Thursday, November 28, 2013
Decoration Day Parade in 1900
When there was a dispute with Mexico over the boundary of the new state of Texas, Congress voted men and money to go and settle the United States’ claim that the southwest boundary of the new state was the Rio Grande River. On May 18, 1846 President James K. Polk called for troops to carry on a war with Mexico. As always men from Brown County responded to the call for men. Our boys fought in the famous battles of Palo Alto, Buena Vista, Vera Cruz, and Chapultepec. By September 14, 1847 General Winfield Scott entered Mexico City and the war was at an end. Not only was the boundary settled, but we gained California, New Mexico and other parts of the southwest.
The Brown County men that stepped forward to raise a company of soldiers were James Taggart Jr., Thomas M. Adams, Patterson C. Parker, Williamson Wise, and Charles Bolt. A meeting was held at Georgetown and Nashville to enlist volunteers. James Taggart was elected Captain, Thomas M. Adams was First Lieutenant, Patterson C. Parker was Second Lieutenant, and Williamson Wise was Third Lieutenant. The company was assigned to the Third Indiana Regiment. The Brown County boys had already bought bright bluejeans for uniforms and the company was known as the “Brown County Blues” throughout the war.
There’s a story told down through the years of the death of Captain James Taggart on the battlefield. Captain Taggart received a mortal wound from a carbine ball. Stephen Kennedy who was near him picked him up and carried his captain into a deep ravine and remained with him to hear his last words. “Tell my folks to meet me in the good world. Be a good soldier, Kennedy. Go on to your company.” Captain Taggart lies buried on the battlefield where he died a soldier’s death.
Old Settlers Reunion in 1891 - Many were Veterans
Roster of Company E - Officers.: James Taggart Jr., Thomas M. Adams, Patterson C. Parker, Williamson Wise, Charles Bolt, Aaron D. Hedge, James Arwine, Joshua Janklles, Mason Watts, Lazarus Robertson, William S. Roberts, Isaac Lamsel, George Admire, Elias Weddle, John Calvin, Benjamin R. Kelley, Joshua Brummett, William Hamblen, and Thomas S. Calvin.
Privates: Joseph G. Arter, Charles Adams, Joshua Brummet Jr., James Brown, Reese Brummett, Caleb Bidwell, John Bolt, Thomas I. Breedlove, James Burns, John Calvin, George Comingore, Benjamin Callahan, Hanson Chase, Harmonious Cooley, George W. David, George W. Davis, William Davis, Stephen Debord, Joseph Fox, Cornelius Followell, Stephen Fread, Frederick Fleener, John Followell, Lewis Followell, Richard Goforth, Elijah Graham, John Gibson, Harrison Graham, David Hamblen, William Hatchet, William Hoover, Simeon Hubbard, Levi Hatton, Elisha Henley, William Hughes, Ephraim Hurley, Joshua Jackson, James Jackson, Stephen Kennedy, John H. Kennedy, Daniel King, Doherty, Logston, Abraham Lawless, Richard Lucas, Brackenridge Mason, Robert Marshall, Mathew Mathis, Alfred McGuire, George McKinney, Silas Morety, Martin Percifield, Philip Pike, Zachariah Polley, Misinor, Percifield, Hiram Reynolds, Joseph Robertson, John Robertson, William Robertson, William H. Raper, Alex Sturgeon, John L. Sumana (or Summa), Daniel Schrougham, James Shelton, ‘Squire’ Stewart, Henry Sipes, Lewis Tull, James W. Taggart, Mathew Wise, Theodore Whitney, Lewis Waggoner, William E. Weddle, and John Wilkins.
Benjamin R. Kelley who served in the war named these additional soldiers in his Day Book: John Brummett, Abraham Lollar , Lawrence Robertson, John Surrey, Stephen Fore, and Charles Roatt. Names gleaned from other sources were: George W. Marshall, John S. Kephart, and William H. McCarty.
Some of the above names may have been repeated due to differences in spelling found. If anyone can add to this list please let us know so we can add their names to our list of Mexican War soldiers who served from Brown County or later moved to Brown County.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Brown County in the 1913 Flood
I just realized I’ve been putting myself through an education not realizing what was occurring. When I became Archivist for our little local historical society I found there is so much more to historical documentation than just birth, death, and marriage records. I think as genealogists we are constantly looking for that new type of documentation that we had never known about before. There is a world of documents that have been created by governments, churches, and organizations that are endless. Even in a small community such as mine, our Archives is full of stories, and data that can be used to fill out a story, about your ancestor. This event or story was a part of their life!
Just watching the nasty weather this evening occurring here in Indiana brought to mind this topic for a blog post. Earlier this month I did a story on the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Flood in Indiana. Doing research on the topic in our Archives and on-line I found gads of photos from all over the state. This brought to mind the term “historical context” again. Sometimes we get so involved in trying to find those dates that we forget that our ancestor lived during these historical events.
