Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Unrecorded Will of John P. Reed

While transcribing wills in Crittenden County, Kentucky several  years ago, I came across several that were never recorded.   I first thought later wills had replaced the ones I found, but a quick check showed that not to be the case. So, why were these wills not recorded?  Apparently it was not unusual for wills to be filed for safe keeping in the county clerk's office and to be recorded after the testator had died. In some cases, the testator moved away before death, leaving the will behind.

John P. Reed of Crittenden County wrote his "last will" 4 March 1899. It consisted of only three items, leaving his property to his wife, M.E. Reed, and his "Six living children," who were to share equally with his wife taking a child's part. If she chose, she could take one-third of the personalty and one-third of his real estate during her natural life. If Reed decided to sell his "Stegar farm & my home farm," his wife would received a $1000 life insurance policy.

Perhaps he had second thoughts about the deposition of his estate because on 18 December 1900, he wrote his "last true will and Testament hereby revoking any & all former wills by me at any time made." In this will, he named his children, J.H. Reed;  Ivey E., Dora A. & Stella Reed; Presly L. and Major F. Reed. He mentioned several pieces of land owned in Lyon County, Kentucky as well as land in Crittenden and property in Marion.

Not  yet finished with the deposition of his estate, he wrote a codicil to the last will and Testament on 6 June 1901 in Crittenden County. Reed stated he wanted sums of money to be paid by his son, J.H. Reed, to his three daughters and their interest in land to descend to their children if they did not survive him.

So, what happened to John P. Reed?  He was enumerated in Crittenden County on the 1900 census at 90 Wilson Avenue. In his household were his wife, Mattie E., and daughter, Stella, age 16. The census shows that John P. and Mattie E. Reed had married about 1897. It also showed that Reed was born in Ohio.  Sometime after 1900, Reed moved from Crittenden County, leaving behind his will.

A little more digging revealed that he was living on Oak Avenue in Kuttawa, Lyon County, in 1910, and died there 20 December 1916 at the age of 74 years, 1 month and 24 days.  He had served in the 114th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War and received a pension for his service from 1912 until his death. His widow received a widow's pension from 1917 until her death in 1937.  Martha Eleanor Reed, daughter of Andrew Martin and widow of John P. Reed, was born in Lyon County in 1855 and died 9 June 1937. Both she and her husband are buried in Kuttawa Cemetery, Lyon County.

I did not find a will for John P. Reed in Lyon County. Perhaps he  thought his will would follow him to Lyon County or maybe he thought it would be recorded in Crittenden County. It's hard to say after 99 years. At any rate, the information is still valuable even though the will has gone unrecorded.

Published 27 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bible Record of W.G. and L.J. Springs

The following Bible record was shared with me by the late Bob Brown of Lexington, Kentucky in the 1990s. Written on an inside page of the Bible is this: "Mrs. Lyda Springs Book  February 13, 1897." W.G. and L.J. Springs, along with their daughter, Dora, are found on the 1870 Crittenden County, Kentucky census.

William Springs and L.J. Flanary was married Dec. 17, 1868.

W.G. Springs was born March the 9, 1845.
L.J. Springs his wife was born May the 28, 1847.

Dora Dean daughter of Wm. and L.J. Springs was born Oct. 7, 1869.
Laura Bell daughter of Wm. [and] L.J. Springs was born Feb. the 25, 1872.
Fanny May daughter of Wm. [and] Lyda Springs was born July 20, 1877.
Deller and Eller son and daughter of Wm. and Lyda Springs was born and died August the 27, 1879.
John Calvin, son of William and L.J. Springs was born August the 12, 1880.
Allice J. daughter of William and L.J. Springs was born July the 10, 1883.

Roy E. Flanary died in our home May the 16th, 1901  aged two years and three months.

 Published 23 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Mattie B. and Henry L. Hill

At Rest
Mattie B. 
Dec. 24, 1864
June 23, 1923

Henry L.
Sept. 26, 1864
Feb. 25, 1924

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 4 February 2011. 

According to Kentucky Death Certificate #16598, Mattie B. Hill was the daughter of Martin St. John and Lovisa Wilson. Mattie B. St. John is enumerated in the household of P.M. and Luvenia [sic] St. John on the 1870 Livingston County census.

Henry Lewis Hill died in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois. A farmer, he was the son of J.A. Hill and Caroline Smith, according to his death record.

Mattie B. and Henry L. Hill were enumerated on the 1900 and 1920 Hardin County, Illinois census.

Published 19 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Biggin Church Ruins and Cemetery

One of my favorite activities when visiting the southern branch of my family in Charleston, South Carolina is to visit one of the old church cemeteries. This year we visited the ruins of Biggin Church and cemetery, near Monck's Corner in Berkeley County. What a beautiful site it is!

Biggin Church Ruins - Berkeley County, South Carolina

The church has been destroyed by fire or war several times, but the cemetery is still is use. 

