Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sarah Jane Mullins & Samuel Pee Collier

I was searching for my grandmother Rebecca Hays Mullins Adams death certificate. I look for it off and on, thinking one of these times I will find it. I also was searching for her father's death certificate. Many people have him dying in Wisconsin which makes no sense to me, but I can't find him. I also don't know the last name of his second wife. So at times I just do another search hoping I will come across something that will open up the little mysteries for me.

I was making a census file for Rebecca, well for James, really, I had started with a question in my head about old Booker. I made a second file for the Hays since Rebecca lived with her father and his second wife after James died.

When I added in the census records for the children of James and Rebecca, I got kind of into their daughter, Sarah. She was born January 29, 1866. She married Samuel Pee Collier who the son of William Dee "Willie" Collier and Rebecca Meade. He was a brother to Willis Kirk Collier who was the father of Sadie. So my great aunt Sarah was an aunt by marriage to Sadie Collier.

Samuel and Sarah had 9 children that I am aware of. They married about 1891 and in the 1900 census they were in Millstone with 3 children: Nancy J age 9, Rebecca M, age 7 and John A. age 4. Rebecca had had two other children who died before this census was taken. I don't know their names yet.

In 1910 they were still in Millstone. Samuel P 37, Sarah 43, John A. 14, Martha Ann 9, Willie J. 4, Elijah B 2, and Ollie a baby not even a month old. Also living with them was Jane Short, who was listed as a step daughter. I stopped when I read that and wondered if i had the wrong census. I know there is another Samuel P Collier who was married to Martha Roark. I couldn't find where either Samuel had but one wife. I searched for a while trying to figure out who Jane was, but I didn't figure it out tonight. Maybe Janice will know.

In 1920 the transcribers had them as Calliers, but the writing looked like Collier to me. Samuel was 49, Sarah M. 54, John A. 23, Elijah B. 13. Living with them was their son in law, William M. Craft, 30 and his children Samuel P, 9 and Sabrina, 3. I assume either Nancy or Martha was the wife of William, but I don't have any details on either of the girls so I don't know which one it was. Again, maybe Janice has figured this one out. Lastly, living with them is Elizabeth Ratliff and her son James and daughter Etta. Elizabeth is listed as a servant.

I spent a long time searching for the family in 1930. I tried Collier and Callier and drew a blank. Maybe next search they will pop right out at me, but I couldn't find them.

Samuel died on December 8, 1956 at Millstone and was buried in the Dave Collier cemetery there. Sarah died on March 17, 1945.

This picture came from cousin Janice. It is Samuel P. Collier and her dad, Willie Bentley. I don't have a picture of Sarah or for that matter either of her brothers, John or Booker. I am surely glad to have this one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Robert Melford Addington 1867 1936

I ran across this story on the internet at

Robert Melford Addington was the son of Joseph M. Addington and Corinna Quillen (or Kerrenneh Quillen). He is a second cousin once removed of Malinda Addington.

He was married twice. First to Nannie Jackson Nickels and then to Loula L. Dougherty after Nannie's death. In the 1900 census he was listed as a college professor. In 1910 he was school teacher in the public schools. In 1920 he was the clerk for the county court.

This is what Robert's son, K. R. wrote about his father:


By K. R. Addington

He was a father, a teacher, an historian, a Sunday School teacher, a Mason, a friend - thus you might give a thumbnail sketch of Robert Melford Addington, son of Joseph Milton Addington, one of the many Joe's in the Addington lineage. His mother was Kerrenah Estil Quillen, and where the unusual name of Kerrenah came from I do not know.

Robert Melford Addington was born April 14, 1867, on Copper Ridge in Scott County, Virginia, in a log house which, so far as I know, is still standing. The usual pursuits of farming, hunting, fishing, berry picking, and exploring were carried on during his early boyhood. The only thing I recall most distinctly is a story about berry picking.

He, in company with an aunt, went to pick blackberries. The aunt, he thought,
had gone away as she did not respond to calls. He started to look for her and
finally found her going around in a circle, said circle decreasing in circumference each time around. Upon closer approach and observation he discovered a snake and he realized his aunt was being charmed by it. He hurriedly killed the snake and his aunt then was able to talk although it is doubtful she was able to resume berrypicking.

Robert M's first wife was Nannie Jackson Nickels, my mother. The children born to there were: Otta Fay, Justin, Gus, Kermit, and James. As to exploring, I recall his account of going into a cave on Sinking Creek near Dungannon with a man by the name of Porter. They had a lantern but the light went out and they had nothing dry on which to strike a match and they positively were down to their last match until one or the other remembered his trusty Barlow knife and fortunately this match did not go out. He described this cave as full of deep holes with water in it and did not believe he could ever have gotten out alive if the last match had
gone out.

Skipping a presumably normal childhood, we come to his first experience as a teacher in 1884 at age 17 in a school sweetly named Sugar Grove. It was a crude and small building. Its exact location is unknown to me but within its walls individual instruction which is so much talked about today really took place. I have heard him say he left home before daylight and started teaching as soon as she arrived on a first come, first served basis; he left school barely in time to reach home before dark. I think the pay was about $20 per month.

In addition to the one-room Sugar Grove school he taught similar schools at Saratoga, Purchase, Mace Springs and Jesse's Mill. He taught in the State Summer School at Bristol, 1896, and at the State Normal School in Big Stone Gap for seven consecutive summers, 1907 to 1913. Then for four years he was associate principal with L. G. Stevenson at Shoemaker College in Gate City.
He was a member of the first Shoemaker faculty as a history teacher.

After his tenure at Shoemaker he served one year as principal of Collingwood Academy in Russell County. Then he was principal of the school at Nickelsville. During 1903-1904 he assumed the presidency of Gladeville College in Wise, Wise County. After that he returned to Nickelsville where he served until 1911. This was
followed by eight years as principal of Fulkerson High School. In all he taught
for thirty- three years.

In preparation for teaching he graduated from Greenwood High School in 1887. Then he attended Peabody Normal School in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was awarded as L. I. degree in 1890. History was his teaching subject at the Normal schools. At Nickelsville and Maces Springs he was both principal and teacher and he operated what would be called a "tight" school. One of the rules he had a Maces Springs I can recall was that boys and girls were not to date each other over the weekend while school was in session. Relaxing of the rules was made for pie and ice cream suppers. I am not sure the aforementioned rule was strictly obeyed but if evidence was obtained of its violation the violators were punished. I think it also appropriate to mention that each day he opened school with a Bible reading, a short sermonette, and a prayer. In these sermonettes he preached against the evils of drinking whiskey. He told me he had tasted whiskey only once in his life. I still come across former students of his who recall the teaching he did on moral issues
aside from daily book lessons. May times he told me that any influence for good
he might have had was attributed more to these chapel exercises than to the
conduct of classes.

He was usually called Professor Addington. His second wife, Loula L. Daugherty, always called him Professor instead of Robert or Bob. She perhaps had started this while she had known him at the Greenwood Normal School.

So far as I know, he was never physically assaulted by any student, although I am sure he was threatened by politics on some occasions. In fact, I know of one move he was forced to make because someone was influential enough with the School Board members to get it done. That move, by the way, in later years was to be an excellent one in helping him get elected County Court Clerk as it widened his circle of friends, particularly in Fulkerson District. From my own personal knowledge I do not know of a single student who attended Fulkerson High School and later became involved in a serious criminal offense. I might say, in regard to the teaching at Maces Springs, that without his knowledge of farming the years would have been much leaner. He bought a twenty-acre farm for about $2,000 in Poor Valley and in the area where the land was really poor - more suited to sedge grass. By judicious use of manure and fertilizer, planting peas and alfalfa to add legumes, etc., he built up one level piece of ground which produced a large part of our living. On this same piece of ground two of his sons won prizes for best corn at the county fair. He even grew his own peanuts. The only thing I thought he got short changed on was swapping the labor of himself and three sons to neighbors having only one son and many more acres of land. Ours was purely a farm for self-preservation and no tobacco was grown as the land could not be spared for that.

He was a Mason. At what stage of his life or where he became a member I do not know. I do know, however, that he and Wright S. Cox, an attorney, were credited with knowing more about Masonry and instructing more applicants for admission than any other two men in the county.

As to his teaching Sunday School, I can only verify the fact that from 1920 or thereabouts he taught a class at the Baptist Church of Gate City until he, for personal reasons, went to the Methodist Church and there he continued to teach as long as he was able. Despite his deep religious faith and knowledge I cannot remember his ever urging any of his children to join a church and my more mature consideration of this lends me to believe that he thought membership would be more lasting if entered into voluntarily and perhaps he may have felt that a good example would most surely have its effect.


