Thursday, January 29, 2015

Often Overlooked Records Part IV - School Census Records

The School Trustee, who was in charge of each school district, played a big role in Kentucky communities. Among other duties, he was responsible for employing a qualified teacher, "who in no case shall be related to the trustee by blood or marriage ..."[1] If there was a complaint against or by the teacher, he had to deal with it. In addition, he was required to visit each school at the beginning of the year and make monthly visits throughout the year.[2]

The job of the trustee that interests us, as genealogists, relates to  the census that was taken each April in each school in the district. It was the trustee's duty "during the month of April, to take an exact census of all the children then residing in such district, who will be, on the first day of July following, between the ages of six and twenty years ... specifying the name, age, sex and names of the parents or guardian of each child"[3] Failure to take this census could result in the trustee being fined.  While it is great to have a date for the school children, be aware that some years only the age of the child was listed, some times the birth year was omitted and some birth dates vary from year to year.

School census records are found either in the county clerk's office of the courthouse or in the school board office. They may be in bound volumes, as in Livingston County, or as folded, loose papers, as in Lyon County. No matter what form they are, they may provide valuable information.

Part of 1900 Census of Lola School (District 7)
Livingston County, Kentucky

[1] Article VIII, "District Trustee," Journal of the Regular Session of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Begun and Held in the City of Frankfort on Monday, the Thirty-First of December, in the Year of Our Lord, 1883, and of the Commonwealth the Ninety-Second (Frankfort, KY: S.L.Major, Printer,  1884), 814; digital images, Google Books (; accessed 5 December 2014.
[2] Article VIII, "District Trustee, 815."
[3] Article VIII, "District Trustee, 816."

Published 29 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Willard Library Addition To Open

The long-awaited 8,000 square feet addition to Willard Library at 21 First Avenue, Evansville, will open Saturday, 7 February 2015. The ribbon cutting will be at 2 p.m., followed by tours and a Victorian Tea.

The genealogy collection will remain on the second floor of the library, but there will be a bit more room as the Archives will move from the second floor to the new addition.  A Gallery in which art and historical exhibits will be displayed will be included in the addition, also. The library's operating hours can be found Here

This will be a good chance to see how Willard Library has grown, but it might be wise to go early as there is sure to be a crowd.

Willard Library 
Before New Addition (in rear of building)

Published 27 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aunt Allie's Album

A friend recently purchased an old photograph album at an antique store in Trigg County, Kentucky.  The photographs are primarily of the Cherry family, but other surnames are also mentioned. Some of the people appear to be connected to Bowling Green, Hartford  and Butler County, Kentucky.

Written inside the album is "Aunt Allie's Album." It was the property of Mrs. Allie Cherry Boulton, born Sept. 14, 1877 and died May 29, 1927.

Other photos are of the following people:    Grave of Uncle Elzie, brother of Alma Neel Murray;  Eunice Cherry;  Uncle Lon & Aunt Zimru Neel, parents of Elzie, Will, Alma and Bubby Neel, parents-in-law of Allie Cherry Neel;  Bubby Neel;  Will Neel of Oklahoma;  Laura Phelps Cherry, wife of Dr. E.A. Cherry;  Preston & Eunice Cherry;  Hugh Cherry (baby);  Uncle Luther Cherry;  Dudley Tanner;  Phocian McKinney - obituary card - died Sept. 15, 1914;  Martha J. Goode, second wife of Adam Cherry (married 1858).  There are also photographs of unidentified persons.

If you are descended from this family, let me know and I will put you in contact with the person who owns the photograph album.

Dudley Tanner
Teacher at Hartford, Kentucky

Published 25 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Often Overlooked Records Part III - Bonds, Bonds, Bonds

A person appointed an estate administrator or executor, guardian to a minor or incompetent or granted a license to keep a ferry, tavern or coffeehouse was required to sign a bond to guarantee he would perform the required duties. These bonds are found in the county clerk's office in Kentucky and may appear as loose papers or bound in a book. The information was supposed to be recorded in the county court minutes, but sometimes the entries were omitted or they were incomplete.  Looking at just one rendering of this information is often not sufficient to obtain all of the information. One source may have the most basic information, while another source may contain much more. Rarely will you find any this information online.

