About Me

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Just to tell you a little about myself, my name is Vickie and I was born and raised in Kentucky. The majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a courthouse and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Aunt Em

I figured since the idea of doing 52 ancestors in 52 weeks came from a Doss cousin, that my first week’s story should be about a Doss relative of mine.  I am posting this today December 30, 2014 because I will be away from my computer for a few days and wanted to get this story in before the first.

Aunt Em, born Emily Frances Doss was my great-grandaunt, my great-grandfather, George Samuel Doss’ baby sister.  They were the two youngest children of Joel Burgess Doss and Mildred Hurt.  Aunt Em was born June 12, 1850 in Logan County, Kentucky the youngest of 11 children born to Joel and Mildred.  Aunt Em’s other siblings were: James Phillip, unknown female who may have died young, Sarah Ann, John Burgess, Charles Henry (he was a doctor in Illinois), Joel Burgess Jr., William A., Nancy Susan and Elizabeth Mildred.

There have been lots of stories told about Aunt Em over the years, how many are true is anyone’s guess.  Was she really a witch who cast spells and made potions?  Was she a fortune teller who looked in her crystal ball, read a palm or tea leaves and told a tale to those who came through the woods and down the little dirt trail to her cabin?  Did she use herbs, roots and flowers that could heal the sick, the lame or make things go away that you didn't want?  The census records always have her listed as a carpet maker or weaver through the years.  Of course I don’t know that I have ever seen a listing in the census records saying witch or fortune teller as an occupation, though I have seen census listings that said Madame, whore, harlot and even some ladies of the evening, so if someone had said they were a witch or fortune teller, then I am sure the census man would have put that down.

I do know that she was left a widow, pregnant with her fourth child, after her husband, American Wesley Wicks, fell from a roof he was working on, and they say he lived for a couple of days before he passed away.  Aunt Em and Uncle Wes were married January 13, 1870 in Dixon, Webster County, Kentucky and had only been married for 8 years and he had died on their eighth anniversary, January 13, 1878 in Webster County, Kentucky.  She was widowed with four young children, Ada Janice who was 7, Joseph who was 5, Charles Wesley who was 3 and the baby, Virgie who was born shortly after her father passed away.  Virgie apparently didn't live long, because she is not listed on the 1880 census with her mother and older siblings.  The only reason I know about Virgie is because of stories my Mama Jessie told my Daddy and me.  Mama Jessie was my Daddy’s momma and Mama Jessie’s, Daddy was George Samuel Doss, brother to Aunt Em and therefore Aunt Em was Mama Jessie’s aunt and someone she actually knew and had spoken with many times and whose home she had visited in many times as well.

Mama Jessie always said, that her Aunt Em, was a witch and fortune teller by occupation, but a really sweet lady and that she really loved her a lot.  Helen Withers Griffith, a great-grandniece of Aunt Em’s, said her Aunt Ruth, use to say that Aunt Em embarrassed them when she came to town, because her dress would be dragging on the ground and be covered in dirt and mud.  I met Helen for the first time in Lexington, Kentucky back in 2006, and she gave me some copies of some old pictures that I had never seen before and the first and only picture I ever saw of Aunt Em.  The following picture is of Aunt Em with her daughter Ada and was probably taken between 1878 and 1880 since Ada was born in 1871 and she looks like she could be between 6 to 9 years old.  I have often thought Aunt Em looked so sad in this picture and I have wondered if this picture might have been taken within a few months of Uncle Wes’ death since it looks like a black dress Aunt Em is wearing.  Helen also had these pictures of Aunt Em’s mother, Mildred Hurt Doss and Aunt Em's sister, Nancy Susan Doss Wicks.  Nancy was married to James William Wicks, a half-brother to American Wesley Wicks.


Aunt Em, never remarried, she raised her children and they took care of her when she got older.  She never had a lot, but she made what she could, with what she had.   Aunt Em lived in the little town of Clay in Webster County, Kentucky when her husband passed and continued to live there with her son Charles Wicks up until 1920 when at some point, she moved over to Illinois and lived in Harrisburg in Saline County with her son Joseph Wicks.  Aunt Em continued to live in Harrisburg until her death March 24, 1928.  The death record does not say where she is buried, but her husband is buried in an unmarked grave at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Clay as well as her mother Mildred Hurt Doss.  I think she is probably in an unmarked grave there just like they are.  Findagrave.com says that Joel Burgess Doss is buried at Providence Methodist Church Cemetery in Webster County, but Mama Jessie always said that her grandparents were both buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery and I can remember as a kid going to that cemetery many times and her pointing at the spot where her Daddy had said they were buried.  If I remember correctly it was real close to where Mama Jessie’s parents, George Samuel Doss & Nancy Lougena Woosley were buried.  Mama Jessie’s parents both have the following small markers at their grave site and here is also a picture of the cemetery too that was posted on Findagrave.com.

Here is Aunt Em’s brother, George Samuel Doss on his wedding day to Nancy Lougena Woosley, December 8, 1878 in Christian County, Kentucky.

Monday, December 29, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2015

For this new year 2015, which is showing up in just a couple of more days, I am going to try and write a little each week about a different ancestor, some of mine, some of my husbands, maybe even some of my son-in-laws too.  Since a new Doss cousin of mine, Cathy Meder-Dempsey, contacted me a few weeks ago, I have been reading her blog and saw where she was doing a challenge that another blogger had started.  By the way my new cousins blog is located at this address: Opening Doors in Brick Walls.  She has a fantastic blog and I still have tons of reading to do to catch up with everything she has written about her ancestors, some of which, are of course related to me too.  

My cousin had taken the challenge from the following blog: No Story Too Small and the bloggers link at 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  This blogger writes, "The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.  Not only should this get me blogging more, but also to take a deeper look at some of the people in my family tree." 

I think is this a wonderful idea and hopefully I can keep up and or remember to do one each week. Sometimes things get really busy around here, but I am going to try and do this challenge, not only for myself, but for my children and grandchildren and for my cousins who are following my blog, and who have been asking a lot about their ancestors this past year.  Basically this is why I started my blog because of all the questions I was getting from everyone recently.

I hope all of y'all enjoy the stories, memories, histories, photos, etc. that I hope to publish over the next 52 weeks.

Now I need to decide who I am going to start with, that is going to be the hard part, wish me luck.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Brief History of Hans Adolph Thomsen & his wife Karen Karoline Sorensen

The following is a brief history of my husband Roy's great-grandparents, Hans & Karen Thomsen.  I am so glad I did not have to go through the things they did, leaving their home country of Denmark and coming to America knowing they might not ever see family members again.


   Hans Adolph Thomsen 1835-1904 ~ Karen Karoline Sorensen 1833-1892

Hans was born 18 February 1835 at Brabrand, Aarhus, Denmark son of Cai and Inger Marie Petersen Thomsen.  He was the eldest of four children and the first of his father’s people born outside of Grimsnis, Kappeln Parish, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where the Thomsen’s had lived for many years without change of name on the Roest Estate of the Earl Van Rumohr.   Hans was married 13 November 1855 to Karen Sorensen who was born 8 September 1833, daughter of Soren and Frederikke Olesdatter Jespersen at Abby, Aarhus, Denmark.  Here four children were born to them; Mette Marie, 24 June 1856; Ane Marie, 17 May 1859; Jens Adolph, 22 October 1860 and Sofie Frederikke, 18 February 1862.

