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Friday, August 14, 2015


     I've recently come across several of my photos and documents plastered to trees without any acknowledgement for the source, or actually did the research, or where the items were stolen from. Please DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS or DOCUMENTS off my blog, unless I give you express written permission!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Spring Hill Race Course, photo by Valerie J. Thompson

     Before there was Churchill Downs there was Spring Hill Race Course, owned and operated by Henry W. Farris of Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, Kentucky. The outline of the race course can still be seen on a Google map. It is also a prominent feature shown on the Beers and Lanagan 1879 Map of Lincoln and Garrard Counties, (below)

Spring Hill Race Course
     Henry W. Farris mentions the Spring Hill Race Course in his will and the date it opened. The following is the thoughtful and informative will.

     Lincoln County, Kentucky. Will Book Book 3, page 140. 141

     Henry W. Farris Will
                                                                                         Crab Orchard, Ky March 12, 1884
     On the 14th day of August 1809, I was born near the Walnut Flats in Lincoln County, Ky, and on the 14th April 1814 Jane Elizabeth Farrar was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. On the 7th June 1832 I married her in Mecklenburg, where she was born, making 51 years that we have lived happily together, having eight children and one son, William Dabney who died quite young. Out of our eight living children we have five daughters and three sons, Alexander Scott, Ann Elizabeth, Laura, Alice, Mary, Duncan Kenner, Hattie, and Henry Bacon. We have 18 living grandchildren, Scott has two, a son and daughter; Ann Elizabeth Guest has three sons, and two daughters; Laura Moore has four sons and one daughter; Alice Dobbin has three sons; Mary Hoskins has one son; Hattie Ewell has one son and one daughter making the 18, and two adopted grandchildren, Calvin and Betty Hoskins making even 20 living grandchildren all of which I dearly love, and know no difference between them. We have had a great many ups and downs in life. In 1835 we settled in Crab Orchard, built the greater part of the brick corner house, which we occupied as a Hotel for many years. In 1836 I opened what is known as the Spring Hill Race Course, which has been used as such ever since. We have lived at Crab Orchard ever since, except six years that we lived at Woodlawn near Louisville. From the time I laid out the course, I have spent a considerable amount on the premises and what I want to come at is myself and wife have a deed recorded in the Clerk's office at Stanford, which shows for itself, and my wish is that my wife take full charge of all the premises and effects that I own,and manage to the best advantage as long as she lives, and to add as much as possible to the value of the property as she thinks proper and as the property is not susceptible of being divided between out children, it is my request that she make such arrangements that after her death to have everything sold that we possess to the highest bidder and after paying all our just debts divide the remainder equally between our eight children, all of them having been kind and thoughtful to me consequently I don't wish to make any differences between them. My reason for requesting my good wife to keep the property in a good shape as possible to add to its value is from the force of circumstances having two daily trains each day both ways from Louisville to Knoxville and the healthy location and prospect of a boom at the Springs makes me believe that property, and particularly this description of property will increase in value greatly. I am not forgetful of constantly breathing an humble prayer to the Lord for the many blessings bestowed upon me and family, and have full faith that my prayers are considered. 
                                                                                                      Henry W. Farris
Bettie C. Farris
E. T Stephenson 
R. G Bronaugh
A. J. Foley

     Henry W. Farris was a Justice of the Peace for Lincoln County, but he was most noted as a turfman, owner of Spring Hill Race Course, and horse breeder.

Death Notice for H. W. Farris, Interior Journal, Friday 20 June 1884. Pg 1
     Died at 10 o'clock p.m on the 17th inst., H. W. Farris, an old and highly esteemed citizen. He was for years an honored member of the county court. He had been confined to his room and most of the time to his bed for several months of heart disease and although his death has been almost daily expected, it was still a great shock to his family. He was sitting up in bed talking with his family in a very cheerful manner, when his heart refused longer to perform its function and without a moments warning his spirit was ushered into the presence of the God who gave it. When we say that he was one of the kindest of neighbors, truest, best of friends and most indulgent husband and father, we speak from our personal knowledge. His remains were interred in the family burying ground, witnessed by a large crowd of friends and relatives. We extend to his aged and bereaved widow our heart felt sympathy.

