Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mystery of the Ashmore Family

I have a little mystery for you.  It begins with a broken tombstone for Margaret Ashmore in Smithland Cemetery in Livingston County.  There is no birth date and where the death date should be, the stone is broken. Previous recordings, however,  give the death date as 11 June 1849.[1]

daughter of
Rob. & Rachel

If this death date is correct, one would think her parents, or at least her mother, was in Smithland on that date.  

Maybe. But no Ashmore is found on the Livingston County Tax Lists for 1849  or 1850  or 1851  or 1852. So, where were Robert and Rachel Ashmore, the parents of little Margaret?

R. [Rachel?] Ashmore, age 25, and G.A. Ashmore, age 1, are found on the 1850 Mercer County, New Jersey census living in the town of Princeton in a household  headed by William Williamson, age 24.  By the way, Robert Asmore [sic] married Rachel Williamson 6 January 1844 in Somerset County, New Jersey. [2] So, if Rachel was living with some of her relatives in 1850, where was Robert and who was G.A. Ashmore, age 1?

It appears that Robert Ashmore enlisted in the Army on 20 July 1849.[3] He was described as age 28 with grey eyes, brown hair, stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey and was a millwright.  On the 16th of May 1851, he deserted. That is the last record found on Robert Ashmore.

On the 1860 Hunterdon County, New Jersey census, Rachel Ashmore, age 37, and George Ann Ashmore, age 11, were living in the household of Jacob and Anna Williamson in the town of Lambertville. So, it appears that Rachel had a daughter, George Ann, who was born about 1849 in Missouri. Was she a twin to Margaret?  Was Margaret also born in Missouri and, if so, why was she buried in Smithland, Kentucky?

Rachel and George Ann didn't stay in New Jersey. By 1869 they are living in - where else - Smithland, Kentucky. On the 16th of September of 1869, Miss Georgiana Ashmore married Charles S. Delay.
Original Marriage License and Certificate 1869
Livingston County Clerk's Office
Smithland, Kentucky

The newlyweds and the mother in law, Rachel, moved to Cairo, Illinois, where they are found on the 1870 census. Rachel died 1 August 1872 at the age of 49 years. Services were held at the M.E. Church in Cairo and her remains were taken to Smithland, Kentucky for interment.[4]  My hunch is she is buried without a tombstone beside little Margaret.

Charles Delay and wife Georgia (Ashmore) moved to Scott County, Missouri, where they can be found on the 1880 census in the town of Sylvania with their children, Georgie, Harry, Daisy and Charlie. Georgia Ashmore Delay died at Parker's Station, Missouri on the evening of 21 March 1881. Her remains were taken to Beech Grove Cemetery in Cairo, Illinois for burial.

There ends the saga of the Ashmore family. What was their original connection to Smithland, Kentucky?  What drew them back to Smithland time after time?

Every person has a story to tell. I just wish some of them would speak a little louder.

[1] "The Old Cemetery at Smithland, Kentucky," The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 41 (1943)
by Mrs. Verna Presnell McChesney and Livingston County, Kentucky Cemeteries 1738-1976 by Livingston County, Kentucky Homemaker Clubs, 1977 have the same death date for Margaret Ashmore.
[2] U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989,, accessed 6 February 2017.
[3] U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914,, accessed 16 February 2017.
[4] "Died," The Cairo Bulletin, Friday, 2 August 1872, p. 4

Published 26 April 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Research Tip - Read the Instructions!

Do you know when the 1880 census year begins and ends?   Who is included in that census? Not sure?  You will find the answers at the top of the 1880 census form.  What you find there may give you clues for further research.

Here is what  is written on the 1880 census:

Note A. - The Census Year begins June 1, 1879, and ends May 31, 1880.[1]

Note B. - All  persons will be included in the Enumeration who were living on the 1st day of June, 1880.  Children BORN since June 1, 1880, will be OMITTED. Members of Families who have DIED Since June 1, 1880, will be INCLUDED. [2]

Note C. - Questions No. 13, 14, 22 and 23 are not to be asked in respect to persons under 10 years of age. [3]

Reading the instructions or hints is always a good thing.

