Thursday, April 28, 2011

Board of Health Report 1901 - 1902 - Small Pox

Published 28 April 2011, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,
The Kentucky State Board of Health was established in 1878. The seven board members were to study the vital statistics, including diseases and epidemics, the causes of mortality and the effects of localities, employment, conditions, food, water supply, habits and circumstances on the health of residents. In addition to a state Board of Health, each county court was to appoint a three-member local Board of Health, one of whom was to be a practicing physician.

There had been outbreaks of smallpox  and other diseases in the latter days of the 1800s and into the early years of the 1900s. The Biennial Report of the State Board of Health for 1902-1903 contained reports from various counties. For this article, information is presented on Caldwell, Crittenden and Livingston Counties.

The Caldwell County Board of Health consisted of Dr. J.A.H. Miller, Dr. R.W. Ogilvie, L.H. Darby and Dr. P.R. Shelby, all of Princeton. They reported that during the last two years there had been two outbreaks of smallpox, both in Princeton, with a total of 21 cases, but no deaths. An eruptive hospital, containing two rooms with a capacity of four white and two or three colored inmates, was located within a few miles of Princeton.  It was thought that the disease was brought to the county from Christian and McCracken counties. About 10,000 persons out of the total population of 16,000 had been vaccinated.  The following comment was added to the county report: “We have had trouble to get our doctors to report contagious diseases; one doctor even declining to report a case or more of smallpox, and even told some who had been exposed that he would rather have smallpox than be vaccinated, and advised the family not to be vaccinated, and every one in the family except one person had the disease in a grave form.”

The Crittenden County Board of Health consisted of Dr. T.A. Frazer, Jno. W. Blue, Dr. T.L. Phillips, Dr. W.T. Daugh and Dr. E.E. Newcomb. They reported two outbreaks of smallpox. The disease was brought to the county from Evansville, Ind. and southeast Missouri. About 6,000 persons had been vaccinated, leaving 10,000 or 37 ½ percent currently unvaccinated. Other diseases prevalent recently within the county included 25 cases of diphtheria (with six deaths) and nine cases of scarlet fever in July 1903 (no deaths). During the last two years there were 140 cases of typhoid fever with 31 deaths. The chief cause was polluted drinking water and improper sanitation. The chief difficulty of health officers was the lack of funds and the ignorance of people regarding sanitation and the thing most needed was to get the fiscal court to realize that money expended to improve sanitary conditions is a good investment.

Members of the Livingston County Board of Health were Dr. F.G. LaRue, Dr. J.V. Hayden and Thomas Evans. They reported two outbreaks of smallpox, one at Iuka and the other at Joy, for a total of 30 cases and no deaths. An eruptive hospital was located near Smithland, but was a very poor building, having two rooms and a capacity for six white and four colored inmates. In one outbreak, the disease was brought to the county from Missouri. The origin of the other outbreak was unknown. A total of 2,900 persons were then protected by vaccination, out of a population of 12,000.  It was also reported that there had been two outbreaks of scarlet fever in Smithland recently and there were no deaths. It was estimated that 80 cases of typhoid fever had occurred in the county during the last two years with about 20 deaths. The chief cause was poor sanitary regulations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flood of 2011

Followers of this blog know of my fondness for Smithland, Kentucky. This old, old town was founded because of its location at the confluence of two rivers - the Ohio and Cumberland. Smithland is built high on a bluff and it would seem that the town is too high to be worried about floods. Not so. Through the years, there have been disasters when the rivers flooded the entire town. The most devastating flood was that of 1937, when thousands of people were forced from their homes.

Today Smithland is facing a similar event. Sandbagging has been going on for days.  Families, businesses and churches are removing furniture and belongings. Smithland is being evacuated. No one knows how high the river will get or how much damage will be suffered, but it is certain there will be damage. Smithland can not escape.

Please keep Smithland and its residents in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with this disaster.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Burr and Martha Caldwell

In Memory
Burr Caldwell:
born Feb. 22
died Dec. 19

Martha M.
Wife of
Mar. 4, 1803
Apr. 16, 1866

Both are buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 18 March 2011.

George J.B. [Burr] Caldwell obtained a license to marry Martha Simpson 22 January 1822 in Caldwell County.

