Thursday, August 30, 2012

Western Kentucky Insane Asylum

An act to establish the Western Kentucky Insane Asylum was passed in 1848 and the hospital opened in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1854 with 29 patients. It began as a lunatic asylum and has remained a psychiatric facility ever since. The roof of the hospital caught fire in November 1860 and virtually destroyed the building. A new, larger building was completed in 1867. In 1919, the facility was renamed the Western State Hospital.

Admission to Western State Hospital is usually through court within the county of residence.

Lack of space has often been a problem in the hospital. In his report of 1 November 1885, Superintendent Jas. Rodman stated the following: " ... there is an undue crowding of our patients. The number of people maintained grows larger each year, and is likely to do so continuously. This Asylum has too many patients for its capacity; a state of things I have tried to prevent, but have found it impossible. The original house was designed for three hundred and twenty inmates; it now contains four hundred and twenty five."

Today Western State Hospital is a 222 bed hospital serving adults over 18 years of age from 34 Western Kentucky counties. The 150th anniversary of the hospital will be celebrated 18 September 2012.

The following persons are among the inmates in 1880 under their county of residence. After their name is the date of admission.

Caldwell County
Dodds, F.W. 18 Jun 1873
Boyd, James H. 22 Jul 1875
Hogan, William 29 Apr 1880

Crittenden County
Flanary, Pleasant 2 Apr 1871
Lott, T. Albert 15 Feb 1878
Hodge, Polly 3 Jun 1875
Moore, M.M. D. 3 Jun 1875
Anderson, Sarah A. 26 May 1876

Henderson County
Churchill, Jesse (colored) 11 Mar 1879
Meriweather, Nelson (colored) 11 Mar 1879
Powell, Thomas B. 15 Sep 1879
Bottom, George W. 29 Apr 1880
Hatchett, Ambrose (colored) 31 May 1880
Frey, Margareta 6 Jun 1877
Davis, Kate 29 Dec 1863
Johnson, Minerva (colored) 11 Mar 1879
Letcher, Nancy (colored) 11 Mar 1879

Hopkins County
Miller, Cyrus C. 9 Jul 1867
Wright, Ben Reese 6 Nov 1869
Gooch, Alonzo 25 Jan 1872
Ashby, Henry 2 Jan 1878
Ashby, Orlander 6 Apr 1878
Kilroy, John 19 May 1880
Gibson, John C. 17 Jan 1870
Bond, Huldah 29 Dec 1866
Bond, Mary 29 Dec 1866
Casey, Bridget 5 May 1876
Morton, Debby 20 Sep 1876

Livingston County
Ray, Edmund 31 Mar 1866
Saunders, Benjamin 7 Mar 1874
Lyon, Charles S. 2 Jul 1875
Champion, Edward (colored) 20 Apr 1879
Dowden, Francis (colored) 13 Jul 1879

Lyon County
Larue, William 23 Jul 1878
Edmunds, J.S. 21 Mar 1879
Asbridge, T.C. 21 Mar 1879

Union County
Atkins, Jesse 31 Oct 1854
Pemberton, J.S. 2 Sep 1856
Stone, Jasper 7 Jul 1866
White, George 25 Oct 1871
Harris, James T. 25 June 1875
Railey, George 3 Mar 1876
Givens, John S. 1 Nov 1877
Davis, Stephen F. 2 Oct 1878
Coleman, Anderson (colored) 4 Apr 1879
Brewin, Lavinia 2 Jun 1877
Bricka, Sarah 7 Feb 1879
Smallwood, Alice (colored) 28 Feb 1879
Kilman, Emily F. 5 Apr 1879
Alvey, Elizabeth 26 Sep 1879

Webster County
Prather, Stephen 29 Apr 1865
Smith, Alford H. 15 Jul 1874
Harris, D.C. 16 Aug 1876
Higginson, James 30 Jan 1879
McCoy, Mike W. 23 Jul 1879
Heady, Susan E. 27 Oct 1873
Bowles, Martha 14 Jun 1874

