Thursday, December 29, 2011

James B. Markey, M.D.

The following information is taken from History of Kentucky, Vol. IV, edited by Judge Charles Kerr,1922, page 491.

James Barnard Markey, M.D. is one of the skilled and experienced physicians and surgeons of Livingston County, who is engaged in an active practice at Birdsville, where he has been located since 1909. Doctor Markey was born near Birdsville September 10, 1878, a son of Thomas Andrew Markey, and grandson of Barnard Markey, who was born in Ireland in 1814, and died at Hampton, Kentucky, in 1898. It was he who established the family in the United States, coming first to New York City, where he worked at his trade as a tailor. Later he moved to Livingston County, and was one of the early farmers of this region. He married Melinda Peyton, who was born in Kentucky in 1819, and died in Livingston County, Kentucky, in 1895. Their children who are living are: Jennie, who is unmarried and lives at Hampton, Kentucky; Sallie, who married James Coyle, city surveyor, lives at Paducah, Kentucky; and James, who is a merchant of Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Dr. Markey is unmarried. He entered the medical department of the University of Louisville, and after four years, graduated June 30, 1909 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He then located at Birdsville and owns an office and residence on Main Street.

Thomas Andrew Markey was born at Hampton, Livingston County, December 25, 1850, and died near Birdsville April 9, 1901. He spent his life in Livingston County, although his calling as a steamboat pilot took him away from home during the war between the states and for some years afterward. After giving up steamboating he became a farmer and stockraiser and was a man of ample means. He was a democrat and a member of the Presbyterian church. He married Mary Jeannett Davis, who was born near Birdsville December 25, 1840. She died August 9, 1900. Their children were Gertrude Pearl, who married J.W. Hankins; Dr. James B. Markey; Thomas Henry and Watson, who was a clerk at Aransas Pass, Texas, died July 22, 1911 at Corpus Christi, Texas.

Note: Livingston County marriage records show that Barnard Markey married Miss Malinda Padon 29 November 1840 and Thomas A. Markey married Miss Mary Jane Davis 24 April 1867.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Bettie Scyster Rives

Bettie Ellis Scyster
Wife of
J.M. Rives
Born Dec. 23, 1883
Died Jan. 27, 1912

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 9 July 2010.

The obituary of Bettie Ellis Rives was published in the Paducah News-Democrat and reprinted in the Crittenden Record-Press 1 February 1912. It gives the following information: "Mrs. Jordan Rives died this morning at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.D. Scyster. She resided in Christian Co., but had been ill at the home of her parents of septic fever. She leaves her husband and a two weeks old baby."

The death certificate of Bettie Ellis Scyster Rives identifies her parents as George D. Scyster and Maggie Ellis, both born in Kentucky.

Published 27 December 2011, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas During the Civil War

Although certainly celebrated during the Civil War, Christmas did not become an official holiday until 1870, five years after the end of the war. Gift giving was limited to mainly handmade items - dolls, sleds and carved toys for children and baked goods and fruits for everyone.

Decorated trees were popular during the Civil War with some even present on the battle field. At home the trees usually sat upon a table and were decorated with easily- accessible items such as pine cones, brightly colored paper and strings of popcorn and fruit. Occasionally a blown glass ornament or metal whistle could be found on the tree.

While there were no radios or CDs to provide music, songs were sung in church and in the homes. Favorites, then as now, included Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

Churches were decorated with holly and greenery and were the center of the celebration for many folks.

After the Civil War, in some areas of the South, the time to celebrate with fireworks was Christmas, rather than the 4th of July. Shops would load up with fireworks and children felt slighted if no fireworks appeared in their Christmas stockings. The practice of celebrating Christmas with fireworks didn't last long, though, and firecrackers were relegated to a more appropriate time. Celebrating with horns and the beating of toy drums continued for New Year's Eve up to the present time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - William Champion

June 12, 1874
Oct. 20, 1931
God Giveth and God Taketh
Blessed Be the Name
of the Lord

Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 4 February 2011.

According to his death certificate, William Champion was born in Carrsville, Kentucky, was African American and was the son of Gus Champion and Tilda Threlkeld. On 13 November 1901, he married Lovenia Pringle in Livingston County.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Society Disbands

It was recently announced that the Christian County, Kentucky Genealogical Society is disbanding effective 31 December 2011. The society was organized in 1978 and incorporated in 1983. Through the years, they published a number of books and held several seminars in Hopkinsville.

It is a sad day when societies disband, but I believe it is far better to go out in glory rather than tarry until there are too few members to be an effective force in the genealogical community. Without a doubt we will see more societies disband in the future.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dear Santa ...

I've done genealogical research for more years than you want to know, but, alas, I have failed to find everything I need. So, I'm hoping you can help. Here goes.

Dear Santa,

I have been really, really good this year. I cited my sources accurately and completely just as the top notch genealogists say to do ... well, except for the time I was in such a hurry I forgot and then there was the time I ... I meant to, I really did. I'll do better next year, I promise.

Santa, you would be so proud of me when I visited the courthouse. I didn't pester the clerks too much and take up their time with stupid questions. OK, I promise never again to ask for every record they have on my great-grandfather John Smith. I was only kidding anyway. I did put away all those big books I used, Santa. Do I get a Gold Star for that?

This year has been a great time for making progress on my John E. Wilson family. With the help of another researcher, we tracked some of his grandchildren from Kentucky to Missouri and then to Nebraska. I'm a little upset with those folks in Nebraska, though. They haven't had many county records microfilmed and it's a little far to drive to Nebraska every time I have a question. Would you mind seeing what you can do to make those records more accessible? If you would also put those records on FamilySearch, where I can use them for free, that would be nice, too.

Now, Santa, I know it is hard to spell Wolstenholme, but surely to Pete it doesn't have to be spelled 133 different ways! Please, kindly suggest to those you meet in your travels that the name should be spelled one way only. That will make it ever so much easier for me.

I hesitate to mention this last item, Santa, as it is a big one. I spend a lot of time in cemeteries and some tombstones that should be there can't be found. I'm guessing they have fallen over and are now covered with dirt. Would you work a little magic and set them upright again? The last time I took a shovel to the cemetery I got some very scary looks. Hmmm, wonder if they thought I was going to dig up bodies instead of tombstones?

OK, use your powers, Big Guy, and I'll leave you alone until next year!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rev. A.J. Thomson of Lyon County, Kentucky

Albert J. Thomson was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Kuttawa, Lyon County, Kentucky from 1882 until his death in 1919. He and his wife, Julia, are both buried at Kuttawa Park Cemetery. The following obituary appeared in The Herald and Presbyter, a Presbyterian Family Paper, on 10 September 1919.

"Rev. Albert J. Thomson,of Kuttawa, Ky., died on August 31, in the seventieth year of his age. He had been in feeble health for some time and gradually declined. He was born in Steelsville, Mo., September 1, 1849, graduated at Princeton College of Kentucky and at Danville Theological Seminary. He was pastor at Kuttawa since 1882, preaching also at Marion, Ky., and at Craigs Chapel, Ky. in connection with Kuttawa for several years. He was a useful and devoted minister, held in high esteem by his people and by his fellow ministers."

Monday, December 12, 2011

1811 Trip to New Orleans

Two Hundred years ago a momentous event occurred on the Ohio River. The first powered steamboat on the inland waterways, the New Orleans, began its journey down the Ohio River toward the Crescent City. The steamboat left Pittsburgh on 20 October 1811 with a captain, engineer, pilot, six hands, two servants, a waiter, a cook and three passengers. If this trip was successful, its builders, Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston, would learn if the design of the steamboat was sufficient for future trips. Also, it would likely open up a whole new venue for transportation of goods and passengers.

The New Orleans was 26 feet wide and 148 feet long, a massive ship compared to the canoes and flatboats that were in common use. The ship was propelled by a 34 cylinder steam engine that produced 160 horsepower. There were large paddle wheels located amidships on each side of the ship's hull. The ship could travel at 10 miles per hour downstream.

On the 27th of November, the New Orleans arrived in Cincinnati and two days later made it to Louisville. After laying over in Louisville for several weeks due to low water level, the New Orleans proceeded to navigate through the dangerous Falls of the Ohio. Traveling through the Falls was so difficult that only certain experienced pilots were allowed to conduct steamboats through the area.

