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.