Register of Patients received during the year ending Oct 31, 1880
Martha Wood of Hopkins County, born Kentucky, age 21, married, committed by county court 5 Nov 1879.
Matilda E. Doris of Webster County, born Kentucky, age 37, single, committed by circuit court 15 Nov 1879.
Helen Parker (colored) of Lyon County, born Kentucky, age 35, divorced, committed by circuit court 2 Dec 1879.
John Goodley of Henderson County, born England, age 50, married, committed by common pleas court 7 Dec 1879.
Katie Barks (colored) of Caldwell County, born Virginia, age 60, single, committed by county court 8 Jan 1880.
Sarah C. Sutton of Henderson County, born Kentucky, age 28, married, committed by circuit court 18 Mar 1880.
Isabella P. Dixon of Henderson County, born Kentucky, age 62, married, committed by circuit court 19 Mar 1880.
Walter Armstrong of Webster County, born Kentucky, age 18, single, committed by county court 23 Mar 1880.
William Jackson of Webster County, born Kentucky, age 18, single, committed by county court 16 Apr 1880.
John Price of Webster County, born Kentucky, age 26, single, committed by county court 27 Apr 1880.
George W. Bottoms of Henderson County, born Kentucky, age 46, widower, committed by county court 29 Apr 1880.
Martha E. Milam of Lyon County, born Kentucky, age 50, widow, committed by county court 26 May 1880.
Martha G. Gray of Lyon County, born Ohio, age 51, widow, committed by county court 31 May 1880.
Ambrose Hatchett (colored) of Henderson, born Kentucky, age 19, single, committed by Henderson city court 31 May 1880.
John Eisom (colored) of Caldwell County, born Kentucky, age 20, single, committed by county court 8 Jun 1880.
George B. Coffin of Crittenden County, born South Carolina, age 35, single, committed by county court 3 Aug 1880.
Elizabeth Clay of Henderson County, born Kentucky, age 38, married, committed by county court 1 Sep 1880.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Blount Hodge Jr.

Blount Hodge Jr.
Jan. 14, 1846
Apr. 11, 1860
Our Darling Little Spungy

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

Blount Hodge, age 4, is found in the household of Blount and Elizabeth Hodge on the 1850 Livingston County census.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Political Marriage

As we gear up for a national election, the following article from the 23 October 1896 issue of the Henderson Daily Gleaner seems appropriate.

"There comes a story from amidst the hills of Webster County, telling not only of romance, but of the true and genuine patriotism of an honest and simple minded woman. The scene is near Jones Stand, one of the oldest trading points in that section of the country. About a year ago Thomas Williams, a sturdy farmer, met with the sad misfortune of losing his kind and loving wife, leaving to him the care of ten young children. The brambles of care grew thick around the good farmer's household, and in justice to his loving ones he thought the best thing to be done was to try and persuade some kind woman to share his fortune and be a mother to them.

"Williams was an ardent Republican, but had always borne the good will and friendship of his Democratic neighbors. In the immediate vicinity there lived Mrs. Walker, a widow lady of irreproachable character and noted for her thrift and energy. It was towards her humble home that the unhappy farmer turned his eyes for comfort and solace. He paid her one visit and then another until they became very frequent.

"Time wore on and a month more past [sic], in the meantime politics going to a fever heat in that section bringing out an earnest expression from both Democrats and Republicans. Only last week in the midst of this great campaign and political excitement Williams gathered up his courage to ask the widow for heart and hand. With the spirit of a patriot and heart full of love, she told him she loved and respected him, but he was a Republican in politics and she could not marry him. It was an unkind cut, and almost a death blow, but like a warrior, Williams rose up and exclaimed, "If that is all, I am a Democrat from now on!"

They were married Sunday and she with her four children now make a happy family of 16 in number and now the hills of old Webster are echoing with the strong voice of Tom Williams for Wm. Jennings Bryan for President."

