Monday, December 30, 2013

Monument Monday - Uncle Billy Welden

William Welden
June 12, 1809
May 30, 1893
A precious one from us has gone
A voice loved is stilled
A place is vacant in our home
Which never can be filled
Buried Green Cemetery near Pinckneyville, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed and submitted by Marty Hodge of Marion, Kentucky.
An article about Pinckneyville in the 19 August 1879 issue of the Crittenden Press states the following: "It has a population of 50, the oldest of whom is old uncle Billy Weldon." "Uncle Billy"  operated a store in Pinckneyville in the mid to late 1800s.
His obituary can be found in the 9 June 1893 issue of the Press. "It is our painful duty to chronicle the death of Mr. Wm. Weldon of Pinckneyville, which occurred at his home last Friday. Wm. Weldon was one of the few surviving early settlers of this section of Kentucky, and like most of them, he was a man of strong character and he placed his imprint upon the present generation. He was born in South Carolina in 1809 and in the thirties, probably 1832, he came to Kentucky, settling on a farm four miles south of Marion. Here he hewed a farm and went to work. For many years he lived there; many sons and daughters were born unto him, and today among our best citizens are found many of his descendants."
Buried beside "Uncle Billy" is his wife, Sally, who was born 1824 and died 1906.

Published 30 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Idiots and Lunatics

Many of us have come across records of someone being declared an idiot or lunatic and perhaps placed in an asylum. What do the terms mean and how do they differ?

The words "idiot" and "lunatic" are often used to denote the same medical condition, but the meanings are not the same.  According to Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky by Charles Humphreys, 1822, pages 125-126, "Idiots are persons of unsound minds from their birth. Lunatics are those who become insane by some infirmity after birth."

It goes on to say that "A man is not an idiot if he has any glimmering of reasons, so that he can tell his parents his age ... But one born deaf, dumb and blind is considered in the same state as an idiot.

"A lunatic is one who has his reason impaired by some infirmity and ... only occasionally in that condition, having lucid intervals, sometimes depending on the change of the moon. However, the word lunatic includes all person who become incapable, by any impairment of mind, of conducting their own affairs."

Published 27 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog!
Published 25 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Steamboat Christmas Dinner Menu 1890

Lavish meals were served on steamboats in by-gone days and if you doubt it, just take a look at the menu for Christmas dinner on the steamer W.F. Nisbet in 1890. This menu appeared in the Evansville Press on Sunday, 26 April 1936. Personally I think the Baked Opossum could have been left off the menu.

Baked Red Snapper     Potatoes Croquette
Leg of Beef   Brown Gravy   Joint of Veal
Currant Jelly   Lamb   French Peas   Young Shoat
Applesauce   Baked Opossum   Sweet Potatoes
Poultry and Game
Young Turkey   Oyster Dressing   Cranberry Sauce
Wild Goose   German Dumplings
Fried Chicken   Maryland Style Quail on Toast
Delmonico Potatoes   Okra   New Asparagus
Baked Mashed Sweet Potatoes   Green Corn
Puree of Spinach in Cream
Fricassee of Sweet Breads   Baked Macaroni Cheese
Chicken   Lobster   Potato
New Onions   American Cheese   Green Olives
Steamed Apple Pudding   Frozen Sauce   Mince Pie
Cranberry Pie   Lemon Pie
English Cream    Charlotte Russe  Italian Cream
Macedonia Fruit   Wine Jelly   Pine Apple Cheese
Brandy Jelly Soufflé  Peaches   Floating Island   Ice Cream
Assorted Cakes
Pound Cake  Lady Cake  Fruit Cake  Chocolate Lady Fingers  Jelly Cake
Jelly Roll  Sponge Drops   Coconut Macaroons   Egg Kisses   Brandy Snaps
Ice Cream Cake  Jenny Lind
Fruits, Etc.
Bananas   Oranges   Pine Apple  Mixed Nuts  Assorted Candy
Coffees, Teas, Etc.
Mocha and Java   Melson Chocolate   Green Teas   Sweet and Buttermilk
Indiana Lemonade   Tennessee Corn Dodgers
Published 24 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monument Monday - Louis and Amanda Cain

Louis B. Cain
July 18, 1850
July 5, 1921
Amanda P. His Wife
Feb. 9, 1854
Jan. 14, 1936
Buried Green's Chapel Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 16 February 2013.
L.B. Cain and Miss Amanda Newcom married in Crittenden County 18 May 1871.
According to death certificate #4384 (1921), Louis B. Cain, a retired farmer, was the son of William Cain and Peggy Crowell, both of whom were born in Georgia.  The death certificate of Amanda Cain (#674 in 1936), shows she was the daughter of James Newcom and Eliza Moore, both born in Crittenden County.
Published 23 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Short Life of Henry W. Taylor

Tucked away under a bush in Smithland Cemetery is a tombstone which has been sinking into the ground since the death of the man who is buried here. The words are few and only hint at his life story.

