Saturday, November 22, 2008

Four Stories

My grandfather was James Mullins. His parents were Joshua and Annie Houston Mullins. Joshua's parents were James and Rebecca Hayes Mullins. James father was Booker Mullins. One of Booker's children's death certificates lists his mother's name as Sarah. Other women are listed as Booker's wife, but I have never found that he had more than one marriage -- and the only clue for his wife being the Sarah listed on the death certificate.

Booker grew up in the home of William and Katherine Mullins. With DNA tests of today Booker's descendants are not matching those of his brothers descendants. It is thought that he was fathered by one of the daughters of William and Katherine and Sherwood Adkins who was known for his attachments to young girls. Of course, those who tell that story can never tell me the name of the daughter who might have been the mother. Why couldn't it have been Katherine who dallied with a younger man? Regardless, Booker was brought up as if he were a child of William and Katherine. They lived in Franklin county, Virginia.

I found an article by James Taylor Adams. It tells a bit about Booker, a bit about the naming of Pound, a bit about Susan Dean Sowards and finally how John Fox used Susan and her husband as models for characters in his book, "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine".

Pound is the only place I ever heard which always had "the" in front of it. We are going to "the Pound". We never said we are going to "the Dayton". Put most times growing up I would hear it referred to as "the Pound." I just never knew til I read the article that James Taylor Adams wrote that my family, through Booker, had anything to do with the name.

Here is the article:

Kingsport Times
Kingsport, Tennsesee
July 19, 1950 page 8

The Forks Of The Pound Is Historical Ground

By James Taylor Adams
Daily News Correspondent

Big Laurel, Va. July 19 – Historic ground. That’s the story of the forks of the Pound… and a quarter of a mile there from in every direction.

If Col. Christopher Gist’s journal has been read correctly, it was in the little scrap of level ground, just west of the meeting of the two streams that the first white man’s fire was kindled in all the territory now embraced in Wise County; and a little to the
east near the center of the present incorporated town of Pound.

Booker Jim Mullins, seeking adventure and a home in the wilderness moved in from Franklin county, Virginia, and established himself and the first mill, capable of turning corn into meal, to be operated in this region. Mullins’ mill was not a mill in the exact sense of the word. It was simply a mortar, operated by horsepower, which pounded the corn into meal. But it was sufficient unto the needs of the settlers for twenty miles around; and its pounding was enough to give a name to a river and a town.

Mullins didn’t stay long. He was a man who wanted plenty of elbowroom. So, when other settlers began crowding in on him to the limit of a mile, he sold out to William Roberson, a native of Greenbriar County, and moved on across Pine Mountain and fixed himself on Shelby.

It was sometime in the 1820’s that Roberson made the deal with Booker Jim Mullins; and soon thereafter he abandoned the pounding mortar and built a water mill. Hut folks had become
accustomed to calling the place “the Pound”; and it’s been “the Pound” ever since.

The Roberson house stood on a gentle rise of ground, between
the emptying of Bold Camp and Mill Creek. One night there came a timid tapping on their door. Pulling the bolt, they found a little girl standing on the step. Although the night was cold and uncomfortable to the well-clad, the child was barefoot and her clothes were thin and well worn.

The little girl, destined to become immortalized in tradition
and story, said her name was Susan Dean. Her parents were dead, she told the Roberson, and she had no kin who would take her in; so she had just started out. “I come from back yunner,” she said, with a nod of her head in the direction of the Clinch Valley which lay twenty-five miles to the south “an ‘I run nearly ever’ step of the way.”

Susan Dean never forgot that lonely childhood journey. Long years after, when she was old, she would tell it to her grandchildren. It seemed she always chose a cold and blustery
night for narrating the hardships she suffered on her first (and last) trip to the Pound…. For she never left the neighborhood where fate had brought her. She had almost forgotten the very names of her parents; and she might, she said, sometimes forget the many hardships of her early life on the Pound; but she would never forget how, barefooted and almost naked, she madder her way over miles and miles of snow covered wilderness trail to reach the haven of the William Roberson home. There was a light snow on the ground; and she remembered how she would run from one mud puddle to another, holding her feet in the water and slosh to keep them from freezing.

While Susan Dean was in her early teens young Eff Sowards came a courting; and it was not long until they were married and were building a house, just above the clearing that Peter Reedy had made some years before but had abandoned.

Here they settled down; and here they reared their several sons and daughters.

One day, during the War Between the States, the Federal
soldiers, who had captured the town of Gladeville, but were then retreating through Pound Gap to escape a Confederate Army moving up from Wytheville, left one of their company on the Soward porch. The captain, in charge, told Mrs. Sowards that the man had died of a fever; and he requested that she see to his burial.

It was a mile to the nearest neighbor; and Susan Sowards did not like the idea of leaving the dead man alone while she went for help. So, seating herself on the porch, she took her baby on her lap and began singing it to sleep with a lullaby.

All at once the sheet, which she had used to cover the body, began to move; and the next moment, the “corpse” pawed the sheet from his face and, looking Mrs. Sowards in the eye,
cried, “Sissie, oh Sissie!”

Susan Sowards, hugging her child to her breast, started to run away. “Hut,” she said later, “I couldn’t leave those pleading eyes.” So all through that day and til midnight she nursed
and doctored the dying man; the man who but a few hours before, had been engaged in laying waste the farms and towns of her land.

“Aunt Susan,” as Mrs. Sowards was affectionately called by her younger neighbors, would break down and cry, as she would tell this story of the dying “Yankee.” It was just after the hour of midnight, she said, that the soldier looked up into her face and, with a smile crinkling the corners of his fever-arched mouth,
whispered: “Sissie, I’ll be alright.” And, with that, he was
gone. She sat by the corpse the remainder of that long and awesome night. The next day, Jim Roberson, son of William, came along; and he “put out the alarm”: and some others came in and helped to dig a grave and bury the unknown soldier …. Unknown unto this day. How long, how long, did “Sissie” wait and watch for his return?

When John Fox, Jr., was gathering material for his novel, “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine”, he with the late Hennie Gilliam, visited the Soward’s home. He was so taken with the old couple, particularly the conversation of “Aunt Susan” that he returned for several other visits; and “Uncle Eff” and “Aunt Susan” became the “Uncle Billy” and “Old Hon” of his story.

From that old mortar mill owned by Booker Mullins where 'the pound' could be heard from miles around when the mill was working came the name. I will think of the Pound differently in the future.

Friday, November 21, 2008

5,000 Attend Adams-Craft-Webb Reunion in 1937

While I am waiting for my laptop to be returned I have been going through the 350 news clippings that I found which mention James Taylor Adams name in them. I haven't found another on our family members. Some are interesting stories, but not the kind of thing I write about or would include here. I found this little clipping that I thought was interesting. Where in the world would you hold a reunion in Mayking that 5,000 people could attend?

Middlesboro Daily News
Middlesboro, Kentucky
July 12, 1937, page 5

5000 Present for Reunion

Jenkins, Ky. – Nearly 5,000 persons trekked to Mayking Sunday for the old Adams-Craft-Webb reunion. The families are three of the oldest in the mountains, whose ancestors made the first settlements in Eastern Kentucky.

Dr. Wily J. Adams, Oklahoma City, Okla., was one of those present who came from a distance to honor the families.

Dr. Adams responded to the address of welcome by Prof. Watson Webb. Dr. Joseph D. Webb, Lexington; James Taylor Adams, Big Laurel, Va., and Prof Kearney Adams of Richmond State Normal spoke on the family histories. Dr. Adams gave data on the first John Adams buried in old cemetery here. Others traced the career of BenjaminWebb, first of the Webb family, a Revolutionary War hero and descendant of Daniel Boone.

Many counties of Kentucky were represented at the reunion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goose Creek Cemetery Part 2

Boy am I lost without my computer. Well, I guess I should amend that. Boy am I lost without the internet on my computer. My fan went out on my laptop and is in the shop being repaired. Well, it's somewhere being repaired. For all the service I bought they never seem to be able to fix anything onsite. So my files and sources are on that harddrive.