To understand his interest in history presumably one would have to go back a long way and how it started would be anybody's guess. Suffice it to say that his eldest son was christened Justin Winsor, named after a noted historian. In fact, I believe his daughter's name, Otta Fay, was taken from something he had read.

On his meager earnings from teaching he started accumulating a library and it was accented with a majority of history books. I forgot to mention that my own name was originally Kermit Quentin, so named for Theodore Roosevelt's sons, but I didn't like the name Quentin so I changed it to Kermit Roosevelt.
W. D. Smith and John P. McConnell were two men who influenced my father to put into writing his knowledge of things historical. At the urging of Mr. Smith, he first produced a SYLLABUS OF SCOTT COUNTY, which was used in county schools. His, HISTORY OF OLD-TIME SCHOOLS IN SCOTT COUNTY was issued as a publication from Radford State College of which Dr. McConnell was president. It was distributed throughout the nation by the college. With these beginnings he was urged to write the History of Scott County and with his limited resources so far as money was concerned over a period of fifteen years he assembled from available sources as much information as he could. When information was needed from the Wisconsin State Library, the place where the original Draper Manuscripts reposed, it took money to get the photostats as there was no micro-filming then. If he wanted information from the Virginia State Library or from some county records he had to pay for that, too.

So far as I know the only financial help given was about $100 from Dr. McConnell. Apologetically, he told me once that while he spent $3,000 for 2,000 copies of Scott County histories at the Kingsport Press, other people spent a like amount on golf, travel, etc. - because they liked such diversions. He was spending that much for something he liked, history. I might mention that he often exchanged information with I. C. Coley who was most knowledgeable in the field of genealogy and I believe between them they could almost trace the roots and descendants of the majority of the families in Scott County. Albert Counts was another man who liked to talk history and genealogy with my father. In a more recent generation the late Charlie Baker used to stop by the house to talk history. It was upon winning a scholarship by a competitive examination that he was able to go to the University of Nashville, which later became Peabody College. Here he became enamored with his professors and the abundance of materials to be found in the library. I think one might safely assume it was here that he became acquainted with his first encyclopedia, his first set of histories. In his library later he himself had a set of Greene's HISTORY OF ENGLAND and a set of the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITTANICA. His work at the University of Nashville got for him an L. I. Degree, which, being translated, meant Licensed Instructor. A fellow student of his at the University of Nashville was Millard Horton, a fellow Scott Countian, who loved books so much that he practically flunked out since, according to my father, he would rather read than study. Evidently his work was satisfactory and had been accomplished by his own finance plus a scholarship as his father made no real money producing crops; tobacco was not sold then as now.
I have heard W. D. Smith say he bought his first dictionary by sale of rabbit skins at one cent each and no doubt saleable furs might have helped my dad.

My only memorable experience of him as an educator began with his principalship at Fulkerson High School in 1911. He taught all high school subjects but high school there went through only the ninth grade. Latin, math, history, English pretty well described the curriculum. Evidently, to keep from spoiling me my dad would never help me with my homework and I pointed out that he would help others but not his own son. He bent over backwards so no one could accuse him of preferential treatment. I recall that after one of my brothers had been called an s.o.b. the brother proceeded at school to punch said name- caller on the nose. have often wondered what my father's feelings were when he switched my brother hard for this offense. Patience was a virtue of his which might by some unknowing person have been labeled inaction. He was truly slow to anger but at the same time steadfast in purpose without anger. This is just a way of saying he meant what he said and one had better believe it, although the saying was not coupled with any direct threat. I can truly say that I never in my life heard him rant and rave as some do when angry.

His try for nomination for County Court Clerk, for a second time, was suggested to him first by J. P. Corns, the attorney and father of Dr. Corns. His opponent for the nomination was a seasoned veteran in politics, Floyd Richmond, who had been in office 14 years.

Papa's main theme in the campaign was that the office should be available for some other good Republican. The competition for delegates at the convention in 1919 was great and Papa won by a few votes. This, I would imagine, was about the last campaign made on horseback by a candidate in Scott County. My grandfather had a mare, Old Mag, which he lent to my father for the duration of the campaign. He would leave Maces Springs on a Monday morning and not return until the end of the week. Sometimes he left his horse at places where he might be able to catch a train, come home for the weekend and resume campaigning from that location the following week.

His opponent in the general election was a veteran of World War I and it took a
vigorous campaign to win ans the sympathy for a veteran was most prevalent in
1919. This was where his long record as a teacher, a Sunday School teacher, and
being a gentleman helped to win the election. One incident I recall in connection therewith was the help he received through having helped a man many years before while teaching at Purchase. A man by the name of W. Johnson had a
cow which was being sold to satisfy a debt judgment. My father went to the sale
and seeing that the man and his children were going to be deprived of the milk
they needed, he bid on the cow and allowed the man to keep it. At that time he
never had any idea that much an act would have a lot of influence on an election
many years later. However, Mr. Johnson let it be known that this was the same
man who performed this unselfish act and it helped a lot.

My father pledged that after a term of eight years as County Clerk he would not seek re-election nor would any of his family. However his son Gus as Deputy Clerk had made so many friends both Republican and Democrat than he was urged by leading Republicans to make the race as the leaders believed he could surely win and help the whole ticket. Their prediction proved correct as he was elected by a
greater majority than any other candidate.

Papa became Deputy Clerk under him in 1928 and served until shortly after the son's death on the 29th of February, 1932. To remove some of the political harshness in selecting a clerk to fill the vacancy created by death, overtures were made by Republican sources close to the Democratic Party to allow my father to continue as Deputy Clerk. As a matter of principle he refused to accept this appointment and thus ended about 45 years of public service - 33 years in the teaching profession and 12 years as County and Deputy Clerk.

Previously, mention was made of his writing the HISTORY OF SCOTT COUNTY. It was not so much the writing that was important but the research inherent in such a project to insure its historic accuracy if at all possible. For about 15 years he collected, read, studied, and copied materials for the book. During some of these years he labored at night under oil lamps as we did not have electricity. Even in the house in Gate City there were no wall outlets for sometime so the lighting there was about as bad as Maces Springs. What material was not written in long-hand was typed on an old Oliver typewriter with one finger on each hand doing the typing. Typing on this machine caused about as much exercise as the modern physical fitness program would produce.

The first marriage of Mr. Addington to Nannie Jackson Nickels was ended by her death at age 33. To this union five children were born - one girl, the eldest, and four boys. The forebears of Mr. Addington were John G. Nickels and Lou Hartsock Nickels and the town of Nickelsville received its name from these early inhabitants. The second marriage was to Loula Liberia Dougherty of Snowflake, VA. There were no children by this marriage.

memorable experiences were:
1. Riding the first train to Bristol upon completion of the South and Western Railroad.
2. Teaching at college level in Shoemaker College.
3. Delivering address at Scott County's Bicentennial in 1914. He told me one time he was not particularly proud of the introduction as the introducer said he was "a man who had eaten the most apple butter of any man in Scott Co " an allusion to the school lunches he had when in school and in his carrying lunches while teaching for 33 years.
4. Meeting Dr. Pusey from Chicago who made a trip down to go over the Wilderness Road. I shall not soon forget that they hired a car and Dr. Pusey gave the driver $20 for the day and to me that was an exorbitant sum. It was during this trip that plans were made to erect a marker at the Block House on Holston River. W. D. Morison, Sr. took this stone from in front of our house on the main street of Gate City, carved it to suit the purpose, installed it and attached the marker. Dr. Pusey paid the whole cost of the project.
5. Two friendships of enduring quality - that of Dr. John P. McConnell and W. D. Smith. Just how and when the friendship between each began I do not know. One thing can be said categorically and that is there was no political alliance. Dr. McConnell, president of Radford State College, was a Democrat as was Mr. Smith. All had been in normals together and evidently this association was largely responsible. One time when Mr. Smith was being tried for lack of allegiance to the Democratic party my father was called as a witness. On the witness stand he was asked whether or not Mr. Smith had voted for him, a Republican. He replied by citing a conversation he had with Mr. Smith in which Smith said, "Bob, I must tell you that I did not vote for you." Dr. McConnell would write my father often, reminding him of some incident of interest, and always encouraging him to keep up the work on the history. I would say he received more letters from him than any other person. He also wanted papa to consider writing biographical sketches of some of the prominent families in the county and even sent a check to get him started. However, the check was returned as Papa did not want at that period of life to start such an undertaking.

My father died at Gate City, December 23, 1936, and was buried inHolston View Cemetery.

