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Friday, November 11, 2011

Benjamin Potter 1733-1823

Friday, November 11, 2011 Veteran's Day

Benjamin Potter 1733-1823, Revolutionary War Patriot

Benjamin Potter was born about 1733. He and his sons, Lewis and Thomas signed the Oath of Allegiance in the Commonwealth of Virginia in Henry County on the 13 Sep 1777, as well as another Thomas Potter, who may have been his brother.  He rendered aid during the Revolutionary War, and is listed as DAR Patriot number A135255. His wife is listed as Mary on deeds recorded in Franklin County Virginia and also in Lincoln County Kentucky. Benjamin Potter died in Lincoln County Kentucky about 1823, having purchased land in the same county in 1818. The following Deed names the heirs of Benjamin Potter. 

Deed Book L, page 115 Lincoln County Kentucky Heirs of Benjamin Potter to Thomas Potter.
Transcribed by Valerie J. Thompson Nov 6, 2011

This indenture of bargain sale and conveyance made and entered into between Stephen Potter, Elijah Thompson, and Polly his wife, late Polly Potter and Elias Potter by Stephen Potter his attorney in fact three of the heirs of Benjamin Potter deceased of the one part and Thomas Potter of the County of Lincoln and State of Kentucky of the other part. Whereas ……. Since Benjamin Potter father of the before mentioned persons departed this life intestate leaving a tract of land lying in Lincoln County on the waters of Logan’s Creek containing fifty acres the  same more or less as part of which land was conveyed to the said Benjamin by William Lawrence by Deed Indenture bearing date on the 26th day of May 1818 which Deed is now of record in the Clerk’s office of the Lincoln County Court and also some personal estate which property by law descended to the legal representatives of the said Benjamin Potter, dec’d of whom the before mentioned three persons together with Lewis Potter, Benjamin Potter, Thomas Potter above named, Moses & Mary Rigney, late Mary Potter and his heirs and legal representatives. Now this Indenture Witnesseth that for and in Consideration  of one Hundred & fifty dollars to each of us In hand paid and secured the receipt of which we hereby acknowledge have and by those presents do give grant bargain sell and convey unto the said Thomas Potter, all our right title Interest Claim and demand of  in and to the estate of our deceased father, Benjamin Potter above described, and it is understood that we hereby convey our interest as heirs to all and every part of said estate as well such as we have any knowledge of as such may be hereafter discovered. And the said Stephen Potter, Elijah Thompson & Polly his wife late Polly Potter & Elias Potter by the said Stephen Potter his attorney in fact being three of the heirs of the said Benjamin Potter deceased for themselves their heirs, Excu do hereby covenant and agree to and with the said Thomas Potter, another of the heirs, his heirs & do warrant and defend their interest which is hereby sold and conveyed from and against the Claim or Claims of all and every person claiming by them or under them but against no other claims whatsoever, In Testimony whereof the said Stephen Potter, Elijah Thompson & Polly his wife & Elias Potter by said Stephen Potter his attorney in fact have hereunto subscribed their names and affixed their seals this 15 day of December 1823.
Test W. G. Shackleford, DC                                             Stephen Potter {Seal}
                                                                                           Elijah Thompson {Seal}
                                                                                           Elias Potter {Seal}
                                                                                              By his Attorney in fact
                                                                                                  Stephen Potter {Seal}          

Kentucky Lincoln County Set
  I do certify that on the day of the date hereof the within and foregoing Deed of bargain sale and conveyance from Stephen Potter, Elijah Thompson and wife and Elias Potter by his attorney in fact Stephen Potter to Thomas Potter was presented to and in my office and acknowledged by the said Stephen Potter in his own right and as attorney in fact for Elias Potter, and Elijah Thompson to be his act and deed for the purpose therein mentioned & …. I admitted the same to record in my office this 15th day of December 1823.

                                                                                Witness Thomas Helm Clerk by
                                                                                 Willis D. Shackleford, DC

Benjamin's son, Thomas also purchased the portion of the estate that would belong to his brother Moses "of Jefferson County Kentucky" Deed Book L, page 119-120. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Who was Thomas Twitty?

  Can court records lead us astray? I posted a blog on Saturday, February 26, 2011, about Fort Twitty, or the Little Fort, named for Captain William Twitty who died there. Recently, I was asked to research Thomas Twitty.  Dr. Don Chesnut, Geology Professor at University of Kentucky has compiled a list of the Boonesborough Settlers at  Twitty surname descendants want to know just who was Thomas Twitty on this list? 
  It appears that some of the names on the Boonesborough Settlers list were taken from depositions given by pioneer settlers during law suits over early land boundary disputes. Because the names are in the Madison county court records, does that necessarily mean they were early settlers at Fort Boonesborough? Madison County was formed in 1785. Should Thomas Twitty be listed there? 
  The following document was found in Madison County Circuit Court Complete Records Book B, part 2, page 528 Blythe Heirs vs Kincaid. These volumes of the Madison County court records are photocopies of the actual circuit court records, not transcriptions, or abstracts.
I have transcribed the document in slightly different format, in order to more clearly see the questions and answers. 