Semi Weekly Interior Journal, Sept. 7, 1897.Pg 6

     "Henry Farris was the original owner of Crab Orchard race track, over which, Mrs. Higgins says, some of the best horses this country ever produced have run, among them those of Harper Bros. who used to be habitual visitors to this race course and to which people from long distances came - in fact, the races here then were about like the races at Lexington and Louisville now are - a big thing." Semi Weekly Interior Journal, Sept. 7, 1897, page 6

"Kentucky's thoroughbred run on other ground, and the once gay track of Crab Orchard now never feels the shock of the flying courser's feet. It was owned formerly by Mr. Henry Farris, but I understand has lately been sold to Col. J. W. Guest. A little money mixed with that noted turfman's influence may make it what it was once." Semi Weekly Interior Journal, Friday, December 24, 1886.  Note: James W. Guest was married to Henry W. Farris' daughter, Ann Elizabeth. 

     According to the Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1897 "Old Times on the Turf, Spring Hill Course in Kentucky Recalled" - "The oldest existing running track in America, and the one over which the first regularly managed race was run, was Spring Hill course near Crab Orchard Springs in Lincoln County, Kentucky, for many years the most leading and noted summer resort in the South. Here were trained and first raced Josh Bell, the first thoroughbred to sell for as much as $4000, and his full brother Jim Bell, the first horse to run a mile in 1:40." Henry W. Farris trained and sold Josh Bell and others of the Bell family. Spring Hill was still being used as a training center at the time the article was written. Read the full article here:

"Crab Orchard Springs and the Spring Hill Race track were about the 'sportiest' places outside of New Orleans, in the South, or perhaps in America."

"...associated with the history of the track are the names of such well known old time horsemen, as Harper, owner of Longfellow; Dan Swigart, James Ford, Murphy, Hunter, Henry Farris,  the Logans, the Guests, and so on."

"Two old buildings practically unused are still standing at Crab Orchard as relics of the antebellum days"

Old Farris Place, photo by Valerie J. Thompson

     Just behind the building shown above is a small cemetery in the trees. Only a few stones are readable, that of Nathan Guest June 4, 1807 -1851 or 1854; Lydia Welch 1782-1855, James Welch 1773-1810. This cemetery is listed as the Collier Cemetery for some unknown reason, and photographs of the stones are shown at

  "The remains of the famous  Wagner - the hero of the celebrated Wagner-Grey Eagle race - are buried within the circle of the Spring Hill track." This race was held at Oakland in 1839. Wagner's owner, John Campbell put a lot of money into the stables at Spring Hill and spent a lot of time there. General Lee's horse, Traveler, was of Grey Eagle stock. 

The old Spring Hill Race Course is now "little more than a pleasant memory".

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Early Lexington, Kentucky resident
Valerie J. Thompson

Receipt for coffin for Charnock Self

    Charnock Self was the son of Thomas Self and Elizabeth Jenkins of Loudoun County, Virginia. He was born 4 June 1755, according to the Self Family Bible. This Bible was published in The Family of Josiah Franklin Self and Frances Augusta (Wright) Self, published 1952, by Victor H. Self.  First edition of this book was published in 1939.   He was named in his father’s will in 1781 and subsequent probate records until 1812. (Loudoun County, Virginia Will Book B, pages 366,367 (1772-1782) He married Elizabeth “Betsy” Brent, daughter of William Brent and Elinor Stott.

He removed to Fayette County, Kentucky by 1785 when he is witness to the Bond of Alexander Mawell and Robert McKinney. Later the same year James Graham assigned the bond to Charnock Self for Lot 61 of the Town of Lexington. (Fayette County, Kentucky Burnt Records) He is listed on the 1787 -1806 Tax Lists for Fayette County, Kentucky.

C. Self is listed in The Index to Military Certificates, 1787, Etc. by Jouett Taylor Cannon, page 17, Register of Kentucky State Historical Society,Vol. 22, No. 64 (January, 1924), pp. 2-20, Published by The Kentucky Historical Society.