NOTES: The late Dr. J. J. Kelly, Jr., for many years superintendent of Wise County Schools, told me, L. F. Addington, president of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, a humorous incident which happened at Gladeville College while he, Dr. Kelly, was a student during R. M. Addington's presidency.

"In those days," said Dr. Kelly, "cows ran at large in and around the town of Wise. One of their favorite places for gathering was in the shade of some trees behind the schoolhouse. Most of them wore bells, and their continual clattering as they fought off flies disturbed the decorum of the classroom. When the noise became unbearable Professor Addington would say, "One of you boys run out and drive off the cows." I was always willing and ready to go.

"One day a group of boys hatched up a scheme to fool the professor. So, one afternoon after school was out the boys took a cowbell to the school building and hunt it to a bush near the cows' favorite gathering place. They tied a cord to the bell's top and one of the group crawled under the floor and extended the other end of the cord up through a knot hole in the floor.

"The cord was fastened to a cork which was placed into the knot hole.

"Next day when study began and Professor Addington was talking, a boy who sat over the cork would reach down, lift the cork up and jerk the cord, thus jangling the cowbell outside.

"Hearing the noise the professor said to me, 'Jack, will you got out and drive the cows away?' I went and returned saying, 'No cows out there.'

" The boy at the cork jerked it vigorously again. This time the professor himself went out to investigate. Soon he returned with a big grin on his face. He said, 'Boys, who can think up a prank like that ought to go far in books.' He turned the matter aside, not once trying to find out who the boys were that would likely go far in books. But since the school was in such an uproar he suspended classes for the day."

Watson Craft - WWII

When I was little my mother would occasionally get out pictures that she had collected of movie stars. She kept them in a thin little box with a blue lid that was about 5x7 inches. I remember Myrna Loy. They were all black and whites. She gave those pictures to my sister, Kay. I have no idea what she did with them.

Every once in a while I will come across a picture in the family and it will remind me of the style of those pictures. Watson Craft is in one of those movie star pictures.

I told him the story of my mother's pictures and how his was in that style. He told me the story of that picture.

Watson showed me a wall where his memorbillia for his time in the Navy hung. He was on a submarine. He had a map which showed where his submarine had been when he had been on it and what hits they had made of Japanese ships.

One ship they put down had been part of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The captain of the ship had taken a picture that was made from a photograph that had been taken from the periscope of four ships which were hit by them and had a painting made of it. It was all on Watson’s wall.

At one time they had run out of food and nearly starved. He got down to 85 pounds. When they got supplies they first fed them fortified jello and then solid foods. After they had gained weight back they had their pictures taken. The one I call his “movie star” picture was taken at this time.

Watson Craft, movie star

Watson was a quartermaster on the ship. One of the jobs would be for three people to be on watch. One watched the front half ninety degrees to the east and five degrees past the center of the ship west, another the other half west and five degrees past the center east. The third watch was of the back 180 degrees sky and sea. They were near Japan and got word to head south at full speed. Watson was on duty and had the front and offered to help the fellow in the back watch telling him to choose either the water or the sky and he would help him with the other. They saw a bright light that was brighter than anything they had ever seen in their lives. They were about sixty miles from Nagasaki. They reported what they had seen, but it was two days before they realized what it was. They had seen the bombing of Nagasaki.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Interview with Watson G. Craft

Watson Craft is the youngest child of Archelous Columbus Craft and Pricy Adkins and a grandchild of Chunk and Polly Ann Caudill Craft. I met him in person in October of 2007 with his wife, Manerva. This is what Watson had to say in that interview:

I am not sure if you know it, but you may find Crafts on both sides of your
family. The first Craft who came into Kentucky was Archelous Craft. His son was
James Craft. One of James’ grandsons married a Mullins.

My dad was Archie or A. C. Craft, Sr. His dad was Enoch Craft. His dad was Preacher Arch Craft. His father was James Craft, the oldest son of Archelous. Arch’s father was James. Beyond there I do not know the family. I don’t know of anyone who has found the ship manifest, but we know that they came into New York. We have relatives in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Alabama. The family basically split in New York part going south and west and part going north and west.

The family that went north and west became the Kraft Food Company. One of them was hired by the merchants to take a team and go to the ships on the Great Lakes and pick up the goods principally cheese for the stores. He got the idea to buy the cheese from the ships and sell it to the merchants. That was the beginning of Kraft Foods.

Once, a lady in Ohio was researching the Backs, my wife’s family. We looked in the two volume Backs books we had and found that she had at least three first cousins who married each other. I told my wife to let her find that out herself.

I had always been told that my mother was one quarter Cherokee Indian. I really had my doubts about it, but my oldest daughter had heard me say it and called me about it. She said that if my mother were one quarter Cherokee then she would be eligible for a tax free loan for Native Americans. I told her it shouldn’t be too hard to find out since we would only need to go back to my mother’s grandfather, Peter Adkins. I found that though they had many characteristics which looked Indian that they were probably melungeon blood.

The first Adkins family was from Tennessee. The brother and son of my Grandfather Adkins looked very melungeon.

I remember the first time I ever saw a Melungeon. I was very small. I had gone with Dad to Whitesburg on the train at the mouth of Millstone. A black man got on the train. He had no characteristics of a black man except color. He was tall. He did not have full heavy lips. He spoke perfectly. They made him ride in the Negro car. He protested, but they made him ride there.

There were two trains a day – one in the morning and one in the evening. It stopped all along the way, at Thornton, then Ermine then Whitesburg. They were called milk runs.

I did not know your grandmother, Lettie. I was born after she died. I knew Rachel who was the oldest child and married an Adams.

I did find out what Grandpa Chunk did by reading a book about the life of Fess Whitaker. I think it was called the Life and Times of Fess Whitaker. They were bivouacked in Tennessee on land that was owned by a man who was sympathetic to the south. They were ordered not to touch any of his property. They were starving, but the strict orders were not to bother his livestock. They saw one sheep who was really fat. One night Fess got some guys to steal and slaughter that sheep. He says that the cook, Chunk Craft, cooked that sheep. That’s how I found out what he did in the Civil War.

I knew my grandfather, Chunk, for about eight years. He was a kind,
fatherly person. He would talk with anyone – children or grandchildren—not in a
lecturing way.

I remember as he got very old I would tie his shoes. I would stop on the way to school and tie his shoes each day.

Chunk and Grandma’s house was painted yellow and white.

I remember that she fell and had a broken hip. They thought she was going to die and they called all the children in. The children came. When they got there Grandpa told Dad and Uncle Ben, “you boys come with me.” They were fully grown men, but he called them boys.

In the house there were two rooms downstairs and two rooms up. Grandpa and Grandma lived in one of the rooms downstairs and Aunt Sairy and Uncle Ben’s family lived in the rest.

When Grandpa told the boys to come, I was nosey so I went along. He had them removed the hearth, which was a big piece of slate rock. He told them to dig there. They found a cast iron teakettle. They brought it out. It had a lid. They carried it to Grandma. She got out twenty dollar gold pieces. They were wrapped in tissue paper like you would find in a box of shoes. She gave each child one of the gold pieces, and then they put the lid back on the kettle. I never saw it again.

I used to tell people that we lived on one twenty dollar gold piece in the depression. That was about a ten year period and they could not understand how I could say
that. Dad would take his gold piece and trade it in to Jesse Holbrook at his
store. Jesse would hold the gold piece. We would work as hard as we could until
we paid that twenty dollars off. Then we would do it again. Dad did that over
and over always insisting that he be given back the same gold piece. The last
time I saw it, it was in Dad’s house when he died. I suppose that Morgan got it
since he moved into the house after that.

Grandpa made his own liquor. He made it as long as he was able. He made straight corn liquor. Grandpa distained people who added sugar to corn mash. He would sit at the head of the table. If anyone was visiting he would take a glass and pour moonshine into it and offer it to them. Some would apologize and say they did not drink. He would say, “Take a little dram for the stomach’s sake.”

When he made a batch he would always come to mom with a cane in one hand and a half gallon jar in the other. She kept bitters. If the house is still standing and the mantle is there, I could show you exactly where they sat. The bitters were made of roots, plants and tree bark in a juice. She would add half of the jar of the liquor to her bitters and put the rest away. When she had a headache she would take the jar down, unscrew it and drink from it. She was the only one who used it. I did taste them, but she was the only one who used them.

I never thought about what happened to the rest of that liquor. I think my mother must have drank it.

How often would Grandpa make his liquor?

Prohibition was in effect. The revenoorers came and inspected what he had. They sampled his liquor. There was no penalty. You could have six gallons for your own use, but you could not sell it.

