Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Gumpy

My grandfather is 92 today. Big Happy Birthday Gumpy!
Keith D Jones - 1920

Sorting Saturday - Reviewing the Month, Trying New Tools

Looking back at my Writing Reminders for September, I covered many of the topics I set out to cover, quite a few I did not plan for, and some others were moved aside. This is a particularly busy time in my primary field, and much of my typical family history research time (late late evenings or early in the morning) was absorbed into meeting deliverables for the month with work. October promises to be even busier as I head to Toronto for meetings, but an exciting month on the family history front too, with a trip back to Indiana.

For this Sorting Saturday post, I wanted to pass along some of the tools that I am using in my primary field that may have utility in the family history space.

I have been using Asana for quite a while for task tracking with work.  Their iPhone app just received a major upgrade and I have made a new effort to try using it for tracking more personal tasks and productivity.

Here is where Asana is useful for family history research. I frequently write to various libraries or historical societies on research questions. I have not done a very good job of tracking the questions I send out. Sometimes these queries could use reminders, and Asana can do that, by showing upcoming due dates and sending out a daily digest to my email.

In addition, I can set a project area for a specific family line and list the research tasks associated with that family. I can attach files, write notes, set due dates and create tags for easy searching. I'm planning to use Asana as I complete my application for the First Families of Tennessee, and will report on my progress and experiences.

Box is another tool that I use daily in my work environment which would also be useful for family history research. Box is for online file sharing and storage - this is "cloud storage." This could be great for family history writing, photo storage, research storage, or collaboration with others. Box has a nice iPad application and I've used it to load PDFs and other historical documents I want to read later or keep at hand, without filling up the rest of my space on the iPad.

Here's an application for Box: Family historical societies could use Box to provide easier access to newsletters or other papers in their records. This can provide a level of security but also easy sharing when responding to requests for information.

Writing Reminders for October
Here are some stories I hope to bring to the blog in October.

- I am going to try something new and share examples of using Asana in tracking leads, and keeping reminders on family history
- Oyler and Haise queries in Hamilton County, Ohio
- Matthews family migration from Tennessee to Kentucky
- Lamon family migration from Tennessee to Indiana
- Catching up with family in Indiana
- Visit to Montgomery County, Indiana and reporting back on finds

Carry overs from August & September include:
- My wife's Halter ancestors arrive in New Orleans (move to November)
- Van Meters arrive in New Amsterdam in 1662 (move to November)
- Revisiting the Tennessee 5th Infantry in the Mexican War

Friday, September 28, 2012

Family History Movie Trailer - The Flat

iTunes has posted the trailer for the award winning Israeli documentary The Flat. For family historians, this looks like a must-watch movie.
The story follows director Arnon Goldfinger's task of clearing out his 98 year old grandmother's Tel Aviv flat after she passes away, and reveals a family mystery. The movie will be opening in theaters on 19 October, and hopefully available on iTunes soon after.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Workday Wednesday - Chairmaker

I have previously covered my 2nd-great-grandfather Uriah Lamon. His father was David Detrick Lamon, and David was listed as a chairmaker in Harrison County, Indiana in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 US Census.

Unfortunately I don't have sense of the types of chairs or other furniture David may have made. Below is a page from the Old Hickory Chair Company catalog (c. 1910), from Martinsville, Morgan County, Indiana. Perhaps David's chairs looked like this:
Source: Indiana Historical Society
Life Events
David Lamon was born in Washington County, Tennessee on 12 May 1818. As described in his obituary from the Corydon Republican newspaper on 25 February 1904, David Lamon died across the Ohio River in neighboring Meade County, Kentucky.

David married Permelia Smith on 10 December 1841 in Crawford County, Indiana. From the map of southern Indiana posted last month (see, Crawford County is located along the Ohio River next to Harrison County.

In the 1850 US Census, David, Permelia and family appear in Harrison County. David is listed as a farmer in this record:
By 1860, David's occupation was listed as chair maker. The family was living in Scott Township, Harrison County. This township was dissolved in 1939.
In 1870, the family was still in Scott Township:
Here is the 1880 US Census record, showing the family in Scott Township:

I have some property records for David Lamon, which I'll cover in a separate post.

