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,

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