The deposition of Samuel Estill who being of full age deposeth and sayeth by use of interrogatories: 
Question by Complainant: When did you first become acquainted with this place called the little fort?
Answer: In 1779 or 1780 I can't say positively whether I was acquainted with it in 1779 or 1780, but know it was early in 1780. [Note: this was four or five years after Twitty's death]
Question: By some was it not a place notoriously known by the name of the little Fort at that time? 
Answer: It was notoriously known by the little Fort but after called Twitties fort as Twitty was killed at or near the fort and I understand was buried at the fort and I saw T.T. on a tree which was the first letters of his name as I was told his name was Thomas Twitty and it was called the little fort from there being a small fort erected but Twitty and the little fort are both one place. [The interrogation continues regarding other known landmarks.] 

As I mentioned in the previous Fort Twitty blog, there are the other personal accounts of Daniel Boone in his letter to Col. Richard Henderson April 15, 1775, and Felix Walker's narrative, Memoirs of a Southern Congressman. Felix was also wounded at the time Captain William Twitty was killed.   Lastly, there is the nuncupative will of Captain William Twitty. With those together in context, I suggest that Samuel Estill was mistaken in his recollections given in the above deposition. I would also suggest that Thomas Twitty was not among the Boonesborough settlers as there is no other mention, or record of a Thomas Twitty other than in this deposition.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ottenheim Immanuel Luthern Church Picnic 4 Sep 2011


The Emanuel Church built 1886
Dedicated to the triune God [The Father, Son and Holy Spirit] on 18 Sep 1887

Dinner was served inside the newly air-conditioned church.

I Am the Way, The Truth and The Light John 14:6

Original chandolier

 This is a fitting follow-up to last week's blog, regarding Brock, Schrader, and Scheffler from the Ottenheim community.  This is also my first look inside the historic Immanuel Luthern Church in Lincoln County Kentucky. Food was served inside the newly air-conditioned church, thanks to the generous donations and hard work of those working to restore the church to the community. Folks gathered under a large tent to eat and listen to some good gospel music; that is until the promised thunderstorms arrived. Everyone dashed inside the church for more music, and a live auction of some very excellent hand-crafted items. Proceeds help with the continued restoration of the church. 
  Several books and binders were for sale. See "Ottenheim, Lincoln County, Kentucky" on Facebook, for more information about purchasing Memories of Ottenheim by Jerry Zwahlen, and other binders of historical church records and newspaper articles. 

Second cousins, Donnie Scheffler and Valerie J. Thompson.
Behind us, Susanne Zwahlen. 
  This was also a first for two second cousins to sit down together and have a little face to face chat. I thoroughly enjoyed the food, fun and fellowship. Thank you to all who worked so hard to put the Immanuel Luthern Church  picnic together. 

Photos are my own. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mildred Schrader Brock Gibson

     Client has a surname in my father’s family tree. This should be easy, right? Mr. Brock contacted me way back when I was still with Due to pending projects I wasn’t able to get to his project for several months.  During our phone conversation I realized that Mr. Brock knew all about his descent from Revolutionary War soldier Jesse Brock. Anything about this family is located at including DNA results. However, he would like to know more about his grandmother, Mildred Schrader, first wife of his grandfather, John Brock. They were married in Lincoln County Kentucky 17 July 1914.
     He shared with me what little he knew of Mildred’s life. She was born 28 Sep 1895 in Pennsylvania. She passed 20 Nov 1983 Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. She was adopted by Fred “Fritz” Shrader/Schroeder and his wife, Henrietta Neuman. When Fred Schrader died he only left Mildred one dollar. John Brock and Mildred had eight children. The first two children died in infancy: Walter Mitchell Brock born 20 July 1915, died 21 Oct 1915 Lincoln County Kentucky. Henry Richard Brock was born and died 16 Nov 1917 Lincoln County Kentucky (Kentucky Death Records). Yet, sometime after the birth of the youngest and last child Helen born in 1928, John and Mildred divorced. This was also the era of Great Depression. The oldest child living at that time, Robert William Brock, the clients father, born 1 Dec 1918, went to live with his paternal grandmother. The other children were placed in an orphanage near Louisville, Kentucky.  Mildred is known to have removed her daughter, Elsie from the orphanage, and by all reports was a good mother. Eventually, all the children were reunited, except the youngest child Helen. She may have been adopted out immediately. No one seems to know what happened to Helen.
    Client, Mr. Robert Brock, is the son of Robert William Brock (1 Dec 1918-8 Feb 1945), who died  honorably serving his country. He is buried at Ft Wm McKinley Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. Young Robert and his widowed mother lived near his grandfather, John Brock and his second wife, Maxline Helton Baker. John and Maxline were married 20 Sep 1934 in Harlan County Kentucky. Young Robert only saw his grandmother “Milly” once as a small child. He had tried to find her in the ‘80’s, but didn’t know her married name. Now he would like to know more about her.

