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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wilson Henry Woosley

My 2nd great-grandfather on my Dad’s, Mom’s side of the family was Wilson Henry Woosley who was the son of Samuel S. Woosley and Nancy Elizabeth Francis who were married on January 13, 1826 in Halifax County, Virginia.  Wilson and his Dad and Mom were also born in Halifax County, Virginia.  Wilson was born in 1830 according to his tombstone and census records put him born in about 1830 as well. However, I have never been able to find a month and day for his birth. 

Wilson was the third child born to his parents and had older siblings named, James W. Woosley 1826-1904 and Elvira A. Woosley 1828-1905 and a younger sister named Lavenia Jane Woosley 1832-1914.  Wilson’s mother Nancy died before September 1835 in Halifax County, Virginia.  I have often wondered if she possibly died in childbirth and that child died as well.  There is no record of Lavenia stating that her mother died in childbirth with her, so it makes me think she could have had another child and her and that child died.

Sometime around 1833, Samuel came to Christian County, Kentucky and bought land he obtained from the Indians, where the George Watts place use to be.  He then went back to Virginia married his sister-in-law, his wife Nancy’s sister, Lydia Francis on September 9, 1835 in Person County, North Carolina.  Samuel brought his 4 children by his first wife Nancy and his new wife Lydia to their new home in Kentucky.  Samuel and Lydia had eight children together who were all born in Christian County, Kentucky.  Samuel died in 1875 and Lydia in 1869 both in the Sinking Fork community of Christian County, Kentucky and are buried at the Cephas Watts Home Cemetery near Sinking Fork.

Wilson’s half-siblings were: William M. Woosley 1838-1914, Samuel M. Woosley 1841-1875, George Washington Woosley 1842-1925, Mahlon J. Woosley 1843-1864, Permelia Katherine Woosley 1845-1902, Jesse Adams Woosley 1847-bef 1937, Sarah Ann Woosley ca. 1849, and Amanda J. Woosley ca. 1851.

Wilson was married to Eliza Jane Renshaw in Christian County, Kentucky on January 5, 1854 and they became the parents of 13 children, and my great-grandmother was their oldest daughter, Nancy Lougena Woosley 1857-1931.  Their other children were: Henry E. Woosley 1855-1930, James Wilson Woosley 1859-1948, Elizabeth Frances Woosley 1861 & before 1870, Amanda E. Woosley 1863-1886, George Washington Woosley 1865-1943, Adelia M. Woosley 1867-1891, Robert Lorenzo Woosley 1869-1936, Samuel Lee Woosley 1870-1886, Jernsha Ella Woosley 1873-1886, Curtis Aaron Woosley 1875-1947, Walter Warfield Woosley 1877-1957 and Iona Mildred Woosley 1880-1940.

1886 was a rough year to say the least for Wilson’s widow Eliza, because that winter the influenza had been really bad and people were dying left and right and Eliza and her family was struck hard.  Three of her 13 children died in February, Samuel Lee died first and then two of his sisters Amanda and Jernsha.  I have a copy of an old letter my Dad found in his Mom’s things written in 1886 in which Wilson’s son Henry is writing to his sister Nancy Lougena and letting her know about her brother Samuel Lee’s passing and how sick everyone else was.  The following is a transcription of that letter, left the way Henry wrote it.

Bainbridge, Ky. Feb 9/86  Mrs. LuGenia Doss, Claysville, Ky
Dear Sister,
It pains me very much indeed to write you the sad news that duty compeles me to do.  Our brother Lee is no more, last Monday morning Feb 1st as the sunrise sent forth its glittering rays he breathed his last breathe with out a struggle _________  six weeks to a day.  He suffered very much, (But endured his suffering like a hero) & take his medisen to the last hour.  He had a very severe attack of pneumonia which we succeeded in brakeing up.  But he got up to soon & taken cold which caused this relapse & he was then take with & violent sore throat & his lungs being previously affected it seamed to be im possible to give him any relief.  Though we did all we could. Collins worked hard & with the assistance of his Father did all he could but all in vain so far as Lee’s case was concerned.  Curtis also relapsed but is up again and improveing slowly.  Amandy has had a very severe spell of heave & sore throat her case has been quite doubtful.  Though she is some better & in condition to get up again if she does well.  The rest of the family are well.  I am almost broken down from fatigue & the want of sleep for the last twenty-four nights I have been up ever night & since the twenty first of Dec I have not had but 6 good nights sleep how I have kept up as well as I have I cannot tell.  Mas health is tolerable good.  Though her eyes are some worse than they have been we have been having tearable times but I hope the worst of it is over.  I would like to write more but I have not time now.  Please answer soon & let us know how you all are getting a long.  The ____________________ is tolerable good except at Mas, Tinnie Owens is not likely to live long if all reports are true she has bowel consumption I suppose if she has she will not be likely to live long.  Freaser has gone two parts un.  Tinnie is at her Pas.  I must close.  Hopeing to hear from you soon.
Yours Most Truly
Henry E. Woosley

