Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving !

Published 23 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah Ann Nunn James

In memory of
Sarah Ann
Wife of
D.C. James
departed this life
Apr. 9, 1851
AE 21 y's  10 ms

Buried Nunn Cemetery, off Hwy. 365, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed February 1993.  There are a number of graves marked only with rocks. These rocks may mark the burial sites of inmates of the old Poorhouse Farm which, at one time, was located nearby.

David C. James and Sarah Ann Nunn obtained a license to marry on 11 February 1850 Crittenden County. The bride's father, Ira Nunn, gave consent for the license to issue.[1]

The 1850 Crittenden County census shows D.C. James, age 21 and a clerk born in Tennessee and S.A. James, age 21 and born in Kentucky. Also living in the household was Thomas Nunn, age 24 and a merchant born in Kentucky.[2]

This cemetery is located on private land and is not accessible without permission.

[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) 29.
[2] 1850 Crittenden County, Kentucky, Dist. 2, Roll: M432_197, p. 254A, dwelling 108, family 108,, accessed 13 November 2017.

Published 21 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Caldwell County, Kentucky Appointment of Administrators 1867

When there is no death record, a substitute for an approximate death date is the date of the appointment of an administrator  or executor of the decedent's  estate. While the duties of the administrator and executor are very similar, the administrator is appointed by the county court and the executor is named in a will. There is an exception and that is when the settlement by an executor has begun, but has not finished. In that case an administrator de bonis non is appointed by the county court to complete the settlement.  The surviving spouse is first in line to act as administrator, but may waive his or her right to administer. The following entries have been abstracted from Caldwell County Court Order Book K (1866-1873).

John Satterfield appointed administrator of the estate of Henry Lewis  23 Jan 1867. The widow waived her right to administer.  [p. 36]

John Satterfield  appointed administrator of the estate of James L. Satterfield  4 Feb 1867. The widow waived her right to administer.  [p. 38]

Mrs. Martha J. Hawkins  appointed administrator of James W. Hawkins' estate  5 Feb 1867.  [p. 40]

James H. Leech  appointed administrator of Mrs. M.T. McLean's estate  8 Feb 1867.  [p. 41]

N.C. Gray  appointed administrator of the estate of Robert P. Gray  13 Feb 1867.  [p. 41]

William L. Forlines  appointed administrator of the estate of Geo. L. Forlines  13 Feb 1867. The widow waived her right to administer.  [p. 42]

The estate of William E. Gaines dec'd confided to the care and custody of James H. Leech, public administrator and guardian for Caldwell County, no one having applied for same.  18 Feb 1867.  [p. 44]

J.H. Fletcher appointed administrator of the estate of W.R. Calhoon  18 Feb 1867, the widow having waived her right to administrator. [p. 46]

Samuel Garrett  appointed administrator of William Henry's estate 18 Feb 1857, the widow having waived her right to administer. [p. 48]

L.W. McGough  appointed administrator of the estate of J.W. McGough  23 Feb 1867. [p. 50]

L.W. McGough  appointed administrator de bonis non of the estate of Thomas McGough 23 Feb 1867, the widow having waived her right to administrator. [p. 50]

J.P. Gray appointed administrator of S.D. Gray's estate 1 Mar 1867. The widow waived her right to administer. [p. 51]

Martha Jane Mitchell appointed administrator of Jacob Mitchell's estate 19 Apr 1867. [p. 66]

The goods and chattles of the estate of Mrs. Martha Caldwell to be confided to the care and custody of James H. Leech, public administrator for Caldwell County  27 Apr 1867.  [p. 68]

James Mitchell was appointed administrator of Elizabeth Mitchell's estate  29 Apr 1867.  [p. 68]

The estate of Y.W. Rucker dec'd was confided to the care and custody of James H. Leech, public administrator, more than three months having elapsed since his death and no one having applied for same  15 May 1867.  [p. 71]

Mrs. Mildred A. McGowen appointed administrator of the estate  of James E. McGowen dec'd  1 Jun 1867.  [p. 74]