Martinsville in the 1913 Flood
I usually concentrate my research on Brown County, but my family lived in many parts of Indiana. The one photo that grabbed my attention was the flooding that occurred in Martinsville, Indiana. That date of 1913 stuck on my brain – Martinsville in the spring of 1913 – what happened then? It came back to me then. My 2nd great granduncle that I’ve been researching lived in Martinsville at that time. Wow, sudden realization, George Washington Brown was living in Martinsville in the 1910s (he died in 1915). He would have been 77 years old at the time of the flood. The homes and flooding in the photo is what his town looked like during that time period. Then I got to thinking, how did he handle this disaster especially at 77 years old? His wife, Rebecca Ann, would have been about 61 years old. They had living with them a grand daughter, Jessie Odetta, about age 8. They also had a son, George Washington Brown Jr. and his family living in the same town.
How did his family fare in the flood? Was he able to make it to his parents to see if they were okay? Many questions arise. What would be the next course of action if one wanted to check on these people at that time? Probably the next best thing would be to look at the old newspaper accounts. Our local newspaper had a pretty good story about the problems and heroic acts that occurred at the time in Brown County. This would be a great personal research project for any family historian. Look at major events that occurred during your ancestor’s lifetime. See if you can find someway to find the story, if not about your personal ancestor then maybe about the community they lived in or some of their neighbors. Okay, time for a research trip to Martinsville, Morgan County, Indiana.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
A Pioneer Village Museum in Campbell County, Tennessee
I don’t like to jump back too far when filling in a timeline. Although it's tempting to jump back and see where he came from it's usually not as productive. It’s better to go back in increments when possible. Once you have enough to fill in gaps then you can jump back a little more in time. I believe I’ve collected quite a bit on John Wiginton, my 4th great grandfather, at least as far I can go for now in Tennessee. To find further information I’ll have to plan a research trip to Tennessee in the near future and visit all the counties that he resided in or that his daughters married in. So for now I’ll look at what I can find from the internet, local research libraries, and microfilm from the Family History library.
I've now started looking at John’s home before he went to Tennessee. From census records in 1850 and 1860 John stated that he was born in Georgia. If he was born about 1784 from calculations Georgia was Indian Territory at the time, but it’s not impossible for him to have been born there. Unfortunately there are no records for Georgia at that time period. If you look at census records for Jeremiah Wiginton, the younger man mentioned in the last blog then he was born in South Carolina. I've surmised that Jeremiah was most likely a younger brother or a nephew. He is found in several of the counties with John in Tennessee and seems to have followed John with almost every move. Jeremiah was born about 1800 so we can start looking there for my Wigintons, and at least there will be records in South Carolina for that time period. So far I have no other info pointing me toward South Carolina. Of John’s six children only one lived to be in the 1850 census and that was my 3rd great grandmother, Lucinda Tallent. She stated she was born in Tennessee.
So beginning this leg of my research on South Carolina I found there were some Wigintons living in the old Pendleton District of South Carolina, which just happens to lie on the Georgia border. So now I have a time gap to work on from the date of John’s birth in 1784 to 1812 when he was found on the Warren County, Tennessee tax list. John had two of his daughters in this time period. Melinda was born about 1806 and Rhoda was born about 1809. I’ve already done some research on these two daughters and have exchanged info with some of their descendents. This will be a big block of time of about 28 years to fill in for John Wiginton. I’ll do what I can to find more records in Tennessee, but I can also work backward to see what I can find in the old Pendleton District in South Carolina. First order of business is to study the record-keeping that was done in this area and get a sense of the history of the area.
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Polly's Marriage Record
Back from the research trip to Miller County, Missouri, it is now time to decide where to go from here. Not much was accomplished from that trip. John Wiginton’s final resting place and those of his younger children are still lost for now. We’ll put that on the back burner for a while. The best information that was found was the two marriages of his step-daughter, Polly Lawson. I already had the dates and the grooms’ names, but it was good to get those confirmed from the actual marriage records. An added bonus was that John had performed the marriages himself. That added a little more information to John’s resume as a Minister.
