Saturday, July 5, 2014

Documenting the Details has moved!

After four and a half years, I can't believe I just said that. 

Some of you may know that I have a family history website in addition to this blog. It's needed some serious attention for several years, and I finally provided that. The result was a move to a new host and platform. 

Since the new platform is WordPress, it seemed logical to take the blog along to the new location at

Switching URLs at a time when I'm not writing much may be a mistake, but I hope you will follow. Please change your RSS feed to the new address or re-subscribe by email.

The new site isn't finished, but the blog is officially moved. This will be the last post here. 

Thanks for reading. I hope to see you in my new home. 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #12 John Emerson Goodloe

Last summer I made my third visit to Grapevine Cemetery in Hopkins County, Kentucky. It's a large cemetery, and more than 100 people in my database are buried there, all connected to my paternal grandmother through the Goodloe family. John Emerson "Jack" Goodloe was her great-grandfather. Jack's father, Henry donated the land for the original Grapevine Church, and one of his grandchildren is said to have been the first person buried in the cemetery, but that is a different story.

On the previous two visits, I located my grandmother's parents, Thomas Leander "Lee" & Samantha Petty Hankins, Lee's mother, Isabella Jane Goodloe Hankins Yates Devault, and Isabella Jane's paternal grandparents, Henry Lewis and Elizabeth Berry Goodloe. But I did not find her father, Jack Goodloe. The third time I found him.

Jack was born in Hopkins County on 25 Mar 1811. His parents arrived in Hopkins County from central Kentucky sometime between 1801, when they were married in Clark County, and 1810. Jack was the fifth of eight children, three sons and five daughters, born to Henry and Elizabeth.

Jack married Eliza Ann Dobyns, daughter of Edward Dobyns and Sarah Mott, on 5 Oct 1836 in Hopkins County. They had four children: Isabella Jane, Elizabeth, Mary Waller and Thomas Henry. Eliza died between  13 Dec 1846, when Tom was born, and 2 Jan 1849, when Jack re-married.

Elizabeth Pettus was Jack's second wife. (That is her surname on their marriage record but not necessarily her maiden name.) They had two children: Emsley and Virginia.

In A Stroll Through Grapevine Cemetery, an article possibly published in the newspaper when it was written in 1909, Rev. W. H. Moore described Jack.
"Uncle Jack, with the disposition of  gentleness, full of kindness, all the children of the community loved him. A man of very deep piety always ready to reprove and admonish in a kind way that made me feel that it was done by a friend for good, everybody was his friend."
It should be noted that Moore was Jack's son-in-law, husband of his youngest daughter, Virginia.

Jack died on 17 Apr 1899 in Hopkins County. This brief obituary was published in both the Madisonville Hustler and the Earlington Bee a few days later.
"Uncle Jack Goodloe Dead
Uncle Jack Goodloe, who lived near Grapevine, died Monday, and was buried at Grapevine Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Goodloe was one of the old citizens of the county and is well known by all our older citizens. For several years past he has been an invalid. He was a brother of Uncle Kemp Goodloe and Uncle Henry Goodloe. He was a member of Grapevine church for a long period."

Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small

Jack was my 3rd great-grandfather through his daughter, Isabella Jane Goodloe.

To Do List: Hopkins County Deeds

Monday, June 2, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11 Emma Jane Owens

To say I'm behind in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge from No Story Too Small is an understatement. Most participants are working on post #22 or #23 while I'm writing #11. In four and a half years of blogging, this eleven week "break" is by far the longest between posts. Here's hoping this is the start of getting back on track and back to blogging. I've missed it.
Emmie and Emma

I needed someone easy for this post. Someone I knew well. A subject whose story I could write mostly from memory. My great grandmother, Emma Jane Owens meets that criteria.

When I was six months old, my family moved to Mt. Vernon in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. Emmie lived her entire life in Rockcastle County, and we spent the next 16 years living in the same town.

Emmie was born 16 April 1882 in the area of Rockcastle County called Freedom. She was the youngest of Madison Crawford and Cecilia Owens' seven children, truly the baby of the family. 
Emmie, Anna Rose & a friend

Emmie's oldest sister Elizabeth was married two years before she was born and had a son six months older. Sally and George were both married by the time she was five years old. Another sibling died as an infant eight years before she was born. For most of her childhood only her brothers, Wesley and Dave (who were 10 and seven years older), were at home with her and their parents.

