Thursday, September 19, 2019

Livingston County African American Marriages 1872

Marriages for white couples and African American couples were recorded in separate volumes in western Kentucky.  The first African American marriages were recorded in 1866 and are found in  Freedmen's Declarations of Marriage of Negroes and Mulattoes. This book is where couples who had lived together as man and wife before Emancipation had their unions recorded. Marriages of couples who married in 1866 or later were recorded in the Marriage Register for Freedmen or in the Marriage Bond Books or both.

How long African American and white marriages were recorded in separate books depends on the county. In Livingston County, separate books were used through 1916. In Caldwell County, marriages were recorded separately through June 1968. An African American marriage bond often has less personal information than what is found on a white marriage bond.

The following African American marriage records for 1872 can be found in Livingston County Marriage Register for Freedmen 1866-1896 and Book Book 1A. Several abbreviations were used in the entries below. B: is the person (bondsman) who signed the marriage bond with the bridegroom.  Wit: refers to the witnesses to the marriage ceremony. The abbreviations and numbers at the end of each entry refer to the source and page number. For example, Reg: 32-33 refers to Register pages 32 -33 and BB1A:155 refers to Bond Book 1A, page 155.

Luther Crawford and Maria Champion married 14 Mar 1872 at Guss Champion's. Wit: Daniel Craford [sic], Ben Champion. [signed] C. Ogilby, B.M. (bond 13 Mar 1872)  B: John Threlkeld. [Reg:32-33, BB1A:155]

Green Thompson and Clarissa Woods married 16 Mar 1872 by Wm. B. Presnell, JP at Jas. Ellis'. Wit: H.M. Coffer, Chas. E. Presnell. (bond 16 Mar 1872) B: Andrew Robinson. [Reg:32-33, BB1A:157]

Anderson Webb and Martha Powell married 28 Jun 1872 by P.R. Anderson at the Methodist Church. Wit: Henry Green, Viney Ferguson. (bond 23 Jun 1872) B: Tobe Pippin. [Reg:32-33, BB1A:159]

Richard Stanley and Elvira Johnson married 4 Aug 1872 by Wm. B. Presnell, JP at bride's mother's residence. Wit: Charles M. Powell, John J. Dupriest. (bond 3 Aug 1872) B: William E. Ironmonger. [Reg:32-33, BB1A:161]

Christopher Fowler and Louisa Dorrah married 24 Oct 1872 by L.B. Davison, minister, at Smithland. Wit: Frank Sanders, Lizzie Sanders. (bond 23 Oct 1872) B:Frank Sanders. [Reg:34-35, BB1A:163]

Green Pringle and Jane Pippin married 19 Dec 1872 by Reg. Wm. Jones at "colored church in the presence of Salem joining the Pringle farm." Wit: Dempsey Parker, George Mays. (bond 18 Dec 1872) B: Robert Fleming. [Reg:34-35, BB1A:165]

Wm. E. Ironmonger and Mary Gray married 22 Dec 1872 by John Davis, M.G. at Ruben Holland's. Wit: F.M. Jones, W.H. Lucas. (bond 21 Dec 1872) B: James Wilson. [Reg:34-35, BB1A:167]

Nathaniel Pippin and Kate/Cathrine Woods married 26 Dec 1872 by Rev. Wm. Jones at Esq. Champion's in presence of Salem, Livingston Kentucky. Wit: Green Pringle, C. Crofferd. (bond 24 Dec 1872) B: James Pippin. [Reg:34-35, BB1A:169]

Published 19 Sep 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sources and Credits

To be the best genealogist possible, there are several research guidelines and rules we should follow. To disregard them shows we either do not know how to properly do research or we do not care. The following rules are among those most often disregarded.

1.  Genealogists are taught that every fact not within common knowledge must be substantiated with a source.  Using proper source citations demonstrates your knowledge of what constitutes proof for each fact and where it can be found. Not citing your sources is asking people to read your mind to learn where you found your material. I don't know anyone who has that ability.