While you won't see a cemetery this old in western Kentucky, you will see similar tombstones. Note the tabletop monuments in the foreground of the above photo and the shape of the other tombstones. They are not unlike what you find in the older cemeteries in Livingston and Caldwell Counties, Kentucky.

Published 13 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, April 8, 2016

Crittenden County Strays 1843

Stray records include not only livestock, but also boats and other water vehicles found adrift. 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. 

Stray Records are a good way to place a person in a particular place and at a particular time. They are especially helpful in locating the residence of persons who didn't own land. Crittenden County stray records begin in the spring of 1842 and are recorded in Stray Book 1842 - 1914. This book is located in the Crittenden County Clerk's Office in Marion, Kentucky.

Taken up by Abner A. Going on the waters of Crooked Creek, one stray steer yearling cow beast appraised to $2.25 by John Gregory. 9 Jan 1843. James Cruce, J.P.

Taken up by Simeon Touzen on the waters of Crooked Creek, one stray bull cow beast appraised to $1.25 by John Gregory.  9 Jan 1843. James Cruce, J.P.

Taken up by Thomas Barnett near Wm. Wallace's ferry [on] Ohio River, one black filly valued at $15, also one horse mule appraised at $15 by Wm. Wallace & James Mallady. 2 Jan 1843.  R.H. Haynes, J.P.

Taken up by John Price living on Tradewater near Pustes[?] Landing, one yearland hever [sic] calf Praised to 75 cents by David B. Stepheson [sic]. 21 Jan 1843. S.L. Phillips, J.P.

Taken up by W.N. Cain, residing near Flynns Old ferry, one young red steer appraised to $5.50 by T. Tayler & J.R. Cain. 17 Jan 1843. J. Hughes, J.P.

Taken up by Thomas Yeates, living near the Sulpher Springs, a 2 year old steer appraised to $1 by R.N. Dudney. 20 Feb 1843. A. Larowe, J.P.

Taken up by Mag. Saml. Nunn, residing near Tradewater, one old stray ferry boat 30 feet long and seven and a half feet wide appraised to $1 by John Walker. 27 Apr 1843.  Jos. Hughes, J.P.

Taken up by Samuel A. Wilburn, living 4 1/2 miles from Salem on the Morganfield Road, a bay horse appraised to $10 by Jesse Lucas and Wm. Threlkeld.  6 May 1843. A. Larowe, J.P.

Taken up by Martin Williams, a black stear appraised to $6 by John Bennett & Joshua Orr. 13 Jun 1843. Martin Williams, J.P.

Taken up as a stray by Wm. Nuckles on Ohio River above mouth of Hurricane, a black bull appraised to $2.50 by Richd. Elson and Harvey J. Minner.  9 Mar 1843.  R.H. Haynes, J.P.

Taken up by Robert Moore living 3 miles West of Marion, one sorrell mare appraised to $11 by John Gregory and James Paris. 20 Jul 1843.  J.D. Gregory, J.P.

Taken up by Wm. Samples, living four miles southeast of Marion, one sorrel mare worth $35. 27 Sep 1843.  H.R.D. Coleman, J.P.

Taken up by Wm. W. Brown, living seven miles west of Marion, a young stud colt appraised to $15. 22 Nov 1843.  H.R.D. Coleman, J.P.

Taken up by William Welden, on the head waters of Crooked Creek, one stray bull yearling appraised to $2.25 by James Riley.  16 Dec 1843.  James Cruce, J.P.

Taken up by Timothy Taylor, residing near the town of Zelondy[?] on the Ohio River, one brown mare colt appraised by John R. Cain & Isaac Beals to the sum of $5. 23 Dec 1843.  Jos. Hughes, J.P.

Taken up by John T. Phillips, residing near Trade water, one bay horse appraised to $15. 30 Dec 1843.  Jos. Hughes, J.P.

Published 8 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Martha B. & George W. Duley

Martha B. 
May 15, 1859
Oct. 3, 1928

George W.
Dec. 11, 1859
Dec. 29, 1955

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 8 June 2012.

According to death certificate #25787, Martha Bell Sivells Duley of Smithland was the daughter of Tomas [sic] Sivells and --- Goodwin, both born in Kentucky. Martha's birth record is found in Trigg County, Kentucky and shows she was the daughter of T.W. Sivells and E.S. Goodwin. 

George W. Dooley [sic], age 6/12, is enumerated in the home of T.R. and Adaline Dooley in Smithland on the 1860 Livingston County, Kentucky census.  

The 1910 Livingston County census shows George W. and Martha B. living on the Smithland & Salem Road with daughter, Vennie, and son Lymon L.

Published 5 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday's Fact

Where were deceased Civil War soldiers buried? 

Civil War soldiers were buried where they fell on the battlefield or near the hospital where they died. Some soldiers buried on the battlefields were later exhumed and moved to National or Confederate cemeteries.[1]  If the soldiers died  near their homes, like Willie P. Fowler, sometimes family would carry the bodies home for burial.

[1] Civil War Trust accessed 9 January 2016. 

Published 1 April 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,