I stated in the above that Eliza was widowed in 1886 and that is true, because on February 10, 1883 Wilson had died.  February was not a kind month for the Woosley family.   I heard the story of Wilson’s death many times as a child and if any of you reading this heard something different please let me know.  The cause of Wilson’s death would make a good country song.  J  Now on with the story.

Apparently Wilson drank a little, how much I do not know, but it was definitely too much this time.  The story goes that he was at the local saloon, bar or whatever they would have been called back in 1883, drinking with some friends in town.  It was a really stormy night and when Wilson got ready to leave his friends tried to get him to stay overnight, but he said, “No come on down to the river and watch me drown”.   Wilson jumped on his horse and headed home and tried to cross with his horse across the swollen Muddy Fork Creek in high water and was drowned, the night of February 10, 1883.  I have often wonder if it was really an accident or if it could have been intentional, either way he died that night.   What I have often thought was funny was the newspaper article my Dad found, that said that the horse had come home with the sad news.  Sad it was and I feel for his wife and all of his children to loose their husband and father in such away.

Wilson and his wife Eliza who died January 1, 1897 are both buried at the Debow Cemetery in Christian County, Kentucky.  I wish I had a picture of Wilson but I don’t, thankfully however I do have one of Eliza.  If someone out there has one of Wilson I sure would like a copy.  So here follows Eliza’s picture and then some of their children.  The following is a picture of 6 of their 13 children that was taken in the 1930’s sometime before Iona passed away in 1940.

This next picture is of my great-grandmother, Nancy Lougena Woosley on her wedding day on December 8, 1878 to George Samuel Doss and she was Wilson’s oldest daughter.  The other 4 girls, Elizabeth, Amanda, Adelia and Jernsha died young as well as son Samuel and I don’t have any pictures of them either, 

This next picture is of Wilson’s oldest son Henry E. Woosley.

I would like to think that that Wilson looked like his sons, Henry, James, George, Robert, Curtis and Walter and that Eliza looked like her daughters, Nancy and Iona.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Uncle Sam

My third week ancestor is also from my Mom’s side of the family and is my 2nd great-granduncle, Samuel H. Huff, a half-brother to my 2nd great-grandfather, John Bartley Loftis, they shared the same Momma, Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Jones.

Samuel H. Huff was born in June 1869 in Jackson County, Tennessee the son of Nathan H. Huff, Sr. and Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Jones.  Now in 1870, Uncle Sam is living with his parents in Jackson County, Tennessee; but by 1880 his Momma, Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Jones, has moved to Kentucky with his little sister Elvira Elizabeth Huff and some of his Loftis half-siblings and he is living with his Dad and step-mom in Jackson County, Tennessee.  Uncle Sam apparently did not have a very good childhood and most people said he was meaner than a snake.  My Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, said he was always real nice to her and the other kids and her Daddy, Jesse Guy ‘Jack’ Loftis, thought a lot of him.  Mamaw one of her best memories of Uncle Sam, was how he use to cook whole sweet potatoes and bake them in the cook stove.  Mamaw said they were the best tasting things she ever ate.

According to my Papaw, Ermon Fraley, he said he was real mean and pretty much stayed by himself and he always carried a lot of money around, because he said he didn't believe in banks.  I guess it is hard to live down a reputation and considering most everyone including the Huff family all thought of Nathan Huff as the meanest man in Tennessee, maybe he thought he had to live up to his Daddy reputation too.

I know Uncle Sam was married at least three times, first to Amanda M. Patton, September 18, 1889 in Jackson County, Tennessee.  They had one child together, a daughter who was born June 26, 1890 in Jackson County who was mentioned with this birth date, but no name in the divorce decree between Sam and Amanda.   In the divorce decree, Uncle Sam states that he and Amanda were married and lived together till sometime about the last of June 1890 when the she left without cause and abandoned him.  He went on to say that he is a poor man, but he provided for her and gave her no cause for such abandonment.  The courts granted the divorce on November 11, 1892 and Amanda was given custody of their child.  I have not been able to find this child after the divorce decree so I don’t know if she died young or what happen to her.  Amanda remarried sometime after the divorce and before 1900 to Samuel Harvey Martin and she died of the influenza in 1918 in Tennessee.