Yesterday my cousin, Rosie, and her husband, Robert, and I went to the cemetery which was supposed to be behind the house once owned by R. B. and Siller Houston Meade. We went up to the locked gate that I had encountered on Saturday. The construction company used to be headquartered there and have moved the headquarters to Whitesburg. This site is more storage and sometimes someone is working there, but it could be locked. They told us if it were locked they would come and unlock the gates for us. They gates were unlocked.

We had been told that you needed a four wheel drive or 4 wheeler to get up the graveled road. Robert drove up as far as he could, and then we started walking. It was steep, but at least cleared and nothing like trying to climb up the creek wall when I was going toward Aunt Annie Bentley Wright's grave. It was a long walk, too.

Finally, we got to the graves. They were covered with leaves. We split and started going through the graves looking for Thaney and Betsy. When I had called Archie Meade, R. B. and Siller's son, he said that the graves outside the fence were Jane, her husband and two babies (Siller's first child and Denton's daughter, Mae.). Archie said that the first grave inside the fence behind Jane's was Thaney's grave and next to him was where Betsy Fleming Houston was buried. He did not remember Annie and did not know where her grave was located there. He said it had been about 53 years since he had been there. He said Thaney and Betsy had tombstones.

The road we followed took us in to the back of the cemetery. There are quite a few tombstones up there. The newest grave seemed to be 1967 if I remember correctly. We set about trying to find Jane or Thaney or Betsy's grave. Rober or Rosie found Jane's. Next to it we found Charlie McCray. We didn't find the babie's graves but think they must have been only marked with rocks.

Behind Jane's grave was the remains of a fence. It had fallen down. I saw another part of old fencing at the back, but those were the only two traces I saw.

Now did I tell you how prepared we were? Rosie was in layers. She had leggings, gloves, and a toboggin. I had gloves, a toboggin, leather coat for windbreak, and a bag with chalk, a notebook, and a broom. The broom fell out of the bag and it stayed in the car. Rosie brought along two walking sticks and gave me one. We used it at the graves to try to find stones in that area where we think Thaney and Betsy were. Archie was right on with his directions. We just know that they were there, but something we couldn't find.

Rosie discovered a couple of stones that had fallen over and we were able to clear them and chalk them so we could read them. I took pictures of everything. I will post them later when I get my computer back and can take the pictures from my camera to the computer.

I was suprised to find so many Collier graves. I asked Rosie if this could be the Wright Collier cemetery they talked about. She said, no, that was the one down the right hand fork and it was an easy one to reach. There weren't any Wrights

Here are some of the names we found:

Letha Isom 1924-1925
Charlie McCray son of Benjamin & Mahala McCray 1860-1930
Bertha Gay Johnson
Elihu Pendleton Johnson 1916-1917
James Conway Johnson 1908-1917
Nancy Jane Potter 1877-1917
Earnest Carter
Sarah Yonts 18860
O B Houston 1880-1919
Jane McCray 1871-
Arthur Denton Collier
J. A. Collier 1874-1930
Robert Collier 1899-1926
Thomas Luther Collier 1908-1941
Orlena Ruth Isaacs 1900-1947
Robert Eugene Isaacs 1931-1993
Florence Collier Hall 1898-1922
Carrie Collier 1908-1920
Sgt. Hayes Bentley 1921-1944
Luther Potter 1908-1927
Joe Potter 1901-1923
Pina Mae Venters 1899-1918

Some names I know well. Some are mysteries to me. There were more that I could not read through my 3 inch LCD screen. If you recognize any of them and want to share the info, please email me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Goose Creek Cemetery behind R B Meade's

I am searching for my great grandmother's grave. She was Annie Houston Mullins. She was the first wife of my great grandfather, Joshua Mullins. Their son was my grandfather, James Mullins. She died in chilbirth in 1906.

After Annie died, the children stayed with her parents, Thaney & Betsy Houston. I followed Thaney and Betsy through the 1920 cenus and then they just dropped off the records. I thought they might have died before the 1930 census, but I could not find a death certificate for either. Since I knew that there was a cemetery behind one of the family homes at Goose Creek, I thought that is probably where Annie had to be buried. I was also hoping that it is were Thaney and Betsy were buried, too.

My cousin, Rosie, verified through another cousin that Annie had been buried at Goose Creek. They did not know about Thaney and Betsy.

Rosie had the directions on finding the cemetery. We agreed since it was raining Saturday and snowy today we would go today to find the cemetery. I was anxious to see what this cemetery and knew that it would probably be behind a locked gate on the weekends, but I went anyway.

I followed Rosie's instructions and they were perfect. She was right. I ran into a locked gate. I was turning around to leave when another car came up the road. Since it is one lane, I let her come up and waited. I went down the road then turned around and went back to the car and asked about the cemetery.

Turns out one of the women in the car was Denton Houston's step-granddaughter. My Annie was Denton's sister. The other lady was a Hall by marriage. She sent me to her father-in-law's home because she said he knew everyone.

I went and Mr. Hall was sleeping, but his wife and son were the most hospitable. They told me so many things about Goose Creek. I know of four other cemeteries there. Rosie and I will try to find at least two of them.

Mrs. Hall told me that I should call one of R. B. Meade's sons. She gave me his number. The cemetery where Annie should be was behind their house. R. B. was married to Siller Houston who was Denton Houston's daughter.

Cousin Meade said he couldn't help me with Annie's grave. He said it had been 53 years since he had been there, but he couldn't remember an Annie. He said he was so sorry, but all he remembered was his grandpa's parents were buried there. Who were they? I asked. Thaney and Betsy Houston.

I asked if Thaney and Betsy had tombstones. He said "oh yes." He said when they were first buried they had houses over their graves. Over the years the houses fell apart and they were taken down. He said that when you go up there was a fence around the graves. But outside of the fence were four graves belonging to Jenny McCray, her husband, a child of Denton named Mae and a baby (who at this moment I can't remember).

He said inside the fence next to Jenny's grave was Thaney's and next to him was Betsy's grave.

I have gloves, a broom, chalk and my camera to take to the cemetery today. I will post the results after I get my main computer back and can access the pictures from my camera. It may be two weeks. Hopefully not.

I can't believe I am still connected. I have so many things that I have discovered.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Death of James Boone & Henry Russell

Middlesboro Times News
Wednesday, February 21, 1951
Page 3

75 Years Ago

The Torture Death of Young Virginian

By James Taylor Adams
Daily News Feature Writer

BIG LAUREL, Va., -- But for a single tragic event many family names, long prominent in Southwestern Virginia history, would be found only in the fading records of Russell County.

In the fall of 1773 Daniel Boone, accompanied by many families from Western North Carolina, set out for the wilderness of Kentucky. The party crossed over the mountains, the Holston and Clinch Rivers, and reached the Warriors Path in Powells Valley. Here they were joined by another party, coming down from the upper Clinch Valley settlements; and Boone, deciding that the settlers would need more breadstuffs and farming equipment, sent his son James back to Castlewood to inform William Russell, who was preparing to join the party, along with several other families from the same settlement for the trip to Kentucky, to bring more supplies than had first been agreed upon by the two.

“Clappity-clap, calppity-clap.” Ringing hoofs on the limestone trail. Timid deer, in the deep thickets, poised for instant flight as they watched the galloping stead, with the sixteen-year-old James Boone, at ease on his back come up from the west and disappear into the east.

“Clappity-clap, clappity-clap.” On and away through Lovelady Gap. Sunset and evening shade. Thickening gloom. Gathering dusk. Then black dark.

“Sluggity-slug, sluggity-slug.” Ever onward through the deep night pushed young Boone, the hoofs of his mount slashing the muck of the broad Clinch River bottoms.

A few miles south of Castelswood, the boy reined to a stop at the two-story log mansion of William Russell, and delivered his father’s message.

Russell and several other families of the Castlewood settlement were preparing to join Boone’s party, somewhere along the Warrior Path or the Wilderness Trial. So, the next morning, young James Boone, loaded with supplies, and accompanied by Henry Russell, teenage son of William Russell, two hired hands and two of the Russell slaves, struck out down the Clinch on the return journey.

