Friday, July 21, 2017

John A. Sarlls and Rachel A. Miller

John A. Sarlls, a merchant in the Bells mines area of Crittenden County, Kentucky, married Miss Rachel Miller 9 April 1857.[1]  Sarlls, the son of Richard and Julia Sarlls, was born in Carroll County, Kentucky and died of bronchitis on 10 February 1874,[2] leaving Rachel with several young children.

John A. Sarlls appears in the household headed by H.W. Evertson, New York - born merchant, on the 1850 Union County, Kentucky census. In 1860, John A. and Rachel A. Sarlls, with their daughter Sarah E., were living in Bells Mines in their own home. Just a few months previously, on 7 March 1859, their three-month-old son, William H. Sarlls, had died of the croup. [3]

J.A. Sarlls registered for the draft in the Civil War service in 1863 and stated he was 27 years old, a merchant, married and was born in Kentucky. [4]  

Following the death of J.A. Sarlls, his widow, Rachel, was appointed administrator of his estate on 27 September 1874. Sureties were William J. Wilson, W.H. Tudor and John Mangin.[5]    

Rachel Miller appears on the 1850 Crittenden County census in the household of John and Sarah (Miller) Mangin, who had married 20 May 1850.[6] Sarah Miller Mangin was the widow of William A. Miller, who died in 1847 and was likely the father of Rachel Miller Sarlls.

Known issue of John A. Sarlls and Rachel Miller Sarlls, as listed on the 1860-1880 Crittenden County census records:
1.  Williams H. Sarlls - died 7 March 1869, age 3 months.
2.  Sarah E. "Sallie" Sarlls - born ca 1860.
3.  Fannie M. Sarlls - born ca 1862. 
4.  Ollie Sarlls - born ca 1867.
5.  Nance Sarlls - born ca 1869.
6.  Kittie Sarlls - born ca 1871.
7.  Richard Sarlls - born ca 1873.

John A. and Rachel Sarlls are both buried in Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County.[7]

Bells Mines Cemetery
Crittenden County, Kentucky

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. 1 1842-1865 and Abstracts of Wills  Book 1  1842-1924, (Evansville,  IN: Evansville Bindery, 1990), 66.
[2] Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1910,, accessed 25 February 2017.
[3] Ibid.
[4] U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865,, accessed 25 February 2017.
[5] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Estate Records 1842-1865, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 2011), 19.
[6] Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. 1 1842-1865 and Abstracts of Wills Book 1 1842-1924: 29. Both John Mangin and Sarah Miller were of age. The 1850 census shows Mangin as age 26 and Sarah as age 48.
[7] Tombstones photographed 15 February 2017.

Published 21 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - John Young Brown

Buried Fernwood Cemetery
Henderson, Kentucky
Tombstone photographed 2 April 2017

Click on the photograph for a larger view.

Published 19 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tombstone Dates and More

We consider it fortunate to find an ancestor's tombstone giving his dates of birth and death, but it is a bonus if there is additional information. Some tombstones seem to have been designed by genealogists to help us fill in the blanks.

Now, it is rare to find the entire life story of a person engraved on his tombstone, but Esther Calhoun Love told us of the death of her husband on her tombstone. The original marker was in bad shape and has been replaced by a new marker. This is the old marker, as photographed in 1990.

Esther Love - Piney Fork Cemetery
Crittenden County

Mickleberry Bristow made sure that everyone knew of his affiliation with the Masonic fraternity by including many Masonic symbols on his tombstone.  He is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Crittenden County.

Mickleberry Bristow - Mt. Zion Cemetery
Crittenden County

Her religious preference was important to Evaline Taylor. Engraved on her tombstone in Green's Chapel Cemetery, Crittenden County, is the following: "Joined the Methodist Episcopal Church 1824"

Tombstones with additional information most often include place of birth. Elizabeth Steinbreaker is buried in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County. The engraving tells us she was born in Baden Baden, Germany 7 July 1806 and died 23 August 1875.

 Elizabeth Steinbreaker - Smithland Cemetery
Livingston County

Not to be outdone, when Louisa Carson's  family members died and were buried in Smithland Cemetery, she made sure their places of birth were included, but which family member is lacking this information? Louisa, of course!

