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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors: #7 John Cook Taylor

Paw Taylor was one of three great-grandparents that I met. But I don't remember him. He died when I was not quite two years old. We'd lived in the same town since I was six months old, part of that time two blocks from each other. I'm told we saw him often. I was just too young to remember.

John Cook Taylor was born on Christmas Day in 1863 in Rockcastle County, Kentucky and lived there his entire life. He was the fourth of James Francis Taylor and Margaret E. Ramsey's eleven children. The Taylors lived north of Mt. Vernon between town and what is now Renfro Valley.

John married Sarah A. "Sally" Ramsey, daughter of Goldman and Serena Green Ramsey, on 6 June 1885. They had two daughters, Grace (born 27 Aug 1886) and Susan (born  3 Feb 1889) before Sally died on 12 Feb 1892 at 24 years old. 

On 22 Aug 1894, John married Margaret Frances "Fannie" Warren, daughter of Fieldon and Jane Warren. Their son, William Robert, was born on 16 May 1895 but the marriage did not last. John and Fannie divorced before 1900.

Taylor family 1905
Front: Emma Jane, John holding Hartford
Back: Susie, Gracie and Emma
John married for a third and final time on 16 Jan 1900. Emma Jane Owens, daughter of Madison Crawford and Celia Owens, was only 17 years old when she became the step-mother of 13 year-old Gracie and 10 year-old Susie. In reality she became their mother. "Step" wasn't a word used in the family. My mother was a grown woman before she learned that Gracie and Susie weren't her grandmother's daughters.

In 1900, Fannie and young Bill, were living with her parents in Rockcastle County but the Warren family soon moved to Kansas. Family stories tell that John chased after the wagon begging Fannie not to take his son away. It would be many years before father and son saw each other again.

Anna Rose & John
John and Emmie Jane had three children starting with my grandmother, Emma Ewers, born 24 Oct 1900. Their son, Hartford Conn was born 11 Apr 1905 and thirteen years later, the youngest, Anna Rose, was born on 10 Jun 1918.

The Taylor family lived in several location in Mt. Vernon. There was the house near the top of Fairground Hill on West Main Street where Emma was born, the two-story on East Main Street near Elmwood Cemetery and another house on West Main near the first one. That is where they lived when John's daughter, Susie, married August Krueger on 7 September 1911.

John and his fiddle
They lived in a house on Crawford Street that burned down sometime before 1920 causing them to live with Susie and August for a while. They lived in a two-family house on West Main Street down the street from Susie and later in an identical house next door to it. Between times in those West Main houses, they lived on two different farms on Buckeye Road.

Like his Ramsey grandfather, John was a blacksmith. His shop was on the corner of Spring and Church Streets north of East Main Street in Mt. Vernon. After working as a blacksmith for more than twenty years, John bought a small farm on Buckeye Road and moved the family there. A few years later they moved to another farm a little farther down that same road. 

Susie was the only one of John's children to get married at his home. Emma eloped to Jellico, Tennessee with Elmer D. Hopkins in 1920, Hartford married Elizabeth Mulliner in Knox County, Illinois in 1928 and Anna Rose married Holt Chesnut in Cook County, Illinois in 1947. Gracie never married and lived with John and Emmie Jane most of her life.

Mom & John
John adored his grandchildren. Susie had four children, Bill two, Emma four, Hartford two and Anna Rose one. Hartford lived in Chicago and Bill was in Lawrence, Kansas so John didn't see those grandchildren much or, in one case, at all. But the others grew up in Mt. Vernon and Harlan County (near enough to visit often). My mother would have gladly stayed with her grandparents on that second farm and never gone home. 

As John became to old to handle farming, they moved back to town in another of those two-family houses on West Main Street. John, Emmie Jane and Gracie lived there for the rest of their lives.

Emmie Jane & John
It was during the time between the two farms when they were living in that West Main Street duplex the first time that Bill returned to John's life. When he was a child, Bill's mother told him that his father died. He believed that until, on her death bed, she told him the truth—that his father was probably still living in Mt. Vernon. In 1931, Bill took a train to Mt. Vernon to find his father. He didn't try to contact him ahead of time. He just showed up at his door. According to everyone around at that time, John took one look at the man he hadn't seen since he was a small child on a wagon leaving town and said, "That's my boy." Bill returned to Mt. Vernon every year for a visit until long after John had died. (The rest of Bill's story is here and here.)