Now I go back and fill in his timeline with all the details I have acquired so far. Then I can look for information to fill in the gaps especially the larger gaps of time that he was unaccounted for. John Wiginton was born about 1784 in Georgia. There was a younger Wiginton, Jeremiah, which shows up in several places as John in Tennessee. So we can assume he is a younger brother, nephew, cousin, etc. Jeremiah was born about 1800 in South Carolina. So from the block of time from 1784 to 1800 John was in his youth turning about 16 in 1800. This time period he would be too young to have records created in his name. This we’ll keep in mind for further research – sometime between 1784 and 1800 his family moved from Georgia to South Carolina. Moving forward from here - John’s first child, Melinda, was born about 1806 so that would make John about 21 or 22. Age 21 was marrying age for men at that time in most states. So we need to look for a marriage to his unnamed wife during the decade surrounding 1806 in either Georgia or South Carolina. The next movement is to trace him back in the Federal census or tax records. The first time to find him would be in 1810 after his marriage and the birth of at least two of his daughters, Melinda and Rhoda. Rhoda was born about 1809. John had a lot of daughters from what I’ve found so far. Another reminder to self – look for the actual marriage records to see if John was involved in some way as a Minister, etc.
Tennessee Mountains - Campbell County
The next event that he is involved in is the War of 1812. We know he got a land patent in Missouri because of his service in the war. So we need to find more info on his service – where and when he served. Finding this information we find a date of 1814-1815 where he enlisted in Capt. Ashabel Rains Company in Lincoln County, Tennessee. So now we have another gap in which to gather information. From the 1810 census to 1814 there are four years to fill in – what was the year he went to Tennessee. Finding a Tax List in Warren County, Tennessee John was found as a Poll Tax Payer in 1812. That narrows down that four year gap. So we continue on with finding other Tax Lists, Census records and his daughters’ marriages. When John went to Tennessee he seemed to stay in a 6 county area for a while: Blount, Warren, Rhea, Roane, McMinn, and Bledsoe. John was quite a restless young man it seems. At least all these counties seem to border each other or are very close together for traveling. Could John have been a traveling Minister during that time? That gives me another idea – look for church records. From his 77 years (age from the 1860 census), minus the first 21 years as a youth, I’ve been able to collect info to narrow down a lot of these time gaps covering at least 25 years. There are several 6 and 8 year time gaps that need to be worked on. Time to fill in that timeline and start working on those gaps.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Old Courthouse at Tuscumbia
Reporting back from my research trip to Missouri. The trip was primarily made to help break down a brick wall on my 4th great grandfather, John Wiginton. My goal was to find the final resting place of John Wiginton and his second family. John was born in 1784 in Georgia from census records. I had traced him through several counties in Tennessee and he had served in the War of 1812 there. John seemed to be quite a restless man not staying in any one place very long during his time in Tennessee. In 1838 he married a second time to Elizabeth Lawson. Sometime in the 1840s they moved to Miller County, Missouri with Elizabeth’s parents, David and Mary Lawson. Elizabeth previously had one daughter, Polly Lawson, born in 1836. John and Elizabeth had another daughter together named Sarah in 1848. His stay in Miller County seems to have been the longest period of time that John had stayed in any one place. He was getting up in age - he was in his mid 60s when he had his last daughter. Also he had got a land patent, maybe he decided to settle down and make a home for his family. Hopefully this was a good sign to make the trip and find his final resting place.
New Courthouse at Tusbumbia
Sometime in the 1850s his wife, Elizabeth, died, leaving John with his stepdaughter, Polly, and his daughter, Sarah. Polly married two times, first to William Walker with which she had three children, John, Sarah, and Eliza Walker. It seems she must have taken over the role of the matriarch of the family. Her husband died before the 1860 census. She then remarried to Peter T. Coy in 1861. John Wiginton had performed the marriages of several couples during this time and had signed their marriage returns as a Minister including that of his stepdaughter, Polly. The next big event that happened was that Elizabeth Lawson’s father died. Her children were named in his Estate. Shortly after David Lawson's Estate was filed in 1867, John Wiginton sold his land a month later. That signaled a red flag. What was going on at that time that would cause these two events so closely together? Normally you would think when someone sells their land they are getting ready to move again. Did they move on to somewhere else? From reading about the history of Miller County there was a lot of ill-will and bad events going on in the county after the Civil War. After this set of events in 1867 John and his whole second family totally disappeared. I have used every thing I can think of to find them. I looked in Miller County for marriage records for the daughter, Sarah, and for the marriages of Polly’s children. There was nothing! I am back looking at that brick wall again. I will have to step back and see what other avenues I can take to find them.
Miller County Historical Society
Miller County totally awed me. My sister and I had combined our vacation trip with a research trip. We spent some time driving around the county to see the countryside. When we left the Interstate highway to look for the county seat, Tuscumbia, we entered another world. It was like driving through the back country of Tennessee again. I can see why John Wiginton had gone there – it was like his home away from home. We took off to find Tuscumbia and the courthouse and almost missed it. That is the smallest county seat I have ever been in. We saw only one church with a town cemetery, a big new courthouse, and their one and only small museum - no stores, no gas station, nothing else! We drove around to find where downtown was and couldn’t find it. We finally found an old run-down stone building that must have been their old courthouse. Around it sit several old abandoned storefronts. It seemed really sad – it looked like prosperity had hit this small town and moved elsewhere. It must have been a busy thriving town at one time. We drove down another country road and found that all the residents seemed to have moved down by the river, Osage River. It was a beautiful sight. Please, if you ever get to go to the home of your ancestor don’t pass it up, it is totally worth the trip no matter what you find. There is nothing like seeing where your ancestor lived.