[1] The same dates apply to the Non-Population Schedules (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mortality and Social Statistic Schedules).
[2] Capitalization of words appears on the census form.
[3]  Question No. 13 asks the person's occupation. Question No. 14 asks the number of months employed. Question No. 22 asks if the person cannot read. Question No. 23 asks if the person cannot write.

Published 21 April 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

African-American Marriages in 1866

Although African American slaves may have lived together as husband and wife before the Civil War, their marriage was not legally recognized in Kentucky.  With the end of the war and the passing of a statute on the 14th of February, 1866, ... "all negroes and mulattoes may intermarry with each other in the same manner and under the same regulations that are provided by law for white persons. Provided. that the clerk of the county court shall keep separate records of the same. In additional to the persons now authorized by law to solemnize marriage, marriages between negroes and mulattoes may be solemnized by any minister in good standing of any recognized church of colored persons."[1]

All they had to do was appear before the county clerk, declare they have been  living together as man and wife and plan to continue to do so. They were required to pay a fee of 50 cents and the clerk would record the marriage. They could receive a certificate of their marriage if they paid an additional fee of 25 cents.

Marriage between a white person and a Negro or mulatto was not lawful. Those who violated this law would be guilty of a felony and could be confined to the state penitentiary for a period of not less than five years.

Long-time African-American marriages are recorded  in registers called "Declarations of Marriage of Negroes and Mulattoes."  These registers are not available in every western Kentucky county. Crittenden and Caldwell Counties have them, but not  Livingston or Henderson Counties. Also, new marriages between African-Americans, beginning in 1866, are available in separate registers in some counties.   Livingston, Crittenden and Caldwell Counties have them . The earliest African-American marriages in Henderson County Clerk's Office  begin in 1874. There are a few earlier marriages from 1869 at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort.

Declaration of Marriage of  Reuben Wheeler and Matilda Wheeler, Crittenden County
Declaration of Marriage of Negroes and Mulattoes,  4 July 1866, p. 1
(click on document for a larger view)

[1] Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, (Frankfort, KY: George D. Prentice, State Printer, 1866) Chapter 556, p. 37, Approved 14 February 1866, Google Books, accessed 12 April 2017.

Published 18 April 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church was organized at Bethany Presbyterian Church on Crooked Creek in 1803 in what was then Livingston County. When Crittenden County was created in 1842, the church was located in the new county.  In 1845, Marion became the Crittenden County seat and the congregation moved to the site of Old Marion Cemetery, where a  brick building was built. A group of 67 members seceded in 1881 and, in 1883, the church was organized and named Chapel Hill. The church was dedicated 20 July 1884. In 1955, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary.[1]

The church doors closed in July 1967 and the church's cemetery committee voted to have the building torn down in 1996 as it was no longer safe.[2]

Buried in Chapel Hill Cemetery are several of my relatives, including my great-great-great-grandmother, Martha Rebecca (Vaughn) Lewis.   Watch for a post on the Lewis family coming up. Martha Rebecca has a story to tell.

Chapel Hill Church

Photographed 25 March 2015

[1] "Chapel Hill Presbyterians Mark 150 Anniversary," Crittenden Press, 19 August 1955.
[2] "Memories Lost - Chapel Hill Church Set for Spring Demolition," Crittenden Press, 15 February 1996.

Published 12 Apr 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Crittenden County, Kentucky Guardians 1865

The intention of the law regarding guardians was to protect the rights of children who were orphans or not old enough to care for their own business. If an underage child inherited property, a guardian was often appointed to protect his interests. A guardian might also be appointed to represent the child in a law suit (guardian ad litem). At the age of 14 years, a child was allowed to choose his own guardian, but with the county court’s approval. If under age 14, the county court had the responsibility of appointing the guardian for the child. The following entries have been abstracted from County Court Order Book 3 (1861-1868), Crittenden County Clerk’s Office, Marion, Kentucky. The letter and numbers at the end of the entries refers to the County Court Order Book and page number.For example, 3/199 refers to Order Book 3, page 199.