After two short marriages, one ending in death and the other in divorce, John's marriage to Emmie Jane lasted for 53 years. He died on 7 September 1953 in Mt. Vernon. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
John and Emmie Jane

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

52 Ancestors: #6 James Arton Hopkins

James Arton Hopkins was twenty-four years old when he married Lucinda Howard on 25 Dec 1885 in Harlan County, Kentucky. This portrait was probably made before that since it seems they would both be in the picture if it was after they were married.

Jim never saw his father. At least, he never saw the man he was told was his father. And he spent very little time with his mother even though she lived to be 74 years old.

He was born 1 Dec 1861 in Mulberry Gap, Hancock County, Tennessee. His mother was Eliza Hopkins, daughter of Stephen Hopkins and Rachel McFarland. 

According to family stories, Stephen Wolfenbarger was his father. The story goes that Eliza married Stephen in Hancock County and had two sons before Stephen was killed during the Civil War. Eliza and the boys moved to Harlan County, Kentucky with her parents and other family members. She married Ephram Simpson there and moved away leaving her sons with her parents. Because the boys were raised by their Hopkins grandparents, they went by Hopkins instead of Wolfenbarger. 

There is a little truth to that story. 

Eliza Hopkins did have two sons, William Columbus "Lum" (born 13 Jan 1860) and Jim. She and the boys moved with her parents from Tennessee to the Jerry Branch area of Harlan County between 1862 and 1865. She married Ephram Simpson there on 11 Oct 1866. (It should be noted that their marriage record says Eliza Hopkins married Simpson, not Eliza Wolfenbarger.) Eliza and Ephram moved to Greene County, Indiana before 1870 and later to Butler County, Missouri. Her sons remained in Harlan County with her parents and they both always went by Hopkins.

Due to courthouse fires, Hancock County marriage records before 1930 no longer exist but census records indicate Stephen married a woman named Margaret. Stephen and Margaret Wolfenbarger lived near the Hopkins family in 1860. Stephen joined Company K of the 19th Regiment Tennessee Infantry 22 May 1861. He was killed in battle sometime before 14 May 1863 according to his service record.

Was Stephen Wolfenbarger Jim's father? Was he the father of both of Eliza's sons? Was he just a convenient answer when the boys asked about their father since he wasn't around to answer any questions? DNA testing is probably the only chance we have of answering those questions but results for Y and autosomal tests for three of Jim's descendants are inconclusive so far.

Jim went to Indiana to visit his mother once after he was a young man but before he got married. That is apparently the only time he saw her after she left Harlan County when he was about five years old. Later in life, he told that Simpson did not make him feel welcome so he returned to Harlan County.

Jim and Cindy's first home was a log house at Wallins Creek on property owned by her parents. Between 1886 and 1900, seven sons were born in that house — John Covey (9 Nov 1886), Henry Madison (9 Jan 1889), Elijah F. (8 Aug 1891), Elmer Dennis (2 Apr 1894), Orie Columbus (24 May 1896), Leo Berry (28 Feb 1898) and Howard Doctor (26 Jan 1900).

Jim was a farmer and also served as Magistrate for a time in the late 1890s. Between 1900 and 1902, he moved his family to Rockcastle County, Kentucky for better farm land. His brother, Lum (William Columbus), moved there at about the same time and a couple of their cousins from Harlan County settled in nearby Lincoln County.
Hopkins family on the porches of the Brodhead house
Jim bought 100 acres near Brodhead with a big two story house. Their last three children were born there, two more sons and a daughter — General Grant (2 Aug 1902), Lula Mae (26 Nov 1904) and Walter (1906). Their oldest son, John, was serving in the U. S. Army by the time youngest son, Walter, was born and died in 1906.

In 1919, Jim sold the Brodhead farm at an auction and moved to a smaller farm a few miles west in the Gum Sulphur community but still in Rockcastle County. About 1923, they moved again. This time to Warren County, Ohio.
Jim bought a farm located between Morrow and Blanchester. Like the two Rockcastle County properties, this farm had a big two-story house. A few years later they built a smaller house nearby and moved for the last time.