Wordless Wednesday - Field of Grapes

By Patrick L Jones - Hillsborough Vineyards, Aug 2010

Monday, September 24, 2012

Upcoming in October - Southern Festival of Books

The Tennessee table at last weekend's National Book Festival had little flyers for the upcoming Southern Festival of Books. The event runs 12-14 October in Nashville, Tennessee. This looks like an interesting event for those who may be in the area or considering a trip to Nashville.
Original by Lucie Rice, Humanities Tennessee website

Setting Goals

This blog has been incredibly helpful in focusing research and writing on various branches of my family, as well as on my wife's side of the family. It is important to set goals in order to keep the focus and energy going. I am setting my sights on achieving the goal of submitting papers by the first anniversary of this blog (January 2013) to the First Families of Tennessee heritage program sponsored by the East Tennessee Historical Society.

Under the requirements of the program, membership is open to anyone who can document descent from an ancestor who was a resident of any part of what is now the State of Tennessee prior to 31 December 1796. I have several candidate lines. My Jones family was in Jefferson County, Tennessee as early as at least 1798, possibly in the territory of what became the state in the 1780s. My Lamon line was in the area of what became Washington County, Tennessee in the late 1780s/early 1790s. My 6th-great-grandfather Samuel Hampton appears on the Sullivan County, Tennessee tax list in 1796. The Hamptons might be the easiest line to prove, but I'd like to try to confirm the Jones line.

Applications must be based on credible genealogical research. Applicants are required to submit proof of descent for each generation and proof of residency before 31 December 1796. Eligibility is determined by a committee appointed by the East Tennessee Historical Society.

I'd be interested in hearing from others who have submitted to the First Families of Tennessee on their experiences.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

National Book Festival

If you're in the DC area and looking for something to do tomorrow, head down to the National Mall for the Library of Congress National Book Festival.
2012 Poster: Library of Congress
We had a fun time today enjoying the sun and various book tents on the Mall. I also picked up some material and links to other genealogy finds. It was a good reminder to find time to get back to the Library of Congress for research, when I get a break.

Sunday's Obituary - David Lamon

The obituary below was sent to me by the Harrison County (Indiana) Public Library on my 3rd-great-grandfather David Detrick Lamon. This is from the Thursday 25 February 1904 edition of the Corydon Republican.
David passed away on Sunday 21 February 1904, across the river from Harrison County in neighboring Meade County, Kentucky. He had been in the home of daughter Harriett Isabelle "Belle" Lamon Lambdin and her husband James W. Lambdin. David was born in Washington County, Tennessee on 12 May 1818.

I have a full post coming up on his life as a chair maker in Harrison County.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Photo - On the C&O Canal

Photo by Patrick L Jones - Georgetown, C&O Canal
In my first stint in Washington DC, between 2001-2006, I worked in an office on 30th Street, down from M Street in Georgetown. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was located behind the building, with the historic canal boat ride right there.

The old boat deteriorated over the years and with budget cuts, the National Park Service decided against saving it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Point Lookout, September 1863, Part 2

149 years ago today, on 20 September 1863, Joseph Thomas Jones was transferred from Fort Delaware prisoner of war camp to Point Lookout, Maryland. I have previously recounted Joseph's story (and that of his brother-in-law William Daniel), from his capture at the Battle of Big Black River to his parole in a prisoner swap in February 1864.

For earlier posts on this topic, see:
- Point Lookout, September 1863, Part 1
- Fort Delaware, August 1863
- Jones Family in the Civil War, Part 1
- William Gilbert Daniel

There is a large amount of primary material from the Civil War on Point Lookout. I have included an initial set of reports below from War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (see Google Books). Part 3 will follow later this week.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Point Lookout, September 1863, Part 1

Last month I covered the first chapter in Joseph Thomas Jones' ordeal as a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware in 1863. In September of that year, Joseph was transferred from Fort Delaware to Point Lookout, Maryland. He was held there until released in a prisoner exchange in February 1864. This post provides further detail on the conditions at Point Lookout during Joseph's detention in the POW camp from the first hand accounts of other prisoners.