Don't forget to look on all sides of tombstones as sometimes the best information is on the reverse side and if  you look at the bottom of the tombstone - sometimes on the front and sometimes on the back. You may just learn which stonecarver or monument company made the tombstone.

Published 13 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bastardy Cases

What happened when a woman gave birth to a child begotten and born out of wedlock?  Did the mother have any legal recourse?   If she named the child's father, yes, she did have legal recourse.

Any unmarried white woman would go before a judge of the county court of the county in which the bastard child was born and accuse a person of being the father of the child. Her statement was then reduced to writing and signed.

If the child appeared to be less than three years of age, a warrant was issued, requiring the accused person to be apprehended and brought before a judge of the county court. He was required to enter into recognizance, with good surety, in the sum of $300, to appear at the county court and abide by the judgment of the court.

If the accused person refused to give recognizance, the judge would commit him to the county jail where he would remain there until he gave recognizance or otherwise be discharged by due course of law. [1] If ordered to pay a sum of money, the father might pay in a lump sum or in installments.

There were cases, however, where the mother of a bastard child never went to court to name the father of her child and it is assumed she and/or her family provided support for the child. The aim of having the father pay for the child was to prevent the child from becoming a charge upon the county.

Bastardy cases are most often found among loose county court papers in the county clerk's office.  Among the information given is the name of the mother and the accused father, the date of the child's birth and whether male or female and sometimes where the child was born. Bastardy cases may also be mentioned in the county court minutes, but with fewer details given.

[1] The Revised Statutes of Kentucky, Approved and Adopted by the General Assembly, 1851 and 1852, and in force from July 1, 1852, Vol. 1 (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & co., 1867) Chapter 6, Approved 17 February 1858; accessed through Google Books, 2 February 2016.

Published 11 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

March 1814 Deaths in Smithland

Proving once again that it helps to expand the boundaries in your research, the following death notices[1] were found in a Nashville, Tennessee newspaper. While that may seem strange, it really isn't. Steamboats had begun plying the rivers in 1811 between Smithland and Nashville, making travel between the two cities faster and easier.  News traveled farther and quicker by steamboat, but  newspapers were still read, shared and read again.  The following death notices were of interest to the folks who traveled the rivers or who lived anywhere between the two cities.

- At Smithland, Kentucky, on the 4th inst., Maj. Richard Ferguson, an old settler of that place.

-  At the same place, on the 5th ins., Mrs. Elizabeth Hance, consort Capt. William Hance.

-  At same place, on the 6th inst., Mrs. Elizabeth M'Cawley, consort of James M'Cawley, Esq.

-  At same place, on the 7th inst., master Robert Lewis, son of Lilburn Lewis, Esq. dec. of   Livingston County, Kentucky.[2]

- At same place on the 9th inst., Edward Brown,  Hatter.

-  At same place, on the 12th inst., Mrs. Catharine Ferguson, wife of Col. Hamlet Ferguson, of  Randolph County, Illinois Territory.

[1] Nashville Whig, Wednesday, 23 March 1814, page 3.
[2] According to Livingston County, Kentucky Cemeteries 1738 - 1976 by Livingston County Homemakers, 1977; page 196, Robert died at age 7  and is buried in Lewis Family Cemetery, Birdsville.

Published 6 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Published 4 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, July 1, 2017

They Snowballed the Fire

On this hot summer day (90 degrees), maybe this story will cool you off.

They Snowballed the Fire[1]

The citizens of Smithland, Ky. adopted a novel method of extinguishing a fire during the winter season. A blaze started in a residence, and when the usual impromptu bucket brigade arrived at the scene, it was found that no water was to be had, every available supply being frozen and the ground covered with snow.  Finally a bright idea struck someone in the crowd, and the suggestion was made that the party should use snow to subdue the flames.

The excited citizens divided, and one company rolled up snowballs about a foot in diameter and passed them on to others, who heaved them over on the rapidly consuming structure.  The house being on the hillside made this an easy matter, as they secured a good vantage ground on the hill above the house, which rendered it an easy matter to throw the snow over with accuracy and effect.  To make a long story short, the fire was extinguished before it gained any headway in the main building, and the floors in one or two other rooms were saved.