Following the death of Burr, Martha Caldwell was appointed guardian for Henry L., Maria S.J., James R., Julia M. and George E. Caldwell, all infant heirs of George J.B. Caldwell deceased. [Caldwell County Court Order Book G, page 20]

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Sale

For a list of books currently on sale, go to Book Sale

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Powers of Attorney - Caldwell County, Kentucky 1835-1840

A Power of Attorney is a written instrument whereby one person appoints another as his agent to perform specified duties on his behalf. In early Kentucky, these records are often recorded in deed books. The following entries have been abstracted from the original, loose documents, found in a box marked Power of Attorney in the County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky.

Joshua Longstreet of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, merchant, and his wife Sarah W.  appointed Fidelia C. Sharpe of Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky their lawful attorney to sell a lot of ground in Princeton on Main Street adjoining F. Princes new Brick House opposite the Court House and also an out lot formerly belonging to Samuel Longstreet and Joshua Baily, trading together under the firm of Longstreet and Baily and being part of their co-partnership.  Recorded 20 March 1835 in Deed Book J, page 196.

William Griffith of Feliciana Parish, Louisiana appointed Joseph McConnell his agent and attorney to receive and convey his part of a legacy coming from Reuben Cooks estate. 23 September 1835. Witnesses: Wilson L. Pollard, John H. Campbell, Jeptha Griffith. Recorded in Deed Book H, page 45 15 October 1835.

Elvira L. Edwards, Executor of her deceased husband, Ninian Edwards, appointed Cyrus Edwards of Madison County, Illinois her attorney to sell any & all lands in Kentucky belonging to her husband's estate. 13 October 1835. Recorded Caldwell County 28 October 1837 in Deed Book H, page 570.

Samuel Laughlin and his wife Nancy of Lincoln County, Missouri appointed James Laughlin of same place their attorney to make & deliver to William Hobby of Caldwell County a general warrantee deed in fee simple to 330 acres of land in Caldwell County, formerly belonging to James Laughlin and of which he died possessed. 30 November 1835. Recorded Caldwell County Deed Book H, page 114, 29 February 1836.

Whereas our Brother John L. Young has lately departed this life testate, leaving a considerable estate in Negroes, lands &c in Caldwell County and in Tennessee and whereas William B. Young has administered on his estate, and we being his heirs at law,  appointed their brother William B. Young their attorney to sell & dispose of the Negroes and lands belonging to sd. estate in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Negroes were to be sold at public auction. The Negroes to be sold were Ned, Martha and Violet and Violets two children Sally and James infants were not to be sold, but were to be emancipated.  William B. Young and Wilson Hutchinson were authorised to put out the two children to good men until they arrived at 21 years and then they were to be free. Young and Hutchinson were authorised to sell the lands belonging to John L. Youngs estate in Kentucky and Tennessee ... and the proceeds after the payment of all just debts  divided according to our several interests and should Young not be able to sell the lands for a fair price, he  was authorised to rent the same until a sale could be effected. 17 November 1836. It was further agreed that William B. Young was allowed all necessary expenses he  incurred in putting out Violet's two children. [signed] B.F. Young, Nancy Young, Nancy B. Young, Lucinda Young by attorney W.B. Young, Sally Martin by her attorney W.B. Young, Wilson Hutchinson, J.F. Mitchusson, W.B. Young, Nicea Young, Mary Young.  Recorded in Deed Book H, page 281.

Isham C. Kilgore of Audrain County, Missouri appointed his trusty friend William Menser of Caldwell County his attorney to transact all his business in Kentucky in the estate of David Kilgore dec'd in Caldwell County. 11 February 1837. Recorded Caldwell County Deed Book H, page 620 on 5 March 1837.

Whereas there is a certain article of covenant between members of Cumberland College association and John Barnett now in the hands of Chas. B. Dallam, Clerk of Caldwell County Court, and whereas it was not convenient to him to as one of the association members, Terry A. King appointed John H. Rackerby his attorney to sign his name to the article of covenant. 20 March 1838. Recorded in Deed Book I, page 13, 16 April 1838.

Nathan Gates of Caldwell County appointed Seth B. Wigginton his attorney to sell, convey and dispose of all his lands in Kentucky; also to sue for and collect debts due him and to dispose of all his personal property in Kentucky.  29 April 1839. Recorded 28 December 1840 in Deed Book H, page 18.

