Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Finally, on the road at 11am looking for Edward DeHaven's grave. We have the AAA Kentucky map. We have the Breckinridge County map from the court house with the grave site marked by the archivist. We have the xeroxed map of Hancock County from the public library. We have Fiona. We have Google Maps. We have written directions to the cemetery from the cemetery book. And we still left town going the wrong direction. We get to the correct roads and no cemetery. We look in every possible direction. Read and interpret the instructions 6 different ways. We saw gorgeous, quiet scenery - but no graves. After 2 hours, you guessed it, u-turn for Hardinsburg, grabbing a salad and using the restroom before heading north to find the old Sterrett homestead and graveyard.
We found the correct roads and drove them from one end to the other. Fabulous views of the Ohio river. The perfect sites for any home - no house that fit the description. We ended back in Cloverport and did find the Black cemetery - but no Sterretts or anyone else we knew. U-turn - back on the road looking for the cemetery. Again - no sign of graves at the appropriate spot until we got out to the main road. And there it was. The perfect little cemetery up on a knoll. We whip a u-turn, park and go bounding up the hill ... and it is not our cemetery. U-turn. Finally we headed to Owensboro to see the sights. It is 3pm.
Friday, October 29, 2010
- 5 wills for various family members
- numerous marriage records
- gravesites for my 4 g grandparents - William Haynes Bowmer and Margaret Sterett Bowmer in Cloverport, KY - (see below)
- The Bowmer House in Cloverport - we think - based on a 1903 photo - with gorgeous views of the slowly moving Ohio River 300 feet from the front door. (see yellow house below)
- The Holt House mentioned yesterday - halfway between Cloverport and Stephensport. The house has been preserved but much restoration needs to be done. It would be a good volunteer fundraising effort. (see large house below)
- Joseph Holt's grave site (see below) along with those of his parents, John W. and Eleanor Stephens Holt
The morning was very cold but the afternoon lovely. The weather made it perfect for an afternoon in the outdoors. Our trek to the Holt house emphasized the absolute quiet of the location except for occasional bird songs (and the train). No children, cars, voices, or disturbing sounds. The Holt house has a large ginkgo tree in the back yard full of green leaves that glimmered as the setting sun shown down. We picked up a number of the leaves which, unfortunately, I think Anne is allergic to. She is sitting in bed with benadryl and gloves on her hands.
Tomorrow - the local historical society, the post office (I have found a house to rent when I get home so am mailing the lease), and then back out to more grave sites.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
After breakfast Anne and I made for the Visitor's Center and signed up for a trolley tour. We took in the sites through the town's rolling hills. In downtown Asheville we hit a book store, art galleries, and a natural foods restaurant for a light lunch. We visited a funky general store and then headed for Biltmore Village. Wrong area -full of chain stores when all we wanted were interesting folk art. The trolley pickup was an hour away so we decided to hoof it to the next trolley stop, see the historic home and get ahead of the game. WRONG! Over the bridge, along the railroad tracks, up the hill, through the community college campus, up the hill, and finally found the McDowell-Smith House - about 10 minutes after the trolley left. We spent an hour covering about 3 miles and saved ourselves no time. However, we did wear off all of our lunch and had a fine sheen of salty sweat on our makeup.
The McDowell House was interesting with several periods of furnishings presented although the tour guide was a bit boring. The trolley finally arrived and we were thrilled to just sit down and head back to the Visitor's Center. From there we drove to the Thomas Wolfe house. They have a nice video on his life and the writing of Look Homeward Angel. We then had a nice tour with the state parks guide - a knowledgeable English-major/graduate from Georgia.
Finally back to the hotel and a simple supper from the cooler. Tomorrow - off to the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
We went to the marvelous public library. The second floor is devoted to genealogy. The Kennedy surname files had one tantalizing bit on our relative - Thomas K. At some point in the 1760s-1770s, Thomas was caught in an Indian fight and wrestled with a warrior tumbling head over tea kettle down a hill before finally killing him. Whew - nice to be 20 and fit! We also found dozens of land grants - military and purchases - that Kennedys, Holts, Stephens, Robertsons and Robinsons made in Kentucky. This will help us pinpoint the areas to search because each grant specifies the creek or waterway on which the grant was given.