  Can I learn more about Mildred’s life? Who were her adopted parents? What happened to little Helen?
   Over a cup of coffee, I explain to my Mom (who is 83) that I had been walking through the Ottenheim Cemeteries. I found no stone for Frederick Schrader, or his wife, Henrietta Neuman (9 Mar 1846-28 Oct 1929). I had also been to the Lincoln County Kentucky court house and found the will of ‘Fred Schroeder’ written 26 Sep 1927. Upon the death of his wife, Henrietta, the property was to go to his nephew, Frederick Scheffler. Carl Scheffler was named as the Executor of the will. Fred Schrader name his “adopted daughter, Mildred Brock” and did will her only one dollar.  The will was probated 9 Apr 1928. Frederick Schrader died 23 Mar 1928. (Kentucky Death Records). Death certificate states he is buried at Ottenheim. So who are Carl Scheffler and Frederick Scheffler? How is Frederick Scheffler, Fritz Schrader’s nephew?
   Hearing my pleas my mother says “My first cousin Christine is married to a Scheffler, maybe she would know.” So, I call Christine. Low and behold! She knows all about the Schefflers and the Schraders. Frederick Scheffler, heir and nephew of Fritz Schrader, was her father-in-law. Young Frederick’s parents were Carl Julius Scheffler and Louise C. Gretzner.  Carl Julius Scheffler’s parents were Carl Scheffler and Leopaulina Neuman, sister to Fritz Schrader’s wife, Henrietta Neuman.
  Christine tells me that Frederick and Henrietta Schrader only had field stones and now they are unrecognizable, but that they were located near the wooded side of the cemetery.  Having checked the Ottenheim records at the Lincoln County Library and the surname files with no results, it appears the Ottenheim Immanuel Lutheran Church records must be somewhere else.
  The historical Ottenheim community is a story unto itself. Briefly, it was a German, Swiss farming community that began around 1884.  Immigrants were encouraged to settle on farm land purchased by New York investor, Mr. Oppenheimer. The community was originally named Lutherheimer, but was changed to Ottenheim in 1886.

  Next day, second cousin Donnie (Christine’s son) emails me with the Church records that I need!  Mildred Schrader was christened 6 July 1902 by Pastor Mehrtens. From the Immanuel Luthern Church Christening Records - Parents: Fritz Schroeder and wife Henrietta (Foster parents). Godparents: August Pertenbreiter and Elizabeth Kuchenbecker. Notice: The child was in a fosterhome and was raised as their child by Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Schroeder.
   The last notation for Mildred in the church records was Good Friday, 14 April 1916. Mildred Brack [Brock] seated with Fritz Schroeder and wife. Mildred Schrader had married John Brock 17 July 1914 in Lincoln County Kentucky. The marriage bond reveals that Mildred was born in Pennyslvania, and her parents (not named) were born in Germany. Is she referring to her birth parents, or her adoptive parents?

   Mildred and John Brock had eight children. The first two children died in infancy.
  • Walter Mitchell Brock 20 July 1915-21 Oct 1915, Lincoln County (Kentucky Death Records)
  • Henry Richard Brock born and died 16 Dec 1917 Lincoln County(Kentucky Death Records)
Death certificate states this child was buried on M.F. Lawrence farm, Rowland.
This is likely Marion F. Lawrence farm. 
  • Robert William Brock born 1 Dec 1918 Crab Orchard, Lincoln County Kentucky, died 8
              Feb 1945. He is  buried at Ft. Wm McKinley, Manila, Philippines.
  • George Brock born 9 Feb 1920 Lincoln County Kentucky. Died 11 Nov 1983 Norwood, Hamilton County, OH
  • Lucy Mae Brock born 3 Sep 1921 Garrard County Kentucky. Legal name change to Ann. She died 29 Sep 2009, Latonia, Kenton County Kentucky. Ann Ryan is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Fort Mitchell Kentucky.
  • Edward Thomas Brock born 23 Feb 1923 Garrard County, Kentucky. Died 17 May 2005. He is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio
  • Elsie Brock was born 20 Mar 1924 Garrard County Kentucky. She married Emil Shilling. She died 26 July 2006 Tuson, Pima county, Arizona.
  • Helen Brock was born 19 Jan 1928 Lincoln County Kentucky (Kentucky Birth Records)     

There have been no leads regarding Helen Brock. One death certificate for a Helen Brock  of the approximate birth age,who died in Bell County, Kentucky was not the correct Helen. There was no match from the Luzerne County Pennsylvania Historical Society regarding the birth date of Mildred Schrader. The family tells me that the name Robinson or MacRobinson may have been her birth name. She and Henry are known to have lived at one time on Liberty and on Vine Streets in the Over-the-Rhine district, another historic German community in Cincinnati. They also believe that she spoke fluent German with Henry. Mildred also liked to work jigsaw puzzles. Mildred Gibson passed 20 Nov 1983. She is interred at the Spring Grove Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio along with her husband, Henry J. Gibson. The grandchildren are trying to piece together her life, and find their ancestry. With some connections from both sides of my own family tree, I am happy to have had the privilege to share with them a few more pieces of Mildred’s life puzzle.