James A. Carr appointed administrator of Mrs. Nancy M. Carr's estate  17 Jun 1867. [p. 81]

On motion of L. Pepper, it appearing James Williams has been dead over three months and no one having applied for administration of his estate, ordered that it be confided to James H. Leech, public administrator and guardian  29 Jul 1867.  [p. 99]

James Hawthorn appointed administrator of the estate of Sarah Wilson Hawthorn (formerly Sarah Wilson Catnack)  2 Aug 1867. [p. 100]

James M. Harper appointed administrator of the estate of Robt. Williamson dec'd  19 Aug 1867. [p. 104]

Dr. R.B. McNary  appointed administrator of Lum Coleman's estate 29 Aug 1867. [p. 111]

Modena Smith appointed administrator of Alfred Smith's estate 5 Sep 1867. [p. 114]

J.P. Rascoe appointed administrator of the estate of Mrs. P.U. Miller dec'd  6 Sep 1867. [p. 115]

M.C. Crow  appointed administrator of the estate of James Glass Jr. dec'd 16 Sep 1867. [p. 117]

Green B. Glass  appointed administrator de bonis non with will annexed of the estate of James Glass Sr. 16 Sep 1867. [p. 118]

J.N. Turner  appointed administrator of the estate of Robert Black dec'd 20 Sep 1867, the widow waiving her right to administer. [p. 120]

Jas. H . Leech  appointed administrator of the estate of Robert Black dec'd 20 Sep 1867, the widow, E.A. Black, waiving her right to administer. [p. 120]

James H. Leech  appointed administrator of the estate of Ennis Mitchell 22 Oct 1867, the widow waiving her right to administer. [p. 137]

Published 16 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Old Methodist Episcopal Church - Smithland, Kentucky

While not the oldest religious presence in Smithland, Kentucky, the Methodist Episcopal Church has been there at least since the 1840s. In 1848, the trustees of Smithland conveyed part of inlot #113 on Mill Street to H.C. Hodge, H.F. Given, John H. Wood, B.O. Thrift and H.A. Harman, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, for 99 years in order that they could "build or cause to be erected a house or place of worship for the use of the members of the church."[1]

The church suffered through the  years - from a devastating fire in the 1880s and rebuilding to the 1937 flood which saw water almost to the roof of the church.[2] The church was later sold to the Church of Christ, which held services there for a number of years. The church is now empty and is privately  owned. It is not open to the public.

The church was photographed 8 November 2017.

[1] Livingston County, Kentucky Deed Book HH:633, recorded 31 October 1848.
[2] Faye Tramble Teitloff. Images of America  Livingston County, (Arcadia Publishing, 2009) 40.

Published 14 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Rutherford Cemetery

Dau. of
S. & A.F. Rutherford
June 7, 1864
Died Dec. 8, 1870

Stephen Rutherford
Oct. 20, 1826
Dec. 17, 1882

Although this little graveyard is known as the Rutherford Cemetery, it probably should be called the Newcom Cemetery as the earliest known burial was for W. Newcom, born Mar. 3, 1791 and died Jan. 21, 1853[1], as recorded by the WPA in 1939/1940.[2] This land was owned by the Newcom family at the time of William Newcom's death.

This cemetery is located about one mile off Hwy 365 in Crittenden County, Kentucky, approximately one mile from the Union County line. It is on land formerly owned by Alcoa. The tombstones were photographed in 1991. This land is currently on private property.

[1] This date must be incorrect as William Newcom's will is dated Oct. 22, 1854 and is recorded in Crittenden County Will Book 1, p. 55.
[2] Work Project Administration (WPA) provided employment for men during the Great Depression. One such project in Kentucky was recording tombstones for all those of an age to have served in the military. The WPA record for William Newcom states he was on the roll of Capt. Jonathan Owsley's Company, Kentucky's Detached Militia, War of 1812.

Published 9 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Thomas B. and Kittie Lee Rankin

Thomas B.
1857 - 1939

Kittie Lee
1863 - 1937

Buried Lola Pentecostal Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 12 December 2012.