The people in Smithland are still talking about how they put out the fire.

[1] The Daily Chronicle, De Kalb, Illinois, Saturday, 9 May 1896, p. 4.

Published 1 July 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The William Straker Family

The Straker family is usually associated  with the Bells Mines area of Crittenden County, Kentucky, but one child, the daughter of William and Jane N. Straker, is buried in Piney Fork Cemetery, located on the opposite side of Crittenden County.  This may seem like a strange place for this child to be buried, but it really isn't when you realize  that Jane N.  Straker had roots in Caldwell County,  near the Piney Fork area and possibly even attended Piney Fork Church.  Her parents, Alfred and Jane N. Moore, married in Caldwell County 19 March  1810[1] and lived in that county in 1820. They later moved to what is now Crittenden County.

William Straker, who was born in Liverpool,  England, married Jane N. Moore 8 April 1841 in Crittenden County.  By 1860, they had settled in the Bells Mines area.  Together they had the following known children: Mary E., Ann, James E., William N. and  John Gipson Straker. William Straker was a physician.

Mary E., their oldest child,  was born ca 1842 Crittenden County and  married Ammon D. Bennett 28 December 1859.[2]  Mary E. and Ammon lived in Caseyville, Union County. Ammon outlived Mary E. by several decades and sometime after 1900, he and his daughter, Sallie E., moved to San Bernadino County, California. Known issue of Mary E. and Ammon Bennett  were Addie Jane Bennett, Lydia Augusta Bennett, Sallie E. Bennett, Gib Taylor Bennett, Harland A. Bennett and James L. Bennett.

Ann Straker was born May 1845 and died September 1845. She is buried in Piney Fork Cemetery.

Ann Straker
Piney Fork Cemetery
Crittenden County, Kentucky

James E. Straker was born 27 December 1846 Kentucky and died 24 June 1913 Vanderburgh County, Indiana.[3]  He married Ellen Church in Crittenden County 30 December 1869[4]. She died 22 July 1908 and both she and James are buried at Locust Hill Cemetery, Evansville.  James E. Straker, a coal miner, died suddenly after he had quit work and was going to the shaft to be lifted to the surface. [5]  He was living with his sister, Mrs. Charles Bunge, at the time of his death. James E. and Ellen had the following children: Edwin B., Robert Emerson, Daisy Pearl and  Edith Nellie Straker.

William Nicholas  Straker was born 28 February 1849 Kentucky and died 15 January 1932 Herrin, Williamson County, Illinois.[6] A coal miner, he married Ann Eliza Williams 27 January 1875 Crittenden County, Kentucky. [7] They had Otho Liston and Iley Christopher Straker.

John Gipson Straker was born 7 March 1855 Crittenden County and died 18 April 1939  Union County, Kentucky. [8] John Gipson married Mary Henry Harmon 22 March 1877 Crittenden County.[9] John G. and Mary Straker were living in  Evansville, Indiana in 1900 and, in 1903, they divorced. [10] John G. Straker moved to Saline County, Illinois, where he married Margaret "Maggie" Tyler.  John G. and Mary Harmon Straker had the following children: James E., Henry C. and William N. Straker.

It is interesting that all of the children of William Straker and Jane N. Moore left Crittenden County with the majority settling in other states. Most of the children and grandchildren were coal miners  and settled on the west side of Evansville. As far as I can tell, none of William Straker's descendants followed  his occupation of a physician.

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome, Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1809-1832, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1996) 6.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome, Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages 1842-1865 and Abstracts of Wills Book 1 1842-1924, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1990) 82.
[3] Indiana Death Certificate #490.  Find A Grave Memorial #112276417.
[4] Brenda Joyce Jerome,  Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages 1866-1886 (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1991) 29.
[5] "Drops Dead in Coal Mine," Evansville Courier, Wed., 25 June 1913, p. 1.
[6] Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index 1916-1947,, accessed 14 March 2017.
[7] Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records 1866-1886: 69.
[8] Kentucky Death Certificate #23821 of John Gipson Straker,, accessed 14 March 2017.
[9] Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records 1866-1886: 85.
[10] "Groom, 34, Five Marriages; Bride, 50, Thrice Married," Evansville Courier, 3 May 1905, p. 13. Article on marriage of Carney Dorsey and Mary Henry Harmon Straker. 