Did you ever meet Bad John Wright?

No, he was gone before I was around. There were bitter feuds fought right near your Grandpa Bentley’s place.

As for Dad’s brothers and sisters, Rachel was the oldest. She lived in near Ashland. I remember seeing her twice. It could have been when Grandma died. Maybe the other was when Grandpa died.

Sarah, we called her Aunt Sarey, lived with Grandpa and Grandma.

After the service I spent a year at Blackey. I went to Berea College and got my degree. I first taught in Mason County and then in Boone County.

You know when you lived in St Louis you were near a lot of family. There
was a ridge there that was full of names you would have known.

I was a teacher. I taught agriculture at Blackey. When I was in Mason County I started going to U.K. in the summers. I just started taking things I thought I needed to know. It got to the point that I had so many credits that they said I needed to decide on a major, so I got a masters in Agriculture.

I was teaching at a small county school in Maysville. I taught there two years. They consolidated four schools into one big high school in Florence. I taught there fifteen years. Then I thought I wanted to go into administration so that meant another degree. I went back to U.K. for more classes and got a masters in administration and supervision. I was principal or assistant principal the last part of my working career. I liked doing both the teaching and the administration. I was ready to move on to administration when I did and ready to leave administration when I retired. I was ready to quit.

What made you leave Millstone?

(He points to Manerva.) She was teaching at Upper Millstone. She and her first
cousin, Gaynell Back. Once I met her, I wanted to be where she was.

Manerva Back Craft

Enoch Collier would pick up the mail and deliver it to Lick Fork. I think your family would know him.

The Crafts did not think much of Joe Hall. Aunt Lettie caught him with another woman and killed herself. He was a traveling salesman and when he returned home she found silk stockings in his coat pocket. She was suspicious for a while and then caught him with another woman. She went to the barn and hung herself.

I told him that I had looked through weeks of Mountain Eagles and had not found a mention of her death. I said I wanted to go to the court records to see her death certificate and see what it said her cause of death was.

It wouldn’t have been in the paper and I doubt you will find a death certificate.

A. C. Craft went to Greenwood College in Greenwood, Virgina before he was married. He attended classes for two years. I have one of his algebra textbooks. It has a date in it of Januray 5, 1892.

Dad taught school. It was contract schools then. It was for whoever wanted to pay for the length they wanted. He might teach in someone’s home for their children and the neighbors’ children. He might stay with them. It could be for four months or whatever time period the contract called for.

I remember a story about Aunt Sarey. There was a quilting party. Well it wasn’t a party, they just called them a quilting. We raised sheep. Mama had fixed mutton. Aunt Sarey was about as wide as she was tall. She would eat some of the mutton and loosen her belt and say, mmmm that was good. I shouldn’t eat more, but it was so good. She would loosen her belt some more.

When we killed a sheep we would always kill a hog, too. Then we would have Aunt Sairy, Uncle Ben, Grandpa and Grandma to supper. Uncle Ben would never touch the mutton which is why we always killed a hog. This happened over and over. Well, the women got together and said they were going to make Uncle Ben eat mutton. It was mother and Grandma and Aunt Sarey. They said “Ben Franklin will eat mutton today.”

When Grandpa and Grandma came to dinner Dad would give up his place at the head of the table and Grandma would sit at his right where Mom would usually sit. It was the only time I ever saw Dad give up his place at the table. I can see them at the table, Grandpa, Grandma to his right, then Aunt Sairy and Uncle Ben.. They would put a bowl of lamb between Grandpa and Grandma and a bowl of pork between Aunt Sairy and Uncle Ben. On this day they switched the bowls.

Uncle Ben put in a fork into the lamb and ate a piece. He got a second piece and ate it. When he went for the third piece Aunt Sairy stopped him and said he was going to eat all the lamb and she wasn’t going to get any. He said he thought it was pork.

I asked about them sitting at the table together.

We always sat together. Sometimes I would take a plate and go to the porch, but we sat together when Grandpa and Grandma came to dinner. It was only when the church came to Sunday dinner that we would eat in shifts – men first, then the women and last the children.

Did you know of any KKK activities?

I heard about them whipping people. There was a man below the Millstone Baptist church. That fellow planted his corn across the street on the hillside, but he didn’t hoe it. The Klan wrapped a bunch of switches up and put them on his porch with a warning to get the hoeing done in a week. That cornfield got hoed.

I also heard of a loose woman who got whipped with saw briars.

I mentioned I had heard a story about some Bentleys who left the county in coffins to escape being punished for Klan activities.

I don’t know about that, but mentioning coffins and being carried out reminds me of Morgan Reynolds. He was in trouble with the Klan. They aimed to kill him. This was before the Spanish American War. He was hoeing corn. The Klan was laying at the end of the field waiting to kill him. He was dressed in his mother’s clothes and her hat. He hoed til noon all the while they were waiting to get a shot at him. He came out and got on a mule and rode to Pound to join the Army. He went to Texas and fought in the Spanish American War.

He was in Brownsville, Texas when someone recognized him. They yelled
out “Hey Morg!” He kept going and they ran after him calling, “Hey Morg!” They
kept on and when the man following him came around a corner Morgan was waiting for him and caught him by the throat. He told him, “If you ever utter Morg Reynolds again, you are dead.”

Morgan came back after the war and became sheriff of Letcher County and made a good one. He brought in Bad John Wright on an outstanding warrant. Bad John would move over to Virginia when things got hot for him here and then come back to Kentucky when things were bad over there. I don’t think he served any time, but Morgan brought him in.

We had an Adkins relative of Mom’s who left the county because he killed a man. Actually, he killed two men. The first man was stealing corn. The corn crib would be open. He would find the door open. He could see the front of it from the house. One night he waited up and saw a man come around the corner. He let him get about half a load of corn and then shot him. That’s the way they found him in front of the corn with half a sack. He didn’t get indicted because he was protecting his own property.

Later, he had some men digging a well for him. He was down with the rheumatism. He probably had a strained back. He hired men to dig the well. They got into a fight and one of the men went home to get his gun. When he came back he couldn’t find any of the men. He came into the house and asked where they were hiding. He said, what do you mean, I hired you to dig the well. The man
said he was going to find them and shoot them and if he couldn’t find them he
would come back and shoot him. He kept a gun hanging at the bedpost.
He took it down and put it under the covers. The man returned to shoot him and
he shot him from the bed. He went to the state of Washington, Chahlis Washington and worked in the logwoods.

He was afraid the powers that be would send him to jail since there had already been one killing on his property.

There was a good story about Enoch Collier in the Kentucky Explorer last winter.

Drusilla wrote a good story of her memories. She was the middle of seventeen children. The older girls were married and gone by the time Druscilla came along. Sarah was in the household, but she would have nothing to do with chores or housework. She would go out in the fields and plow, garden and do what was considered man’s work. A lot fell to Druscilla because she was the only girl for much of the time.

Sometimes families can argue over things that don’t mean a whole lot. I remember a time when Dad and Uncle Ben argued over a piece of property. It was just a tiny piece of property, but Dad thought the line was on one place and Uncle Ben another. They didn’t speak for about five years. Grandpa was the one who gave them the land and he even showed them where the line was, but that didn’t settle the argument. Dad and Uncle Ben made up before Uncle Ben died, but they were mad at each other for a long time.

Did Grandpa Chunk speak to you about the Civil War?

He didn’t speak much about it. I do remember he when it would come up he would say, “That was a terrible time.” I wasn’t interested enough at the time to ask questions. I let it pass. He was one of John Hunt Morgan’s raiders in the Civil War. Later, I read every book I could get my hands on about the Civil War period. I read all I get on John Hunt Morgan.

Grandpa Chunk was in the Kentucky 13th. It went by several names. First it was the 5th Mounted Infantry. Then it was the 13th Calvary. It ran thru 13 names during the Civil War. They started at the mouth of Sandlick. Grandpa, his brother, A.C. and an uncle were with Ben Caudill who organized them.

Sandlick is West Whitesburg. Grandpa Archeleus helped start the Indian Bottom Church Association. It was originally at Blackey on Arch Cornett’s property. Later it moved to Colley. Arch Craft was a founding member of three Old Regular Baptist churches. He was a member of the Roaring River church in North Carolina before he came to Kentucky. In 1829 he helped start the church at Blackey. It was the first Old Regular Baptist Churches in Kentucky. He was a founding member of the Sandlick church, which was an arm of the Indian Bottom Association at Blackey. Then he helped found the Thornton church. It was quite a ways to go to Blackey from Colley for church. He would have to go on Friday and come back Monday so it was four days to go to church.

