Thursday, August 30, 2012

Words from my Gumpy on Politicians

The following is from Chapter 27 of my Gumpy's collection of short stories titled "That's Life...and then some". His collection of stories was self-published in 2000 in Indiana, and he is still kicking around, nearing the age of 92 years old. This chapter refers to an editorial, published in either the Indianapolis Star or Martinsville Reporter in 1999 or 2000. I have not found the published original. This is still timely with the 2012 election cycle underway.

Chapter 27 - Did You Vote?

This is an editorial that I wrote for the newspaper some time ago during a primary. I don't think it needs any update as the political scene seldom changes.

Recently, I voted in the primary, since I am almost 80 years old, I voted absentee. Always consider if I vote, then I have every right to complain. 

Politicians are a unique group of people who can plead, cajole, cheat, scheme; lie and weep to get into office. But they can't function when the stock market takes a plunge or Medicare or Social Security runs out of money. When crime, drugs, teen pregnancy, AIDS, pollution and cancer take over, it's much easier to take a trip to Africa and if we are unlucky enough to have a tornado, flood, hurricane or earth quake, then they take turns flying over the disaster area.

Then later while making out like they are working the soup kitchen they make a great promise of immediate relief. That is, of course, if Congress approves it at the next session. Yet, every politician in his campaign speech will boast how he has the solution to all these problems. Surprisingly the problem is never solved, but it gets him or her another elected term. If you try to unseat any one of these clowns they will laugh at you because they know your vote has as much value as a lottery ticket. They will send our jobs to Mexico, Asia or China while they tell crime is down, unemployment is up and things never looked so good. And we agree.

Well, I voted for him or her and I will be back next election to vote again if the Good Lord is willing. Because I would not miss the opportunity or my right to editorialize on the misgivings of our politicians. Or still better, I think I would run for something the next time now that I know how the system works.

Keith Jones, Sr.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Uriah Lamon

Earlier this month I wrote about the quilt made by Ursula Fellme Muck in the Indiana State Museum. Before I write about the Muck and Fellme families in Harrison County, Indiana, I need to work forward and write about the Lamon family of my 2nd-great-grandfather Uriah Lamon and my great-grandmother Blanche Lamon.

Uriah Lamon
Uriah was born in June 1854 in Harrison County, Indiana. He was the son of David Detrick Lamon and Permelia Smith.

In 1870, Uriah is in the household of his parents, David and Permelia, in Scott Township, Harrison County, Indiana.

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, Uriah moved from Harrison County to Gibson County. In 1880, Uriah appears as a laborer in the household of J.W. Emmerson in Montgomery Township, Gibson County, Indiana.

Uriah married Anna L Smith in Gibson County, Indiana on 9 November 1884. Uriah and Anna had at least the following children:

1. Blanche Lamon, born 1887
2. James Herman Lamon, born 1889
3. George Edwin Lamon, born 1893

Interestingly, the Lamon family show up in McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee in the 1900 US Census. Uriah is listed as a farmer. I'm not sure why the family went to McMinnville, but they did not stay in Tennessee.
By 1910, Uriah and Anna had returned to Fort Branch, Gibson County, Indiana, to live with Anna's father Jesse Smith.
In the 1920 Census, Uriah and Anna were living on Walnut Street in Fort Branch.
I have not yet found Uriah in the 1930 or 1940 Census. I do know that he died in 1945 and is buried in Gibson County. An old photo of Uriah and Anna's tombstone is below.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fort Delaware, August 1863

149 years ago this month, my third-great-grandfather Joseph Thomas Jones and his brother-in-law William Gilbert Daniel were prisoners of war, held with 8,000-12,000 other men at Fort Delaware following their capture at the Battle of Big Black River on 17 May 1863. They were at this camp between 15 June and 20 September 1863.

Fort Delaware is located on Pea Patch Island, between New Jersey and Delaware in the middle of the Delaware River. The prisoners referred to this as "Devil's Half Acre".
Source: Library of Congress,
Source: Fort Delaware by Seth Eastman, US Senate (see link)
The painting above comes from the US Senate page, This dates between 1870-1875.

Joseph and William both survived the ordeal and returned to their families in Tennessee. Joseph migrated with them to Indiana before returning to farm in Jefferson County, Tennessee. 

