Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - George and Virginia Crawford

When Dr. George L. Crawford and Virginia Throop married, the following article appeared first in the Smithland Banner and later in the 20 June 1903 issue of the Paducah Sun:

"A pretty affair, last night, was the marriage of Dr. G.L. Crawford and Miss Virginia L. Troop. The marriage was celebrated in the presence of only a few friends at her home, with Dr. J. Frank Crawford, of Hampton, best man and Miss Mary D. Throop, bride's maid. A delightful luncheon was served, after which the bridal party retired to the Webb house, where rice and the most profuse congratulations were showered upon them by numerous friends."

Both Dr. Crawford and Virginia Throop Crawford are buried in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County. The photographs of their tombstones were made 12 December 2011. Note the Woodmen of the World Memorial on Dr. Crawford's tombstone.

George Lee Crawford D.D.S.
Mar. 1, 1868
Oct. 25, 1934
An honest man is the noblest work of God.

Virginia Throop
Wife of G.L. Crawford
Born Dec. 7, 1878
Died Apr. 5, 1907

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are - Season 3

Season 3 of the popular television program, Who Do You Think You Are, premiers on Friday, 3 February 2012, on your local NBC station at 8 pm (Eastern) and 7 pm(Central). Twelve public figures, including Reba McEntire, Martin Sheen, Paula Deen and Jerome Bettis, will be featured in the weekly series. Mark this program on your calendar now as you will not want to miss a single episode!

For more information, go here: Who Do You Think You Are

Thursday, January 26, 2012

James H. McEntire Migration Trail

The property of private citizens was often confiscated for use by the military during the Civil War. In June of 1863, a barge belonging to James H. McEntire of Crittenden County, Kentucky was taken by the United States troops for the purpose of carrying soldiers from Dycusburg, Kentucky to Smithland, Kentucky. The barge, which McEntire valued at $1000, was never returned to him. In 1895, McEntire filed a claim for compensation of the barge with the Committee on War Claims, according to The Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives for the Third Session of the Fifty-Third Congress 1895-95. The committee approved the claim, but it is unknown if it was ever paid.

I love finding these tidbits, but I am always curious about the parties involved. Were they natives of the area? Did they remain in western Kentucky or did they join the migration to other states after the Civil War?

It was fairly easy tracking James H. McEntire through census records. He was found in the household of Preston P. McIntire, a 32-year-old cooper, and Catharine McIntire, age 28, on the 1850 Crittenden County census. Preston McIntire was on the 1840 Harrison County, Indiana census and had married Catharine Craig in that county on 22 July 1838.

It is interesting to me that Harrison County is located on the Ohio River not far from Louisville, Kentucky. Corydon is the county seat. Migrating to Crittenden County via the Ohio River would not have been difficult.

Their whereabouts in 1860 have not been determined, but, by 1870, James H. had acquired a wife (Nancy J. Garrison), two daughters, Adelia and Nannie, and they were living in Smithland, Livingston County. By 1880, the family had moved on - perhaps via the Ohio River to its confluence with the Mississippi River - to Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois. Their family had grown with the addition of two more daughters, Letty K. and Irene, and a son, James A. James H. had discontinued his profession of being a cooper in favor of a new occupation in photography.

He continued this profession while living in Williamstown, Ingham County, Michigan, where he was listed on the 1900 census. He and his wife, Nancy, were listed as father and mother in law in the household of Martin and Irene (McEntire) Nickloy. It would be interesting to know what drew the family to Michigan. Martin and Irene Nickloy had only been married a year. Did they meet in Illinois or did James H. McEntire move the family to Michigan where his daughter, Irene, met and married Martin Nickloy?

Only a few of my questions have been answered, but I've made a start. Now to decide which county records I need. This will be a good wintertime project.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Ruble L. Slayden

Ruble L.
Son of
Clarence & Ouida
Sep. 30, 1903
Feb. 21, 1920

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

According to his death certificate, Ruble L. Slayden died of influenza. His parents were C.E. Slayden, born Livingston County, and Ouida Davis, born Crittenden County.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crittenden County Historical and Genealogy Societies

The Crittenden County Historical Society meets the second Tuesday of each month from April - November at 6 p.m in the County Museum. Established in 1967, their mission is to collect and preserve Crittenden County history. They also maintain the County Museum at 124 East Bellville Street in Marion, Kentucky. Dues are $5 per year and the mailing address is P.O. Box 25, Marion, Kentucky 42064.