Jim (right) with his brother, Lum (left) and cousin, Landon (center) in 1932
Jim died of pneumonia on 5 Jan 1933 in Harlan Township, Warren County, Ohio. He was buried in Morrow Cemetery in Salem Township.

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

Jim was my great-grandfather through his son, Elmer D. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

52 Ancestors: #5 Isabella Jane Goodloe

Are you just drawn to some ancestors more than others? Isabella Jane Goodloe wasn't a name I'd ever heard before genealogy entered my life but she's one of those ancestors. I can't really explain why.

Maybe I just like her name. (I was a little disappointed to learn that she went by Janie instead using her full name but she is always Isabella Jane to me.) Maybe it's because of the pictures shared with me by another of her descendants (but seems like I was drawn to her before I saw her face plus she looks a bit stern). Maybe it's because she was important to my paternal grandmother, Verda Waller Hankins. The grandmother that I never knew.

If you ask people in my family about Verda's middle name, most will probably say it was Jane. It wasn't. The story is that Verda didn't like her real middle name so she replaced it with Jane in honor of her grandmother. I'm not sure all of her children even knew Jane wasn't her real middle name.

I don't know when Verda decided to adopt her grandmother's name. She was only twenty years old when Isabella Jane died. It could have been then. The funny thing about Verda trading Waller for Jane is that Waller was also a name connected to Isabella Jane. It was the maiden name of her great-grandmother and had been used as a middle name for both boys and girls in the family for three generations. It was the middle name of Isabella Jane's sister, Mary.

Isabella Jane Goodloe was born on 27 Jan 1838 in Hopkins County, Kentucky and she lived there her entire life. She was the first of four children born to John Emerson “Jack” Goodloe and Eliza Ann Dobyns. 

By the time Isabella Jane turned 11 years old, her mother had died and her father had married Elizabeth Pettus. She and Elizabeth apparently had a close relationship. Clippings from the personals section of the Earlington Bee from 1903 and 1904 refer to them as mother and daughter in reporting visits between the two.

Isabella Jane married Albert Hankins on 24 Oct 1855 at her father’s home in Hopkins County. They had four children: John Houston born 24 Aug 1856; Thomas Leander “Lee” born 13 Jun 1858; James W. born 25 Jul 1960 and Mary Madore “Mollie” born 10 Mar 1863. 

Albert apparently died between 1863 and 1870 although it is not known exactly what happened to him. He had enlisted in the 8th Kentucky Infantry (Confederate) in Oct 1861 and his muster roll on 1 Aug 1862 lists him as a 4th Sgt. with Company I but shows he was “absent at home in Kentucky without leave.” There are family stories that Albert was with a friend in a barn in the company of Confederate deserters, was accused of desertion and shot. Aunt Liz once told me (in response to my question about how Albert died) that she remembered hearing “he got into some trouble and was shot.” That seems to go along with the barn story.

Regardless of how Albert died, Isabella Jane was left alone with four young children to raise. She and the children moved near her father, likely on his property since they were listed next to him in the 1870 census. 

Isabella Jane married Thomas G. Yates on 3 Jan 1874. Yates' fate is unknown but they weren't together long because she married Thomas K. Devault on 23 Nov 1879. 

Isabella Jane's four children were all married by the time she and Thomas adopted a daughter about 1887. Bessie Walker's mother died just a few days after she and her twin sister, Jessie, were born. Their father died three years later. Isabella Jane and Thomas took Bessie. Virgina (Isabella Jane's half-sister) and William Moore took Jessie. Twins Separated and Adopted by Sisters — How Did I Miss This? tells more of that story. 
Thomas and Isabella Jane
The Devaults lived on Robinson Street in Earlington in 1900. Isabella Jane died of malaria just a few years later on 23 Jul 1905 and was buried the next day in Grapevine Cemetery. 

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

Isabella Jane was my 2nd great-grandmother through her son, Thomas Leander "Lee" Hankins. 

Photos of Isabella Jane courtesy of Rick Thorpe, descendant of Mary Madore Hankins Clements, who shared many Hankins pictures with me several years ago.

Monday, January 27, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 Mary F. Morris

A picture of two stuffed ducks may seem like an odd graphic for a story about my 2nd great-grandmother but they are connected and I'll explain how a little later. 
Mary F. Morris lived her entire life in Harlan County, Kentucky. She was born about 1830 in the Watts Creek area to Littleton Morris and Martha Mark. As with most Marys in that time, she was usually called Polly. 