Arch was appointed as a delegate for the Indian Bottom Association. He was also a delegate at Sandlick. The church at the mouth of Colley Creek was just out of the Colley and to the left so it was very close for him. He and his son “Preacher Arch” were both delegates for the Colley church. I found all this in a book about the United Baptist Church of the U.S.

There were no land grants for rebel soldiers. Now Arch Craft had a land grant in North Carolina. He got it from being in the Revolutionary War. He had land in Boone, North Carolina. They could have it and keep it if they improved it. How they improved it was to put up a house and have a garden. They asked him to go to Kentucky and he said no, his house was built and he did not want to leave. He finally agreed to go when the State of Virginia gave him another land grant. He and James Caudill, Stephen Adams and some others all came together. They were headed for Bryan Station. When they reached Pound they traveled all day and got as far as Camp Branch. They stayed their first night there. The next morning they woke up to snow. They had their families with them. They stayed there the whole winter. There was plenty of game, fish and they just decided to stay.

I don’t know where Preacher Arch homesteaded, but Grandpa Chunk bought all his land.

Nelson Craft, one of the first postmasters at Craftsville. He was Grandpa Chunk’s brother. The only post office in Craftsville was in A.C. Craft’s kitchen. Millstone was a separate post office where the train came in. Watson delivered mail by horse on Saturdays and Holidays when he wasn’t going to school.

Watson Craft and his wife Maneva Back Craft were one of the most hospitable and interesting people that I have met in all my years of
gathering family information.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lettie Bentley married a Smith, a Bentley and a Toten

Smiths and Jones. Smiths and Jones. Boy are they hard to follow and figure out. Lettie Malinda Bentley was the 8th child of Otho Bentley and the first child of Nancy Alice Hall. Her first husband was Woodrow Smith.

Woodrow was the son of Robert Smith and Margie L. Bentley. I don't have enough information about Robert to figure out where he is in the census records or who his parents are. I will have to ask Aunt Lettie the next time I visit her. I thought it was interesting though to find his mother was a Bentley.

Margie L. Bentley was the daughter of Noah Lincoln Bentley and Mary Holbrook. Noah was the son of Benjamin Bentley and Elizabeth Reynolds. Benjamin was the son of John Quiller Bentley and Margaret "Peggy" Hamilton. John Quiller was the son of Daniel Bentley and Nany Jane Lewis.

Until I started looking at who my aunts and uncles had married I didn't know Woodrow had a Bentley connection other than Aunt Lettie. They divorced.

Aunt Lettie's second husband was Dr. Can Martin Bentley. He was the son of John Quiller Bentley and Ellen Bates. John Quiller was the son of Benjamin Bentley and Elizabeth Reynolds whose line I have above.

His mother Ellen Bates was the daughter of Henderson Bates and Elender Dale. "Hen" as he was called was the son of John Wallis Bates and Sarah Waltrip. Hen was a brother to the Kentucky Giant, Martin Van Buren Bates.

They, too, divorced.

Nettie Bentley married a Holcomb

Nettie Bentley was the third child of Otho Bentley and Sadie Collier. On April 15, 1925 she married Hiram Wesley Holcomb.

William Holcomb was born about 1645 in Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales. He married Hannah Green. They came to America. William died in St. Stephens, Northumberland County, Virginia in 1722. William and Hannah had a son, William, in about 1678.

The second William's son was George who married a Sarah. Their son was George who married Martha Field Archer. Their son was Samuel Holcomb who married Hannah Henderson. This couple moved from Virginia to North Carolina.

Samuel and Hannah had at least two children: Hardin and Henderson. Hardin married into the Adams family. Henderson married Sarah "Sally" Cornett, the daughter of John Samuel Cornett and Mary Brenen. Henderson and Sarah moved from North Carolina to Letcher County. Hey had at least two sons: Hiram Wesley and Joseph. Joseph married Letitia Day. Hiram married Louisa Morgan.

Hiram Wesley Holcomb (1850-1930) and Louisa Morgan (1852-1916)

Joe Bentley marries a Henrickson

Joe Bentley is the 14th child of Otho Bentley and the 7th child of Nancy Alice Bentley.

He married Alma Eva Henrikson.

Aunt Alma's family goes back to about 1600 when Hakan Ingemarsson was born. He married Ingebord Andersdotter who was born on 1613. They had three known children: Per Kakansson, Inemar Hakansson and Sven Hakansson. I loved the way they did thie names Hakansson -- son of Hakan.

Per Hakansson was born in Bygdea. He married Karin Gummesdotter. They both died in Berg, Malmback, Socken. Their children were Johan, Hakan, Anders, Per, Marten & Kerstin. Te first four children took the last name Persson (son of Per) and the last two Hakansson. Per married a second time to Elin Danielsdotter. Their children were Anders, Johan and Ingemar.

Hakan Persson was born in 1675 in Berg, Socken. He married Sara Mansdotter from Giostorp. Their children were Sven, Maria, Anders, Karin, a second Karin, and a second Maria. They split their last names between Hakanson and Persson.

Sven Hakansson was born in 1715 in Giostorp. He married Ingerid Svensdotter in 1745. Their children were Johannes, Catharina, Maria, Sven Nilssonand a second Sven Svensson. I don't know where the Nilsson came from.

Sven Nilsson was born April 30, 1758 in Langhem, Alvsborg, Sweden. He married Maria Jonasdotter. Their son was Anders Svensson.

Anders married Edela Larsdotter. Their son was Henric Anderson. Henric married Christina Jonsdotter. Their son was Elias Andersson Henrikson.

Elias was born February 13, 1872 in Dunkared, Sweden. In 1893 Elias left Liverpool, Enland on the ship Pavonia. The ship's passenger list said the following:

Line # 12
Name in Full: E W or N Henrikson
Age 21
Sex m
Occupation: carpenter
Able to read: yes
to write: yes
Nationality: Swede
Last residence: Malmo
Seaport for landing in the US: Boston
Final destination in the US: Boston
Whether having a ticket to final destination: yes
By whom was passage paid: self
Whether in possession of money, if so, whether more than $30 and how much is 30 or less: 5 pounds

Whether ever before in the US and if so when and where: no
Whether going to join a relative & if so, what is relatives name & address: brother, J. Edwin, Boston
Ever in prison or almshouse or supported by charity, if yes, state which: no
Whether a polygamist: no
Whether under contract, express or implied, is labor in the US: no
Condition of Helath, mental & physical: good
Deformed or cripples, natura and cause: no

1900 Gardner, Worcester County, Massachusetts Census

Family 107
Henrikson, Elias, 28, head, Feb 1872, married 8 years Sweden Sweden Sweden
Painter chairs
Alice E. 25, wife, Jun 1874, had 4 children 4 living PA Germany Germany
Herman C. 7, son, Aug 1898
Anna M. J. 5, daughter, Jan 1894
Frederick C. 4, son, Apr 1895
Walter E. 2, son, Sep 1897
Children PA Sweden PA

1910 Gardner, Worcester, Massachusetts Census

Family 214
Henrikson, Elias 38, head, marriage 1, 18 years, Sweden Sweden Sweden
arrived in 190, naturalized, Painter, Chair factory
Alice E. 35, wife, marriage 1, had 7 chidren 7 living PA Germany Germany
Herman C. 16, son, PA, Sweden PA, wheel xxxx, Baby carriage factory
Anna M. J. 15, daughter, PA Sweden PA
Frederick C. 14, son, PA Sweden PA
Walter E. 12, son, MA Sweden PA
Eva M. 9, daughter, MA Sweden PA
Vera I. 7, daughter, MA Sweden PA
William C. seven months, son, MA Sweden PA

1920 Gardner, Worcester County, Massachusetts Census

Family 274
Henrikson, Elias 47, head, immigrated in 1887, naturalized in 1900 Sweden
Sweden Sweden, finisher, chair factory
Alice E. 45, wife, PA Germany Germany
Eva M 19, daughter, MA Sweden PA, illegible
Vera I. 17, daughter MA Sweden PA, illegible
William O. 15, son MA Sweden PA
Robert L 5, son MA Sweden PA

1930 Gardner, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Family 340
Henrikson, Elias 57, head, 1st married at 20, Sweden Sweden Sweden, chair finisher
chair shop
Alice E. 55, wife, first married at 18, PA Wartenberg Germany, Germany
Robert A. 15, son, MA Sweden Germany

I remembered the pictures of Kris from his vacations in Massachusetts sitting in the huge chair. I had no idea that it was from a chair factory or that his family had been chair makers. There are two other chair makers that I have run across in the family -- Jesse Wright, my great grandfather, and John "Groundhog John" Bentley who made the rocking chair that Joe Hall bought for his daughter, Hazel.

