Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Juda York

Wife of
Haywood York
Sept. 1, 1849
Jan. 10, 1905

Buried Sisco Chapel Cemetery. Tombstone photographed 2015.

Juda B. Stovall married Haywood York 24 December 1871[1] in Crittenden County. They appear on the 1880 Crittenden County census in Marion Dist. 1 with five children. The census also shows both Juda and Haywood were born in Tennessee. The 1900 Crittenden County census shows the York family has grown with more children plus Juda's mother, Perlie Stovall, living with them.  Haywood York died 13 November 1939 at the age of 92.[2]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. II 1866-1886.(Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery) 1991, p. 43.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #29380 (1939), ancestry.com, accessed 28 August 2016.

Published 29 Nov 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy  Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Smithland Cemetery

Smithland Cemetery is one of the treasures of Smithland, Kentucky.  A walk through the cemetery will show elaborate monuments as well as simple slabs devoid of artwork. The sign at the entrance states  the cemetery dates from 1810, but it is possible that the cemetery dates from a later time period.  In fact, the earliest burial dates given on the tombstones are mainly from the 1830s and later. Nevertheless, it is a very old cemetery and the town is fortunate to have it still in use.

In researching the cemetery, two deeds are important. The first deed  is found in Deed Book GG, page 61 and is dated 19 May 1841. At that time Benjamin and Sterling M. Barner conveyed to William Gordon, Gideon A. Haydock, John E. Wilson, John C. McGraw and William Smith, Smithland town trustees, 10 acres and 7 poles adjoining Smithland, beginning at the back corner of out lot #12 on Level Street and running with the back line of the town ferry to a stone corner to out lot #14 on Maiden Street.  The cemetery had been in use for some years by 1841, but no record has yet been found whereby the land was acquired.

Another important deed is from Deed Book 4, page 522, dated 19 July 1860. The town trustees conveyed to H.F. Given, for the sum of $1.00, a piece of land 32 feet wide and 65 feet long, "bounded on the North by the Shoemaker family grave yard, on the East by Haydock's family grave yard and on the Southwest by the George Hagey family grave yard."   This plot is where the  H.F. Given Family Tomb is located today. To date, this is the only deed I have found for the sale of a lot in the cemetery. 

During the 1850s, the town trustees were responsible for the care of Smithland Cemetery.  At a meeting of the trustees in 1853, it was  "ordered by this board that all persons (adults or Minors) guilty of injuring Tomb Stones, fences, pailings, plucking flowers, Braking off Shrubery or otherwise Mistreating graves in the Smithland grave yard Shall be fined four Dollars for each and every offence.   [signed] E.P. Haynes, chairman.   R.M. Haydock  Clerk." 

Smithland Cemetery has many types of tombstones.   Below are just a few examples.

Entrance to Smithland Cemetery

A.A. and Mary A. Grayot 

Alfred A. Grayot 1823 - 1883

Shot by Townsend Ashton on Christmas Day 

1816 Alabama - 1869 Cairo, Illinois

Published 26 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation 1863

This is a repeat post from 28 November 2013. It is still pertinent today.

“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, tranquility 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 24 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thomas M. Davis Burial Plot

Davis Burial Plot - Smithland Cemetery

Richard Graham Davis of Paducah has generously allowed us to publish his sketch of the Davis burial plot in Smithland Cemetery. He has numbered and identified each grave within the plot. Buried here are Thomas M. and Emily (Roach) Davis, their children and connections. An atmosphere of haunting beauty envelopes the Davis plot.

Thomas M. Davis was the son of John Davis and Harriet Cook, both of Livingston County, Kentucky. Tom M. Davis had two  brothers, John N. and William R. Davis, who were both deceased. [1] John Davis died before 6 December 1830, when his widow, Harriet, was granted letters of administration upon her husband's estate.[2] Harriet remarried in 1833 to Stephen Lyon.[3]

Thomas M. Davis and Miss Emily Roach married 4 July 1843 in Caldwell County, Kentucky. Giving consent for the bride was her father, William Roach.[4]

The 1850 and 1860 Livingston County census records both list merchant as the occupation of Tom M. Davis.  He was also a Constable and Deputy Sheriff in Smithland.[5]

Thomas M. Davis died 4 January 1869, leaving a 42-year-old widow, Emily, and several several children.  Emily outlived her husband by 35 years.  Her obituary gave the following information: [6]

"Mrs. Emily Davis died this morning ... at  the residence of her daughter, Mrs. W.H. Sanders, in Arcadia..
Mrs. Davis was born in Lyon county, but lived most of her life in Smithland. She was the wife of Mr. Thomas Davis, of Smithland, who died about 35 years ago, and two children survive her, Mrs. W.H. Sanders and Mr. Charles B. Davis, of Smithland, besides several half brothers and sisters who reside in Paris, Texas.