P.C. Barnett was appointed guardian for Wm. T. Threlkeld, John Duncan Threlkeld, Richard Gordon Threlkeld, Lucy Ellen Threlkeld, infants and heirs of W.N. Threlkeld dec'd, the first named being over the age of 14.  9 Jan 1865. [3/199]

Robt. A. Dowell was appointed guardian for Cynthia Garrison and James Garrison, infants of J.S. Garrison dec'd, being over the age of 14. 9 Jan 1865. [3/200]

P.M. Sisco was appointed guardian for Mary Chadwick, infant.  13 Feb 1865.  [3/205]

H.W. Stewart was appointed guardian for Nancy M. Stone, a minor.  13 Feb 1865  [3/205]

J.B. Franks was appointed guardian for Wm. Kimsey, Ellen Kimsey, Jesse Kimsey, infant and heirs of D.W. Kimsey dec'd.  3 Mar 1865.  [3/211]

John McConnel appointed guardian for Sarah McDowell, John McDowell and Daniel McDowell, infants of Daniel McDowell dec'd.  13 Mar 1865.  [3/213]

S.S. Matthews was appointed guardian for Rebecca Julia Matthews, infant heir of Z.C. Matthews dec'd.  13 Mar 1865.  [3/213]

J.A. Yandell was appointed guardian for J.N. Matthews, infant heir of Z.C. Matthews.  13 Mar 1865.  [3/214]

W.J. Cain, who is over the age of 14, made choice of Allen Walker as his guardian. 16 Mar 1865.  [3/215]

John C. Akers and F.B. Akers, infants of Claborn Akers dec'd, made choice of Mrs. Pernecia A. Davis as their guardian.  16 Mar 1865.  [3/215]

Joseph A. Deboe was appointed guardian for Philip H. Deboe, Alexander A. Deboe, Dicy J. Deboe and Sarah A. Deboe, the first three being over the age of 14.  25 Mar 1865.  [3/216]

John A. Carter filed evidence of his appointment as guardian for Elisabeth Tally in the county court of Pope County, Illinois.  10 Apr 1865.  [3/218]

George B. Bush was appointed guardian for James Bussell, infant heir of Silas Bussell dec'd, who made the appointment in his last Will and Testament.[1] 18 Apr 1865. [3/224]

Elizabeth Carmical was appointed guardian for Margaret Elizabeth Watson, infant and heir of Aaron Watson dec'd.  15 Jun 1865.  [3/238]

S. Hodge was appointed guardian ad litem for Wm. H. Pulley and R.N. Pully, infant defendants in a case of M.J. Pulley against M.J. Pulley Heirs & Creditors, defendants. 11 Sep 1865.  [3/250]

R.F. Haynes was appointed guardian ad litem for Juliett E. Marvel, John R. Marvel and Leonidas Marvel, infant defendants in a case of John McKinley against S. Marvel &c. 11 Sep 1865.  [3/251]

W.K. Brown was appointed guardian for Prissa Jane Brown, Sandford Duncan Brown, Joseph M. Brown, Margaret M. Brown, John C. Brown and Daniel J. Brown, infant heirs of sd. W.K. Brown.  11 Sep 1865.  [3/252]

Gillis Susan McElroy, being over age 14, made choice of John Crown as her guardian. 19 Oct 1865.  [3/265]

Elizabeth McMican chosen as guardian for James C.B. McMican, who is over age 14 and the infant heir of J.J. McMican dec'd.  22 Nov 1865.  [3/266]

W.J. Myers appointed guardian for Marietta Winders and Susan Adaline Winders, infants and  heirs of Richard Winders dec'd.  22 Nov 1865.  [3/266]

William Clark was appointed guardian for Nancy J. Tosh and Lauretta Tosh, infant heirs of Samuel Tosh dec'd.  11 Dec 1865.  [3/270]

Martin Hall was appointed guardian for Louisa Jane Rushing and Ellen J. Rushing, infant heirs of T.B. Rushing dec'd.  11 Dec 1865.  [3/273]

[1] Will of Silas Bussell, Crittenden County, Kentucky Will Book 1, p. 94, dated 8 Aug 1863 and recorded 1 October 1863.