Then, another momentous event happened. On 11 December 1811, the first New Madrid earthquake occurred. There would be three different 8.0 magnitude trembles at 3 am, 8 am and 11 am. One has to wonder how the passengers and crew aboard the New Orleans felt. Did the New Orleans rock and roll when the quakes hit? The noise alone must have been frightening - from both the earthquake and the steamboat itself. The New Orleans was not a silent steamboat - its engine was so loud that it could be heard some distance away. What excitement must have been created in all the town along the river as the New Orleans chugged its way toward New Orleans. And reach New Orleans it did on January 10, 1812.

The New Orleans never returned to Pittsburgh; she was thereafter used as a packet carrying mail, cargo and passengers between Natchez and New Orleans. This voyage from Pittsburgh to New Orelans in 1811 was just the beginning of the great steamboat era on the Ohio River. Towns such as Evansville, Cairo, Smithland, Paducah and Cincinnati would flourish with steamboat traffic. Without steamboats, Smithland might have been nothing more than another little river town. With steamboats and the businesses it created, such men as Nathaniel Drew, Joshua V. and J.H. Throop, Amon Price, Blount Hodge, Napoleon B. Hayward and Sterling Barner made Smithland their home and enriched the history of the town.

Harold Morgan. "1811: A Year of Miracles," Bicentennial Indiana Territory 1811-1815,, accessed 9 December 2011.

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Peter Hoffman 99 Years Old

Obituaries are not the only newspaper articles providing information on a person's life. Occasionally articles were published when local residents attained advanced age. Such was the case with Peter Hoffman, Henderson, Kentucky's oldest resident at age 99. The following article can be found in the 28 November 1926 issue of the Henderson Gleaner and Journal.

Peter Hoffman, Henderson's oldest resident, celebrated his 99th birthday Saturday and at conclusion of a happy day, expressed hope that his life might be spared for another year to round out the century mark.

Mr. Hoffman was born in Baden, Germany. When he was 13 years of age, he moved to the United States, residing in New York for two years. He then moved to Evansville, Ind., where he was married in 1856. Mr. Hoffman came to Henderson, where he has spent the rest of his life. Seventy years in one city is quite a record.

Until 1900, Mr. Hoffman was engaged in the tailoring business, retiring from business at the age of 63. He is now living with his daughter, Mrs. Joe Wuersch, and family on Plum street.

Mr. Hoffman has four children, Mrs. Wuersch and Mrs. Charles Unverzagt of this city; Mrs. Al Hoffman, of Denver, and Will Hoffman, of Louisville, and seven grandchildren. Mrs. Al Hoffman was the only daughter not present at the family dinner Saturday evening.

Editor's Note: Peter Hoffman did not live to reach the century mark. He passed away 17 April 1927 at the age of 99 years, 4 months and 19 days. According to his death certificate, he was born 27 November 1827 in Germany and was the son of Lawrence Hoffman, also born in Germany. His mother was unknown. He was buried at Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson on 18 April 1927.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Z.M. Weller

Z.M. Weller
Dec. 30, 1823
Mar. 9, 1874

Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 21 October 2011.

Zerilda Crow married Joshua Rucker 5 May 1842. Joshua Rucker died shortly after 4 September 1846 when he made his last wishes known in a nuncupative will made on his death bed. (Caldwell County Will Book B, page 89).

Zerilda's second marriage was to James C. Weller on 5 October 1849. Weller was Caldwell County Clerk for a number of years.

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

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Research Tips - Records Available Online

FamilySearch continues to add state and county records online. Recently added records include the following:

  • Illinois Probate Records 1819-1970

  • South Carolina Probate Records Bound Volumes 1671-1977

  • South Carolina Probate Files & Loose Papers 1732-1964

  • Daughters of the Republic of Texas Membership Applications 1892-2010

  • Virginia Births & Christenings 1853-1917

  • Many more records have been added, but these are the ones that are likely to be of interest to western Kentucky researchers. FamilySearch is a free site, but be aware that most of the military records refer you to Fold3, which is a subscription site.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Civil War Christmas Dinner

    The Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society is hosting a Civil War Christmas dinner on Friday, 9 December 2011, at 6 p.m. at the Senior Citizens Center, 508 Rudd Street, Smithland, Kentucky. Advance tickets ($10) are available at the Log Cabin in Smithland 1 - 4 p.m. Call 270-928-4656 for additional information. Children under the age of 6 eat free. Join the fun event for Knoth's BBQ, fixings and music. All proceeds of this fund raising event will go toward the preservation of historic Livingston County properties.

    Master of ceremonies will be Todd Hatton, of WKMS. Guest speakers will be Tim Sheeks as General Grant; Billy Riley, Livingston County Attorney; Judy Wasko; Alex and Barry Whitworth and Berry Craig, author and professor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College. Civil War relics will be on display also.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Indentures of Apprenticeship for Children of Color 1866

    Freedom for former slaves came with the end of the Civil War, but many children of color were left with no way to feed and clothe themselves. In order to have the necessities of life, the children were bound out, or apprenticed, to people in the community, who were sometimes their former owners. Males were apprenticed until they were age 21 and females until they were age 18. The following information can be found in Caldwell County, Kentucky Court Order Book K. The number following the Bk K is the page number and the date is the date of the court session.

    Hugh and George, boys of color, are bound unto James A. Carr to learn the trade & business of a farmer. [Bk K:595, 22 March 1866]

    James, boy of color with no estate, is bound unto James A. Cook to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:596, 22 March 1866]

    Benjamin, minor of color with no estate, is bound unto L.B. Sims to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:600, 16 April 1866]

    Robert and Henry, minors of color, are bound unto B.J. Spratt to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:601, 16 April 1866]

    Charles, minor of color, is bound unto B.M. Stone to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:601, 16 April 1866]

    Lucy, minor of color, is bound unto B.M. Stone to learn the trade of a housekeeper. [Bk K:602, 16 April 1866]

    Jordan, 11 year old minor of color, is bound to J.R. Templeman to learn the trade of a farmer or carder. [Bk K:613, 21 May 1866]

    Harriet, age 14 on 6th of July next, bound to John P. Sasseen. Alice, who was age 12 in November last, bound to John P. Sasseen. [Bk K:613, 21 May 1866]

    Nancy, a 13 year old girl of color, is bound unto P.W. Calvert. [Bk K:613, 21 May 1866]

    Lucy, 11 year old girl of color, is bound unto Mary A. Morrow. Elizabeth, age 7 and a girl of color, bound unto Mary A. Morrow. [Bk K:615, 24 May 1866]

    Shadrick Wadlington, of color and age 13, is bound unto L.J. Cartwright to learn the trade of a farmer. This was set aside same date. William Wadlington, age 6, bound unto L.J. Cartwright to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:618, 622, 16 July 1866]

    James Lander, 12 year old boy of color, and George Lander, age 8, are bound unto R.H. Lander to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:618, 16 July 1866]

    John Overby, 13 year old boy of color, is bound unto L.B. Overby to learn the trade of a farmer. James Overby, age 9, also bound unto L.B. Overby to learn the trade of a farmer. [Bk K:618, 619, 16 July 1866]

    Willis Gray, 11 year old boy of color, is bound unto Robert Gray. [Bk K:625, 20 August 1866]

    Fannie, girl of color and age 13, is bound unto S.M. Edmunds. [Bk K:625, 20 August 1866]

    Jack, 8 year old boy of color, is bound unto H.H. Markham. [Bk K:625, 20 August 1866]

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

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Henry & Elizabeth P. Haynes

    Henry Haynes
    1845 - 1928
    Elizabeth P.
    His Wife
    1859 - 1943

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

    Henry Haynes' death certificate shows that he was born 8 June 1845 Breckenridge County, Kentucky and died in Henderson 28 March 1928. He was the son of Stark D. Haynes and Mary Warfield, both born in Breckenridge County. He was a retired farmer.

    Henry Haynes' obituary appeared in the 29 March 1928 issue of the Henderson Morning Gleaner. It stated he was survived by his wife and sons, Leander and Paul, of Evansville, and Henry Haynes Jr. of Daytona, Fla. Funeral services were held at his home on North Main street.