Bartlett Yancey Malone
The Diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone (see University of North Carolina Collections,, scanned 1998) provides a first-hand account from a Confederate prisoner whose time at Point Lookout overlapped with Joseph Thomas Jones. Sergeant Malone was captured on 7 November 1863 and sent to Point Lookout. He was paroled from Point Lookout on 24 February 1865. Malone's account gives a sense of the conditions and weather at Point Lookout between November 1863 and February 1864.

"Our rations at Point Lookout was 5 crackers and a cup of coffee for Breakfast. And for dinner a small ration of meat 2 crackers three Potatoes and a cup of Soup. Supper we have non. We pay a dollar for 8 crackers or a chew of tobacco for a cracker.

A Yankey shot one of our men the other day wounded him in the head shot him for peepen threw the cracks of the planken.

The last day of November was very coal indeed and the Yanks had inspection of ous Rebels. One of the Yankee Sentinerls shot one of our men the other morning he was shot in the head: soon died.
All the wood we get to burn at Point Lookout is one sholder tirn of pine brush every other day for a tent 16 men to every tent

The 16th of Dec. 63 a Yankey Captain shot his Pistel among our men and wounded 5 of them; sence one has died - he shot them for crowding arond the gate. The captain's name that shot was Sids. Him and Captain Patison and Segt. Finegan was the 3 boss men of the prisoners camp.
The 24th of Dec. 63 was a clear day but very cool. And Generl Butler the Yankey beast revenged the prisners camp:

The 25th was Christmas day and it was clear and cool and I was boath coal and hungry all day onley got a peace of Bread and a cup of coffee for Breakfast and a small Slice of Meat and a cup of Soup and five Crackers for Dinner and Supper I had non:

The 26th was clear and cool and dull for Christmas

The 28th was cloudy and rained a littel The 28th was a raney day.

The 29th was cloudy in the morning and clear in the eavning. And Jeferson Walker died in the morning he belonged to the 57th N. C. Regt. The 30th was a beautyfull day.

The 31st which was the last day of 63 was a raney day. And maby I will never live to see the last day of 64. And thairfour I will try and do better than I have. For what is a man profited if he shal gain the whole world and loose his one Soul: Or what Shal one give in exchange for his Soul:

I spent the first day of January 64 at Point Lookout M. D. The morning was plesant but toward eavning the air changed and the nite was very coal. was so coal that five of our men froze to death befour morning. We all suffered a great deal with coal and hunger too of our men was so hungry to day that they caught a Rat and cooked him and eat it. Thir names was Sergt. N. W. Hester & I. C. Covington.

The 6th was coal and cloudy and we had 9 men to die at the Hospital to day. Our beds at this plaice is composed of Sea feathers that is we geather the small stones from the Bay and lye on them

The 7th was very cool a small Snow fell after nite

The 10 was a nice day and I saw the man to day that makes Coffens at this plaice for the Rebels and he sais that 12 men dies here every day that is averidgs 12

The Commander at this point is named Marsto
The 22th day of January 64 was a very pritty day And it was my birth day which maid me 25 years of age I spent the day at Point Lookout. M. D. And I feasted on Crackers and Coffee The two last weeks of January was beautyfull weather

The Month of February. 64

The first day of February was warm but cloudy and Sum rain:
Be content with such things as you have: For he hath said I will never leave the nor forsake thee So we may boldly say the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me
There fell a Small Snow the morning of the third Sergt. A. P. Rudd & Gidney King arived at Point Lookout from Washington the 4th. We changed Cook houses on the 7th of Feb.
Anthony M. Keiley
This narrative comes from the book by Anthony M. Keiley, In Vinculis: or, The Prisoner of War. This was published in 1866, and is available as a Google eBook at
 Keiley's account is a long one. I'm still reading it, and will provide further information in parts.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Updates

Last week I was in Los Angeles for meetings, with limited time for various family history threads I am tracking. Here are a few updates.