Published 6 April 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Francis T. and Elizabeth Wilson

Francis T.
Feb. 19, 1803
Sept. 14, 1872

Jan. 31, 1807
Nov. 22, 1900

Buried at Piney Fork Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 25 Jan 2017.

Francis T. Wilson and Betsy L. Thompson married in Knox County, Tennessee 19 October 1830.[1]

According to an article dated 9 February 1899 in the Crittenden Press,[2] Elizabeth Wilson was born near Knoxville, Tennessee twelve days after the birth of Robert E. Lee. She lived in Knoxville until she was 28 years of age and married Francis T. Wilson on 19 October 1830. As a result of this marriage, nine children were born, six of whom were living in 1899: Joseph F., John F., Robt. L., Margaret M. Deboe (relict of the late James M. Deboe), and Mary E. Wilson, all of Crittenden County, and Sarah Jane Miller of Smithland, Kentucky.  "Aunt" Betsy came to Crittenden County in December 1839 and settled on a farm five miles southeast of Marion. She was living with her son, Joseph Wilson, in 1899. She professed religion at Evans camp ground in Anderson County, Tennessee in 1828 and joined the C.P. [Cumberland Presbyterian] Church at Springfield, Robertson County, Tennessee in 1837. She joined Piney Fork Church by letter in 1840.

[1] Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002, Knox County [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, accessed 4 February 2017.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Newspaper Abstracts 1896-1900, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1994) p. 100.

Published 4 April 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thomas C. Leech (1826- 1894)

Thomas C. Leech, age 29,  married Miss Amanda B. Conner, age 19,  on 15 November 1855 in Livingston County, Kentucky. [1]  Prior to their marriage, Thomas had been living in John C. McGraw's hotel in Smithland. He listed his occupation in 1850 as a merchant. [2] The first child born to Thomas and Amanda was Henry, who died at the age of six months. In 1859, their second child, John, was born. In all, the couple had nine children, but only five were living when the parents died.

Son of
T.C. & A.B. Leech
April 1, 1857
Died Oct. 25, 1857

 Henry was buried in Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County. His tombstone was photographed 5 February 2017.   Little Henry Leech's birth record lists his parents as Thos. C. Leech and Amanda B. Conner.[3]

A wonderful obituary for Thomas C. Leech appeared in the Crittenden County newspaper as well as in the Paducah News.[4]

"Mr. T.C. Leech, one of the leading citizens of Paducah, died Tuesday of last week of pneumonia.

"Thomas C. Leech, sr., was born near Smithland in Livingston county ... September 12, 1826. He was the second of nine children. His father was James Crawford Leech, one of the pioneers of Livingston county, who emigrated from Virginia. His mother, Miss Linda Glen, was [a] daughter of Col. Glen, a prominent citizen and first settler of Caldwell, now Lyon county. On November 15, 1855, Mr. Leech was married to Miss Amanda Conner, of Greenup county, Ky. The couple had nine children - four sons and three daughters, of whom five survive, besides he grief stricken widow. They are Mrs. Irene Cox, T.C. Leech jr, Will C. Leech, Louis Leech and Miss Mattie Leech, all of this city.  A brother, Mr. Wm. V. Leech, a leading citizen of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who has been at his residence for several days, and Mrs. Capt. Joseph H. Fowler his sister, are the only other living members of his immediate family.

"For 27 years Mr. Leech was in business in Smithland. Hereby fair dealing he amassed a considerable fortune. In 1882 he removed to Paducah and embarked in various financial enterprises, in all of which he was successful. At the time of his death he was President of the Paducah Banking company and was interested in other thriving corporations. He died comparatively wealthy, and every penny of his fortune was the result of hard work and honest labor."