All went well with the little party as they covered the trail at a leisurely pace. The second night (October 10, 1773) they made camp on Wallens Creek, in the present Lee County, only about three miles east of where the main body of migrants, under the leadership of Daniel Boone, was camped.

Indian trouble was not anticipated. Only a few weeks before the Moafees had returned from the Kentucky wilderness country and reported that the Shawnees and Delawares were very friendly.

The mid-fall night as the little party sat around their campfire, they could hear the howl of the timber wolves, one of the most terrifying sounds of the wilderness. The six men may have huddled a little closer together. But that was all. For the howls of the wolves was nothing new, though always startling to them. No doubt, the other five were entertained that night, by Young Boone with stories of his already famous father’s experiences in the wilderness.

About midnight they spread their blankets and went to sleep, never dreaming that death and destruction was creeping upon them through the surrounding gloom.

The night wore on. Mayhap they dreamed of high adventure in that land beyond the Cumberlands for which the party had set out.

Dawn was breaking this nigh to day when, suddenly and without any warning, a band of Indians charged the camp, whooping and firing as they came. James Boone and Henry Russell were both shot through the hips. Neither of the boys could stand, walk or run for the safety of the forest. One of the slaves was shot dead; one of the workmen suffered a like fate. The other hired man escaped immediate death and ran into the woods, but he was never seen again. Several years later a skelton (sic) of a man was found in the mountains, not far from the scene and it was presumed to be his. It is believed that he had been wounded and finally died, unattended and alone, in the forest.

One of the slaves was lucky enough to escape the fire and crawled into a pile of driftwood and lay there peeping out, trembling at the scene that followed.

The Indians settled down to pertake (sic) of the party’s food; and while they were munching in delight, they proceeded to torture the teenage boys. Evidently the Indians were just passing through the country; and their attack on the supply party had not been planned. They seemed in a hurry to be on their way. So, not having time to burn their captives at the stake, and their wounds being such as not to allow them to travel, they proceeded to walk around the wounded boys, jabbing them with their knives.

Among the band was an Indian, called Big Jim, who had often visited the Boone home in North Carolina. Young James pleaded with him to show mercy, reminding him of the friendship his father had shown him. But all to no avail. The Indians continued to go round and round the boys, their hands darting out to stab their flesh with already bloody blades. Finally the concealed slave heard young Boone pleading with Big Jim to tomahawk him and put him out of his misery. Again Big Jim refused to call off the torture. Then finally, after many house of being stabbed and cut to pieces, the boys died.

Soon after the Indians departed the scene a member of the advance party, becoming involved in an argument with another man left the company and started alone back along the Warriors Path. Coming upon the scene of the massacre he stood there staring at the carnage until William Russell and his party rode up from the east. The bodies of both the one and the Russell boys were mutilated in the most horrible manner. They had been literally slashed to pieces and their toe and finger nails torn out by the roots.

William Russell sent one of his men on ahead to notify Daniel Boone while he and the others set about digging four graves.

Some accounts say the Indians attacked the Daniel Boone party the following night and were driven off; other say that they were not seen or heard of again.

On hearing of her son’s death, Daniel Boone’s wife sent her best linen sheet to wrap around James “to,” as she said, “keep the earth from his body.”

Discouraged and heartbroken Daniel Boone decided to turn back on the trail and postpone his adventure into Kentucky. So bother partied following his lead, returned to Castlewood, where Boone and his family spent the winter in the home of Capt. David Gass.

One day in May, 1774, the famous trailblazer, slopped away from his family and friends and struck out alone along the Warriors Path. At dusk two days later, he stood beside the wilderness grave of his son. It is said that he found James’ grave had been dug into by the wild beasts of the forest; and that to satisfy himself, that the body had not been molested, he opened the grave and looked upon the body, the first time he had seen it since the lad had been killed; then he carefully tenderly filled in the grave, mounted his horse and rode away silently into the night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gramma Kilt a Bar at Age 17

Got a couple of comments about Benjamin and Millie. Benjamin is believed and Millie not so much. LOL

Well, if that were one big old hungry and frustrated at not getting that hog bear and someone bonked me on the head with a frying pan, then I believe I would be enraged enough to turn around and swipe the heck out of the person with that cast iron. I would probably have taken it from them and beat them senseless. But then I would be a bear and I probably would have just killed the person instead of the hog. Now maybe it was just a baby bear. Usually there is a grain of truth to stories like that. I would imagine that I would not be suprised to find the bear was one dragging along a bear trap, dazed from being stung by a thousand bees and hung up in the fence trying to get at that mouth watering pork.

So do I believe totally? Nah, but I love the story. And I love finding out something besides my g-g-g-g Grandmother's name.

When I find clippings of stories like this, I do want to present them the way they were originally published. I could copy and paste the clippings, but they are very difficult to read, so I just transcribed the. I try to preserve them as they were written but sometimes I can't help but correct spelling (which was probably just a typsetting error), but I really try to do them exactly as written.

I have found 347 clippins with James Taylor Adams in them. So far three have been about family members. James was a very interesting fellow himself so part of the clippings are his obituary, his withdrawal from the Wise County Sheriff's office race in the 1930's and his announcements of forthcoming reunions, historical society meetings and things which happened to him.

I think James Taylor Adams is a gold mine.

And you thought cast iron was just for cooking...

I did a nutshell view of the Kilgore family in an earlier blog. Rafe Kilgore married Amelia "Millie" Wheatley. Their daughter Nancy Kilgore married William Addington. Their daughter, Malinda Addington, married John Martin Bentley. Their son, Otho Bentley, married Nancy Alice Hall. Otho and Nancy were my grandparents. That would make Millie Wheatley Kilgore my great great great grand grandmother.

You also know that we are part of the Boone family. Daniel Boone is my first cousin eight times removed. Daniel's aunt, Mary Boone, married John Webb. That is our connection to Daniel Boone through our grandmother Mary Boone Webb.

I found an article that John Taylor Adams wrote describing an incident that happened to Millie when she was about 17 years old. What a family we come from.

Kingsport Times News
Kingsport, Tennessee
November 19, 1950 Page 12

Millie and the Bear by James Taylor Adams

Daniel Boone killed a bear.

I’ll go as far as to say that he may have killed a whole passel of bears. For if the
carved records, found all up and down East Tennessee, over Western North
Carolina, across Southwestern Virginia and throughout most of Kentucky, are
to be accepted at face value Daniel must have divided his time, about equally between shooting bears and recording the incident by knifing the bark of the nearest beech at hand.

If all the trees bearing the crudely carved legend: “D. Boon Kilt a Bar 17…” and
so on are taken into account, one is left wondering how the hardly old adventurer found time to blaze the trails and kill the Indians, credited to him by the historians.

One thing stands out: If Daniel Boone
carved all these beech bark records of bear killing he was a far-seeing man; he
fully appreciated the place he would occupy in history; and he didn’t want
to deprive the writing boys of a single thing that would make good reading

But Millie Wheatley was not like that. Milly took the killing of a bear in stride. She looked upon the affair as just
another incident in the life of a teen-age girl, living on the ragged fringe of
civilization; and she didn’t do any carving or, or even, drive a stake to
mark the spot where she laid low the ferocious beast. And, remember,
Milly did the hard way, without benefit of a gun of any other ordinary weapon.

Daniel Boone took a good aim and shot his bears, marking the places with laborious carving. But Milly Wheatley beat her bear’s brains out with a long handle skillet; cleaned up the mess, and went about her chores as if nothing had happened.

The time was about 1819. The place was Rye Cove section of Scott County.

One night William Wheatley and his wife left home to attend a religious service
at a neighbor’s house, several miles across the hills. Milly, who was about 17, stayed home with her brothers, Arter and Jackie. Maybe there were other brothers
and sisters; but, if so, I have no record of

Along about bedtime the fattening hog, penned about fifty yards, from the house set up a terrific squealing. The young folks knew that the porker was being
attacked by some wild beast.