Permission for use of photo given by Robert Brock. 
Sources: Personal information provided by Mildred's grandchildren, Robert Brock and Gloria Baker; also, by Christine Blevins Scheffler, and son Donnie Scheffler; and Ralph Scheffler of California.
Kentucky birth and death records
Ottenheim Luthern Church records
Kentucky Census records

Mildred Gibson and caregiver

Monday, August 8, 2011

Can you answer this "Riddle"?

Unidentified Riddle Family Photo

A Riddle within a Riddle 

Can you help identify this photo? 

Bonney Valencia of Troy, Ohio sent this photo to the Rockcastle County Kentucky Historical Society with the following query. With her permission I am posting her query and the above photo.  

"Can anyone identify any of the people in this photo, or identify the organization, or time period? The photo was among a group from the Riddle family of Rockcastle County. I'm hoping one of the men may be Robert Riddle, 1810-1890, who lived in the Brindle Ridge area and served with the 4th Regiment Kentucky Mounted Infantry Company B of the Union Army."

If you can give any information regarding the photo, please contact me. 


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Crab Orchard

Main Street Crab Orchard

 Sunday morning traffic -  Amish Buggies 

Historic home on Main St. 

"William Moor enters 400 acres by virtue of certificate on waters of Dicks River and known by the name of the Crab Orchard. Lincoln County Entry 33 12/23/1779. " At this date Kentucky has not become a state yet. In fact, it is still part of the Kentucky County of Virginia. In 1780 it will be divided into what will be known as the three original counties of Kentucky, Lincoln, Fayette and Jefferson encompassing the known Commonwealth.  In 1792 Kentucky becomes the 15th State. So you can see that the little town of Crab Orchard is one of the tap roots of Kentucky. 

  A month, or so ago, I received a letter from my bank in Crab Orchard notifying me that it was closing. Monday there was only drive through service. On the 31st of August 2011, the bank will close entirely. It is the only bank in town. Patrons will have other options at local banks in Stanford and Lancaster. It is definitely a sign of the times. Crab Orchard, although a richly historical town has been bypassed by the new Highway 150 and most of those who speed past will not imagine the little town's history, as I do. 

This is Daniel Boone country folks! Fort Boonesborough was attacked by Indians in April of 1777. Daniel wrote that in October of the same year, a party [of Indians] made an excursion into the district called the Crab Orchard. From this account we know there were settlers in the area that early. 

Just a few miles from town is Col. William Whitley's brick home which was built in 1782 and the William Whitley State Park. Whitley County Kentucky is named for him. 

Lincoln Entry#4648 Samuel Davis settlement from William Moore called the Crab Orchard, 1788.

Crab Orchard is on that branch of the Wilderness Trail that travelers trod to the Falls of the Ohio, now known as  the city of Louisville, Kentucky.  The first fork of the trail was at Hazel Patch in present Laurel County, which led settlers to Boonesborough. Settlers could also depart for Fort Boonesborough from Crab Orchard. 

  It's not only a historical town, it is one of my genealogical towns, a part of my family history.  I've been sending mail, or receiving mail from Crab Orchard, Kentucky for many years. I even had a Crab Orchard address myself back in the 1980's. My parents have a Crab Orchard address. My Blevins grandparents had a Crab Orchard rural route number, and box number.   That was before the zip code, the 911 addressing system and black-topped roads,  for those of you attached to an Ipad. Letters from great grandparents were post marked Crab Orchard.

So I'm a little hurt and sad that the bank is closing it's doors and pulling out of Crab Orchard, Kentucky.  I suppose it's a sign of the economical times. This town has seen a lot of folks come and go, through good times and bad.  I think that the people of Crab Orchard have been, and will continue to be the stalwart, staying sort and that the town will thrive. 

"Welcome to Crab Orchard"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ottawa School House is No More

Ottawa School House
Rockcastle County Kentucky
from the Ottawa School House Road. 

Ottawa School House Missing

  The old Ottawa School House where my father, his siblings and others in the Ottawa community went to school  is now a memory of the past. Only bare dry earth like a freshly dug grave marks the place where the school house stood.  Educated in the city schools of Dayton, Ohio I never knew the experience of the one room school house that my parents fondly remember. Today I am not sure when the school began, or when it closed it's doors for the last time. Below is a photo of the Ottawa School Class 1948-1949 Grades 1-8, taken from the book Rockcastle County Kentucky and It's People, page 57.  The following are some remarks from folks who did attend the rural Rockcastle County schools. 
  "Not withstanding the crude facilities and the inconveniences associated with them, these were the good old days. The students mind had not yet been introduced to such modernistic trends. Many of the students had a girl/boy friend somewhere along the way. Instead of ruing the day for school to start, as the manner seems to prevail nowadays, they were anxious to hear the teacher's bell ring again, calling them to books."- submitted by Cecil W. Hayes
  "The teacher, not only was the sole instrument in that room to impart knowledge, but usually at the same time, became a living role model for life." - submitted by Georgia F. Blanton

  Geraldine French, a child from a one room country school and a teacher, submitted a lengthy remembrance describing the old school days of  gathering kindling for firewood for the stove, having no electricity, and few papers and pencils, books or chalk. "Library books were scarce but most teachers used their own money to purchase books to read aloud to us. Many teachers read with such expression, as to make the characters seem to come life. Such books as : Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Little Women, Robinson Crusoe and more elementary books for the smaller children became real in our minds."  She went on to describe walking to school over crook and stream, wet feet, wet clothes and cold lunches in lard pails. Memories my parents have described as well. 

