Thursday, February 27, 2020

Memories of Mary Ann Jackson Johnson

Sometimes we can learn about life in earlier days by reading what others, perhaps not even blood relatives, have to say about their lives. For example, in 1936 Mary Ann Johnson, age 80, related events of her life, first in Livingston County, Kentucky and later as a married woman across the Ohio River in Illinois.[1] As  you might imagine, her life was far different from that of children today.
Mary Ann was born to Thomas and Lucy Ann (Glass) Jackson on 15 August 1856 on a farm near Smithland.

The 1860 Livingston County census shows 2 year-old Mary Ann in the household of her parents, Thomas Jackson, age 31, and Lucy A. Jackson, age 30, along with her siblings Moses D., Woodford B., Robert N. and Rebecca. [2]

Mary Ann's father taught her lessons at home until she was big enough to walk the four miles to and from school. Then she went to school in a little log school house in which benches were boards laid across pieces of wood.

She recalled picking cotton and worming tobacco.

Instead of using coal as fuel for heating, Mary Ann's family used wood her father had cut. Meals were cooked over a fireplace or out of doors over an open fire. Bread was baked in iron pots suspended over the fire.

Although she was less than 10 years old, she remembers events of the Civil War, including when soldiers came to her father's home in search of food. She recalls her father hiding the stock to keep them from being confiscated by soldiers.  Smithland was occupied by the Union army throughout the war, but many of its citizens were southern sympathizers.

When she was 17, Aaron S. Johnson, formerly a Union soldier, courted and won the hand of Mary Ann. They were married 11 November 1874 at her father's home in Livingston County.[3]  It was Mary Ann's first marriage and the third marriage for Aaron.  They settled at Green's Ferry, Kentucky, later moving to a farm at Carrsville.  By 1900, the Johnson family was living in Lola, Livingston County.[4]

Aaron Shelbey Johnson was born 13 September 1842[5]  to Benjamin F. "Frank"  Johnson and Drusilla Travis, who had married 26 November 1835 Livingston County.[6]

Johnson was a General Baptist minister as well as a farmer. He and Mary Ann, like others at this time, had to work hard to support themselves and their growing family. It fell to Mary Ann to work the wool from the sheep they raised and make their clothing. She had to card the wool, spin it, weave it into cloth and make the linsey-woolsey dresses and jeans as well as knit the socks and stockings for the family.

In 1900, one of the Johnson's sons moved across the Ohio River to Hardin County, Illinois. Mary Ann recalled that it took five wagons to bring their household goods across the river.  Not long after this, Aaron S. Johnson's health began to deteriorate and it fell to Mary Ann to care for her husband as well as support the family.  In July 1917, Aaron passed away. Mary Ann was 61 years old and had given birth to 13 children, but only seven were living in 1936.

Mary Ann Jackson Johnson died at the home of a daughter in Benton, Illinois 5 December 1938. She was 82 years of age. She had lived through the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War I. She had seen the invention of the telephone, airplane and automobiles and had lived a long and full life.

[1] "Used to Card Wool, Spin, Weave Cloth," Hardin County Independent, Elizabethtown, Illinois, Thurs., 8 October 1936, p. 5.
[2] 1850 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Smithland, Div. 3, Roll M653_382, p. 291, household of Thomas Jackson,
[3] Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Bond Book, pp 289-290, Register p. 345. Bondsman was Thomas Jackson.
[4] 1900 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Lola, p. 1, E.D. 0059,
[5] Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947,, Aaron Shelbey Johnson, born 13 Sep 1842, died Cave in Rock, Hardin County, Illinois 18 Jul 1917; parents Frank Johnson and Drusillia Travis.
[6] Joyce M. Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1 (Oct 1799-July 1839), (no. publisher, 1992) 139-140. Benjamin F. Johnson and Drusilla Travis married 26 Nov 1835 by Richard Miles, JP. Lee Travis, guardian of Drusilla, gave consent. Johnson was of lawful age.