    Elizabeth Priest Haynes, widow of Henry Haynes, was born 6 June 1859 Henderson County and died 31 October 1943, according to her death certificate. Her parents were Ferando Priest and Francis Butler, both born in Kentucky.

    Elizabeth P. Haynes died in the Henderson hospital after falling and breaking her hip in her home on North Main street. She was survived by sons Henry, Daytona, Fla.; Joe, of Evansville and Paul H. of Reed and 10 grandchildren. Also surviving were three brothers, Roger Priest, Detroit, Mich.; J.W. and Geo. F. Priest, Hebbardsville. Her obituary appeared in the 2 November 1943 issue of the Henderson Morning Gleaner.

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

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Civil War Letter from T.J. Flanary

    Family letter written by Thomas J. Flanary of the 3rd Kentucky during the Civil War. Original letter in the possession of Nancy Weldon Hodge of Marion, Ky. Translation and footnotes provided by Marty K. Hodge, who retains copyright of this letter. Please do not copy without consent.

    -Page 1-
    Mr Wm Flanry
    Camp Boon[i] ten Sept 11th 1861
    dear sir I take the opportunity
    of wrighting you a few lines
    to let you no that I am
    Stil here and well and hoping
    you the same I don’t know yet
    what us crittenden boys are a
    going to do if capt meriwethers
    gets his company which i expect
    will be a cavelry company and if
    the boys that come with me goes
    in to it ishal goto we are furnished
    a horse if we cannot get one
    but if we get our horse we are alud

    -Page 2-
    twelve $ amonth and if he gets
    and we don’t we alid pay for
    him it don’t make much differenc
    with me calvelry or in fantry
    iexpect that the regiment will leav
    in a bout too weeks if it don’t
    leav in that time we will be in
    a cavalry they have got to thouses
    navyes for the cavalry it is
    for one year the en listment
    i rote you a letter the other day
    not noing whether you would
    receive it or not will wright you
    a few more lines if we goin infantry
    or cavalry iexpec we will go to padducah
    general pillow[ii] with fifteen thousand
    men is now on his march to
    that plac when he gets there it
    will be in his possession tell the
    crittenden boys if they are coming
    to this brigade it is time they
    are coming tell henry cook

    -Page 3-
    that if he comes that he must
    learn how to cook and if
    any of the boys comes here to mind
    how they can the oath that we take
    it for three yrs or during the
    war in the in fantry the [torn]
    one year in the in fantry [torn]
    are aloud forty days in [torn]
    unless we are in battle some
    of the men here are disheartened
    a bout our pay but when our
    officers gets there commission we
    will be paid I have spent
    a bout to dollars sine I have bin
    here for nicknacks but that
    is stoped for ther was no use of it
    for we get plenty to eat her
    James Vaughn is here he has had
    the measles but is getting well
    I would like to see you all
    and per haps will shortly
    So no more at present T.J Flanry


    [i] Camp Boon was located near Clarksville Tennessee on the Tennessee-Kentucky
    [ii] Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving

    On this Thanksgiving morning, I am thankful for my family for their patience and understanding as I became deeply involved in this life long journey of finding my ancestors. It doesn't seem possible that my children were infants when the journey began.

    I have also been blessed in knowing some wonderful folks during my many years of research. As a beginner, more experienced researchers guided me and taught me the skills to achieve more positive results. They have, indeed, earned my gratitude.

    Most of all, I am thankful for living in a country where we are free to live where we want, worship as we desire and where our leaders are chosen by a democratic process.

    Please, take a few minutes today - and every day - to count your blessings and express your gratitude to those who have influenced your life.

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

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Historic Courthouse Now on National Register

    Word has been received that the 166-year-old Livingston County, Kentucky courthouse and the slightly less younger clerks' offices have been approved to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Administered by the National Park Service and state historic preservation offices, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. The National Register recognizes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.

    The old courthouse and clerk's offices were nominated to the National Register by the Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society. Many hours of hard work by the Preservation Committee resulted in this honor. Thanks are due to all who participated in the process.

    The historical and genealogical society will host a Civil War Christmas Dinner on Friday, 9 December 2011 at 6 p.m. at the Senior Citizen's Center, 508 Rudd Street, Smithland, Kentucky. Tickets are $10 with meals for children under six being free. Tickets may be purchased from the Log Cabin Research Center Monday-Friday between 1 and 4 p.m.. Call 270-928-4656 for additional information.

    On the menu for the evening will be Knoth's BBQ with fixin's and some foot stompin' music. There will also be an auction and door prizes. Todd Hatton of WKMS radio, will be master of ceremonies. Guest speakers will be Tim Sheeks as General Grant; Billy Riley, Livingston County Attorney; Judy Wasko; Alex and Barry Whitworth and Berry Craig, well-known writer and professor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College. Civil War relics will be on display.

    All proceeds will go toward the preservation of historical Livingston County property.

    Tombstone Tuesday - Isadore R. Brandstetter

    Isadore R.
    1866 - 1952

    Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 14 August 2009.

    The Kentucky death certificate of Isadore Brandstetter shows he was born 18 June 1886, but died 9 October 1952 at the age of 86 years, 3 months and 21 days. The year of birth (1886) is clearly in error on his death certificate. Brandstetter was a merchant in Smithland. He was born in Switzerland and his parents were Esadore Brandstetter and Julia Spinner.

    Joanna Rappolee
    Wife of
    I. Brandstetter
    1864 - 1937

    Joanna Rappolee, wife of Isadore Brandstetter, was born 29 September 1864 and died 7 May 1937. She was the daughter of F.J. Rappolee and Sarah Emeline Latimer, according to her death certificate.

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

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    World War II Casualties from Livingston County

    I have been transcribing obituaries 1942-1947 and came across a list of Livingston County men who died during World War II. The article can be found in the Livingston Leader, 1 May 1947, page 3, column 1. More than 9,000 Kentuckians died during this war with 35 men being from Livingston County. It was noted that this list may not be complete.

    Roy Wilford Anglin, Rudell Houston Anglin, William M. Bales Jr., George W. Ball, Roy Francis Blaine.

    James Homer Brasher, Billy Bennett Cook, Marvin D. Damron, Calvin Martial Davis, Sherman Henry Driver.

    Orbie Joy Guill, William G. Hall, Harry E. Haney, Harold Davis Hayden, Darwin Y. Howard.

    Thomas Vinston James, Everett O. Jones, James S. Kayse, Harold Clement Kemper, James O. Lamar.

    Willis Nelson Lemon, Eugene Foster McCandless, William R. Marshall, Clifton Edward Matthews, William S. Mitchell.

    Ralph Morris, Chester Lynn Paris, William Lander Peek, Veldon Junior Smith, William Jackson Smith.

    Ovid R. Stubbs, Orvill Edward Swinford, Jesse Soleman Thompson, Willis Barney Thompson, James Henry Wilkey.

    Death notices in the Livingston Leader provide additional information:

    Pvt. Billy Cook was killed in Italy 19 February 1944. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy G. Cook of Salem.

    Sherman Driver, age 32, was killed in Germany 22 November 1944. He was from Birdsville.

    Darwin Young Howard died 31 August 1943 in the South Pacific.

    Bill Lemon, husband of Ruby Lemon. His death notice appeared in the newspaper 4 January 1945.

    Ralph Morris of Carrsville was killed in action 12 August 1944 in France.

    C.B. Roe, age 21, died 14 June 1944 Italy. He was born in Smithland, but had lived in Michigan about 4 years before he enlisted in 1943.

    Jack Smith of Grand Rivers; death notice appeared in the newspaper 30 July 1944.

    J.H. Wilkey, age 23, died 26 May 1944 Italy.

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

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Crittenden County, Kentucky Long Ago

    The following newspaper article appeared under the title of Just about Crittenden Folks by Braxton McDonald in the Friday, 9 October 1936, issue of the Marion News.

    Ninety years ago Crittenden County was little better than a thinly settled wilderness with a population of less than 5,000 including slaves. Only three or four buildings were located where Marion now stands. This was merely a place where roads crossed leading to the more populous communities such as Salem, Dycusburg, Princeton, Weston, Fords Ferry and Morganfield.