"The remains were brought to the city this morning and are at the residence of Mrs. Wm. Hughes, on West Jefferson street. The funeral will be tomorrow at Smithland. A boat will be chartered to take the remains and the family and friends to Smithland Sunday morning and the funeral services will be held at the Smithland Methodist church of which Mrs. Davis was an old and zealous member."

[1] Livingston County, Kentucky Deed Book 1, p 539-540, 8 March 1852. Mrs. Harriet Lyon of Smithland conveys to Thomas M. Davis all her interest in the real estate of John David Dec'd which she inherited upon the deaths of her sons, John N. and Wm. R. Davis, brothers of Thos M. Davis and children of John Davis. John N. David died in 1848 and William R. Davis died in 1851. Both are buried in Smithland Cemetery.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Livingston County, Kentucky Estate Records 1799-1842, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery), 2004, p. 82-83.
[3] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. I (October 1799-July 18 39), (Smithland, KY: n.p.), 1992, p. 126. Marriage bond was issued 7 Oct 1833; no return recorded.
[4] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1833-1853, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery), 1997, p. 74.
[5] Livingston County Court Order Book J, p. 191 (1 March 1847) and J, p. 132, (5 Oct 1846).
[6] Long Life Ends," Paducah Evening Sun, 10 September 1904. 

Published 17 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Ruth Mooney Roberts

At Rest
Ruth Mooney Roberts
and infant
Wife and son of
Edwin Roberts
1897 - 1927

Buried Oak Grove Cemetery, Webster County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 13 July 2016.

Ruth Mooney, age 12,  appears on the 1910 Webster County census in the household of S.D. and Norah Mooney.  In 1920, Ruth is in a household headed by Nora Mooney, a 47-year-old widow. Four children younger than Ruth were also in the household.

According to Ruth's death certificate #17984 from Montgomery County,  Ohio, she was born 7 October 1897 in Dixon, Kentucky and died 25 March 1927 at St. Ann's Hospital in Dayton. Her father is listed as Samuel Mooney, also born Dixon, Kentucky. Her mother was  "unknown."  Ruth's husband was listed as William Edwin Roberts, who was also the informant for the death certificate.[1]

[1] Ohio Deaths 1908-1953, FamilySearch, digital image, https://familysearch.org/, accessed 13 Aug 2016.

Published 15 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nichols-Salyer Marriage Agreement 1833

It was common for a couple contemplating marriage to draw up an agreement whereby the property of each person was to remain within their control and, after their death, to go to their own children. The following marriage agreement was between Eli Nichols and Mrs. Sarah Salyer, who married on the 28th day of November 1833 Caldwell County, Kentucky and was among loose papers in the Caldwell County Clerk's Office. The contract is presented in the exact language of the original document.

"This article of agreement, made and entered into This 28 day of November in the year of our lord 1833, Between Eli Nichols of the State of Kentucky and County of Caldwell of the one part, and Sarah Salyer of the County and State aforesaid, of the other part, Witnesseth, that the following agreement is made (towit) As follows, as I the said Eli Nichols, are agoing to Join in Wedlock with the said Sarah Salyer and I the said Nichols doth agree, that what ever property of any kind whatsoever she the said Sarah Salyer Shall fetch with hur to my House, at my death, or at hurs, which ever should be the Longest liver, it shall be understood, that each one shall be intitled to their own property, unless unavailable accidents, such as fire  death, &c and further, if it should please God to smile on us in our undertaking, and we should  make any thing more than a reasonable support, That I the said Nichols is willing, if I should be the longest liver to come to a fare division, with the heirs of said Sarah Salyer, and if she the said Sarah Salyer should be the longest liver, she is to do the same. In testimony Whereof we have hereunto set our hands and Seals the day and date above written.  [signed] Eli Nichols, Sarah (X hur mark) Salyer.  Attest: Jas. Perry, James (X his mark) Salyer."

Published 10 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Historical Site Yields Family Information

Recently I visited Hardin County, Illinois, the county of my birth. While there, I stopped to visit the Illinois Iron Furnace built in 1837, two years before the county was formed. I had visited it before as my family used to have picnics under the trees near the furnace when I was a child.

The  furnace had fallen into disrepair, but had  been restored with display boxes telling the story of the furnace and the surrounding community. Interesting reading, but not exciting until I came to the last box.  In that box was a roster of workers in 1850, including my great-great-grandfather, Morgan Smith, and his oldest son, Rufus.