  I have placed stars at the pictures of my aunt Lavonna Thompson, now Lavonna Payne, and my Uncle James Thompson. To my family, I thank you for sharing your memories of the one room school house. 

If anyone has other pictures to share of Ottawa School, please email me. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Genealogy and the Social Media

This is a poll for fellow genealogists:
How many of you have received a client and a research project directly through one of the Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Google+?

I also posted this on my Twitter @vjthpsn, if you would like to Tweet a reply. 
Think I will post it on Google+ too. 

Just Curious Me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kentucky Genealogical and Historical Events

Kentucky Land Records Calender from the Secretary of the State has some great events listed for Kentucky
genealogists and historians. Take a peek.

McCracken County Public Library offering African American Genealogy Program:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stephen Cummins Bible

The Holy Bible
containing the
Old and New Testaments
translated out of the
Original languages
and with 
the former translations diligently compared and revised
with Marginal References
Apocyrpha, Concordance and Psalms 
text conformable to the Oxford edition
and the American Bible Society
Edition of 1816

William W. Harding

  These fragile Bible pages contain vital information regarding the Stephen Cummins family. This is particularly important to people who are descended from this family, because many of the Rockcastle County Kentucky records were destroyed by courthouse fire.
  While researching Cummins family I came across a reference for the dates of Stephen Cummins of Rockcastle County Kentucky that I had never seen before and contacted Kevin Geiss. Kevin's mother, Norma Ellen Cummins Geiss of Excelsior, Missouri is a descendant of Charles Cummins and Lou Virginia McMullin. Norma has possession of the Bible. Kevin photographed the cherished Bible and the delicate pages. More photographs of the Bible are located at this link,
Permission to post the photographs was given by Kevin Geiss.

Transcription of the above pages by Valerie J. Thompson:

Stephen Cummins was Bornd December 13th 1815
Amanda Cummins was Bornd March 30th 1810
Samuel C. Cummins was Bornd September 11th 1832
William C. Cummins was Bornd October 1st 1835
James B. Cummins was Bornd April 3rd 1840
Mary E. Cummins was Bornd July 15th 1843
Jane Bodle was borned January 21st 1812
Charles K. Cummins was Bornd Feb 18th 1872
Graydon M. Cummins was bornd April 27 day 1893
Clarence Cummins was Bornd Jan 29? 1895

Stephen G. Cummins & Amanda Carson was united in the bonds of wedlock December 27th 1831
Stephen G Cummins & Jane Bodle was united in the bonds of wedlock April 10th 1864
W. S. Cummins and Saly W. Griffin were maried July 31, 1884
Charles Cummings & Lou Virginia McMullin was united in the bonds of wedlock July 28th 1892
Rebecca J Cummins was born March 30th 1897
Eula Cummins was bornd Sept 21st 1901
Mintie Marie Cummins was bornd Apr 17th 1904
Lucile Cummins was born Nov 22 1907

William S. Cummins was Bornd August 14th 1867
Saly W. Cummins was Bornd June 26th 1866
Ardy L. Cummins was Bornd May 22nd 1885
Melisie Cummins was Bornd Jan 9th 1887
Esie Cummins was Bornd April 5th 1888
Joy Dottie Cummins was " Dec 5th 1890
Lucile Cummins was Born Nov 22 1907

Samuel C Cummins Departed this life May 21st 1840
James B Cummins Departed this life April 6th 1858
Amanda Cummins Departed this life April 12th 1863
Elizabeth Roylty Departed this life December 11th 1865 Age 73 yrs 10 mo 9 days
S. G. Cummins Departed this life October 28th 1880 11 o'clock 25 min in the morn
Clarence C. Cummins Departed this life Dec 21, 1915

Stephen Cummins and Amanda Carson are listed on the 1850 and 1860 Census of Rockcastle County Kentucky. Also on the 1860 Rockcastle Census near Stephen and Amanda is Stephen Cummins, Sr born about 1787 in Virginia. In 1870 Stephen Cummins, Jr is listed with Jane on the Rockcastle County Census. Stephen Cummins, Sr was the son of Moses Cummins, (1745-1803) Revolutionary War soldier. Stephen Cummins, Sr married Clarissa Dearmon/Durmin in Garrard County Kentucky 11 June 1801. Moses left a will in Garrard County Kentucky, Will Book A, page 142 dated 15 Sep 1803. Stephen Cummins, Sr was executor along with his brother, Daniel. More about this family is written in Cummins Ancient, Cummins New by Francis Funk. This family has deep American roots.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Isaac and Jane Snodgrass