The two young men looked about for the
gun. It was not to be found. Then they remembered that their father had carried it with him to the meeting. They were afraid to venture out in the night without arms. They would go as far as the door, then back up. All the time Milly was begging them, pleading with them, to go to the rescue of the defenseless hog. But she couldn’t get them started.

Standing on the steps, her hand shading her eyes, trying to pierce the dark, the girl could hear painful grunts and squealing
laments of the hog and the vicious growls of its attacker. And she knew by the growls that it was a bear.

Millie couldn’t stand it any longer.
Danger or no danger she was going out there. So, Running back into the
house and still pleading with her trembling brothers to do something, she
grabbed up the first thing at hand which happened to be the long-handle skillet,
in which they baked their bread, and rushed out into the night.

The boys, still shivering in fear, heard the bear’s growls increase in ferocity as
the hog’s defender arrived at the pen
and began to belabor the beast with the
skillet. The fight went on for ten or fifteen minutes. Then everything was quite (sic) for a moment except the more normal grunting of the hog, after which
They heard Millie calling, “Come out here, fraidy-cats, and bring me a torch!”

The young men obeyed their sister’s command, and, when they arrived at the hog pen, they found her tugging at the body of the biggest bear ever killed in that section of Scott County, trying to drag it out of the pen. Seeing that it was stone dead, the boys helped Milly get it
into the yard just as their father and mother arrived home from the meeting.

It is said that the Wheatleys had bear meat enough to last them all winter, even after they had distributed a mess here and a mess there, all over the neighborhood.

Soon thereafter, Little Rafe Kilgore, hearing of the bravery and prowess of pretty Milly Wheatley, began going over to William Wheatley’s courting; and it wasn’t long until he proposed and was accepted.

Brave Milly and Little Rafe were married in 1820. Soon thereafter they struck out to find a new home in the wilderness. They found it on Rocky Fork of Guests River; and here at the core of the community now known as Big Laurel, they built the first house in this section of Wise County and here they lived out their days and lie buried close by.

And today, the Kilgores are building a
monument to mark the site that Milly and Rafe chose for their home.

Millie and the Bear

I found a second article that James Taylor Adams had written and published about Milly Wheatley. It was published like this:

Kingsport Times News
March 21, 1948, page 5

Big Laurel, Va (Spl) Women and girls who screech at the sight of a mouse could well take lessons in courage from Milly Wheatley. So let’s peep back through one hundred twenty eight years and see what manner of girl and woman this Milly Wheatley was.

It was a Sunday morning. The year was 1820. Little Rafe Kilgore trudged over the Scott County, Virginia hills and arrived at his home from a Saturday night’s courting of 18 year old Milly.

“Had bear-meat for supper an’ breakfast over to Bill’s, he told his folks.

“Huh!” said Big Rafe, his father, “Bill kill a bear?”

“Unh-unh,” said Little Rafe, “Bill didn’t kill no bear." Milly kilt it.”

And, as the story came out, Milly had been very unorthodox and fearless in the killing of the bear.

William Wheatley and his wife had gone on a visit to a neighboring settler, leaving young Milly and her two or three grown brothers at home. Deep in the night the young folks had been awakened by the squealing of their fattening hog which was penned not far from the house.

Milly told her brothers to get up and take a gun and see what as worrying the hog. She believed it was a bear. The boys refused to venture into the unknown. So Milly although unfamiliar with firearms, grabbed up a handled-skillet and ran out to
the pen. Sure enough it was a bear. And with one well placed lick she brought it down, and she never stopped flailing until the animal was dead.

Not long after her adventure with the bear, Milly Wheatley became the wife of Little Rafe Kilgore and they moved to the Rocky Fork of Guests River, in Wise County, and settled at what is now Big Laurel. They were the first settlers there.

They built a fairly comfortable hewed beech log house and lived in it for several years. Finally, after all their children had been raised and had married off, they began to ramble. They moved dozens of times. To Poor House Branch of the Beaver Dam Fork of Guests River; to the bend of the Pound; to Wheatley Branch near Wise; to Greasy Gap, near present Glamorgan, and then, in their old age, they returned to their first home, which had stood here, deserted, but waiting for them and here they lived out their days and both died in the very same house in which they had started housekeeping.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We Lost a Hero

Today was one of my days to stay with my father. My brother was due to relieve me at 6 pm. He called about 4 and asked if I could stay later. He said it was really important and he would explain when he saw me. I said, of course. About 9 I found out what his day had been like.

My brother works with a couple I only know as Lynn and Cese (sounds like Cease). I am probably not even spelling her name the right way. They have come to our family reunion at Labor Day. Cese is South American and thinks our southern tipped accents are funny. They are a very wonderful couple.

Lynn was married before and had a son, John. The marriage didn't last and ended in divorce about 30 years ago. Cese and Lynn had a daughter. The children acted as if they were whole siblings. There was nothing half about their relationship.

John went in the army and was sent to Afghanistan. His sister is in the Air Force serving in San Antonio. A few days ago John was following a humvee which hit a land mine. Everything was on fire all at once. I didn't know it until today but there is an escape hatch on the humvees. He went under, opened the hatch and pulled out three men all who were badly burned.

Lynn went to the San Antonio area to visit some of his customers. He also planned to visit with his daughter. Today is her birthday.

My brother was at the office alone. Cese was at home. Two men in uniform showed up at John's mother's home. She called the office looking for Cese. Dave went to Cese's home. Two men in uniform were at her home, but they would not tell her anything because they had not received a call that the first wife and Lynn were notified. She was only third in line for the information that they had to deliver.

The first thing my brother said to Cese was "I'm so sorry." Cese said "for what? No one will tell me anything!!" The men in uniform asked Dave to track Lynn down and find out where they could have two more men in uniform talk to him face to face in San Antonio.

Dave knew the customers that Lynn was visiting. He finally caught up with him on a cell phone. As luck would have it, the three soldiers that John pulled out of the fire were in a hospital in San Antonio. Lynn and his daughter were in the hospital visiting the three soldiers that his son had saved.

The men in uniform said the San Antonio uniforms would go to the daughter's apartment at 7 pm. Dave stayed with Cese til after the San Antonio uniforms had talked to Lynn and their daughter,and until Cese's sister came to be with her.

John was killed in action today while in another humvee. He was 37.

I never met John, yet I feel a loss from his passing. The military says that John won't be sent home for about fourteen days. One man who touched lives of people that he did not even know.

Millie and the Bear

I found a second article that James Taylor Adams had written and published about Milly Wheatley. It w

Appalachian Tale By James Taylor Adams

This article is printed from the story in the Kingsport Times, Kingsport, Tennessee on page 32 published November 26, 1950.

When I was eleven my mother married, as her second husband, a man named Jesse Adams, an old fellow -- up around eighty. The folks, round about, spoke of him as "Colly Jess" because he lived on the head of a stream called Crafts Colly and also to distinguish him from the three or four other Jesse Adamses in that immediate section. Genealogically speaking , he was a
second cousin - uncle to my father, Joseph Adams. I was fond of the old man and treated him with all respect due his step-fatherly position and age; but I could never bring myself to call him father, daddy, pap, or anything like that. I referred to him as he, him, or the old man; and addressed him personally, simply as you.

The old man, when he was a young man and first married, had built himself a two-pen story-and-a-half, log house. There he had reared a large family of sons and daughters; and there he had lived for fifty-nine years, busy from star to star, with never the time to floor and otherwise finish the broad hallway between the two pens of the big house; nor had he ever found time to build a stairway from the ground floor to the loft or upstairs, depending on a rickety ladder, set against the wall of the living room, to reach the skuttle hole, leading to the big, unfinished room above, used to store foodstuffs and a half century's accumulation of plunder.

One day, when no one was home but the old man and me, I climbed the ladder and explored the loft; and there, neatly stacked on the open joists, I found a dozen or so of the most beautiful black walnut boards I had ever seen. Most were twelve inches wide and eight feet long, but there were two
pieces that were all of 18 inches across and just bout two feet in length. They all looked old, weather-stained: and I decided they were leftovers, stored there and abandoned, from some cabinet-making project in the years gone by. So, with one of the short pieces under my arm, I scrambled through the skuttle hold and descended the ladder.