During the afternoon, we made our way into the mountains. The leaves are at their peak - brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. When we stopped at a national park Artists Exhibit I collected a whole hand full of leaves and have them pressed in the AAA guidebook. Tomorrow is a free day to explore the area and mountainsides.
Uncle Carl seems to be surviving without Anne - attending a showing of Boris Godunov. Happy Birthday to Rachel - Next year is the big 4-0! My Karl is in Minnesota at a wedding - hope there is no snow. Mom, Liz and Ann are plotting to take over the horse world - hope today's meetings were successful.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I have wonderful letters, a poem written by a Civil War prisoner of war, and lots of photos. Now the issue is how do I organize and present a coherent story. Anne and Carl are both creative so we have had a lot of discussions on this issue. I am still thinking but hopefully will get some writing time during my last week so I can at least create a framework.
Meanwhile, Anne and I are off to Rowan County tomorrow, looking for any information on relatives moving west towards Kentucky. We then will head (Monday) through the Cumberland gap and start serious grave site reconnoitering near Boonesborough and Lexington. From there we will head towards Louisville, Cloverport, Stephensport, and Henderson. We have a lot of area to cover in the next 10 days. I hope the weather holds. Around Nov 5, I will head back towards Frankfurt and spend some in-depth library time.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I arrived back in Pittsboro about 4pm followed shortly by Aunt Diane and Uncle Hugh. They are travelling in their motor home between their summer location in Vermont and their winter home in Florida. So nice to see them and catch up on what they have been doing since I saw them in July. I also spoke with my mom tonight. She has safely arrived home in Seattle after putting 5,400 miles on her motor home (round trip to Kentucky).
Tomorrow is a play day with aunts and uncles, then Anne and I are off to Kentucky on Saturday. - Yahoo!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
This evening we enjoyed more notebook sorting. We found a letter from gg Frank H Williams to his parents in 1877. A nice accompaniment to old photos. I retrieved some letters from my dad to my grandparents. Dad was always such a good letter writer. It is fun to re-read the 40 year old news.
Tomorrow I am back in research mode at the state archives and then will have dinner with Meghan Feldmeyer, daughter of my good friend Elissa. Onward and upward!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I left Karl about 3:45 and headed back to Anne and Carl's in Pittsboro. We caught up on the doings and had a nice dinner. Tomorrow - back to genealogy with several days in the NC state library this week. I hope to make good progress
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Late in the afternoon Karl and I toured through the countryside just enjoying each other's company. Good Mexican food for dinner and interesting PBS this evening. A really nice time that future generations studying us will only be able to guess at - unless they read the blogs. :-)
Friday, October 15, 2010
This afternoon I sorted all 95 binders into separate piles as they require different decisions. Of course I found one binder I had overlooked. It contained a lot of background information on the Sargood family in Australia so it was good reading.
Late in the afternoon I headed 90 minutes south to Fayetteville, NC. This is Karl's new home. We had a great BBQ dinner, grabbed some groceries and are now ensconced in his lovely apartment. I have a huge bedroom and my own private bath!! We should have a fun weekend.
No more genealogy reports until Monday night but will let you know what trouble we get into.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The next gem was an album labeled honeymoon 1928, Europe 1937, etc. The first section contained the diary notes Gramps made while he and Maggie were on their honeymoon. It wasn't anything I expected to find but was fun to read - nothing racy. I did learn that Gramps called our grandmother Margo. I don't think that nickname lasted long. I never heard him refer to her as anything but Margaret.
I'm about 2/3 of the way through the albums - took almost 500 digital photos today of documents (including GG Atkinson's Spanish-American War enlistment papers and a relative's character reference written by Rutherford B. Hayes) and pictures. Labeling the photos will be the killer.
One last item that Anne brought out was a beaded flapper dress - all black and crystal beads in intricate patterns. The picture doesn't do it justice - and it doesn't seem to want to upload tonight. Another time. We think the dress belonged to Maggie (my grandmother) but are not sure. It is very heavy and I can't imagine moving or sitting in it.