Thomas C. Leech was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah, as was his wife, Amanda, who was born 17 August 1835 and died 10 May 1895.[5]

[1] Joyce McCandless Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Including Marriages of Freedmen Vol. II, Aug 1839-Dec 1871, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1994), 91.
[2] 1850 Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky census,, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA, accessed 23 March 2017.
[3] Kentucky, Birth Records 1847-1911,, accessed 15 February 2017.
[4] "Thomas C. Leech Dead," Crittenden Press, 3 January 1895, p. 3.
[5] Oak Grove online database of burials,, accessed 16 February 2017.

Published 30 March  2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - John H. and Cynthia Crider

Cynthia Ann
1859  - 1937

John H.
1860 - 1896

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

John H. Crider and Cynthia Ann Travis married 20 December 1881 in Crittenden County.[1]

Cynthia Ann Crider, born 25 May 1859, died 11 February 1937 and was the daughter of Dr. W.B. Travis and Sarah Bugg. [2] Her burial place is given as "Piny Camp." She is listed as the widow of John Henry Crider.

John H. Crider first appears as age one on the 1860 Crittenden County, Kentucky census in the household of Wm. B. and Elizabeth J. Crider.[3]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol II 1866 - 1886, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1991) 128.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #10189 (1937) of Cynthia Ann Crider.
[3] Kentucky Census, 1860 Crittenden County, p. 150,, accessed 28 January 2017.

Published 28 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Beatty - Towles Marriage Contract 1857

A marriage contract was designed to protect the property of each party, especially the property acquired during a previous marriage or by inheritance from family. Marriage contracts are found in the deed books.

The following document[1] provides valuable information. It tells us that a marriage is shortly intended between James Beatty and Judith Towles and gives us the name of her previous husband and the names of their children. In addition, it provides the name of  her father.

This Indenture made this the 19th day of May 1857  Between James Beatty of the first part & Judith T. Towles of the second part and both of the county of Henderson and State of Kentucky  Witnesseth that whereas the parties have agreed this day to unite in marriage, and whereas James Beatty is desirous to secure to  Judith T. Towles & her children by Thos. Towles, dec'd   towit: Mary Towles, Ann T. Towles, Martha Towles, Thos. Towles & Betty Towles such as she may have by the sd. James Beatty the means of support & maintenance. Now, in consideration of the agreement to marry,  James Beatty hereby covenants with Judith T. Towles that she shall hold for her own separate use and benefit &  support of James Beatty & her children , all of the property which she now owns real, personal and mixed and whether held for life or in fee & which has come to her by gift or devise or in any other way whatever from Thos. Towles Jr. dec'd, Thos. Towles Sr. dec'd or from her father Henry Dixon Sr. or which may hereafter come to her from the estate of either of the three persons last named.  That the property its increase & proceeds shall in no way be liable for any debts  contracts or obligation of  James Beatty now existing or which may hereafter be contracted by him & that the property shall not be subject to the control or disposition of James Beatty, but by the consent of Judith T. Towles & for the purpose heretofore expressed. And the parties hereto in consideration  of the agreement & their love and affection for the afore named children of Thos. Towles Jr. dec'd mutually bind themselves to provide for their maintenance & education in a manner suitable to their rank and condition in life so far as the proceeds of the property herein secured will suffice. And it is further agreed that should any of the children of Thos. Towles Jr. dec'd marry in the lifetime of Judith T. Towles she shall have the same right to make to the children so marrying any advance out of the sd. property she may deems proper as though she had remained sole & unmarried. And the parties agree & mutually bind themselves to each other & to the children that they will hold all the property in Trust for the purposed herein expressed.  In witness whereof the parties have hereunto set their hands & seals this the day and date above written.  [signed]  James Beatty (seal)  Judith T. Towles (seal)

State of Kentucky = Henderson County, Sct:
I William D. Allison clerk of the County Court of Henderson County do certify that this marriage contract & agreement between James Beatty and Judith T. Towles was this day duly acknowledged before me in my county by James Beatty & Judith T. Towles to be their act and deed and thereupon the same together with this certificate was truly recorded in my office - Witness my hand this 19th day of May 1857.  [signed] Will D. Allison C.H.C.C.  By John Young  D.Clk.