    In 1846, there were only six stores in Crittenden County. These were located at Dycusburg, Tolu, Weston and Fords Ferry. There were only 49 town lots and they were located in the towns mentioned above. One tavern license was issued that year. In that year there were 696 slaves in the county with a total valuation of over $200,000.

    Items of taxation were few in 1846. Taxes on all carriages in the county were only $2.00; on all gold watches, $7.00; on gold spectacles, $2.00.

    In 1846, the Crittenden County jailer received 82 cents for committing and releasing criminals, and the cost of feeding criminals for the year was only $1.87.

    New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States by Thomas Baldwin and J. Thomas, M.D. (1854) gives us a view of towns and counties across the country, including Crittenden County, Kentucky. Page 291 of this old book tells us this:

    Crittenden, a county in the W. part of Kentucky, bordering on the Ohio river, which separates it from Illinois, has an area estimated at 420 square miles. Tradewater creek forms its boundary on the N.E. and Cumberland river on the S.W. The surface is mostly level or gently undulating, but the E. part is more hilly; the soil is fertile; tobacco, Indian corn, oats and grass are the staples. Pork and stone coal are also exported. In 1850 this county produced 386,705 bushels of corn; 5759 of wheat; 45,460 of oats; 505,637 pounds of tobacco, and 12,545 of wool. It contained 14 churches, and 600 pupils attending public schools. Stone coal is abundant in the county, and the mines of lead and iron are said to be inexhaustible. Formed in 1842, and named in honor of John J. Crittenden, for many years senator from Kentucky, and twice attorney-general of the United States. Capital - Marion. Population 6351, of whom 5503 are free and 848 are slaves.

    Page 661 of this same book provides the following information on the town of Marion:

    Marion, a post-village, capital of Crittenden Co., Kentucky, about 230 miles W.S.W. from Frankfort. It contains a court house and over 100 inhabitants.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Mary E. Chandler

    Mary E.
    Wife of
    Feb. 15, 1857
    Mar. 9, 1945

    Buried Duncan Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 20 September 2011.

    Mary E. Duncan married George Chandler 28 November 1876 Crittenden County. They appeared together on the 1900 Crittenden County census in Bells Mines Precinct. On the 1910 census, Mary E. was living in the household of her oldest son, William T. Chandler.

    According to her death certificate, Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of Jesse Duncan and Acina Love, both born in Tennessee.

    Copyright on text and photographs
    by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Bledsoe Family - Caldwell County, Kentucky

    Proving that little jewels can be found in the most unusual places, the following entry was discovered in Caldwell County Court Order Book H, page 166, 18 December 1852.

    "F.H. Hynes came into court and made oath that Sarah Bledsoe, widow of Wm. M. Bledsoe, a pensioner of the United States died in this county of Caldwell and state of Kentucky at the house of Samuel Hynes and that she left Emily J. Bledsoe her only surviving heir, who is now living in the County of Caldwell, a minor, all of which is ordered to be copied and certified to the proper Dept. in Washington City, that she may draw the pension and extra pay, to which her parents were entitled."

    Benjamin H. Coone was appointed guardian of Emily J. Bledsoe, infant orphan under the age of 14 years of William M. Bledsoe, 15 November 1852. [Caldwell County Court Order Book H, page 163] A little research should determine the service on which the Bledsoes were entitled to a pension.

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

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Being a Responsible Researcher

    If you have researched very long, you know the frustration of locating a piece of promising information only to learn no source is given. Or maybe a source is cited, but when you track it down, you find it says something entirely different. So, how can we stop this reckless practice of slipshod genealogy?

    As one who has been researching many years - ok, I confess; I'm old - I have definite ideas on being a responsible researcher.

    As a responsible researcher, I stand behind all the work I do, but I do not take credit for the work done by anyone else. If I work on a group project, the work is not mine alone. It is a joint effort and all participants are recognized.

    Being a responsible researcher also means that I cite my sources correctly and completely. This allows other researcher to easily locate that source. If Aunt Betty tells me her parents married in 1902, the source of that information is Aunt Betty. However, if I obtain a copy of the marriage record, I can use that marriage record as the source of my information.

    Because I am a responsible researcher, I will never knowingly pass along erroneous information. If there is doubt in the validity of the information, I will indicate that is the case. If another researcher provides me with proof that I have incorrect information or have reached an incorrect conclusion, I will not be too proud to accept the fact that I was wrong or to correct my records.

    As a responsible researcher, I will treat all courthouse records with respect. I will not mark or maim any records. If portable scanners and cameras are not allowed to be used to copy records, I will abide by this rule.

    As more experienced researchers once helped me, I will patiently answer questions from novice researchers and will not take over their research. Allowing them to learn how to research will provide them with the same pleasure in accomplishment that I have enjoyed.

    A common complaint among us "old timers" is that novice genealogists are content to search online only and have no idea what can be found in courthouses. I believe it is our duty to promote good research practices and to share our knowledge on locating, using and recording genealogical information. If we fail in this, we are letting down our successors and are not giving genealogy the respect it deserves.

    Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
    Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Robert L. and George A. Wilson

    Robert L. Wilson
    Apr. 13, 1836
    Aug. 22, 1914
    George A. His Wife
    Aug. 1, 1846
    Sept. 10, 1934

    Buried at Sugar Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 March 2011.

    Robert L. Wilson was the son of Francis T. and Elizabeth Wilson, who came from Tennessee and settled in Crittenden County. Robert L. Wilson and George Ann Travis married 11 January 1866 in Crittenden County.

    Copyright of text and photographs
    by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Move Completed!

    Last week I visited the County Clerk's Office in the brand new Livingston County Office Building in Smithland, Kentucky. I had been concerned about parking near the entrance, but there was no problem and parked right in front of the building.

    There is no way to compare this new building to the old courthouse. The County Office Building is spacious, airy and convenient. The room (see above photo) containing the deeds, marriages, wills and other public records has several desks for the use and convenience of visitors. No more standing for hours while transcribing records!

    While the new building has many conveniences, it does not have the character of the old courthouse. Every time I entered the courthouse, I felt history all around me. I just hope that both buildings can survive, side by side, for many years to come.

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

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Cedar Hill Cemetery Vandalized

    Vandals hit the historic Cedar Hill Cemetery in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky last weekend, damaging a number of old tombstones. The damages have been estimated at over $100,000.

    Richard P'Pool, a local historian, is attempting to repair these broken tombstones the same way he did when vandals struck the cemetery in 2005.

    Among the damaged tombstones is the one for Evelyn Groom shown below as it looked in March 2011. Following the work of the vandals, the tombstone was broken into several pieces and lying face down on the ground. Information on this vandalism should be reported to the Princeton Police Department.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Union County Health Report 1906-1907

    The following report comes from Annual Report - Kentucky State Board of Health 1906-1907.

    The population of Union County, Ky. is 27,000, not many of them have been vaccinated of late. We have an eruptive hospital located 3 miles from Morganfield, Ky., with a capacity of 50 patients, but we have not used it since our last report, but quarantine smallpox, scarlet fever, and diphtheria where found. There have been 8 cases of scarlet fever, colored patients; 55 cases of measles, colored patients; 10 cases of typhoid fever, colored patients; diphtheria, colored patients, none; 30 cases of tuberculosis, colored and 20 deaths, about 7 of these cases were consumption of the bowels.

    Two cases of tuberculosis, (whites) 2 deaths.
    Ten cases of typhoid fever, 2 deaths.
    Two cases of diphtheria, (whites), no deaths.
    Fourteen cases of scarlet fever, (whites), no deaths.
    Measles prevailed endemically at Morganfield District, 200 cases or more, no deaths.
    Chickenpox prevailed at Hitesville, no deaths.

    The Board of Health has done good work. No school discontinued on account of diseases; no deaths of school children from any contagious or infective diseases. The Board of Health have required deep, dry wells, 60 or 70 feet deep where nuisances have been created by emptying slops from kitchens, bath houses and where the same have been connected with privies and emptied into the streets in towns.

    There are nine slaughter houses in the county, all in good condition, nine meat markets, all screened in, and meats kept in tight vaults, with large ice boxes in each one where the meats are hung.

    Everything is prosperous in Union County, Ky., and the "Goose hangs high."

    Very Respectfully,
    Thos. J. Shoemaker, M.D., Secretary.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - S.M. Towery

    S.M. Towery
    Nov. 13, 1828
    Aug. 26, 1866

    Buried Shady Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 March 2011.