Indiana Freemasons
I received some welcome news from the Indiana Freemasons on my 2nd-great-grandfather and great-grandfather. The Indiana Grand Lodge pointed me to the appropriate contact at Thorntown Lodge No. 113, and apparently they have records going back to before the Civil War.

Edgar Lawrence Jones became a member of the Lodge in January 1921. Thomas Robert Jones became a member in October 1921. The Lodge is checking their files to see if they have any photos or additional information on either one.

Dearborn County, Indiana
In August I wrote to the Dearborn County Historical Society for some assistance in tracking down Mary Ann Haise/Hise and Samuel Oyler. On Friday I received an email that they may have found a lead on Mary Ann's arrival from Germany when she was five years old. I have seen a reference to a microfilm entry in the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, but the challenge will be to link this Mary Ann to mine. Hopefully this shows parents or siblings who can be tracked to Ohio and Dearborn County, Indiana.

I ordered a second test for another family member as a surprise, and I have received confirmation that the test has shipped. It will be exciting to get these results back. Maybe in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obituary for Sarah Ellen Armstrong Jones

As with the obituaries posted last week from the Crawfordsville Journal Review, this obituary for my 2nd-great-grandmother Sarah Ellen Armstrong Jones was sent by the Crawfordsville District Public Library. This one is dated 30 April 1940. Sarah Ellen passed way after the 1940 US Census was conducted, and thankfully I have been able to find her in the Census. See "My First Find in the 1940 Census." 
Source: CDPL

Wordless Wednesday - Ocean Park, Santa Monica

Photo by Patrick L Jones. Santa Monica, 13 Sept 2011

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rech Family Story Continues

This post picks up the Rech Family Story by Marie Elizabeth Freyling. I previously posted Part 1 on 9 August, Part 2 on 12 August, and Part 3 on 21 August.

"In the fall of 1874, George left home for the Middlewest, where later he married Frances Bluhm (or Blume), and bought a farm near Cantril, Van Buren County, Iowa. There he spent the remainder of his life.

About a year later, Jacob left home to join George. Later he married Magdalena Bluhm (or Blume), and after her death, Rose Wahl. He spent the remainder of his life in the West. Three years later, in 1877, Elizabeth married J. Peter Maurer. They made their home in Evansville, Indiana.

In 1887, when work on the 18-acre farm became too great a task for Grandmother Rech and Uncle Will, she sold the farm to Fred and Anna Schlag [Anna M. Freyling Schlag - sister of John Andrew Freyling] and moved to a smaller (about 4 acres) farm in Stringtown, Zipp Post Office, Center Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Aunt Sue and Carrie, when she could be spared, worked in Evansville as domestics. Four dollars a week for such work was considered excellent pay!

In 1890, Carrie married John Andrew Freyling, a farmer of Warrick County, Indiana. In 1892, Aunt Sue married David Null, a rancher of Wyoming. William had become an itinerant photographer. In 1893, he married Catherine Elizabeth Freyling [younger sister of John Andrew Freyling]. They made their home in Evansville.

With the last of her children married, Grandmother Rech sold her property in Stringtown to William Yokel, Sr., and rented half the house for her home, where she lived for the remainder of her life. That same year, while visiting with our mother and father, she became ill and died on May 12. She was buried on May 14 in the Zoar Evangelical Church cemetary, Warrick County, Indiana, where our father bought a four-grave lot. At the time of Grandfather Rech's death, the Salem Evangelical Church cemetary would not sell lots or graves in advance. At the time of Grandmother's death, the space on either side and about Grandfather's grave had been used, hence her burial in the Zoar Evangelical Church cemetary."

Military Monday - Liljenquist Family Collection at the Library of Congress

Sunday's Washington Post had another special section on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The section included an advertisement for a new showing of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War photos at the Library of Congress and updated set of photos. You can view the photos on the LOC website.