The following guardian bond is an example of the information that can be found. It comes from Loose Guardian Bonds (1842) filed in the Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky.

Washington Watkins was appointed guardian for Miss  Delitha Lunnen [Lemmen?] 16 May 1842. Also signing the bond, as his security, was Jesse W. Young. This is good information, but it is the note that is filed with the loose bond that puts this into the "Wow!" category. On 14 May 1842, Delitha wrote a note to the county court stating that she wanted Watkins to be appointed her guardian because "I have neither Farther nor Mother living  my age is about Sixteen."  At the age of 14, minors were considered mature enough to choose their own guardian, but this note gives a more exact age and it states that both of her parents were deceased. The names witnessing her note are important, also. We know that Jesse W. Young was Watkins' security for the guardian bond, but who was Leven T. Olover?

When a minor married, a parent or guardian had to give consent for the license to be issued. If there were no living parents, or even if the father alone was deceased, a guardian was often appointed for that specific purpose.  A check of Caldwell County marriages shows that on the same date the guardian bond was issued, Levin T. Oliver obtained a marriage bond to marry Miss Delitha Lemmen in Caldwell County.[1] Ah ha! Leven was a principle player in this saga.

One record is often insufficient to get the complete picture so help yourself by checking every possible record.

Loose Guardian Bond and note 1842

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriage 1833-1853 (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery) 1997: 71.

Published 22 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Margaret Hammond - Midwife and Artist

When the Sutton Law of 1852 went into effect in Kentucky, physicians and midwives were required to submit a written account of the births they had attended. At the time, there were four known midwives in Crittenden County - Elizabeth Brasher, Annie Heath, Maria Hoggard and Margaret Hammond. No formal education was required of midwives; they learned by doing.

Because of the Sutton Law, we have a number of original birth records from the mid-1850s. They contain the following information: Date of birth; sex; where born; names of parents, including mother's maiden name; date certificate was signed and the signature of the midwife.

One of these midwives is of particular interest, not because of her skills as a midwife, but because of her personality that is displayed on some of the birth records she signed. Most women of the mid-1800s left few records to indicate their personality, but Margaret Hammond was different. 

Margaret Lamb married Martin Hammond 5 January 1814 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.[1] Her father, John Lamb, gave consent for the license to be issued.  Martin Hammond died in 1855, leaving Margaret a widow. Martin's estate wasn't settled until 1857, which was the last year we have a record of Margaret being a midwife.  We don't know how long she worked as a midwife, but the first record we have dates from 1852. All births she attended were  in the Crooked Creek area of Crittenden County.

Margaret distinguished herself for being a midwife, but she is also known for the little figures she drew on some of the birth records. The figures may be males or they could be females. Most are smoking a pipe and some are wearing a hat. The figures are rough and primitive, but they have a certain charm. Why did she decorate some of the birth records with these figures? Was she just drawing what she saw?  Did she think of herself as an artist? Was she poking fun at someone?  One drawing not pictured here is offensive because of the words she used in describing the birth of an African American child.  What was the purpose of decorating these birth records? What do you think?

Crittenden County Birth Records
Decorated with  Margaret Hammond's drawings

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1809-1832 (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1996) 24.

Published 18 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Often Overlooked Records Part II - Medical Register

Another record not usually found online is the county medical register.  "An act to protect the citizens of this commonwealth from empiricism,"[1] approved 23 February 1874, stated that on and after the first day of April, 1889, "it shall be unlawful for any person to practice medicine in any of its branches within the limits of this State who has not exhibited and registered under this act exhibited and registered in the county clerk's office of the county where he is practicing ..."

In addition, each person shall have either a diploma from a medical school within the state or another state or an affidavit showing he is exempted from obtaining a diploma. The medical register contains the name of the physician, his age and place of birth and the name of the school granting his diploma. In addition, if the physician moved away or died, it was to be so noted at the bottom of the page.