    Shelton M. Towery is found on the 1860 Crittenden County census with his wife, Nancy A.E. (Joyce) and children John W. and Nora.

    Nancy A.E. Joyce was the daughter of James P. and Lucinda (Hopkins) Joyce and is enumerated with them on the 1850 Crittenden County census.

    Published 1 Nov 2011, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Historic Richard Olive Home

    One of the historic jewels of Smithland, Kentucky is the home known locally as the Olive, Davis or Rudd home. Located on the north side of Court Street directly opposite the new County Office Building, it was built about 1841. The earliest known owner was Richard Olive, a local merchant. This beautiful home has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The house is privately owned and not open to the public.

    Richard Olive married Evalina Rutter and they had at least six known children: Evelina, Marion, Margaret, Jesse, Richard and Leonora.

    Richard Olive passed away in 1847 and his wife, Evelina, died in 1857. Both are buried in Smithland Cemetery, as are their children Jesse, and Leonora.

    Richard Olive
    Jan. 5, 1847
    43 years

    Wife of
    Richard Olive
    Oct. 21, 1808
    Feb. 21, 1857

    The photograph of the home is from 2011 and the tombstones were photographed 20 December 2010.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Walter & Hattie Clements

    Walter L. Clements
    Jan. 1, 1857
    Jan. 11, 1900

    Hattie P. Clements
    1857 - 1931

    Buried at St. Ann's Catholic Church Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 13 February 2009.

    The death certificate of Hattie Clements shows she was born 13 November 1856 and died 31 October 1931 in Union County. Her parents were listed as Geo. N. Proctor and Mary Buckman.

    The 1880 Union County census shows Walter L. and Hattie Clements and their infant son, Eugene, were living in the household of his parents, Walter and Martha Clements in Morganfield Precinct.

    Copyright on text and photos
    by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Same Name; Different Man

    Many people are familiar with the Rev. Peter Cartwright, the renowned early Methodist minister, who lived in western Kentucky and whose father, also named Peter Cartwright, died in Caldwell County in 1809. The Rev. Cartwright left Kentucky and settled in Sangamon County, Illinois, where he died in 1872. His life is well documented in Autobiography, Fifty Years a Presiding Elder.

    There was another Peter Cartwright, who was probably not related to the above mentioned Peter Cartwright. The "other" man of that name was born 1790-1800 and died in 1847 in Livingston County, Kentucky. He first appeared in Livingston County on the 1838 tax list and bought land there later that same year.

    The "other" Peter Cartwright bought several parcels of land, totaling 500 acres, on Jenkins branch of the Tennessee River. In February 1847, the Livingston County Court granted him a ferry license "from his lands across the Tennessee river opposite the lands of Rawleigh Jenkins to & from his lands just below the mouth of the pond drain that empties into sd. river." Thomas Jones was security on the bond for the ferry license.

    This Peter Cartwright died in late 1847 and Charles G. Halstead and Enoch P. Ross were granted Letters of Administration on the Cartwright estate. Cartwright's wife apparently died prior to 1840 as an adult female is not listed on the 1840 Livingston County census. His living children are named in his estate file. They are as follows: Sophia, who married Walton H. Jones; Elizabeth, who married C.R. Love; Rehaba, who married A.K. Gray; Mahala, who married Thomas H. Machen and was deceased before June 1850, and Presley H. Cartwright. Sophia and Elizabeth, being above the age of 14 years, chose Demarcus L. Leeper as their guardian. Enoch P. Ross was appointed guardian of Presley H. Cartwright, who was under the age of 14 years.

    The Cartwright children seem to have left Livingston County after the death of their father. Sophia and Rehaba both appear with their husbands on the 1850 Weakley County, Tennessee census and Elizabeth married C.R. Love in Weakley County in January 1850. After that their whereabouts are unknown.

    While both men were named Peter Cartwright and both lived in western Kentucky, they were not the same man and probably were not related.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas Dobson

    Sept. 28, 1904
    Apr. 13, 1959
    Rest in Peace

    Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 3 January 2011.

    Thomas Dobson's death certificate shows he was a laborer in the I.C. R.R. shops. He was African American, married and had lived in Paducah for 40 years. His parent were listed as Thomas Dobson and Inez Holland.

    Published 18 Oct 2011,  Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    History or Genealogy?

    I've been accused of being more interested in history than genealogy. Is it true? Maybe, but how do you separate one from the other? How do you research a person without taking into consideration the economic situation of the area and his political and religious beliefs? Do you discount everything but names and dates of births, marriages and deaths?

    How can you understand how your ancestor lived if you don't know what events he witnessed or which events played a part in the decisions he made? Do you just forget that he served in the Civil War and suffered from his wounds the rest of his life? Do you forget that he was a minister and helped establish a new church?

    On the other hand, how can you understand history if you don't research the people who participated in the events? Do you study the Civil War as a series of conflicts without looking at the men who fought the battles?

    Where does one stop and the other begin? In my mind, history and genealogy support each other and must be studied and researched together to get a more complete picture of our ancestors. What do you think?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - James Milton and Ann E. Dudley

    Jas. Milton Dudley
    Ann Eliza Harpending
    His Wife

    Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 7 October 2011. Note the Masonic symbol at the top of the tombstone.

    Milton Dudley obtained a bond to marry Miss Ann Eliza Harpending on 12 February 1835 in Caldwell County. Security on the bond was Asberry Harpending.

    The 1850 Caldwell County census shows Milton Dudley, age 44, tobacco factor, born in Kentucky; Ann Eliza Dudley, age 31, born Kentucky and children Mary H., age 13; Paulina, age 10; Gideon C., age 4 and Alexr., age 1.

    Copyright on text and photographs
    by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    On the Move!

    The Livingston County Clerk's Office at the old courthouse in Smithland is getting ready to move into their new housing in the County Office Building next door. The move will begin Monday, 17 October 2011. As a result of the move, the office will be closed next week. The new office will provide much more space for the records and conducting business.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Research Tip - New Illinois Birth Certificate Rules

    New Illinois birth certificate rules go into effect 15 November 2011. Adults born after 1 January 1946 who were surrendered or adopted will be able to request their original Illinois birth certificate. They will be able to see a non-certified certificate, which usually contains the names of the birth parents, ages and places of birth.

    For those who wish their information to remain confidential, the Illinois Department of Public Health is providing a Birth Parent Preference Form. Birth parents who do want their information released need to fill out a form before the new rule goes into effect.

    For more information, go here:

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Happy Anniversary!

    Four years ago on 6 October 2007, the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog was born. Since then there have been 720 posts with subjects ranging from book reviews to Tombstone Tuesday photos to research tips.

    I hope this blog has been of interest to you. If you have suggestions about what should be covered or not covered, please leave a comment.

    Thanks for joining me on this journey. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Elijah R. and Martha E. Hatcher

    Elijah R. Hatcher
    1856 - 1925
    Martha E.
    His Wife
    1861 - 1934

    Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2 July 2011.

    According to his death certificate, Elijah R. Hatcher was born 6 April 1856 Ohio County, Kentucky and died in Henderson 27 September 1925. His parents were George J. Hatcher and Elizabeth Bennett. Elijah R. Hatcher was a police desk sergeant.

    Martha E. Hatcher was born 9 April 1857 Padiham, England and died 3 June 1934, according to her death certificate. Her parents were Jas. Austin, born England, and Bridget Keeling, born Ireland.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Saturday Morning At Willard

    I will be presenting two programs on Saturday, 15 October 2011, at Willard Library, 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana. Both programs are free, but Reservations are suggested. These classes are aimed at beginning and intermediate genealogists, but all are welcome.