Prison Conditions

In Brian Temple's The Union Prison at Fort Delaware: A Perfect Hell on Earth, he describes the conditions at Pea Patch Island in July and August 1863 as "the heat could be so intense that there were days where 'men by the hundreds are seen sweltering on their backs, fairly gasping for breath, like fish dying on a sand beach.'" The men there faced poor water and food conditions, often resorting to eating rats.

The following correspondence comes from War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (see Google Books):

Joseph and William were in the group of prisoners transferred from Fort Delaware to Point Lookout in September 1863. Detail on Point Lookout will be provided in a future post.

Update - I've corrected this post to note that Joseph was not alone as a prisoner of war, he was with his brother-in-law, William. This may be one of the reasons that they both survived through 3 months at Fort Delaware and almost 5 months at Point Lookout before they were set free.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Antonio Campuzano

I have corrected my earlier entries after fellow Campuzano researcher Pat Rosas sent me a copy of Antonio Campuzano's photo. In earlier posts, I had speculated that Antonio was the brother of my 2nd-great-grandfather Vicente Campuzano. Well, we're convinced the two are related, just not as brothers. Below is a photo of Antonio P. Campuzano, barber of Tempe, Arizona.
Source: Pat Rosas, photo of Antonio Campuzano
Antonio and Vicente were in the same circle of Sonoran & Latin American immigrants who were active in the growth of Tempe & Phoenix during the early decades of the 20th Century. On the petition to incorporate Glendale, Arizona, posted on 14 July, one can see the signatories included Pedro Garcia de la Lama, founder of Liga Protectora Latina, among others who formed the mutual aid society.

In the 1913 City Directory for Phoenix, Antonio appears on the same page as another Campuzano, confirmed by Pat as her grandfather, Gregorio Portillo Campuzano. He was a blacksmith, born 16 November 1877.
Phoenix City Directory, 1913
In the 1912 City Directory, Gregorio is listed, but not Antonio. Antonio is listed in the 1903 Phoenix City Directory with wife, as a barber at 25 S. 2nd Street.

It is great to have a photo of Antonio and resolve the mystery over whether he was a brother to Vicente Campuzano. There's more work to be done to connect these families. Thanks to Pat for the photo and the information.

Friday Photo - Cloud Forest

Photo by Patrick L Jones - Selvatura Park, Costa Rica, March 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recalling Present Family History and How Much to Share

In looking back at the bits of records and information that I pour over to try get a better understanding about the time and experiences of family in this history gathering journey, I am reminded not to overlook things that are more current to present day that may be interesting to my kids, or their kids and so on. I have done this through photos or on occasion recalling an experience such as a layover in Paris or watching my Dad's boat building class in Indiana, as examples.

With many of these stories, things that may be interesting are too recent, and need some passage of time before I am able to write about them in a sufficient way. There are stories that simply involve crossing paths with a person of varying degrees of fame, with interactions that may have left no impression on that person but resonated with me for one reason or another.

The challenge is what and how much to make public. I haven't hesitated write in detail in this blog on members of the family, distant and present. And I don't exactly hide my contact details either. But it is something I've thought about. Ultimately, this is a vehicle to share and to make stories from the past and present available, to family and non-family alike.

Now that I am in the habit of writing or posting something almost daily on the blog, this is a reminder to periodically capture stories that are more current, even if those are stored in another format or place. From time to time, those impressions may end up here, to provide context to photos or of a particular situation.

I've been writing here for 8 months and don't plan to stop any time soon. There are a lot of stories to tell. I am mindful that this is public, and that I'm certainly not the only one in the family. Reading about family history impacts people in different ways. In February I wrote about making our own history every day. I still believe that. As with other social outlets, such as Facebook, one applies a filter. What to preserve and pass down, and in what form?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thomas Whitley and some on his parents

Continuing with my Grandma Lois' parents, this post is on my second-great-grandfather Thomas Whitley. Thomas was the son of Robert Jackson Wheatley and Melissa Catherine Grinstead. As it appears that Thomas spelled his last name Whitley, that's what I will use for him. It is difficult to capture the story of one's life based on census records and a death record alone. For Thomas, I have also included his mother in this entry and a bit on his father Robert.

