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,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - James H. Watson

James H. Watson
Mar. 6, 1857
July 4, 1894
God gave. He took. He will restore.
He doeth all things well.

Buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 8 May 2017.

James H. Watson married Mary S. Clark 1 December 1878 Crittenden County.[1] James Watson was age 22 and Mary S. Clark was age 16. At the time of the 1880 census, they were living with his parents, William C. and Elizabeth Watson, in Salem Pct., Livingston County. They had a  daughter, Nora J., who was born in September 1879. [2]

James H. Watson was fatally shot following a dispute with a neighbor on the 4th of  July 1894.

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome, Crittenden County, Kentucky Births, Death, Etc. Vol. II, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1993) 36.
[2] 1880 Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky census, page 343D, E.D. 81, image 130,, online, accessed 30 June 2017.

Published 26 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sharyn McCrumb to Speak at Willard Library

New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb is coming to Evansville!  Save Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017,  for two programs in the Browning Gallery of Willard Library.  The first program  from 10 - 11 am will be based on the genealogical research involved in writing her latest novel, The Unquiet Grave. The book is set in 19th century West Virginia and is based on the murder trial which has come be be called the Case of the Greenbrier Ghost..  Learn how she used genealogical records to do the research for this book. 

The second program is scheduled for 7 - 8 pm, also in the Browning Gallery and will combine a discussion and reading from her novels by Ms. McCrumb along with appropriate music by Jack Hinshelwood. This program is titled "Words and Music." 

Registration is required for both programs. To reserve a seat for the morning program go Here     To reserve a seat for the evening program go Here

Published 22 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - Joe M. Davis

Elizabeth M.
Wife of
J.M. Davis
May 12, 1863
Mar. 6, 1890
Weller O. Son of
J.M. & E.M. Davis
Nov. 6, 1882 - Mar. 25, 1883

Joe M. Davis
Aug. 14, 1861
Mar. 3, 1944

Buried Green's Chapel Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstones photographed 2017.

Joe M. Davis married Elizabeth M., his first wife, ca 1881. Thus far, I have not found a marriage record for them. Three known children, Weller O., Edith C. and Verna, were born to this couple. Following Elizabeth's death, Joe M. Davis married Miss Mattie Lamb 7 October 1890.[1] He married, as his third wife,  Miss Ollie B. Martin 2 August 1892[2] and lastly[3], he married Mrs. Bettie Lamb 12 April 1899.

According to the death certificate of Joseph Marion Davis, [4] he was born in Wilson County, Tennessee and was the son of Anderson Davis and Narcissus Campbell, who were also born in Tennessee.

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriages 1887-1899, Vol. III, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1993), 37.
[2] Ibid, p. 59.
[3] Ibid, p. 153.
[4] Kentucky Death Certificate #8263 (1944),, accessed 23 August 2017.

Published 19 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Elizabeth Kellam Lillard McCormick (1790 - 1873)

Wife of
Thomas McCormick
Nov. 10, 1790
Sept. 26, 1873

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 11 August 2016.

Elizabeth Kellam married Mason Lillard on the first day of September 1808. Consent for the marriage license to be issued was given by Elizabeth's guardian, Isaac Bullard. [1] Elizabeth and Mason had at least two children, Jane W. Lillard and J.M. Lillard. Jane was born 6 April 1815, died 17 November 1886 and is buried, also, in Smithland Cemetery.[2] Jane married David B. Sanders  the 31st of April 1831 with her stepfather, Thomas McCormick, giving consent.[3]  I have no information on J.M. Lillard except he was listed as an heir of Elizabeth McCormick in the settlement report in 1875.[4]

Elizabeth Kellam Lillard married, as her second husband, Thomas McCormick, on 7 November 1819.[5]  McCormick left his home in Ireland in 1816 and landed in Smithland in December of that same year. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1823 at the age of 25 years.[6] It didn't take long for McCormick to become involved in the happenings of Smithland. He had a tavern in his home  and also was a police judge.

Thomas and Elizabeth McCormick had the following children: (1)  John D. McCormick, who was born 19 August 1820, died 15 September 1823 and was buried in Smithland Cemetery.  (2) Elizabeth K. McCormick, born 1826, died of yellow fever 26 August 1878 New Orleans[7] and married Gustavus Hodge 6 April 1847 Livingston County.[8] (3) Thomas J. McCormick, who was born ca 1824, married Sarah (surname unknown) and was living in 1875. (4) Wallis McCormick, who was born 8 January 1829, died 2 October 1842 and was buried Smithland Cemetery. [9]

Following the death of Thomas McCormick in 1853, Elizabeth lived in Smithland next door to her daughter and son in law, Jane and David B. Sanders. Following the death of David B. Sanders in 1867, Elizabeth McCormick made her home with Jane until her death in 1873.

