Thursday, August 30, 2018

What if ...?

It is easier to believe our ancestors played by the rules and were honest, respectable citizens, but that is not always true. Just like people of today, they broke the rules - had children out of wedlock, ran off and left their families, got into debt and lost their farms and did not always tell the truth. Keep this in mind when you can't find a record. Ask yourself "What if ..."  It may lead you to records you had not previously considered.

Many descendants of my great-great-great- grandmother, Rebecca Vaughn, list her in their family trees as Mrs. Rebecca Vaughn, widow. They have assumed she was a widow as she had children before her marriage to John Jacob Burner in 1834.[1] The problem is no marriage before 1834 has been found for her in Kentucky or any place else. Also, Rebecca was not listed as a widow when she married Burner.  Sarah Vaughn, who was probably a sister to Rebecca,  married George Fisher[2]  and Fisher was surety on  the marriage bond of Burner and Rebecca. And there were other connections.

Rebecca is listed as Rebecca Vaughn on the 1840 and 1850 Livingston County census records.  It is only on the 1860 census that she is shown as Rebecca Barner [Burner] -  17 years after Burner filed for divorce from Rebecca.[3] 

My theory is Rebecca was a single mother prior to her marriage to Burner and so far, all signs point that way. 

[1] Livingston County, Kentucky Original Marriage Bond and License,  John Jacob Burner and Rebecca Vaughn, 21 April 1834. Surety: George Fisher.
[2] Livingston County, Kentucky Original Marriage Bond and License,  George Fisher and Sarah Vaughn, 23 May 1828. Surety: Daniel Vaughn.
[3] Burner vs Burner, Caldwell County, Kentucky Circuit Court, filed 31 July 1843; granted and recorded 25 June 1844.

Published 30 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Our Photo Album

Century Normal College
Kuttawa, Lyon County, Kentucky
1900 - ca 1910

Published 28 August  2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Livingston County, Kentucky Petition 1814

Census records are very helpful in determining the residence of our ancestor, but the census was only taken every ten years. How do we know if they lived there between the census records?  One way is through the use of petitions, which were generated as needed and instead of every ten years. When a new road or ferry or precinct was desired, neighbors banded together to sign a petition for the improvement and presented it to the county court. Knowing the names of the neighbors helps us place the location of our ancestor.  

The following petition was located in 1994 in loose county clerk's papers of 1814, Livingston County clerk's office, Smithland, Kentucky. The Livingston County seat of justice was Salem in 1814.

"Common Wealth of Kentucky  Livingstone County, --- To the Worshipfull Court at Salem:  We your petitioners Consider it much to the advantage of Travellers to turn the road betwixt McGaskings and Mr. Cowserts about two miles distance, It will be about half a mile higher, and will afford Water for the accommodation of Travellers Which is not to be had on the old road. We hope you will take the Case under your Serious Consideration and grant our petition as far as you think proper --  Signed by Us this 13th May 1814."

David Robinson
Daniel Hazle
W. Harris
James Strickland
John Cowsert
William Powers
John Titsworth
W.H. Robinson
Wm. Hodge
Thadeus Gaskings
James Russell
Martin Duncan
Demcy Cofield
John Champion
John Gehen
Jas. H. Stephenson
Thomas Clark
Jas. Hodge

Published 23 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Spotlight On: W.L. and Willie M. Kennedy

June 2, 1864
Jan. 8, 1933

Willie M.
Apr. 28, 1877
Oct. 1, 1948

"All things work together for good to them that love God."

Buried Lola Pentecostal Cemetery, Lola, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 25 January 2018.

According to his death certificate,[1] Wilkes Lee Kennedy was born near Lola to B.S. Kennedy and Martha Utz. His father was born in Crittenden County, Kentucky and his mother was born in Boone County, Kentucky. Byron S. Kennedy was listed as the informant on W.L. Kennedy's death certificate.