Emmie was 17 years old when she married John Cook Taylor on 16 January 1900 at her parents' home in Freedom and gained an instant family. John was 36 years old, had been married twice before and was raising two daughters, Gracie and Susie. The girls were 13 and 10 years old when their father married Emmie, but they had both been under under six when their mother died.

Emmie and John started their marriage in a house on what is now West Main Street in Mt. Vernon, and their daughter (my maternal grandmother), Emma Ewers, was born there on 24 October 1900. Emmie and John lived in seven other locations in and around Mt. Vernon and had two more children. Details about their life together in those locations, John's previous marriages, his children, and their other two children, Hartford Conn and Anna Rose, are included in 52 Ancestors: #7 John Cook Taylor. The remainder of this post is all Emmie Jane — Granny to me.

Emmie & Anna Rose
Granny was an accomplished seamstress and made clothes for her family and others. She could look at a picture of a dress in a catalog and make one just like it. She was also a great cook even though she never owned a cookbook and only had a wood stove. My grandmother had a long list of favorite foods that she made including biscuits, fried chicken, gravy, fried apples, corn bread, and chow chow. She had very few kitchen utensils or even pans, which was the reason she baked big pies in the lard can lid.

No one mentioned the word "step" or "half" in describing relationships in the family. I was a teenager before I really understood that Gracie and Susie were my grandmother's half sisters. They were simply sisters and Susie's children were simply Granny's grandchildren.

Granny and Paw had been married for 53 years when he died in 1953 but there was one thing they never agreed on — politics. He was a staunch Republican; she was an equally staunch Democrat. Most women of her time deferred to their husband on many things, especially politics. Not Granny. Considering she had been married for 20 years by the time women even gained the right to vote it is amazing that she openly disagreed with him.

Sometime in the 1960's Granny got a television. She enjoyed it very much even though she could barely hear by that time. Many times when we stopped by she would be watching TV, and she would always explain to us what was happening in the show she was watching. Her explanation rarely had anything to do with the actual plot but she was perfectly happy and entertained by the stories she made up to go with what she saw.

One of Emmie's
birthday parties
Granny always enjoyed having company and visiting with friends and family. A friend once saw her walking home from the nearby funeral home and stopped to give her a ride. When the friend asked who had died, Granny said she didn't know them. She had gone to the visitation thinking she might see someone she knew from "out in the country" (meaning the Freedom area where she grew up).

A few years before she died, my grandmother decided to throw Granny a big birthday party, which became an annual event. The parties were held at her house. Everyone brought a dish and stayed all afternoon. Guests included children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and their families.

Granny died on 17 March 1968 at the Rockcastle County Hospital in Mt. Vernon, one month before her 86th birthday. She had been in the hospital for several days but between her daughter Emma, daughter-in-law Betty, and several of her grandchildren, she was never alone at the hospital for a minute. She was buried next to Paw in Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.

Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small

Emma Jane was my great-grandmother through her daughter, Emma Ewers Taylor. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #10 Eliza Hopkins

Eliza Hopkins is often confused in online trees with her sister—Elizabeth. Yes, it may be a little unusual for parents to name one daughter Elizabeth and another Eliza, but Stephen Hopkins and Rachel McFarland did that. 

Eliza married and moved away from the family while Elizabeth, often called Betsey, did not marry and lived with her parents in Tennessee and Kentucky. Eliza was the mother of William Columbus and James Arton Hopkins. Betsey was the mother of Stephen Henry and George C. Hopkins. 

Eliza was born on 22 Feb 1837 in Claiborne County, Tennessee. In 1844, the Mulberry Gap area where the Hopkins family lived became Hancock County. Eliza's two sons, whose paternity is in question, were born there. Family stories indicate Stephen Wolfenbarger was their father, and the rest of that story is already covered in this post about Jim.

Eliza and the boys moved to Harlan County, Kentucky with her parents and most of her siblings about 1864. She married Ephram Simpson in Harlan on 11 Oct 1866. They soon moved to Indiana leaving Eliza's young sons behind with her parents.  

In 1870, Eliza and Ephram lived in Highland Township, Greene County, Indiana. Ephram worked as a farm laborer, and his 18-year-old brother, Hiram, lived with them. They were still in Greene County in 1880 but in Back Creek Township where Ephram was a farmer. 