The 1900 Webster County census shows Thomas and Sarah E. Williams living in Dixon with 11 children, some with the surname of Williams and some with the surname of Walker.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crittenden County Guardians 1866

The intention of the law regarding guardians was to protect the rights of children who were orphans or not old enough to care for their own business. If an underage child inherited property, a guardian was often appointed to protect his interests. A guardian might also be appointed to represent the child in a law suit (guardian ad litem). At the age of 14 years, a child was allowed to choose his own guardian, but with the county court’s approval. If under age 14, the county court had the responsibility of appointing the guardian for the child. The following entries have been abstracted from County Court Order Book 3 (1861-1868), Crittenden County Clerk’s Office, Marion, Kentucky. Additional information may be found in a separate Guardians' Settlement Book.

G.H. Towry was appointed guardian for Aaron Towry, over the age of 14, 8 January 1866.

J.W. Cook was appointed guardian for Wm. Jones, Fredrick L., Alice Ann, Joseph F. and Peter E. Cook, infants and heirs of J.W. Cook, 8 January 1866.

D.W. Deboe was appointed guardian for Miss Nancy Susan Jennings, over the age of 14, 9 January 1866.

Mrs. Tempy Ann McConnell was appointed guardian for Thos. J., Sarah L., Pricy J., John C., Richard T., Wm. F. and Jeff Davis McConnell, 5 March 1866.

T.S.C. Asher was appointed guardian for Wm. F., Susan E., Jesse S. and Daniel B. Stephens, the first three named being over the age of 14, 12 March 1866.

A.D. Crider was appointed guardian for James J. Scott, infant and heir of Alexander Scott dec'd, 23 April 1866.

Matthew Worley was appointed guardian for Matthew M., Martha, R.R., Mary E. and Raymoth Worley, 11 June 1866.

S. Hodge was appointed guardian ad litem for J.R., Bettie W., Stokely P., Kate and James W. Henson, infant and heirs of J.C. Henson dec'd in a law suit of W.W. Johnson against J.C. Henson Heirs, 11 June 1866.

Yateman S. Mabry was appointed guardian for Zachariah W., Martha A., Rebecca E., Sarah E. and Amanda L. Mabry, infants of Frances A. Mabry, 13 August 1866.

G.W. Winders was appointed guardian for Robert Young, infant and heir of Wm. A. Young dec'd, 10 September 1866.

R.J. Larrue was appointed guardian for Alfred N. Stallions, infant and heir of Josiah Stallions dec'd, 8 October 1866.

Willoby Guess was appointed guardian for Thomas C., Rebecca A., Theodrick, Mary Jane, Ellen and Joseph Guess, 8 October 1866.

John H. Turley was appointed guardian for James C., Nancy Jane, Margaret A. and Elisabeth Turley, 15 October 1866.

Wm. Flanary was appointed guardian for James and Charles Nelson, infants and heirs of Nathaniel Nelson dec'd, 15 October 1866.

Mrs. Mary Sanderson was appointed guardian for John, James, Eliza Jane, Charles and Laura Sanderson, infants and heirs of Thos. H. Sanderson dec'd, 5 November 1866.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Information on Jerry Parker

Janet Hawkins has provided additional information on Jerry Parker from the Civil War pension application of Jerry and Harriet Parker.

Jerry and Harriett Parker (Company B, U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery)
Invalid claim filed 7 Jun 1889; application #408238; certificate #1002061; filed in KY
Widow claim filed 20 Jun 1924; application #1175751; certificate #919049; filed in KY

Jerry Parker claimed he was first married to Hellen Salyer during slavery days. The wedding took place “at the house of her master … on a Saturday night [by] Jerry Early, a colored minister.” Jerry and Hellen’s union produced three sons, one of whom, Miles Parker, was a private in the 25th U.S. Infantry. In a pension letter, Jerry claims he suspected Hellen of committing adultery, and the two separated amicably. Hellen died of pneumonia in 1879.

Parker was enslaved by Robert P. Parker, Lamasco, Lyon Co., KY, who claimed in a pension affadavit that he bought Jerry in 1847 from his grandmother’s estate when Jerry was about 10 years old. Robert Parker’s letter described Jerry Parker as “an upright honorable colored man—one whom he could always trust in positions requiring care and fidelity.”