[1] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1, (n.p., 1992) 24.
[2] Recorded by Brenda Joyce Jerome 2010.
[3] Woodward. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol. 1, p. 111.
[4] Livingston County, Kentucky  Inventory and Appraisement Book H (1870-1876), p. 494.
[5] Woodward. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriages, Vol. 1, p. 55.
[6] Livingston County, Kentucky Circuit Court Papers, 1823, Accession No. A1986-293, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
[7] "Death From Yellow Fever," New Orleans Item, 27 August 1878. Her age was given as 51 years.
[8] Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. II (August 1839-December 1871), (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1994) 45.
[9] Recorded by Brenda Joyce Jerome 2010.

Published 14 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday - George Washington Vaughn

G.W. Vaughn
Sept. 19, 1880
Nov. 7, 1913

Buried in Watson Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 8 May 2017.

George Washington Vaughn was born in Crittenden County and was the son of David Vaughn and Margaret C. Riley. His delayed death certificate gives his death date as 7 November 1912.[1] David and Margaret C. (Riley) Vaughn were my great grandparents and are buried at nearby New Union (Ditney) Cemetery.

George Washington Vaughn married Miss Lela Belt on Christmas Day, 1906. He was 26 years old and she was 24. They were enumerated together on only one census - the 1910 Crittenden County census. In their household was their son, Shelby, and Lela's father, Benjamin Belt.[2]

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #29435 of Geo. Washington Vaughn,, accessed 26 May 2017.
[2] 1910 Crittenden County, Kentucky Census, Population Schedule, Mag. District 5, database on-line, E.D. 0050, page 3A,, accessed 27 May 2017.

Published 12 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, September 8, 2017

George H. Croft and Polina Jane Riley

Feb. 25, 1846
Jan. 19, 1913
A loving husband  A Father dear
A faithful friend Lies buried here

Wife of
G.H. Croft
Born Jan. 5, 1848
A tender mother a Faithful friend

Buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Crittenden County. Tombstones photographed 8 May 2017.

According to his death certificate[1], George H. Croft was born 15 November 1847 to Hulet Croft and Polly Gibson, both born in Kentucky.  George H. Croft was married at the time of his death.

Jane Croft, wife of G.H. Croft died 31 December 1928 in Crittenden County.[2] Her father is listed as Ruben Riley, born Tennessee.  Written in a different hand, her mother's maiden name is given as Northcut, born Tennessee.  Jane Croft is listed as a widow at the time of her death. In various records, her given name is shown as Polina, Paulina or Perlina.

G.H. Croft and P.J. Croft are first listed together on the 1870 Crittenden County census. At that time they had two children, M.C., a three year old female, and N.A., a one year old male. If they had no children born to them before M.C. circa 1866,  the parents likely married about 1864/1865. A search was made in Crittenden, Livingston  County, Kentucky and Pope County, Illinois marriage records and no such record was found. It is possible they married in Hardin County, Illinois, but marriage records there prior to 1884 have been lost due to a fire. It is also possible they married in Crittenden County, but the record was not returned to the courthouse.

This is another case where I am related - although distantly - to both parties. Reubin Riley was  my great-great grandfather. My mother's maiden name was Croft, which makes us related to almost everyone in Crittenden County and half the people in  Livingston County. On the 1850 Crittenden County census, Hulett Croft, father of George H. Croft, and family were living three doors from my ancestor, Logan Croft. I will let you figure out their relationship as it makes me dizzy when I try.

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #3214 (Delayed) of George H. Croft, ,, accessed 28 June 2017.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #29872,, accessed 28 June 2017.

Published 8 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Crittenden County Kentucky Records Online

By now you have probably heard that the microfilm loan services through  will cease on Friday, 8 September 2017.  Don't worry, though, as many of these films are now available - or soon will be - online through FamilySearch.  If you are not yet familiar with FamilySearch, take a few minutes to explore the site. You may have to register, but that is ok;  it's free.

To see what records are available, go to  Click on Catalog.  I usually search by place. In the space for place, type in United States, Name of State, Name of County. For example, if I want to see what is available for Crittenden County, Kentucky, I type United States, Kentucky, Crittenden. Then click on Search. A list of Crittenden County records will appear on the screen. 

As of this date, 4 September 2017, not all Crittenden County records are online, but  more are being added almost daily.   These are the Crittenden County  records that are currently online:

Index to Deeds Vol 1 - 3  Grantor and Grantee
Guardian Bond Book 1842 - 1878
Guardian Bond Book 1878 - 1922
Marriage Register  (Marriage Records are listed under Vital Records)
Marriage Records (Loose papers: consent notes, licenses and bonds) 1842 - 1963
Declaration of Marriages of Mulattoes and Negroes 1866 - 1872
Estate  Inventory Books Vol.  A - G  1842 - 1925
Estate Settlements Vol. 1 - 5  1843 - 1919
Wills  Vol 1 -3  1842 - 1968
Court of Common Pleas 1867-1873 and 1877-1880
Circuit Court Order "Equity and Criminal Court" Book A 1856-1859

Census records are also online at

As of this date, the tax lists are not yet online, nor are the Circuit Court case file index and Order Books.  The Circuit Court case files, which contain the details of each case, are at the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) in Frankfort.

It is becoming easier to do research from home, but don't forget to check weekly to see if additional records have been placed online.

Published 5 September 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,