Monday, February 29, 2016

Beginning Genealogy Workshop

Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana is sponsoring a Beginning Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, 12 March 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the library's Browning Gallery. Four classes are planned: Beginning Genealogy with Special Collection's librarian, Lyn Martin;  Courthouse Research and Vital Records with County Historian Stan Schmitt; I have the document. Where do I go from here? with Brenda Joyce Jerome, Certified Genealogist; and Finding Vital Records in LDS Microfilm with Brian Lankford, Tri-State Genealogical Society officer and researcher. All classes are free. Registration is requested, but not required.

For more information, go to Willard Library's Calendar of Events.

Published 29 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, February 26, 2016

News Of Morganfield

Have you been unable to find an obituary for your Morganfield, Kentucky ancestor? Don't forget to check other area newspapers. The Henderson, Kentucky papers often cover Union County and the Evansville newspapers also contain news of Morganfield.  Since I live close to Evansville and like the accessibility of that city's newspapers, I check them often in my western Kentucky research.
Did you know that the Evansville Courier carried a column called News Of Morganfield  every Wednesday from 5 May 1915 through 11 March 1921?  This column contained obituaries as well as news of social events and other happenings. The coverage of events in  Morganfield is really important when you realize there are no extant Morganfield newspapers prior to 1924.

 Below are a couple of Morganfield obituaries that are typical of those found in the Courier.

 The death of William Caldwell, one of the oldest men in the county occurred at his home near Seven Gums on Saturday. He was past 89 years old and had been married twice, his first wife being Miss Fannie Whitecotton, and after her death he married Mrs. Thomas Robertson. Seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren survive him. When young, Mr. Caldwelll came to this county from Shelby county to make his home. The burial was held in the Masonic cemetery in this city Sunday afternoon. ["News of Morganfield," Evansville Courier, Wednesday, 27 Sep 1916, p. 24]

 The funeral of William Marmaduke Wright, many years a cashier of the People's bank, took place this morning at the family residence at 10 o'clock. His wife, Mrs. Lillie Berry Wright, survives. No man had truer friends or more of them. He graduated from Bethel college and he had been for many years a Knight Templar and Shriner and the Masonic order has lost one of its most honored members. He was married to Miss Maggie Young, daughter of Judge Milton Young, in 1882, who died without issue in 1898. He was married to his present wife at East Haddam, Conn., while she was on a visit to her aunt, Mrs. H.W. Tyler. He was stricken with paralysis two years ago and has since then been an invalid. Two weeks since he was taken very much worse and passed away Saturday at 11 o'clock. Rev. Young of the M.E. church had charge of the services and the burial was in charge of the Masons in the Masonic cemetery. ["News of Morganfield,"  Evansville Courier, Wed., 14 Nov 1917, p. 10]

 In addition to Morganfield news items, you will also find News Of Sturgis and News Of Uniontown.  Happy Hunting!

Published 26 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

18 Year Old Soldier Died at Salem

Farewell Friends
Willie P.
Son of
R. & C.C. Fowler
Member of the U.S. Army
and killed in Battle
Aug. 7, 1864
18 Years.

Willie P. Fowler was buried in John Wheeler Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed February 2016 and provided by Jerry Bebout. The decedent's given name was sometimes spelled Wiley.

Willie  P. Fowler was one of two Union soldiers killed when 300 Confederate soldiers and guerrillas attacked Companies B and C of the 48th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry during the Battle of Salem on 7 August 1864. The Union soldiers numbered only 35.

Willie,  the son of Robert Fowler, an early tailor in Marion, and Cynthia Caroline Ragsdale, was born about 1846. His father died when he was about five years old and his mother then married Henry C. Wheeler. Willie P. was mustered into Company B, 48th Kentucky Vol. Mtd. Infantry on 26 October 1863. He was only 17 years of age.

Published 23 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Letter to Family 1837

Many years ago a Franks family researcher shared a copy of a letter written in 1837 by Elizabeth Gill who lived in old Livingston County. The letter was written to her family back in Laurens District, South Carolina and named several family members.  

Juda Franks, who is mentioned in the letter, is my only connection to the letter-writer. Juda was the mother of Nancy Franks, who was the third wife of my 4th great-grandfather, John E. Wilson.  Juda Franks was also the sister to Elizabeth Gill. I descend from John E. Wilson and his second wife, Harriet Brooks.

A transcription of this letter is below.  There is no punctuation so you will have to insert those marks mentally to make comprehension easier.

[Cover page]   Crosskeys[1] Ky    Feb 11
Mrs. Becy Brown or Wm. Brown
of Hardiman Duke  Lawrence
District   South Carolina
Laurence CH [Court House]