By 1900, Eliza and Ephram moved to Epps, Butler County, Missouri. Vannie Radsdale, a 17-year-old boy whose relationship was listed as adopted, lived with them at that time. He was born in Arkansas, and Vannie was a nickname for Van Buren. 

Adopting a child seems like an odd action for a woman who left her own sons with her parents when they were both under 10 years old. Maybe she grew to regret that decision. Although his name was listed as Radsdale in the 1900 census, Van went by Simpson the rest of his life. 

Eliza's son Jim told of visiting his mother in Indiana as a young man. He said that Ephram did not make him feel welcome so he returned to Harlan County. There is no evidence that her son Lum ever saw her again after she left Harlan when he was a child. 

The portrait above of Eliza belonged to my grandfather (Jim's son). One of Lum's daughters had the photo on the right. It is unclear how either of them came to have these pictures. Eliza was in her late 20s/early 30s when she left Harlan County. It's possible the portrait was made before that but she appears older. The photo was definitely made much later in life, and the identities of the others in it are unknown. 

Eliza died on 16 Jan 1912 in Epps. She was buried in Sparkman Cemetery without a marker. At some time after her death, Ephram returned to Kentucky. He died in Lincoln County on 30 Sep 1923 and was buried in Wilmoths Chapel Cemetery. 

Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small

Eliza was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, James Arton Hopkins.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #9 Charlotte T. Jackson

Charlotte's birth and death dates are both in question. Her headstone shows she was born 15 Nov 1818 and died 26 Sep 1892; a family Bible owned by her grandson, William Larkin Lanier, says she was born 3 Nov 1818 and died 20 Oct 1892.

Whenever Charlotte T. Jackson was born, it was likely in Jasper County, Georgia. She was the first of seven children born to Samuel W. Jackson and Lavinia Malone who both came from North Carolina. The family was in Jasper County in 1820 but had moved west to Meriwether County by 1830.

Charlotte is yet another ancestor whose story I don't really know. The only records I've located for her are marriage and census.

Charlotte married William Washington Lanier in Meriwether County on 22 Oct 1835. William was the son of James Lanier and Polly Smith. The Laniers also lived in Jasper County in 1820 and Meriwether County in 1830.

Charlotte and William left Meriwether County with her parents. They lived in Randolph County, Alabama in 1840 while her parents were settled in neighboring Heard County, Georgia. Their household composition is a bit confusing. The two males under five years old were their sons, James Jackson and Jefferson F. The two young females, one 5–10 and the other 10–15, are unknown. It's possible they were children who died young but they aren't among the 11 children listed in their grandson's Bible.

If the family could be found in the 1850 census, there might be a clue about these unknown girls but that hasn't happened. By 1860, they lived in the Rock Mills community in Randolph County, Alabama which is about three miles from the Heard County, Georgia line. James and Jefferson, both in their twenties, were still with Charlotte and William along with William W., Joseph Smith, Mary E., Sarah Ann, Melissa Caroline, Susan Charlotte and France Elizabeth. Two years later George David, the youngest of Charlotte and William's children, was born.

Charlotte and William later moved one county south to Chambers County, Alabama, living in Fredonia and Hickory Flat.

Charlotte was buried in a small cemetery in the Fredonia area next to William who also died in 1892. Daughter Mary and son James are buried on either side of them. Just like her birth and death dates, the name of that cemetery is in question.

A Survey of Cemeteries in Chambers County, Alabama by Margaret Parker Milford and Eleanor Davis Scott (published in 1983) calls it the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. That was probably the original name but the church is no longer at that location. The "new" New Hope Baptist Church is less than a mile down the road and includes a "new" cemetery at that location. Google Maps shows Charlotte's cemetery as Swint-Hammock Cemetery. The cemetery did not have a sign when I visited in 2010.

Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small. 

Charlotte was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, Joseph Smith Lanier.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #8 John Petty

Whitfield County, Georgia Probate Clerk's Office
Several days ago I came across a photo attached to John Petty in an tree. Is it my 3rd great-grandfather who died before 1900? I messaged the owner. I'm still impatiently waiting for a response. (Do you know how much I wanted to use that picture in this post?)

While I'm waiting, it seems like good time to review what I know about John Petty. The short answer is not much, despite researching on-site in three counties where he lived and another where he may have lived.