"In Memory 
of Isac Snodgrass
Born Feb 6th 1781
Died Oct 28 1857"

"In Memory of 
Jane Snodgrass
Born May 20th 1790
Died Nov 25 1857"

Isaac Snodgrass and Jane Thompson were married 10th June 1807 in Montgomery County, Virginia. George Thompson, Sr was Surety. (Brief Wills and Marriages in Montgomery and Fincastle Counties, by Anne Lowry Worrell, 1976)

Isaac Snodgrass is  listed on the 1820-1850 Census of Rockcastle County Kentucky.  
The death record for both Isaac and Jane is found in Kentucky Vital Statistics 1852-1953 (, original image) Isaac's cause of death was listed as old age. He was 77 years of age, and born in Virginia. Jane's cause of death was listed as consumption. She was 67. Her parents are named as George and Elizabeth Thompson. 

They are buried on the old Isaac Snodgrass farm in plot known as The Snodgrass Cemetery. The cemetery is located just off the Ottawa School Road which is just off Highway 70 in Rockcastle County Kentucky. There is no sign for the cemetery.  It is easier to locate it from the first (dead end) road off Ottawa School Road.  It has been cleared of the trees and brush that was overtaking it, and is protected from cattle by a fence.  Several of the stones are now lying face down, unreadable. The Snodgrass Cemetery was recorded 4 Nov 1981 and is listed on page 157 of  Rockcastle County Cemetery Records, 1986 by Bonham and Hyatt. I photographed as many stones as I could read on Sunday, April 10th, 2011, and placed those photographs at
Isaac and Jane Snodgrass had a large family. A history of the family can be found in Rockcastle County Kentucky and It's People, Walsworth Publications, 1992.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ashley Judd

Watching Kentucky born Ashley Judd on "Who Do You Think You Are?"
She also has a new book out "All That Is Bitter and Sweet".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pinnacle Knob Firetower

Saturday, March 26, 2011 the historic Pinnacle Knob Fire Tower will be having an event “Life of a Firewatcher” from 10am -3pm.  Check out Cumberland Falls State Resort Park  Calendar of Events for details.  

The historic public opening of the Pinnacle Knob Firetower was September 27, 2008.
Danny Blevins from The Forest Fire Lookout Association presented Cumberland Falls State Park Naturalist, Bret Smitley with a historial marker and certificate. The 14x14 cabin has been restored to its original state, complete with wood stove and alidade, a device for triangulating the location of a fire. The tower is 40 feet in height, and at an elevation of 1300 feet. The tower was originally constructed in 1937 by the U.S. Forest Service. It replaced a wooden tower built by the Civil Conservation Corp, that was previously located near the Dryland Bridge.  Reconstruction of the tower began in the Spring of 2008. 

I had the pleasure of working at the Visitors Center and giving tours at the park for three seasons from 2007-2009. This historic event was one of the highlights of those years.  As I used to say when guiding tours, “Cumberland Falls is one of the most unique places on planet earth.” 

 How would you like to begin your marriage in a 14x14 cabin forty feet in the air? That’s what the first firewatcher did! 

Photos by Valerie J. Thompson
Photos and Text Copyright

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good News from Japan

My friend, Meiko Inami and her family are fine!!  She tells me that it is terrifying to see the places after the natural disasters, first the earthquake and secondly,the tsunami. "As the earthquake and tsunami are natural disasters, we cannot do anything but run away from it" The third disaster, possible nuclear radiation from the power plants, she describes as a "man power disaster, one that will contaminate air, water, land and ocean for centuries".

Many people are praying for the people of Japan. I am extremely thankful that Meiko and her family are alive and well! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prayers for Japan

It's been a little hard to write a blog with all the tragedy coming across the news about the Great Earthquake in Japan that was immediately followed by a terrible tsunami, which literally swept thousands of people away. Words like devastation, destruction, and now 'nuclear meltdown' are dashed across the headlines. 

I am wondering where my friend Meiko Inami is at the moment. Meiko was a fellow Anthropology student at Eastern Kentucky University. Like me she returned to education after her family was grown. Unlike me she managed to study in a language that was not her native tongue.  A task I would not attempt. What courage and stamina!! While here, she was also an interpretor for Japanese visitors to Kentucky. 

We have corresponded over the years since graduation. I have often thought I would like to visit Japan. Meiko would send me calendars from Japan, perhaps, to mark the days until I would visit, as well as, a daily reminder of my friend. 

My thoughts are for those who are grieving, and my thankfulness is for those who have survived. 

Hoping to hear from you soon, Meiko!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Kentucky Genealogy Info

A couple of new Kentucky Items:

KY cemetery records at National Archives at Atlanta a discovery for genealogists

Continue reading on KY cemetery records at National Archives at Atlanta a discovery for genealogists - Atlanta Genealogy |

Eastern Pulaski County Kentucky Families, lots of photos! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

FORT TWITTY, the Little Fort

In 2007, I was working on a project researching the pioneer stations of Madison County Kentucky, when it came to my attention that there was another marker for Fort Twitty, other than the historical marker on Highway 25. A granite marker was erected in 1937 by the Boonesborough Chapter of the DAR on private property, once owned by Judge Vernon Leer, in a location believed to be near the fort.  The old farm had been purchased for a Planned Urban Development location in the fall of 2006.  In process of excavating the land, a bulldozer operator unwittingly knocked the marker off the base.