2.  "Borrowing" material from other genealogists without giving them credit is not acceptable - anytime. This applies to family group sheets prepared by others, family trees on, photographs taken by another person, family histories written for family reunions and, yes, blog posts. The rule of thumb is this: If you didn't write it, it isn't yours and you should not use it without permission. If permission is given, be sure to give credit to the person who did write it. 

There are many rules in genealogy, but the two listed above are ones that are consistently disregarded.   Be a responsible genealogist, cite your sources and give credit to others for their work.

Published 17 Sep 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Roster of Men Who Died in World War I - Henderson County

In 1919, the names of Kentucky soldiers who lost their lives during World War I were published in several newspapers, including the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Hopkinsville Kentuckian and the Owensboro Messenger. The deaths from disease were mainly caused by the influenza epidemic of 1918 - 1919. Of the 2,726 men who died during the war, 1,501 died from disease while 734 were killed in action and 305 died of wounds.

Henderson County
Junius Alexander, Henderson, died of disease
Elbert Ball, Henderson, died of wounds
William Buckner, Henderson, died of accident
Thomas T. Colmesnell, died of disease[1]
Walter Crawford, Corydon, killed in action
John Dudley, Smith Mills, died of disease
Ruby Henry Farless, Henry, died of disease
Louis G. Fulner, Henderson, killed in action
Edward Gish, Henderson, died of gas
Lee Green, Henderson, died of disease
Fred J. Gorham, Henderson, died of disease
William F. Hancock, Smith Mills, died of disease
Robert Hobbs, Henderson, died of disease
Carl Jones, Geneva, died of disease
Fennon Landers, Henderson, died of disease
Luther McGuire, Henderson, died of disease
Eugene G. Marks, Henderson, killed in action
* George Marynell, Henderson, died of disease
*  Lonnie Marynell, Henderson, died of disease
Roy P. McClure, Corydon, died of disease
William Norman, Henderson, died of disease
Herman L. Paff, Henderson, killed in action
Grover Reid, killed in action[2]
Jesse Russell, Geneva, killed in action
Harry Rutledge, Henderson, killed in action
Frank V. Shaeffer, Henderson, killed in action
William Singer, Henderson, killed in action
Hugh K. Smith, Henderson, died of disease
John Wells, Henderson, killed in action
Arch Williams, Spottsville, died of disease
Charlie Woodard, Henderson, died of disease
*  Arch Dixon Worsham, Henderson, killed in action
Charles J. Frances, Smith Mills, died of disease
James H. Gresham, Henderson, killed in action
John Myrton McClure, Henderson, died of disease
Edward Wiggers, died of disease[3]

*  Henderson Family Has Two Gold Stars, Henderson, Ky, Dec. 3 - A telegram reached here yesterday stating that George Marynell, of the 7th U.S. cavalry had been drowned. The death of young Marynell is especially distressing because it is the second gold star for the Marynell home in a few weeks. The other soldier son to pass away was Lonnie Marynell, who died of pneumonia at camp. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. F.A. Marynell and four brothers. [Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, Tues., 3 Dec 1918, p. 4]

*  Lieut. Worsham Won French War Cross, Henderson, Ky., Oct. 3 - The name of Lieut. Arch Dixon Worsham appears in the list of officers and men who were awarded the French Croix de Guerre for heroism on the battlefield. Lieut. Worsham lost his life on July 31, while leading a patrol against the Germans in No Man's Land. He is the first Henderson officer to have made the supreme sacrifice, and the medal given him will be sent to his mother, Mrs. A.J. Worsham, of this city. [Princeton, Indiana Daily Clarion, Thurs., 3 Oct 1918, p. 4]

[1] No hometown listed.
[2] No hometown listed.
[3] No hometown listed.

Published 12 Sep 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tombstone Tuesday Elsie J. Neal 1844 - 1917

Elsie J.
Wife of
M.R. Neal
Oct. 25, 1844
Mar. 3, 1917

Buried Pinckneyville Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed November 2017.

According to her death certificate,[1] Elsie Jane Neal was the daughter of Johon [sic] B. Parsons, born North Carolina, and Sinthania Powell, born Tennessee.

