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, Livingston and Caldwell Counties have them, but not Henderson County. 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,