Polly became the third wife of John Covey Howard on 10 Mar 1856 at the home of her parents. Six years before that she gave birth to her first child, Emily Sylvania. From all indications, Polly and her daughter's father were not married but, according to Emily's death certificate, his name was Enoch Ball. 

Polly was half John Covey's age when they married. His first wife disappeared in 1849 or 1850 leaving him with 11 children, five of them under 10 years old. His second marriage only lasted two or three years but added two more children. Polly and John Covey had seven children together giving her a total of eight and him 20. 

This picture is supposed to be John Covey and his first wife, Matilda Brock. I'm not convinced that this isn't Polly. When Matilda disappeared, she was about 39 years old and had just given birth to her 11th child. John Covey was 43. This couple looks much older than that to me. His second wife wasn't around long and was under 40 during their brief marriage. One of Matilda's descendants had this portrait and she believed it was Matilda. While there doesn't appear to be 20+ years difference in their ages, I think it's possible this is Polly. 

John Covey and Polly owned at least 150 acres at Wallins Creek in Harlan County. His occupation in census records from 1850–1880 was farmer. If you've been to Wallins Creek, you know there wasn't much farmland there. (Just look at this Google Map view.) I don't know what kind of farmer John Covey was (something else for the to-do list) but most of their "farm" was mountainside. 

After John Covey's death in 1899, Polly lived with their daughter, Lucinda Hopkins and her family. When they left Harlan County for Rockcastle County (and better farmland) about 1901, she moved in with another daughter, Sarah Brock and her husband. 

Polly's date of death is unknown but she apparently died between 1910 and 1920. At least, she wasn't with any of her living children in the 1920 census. The burial location for Polly and John Covey is unknown. 

Now about those stuffed ducks. . . 

While I don't know what kind of farmer John Covey was, I do know the Howards raised sheep. Whether that was a few for personal use or a large number, I do not know. Polly spun their wool, dyed the yarn and wove her own fabrics. When my grandfather (Polly's grandson) died in 1980, two wool throws Polly had made were among his things. My mother has two sisters. That's two throws divided by three great-granddaughters. 

Their solution. 

Cut each one into three pieces. 

My mother made the ducks from her pieces to keep the fabric from unraveling over time. 

A close-up look at Polly's work

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

Polly was my 2nd great-grandmother through her daughter, Lucinda Howard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 Rhoda Ann Lavender

Very little is known about Rhoda Ann Lavender. At least, I know very little about her. As I skim through my tree looking for ancestors to feature in this 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge from No Story Too Small, I'm finding I say that about too many ancestors. And this is just week #3.

Rather than skipping over those folks and continuing to ignore them, I'm going to look at what I need in order to do justice to their story. I'm not the only one facing this problem of too many holes in my research. That sneaky Amy Crow has put us all to work in 2014 with this challenge. Thanks, Amy.

Now back to Rhoda.

Rhoda was married twice and had five children. She married Stephen Bradford Lair on 25 Aug 1829 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Their sons, William Thomas and Jerome Burke, were born about 1830 and 1832. Family stories say Stephen died when the boys were very young. Rhoda married Thomas Ramsey on 20 Jan 1839 in Lincoln County.

Rhoda and Thomas were living in Rockcastle County, Kentucky in 1840. They had three children together — Margaret born in 1840, Joseph Love born in 1842 and Harriet born in 1844. I don't know when Rhoda died but she wasn't with Thomas and the children in the 1850 census.

Her youngest granddaughter, Janie Ramsey (who was born about 50 years after Rhoda died) said that Rhoda's father was John Lavender of Lincoln County and that John had four other children — Joseph, Elizabeth Jane, Allen and Amelia. Janie did not know the name of Rhoda's mother.
Janie also said that the family lived in this house that was on the corner of Main and Richmond Streets in Mt. Vernon and Thomas had his blacksmith shop behind it. (There is a parking lot there now but I remember that house.) And finally, according to Janie, Rhoda and Thomas were buried in the oldest part of Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon without markers.