Harriett Fowler’s first marriage was to Lewis Bellamy, who died in 1878.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Harriet and Jerry Parker

1842 - 1928

1839 - 1921
Gone But Not Forgotten

Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 4 February 2011. They are buried in the African American section of the cemetery.

The death certificate of Harriet Parker shows she was the daughter of Tom and Mariah Fowler. She was born 12 December 1842 and died 15 March 1928.

According to the death certificate of Jerry Parker, he died 20 May 1921 at the age of about 82 years. His parents were unknown.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Genealogical Journey

I've been on a genealogical journey for over 40 years. While I have learned a great deal, there is still much I want to know. This journey has taken me to many wondrous places that I would never have visited if it were not for genealogy. These "wondrous places" include such exotic spots as old family burial grounds, often at the back end of nowhere. In addition, I've acquired skills Indiana Jones would envy, including wielding a machete to cut through underbrush to reach that far corner where my ancestor is buried. I've been a navigator, an explorer and a scribe in my quest to get the family information from those ancient family grave markers.

I've visited places of great learning and knowledge ( i.e. libraries and archives). I've sampled the secrets hidden in those musty, crumbling papers and found many answers to those burning questions all genealogists want to know. Where else but in those vast volumes of knowledge could I have learned that my 2nd great grandmother, who looks so demure in that old black and white photograph, thumbed her nose at society by rearing several children without the help of a husband. Where else would I have found out that blood loses when there is a dispute over land among family members? Yes, I've found many answers, but I also have many more questions.

My journey has allowed me to walk the same land as my ancestor, visited the church he attended and placed my hand on the tombstone his widow had erected after he died. I even have a lock of his hair snipped from his head shortly after his death and cherished by his descendants (well, at least those descendants who don't think it is creepy).

Traveling this journey is not for the timid and faint-hearted. Not everyone is chosen to be a genealogist and there are requirements, you know, to become a good genealogist. First and foremost, a proper genealogist needs to be persistent and question everything he is told, including those court clerks who say there is no such record on your ancestor. Don't believe it until every corner of the courthouse has been searched, including those dusty old boxes in the attic.

A good genealogist isn't afraid to ask questions ... ok, to be honest, you have to ask questions over and over to make sure you haven't missed something. Who knows when someone you least expect has that little piece of information to tie together those family relationships.

If you have an aversion to dust and mold, you are not destined to become a Big Time Genealogist. No, no! I've never met a courthouse basement that didn't have a lot of dust and a little mold lurking in the corners and under the stairs.

Most of all, every good genealogist needs to have a sense of humor. Humor will get you past the shock of finding out about 2nd great grandma's penchant for having children born "on the other side of the blanket" and that great grandpa had several encounters involving guns with the local sheriff.

The best part about being a genealogist and making this journey is meeting people, some of whom will become lifelong friends. I've met cousins by blood and cousins by heart and I would not trade them for anything.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry A. and Davidella Hodge

Henry A. Hodge
Born Mar. 1, 1858
Died June 28, 1936

Davidella C. Hodge
Wife of Henry A. Hodge
Born June 21, 1862
Died August 17, 1930

Henry A. Hodge married Davidella C. Northern, daughter of Robinson Y. Northern and Davidella Patterson, in 1880 Livingston County, Kentucky. They are found on the 1900 Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky census and the census of Bexar County, Texas 1910 - 1930. Henry A. Hodge was an insurance agent for many years. Davidella's given name is unusual, but not uncommon in the Patterson family.

The Bexar County death certificate of Henry A. Hodge shows that he was the son of S. Hodge and Catherine Coleman, both born in Kentucky.

Davidella C. and Henry A. Hodge both died in San Antonio, Texas. After their deaths, the remains were taken to Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, where they are buried in Mapleview Cemetery. The above photographs were taken 11 July 2012.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wilborn Family of Early Livingston County

The Wilborn/Wilbourne family first appears in Livingston County, Kentucky on the 1833 tax list. Listed that year were Willis and John Wilbourne, both of who owned land on Crooked Creek. Samuel Wilbourne is listed with 130 acres on Claylick Creek. Only James Wilbourne is shown with no land.