Published 28 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tombstone Thursday - John N. and Kate Culley

John N. Culley
Oct. 15, 1838
Oct. 14, 1915
Kate His Wife
Feb. 19, 1853 - [blank]

Buried Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 15 February 2017.

According to his death certificate, John Newton  Culley, the son of Jim Culley and an unknown mother, was born in Tennessee.[1] The informant was J.W. Culley.  The 1870 Crittenden County census shows J.N. Cully, age 27, born Tennessee, in the household of Thos. J. Cully, age 60 and born Georgia, and Sarah Cully, age 60 and born Tennessee.[2]

Sarah Catherine Culley, wife of John N. Culley, was born in Union County, Kentucky, died 19 February 1928, and was the daughter of John W. Snodgrass, born Virginia, and Jerusha Delaney, born Union County, Kentucky.[3] 

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #28518 of James Newton Culley,, accessed 10 April 2017.
[2] 1870 Crittenden County, Kentucky Federal Census, Pct. #6, p. 9  (online database),, accessed 10 April 2017.
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate #3306 of Sarah Catherine Culley,, accessed 10 April 2017.

Published 23 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy,

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Croft Family Reunion June 24, 2017

J.N. Croft and Josephine Bebout Croft and their children ca 1929

Descendants of James N. and Josephine A. (Bebout) Croft are invited to a family reunion on Saturday, 24 June 2017, at the Salem Baptist Church in Salem, Kentucky. We will meet at noon for food and visiting until 4 p.m. Please bring a dish to share and old photos you would like to display. Please contact me at with the number in  your family who plan to attend.

Published 20 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Martha Rebecca's Story

Every person - every family -  has a story. Some are happy and many are not. The Lewis family had more than their share of unhappiness. 

About 1853, William Lewis, wife Martha Rebecca Vaughn Lewis, and their children John, James, Richard, William and Rebecca Jane, left their home in Bedford County, Tennessee and traveled north to Kentucky to start a new life in Crittenden County.  Shortly thereafter  William Lewis purchased land on the waters of Claylick Creek.  

Life was hard in Crittenden County for the Lewis family.  Civil War began in 1861, and  the two oldest Lewis sons, John and James, enlisted in the 48th Illinois Infantry, a Union regiment.  John died at Shiloh in  April 1862. The loss of a son must have been unbearable, especially when bad luck does not stop and seems to follow the family.

William Lewis mortgaged his land in Crittenden County and, unable to redeem the land, he lost it. As a farmer, he no longer had a way to support the family. In 1863, Possibly out of frustration, William abandoned his wife, Martha Rebecca, and their children. This left his son, James, as the sole support of the family. And the family was larger, Herod, Mary E. and Sarah C. having been born after the family moved to Kentucky.

Then came another tragedy in March of 1864 when James Lewis  was shot while home on leave from the Army. As he was returning with companions to their company in Crittenden County,  a Southern sympathizer (some say  an ex-CSA soldier or bushwhacker) shot him. The shooter was quickly caught and turned over to the military authorities in Smithland, but nothing could be done to save the life of the young soldier. 

Martha Rebecca applied for and received a mother's pension based on her son's military service. [1] Martha never remarried and, according to several depositions given in her pension application, she had to depend on her children for support.  She died 14 March 1897 and was buried at Chapel Hill Cemetery, Crittenden County.

So what happened to William Lewis?  The family legend says he left Crittenden County with another woman. This appears to have been true.  The 1870 census shows William Lewis, age 51, living in Posey County, Indiana.[1] Also in  his household were Charlot B. Lewis, 29 born Tennessee; Charlie Lewis, 6 born Indiana; America  Lewis, 2 born  Indiana and an 11 year old daughter of Charlot by her 1854 marriage to John Summers Belt of Crittenden County. No marriage for William Lewis and Charlott (Green) Belt has been found and it is assumed they were living together as a family.

In Martha Rebecca Lewis' pension application, she stated William Lewis was said to have died in August 1872. No death record or newspaper obituary of his death was found in Posey County or in a neighboring county.  One researcher claimed William died in Illinois, but no record has been found there either. No further information on Charlott (Green) Belt has been located. Did she move away from Posey County? Did she remarry or change her name?  I don't know.