Thomas Whitley

Thomas was born on 5 August 1861, in either Warren or Barren Counties. His death record lists his county of birth as Barren County, but with the Wheatley/Whitley family living in the borders of both counties, it is difficult to be certain. Thomas was the first son (and possibly the only child) of Robert and Melissa, born less than a year after they were married in Warren County on 14 September 1860.

I assume that Melissa died prior to February 1864, because Robert Wheatley appears as "unmarried" in the US Civil War Draft Registrations Record in Warren County.
US Civil War Registrations,
In the 1870 US Census, Robert and Thomas are shown as "living here" in the household of Robert's father, Richard Wheatley, in the Elk Springs District of Warren County, Smiths Grove Post Office.
Thomas would have been about nine years old at this time, living with his grandparents and their children.

On 21 March 1872, Robert married his second wife, Martha T. Hays. Robert and Martha had two daughters, Laverna V. Wheatley and Donna M. Wheatley, and were in Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky in the 1880 US Census. Thomas was still living at home with his father, step-mother and step-sisters. Robert, Martha and family later moved to Mills County, Texas.

I do not have a marriage record for Thomas and Elizabeth Hayden Matthews at this time, but I assume they were married in 1885 or early 1886, given the birth date of their first daughter, Martha Bell 'Mattie' Wheatley (born 3 December 1886). Thomas, Elizabeth and family are found in the 1900 US Census in the Elk Springs District of Warren County.
They were in Rocky Hill, Barren County, Kentucky in 1910 (see record from my entry on Elizabeth Hayden Matthews). After Elizabeth died in 1915, Thomas remained in the Rocky Hill District of Barren County. See the record from the 1920 US Census:
I do not have a record for Thomas in the 1930 US Census. The next record I have is his death record, from 7 January 1940 in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky.
Thomas' daughter Mattie Whitley Goff (listed as Mrs. H.C. Goff) was the informant on this death record.

Melissa Catherine Grinstead Wheatley

Thomas' mother, Melissa, was the daughter of Thomas Grinstead and Mary Petrie. She was born on 8 February 1843. I suspect she died before her 21st birthday in Warren County. In the 1850 US Census, the Grinstead family was in District 2 of Warren County.
The Grinsteads lived a couple of houses down from the Wheatleys, so Robert and Melissa grew up as neighbors.
In the 1860 US Census, the Grinsteads were still in Warren County, neighbors of Robert Lawrence and Richard Wheatley & family.
At the time, Robert Wheatley was living nearby in the home of William McMurry, neighbors of the Lawrence and Goodnight families. When they were married a year later, Robert would have been 22 years old, and Melissa age 17.

At this time, I do not have much else for Melissa Grinstead Wheatley or Thomas Whitley. There is more to Robert Jackson Wheatley's story, as he left Kentucky for Mills County, Texas, and later died there in 1922. I am hoping some Wheatley and Whitley cousins can help fill in these gaps.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rech Farm to Table

This entry continues the story of the Rech family in Indiana, as written by Marie Elizabeth Freyling. Earlier entries were posted on the arrival of the Rech family at New Orleans in March 1854 and in Vanderburgh County.

"When neither George (then 19) nor Jacob (then 17) showed any interest in farming, Grandmother Rech traded the farm for a smaller, 18-acre farm in Center Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, owned by Peter Bonenberger. George became an apprentice at Molls, wagonmakers in Mechanicsville (later known as Stringtown), and Jacob became an apprentice at blacksmithing at the Martz Blacksmith Shop located across the street from Molls. In addition to George and Jacob, Susanne (age 13), William (age 7) and Carrie (age 6 months) were living with their mother. Mary, who had been working in the homes of neighbors, had married George Kratz, a gardener of Center Township. Elizabeth (age 16) was "living out" (as domestics were referred to in those days).

For awhile, Grandmother [Susanna Euler] Rech managed to produce small crops of wheat, corn, and hay. Later, she rented most of the land and devoted her time to raising and selling chickens and eggs, and fruit and garden produce. These products were taken, once or twice a week, to the early morning outdoor markets in Evansville, on Fourth Street and First Avenue (near the intersection of Market and Pennsylvania Streets). To get a good place to set up a stand on which to display the produce, it was necessary to arrive by six o'clock in the morning!"
Source: U. Southern Indiana Digital Archive, about 1880
The photo above is of the Fourth Street Market, about 1880, and around the time when Susanna Euler Rech would have been selling her produce at the market. This picture comes from the University of Southern Indiana Digital Collection,
Source: EVPL Digital Archive, photo dated 1924
The photo above comes from the Evansville Public Library's Digital Archive, showing the Farmer's Market on Fourth Street. (If you have family from Evansville, check out their site).

