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,