Elsie J. Parsons married Mason R. Neal 18 June 1865 Jackson County, Illinois.[2] They were enumerated on the 1910 Livingston County census.[3] At that time Elsie and M.R. Neal had been married 45 years. Elsie had given birth to six children with three still living.

[1] Kentucky Death Certificate #14908 (1917), Elsie Jane Neal,
[2] Illinois Compiled Marriages 1851-1900, Elsie J. Parson and Mason R. Neal, Jackson County, Illinois,
[3] 1910 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Dist. 3, Roll: T624_491, p. 6A, E.D. 0102,

Published 10 Sep 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Cleaning Cemeteries - A Day Long Event

For a long time it has been a custom for families to gather around the burial sites of loved ones on certain days to pull weeds and trim the grass. Many families gathered in cemeteries around Memorial Day, but at other times and in other locations the gatherings were in late summer.  In addition to the physical work, it was a time to reminiscence about the past, but it was, also,  a time to whisper or talk openly to our deceased family members.  If we talked to dear departed Aunt Molly while in a public place, we would run the risk of someone thinking we were "tetched" in the head and call a doctor,  but it was perfectly fine to talk to her while pulling weeds around her headstone.  

In order to do a thorough cleaning job, certain tools were needed - grass clippers or shears and, of course, every lady needed a pair of old gloves to protect her hands. If flowers were being planted, they were carried in a large coffee can, along with a gallon jug of water.

At noon, it was time to have dinner, sometimes followed by a sermon by the local minister and a quartet singing gospel hymns.

I love the newspaper notices of graveyard cleanings.  In 1897, an article about the cleaning of Mt. Zion Cemetery in Crittenden County appeared in a local newspaper.  The article stated that cleaning occupied the morning and, at noon, dinner was spread on the ground. In the afternoon, religious services were held and everyone participated in prayers and songs. Making an address was Uncle Highly Gilbert, who had assisted in digging the first grave at Mt. Zion and had lived to see more than 400 other graves dug in the cemetery. Among those buried in Mt. Zion are Ryland Heath, Col. Wm. Hughes, Chapel Nunn, Chesley Nunn, Dr. M. Bristoe, Wm. and Jack Will and many others.[1]

Below is one of my favorites articles notifying people of an upcoming cemetery cleaning.

If you read county or small town newspapers, you will surely see notices of cemetery cleanings. It is a wonderful way to honor our deceased loved ones and also a great way to learn about our family history.

[1] "Mt. Zion Cemetery," Crittenden Press, Thurs., 2 Sep 1897, p. 3.
[2] "Notice," Crittenden Record-Press, Thurs., 31 Aug 1911, p. 8.

Published 3 Sep 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Charles and Bess Mitchusson

Charles Mitchusson
1862 - 1894

On the 1880 census, Charley Mitchusson, age 18, is listed as the son of Ning and Maria Mitchusson. Also in the household are daughters, Mary, age 12; Bessie, age 9 and Maggie, age 5.[1]  On that census, Charley was listed as born in Kentucky and currently  "at school."  Unfortunately, Charley died as a young man. His obituary shows that  he was "of fine business qualifications and was for several  years a prominent merchant tailor of Henderson."  He left a young wife to mourn his loss.[2]

Buried next to Charles in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky, is his sister, Bess Mitchusson, who was born 19 July  1870 and died 15 March 1940. According to her death certificate, she was the daughter of N.E. Mitchusson, born in Caldwell County, Kentucky,  and Maria Rudy, born in Henderson. Her occupation was listed as "clerk." [3]

Bess Mitchusson
1870 - 1940

Bess Mitchusson left a will dated 4 March 1940 and it was admitted to probate 25 March 1940. The  executrix of her estate was her sister, Margaret Rudy Johnson.[4]

Charles and Bess Mitchusson are both buried at Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky.