John Petty had ten children. That implies he was married. At the very least, each of those children had a mother. Was the same woman the mother of all ten children? Probably? Maybe? Does anyone know?

John lived in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1840. His household composition was 1 male 5–10, 1 male 20–30, 2 females under 5, 2 females 5–10, and 1 female 20–30. John was the adult male. His "alleged" wife was probably the adult female. The five children were probably John R. (born abt 1835), Charlotte (born Dec 1830), Caroline (born bet. 1830–1840), Martha (born abt. 1839) and an unknown daughter (who is said to have married a Milsapp).

The family is no where to be found in the 1850 census. Not in McMinn or adjacent Bradley County. Not in nearby Murray or Whitfield Counties in Georgia. (Those are the counties I've gone through page by page). And not anywhere else according to many census searches.

There is an old Petty family story (not from my family, no one in my family knew anything about John Petty—not even his name) that John's wife and Charlotte's husband, John Hambright, drowned in a flood around 1850. According to this story, the family relocated to Murray County, Georgia for a short time after their deaths. Did that happen? I don't know. Most anything is possible.

John lived in Charleston in Bradley County by 1860 with children Martha, Rash, James, Joseph, Angeline (Ann) and Mary. The children's ages ranged from twenty-one to nine. If the nine-year-old truly was nine, then her mother didn't die before 1850. Whatever happened to the children's mother(s), no other female was living with them in 1860. Caroline and the unknown daughter who married a Milsapp haven't been located in that census.

Charlotte and John R. both lived in the McMinn County community of Calhoun in 1860. Charleston and Calhoun are separated only by the Hiwassee River that serves as the border between Bradley and McMinn Counties. Charlotte Hambright had four children and no husband in the household. The youngest child was four years old so her father didn't die before 1850. Other information implies John Hambright was not that child's father. Her next youngest was nine.

John's four sons all joined Company I of the 43rd Tennessee Infantry (Confederate) at Charleston. Rash joined on 1 Dec 1862. The other three joined a year earlier on 13 Nov 1861. After being captured and released at Vicksburg, Mississippi all except John R. joined the 10th Union Cavalry.

John was in Bradley County in 1870 but possibly not in the same location as his Post Office was Cleveland rather than Charleston. Tabitha Petty (age 57, keeping house) lived with him along with ten-year-old Sarah Cassell. Was Tabitha John's wife? Perhaps. But if a marriage record exists, I haven't found it. Was she the mother of any of his children? It seems unlikely unless her absence in the 1860 census was a mistake. Who was Sarah? No clue except that John's granddaughter, Rebecca Hambright, later married Robert Castle (Cassell?).

In 1880, John was in Whitfield County, Georgia living with daughters Martha and Ann. Ann's husband, Wiley Long, and their four children were also in the household but Martha's husband, John W. Martin, had died in 1879. Martha and Ann both married in Whitfield County: Martha in 1867, Ann in 1868.

John married Elizabeth Inman, widow of William Inman, on 15 Feb 1881 in Whitfield County. Based on census records, John was born about 1809 in either Tennessee or North Carolina. He likely died before 1900.

Daughters Charlotte, Martha, and Ann remained near John but his other children scattered to Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas and Texas. A couple later returned to the area where they grew-up.

Rash married Sarah Ann Foster (probably not her maiden name) in 1865 in Bradley County and they settled in Blount County, Tennessee. James married Sarah Longwith there that same year. They stayed in Bradley County for several years before moving to Washington County, Arkansas.

John R. married Margaret E. Thomas in Whitfield County in 1857. From McMinn County, they moved to Whitfield County before relocating to Logan County, Kentucky and then to nearby Hopkins County. Joseph also went to Logan County—likely with John R. Once there, he married Margaret's sister, Nancy, in 1869. John R. returned to Whitfield County around the time of Margaret's death in 1876 and married Mary C. Bohannan in 1878. Joseph and Nancy eventually left Logan County for Texas—Lamar and Bowie Counties.

After marrying John Cooper in Webster County, Kentucky, in 1869, Mary and her family lived in Johnson County, Illinois. They later moved near her sisters in Whitfield County. Caroline and her husband, Lemuel Young, gave consent for Mary to marry in Webster County, Kentucky. No other records for Caroline have been found. The unknown daughter who may have married a Milsapp remains unknown.

Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small. 

John was my 3rd great-grandfather through his son, John R. Petty.