    The schedule is as follows:
    9:00 a.m. Registration
    9:30 a.m Courthouse Records: The Expanded Version
    10:30 a.m. Break
    11:00 a.m. Vital Statistics: Alternative Sources

    Come join us.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Henderson, Kentucky Obituaries - 1852

    The following obituaries have been abstracted from The Democratic Banner, Henderson County, Kentucky. This newspaper can be found on microfilm at the Henderson County Library, Henderson, Kentucky. The date following the entry is the date the obituary appeared in the newspaper.
    Died at the residence of Mr. E. Johnson, in Muhlenburgh county, Ky., on the 12th of April 1852, Grandison Holcomb, in the 58th year of his age. He was a native of Connecticut and late of Henderson county. He died of typhoid fever. [22 April 1852]

    Died of congestive fever, Mrs. Alexander B. Barrett. The deceased was a member of the Episcopal church. [6 May 1852]

    Died at this place on Monday, 31st ult., Mrs. Sarah L., daughter of the Rev. Joel Lambert, and consort of Mr. G.M. Priest. [3 June 1852]

    Died on the 28th inst., at her residence in this county, Mrs. Elizabeth, consort of the late Thos. Towles Sr. [1 July 1852]

    Died on the 9th inst., Mrs. Georgeanna Posey. [15 July 1852]

    Died on the 10th inst., Mrs. Mary N., consort of Eli Reeves. [15 July 1852]

    Died on the 4th inst., Henry, infant son of Ira and Ellen Delany, of this place. [15 July 1852]

    It is our painful duty to announce the death of our friend and fellow citizen, Dr. Jno. P. Wilson. For more than 20 years he had been an active and laborious practitioner of medicine. [22 July 1852]

    Died, Mr. Presley King on the 16th inst. [29 July 1852]

    Died on the 17th July 1852, Mr. James B. Harrison Jr., in the 23rd year of his age. [29 July 1852]

    Died at the residence of his mother, Mrs. Sarah Moss, on the 29th, Henry Clay Moss, in the 18th year of his age. [5 August 1852]

    Died at his residence in this county, on the 11th inst., Mr. John T. Elam. [12 August 1852]

    Died on the 3rd Inst., at his residence, Dr. J.A. Gardner. [12 August 1852]

    Died on Friday last, Virgil P., son of C.C. and C.W. Hutchen, aged 5 years, 9 months and 5 days. [19 August 1852 - from Hickman Argus]

    Died on Tuesday at the residence of the editor of this paper, Marcellus Gray, son of Mary Eliza and W.F. Hutchen, aged 3 years. [19 August 1852 - from Hickman Argus]

    Died on Sat., the 1st August, Elizabeth, infant daughter of Joseph and Ann Eblen, aged 1 year. [26 August 1852]

    Died near Carlow, Hopkins County, on the 2nd inst., Mrs. Mary Morrow, in the 51st year of her age, consort of Mr. John Morrow. [9 September 1852]

    Died on the 16th inst., Mr. C.M. Livesay, aged 35 years. [16 September 1852]

    Died on the 2nd inst., Mrs. Evaline Eakins, in the 21st year of her age, consort of Mr. E.K. Eakins. [23 September 1852]

    Died on the 23d inst., Mrs. Elizabeth R. Dixon, consort of Hon. A. Dixon. [30 September 1852]

    Died on the 24th inst., Mrs. Ann R. Mathews, consort of Rev. J. Mathews. [25 November 1852]

    Died on the 7th inst., Miss Martha F. Ligon, daughter of Mrs. Jane Ligon. [9 December 1852]

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    New On My Bookshelf

    Recently I bought a book that I think might interest you. The title is Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War by Berry Craig, a professor of history at West Community and Technical College in Paducah. The book is of particular interest to those of us who are interested in the events in western Kentucky during the war.

    Kentucky was technically a neutral state at the beginning of the war, but this did not prevent people from taking sides and skirmishes from occurring. One such event discussed in this book is the skirmish in 1861 in Lyon County at Saratoga Springs Church, which still shows a bullet hole in it's side. Another story is of Sister Mary Lucy, a Sister of Nazareth nun, who lost her life helping to save others. She had studied music at St. Vincent's Academy in Union County, but was teaching music at St. Mary's Academy in Paducah when the war broke out.

    There is also the story of Andrew Jackson Smith, born a slave in Lyon County. He and another slave decided to enlist in the Federal army and walked 25 miles to Smithland to enlist. Not allowed to enlist, be volunteered as a servant to a Union officer.

    My favorite story, though, is of Adam Rankin "Stovepipe" Johnson of Henderson. He was responsible for "capturing" Newburgh, Indiana, where I live, without firing a shot.

    This is a fun book and priced at slightly under $20. I bought my copy at the local Barnes & Noble Bookstore. If your local bookseller doesn't have it, maybe it could be ordered. Enjoy!

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Princeton Masonic Female College

    In order to educate young ladies to become teachers, the Princeton Masonic Female College was incorporated in 1870 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. What set it apart from other female colleges is that it was open to all females, whether they could afford tuition or not.

    It was designed to be "not only for the education of those who may be able to defray the expenses incident to obtaining an education, but to reduce the price of board and tuition, so as to bring the same nearer within the reach of all and to establish a normal department in which destitute young ladies can be furnished board and tuition free, in obtaining necessary qualifications to fit them for teachers ..."

    According to Acts of Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Chapter 734, it was approved 15 March 1870.

    Trustees of the college were Dr. P.B. McGoodwin, Milton Bird, D.D., Rev. Wm. Childers, Jas. C. Barnes, J.J. McLin, J.P. Rascoe, J.W. Blue, Jas. M. Dawson, R.H. Baker, Jas. H. Leech, F.W. Darby and J.B. Baker. The officers of the board of trustees consisted of a regent, president, secretary and treasurer and the executive committee (3 persons).

    No record has been found that tells how long the college existed or where it was located.


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Mary E. Watkins Nickels

    Mary Elizabeth Watkins
    Wife of Frank Nickels
    Dec. 24, 1845
    Oct. 24, 1924

    Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 August 2011.

    According to her death certificate, Mary E. Nickels was born in Lyon County, Kentucky and was the daughter of Thomas Watkins. She died in Paducah, Kentucky.

    The 1910 Livingston County census shows Mary E. Nickels living in the household of her sister, Sarah Bush, widow of Capt. J.W. Bush, in Smithland.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Research Tip - 1940 Census

    The 1940 U.S. federal census will be released 2 April 2012. Digital images will be accessible free of charge. census will begin indexing the images the day of release so that they are searchable online at no cost. Be prepared to browse with no index when the census is first released.

    Several new questions were asked of the public for this census. In addition to the usual questions on name, age, race, place of birth, the person who responded to the questions is noted. Other questions include the place of resident on 1 April 1935, income during the past 12 months, and employment of all those age 14 or older. For more information on the 1940 census, go here 1940 Census

    It is hard to believe this will be the 5th census record released during my genealogy career. When I began, the last census available was the 1880 and now we are eagerly awaiting the 1940. This one is especially important to me as, for the first time, my parents, as a married couple, will be listed.

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

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    One Step Closer!

    The Livingston County Preservation Committee, an ad-hoc committee of the Livingston County Historical & Genealogical Society, submitted a nomination for the Livingston County Courthouse and Clerk’s Offices to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board approved the Nomination on September 6, 2011 and the nomination will now be forwarded to the National Park Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior for final determination of eligibility. A decision should be made by the end of the year.

    The National Register of Historic Places was designated by federal law in 1966. It is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation and protection.

    This is great news for those interested in the preservation of historic homes and buildings. It shows folks really do care what happens to them.

    The Livingston County courthouse was built in 1845 and the clerk's offices were built less than 10 years later. Both are worthy of recognition and preservation.

    Octoberfest on October 1 at 1 pm in Smithland will feature a Pow Wow of historic stories and a silent auction to entertain and help fund preservation in Livingston County. Civil War artifacts from the local area will be on display for one hour following the Pow Wow. This is a fun event for a worthy cause. If you are in the area, come join the fun!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Book Sale!

    For a list of my publications currently on sale:

    Western Kentucky Genealogy Books

    Tombstone Tuesday - William H. and Sarah Gill

    William H. Gill
    Aug. 7, 1848
    Nov. 28, 1917
    Sarah N. His Wife
    Jan. 16, 1859
    Sept. 26, 1954

    Buried Mapleview Cemetery, Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 June 2011.

    According to his death certificate, William H. Gill was born in Shelby County, Kentucky to Henry H. Gill and Sarina[?] Malin. W.H. Gill and Miss S.S. Nunn married 18 February 1885 at Otho Nunn's residence in Crittenden County.