Officers of the Historical Society are Percy Cook, Chairman; Daryl Tabor, Vice-Chairman; Brenda Underdown, Secretary/Reporter and Rita Travis, Treasurer.

The Crittenden County Genealogy Society. organized in 1991, meets the second Saturday of each month (no meeting in December) at 10 am at the Public Library. A quarterly newsletter is issued to all members. Dues are $10 yearly.

Fay Carol Crider is Chairman of the Genealogy Society. Other officers are Brenda Underdown, Secretary/Treasurer and Doyle Polk, Historian. The society has published a series of county cemetery books and several census books. To reach the society, contact them at PO Box 61, Marion, Kentucky 42064.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Marvin E. and Doris D. Scyster

Marvin Ellis
Sept. 19, 1888
Dec. 3, 1947

Doris Dunn
Jan. 27, 1896
Feb. 14, 1987

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed March 2011.

According to his obituary in the 11 December 1947 issue of the Livingston Leader, Marvin E. Scyster died in Fort Worth, Texas. "Mr. Scyster's father was a well known merchant in Smithland for many years and Mr. Scyster was connected with the Smithland Bank for a number of years before entering the insurance business in Paducah."

Mr. Scyster left Kentucky for Memphis, Tennessee and later moved to Oklahoma City and, finally, Fort Worth. At his death, survivors included his wife, Doris Dunn Scyster; sons Marvin Jr. of Memphis and George Dunn Scyster of Fort Worth; daughter Margaret Scyster of Dallas, Texas; granddaughter Sylvia Scyster of Memphis and nephew David Ellis Reeves of Washington, D.C.

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sarah Jane's Story

A week ago I mentioned that a very generous researcher had shared a number of documents and photographs of portraits of my favorite family of Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. Thanks to his kindness, I now know what most of the Barner famly members looked like and also more details about their lives. I've examined and re-examined each item, trying to determine how to share these items with you and it seems best to me that each person should be addressed separately. Let's start with Sarah Jane West, mother of the Barner family.

Sarah Jane West was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, but moved to Nashville at an early age. Nothing is known of her early life, but written documents indicate she was well educated. Her handwriting is clear and legible. Perhaps penmanship was part of her education.

On the 8th of August 1838 in Nashville, Sarah Jane married Sterling M. Barner, a prominent steamboat pilot on the Cumberland River. Sterling was quite a bit older. In fact, he was approximately 45 years old and Sarah Jane was 16. How they met is a mystery, but Sterling was known in Nashville and had friends there, including Andrew Jackson, President of the United States 1829 - 1837. In spite of the age difference, they were clearly fond of each other as evidenced by their correspondence shortly before their marriage. In a letter dated May 1838 from Sterling to Sarah Jane, he calls her "my dear girl" while her letter states " I have become so much attached to you, but let me assure you that your absence cannot erase from my heart those fond and devoted feelings ..."

Following their marriage, Sterling retired from steam boating and moved his family from Nashville to Smithland, Kentucky about 1841. Sterling's brother, Benjamin, had lived in Smithland for a number of years, was a prosperous businessman, and being single, it was only natural that Sterling's family would move into Benjamin's house on Charlotte Street. Perhaps it was at that time the house was enlarged and conveniences added to appeal to the females in the family. The house was not far from the business houses on Water (or Front) Street. The Episcopal Church was less than a block down Charlotte Street and the courthouse was a few blocks away on the other side of Adair Street (today U.S. 60).

Five children were born to Sterling and Sarah Jane. The first child, a daughter born in Nashville, lived only one day after birth in 1839. The fifth child, a son, was stillborn in 1854 in Smithland. The three middle children were Joseph, born in 1840; Mary Elizabeth "Mollie," born in 1842 and Martha Jane "Pattie" was born in 1848.