The old man was sitting in the front of the fire, scratching in
the ashes with the end of his walking stick. As my feet hit the
floor he looked up. His eyes fastened on the board under my arm. He looked to me like he as going to have a fit or something.

"I was gong to make something, " I said, shifting my gaze from the old man's face to the walnut board.

"Make something!" shouted the old man. "That's a piece of my

I dropped the plank and mashed my big toe.

The old man didn't fuss, threaten or scold. All he did was to
look sort of hurt and tell me to take the board and put it back where I had found it. I backed away from the thing, refusing to touch it again: the first and only time I ever failed to obey the old man's command.

When the old man had struggled down from the loft, and had gone back to scratching in the ashes, he told me how he had, long before, set his heart on being buried in a coffin made from the lumber of a certain walnut tree, under which he had cooled himself through forty years. Then he told me the story of Benjamin Webb.

Benjamin Webb, a native of Wilkes County, North Carolina, was one of the first settlers in that neighborhood. He was a man of peculiar notions; and , it seems, he was a man of education above the average of his day.

Soon after he had settled in his new home, and while the wilderness still hemmed him in, his eighteen-year-old son, Nelson, was stricken with a strange malady. He made a stretcher of deer skins and with the help of several neighbors, carried the young man all the way to Baltimore, a distance of
more than four hundred miles. The doctors in the Maryland City shook their heads; and Benjamin and his friends carried him back home. He didn't live long; and he was the second white man to be buried in what is now Letcher County, Kentucky. His grandfather, John Adams, who died in 1815, was the first.

Many years before Benjamin died he employed an expert to make him a coffin. The old man (Jesse Adams) said it was a dandy;; a beautiful thing, made of carved black walnut and trimmed with polished brass.

I gathered from what the old man said that he had a mind to pattern Benjamin Webb's coffin, maybe better it, for himself. But I asked no questions, and he didn't say for sure.

The old man went onto tell me how Webb kept this coffin under the bed; and when company dropped in, he would drag it out, remove the lid, and live down in it to show them how well it fit. Sometimes, the old man said when the Webbs had over-night visitors and they were crowded for bed room, Benjamin would
haul out his coffin and sleep in it.

When old, Benjamin finally came to die, he made a strange deathbed request. He said that he wanted them to take up his body on the day when he had been buried seven years, or if the weather or other conditions would not permit on that day, to take him up the day he had been buried eleven years.

His folks promised to carry out his dying request; and at the exact hour on the very day the seven years expired, they dug old Benjamin up, removed the lid from the coffin, let all who would, see. They they sealed the coffin again, and lowered it into the grave for the second and last time.

Had you ever heard the story about the coffin or digging Benjamin up seven years later? I had never run across it til this week. What a story. Believe me, I will be on the lookout for anything else I can find by James Taylor Adams.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

James Taylor Adams

The man who wrote the article about the dreams that Letty Adams had predicting deaths in the family wrote them in a column he wrote in the Kingsport Times called "Appalachian Tales." I wasn't all that impressed with the way he wrote that article. However, I found another that impressed me to the highest. I will print it tomorrow, but I wanted to find out more about the man.

I figured from the Adams name he was probably a relative, and he was. His father was Joseph Adams. He lost his father when he was young. When he was about 11 his mother remarried. Her second husband was Jesse "Colly Jesse" Adams. The article I will reprint is one that he tells about an encounter with Jesse when he was alone with him one day shortly after the wedding. You will find it fascinating.

In the meantime, I had started finding things about him and right in the middle of my research the computer died. The fan went out. It will not start again with the fan out to keep it from overheating. I have it in being repaired now. This backup computer is slow.

I googled Mr. Adams and found this on the Wise County Historical Society website which is

This is what they had to say about James:

James Taylor Adams was a prolific writer, a folklorist and a preserver of Appalachian culture. He wrote thousands of articles for magazines and newspapers of which only a few have been collected.

James Taylor Adams was born February 3, 1892, a son of Joseph and Mary Jane (Short) Adams. He was born in Letcher County, Kentucky and lived in Alum Cove, Little Colley and other small communities in Kentucky.

He moved to Wise County, Virginia while yet a young man. He married in 1908 to Dicy Roberts. They had a family of eight children. Among James Taylor's work was at the coke
ovens in Wise County, selling fruit trees; owned a grocery store; sold insurance, and owned and ran a print shop. He was a Notary and built houses to rent. He also established a post office at Big Laurel where he lived and was postmaster there. His wife Dicy also worked in the post-office. He built a Church house; built and ran a library to store his many books, manuscripts, and publications, and to distribute books for people to read. He also built a museum to collect and preserve antiques and old items.

James Taylor worked in the Works progress Association, (WPA). While working for the WPA he collected old songs and stories of the area and wrote them down to preserve. He became interested in family history and compiled the Adams Family history among others.

James Taylor only had a second grade education in the public schools but was a self educated man. He published several newspapers, some of which was The Vagabond Gazette, Adam's Weekly and The Cumberland Empire. He wrote columns for several newspapers, and Detective stories for Detective
magazines and wrote stories for some Canadian magazines under a pen name of Roland Rivers.

Among the books he wrote was one called "Death in the Dark," which is a collection of Factual Ballads of American Mine Disasters with historical notes. He also visited cemeteries of the area and compiled a book of the names and dates on the stones, with a short history of some of the people. The book is called, "Family Burying Grounds in Wise County, Virginia."

He and his wife and family moved to Arkansas to homestead land there, lived in Missouri, then back to West Virginia and finally settled on Rocky Fork at Big Laurel on Rocky Fork. He died in 1954 and is buried at the homeplace there.

James and I share a love of family history. We also share a birthday. I bought an Adams Family History back in the 70's. The name that comes to mind as an author was Dorothy Adams, but there was a man's name attached, too. I will have to get that book out to see if it were one of James'. I also bought the "Buryin' Book".

What an interesting man.

The story is a doozie about our g-g-g-g Grandfather Benjamin Webb.

James Taylor Adams writes about Benjamin Webb as told to him by Colly Jesse Adams

In researching Letty Adams and her dreams, I found another article written by James Taylor Adams.  He is a relative and so far, I know that he was born about 1899.  He wrote a column called Applachian Tales in the Kingsport Times News.  I plan to more work on him.  At this point I know his father was Joseph Adams.  I don't know his mother's name yet.  After Joseph died she married Jesse "Colly Jesse" Adams who was a second cousin to Joseph.  James was about 11 at the time.  His article starts out telling about Colly Jesse, who was about 80 and something that happened to him which caused him to tell the story of Benjamin Webb.  I am going to save that part til I have more about James Taylor Adams.  He was another keeper of the family stories.

On November 26, 1950 this is what he wrote about Benjamin Webb as told to him by Colley Jesse Adams:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do Your Dreams Predict the Future?

John Hobbs Adams is my 5th great grandfather.  He was married twice, first to Nancy Caudill and then to Lydie "Lettie" Simpson.  Next in line was John and Lettie's daughter, Jane "Jennie" Adams who married Benjamin Webb.  Their daughter Lettie Webb married Archelous Columbus Craft.  Their son Enoch Arden "Chunk" Craft married Polly Ann Caudill.  Their daughter Lettie Craft married Joe Hall.  Their daughter Nancy Alice Hall married Otho Bentley.  They were my grandparents.

Jennie Adams Webb had a sister named Mary Ann "Polly" Adams.  She married William Green "Billy Grit" Adams.  William appears to be from a different set of Adams.  I have not found a connection between the two families although both families came from North Carolina.  They both ended up in Kentucky. They married on October 24, 1809 in Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky.  They had the following known children:

1811 John Wiley Adams
1815 Jesse G. Adams
1818 Simpson Evans Adams
January 21 1820, William Green Adams
1821 Sarah "Sally" Adams
1823 Mary "Polly" Adams
February 18, 1826 Spencer Adams
1829 Ellender "Nellie" Adams
October 6, 1831  Lydia Adams

The son, Spencer Adams, married Celia Church.