Second, Uncle Sam married Ollie Geneva Baker on January 17, 1894 in Levias, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Levias is where his mother, Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Jones, was living at the time.  They were only together for less than two years, before he was back in Tennessee and getting married again.  Ollie Geneva Baker remarried on July 9, 1899 in Providence, Webster County, Kentucky to Rutherford G. Vanhooser and they had four children before she passed away in 1914 of the measles in Kentucky.

Third, Uncle Sam married Nancy Elvira Hopkins, June 5, 1896 in Jackson County, Tennessee and they were divorced on December 9, 1896 in Jackson County, Tennessee.  They were only together for a few months and had no children together that I am aware of.  I have not been able to find Nancy after the divorce so I am not sure what happened to her.

My Papaw, Ermon Fraley, said another story he had heard about Uncle Sam, was that he was married down in Tennessee and apparently his wife nagged him a lot.  One day he told her to shut up are he would kill her.  Apparently she did not shut up because as the story goes he set her up on top of a pot belly stove until she caught on fire.  He then let go of her, took his things and left the state.  Apparently she lived to tell about it but he never went back to Tennessee.   I wonder which Tennessee wife it was, Amanda or Nancy?  I tend to think it may have been Nancy since he came to Kentucky got married and then went back to Tennessee and got married again.  So far I can’t find Uncle Sam on the 1900 or 1910 census records in Tennessee or Kentucky, so either he was hiding from the law if he did set a wife on the stove or he was in jail somewhere.

I have found Uncle Sam though, from 1901 to 1904 in the following records: U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 = Sam H. Huff, enlisted 20 Aug 1901 by Lieut. Garret for a term of 3 years in Marion, Kentucky = born in Jackson County, Tennessee = age 32 years 2 months, farmer, eyes brown, hair dark brown, complexion fair, height 5' 9", assigned to the 113th Coast Artillery, discharged August 1904 at Fort Hancock, New Jersey by expiration of service, private without honor.

Uncle Sam was living in Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky in 1920 and was in Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky in 1930 and 1940 working on farms in the area and listed as single except on the 1940 census when it says he was widowed.  All of his wives had died before then so technically I guess you could say he was widowed, even though he had been divorced from all three of them, unless of course he was married another time and I just haven’t found that record yet.

My Papaw said that Uncle Sam was robbed and killed sometime between 1945/1946, by Seven Springs Church in Livingston County, Kentucky.  Papaw said he could be real mean and pretty much stayed by himself.   According to my Mamaw’s brother my great-uncle, J B Loftis, he said that Betty Jean Yates set Uncle Sam up for the murder but it was never proved and she was never charged with anything.  Uncle Sam actually died around January 1, 1950 in Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky.  According to Uncle Sam’s death certificate he had been dead for about 6 days when he was found but there were no marks of violence on his body.  He was buried on January 9, 1950 after an inquest was made as to the cause of his death.  Uncle Sam was buried at Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  My Mamaw’s first cousin, Carlton Loftis of Michigan, said that Uncle Sam was buried right beside Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Bob Pogue.  He said there used to be an old metal funeral home marker with his name on it for a long time.  Up until at least the 1960's it was still there.  Carlton said he heard different people say he did not need a regular marker because he did not deserve one.
Betty Jean Yates was my great-grandma, Amy Floyd Loftis’ niece, the daughter of George Irl Yates and Telia Jane Floyd who were also from Crittenden County, Kentucky.  She would have been almost 16 years old when Uncle Sam died.  Her daddy had died in 1944 and she was the baby of her family and was pretty wild from all accounts.  I don’t know if she was really involved in Uncle Sam’s death or if he died of natural causes and his body just wasn't found for a few days, either way could have been a possibility.  I will need to make her one of my weeks this year, because she was murdered when she was 26 years old.  Interesting story there, but you will have to wait and read about it another time.  J

The following is the only picture I know of Uncle Sam, he is on the left, his nephew William Pogue with the pipe and the man in the middle is a man named A. Stall according to the person who sent this picture to me.  However, I think this A. Stall looks just like my great-grandpa Jesse Guy ‘Jack’ Loftis who would have also been a nephew to Uncle Sam and a cousin to William Pogue.   My great-grandpa and his cousin William Pogue were just one year’s difference in age.  I don’t know who the two people in the distance are, but it looks like a couple of men.