If you have a doctor in the family, be sure to check to see if there is a  medical register in the county clerk's office in the courthouse. Not every county has a medical register, but if you have Crittenden County ancestors, be sure to check this valuable source.

The page below comes from page 3 of the Crittenden County Medical Register 1889-1893.

[1] Medical and Surgical Register of the United States, (Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago: R.L. Polk & Co., 1890) 457, Google Books ( accessed 1 November 2014).

Published 15 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas H. Harris

Thomas H.
Dec. 12, 1926
Son of Sarah M. Harris

Buried Ferguson Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 3 Dec 2012.

Kentucky death certificate #1928 shows that Thomas H. Harris was born in Illinois and was the son of James Harris and Sabra [sic] Medcalf. He died at the age of 34 and his usual residence was in Gilbertsville, Kentucky.

James Harris and Sarah Metcalf, parents of Thomas Harris, married in Pope County, Illinois 29 May 1887.

On the 1920 Livingston County census, Harris was living in Smithland Precinct with T. Robert Smith and Ann Smith. Harris is listed as their nephew.

Published 13 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Often Overlooked Records Part I - Stray Books

This is the first in a series on potentially helpful records you may not have used in your research. You will need to go to the courthouse to access them as they probably won't be found online. These often overlooked records will appear the next four Thursdays.

A source often overlooked in researching a person's residence is the stray book. Sometimes it will be listed as "estray," but, don't worry, the two words have an identical meaning. The stray books are especially helpful for locating the residence of persons who didn't own land. Stray records include not only livestock, but also boats and other water vehicles found adrift.[1]  The found item was taken before the local justice of the peace, appraised and a small fee paid. The "finder" had to swear he had not changed, defaced or altered any marks or brands on the item. If no one claimed it after a period of time, the found item could become the property of the finder.[2] 

The amount of details on the location where the item was taken up may vary from county to county. Livingston County's location descriptions are exceptionally specific. The following entries for 1860 and 1861 have been abstracted from Livingston County Stray Book 1852 - 1934, which can be found in the Livingston County Clerk's Office, Smithland, Kentucky. 

Taken up by Jesse Wells living about five miles from Smithland in an easterly direction on the 28th of January 1860, a cow appraised by Elisha Heater at $15. 28 January 1860. W. Beverly, J.P.

Taken up by Orville Newman residence four miles from Berry's Ferry, a bull appraised by the undersigned at $9. 17 February 1860.  L. King, J.P.

Taken up by John G. Anderson living about 2 miles from Smithland, a steer appraised by J.W. Shephens & J.M. Clark at $8.  8 March 1860.  W. Beverly, J.P.

Taken up on the 28th March last by Wm. T. Terry, a mare appraised by the undersigned at $50. Terry's residence on the Ohio river above Berry's Ferry. 2 April 1860.

Taken up by Mrs. A. Doom about 23 June 1860, one mule appraised by W. Abell at $75. Mrs. Doom lives about 4 miles above Smithland on the Cumberland River. 30 June 1860.  W. Abell, J.P.

Taken up on the 8th Inst. by James Ramage one mile north east of Green's Ferry on the north side of Cumberland River, one mule valued at $70. 13 November 1860. H.B. Edwards, J.P.

Taken up by James E. Smullins living on Cumberland River near the mouth of Bizzel Creek one mile before Green's Ferry, a mule appraised at $75. 1 December 1860. H.B. Edwards, J.P.

Taken up by G.W. Powell living some 5 miles south of Smithland near the Tennessee River, one bay horse appraised by Thomas B. Robertson to $50. 7 December 1860.  Thos. B. Robertson, J.P.

Taken up by Samuel Driskill living about 7 miles from Smithland near the road leading from Smithland to Dycusburg, a brindle cow appraised at $8. 17 December 1860. Thos. M. Grove, J.P.

Chas. G. Halstead, B.A. Talley and Thos. Cochran Junr. being called upon by Joseph White to  appraise a Cedar Raft which he has caught adrift and find the raft to be four spliced together and containing four platforms each equal to 850 fence posts appraised to $25 each amounting to $100, sd. raft has a cabin on it made of cedar plank and a bunk covered with straw. 11 January 1861.  J.H. Davis, J.P.