Charnock Self and Elizabeth Self, his wife of Fayette County, to George Young of the same county, for 65 pounds, one moiety of in-lot No. 61 in the town of Lexington on Water, Upper and High Streets. Thomas Bodley, witness. Elizabeth Self relinquished rights of dower. Recorded 12 October 1796. See Map of Town Lots of Lexington, Kentucky 1791

Charnock had deeds in Fayette, Scott and Gallatin Counties, Kentucky. For more about Charnock Self and his family read Virginia Early DeMarce's Now Living in Boone County, Missouri." Volume II: The Family and Connections of Martha Catherine Cheavens (1990). Much information is also given at the Worldconnect Project: Boone County, Missouri at Rootsweb.

In 1830 Charnock is listed on the Fayette County, Kentucky Census. By 1833 he is listed in Gallatin County, Kentucky on the Tax List. He dies in December of 1834 in Gallatin County, Kentucky,and does not leave a will. There is an inventory and lengthy settlement of his estate. He was a wealthy man by all respects for the time period. His estate included the sale of slaves, Mary, Ephraim, Joan and Rolla.  The final settlement took several years and changed administrators several times. John Ford, husband of Charnock's daughter, Nancy was the first administrator.

 Gallatin Co., Ky. Will Book D, p. 274-277. Charnock Self Estate Inventory
Settlement of Charnock Self's Estate Gallatin County, Will Book E, pages 185-201. Pages 190 and 191 are void.
The above image for receipt of payment for Charnock Self's coffin is on page 187 Gallatin County, Kentucky Will Book E.

[Item] No. 5 Dec. 19, 1834 The Estate of Charnock Self, Dec'd
                                                                                                        To Douglas Fenton, 
To: Coffin lined and covered                                                                    $40.00
       Conveyance with Hearst                                                                    $ 5.00
Rec. payment in full of the within account Feb 3, 1836.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Marriage Bond and Consent for James Self to Matilda Scroggin

Presently working to get that corrected. 

Marriage Bond of James Self to Matilda Scroggins Franklin County, Kentucky 1800
Copy courtsey of the LDS Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.  FHL Microfilm 266,194
and Dale Tarkington. Transcribed by Valerie J. Thompson, February 23, 2015

     We, James Self and John Campbell are held and firmly bound unto James Garrard, Governor of the State of Kentucky in the penal sum of fifty pounds current money to be paid to the said Governor, or his successors to the true performance of above, We bind ourselves, our heirs, & Ex'c firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 23 day of July 1800.
     The Condition of the above obligation is such that there is a marriage shortly intended  to be had and solemnized between the above bound James Self and Matilda Scroggin of this county. Now if there is no obligation to be void or else to remain in full force and virtue.
                                                                                    James Self {Seal}
Test:                                                                            John Campbell {Seal}
Daniel Weisiger

Consent for Matilda Scroggin:
This is to sertify that I am willing that James Self shall have my daughter, Mattilday Scroging for his wife. Witness this 23rd day of July 1800.
                                                                              Polley Scroging
John Campbell
Jesse Brown                                      Proved by John Campbell
                                                                                D. Weisiger