Elias and Alice's son, Walter Edward Henrikson, was born on September 6, 1897 in Gardner. He married Flora M. LeBlanc. Flora was the daughter of Placide LeBlanc and Catherine Robichaud from French Canada. He and Flora married on July 19, 1917.

In 1918 when Walter registered for the draft he was described as medium height and build with black eyes and light hair.

I can't find Walter in the 1920 census.

1930 Gardner, Worcester County, Massachusetts

80 Barthel Avenue / Family 107
Henrikson, Walter E. 32 MA Sweden PA Molder Foundry
Flora M. 30 MA Canada French Canada French
Walter E. 11 MAMA MA
Catherine E. 7 MA MA MA
Alma E. 6 MA MA MA

Little Alma became the bride of Joe Bentley.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lake Bentley marries a Pass

Lake Bentley was the tenth child of Otho Bentley and the third child of Nancy Alice Hall. She was born on December 21, 1919. She married Carl Asberry "C. B." or "Berry" Pass.

The oldest known Pass was John Pass. His son, Nathaniel, was born in Halifax County, Virginia in 1734. He married Ailsey McGinnes Holloway in 1759.

In 1779, Nathaniel was given a land grand of 430 acres in Caswell County, NC "on the waters of Smiths Mill Creek". It is not known why the land grant was given to a citizen of Virginia. It was not for Nathaniel's Revolutionary War service which did not begin until a year later. Most
probably it was for some service in the Indian skirmishes which took place around the middle of the 18th century and which kept the settlers scurrying back and forth across the Virginia-North Carolina border.

Sometime in 1780, Nathaniel moved onto his North Carolina grant with his wife and his first son, Holloway PASS, born 4 March 1762. On 15 September 1780, Nathaniel, at age 46, and his son Holloway, age 18, volunteered and served in Colonel William Moore's North Carolina Regiment. War records show that Holloway (and presumably Nathaniel, also) was in the battle at Rugley's Mill during his first enlistment period. In the fall of 1781, they enlisted again and were in a battle at Brown Marsh.

After the war, both returned to Caswell County. Census records show that they remained there at least through 1810. Nathaniel died in 1815 at age 81.

Nathaniel's second son, Nathaniel was born in 1763. He married Milley Tapley. They lived and died in North Carolina. Their son, Elijah H. Pass married Nancy Aneway Dunaway. He was still in North Carolina in 1830 when the census was taken, but was on the tax rolls in Roane County, Tennessee by 1833.

Elijah and Nancy's son, Nathaniel Green Pass, was born in 1823 in Caswell County. He first married Sarah Morgan.

1850 Blount County Tennessee

Family 508

Green Pass 27, farming, NC

Sarah 23, NC

Jesse 5

William 3

Mary A. 2

All the children were born in Tennessee.

Sarah and Green went on to have three more children: Nancy E., Archie Thomas and Nathaniel T. Sarah passed away and Green married again to Nancy A. Dockery.

1860 Blount County Tennessee

Pass, Green 36, laborer, NC
Nancy A. 22
William P. 13
Jesse 15
Mary 12
Nancy E. 8
Thomas A 7
Fannie T 4 (this is Nathaniel, but it is absolutley an F on the census record)
Sarah M 2
Rose E. seven months
All born TN except Green.

I haven't found them in 1870 yet.

1880 Roane County Tennessee

Pass, Nathaniel 56, iron ore miner, NC NC NC
Nancy 44, wife, keeping house NC NC NC
Sarah M. 22, daughter, at home
Nancy E. 17, daughter, at home
Solomon 14, don, ... iron ore
Isac R. 12, son, teamster
John H. 10, son
Henderson 8, son
Children all TN NC NC

1900 Roane county Tennesse

Nathaniel is listed as a widower living with his daughter, Mary.

Family 551
Huffman, Elbet 57, head, Apr 1843, TN TN TN, farmer
Mary 52, wife, Dec 1847, TN NC TN
Pass, G Nathaniel 76, OCt 1823, father in law, widowed, NC NC NC

Nathaniel died on March 7, 1908. This is his obituary:

An Old Citizen Dead

Nathaniel Green Pass died at 10:15 o'clock on Saturday night after a
brief illness of one week. In the death of "Grandpa" Pass, as he was familarly
called, one of the old landmarks of Roane County has been taken away; he having
lived to the ripe old age of 91 years, and most of that time being spent in
Roane County. He came to Rockwood, before there was any town there and has lived
there or near there ever since. He built the first house that was erected in
Rockwood, having taken a contract with the Roane Iron Company to build six log
houses in what is now known as old Rockwood, hear the furnace, the first houses
built in the town. He is said to have dug the first iron ore that was ever
smelted int the Rockwood furnace. He was married twice and was the father of
seventeen children- seven by his first marriage and ten by his second-ten of
whom survive, and these were all with him in his last hours except one who is
living in Texas. From him 132 descendants have sprung reaching into the fourth
generation, most of them living in this county. He also has two sisters and two
brothers living in Blount County. Deceased was a quiet, peaceable, industrious
citizen, devoted to his family, reverenced and respected by all, as was attested
by the large number of people that attended his funeral. He was a consistent
member of the Christian Church at this place. Rev. A.A. Ferguson condected a
very impressive service at the Christian Church at 10:00 o'clock Monday morning, after which his body was buried in the Cardiff cemetery. He was married to Sarah
Morgan on 11 Nov 1844 in TN, Blount Co..

John H. Pass was born in 1870 to Nathaniel Green Pass and Nancy A. Dockery. He married Minnie Fay Erwin. They had the following children: Ninevah Bug, Reese, William Pink, Jackie Essil, John Henderson, Raymond and Carl Asberry Pass. He moved his family to Letcher county, Kentucky where he died on July 15, 1922. He was buried in Rockwood, Roane County, Tennessee at the Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Their baby, Carl Asberry Pass later known as C. B. Pass and Berry Pass married Lake Bentley.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Laura Jane Bentley marries a Stallard

Laura Jane Bentley was the fifth child of Otho Bentley and Sadie Collier. She was born January 19, 1912. She married John Stallard.

Walter Stallard was born about 1548 in Tarrington, Herefordshire, England. He married Joan Brace. Their son, Roger Stallard married Joane Turnour. Their son, Walter Stallarad was also born in Tarrington. He married Winifred Hodges.

Sabrina Bentley marries a Blair

Sabrina Bentley was the seventh child of Otho Bentley and the second of Nancy Alice Hall. She married Curwood Blair on New Years Eve 1916. They had five children: Danny, Charles, Kathy, Glenda and Jeannette.

Don't take everything as gospel on the oldest of Curwood's line. I always wonder about the things I find, but I am passing on what is there.

The oldest member of the Blair family that I have found is William De Blair who was born in England. The De Blair makes me think I will find something going back to France if I could find more, but William is in England.

His son is Henry De Blair, born in 1068, England. He apparently moved on to Scotland because his son, William De Blair was born in Blair, Ayshire, Scotland in 1135. That would make Henry 67. Not impossible, but it makes me wonder if there isn't another generation between them.

This Scottish William had a son William De Blair in 1180. His son was David DeBlair born in 1230. His son was Roger De Blair, born in 1265.

Next in line was Hugh De Blair who married Margaret Mure, also born in Scotland. Thier son was James De Blair.

The family dropped the "De" and just became Blair from this generation forward. Next was David Blair followed by John Blair. John married Beatrice Mortoun. John and Beatrice had a sonnamed John who married Elizabeth Montgomery. John and Elizabeth had a son, John who married Margaret Cunningham. They had a son, John, who married Grizel Semple. Their son, Bryce Blair married Annabella Wallace.

Bryce & Annabella's son John Blair married Jean Cunningham. Their son, David was the last of the children born at Blair, Scotland. He settled in Aghadowey, Antrim, Ireland.

David's son, James was born in 1640 in Ireland. He married Rachel Boyde in 1660 in Ireland. They emmigrated to Massachusetts. They had a son in Ireland before they emmigrated. I found an immigration record for Robert dated August 4, 1718. It showed him coming from Londonderry, Ireland to Boston, Massachusetts. He married Isabella Nutfield Rankin who was born in Blair, Scotland. So far I have found two of their sons. William shows a birthplace of Scotland and being born the same year as the immigration. He ended up settling in Canada.