We had a friend over for dinner and Anne is hosting a couple and their friends tomorrow for lunch. Busy days.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I made the easy drive from Richmond, VA to Pittsboro, NC. Aunt Anne, Uncle Carl and I had peaceful lunch and chat on their back deck. We then drove towards Raleigh to my cousin Cathy and Rick's home for dinner. My son Karl drove up from Fayetteville to join us. I was great to see him!! We had fun catching up and enjoyed the balmy evening on the back deck. Tomorrow, Anne and I start on the genealogy. She has 95 albums for me to look at. I may be here all winter!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Letcher family continues to be elusive. Despite having well known progeny, Giles and Hannah Hughes Letcher are tough to trace. Giles Letcher emigrated from Ireland to America about 1740. He established himself as a merchant in Petersburg, VA (same as Edward Cunningham 50 years later). Shortly thereafter, he lost all his business and personal property in a fire. I found and copied a land deed - 137 acres - purchased from James Wads for 37 pounds on 17 Nov 1741. Giles was living in Henrico County (the area around Richmond including Petersburg) but the land purchase was in Goochland County, where he ended up moving. So far - no marriage records on Hannah or Giles. Also no will, no probate - a bit elusive.
With no viable business from their father, the sons earned their living via farming and manual labor. Son William married his cousin (on the Hughes side) - Elizabeth Perkins. Of course William's brother Stephen Giles Letcher also married his cousin, another Elizabeth Perkins, as we learned yesterday. I now have a copy of the marriage registration - 20 Jan. 1767 - between SG and Elizabeth. William married and then headed towards Kentucky but stopped on the east side of the mountains. He built a home in 1780 in the SW corner of Patrick County, VA. Unfortunately, Tories were active in the area and objected to William's support of the new nation. William and his family were threatened, burned out and in August of 1780, William was assassinated.
On to better thoughts. I also searched through Mecklenburg County records. I have his marriage bond signed by John Holloway and Richard Hanserd for 50 pounds. A bond was provided before each marriage in case there was someone who objected to the marriage and the case was brought to court. From all the ones I have read, the bonds seem to be posted only a day or two before the marriage. If no one objects and the marriage takes place, the signers are off the hook for the bond. I also have a copy of the permission letter submitted by Ann Starling's father so she and John could marry. Also copied are various court orders for Ballard and Holloway relatives, helping document their everyday lives. And finally - I have the will of James Holloway (brother or father, I think, to our John, Sr.) dated 14 May 1778. His wife had probably predeceased him because she is not mentioned. His property is divided between his children - a daughter Ashley and his son - wait for it - ARCHER!! You can never get away from those family names. :-)
Tomorrow - off to North Carolina.
Friday, October 8, 2010
I didn't find anything new in the surname files. They don't even have one for the Letchers. However, the Historical Society did have parish records (everyone was Church of England) from the minister who served the county's 3 churches. I found the marriage record for Stephen G. Letcher and Elizabeth Perkins - 22 Jan. 1767. I also found birth and baptism records for some of their children - Benjamin - 22 Nov 1767; John (who became governor of VA) - 19 Dec 1769; Hannah - 5 Nov 1771; Stephen Giles - 26 Jan. 1774; Mary - 23 April 1776. All these dates are new information for our records. FYI - Hannah and Mary must have died as young children because they don't show up in later records with the 12 living children. Also another son (Robert P. Letcher) became the governor of KY - amazing!
From the same source I found death records for Constantine and Stephen Perkins (6 G and 5 G grandfathers) and the marriage record for Stephen Giles Letcher's sister Sarah. Now if I could just find some record of their parents, Giles Letcher and Hannah Hughes.
In a separate set of publications I found the marriage registration for John Holloway Jr. and Anne Starling in Mecklenburg County with the permission by her father William Starling. I also found some tantalizing references to Rebecca Ballard's family (5G grandmother and mother of John Holloway Jr. It may be that Rebecca was born here rather than England! I found various references to a William and John Ballard as early area settlers (by 1750) with 700-1400 acres each. - More looking.
I was back to Richmond by 5 but spent another 2 hours setting up research for tomorrow, my last day in VA.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
It was another long day. No exciting finds just lots of dotting "i"s and crossing "t"s. A few tidbits.
1. I finally finished the relevant Perkins/Hughes/Letcher files. There are tons more but I think I got most of the most critical details. I did find that Mr. William Robertson Perkins (author of all this paperwork) was a NY lawyer in the 20s and 30s with an office on 5th Ave. He hired a researcher for at least 12-24 months to track down every deed, will and court record in the relevant VA counties. In addition, Mr. Perkins benefit ted from decades of research by Ms. Lucie Perkins Stone, a college professor who had worked on the Perkins family genealogy. We are lucky to have so much leg work done.