Taken up by S.F. Sanders living near the road leading from Smithland to Dycusburg  Pinkneyville, a steer appraised at $6. 28 December 1860. Thos. M. Grove, J.P.

Taken up by John Ray - residence Sugar Camp Creek, a yearling heifer appraised by A. Joiner at $4. 27 December 1860. L. King, J.P.

Taken up by Jesse Thompson living some 2  1/2 miles south of Smithland on the Paducah Road, one heifer appraised  by G.W. Robertson & John Powell at $6.50. 11 February 1861.  Thos. B. Robertson, J.P.

Taken up by H.N. Perkins living about 5 miles from Smithland on an East course, a heifer appraised about $10. 1 January 1861.  W. Beverly, J.P.

Personally appeared James Jolly and sayeth that on or about 15th March last a stray bull calf came to his farm about 5 miles East of Smithland and has remained there ever since and is appraised by E.M. Stanley to about $50. 27 November 1860.  W. Beverly, J.P.

Taken up by R.H. May residing three miles from Carrsville, a steer appraised by J.L. Vick at $7. Also a brindle steer appraised at $8.  25 February 1861. L. King, J.P.

Taken up by H.B. Glass residence near Good Hope Meeting House, a heifer appraised by Robert Monroe at $5. 15 February 1861.  L. King, J.P.

Taken up by H. Dixon living near Buyo Mills about 1 March 1861 one heifer appraised by D. Stumbo at $8. 15 March 1861.  Wash Abell, J.P.

Taken up by Blount Hodge at his farm about 8 miles from Smithland on the Paducah Road, two bay horses worth $25 each. 15 April 1861.  A.F. Buford, J.P.

Taken up by F.H. Davis living about 1 miles from Ross'  Ferry, one black horse valued at $30.  13 April 1861.  Thos. M. Grove, J.P.

James H. [?] & Carver Coffield appraised a mule at $20 and  taken up by Joseph B. Champion living on the Salem and Smithland Road 6 miles from Salem and about 9 miles from Smithland. 2 December 1861. H.F. Champion.

[1] Chapter 7, "Boats and Navigation," The Revised Statutes of Kentucky Approved and Adopted by the General Assembly, 1851 and 1852, and in force from July 1, 1852 (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1867) 205; digital images, Google Books (, accessed 22 November 2014.

[2] Chapter 96, "Strays," The Revised Statutes of Kentucky Approved and Adopted by the General Assembly, 1851 and 1852, and in force from July 1, 1852 (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1867) 393-395; digital images, Google Books (, accessed 22 November 2014.

Published 8 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - W.S. and Lou E. Lucus

W.S. Lucus
June 20, 1839
Sept. 25, 1895
An amiable father here lies at rest as ever God with his image blest 
The friend of man, the friend of truth,the friend of age,
The guide of youth.

Lou E. Lucus
Dec. 23, 1847
Dec. 22, 1893
She was a kind and affectionate wife
A fond mother and a friend to all

Buried Hurricane Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 7 November 2014.

W.S. Lucus was the son of Ingram C. Lucus and Mary A. Hill. He married Lou E. Cooper, daughter of Elsey Cooper, 27 February 1866 in Crittenden County.

Published 6 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Personal Research in 2014

2014 brought some advances in my personal genealogical research. At the top of the list was visiting Oakwood Cemetery in Milan, Gibson County, Tennessee where Henry F. Wolstenholme and his entire family are buried, Henry F. being my great-grandmother's brother. I also learned Henry  moved from Goodlettsville to Nashville about 1900 and the following year his 14 year old daughter died. Now, if I could just learn where Henry's father, Hugh Wolstenholme Jr., died. Tradition in my family says he died while traveling from Tennessee to Hardin County, Illinois, where his daughter, my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Wolstenholme Smith, lived. I've searched in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri and found no mention of him. The last time I find him is on the 1880 Davidson County, Tennessee census.