[1] 1880 Henderson County, Kentucky Federal census, Roll 419, , p. 411A, E.D. 043,
[2] "Charles Mitchusson. Death of a Hendersonian Well Known in Owensboro," The Owensboro Messenger, Sat., 7 April 1894, p. 1.
[3] Kentucky Death Record #7027 (1940), Bessie Mitchusson, died in Henderson Hospital,
[4] List of Executors and Administrators Book 3 (1939-1963); also Will Book H, pp 15-16,

Published 29 August 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 22, 2019

From Kentucky to Evansville

James M.
1912 - 1964

LaVerne L.

James M. Kimsey is buried in Salem Cemetery, Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky.  His tombstone was photographed 14 May 2019.

Many Western Kentucky residents, looking for steady jobs, were drawn to Evansville, Indiana  to work in industrial plants in the production of items needed for World War II. One of those moving to Evansville was the James M. Kimsey family.

James M. Kimsey and his wife, Louise L., were living on West Gum Street in  Marion, Crittenden County  in 1930, not long after they were married.[1]  By the time James M. Kimsey registered for the World War II draft on 16 October 1940, he and his wife were living on Harlan Avenue in Evansville, Indiana and he was employed by Ideal Pure Milk Company.  His physical description was as follows:  5 feet 4 inches tall, weight 124 pounds, gray eyes, brown hair and light complexion. [2]

In 1950, Kimsey was recorded as a factory worker at American Dairy. [3] According to his death certificate, he was the son of Charles Kimsey and Henrie Brown.[4]  He had worked for American Dairy 15 years and was a member of Central Methodist Church. Survivors included his wife, LaVerne, a son and a sister.[5]

LaVerne Louise was born in Sikeston, Missouri 16 October 1913 and was reared in Crittenden County, Kentucky. She married James M. Kimsey in June 1929. During the years of World War II, she worked at the Evansville Ship Yard, Chrysler and Servel in the production of LST vessels, ammunition and aviation components. She also managed several businesses in Kentucky and Evansville. Several  years after the death of James M. Kimsey, LaVerne was married to B.C. Jernigan from 1973 until his death in 1998.[6]

According to her death certificate, LaVerne Louise was the daughter of Flavie Chambliss and Lovie Grimes. She died 18 August 2005 in Evansville. Her death certificate and obituary are under the name of Kimsey.  Although her name is engraved on the tombstone of James M. Kimsey,  she is buried at Park Lawn Mausoleum in Evansville. [7]

[1] 1930 Crittenden County, Kentucky census, Marion, p. 4B, E.D. 0001, 315 W. Gum Street, James M. Kimsey, age 17 (married at age 17), laborer in spar mines, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky;  Louise L. Kimsey, age 16, (married at age 15), no occupation, born Missouri, parents born Kentucky,
[2] U.S. World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1946-1947, James Mart Kimsey.
[3] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Evansville 1950, p. 403,
[4] Indiana Death Certificate #64-003353, James M. Kimsey,
[5] Obituary of James M. Kimsey, Evansville Courier, Wed., 22 Jan 1964.
[6] Obituary of LaVerne Louise Kimsey, Evansville Courier, 20 Aug 2005, p. B4.
[7] Indiana Death Certificate #027338, Louise Kimsey, born 16 Oct 1913; died 18 Aug 2005 Good Samaritan Home, Evansville, Indiana,

Published 22 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tombstone Tuesday - Rosa O. and John M. Coker

Rosa O.
1877 - 1968

John M.
1869 - 1947

Buried Bells Mines Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky, near the Union County line. Tombstone photographed 20 May 2015.

Rosa Owen and John M. Coker married 14 November 1899 Gallatin County, Illinois.[1]

Rosa Owen was the daughter of John G. and Lydia Owen and she appears in their household in 1880, along with her brother, Lemuel Owen, and uncle Eugen Owen.[2] Rosa died 4 March 1968 at age 90. [3]

According to his death certificate, John M. Coker was born 10 September 1868 Hopkins County, Kentucky to Joseph Coker (born Tennessee) and Margaret Like (birth place unknown), and died 12 December 1947 Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky. [4]

John M. Coker and his wife "Rosie," along with two adult daughters and six grandchildren, were living in Bells Mines area in 1940.[5]

