Friday, November 27, 2015

Pauper in the Poor House

This month I have received a number of documents that have helped fill in the gaps into the life of my 3rd-great-grandmother Nancy Jane Flatt, her siblings, and her father, Pleasant Flatt. I owe a huge amount of thanks to the researchers at the Kentucky State Archives, and to fellow researcher Linda who has helped uncover this family's story in so many ways. The latest finds come from the Kentucky Wills and Probate Records database on Ancestry, which contains a scanned copy of Metcalfe County Order Books 1-4. The documents show that Nancy Jane's family was dirt poor, so poor they were declared paupers by the Metcalfe County Court in 1873.

Pleasant Flatt appeared on the delinquent list for Metcalfe County in 1871, owing $300.
Source: Ancestry, image 229 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Books.
On the delinquent non-resident land list for the following year (published by the court in January 1873), Pleasant and Sampson Flatt appear.
Source: Ancestry, image 275 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Books.
By May 1873, the Metcalfe County Court declared Pleasant Flatt to be a pauper and ordered the poor house to take charge of him.
Source: Ancestry, image 291 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Books.
Pleasant was still alive at least through 6 October 1873, as the court provided costs for a doctor to attend to Pleasant in the poor house.
Source: Ancestry, image 307 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Books.

On 22 December 1873, the Court provided $24 to William Cummins to make coffins for Pleasant Flatt and Lucy Emily Ellen Flatt, paupers of Metcalfe County. I think this was Margaret Ellen Flatt. She would have been 16 years old. The other Flatt siblings survived, and appear in later records. Pleasant was around 53 years old.
Source: Ancestry, image 315 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Books.
William and Sampson Flatt appear on the list of delinquent taxpayers in 1874 in Metcalfe County. I don't know if this William is Pleasant's son from his first marriage to Lucinda McCormick, or a related Flatt cousin. William B. Flatt was living in neighboring Adair County by 1872, so think these two are from a related line, but I do not know yet how they are connected.

The death of her father would have put 18-year old Nancy Jane Flatt into the role of looking out for her younger sisters: 15-year old Susanna, 13-year old Martha, 11-year old Cansada and 8-year old Mary. Her step-mother Nancy D. Flatt had her own young children to care for at this time: Verlotta, Joanna, Sarah, James and Mary. As I posted earlier in the week, Nancy D. Flatt was fighting her own legal battles at this time to retain land. She may not have been able to care for the Flatt children along with her own.

There are more pages to go through in the Metcalfe County Order Books, but I have already found a few more entries for Nancy Jane. These will be featured in the next post.

Additional item in the Metcalfe County court orders: In October 1875, J. B. Russell brought a claim seeking reimbursement for housing Pleasant Flatt and two of his daughters in 1873. The court rejected this claim.
Source: Ancestry, image 434 of 656. Metcalfe County, KY Order Book.

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