The 1880 Livingston County census shows Wilkes L. Kennedy as a family member in the household of Bayless S. and Martha Kennedy.[2] Bayless S. Kennedy (born 1823; died 1913) and Martha Utz Kennedy (born 1829; died 1912) are both buried in Hopewell Cemetery.[3]

Willie May Kennedy, a widow,  was age 71 years, 5 months and 3 days when she died on Oct. 1, 1948. Her parents were John Fowler and Sue Stephens, both of whom were born in Kentucky. Mrs. C.E. Babb was the informant on Willie May Kennedy's death certificate. [4]

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #2130, Wilkes Lee Kennedy, Kentucky Death Records 1852-1965,
[2] 1880 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Salem, Roll 429, page 343C, E.D. 81,
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate #8942, Bayless S. Kennedy, and Kentucky Death Certificate #13293, Martha Utz Kennedy, Kentucky Death Records 1852-1965,
[4] Kentucky Death Certificate #27929, Willie May Kennedy, Kentucky Death Records 1852-1965,

Published 21 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Manumission of Ivy 1825

Slaves in Kentucky were manumitted [emancipated] through the county court or through a provision in the last will and testament of the slave's owner. The amount of the bond was not paid unless the slave had no support and became a charge upon the county. The following manumission is recorded in Caldwell County, Kentucky Order Book D, pages 160 and 169.

"A Deed of manumission from Hugh McVay of this County to Iras commonly called Ivy was this day produced in open Court and acknowledged by McVay to be his act and deed for the purposes therein named and ordered to be recorded, to wit:  State of Kentucky  Caldwell County To wit: Be it Known that I have this day emancipated and set free my negro Woman named Iras commonly called Ivy  of dark complection  aged about forty five years which said girl was purchased by me of and from David Tucker of Mecklingburg County and state of Virginia hereby Renouncing all claim to her from henceforth, and do request the County Court of Caldwell to give the Certificate a place on their records. And furthermore request any person to treat her with friendship so long as she may deserve the same. In Testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 17th day of January 1825 at Princeton." [signed] Hugh McVay.

"On motion of Hugh McVay, who at the January term last of this court recording his Deed of emancipation, by which he set free & emancipated his negro Woman named Iras commonly called Ivy  of dark complexion  aged about forty five years, leave is given him & he enters into and acknowledges bond in penalty of $1000, payable to the Justices of the Caldwell County Court and their successors in office, to keep his negro from becoming chargeable to said county, conditioned according to law, together with Kinson McVay his security and it is ordered that a certificate of freedom be granted said negro woman."  18th April 1825.

Published 16 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Minnie A. and Samuel N. Willhoyt

Minnie A.
1867 - 1944

Samuel N.
1857 - 1929

Buried Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 25 October 2014.

According to her death certificate, Mrs. Minnie Willhoyt was born 13 April 1869 in Henderson County and died 20 August 1944. Her father was listed as Edward Wallace, born Illinois. Her mother's name was unknown.[1]  Her obituary states she was survived by two daughters and two sons. [2]

The death certificate of Samuel N. Willhoyt states he was born 13 April 1859 and died 21 November 1929. His parents were Isaac Willhoyt, born Indiana, and Emma Pruitt, born Kentucky.[3] His death resulted from  being struck by a truck as he crossed a street in Henderson. At the time of his death he was an employee of the Consolidated Textile Cotton Mill Corporation.[4]

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #18174 (1944), Mrs. Minnie Adell Willhoyt,
[2] Kentucky Obituaries, Evansville Press, 21 August 1944, p. 9.
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate #28797 (1929), S.N. Willhoyt,
[4] "Truck Hurls Man to Death," Evansville Press, 22 November 1929, p. 11.

Published 14 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Life Cut Short - R.F. Minner

A stroll through the Hurricane Cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky will show the names of many families who lived and died in the surrounding area. Prominent among those names is Minner. That isn't unusual, though, as the land for the nearby Hurricane Methodist Church was obtained  from Richard Minner, an early area settler, in 1843.[1]  In 1875, Robert H. Haynes gave land for the cemetery,[2] but I suspect the Minner family had already established a burying ground either on or adjoining the Haynes land.  One of the early burials here was for Richard F. Minner, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

R.F. Minner
born May 20, 1820
died Feb. 12, 1867

Minner married Catherine  Stalions 30 May 1839 Livingston County, Kentucky. [3] After her death, he married Mrs. Mary C. Kilpatrick 22 December 1858 Crittenden County.[4]

On October 1863 at the age of 43, Richard F. Minner was mustered into Co. E, 48th KY Infantry as a captain at Princeton for one year's service.  The 48th KY Infantry was  composed mainly of men from the western Kentucky counties of Trigg, Lyon, Livingston, Crittenden, Union, Christian, Caldwell, Muhlenburg, Breckenridge and Grayson. [5] On the 26th of February 1864, Minner wrote to the Headquarters of the U.S. Forces requesting 15 days leave to go to Crittenden County about the 10th of March next to attend to business of his father's estate. [6] His father, Daniel Minner,  had recently died.[7] Richard F. Minner was mustered out of service 15 December 1864.