In 1850 Letcher County, Kentucky
Spencer 25, was a farmer.
Ceiley, 23
William G. 4
Margaret 1
All were born in Kentucky.

In 1860 Letcher County, Kentucky
Spencer 38
Sely 34
William 14
Margaret 11
Samuel 9
Joseph 3
Letty 2
All born in Kentucky except Sely who said she was born in Virginia.

1870 Letcher County, Kentucky
Spencer 45
Salah, 44
William 23
Marget 18
Samuel 21
Joseph 14
Letty 12
David 8
John 6
Jesse 2
Mary 2

1880 Richmond, Wise County, VA
Spencer 56
Cela 55
John 13, son
Green 36, son

The "dreamer" in this family is Letty.  She first married Shadrack R. Roberts.  He died in 1898.  He was a Mexican War vetran.  She was next married to William Mays.  She outlived him, too. 

Letty's parents and her grandmother believed that when you dreamed a dream something was sure to happen that would make you think of it at the very least.  She heard this, but paid it no mind until she turned 42.  She had the first of what would be a dream that would repeat in the future. 

In the dream she ws standing by an open grave.  Looking around the grave she saw her mother, her father and all of her brothers and sisters except Joseph.  No one else besides her parents and siblings were there.  There was no casket and no dead body.  Her father's family were just standing looking into an open grave.

The next night she dreamed that a relative came to tell her that her brother Joseph, who had lived some 40 miles to the north of her home, on Critical Creek, had died at eight o'clock that moming.

Five years later Letty dreamed the same dream again, only this time it was her father, Spencer Adams, who was missing from the family group gathered, in her dream, around the open, new-made grave.  The very next day she received word that her father had passed away.

Two years more and Letty dreamed again.  This time, it was her mother, Celia Adams, who was missing from the faming group, encircling the open grave. She was hardly through telling her dream when a message came telling of her mother's death.

As the years rolled on Letty kept experiencing the dream of the family group and the open grave; and always the one who was missing from the group died within a few hours, following the dream.

After her mother, it was her brother, John Adams, who lived in West Virginia; next it was her sister, Peggy Collins, in Kentucky; and then, finally, it'was her brother Rev. David Adams, also in Kentucky,

When Letty was 82 she had only one brother, Samuel Simpson Adams, left alive. In mid-winter 1941  of Letty Mays was sick with her usual winter cold. Despite her age, her children and grandchildren were not alarmed at her illness. She, herself, was taking her sickness lightly. Then on the morning of February 2 she awoke to tell her folks that she would not live the day through. She had, she said, dreamed that dream again; and this time she was not beside te open grave, but that she was floating away, as if on the wings of the wind, leaving her brother, Samuel Simpson Adams, standing there alone. And that was Letty Mays' last dream. She died at three oclock that afternoon.
I found this story told in a column called Applachian Tales by James Taylor Adams published in the Kingsfort Times News on Sunday, October 8, 1950.

Because she had the same type of dream over and over it was called a chain dream. 

Do you have dreams that come to pass?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Big John Hall's Family Part 2

Going on with the children of John Samuel Hall and Karenhappick Yonts:

Jonathan married Mary Polly Meade.  In the 1870 census John was listed in his parents home as 14.  In 1880 he is own his own with Mary.

I misnamed this picture for Jonathan and Rachel Meade.  It is actually Jonathan, his son, and Mary "Polly" Meade.

Jonathan Hall & Mary Meade

1880 Letcher County
Jonathan 35, farmer  (aged quite a bit, didn't he?)
Mary 30, wife, keeping house
Robert 6, son
John 4, son
William 1, son

Twenty years later in 1900 Millston, Letcher County, Kentucky
Hall, Johnty 45, head, Dec 1855, married 24 years, farmer
Polly, 45, wife, Nov 1855, had 11 children, 11 living
Leander 14, son Oct 1885
Hotence 12, daughter, Jan 1888
Elijah, 10, son, Apr 1890
Armindy, 8, daughter, Mar 1892
Riley 6, son Jun 1893
Ballard, 4 son Mar 1896

Mary and John divorce in 1908.  Mary is living with her son, William in 1910.  They have moved to West Virginia.

1910 Mingo County, West Virginia
Hall, William M., hea, 31, marriage 1, 10 years,  farmer, general
Clarsey, wife, 27, marriage 1, had 7 children, 2 living
Lute, son, 5,
Simon P., son, 8 months, WV KY KY
Polly, mother, 50, divorced
Riley, brother, 18, laborer, on farm
Ballard, brother, 12 laborer on farm
All were KY KY KY except Simon so with Lute being born in Kentucky they have been in West Virginia less than five years.

Robert married Nancy Meade. She was Mary Meade's sister.  They stayed in Letcher County.  In the 1870 census with his parents Robert was 10.

1880 Whitesburg, Letcher County
Elisha, 22, farmer
Nancy, 21, wife, keeping house
Andrew, 3, son
Robert, 9 months, son born in September of 1879

1900 Millstone, Letcher County
Elijah 40, head, May 1860, married 22 years, farmer
Nancy 40, wife, Mar 1860, had 10 children, 7 living
Johnny 18, son Apr 1882
Tilitha 11, daughter Sep 1888
Eveline 9, daughter, Feb 1891
Nancy E., 7, daughter, Jan 1893
Levy, 5, daughter, un 1894
Virgie, 2, daughter, Jun 1897
Meade, Robert, 18, servant, Oct 1881

Robert Hall was born in 1860

William Hall was born in 1864

The following are the children of Big John and Rachel Meade.

Leander married Nancy J. White.  They move to West Virginia.  Thier known children are Susan, Rachel, John Lee, Betty, and William E.

Marion John was born in 1869.  He married Maxaline Hall on March 23, 1889 in Letcher County.  She was the daughter of John Hall and Elizabeth Johnson.  They were cousins.

1900 Millstone, Letcher County
Marion 30, Sept 1869, head, married 12 years, farmer
Maxiline, 25, Mar 1875, wife, had 3 children, 3 living
Lee, 18, Jun 1891, son (he is only 8, but the census taker wrote in 18)
Birtha, 6, May 1894, daughter
William, 3, Jan 1897, son

1910 Millstone, Letcher County
Marion John, Head, 37, 1st marriage, married 21 years, farmer, general farm
Magoline, wife, 36, had 7 children, 7 living
Bertha, daughter, 15, farm laborer, home farm
Willie, son, 12, farm laborer, home farm
Cinthiah L., daughter, 9
Betty A., daughter, 6
Elizabeth, daughter, 3
Rindy M., daughter, 6 months

Marion was shot and killed on August 1, 1914 after the school trustee election in Rockhouse.  He was buried on August 7 at Dean.

Maxaline died on November 27, 1950 in Fleming.  Her cause of death was uremia due to hypertension.

Manerva Hall was born in 1872.  She married Jasper N. Hall. 

Jasper Hall with Manerva Hall holding Dixie

1910 Millstone, Letcher County
Jasper, head, 2nd marriage, 19 years, farmer, general farm
Minerva, wife, 42, 1st marriage, had 4 children, 3 living., farm laborer, home farm
Whirley, son, 2

Esquire Hall married a Mary.

Esquire Hall & Mary "Polly"

Mary married Wilson Hall.  He was a coal miner.  He died on October 20, 1918 of influenza in Weeksbury, Pike County.  Mary died September 26, 1962.  She was in Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia. 

Mary Hall & Hattie Collier

Elizabeth "Betty" married William R. "Will" Stewart.  He was killed in a logging accident in Kanawhat County, Virginia.  Betty died November 15, 1972 in Mayking.  They had at least:  Shellie Ann, Bud and Stella.

Betty holding Bud and William holding Shellie.
Betty with her grandson, Carl.

Lance E. married Pliney. 

1910 Millstone, Letcher County.
Lance, 28, marriage 1, married 9 years, farmer, general farm.
Pliney, wife, 39, marriage 2, had 1 child, not living, farm laborer, home farm.