Our family loves farmer's markets and frequently visit the Del Ray Farmer's Market and the Old Town Alexandria market. We generally receive fruits and vegetables weekly from Washington's Green Grocer, and try to do our part by eating locally.  Our daughter attended farm camp this summer and learned to feed chickens and tend vegetables in the historic gardens. She really enjoyed that, so maybe this was passed down from her 4th great-grandmother Susanna. I hope this will give her some appreciation as she gets older that farmer's markets have a long history in the family.

Tuesday's Tip - Reach Out to Local University Collections

Here's a tip that may result in big finds in your family history research. If you are researching in a particular area, try the closest university library to your location of interest to see what special collections they may have. In many cases, their special collections are searchable online. And if they are not, you can send an inquiry to a research librarian to see what may be available.

I've recently received some great sources by checking online with Arizona State, the University of Arizona and West Kentucky University. I have some brick walls that I am hoping trying the university special collection route in the Cincinnati, Ohio area will help.

In one example, I'm tracking down my elusive third-great-grandmother Mary Ann Hise (or Haise), who married Samuel Oyler. I'm going to check the Special Collections with the University of Cincinnati, and also the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio. I also need to check Miami of Ohio and neighboring Dearborn County, Indiana.

I'd be interested in hearing from others their own tips for getting to local special collections and newspapers when one is remote. Checking with local universities has worked well for me lately, and may for you too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mappy Monday - Southwestern Corner of Indiana

The following image is of the southwestern tip of Indiana, from an 1876 map published by Baskin, Forster & Co. of Chicago found on the David Rumsey Map Collection. I'm featuring this here because Vanderburgh, Gibson, Warrick and Harrison Counties feature prominently for my wife's family and for my Lamon and related lines.

Source: David Rumsey Map Collection, 1876 map of Indiana
Upcoming posts will pick up the story of the Rech family in Vanderburgh County, and how they connect with the Freyling family. I will also cover the family of Uriah Lamon, John Muck and Ursula Fellme Muck, and many others.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

77% Incomplete

Judy Russell's post More Lost Than Found prompted me to look up my own number to see how my percentage matched up going back 10 generations. I'm at 23% found, which means that I'm also 77% incomplete through 7th-great-grandparents.

This graphic comes from's blog by Crista Cowan from 16 August, titled "Family History All Done? What's Your Number?":
So here's how I compare:
Generations 1-5: 31 of 31 (100%)
Generation 6: 25 of 32 (78.1%)
Generation 7: 35 of 64 (54.7%)
Generation 8: 45 of 128 (35.2%)
Generation 9: 49 of 256 (19.1 %)
Generation 10: 52 of 512 (10.2%)
Total: 237 of 1023 (23.1%)

This is just my own side of the tree, not counting my wife's side, which I am also researching for our kids. Clearly, I have a long way to go. This also means there are a lot of great stories out there waiting to be told again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Liga Protectora Latina

Last month, a very helpful curator at the Tempe History Museum replied to my inquiry about Vicente and Antonio Campuzano, opening up a series of new leads on my Granny's Campuzano family from their early days in Arizona.

I'd like to send my thanks to Jared Smith at the Tempe History Museum and Professor F. Arturo Rosales at Arizona State University for providing invaluable pointers to information on the Campuzanos and Liga Protectora Latina. I now have a great appreciation for a small chapter in the life of my second-great-grandfather, Vicente Plutarco Campuzano.

Liga Protectora Latina
Vicente Campuzano lived in Arizona between 1913-1916. He came to Tempe at the age of 51, joined family relation Antonio Campuzano, who was already established in town as a barber.  Vicente connected with other immigrants from Sonora, and joined in the Mexican mutual aid community that was active in the Tempe and Phoenix area.