Published 27 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Duties of County Jailer 1875

Being the Jailer in 1875 in Lyon County, Kentucky consisted of more than carrying the keys to the cells. Other duties were required and were spelled out in a document found  among loose county court papers in the courthouse in Eddyville. How do these rules compare to the duties of present-day jailers?

Rules for the government of the Jailer

"The Jailer is required to Keep the Jail perfectly clean, & suffer no filth of any Kind to accumulate in or about it.

He is required to clean out the privy valt [sic], or Sink, under the Jail, immediately and as often as may be necessary to prevent a stench in the Jail.

He is required to whitewash both the upper and lower cells and to use in the cells and in the Sink under the Jail, chloride of lime or other disinfect out in such quantities and often enough to destroy the Scent and purify the air of the Jail.

He is required to Keep the clothing and bedding of prisoners perfectly clean.

He is directed to feed the prisoners confined in the Jail at regular intervals three times a day with a sufficiency of wholesome food and to keep them supplied with fresh water."

Filed in open Court and ordered to be spread at large upon the order book of this court and delivered to the Jailer April 26, 1875.

Published 20 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Livingston County School Census 1910

One Kentucky research resource often neglected is the school census which was required per an act of the state senate approved in 1883.[1] According to the Journal of the Senate, the district trustee  was to visit every school in April each year to take a census of all children who would be between the ages of six and 21 on or before the first day of May and report the names along with their age, sex plus the names of parent or guardian of each child. Failure on the part of the district trustee resulted in a fine of $20.00.

The following African American children were attending school in District B, Education Division No. 5, Livingston County,  Kentucky in 1910. African American and white school census records are in separate volumes, but all volumes are located in the Livingston County clerk's office. In other counties, the records are sometimes found in the school board office.

Parent/Guardian             Children between ages of 6 and 20 and birth dates
Wm. Pringle                         Ollie Pringle - born 14 Jan 1894
                                                Lute Pringle - born 31 Jan 1896
                                                Willie Pringle - born 8 Mar 1898
                                                Bertha Pringle - born 28 May 1900
                                                Cleta Pringle - born 13 Nov 1903

Signe Pringle                      Iliff Pringle - born 29 Jun 1896
                                                Sid Pringle - born 7 Nov 1897
                                                Diana Pringle - born 9 Aug 1899
                                                Enua[2] Pringle - born 31 Aug 1902
                                                Edith Pryor - born 18 Jan 1891

Thos. Pippin                       Norval Pippin - born 1 Mar 1896
                                                Ruth Pippin - born 20 Feb 1899
                                                Charlie Pippin - born 1 Dec 1902
                                                Alice Pritchett - born 3 Jul 1899
                                                Calvin Pritchett[3] - born 27 Sep 1902

Wm. Champion                 Alburta Champion - born 5 Oct 1902
                                               Gladous Champion - born 9 Feb 1904
                                               Grotie Champion - born 12 Mar 1898

[1] Journal of the Regular Session of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Article VIII, Sec. 13, p. 813, District Trustee (Frankfort, KY: S.L.M. Major, public printer, 1884) 816.
[2] 1910 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Roll T624_491, p. 7B, E.D. 105, This child is listed as Emma Pringle on the census.
[3] 1910 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Roll T624_491, E.D. 105, Sheet 8B. Alice and Calvin Pritchett are listed as step children of Thos. Pippin.