Thomas B. Rankin was born 22 December 1856 Iowa; died 19 March 1939 Hardin County, Illinois, according to his death record.[1] His parents are listed as William Rankin and -- Prather.

According to her death certificate, Kittie Lee Rankin was born 19 January 1864 Lola, Kentucky and died 6 May 1937, also in Lola.[2] Her parents were Tolbert Foster and Elizabeth Tolley, both born in Lola.

The 1930 census shows Thomas B. Rankin, a house carpenter, and his wife, Kittie L., along with their son, Ward D. Rankin, age 29, living in Livingston County.[3]

[1] Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916 - 1947,, accessed 2 September 2017.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #14263 (1937), Kittie Lee Rankin,, accessed 2 September 2017.
[3] 1930 Livingston County, Kentucky Census, E.D. 12, Sheet 1B,, accessed 2 September 2017.

Published 7 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Henry Clay Kerr and Isabella Rouse Kerr

Isabella A. Kerr, born 8 June 1832 Henderson[1],  was the daughter of James and Sally K. Rouse[2] of Henderson. James Rouse was a "pioneer settler of Henderson" [3]  and a large land owner in Henderson.  

Isabella Rouse  married Henry C. Kerr 30 December 1852 at a hotel then known as the Rouse House, which stood in downtown Henderson.[4]  Isabella left a will recorded in Henderson Will Book E, page 566.  Whatever money and notes she had at her death went to her husband. Her real estate was to be sold and the proceeds divided equally between her surviving children. James H. Kerr was to be her executor. The will was dated 15 March 1913 and recorded 13 February 1914.

Henry C. Kerr was born 13 April 1829 near Lexington, Kentucky and died 29 September 1920 in Henderson.  He was the son of John Kerr and Nancy Coons and  was a plasterer by occupation. His father was born  in Scotland and his mother was born in Kentucky.[5] 

The Kerrs had the following children: Edwin, James Henry, Walter, Mattie and Malcom. The first three children are also buried at Fernwood Cemetery.


Isabella A.
1832 - 1914

Henry C.
1829 - 1920

Buried Fernwood Cemetery,  Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 2 April 2017.

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate, Isabella Rouse Kerr #4191,, accessed 25 March 2017.
[2] Last Will and Testament of James Rouse, Henderson County Will Book C:179-180, dated 29 May 1861 and proven July Court 1861.
[3] "Mrs. H.C. Kerr Sinks To Last Long Sleep," Henderson Daily Gleaner, Sat., 21 Feb 1914, p. 1.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Kentucky Death Certificate #22466, Henry Clay Kerr,, accessed 25 March 2017.

Published 2 November 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Alvira Jackson Elder

Alvira J.
Wife of
T.S.C. Elder
Mar. 11, 1833
Nov. 5, 1906

Buried Old Marion Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 13 August 2014.

Thomas S.C. Elder married Miss Elvira Jackson at the home of James Jackson 17 August 1859.[1] Elvira was enumerated in the household of James and Margaret Jackson in 1850.[2]

According to her obituary, Mrs. Elder died at her home about 3 miles northeast of Marion. She was a member of the Presbyterian church. Survivors were her husband, son Rufus H. Elder ; daughters, T.T. Davis of Summersville, Georgia and Miss Alvira Elder . [3]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome.  Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages Vol. 1 1842-1865 and Abstracts of Wills Book 1  1842 - 1924, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1990) 78.
[2] 1850 Crittenden County, Kentucky census, Dist. 1, p. 232A stamped, dwelling 311, family 311,
[3] Obituary of Alvira J. Elder, Crittenden Record-Press 9 November 1906.

Published 31 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Happy Birthday!

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog!  It began in October 2007 and 1418 posts have been published. That is a lot of words and photographs!

Published 29 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Research Tip - Put It Aside

A more experienced researcher gave me some advice when,  as a novice genealogist, I became frustrated when faced with a brick wall. "Back away," she said,  Put that family aside and work on another family for at least a month. Then go back to the first family and you will see things you missed before."  She was right and this technique continues to be one of my main strategies when I become frustrated in my research. 

Try it. You may just find it will work for you, too.