James Greer of Marengo County, Alabama appointed Hezekiah George of Caldwell County his attorney with full power to sell and convey a tract of land on the dry fork of Eddy Creek in Caldwell County; also to sell and convey an undivided part of 26 acres on same creek. 1 September 1839. Witnesses: Levi Greer, Jesse Greer. Recorded Caldwell County 18 July 1839 in Deed Book J, page 261.

Sarah Ramey of Macoupin County, Illinois appointed Martin Ramey of same place her attorney to sell and convey a tract of land in Trigg County, Kentucky 21 October 1839. Recorded Caldwell County 4 November 1839.

Young Rucker appointed John P. Bryan his agent and attorney to sell and convey all his interest in a certain house and lot in Princeton, Kentucky known as the "Eagle Tavern Stand," being lot No. [blank] 7 December 1840. Recorded in Deed Book K, page 9.

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - W.P. Lamb

W.P. Lamb
Mar. 14, 1821
Aug. 11, 1912

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

William Porter Lamb married Nancy Jane Walker in 1845 in Crittenden County. According to an article in the 4 March 1909 issue of the Crittenden Record,  three children were born to "Uncle Bill" Lamb and  Nancy Jane. They were  J.M. Lamb, T.L. Lamb and Mary E. Lamb. After Nancy Jane died, he married Mrs. Mary Ann Travis and they had one child, Malinda A. Lamb.

According to his death certificate, William P. Porter was the son of Jim Lamb and Nancy Clark, both born in North Carolina. He was 91 years old when he died.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hyland B. Lyon Burned Kentucky Courthouses

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

Hyland Benton Lyon was born 22 February 1836 in the part of Caldwell County, Kentucky that later became Lyon County. He was a member of an influential family in western Kentucky, his grandfather being Matthew Lyon, pioneer settler from Vermont to  Western Kentucky.

After attending college, H.B. Lyon enrolled in the United States Military Academy and  became a career officer.  However, he resigned  his office in the U.S. Army when the Civil War broke out as he did not want to fight against the South. He raised Company F., 3rd Kentucky Infantry (CSA) and, in January 1862, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel of the 8th Kentucky Infantry.

Lyon saw action during the War and was a prisoner of war for several months. However, he is best known for his raid into  Kentucky during December 1864. It is said the raid was made to enforce the CSA draft law and to divert United States troops from Nashville.  It is also said he ordered the courthouses burned because they had all housed Federal troops. Whatever the reason, his troops burned seven courthouses within less than one month's time. No records were lost in the fires, except in Taylor County.

The following courthouse were burned:  Christian County (12 December), Trigg County (13 December), Caldwell County (15 December), Hopkins County (17 December), Ohio County (20 December), Taylor County (25 December) and Cumberland County (3 January 1865).

In all, 22 Kentucky courthouses were burned during the Civil War - 12 by Confederates, eight by guerrillas and two by Union accidents.

After the War, Lyon spent a year in Mexico before returning to Lyon County, where he died 25 April 1907. He is buried in Eddyville Cemetery, Lyon County.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Israel Cannon

Israel Cannon
was born July 25
& died Sept. 20,

Buried Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 March 2011. The tombstone is broken.

Israel Cannon left a will dated 4 August 1837 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. In this will he named his "dear wife" Fanny Cannon. He also mentioned "my nine children," but only named his oldest son, John P. Cannon.

Israel Cannon married (1) Lucinda Lowery 9 October 1817 and (2) Fanny Clinton 1 February 1821. Both marriages occurred in Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Published 12 April 2011, Western Kentucky Genealogy  Blog,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crittenden County Historical Museum Open Now

Crittenden County has a real treasure in its Historical Museum at 124 E. Bellville Street in downtown Marion. It is housed in the former First Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1881 and features the original pulpit, balcony and hardwood floors. The museum is open Wednesday - Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm April - October. Plan to spend some time as there is much to see. If you plan to visit Crittenden County to do genealogical research this spring or summer, do not miss the museum. It is a great place to learn how our ancestors lived.

Display of antique footwear

Displays range from antique quilts, military uniforms, many photos of early Crittenden County residents, old Bibles, antique clothing and even an old telephone switchboard. Each Crittenden County community has its own display. My favorite item in the whole museum was the old lock and key from the first Crittenden County courthouse.