2. I have a copy of Edward Cunningham's will. His 3 sons each received $40,000 plus slaves and property after he passed away in 1836. Within 4 years, all the boys plus Edward's brother Richard had to effectively declare bankruptcy. Changes in the tobacco market and excessive spending did them all in. Businesses were sold, partnerships dissolved and plantations broken up.
3. The inventory valuation from Richard Cunningham's will was a great look at daily items. Here are a few - values in pounds and shillings: 23 double bolted pad locks (= 7/6); 4 pair money scales (5/6); 2 damaged ink stands (5 cents); 1 pound of glue (2); 146 pounds of chewing tobacco (9 pounds).
4. No luck on finding information on Robertsons, Robinsons, Haynes', Stephens - hopefully I can make some progress on Saturday.
5. Finally, we have a copy of Edward Cunningham's Oath of Allegiance. This was a declaration immigrants had to make to the new country, America. It effectively was their naturalization record.
Tomorrow - off to Goochland County!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
It was a long, great day but I am exhausted tonight.
The morning started with a workout and laundry. Then I was off to the Virginia Historical Society. Located on Richmond's north side, the neighborhoods are full of lovely, large town houses, well maintained and shaded by lots of trees. A nice contrast to my airport location.
The Historical Society librarians had the pictures of Howard's Neck (Edward Cunningham's home) ready for me. The house was designed by the same architect used on his home in Richmond and who designed Monticello for Jefferson and the Washington Monument. Edward purchased the property (848 acres) in 1807 for $15,333 and then had the house constructed about 1817.
I requested several other books and files, looking for potential family threads. I found 6-8 letters - 200 year old correspondence from Edward Cunningham and John Randolph (Roanoke and Washington, DC). They are difficult to read but I photographed them anyway. These two individuals were obviously involved in many trade deals and politics as well as being good friends.
I then went looking for the Letchers. There is actually very little information at the Historical Society on the early Letchers - most of it focuses on John Letcher, Gov of VA during the Civil War. However, I found a file called the William Robertson Perkins papers with references to Letcher and Perkins genealogy. After 15 or so minutes, the librarians started hauling in large boxes - 8 of them. The contain 100+ files each stuffed with letters and deeds and genealogy from 150-250 years old. The head librarian apologized because only about 25% of the material is sorted and organized into cross-referenced categories. I told her I was looking for the connection between Letchers and Perkins (Stephen Giles Letcher married Elizabeth Perkins - 5g grandparents on the Atkinson side). She picked a couple of boxes and a couple of additional files that she thought would be the best bet. And so I started.
Thank goodness most of the material was typed and not hand written. What I had to read focused on the Perkins family which emigrated to the US in 1640. Reading page by page, I finally found Elizabeth Perkins married to _________ Letcher. Right time frame but the dates were a bit screwy and she only had one child with him before marrying a second time. Hummmm. That didn't fit what we know and there was no reference to KY. So, more files. Finally I discovered that Elizabeth married Col. William Letcher - Stephen Giles Letcher's brother. So how could both boys marry Elizabeth Perkins (and no, her second marriage was to a Mr. Ellis)? More files, more reading, more sorting through family lines all over Virginia and into Tennessee. I wondered if I was wasting my time and thought about moving to other manuscripts. However, the Perkins information was compelling and I figured at least the oldest data would probably apply to us. Finally - gold. The right Elizabeth Perkins married to Stephen Giles Letcher. Confirmed by her father's will where he gives her a "negro" and SGL, his son-in-law, is an executor of the estate. It turns out that the 2 Elizabeth's were cousins and both did indeed marry the two Letcher brothers.
Now I must quote from some other material in the Perkins file - it is oddly appropriate: "The Perkins family is supposed to be Russian in its origin. This seems highly probably as the names Nicholas, Peter and Constantine frequently appear in its genealogical records [I got very excited here - new, non-English blood!]. The American branch however is said to have come immediately from Wales, their ancestors having emigrated from Russia to that country." Oh well. Another quote "The members of the family have intermarried a great deal. Each generation following the custom already established by their ancestors." Oi!