[1] Illinois Marriage Index, 1860-1920,
[2] 1880 Union County, Kentucky census, Boardley Pct., Roll 444, p. 654B, E.D. 038,
[3] Kentucky Death Index 1911-2000, Rosa Coker,
[4] Kentucky Death Certificate #27933, John M. Coker,
[5] 1940 Crittenden County, Kentucky census, Bells Mines Pct. #7, Roll m-t0627-01297, p. 2A, E.D. 28-13, John M. Coker household,

Published 20 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Written in Stone, But Still Wrong

William Shewmaker and Mary "Polly" Adams were my 3rd great-grandparents. They married 29 August 1809 in Caldwell County, Kentucky and sometime between 1820 and 1830 they migrated across the Ohio River and settled in the part of Pope County, Illinois that is today Hardin County, Illinois.

William and Polly had several children, including my 2nd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Shewmaker, who was born about 1810 Kentucky. Elizabeth married Abraham Womack 26 November 1831 in Pope County and died after 1870. Elizabeth is buried in Good Hope Cemetery in Hardin County, while her parents and other relatives are buried in Lavender #1 Cemetery in Hardin County.

Buried next to William and Polly Shewmaker in Lavender #1 Cemetery  is a daughter, Mary.  Very little is known about Mary except she never married and  lived with her parents all her life. According to her tombstone,  Mary, age 66,  died 8 November 1882, just slightly more than a month before the death of her mother, who died 27 December 1882.

Mary Shewmaker
Died Nov. 8, 1882, 
Age 66 yrs

Because the death dates  of Mary and her mother, Polly, were so close, I had wondered if there was an epidemic of some disease in the area, but I found nothing to indicate that to be true. Nevertheless, I kept on looking and just recently while reading old issues of the Hardin County newspaper guess what was found -   a death notice for Mary Shewmaker, who died 8 November 1881, age 67 years, 7 months and 7 days. [1] The death date on her tombstone was off by a year!  The death notice would have been generated shortly after Mary's death and carries more validity that a tombstone that may have been created long after her death. 

Hardin County, Illinois Independent 18 Nov 1881, p. 5

I think it is safe to say that just because a date is written in stone, it is not necessarily true. I am happy to have verification of her date of death.

[1] Death notice of Mary Shewmaker, Hardin County, Illinois Independent, Fri., 18 Nov 1881, p. 5.

Published 15 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Dycusburg's Three Devastating Fires

Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky has suffered from three devastating fires, any one of which could have been a death knell for the town.  Instead, the citizens who lost their businesses and/or homes hung on and rebuilt.

The first fire began shortly after 3 a.m. on a June morning when the residence of Mrs. J.H. Clifton, widow, was discovered in flames. Mrs. Clifton and her two daughters lost most of their clothing and personal possessions.

Others losing their businesses or residences were Brown & Dalton, loss of stock;  E.M. Dalton, lost his house; S.H. Cassidy & Co., lost a tobacco factory and also Cassidy's  residence and contents; Brasher & Campbell, merchants suffered a loss of their stock; Decker's Livery Stable; J.B. Wadlington's residence was lost, as was that of Obe Simmons and Griffin & Wells lost a warehouse.  [1]

Slightly more than a year later, on the morning of July 16, 1907, Dycusburg had another destructive fire. Griffin & Wells, whose warehouse had suffered a loss estimated at $500 in 1906, again had fire damage. Others suffering losses in 1907 were Dr. Phillips, O. Boaz, G.A. Decker, W.L. Bennett, J.C. Bennett, People's Bank, the Dycusburg Hotel, Gregory's Livery Stable, Ed Lowery's store and residence and J.L. Hills' residence and its contents. [2] Only two business house were left after the fire. Although the fire of 1907 finished off what was left after the fire of 1906, no one was hurt. The losses from the 1907 fire totaled $50,000 with only about $11,000 insurance coverage.[3]  Most of the buildings were of frame construction, which caused the fire to spread quickly from one building to another.