Henry W.
Born in
Pittsburg Pa
Nov. 1, 1830
[The death date is below ground level]
H.W. Taylor appears on the 1860 Livingston County census in Smithland. In his household are his wife, Pauline Renaud Taylor, whom he married 8 June 1854 in Livingston County. Taylor is listed as an engineer and likely worked on a steamboat.  Also in the household on the census were A.L.J. Renaud, age 21, and Liddia Renaud, age 13, both born in France. Their marriage record shows H.W. Taylor was born in Pennsylvania. Pauline was age 24 and born in France.
From the symbol on his tombstone, we know that Taylor was a member of the Masonic lodge, but was that in Smithland or was it in Pennsylvania? He is not listed with Smithland Lodge No. 138 as a member in 1867.
While there is little information on the life of Henry W. Taylor in Livingston County records, a few items turned up in newspapers. The first item appeared in the Cairo, Illinois newspaper in 1866. It stated that H.W. Taylor, a steamboat engineer, married a French lady, a resident of Kentucky. They made their home in Smithland. Before the war (Civil War), Taylor worked on a steamboat. When the war began, Taylor entered the service of the federal government and continued until the war ended. Then came the news that Mrs. Taylor had inherited a fortune from her uncle in France.
The other newspaper article appeared in the 7 November 1869 issue of the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer in the column of news of steamboats and the river. It mentions that George W. Hagey  and Mr. Henry Taylor died within 24 hours of each other and the remains of both were being conveyed to Smithland for burial. So, we know Henry W. Taylor died in November 1869 in Cairo, Illinois.
H.W. Taylor's widow, Pauline, appears on the 1870 census in Alexander County, Illinois. In her household were Alex. N. Taylor, age 8 and born Kentucky, and Henry and James Taylor, twins age 7 months and born Illinois.
Under Court News in the 20 November 1875 issue of the Cairo Bulletin, the following notice appeared: "In the matter of the guardianship of Alexander W. Taylor, minor heir of Henry W. Taylor, deceased, Pauline Taylor guardian ordered to report her acts and doings in the premises in her next report."  So ... was only Alexander a child of Henry W. Taylor or had the twin boys, Henry and James, died between 1870 and 1875?
In 1873, Pauline married Thomas Coon and they moved to Fulton County, Kentucky.  Alex N. Taylor, oldest child of Henry W. and Pauline (Renaud) Taylor, became a printer and lived in Evansville, Indiana and died in Henderson, Kentucky 30 September 1946. He is buried in Fernwood Cemetery next to his wife, Ella.
Published 19 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - R.T. and Rosie E. Stegall

Feb. 24, 1839
Aug. 7, 1926
Rosie E.
Feb. 28, 1864
Mar. 2, 1942
Buried in Ferguson Cemetery, off Hwy 70 (Tiline Road), Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 3 December 2013.
Death certificate #20937 (1926) of Theodore Stegall states he was born in Kentucky. His father was unknown and his mother was Eliza Cook.
Death certificate #7233 (1942) of Rosa Ellen Stegall states she was born in Kentucky and was the daughter of -- Jarrett and -- Perkins, both of whom were born in Lyon County, Kentucky.
R.T. Stegall and Rosa E. Jarrett married 1 May 1882 Lyon County, Kentucky.
Published 17 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Webster County News 1907

Even though there are no extant copies of Webster County, Kentucky newspapers from early in the 20th century, news of that county can be found in the newspaper of the adjoining county of Henderson. The following items appeared in the Henderson Daily Gleaner on Tuesday, 8 January 1907 and were reprinted from the Providence Enterprise.

Mr. Chas. A. Childs, of Lisman, and Miss Jimmie Lisman, formerly of this city, went to Madisonville Wednesday morning where they were quietly married at the Presbyterian parsonage by Rev. P.D. Tucker.

Mr. Arthur Johnson, of this city, and Miss Emma Easley were united in marriage on Christmas day at the residence of the bride's father, Mr. E.U. Easley, of the country, Esq. Headley Browning tying the knot. They are very worthy young people.

Louis Grantley, a young married man living near Clay, died last Sunday evening of consumption. The deceased leaves a widow and one child. Burial took place at White Oak church.

Ernest Dame Dunning, a well respected young man of the Corinth country, died on Christmas eve after five weeks of stomach trouble. The deceased was about twenty years old.

Mrs. Minerva Rutherford, widow of the late W.S. Rutherford, died at Nebo last Saturday morning. It will be remembered that her husband died suddenly while sitting at her bedside about four weeks ago. Mrs. Rutherford was a highly esteemed lady.

Mrs. Charles Miller died at her home in this city last Saturday night after a long illness of consumption.

The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Jackson, of Dixon, died on December 27.

Published 14 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Free Negroes - Livingston County, Kentucky 1852

It is not easy researching persons of color prior to the Civil War so I was delighted to find names of Free Negroes listed after the 1852 Livingston County , Kentucky Tax List on microfilm.  The first list of names is for those under age. All were listed as Mulattoes except for Elijah Howard, Mary Demery and Harriet Gordin. Amanda Marks is listed as age 22  and Harriett Gordin as 28.  If those ages are correct, they certainly were not minors.

Mary Jane Mitchell, age 3; Nancy Jane Dover, 5; Minta Howard, 11; Fedrick Howard, 15; Elijah Howard, 12; Amanda Marks, 22; Jane Hervey, 12; Lydia Henry, 7; Mary A. Bowls, 13; John J. Bowls, 9; Minerva Bowls, 8; George R. Bowls, 4; William E. Bowls, 6; Henry R. Bowls, 4; Thos. F. Bowls, 2; Lewis Harris, 16; Mary Demery, 10; Harriet Gordin, 28.

Of the following list, M  after the names signifies Mulatto and N signifies Negro.

Fitts William, N, age 45; Austin [no last name], N, 56; Hannah Davis, N, 65; Jacob Forbush, M, 48; Bazzel Jenkins, M, 18; Bazzel Jenkins, M, 39; James Jefferson, M, 25; Henry Ann [Ann Henry?], N, 55; Jane Botts, M, 65; William Bowls, N, 27; Lucinda Bowls, M, 28; Mary Betz, N, 30; Minta Jenkins, N, 39; John Dickenson, M, 34; Betty Densary M, 30; Lydia Howard, M, 47; Edmund McCawley, M; Henry Jenkins, M, 21; John Jenkins, N, 23; Levi Gordon, N, 52; Willis [no other name], N, 81; Blewford Moreland, M, 41; Mary Leech, M, 24; Barhaba Willis, M, 38; Emily Moreland, M, 26; Bob Smith, N, 68.

Property of  Negroes
Gordon, Levi  100 A. Town Creek, 300
Gordon, Levi  100 A. Cumberland R.
Moreland, Blewford  68 A. Ohio River
Davis, Hannah  85 A. Plumborchard Ck.
Furbush, Jacob
Furbush, Jacob
Jenkins, Bazzell
Dickenson, John

John Jameson, Blind, living on the waters of Deer Creek near Salem.
James Burgess, Deaf, Sandy Creek, Salem P.O.
Charles Bearden, Ohio River, Salem, P.O.