Friday, January 16, 2015


Bath County Kentucky

     Mathew Pettit a Citizen of Kentucky states that he was a private soldier in the Continental Army and served for three years and at the end of that period was honorably discharged which discharge was burnt in his house at a time when his house was burnt.
    That he was enlisted for three years at Jacob Creek near to Col. Mounts. Mill in the County of [blank] State of Pennsylvania by Capt. James Pickett [Piggott] of the 8th Pennsylvania Reg’t. Commanded by Col. Willson and Col. McCoy – and afterwards by Col. Broadhead who gave him his discharge at Fort Pitt at the end of the time afore’sd. His enlistment was in 1777 to the best of his recollection – and of course his discharge was in 1780, but the time may be corrected by the period when Col. Broadhead was stationed at Fort Pitt.
     That he is now in indigent circumstances and has not property of the value of thirty dollars real and personal and is unable to work by reason of a wound in his arm or rather in his shoulder near the back bone which disables his left arm especially now in his advanced years he being about 58 years old this fall – He is also injured by a wound in the left leg both of which wounds he got in the Battle of Brandywine – He asks for the pension allowed by law to him as a revolutionary soldier in consequence of his total inability to support himself and says further that his family is large having four children the oldest of which is only eight years of age, and further that he has never had a pension allowed him for his wounds.
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And that he has no other evidence of his services save that which is sent herewith or what may be found in the war office.
     Mrs. Rebecca Mitchell states that she is the sister of said Matthew Pettit and lived at her father’s when her brother enlisted in the Continental Army.
     That he was absent from home more than three years and she has always been informed and believed that he served out his time and was honorably discharged –
     That she knows of her own knowledge that said Pettit is in very indigent circumstances with a young family of four children and unable to support them by work.

State of Kentucky
Bath Circuit
Ordered that it be certified to the Secretary of War that the proceeding examination of Mathew Pettit and Rebecca Mitchell was taken on oath in open court and that it does appear to the substantiation of the court by said examination that the said applicant, Mathew Pettit was during the Revolution was an enlisted soldier and that he served as such as in said examination as stated and that he, said Mathew Pettet is in such meager and august circumstances as to require the aid of his country provided by the Act of Congress in such cases provided the foregoing statements sworn to in open court in due form of law, In Testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of my office this 17th day of June 1818 and in the 27th year of the Commonwealth.
                                                                                            Att: Thomas Triplett, Clerk

     On 14th of August 1820 Mathew Pettit also gave a statement, giving further information about his family. "I am by occupation a farmer and I am unable to provide a living by my labors owing to age and infirmity and wounds received in the Revolutionary service. I have a wife, aged forty two years and children Druscilla aged 14 years, Nancy aged 12 years, Samuel aged 10 years, Ann aged 8 years, Polly aged 6 years and David aged one month." When his son, Samuel married Nancy Sharp on the 29th of December 1828 in Bath County, Kentucky, Matthew and his wife, Molly gave consent for the marriage.

Matthew Pettit is listed on the Kentucky 1835 Pensioners List for Bath County, Kentucky.

He  died in 1836. Andrew Pettit, orphan of Matthew Pettit deceased, age 16 was apprenticed to learn the trade of farming on 9th May 1836. (Bath County, Kentucky Deed Book J, pages 525, 526) This child Andrew being the same age as David above is noted as Andrew David Pettit. Captain Andrew Pettit served in the 40th Kentucky Infantry, Union Army in the Civil War. He died 10 February 1897 in Bath County, Kentucky. (Owingsville Outlook, 18 Feb 1897)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Will of Jane Samuel

Jane Samuel's Will
Transcribed by

  Professional Genealogist

Valerie J. Thompson

October 24, 2014


Rockcastle County, Kentucky Will Book D, page 336, 337

Jane Samuel’s Will

In the name of God, Amen, I Jane Samuels being weak in body, but sound in mind make this my last will and testament (viz)

I will to my son, Z. T. Samuels 1 bed stead and furniture, To my daughter Betsy H. Potts 1 frame, and part of my bed clothes, and to her daughter, Gertrude T. Potts my side saddle. I will to my son, John C. Samuels my feather bed and some bed clothes. I will to my daughter, Martha Thompson’s children, $5.00 or the worth of it in something else. All the remainder of everything else that I have I will to my daughter, Rebecca J. McClary. To my son, David A. Samuels, I will $1.00.