Not only do I not know much about Rhoda. I'm know sure how accurate most of what I "know" really is. I never met Janie. Her information came to me second or third or maybe fourth hand. People who knew her say she was a wealth of family history knowledge. Turns out I don't even have a record for either of Rhoda's marriages — just an entry in an index. (Discovered that when I looked for them to use with this post.) I haven't looked for any of these folks in Lincoln or Rockcastle records.

Rhoda doesn't appear by name in a census record. There may not be much out there to fill in the blanks of her life but it's obvious that I haven't really looked. Yet.

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

Rhoda was my 3rd great-grandmother through her daughter, Margaret E. Ramsey.

Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 Samantha Angeline Petty

On the day Samantha Angeline Petty married Thomas Leander Hankins in Hopkins County, Kentucky, J. E. Day was appointed as her guardian. My best guess is that she needed someone to give consent for her to marry at 18 years old (although there is no record of such consent in the Hopkins County records).

The surety for Lee and Samantha's marriage bond was John Day. The same person? Probably. Maybe. I don't know yet.

I've often wondered where Samantha lived between the time her mother, Margaret Thomas Petty, died on 28 Jul 1876 and her marriage almost three years later on 14 May 1879. It's unclear exactly when Samantha's father, John R. Petty, left Hopkins County but he remarried in Whitfield County, Georgia on 26 Apr 1878 so he was long gone by Samantha's wedding day. There is no indication that he took any of his nine children with him to Georgia. The six younger children were all in Forsyth County, Georgia by 1880, five living with Margaret's sister, Mary Thomas Echols, and one with an unrelated family.

It appears that Samantha and her older brother, Henry Milton, remained in Hopkins County when their father left for Georgia. At least, she was there in 1879 to get married and spent the rest of her life there. Milt was in there in 1880, listed as an inmate of the Poor House in the census. The Hopkins County Clerk has Poor House records but the earliest ones available are a couple of years after Milt died in 1893.

Just who was J. E. Day? Was he a relative? Did Samantha live with him? Had she been in his care since her father left Hopkins County soon after (or even before) her mother died in 1876? Was he a Hankins family friend? Was he just someone hanging around the courthouse that day who did her a favor?

I can't answer any of those questions today but I've started researching J. E. and John Days from Hopkins County. Yes, of course, there was more than one. I plan to document that research here as it progresses. Stay tuned.  

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

Samantha was my great-grandmother through her daughter (my paternal grandmother), Verda Waller Hankins. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins

My maternal grandmother has been the topic of numerous posts here. She's really responsible for my interest in genealogy even though that interest didn't develop until more than twenty years after she died. For that reason, it feels right that she's the topic of the first post in this series.

Emma became the postmaster at Loyall, Kentucky in 1937. That is a fact I've mentioned in other posts but never really explored. According to information she recorded in a fill-in-the-blanks family tree book, she held that position from March 1937–September 1941.

Emma behind the counter at the Loyall Post Office.

This record of Appointments of U.S. Postmasters for Loyall in Harlan County, Kentucky gives more detail than she provided.

Mrs. Emma E. Hopkins: Nominated Mar 1, 1937; Confirmed Mar 4, 1937; Recess or Acting apptd Pres Mar 10, 1937; Commission Signed and Mailed Mar 31, 1937; Assumed Charge Apr 4, 1937; Cause and Date of Vacancy Com. Ex. [Commission Expired] The next line shows her successor assumed charge Oct 1, 1941.

If her copy of that commission still exists, someone in the family is holding out on me. My guess is that it was destroyed along with so many of my grandparents' papers and photos when the Cumberland River flooded Loyall in the spring of 1977.

Did the Post Office keep copies of those commissions? You can bet finding out is now on my to-do list.

Source:  Records of the Post Office Department, "U.S. Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832–1971," database, Ancestry ( : accessed 3 January 2014), Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; citing National Archives and Records Adminstration microfilm M841.

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

Saturday, January 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I've been thinking about a weekly topic that could be the foundation for this blog in 2014 and get me back on a research track.

When Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small issued a challenge yesterday to write a blog post each week about a specific ancestor, I knew that was it. Check out the details of Amy's challenge in her post Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Over the past four years, I've written about a number of ancestors here and I'll probably re-visit some of those stories for this series but I'll also cover new ground. No doubt along the way, some holes in my research will show up and that is a good thing.

The series starts here on Monday. Follow No Story Too Small for a weekly recap with links to participating blogs.

*Graphic by Amy Johnson Crow.