Published 13 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


I am no longer carrying genealogy books I published on Caldwell County, Kentucky. These books have been transferred to my friends at the Caldwell County Historical Society to sell.  For more information on availability and prices, please contact the Historical Society on Facebook or at

Published 12 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Lyon County Medical Register 1893 - 1896

In 1874 Kentucky passed an act that made it unlawful for any person, for reward or compensation, to practice or prescribe medicine or perform surgical operations if they have not graduated from a chartered school of medicine.  A person who had been regularly and honorable engaged in the practice of medicine for 10 years was deemed to have complied with the provisions of this act. A person having been engaged in medicine for 5 years was allowed one year to comply with the provisions. Anyone practicing medicine or performing surgery and did not meet the provisions of this act, if convicted, had to pay a fine. The act, amended and approved 24 April 1888, stated that, beginning 1 Apr 1889, any person practicing medicine in Kentucky must register in the county clerk's office where he practiced medicine.[1] 

The following physicians registered and signed with the State Board of Health in Bowling Green and then with the Lyon County court clerk's office in Eddyville. This information can be found in Lyon County State Board of Health Physicians' Register on

G.W. Williams, age 62; native of Kentucky; present address Eddyville; degree from Louisville Medical College 25 Feb 1875. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and  5 Oct 1893 Lyon County.  [p. 1]

Owen B. Withers, age 67; native of Kentucky; present address Eddyville; degree from Medical Dept of Univ. of New York 11 Mar 1847. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 7 Oct 1893 Lyon County. "Dead"[2]  [p.2]

A.H. Champion, age 78; native of Kentucky; present address Eddyville;  degree from Louisville Medical Institute in Kentucky Mar 1844. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and Lyon County 6 Oct 1893. "Dead"[3]

C.H. Linn, age 31; native of Illinois; present address Kuttawa; degree from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York Mar 1891. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 6 Oct 1893 Lyon County.  [p. 4]

A.D. Purdy, age 41; native of Kentucky; present address Kuttawa; degree from Nashville Medical college in Tennessee Feb 1882. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 9 Oct 1893 Lyon County.  [p. 5]

F.L. Allen, age 38; native of Tennessee; present address Lamasco; degree from Dept. of Vanderbilt Univ. in Tennessee 25 Feb 1885. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 17 Oct 1893 Lyon County.  [p. 6]

E.S. Wilford, age 34; native of Kentucky; present address Kuttawa; degree from Medical Dept of Univ. of Nashville Feb 1886. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 9 Dec 1893 Lyon County.  [p. 7]

John H. Hussey, age 33; native of Indiana; present address Eddyville; degree from Medical Dept of Univ. of Tennessee Feb 1883. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 29 Jan 1894 Lyon County.  [p. 8]

A.G. P'Pool, age 45; native of Virginia; present address Lamasco; degree from Medical Dept of Univ. of Tennessee 1872. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 8 May 1894 Lyon County. "Dead" [4] [p. 9]

Z.T. Cunningham, age 45; native of Kentucky; present address Eddyville; degree from Medical Dept of Vanderbilt Univ . in Tennessee Feb 1880. Signed 19 Jan 1894 Bowling Green and 7 Dec 1894 Lyon County.  [p. 10]

Benj. F. French  [name and information marked out]  [p. 11]

C.E. Acree, age 36; native of Tennessee; present address Eddyville; degree from Medical Dept of Vanderbilt Univ., Tennessee Mar 1892. "Dead" [5]  [p. 12]

Irwin S. Hollowell, age 58; native of Kentucky; present address Lamasco; degree from Medical Dept. of Univ. of Tennessee 25 Feb 1890. Signed 3 Oct 1893 Bowling Green and 17 Dec 1896 Lyon County. [p. 13]

[1] "Kentucky's Amended Empiricism Law," Medical Laws of Kentucky, Register of the United States, Kentucky, p. 457, Google Books.
[2] Find-A-Grave Memorial #169987762 shows he died 3 Aug 1899 and is buried in Parker Cemetery, Lyon County.
[3] Find-A-Grave Memorial #135665817 shows A.H. Champion died 1898 and is buried in River View Cemetery, Lyon County.
[4] Find-A-Grave Memorial #146672592 shows A.G. P'Pool died 14 Nov 1901 and is buried in Millwood Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky.
[5] Find-A-Grave Memorial #7002867 shows C.E. Acree died 1900 and is buried in Acree Cemetery, Stewart County, Tennessee. 

Published 6 Feb 2020, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,