Last month NPR had a story on the identification of a soldier in one of the photos. See "Confederate Soldier In Famous Portrait Is Identified", NPR, 22 August 2012.

If you're interested in Civil War photography, or possibly descended from one of those photographed, check it out.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Easter Vail Armstrong

In early April I wrote about my third-great-grandmother, Easter Vail Armstrong. Below is her obituary, dated 22 January 1923 in the Crawfordsville Journal Review.
Source: CDPL
Lee Vail referenced in the obituary was Leander Vail, who married Rebecca Ann Coltrain (daughter of Linden P. Coltrain and Mary Ann Darby). Leander served in the 68th and 44th Indiana Infantry during the last year of the Civil War. He died on 31 October 1929 in Clinton County, Indiana.

Easter's brother, John Daniel Vail, died in Indianapolis, Indiana on 16 December 1924.

The obituary notes that Easter had 17 grandchildren. I have only been able to account for 7 of those.

Sorting Saturday - Tackling the Plastic Storage Box

I have a plastic storage bin problem. I've hauled this bin, containing paper copies of family history records (and other useful things, such as old mobile phone chargers), through three moves, across the country twice. It is well past the time to look into the box and actually start to sort through what is worth keeping and what deserves to go in the recycle bin. So, I have aspirations on this potentially tropical Saturday to start sorting the contents.

I know from previous attempts at sorting that the box has some file folders that used to be arranged by family name. I'm pretty sure they've been jumbled together, between moving the box and careless returning of contents. As I am starting fresh, I want to separate the files into my "eight great" families - the family lines of my great-grandparents.

My Eight Families
1. Jones
2. Oyler
3. O'Brien
4. Lamon
5. Reid/Read
6. Whitley/Wheatley
7. Campuzano
8. Portillo

Because the box probably also contains information on my wife's side of the tree, here's hers.
Spouse's Eight Families
1. Havens
2. Duncan
3. Boston
4. Fleig
5. Freyling
6. Kuester
7. Halter
8. Umbach 

In order to help transition from storage of contents to assisting in family history research, I also want to note the locations for these families. From a starting point I'll use the location of the family at the time of my great-grandparents, but I should also put some method for tracking their progress and migrations. Others have written about, I have not tried it yet.

As a starting point, I'll put the county locations here for my eight great families in the birth year of each great-grandparent:
1. Jones - In 1896, Boone County, Indiana
2. Oyler - In 1897, Boone County, Indiana
3. O'Brien - In 1884, Shelby County, Illinois
4. Lamon - In 1887, Gibson County, Indiana
5. Reid/Read - In 1897, Barren County, Kentucky
6. Whitley/Wheatley - In 1901, Warren County, Kentucky (I'll note, they were on the border of Warren and Barren, really in both)
7. Campuzano - In 1900, Altar, Sonora, Mexico. Frequently between Altar/Pitiquito and Pima County, Arizona
8. Portillo - In 1906, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Frequently between Nogales and Pima County, Arizona.

I know that each of these eight can quickly be broken down further into additional family lines and locations. I have that on my family tree. For purposes of sorting the box, I want to keep it to these eight families. However, for purposes of writing and scanning, and transitioning materials from paper to this blog, I will dive deeper into individual family lines. In fact, I've already done that on a regular basis on the blog. This is also a reminder to be better organized in writing and selecting which stories to publish.

The patterns above are useful, because it also suggests which libraries to consult for potentially new information. Here's an example I am currently using. On the Jones side, they were in Boone County, but living close to the border with neighboring Montgomery County. Several earlier branches of the family were land owners in Franklin Township, Montgomery County. So when I go back to Crawfordsville to speak at Wabash in October, I'm going to try focus some research energy in that location. I have already started the conversation with the Crawfordsville District Public Library, and am checking other sources too.