Published 26 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Boyd Fleming Gahagen

Boyd Fleming
Dec. 23, 1853
Jan. 21, 1933

Buried Green's Chapel Cemetery in the Bells Mines community of Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 9 March 2017.

According to his death certificate, Boyd F. Gahagen was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and was the son of Martin Gahagen and -- Allen, both born in Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, Boyd F. Gahagen was a widower.[1]

On the 20th of January 1933, Boyd F. Gahagen wrote his will, naming his son Laurence Gahagen and Malvina Gertrude Walker as his only heirs. The will was presented in court 13 February 1933 and recorded 16 May 1933.[2]

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #653, Boyd F. Gahagen,, accessed 3 August 2017.
[2]  Kentucky, Wills and Probate Records, 1774-1989, Crittenden County, Vol. 2, p. 100,, accessed 3 August 2017.

Published 24 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Case of Bigamy

This tombstone is found on the hill in Smithland Cemetery, which overlooks the Ohio River where it merges with the Cumberland River in Livingston County, Kentucky. No flowers pay tribute to this child and the weathered monument gives no hint to the controversy that swirled around her parents years after the infant's birth and death.

Miss Oleonder
daughter of
Thos. W. & Jane Ann
Browder Who was
born Oct. 24 &
departed this Life
Dec. 6, 1847

Thomas and Jane Ann Browder were living in the household of Richard and Julie An Weston in 1850 Livingston County. Thomas was age 25, a boatman born Kentucky and Jane Ann was age 18, born Pennsylvania. Since Julie An Weston was also born in Pennsylvania, perhaps there was a connection between them.[1]

Thomas Browder left Kentucky and went to California after the Gold Rush began.  We don't know the year he arrived in California, but a newspaper article states Thomas Browder was arrested in San Francisco in 1859 on a charge of bigamy. Pressing charges was the mother of his bride, who stated he had a wife in Kentucky, but had married the new wife, who was 16 years old,  in Santa Cruz County the previous year.[2]

Browder was arrested and his trial began in January of 1860. D.W. Patterson of Livingston County testified to having known Browder in Livingston County in 1841 or 1842. "Capt. Browder and a lady came to his home in 1848; it was understood that the lady was his wife, although he has no recollection that defendant introduced her as such."[3]  No marriage record for Thomas Browder has been found in Livingston County or in California.

The trial of Thomas W. Browder continued in California, but was later dismissed by the judge as there was insufficient testimony to warrant the case being continued.

Thomas W. Browder disappears after the trial. He does not appear in the 1860 California census records.  What happened to him?  Did he stay in California or return to Kentucky?   The only clue to his life in Livingston County is the tombstone of his baby daughter in Smithland Cemetery.

[1] 1850 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Smithland, (online), accessed 10 October 2017.
[2] "Bigamy Case," Sacramento Daily Union, p. 2,  Monday, 19 December 1859.
[3] "The Bigamy Case," San Francisco Bulletin, p. 3, Saturday, 7 January 1860.

Published 19 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Samuel F. Singleton

To the Memory
Samuel F.
Infant son of
Dr. S.F. & Louisa
Died Sept. 1845
[Aged 6 months][1]

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 27 September 2010.

Dr. S.F. Singleton, a druggist by occupation, arrived in Smithland about 1840/41 and remained there until  about 1847, when he moved to Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky. He appears on the Livingston County tax lists 1841 - 1847 and on the 1850 McCracken County census.

Also buried in Smithland Cemetery are Alice Singleton, sister to infant Samuel F. Singleton, and their mother, Louisa Singleton. For details on the tombstone of Louisa Singleton, read Filling in the Gaps

[1] The last line comes from "The Old Cemetery at Smithland, Kentucky," by Mrs. Berna Presnell McChesney, The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 41, 1943, p. 246. The stone is broken and the last line is currently unreadable.