As part of a well-to-do family, Sarah Jane's life was one of comparative ease. Goods not available in Smithland could be ordered from Nashville and shipped by steamboat. The three Barner children also traveled to Nashville to attend school. The 1850 and 1860 Livingston County slave schedules show that Sterling Barner was a slave owner so Sarah Jane likely had help in caring for the home and children. But even those living a life of privilege are not immune to tragedy.

The decade of the 1860s was a sad time for Sarah Jane. The Civil War was brewing and changes were coming to Smithland. Federal soldiers began occupying Smithland in 1861, making life uncomfortable for those favoring the Confederacy. Then, on the 21 June 1862, Sterling Barner died at the age of 69 years, one month and 11 days, leaving Sarah Jane a widow at 43 years of age. Just a few months later her oldest daughter, Mollie Barner, died of typhoid fever in Nashville. The family on Charlotte Street was now composed of Sarah Jane, her brother-in-law, Benjamin Barner; her 22 year old son, Joseph, who had enlisted in Cobb's Company and was serving someplace in the South, and 14 year old Pattie.

Death was not yet finished with the Barner family. In May 1863, Joseph died of disease in Georgia and Benjamin Barner died in February 1865. With the family all but gone, Sarah Jane was left to rear her teenage daughter, Pattie. Together they inherited the estate of Benjamin Barner with Sarah Jane as executrix.

Pattie was a most eligible young lady in 1865. She was young, pretty and an heiress. Somehow she met Benjamin Waller Taylor of Henderson and they married in Smithland in 1868. I've told you about Miss Pattie's marriage to B. Waller Taylor, her abandonment and what happened to her newborn son. It appeared here: http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/2008/08/picture-above-is-of-old-barner-home-on.html

Once again Sarah Jane had suffered a tragedy. Now she was alone except for her infant grandson, Sterling Barner Taylor. The house on Charlotte Street must have held many sad memories for her. After Pattie's death, Sarah Jane wrote her sister, Elizabeth Saffarrans, and asked if she and little Sterling could live in Elizabeth's home in Russellville. Elizabeth wrote back, "I know you feel that your hope is at an end and you are lonely but my dear sister you are not alone in trails [sic] and afflictions ... Sister you wished to know if I had room for you and the dear little babe. As for room we have plenty and will be very happy to have you with us ..."

The photograph above is of Sarah Jane in her widow's clothing at age 50 in 1870. You can almost see tragedy etched on her face.

Sarah Jane and Sterling Barner moved to Russellville and it was there that Sarah Jane met and was married on 1 October 1873 to George D. Blakey, who so thoughtfully wrote a number of articles on various families, including the Barners, for the Russellville, Kentucky newspapers. Blakey and Sarah Jane only lived together until 5 January 1879, when Sarah Jane died in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Her last years were painful, having had her hip dislocated by a fall, leaving her a cripple. Her obituary describes her as "a woman of excellent mind and culture, and elegant manners." She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for a number of years before her death. She was 60 years old.

Today there are only a few remnants of the Barners in Smithland. The burnt out shell of their home is visible on Charlotte Street and their name is written in the old record books in the County Office Building. Sterling, Benjamin, Pattie and Mollie Barner are all buried on the hill in Smithland Cemetery. I would like to think Sarah Jane rests there, too, but, if so, no tombstone marks her grave.

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Several genealogy books are currently on sale, to see the list, go here:


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - John S. and Julie A. Corley

John S. Corley
Feb. 9, 1847
Feb. 29, 1936
Julie A. His Wife
Oct. 7, 1844
June 4, 1917

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

According to his Kentucky death certificate, John Seth Corley died 28 February 1936. He was born in Smith County, Tennessee and was the son of -- Corley and L. Wilkerson, both of whom were also born in Smith County.

The Kentucky death certificate of Julia Ann Corley shows her maiden name as McDowell and she was born in Kentucky. Her father was -- McDowell and her mother was unknown. On the 1850 Crittenden County census, she is listed in the household of Joseph and Mary McDowell, both born in Kentucky.