31 May 1852  Jas. L. Dallam

Published 5 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Alexandra Brasher

born Aug. the 8
died  Nov the 14
Buried Old Fredonia Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 15 March 2013.
Was this Alexander Brasher, possibly a son of Thomas Brasher who appears on the 1830 Caldwell County census?
Published 10 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is an instrument in writing whereby a person appoints another as his agent and confers authority to perform certain specified acts or kinds of acts in his behalf. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 1990]  That is what William Griffith did when he appointed Joseph McConnell to receive his part of  Reuben Cook's estate in Caldwell County, Kentucky in 1835. Living far away from Caldwell County very likely would have prevented Griffith from acting in his own behalf.

Powers of attorney are sometimes recorded in deed books or in county court order books or they may be found among loose county court papers and never recorded. The following document was filed in Caldwell County Powers of Attorney 1833-1840 in the county clerk's office in Princeton.

"Know all men by these presents that I William Griffith of Louissiania parrish of East Felisania have nominated Constituted and appointed and do by presents nominate Constitute and appoint Joseph Mcconell  McConnell my true and lawfull agent and attorney in fact for me and in my name to draw receive and Convey agreeable to my order my part of legacy a comeing from Reuben Cooks estate and whatever my Lawfull attorney Shall do for me in the premises Shall be as binding on myself and my heirs as if done by me in my own proper person.

"In witness whereof I the said Griffith have hereunto set my hand and Seal this the 23 day of September 1835.  [signed] William Griffith.  Witness - Wilson L. Pollard, John H. Campbell, Jeptha Griffith.

"State of Kentucky  Caldwell County    I Nathan S. Dallam clerk of the County Court for the aforesaid County, do certify that the foregoing Letter of attorney from William Griffith unto Joseph McConnell was this day produced to me in my office & proven by the Several oaths of Jeptha Griffith & Wilson L. Pollard two subscribing witnesses thereto to be the act & deed of sd. William Griffith for the purpose therein contained, and that I have truly recorded the same & this certificate in my sd. office, Given under my hand this 15 day of October 1835. [signed] N.S. Dallam, CCC"

Published 12 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas H. Hughes

Thos. H. Hughes
Feb. 8, 1843
Oct. 12, 1874
I hoped in thy word.
Psalms 119:147
Buried Hill Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 10 October 2013.
Thomas Hughs [sic] is found in the household of Thos. and Jane S. Hughs on the 1850 Caldwell County census. He is also mentioned as a son in the will of Jane Hughs (Caldwell County Will Book B, page 250), which was written 28 January 1868 and recorded 16 March 1868.
Thomas H. Hughes married Mary R. Byrd 4 November 1868 in Caldwell County.
Published 3 December 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, November 29, 2013

Few Records on Dennis and Elizabeth Tramel

In the midst of the oldest tombstones in Smithland Cemetery in Livingston County, Kentucky, is a monument that leans to the side and has a curious inscription:

Dennis Tramel
and his Wife
Erected by their
Servant girl Jane

Who were Dennis and Elizabeth Tramel?  There are no dates on their tombstone so when did they die and when did they live in Smithland
Dennis and Elizabeth Tramel do not appear on any Livingston County census and they did not buy land there. The first record for either of them is the last will and testament of Dennis Tramel in Will Book B, page 82. On 9 February 1841, he told how he wanted a portion of his personal property to be sold to pay his doctor and funeral bills. His Negro woman Jinney, about age 17, was to become the property of his wife. The rest of his property was to be divided among his children John Hambrick and Sarah Hambrick, John Tramel and Jefferson Tramel. He wanted his wife to be executrix. Dennis signed the will by making his mark. This document was presented to the county court on Monday, the 5th of April 1841.
In 1843, Elizabeth Tramel appeared on the Livingston County tax list with no land, two slaves (one over the age of 16) and one child between the ages of 7 and 17.  On 1 May 1843, Elizabeth's last will and testament, which had been written 19 October 1842,  was produced in county court. She mentioned Francis Marion Montgomery, "the little boy I have had with me since he was quite young."  Elizabeth also mentioned her "good faithful and trusty servant Jane ... and her child Sophia, about 5 weeks old," whom she wanted to be forever free.
No inventory of the estate of either Dennis or Elizabeth was recorded and there is no mention in the county court minutes that Jane/Jinney applied for her free papers, which would have been her passport to a free state. The only other record found is the 1844 tax list which shows Tramel's Administrator, D.A. Given, responsible for 2 slaves (one over age 16) with a value of $550.
I am not sure of the origins of Dennis and Elizabeth Tramel, but suspect they  connect to one of the Dennis Tramels in Georgia before 1840. As to the later life of Jane/Jinney, the servant girl - I don't know what happened to her. The whereabouts of Francis Marion Montgomery are also unknown after 1843.  All we really know is that Dennis and Elizabeth Tramel appear in Smithland by February 1841, wrote their wills, and then both were dead by 1 May 1843.
Published 21 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation 1863

“I do there­fore in­vite my fel­low-cit­i­zens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands,  to set apart and ob­serve the last Thurs­day of No­vem­ber next, as a day of Thanks­giv­ing and praise to our benef­i­cent Fa­ther who dwelleth in the Heav­ens ... and fer­vently im­plore the in­ter­po­si­tion of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the na­tion and to re­store it, as soon as may be con­sis­tent with the Di­vine pur­pose, to the full en­joy­ment of peace, har­mony, tran­quil­lity and union.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3rd day of October, in the year of our Lord 1863, and of the independence of the United States the 88th."
        From Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Published 28 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Vennie E. Bentley

Vennie E. Duley
Wife of Dr. John M.
Aug. 18, 1892
Feb. 26, 1924
Reverse of Vennie E. Bentley tombstone
Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 6 February 2013.
Miss Edwina Vennie Duley married John M. Bentley 8 November 1919 in Smithland, according to Marriage Licenses and Bonds Book 17, page 63. She was age 25, single, born in Livingston County and lived in Smithland. Her parents were George W. Duley and Martha Bell Sivells Duley. John M. Bentley was age 29, single, born Letcher County, Kentucky and lived in Whitesburg. His parents were Riley Bentley and Lucinda Profitt Bentley.
According to death certificate #30934 (1924), Vennie Edwina Duley was born in Hampton, Kentucky and died in Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Published 26 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joseph's Story

Many of you know of my interest in the Barner family of Smithland, Kentucky. I've written about Sarah Jane Barner and her two daughters, Mollie and Pattie. Now it is time to tell the story of her son, Joseph M. Barner.