By coincidence, fate, what-have-you, I happened by the gated construction entrance one afternoon, when the former tenants of the farm were about to take a sentimental drive. I inquired whether they knew where the marker was located. Indeed they did, and I was able to take some photographs of the debased monument. (Photo A, 2007)

A few days ago, I happened to be in Richmond, Kentucky on another research venture, and thought I would try to find the marker once again. It was rumored that a small park, or pavilion would be built around the historical marker. New streets and houses had replaced acres of old farm land. Presently, the “Fort Tweety” marker is isolated, and properly seated upon the base. (Photo B, February 21, 2011)

Although it reads “First Fort Built In Kentucky”, Fort Harrod was built earlier in 1774. Fort Twitty was also known as the Little Fort. Samuel Estill stated in deposition that it was "a few logs put in the likeness of a square cabin." (Fayette County Records, , Vol II, Cook,case of Hart vs Benton, page 246) The fort was named for Captain William Twitty who died from injuries sustained in an Indian attack in early dawn hours of March 25, 1775.  Captain William Twitty was survived by his wife, Susannah and eight children: William, Susannah, Allen, Russell, Polly, Arabella, Belariah, and Charolette. His nuncupative will was “made in presence and proved by the Oath of Thomas Johnson to have been made and pronounced a few hours before his death on the River Kentucke in the Indian Lands on the twenty seventh Day of March Anno Dom. 1775. To wit, That it was his will that his wife, Susannah Twitty should keep the children and what there was together to give them a good education and do well by them.” (Tyrone County North Carolina Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, July Term 1775 and October Term 1778)
Daniel Boone gave a report of the event in a letter dated April 15, 1775 to Colonel Richard Henderson.  Felix Walker who was also injured, but survived gave his account of the event in Memoirs of a Southern Gentleman. Due to Walker's wounds the party remained there twelve days before removing Walker on a litter to the "Kentucky River, where we stopped and made a station and called it Boonesborough."

Photographs by Valerie J. Thompson
Text and photographs copyright

Friday, February 18, 2011

Horace Rondeau, a Rouster Remembered

     The above paragraph is from the Pope County Illinois, Herald Enterprise, 22 August 1901, article,'City of Golconda Sunk'.
     Horace Rondeau was a deckhand on the steamboat, City of Golconda when it was caught in straight line winds, or possibly a tornado on the evening of August 19, 1901. She flipped, submerging cabin and deck in the waters of the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky.   
     The other three colored men that drowned were Dee Jackson, George Washington, and George Stansbury. Possibly twenty-two persons of the estimated sixty aboard lost their lives when the steamship City of Golconda capsized in the furious storm. It was a tragedy that echoed across the nation. 
     Horace Rondeau was born about 1865 to Chess Rondeau and Cynthia Skelton. He was survived by his second wife Mary Hughes Rondeau. They were married November 8, 1889 in Hardin County, Illinois
The 1900 Census of Pope County, Illinois lists Horace Rondeau, age 33 born March 1867, Mary, his wife, age 23 born June 1876, Willie born July 1894, Mary L born June 1896, and Gracie born March 1899.
The widow, Mary Hughes Rondeau married secondly, John Collins 14 June 1904 in Hardin County Illinois. 
      Siblings of Horace Rondeau were Ann Rondeau McCallister, Jesse Rondeau,  Jefferson Davis Rondeau, also known as J.D.,  and Fannie Rondeau Barnett. J. D. Rondeau lived to the age of 91. He and his wife, Alice Fort are buried in the Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) Cemetery in Golconda, Illinois. Descendants of this family migrated to Michigan. 
     Amidst the waters of the Ohio, and a part of Livingston County Kentucky is Rondeau Island, formerly owned by the Reverend William Rondeau (b.1779) and his wife, Ann Arkenstall of England. William Rondeau was a slave owner, and lived some years in New Orleans, Louisiana, while his wife managed the Rondeau estate. In correspondence with his wife, William Rondeau named two slaves, Philip and Patience. Ann Rondeau named five slaves, Toby, Peter, Sam, Eliza and July in her will, dated 5 June 1860, recorded 1 Aug 1866 Livingston County, Kentucky.  Local history and personal research suggests that Horace Rondeau, a rouster, was a descendent of the Rondeau slaves.