Published 17 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Influenza Pandemic 1918 - 1919 Killed Many People

The influenza pandemic of 1918 - 1919 killed approximately 20 to 50 million people world wide. More than 25% of the U.S. population became sick and some 675,000 Americans died.[1]  The first wave of influenza hit Europe in the Spring of 1918 and was generally mild. A second wave, however, came in the Fall of 1918 and was much worse, killing many people within days - and sometimes hours - of contracting the disease. Because Spain was one of the earliest countries to be hit  hard by the influenza, the disease was also known as the "Spanish Flu."

The influenza did not distinguish who caught this highly contagious disease.  Healthy, young people, normally more resistant to disease, fell victim along with older people with health problems.  Many World War I soldiers caught the disease and one report says more men died from the disease than were killed in battle during the war.[2] 

Two of the young people who succumbed  to the influenza were Sible Josephene and William Ralph Trail, children of William W. and George Ann Trail of Livingston County, Kentucky. One tombstone holds silent vigil over their graves in Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

June 3, 1909
Nov. 29, 1918

June 2, 1902
Dec. 1, 1918
Sleep on dear children and take thy rest
In Jesus arms forever blest
Children of W.W. Trail

Both children died of  the deadly combination of influenza and pneumonia, according to their death certificates.[3] Their parents were identified as William W. Trail, born Livingston County, and George Ann Curnell, born Crittenden County, Kentucky.  William Trail and George Ann Curnell married 23 November 1898, Livingston County.[4]

[1] "Flu Pandemic," History online,, accessed 1 September 2017.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate, #40800, William Ralph Trail,, accessed 1 September 2017 and #40801, Sible Josephine Trail,, accessed 1 September 2017.
[4]  Kentucky, Compiled Marriages 1851 - 1900,, accessed 1 September 2017.

Published 12 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Cornelius Hazel

May 22, 1824
Aug. 18, 1899

The above two photographs illustrate what can happen to a tombstone within a few years. The first photo was taken 23 March 2013 and the second one was taken 15 February 2017. The stone had been broken and repaired before the 2013 photo was taken, but had broken again and was on the ground before the 2017 photo was made.

Cornelius Hazel was buried in Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. He married Mary Emeline Miller 6 July 1848 Crittenden County. Joseph Hughes, Justice of the Peace, officiated at the wedding. Sarah Miller, the bride's mother, gave written consent, for the license to be issued.[1]

Cornelius Hazel and family are enumerated on the 1860 Union County, Kentucky census, Post Office Morganfield, page 198.

[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) 21.

Published 10 October 2017. Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Joyce Family Reunion 2017

There is something that warms the heart when you return to the area where your ancestors lived long ago. Recently we visited Virginia and North Carolina, where my ancestors lived during and after the Revolutionary War. When my 5th great grandfather, Thomas Joyce,  died in 1780 in Charlotte County, Virginia, he left property in North Carolina to his children, including my ancestor, George Joyce. George lived in what is now Rockingham and Stokes Counties, North Carolina before migrating to Kentucky in 1806.

Thomas Joyce, George's father, had a brother, Alexander Joyce,  and both brothers had a number of children,  with each having a son named John. There is a family legend that explains how the two cousins named John were distinguished from each other.  Apparently, the two John Joyce cousins went coon hunting and a dispute arose between them. The father of one cousin  stated his  son bites like a coon. The father of the other  said his son fights like a possum. The names stuck and one John Joyce is listed as John Coon in public records and the other became known as John Possum.  The Possum line descends from Alexander Joyce and the Coon line descends from Thomas Joyce. That makes me a Coon Joyce although I descend from a brother to John Coon.  Even today, Joyce visitors to Rockingham and Stokes Counties are often asked if they are a Coon or a Possum Joyce.

The reason for the visit to North Carolina was the first annual Joyce family reunion. We originally met through a Facebook page dedicated to the descendants of Alexander and Thomas Joyce. Most of us had never met face to face, but through sharing  family information and DNA testing, we had become friends. 

It seemed only natural to plan a get together to meet in person.  We arrived the day before the reunion and a cousin who lives in the area took us on a tour of sites important in our family history - the old Joyce School, the John Possom Joyce Cemetery, and Joyce Presbyterian Church. As you may gather, Joyce is a very common name in the area.