One other interesting item. The Cunninghams at Howard's Neck resided in Goochland County, VA. Also in Goochland were the Letchers, Perkins, and Hughes (from whom we derive the James Hughes Letcher middle name and who married into the Perkins family). Also of note - Howard's Neck was originally the property of the Hughes family who built a home there in the 1760s (which still stands). The files I read also confirm that Benjamin Thomas Letcher married Margaret Robertson (not Robinson) and that her parents were Alexander Robertson and Margaret Robinson (yes - now you know why I am having trouble sorting out that group!).
Back to the Historical Society tomorrow. I have more files to read.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
1. Found great information on the Starling-Holloway family. The individual who wrote the research (in 1874) was born in 1809. Suzanne Lyne and William Starling (our 6G grandparents) were his grandparents and he knew, met and interacted with most of the people who populate that strand of the Atkinson line. What was wonderful was that the Starling information I found yesterday actually came from this book. So I now have additional information on Holloways and Lynes. Besides filling in blanks and pushing lines back to where and how people came to the new world, I recognized the Holloway family chart that Maggie and Gramps had given me originally came from this book. However, instead of 1 page it is 3- John Holloway and Anne Starling had six children, not four. I just had never seen the rest of the chart!
All of these families were agrarians and merchants. Many well-to-do in VA before going to Kentucky. William Starling's parents died when he was young. Col. William Lyne (Suzanne's brother) was the parents' physician. He took on the guardianship of William and his brother and sister, raising them to adulthood. When William was 18, he married Suzanne (age 17). This angered her father (old William Lyne Sr.) so William and Suzanne moved to Mechlenburg Co, VA and then Kentucky. They never reconciled with old William but seemed to correspond regularly with her siblings. BTW - for my boys - William Starling (b. 1756) was 6'3". His sons Lyne and Edmund were 6'6". Guess we know where some of the tall genes come from.
2. We are clarifying the Holt line. It looks like two groups came - one from England and one from Germany. We are from the German line (I now have several generations with dates and places in Germany.) A group of Germans (the Germanna) came in three waves to VA - they were recruited as experienced iron workers. Michael Holt, his mother and stepfather were part of the group that arrived in 1717. They were suppose to go to Philadelphia but instead many perished on the trip and the remaining 100 were sold into indenture for 8 years to the Gov of VA - Spotswood. Michael worked off the indenture, married and acquired several hundred acres of land in what is now Madison County, VA. He and his wife Elizabeth Scheible then moved with their children to North Carolina (~1767-69).
Michael Jr. married Margaret O'Neill, from a well-to-do Irish family. Their son Joseph S. Holt (b. 1755) moved to KY and I believe was the father of John W. Holt and grandfather of Joseph Holt (Advocate General on Lincoln's cabinet) and Elizabeth Holt, our ggg grandmother on the Bowmer side. I probably can't prove this until I get to KY and find the probate records. The lineage is confirmed through wills and deeds down through Joseph Holt Sr. as is his move to KY and the fact that he is an ancestor of Judge Joseph Holt. Now I just need to link the KY residents.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I did have one lucky break. I found several generations of of the Starling family. Anne Starling married John Holloway. Their daughter Lucy married George Atkinson. I knew that Anne's parents were William Starling and Suzanne Lyne and a few dates but no location other than Virginia and no other generations. I found that William's father was William Starling of King William County, VA. They were a well known Virginia family. His father was Roderic, his grandfather William, and his gg grandfather was Sir William Starling - knighted in 1661 and served as mayor of London in 1670. Now that I have a lineage and location, I will look for probate records for confirmation/connectivity between the generations.
Tomorrow - back to look at microfilm and do more research. Wednesday I will head to the VA Historical Society. They are holding photos from the Howard's neck Plantation for me plus some other manuscripts.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
I took the backroads enjoying the countryside and listening to a book on tape. I stopped somewhere and in a parking lot pulled out my computer and portable internet access card to find a hotel room. It makes a huge difference in cost (often nearly 50%) to make an advance reservation rather than just pulling into cold. I ended up with a 10 day reservation at a very nice hotel in Richmond for an average of $60 per night because I got 3 nights free. I am going to enjoy the luxury!
Since the VA Library is open tomorrow, I will make my first foray into downtown. Hopefully, there will be less traffic on Saturday so I can get my bearings. Then Sunday - some sightseeing or go north of the city to find the plantation home of Edward Cunningham. We shall see.