Thursday, January 30, 2020

Crittenden County, Kentucky Divorces 1856-1860

The following Crittenden County divorces are first mentioned in Crittenden County Circuit Court Order Book D (1856-1860) when the case was filed. Details of the law suit are given in the case file, which can be ordered from the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort. The date of the entry in this order book is given at the end of the with the reference listed. For example, 31 July1856 refers to entry in order book D page 79, dated 31 July 1856.

Weldon, Shelby P. vs Judy Ann Weldon,  Case File #72:  Shelby P. Weldon, plaintiff,  is restored to all the rights and privileges of an unmarried man and is to pay costs. [OB D:79;  31 July 1856]

Fox, Elizabeth vs Pleasant Fox, Case Files #47 and #72:  It appearing Pleasant Fox abandoned Elizabeth without cause more than 12 months prior to commencement of this suit. Therefore marriage contract between them annulled, set aside and held for naught. Elizabeth, plaintiff, is restored to rights and privileges of an unmarried woman. R.F. Haynes, attorney for  non-resident defendant, allowed $5 for his services. [OB D:69; 30 Jul 1856]

Linthicum, Rice vs Mary Linthicum, Case File #72:  Contract of marriage between plaintiff and defendant set aside and held for naught as far as Rice Linthicum is concerned. R.H. Word is attorney for non-resident deft.  [OBD:55; 30 Jul 1856]

Brantley, Cassy vs William Brantley, Case File #72: Contract of marriage set aside and Cassy restored to her former name of Cassy Grissom. Plaintiff to recover her costs expended. [OBD:56; 30 Jul 1856]

Sheperson, Susan vs William Sheperson[1] : Bonds of matrimony annulled and held for naught as far as plaintiff is concerned and she is restored to right and privileges of an unmarried woman. Defendant is non-resident. [OBD:343; 24 Jul 1858]

Oliver, Frances L. vs James T. Oliver, Case File #102:  Divorce granted Frances Oliver, plaintiff, and vows between plaintiff and defendant are absolved. [OBD:643; 8 Nov 1860]

 Jones, William Ann vs Samuel Jones  Case File #102:  Bonds of matrimony dissolved and plaintiff to recover her costs. Defendant is non-resident. [OBD:644, 9 Nov 1860]

Published  30 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

[1] Case file number for Susan Sheperson vs William Sheperson not listed in index.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Just a Reminder!

The Log Cabin Research and Welcome Center of the Livingston County Historical and Genealogical Society will be closed during January and February 2020 for inventory, cleaning and organization.  The Log Cabin will reopen with regular hours (1 – 4 p.m.) on 2 March 2020.

If it is necessary to contact the Society during this time, call 270-928-4656 and leave a message or leave a message on their Facebook page.

The Society meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at the Log Cabin, across the street from the old courthouse in Smithland. The mailing address is P.O. Box 138, Smithland, KY 42081.

Published 27 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Union County, Kentucky Guardian Appointments 1848

A guardian was appointed when a person was unable to act for himself  or was a minor (under the age of 21 years).  The parents may or may not have been living. At the age of 14, a minor could choose his own guardian with the approval of the county court. If under the age of 14, the court appointed the guardian. In 1848 Union County, the appointment of a guardian was recorded in  Guardian Bond Book 1848 - 1853 as well as in the County Court Orders Vol. E, 1845 - 1855. Both books are available on The notation in brackets at the end of each entry refers to the Court Order book and page number. For example, E:152 refers to Court Orders E, page 152.

William Greathouse, orphan of Isaac Greathouse,  made choice of Phillip Johnson as his guardian. Surety: Alexander M. Henry.  20 Mar 1848.  [E:152]

James Benson was appointed guardian of Willis B. Benson and Dolly Benson, orphans of Elizabeth Benson dec'd. Surety: Enoch B. Benson.  20 Mar 1848.  [E:153]

Leonard L.  Robertson was appointed guardian of Susan E. Robertson, Mary A. Robertson, Martha Jane Robertson, Thomas D. Robertson and Leonard E. Robertson, orphans of Sarah Robertson dec'd. Surety: Enoch B. Benson.  20 Mar 1848.  [E:154]

Hardy F. Holeman, orphan of John Holeman Jr. dec'd, made choice of William F. Holeman as his guardian. Sureties: William T. Vaughn & Robert S. Hill.  20 Mar 1848.  [E:154]