    The 1900 Crittenden County census shows the Gill family living on West Main Street in Marion. In their household were W.H. Gill, his wife Sarah, their son James, mother in law Sarah Nunn, a boarder and servants.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Coincidence or Serendipity?

    Did you ever feel like someone is directing you without you being aware? I do - especially after what happened this week at the FGS conference in Springfield, Illinois. Let me set the scene for you.

    I am claustrophobic and can't stand to be wedged in with a lot of people so when I entered a rapidly-filling classroom, I quickly looked for a seat in the back. There was a lady sitting where I wanted to be, but there was an empty chair in front of her. I pulled the chair back next to her and prepared to listen to the class. The lady next to me smiled and introduced herself and told me where she lived. I did the same. My answer brought another smile to her face and then she explained that we had corresponded on her Livingston County, Kentucky families. We chatted and then met for lunch and a longer chat a little later.

    Now this may not seem strange, but you have to realize there were over 2000 people at this conference. What are the chances of two people who knew each other only through email attending the same class and sitting next to each other? Also, if I had not pulled that chair back next to her and she had not introduced herself, we would have missed an opportunity to meet.

    So, thank you, Pam Smith of Chicago! I am so glad to have met you in person. To all of you Hodge family researchers, I can tell you she is a very nice lady!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Lincoln Spoke at Morganfield

    The following information has been gleaned from an article in the Evansville, Indiana Press, Sunday, 26 April 1936 and is being re-printed in the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog.

    The only political speech Abraham Lincoln ever made in Kentucky was given in Morganfield, according to local tradition. It was in 1840, the year of the Tyler and Harrison presidential race, which was distinguished by hard cider and the family slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

    Union County was mainly Whig and hearing that a stump speaker of the same political calling was touring Southern Illinois, a local delegation sent to Shawneetown, just across the river from Union County, Kentucky.

    That speaker was Abraham Lincoln.

    His speech was heard by most of the county residents. George Riddle, who was in charge of entertainment, was injured when a cannon fired in Lincoln's honor, exploded.

    A popular tale in Morganfield reveals that later, during the Civil War, Riddle was captured and imprisoned and wrote Lincoln: "I entertained you in 1840. I can't say I like your brand of entertainment as well."

    Lincoln pardoned him.

    George Riddle, born in 1802, was reputed to be the first person born within what later became the corporate limits of Morganfield. This was before Union County was carved out of Henderson County.

    Riddle's Spring was the first county seat. It was switched to Morgan's Spring, present site, a little later, when Presley O'Bannon opened a couple of hogsheads of whiskey and got the authorities to change their vote.

    According to History of Union County, KY (1886), Morganfield was designated as the county seat in mid-1811 and then, on 23 December 1811, Presley O'Bannon presented a plan to the county court. O'Bannon donated the streets and public square.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Hugh and Carrie Dalton

    Hugh Dalton
    Mar. 31, 1854
    Dec. 25, 1918
    Carrie His Wife
    Sept. 18, 1860
    June 22, 1887

    Buried Hill Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky, near the Crittenden County line. Tombstone photographed 13 May 2011.

    According to his death certificate, Hugh Dalton was born March 31, 1855. His parents were Thomas M. Dalton and Julia Ann Boen, both born in Tennessee.

    Hugh Dalton married Carrie Stone in February 1877 Caldwell County, Kentucky. According to the marriage record, which can be found in Marriage Bond Book 12, page 163, he was born in Estill County, Kentucky and this was his first marriage. Carrie Stone was age 16 and was born in Lyon County. Consent for Carrie to marry was given by S.E. Stone, her parent.

    The 1910 Crittenden County census shows Hugh Dalton living in Dycusburg with his daughter, Ethel, and a granddaughter.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Research Tip - Livingston County Census

    If you research Livingston County, Kentucky, especially around 1850, and use to access free census records, be aware that at least part of the 1850 Livingston County census is indexed as Lincoln County, Kentucky. For example, if you wanted to find Charles G. Halstead in 1850 and use his name, Kentucky and 1850 as the search parameters, it will show him living in Lincoln County, Kentucky, but if you look at the census image, you will see him living in Livingston County.

    This is an indexing error and has been reported. I spoke with a nice man who promised to check into the problem. That was several days ago and it has not been done yet, perhaps due to the holiday weekend. I will check again in about a week to see if it has been corrected and, if not, another report will be sent.

    In the meantime, be aware of the problem.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    First Baptist Church Civil War Claim

    Smithland, Kentucky was occupied by the Federal Army from September 1861 through the end of the Civil War. When the troops arrived, they took over a number of buildings, including the First Baptist Church. At that time, the church was located facing the Ohio River at the end of Maiden Street with Maiden Street being two block from Court Street. Neither the church or Maiden Street are there today.

    According to a claim filed by the Committee on War Claims at the first session of the 50th Congress in 1887-88, First Baptist Church was used as a warehouse and hospital. Here is what the claim states:

    "The Committee on War Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 360) for the relief of the trustees of the First Baptist Church at Smithland, Ky. ...

    That in the year 1861 the properly constituted military authorities of the United States took possession of the First Baptist Church at Smithland, Ky. It was used as a warehouse and hospital for the troops of the United States, to the entire exclusion of the owners, until the war closed; and besides being thus occupied by the United States troops, the property was greatly damaged.

    It was not the policy or practice of the Government to pay rent for public buildings used during the war, but in meritorious cases to restore them to their former condition, ordinary wear and tear excepted.

    This property was not taken or held as a belligerent act, nor was its occupation a casualty of war. War was not flagrant during its occupation in that part of the country.

    The trustees of said church only ask that the sum of $500 be paid them for its use and occupancy, which the evidence shows to be a very low rent."

    There is no indication the sum was paid.

    This First Baptist Church had been built prior to September 1853. In Deed Book 4, page 113, it is mentioned that the church was in the lower floor of a brick building and Temperance Hall was on the upper floor.

    It is not known how long First Baptist Church was in this location, but in 1887, there was a protracted meeting in the courthouse and the "Smithland First Baptist Church was organized. The church was dedicated in 1913. The church is located at the intersection of U.S. 60 and Court Street.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Research Tip - Kentucky Probate Records Online

    Many Kentucky probate records have been put online at These records are free and you can browse by county. The available records include will indices, administrator bond books, appraisement/inventory/sale books, order books. The records can be printed either by whole page or part of a page. If printing by the entire page, you may need to later enlarge the page in order to read it easily.

    To access the records, go to Under Browse by location, click on USA, Canada and Mexico. Scroll down and click on Kentucky, Probate Records 1797-1977. Then click on Browse through 623,942 images. A list of Kentucky counties will appear. Click on your county of interest.

    Not all probates for all counties are available, but this is a good start. is making it easier to do research from a distance.

    This Research Tip was provided by Lucinda Wilcoxen.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Common School Report - Caldwell County, Kentucky 1907

    The following report of the common schools in Caldwell County, Kentucky is abstracted from the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, 1907.

    The schools in Caldwell county are doing as well as can be expected under existing circumstances, but they are not yet what we would like to see them. We have built three new houses during the past year and furnished and repaired several others. There are not more than a half-dozen district libraries in the county, but we are going to make a special effort to create an interest in this direction. In District. No. 54, there is a nice library of 100 volumes of good literature. This is the best in the county outside Princeton and Fredonia. Of the 67 white and colored schools there are 11 first-class, 17 second and 39 third-class schools. In these second and third-class districts, with the exception of very few instances, not one cent is raised toward supplementing the salary and extending the school term, consequently these schools are taught by young, inexperienced boys and girls. These teachers are doing their best, and are anxious to become better qualified and often speak of wanting to attend school if the salary were sufficient to do so.

    A number of teachers attended the Western State Normal last spring. We believe that half of the teaching force in Caldwell County will enter school at the close of the term. In a few years Normal trained teachers will be in demand, and all who wish to remain in the profession are waking up to a realization of the fact that they much be better qualified in order that they may be able to hold good paying positions. We need more pay and greater requirements. Better salaries mean better qualifications and better teachers. The minimum price should be $40 per month and the educational standard raised in proportion to the increase in salary.

    We are sorry to state there is not a graded school in the county. We trust that the next Legislature will bring about some important changes in the school system. It is almost impossible to get trustees to serve. Most of the "Boards" are appointed as the elected trustees rarely ever qualify.

