brief ad and article in the Henderson Reporter.

In the 2 July 1863 issue of the Reporter, an article appeared about the College. It stated that the "fourth session of the Henderson Female College will commence on Monday, 7th September next. The College, during the three years it has been conducted, has been established on a firm foundation, and has achieved a reputation that would be creditable to older institutions of learning. It is an institution of which our city may justly feel proud, and we doubt not the number of pupils in attendance will be satisfactory evidence of the estimation in which the College is held by parents and guardians."

The following advertisement appeared in the same issue of the newspaper. I do not find H.B. Parsons listed in the 1860 or 1870 census of Henderson County. Because of the scarcity of information on this college and perhaps because of the Civil War, I assume it did not exist very long.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Stephen Lyon

Sacred to
the memory
Stephen Lyon
Died August 13, 1840

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 18 November 2009. Click on the photo for an enlarged view.

On 14 October 1833, Stephen Lyon obtained a bond to marry Harriet Cook, the daughter of John and Ann Cook and the widow of John Davis. Stephen and Harriet had three known children: S.B., Ann Eliza and Charles S. Lyon, all of whom are also buried in Smithland Cemetery.