Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Livingston County, KY Poor House Inmates 1880

The 1880 population schedule of Livingston County shows five inmates in the county Poor House. They are listed as follows:

Young Morgan, age 84, blind
Judidah Morgan, wife, age 64
Loveiace Guiner, age 77, maimed and crippled
Matilda Durham, age 45
Josephine Horning, age 35, palsied

A little more information can be found on the 1880 DDD Schedule for Livingston County. It shows the following:
Young Morgan, admitted Oct. ‘79
Juditha Morgan, admitted Oct ‘79
Lovet Gainer, old and palsied, admitted Aug [year illegible]
Matilda Durham, admitted 1876
Josephine Horning, admitted 1878

As Poor House residents were charges of the county, very often there will be a record of their admission in the county court minutes. A check in the county court order book might reveal additional information.

Originally published 17 Sep 2009. Second time around 9 Jul 2024.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Research Tip - Phillips - Wood Marriage Contract 1842

 There is a marriage contract in Livingston County that provides quite a bit of information on the family of Mrs. Mary Phillips (widow), formerly married to Allen Hodge and Mark Phillips. The contract was written 18 Apr 1842, just before the marriage of Mary of Livingston County and John H. Wood of Christian County, Kentucky, and can be found in Livingston County Deed Book GG, pages 316-317.

In the contract, provisions are made for Mary to keep the control and management of property acquired during her former marriage(s), including five slaves, Elijah, Anthony, Dred, Mary & Caroline. Also named are Mary's children by the marriage to Allen Hodge: Mary Louisa Berry, wife of Cuthbert Berry; Richard Hodge and James Hodge. Richard and James Hodge are to live with Mary and John Wood after the marriage and John is to clothe and school them without cost to Mary.

If your ancestor married more than once, be sure to check the deed books to see if there is a marriage contract. You may just learn some new information.

Originally published 29 July 2008, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Kentucky's County Courts

 In Kentucky, there are two separate courts in the county system - the county court or monthly court and the circuit court. The function of each court is different. Understanding the difference in these courts can help determine which court holds the information needed by the genealogical researcher. This article will discuss the county court with a discussion of the circuit court at a later date.

The county court was composed of the county justices of the peace. The function of the county court is to conduct the business of the county - appointment of guardians of minor children; appointment of administrators, executors and curators of estates; granting of tavern, coffeehouse, marriage and ferry licenses; processioning of land, the laying out of new roads and building of bridges; emancipation of slaves; recording of wills, inventories and sales of estates; appointment of jailers, road surveyors, and tax collectors; binding out of apprentices and various other duties.

While the county court is known as a monthly court, often only 10 sessions were held during the year. Each session of the county court might last for several days, depending on how much business had to be heard and discussed. At each session, the county clerk or his deputy, was responsible for recording the minutes of all business discussed. These minutes were transcribed into the county court order books.

The following is an entry from Livingston County, Kentucky County Court Order Book A, no pagination, dated 5 May 1801: "On motion of Thomas Gist ordered that he be permitted to keep Tavern at his ferry in Smithland he having entered into bond with Surety."

An entry from Caldwell County, Kentucky County Court Order Book A, p. 296, 23 Aug 1813 reads as follows: "Clerk of the Court ordered to bind out Nathaniel Snow, orphan of Nathaniel Snow, aged 14 last march, to Sylvanus Palmer to learn the trade of a cooper."

Not all counties have such complete entries in the order books. Webster County’s clerk seemed to write in some sort of shorthand that makes it difficult to tell what he was recording. But no matter how difficult it is to read some entries, neglecting to use the county court order books is a mistake. I have found absolute jewels of information tucked between the covers of the order books.

The county court order books are usually still located in the county clerk’s office in the courthouse. Some counties, however, have opted to send the older order books to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort. Lyon County is one of the counties that has done this. The county court order books have been microfilmed and are available for reading at the Archives and are available also though FamilySearch.org.  This is one source you will want to become familiar with.

Originally published 17 Nov 2007 and repeated 10 May 2024.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

She Saw Three Wars

 Mary Fisher, daughter of George Fisher and Sarah Vaughn, was a young woman when the Civil War broke out and probably knew the young men who enlisted from her western Kentucky neighborhood. That was not the last time she would witness men leaving home to fight in a war. When she was middle-aged, newly-enlisted soldiers left to fight in the Spanish American War and, finally, when she was an old woman, the Great War (World War I) called men to fight in Europe.