Probably the greatest victim of the fire of 1907 was People's Bank of Dycusburg. The stockholders and directors met on 27 July 1907 and adopted several resolutions, which resulted in liquidation of the bank.  The bank building and practically the entire town was destroyed by fire, which hindered the future business prospects of the bank. The bank had never obtained as large a business as had been hoped for and, since the bank affairs were favorable to liquidate and the assets were well secured, it was decided to liquidate the bank.  The resolutions were signed by Charles Smith,  Bank President; Edgie Gregory, Cashier and James Ramey, Agent and Attorney for the Bank.[4]

The third fire in Dycusburg  began in the early morning of 22 November 1954 and two-thirds of the business district was lost. The fire began in Mrs. Marguerite Bennett's grocery store. At one point, the fire leaped across the street and ignited the large general merchandise store of Fred Joyce and the garage of Robert Dycus.  Left standing were the post office, Masonic Lodge and Frank Dycus' grocery.[5]

As in the previous fires, all of the businesses were frame buildings. Only three buildings remained after the fire with losses estimated at $100,000.[6]

In spite of the fires, Dycusburg did not die and, in 2010, had a population of 26.

[1] "Dycusburg in Ashes," Crittenden Press, Thurs., 7 June 1906, p. 1.
[2] "Fire Destroys Town," Owensboro Messenger, Wed., 17 July 1907, p. 3.
[3] $50,000 Loss at Dycusburg," Louisville Courier-Journal, Thurs., 18 July 1907, p . 3.
[4] "People's Bank of Dycusburg," Crittenden Record-Press, Thurs., 8 August 1907, p. 3.
[5] "Cumberland Town Hit Hard by Fire," Paducah Sun, Mon., 22 November 1954, p . 1.
[6] "Kentucky Town Has Heavy Fire," Clarksville, Tenn. Leaf-Chronicle, Tues., 23 Nov 1954, p. 11.

Published 7 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, August 2, 2019

153rd Anniversary of Reddick and Mary Ann Smith

On the 153rd anniversary of the marriage of my great-grandparents, I am re-publishing a post marking their anniversary from three years ago. Since that post was published, several of us who descend from this couple have had a tombstone erected to mark the burial place of Mary Ann. Research on Reddick and Mary Ann continues.

On this day 150 years ago, Mary Ann Wolstenholme and Reddick Smith stood before Henry Holt, a justice of the peace, and promised to love, honor and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. There were no guarantees their lives would be easy and hardships were almost certain.

Born in 1842 in Gallatin County, Illinois, Reddick Smith enlisted in Co. F, 131st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. After leaving a hospital in Millikin's Bend, Louisiana without permission, he was captured by the Confederates and sent to Richmond, Virginia before being paroled in July 1863. Later he enlisted in Co. G, 6th Illinois Cavalry and participated in the Battle of Nashville on 15 December 1864. After the war, Reddick left his company in Alabama and returned home to southern Illinois. Yes, he deserted again. The charge of desertion was later removed from his records by the War Department.

Reddick settled in Goodlettsville, Davidson County, where Mary Ann was living. On 2 August 1866, he used a coin and hammered it over a rod to form a ring and placed this ring on Mary Ann's finger.  I wear this ring today. 

Reddick and Mary Ann had 14 children: Rebeckah, Edna, Susannah, Henry Clay, Sarah, Caroline, Mary Beatrice (my grandmother), Francis, Giles, Earl, Morgan, Herman, Edward and an unnamed child who died as an infant. Nine of these children lived to adulthood.

Reddick and Mary Ann stayed in Tennessee until after 1870 and then moved with their three children, Rebeckah, Edna and Susannah,  to Hardin County, Illinois. Except for a brief stay in the state of Washington in the early 1900s, the Smith family remained in Hardin County. Reddick died there 14 April 1913 and Mary Ann died 7 January 1933. Both are buried at Central Cemetery.

Reddick and Mary Ann are among my favorite ancestors and have been the most interesting to research. One of my current projects involves getting a Tombstone to mark Mary Ann's grave.

Published 2 August 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,