Given under my hand this 11th March 1862,

                                                                         Jane Samuels


A McClary

Susan Mclary

I Wm. Fish, Clerk of the Rockcastle County Court certify that the foregoing will of Jane Samuels was … 22nd day of June 1862, filed and ordered to record as appears from endorsement on said will. In these words, filed and ordered to record June 22nd 1862 in the handwriting of D.C. Colyer my predecessor in office, and same is truly recorded my office the 28th day of July 1866

Wm. Fish, Clerk

By A. Smith, D.C.
  Jane Roper was married to Harndon Samuell on 14 November 1815 in Caswell County, North Carolina. She was born 24 February 1793 according to the McClary family Bible. She died in 1862 and is buried at the Potts Cemetery in Rockcastle County, Kentucky.
Herndon Samuel was born 5 Aug 1788 and died 4 November 1872 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. He was a soldier of the War of 1812 having served in the Virginia Company as a private under Captain's Walls and Wilson. He is buried at the Horton Cemetery in Lincoln County, Kentucky. His service is noted in brief record in Lincoln County, Kentucky Will Book X, page 143, and Will Book Z, page 136.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Jesse Brock 1751-1843

SAR Marker for Jesse Brock, dedicated August 30, 2014
Photo taken by Valerie J. Thompson
        In the pension papers of Jesse Brock, there are three references to his birth date. He appeared before the court of Harlan County, Kentucky on the 16th of October 1833, "aged 82 years the 8th day of December next".  During the interrogations for his application, Jesse was asked, "Where and in what year were you born?" He answered, "I was born in Cumberland County in the State of Virginia on the 8th day of December 1751, as my father has told me." When asked, "Do you have any record of your age?" He replied, "I don't know that there is any record of my age, my father always told me that I was four years old the year of Braddock's Defeat." General Braddock's Defeat was the 9th of July 1755.
    While there is a date of 1836 on Jesse Brock's tombstone, he died several years later. The 1836 date was likely taken from the following notarized transcript of a Bible record. This typed copy found in Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives Brock file is clearly not accurate. The name and birth, death and marriage date for Jesse Brock's assumed wife is also questionable.

     Jesse Brock personally appeared in Harlan county court in October of 1836 and signed his name to the following declaration, which is also found in his pension papers.
     State of Kentucky
     Harlan County
On the 14th day of October 1836  before me the subscribed, a Justice of the Peace for said county of Harlan, personally appeared Jesse Brock who on his oath declares that he is the same person who formerly belonged to the Company commanded by William Underwood in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Thompson as well as he now recollects in the service of the United States, that his name was placed on the pension roll of the State of Kentucky, that he received a certificate of that fact under the signature and seal of the Secretary of War, which certificate on or about the first day of last December 1835 at or near the house of Armstead Miller in the County of Lincoln and State of Kentucky was lost. He further states that about the 14th day of last October he made a power of Attorney to Charleston Hunt of the City of Lexington and states aforesaid to draw said pension and placed the same in the hands of James S. Henderson who delivered the aforesaid power of Attorney with the original certificate to Major Charles Colyer of Rockcastle County and State aforesaid who presented it to the said Hunt and Hunt drew the money for him and delivered it with the certificate to the said Colyer at the place before mentioned, but his pocket book and the original certificate with a considerable quantity of money as he is informed was lost or stolen.
He here refers to the affidavit of the said Charles Colyer.
                            Signed, Jesse Brock
    James S. Henderson and Col. Charles Colyer also gave supporting statements. On November 17th 1836 the War Department wrote "Let a new certificate be issued." The War Department also noted that Jesse had previously signed with his mark.

1840 Census of Harlan County, Kentucky
Jesse Brock
1 male 80-89, 1 female 80-89

He was paid until 4th March 1842, and the agency was notified 27 September 1844, but the date of his death does not appear in the papers. No wife or children are mentioned in the pension papers.

    Harlan County, Kentucky Court Order January Term 1856, page 358 Microfilm #834234 Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives:

January Term 1856
Ordered by the court that satisfactory proof has been made that Jesse Brock died on the 13th day of Oct'r 1843 and left no widow, but he left has 6 heirs living, Aaron Brock, Amon Brock, Sally Coldiron, Polly Helton, Susannah Blanton & Theny Slone.

The other source used for the children of Jesse Brock is the Annie Walker Burns interview with Elijah Brock.

     Jesse Brock's complete pension application papers S30887 can be viewed at U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application files 1800-1900, courtesy of the National Archives.
    A comprehensive and thorough study of Jesse Brock and his family is located at, as well as, DNA results. Male descendants of Jesse Brock are haplogroup J1, not Native American.