[Page 1]
State of Kentucky  Livingston County
February the 10th day 1837

Dear Mother and Brothers and sisters  I once more take my pen in hand to let you know that I am yet in the land of the Living and enjoying reasonable health thanks be to God for his mercies bestowed a [sic] poor me  hopeing these few lines may find you all enjoying the the like blessing  I have not had a letter from you for some years past but have had word not long since from you by Williamson Ashley  I will say to you that one half my family is living here close Round me and the rest of them is living in Tennessee in Smith County  all my children is married off and I am living with my youngest daughter  I hope you receive this letter  fail not to answer it imediately for I want to hear from you all very bad and particular I want Hardyman Duke to Rite to me a bout all his family and how they all do and the condition of all the connection in that country So far as you know and Rite whether you know any thing of brother Jesse or not and also of Sister Martha for I don't know any thing of them at all now where they are  I tell you that Sister Juda Franks is living here close by me  She is now a widow  Her husband has been dead about a year
[turn over]
And I will inform you that Sister Lydia is a widow and is now living in nashville and all her family is married off    I was there last fall and seen her and I received a letter from her not long since  Thomas Ellison and his wife moved to the Alabam and they are both dead  I will now say something a bout our countries produce  it is a tolerable poor country but it produces fine crops of all kinds of grain  cotton it is not so good for but it is good for plan tobacco and every other produce  corn is from1 & fifty to one 75 cent per barrel  tobacco bears a good price at this time  I want you Duke to come from that old worn out country and move here for you could do much better here  I think than you can there  Mother is you know any thing of Sally Blakeley  Polly higgins or Sister Peggy Brown Rite to me where they are if you know and how they are doing and you William Brown if Mother is dead you must Rite a bout them all and let me know where they are if you know  I would be glad you would Rite how times is in that country concerning Religion and whether any of the connection has profest Religion or not since I left there  all my children has profest Religion and the most of them has Joined the Babtist Church
[turn over]
and now if we never should see each other a gain in this world let us try to be prepared to meet in heaven  we have had a great Revival of Religion here the last  year past  it would be good for us to consider how short our time is here on earth that we might try to be prepared when death comes to get to heaven and if we should never meet each other a gain in this world let us try to be prepared to meet in heaven where parting will be nomore where we shall meet and be compleet and long together dwell and sing a song with one accord    to mother

Beckie Brown                                                              Elizabeth Gill
& Connection
WB when you Rite Direct your
Thus say State of Kentucky
Livinston County Crosskeys post office

[1] Cross Keys was located on the lane leading from Fords Ferry Road and ending at Crooked Creek Church, about 1-2 miles from the seat of justice of present-day Crittenden County. In 1837, this area was still part of Livingston County. Cross Keys Inn was the property of Samuel Ashley and was the site of the first county court of Crittenden County in April 1842.

Published 17 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Clip Art courtesy of

Published 14 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday's Fact

Abraham Lincoln visited Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky in 1840. He was in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois for a debate on the 5th of December and decided to pay a visit to Kentucky before returning to Shawneetown.[1]

[1] Ralph V. Gary. Following in Lincoln's Footsteps: A Complete Annotated Reference to Hundreds of Historical Sites Visited by Abraham Lincoln, (Basic Books, 2002).

Published 12 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Webster County, KY Estate Administrators 1860

When a person died owning property, but left no will, an administrator was usually appointed by the county court to settle the decedent's estate.  After executing bond to show he would faithfully and fairly settle the estate, he was responsible for collecting debts due to and from the estate and to make a fair distribution of the remainder. The date of the administrator appointment is often used as an approximate death date.

The creation of Webster County took effect 1 Jul 1860 and the first session of county court was held in Sep 1860. The following appointments of administrators were made during the first session of court and are recorded in Webster County Court Order Book 1860-1866. The page number in the Order Book is found at the end of the entry.

R.K. Thornberry was appointed administrator of the estate of James Coley 26 Sep 1860. [p. 25]

G.W. Cook was appointed administrator of the estate of Jno. H. Davis  26 Sep 1860.  [p. 25]

Joel McLendon was appointed administrator of the estate of George Brand  12 Oct 1860.  [p. 33]

Samuel Shirley was appointed administrator of the estate of Wm. McClendon  19 Oct 1860.  [p. 39]

James L. Melton was appointed administrator of the estate of Saml. N. Grayson  7 Nov 1860.  [p. 43]

Wm. R. Baker was appointed administrator of the estate of  Absia Smith 7 Nov 1860.  [p. 43]

John Graham was appointed administrator of Abnedgo Llewellyn's estate 12 Nov 1860.  [p. 44]   "A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Abnedgo Llewellyn was produced and proven by the oaths of D. Head, G.W. Wynn and L.M. Rice, subscribing witnesses." 8 Mar 1861.  [p. 92]

Joel Blackwell was appointed administrator of the esate of Buckner Ash 20 Nov 1860. [p. 49]

Jno. Brown was appointed administrator of Harvey Barnett 12 Dec 1860.  [p. 56]

Eura Grayson was appointed administrator of William Grayson's estate 14 Dec 1860.  [p. 58]

 Published 9 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday's Fact

Jim Bowie, who is often associated with the Bowie knife and who was killed at the Alamo in 1836, spent part of the fourth year of his life with his family in Livingston County, Kentucky. Rezin Bowie, Jim's father, can be found on the 1800 Livingston County tax list and was appointed appraiser of the estate of John Clark deceased that same year.[1]

The Bowie family came to Livingston County from Logan County, Kentucky, where Jim was born. After staying in Livingston County a short time, the family moved on to District of New Madrid (Missouri) and  about 1802 moved on to Louisiana.  You can read more about Jim Bowie  Here

[1] Livingston County Court Order Book A, no pagination, 25 Mar 1800.

Published 5 February 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Fannie Clark

Fannie Clark
Apr. 14, 1916
Aged 80 Yrs.

Buried Smithland Cemetery. Tombstone photographed 8 October 2014.

According to her Kentucky death certificate #11172, Fannie Clark was born in April 1835 and died April 13, 1916. She was listed as single and her parents were unknown.  

The 1900 Livingston County shows Fannie Clark, as a cook residing in the household of her sister-in-law, Emily Clark, a hotel proprietor. Fannie is listed as born in Alabama, as were her parents. By 1910, Fannie  age 75, was a lodger in the home of Byrnes Clark, a 44-year-old widower born in Kentucky. On that census, Fannie's birth place was given as Kentucky and both parents were shown as born in Kentucky.

It is unknown when Fannie Clark came to Livingston County, but her brother, James M. Clark, was in Smithland by 4 February 1855, when he married Emily Lucas. He gave his birth place as Lauderdale County, Alabama. He appears on the 1870 and 1880 Livingston County census records, but Fannie does not.

Published 2 February 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,