Joyce Schoolhouse
Rockingham County, North Carolina

John Possom Joyce Cemetery
Rockingham County, North Carolina

A lot of research is being doing through DNA testing to determine the origins of our family. So far, it appears we may not be from the area "across the ocean" that we had assumed. I'll let you know when it become official.  In the meantime, the Joyce cousins continue to search for and share information. I am so pleased to be part of this large, very interesting family.

Published 5 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - William Lowry (1804 - 1836)

William Lowry
was born Apl. 7th
died Sept. 20th

Buried Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 25 January 2017.

William Lowry and Elizabeth Ordway were married 5 February 1824 in Caldwell County by Robt. A. Lapsley, according to the rights and ceremonies of the Presbyterian church. James Lowry, father of the bridegroom, and Kinsay Robison, step father and guardian of the bride, gave consent in person.[1]

The will of James Lowry, dated 21 September 1844 and recorded 20 November 1854, mentions "heirs of my son William (who is dead)." [2]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1809-1832, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1996) 84.
[2] Caldwell County, Kentucky Will Book B:155.

Published 3 October 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Visit to Patrick County, Virginia

I had an adventure last week that took me back to the areas of Virginia and North Carolina where my ancestors lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The trip began with a 9 hour drive through Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and across the Blue Ridge Mountains to Patrick County, Virginia, where  my great-great-great grandfather, William Joyce, married in 1804, and his son, also named William Joyce, married in 1828. I had visited Patrick County almost 40 years ago but my memories  of the area had grown dim.

While Patrick County may be dear to me because my ancestors married there, the county is better known as the birthplace of General  J.E.B. Stuart (CSA), who fought and died during the Civil War. It seemed fitting that we entered the county via  the J.E.B. Stuart Highway.

I must confess that  I have a personal reason for being interested in J.E.B. Stuart. His great grandmother, Elizabeth Perkins Letcher Hairston, was a sister to my great-great-great grandmother, Bethenia  Perkins  Bostick (1739 VA - ca 1811 Stokes County, NC). That makes us cousins, doesn't it?

The Patrick County courthouse in Stuart was built in 1852 and is still in use today. 

Stuart, Virginia
On the courthouse lawn is a statue dedicated to honoring all Confederate soldiers who served during the Civil War. On the bottom of the statue J.E.B. Stuart is honored as a hero.

Statue honoring all CSA soldiers

Plaque honoring J.E.B. Stuart

After visiting the courthouse, we headed toward the town of Ararat, Virginia, which is located about 25 miles from Stuart and just a few miles from Mt. Airy, North Carolina. This property is where J.E.B. Stuart's great grandparents settled after their marriage in what was then Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1778.

 Laurel Hill, birthplace of J.E.B. Stuart

This is a beautiful location for a home. The Stuart property was called Laurel Hill and includes a cemetery, where J.E.B.'s father, Archibald Stuart, was buried  in 1855. In 1951 his remains were moved and reburied beside his wife, Elizabeth, in Saltville, Virginia.

First burial site of Archibald Stuart, 
Father of J.E.B. Stuart

Overlooking the Ararat River is the grave of William Letcher, J.E.B.'s great-grandfather. Letcher was murdered by a Tory during the Revolutionary War. His tombstone, the oldest in Patrick County, states "In memory of William Letcher who was assassinated in his own house  in the bosom of his family by a Tory of the Revolution, on the 2 day of August, 1780, aged about 30 years. May the tear of sympathy fall upon the couch of the brave."  His death left a wife of two years, Elizabeth Perkins Letcher, and a baby daughter, Bethenia, who much later married David Pannill. Elizabeth, the daughter of Bethenia and David Pannill, married Archibald Stuart and they had James Ewell Brown Stuart, also known as J.E.B., on 6 February 1833.

We spent a day and a half in Patrick County and wish it could have been longer, but we needed to go on to Rockingham County, North Carolina, where dozens of Joyce descendants were gathering for the first annual family reunion on September 23.  I'll tell you more about that in a later blog post.  In the meantime, if ever you have the chance to visit Patrick County, Virginia, do so and be sure to visit Laurel Hill.

Published 28 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,