Joseph was born 18 April 1840  in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the son of Sterling M. Barner and Sarah Jane West and was their first child to survive infancy. Joseph moved with his family to Smithland ca 1840-41 and lived in the home of his uncle, Benjamin Barner, at the end of Charlotte Street where it meets Walnut Street.

His childhood was probably more privileged than that of his peers. His father and uncle were commission merchants for many years and if a needed item was not available in Smithland, it could easily be imported  from other cities, including Nashville and New Orleans. As the only male child in the family, his parents probably had high hopes for his future and to carry on the family name. Very likely he was looked up to by his younger sisters, Mollie and Pattie.

Joseph attended Bethel College, which was founded in 1842 in McLemoresville, Carroll County, Tennessee and which was affiliated with the West Tennessee Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Civil War was hard on Bethel College and it had to close. When it re-opened n 1865, for the first time women were allowed to attend the school. Today this school is located in McKenzie, Tennessee.

The Federal army took possession of Joseph's hometown, Smithland, in September of 1861.  Penalties were severe for openly disagreeing with the authorities. No Confederate flags could be flown and no singing  of  "Dixie," the favored song of the Confederacy. Life changed quickly for Smithland residents, especially those who espoused the southern cause. Joseph wasted little time in choosing sides.

Cobb's Battery, also known as the 1st Kentucky Artillery, was organized at Mint Springs, Kuttawa, Lyon County, Kentucky, in 1861. Since Kentucky was technically a neutral state and outside the boundaries of the Confederacy, the battery moved to Clarksville, Tennessee for training. It was there that the entire battery enlisted and began training at Camp Boone. That is where Joseph M. Barner enlisted 26 July 1861. On the 1st of October 1861, he was appointed Sergeant and his rate of pay was 25 cents per day.

Cobb's Battery was present when Forts Henry and Donelson fell in the winter of 1862. The battery also participated in the Battle of Shiloh on 6 April 1862. Shortly after Shiloh, malaria struck the battery, leaving only a small number of men fit for duty.  Cobb's Battery also participated in battles at Baton Rouge (5 August 1862), Hartsville (7 December 1862) and Stone River or Murfreesboro (31 December 1862 - 3 January 1863). 

We don't know how often Joseph saw action in the war, but we do know that in March and April of 1863 he was sick in a hospital.  His death occurred at  one of the Confederate hospitals in Catoosa Springs, Georgia. He died  of erysipelas, a bacterial infection of the skin. Today antibiotics would treat and cure this disease, but antibiotics were not available at the time of Joseph's death.  The military record gives his death as 26 May 1863, but an entry by his mother in the family Bible states he died 16 June 1863. He was 23 years of age. He had been a soldier less than two years.

As far as I can tell, Joseph M. Barner left no descendants. His survivors included his mother, sister Pattie and uncle Benjamin Barner.  It is unknown if he was buried in Georgia or if his remains were brought to Smithland. There is no tombstone for him in the Barner family plot in Smithland Cemetery.

Published 21 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph and Sally McGowan

Joseph Wm.
1827 - 1896
Sally A. Wood
His Wife
1838 - 1912
Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 21 June 2013.

Joseph W. McGowan and Miss Sally Ann Wood married 26 July 1855 at the residence of the bride's father in Caldwell County. Giving consent for his daughter, Sally Ann, to marry was James Wood. Joseph and Sarah McGowan and their children are enumerated on the 1880 Caldwell County census. Also living in their household is Sally Ann's mother, Sally Wood.  According to death certificate #27080 (1912), Sally Ann was born 14 May 1838 Caldwell County and died 11 November 1912. Her parents were J.B. Wood, born Virginia, and Sarah Curry, born Paris, Kentucky.
Published 19 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Creekmur Divorce 1827

Christopher Creekmur, son of John Creekmur, married Rutha Ellis, daughter of Abraham Ellis, 24 August 1822 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.  The young bride had high expectations for a happy marriage and did not know that just five years later she would be filing a petition for divorce. The following  file is located in Caldwell County circuit court case files at the Glenn Martin Genealogy Library, Princeton, Kentucky.

Ruth Creekmur (late Ruth Ellis) humbly complaining showeth That she was single and unmarried, she lived in the house & family of her honorable father, and might have continued so, but being young and heedless, ardent and passionate as all young people are  ... a time too, when the heart is most susceptible of impressions of love, a certain Christopher Creekmur,  young, handsome & gallant, made his address ... under the appearance and character of a gentleman. By insinuation, deceitful courtesy and impassioned declarations of honorable love, he gained upon the young and susceptible heart of your oratrix, and they were married. As they stood before Hymen's sacred altar, and ... responded affirmatively to the [illegible] injunctions of the Priest, in the vows then made by Creekmur, your oratrix thought she had an eternal pledge and prim assurances of reciprocal love, affectionate kindness and tender regard. She returned from the church with sanguine hopes of lasting happiness and matrimonial bliss.  But scarcely had they entered the threshold of the married life, before a cloud of horrible darkness spread its deadening shade and enveloped her of cruelty, barbarism and incontincy. She was taken sick ... before her recovery he departed from her, hopeless, friendless and heart broken. Near five years ago he abandoned her with an intention never to return.

From Kentucky he removed to Tennessee, and has there married another woman. This was more mortifying than every thing else. Until your oratrix was informed of the circumstances, she hoped she could reclaim her husband but this put an end to every hope, and from that moment she determined to apply ... she prays Creekmur may be made defendant to this bill and compelled to answer every [illegible] herein contained fully and completely and upon a final hearing she prays the court to divorce her a viculo matrimonii [1] from Creekmur and restore her to all the privileges of a single woman and for general relief ...