Lance was killed on August 1, 1914 at the school trustee election in Rockhouse.

Albert died on August 1, 1914 at the school trustee election in Rockhouse.

Emiline Hall was born in 1888.  She died in 1917 .

Bud "Big Bud" married Clovia Meade.  He died May 15, 1971 in Ermine.

Big Bud Hall

Big John Hall's Family Part 1

The election day shootings involved two families, the Halls and the Quillens. They lived in Millstone and were neighbors. I plan on going to the library and going through back issues of the Mountain Eagle to find out more details. My newspaper archives subscription is a disappointment to me.

I have written about two Hall lines. One we are related to and the other we are not. Big John's family is our line. Going back to Jesse Hall and Candacia "Dicy" Franklin, who are my 5th great grandparents, their son Masias is our direct grandfather. Next in line is Richard Hall, then Enoch Mahlon Hall, then Joe Hall and then Nancy Alice Hall who married Otho Bentley.

Masias had a brother named Reuben. Reuben married Nancy Branham Smith. One of their sons was Jonathan Hall. Jonathan Hall was first married to Mary Sanders. They had at least six children: John Samuel, Sarah Jane, Reuben, Allen, Lucinda and Lewis. After Mary died, Jonathan married Susannah Elliott.

In the 1850 Census of Letcher county, Jonathan and Mary were living alone. He was listed as 51 and she as 52.

In the 1860 Census Jonathan and Mary are in the household headed by Jonathan and his first wife, Karenhappik Yonts.

In 1870 Jonathon is in his own dwelling again, this time with Susan. He is 70 and she is 62.

In 1880 Jonathan is 79, still working the farm. Susannah is 66. Living with them are their grandchildren Benjamin, 16, and Jane, 8.

John Samual Hall, the son of Jonathan & Mary Sanders Hall is known as "Big John". He is married to Karenhappick Yonts on September 11, 1845. She is listed in some census records as Caren and some as Happick. I have tried to find where her name came from and the closest I can find is that there was a family called Karenhappuck who lived in Virginia, but I cannot find any connection to them. Karenhappick is used in several families.

Karenhappick was the daughter of William Yonts and Levisa. Levisa was his second wife. His first wife was Margaret Bentley, the sister of Daniel Bentley. William, Margaret and Daniel were part of the early settlers of Letcher County.

Big John and Caren had at least seven children: Levina, Reuben, Lewis, Jonathan, Elijah, Robert and William. I assume that she died, although I have not found a death certificate yet.

On November 18, 1866 Big John married Rachel Meade.

Rachel Meade and Big John Hall

They had at least ten children: Leander, Marion John, Manerva, Esquire, Mary, Elizabeth "Betty", Lance E., Albert, Emiline, and Bud "Big Bud".

Rachel Meade was the daughter of Thomas Kronis Meade and Mary "Polly" Hall. Thomas' brother, Albert was married to Mary Emeline Brummit, one of Jesse Wright's four wives. Mary "Polly" Hall was Big John's aunt, a sister to Jonathan Hall who married Mary Sanders. That means that Big John married his first cousin.

The census records for Big John show:

1850 Letcher County
John 27, farmer
Hapick, 21
Viney 4
Reuben 2
All born in KY

1860 Letcher County
John 38
Caren 31
Levina 15
Lewis 9
Jonathan 5
Eliga 2
Jonathan 60, farm laborer VA (John's father)
Mary, 62, VA (John's mother)
All born in KY except Jonathan and Mary.

1870 Letcher County
Samuel 49, farmer (his middle name is Samuel)
Rachel 22, keeping house
John 14
Elijah 12
Robert 10
William 5 (the last child of Karenhappick)
Leander 3 (the first child of Rachel)

1880 Whitesburg, Letcher County
John 60, farmer
Rachel 32, keeping house
William 16, son, works on farm
Leander 12, son, works on farm
Marion 10, son
Manerva, 8, daughter
Esquire, 6 son
Mary 4, daughter
Elizabeth 1, daughter
All born in KY and both parents born in KY.

The census in 1890 was burned.

1900 Millstone, Letcher County
John, head, June 1819, 80, married 35 years, farmer
Rachel, wife, Nov 1851, 48, had 11 children, 10 living
Elizabeth daughter, May 1879
Lance E., son, Jan 1882, 18, farm laborer
Albert, son, Nov 1886, 14
Emiline, daughter, Mar 1888, 12
Bud, son, May 1890, 10

I keep seeing on other genealogies that John died February 25, 1909 in West Virginia. I have not found his death certificate yet.

I havne't found Rachel in 1910 yet, but in 1920 she is in Millstone living with her daughter Elizabeth "Betty" who was married to Greenville Meade. I haven't found her date of death yet nor a 1930 census that she might be in.

The Children of Big John and Karenhappick Yonts

Levina is lost to me after the age of 15 when she is in the 1860 census with her parents. I do not know if she married.

Reuben was born in 1848 in Letcher County and was 2 years old in the 1850 census with his family. He died on March 11, 1852 in Letcher County. The records show "cause not known" for his death.

Lewis L. Hall was born on May 6, 1851 at Rockhouse. On April 19, 1866 he married Elizabeth "Betsy: Quillen. She was the daughter of William Quillen. They had at least twelve children. So far I have only found nine of their names: Leuvina "Vina", Riley, Ezekiel, Nancy, Enoi, Sarah Clarissa, Talton, George and Kisie.

Their census records go like this:

1870 Letcher County
Lewis 19
Betsy 19
Rile 2
Vina 5 months

1880 Letcher County
Lewis 37
Elizabeth 30, wife, keeping house
Vina 10, daughter
Riley 8, son
Ezekiel 6, son
Nancy 4, daughter
Enoi 2, son
Sarah 1, daughter
Showeh, Clerice, 8 Servant (the last name was very hard to read and I probably have it wrong.)

Betsy died in 1892.

In 1900 Lewis is found in Hardee, Mingo County, West Virginia. His wife's name is Fanny Davis, but she is liste as having been married only one year and having had no children. There are other children so in the years since Betsy died Lewis has apparently married another woman or at least had a relationship with her. the name that comes up is Martha Bates.

1900 Hardee, Mingo County, West Virginia
Lewis L., head, May 1851, married 33 years, KY KY KY
Fanny, wife, May 1890, 20, married 1 year, had no children
George, son, May 1886, 14 (probably Betsy's child)
Kisie, daughter, Aug 1890 (probably Betsy's child)
Lace, son, Mar 1894, 6 (possibly Martha Bate's child)
Ada, daughter, Jan 1896, 4 (possibly Martha Bate's child)
Christian, Fanny, niec, Dec 1898, 1 WV WV OH

Apparently things didn't work out with Fannie or she passed away. Lewis has now married Tanzie E. Neece.

1910 Logan, Logan County, West Virginia
Louis L. 58, marriage 2, married 7 years, KY KY KY Farmer, general farm
Tanzie E, wife, marriage 2, had 10 children, 8 living, WV WV WV
Lace 16, son, WV KY KY, laborer, coal tipple
Ada, 14, daughter, WV KY KY
Fannie 11, daughter, WV KY WV (possibly Fannie's child)
Arthur, 8, son, WV KY WV, (possibly Fannie's child)
Mollie, 7, daughter (probably Tanzie's child)
Logan H, 5, son, WV KY WV
Robert O. 2, son, WV KY WV

1920 Logan, Logan County, West Virginia
Lewis L. 68, head, KY KY KY, Retail Merchant, Grocery Store
Tamsey E. 51, wie WV WV WV
Arthur, 18, son, WV KY WV
Mollie, 16, daughter, WV KY WV
Logan H. 14, son, WV WV WV
Ida, 9, daughter, WV WV WV
Hornsby, Willie, 5, grandson, WV WV WV

Lewis died on March 31, 1929 in Henlawson, West Virginia.