[1] Henderson County, Kentucky  Deed Book R, pages 238-239, Henderson County Clerk's Office, Henderson, Kentucky.

Published 23 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Elmer & Adelaide Rice

Elmer H .
Apr. 15, 1892
Nov. 17 1942

Adelaide R.
Aug. 24, 1896
Dec. 26, 1967

Both are buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 23 September 2015.

Elmer H. Rice's Kentucky death certificate #23806 (1942) shows he was the son of William Rice and Dosie Raughoff.  Elmer died in the V.A. facility in Christian County, Kentucky. His usual residence was in Marion, Crittenden County.  His World War I Draft Registration cards for 1917-1918[1] show he was born in Equality, Illinois and, in June 1917,  he was living in Detroit, Michigan. The next year he was living in Crittenden County.

A passport was issued 13 May 1919 to Adelaide Retailland Rice, French-born wife of Henry H. Rice. Her passport application was made at the American Consulate in Nantes, France while her husband was in the U.S. military in France. She sailed on the Manchuria from France to New York.[2]

Elmer and Adelaide Rice can be found on the 1920 Crittenden County census.

Elmer also has a military tombstone.

[1] W.W. I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918,, accessed 29 December 2016.
[2] U.S. Passport Applications 1820-1925,, accessed 31 December 2016.

Published 21 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CSA Pension Applications

Do you have an ancestor who received a pension for his Civil War service to the Confederate States of America? If he was living in Kentucky at the time of the application, you can read  his application at the  Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives Electronic Records Archives  website.  An bonus is that it is a free website.  The information in the pension applications includes date of birth,  enlistment date and location, present residence, plus the depositions of at least two people who knew the veteran.  

The Confederate Pension Act was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in March 1912 to provide aid to indigent and disabled Confederate veterans. Any Confederate veteran living in Kentucky in 1912 or after could apply for a pension, regardless of the state in which he resided or the unit in which he served during the war. In March 1914, indigent widows of Confederate soldiers became eligible for a pension. The widows' applications included the date of their marriage and date of the veteran's death.  

Pensions for the Union veterans were funded by the federal government. Many southern states funded state pensions for Confederate veterans. 

This source has been mentioned previously, but it is such a helpful source that it begs to be mentioned again.

Published 16 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - W.O. and Laura E. Hayden

W.O. Hayden
Jan. 30, 1853 - Oct. 14, 1927
Laura E. His Wife
Dec. 25, 1862 - Mar. 3, 1946

Buried Salem Cemetery, LIvingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 19 July 2010.

The 1900 Livingston County census shows the Hayden family living in Salem. Listed are William and Laura E. Hayden, who had been married 17 years.  Laura had given birth to five children and four were living in 1900. Their children are given as Mary D., John L., Charlie L (daughter) and William F.

Kentucky death certificate #11722 (1946) gives Laura E.'s birthplace as North Carolina and her parents as Richard Sherrill and Tressie Bager[?], who were also born in North Carolina.

Kentucky death certificate #23562 (1927) for W.O. Hayden states  he was born in Missouri and his parents were William A. Hayden and America Finch.

Published 14 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, March 10, 2017

Caldwell County, Kentucky Guardian Appointments 1837

At the age of 14 years, a child was allowed to choose his own guardian. The county court appointed guardians for those under the age of 14. The guardian and his surety signed a bond to guarantee the faithful performance of duties. The sum mentioned on the bond was not paid unless the guardian failed to perform his duties. 

Guardian appointments are recorded in two places in Caldwell County, Kentucky in 1837.  They can be found as loose, original bonds and were also recorded in the county court order (court minutes) books. The following entries have been transcribed from the original documents in the county clerk's office of the Caldwell County courthouse in Princeton, Kentucky.