Their second son was Joseph. He stayed in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He married Elizabth Alice Mays who was born in Ireland. Their son John Charles Blair was born in Virginia. He married Easter Rachel Robertson, the daughter of Benjamin & Celia Patterson Robertson. Their children were John Robertson, Sally, Letitia, Joseph, Susannah, Easter, Charles, Elizabeth and Henry.

John Robertson Blair was born in Scott County, Virginia in 1799. He married Elizabeth Harrison in 1820.

In 1850 they were in Letcher County, Kentucky.
Blair, John R, 51, farmer
Elizabeth 47
Susannah 16
Hiram 14
Rebecca 12
Lucinda 10
Samuel 7
Elizabeth 5
Ceciley 3
All born in KY but John who was born in VA.

I havent't found the 1860 census yet.

1870 Letcher County, KY
Blair, John R. 71, farmer, VA
Elizabeth, 67, keeping house, KY
Johnson, Solah, 25, keeping house KY

John died in March of 1880. The US Census Mortality schedule listed him as being a resident of Letcher county for 35 years at the time of his death. I found most family genealogies listed Elizabeth as having died in 1870. His death notation of death says he was married at the time of his death, so I am going by the premise that Elizabeth was still alive in 1880.

John and Elizabeth had 8 children that I have found: Elihu, Susannha, Hiram, Rebecca, Lucinda, Samuel, Elizabeth and Cecily.

Elihu was born April 4, 1825 at Cowan Creek, Letcher County, Kentucky. He married Celia Adams, the daughter of Stephen "Shank Steve" Adams and Elizabeth Whitaker.

In 1850 Letcher County
Blair, Elihu, 25, farmer
Cely, 26
Elizabeth 3
Hiram B 2
William L, ten months
Adams, Jane, 16
All KY

1870, Letcher County

Family 26
Blair, Elihue, 48, farmer
Selah, 48
Hiram 21
Williaim 20
Samuel 18
Jessee 17
Stephen R. 14
Louisa, 12
Joseph 11
Julia Ann, 4
All KY

1880 Lane Fork, Letcher Co KY

Family 239
Blair, Elihu, 55, farmer KY VA KY
Seaah 56, wife, keeping house, KY NC NC
Louisa 19, daughter
Joseph 17, son, works on farm
Julia 13, daughter
Adams, William 12, nephew, works on farm
Children all KY KY KY

1900 Whitesburg, Letcher Co KY

Family 206
Blair, Elihu 75, head, Apr 1825, married 54 years KY VA KY Farmer
Celia 75, wife, Aug 1824, had 11 children, 6 living, KY KY KY
Hill, Hiram, 12, g son, Jun 1887, KY KY KY

Elihu died on October 25, 1903.

Celia lived on. I haven't found her in the 1910 census yet. She died March 16, 1914. I have found ten of the eleven children she reported in the 1900 census: Elizabeth, Hiram, William L., Samuel, Jessee, Stephen R., John R., Louisa, Joseph, and Julia Ann.

Stephen R. was born March 7, 1866 at Pine Top, Letcher County, Kentucky. He married Martha Polly, the daughter of Henry Polly and Mary Sergent. They had 13 children that I have found: Mary E, William, Cornelia, Charles, Monroe, Maggie, Jessee, Henry, Nancy, Cealia, Julie, Mintie and Eve.

Charles "Charley" Blair was born in 1880. He married Tina "Tinny" Whitaker, the daughte of Esquire Whitaker, Jr. and Clerinda Combs. They had six children that I have found so far: Afton, Orena, Robert, Curwood, Wilmer and Elden.

Curwood marrieed Sabrina Blair, the daughter of Otho and Nancy Hall Bentley.

John and Elizabeth had a son, John who married Margaret Cunningham. Next was John Blair

Monday, February 16, 2009

Inlaws and Outlaws

Regardless of what you call them -- who you marry brings in all their relatives into your family. I have been working on my brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws families. I also did my inlaws, but that was just an accident when I was working on some Laurel County, Kentucky records and my mother-in-law's obituary came up. She died a couple of years ago at about age 91. I found my ex is a Methodist minister in Smyrna, Tennessee which is were my Aunt Ival and Uncle Lonnie lived. Aunt Ival is still there. Who knew that when I was visiting them that two miles down the road my ex was conducting services at a church there. I met him in the church of Christ -- which is where we were married. He divorced me and said it was religious differences, that he was Baptist and I tried to change him. Who knew that going to Vanderbuilt would help him find his Methodistism.

Anyway, I was trying to find at least five generations on each of my in-laws so that my nieces and nephews would have that information if they wanted it. I started going through Poppy and Granny's children to do the same. I will be running articles on what I found for the next few days.

I am striking out on Aunt Grace. I don't know enough of her family to do any checking. If you want me to work on yours, let me know your parents and grandparents and I will go from there. Otherwise, I think I have a good bit on each of my aunts and uncles by marriage except for Uncle Jimmy's and I don't know who to ask for any more information.

Hopefully, this will cause you to send me more information to fill in the holes that I may open with the information I found.

The families -- in no certain order -- will start tomorrow -- well at 12:02 am which is my normal print time when I write.

Friday, February 13, 2009

20/20 Did you watch it?

I don't know what to think about the story that Diane Sawyer did tonight. It's the same stories that I saw when I was a kid. It makes me mad. It makes me sad. It makes me feel helpless.

Years ago there was fighting and terror and meanness and people left to have another life. They left to have any life. But there is this draw back to the mountains. They would retire there. They would talk about it like it was heaven. The badness was forgotten.

Now it's not fighting and meanness, it's drugs. Did you know you can make more money in an hour selling drugs in eastern Kentucky than you can in Chicago, New York or any big city in America? Prescription drugs mostly.

When I stay in Letcher county now I get warned to lock the car, not leave anything out and to park under the light near the house because "they" will steal whatever they can see and even your gas. This was a place where we didn't use to lock doors.

It has always been a hard place to live. Rocky, hilly, steep. No roads, no industry.

I used to love to read the Mountain Eagle. Mostly I wanted to read Mabel Kiser's column and see who she mentioned. I remember sitting on the swing with my cousin Kris reading her column out loud with columns titled "Mary Craft Paints her Kitchen Yellow". It was innocent. It was a look at family and church and who was doing what.

One day I read an article about how the tax money from southeast Kentucky was going to Jefferson County schools where it would be put to better use. Translation: it was a waste to educate those hillbillies. I never looked at that paper the same. Not to say that the Mountain Eagle wasn't speaking against it, but that anyone in power in the State of Kentucky would ever have that mentality.

Have you driven on the Daniel Boone Parkway lately? Guess not. It was renamed for a sitting congressman. What Kentuckian would put his name in replacement of Daniel Boone? I had a conversation with some cousins who said his plan was to take down the mountains --- I mean physically level them, put a lot of land under water and basically rework the whole of East Kentucky. I googled and searched and tried everything I could to find anything about the plans I was told. Supposedly they were common knowledge. Why put a man in office like that? Why keep a man in office like that?

I get so frustrated.

Alice Fay Wright

This is the obituary for Alice F. Wright.

Alice F. Wright Lansing Born September 13, 1946, to George and Opal Wright, Alice F. Wright passed away unexpectedly February 7, 2009 at the age of 62. Alice had many hobbies including jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and reading. She went back to school late in life and earned her high school diploma. She was very proud of this achievement. She was also an eye donor. She would be proud to know that she made it possible for someone else to have their eyesight again. Alice was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brothers, George (Martha) Wright of Satsuma, FL, Wendell (Vicki) Wright, Chester (Shirley) Wright of Mesa, AZ; sisters, W. Gayle Tackett of Charlotte, MI, Marie (Frank) DePlanche of Belen, NM, Juanita (Dean) Hampton of Williamston, MI; and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, February 13, 2009 at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 900 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing, Michigan. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Lansing. The family will receive friends Thursday, from 2:00-4:00 and 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

The link to leave a message for her family is here:

Alice is a granddaughter of Marryin' Booker Wright that I have written about in earlier blogs. Her sister, Gayle, reads the blog from time to time.

Please know, Gayle, that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Martha Tackett

Martha's father was Wilson Tackett. He was married to a Martha first. This Martha was the mother of Mary Tackett who married Joel Ambrose Bentley. Martha died and he married Rhoda E. Hampton.

Here are the census records for Wilson.

1900 Letcher County, Kentucky

Tackitt, Wilson, 36, married 10 years


Daisy Bentley

I got a query about Daisy Bentley today. She was born Jun 23, 1913 in Virginia. She was the daughter of Joel Ambrose Bentley and Mary Tackett. Her siblings were Garfield, John, Garland, Robert and Martha.