The 1850 Hardin County, Illinois census shows Morgan was age 46 and born Virginia and Rufus was age 21 and born in Kentucky.  The occupation for both men was moulder, just as shown on the roster of the Illinois Iron Furnace, so I knew their occupations, but I had never put it together with the iron furnace.  There it was in black and white. This is where they worked. This is how they supported their family.

The moral of this story? Never pass up a chance to learn something about your ancestor even if the source seems unlikely.

Hardin County, Illinois
Photographed 3 November 2016

Illinois Iron Furnace Display Box

1850 Iron Furnace Roster
Fillers Moulders
Morgan Smith, Rufus Smith

Click on the photos for easier reading

Published 8 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wells, Barner & Co. 1841

Isn't it amazing that you can have a piece of information for years and suddenly see it in a different light?  That is the case with the following newspaper ad for the new firm of Wells, Barner & Co. of Smithland, Kentucky. I knew these men were in business together.  It is the date they established the business that went right over my head.  Sterling Barner was not on  the 1840 Livingston County census or tax list, but he does appear on the 1841 tax list. This newspaper ad, which is dated 28 January 1841, tells me Sterling moved to Smithland after the tax list was compiled in 1840 and before January 1841.  I did not realize the firm was organized shortly after Sterling Barner arrived in Smithland.  Let me explain, but first some background.

Benjamin Barner and Sterling M. Barner were brothers and Henry Wells was their brother-in-law, having married (1) their sister, Mays Barner, 10 January 1830[1] and, after her death he married (2) another sister, Martha Barner Egan, 5 March 1837.[2] Henry Hand was  younger than the other men and did not remain in business with them very long. By 1843, he had moved to Benton, Kentucky.[3]

Henry Wells arrived in Smithland before the Barner brothers. By 1824, Wells had moved to Smithland and that year purchased part of Lot #3, the same lot on which Bell Tavern, later called the Gower House, was situated. [4] By 1827, he also owned Lots #39 and #94.[5] He was well established in Smithland by the time the first Barner brother arrived in town.

Benjamin Barner had been working with his brother, Sterling M. Barner, in the mercantile business in Russellville, KY and later in the steamboat business in Nashville. Benjamin was a clerk and his brother achieved fame as the pilot of the "second steamboat to reach Nashville, coming  up to the wharf on Thursday, February 10, 1820, under command of Captain Sterling M. Barner, one of the best pilots of the early days."[6] Sterling was also a personal friend of Andrew Jackson.

After Sterling retired from steamboating, he  moved to Smithland. Two children were born to him and his wife, Sarah Jane, about this time - Joseph in 1840 and Mary E. in 1842. Both children were born in Tennessee so either Sarah Jane did not move to Smithland right away or she returned  to Nashville to have the children.  At any rate, Sterling M. Barner first appears on the Livingston County tax list in 1841, the same year the new firm of Wells, Barner & Co. was established.  

The partners in the new firm were commission merchants. They had a facility to "receive, store and forward produce, merchandize ..." [7] The location of Smithland at the confluence of two navigable rivers was ideal for this business. Benjamin Barner, who had experience clerking in a store, had the knowledge to handle merchandise efficiently and Sterling, as a former steamboat captain, knew the idiosyncrasies  of the rivers.

Not only did the Barners work together, they also lived together  in Benjamin's house on Lot #38 at the end of Charlotte Street, just one block from where the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers meet and merge.  Did Sterling retire and move to Smithland to go into business with his brother or did Benjamin invite him to join the business after he moved to Smithland?  Whichever it was, now we know it was probably the latter half of 1840 when he arrived in Smithland.


Nashville Union, Monday, 31 May 1841, p. 3

  Published 2 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/                                                                                                                                                                                              

[1] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1 (October 1799-July 1839), (Smithland, KY: Smithland, 1992), p. 104.
[2] Ibid. p. 150.
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate #3592 (1921) of Felicia Hand Bethshares, daughter of Henry M. Hand and Felicia Bogard. Felicia Bethshares was born 25 December 1843 Benton, Kentucky.
[4] Livingston County Deed Book AA:396, 22 September 1824, James McCawley to Henry Wells.
[5] 1827 Livingston County Tax List, 
[6] Byard Douglas. Steamboatin' on the Cumberland, (Nashville: Tennessee Book Company, 1961), 13.
[7] "New Firm in Smithland, Kentucky ...," Nashville Union, Monday, 31 May 1841, page 3. The advertisement itself is dated 28 January 1841.