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

Friday, January 6, 2012

Caldwell County Historical and Genealogy Societies

The Caldwell County Historical Society, P.O. Box 1, Princeton, Kentucky was founded in 1991 and was established as a project of the Caldwell County committee for Kentucky's Bicentennial. Their purpose is to promote a greater awareness of the history and heritage of the county, to help preserve historical data, memorabilia and sites, and to share the knowledge gained in these pursuits through programs, publications and observances of local historical significance. Meetings are held the first Thursday of alternate months beginning in February in George Coon Library in Princeton. Meetings are open to the public. Membership for individuals is $15 per year. With membership comes a bi-monthly newsletter.

Glenn E. Martin Genealogy Library, located at the corner of Main and Harrison, in downtown Princeton, is a storehouse of research materials, including books, microfilm, obituary files and other genealogical information,some of which have been provided by the society. Also housed at the Martin Genealogy Library are the original Caldwell County circuit court records. A plaintiff/defendant index makes the case files a snap to use. When researching at the Caldwell County courthouse, be sure to include a visit to the Martin Genealogy Library.

In addition to their work at the library, the Caldwell County Historical Society also sponsors a hayride and Night Rider tour each October. Attendees learn about the tobacco culture at the turn of the 20th century and actors portray various characters of the Night Rider Era. The former residence of Dr. David Amoss, leader of the Night Riders, was acquired and renovated by the society. Tours are available by appointment (call 270-365-7801). The society also sponsors two beauty pageants during the Black Patch Festival in September.

The Caldwell County Genealogy Society was organized in 2010. They meet the third Tuesday of odd months. Dues are $10 per year and should be sent to PO Box 51, Princeton, Kentucky 42445. For additional information, contact Robert Ward at Colbob52@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Very Special Gift

The new year started off with a bang. I received a gift - actually many gifts - from a very generous man who has shared copies of documents and photographs of family portraits, all pertaining to a Smithland, Kentucky family that I have spent so much time researching the past few years. I'll tell you more about this special family in this blog a bit later. It is going to take me a while to absorb all of the information. Then it will have to be organized so I can write their stories.

One of the gifts I received was a lock of the hair of the father of the family, who died in 1862. Apparently, the hair was snipped shortly after his death and saved by a family member. This may be creepy to some, but genealogists and historians will understand how much I treasure this connection to a person who lived so long ago.

So, bear with me. I'll share what I am learning later. If you can hear heels clicking, they are mine as I do a happy dance! Thank you, Joseph, for your generosity!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Dr. James A. Maxwell

Dr. James A.
Jan. 26, 1843
Aug. 15, 1885

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

James Maxwell is listed on the 1850 Caldwell County census in the home of Washington P. and Isabella (Adamson) Maxwell, who married 14 April 1842 Caldwell County.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Goals - Not Resolutions

I just reviewed my New Year's Resolutions for 2011 and am sad to say that I didn't do very well keeping them. Actually, I failed miserably.

Was I too ambitious in vowing to devote one full day to filing papers? Was it too much when I promised not to laugh when someone talked about their Cherokee Indian princess ancestor? Was it over the top when I said I would not poke fun at the genealogist who declared her whole lineage was online, minus the sources, of course? Yep, guilty on all three promises!

So, let's try something different this year. No promises; no vows. Let's be realistic here. Resolutions are made to be broken by the middle of January so, instead of Resolutions, I'll make Goals. No promises, just goals. Here goes:

My Number One Goal is to take everything in stride. I will not get upset if I don't find the definitive proof that my Morgan Smith descended from Capt. John Smith (1580-1631), friend of Pocahontas. If it turns out Morgan descends from a plain old, everyday Smith family, I won't wring my hands, wail and beat my chest.

My Number Two Goal is to spread the word on attaching sources to every fact not of common knowledge. No more "Kentucky History Book" or "Tennessee Marriage Records." I can do this; I know I can!

My Number Three Goal is to have fun chasing these people. I'll smile when I learn my ancestor had no birth record - that's just a minor setback, right? I'll laugh when no marriage record is found - think of it as a challenge. I'll clap my hands when no death record appears. I'm smiling, I'm laughing, I'm clapping my hands. Am I having fun yet?

Seriously, folks, genealogy should be fun. It isn't the end of the world if vital records are missing. There is usually a substitute record somewhere ... isn't there?