Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 128

Another great day plus BEAUTIFUL fall weather - warm breezes, blue sky. Who could ask for more?

Anne and I left early for the Lancaster County Courthouse arriving just after 8am. We started searching probate records - wills for various Kennedys and Letchers. To give you an idea of small town courthouses, there are no security checks, no leaving your bags and coats in a locker, you have free access to the vault and just join the employees in using the copying machine. As we began, Gordon from the Property Valuation Department asked who we were researching. We told him Thomas Kennedy. Turns out he is descended from Thomas' sister Margaret - so he is about a 6th cousin. We shared some family stories and research information. We then got talking about the location of the Kennedy mansion and Uncle Tom's cabin. He knew right where they used to be, went to his office and printed out a colored map with directions!! Yahoo!!

Meanwhile, Anne and I were in the vault for 4 hours (they close at noon on Wed.). We ran up and down the rickety library ladder that clung to the ceiling of the vault and had one wheel that didn't quite reach the floor. I grabbed metal boxes (much like ammunition cases) full of wills and estate papers. Most had signatures of Benjamin Letcher - 5 gg who was the county clerk in the 1790s or his son Stephen G. Letcher who was county clerk in the 1820s and 30s. About 11:15 we started on marriage records. Staff showed us the metal staircase complete with creaky door that led from the floor of the vault to the basement. The lights DID work. We found the marriage bond for Thomas Kennedy and Edna Withers - 5 ggrandparents. We staggered out at noon headed for a well deserved lunch.

After lunch we drove down the street and took photos of the Letcher home then proceeded to the Lancaster Cemetery. There we found the graves for General Benjamin Letcher, his wife Margaret Robertson Letcher, and Stephen Giles Letcher. (gravestones are sideways - sorry)
North out of town we followed Gordon's directions to "The Poplars" - Kennedys homestead. The land is rolling and the house would have faced east. Beyond the edge of the plantation was Kennedy's station - the property purchased by Thomas' father John and their first home after leaving the Boonesborough/Stroud Fort area 8 miles east.

I then showed Anne the Paint Lick cemetery and Thomas K's gravesite (see photos from my blog a month ago when I was in Lexington). Anne got the kinks out of her back lying on one of the stone slabs. The end of the day was spent investigating a few places in Burea, a salad dinner, and catching up on practicalities at the hotel. We are off to Hardinsburg and its only hotel (22 rooms - $50/night) tomorrow to look for Holts, Bowmers, Stephens, DeHavens and Haynes in Breckinridge County, KY.

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