Vicente's arrival in Tempe overlaps with the time that an influential Mexican mutual aid society was being formed in Phoenix. The Liga Protectora Latina was founded in 1914 to provide financial support to unemployed and ill members, funeral costs, education and social assistance, and the group also supported labor and civil rights for Mexican immigrants. Initially their focus was in Arizona but this expanded to other parts of the Southwest.
Source: Arizona State University
The following is a translation of the articles of the Liga Protectora Latina from F. Arturo Rosales' book Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights:

Arizona became a state on 14 February 1912. With statehood brought a new constitution, and also efforts to limit non-citizens or non-English speakers from a variety of jobs. In November 1914, the Claypool-Kinney Bill passed in Arizona, stating that no firm employing more than five people could hire fewer than 80 percent citizens. A similar law had previously been ruled unconstitutional. Opposition to the bill and other efforts to limit Mexicans from working in Arizona generated huge interest in the Liga Protectora Latina.

James McBride's article on the Liga Protectora Latina in Journal of the West in 1975. That article remains one of the best sources for basic information on Liga Protectora Latina. McBride used source material from El Tucsonense, a Spanish-language newspaper from Tucson, as well as the Tempe News, as well as other regional newspapers and interviews.
McBride, page 83
McBride, page 84
In 1915, Vicente Campuzano was living in Tempe.  He was elected as sergeant at arms for Liga Protectora Latina's Lodge #1 on 2 July 1915. (Quite a lot occurred between 1915-1916, and I continue to look for copies of original news articles from Arizona papers of the time period).

In 1917, the Liga Protectora worked to unite Mexican miners in the Bisbee copper mine in opposition to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which attempted to disrupt copper production in World War I.
McBride, page 85

Tempe News articles on Liga Protectora

21 May 1915   3:1

At a meeting of the Tempe branch of the Liga Protectora Latina, a Spanish-American society held yesterday afternoon a resolution protesting against the execution of the five murderers sentenced to be executed at Florence a week from next Thursday was adopted. The organization at this place has about 80 members.
21 May 1915    3:2

A free employment agency has been opened at the Toggery, J. A. Valenzuela’s store.  Any one deserving help should leave his order there stating the kind of service he requires, and his wants will be speedily supplied, and all who are looking for work should go there and file an application.  The establishment of the agency is the work of the local Liga Protectora Latina, an organization for the improvement and betterment of the condition of the Mexican people in this section.

2 July 1915   3:1

Latin Protective League elects officers: Chris Sigala, pres.; Jose Soza, v-p.; Miguel Rubio, sec.; Fernando Benites, tres.; Vincente Campuzano, sgt. at arms; Henry Lopez, Ramon Mazon, and Ramon Estrada, trustees; A.A. Celaya and J.A. Valenzuela, lodge delegates.  115 members.  [Description of meetings and purpose.]

9 July 1915   3:1

The Liga Protectora Latina of this place installed its newly elected officers Sunday.  After the ceremonies of installation were over, ice cream, cake, and lemonade were served by the new officers.  50 new members were taken into the organization at a session held for that purpose.
6 August 1915   3:2

“New Officers of Latin League”
The Convention of the Liga Protectora Latina in session at Phoenix adjourned last night to meet at Tempe the first Sunday in 1917.
Officers elected were:
Supreme president, A. A. Celaya; supreme vice president, Doroteo Valle; supreme secretary, Teodoro Olea; supreme treasurer, Ignacio Espinoza; members of the executive committee: J. H. Martinez, J. A. Valenzuela, J. M. Melendez, Jose Soza, Pedro M. Salinas.
Pedro G. de la Lama was elected supreme organizer and Dr. Lorenzo Boido, supreme medical advisor, J. M. Quihuis, sergeant at arms and Pedro Varela, door keeper.

16 October 1915      3:1

Margarita Palomina, age 20, died in the home of her parents in East Tempe last night.  The family is in very straightened circumstances being almost destitute.  The Liga Protectora saw that the remains were given a proper burial.
22 September 1916     3:2

The Liga Protectora of this place is planning to give a series of Sunday night dances at the large platform in Sotelo Addition, starting next Sunday and continuing each Sunday night thereafter until cold weather.