Jemima Johnson was appointed guardian for Thos. S. Johnson, Robert H. Johnson, Martha A. Johnson, Sarah Jane Johnson and James A. Johnson, heirs & infants of Thomas Johnson dec’d in penal sum of $5000.  Sureties: John H. Rackerby, William M. Phelps. 16 Jan 1837.
Alexr. M. Hunter appointed guardian for James Walling, heir & infant of James Walling dec’d in the penal sum of $100. Surety: David H. Caldwell. 17 Apr 1837.

James A. Asher was appointed guardian for Polly Asher, heir & infant of Saml. M. Asher, by her choice, in penal sum of $1000. Sureties: William McChesney, Precious Asher. 17 Apr 1837.

James B. Waddill was appointed guardian for Geo. H. Cawley, Milton Cawley and Edna P. Cawley, heirs & infants of Elizabeth Cawley dec’d in penal sum of $800. Sureties: George White, Charles M. Jackson.  17 Apr 1837.

David H. Caldwell appointed guardian for Abraham Son, heir & infant of Abraham Son dec’d in penal sum of $500. Surety: Alexr. M. Hunter.  17 Apr 1837.

James M. Bumpass was appointed guardian for Jefferson Asher and Emely P. Asher, heirs & infants of Saml. M. Asher dec’d in penal sum of $1500. Sureties: Elenezer Morse Jr, Elenezer Morse Sr. 17 Apr 1837.

Precious Asher was appointed guardian for Saml. M. Asher and America L. Asher, heirs & infants of Saml. M. Asher dec’d in penal sum of $1500. Sureties: James M. Bumpass, Wm. B. Young.  17 Apr 1837.

Francis Howard was appointed guardian for Sally Howard, William Howard and Patsey Howard, heirs & infants of Sally Howard dec’d in penal sum of $1500. Sureties: Cullen Cook, Allen Howard.  15 May 1837.

James S. Meek was appointed guardian for Robert C. Ritchey, heir & infant of Robert C. Richey [sic] dec’d in penal sum of $300. Surety: Robert L. Boyd.  21 Aug 1837.

Celia Nichols was appointed guardian for Louisa, Wright, Polly Ann, Sarah Jane, John R. & Leavin Nichols, heirs & infants of Reddick Nichols dec’d in penal sum of $300. Sureties: Berry Nichols, Whitmil Jenkins. 16 Oct 1837.

Bethel Davis was appointed guardian for Mary Pew, heir & infant of Bethel Pew dec’d in penal sum of $100. Surety: Fleming Gatewood. 16 Oct 1837.

Mary Dunning was appointed guardian for Nancy, Sarinah[?], Rebecca & Cordy Dunning, heirs & infants of Noam Dunning, dec’d in penal sum of $100. Surety: William Kesterson.  20 Nov 1837.

Meredith C. Archer was appointed guardian for E.B.W. Jones, heir & infant of E.B.W. Jones dec’d in penal sum of $1500. Sureties: George G. Cash, William O'Hara.  18 Dec 1837.

Meredith C. Archer was appointed guardian for Morrison D. Wilcox and Franklin Wilcox, heirs & infants of Morrison D. Wilcox in penal sum of $2500. Sureties: George G. Cash, William O'Hara.  18 Dec 1837.

Robert  S. Boyd was appointed guardian for Robert  R. Farris, heir & infant of Robert Farris dec’d in penal sum of $800. Surety: Samuel Black.  18 Dec 1837.

John W. Shaw was appointed guardian for Darcus E. Shaw, Evelina J. Shaw and Washington L. Shaw, heirs & infants of William Shaw dec’d in penal sum of $200. Surety: Samuel Black.  18 Dec 1837.

Published 10 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Maude Roach Hodge

Maude Roach
1869 - 1939

Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 21 June 2013.

According to Kentucky death certificate #29078 (1039), Mrs. Hodge was born Aug. 22, 1869 in Trigg County to Robert Roach and Virginia White.  She was married to S.D. Hodge.  Mrs. Hodge died Dec. 7, 1939 in Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Published 7 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,  http:/

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What is a Surety?