The petition was published for two calendar months in the Village Museum, "an authorized newspaper printed in Princeton."  Christopher Creekmur did not respond to the petition and the jury adjudged and decreed that the complainant, Ruth Creekmur, be forever divorced from the defendant and that she be restored to all the privileges and rights of a femme sole.

Christopher Creekmur must have returned to Caldwell County as he married Mrs. Lucinda Townsen 28 January 1847 in Caldwell County. He also appears on the Caldwell County 1850 census. 

[1] viculo matrimonii - complete divorce

Published 14 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Martha Throop Abell

Abell - Throop
Martha Throop
Wife of
J. Fort Abell
Apr. 17, 1883
Sept. 11, 1912
Buried Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana. Tombstone photographed 22 October 2013.
According to the wedding announcement in the Evansville Courier, Martha Throop, daughter of Captain and Mrs. John H. Throop, married J. Fort Abell at the Throop home in Evansville on 16 January 1909. After their return from a trip to California, they resided in Smithland, Kentucky, home of the bridegroom and former home of the Throop family.
Martha Throop Abell died at the home of her mother. Among survivors were her brothers, John Throop of Jackson, Mississippi, and George Throop of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Martha Throop was the daughter of John H. and Mary Throop and the granddaughter of Joshua V. Throop
Published 12 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Business People of Marion 1890

The 10 November 1890 issue of the Evansville (Indiana) Courier had an article on Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, its businesses and businessmen.  The population of Marion at that time was 2,000 and the people were described as "live, wide-awake and hospitable to a fault." There were two flouring mills, one harness and saddler factory, one saw and planning mill, one tobacco stemmery and a distillery, but no saloons. There were four churches for the white population and three churches where the black population worshiped.

G.C. Gray
Engaged in the sale of dry goods, notions, boots and shoes, hats and caps. Began his present enterprise in 1878. Native of Kentucky.

Blue & Blue
Attorneys at law; father and son began practice as a firm in 1884. J.N. Blue Sr. came to Marion 1854 from Union County, where he was admitted to the bar and first commenced practice. Native of Kentucky. J.W. Blue Jr. elected Crittenden County Attorney at the last election on the Democratic ticket. Graduate of the Louisville Law University, Class of  '84.

M. Schwar
Commenced business in Marion in 1881 as a produce commission merchant. In 1889 he opened a grocery story. Came from Owensboro, where he was a commission merchant five years.

D. Woods
Born in Livingston County in 1839. Came to this county at age of 15 and when old enough launched a mercantile business, which he followed up to 12 years ago, when he was elected County Clerk on the Democratic ticket. Re-elected last August for 4 years.

Marion Banking Company
Operates the Marion Bank; R.W. Wilson, President and H.H. Loving, Cashier. Incorporated 1887.

Dr. Samuel D. Swope
Came to Marion October 28, 1889 from Henderson, where he was born and reared. Graduate of the medical department of the Louisville University, Class of '87.

T.J. Cameron
Came from Cadiz and commenced business in 1867. Served in Federal army during the war, and is today a prominent member of the G.A.R. His store is 2-stories high and his stock comprises everything except drugs and whisky. Republican.

R.E. Bigham
Proprietor of the Marion Mills, which first turned its wheels in '78. He was born and reared here.

Dr. J.W. Crawford
Came to Marion 1877 from Livingston County, where he was born and where he commenced the practice of medicine in 1857. Graduate of the St. Louis College of Medicine. Old line Democrat.

J.N. Woods
Probably the pioneer business man of Crittenden County, having commenced business in Marion in 1846. He carries about $8,000 worth of stock. Mr. Woods is aged and wishes to retire from business.

Hillyard & Woods
The only dealers of drugs and medicines of any prominence in Marion. They handle a large line of wall paper and paints and oils. Commenced business January 1, '90 but the house was established by Mr. H. about 12 years ago. They burned out last August, but at once bought out Clark & Co., who had been carrying on a drug trade for some years.

Marion Hotel
Mary L. Barnes is the pleasant proprietress, assisted by J.M. Barnes as clerk. Mrs. Barnes came off a farm to run the hotel.

J.J. Bennett
Furniture and wallpaper business. He is also an undertaker. Born and reared in this county.

J.G. Rochester
Attorney at law. Born and reared here and was admitted to practice 11 years ago. Read law with D.H. Hughs at Morganfield.

Sam Guggenheim
Dealer in dry goods, boots & shoes, hats & caps, clothing and gents' furnishing goods. Came here in 1881 and clerked for Benj. H. Hatfield before going into business for himself.

Pierce & Son
Dealers in hardware agricultural implements, stoves, harness and saddler. Commenced business 1881. Mr. J.P. Pierce, the senior member, came to Crittenden county 1859 from Jefferson county, Tennessee. He was Crittenden County Sheriff 1878-1881 and County Judge 1882-1885. Has been Justice of the Peace and member of the Board of Trustees of this town. A.J. Pierce, the junior member, is 27 years old and a good Democrat. The senior member is also a member of the firm of Pierce & Yandell, dry goods merchants.

Published 7 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah H. Ross

Sarah H.
Wife of
Andrew Ross
June 24, 1804
Sept. 18, 1888
84 y's, 2 m's, 24 d's
Buried Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 9 September 2013.
On 7 May 1825, Andrew Ross obtained a marriage bond to marry Sarah H. Walker in Caldwell County, Kentucky. Giving consent for her to marry was her father, Isaac Walker. Andrew Ross died before 4 January 1841 when letters of administration on his estate were granted to Enoch P. Ross. The 1850 Livingston County census shows Sarah Ross as head of household and living with her are Columbus Ross, Martha Ross and Willis Ross.
Published 5 November 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Never Too Old To Marry

Newspapers are full of wonderful stories. The following article is just one example. It appeared in the Evansville, Indiana Courier on Thursday, 22 February 1900 and was then reprinted in the Crittenden Press.