Also, in 2014 I finally visited Nashville City Cemetery, where several people with Smithland  connections are buried.  I am not sure what I expected to see, but I found that many of the tombstones are identical to ones found in Smithland and other old Kentucky cemeteries. The thrill came from photographing and touching the vault where Mary "Mollie" Barner was interred shortly after her death in 1862. Also, it was exciting to see the monument of Joseph Woods, an early Smithland merchant.

The project I spent the most time on in 2014 and probably enjoyed the most is that of early Smithland. It is forcing me to explore records never before used and to think outside the box. I am reserving judgment on its success until more time has been spent on it. Learning about William Croghan and his contemporaries has been exciting, though.

While I am grateful for the advances made in 2014, I wish there had been more. I wish I had found the time or inclination to research Seth and Lydia Flood of Henry County, Virginia. Was Seth, indeed, from one of the eastern states? If so, how and why did he go to Virginia?  When will I get back to researching my elusive Smith family? And my Lucas, Croft, Bebout, etc families?  So much to do ...

One of the greatest things about genealogy is that you are never finished; there is always another family to research. So, on this rainy early January morning, I hope you had some success in your research in 2014 and wish even more for you in 2015.

Published 4 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, January 2, 2015

Murder of Henry L. Cartwright 1850

When Polly Carner and Henry L. Cartwright married in 1828[1] in Caldwell County, Kentucky, there was no indication Cartwright would later die at the hands of Polly's brother, Thomas [here rendered as Carney]. It was said there was a dispute of long standing between Cartwright and Thomas Carney - a dispute that would have tragic results.

The case of the Commonwealth against Thomas Carney, Indictment for Murder, was filed in Crittenden Circuit Court[2] on Tuesday, the 28th of May 1850. Bond was posted with Samuel Nunn, John W. Jenkins and John R. Clements as his securities.

The charges were as follows: " ... Thomas Carney, late of said county, yeoman, on the 27th day of February 1850, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, with force and arms, in and upon Henry L. Cartwright ... and there being feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought; and Thomas Carney a certain rifle gun, of the value of fifteen dollars, then and there loaded and charged with gunpowder and one leaden bullet, (which rifle gun ... Thomas Carney in both his hands then and there held) against and upon the right breast of Henry L. Cartwright ... a little above the nipple of Cartwright, one mortal wound of the depth of six inches, of which said mortal wound Cartwright from 5 o'clock on the 27th of February until 6 o'clock of the same day did languish and die."

Wilson Brown made an affidavit in which he stated William Simpson could prove he heard Thomas Carney say that "as soon as he got his family moved to the state of Illinois, he intended to come back and kill" Cartwright. Simpson left Crittenden County shortly after the murder and did not intend to return until court was over as he knew enough about the prisoner to hang him. Wilson Brown also reported that James Gibbs was a material witness and knew of a difficulty between the prisoner and the deceased and the prisoner told Gibbs he intended to kill Cartwright.

Testifying for the defendant was George Carney, who stated that Thomas Carney had been absent with his family from their home for 16-17 days and had been in Illinois searching for a new home. Therefore, he could not have been seen by Gibbs shortly before the tragic event.

The defendant, Thomas Carney, entered a plea of Not Guilty and a Venire[3] was called to decide Carney's fate. The Venire was composed of Thomas N. Wallace, John Hankins, William Hogard, John Bracey, James Gregory, Andrew Love, Bryant Bennett, Daniel A. Flanery, John A. Flanery, Charles Lizenbee, William Walden and James A. Johnson. 

The evidence being heard in full, the Venire sayeth the prisoner is Not Guilty as charged and was ordered to be discharged and to go without delay.

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriags 1809-1832, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery) 1996:101. John Carner, father of Polly, gave consent for a marriage license to be issued.
[2] Commonwealth of Kentucky vs Thomas Carney, Crittenden County Court Bundle #33, Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives.
[3] Venire: an entire panel from which a jury is drawn. Merriam-Webster online, <>, accessed 29 December 2014.

Published 2 January 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,