The Lewis family endured many tragedies and there are more involving their children we have not mentioned. Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth "Lennie" Lewis, was my great-great-grandmother and had more than her share, but we will save those for another day.

Too many questions on this family are unanswered. 

[1] Declaration for an Original Pension of a Mother, #299.777, Martha Lewis based on service of son, James Lewis, Private, Co. E, 48th Illinois Infantry, National Archives. 

[2] 1870 Posey County, Indiana Census, Black Township, p. 3,, accessed 13 March 2014.

Published 15 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Midnight Madness - Willard Library

Willard Library's Midnight Madness, five days and nights of research and workshops, is scheduled for June 19-23, 2017 at the library in Evansville, Indiana.  Presentations begin at 9:30 am and continue through 6:00 pm. A wide variety of programs is planned with J. Mark Lowe, CG, beginning the week with four programs: Just Talkin' or Oral History and Genealogy, Finding 20th Century Military Records, A Death in the Family and Whiskey, Brandy and Southern Migration. 

Others presenting during the week are Karin Marie Kirsch and Stephen Van Bibber (German/Latin records), Melinda King (Revolutionary War ); Brian Lankford (Researching neighbors); Nancy Voyles (Henderson Public Library); Lucy Hart (Willard's databases); Sue Berry (Rural  Family Life); Eddie Wildt (Publishing ); Pat Sides (History of W. Franklin Street); Dona Bone (Evansville During WWII)  and Harold Morgan (Evansville Transportation History and Lincoln Family).   

If you are just starting on your genealogical journey, the class on Beginning Genealogy by Lyn Martin, Willard Library Special Collections Librarian on Tuesday evening will be of interest.
The week will be capped off by a patriotic concert by the Red Bank ReUnion Band on Friday evening.

All programs are free and open to the public. Reservations are suggested, but not required. Special Collections (second floor) will be open during and after all programs. The library is located at 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana. For more information, Willard Library Calendar of Events

Published 13 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Timothy's Taylor's Will

Timothy Taylor left an interesting last will and testament in Crittenden County.  Instead of naming his children and their legacies, Timothy bypassed his children and left his estate to two grandchildren, both of whom were living with him in 1880.[1]

J.W. Taylor, son of Timothy and his wife, Evaline Crabtree Taylor, first wrote that he wanted his daughter, Mary H. Taylor, to have  all his interest in his father's estate as she had done more for his father than he had. J.W.'s wishes were dated 9 March 1882 from Walker County, Texas.  Timothy  responded by writing  that Mary H. Taylor would inherit her father's interest in Timothy's estate..  Both statements are appended to Timothy's will. [2]

The third part of Timothy Taylor's will is a bequest to Joseph C. Taylor for all of the interest that Timothy's son, James E. Taylor, would inherit in his estate. Joseph's siblings, Mary J. Hoyt, William H. Taylor, Charles W. Taylor and John H. Taylor, were excluded from inheriting anything.

Not named in Timothy's will were his other children Caroline Taylor Black Kimsey, Levi H. Taylor, Ruth Taylor Franklin, Ann E. Taylor Franklin LaRue, Elizabeth Taylor Lamb and Mary Dean Taylor Franklin.

Timothy Taylor's will was produced in open court 9 November 1891 and ordered to be continued because of the absence of the original subscribing witnesses to the will.  On that date, E.L. Nunn was appointed curator of Timothy's will. His job was to see that the estate was not wasted and that all debts and credits were satisfied  until an administrator could be appointed.  The will was finally settled and recorded 23 April 1892.

Timothy and Evelyn Taylor are buried at Green's Chapel Cemetery in the Bells Mines area of Crittenden County.