A surety is a person who assumes the responsibility (is "bonded") by the court to pay money or do other ordered acts on behalf of his "principal" who was charged with that expense, or the performance of that act, if that principal should fail to do so. [1]  As an example, if John Jones signs a bond to act as administrator of an estate, but does not, it becomes the responsibility of  his surety.  Being a surety was not to be taken lightly. 

[1] Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition (St. Paul:1951), West Publishing Co., accessed 14 Jan 2017.

Published 2 March 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Catherine Wood

Mary Catherine
Aug. 7, 1871
Apr. 1, 1959

Our Mother's Resting Place is to Us 
the Most Sacred Place on Earth

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 6 April 2013.

According to Kentucky death certificate #8310 (1959), Mary Catherine Wood, a widow, died in McCracken County. Her parents are listed as Peter Henry and Sarah Howton. The informant was Florence Edmonds, her daughter.

The 1880 Dyers Hill, Livingston County census lists the family of Peter H. Henry, age 53, and wife Sarah E. Henry, age 34 with their children Mary C., Lacy M., Augustus and Unice O.E. Henry.

Published 28 February 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Crittenden County Union Soldiers

Several years ago I came across a list of Civil War Union soldiers in the loose papers in the Crittenden  County Clerk's Office. Named were the soldiers and the regiments and companies  in which they served. The lists were arranged by district in Crittenden County. The information was published in Vol. VII, No. 1 (Winter 2000) issue of the Western Kentucky Journal. I have never seen such a list of Union soldiers in other western Kentucky counties, although it was ordered that a list be made in each county.

Resolutions for the purpose of correcting the returns of troops furnished from the different counties.  Whereas, there exists, in many counties of the State, a doubt as to whether or not the men furnished for the purpose of suppressing the present insurrection have been accurately credited to the proper counties, upon the rolls in the office of the Adjutant General of Kentucky - therefore be it Resolved by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

1.  That it is hereby recommended to the judges of the county courts to immediately appoint committees of two or more, in every precinct of their respective counties, who ... shall go through such precinct, carefully ascertain and report as many as possible of the following facts, viz: the name, date of enlistment, in what company and regiment, or other service, every soldier or marine entered from Kentucky, who has served in the State of Kentucky or elsewhere, under the authority of the United States, for the purpose set out in the above preamble. That all returns shall, as soon as practicable, be delivered to the judge of the county, who shall immediately transmit the same to the Adjutant General of Kentucky, and he shall, in all instances where the evidence is satisfactory, re-adjust the rolls in his office ... [1]

A later resolution stated the Adjutant General of Kentucky was required to procure descriptive rolls of every enlisted man in the service of the State or United States and include this information in his next annual report.[2]

In Crittenden County, T.L.R. Wilson (replaced by S. Hodge) was appointed to procure a descriptive list of the men who volunteered in the Federal Army which had been regularly enlisted since the first day of June last and report same to the county court so it could be certified to the Adjutant General of Kentucky. [3]  Taking lists in Crittenden County districts were W.C. Carnahan, H.C. Gilbert, J.A. Davidson, Wm. S. Williams, J.H. Travis, D.B. Cassidy and W.H. Franklin. [4]

Union soldiers from Crittenden County received a break from paying taxes. All soldiers who had been in the Federal services and had been discharged since the 10th day of January 1865, were released from paying poll tax for 1865 (laid in 1864) and, if they had already paid, the sum was to be refunded to them.   It is doubtful confederate soldiers received such a break.

[1] Resolution No. 10, Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, (Frankfort, KY: Wm. E. Hughes, State Printer, 1864)137-138, Approved December 22, 1863.
[2] Resolution No. 38, Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, (Frankfort, KY: Wm. E. Hughes, State Printer, 1864) 159-160, Approved February 12, 1864.
[3] Crittenden County Court Order Book 3:187, 10 October 1864.
[4] Crittenden County Court Order Book 3:189, 10 October 1864.

Published 22 February 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,