From a journal kept by Hans Adolph we learn that he and Karen joined the Mormon Church in 1861.  Hans was baptized on the 11th day of August by Soren C. Stark and confirmed the same day by P.C. Geersteen who was the President of Aarhus Conference.  Karen was baptized and confirmed on the 6th day of September by her brother, Ole Sorensen, at Abby.  Hans and Karen became active members of the Abby Branch.

Hans Adolph Thomsen’s record states that on the “30th of April 1863 traveled from Aarhus with my family.”   They made their way down the coast of Jutland to the river Kiel then across the sea to Hull, England and from there through England to Liverpool where they were housed in a large barn like structure for two days, along with many other Saints.  Friday May 8th, 1863 they sailed for Zion aboard the ship “B. S. Kimball”, whose Captain was H. Dearborn, with 648 others under the direction of Hans Peter Lund.  After six weeks of rugged sailing they landed in New York the 15th of June and then continued by rail to Florence, Nebraska.

It was here that they were greatly saddened by the death of baby Sofie Frederikke who died on 28 June 1863 just 8 days before their group, John F. Sanders Company, left Florence, Nebraska.  They left from Council Bluffs on 6 July 1863 for the valley.  The other children, much worn from travel and strangeness of surroundings, fretted when their mother was out of sight, so sacrificing herself Karen walked most of the way between the wagon and the oxen, so the children might see her and rest easy.  On the 22nd of July little Ane Marie died and was buried on the trail near Sandy Bluff.  The caravan, with which they traveled, dared not stop so Hans and Karen buried their dead alone.  They dug a shallow grave, spread a few wild flowers to soften the fall of earth, said a prayer over the unmarked grave of their treasure and hurried to catch their group as their only safety was in numbers.

They arrived in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 5th, 1863 and on the 7th their eldest child, Mette Marie, was buried leaving only Jens Adolph, to commence their family life in Zion, at Fountain Green in Sanpete County.  Here their fifth child was born on 13 June 1864 and according to Danish custom received the names of her sisters who had passed away, Ane Mette Marie Sofie Frederikke.  There was much Indian trouble in this area.  Savages raided the herd grounds and drove off many cattle and horses, often killing the herders, so with making a living, standing or riding guard, dispatch riding and chasing Indians, Hans was kept busy while adjusting to a new language, country and religion.

On Tuesday May 1st, 1866, President Brigham Young instructed the people of Sanpete County to collect themselves in bodies of not less than 150 men arm themselves well and protect their stock from the Indians.  In May of 1866, a company of armed militia from Salt Lake and Utah Counties was sent out to assist the settlers in Sanpete and Sevier Valleys in protecting themselves against the Indians.  Hans was sent to Fort Monroe to help protect that settlement, while here their next child Karoline was born 25 May 1866.  In 1867 many settlements had to be abandoned because of the Black Hawk War and other Indian troubles.  The Black Hawk War of which Hans Adolph Thomsen was a veteran, lasted three years.  A treaty was signed on 2 March 1868 but troubles didn’t end then.

L. D. S. Journal History, page 3, 5 April 1868 states, “A company under Frederick Olson, numbering 22 men and 4 boys with 15 wagons were on their way to reopen one of the settlements in Sevier County.  On April 5th near Rocky Ford on the Sevier River early in the afternoon they found the Indians were following them.  They immediately corralled their animals to prevent a stampede and prepared for an attack.  An express was started to Gunnison and Richfield, one man to the former and two to the latter.  On the express to Richfield one man, Adolph Thomsen was mounted on a tired horse, which the Indians soon detected, pursued him and he had to turn back.  Another party of Indians tried to cut him off.  Five men from the camp came to his rescue; but not before he received a bullet in the right thigh and an arrow in the left side.  He had to have part of his right foot amputated because the bullet in the thigh cut cords, nerves and veins running to his toes.  His daughter, Maria Ann Thomsen Hawkins, gave the story as told by her father.  “After being hit by a flying arrow, he dropped to the side of his horse thus using the animal as a shield to his body, but was shot in the thigh that held him to the horse.  He was very weak from loss of blood and prayed for strength to get through.”  The express reached Gunnison and a party of 29 men under Major Frazer went to their assistance.  The united parties returned to Gunnison.”

In the spring of 1869, the Thomsen’s moved to Spring City in Sanpete County, where Hans acquired a lot.  Though badly crippled he managed with Karen’s and Jim’s help to fence his lot with poles cut and brought from the hills and to support his family.  Here another daughter Hansine was born 5 June 1869 and on the 17th of October that same year Hans and Karen were endowed and sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.  In spite of opposition and persecutions, Hans, age 40, and Jensine Christensen, age 41 were endowed and sealed in the Endowment House on Monday the 12th of July 1875.  On 23 February 1878 Peder Engmar, Elmer or P. E. (my husbands grandfather) as he was called in later years, was born to Karen and on 9 March 1878,  Marie Ann came to cheer the home of Jensine.  P. E. was my husband’s grandfather.  The two families lived on the same block in separate houses in Spring City.

According to Hansine, here at Spring City, Hans was more active in the church than ever.  He was always being called to administer to the sick, for no matter what the disease he never failed to attend them.  One time he returned from administering to a case of Yellow Fever and was asked if he wasn’t afraid he might carry the disease to his children.  He said, “no” but in a few days one child showed symptoms of the fever.  He administered to her and the fever disappeared.  In this manner he built his life on faith and he said it never failed him.

In the 1880 census of Spring City, Sanpete County, we find him with Karen’s family on Polk Street, while Jensine and her daughter Marie Ann are on Walnut Street.  On 15 October 1880, Stina Elvine, Jensine’s daughter arrived to complete their family.  About this time the Latter-day Saint authorities called upon families in well-established communities to go into new territory and begin other settlements to make room for incoming immigrants.

When one man was called to go to Arizona he refused to go so Hans volunteered.  On Wednesday April 6th, 1881 he was set apart for a mission to Arizona.  Soon afterward, accompanied by his son Jim who was 21 and Soren who was 9 years old they started for St. Johns, Arizona.  When they reached the Colorado River it was too high to cross.  They turned back and worked some time in a valley at or near Peoche on a railroad-grading job.  On Tuesday, September 20th, 1881 he and the boys together with his wife Jensine and her two daughters, Marie Ann and Stina, then left for Arizona again.  Although only three and a half Marie Ann well remembered the rugged trip in crossing Lee’s backbone.  They arrived in St. Johns, Arizona on Tuesday November 15th, 1881 and occupied a house located one block north of the courthouse and across the street east from Marcor Petersen’s house.  According to the St. Johns Ward records Hans was received as a High Priest from Spring City in November 1881.

Early in 1882, Hans and Soren returned to Spring City for the rest of the family.  They traveled by St. George where the older children were sealed to their parents and did work for their dead on Tuesday March 27th, 1883 and the next day continued on their journey.  They had two four horse outfits with wagons loaded to capacity with household goods, machinery and supplies driven by Hans and Jim, also a camp wagon with a single span of horses driven by Karen.  They had some saddle horses and twenty or thirty head of cows and heifers driven by Hyrum and Elmer.  From St. George they traveled through Kanab, Fredonia, Kaibab Forest and Horse Rock Valley to the Colorado River.  It was a time of high water and they had to use a small boat because the big ferry was unmanageable in the swollen stream.  They had to unload everything, take the wagons apart, load them on the boat, ferry across, unload, reassemble the wagons, take the goods across and reload them, then swim the horses and cattle across.  After crossing the river came the long hard pull out of the canyon over Buckskin Mountain and the rocky ridge call Lee’s Backbone.  They reached their destination in St. John’s in the latter part of May 1882.

In 1889, Hans and family were called to go to the Mormon Colonies in Mexico around Colonia Juarez.  In the spring of 1891, the Thomsen’s leased out their Juarez farm and moved to the Pratt Ranch in Cave Valley, Mexico.  On the 19th of September 1892, renegade Apache Indians murdered Karen and her son Hyrum who was 18 years old.  Elmer, who was 14 years old, was shot through the chest and severely wounded, but lived to be 73 years old.  Annie Strate, Hans and Karen’s granddaughter who was 6 years old at the time was not harmed, because her grandmother Karen hid her under her skirt.  After the Indians killed Karen she fell and the Indians saw little Annie and started to come after her.  Before they could grab her they noticed that Elmer was no longer lying where he had fallen.  Afraid that he may have gone for help they grabbed what they had stolen and left the ranch.  Elmer had somehow dragged himself over to the chicken coop and climbed underneath it.  He got Annie’s attention and she hid there with him until they felt it was safe to come out.  Elmer called to his faithful dog and he and Annie started walking to the nearest ranch for help.  After only a short distance Elmer could go no further and so he told Annie to continue and sent the dog with her.  Annie had not gone very far when S. C. Richardson found her and she told him what had happened.  They went and got Elmer and took him to James Mortenson home on the William’s Ranch.  Hans who had been away from home helping neighboring farmers get their harvests in, was found and told the tragic news about his wife and son.  

The following picture is of Karen and her granddaughter Annie, who she hid under her skirts, which was taken just a few short months before Karen was murdered.  The other picture is of Elmer (my husbands grandfather) who is setting and his friend George Sevey whose family helped to nurse Elmer back to health after he was shot by the Indians.


In the spring of 1893, Hans volunteered to go on a church mission for which he was set apart on Thursday the 6th of April, just twelve years to the day from the time he was set apart to go to Arizona.  Hans went back to his native land and fulfilled an honorable mission in Aarhus, Denmark.  Hans got to meet again with his brothers and sisters and other family members that he had not seen in 30 years and had a joyful reunion.

Late in 1902 Hans visited his children in Arizona where he sold his teams and wagon and went by train to April Conference in Salt Lake City and worked in the temple.  Then he went on to Manti visiting with old acquaintances and doing ordinance work for deceased relatives in the Manti Temple then back to his home in Juarez Stake in Old Mexico.  On Wednesday the 6th of July 1904 Will Palmer brought Hans from Pacheco to Marie Ann’s home in Juarez.  When he walked in he handed Marie Ann a bundle saying; “These are my burial clothes, take care of them.”  He had a very sore throat and hadn’t eaten since Saturday.  He was in great pain and unable to rest, yet refused help.  He died Saturday afternoon on the 8th of July 1904 at the age of 69 years.  His funeral was held in the meeting house and he was buried in the cemetery on the hill east of town.

Excerpts from the Journal of Hans Adolph THOMSEN and written by his great-granddaughter-in-law Vickie Beard Thompson 22 Sep 2001.  Additions and corrections made 14 May 2003.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Uncle George

This is one of my Daddy's big brothers, 87 years young, my Uncle George Beard.

Go Fund Me for George Beard

At eight-seven years old, folk artist George Beard, crafts handmade willow furniture in a small workshop in Western Kentucky.  George, along with his apprentice, Justin Roberts, forage for the material with nothing but machetes. This is the exact method George learned over fifty years ago and the way that Roberts will continue the work. The lost folk art of willow bending has survived another generation, despite the fast paced world that has grown up around it.
At twenty-nine years of age Justin found George through the Murray Art Guild. After learning the basics of this rustic craft, Justin knew he had found his calling. A few months later Roberts and his small family moved in with George. Just a few weeks later George suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. After a long winter, George recovered and the work truly began.

The Kentucky Arts Council provided funding for the project through the Folk Art and Life Fellowship Grant. The unlikely pair has seen many changes and successes over the past two years. The apprentice has become a master, both men received the highest honor that Kentucky offers, and now a new project is in the works.  WE NEED YOU to help us make it happen.

From One Generation to the Next: The Makings of a Master

We want to make a documentary of George Anderson Beard, traveling on the exact course he once navigated as a young fruit picker and chair maker. Justin, Shannon and their eight year old daughter will accompany George as he tells the stories of dirt roads past. George and Justin will make and sell their wares as Shannon writes songs and stories of their journey. This documentary will be archived and available for generations to come. It is imperative that future generations have the ability to access the rich and fading history of the Americans that carved our culture and give us the gifts of lost wisdom. This is George Beard’s last chance to see the America he helped shape; an unsung hero, passing a quiet but priceless song to the future, through the fingers and hands of a master in the making. Help make this song heard and this art seen. Donate today and receive a hand signed, special edition copy of this inspiring story.

An Old Farmer's Advice

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every morning.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Letting the cat out of the bag is whole lots easier than putting it back in.

~Author Unknown~

Genealogist's Christmas Eve

Genealogist's Christmas Eve
('Twas the Night before Christmas)

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and letters which said...
"Too bad that the data for which you last wrote
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of bills, wills, and such
Were proof that my work had become way too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.

Had I not been so busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills;
While others bought gifts to bring good Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright!
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.

When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and with eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and old Santa Claus, too.

And then in a twinkle,
I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each tiny hoof.
As I drew in my head, and bumped into the sash, 

Down the cold chimney fell Santa - KER-RASH!
"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
Tracking soot on the carpet (could've wrung his short neck)!
Spotting my face, ol' Santa could see Christmas spirit was lacking in little ol' me.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here then was Santa, who'd brought us such joy,
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread;
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red)!
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amazement; the cover, it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Pled.
"I know what it's like to have Rooter's Bug,"
He said as he gave me a great Santa hug.

"While the elves make the sleigh full of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
So these special treats I am able to bring
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."

"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family history is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

- Author Unknown -

Monday, December 15, 2014

My San Joaquin Valley Family

This was my family!!!

My Daddy’s people on his Daddy’s side of the family were born and bred Kentucky hillbillies, living in the same area of Western Kentucky since the 1810’s.   But then their feet starting itchin’ and they moved on over to Missouri then back to Kentucky and then over to Arkansas and back again to Kentucky.   But the itch got to them once more and they moved on to Oklahoma.  My Papaw Beard would have stayed there in Oklahoma, but Mama Jessie didn't want nothin' to do with Oklahoma, so after their daughter Dale was born there in Bowlegs in the spring of 1930, they headed back home to good old Kentucky once again.   Aunt Dale’s brothers use to tell her she was born on an oil rig, which didn't set well with her, but she knew they were teasing.   All of Papaw Beard and Mama Jessie’s kids were born in Kentucky except for Dale.

Papaw Beard’s momma, Rose, his sisters, Nina, Cleo, Gladys & Gwen and his brothers, George & Petieman, his nieces Peggy and Billie Ruth, nephew Buster and brother-in-laws Clyde and Lofton, who had also gone to Oklahoma, stayed in Oklahoma and before winter, became part of what was to be the beginning of some of the Dust Bowl Okie's heading out to the San Joaquin Valley in central California in 1930.

By the winter of 1930, great-grandma Rose and most of her children and their families had settled down in a little town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, named Woodlake.  Things weren't much better for them in California then they had been in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri or Kentucky, but they were a lot further away from home then they had ever been too.  They decided it wasn't going to be easy, but they wanted to try and make something in happen in central California.

Great-grandma Rose, her sons George and Petieman, lived in Woodlake and eventually within just a couple of years, George was able to build his mother a home there on Walnut Avenue where she lived until the day she died in June of 1939.  George had a little grocery store there on the street going towards the Presbyterian Church on the right hand side of the road, which he ran for a number of years.  He eventually moved up to Fresno where he died in July of 1979.  Petieman who was handicapped since birth, lived with his mother Rose and brother George and died in Porterville in September of 1969.  The story I remember hearing was that when great-grandma Rose was pregnant with Petieman, she was kicked in the stomach by a mule and that is why he was slow, mentally.  I remember him as a kid setting out in the yard on Walnut Avenue, smoking cigarettes and not saying much at all.  The weird thing is I don’t remember Uncle George at all and I know he would have been around some when I was a kid.

Nina, her husband Clyde and their children, Buster and Peggy first had a place in the town of Woodlake and they even lived over in Visalia for a time as well.  Eventually though they bought a small piece of property outside of town where they had orchards of olives, peaches and of course oranges, as well as a small garden farm.  Aunt Nina was always making quilts seems like and was often found reading her bible and going to church.  I use to love going to visit Aunt Nina as a child, but I don’t really remember Uncle Clyde that well.   I also remember little peppermint candies that she would give us.  Buster moved over by Monterey, then came back to Woodlake for a little while and finally moved to Fresno where he died in 2002.  Peggy also lived in Woodlake and Visalia, but moved over to the coast and died in San Diego in 1991.   I remember Peggy really well, but I don’t remember Buster much at all.

Cleo and her husband Lofton and their daughter Billie Ruth also lived in Woodlake, but Cleo who had always been sickly even as a child, took sick again and died in January of 1935 in Visalia.  Her husband Lofton and their daughter Billie Ruth ended up moving north to Merced County where Lofton remarried to his wife’s cousin, Dulcie Mae Daniels in January of 1936.   Dulcie’s husband Hershel Sparks had passed away in 1932 in Arkansas and left her with 4 young children.  So Lofton and Dulcie combined their families, Dulcie’s four and Lofton’s one and then they had two children together, one who died as a baby and Millie.  Cleo and Lofton’s daughter Billie Ruth married and lived most of her life in Dos Palos and Los Banos.  I just loved Billie Ruth, she was always such a sweetheart and my Daddy thought the world of her.  Millie is also a sweetheart and I just received a Christmas card from her today.

The twins, Gwen and Gladys were both married in Tulare County, Gwen in 1934 and Gladys in 1939 and both left Tulare County within a couple of years of their marriages and moved to other areas in California.   I don’t remember Aunt Gwen at all, but I remember Aunt Gladys real well, she use to come and visit my parents all the time when we moved to Utah from Kentucky.  Gwen and Gladys passed away just 14 days apart from each other, Gwen in April of 1985 in San Andreas, California and Gladys in May 1985 in Orem, Utah.  Gwen’s only child, a son, lives in Texas and Gladys’ had three sons, one lives in Arizona and two live in Utah.

In 1942 after several years of separation and conflict, my grandparents were divorced.  My Daddy was 7 years old and remembered well the things that had transpired for the two or three years previous to the divorce decree.  The following year in July of 1943 my Papaw Beard, brought his 7 children, Helen, George, Dale, Don, Jack, Sis and Tog (my Daddy) to California and moved right in with Aunt Nina and Uncle Clyde in Woodlake.  Aunt Nina’s house was pretty small, but somehow she made it work for a while until Papaw Beard could find a job and get back on his feet some.  He was able to get a job as a guard at Sequoia Field in Visalia during the war, but after the war he had to look for other work.   

After a few months they left Aunt Nina’s house and moved out to McGee’s Camp, just outside of Woodlake and lived there for about a year I think it was.  There wasn’t much room for everyone at the camp and the building they lived in wasn’t much more than some boards and nails with cracks in the walls, and so Papaw Beard worked on convincing his brother George to let them live in the house on Walnut Avenue.  Uncle George finally agreed on the condition that Papaw Beard would now take care of their brother Petieman.  Papaw Beard agreed and so the family moved into that house and lived there for a number of years.  It was the nicest house any of them had ever lived in before and they so enjoyed living in a house that rain and snow would not being blowing through the cracks in the walls and onto their beds.  It was a palace compared to everything else they were use too.

Papaw Beard worked at Hunes Packing House after the war for a short time, but mainly he did painting and paper hanging just like he had in Kentucky until his stroke in January of 1962.  From then on he was paralyzed and lived the remainder of his life in a wheelchair.  I don’t remember him ever walking but I do have this picture of him, me and my Dad and Mom where he is standing.   After he couldn't take care of himself anymore he moved in with Aunt Helen and Uncle J B there in Woodlake.  He would spend the school year with Helen and her family and then spend the summers with us in Kentucky.   Papaw Beard passed away in January of 1974 in Exeter, California.

Papaw Beard, his momma Rose, his sister Cleo, brothers George and Petieman, as well as his daughter Helen and son-in-law J B, are all buried there at the Woodlake District Cemetery by the Presbyterian Church.

Peggy still has descendants that live in Woodlake to this day and so does my Papaw Beard.  I even lived in Woodlake as a little kid and went to kindergarten at Elbow Creek Elementary.  My Daddy was my school bus driver and he even worked at Sequoia National Park as a park ranger for a year or so.  My family or parts of them have lived in the San Joaquin Valley and in the town of Woodlake for going on 85 years now.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lives Cut Short

The following is my own version of a young couple who fell in love, married, had three children and died so very young.  This couple was my second great-grandparents on my Dad’s side of the family.  The young man was Collin Graves DANIEL the son of Drury DANIEL and Catherine Margaret GAINES.  Collin was born about 1855 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky the fourth of eight children born to his parents.  His father Drury had been married previously and had seven children by that marriage, so the house was quiet full.  The family was also quite poor so everyone had plenty to do to make ends meet.  Collin was about two years old the first time his family moved to Izard County, Arkansas from Crittenden County.  I am sure that he was mystified by the move and wondered what in the world was going on.  By the time Collin was five or six the family had moved back to Kentucky.  I can imagine this was a very disruptive experience to this young boy.  Then when Collin was about eight or so his mother died suddenly.

Can you even imagine what must have been going through his mind at that young age?  Collin’s father Drury married a widow woman by the name of Mrs. Susan JOHNSON in 1865 and she had apparently died by 1867.  In 1867 Drury married another widow woman by the name of Mrs. Nancy RUSHING.  This marriage did not last, because by 1870 she is back living with one of her stepson’s by her marriage before Drury.  Maybe she could not handle taking care of a large house full of children.  In 1870, when Collin was 15 years old, he and his father Drury were living with Collin’s half brother James Albert DANIEL in Crittenden County.  They were all working as farm laborers around the county.

I suppose it was while working at different farms in the county, that Collin met his future wife Louwanda Bigham ELDER.  Louwanda was the daughter of Samuel Henry ELDER and Sarah Catherine BIGHAM.  Louwanda was born on Tuesday the 14th of April 1857 also in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Louwanda was the fourth of six children born to her parents.  Her father Samuel had been married previously and had five children by that marriage.  The ELDER family was quite wealthy compared to the DANIEL family.  Louwanda was an infant baptism at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in 1860.  In 1871, she became an official member of that church and attended meetings regularly with her family.  Some of Louwanda’s family members were preachers and singing evangelists, so she came from a very religious family it appears.  Collin probably worked for Samuel at one time or another, but I don’t know for sure.  That is probably how he and Louwanda met.  

Love soon blossomed in the young couple for at the age of eighteen and sixteen respectfully in the year 1873 they were married.  I have yet to find an official record of their marriage so I do not have the month or day.  Their first child, my great-grandmother Rose Etta DANIEL was born on Tuesday the 29th of September 1874 in Marion.  Their second child Emma soon followed in 1877; month and day are unknown to me at this time.  Hopefully one day I will find her complete birth and death dates.   Louwanda, received a letter of dismissal from Bethany Presbyterian Church in 1879, this meant that she was moving from the congregation.  Soon after Collin, Louwanda and their two daughters moved to Hutton Valley in Howell County, Missouri. 

From here on out things seemed to go downhill for this young family.  From a couple of different stories, that have been handed down in the family, this is what I believe probably happened.  Collin and Louwanda with young Rose and Emma were with a wagon train of families all from Crittenden County on their way to Missouri and Arkansas.  Louwanda was about 7 ½ months pregnant with their third child.  It was wintertime, very cold, with lots of freezing rain and snow. Louwanda probably caught a cold that just would not leave.  This probably left her very weak and sickly, which didn’t help since she was pretty far along in her pregnancy.  They arrived in Hutton Valley after a few weeks on the trail, but she did not get any better.  Then on Wednesday the 4th of February 1880 with a freezing rain falling down on this family and in the wagon, Louwanda gave birth to a little a handsome little boy.  They named the baby Samuel Drury DANIEL after both his grandfathers. 

The baby seemed to be doing fine but Louwanda was slowly dying.  The birth had been difficult, coupled with the flu and after the long journey from Kentucky to Missouri, she could not seem to regain her strength.  The next day less then twenty-four hours after the birth, on Thursday the 5th of February 1880, Louwanda breathed her last.  She was only twenty-three years old.   I believe she probably had her new baby boy in her arms and her two young daughters by her side.  Collin was there holding her hand, willing his strength into her small frail body.  But it was not to be, the woman he loved and the mother of his children died.  The grieving family and friends dug a shallow grave in the frozen earth along the trail they had come.  A young black woman that had come with the wagon train took baby Samuel in her wagon and nursed him along with her own child.  Young Samuel owed his life to this loving woman.

Collin and the children had a hard time with the loss of their wonderful wife and mother.  By June of 1880, they had left Missouri and had gone to Izard County, Arkansas and were living with Collin’s brother Thomas Jefferson DANIEL and his family.  Tom’s wife was Louwanda’s sister Eliza Eunice.  They took in the little family and loved them the best they could.  Collin could not seem to get over the death of his young wife.  Some believe that he may have gone just a little crazy.  I believe he was probably suffering from severe depression, which wasn't something people really knew about, back during those times.  Collin would work when he could and he would take the children out in a little two-wheeled cart pulled by an old ox, so he could have them with him.  After a little over two years Collin was still mourning the death of Louwanda.  Sometime in August or September of 1882 he left Izard County and went back up to Hutton Valley, taking the children with him in the little two-wheeled cart. 

Collin’s brother Newton and his wife Emmira were living in Howell Valley at the time, so they lived with them for a short time.  Collin would take the children almost everyday and set by the grave of his sweet Louwanda.  Rose and Emma would pick wild flowers and lay them on the grave of the mother they could barely remember.  Little Samuel, only two years old would play in the dirt by the grave.  On the last day that they probably ever visited the grave a storm came up while Collin was lying beside the grave.  Little Rose took her sister and her brother and put them in the little two-wheeled cart to keep them out of the rain.  She tried to get her daddy to take them back to her Uncle Newton’s house, but Collin would not leave the grave that day. 

Lightening hit a tree near the cart and spooked the old ox and he started to run.  Rose kept screaming for her Daddy but he could or would not hear her.  Suddenly the cart flipped over and Rose, Emma and Samuel were caught underneath the cart and it is a wonder they were not all killed.  Then from out of the woods a wild bull came charging across the clearing towards the cart.  Rose screamed for her Daddy again, but this time he truly did not hear her.  Collin had died, of a broken heart, while lying on the grave of his darling Louwanda.  Collin was only twenty-seven years old. 

The children were saved by the old ox that suddenly walked in front of the wild bull, right before it could hit the old two-wheeled cart.  All through the night the children cried for the Daddy and Mommy who could no longer comfort their tears.  The next day their Uncle Newton came looking for them, wondering why they had not come home the night before.  He found the children lying beside their father on the grave of their mother.  Newton picked up the baby and told the girls to following him, but Rose grabbed the baby from him, screaming that they couldn't leave Mommy and Daddy in this cold scary place.  A friend of the family happened by about this time and between them they finally got Rose, Emma and Samuel in the wagon and back to the house.  For many days after, Rose would sit for hours looking out the door calling for her Daddy. Rose was eight, Emma was five and Samuel was only two and now they were all alone. 

In November of 1882, either their Uncle Tom or Uncle Bud DANIEL, came and got them and took them back to Kentucky.  I am not sure which one of these men came to get them or if they both did, there are conflicting stories.  They arrived back in Marion in December of 1882.  Rose tried to convince them to let the children stay with her and she would take care of them but it was not to be.  Their uncle, Tom DANIEL kept Samuel with his family, Emma went to her uncle, James Tilford ELDER’s home and Rose went to live with her aunt, Sarah ELDER PATMORE. 

Emma was taken good care of by her Uncle James, but just a few short years later she caught the typhoid fever and at the age of eighteen she died and was buried at the Old Marion Cemetery, beside many of her mother’s family.  Samuel apparently went and lived with a few different uncles over the years working as a farmhand.  By the time he was sixteen or seventeen he had left Kentucky and headed out to be on his own and sometime around the turn of the century, Samuel landed in Coal Hill, Johnson County, Arkansas. He soon met a young widow woman by the name of Darcus Madina GAGE BURNS, who had two small children.  In 1903, they were married, raised seven children of their own, plus her two and lived the rest of their days in Johnson County, Arkansas.

Rose did not have as good a childhood as her sister and brother, at least from her point of view. From everything I have ever heard about her, I believe she may have also suffered from depression just like her father probably had.  She told that her Aunt Sarah or Jenny as she was called was quite mean to her.  She would have Rose do all the chores, while her own daughters would go out and play.  Rose had to do the laundry, keep the house clean, take care of the babies, cook the meals, plus help in the fields.  In 1891, when she was seventeen years old she met George Anderson BEARD and soon after they were married.  George had previously been married to Rose’s cousin Nellie ELDER.  Nellie had died in childbirth along with their child.  Rose and George had eight children, the last two being twin girls.  When the twins were eleven years old in 1924, her husband George died, just one more misfortune in a string of misfortunes to befall Rose Etta DANIEL BEARD.  Now at the age of fifty, Rose was once again all alone, in this old world.

Written by Rose Etta Daniel Beard’s, great-granddaughter Vickie Dale Beard Thompson, on 11 August 2001.

A Brief History of Penelope Kent Stout 1622-1732

The following was put together by me, Vickie Beard Thompson a descendant of Penelope through my Mom's side of the family and who is my 11th great-grandmother, through Penelope Kent and Richard Stout through their son James B. Stout who married Elizabeth Truax; through their daughter Elizabeth Stout who married John Warford; through their son Joseph Warford for whom the town of Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania is named and who was married to Elizabeth Banner.  Through their son Henry Warford who married Elizabeth Van Hook, then through their daughter Deborah Warford who married Peter Fischer/Fisher.  Then double related through two of the children of Deborah & Peter, through their son Henry Fisher who married Eleanor Bridgewater and also through their daughter Hannah Fisher who married James Graham who were my double 5th great-grandparents, because Henry & Eleanor’s son John Fisher married Eliza Ann Graham daughter of Hannah & James.  Then next I come through John & Eliza Ann’s daughter Mary Ellen Fisher who married John Washington Fryar, then their son William Lonzo Fryar who married Ida Ann Hart, then Mary Belle Fryar who married Robert Ermon Fraley, then Ermon Edward Fraley who married Daisy Elnora Loftis, then Erma Jean Fraley who married Duell Franklin Beard and then ME.

Penelope Kent Stout

The following story has been told along the New Jersey coast for over 350 years with very little variation in the telling of said story, as such it can probably be said that the events that transpired in the following story are probably fairly accurate.

In the early days of New Jersey, the Dutch, settlers suffered very much from Indian hostilities. It was at the time that New Amsterdam, afterwards New York, was in the possession of the Dutch that a ship came from Holland, bringing passengers who intended to settle in the new country. The ship was unfortunately wrecked in the area around that of Sandy Hook; a majority of the passengers managed to save themselves, and reached the shore.

Among these was a young couple, the young mans name has been lost but some believe his name may have been Jan Van Princin.  His wife was named Penelope Kent and was the daughter of the Rev. Kent of Amsterdam.  Her husband had been very sick during the voyage; and getting ashore through the surf from the wreck could not have been of any benefit to him, for, after he had reached dry land, he felt even worse than he had upon shipboard, and needed all the attention his wife could give him.

Although most of the passengers and the crew of this vessel had reached the shore, they did not by any means consider themselves in safety; for they were very much afraid of the Indians, and desired above everything to make what haste they could toward New Amsterdam. They therefore started away as soon as possible. But Penelope's husband was too sick to go any farther at that time, and his wife was too good a woman to leave her husband in that lonely spot; and so these two were left behind, while the rest of the company started for New Amsterdam, promising, however, that they would send help to the unfortunate couple.

The fears of these immigrants in regard to the Indians were not without foundation; for the main party had not long departed, when a band of red men, probably having heard in some way of the wreck of the ship, appeared upon the scene, and discovered poor Penelope and her sick husband. It is unfortunately the disposition of most savages to show little pity for weakness and suffering, and the fact that the poor young man could not do them any possible harm had no effect upon them, and they set upon him and killed him; very much as a boy would kill a little harmless snake, for no reason whatever, except that he was able to do it.

Then they determined to kill Penelope also, and, attacking her with their tomahawks, they so cut and wounded her that she fell down bleeding and insensible. Having built a fire, these brave warriors cooked themselves a comfortable meal, and then departed. But Penelope was not killed, and, coming to her senses, her instincts told her that the first thing to do was to hide herself from these bloodthirsty red men: so, slowly and painfully, she crawled away to the edge of a wood, and found there a great hollow tree, into which she crept.

This made but narrow and doleful quarters for a wounded woman, but it was preferable at that time to the blue sky and fresh air. She did not leave the tree until nightfall, and then she made her way to the place where the fire was still glimmering; and by great care, and with what must have been painful labor; she kept this fire from going out, and so managed to get a little warmth.

In this way, living in the tree the greater part of the time, and depending for food chiefly upon the fungous excrescences and gum which grew on the outside of it, – for she was not able to go in search of berries and other food, – poor Penelope lived for a few days, with her dead husband on the beach, and her almost dead self in that cavern-like tree. The hours must have passed mournfully indeed to this young woman who had set out for the New World with such bright hopes.

That she survived her terrible hardships was due entirely to the existence of the danger she most feared; that is, the reappearance of the Indians. On the second morning, nearly famished and very weak, Penelope was making her way slowly over the ground, endeavoring to find something she could eat, or a little dew in the hollow of a leaf, that she might drink, when suddenly there came out of the woods two tall Indians, who, naturally enough, were much surprised to find a wounded white woman there alone upon the seashore.

Penelope gave herself up as lost. There was nothing now for her to do but to submit to her fate. It was a pity, she thought, that she had not been slain with her husband.  But the Indians did not immediately rush at her with their tomahawks: they stood and talked together, evidently about her, with their fierce eyes continually fixed upon her.

Then their conversation became more animated, and it was soon plain that they were disputing. Of course, she did not then know the cause of their difference of opinion; but she found out afterwards that one of them was in favor of killing her upon the spot, and the other, an older man than his companion, was more mercifully inclined, and wished to carry her off as a prisoner to their camp.

At last the older man got the better of the other one; and he, being determined that the poor wounded woman should be taken care of, took her up and put her on his shoulder, and marched away with her. That an Indian should be able to perform a feat like this is not at all surprising; for when one of them shoots a deer in the forest, though many of those animals are heavier than Penelope was, he will put it on his back and carry it through the forests, perhaps for miles, until he reaches his camp. And so Penelope, as if she had been a deer wounded by some other hunters, which these men had found, was carried to the Indian camp.

There she was taken care of. Food and drink were given her. Her wounds were dressed and treated after the Indian fashion.  In due course of time she recovered her health and strength, and there – living in a wigwam, among the women and children of the village, pounding corn, cooking food, carrying burdens as did the Indian women – she remained for some time, not daring even to try to escape; for in that wild country there was no place of safety to which it was possible for her to flee.

Although there was a good deal of bad feeling between the Indians and the whites at that time, they still traded and communicated with each other; and when, in the course of time, it became known in New Amsterdam that there was a white woman held as a prisoner in this Indian camp, there was every reason to suppose that this woman was the young wife who had been left on the seacoast by the survivors of the wreck.  Consequently some of the men who had been her fellow-passengers came over to the Indian camp, which was not far from where Middletown now stands. Here, as they had expected, they found Penelope, and demanded that the Indians should give her up.

After some discussion, it was agreed that the matter should be left with Penelope herself; and the old Indian who had saved her life went to her, – for of course, being an inferior, she was not present at the conference, – and put the question before her. Here she was, with a comfortable wigwam, plenty to eat and drink, good Indian clothes to wear, as well treated as any Indian woman, and, so far as he could see, with everything to make her comfortable and happy; and here she might stay if she chose. On the other hand, if she wished to go to New Amsterdam, she would find there no one with whom she was acquainted, except the people who had rowed away and left her on that desolate coast, and who might have come in search of her a long time before if they really had cared anything about her. If she wanted to live here among friends who had been kind to her, and be taken care of, she could do so; if she wanted to go away and live among people who had deserted her, and who appeared to have forgotten her, she could do that also.

Very much to the surprise of this good Indian, Penelope declared that she should prefer to go and live among people of her own race and country; and so, much to the regret of her Indian friends, she departed for New Amsterdam with the men who had come for her.

Just a slight variation of the story is told in this matter and it goes has follows: Penelope and her first husband Mr. Van Princin, had left Holland and were on their way to America.  Their ship wrecked off the coast of New Jersey, by a place called Sandy Hook.  This was in about 1640.  The crew and most of the passengers made it to shore, but Penelope's husband was either sick or injured, and so they were left behind, as she would not leave him.  They the crew promised to send help back.  They had not been alone long when some Indians killed them both (or so they thought) by skinning them alive, however Penelope came to after the Indians had left.  Her skull was fractured and her left shoulder was so hacked that she could never use that arm like the other.  She also was cut across the abdomen so that her bowels were hanging out and she had pushed them back in with her hands.  She continued this way for about 7 days, taking shelter in a hollow tree and eating the excrescence of it.  About the seventh day she saw two Indians and hoped that they would put her out of her misery.  One went to do exactly that but the other Indian, an older man stopped him.  This Indian put his coat around her and took her to his wigwam and doctored her cuts and bruises.  As soon as she was well enough to travel he took her to New York and made a present of her to her countrymen, viz.: an Indian present, expecting ten times her value in return.  No one ever heard about the men that had left them in the forest and it was assumed that the Indians that found her probably had killed them before finding Penelope and the others. Penelope, however, did survive the shipwreck and the torture and in about 1644 she married Richard Stout who was living there at the fort that the old Indian had taken her too.  They say she never grew much hair back just a few tufts here and there and she always wore a stocking cap to cover her head and long sleeves, always, so that no one could see her arms. Her body was covered in scars similar to 3rd degree burns.  Her husband Richard Stout lived to be 90 years of age, so between the two of them they must have come from some very sturdy stock. 

A year or two after Penelope had gone back to New Amsterdam, being then about twenty-two; she married an Englishman named Richard Stout, who afterwards became an important person.  He, with other settlers, went over to New Jersey and founded a little village, which was called Middletown, not far from the Indian camp where Penelope had once been a prisoner. The Indians still remained in this camp, but now they appeared to be quite friendly to the whites; and the new settlers did not consider that there was anything dangerous in having these red neighbors.  The good Indian who had been Penelope's protector, now quite an old man, was very friendly and sociable, and often used to visit Mrs. Stout.  This friendship for the woman whom he had saved from death seemed to have been strong and sincere.

One day this old Indian came to the house of Mrs. Stout, and, seating himself in the room where she was, remained for a long time pensive and silent.  This rather unusual conduct made Penelope fear that something had happened to him; and she questioned him, asking him why he was so silent, and why he sighed so often.  Then the old man spoke out and told her that he had come on a very important errand, in which he had risked his own life at the hands of his tribe; but, having saved her life once, he had determined to do it again, no matter what might happen to him.

Then he told her that the good will of the Indians toward their white neighbors had come to an end, and that it had been determined in council that an attack should be made that night upon this little village, when every person in it – men, women, and children – should be put to death, the houses burned, and the cattle driven away.  His brethren no longer wanted white people living near them.

Of course, this news was a great shock to Penelope. She had now two little children, and she could not get far away with them and hide, as she herself had once hidden from Indian foes. But the old man told her that she need not be afraid: he could not save all the people in the village, but he was her friend, and he had arranged to save her and her family. At a certain place, which he described so she could not fail to find it, he had concealed a canoe; and in that she and her husband, with the children, could go over to New Amsterdam, and there would be plenty of time for them to get away before the Indians would attack the place, having said this, and having urged her to lose no time in getting away, the old Indian left.

As soon as he had gone, Penelope sent for her husband, who was working in the fields, and told him what she had heard, urging him to make preparations instantly to escape with her.  But Richard Stout was not easily frightened by news such as this. He did not believe the whole story, and told his wife that the Indians over there in their camp were as well disposed and friendly as if they had been a company of white settlers, and that, as these red men and the whites had lived together so long, trading with each other, and visiting each other with perfect freedom, there was no reason whatever to suppose that the Indians would suddenly determine to rise up and massacre a whole settlement of peaceable neighbors, who had never done them any harm, and who were a great benefit to them in the way of trading.  It would be all nonsense, he said, to leave their homes, and run away from Indians as extremely friendly and good-natured as those in the neighboring camp.

But Penelope had entirely different ideas upon the subject.  She thoroughly believed in the old Indian, and was sure that he would not have come and told her that story unless it had been true. If her husband chose to stay and risk his life, she could not help it; but she would not subject herself and her children to the terrible danger which threatened them.  She had begged her husband to go with her; but as he had refused, and had returned to his work, she and her children would escape alone.

Consequently she set out with the little ones, and with all haste possible she reached the place where the canoe was moored among some tall reeds, and, getting in with the children, she paddled away to New Amsterdam, hoping she might reach there in time to send assistance to Middletown before the Indians should attack it.

When Richard Stout found that his wife had really gone off, and had taken the children with her, he began to consider the matter seriously, and concluded that perhaps there might be something in the news which the old Indian had brought. He consequently called together a number of the men of the village, and they held a consultation, in which it was determined that it would be a wise thing to prepare themselves against the threatened attack; and, arming themselves with all the guns and pistols they could get, they met together in one of the houses, which was well adapted for that purpose, and prepared to watch all night.

They did not watch in vain, for about midnight they heard from the woods that dreadful war whoop which the white settlers now well understood. They knew it meant the same thing as the roar of the lion, which, after silently creeping towards his intended victim, suddenly makes the rocks echo with the sound of his terrible voice, and then gives his fatal spring.

But although these men might have been stricken with terror, had they heard such a war cry at a time when they were not expecting it, and from Indians to whom they were strangers, they were not so terrified at the coming of these red men with whom, perhaps only the day before, they had been trading buttons for venison and beans. They could not believe that these apparently mild and easy-going fellows could really be the terrible savages they tried to make themselves appear.

So Richard Stout and his companions went boldly out, guns in hand, to meet the oncoming savages, and, calling a parley, they declared that they had no intention of resting quietly, and allowing themselves and families to be slaughtered and their houses burned.  If the Indians, who had so long been their good neighbors, were now determined to become bloody enemies, they would find that they would have to do a good deal of hard fighting before they could destroy the village of Middletown; and, if they persisted in carrying on the bloody job they had undertaken, a good many of them would be killed before that job was finished.

Now, it had been very seldom that Indians who had started out to massacre whites had met with people who acted like this; and these red men in war paint thought it wise to consider what had been said to them.  A few of them may have had guns, but the majority was armed only with bows and tomahawks; and these white men had guns and pistols, with plenty of powder and ball. It would clearly be unsafe to fight them.

So, after discussing the matter among themselves and afterwards talking it over with the whites, the Indians made up their minds, that, instead of endeavoring to destroy the inhabitants of Middletown, they would shake hands with them and make a treaty of peace. They then retired; and on the following day a general conference was held, in which the whites agreed to buy the lands on which they had built their town, and an alliance was made for mutual protection and assistance.  This compact was faithfully observed as long as there were any Indians in the neighborhood, and Middletown grew and flourished.

Among the citizens of the place there were none who grew and flourished in a greater degree than the Stout family.  Although Penelope bore upon her body the scars of her wounds until the day of her death, it is stated, upon good authority, that she lived to be one hundred and ten years old; so that it is plain that her constitution was not injured by the sufferings and hardships of the beginning of her life in New Jersey.   Penelope was the mother of ten children all of whom lived to be adults, which, for that time was very unusual, as the infant mortality rate was very high at the time.  It is said that when she died she had 502 descendants.

Not only did the Stouts flourish in Middletown, but some of them went a little southward, and helped to found the town of Hopewell; and here they increased to such a degree that one of the early historians relates that the Baptist Church there was founded by the Stouts, and that for forty-one years the religious meetings were held in the houses of different members of the Stout family, while, at the time he wrote, half of the congregation of the church were still Stouts, and that, all in all, there had been at least two hundred members of that name. So the Baptist Church in Hopewell, as well as all the churches in Middletown, owed a great deal to the good Indian who carried poor Penelope to his village, and cured her of her wounds.

Different parts of this story can be found given in and by the following:
The story of Penelope as told by a Mr. Smith in 1765
The story of Penelope as told in “Benedict’s History of the Baptists” in 1848
The story of Penelope as told by Frank R. Stockton in 1896

"History of New Jersey" by S. Smith has mention of Penelope and her survival
"History of New Jersey" by J. C. Raum has mention of Penelope and her survival
"Historical Collections" by Barber and Howe has mention of Penelope and her survival
"Story of an Old Farm" by A. C. Mellick has mention of Penelope and her survival

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Remembering Loved Ones

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I have been reflecting on family quite a bit, what with it being the holiday season and all.  Most people will probably tell you I think about family all the time, especially those that have passed on many years before.  I had been thinking about it even more than normal for the pass few weeks, because I lost a cousin the week of Thanksgiving on November 24th from my Mom’s side of the family and this week on December 7th from my Dad’s side of the family.  My husband had also lost two family members the week of Thanksgiving, so needless to say death has been on my mind quite a bit recently.

Steve lost his battle with lung cancer and was 11 years older than me and was really my Mom’s first cousin, but he would always bring his Mom, my great-aunt Chris over from Evansville to my Mamaw Fraley’s house across the river in Kentucky, whenever I came to town visiting.  Aunt Chris always made the best chess pies and she knew how much I loved them so she would make two, one for all of us to eat and one just for me.   Steve was always so good to bring her over to see her sister, Daisy, my Mamaw anytime she wanted and I always appreciated him taking the time to bring her over when I came to town too.  I know my Aunt Chris misses him so much, she still lives in Evansville and celebrated her 93 birthday last month.  When I had called to wish her a happy birthday, she had told me that Steve wasn't doing well and she was afraid she was going to lose him, and 4 days later she did.  I will sure miss seeing him to the next time I go home.

My cousin, Lisa was just 8 months older than me and her Dad and my Dad were brothers.  We played together quite a bit as kids, but in our teenage years was the last time we had seen each other, until almost 3 years ago when I was back home visiting family.  I had gone to Kentucky in April of 2012 for two weeks.  While there I visited with my Mom’s family in Henderson and then went down to Franklin and Murray to visit with some of my Dad’s family too.  I went to see Aunt Lucy because I knew she had just gotten out of the hospital, and I wanted to check on her and make sure she was doing well.  I found out that Lisa was now living with her and so it was going to be good seeing my Aunt Lucy and Lisa once again.  I had no idea at the time that it was going to be the last time I would see Lisa.  Unfortunately I don’t know much about Lisa’s life passed high school.  I know she was married a couple of times and I know she has a couple of boys, but other than that nothing else.
There ought to be a simpler way for everyone to keep better in touch with each other.  It is so sad, that once we get out of school we don’t.  I can see it happening, losing touch with kids you went to school with, but with family there ought to be a better way to keep in touch.  I know we are all scattered all across the United States, but that shouldn't really stop us from keeping in touch with each other.  Facebook has really helped and I have been able to communicate with cousins that way that I hadn't seen in years, now to try and find all of them that would be so cool.  I have 49 first cousins just on my Dad’s side of the family, but only 10 first cousins on my Mom’s side.

Just this past Sunday, December 7th I was able to visit with two of my first cousins from my Dad’s side of the family.  Two of my Dad’s brother Bill’s kids, Wayne and Joanne, it had been 50 years since we had seen each other last.  I had seen Uncle Bill and Aunt Margie a few times over the years, but not any of their kids since the summer of 1963 at Lake Berryessa in Napa County, California.  They are a little older than me and lived in California, while we lived in Kentucky, but we just lost touch and hopefully that will not ever happen again.  We had such a fantastic visit and I don’t think there was ever a lull in the conversation.  Great food, great company, lots of old pictures and stories flowed non-stop.  Of course we did have 50 years to try and catch up on.

The following is a poem a distant cousin sent me after the death of my Papaw, Ermon Fraley in 1994.  I have read it every year since and hopefully it will bring comfort to others who have lost family members.

“Christmas in Heaven”

~In loving memory of all those who are spending their first Christmas in Heaven~

I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven;
A glorious, wonderful day!
I stood with the saints of the ages,
Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.

We sang the glad songs of redemption.
How Jesus to Bethlehem came.
And how they called his name Jesus,
That all might be saved through his name.

Oh, Darling, I wish you had been here;
No Christmas on earth could compare.
With all the rapture and glory
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day.
With all of my loved ones around me,
The children so happy at play.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it;
And, Oh, what a joy it will be,
When you and my loved ones are with me.
To share in the glories I see.

So dear ones on earth, here’s my greetings;
Look up ‘till the Day Star appears.
And, Oh, what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!!

By: A. S. Reitz

Merry Christmas everyone!!!