Now I feel that I'm off to a good start. Time for breakfast. Happy sorting.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Obituary for Edgar Lawrence Jones

This obituary of my great-grandfather Edgar Lawrence Jones comes from the 13 February 1965 edition of the Crawfordsville Journal Review in Montgomery County, Indiana. The copy was provided by the Crawfordsville District Public Library.
Source: CDPL
Like his father, Thomas Robert Jones, Edgar was a member of the Indiana Freemasons. I have an inquiry into the Grand Lodge of Indiana Freemasons for records on both.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Obituary for Thomas Robert Jones

This obituary for my second-great-grandfather, Thomas Robert Jones, comes from the Crawfordsville Journal Review in Montgomery County, Indiana. The obituary is dated 30 November 1937.
The copy above was sent to me by the Crawfordsville District Public Library. Until receiving this today, I did not have the full death date for Thomas, only the month of his death. The Library also sent me obituaries for Sarah Ellen Armstrong Jones, Edgar Jones, Easter Vail Armstrong and John Armstrong. I will be posting these one at a time.

Some interesting bits in this obituary. I can see I need to look up land records in Boone and Montgomery County for Thomas Robert Jones. And Masonic Lodge Number 113 in Thorntown.

Those Places Thursday - Old Bridge Gets New Life

The following story and art work is from the collection of my Gumpy, Keith D Jones, titled "It's Nothing But Personal". The collection is dated 2008 and was self published in Indiana.

Original painting by Keith D. Jones - Bridgeton Covered Bridge
His story recounts the rebuilding of the historic Bridgeton Covered Bridge in Parke County, Indiana. Construction began in early 2006 and was completed on 1 October 2006. I'm proud to note that students and staff from my undergrad, Wabash College, participated in the reconstruction effort (see "Wabash Men Join Community in Rebuilding Covered Bridge", 1 June 2006).

An Old Bridge Gets A New Life - Bridgeton, Indiana
by Keith Jones

Small towns are like people, they have character, interesting landmarks and often a long history. That's what I was thinking when I crossed Raccoon Creek on a covered bridge going into Bridgeton, Indiana. We discovered this small town many years ago when we were in Parke County searching for the many covered bridges in the area. This became our special "get away" place, one where we often took a picnic lunch and sat under a large shade tree where I could see the bridge and old mill.

I would let my mind go back in time to 1868 when the bridge was first built. It remained strong and sturdy because it was built with huge beams by craftsmen using only hand tools. They used horses and oxen to haul the large logs to the saw mill. In my minds eye I could see little by little the frame go up and the carpenters putting on the siding and cutting the windows and roofing. 
Pencil sketch by Keith D. Jones, 1997 - Bridgeton Covered Bridge
This magnificent red structure would set my mind in motion. I ended up taking pictures and making a few rough sketches for future reference. All this time I was making a mental picture of the painting I would eventually produce. It was several years later at Christmas time, about 1965 and we had a big snow storm so I decided it would be a good day to start my painting of the Bridgeton scene.

With the picture and sketches that I had made it all came together fast. The fact that it was snowing made it easy to paint the bridge during the winter. I have had several opportunities over the years to sell the painting but I have refused to sell it because the money soon goes and you are left with no painting. Now after 43 years I still have a painting that will remain in my family.

In April of 2006 [ed. - 28 April 2005] the bridge was set on fire by a man, that, in my opinion, no doubt had mental problems. He was eventually caught and sent to prison for the crime of arson. The town of Bridgeton was devastated. The bridge was their main attraction and center piece for festivals, fairs and even weddings. The people of Bridgeton had a real problem. What could they do? Churches, schools and other groups tried various fund raisers but the cost of a new covered bridge would be over $150,000.

Then an engineering company from Terre Haute came to the rescue. They offered to rebuild the bridge like the old one. The State of Indiana offered them a stand of poplar trees to cut and use for the large wood frame. This has all come about and the little town once again has a bridge and scene likened unto the original, however, new.

The point I find most intriguing is not just that the bridge was restored but that it was restored by individuals and industries that still have a heart for people and it would seem, a respect for the past. I am glad that I have a picture of the old bridge and mill. No, it's still not for sale.

God bless the people of Bridgeton and the people that worked to restore and rebuild the bridge; and may the new (old) bridge project be remembered in history as a people project.

