Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Research Tip - Kentucky Confederate Pensions Online

From the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives comes word that the complete collection of Confederate Pension Application files is now available in a digital format on the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives website, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The applications are searchable by name, unit and county, and provide invaluable information to genealogists, local historians, and anyone interested in Civil War history. The files are available at the Confederate Pension Search Page.

The Confederate Pension Act was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in March 1912 to provide aid to indigent and disabled Confederate veterans and their widows. Any Confederate veteran or widow of a veteran living in Kentucky in 1912 or after could apply for a pension, regardless of the state in which he resided or the unit in which he served during the war. Pensions for Union veterans were funded by the federal government, and many southern states funded state pensions for Confederate veterans.

These records were digitized with funding provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

What a wonderful resource to have available online!


Tombstone Tuesday - James Ellis

James Ellis
in Golconda, Ill.
Oct. 13, 1825
in Louisville, Ky
June 4, 1884

Loved in life
in death not divided

Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 17 June 2010. Note the Masonic symbol directly above the name. Also note the closed book, indicating a completed life, on top of the tombstone.

James Ellis was a son of John and Mary Ellis, who were from Isle of Guernsey. The family settled in Pope County, Illinois before moving across the Ohio River to Livingston County. They lived near Salem for some time before moving to Smithland. More information on the family of James Ellis can be found at Ellis Family

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society

Since its creation in 1984, the Livingston County, Kentucky Historical and Genealogical Society has been maintaining and preserving county records. The society maintains a library and meeting rooms in a log cabin dating from the mid-1800s at 117 State Street in Smithland, the county seat. Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 9:30 am. Dues are $10 per year or $100 for a lifetime membership. All members receive a quarterly newsletter.

Current officers are:
Judy Wasko - President
Barbra Riley - Vice President
Mary Lou Smith - Secretary/Corresponding Secretary
James Edmonds - Treasurer

The past couple of years have been busy ones for the society. A Preservation Committee was formed as part of the society. The function of this committee is to host programs and hold fund raisers in order to preserve historic properties. In keeping with this goal, the society sponsored the successful nomination of the old Livingston County courthouse (built 1845) to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. In addition, the society is helping prepare old court bundles from the county clerk's office for scanning. The society has also published two county history books.

To contact the society, email livingstonhistorical@windstream.net or write PO Box 138, Smithland, Kentucky 42081. The phone number is 270-928-4656.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Statistics

I like statistics. Numbers speak to me. The blog statistics tell me if people are reading this blog, which articles are of interest and which are not read very often. They also tell me in which countries the readers reside. Let's do a short recap.

Since this blog was initiated 6 October 2007, there have been 787 posts. The highest number of hits occurred in January 2012 with the second highest number being in May 2009. As expected, most of our readers live in the U.S. with the following being among the other countries represented most often: Germany, Russia, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Also represented are the Ukraine, France, Canada and Iran. Russia, Ukraine and Iran are surprises ... mistakes?

More people use Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari than any other browsers. No surprise there.

The most-read articles since 2007 appear in order of their popularity along the left side bottom of the blog. Andrew Jackson tomb draws the most hits and second is Board of Health Report 1901-1902 - Small Pox. Now that I know the statistics, what should I do about them? Any suggestions? What counties are of interest to you? What types of articles do you prefer?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Weldon and Sallie Sefrit

Sallie C.
1888 - 1955

Weldon D.
1873 - 1964

Weldon D. Sefrit
Serg. 129 Co. CAC
Spanish American War
1873 - 1964

Buried Lola Pentecostal Cemetery, Lola, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 12 December 2011.

Weldon D. Sefrit was born in Illinois, the son of William and Emma Sefrit, both of whom were born in Indiana but later lived in Warren County, Illinois and Mahaska County, Iowa.

On 7 November 1908 in Livingston County, Weldon D. Sefrit married Sarah Adeline Wilson, daughter of William Henry Harrison Wilson and Sarah Elizabeth Gay, both of Livingston County. Sarah Adeline died 30 January 1922 and, on 6 July 1926, Weldon D. Sefrit married Sarah "Sallie" C. Fisher, daughter of Martin Van Buren Fisher and Mary Thompson.