Met By Correspondence
Martin Gahagen of Weston, Ky. [Crittenden County], and Miss Amelia Sabin of Coldwater, Mich. were married in Evansville Wednesday. The wedding was the result of correspondence. The bride and groom never knew one another until they met in this city.
The groom is a well known and prosperous farmer of Weston. He is in his 70th year and carried himself with a degree of erectness for one of that age. He was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, and came from the sturdy Pennsylvania German stock. This is his third venture in the matrimonial field and he has a family of five children, all grown.
Mrs. Amelia Sabin, the bride, is a dressmaker and gives her age at 53 years. She is a lady who bears a determined expression on her countenance. Her face is beginning to become wrinkled, while silvery locks are displacing the jet black hair of a few years ago. Her eyes are penetrating and have not lost their girlhood lustre, while her figure robed in a blue traveling suit, made her an impressive bride for one of her age. This is her second marriage.
Mr. Gahagen, who is a well known farmer, read an advertisement in a matrimonial journal several weeks ago. It read: "I am a widow." He answered the advertisement and a courtship followed. The climax was marriage.
Immediately after the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Gahagen left for Weston, Ky., where they will reside in the future. The marriage ceremony took place at the Victoria hotel, at the corner of Main and Eighth streets.
Published 31 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Andrew J.R. Hurley

Andrew J.R. Hurley
Nov. 19, 1814
May 5, 1854
Buried in the Hurley- Dickerson Cemetery east of Burna (Livingston County) on Mitchell Road near Ralph Hardin Road. This cemetery is almost destroyed with only a few tombstones surviving. Tombstone photographed and submitted by Marty Hodge, Marion, Kentucky.
Andrew J.R. Hurley is identified as a child and heir of Moses Hurley in Livingston County Deed Book HH, pages 278-279. In that deed dated 19 January 1846, William T. Hurley, Andrew J.R. Hurley, George C. Hurley, Wiley Spell and wife Cynthia (late Hurley), children of Moses Hurley Dec'd convey  land in Livingston County to Dickson G. Hurley, also a child of Moses Hurley.
Andrew J.R. Hurley married Miss Messenniah J. Asher 31 October 1839 Livingston County. They appear with their children on the 1850 Livingston County census. Livingston County Vital Statistics records the death of Andrew J.R. Hurley.  It states he was born on the Smithland-Salem Road and was the son of Moses and Catharine Hurley.
Published 29 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life Story Told in Obituary

Old newspapers with wonderful obituaries rank high on my list of favorite things. Wonderful obituaries are the ones that give details of the decedent's life that you might not know from just searching public records. The following obituary for Mrs. Harriet Williamson  falls into the category of Wonderful. Although Mrs. Williamson lived in Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois, she was a former resident of Livingston County, Kentucky and, thus, her obituary appeared in the Paducah Sun on 9 February 1905.

Death At Cairo
Mrs. Harriet Williamson, Formerly of Smithland
Her Husband Formerly Owned the Boat Store at Cairo and was a Prominent Man

Cairo, Ill., Feb. 9 - Mrs. Harriet Williamson, aged 74 years, died yesterday afternoon at 5:15 o'clock at her home, 611 Washington avenue, after an illness of more than a year with a complication of diseases.

Mrs. Williamson was born in Hopkinsville, Ky., September 4, 1830. Her maiden name was  Wood. On October 7, 1845, she married John B. Smith, of Smithland, Ky. He died February 6, 1855. On May 11, 1856, she was united in marriage to Capt. G.D. Williamson at Smithland, where they resided until 1859 when he came to Cairo and established the boat store on Ohio street in partnership with the late E.P. Haynes. The latter retired from the business in the early 70s and Capt. Williamson conducted the business until his death in 1893. Mrs. Williamson came to Cairo in 1860.

The deceased is survived by two brothers, W.T. Wood of Bloomington, Ill., and R.G. Wood if Whiting, Kan.; a step-daughter, Mrs. Walton W. Wright, of Memphis, and an adopted daughter, Mrs. Fred E. Allen of Fort Dodge, Ia.

A remarkable coincidence in the life of Mrs. Williamson and her second husband was that the first husband of the former died on the same day as the first wife of the latter. Funeral services were conducted over the remains of both in the old church at Smithland where they were both married. One sermon was preached over the remains of both and they were laid to rest in the same burial ground.

According to Kentucky Vital Statistics (Livingston County), 1855, John B. Smith, first husband of Harriet Wood Smith, died of consumption at the age of 32. The first wife of George D. Williamson was Mina McCawley, daughter of James McCawley of Smithland. She was age 29 when she died. John B. Smith has a tombstone in Smithland Cemetery, but Mina McCawley Williamson has no tombstone.

Published 24 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Levi Durrah

Levi Durrah
Oct. 15, 1872
July 20, 1926
Buried in Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2 August 2013.
According to his death certificate, Levi Durrah, a "Negro," was a common laborer and the son of Nathan Durrah and Sarah Jones. Giving information for the death certificate was Carrie Webb, who was a sister to Levi Durrah. Marriage records show that Nathan Durrah and Sarah Jones married in Smithland  25 November 1869. Nathan was a deacon in the Colored Baptist Church in Smithland in 1880.
Levi Durrah enlisted for the draft for World War I. His birthdate on his draft enlistment is shown as 16 October 1874 and his nearest relative was Carrie Webb of Smithland.
The 1910 Livingston County, Kentucky census shows Levi Dure [sic] living in a household headed by his mother, Sarah.  By 1920, Levi was the head of household. Living with him were his brother, George, and Levi's son, Roy, age 12. According to the death certificate of Roy Durrah, his mother was Inez Holland.
Published 22 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lamb Family Reunion 2013

The descendants of Longshore Lamb,  Revolutionary War soldier who served from South Carolina, met in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky, for a reunion on 11-12 October 2013. The highlight of this gathering was the dedication of a memorial marker for John Lamb Sr. (1793-1865) and his wife, Mary Clayton Lamb (1797-1864) on land once owned by the Lamb family in the Scottsville community.  In addition, a new marker designating the Lamb Cemetery was also unveiled. The impressive ceremony was preceded by musical selections on a bagpipe.

Click on each photo for a larger view.