Jonathan Hall was born on December 22, 1855 in Rockhouse. He married Mary "Polly" Meade on Janurary 5, 1874 in Letcher County. She was the daughter of Robert C. Meade and Sarah "Sally" Collier. Robert was the son of Thomas Kronis Meade and Mary "Polly" Hall. Sarah was the daughter o Richard Collier and Mary Caudill. She was a sister to William Dee Collier who was the grandfather of Sadie Collier, the first wife of Otho Bentley.

I will go on with this family tomorrow.

I have tried to follow each of the children:

Rockhouse School about 1905

I don't know but two of the folks in this picture.  It is the Rockhouse school classes taken about 1905.  This is before our election and shooting, but since the two folks who are marked are Jane and Joe Quillen, I thought it was worth posting today.  If you have seen this picture before and know any of the folks in it, please let me know so I can update my index picture.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I found an article that came from the Washington Post on August 2, 1914.  The headline is above in the title of this blog.  Here is what it said:

Whitesburg, Ky., Aug 2---As a result of trouble growing out of the election of a school trustee on the headwaters of Rockhouse Creek, in this county, a desperate pitched battle was fought yesterday evening between members of the Hall and Quillen families, in which four were killed.

The dead are Albert Hall, Elce Hall, Marion Hall, and Dug Quillen, Lance Hall and Mrs. Albert Hall were seriously wounded.
I have a subscription to an online newspaper archive so I tried to find more that might have been printed about this incident.  I could not. 

I have worked on the family yesterday and today.  What I found was Marion, Lance and Albert Hall were brothers, sons of John Samuel "Big John" Hall and Rachel Meade.  The Quillen was Duncan "Dunk" Quillen who was the son of James Quillen and Elizabeth Hall.  Dunk and the Halls were not related by blood, although Marion's wife was a first cousin once removed.  Dunk is my second cousin twice removed through the Wrights (Elizabeth Wright married a Quillen.) on Dad's side.  The Halls are third cousins 3 times removed thru Granny.

The "Elce" Hall I am not sure of, but when I was going through the death certificates I found

77 Albert Hall
79  Duncan Quillen
80  Marion Hall

So I looked to see who number 78 was.  It was Talton Hall son of Lewis Hall, a brother to Albert, Marion and Lance.

The Quillens and the Halls were neighbors who lived in Millstone.  I have searched and tried to find who was in the election -- both who won and who lost, but I could not find it.  I also tried to find who shot who, but that wasn't available either.  All four death certificates said the cause of death was "gunshot wound, sudden homicide".

I sent an email to a cousin who might have access to who was in that election.  I will post that later if she replies.  I will also run more information on the family when I get finished going through all the census records. 

Children of Joseph Hall & Sarah Caudill: Anzie Hall

Anzie Hall was born October 29, 1883 to Joe Hall and Sarah Caudill.  She was 16 in the 1900 census with Joe and his second wife, Lettie Craft. 

On August 30, 1902 she had a son, John Dewey Spangler.

On October 10, 1902 she married John Dewey's father, William R. Spangler, the son of Benjamin Franklin Spangler and Susannah Holbrook. 

On July 12, 1903 Anzie had Alvin Spangler.

On March 10, 1907 Anzie had Sarah Spangler.  Sarah died at birth.

On April 28, 1907 Anzie died of a fever.

Anzie and William's Children

John Dewy married Lula Larue Adams.  They stayed in Letcher County.  He died May 15, 1967.

Alvin married Alta Craft.  They had at least two children:  William and Fred.  They, too, stayed in Letcher county.  Alvin died in 1956.  Alta died in 1992.    

After Anzie's death, William Spangler married again in 1910 to Jane Combs.  They had ten more children:  Lizie Vadis, Benjamin Frankln, Pollia A., Ada, Cora Estelle, Lula, Nola Bernice, Abe, and Audona.  One child died and I have not found a death certificate for it.

I have no pictures of Anzie's line nor anyone in her line that I have connected with who might be able to tell us more about her family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Shooting of "Chigger Jim" Wright

Joel Martin and Susannah Wright had a sons named Samuel, William and Andrew.

Samuel was married to Elizabeth "Betsy" Adams. They had a son, James Wright, who was known as Chigger Jim. Sam and Betsy had another son, Andy, who was married to Nancy Bates. They had a daughter, Martha Josephine, who was married to John Ellison.

Joel and Susan's son, Andrew, married Harriet Adams. They had a son named Ike who married Elizabeth Mullins. Ike and Liz had a son named Andy.

John Ellison sold liquor. William was one of his customers. One day John Ellison went to Andrew's house looking for Andy. Andy was not home being out with Harriet. Chigger Jim came out and hollered at John. He said, "I want to talk to you." John asked, "What do you want?" Jim said, "I want you to quit going up and drinking and taking that rot-gut whiskey to Uncle William." He told John he was causing trouble.

John told Chigger Jim that he did as he pleased. He was a man of his own way. "I'll sell my whiskey to whom I please." Chigger Jim said, "That's alright, by God." and set his hand up on the top of the porch railing with his pistol sticking straight out. John Ellison reached over for his gun and began shooting. He shot Chigger Jim in the face, killing him.

A posse led by Andy Cook went after John Ellison, but did not find him. His wife, Martha Josephine, joined him in exile.

Andy Cook paid Martha Josephine's brother Joel Martin Wright for information on where the Ellisons were. When Cook came in to the Ellison home, Martha was so startled that she dropped a pot of beans on the floor. John was able to make a getaway. Martha never knew that her brother had supplied the information to locate them.

John assummed the name of Miller and he and Martha settled in West Virginia. They used the Miller name for the rest of their lives. The children used the Miller name also.

Late one night John was on his way home. He was found the next morning on the side of the road in a ditch where there was about two inches of water. He had drowned. It was said that the Wrights never forget.

Ben Adams, a grandson of Charity Wright and Booker Mullins who was one source for this story, believed that John Ellison would have beaten the case if it had gone to court. He thought any man would have shot under those circumstances.

John Ellison must have decided beating the case in court would not save him from the wrath of the Wright family.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bad John Hall 2

I had a hard time getting anything to work on the blogsite last night.  I started the wedding story and it would not upload the pictures.  Sometimes it is just hard to work.  I waited til I went to the library and used their wifi to do the pictures and it worked ok.  At dad's my mobile broadband must pick up very little bandwidth.
Anyway, I started seeing what all I had on Bad John from my searches and this is what I came up with:

John William Hall was the second son of Lee and Louisa Little Hall. In the 1880 census Lee and Louisa are newlyweds.  Twenty years later the 1900 census of Floyd County says Louisa has had nine children but only 6 of them are living:

Lee Hall 43, married 26 years, farmer born February 1859
Louisa 45, wife, nurse, born September 1854
Marion 18, September 1881
John 17, January 1883
Sil, 14, March 1886
Melvill, 12, February 1888
Licey, 10, January 1890
Lee, 7 June 1892

Also living with them is 26 year old Polley Laytee and her daugther Becca.  Polley is listed as a servant in the household.

John married his first cousin, America Little.  Her parents were Owen "Ode" Little and Mary Jane Hall.  Mary Jane and Lee Hall were the children of John William "Wash" Hall and Lucinda "Cindy" Hall.

In 1903 John Melvin Hall was born to John and America.

1910 census

In 1910 Elva Hall was born to John and America.

John married Belle Roberts. 

Hatler Hall was born 1913.

Gertrude Hall was born in 1916.

John had a relationship with Catherine "Cassie" Branham.

Gladys hall was born to John and Catherine in 1917.

In 1920 John is with Cassie.  He is 38 and she is 22.  Also, living with them are:

Hatter, son, 8
Sarah M, daughter 5
Gertrude, daughter 4
Gladdes, daughter, 1 year 1 month.

I am not sure where Sarah comes from.

Children John M. and Elva are now 14 and 9 and living with America Hall who says she is a widow and a wash woman.  Ameirica lives next door to her parents and two houses away from Cassie and John.

In 1930 John is 47.  He says he first married at 17 and lists his occupation as Police for Wheelwright.  his wife now is Daisy.  She is Daisy Mae Little who first married at age 12.  Also in the household are Marie "Little Daisy", Charles, H. Gordon and W. Woodford.