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