Memorial Marker of John and Mary Lamb

Memorial Marker of John and Mary Lamb

Lamb Cemetery Marker
Published 18 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Legends, Traditions and Stories

Grandma said Grandpa was part Indian. He must have been, she said, as he looked like an Indian. Auntie said Grandpa's ancestor was Cherokee, after all Grandma said he was Indian and the Cherokees came through this area of Kentucky on the Trail of Tears. Uncle said Grandpa "fell away" from the Trail of Tears and stayed in Kentucky. Otherwise he would have gone on with the rest of the Cherokees. Dad said he didn't care if Grandpa was Indian or not. He was tired of hearing about it and changed the subject.

So, was Grandpa of Native American descent or not? How much faith do you put in family stories? What do you believe and what do you discard? And finally, where do you look for Indian records in Kentucky? 

Family legends, traditions and stories are fun, but they don't have to be true to be fun. Sometimes they are so preposterous that we are sure they are not true. But what about the stories that could be true.

The only way to find out if those stories are true is to follow that old path from the known to the unknown. Start with what you know and work backwards using vital records, census, and every other record available in the courthouse.

I've been researching Kentucky records for a long time and have never seen a box of documents (or even a single document) or a big book marked "Indian Records" in the courthouse. Except for separate books for African American marriages, all other records are found together with no label of color or ethnicity.

So, record those legends, traditions and family stories and be sure to write down the date you heard them and the name of the storyteller. Then get busy researching to determine if they are true or not.

Published 17 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Elder John Brice

Elder John Bryce
Died July 19, 1864
Aged 80 Y's, 2 M's, 16 D's
He was a faithful minister of the gospel
for 58 years and a firm [illegible]
He walked with God and is [illegible]
God took him
Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 27 July 2013.
The 1860 Henderson County census shows John Brice, age 76, born Virginia, Baptist clergyman. In his household are Lucinda J. Brice, age 60, born Virginia; Harriet A. Norris, age 58, born Virginia; M.L. Brice, age 5, born Kentucky; Barber Brice, age 31, trader, born Kentucky and Mary Brice, age 27, born Kentucky.
Published 15 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shelton High School - Smithland, Kentucky

I had never heard of Shelton High School in Smithland, Kentucky before I read of its incorporation in Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Chapter 255, in 1869.  This high school predates Livingston Central High School, which opened in 1916, according to Livingston County, Kentucky History and Families 1796-1990.  The following deed is found in Livingston County Deed Book 7, page 488, dated 10 February 1870:

"Whereas by an Act of the General Assembly approved March 1st 1869, all right & title of the state of Kentucky in and to the property in Smithland known as Cumberland Hospital was released to the corporate authorities of the town of Smithland to be held and used for the sole and exclusive purpose of carrying on a High School in sd. Town. And whereas by another act approved Feb. 3rd 1870 incorporating Shelton High School it is enacted that upon the presentation to the corporate authorities of the Town of Smithland of a petition signed by a majority of the voters of sd. Town it shall be their duty to convey to the Trustees of Shelton High School the building in Smithland known as Cumberland Hospital together with all the lands, assets and other property belonging thereto. And whereas a petition praying the conveyance be made ... Now in consideration of the premises and $1 we W. Beverly, Police Judge, and T.C. Leech, W.M. Gray and J.S. Leffler, Trustees of the Town of Smithland, do convey unto R.A. Clopton, James M. Cade, A.A. Grayott, W.M. Gray, S.H. Piles, T.C. Leech and I.T. Handlin, Trustees of Shelton High School and their successors, a piece of ground in Smithland containing 1 acre and is part of out lot #3."

I do not know if Shelton High School ever opened and if it did, how long it was open. Sometime previous to 1836, out lot #3 was divided into three portions, with one portion being where Cumberland Hospital was located. This was the portion upon which Shelton High School was to be situated. Today Smith Funeral Home is located on part of out lot #3.

Published 10 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Ruth Ann Freeman

Ruth Ann
Wife of
H.F. Freeman
Sept. 29, 1807
Aug. 18, 1856
Buried Hill Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 13 May 2011.
Hardy F. Freeman and Ruth Ann Son were married in Caldwell County 24 October 1832. Consent for Ruth Ann Son to marry was given by her mother, Sarah Son. The death record of Ruth Ann Freeman can be found in Vital Statistics (1856). The following information is given: Rutha Freeman, age 50, married, housewife, daughter of Abraham and Sarah Son, died of dysentery 18 August 1856.
Published 8 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Anniversary

I want to share some numbers with you:  6 and 970.  What is the significance of those two numbers?  6 years ago on the 6th of October 2007, the first Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog post appeared.  Since that date, there have been 970 posts. That translates to a lot of time spent in front of this computer and even more time searching for material. This blog is truly a labor of love because the financial return isn't so great (Translation:  $0).

So, thanks for joining me here. I plan to continue the blog for some time and hope you will join me. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the blog or the type of material you would like to see, please let me know.

Published 6 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ancestry Buys Find A Grave

Find A Grave has recently been purchased by Ancestry, according to a Note from Jim Tipton, creator of Find A Grave. Tipton stated Find A Grave will remain the same and continue to be free. Also, contributors will continue to retain ownership of their photographs. Tipton stated the Find A Grave site had become too large for him to continue to handle by himself.

Published 3 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Elizabeth Lake Haynes

Elizabeth Lake
Wife of
E.P. Haynes
Jan. 14, 1830
July 29, 1886
Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2012.
Elizabeth Lake was the daughter of John A. Lake and Elizabeth R. Brown.  Elizabeth married Emilius P. Haynes 20 July 1846 Livingston County, Kentucky. Consent for the marriage was given by her guardian, D.B. Sanders. Elizabeth and E.P. Haynes are found on the 1850 - 1880 Livingston County census records.
Published 1 October 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lamb Family Reunion 2013

The Lamb Family Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, 12 October 2013, in Caldwell County, Kentucky. The day begins with the dedication of a new marker for John and Mary Clayton Lamb at the Lamb Cemetery in Scottsburg, just outside Princeton.  Following the ceremony, the group will gather at the Princeton Tourist Welcome Center, 201 E. Main Street, for lunch. Also, I will be present a program on "Epitaphs."

