Sunday, October 15, 2017

Land deed from Allen to Elizabeth Matthews

Last month I wrote about my 4th-great-grandparents, Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis Matthews. At the time, I referenced a land deed from Allen to his sister-in-law Elizabeth Matthews in Smith County, Tennessee on 17 February 1847. Thanks to information provided by distant cousin and fellow Matthews researcher Linda, below is a copy of that land deed.
Land deed from Allen to Elizabeth Matthews. 17 Feb 1847.
Allen sold the land to Elizabeth for $150.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Black Sheep

Last week I was looking at State of Tennessee v Pleasant M. Riggs, a case from the Supreme Court of Tennessee and Grainger County Circuit Court. This week brings another case referencing members of the Jones and Thornhill family, the State vs Samuel and Thomas Larimore (1879). The Riggs case contained testimony by Roland Larimore, a neighbor of Richard Thornhill who may have been married to Richard's sister, Amanda Elizabeth Thornhill. The case of State vs Samuel and Thomas Larimore is a curious one, containing 50 pages and conflicting testimony by witnesses who were related or connected by marriage.
Source: TSLA, State v Samuel and Thomas Larimore, 1879.

The action was brought by William A. Bowers in Hamblen County against two sons of Roland Larimore, Samuel and Thomas, for grand larceny, stealing 50 bushels of wheat from Bowers' property. Bowers was married to Margaret E. Thornhill, daughter of Richard Thornhill and Margaret Cline. Thomas W. Thornhill was a witness for Bowers. A grand jury found Samuel and Thomas Larimore guilty, fixing their punishment at 3 years and nine months confinement each in the State Penitentiary. The Larimores argued for a new trial and appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Testimony
William Bowers asserted that 50 bushels of wheat was taken from his barn. On 4 September 1878, he found nine sacks of wheat hidden in his cornfield behind his barn. He got some of his neighbors to help watch to see who might come back to take the sacks of wheat. On the night of 5 September, Thomas Thornhill, Joseph Jones (my 3rd-great-grandfather), Tom Jones (Joseph's son, my 2nd-great-grandfather), George Bowers, George Lewis and George Newman were stationed with Bowers on various points to lookout for the wheat thieves. In Bowers' testimony, he noted how the moon was very bright that evening, proving enough light to be able to watch the sacks of wheat.

A wagon arrived at about 9pm from the direction of Roland Larimore's property. Bowers recognized Roland's sons Samuel and Thomas. Thomas Larimore started to lift up a sack of wheat, and Bowers yelled at him to surrender. Thomas dropped the sack and ran off, and Bowers fired a shot at him. Samuel took off with the wagon.

Thomas Thornhill also testified that he saw Thomas Larimore pick up the sack of wheat and that he heard Samuel Larimore driving the wagon.

Another witness named Mason Moore testified that Samuel and Thomas Larimore approached him on four occasions to help them steal the wheat from Bowers', in exchange for a portion of the proceeds. Moore was to be the Larimore's lookout to see if anyone came out of Bowers' house while they were stealing the wheat. Moore had been helping the Larimores steal wheat from other area farmers.

Roland Larimore offered his testimony that the boys Samuel and Thomas lived with him, that they had gone to bed before dark and that his daughter Adeline had fastened the back door to his home with a pin on the inside and the front door with a chain. Roland testified that he did hear a wagon pass by his house about 9pm. He said he did not hear any noise from where the boys were sleeping and that he did not think they could get out without him hearing.

Roland's other children Adeline, John and Richard provided testimony in support of their brothers.

The court ruled against the Larimore brothers, sentencing them to jail.

The witness list included Madison Line, who sold land to Joseph Jones in 1878.


I thought this might be the end of the case, but the Tennessee Wills and Probate records on Ancestry had a large file on Roland Larimore, much of it on bonds and summons issued in the case against Samuel and Thomas Larimore.

The probate file also contained another case involving Roland Larimore, the State v Roland Larimore and Martha Mansfield, for lewdness in December 1872.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visit to the birthplace of the Internet

This is a series of photos from a tour of 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA. It is a recreation of the lab where the first ARPANET message was sent from UCLA to Stanford in October 1969, ushering in the Internet Age. For better photos and more background, see this 2014 article from Gizmodo.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 3420 Boelter Hall, 25 Sep 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Entrance to 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Diagram of the early ARPANET.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Early computing.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 3420 Boelter Hall, 25 Sep 2017.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Looking inside the Interface Message Processor.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Dr. Leonard Kleinrock recalls the history of the ARPANET.

Friday, October 6, 2017

More testimony in the Riggs case

I am continuing to make my way through the 107-page case file from the Tennessee State Library and Archives for State of Tennessee v Pleasant Riggs. Yesterday I covered the testimony of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Jones. The testimony of witness Columbus Biddle provides more context into the dispute that led to the killing of Captain John A. Thornhill. Biddle stated that there were two factions in the regiment, one led by Thornhill and one led by Colonel Parsons. He said "the feeling was very bitter between the two parties. I do not know which side Riggs was on. Captain Bell was on the Parsons side. Riggs was a private soldier in Captain Bell's company."

Sarah Jane Thornhill Ryan, sister of Richard Thornhill, and Margaret Emily Thornhill Bowers, sister of Captain John Thornhill, were present at the home with the company led by Captain Bell arrived. They both provided testimony that the company called John out of the house and shot him as he ran.

The rest of the case file shows the charge to the jury in Grainger County and the costs provided to the court and witnesses.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Testimony of Joseph Jones

I have been very lucky to stumble across various cases and documents referring to my 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Jones. His Civil War pension file provided a wealth of information, identifying his four wives. A Civil War pension file for Thomas W. Thornhill included a handwritten note signed by Joseph. The case surrounding the murder of Captain John A. Thornhill mentions Joseph Jones as part of his command in the 9th Tennessee Cavalry. It was a nice surprise to see his name mentioned again in the Supreme Court of Tennessee records for State of Tennessee v Pleasant M. Riggs.
Testimony of Joseph Jones. State v. Riggs, 1869.


According to Joseph's testimony, he was marching with the company when the lead group shot and killed John Thornhill at his uncle Richard Thornhill's home. He did not see the shots fired, but he agreed with other testimony that Riggs' mule was in the lead and had tracks near where Thornhill was shot. On cross-examination, Jones said he was riding with Captain Bell and did not see who had fired shots at Thornhill. Joseph Jones and James Cox were part of the group that arrested Pleasant Riggs later that evening in Morristown, Tennessee.

A scout, who is never named, had been sent ahead with the lead group. Several witnesses stated that private soldiers knew nothing of the object and purpose of scouts.

The case mentions refers to several witnesses in the case, all who have connections to the Jones and Thornhill families. Joseph Jones was compensated for 12 days of being a witness. Richard Thornhill was compensated for 13 days. Jacob Ryan (here spelled Ryans) was compensated for 8 days. He was the husband of Sarah Jane Thornhill, youngest sister of Richard. Margaret Emily Bowers was a sister of John Thornhill. Roland Larimore was possibly married to a sister of Richard Thornhill and was certainly a close friend and neighbor.

The case was originally filed in Jefferson County, but the venue was moved to neighboring Grainger County. The case was initiated on 15 August 1865, against James Bell, Samuel E. Rankin, Pleasant M. Riggs, Job Powell, Jacob Letcher, John Biddle, John James, Isaac Frazier, Peyton Rutherford, Benjamin Lockhart, Monroe Hooper and Joseph Parsons by Richard Thornhill and Joseph Jones.