I remember Mr. Sefrit and Aunt Sally. They are my cousin's grandparents.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Free or Slave?

Cohabitation between the white and black races was, at best, frowned upon in early Kentucky, but what happened if the union produced a child? Was that child born free or a slave?

The status of the child followed that of the mother. If the mother was a slave, the child was a slave, but, if the mother was white, the child was considered to be free. The following entries, found in Union County, Kentucky Court Order Book C, under the date of 18 January 1836, illustrate this situation.

"On motion of Nathaniel Vincent a mulatto of the age of Thirty two years came into court and proved by John N. Buckman and Clement M. Buckman that he the sd. Nathaniel has resided in this county for Eighteen years past that they had been well acquainted with the sd. Nathaniel and that his mother was a white woman and that Nathaniel was born free. Whereupon it was ordered that the clerk of this [court] give Nathaniel a certificate stating that he is a free man ..."

The next entry was identical except it was for John Vincent, age twenty seven.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - B. Waller Taylor

B. Waller
1839 - 1901

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 6 January 2012.

Benjamin Waller Taylor was born in March 1839 in Florida Territory. His parents moved to the Zion area, Henderson County, 1840-1843. B. Waller married (1) Martha "Pattie" Barner of Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky 26 March 1868. His second marriage was to Ruth Tunnock on 15 October 1892 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana. B. Waller and Ruth Taylor had the following children: Elizabeth, Arthur S. and Harry N. Taylor. B. Waller, a shoe and boot salesman, died 18 August 1901 in Evansville.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pattie's Story

If you read this blog very often you know that I have done a lot of research on the Barner family of Smithland, Kentucky, especially Martha "Miss Pattie" Barner. I was thrilled to make contact with a Barner descendant/researcher recently and ecstatic when he offered to share family photos and documents. The first article containing this new information was on 12 January 2012, when I told you about Sarah Jane's Story. Today I want to share Pattie's Story.

Believed to be Pattie Barner

Born on the 2nd of August 1848 in Smithland, Miss Pattie was the daughter of Sterling Mays Barner and Sarah Jane West. The Barners moved from Nashville, Tennessee to Smithland about 1841, after Sterling's retirement as a steamboat captain. The family moved into the home of Benjamin Barner, Sterling's older brother. As the youngest child in the family, Pattie enjoyed a close relationship with her mother, especially after the deaths of her father, older brother and sister, and uncle, all within about three years. By the time she was age 17, the only living members of the Barner family were Miss Pattie and her mother, Sarah Jane.

Miss Pattie lived in a comfortable home on Charlotte Street in Smithland. Because the Barners were well off financially, Pattie experienced luxuries not afforded by the average young lady in Smithland. She could wear the latest styles of clothing and was even sent to Nashville for her education. She wore jewelry set with garnets and rings of gold. Note the golden rings in the photo above.

There was a serious side to Miss Pattie, however, as evidenced by a letter she wrote her mother on 6 February 1866 from Nashville, where she was attending school. In the letter, Pattie told of being baptized at Christ Church and told her mother "you must not think that I am doing this at the impulse of a moment for I assure you I have been thinking of it for some time past. I believe in the Episcopal doctrine, and have determined to attach myself to none other but that church." Pattie stated she was enclosing a photograph of herself for her mother. Could it be the one above?

On 26 March 1868, Miss Pattie married Benjamin Waller Taylor, a young man of Henderson, Kentucky. How they met is unknown. From an article in the Henderson Weekly Reporter of 3 December 1863, we know that B. Waller, as he was called, opened a clothing store on Main Street in Henderson. An advertisement in the newspaper states that he carried "All the new styles of Ready Made Clothing! Also a splendid stock of Gent's Furnishing Goods consisting of Shirts, Drawers, Hosier, Gloves, Scarfs, Neck-Ties, &c, &c ... All of which will be sold at the Very Lowest Prices." The business apparently existed only a short time and the ads soon disappeared from the newspaper.