12 January 1917    3:1

The Liga Protectora, Lodge No. 1 of Tempe, at its meeting held Sunday afternoon, installed the following officers for the ensuing year: Chris Segala, president; Francisco Orduno [sp?], ex-president; M. G. Rubio, secretary; F. Benites, treasurer; M. Soza, M. Romero, S. Mendoza, trustees; Frank Caravaja, sergeant at arms; Louis Garcia, door keeper.  This lodge has in the neighborhood of two hundred members. 
12 January 1917    4:1  (same day as above –also about Lodge No. 1)

La Liga Protectora de Latina closing annual convention.
It appears that Vicente was only in Tempe, Phoenix and Tucson for a few years, but those were the peak years of the Liga Protectora Latina. It is fascinating to think that my second-great-grandfather was involved in supporting Mexican labor and civil rights during this time, and I have a better perspective on the role that immigrants from Sonora and other Mexican states played in shaping Arizona's history.

Update, Sunday 19 August: I failed to mention in this post how I came across the idea to pursue the Campuzano connection in Phoenix and Tempe in the first place. In July, I found Vicente Campuzano in the 1915 City Directory for Tempe. I used that small hint to email the Tempe History Museum and ask if on the outside chance they had references to Vicente and Antonio Campuzano in their records. And they replied (see

After receiving the reference to Liga Protectora Latina from the History Museum, I emailed Professor Rosales, who has written several books on the Mexican immigrant experience in the US. And he replied to my email as well, and sending me information which showed Vicente Campuzano Jr. in the 1st Arizona Infantry and led me to the Arizona Military Museum. They in turn provided me with a copy of Vicente Jr.'s service record.

So there you go. It never hurts to ask, and sometimes you're really surprised by what you might find.

McBride, James B. "The Liga Protectora Latina: A Mexican-American Benevolent Society in Arizona," Journal of the West, 14 (October 1975): 82-90.

Rosales, F. Arturo. A Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (Houston: Arte Público Press, 2006), p. 168.

Rosales, F. Arturo. ¡Chicano! The History of Mexican American Civil Rights. (Houston: Arte Público Press, 1996), p. 63.

Rosales, F. Arturo. "Pobre Raza!": Violence, Crime, Justice and Mobilization Among Mexico Lindo Immigrants, 1900-1936 (Austin, University of Texas Press,1999), pp. 138-129.

Rosales, F. Arturo. "Testimonio: A Documentary History of the Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights." (Houston: Arte Público Press, 2000) pp. 114-115.

Tempe News, articles between 1915-1917 (text copies provided by the Tempe History Museum)

The Chicana/Chicano Experience in Arizona, Arizona State University,


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Family Quilt in the Indiana State Museum

A couple of days ago I received an email from a cousin on my Dad's Lamon line, that a quilt made by my 4th-great-grandmother Ursula Fellme Muck is in the collection of the Indiana State Museum and viewable online. We're in the process of contacting the Museum for a copy of the donor file. The Museum page notes that the quilt is not exhibitable. This is a really nice find, and shows an artistry and skill that Ursula had in the construction of this quilt.
Quilt by Ursula Muck, approximately 1834. Source: Indiana State Museum
According to the description on the Museum website, the quilt is 93 inches by 86 inches, and consists of a "princess feather pattern red/green applique quilt." The Museum notes that the donor file states Ursula Muck made the quilt in Gibson County, Indiana when she was 18 years old, in 1834.

My connection to Ursula runs from my great-grandmother, Blanche Lamon, wife of Harry O'Brien. She was born in Indiana on 1 May 1816, and died in Gibson County, Indiana on 17 January 1888. Ursula married John Muck in Harrison County, Indiana on 31 December 1835.

I'm still in the process of documenting this branch and I'll have more on Ursula and John Muck in future posts.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Elizabeth Hayden Matthews

Sometimes all one has to go on in looking back at the life of an ancestor are census records, and if you're lucky, another document such as a marriage certificate or death record. I am looking for more information on my second-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Hayden Matthews. She was born in the area around the borders of Barren County, Warren County and Edmonson County, Kentucky on 28 September 1869. I know she was the daughter of William Matthews and Martha Jane Free. I have census records, her death record, and some vague stories.

Last month, I wrote about her daughter, my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lois Whitley.