Timothy Taylor
Nov. 5, 1806
Oct. 27, 1891
Directly behind is the monument for James M. Lamb and Elizabeth (Taylor) Lamb

Evaline Taylor
Wife of Timothy Taylor
Dec. 25, 1808
Aug. 25, 1873
Joined the Methodist Episcopal Church 1824

[1] 1880 Crittenden County, Kentucky Federal Census, E.D. 59, p. 28, Bell's Mines Dist,, accessed 13 April 2017, dwelling 247, family #248. Timothy Taylor, age 73, Joseph C. Taylor (grandson), age 18 and Mary H.  Taylor (Granddaughter), age 16.
[2] Will Book 1:250, dated 12 April 1886 and recorded 23 April 1892.
Published 8 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sebree Springs Resort

Several western Kentucky counties had resorts where people could relax, take the waters and enjoy nature. One such place was Sebree Springs in Webster County, Kentucky.  The following article, which makes the resort sound like paradise,  is found on page 4  in the 10 June 1886 issue of the Evansville Journal and is  available on microfilm at Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana.

Sebree, Ky, June 8, 1886.   Sebree is on the "Ellen N." Railroad, a convenient distance from Evansville, Henderson and Clarksville, and is a most popular watering place. Many visitors come every year. They gain health, friendships dear  through afterlife, and a fuller appreciation of Nature's world. Rural charms are found here in the midst of active civilization, thus doing away with the lonesomeness and somber thoughts that intrude into the long avenues of solitude.

Sebree has the advantage of being in Webster County, where wealth and hospitality walk hand-in-hand, and where a courteous reception always awaits visitors. A stranger looking out car windows  sees a quiet village hedged in by the shadowy outline of tree-tops that suggest a near limit to earthly space. But leaving the train one finds touches of ideal loveliness in the picturesque  scenery. On the moss-covered cliffs are vine-clad trees, and tiny water-fall gurgling over a rocky bed.

The regular summer season opens Friday, June 18th, with a grand ball at Sebree Springs Hotel. Excellent music, dancing and refreshments are among the attractions that make up the programs.  By leaving Evansville on the noon train passengers reach Sebree in amply time for the gaieties of the evening.

Published 6 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Walker Family Buried In Green's Chapel Cemetery

Gladys Walker 1908 - 1941 
H. Edgar Walker  1866 - 1940 
Fannie C. Walker  1867 - 1946

Buried in Green's Chapel Cemetery, Bells Mines Road, Crittenden County. Tombstone photographed 9 March 2017.

Hugh Edgar Walker was born 26 May 1866 in Crittenden County and died 31 December 1940.[1] His first wife was Wilmoth (last name unknown) and they were living in Stoddard County, Missouri in 1890.[2] On 9 February 1895, Hugh E. Walker married Miss Fannie C. Towery at the Methodist Church at Shady Grove, Caldwell County, Kentucky. [3]

Gladys Walker, daughter of Hugh Edgar and Fannie C. Walker, was born 11 November 1908 Kentucky and died at a hospital in Henderson, Kentucky 18 March 1941.[4] According to her obituary,[5] she attended Murray State Teachers College and, following completion, was a teacher for the next 14 years. She was a member of Bells Mines Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Fannie C. Towery was the daughter of Ned Towery and Bettie Woods, both born in Kentucky. She was born 7 November 1868 and died 12 January 1946.[6]

[1] Kentucky Delayed Death Certificate #4135 for Hugh Edgar Walker,, accessed 14 March 2016.
[2] Crittenden County Deed Book Y:350, 27 September 1890, heirs of Hugh M. Walker, including H.E. Walker of Stoddard County, Missouri, sold land in Crittenden County.
[3] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages 1887-1899 Vol. III, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1998), 90.
[4] Kentucky Death Certificate #7259,, accessed 14 March 2016.
[5] "Gladys Walker Rites Yesterday at Greens Chapel," Crittenden Press, 21 March 1941.
[6] Kentucky Death Certificate #572,, accessed 14 March 2016.

Published 1 June 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Memories

My mother, Lavern Croft Joyce, at the tombstone of her parents, Herman Reeves Croft (1896 - 1970) and Nettie C. Vaughn (1897 - 1958) shortly after her mother's burial in Salem Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky on Memorial Day 1959.