    Nannie R. Catlett, Co. Supt.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - Delia Hutchinson Wilson

    Delia Hutchinson
    Wife of George Martin
    Nov. 21, 1861 June 12, 1935

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

    The death certificate for Delia Hutchinson Wilson contains very little information other than her birth and death dates. Her father is listed as Mr. Hutchinson and her mother is not listed.

    Delia Hutchinson married George Martin Wilson, who was born 17 October 1841 and died 1 November 1931. He is buried in Wilson Cemetery, off Highway 453, Livingston County beside his first wife, Millie. He was the son of Charles Wilson, born Sweden, and Martha Walker, born Livingston County.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Courthouse Nominated to National Register

    Published 21 August 2011, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,
    The 166-year-old Livingston County courthouse has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The application will go before the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board on the 6th of September 2011. If approved, it will have passed the first step toward being placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is the nation’s official list of historic and archaeological resources deemed worthy of preservation.
    The Livingston County courthouse was designed by Preston Grace of Princeton, Kentucky and was built in 1845. It has been remodeled several times, but still maintains the graceful dignity of its early years. Since its birth, it has been the center of the county's business activities and the place to obtain a marriage license or record a deed or will. In September, however, business in the courthouse will cease and move next door to the new County Office Building.
    By being placed on the National Register, it is being acknowledged that the courthouse is worthy of recognition. It is hoped that it will continue to be used for activities for many years to come.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Historic St. Vincent's Academy

    The following information has been abstracted from an article, "St. Vincent Academy is Historic Kentucky School," published in the Evansville (Indiana) Press, Sunday, 9 February 1936.

    Five miles north of Morganfield in Union County, hidden from the highway by towering trees and shrubs, stands the oldest secondary educational institution in western Kentucky. It is St. Vincent Academy, founded in 1820 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

    Prior to 1881, Sisters of the Academy sponsored a small school for boys across the road from the academy. In 1881, the boys' school was closed because of small attendance. It was reopened in 1914 and is September 1923, for the first time in the history of St. Vincent's, 22 boys were enrolled in the academy proper. Francis Murphy was the first graduate of this group.

    In 1820, Sisters Angela Spinks, Frances Gardiner and Cecily O'Brien were sent by their superiors to organize a school in Union County on a farm set aside for use of the Sacred Heart Church. They made the journey of some 150 miles on horseback through what was then a wilderness. Their equipment consisted only of what they could tied in three aprons and carry in their arms.

    Hardships of that journey were many and the three pioneers met discouragement when they arrived at the log cabin farm house only to find it occupied by a family that refused to move. The three educators spent their first night on what was later to become the academy farm in a poultry house.

    Once established in the primitive log cabin, it fell to the lot of Cecily O'Brien and Frances Gardiner to teach the "large" class of five students. The following year the sisters were joined by three more instructors. A log cabin lean-to was added to the cabin. The school started to grow.

    By 1842, there were 35 students. To keep pace with the growing enrollment, cabin after cabin was built. In 1852 or 1853, the academy's land totaled some 400 acres, including the property on which the old Sacred Heart Church stood. Construction was started in that year on a new brick academy building. For years the old Sacred Heart Church was used as a recreational hall. A second floor was added to the building and it was to this portion of the school that students were "sentenced" for misdemeanors. Punishment usually consisted of mending clothes or memorizing columns of words from a dictionary.

    Perhaps one the best word pictures of the school in the 1850s was left by the wife of General John A. Logan of Civil War fame, in her book, "Reminiscences of a Soldier's Wife." She tells how students were coached in manners, or how to enter a parlor and meet guests without being awkward; of sewing all her own clothes, and of the Sister Superior's journeys to Louisville by boat to buy material for graduation costumes and of graduation exercises under the trees on the lawn.

    The school was now housed completely in brick buildings. It had its own light plant, its own power plant, orchard, truck garden, dairy and bakery. The enrollment in 1936 was around 135 pupils.

    St. Vincent's Academy was in operation until 1967.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - James B. and Catharine F. Ferguson

    Memory of
    James B. Ferguson
    Born April 9th 1788
    Died Novr. 14th 1832
    Death what a solemn word to all
    What mortal things are men
    We just arise and soon we fall
    To mix with earth again

    Memory of
    Catharine Haydock
    Born March 25th
    Died October 5th

    Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 15 April 2011.

    James B. Ferguson married Catharine F. Given 12 January 1832 Livingston County, Kentucky. James died that same year and, on 18 June 1834, Joseph Haydock obtained a bond and license to marry the widow, Catharine Given Ferguson.

    James B. Ferguson left a will, which is recorded in Livingston County Will Book A, page 113. Heirs to his estate were his nephew, James Ferguson; brothers, Wm. and Anthony Ferguson (received land in Hambleton [sic] County, Ohio) and his wife Katharine. Very likely James B. Ferguson was a a riverman or ferryman as the inventory of his estate lists four keelboats.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    "Lost" 1803 Marriage Recovered

    Copyright on text and photographs by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
    May not copy without written consent

    Recently an original 1803 Livingston County, Kentucky marriage record appeared for sale on eBay. It was purchased and will be returned to the county clerk's office, from which it apparently disappeared many years ago. At least two compilations of Livingston County marriages have been published - one in 1992 and another about 1961. The following marriage did not appear in either publication.

    This is to Licene and permit you to Join in the Matrimony
    Agreeable to the forms and Customs and forms of the Society
    you belong Robert Hays and Selah Rolston and this
    Shall be your Authority for So doing Given under my hand at
    the Court House this 24th day May 1803
    Test. Enoch Prince C.L.C.


    This is to Certify that Robert Hays and Sealah Rolston were this day Lawfully Married by me this May the 26th 1803. Jas. Lusk
    Robt. Hays Marrige Lisene.

    There are gaps in the early Livingston County marriage records and there may be other original records floating around. In 2003, several original records were recovered and returned to the courthouse. It is believed the recently-found record was with the 2003-recovered records as both batches had "Livingston Co, Ky" printed on them in the same handwriting. Folks, be on the lookout for any original courthouse records. If you see them, please help return them to where they belong.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Crittenden County Fair in 1936

    The 2nd annual Crittenden County, Kentucky Fair was scheduled to begin on the 24th of September, 1936. Running three days, the last day (26 September) was designated as Homecoming Day for the entire county. It was held at Foster's Tobacco Warehouse on the northeast side of Marion, where there was plenty of room for exhibits and shelter from sun, rain and wind.

    A catalogue on the fair was financed by advertisements from local merchants and those from adjoining counties. Listed in the catalogue were premiums for livestock, poultry and farm products, numerous entries in the women's department and the graded, independent and rural elementary school and high school department.

    A special exhibit was given to county 4-H clubs and a baby show was featured on the closing day. There were also athletic contests and a horse show.

    The largest department of the fair was the Farm Department, which consisted of dairy cattle, beef cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, mules, poultry, farm products, apples and dogs. The Women's Department was in charge of Mrs. W.L. Terry and Mrs. A.B. Griffin. This department was divided into fresh vegetables, food, and sewing. Mrs. Guy R. Lamb and Mrs. John C. Bellamy were in charge of the Baby Beauty Show and Dr. T.A. Frazer and Mrs. C.B. Springs were in charge of the Baby Clinic.

    Due to a severe drought that summer, it was feared that the fair would have to be cancelled, but members of the executive committee decided that the fair should continue.

    P.P. Paris was president and O.M. Shelby, county agent, was vice president of the fair association. The fair was sponsored by the civic clubs, schools of the county and city, and the farm bureau.

    The fair has changed somewhat since 1936, but is still an important event to county residents.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Tombstone Tuesday - R.C. and Safiner Fritts

    Asleep in Jesus

    R.C. Fritts

    Oct. 18, 1844

    June 28, 1926

    Safiner His Wife

    Aug. 2, 1853
    Gone But Not Forgotten

    Buried Freedom Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 9 June 2011.

    According to his death certificate, Robert C. Fritts was the son of Peter Fritts and __ Williams. He married Miss Jasper S.S. Gregory 28 March 1871 in Crittenden County. Jasper S. Gregory was born in Crittenden County and was the daughter of J.D. Gregory, who was born in Tennessee. Safiner died 9 January 1929, according to her death certificate.