After the war, Minner returned to his life as a farmer in Crittenden County, but his life would end just a few years later. The following newspaper death notice gives the details of his death. "Captain R.F. Minner, late of the army, was caught in a mill wheel in Crittenden county, a few days ago, his arm broken in several places, and his ribs severed from the back bone. He lingered until Monday night last, and died in great agony. The accident occurred at Mr. Wilson's mill."[8]

Minner was laid to rest in Hurricane Cemetery near the graves of his parents, his first wife and several of his infant children.

[1] Crittenden County Ministerial Association, Marion, Ky, "Hurricane Methodist," The Churches in Out County, A Bicentennial Celebration Publication, (Marion, KY: n.d.) 29.
[2] Brenda Underdown, Doyle Polk and The Crittenden County, Kentucky Genealogical Society. The Crittenden County, Kentucky Cemeteries  Western Section, Vol. IV, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 2006) 76 citing Crittenden County Deed Book M, p. 272.
[3] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1 (Oct 1799-July 1839), (Smithland, KY: n.p., 1992) 167.
[4] 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) 75.
[5] W.H. Perrin, J.H. Battle, G.C. Kniffen. Kentucky, A History of the State, 8th Edition, (Louisville & Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co., 1888) 716, Google Books, accessed 13 July 2018.
[6] Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers  Who Served from Kentucky,,, Richard F. Minner.
[7] Underdown, Polk and Crittenden County Genealogical Society. Crittenden County Cemeteries, Vol. IV, p. 82. Daniel Minner  born 15 Feb 1797, died 10 Dec 1863.
[8] The Louisville Daily Courier, Louisville, Kentucky, Monday, 25 Feb 1867, p. 1, reprinted from the Smithland Times.

Published 9 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, August 6, 2018

J.R. and Narcisie Butler - Sisco Chapel Cemetery

J.R. Butler
Feb. 17, 1863
Mar. 3, 1948
His Wife
Dec. 29, 1864
Sept. 17, 1927

She was a kind and affectionate wife,  a fond mother, and a friend to all.

Buried Sisco Chapel Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 20 May 2015.

James R. Butler married  Miss Narcissus Walker 22 March 1882 at the home of Lewis Walker in Crittenden County. [1]

According to  his death certificate, James Robert Butler was the son of Jim Butler, who was born in Tennessee. His mother's name was unknown. The informant named on the death certificate was his wife, Alice Butler.[2]

Narcissus Walker was the daughter of Lewis Walker and Mary Goober/Gober, who had married 10 June 1858 Rutherford County, Tennessee. [3]  Narcissus died at the age of 63 years, 8 months and 18 days.[4]

On 4 March 1931 James R. Butler married Mrs. Alice Howard.[5]

[1] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, Kentucky Marriage Records Vol. II  1866-1886, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1991)  130.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #4752, James Robert Butler,
[3] Tennessee Marriage Records 1780-2002, Rutherford County, Lewis Walker and Mary Goober,
[4] Kentucky Death Certificate #22369, Narcissus Butler,
[5] Kentucky County Marriages 1797 - 1954, Crittenden County Bond Book, p. 18,

Published 6 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 2, 2018

An Interesting Family ... What?

I have read a lot of obituaries  in my research and it always causes me to pause and wonder what is meant by the decedent having an "interesting family."  Was the family so ordinary that it was a struggle to find something positive to say or was the family so strange it was difficult to find something nice to say about them?  I don't know the answer.  Do you?  Here is an example of an "interesting family."

"Death of a Well-Known Kentuckian - Many of our citizens will be pained to learn of the death of Mr. John N. Sutcliff, of Marion, Crittenden County, Ky., which melancholy event transpired on Wednesday last, at his home in Crittenden County.  His disease was an affection of the spine and inflammation of the bowels.  Mr. Sutcliff was well know [sic] to many  of our citizens, by whom he was highly esteemed.  He was a large-hearted, genial, social gentleman, and made many warm friends.  He leaves an interesting family, who have the warmest sympathy of the many friends of the deceased in this dark hour of their affliction." [1]

[1] "Death of a Well-Known Kentuckian," The Evansville Daily Journal, Sat., 6 February 1869, p. 4.

Published 2 August 2018, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,