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.