The New York Times, August 21, 1901
The Herald Enterprise, August 22, 1901
Hopkinsville, Kentuckian, Friday, Aug 23, 1901
Abstracts of Livingston County Kentucky Will Book A-B (1799-1873)
The Life and Times of William Rondeau: A backwoods preacher by Ron Nelson, 1979
1880, 1900 US Census record images (
Hardin County Illinois Marriage Register 1 (1884-1891, vol 1, page 58
Hardin County Illinois Marriages, Vol IV, page 128
Descendants of Chess Rondeau, a genealogy report by Valerie Thompson, 2010

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This conservative stone marks the grave of L. D. Good and Mildred, his wife.  Lorenzo Dow Good was an active member of the House of Representatives for the Commonwealth of Kentucky from Lincoln County, 1869-1871. His votes are noted on many items of legislature from the conservation of the South Fork of the Cumberland River to the Stanford-Midgeville Turnpike. He was the son of Joseph Goode and Nancy Combs. He married Mildred Ann Stigall, daughter of William Stigall and Judy Atkinson on 29 Nov 1826 in Lincoln County Kentucky. Consent was given by Lorenzo’s father. Consent was given by Gabriel Hughes, guardian for “Milly”, her father having died some years earlier.   He was born 26 Aug 1808 and died 23 June 1878. Lincoln county records show that his estate was appraised 13 Aug 1878. Mildred Good received her dower allotment. The following year Mildred wrote her will, and added a codicil in 1886. It was probated August 1894. They are interred in section one of Buffalo Springs Cemetery, Stanford, Lincoln County Kentucky. 

The following ten children have been identified for Lorenzo Dow and Milly Good. In addition, Lorenzo was appointed guardian for the minor children of John Morris, not named here. 

*Nancy Jane Goode was born 1827. She married Thomas Morris, son of John Morris and Nancy Pennell, 3 May 1844 in Lincoln County. Until1880 they lived in Kentucky. By 1900 she was a widow living with son, Lorenzo Dow Morris, in Jasper County, Missouri.  She and her sons moved to Williams Creek, Humboldt, California, where she died 23 Aug 1902. She is buried at the Ferndale Cemetery.  
 *Joseph Goode was born 28 Mar 1829. From his Bible, “Joseph married Mary E Hocker 31 Oct 1851 and after her death he was married to Nancy B. Hocker on the 5th of May 1853.”  Mary E and Nannie are both buried at the Good Cemetery in Lincoln County Kentucky. “Nannie B Hocker Good died Wednesday morning at 5 o’clock May 18th 1910”. Joseph Good may also be buried there. 
 *Benjamin Goode (4 Mar 1831-5 June 1914) married Sarah Hocker 5 May 1853.  He is buried in section 4, Buffalo Springs Cemetery, Stanford, Lincoln County Kentucky. A double stone marks the graves, Sarah Goode (31 May 1826-8 Sep 1910)
 *Elizabeth “Lizzie” Goode was born about 1838. She married Isaac Newton Anderson 6 Feb 1858 Lincoln County Kentucky.
 *Martha Ann Goode (c1840-1864)  married Oliver J. Crow 6 Oct 1856 Lincoln County Kentucky. 
 *Milly Ann Good born about 1840 married Richard Bibb 24 Oct 1867. They are living with her parents in 1870.
 *Maria L. Goode (1843.-1903)  married Oliver Jackson Crow 3 Sep 1865 in Lincoln County Kentucky, husband of her deceased sister, Martha Ann Goode. The sisters are buried next to Oliver J. Crow at Buffalo Springs Cemetery.
 *R. M. (female) born about 1845 is listed on the 1850 Census Lincoln County.
*Lorenzo Dow Goode born about 1846, died 24 Oct 1856, age 8. (Kentucky Death Records 1852-1953)
*Robert born about 1848. (1850 Census)

Other References:
“Our Virginia Cousins” by G Brown Goode, published 1887
“Kentucky Pioneers and Their Descendants” published 1867, by Daughters of the Colonial Wars
“Marriages 1780-1850 & Tombstone Inscriptions” by Shirley Dunn, published 1977
"History of Kentucky" by Collins, Vol 2, pg 468
Lincoln County court records
Lincoln County Census records
Journal of the House of Representatives for the Commonwealth of Kentucky

copyright for photo and text by Valerie J. Thompson

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elizabeth Goode Centenarian

Lexington, Kentucky Observer & Reporter Jan 13, 1847 "Mrs. Elizabeth Goode of Lincoln County. Died Dec 26, 1846, aged 102 years, 9 months and 14 days."
Elizabeth Goode is believed to be the wife, of Benjamin Goode formerly of Amherst County Virginia.

 1815 Lincoln County Order Book 7, Vol 2, Page 296-297 Nov Term court. Order that it be certified to the Auditor of Public Accounts that it was this day proven to the satisfaction of the court by the oaths of Abraham Miller and Peter Carter, two disinterested persons, accredited witnesses, that Benjamin Goode is and was an actual settler upon the 150 acres of vacant land lying in Lincoln County Kentucky.

She is buried at the historical McCormack Church Cemetery in Lincoln County Kentucky.  McCormack Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Her son, Micager (Micajah) Goode is also buried just a few feet away. He was born 16 Jan 1791 and died 27 Aug 1865.

Photographs were taken by me as a part of  research for a Goode descendent. 
Copyright for text and photographs
Valerie J. Thompson