Elisha J. Durbin was appointed guardian of Mary C. Kane, infant orphan of James Kane dec'd. Surety: Hillory J. Rapier.  17 Jul 1848.  [E:180]

Thomas H. Barker was appointed guardian of Ira H. Barker, orphan of Thomas Barker dec'd. Sureties: Edward Yates & Edward Brady.  18 Sep 1848.  [E:186]

John B. Buckman was appointed guardian of his son, Thomas C. Buckman. Surety: Charles N.  Buckman.  18 Sep 1848.  [E:189]

Leroy Thomas was appointed guardian of Leroy Thomas, Napoleon Thomas, Amanda Thomas & Eliza Thomas, orphans of Eliza Thomas.  Surety: John S. Wilson.  20 Nov 1848.  [E:194]

Published 23 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Sunday, January 19, 2020



The following books from my personal library are for sale. If you have any questions or want to know if a book is still available, email   Please include $3 postage per book. 

Through the Canebrake by William McCollough, 2002. Soft cover, good condition. Fictionalized account of the life of Laura Gibbon, daughter of Leonard Gibbon, editor of the Smithland Bee, who was shot on a street in Smithland in 1844. This book follows the life of  Gibbon's daughter as she moves to Iowa and marries.  $15   For an account of the death of Leonard Gibbon, read here:

Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution by Bobby Gilmer Moss, 1983. Hard cover, good condition. Owner's stamp inside front cover.  $50  $45

Patrick County, Virginia Death Register  1853-1870 by Anne James, 1991. Owners stamp inside page. Soft cover       $10

Abstracts of Giles County, TN County Court Minutes 1813-1816 & Circuit Court Minutes 1810-1816 by Carol Wells, 1995.   SOLD!

Gone But Not Forgotten - Cemetery & Grave Plots in Henderson County, KY, 1982. Hard cover. Underlining. Fair condition.    $10

Register of St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church, Uniontown, KY by Peyton Heady, 1995.  $8

Incidents from the Farm Account Books of James Beard Crutcher 1857-1893 (Union County, KY) transcribed by Tess Elliott, 1995. Soft cover, faded spine.  $12

Abstracts from Will Books A-Y [Z] Union County, KY compiled by Ruth Heffington, 1995. Soft cover, comb binding.  Good condition.  $15

Union County, KY Deaths 1852-1878 compiled by Betty J. Branson, 1993. Soft cover.  $7

Union County, KY Births 1852-1878 compiled by Betty J. Branson, 1990. Soft cover, cover corner torn off. Faded spine.  $7Buy both Union County Births and Deaths for $12 & $3 postage.

Lyon County, KY Vital Statistics Births & Deaths (1853-1910) by Jean Smallwood, 2000. Soft cover, comb binding, good condition. Inscription from author to owner.      $12

Lyon County, KY 1880 Census by Gilkey & Gilkey. Soft cover, very good condition.  $15  $12

Lyon County, KY 1910 Federal Census by Gilkey & Gilkey.  Soft cover, good condition.  $15  $12
Buy both 1880 and 1910 Lyon County census together for $20 plus $5 postage!

McCracken County, KY Deeds – Vol. One (7-10-1825 – 1-11-1833), 1999. Soft cover, remnants of former owner’s sticker inside front cover.   $8

McCracken County, KY Deeds – Vol. Two (1-11-1833 – 12-31-1835) by Simmons & Willis,  1999. Soft cover, fair condition with former owner’s sticker inside front cover.    $8  Buy both McCracken County deed books for just $14 plus $3 mailing.

Christian County, KY Deed Abstracts Books K & L (1818-1821), Christian Co. Gen. Society, no date. Soft cover, very good condition.       $12  $10

Caldwell County, KY 1890 Tax List by Caldwell County Historical Society, 2002. Soft cover. Good condition.    $10

1880 Caldwell County, Kentucky Federal Census by Caldwell County Historical Society, 1997. Soft cover, good condition.   $10

Caldwell County, Kentucky 1850 Federal Census by A.B. Willhite, 1997. Hard cover, good condition.   $15  $13

The History of the Fredonia Valley by Fredonia Valley Heritage Society, Fredonia, Caldwell County, KY, 2010. Hard cover, very good condition.     $25

Some South Carolina Genealogical Records, compiled by Janie Revill, 1986. Covers counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Barnwell, Chester, Fairfield, Greenville, Laurens, Newberry, Richland, Spartanburg, Union and York. Former owner's stamp inside cover. Hard cover.    $20

Some South Carolina County Records, Vol. 2, by Southern Historical Press, 1989. Hard cover.  Owner's stamp inside cover, Very good condition.    $20

Spartanburg County/District South Carolina  Deed Abstracts Books A-T 1785-1827 by Albert Bruce Pruitt, 1988. Hard cover, very good condition. Owner's stamp inside cover.  793 pages & index.  $40

American Naturalization Processes and Procedures 1790-1985 by John J. Newman, 1985. Soft cover. Good condition.     $7

Updated 2 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 16, 2020

My Connection To An Impeached President.