Crazy quilt from 1898

For more information on the Crittenden County Historical Museum, visit their  website

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Crittenden County, Kentucky Courthouses

Crittenden County Courthouse
Built 1871

Gen. H.B. Lyon is often credited with torching several western Kentucky courthouses, including the one in Crittenden County, but this is likely incorrect. There is reason to believe the courthouse and perhaps the county jail  were, in fact, burned by guerrillas. The majority  of county records survived as the county clerk's office was located in a separate building in the public square and did not burn.

However, it was a loss when the courthouse was burnt in January 1865 as there was nowhere to hold county or circuit court. Shortly after the fire, M.G. Gilbert, county jailer, was requested to procure a house in Marion in which to hold the May session of circuit court. Until that time, circuit and county courts were to be held in the office of Sheriff W.C. Carnahan.

While temporary quarters could be found, it was still necessary to have a courthouse and a way had to be found to pay for it. According to Acts of General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Chapter 894, An Act for the Benefit of Crittenden County, was approved 10 February 1865. The county court was authorized to levy an additional poll tax of $1.00 on each tithable and a tax of ten cents on each $100 worth of taxable property. Also, the county was allowed to collect a tax of 75 cents on each dog owned by any person in the county as of the 1st day of January 1865. The funds arising from the taxes were to be set aside and used for the purpose of rebuilding the courthouse.  This act was to remain in effect for six years.

Now that a way had been found to pay for the courthouse, J.E. McCluskey was hired to take down, clean, stack and cover the bricks from the old courthouse. It is assumed they were to be used in building the new courthouse. 

It is also assumed that the old jail was destroyed as there were plans to build a new one at the same time a new courthouse was to be built. On the 24th of April 1865, R.H. Haynes, J.L. Hill and D. Bourland were appointed to sell the old jail timbers and iron and have the rock in the foundation removed to where the new jail was to be built.

In June 1865, a new plan for the new jail was presented with T.H. Dickerson as the builder at a cost of $3660. Just one month later, it was learned that the new jail had been located in the wrong place. Dickerson had already begun excavating for the foundation and had hauled rock to the location. Dickerson was ordered to fill up the excavation and move the rock to the correct location in the southwest corner of the public square.

Things were not moving quickly for the erection of the new courthouse. In October 1865, commissioners were appointed to advertise and let out the building of the new building.  The court hired J.K. Frick of Evansville to draw a plan for the new courthouse. Frick woud later, in 1869, draw up plans for the courthouse in Christian County and, a few years later, drew up plans for a new courthouse in Livingston County.

The Crittenden County courthouse was to be built of brick on the old foundation and as nearly as possible on the plan of the former courthouse except there was to be one large room for the grand jury and four small rooms upstairs for the use of the petit jurors. The cupola was to be smaller than the one on the old courthouse and the roof was to be of tin. The job was to be completed by the first day of January 1867. Until the courthouse was completed, two rooms over J.L. Dean's Drug Store were used for jury rooms and W.C. Carnahan's house was used as a courthouse.

The newly-built courthouse was damaged in early 1870 when a tinner set the roof on fire while working on the courthouse roof. In June 1870, commissioners were appointed to again build the courthouse and, on 10 October 1871, the commissioners filed their report and the courthouse was accepted. This courthouse remained in use until 1961, when it was torn down and the current courthouse was built.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Ann Eliza Robinson

Ann Eliza Robinson
Daughter of S.H. Robinson
Born Febuary [sic] 16, 1838
Died November 16, 1839

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 27 September 2010.  The tree on the tombstone is probably a version of the weeping willow tree, the symbol of grief and sorrow.

Scattered throughout Smithland Cemetery are tombstones from the 1830s and 1840s.  Often the families who buried their loved ones at that time in the cemetery were recent arrivals to Smithland and often moved on to other places.  S.H. Robinson, the father of Ann Eliza, appears on the Livingston County tax lists from 1840 through 1844.  Even though he is shown with one town lot in Smithland on the tax lists, no record of the purchase or sale of a lot has been found. He appeared  on the 1840 Livingston County census with 2 young males and an adult female. He and the female are both between the ages of 20 and 30. He does not appear on the 1850 census.