Elizabeth in the Census

In the 1870 US Census, taken on 7 July 1870, Elizabeth appears in the household of William and Martha in Glasgow Precinct, Barren County, Kentucky.
By the 1880 US Census, the family was in the Village of Slick Rock, Barren County, Kentucky.

Around 1885 or 1886, Elizabeth married Thomas Whitley, son of Robert Jackson Wheatley and Melissa Catherine Grinstead. They had at least the following 12 children:
1. Martha Belle "Mattie" Whitley - born 3 December 1886
2. Minnie Catherine Whitley - born September 1888
3. Thomas B "Tommy" Whitley - born February 1890
4. William F "Willie" Whitley - born July 1891
5. Grover Cleveland Whitley - born 9 February 1893, died 20 March 1983 in Indianapolis
6. Omer Dural Whitley - born 24 July 1895
7. Bryan Whitley - born October 1898
8. Elizabeth Lois Whitley - born 15 March 1901
9. George C. Whitley - born 1903
10. Margaret M. "Maggie" Whitley - born 1907
11. Earl Bennie Whitley - born February 1909
12. Nellie Ruth Whitley - born 20 May 1912

In the 1900 US Census, the family appears in Elk Springs, Warren County, Kentucky:
By 1910, the family was in Rocky Hill, Barren County, Kentucky.
Elizabeth died on breast cancer on 14 August 1915, at the age of 45 years old. Her death certificate was signed by her mother, Martha Free of Rocky Hill, Kentucky. She was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, which is on the edge of Warren County, in the Smiths Grove zip code area.

Vague Stories

About a year or so ago I communicated with a woman on Ancestry's Messages feature about Elizabeth Hayden Matthews and her parents. When I asked about Elizabeth and the origin of her middle name Hayden, she replied

"...These families crossed county lines, married cousins, divorced, and then remarried. However, they all claim not to be related. If I'm not mistaken, Hayden was Nancy's father's first name. There were some quirky naming conventions back then. Children were often named for one or both of their parents, an earlier sibling that had died, a son that they had hoped for, someone they admired, or someone they learned about in school. The majority of the families in this area had early connections and moved into the state either by river boat or wagon using the major tributaries coming from Virginia on the northern side of the state or through Tennessee on the Southern side using the Pennington Gap..."

I replied, and the next day she wrote:

"There was some shame in the families and everyone was always tight-lipped about whatever it was. I just view things as facts of life. I fondly remember visiting my grandparents on their farm in Smiths Grove. They had me hitch up the buckboard they had and we rode out [to] Grandma [Martha Jane] Mathews' two room log cabin. She cooked in a spider on an open fireplace and slept on a tester bed. If you stayed overnight you had to climb up a log ladder to a sleeping loft where you slept on handsewn quilts on a bed of straw. Her marriage certificate was on a sheepskin. I don't know where that ever ended up. She kept a long rifle over the fireplace and she didn't hesitate to use it. I don't know where that went either. She loved children and I still have a little basket she bought from the tinker for twenty-five cents almost 70 years ago. If we could only go back and ask the questions we have now. Take care and I will be back in touch with you."

From correspondence with another person researching the Matthews family, the impression is that Elizabeth's parents fought and ultimately separated. This is something that comes up when looking back at family history, sometimes you find things that are not pleasant or people would rather be forgotten.

I have read that Rocky Hill in Edmonson County, Kentucky was hit with a devastating fire, which burned half the town including the Matthews' home. I have not yet been able to find information on the fire, so this is something I will try to track down through one of the area libraries or the helpful folks at Western Kentucky University.

With six siblings, 12 children of her own and a number of grandchildren, I am interested to know if there are other descendants of Elizabeth out there who may have more information and are willing to share.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel Tuesday - Street Art #2

This set is more personal history than family history related, but it is a glimpse of some of the things I've seen on some recent travels. In March I posted a photo set of street art from around the world. Here's another set for Geneabloggers Travel Tuesday.

Photo by Patrick L Jones - Berlin Wall, Midtown NYC
Photo by Patrick L Jones - Truck in the Fashion District, NYC
Photo by Patrick L Jones - Prague, 27 June 2012
Photo by Patrick L Jones - Prague, 27 June 2012
Photo by Patrick L Jones - Prague, 27 June 2012
Photo by Patrick L Jones - art by Munquia, Costa Rica, March 2012