President Donald J. Trump's impeachment currently dominates the news.  He is not the first president to be impeached and may not be the last. My family has a connection to an impeached president.  No, not President Trump; my connection is to Andrew Johnson, the first president to be impeached.

Andrew Johnson was born  into a very poor family 29 Dec 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He never attended school and, at the age of 10, he was apprenticed to James Selby to learn the trade of a tailor. It is said that educated citizens would go to Selby's tailor shop and read to the apprentices. One of those citizens was Hugh Wolstenholme, born in England, former Anglican priest, and my great-great-great-grandfather.

According to legend, Wolstenholme spent hours each day reading to the apprentices as they worked.  Among  the apprentices who listened to Wolstenholme was Andrew Johnson, who was so inspired that he, along with others, accepted an invitation to gather at night to learn to read. And so, the tradition of Hugh Wolstenholme helping  future-President Andrew Johnson learn to read was born. Is it true? Several references in research on the Wolstenholme family indicate it is, but  nothing in the Johnson family references, thus far,  names Hugh Wolstenholme as playing a part in Johnson's education. Some references speak vaguely of a scholar teaching Johnson to read, but they never name the scholar.

Although he was legally bound to serve James Selby until he was age 21, Johnson and his brother, also apprenticed to Selby, ran away after serving only about five years. Andrew eventually returned to Raleigh, hoping to buy out his apprenticeship. When that was unsuccessful, he moved to Tennessee, where his career in politics began.  Johnson became mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee in 1834, served in the House of Representatives and Congress and held various other offices and then was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to be his Vice President in 1864. When President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Andrew Johnson became President, but angered Congress with his pardons and amnesty issued to former rebels.  He endured the impeachment and trial, and was not removed from office. He was the only United States President to be impeached and face a trial until William Jefferson Clinton became the second in 1998.

Meanwhile, Wolstenholme's life took a different path. He left Raleigh and settled in the mountains in far western North Carolina.  In the 1980s, while visiting the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I came across the papers of John Hewitt (1848-1920), who wrote his memoirs, "My People of the Mountains," in 1918. Hewitt was the great nephew of Hugh Wolstenholme.  Since he personally knew his great-uncle, Hewitt is our best source of information on Wolstenholme, whom he described as a "well-known hermit of the area."

When he was age 65, Wolstenholme was described as over "six feet tall, with steel gray eyes and shaggy eyebrows. His dress included a Quaker style hat, corduroy jacket, knee breeches of 'Kentucky jeans,'  buckskin leggings, high-top rawhide shoes and a beaver skin cloak." Few records have been found to verify the details of Wolstenholme's life and this is the only reference found to give his physical appearance.

Wolstenholme had several children, including  a son, also named Hugh, but who lived primarily in Davidson County, Tennessee and was my great-great-grandfather. Shortly before  the Civil War, the elder Hugh moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where it is stated he died in the poorhouse when he was over 100 years old.  The funeral, it is said, was conducted by Rev. Jarvis Buxton of Trinity Episcopal Church and the burial was in Asheville. No proof has been found, however.

Several years ago, I visited The North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library in Asheville in the hopes of finding some clue to Hugh Wolstenholme Sr.'s life.  Nothing was found. Even searching for information on  him through another son, Henry Fanshaw Wolstenholme, a tailor in Asheville, yielded nothing new.  I checked county records plus newspapers. Nothing! He is listed on the 1860 Buncombe County, North Carolina census, but not thereafter. On that census he was age 80 and living in the home of Dr. Madison and Isabel Greenwood, who were not thought to be related to Hugh.

So, as I hear about President Trump's impeachment and pending trial, I can't help but think of President  Andrew Johnson and the man who taught him to read. Now, if only I could find proof this happened.

1860 Buncombe County, NC census, Ivy and Flat Creek, roll M653-889, page 336,

Papers of Louise Littleton Davis (1890-1994), Tennessee State Library and Archives, AC #1710-29.