Family Connection to Parke County
Parke County considers itself the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World". My second-great-grandmother, Matilda Jane Lambert O'Brien, was born in Parke County. I'd like to think that she crossed that covered bridge during her early days before the family moved to Shelby County, Illinois.

I'll have more on the Lamberts and the connection to Parke County in future posts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Franklin Township Map 1878

The following map section comes from the 1878 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Montgomery County, Indiana (available as a scanned copy on the Crawfordsville District Public Library's website, This page shows a portion of Franklin Township, east of Crawfordsville on the county line with neighboring Boone County.
North half of Franklin Township, Montgomery County, Indiana
There are several names of interest on this page. James Vail's property appears on the east side of Hazel Creek in Section 12. A few plots to the north is the land of Mary A. Coltrain, widow of Linden Coltrain from yesterday's post her widow's pension. To the south, in Section 13 is the land of John Armstrong, my 4th-great-grandfather. There are quite a few Boohers and Hamptons in this corner of Franklin Township as well.

Guardian's Docket - James Vail
Another item in the Crawfordsville District Public Library digital archives shows James Vail as the guardian of Mary Coltrain's underaged children from 9 January 1867.
Source: CDPL Local History Database

Monday, September 3, 2012

Witnesses to a Widow's Pension

In early April, I wrote about my 3rd-great-grandmother Easter Vail Armstrong. Her parents, my 4th-great-grandparents, were James Vail and Selina Hampton. In the month of September and October, I am going to spend some time retracing and untangling the family of James and Selina, in the hopes of breaking through to identify James' parents and the part of Ohio that James came from. I have quite a bit on Selina's parents, and her connection to the Hampton and Booher families of Sullivan County, Tennessee.

James and Selina were married on 28 March 1839 in Montgomery County, Indiana. I lived in Montgomery County between 1992 and 1996 while attending Wabash College. I am going back to talk at the College in October, so I hope to also uncover more information about them during this short visit.

While looking on for Civil War records on the Vail family, I stumbled onto the widow's pension file for Mary Ann Darby Coltrain, widow of Linden P. Coltrain. James and Selina Vail were witnesses on her pension application. Linden and Mary's daughter, Rebecca Ann Coltrain, later married James and Selina's son Leander Vail on 9 April 1870, after Leander returned from service in the 68th and 44th Indiana Infantry during the last year of the Civil War.

The pension file notes that Linden served in the 72nd Indiana Infantry, and that he died of chronic diarrhea in the field hospital on 10 May 1863 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Seeing this makes me think that he must have contracted malaria or yellow fever, and died from a similar battlefield-contracted disease that lead to the death of my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr during his return from the Mexican War.

There is a lot of information in this pension file. If you are descended from Linden P. Coltrain, you will want to see this file.

Motivation Monday - Under Construction

Before I dive into writing some of the stories in this month's writing reminders, I wanted to go back and do some general clean-up in my family tree. This was time well spent yesterday, as I caught errors and found some Civil War records on ancestors in the Vail line in Montgomery County, Indiana.
Source: NY Public Library Digital Gallery
The photo above shows the Statue of Liberty under construction in Paris in 1883. This is from the New York Public Library's fantastic Digital Gallery (image permanent link: The Library provides free & open access to over 800,000 images. See I had originally intended to use a more generic "Under Construction" stock photo sign, but through the wonders of the Internet I stumbled onto old photos like the one above.

Back to tree pruning and cleaning.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Writing Reminders for September

August was a big month, September promises more of the same. I have found the writing reminders to be helpful, so here's a few for this month.

Carry overs from August include:
- My wife's Halter ancestors arrive in New Orleans
- Van Meters arrive in New Amsterdam in 1662
- Revisiting the Tennessee 5th Infantry in the Mexican War

New stories:
- Port Lookout prison camp in September 1863
- More on the Lamon family in Harrison and Gibson Counties
- Follow up on Oyler & Hise/Haise research with the Dearborn County Historical Society
- Matthews family migration from Tennessee to Kentucky
- Vail family in Boone County, Indiana