Joel Ambrose Bentley was the son of James Martin Bentley and Tabitha Baker. His siblings were Robert Bryant, William Finley, James W. Mary Jane, David H. John Wesley, Martha Caroline and Sarah E. William Finley was the father of Jeff Bentley who married Otho Bentley's sister, Mary. Mary is the one I grew up thinking had died at age 14, but she had children and died in a mental institution in Lexington. There is a whole blog on her. Mary Jane married Solomon Bentley.

Mary Jane has a connection to me because her son Ermon was my grandmother, Cora Wright's first husband. Her other son, Samuel married my great Aunt Eliza.

Here are the census records that I have found on James Martin Bentley and Tabitha Baker:

1850 Alexander County, North Carolina.
Bentley, James M. 26 laborer
Tabitha 17
Robert 6 months
All born in NC.

1860 Yancy County, North Carolina
Bentley, James 37, miller
Tabitha 27
Robert B. 10
William F. 8
James W. 6
Mary J. 3
David A. 1 month
All born in NC

1870 Letcher County, Kentucky
Bentley, James 49
Tabitha 37
Robert 20
William 17
James 14
Mary 12
David 9
John 5
Martha 2
All born in NC

1880 Letcher County, Kentucky
Bentley, James 56, works on farm
Tabitha 44
David H.
John W 16
Martha C 12
Sarah E. 7
Joel A. 5

1900 Millstone, Letcher County, Kentucky
Bentley, James M. 75, married 50 years, farmer
Tabitha 65, had 9 children, 8 living
Tabitha 14, granddaughter
Ambrose 25, son

Joel Ambrose Bentley married Mary Tackett.

1910 Gladeville, Wise County, Virginia
Bentley, Ambrose 37, married 7 years, laborer, coke plant
Mary 22, had 4 children, 4 living
Garfield, 4
John W. 4
Garland 2
Robert B. 1 month

Hasn't run any bells yet, has it?

1920 Gladeville, Wise County, Virginia
Bentley, Ambrose, 47, laborer
Mary 38
Garfield 16
John 14
Garland 11
Daisy 5
Martha 3
Tackett, Martha 21, sister-in-law
Hazel 8 months

Aha! Martha Tackett. Mary Tackett is Martha's sister. Martha was one of grandpa Joe Hall's wives. Hazel is Granny's half sister. There is a blog about Hazel and her hair and one about Martha herself. In the story about Martha and when I talked to Hazel she told me she worked in a store that was owned by Mary Bentley. I couldn't figure out who that was. Here it is, Mary Bentley was her sister, who married Joel Ambrose Bentley.

Following on down with Daisy.....

She married James Elswick.

Family 399
Elswick, James, 25 married at 23, coal miner, coal mine
Daisy, 16, married at 14
Elzy, 9 months

And... living next door Family 398

Newsome, William 51, 1st married at 20, coal miner, coal mines
Martha 32, 1st married at 20
Hall, Hazel, 10, daughter
Lettie D. 6, daughter
Tackett, Wilson, 68, father, invalid
Morgan, 20, son, brother, coal miner, coal mines

So where was Joe Hall in 1910?

1910 Letcher County, Kentucky
Camp Branch, Family 315
Hall, Joseph, marriage 2, married 5 years, farmer, general farm
Cillar, marriage 2, had 2 children, 2 living
Enoch Maylen, 13, farm laborer, home farm
Nancy Alice, 11
Basis 8

Poor little Martha. I think I put in the story about her having to walk by Joe's house after he remarried, Dianah (which is pronounced Dianer). Once Dianah threw out scalding water toward her and Martha called her a "B". Dianah filed charges against her. It went to court. The judge had to find her guilty. She admitted she had used the B word. He charged her 3 cents (maybe it was only a penny, I don't remember for sure). She refused to pay. The judge told her that she would have to go to jail if she did not pay the money. She still refused. He paid the fine for her and sent her home.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rockhouse School

I posted this picture back on November 8th. Tonight I ran into a cousin whose grandmother is in the front row. The cousin is Denise Marie Newman Stapleton. She has a huge family tree online with thousands of pictures. Here is the picture with the names that Denise has identifed. If you want to keep both this index picture and one without the names, just right click on this version and go back to the one in the blog on November 8th and it will have no names on it.

Denise's copy has the school identified as Little Robinson Creek School.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Conover Genealogy

People always like to know who the famous people are in their family. I have been working on my inlaws family trees. I was trying to go back at least 5 generations for each of them so that my nieces and nephews would have more info than just the Mullins/Bentley side of the family. I did pretty well and only have a few brick walls.

When I come to a woman in the family and only her first name is known, I first try to identify her maiden name. Then I try to expand her family.

For the Schenck family, I have a Mary Gregg and a Phebe (probabley Phoebe) who I was researching. I have a guess that I am still working on for Mary, but Phebe is just a dead end. Then there is Sarah Couwenhoven who married William Janse Schenck. I had found her parents and grandparents. When I tried to document them, I found other researches who had different grandparents for Sarah, so I started over on her.

I found a website that took the Couwenhovens back several generations to the Netherlands.

You Schencks should take a look. It is , it has a lot of your family history.

You connect like this:

My brother in law
Generation 2: Lowel David Schenck & Virginia A Gibson
Generation 3: Paul David Schenck & Rachel Luella Loy
Generation 4: John David Schenck & Susan Anna Wombold
Generation 5: Obediah Schenck & Sarah Eleanor Scharff
Generation 6: John David Schenck & Mary Ann Gregg
Generation 7: David Schenck & Phebe
Generation 8: William Janse Schenck & Sarah Couwenhoven
Generation 9: Jan "John" Schenck & Neeltje Eleanor "Nellie: Bennett
Generation 10: Jan Roelofse Schenck & Sarah Willemse Van Kouwenhoven
Generation 11: Roelof Martense Schenck & Neeltje Garretse Couwenhoven

Honing in on Generation 8 Sarah Couwenhoven
Generation 9: David Couwenhoven & Ida Garrett Wyckoff
Generation 10: Willem Albertse Couwenhoven & Lysbeth Benjamin Van Cleef
Generation 11: Albert Van Couwenhoven & Neeltje Roelofse "Eleanor" Schenck
Generation 12: Williem Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven & Jannetije Pieterse Monfoort

You'll notice there are Van Kouwenhovens in both lines. One of the marriages was of cousins.
The family came from the Netherlands in the early 1600's. I have the names of the ships and dates they immigrated.

But, going back to what I said, since folks are always interested in who they are related to who are famous, the website I referred you to had these folks as famous relatives of the Kouwenhoven family. Some could be the author's maternal line, but I will leave that for you to figure out if you are interested.

Dr. Virginia Apgar
Commodore Elsworth Bertholf
Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe)
Elizabeth Andrew Borden (Lizzie Borden)
Mary Stevenson Cassatt (Painter)
Humphry DeForest Bogart
President George Herbert Walker Bush
President George Walker Bush
John Wilson Carson
Vice President Richard Cheney
Sir Winston Leonard Churchill
Edward Montgomery Clift
DeWitt Clinton
Willis Clark Conover, Jr (Broadcaster)
Governor Howard Brush Dean
Michael Kirk Douglas (Actor)
Thomas Alva Edison (Inventor)
President Millard Fillmore
Henry Jaynes Fonda
Jane Seymour Fonda
President James Abram Garfield
Richard Tiffany Gere
President Ulysses Simpson Grant
Major General Nathaniel Greene
Governor William Averell Harriman (Politician-Diplomat)
President Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Gordon Bitner Hinckley (President LDS Church)
Vice President Garret Augustus Hobart
Webb Parmalee Hollenbeck (Clifton Webb Actor)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (Physician, Writer and Poet)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (Supreme Court Justice)
Capt. John Kendrick
Harmen Knickerbocker
President Abraham Lincoln
General James Longstreet
General Douglas MacArthur
Willie Hugh Nelson
President Richard Milhous Nixon
Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
Molly Kathleen Ringwald
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt
Rear Admiral Alan Bartlett Shepard. Jr.
General Joseph Warren Stillwell
Taylor Alison Swift (Country Singer)
Lowell Jackson Thomas (Writer-Broadcaster)
Julia Jean MildredTurner (Lana Turner)
President Martin Van Buren
Willis Van Daventer (Associate Justice Supreme Court)
General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright
George Orson Wells
Thomas Lanier Williams (Tennessee Wiliams)
Major General Johh Ellis Wool
Orville Wright
Wilbur Wright

The nieces and nephews can figure out who is who. For some of the names I draw a total blank for their celebrity.