But what could a woman do? A woman's work was at home.  Her job was to help on the farm, rear the children to be God-fearing, honest citizens and hope they survived whichever war was being fought.

Mary was twice married, but had no children of her own. By her first marriage to Columbus O. Barnett on 27 November 1866, she was called on to rear his five children by his first wife, Adelina E. Stephens, with the children ranging in age from eight down to one. The marriage of Mary and C.O. Barnett ended with his death in 1871. His father, Samuel S. Barnett was appointed guardian of the children and they went to live with him.

On 19 December 1875, Mary married William B. Hosick, who was 20 years her senior. The 1880 Livingston County census shows William B. and Mary Hosick living in Carrsville. Living with them were William D. Hosick and Mary's brother and sister, Martin V.L.B. Fisher and Catherine Johnson.

William B. Hosick died 21 June 1901 and is buried near his first wife, Mary Cope, in Hosick Cemetery #1 in Lola, Kentucky. Mary Fisher Hosick died 19 June 1919 and is buried in New Union (Ditney) Cemetery near Lola. Her tombstone is surrounded by four rocks which possibly mark the graves of her siblings,

Mary F.
Dec. 20, 1841
June 20, 1919
Gone but not

Originally published 2 Apr 2015, repeated 10 Apr 2024, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.com/

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Rules for the 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.

Originally published in the Wesstern Kentucky Genealogy Blog 20 Feb 2020 and re-published 6 Mar 2024.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

William N. St. John - Steamboatman

The first appearance of William N. St. John by name is on the 1850 Livingston County census record when he was living in a household headed by Nancy St. John. William was 19 years old, an engineer and was born in Illinois. Nancy was 60 years old and born in Virginia. Was she his mother - very possibly. Both of them may have been part of the family of an older William St. John, who is found on the 1840 Livingston County census.  Ann Jane St. John, who married G.W. Burton[1], and P.M. St. John, who married Lavenia Wilson[2], were likely siblings of William N. St. John. There should have been more siblings.

William N. St. John married Serena Smith, daughter of Samuel Smith, 16 December 1856[3] at New Liberty, Pope County, Illinois. They were living in Livingston County in 1860 with their 2-year-old daughter, Laura. William N. continued to work on the river and was listed as a steam boat engineer.

By 1870, the St. John  family had moved to Evansville, which was the center of riverboat traffic in the area.  William was now listed as a river boat pilot. They did not stay long in Evansville, but returned to Livingston County before 1880.

William and Serena St. John had a number of children, including the following who appeared on the 1880 census:  Laura, Jennett, William N., Joel, Alice B., Cora, Daisy, Lilly, Violet and Charles.

A small article in the River News of an Evansville newspaper recorded the death of William St. John. It stated the following:  "The remains of Capt. Wm. St. John, who died at Paducah on Sunday, were taken to Smithland for burial. Capt. St. John was at one time a well known Cumberland river steamboatman. He resided in this city some years ago, and has many friends here who will be pained to learn of his death."[4]

William N. St. John's monument marks his burial spot in Smithland Cemetery. His wife, Serena, is buried in Maplelawn Cemetery in Paducah.

Wm. N. St. John
Nov. 23, 1884
51 yr's., 9 mo's.
Buried Smithland Cemetery
Smithland, Kentucky

[1] Joyce McCandless Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Including Marriages of Freedmen, Vol. II, (Evansville, IN:Evansville Bindery) 1994, p 19-20.
[2] Kentucky Death Certificate #16598 (1923) of Mattie B. Hill identifies her parents as Martin [sic] St. John and Louvenia Wilson.
[3] Judy Foreman Lee & Carolyn Cromeenes Foss. Pope County, Illinois Marriage Books A-E 1813-1877 Vol. 1, (Evansville, IN:Evansville Bindery) 1990, p. 57
[4] "River News," Evansville Daily Courier, Tues., 29 November 1884, p. 3.

Originally published 17 September 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,  http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/  Reprinted 7 Feb 2024

Monday, January 1, 2024