One of the greatest things we can do for our children is to teach them how they fit into this world – the place created just for them by their ancestors. When I was growing up, parents and children cleaned and decorated family graves together on Memorial Day. With every pulled weed or flower placed on a grave, a memory of each relative was invoked – a nickname, a special trait, the color of their hair and how they fit into the family. I learned about Great Aunt Eddie Vaughn Pittillo and how much I resemble her in appearance. I learned who made the concrete border for little Edith’s grave. I learned that the red hair running through the Joyce family comes from Great Grandmother Mary Ann Smith and that she smoked a pipe and used Star brand tobacco. I also learned that her father, Hugh Wolstenholme, "washed his hands in the clouds" when he crossed the mountains. Those stories should not be forgotten.

By noon we were ready for a break of sandwiches and ice cold drinks, welcome treats as it was sure to be hot and sunny on Memorial Day in southern Illinois and western Kentucky. And then it was back to work and we continued until the grass was trimmed, weeds were all pulled and each grave had a bouquet of flowers stuck in a Mason jar or coffee can. There was a sense of satisfaction when we packed up and headed for home.

I worry that when I am gone, my children will no longer visit the little country cemeteries and, oh, how I hope they don’t forget the stories of their ancestors.

This was originally published on  Rambling Thoughts ... Out of My Mind  22 May 2009.

Published 29 May 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pleasant Grove General Baptist Church and Cemetery

Pleasant Grove General Baptist Church is located in Crittenden County, a few miles north of Salem.

Adjoining the church is the cemetery where many members of my family and other families are buried. These  families include the following: Croft, Corn, Bebout, Lynn, Jones, Millikan, Watson, Miller and Belt,

Published 25 May 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Nathan C. Byrd

Nathan C. Byrd
Jan. 14, 1807
Died Sept. 17, 1872
Mark the perfect man and behold
the upright for the end of that man is peace.

Buried Fredonia Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 12 October 2013.

On 11 January 1838, Nathan C. Byrd obtained a marriage license to marry Miss Sarah Jane Leeper, whose father, R.T. Leeper, gave written consent for the license to be issued.

Original Marriage License
Nathan C. Byrd - Sarah Jane Leeper
Caldwell County Clerk's Office
Princeton, Kentucky

Published 23 May 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Epitaphs Can Provide Clues

Have you wondered about the origin of an epitaph on a tombstone? Did it have special meaning to the deceased or the family?  One of the easiest ways to check on the epitaph is to ask our friend, Google. That's what I did with the epitaph on the tombstone of Martha A. Perkins, who is buried in Leeper Cemetery in Livingston County.

 Martha A.
Wife of
J.D. Perkins
Sept. 24, 1827
Apr. 3, 1876
48 yrs. 6 mo's, 9 da's

"Hard is it from thee to part
Tho it rend my aching heart
Since an heir to glory's gone
Let the will of God be done."

The epitaph is taken from "Psalms and Hymns Adapted to Social, Private and Public Worship of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church."  Could this be a clue to Martha A.'s religious affiliation? Or was this epitaph ordered from a tombstone catalog with little thought given as to whether it was appropriate for the decedent? If charges were made for each letter, an epitaph of four lines would have been fairly costly and certainly more expensive than a simple epitaph like Gone Home or Farewell or Gone But Not Forgotten.

To be most helpful, transcribe every word on the tombstone.

Published 19 May 2017, Western Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Mahlon B. Lowery

Mahlon B. Lowery
May 16, 1832
Feb. 15, 1908

Buried Fredonia Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 12 October 2013.

Malin [sic] B. Lowery is enumerated in the household of John and Grace Lowery on the 1850 Caldwell County, Kentucky census.[1]  John Lowery and Grace Ordway married 22 September 1825.[2] They are buried at Old Fredonia Cemetery .

Mahlon B. Lowery married Miss Lucy C. Rorer 23 December 1869 in Caldwell County.[3] This marriage bond contains quite a bit of information. The groom was 35 years old, was born and currently lived in Caldwell County, was a farmer and this was his first marriage. His father was born in Virginia and his mother was born in New Hampshire.  Miss Rorer, the bride, was age 20, was born in Crittenden County, Kentucky and currently lived in Caldwell County and this was her first marriage. Her parents were born in Virginia. Richard Rorer, father of the bride, gave consent for the marriage license to be issued.

[1] 1850 Caldwell County, Kentucky census, Dist. 1, Family #426, database online,, accessed 7 March 2017.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1809-1832, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1996), 88.
[3] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1866-1873, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 2002), 61.

Published 16 May 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,