The 1834 Livingston County tax list is missing, but listed on the 1835 tax list are the following:
Saml. Wilbourne Sr - 130 acres on Claylick, 1 white male over 21, 3 horses
Saml. Wilbourne Jr. - no land, 1 white male over 21, 1 horse
John Wilbourne - no land, 1 male over 21, 1 horse
James Wilbourne - no land, 1 white male over 21, 3 horses
Willis Wilbourne - 20 acres on Crooked Creek, 1 white male over 21, 1 horse
William Wilbourne - no land, 1 white male over 21, no horses

Because they owned very little or no land, the natural assumption is that Saml. Jr., John, James, Willis and William Wilbourne were the sons of Saml. Wilbourne Sr. Were they?

Samuel Wilbourne died in 1835 at the age of 56, according to his tombstone in Union Church Cemetery in Crittenden County, formerly Livingston County. Buried beside him is his wife, Nancy, who survived Samuel by about a week. And they had only been Livingston County residents about two years.

To the
Memory of
Samuel Wilborn
Was Born May
the 12 1779 and
Died November
the 24, 1835
Aged 56 years

To the
Memory of Nancy
Wilborn Wife of
Samuel Wilborn
She was Born
May the 24, 1778
and Died December
the 1 1835
Aged 57 years

Samuel did not leave a will, but there is information on his estate. In early January 1836, letters of administration were granted to John Wilborn [sic]. When Samuel's estate was sold, among the buyers were the following: S.A. Wilborn, Catharine Wilborn, Jno. Wilborn, Permelia Wilborn and Willis Wilborn. Very likely they were all family members.

A report of the estate settlement was produced in county court in 1837, "whereupon Willis Wilborn & James Wilborn, heirs of Saml. Wilborn, objected to an account." Ah, ha! At least we have proof of two of the heirs. The estate was finally settled in 1840.

Published 9 August 2012, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - William L. Goodman

William L. Goodman
Nov. 22, 1874
Sept. 14, 1911

Buried Leeper Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 25 May 2012. Note the Woodman of the World emblem at the top of the tombstone.

According to his Kentucky death certificate, William L. Goodman was born 3 June 1874 Livingston County and his parents were Lemuel Goodman and Elizabeth Hooks, who were both born in Tennessee.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

TreeRoots: Beyond the Basics Workshop

Gail Jackson Miller, Certified Genealogist, will present an all-day workshop at Willard Library (21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana) on Saturday, 18 August 2012. Registration begins at 8:30 am with the first session beginning at 9 am. The workshop is free.

The following four sessions are planned:

  • Where Did You Get That

  • Murder and Mayhem on the River

  • Creating Chronologies for More Effective Research

  • Analysis and Persistence

  • Please make reservations for each session by calling 812-425-4309 or email A catered lunch will be provided for a small fee, but must be ordered by 14 August 2012.

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Union County Squirrel Hunt 1845

    The following article appeared in the Illinois State Gazette, published in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois on Thursday, 17 April 1845. Gallatin County is directly across the Ohio River from Union County, Kentucky. It is always interesting to know what our ancestors did for entertainment.

    A squirrel hunt came off on last Saturday in Union County, Ky, opposite this place. The two parties numbered about 40 year under Capts. Cockrell and Churchill and brought in over 900 scalps. Capt. Churchill's party came off victorious, being about 235 scalps ahead. A sumptuous barbecue was given, in which many of our citizens participated, These are the pleasures of the West, of the enjoyments of which our eastern friends know nothing. On these occasions all political strifs [sic] are forgotten, and friend meets friend on terms of social liberality which gives a zest to the every day concerns of life. A "Fish-fry" is to be held in the same neighborhood next Saturday, on the river, and on Saturday following another squirrel hunt, at which the crack sportsmen and "dead shots" of the whole neighborhood intend to be present. By that time the heavy and pressing spring work will be mostly over and it is expected that all will be able to attend, and spend a day in the interchange of friendly courtesies.

    Published 2 August 2012, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,