Osage River at Tuscumbia
Sunday, August 18, 2013
One of Richard Guffey's sons, name unknown.
It's that time of the year again, getting ready for the next research trip. I decided to go to an entirely new place and have a new goal in mind. I usually try to trace an ancestor back to his home state and see what can be found on him or her there. This year I decided to track down the final resting place of a couple of great grandfathers who were of a restless nature. One is my 2nd great grandfather, Richard G. Guffey, my grandmother Millie Guffey-Conner's grandfather. Richard was married 2 times, first to my 2nd great grandmother, Eda Bell who died back in Wayne County, Kentucky. After Richard married a 2nd time he and part of the family moved to Macon County, Missouri. The children that went west with him were John D., Ephraim Hardin, Thomas M., James M., Charles, Van Buren, and Henry Clay Guffey. One of the sons photo is above. The older children stayed back in Kentucky. I've gathered lots of info on him and both his families. This time I just want to find where and when he died and where he is buried. The last place they lived was in Bevier, Missouri in the 1890s. His 2nd wife, Matilda Hughes-Guffey is buried at St. Charles so I want to go see if he is also buried there and get some photos. I also don't have a date of death for Richard and I want to tie up that loose end.
The next stop is going south down to Miller County, Missouri to find the final whereabouts of my 4th great grandfather, John Wigginton. He was quite the restless pioneer. He started out in Georgia, went into the Carolinas up to Tennessee, and finally ended up in Missouri (at least I think that was his last stop?). I've had plenty of internet cousins helping to track his down over the years. His last known residence was Equality Township, Miller County in the 1860s. This one will be a stretch, but I hope we can find something on him. He also was married a 2nd time to an Elizabeth Lawson. She died in the 1860s and him sometime afterward. John had land in this county, but I have yet to find out what happened to him after he sold his land in 1867. Both his daughters, Polly and Sarah, disappeared also shortly after this time. I found a marriage record for Polly to a William Walker. If I can find him or either of the daughters I will feel like I accomplished something.
So now I'm on the internet collecting maps and addresses of libraries and cemeteries I plan to visit. I want to make sure I can plan my visit around their hours. My sister and I want to spend some time in Hannibal, Missouri to see the sights and spend a few days like tourists. Hopefully if we can I would love to take a ride on a riverboat and dip our toes in the great Mississippi River.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
James Booth's Letter 1777
A while back I order the Guidebook for the Draper Manuscripts to be donated by our Genealogy Society to our local library for their genealogy section. Of course, I wanted to look through it first to see if any of my ancestors were in it somewhere. I was excited to find that my 5th great grandfather was mentioned in it as having written a letter. I wrote down the notes of where I could get a copy of this letter. That's one thing I would be so excited to own especially if he had signed it himself. The Guidebook also told me how to quote my source so I had better do that correctly - Draper Manuscripts 4ZZ10.
James Booth and wife, Nancy Stalnaker, lived in Harrison County, Virginia (now W. Virginia) on Booth's Creek named for James Booth. He was a true pioneer and leader that helped to settle the wilds of this area. They had four children: Sarah who married Evan Thomas, Barsheba who married Alexander McClelland, John Booth who married Sarah Kinder (my 4th great grandparents), and James Booth Jr. who married Elizabeth Tucker. Sarah and John both settled in Indiana. Captain James Booth was killed by Indians on June 16, 1778. Little is know about the final whereabouts of his wife. James Booth's exploits as a pioneer are written about in several historical accounts of Harrison County, W. Virginia.
Below is a transcription of his letter as best as I could make out. If anyone can help me make out any of the words a little better let me know.
To Capt. Zedick Springer at Prickett’s Fort
Koon Fort 95
August the 2st, 1777
Sir, By Sertain and satisfactory just gone from the Uper Garrisons are lain tha on the 31st of last month a sertain Charles Grigsby wife and child was kild and skalpt, and one missing supposed to be captured. But to inform you more fully he was a living on the waters of Elk Creek and had moved home, went out in the morning after his cows and on his return found not his family and most every thing which convinst him the more Jakens and men. The men spied a company passed them about four miles and found her as above. The number is sckalpt to be 13 or 14. Our men intended to posse them 5 days in which return shall able to satisfy your men.
This from your friend and humble Svt.