If you recall, the marriage of Pattie and B. Waller did not last long. Shortly after their wedding, Pattie became pregnant and B. Waller left her, expressing his feelings in a letter, "I will have nothing more to do with you in this life - have lost all love & respect for you." B. Waller returned to Henderson and Pattie and her mother went to Nashville, where a son, Sterling Barner Taylor, was born 6 May 1869. Six days later Pattie died. She was not yet 21 years old. Her body was returned to Kentucky, where she was buried near her sister, father and uncle in the Barner plot in Smithland Cemetery.

Sarah Jane returned to Smithland with little Sterling before moving on to Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky. Apparently, there was little contact between B. Waller and his son, Sterling B. Taylor, until after Sterling's marriage in 1890. In July of that year, Sterling wrote his father to tell him he was married and living in Columbus, Ohio. B. Waller responded, calling Sterling "My Dear Boy," and enclosed a photo of himself. B. Waller expressed his happiness at hearing from Sterling and said he had written to Sterling in the past few years, but there had been no reply. There is no indication they stayed in touch after the 1890 letter.

B. Waller Taylor, ca 1890

When he wrote to Sterling, B. Waller stated he was currently employed by Dixon Mackey & Co. Wholesale Boots & Shoes, Evansville, Indiana. The 1900 Vanderburgh County, Indiana shows B. Waller living at 211 Mulberry Street, Evansville with his wife, Ruth, and children, Elizabeth, Arthur S. and Harry N. Taylor. B. Waller died 18 August 1901 in Evansville and is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky.

Pattie's life was short, but she left a child, who produced the only descendants of the Barner family of Smithland, Kentucky. I don't feel that Pattie's story is over yet. There is still more to be learned about this remarkable young lady and, when I find new information, I'll let you know.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas Brasher

Thomas Brasher
June 16, 1824
Febr. 25, 1863

Buried Koon Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 3 November 2010.

Thomas Brasher married Cerilda C. Yandell 26 March 1848 Hopkins County, Kentucky. They appear on the 1850 and 1860 Crittenden County census records with their children.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

View of Caldwell County in 1878

The following article helps paint a picture of Caldwell County during the latter part of the 1870s. The information comes from Kentucky: Its Resources and Present Condition; the First Annual Report, Frankfort, Ky., 1878.

Caldwell County was organized in the year 1809 and named in honor of General John Caldwell. It was taken from a part of Livingston County, and is bounded north by Crittenden and Hopkins, east by Hopkins and Christian, south by Trigg, and west by Lyon and Crittenden Counties.

Princeton, the county seat, having a population of about 1200 persons, is located on a beautiful plateau, surrounding one of the finest springs in the State. The Louisville and Southwestern Railroad passes through the town, affording quick and easy conveyance to all parts of the country. The court house is one of the best in the Green river country. The churches are elegant; the college buildings of the Princeton College, and also of the female academy, are handsome and commodious, and many of the private residence neatly and fashionably built.

, twelve miles northwest of Princeton, is quite a handsome town, doing a large local trade, and surrounded by a rich country, and a prosperous community of farmers. Its population of about 200 persons are intelligent, enterprising, and thrifty.

Scottsburg, Dulany and Farmersville are thriving villages, each doing a considerable trade in their respective neighborhoods.

Princeton, as the central point of Caldwell County, is excellently located to become a place of extensive manufacturing enterprises. It has already one woolen factory, two or three manufacturing flour mills, as many wagon and plow shops, and more than a dozen other mechanic shops. The large creek, bursting out in the very heart of town, affords water for any number of factories to be run by steam.

Princeton College was established in 1826 by the then new denomination of Cumberland Presbyterians, and flourished many years, when it was partially removed to Lebanon, Tennessee. Within the last few years it has been started again. Many distinguished men of Kentucky and other Southern and Western states, have been educated at this institution. The Princeton Female Academy is a most excellent institution. At Fredonia is a well-conducted academy at which are educated a large number of students from the adjacent country.

The leading church denominations are the Cumberland Presbyterian, the Primitive and Missionary Baptist, the Methodist and Episcopalian, with a few Catholics, Unitarians, and Universalists scattered over the county.

The citizens of Caldwell are singularly industrious, intelligent, open-hearted, generous and hospitable. They are the descendants, principally, of that good old Virginia and North Carolina stock, the off-shoot of the English Cavaliers.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG