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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and 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 court house 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.View my complete profile

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.

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