Reservations for the lunch are due 1 October 2013. If you have questions, contact Linda Lamb Monticelli at or Matthew T. Patton at

Pre-reunion events include Exploring the George Coon Public Library and the Glenn E. Martin Genealogy Library, 114 S. Harrison Street in Princeton, on Friday, 11 October 2013 from 12:30 - 2:30 pm. The library visit will be followed by Insider Tips on researching Caldwell County Court Records at the county clerk's office in the courthouse at 100 E. Market Street in Princeton from 2:30 - 4:00 pm.  The group will meet for dinner at Adams Breezy Hill Farm and Restaurant, 1222 Cadiz Road, Princeton at 5:15 pm.

Published 30 September 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Obituary of Maj. Fayette Posey 1869

What a treat it is to discover copies of old western Kentucky newspapers. The following obituary was found in the 2 December 1869 issue of the Henderson Reporter, at the Henderson County Public Library.

Died - in Henderson county, Kentucky Oct. 5th, 1869, Major Fayette Posey, in the 85th year of his age.

In the Life of Dr. Archibald Alexander, it is mentioned that at the early age of 17, he (Dr. A.) became tutor in the family of General Posey, who resided in the Wilderness, 12 miles west of Fredericksburg in the county of Spottsylvania, Virginia. [Quoting from this book], "Gen. Posey had done service to the Revolution as a commander of riflemen in Morgan's famous corps, in which he rose to be Colonel. Mrs. Posey had been a beauty in her youth, was now (1789) at the age of 40, a fine and stately person." These were the parents of Fayette Posey. It may be added that the father, Gen. Thomas Posey, afterward held the position of Governor of the North-western Territory.

Maj. Fayette Posey was born on the 24th day of October, A.D. 1784. Early in the present century, while yet a youth, he removed with the family to Kentucky and settled near what is now the town of Henderson ... and continued to reside until his death.

For 60 years he was a member and a large portion of that period, a ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church. As a politician, he took the side of the Union in the late conflict ...

He died suddenly, while absent from home, on business connected with his estate, one son only of his family being present when the summons came. For many years he had been afflicted with a disease of the heart, and it was doubtless the messenger which God had commissioned to summon him to the eternal world. He complained of slight chilliness, sat down by the fire, resting his face on his hands and before those who stood near him were conscious of any danger, his spirit had fled.

And thus has passed away another of the fathers.

More than 60 years ago he was a student in Washington College, now under the Presidency of General Lee. He sat under the preaching of McGready, who, more than a quarter of a century ago, sunk into the grave.

Maj. Posey was twice married. His second wife - his companion and true helper through more than 40 years of his pilgrimage - five sons and two daughters, with other numerous descendants, survive him.

Maj. Fayette Posey is buried in Lot 154, Space 4, Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson.

Published 26 September 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - H.R. and Mary A. Jones

Mary A.
Wife of H.R.
Oct. 28, 1844
Mar. 19, 1924
Gone but not forgotten
Husband of M.A.
Apr. 29, 1843
Sep. 30, 1920
Gone but not forgotten
Buried Landrum Cemetery, Dover Road, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 4 September 2013.
H.R. Jones and Mary Ann Parker married 9 March 1865 in Livingston County. According to her death certificate, Mary Ann died in McCracken County. There is no information on her parents. Thomas Jones' death certificate shows he was the son of Thomas Jones. He died of being struck by a freight train.
Published 24 September 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Answers Result in More Questions on Judith Martin

Mrs. Judith Turner
Sept. 14, 1810
July 31, 1873
Aged 60 Yrs.
10 Mo's &
20 D's

It all started when I spotted the tombstone of Mrs. Judith Martin leaning against a shed in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. It looked to be perfect as the subject of Tombstone Tuesday for this blog. As usual, I did some research to learn a little about her. Who were her parents? Who did she marry? Did anything extraordinary happen during her life?

I learned some things, but what I learned only raised more questions - questions for which I found no answers. Maybe you can help.  Here is what I learned.

Judith was a daughter of Tilghman Martin of Caldwell County and married Nathaniel Rochester as his second wife in June of 1833. Nathaniel Rochester, reputed to be a hotel keeper in Princeton, was first married to Milly Johnson in 1810 Knox County, Kentucky. In 1818, Nathaniel and family purchased land in Caldwell County and moved there. Shortly after 1830, Milly died and in 1833, Nathaniel married Judith/Judy Martin.

Apparently, Nathaniel and Judith stayed in Kentucky after their marriage as they had two children born there. They were Amanda Malvina, born 1834, and James, born 1838. Nathaniel and Judith Rochester have not been found on the 1840 census in any state, but I feel they remained in Kentucky.  Nathaniel and Judith must have divorced as Nathaniel was not found in 1850 and Judith was living with her new husband, Mathew B. Turner, whom she had married earlier that same year.

In 1889, Mrs. Agatha Rochester Strange published a little book, House of Rochester in Kentucky. Nathaniel Rochester and his children are listed, including a daughter, Amanda Malvina, by Judith Martin, but neither the marriage to Judith or the second child, James, is mentioned.

On 6 August 1851, Judith's father, Tilghman Martin, wrote his will. He left bequests to each of his children except Judith. Judith's children by Nathaniel Rochester did inherit from their grandfather. When Judith's brother, also named Tilghman, wrote his will in 1852, he specifically excluded Judith from inheriting from his estate. Apparently, there were hard feelings between Judith and her family.

The marriage of Judith and Mathew B. Turner apparently terminated, too. On the 1860 census Judith was living in the household of her brother, A.J. Martin, and Turner was living with his married daughter in Williamson County, Illinois.

So, when and where did Nathaniel and Judith (Martin) Rochester divorce and where were they living in 1840?  Did Judith Martin Rochester and Mathew B. Turner also divorce?  If so, where?  I have looked in Caldwell, Livingston and Crittenden counties and found no record of a divorce.  Crittenden County seemed the logical place to find records on Nathaniel as he died at the home of his son, William H. Rochester, in Marion in 1874, but, so far, I have not found anything there. Do you have any ideas?

Published 19 September 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,