John Hewitt. My People of the Mountains, 1918, The Southern Historical Collection, Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980s (full date not recorded).

William S. Powell. "Hugh Wolstenholme," Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, University of North Carolina Press, 1994,

"Andrew Johnson," Wikipedia,

"Of Notable Ancestry," The New York Times, 17 June 1901, obituary of Mrs. Susanna Bradwell Hewitt, mother of the Rev. John Hewett. She was the niece of Rev. Hugh Wolstenholme.

 Published 16 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, January 10, 2020

Jefferson Davis Clopton and Mattie A. Mantz

Jefferson Davis Clopton married Miss Mattie A. Mantz 26 December 1888 in Livingston County, Kentucky. Silas Newton, V.D.M. [1] was the officiant at the wedding. 

Marriage Certificate of J.D. Clopton and Mattie A. Mantz  1888
Livingston County, Kentucky Clerk's Office

The first census on which they appear together was in 1900 when they were living in Smithland.[2] At that time, J.D., a druggist,  and his wife, Martha A., were the parents of two children, Clarra and Jefferson.  Also living in their home was his mother, Kattie Clopton, who was born in 1842 in Kentucky.

Jefferson Davis Clopton died 3 November 1931 at the age of 70 years, four months and 12 days. [3] His parents were Rubin Clopton, born Virginia, and Catharine Harris, born Kentucky.  According to his obituary, he had been a druggist for many years. In addition to his widow and two children, he was survived by two brothers, John Clopton of Evansville and J.A. Clopton of Smithland, as well as a sister.[4]

Martha Mantz Clopton was born 20 July 1863 Livingston County and died 13 May 1946 in Smithland. [5] Her parents were listed as William Mantz, born Kentucky and Addie Wallace, born Tennessee. Her funeral was held at the Smithland Methodist Church, where she had been a member for 68 years. She was survived by her son, J.D. Clopton, a grandson and two nephews. [6] Her daughter, Clara, died 18 September 1942 and is buried in Smithland Cemetery.[7]

[1] Verbi Dei Minister - Latin for Preacher of God's Word.
[2] 1900 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Smithland, p. 5, E.D. 0053, J.D. Clopton family,
[3] Kentucky Death Certificate #27375 (1931), Jefferson Davis Clopton,
[4] "Smithland Druggist Called by Death," Paducah Sun-Democrat, Thurs., 5 Nov 1931.
[5] Kentucky Death Certificate #11720 (1946), Martha Mantz Clopton,
[6] Obituary for Martha Mantz Clopton, Livingston Leader, 23 May 1946.
[7] Kentucky Death Certificate #20707 (1942), Clara Watts Clopton,

Published 10 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph and Elvira Thompson

Joseph H.
Apr. 13, 1862
Oct. 23, 1926

Elvira His Wife
Aug. 5, 1863
Aug. 29, 1926

Joseph H. and Elvira Thompson are buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. This tombstone was photographed 10 December 2018.

Joseph H. Thompson and Elvira Cooksey were married 19 January 1892 in Caldwell County. [1] In 1918, Joseph H. and Elvira Thompson were living at 407 S. 19th Street, Paducah, Kentucky.[2]

According to her death certificate, Elvira Thompson died in Hopkinsville. The  names and birthplaces of her parents were not listed.[3] Her obituary states she was survived by her husband, one daughter, two sons, a sister and two brothers.

Joseph Henry Thompson was a carpenter by trade and was the son of Henry Thompson and Martha Crafton, both of whom were born in Kentucky. He died in Paducah.

[1] Kentucky Compiled Marriages 1851-1900,
[2] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1895; 1918, p. 45, Joseph H. Thompson (Elvira), 407 S. 19th, Paducah,
[3] Kentucky Death Record 1852 - 1965,  #19558 (1926), Elvira Thompson,

Published 7 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Understanding That Document

We all want to gain as much information as possible from each document we find, but sometimes we are tempted to skim through the document and leave it at that. We think we understand what the document contains, but it may not be true. There is a process that just might help.

Don't just skim the document; read it word for word. Transcribe the document - every word.  Now it is time to take some notes. Can you answer the following questions?

1.   Who are the parties mentioned in the document?
2.   What is this document about?
3.   When did the events in the document occur?
4.   Where did you find the document?

Now it is time for the final step.  Using your own words, condense the document without losing the meaning.  

If you follow the above steps, you should be able to thoroughly understand the document.

Published 2 Jan 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,