Now look at the following picture of my great-grandpa Jesse Guy ‘Jack’ Loftis.  I think he favors the guy in the middle, in the above picture.   The little girl is my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley and her Momma, my great-grandma, Amy Floyd Loftis.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sarah Ann Hawks Crow

Well better late then never, I finally have my second week story about an ancestor of mine.  See I had said at the beginning, sometimes they might be late but I would get them done.

My 4th great-grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family, was Sarah Ann Hawks, who was born April 10, 1830 in Williamson County, Tennessee the daughter of Thomas Hawks and Nancy Smith.  She was the oldest child of her parents and had the following siblings: James Thomas Hawks (1833-1898), Elizabeth J. Hawks (ca. 1834 – before 1869), Saphronia Hawks (ca. 1843 – before 1873), Lucy Jane Hawks (ca. 1845 – before 1900), Louisa A. Hawks (ca. 1847 – after 1880), Mary F. Hawks (ca. 1849 – after 1873), Caldonia Isabell Hawks (ca. 1854 – after 1880), and Victoria Clementine Hawks (1858-1912).

Sarah’s father, Thomas Hawks died sometime between April 5, 1873 when he wrote his will and November 3, 1873 when it was probated.  Sarah’s mother Nancy Smith Hawks was still living in June of 1880, but so far I have not been able to find when and where she passed away.  I don’t know the name of the cemetery either, but I am sure both passed away in Coffee County, Tennessee.  Their son James is buried at Hopewell Cemetery and their daughter Victoria is buried at Fredonia Cemetery.  Both cemeteries are located in Coffee County, Tennessee so it is possible that Thomas and Nancy could be buried in one of those cemeteries in an unmarked grave.

Sarah meet Richard J. Crow whose family also lived in District #10 in Coffee County, Tennessee in 1850 and they were married September 7, 1855 in Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee.  Sarah was 25 and Richard was 19 almost 20 years old.  Shortly after Sarah and Richard married they packed up their belongings and along with some of Richard’s siblings they left Tennessee and moved to Texas.  By 1860 they were living in Precinct #5 in Owensville, Robertson County, Texas and it was there that their first child, a son, was born in December 1859, who they named John Thomas Crow (1859-1936) after both of his grandfathers.

Family stories have always said that they owned a section of land which was where present day Dallas, Texas was located and that in the 1930’s or so there was a stew about some properties rights because they couldn't find the deed of sale for the Crow property.  Now that is a cool story and I have always loved that story, but in 1860 they were living in Robertson County, Texas which is located south of Dallas.  Robertson County is about 120 miles or so as the crow flies from Dallas, or if you are on modern day roads anywhere from 135 to 148 miles depending on which road you take.  Now I don’t think they moved from Robertson County after 1860 up to Dallas, because in the winter or early spring of 1862, Richard and his brothers left Texas and went back to Tennessee to join the Rebel Army and fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Again from family stories and I don’t have any actual proof, but they say that after the men left for Tennessee and the war, that the women were left alone to fend for themselves.  Now Texas in the 1860’s would not have been very safe for men well off women and children.  Comanches, Comancheros, and outlaws would have been all over the place.  The family stories go on to say that Sarah sold their land after Richard left, for a wagon and team and enough provisions to get them back to Tennessee.  I know they were on their way back from Texas to Tennessee in October of 1862, because they stopped in Arkansas and Sarah had their second child, a daughter who they named Harriet Crow (1862-1941), Hattie was her nickname, who was my 3rd great-grandmother.  They probably stayed there just long enough for Sarah to get her strength back after the birth, and then continued on to Tennessee.

Life in Tennessee during the war was not easy for anyone and Sarah definitely didn't have it easy.  The family stories go on to say that she lived in a tiny little cabin, just her and her two young children.  Her mother and father should have been close by and her younger siblings, but to make this more exciting the family stories say she and the children were all alone, way out in the woods.  Anyway on with the war years and the family story.  Sarah had to plant a little garden to keep her and her children from starving, but the wolves were so bad that she built a little fence around the garden and kept a large bonfire going and left the children by the fire so the wolves would not get them.  The baby I can see leaving by the fire, but how in the world did she work in her garden and keep a 4 year old little boy from crawling under the fence or falling in the fire.  I wonder if she tied a rope around him and staked him closer to her, I think I would have.  I have 5 grandsons from age 5 to 4 months old and they would all be trying to see how close they could get to the fire, well except the baby of course.  

The family stories also say she was afraid to leave them alone in the cabin, so it makes me wonder how far the garden was from her cabin.  I will never know for sure, but I am sure glad I don’t have to do anything that hard or that frightening.   Sarah continued doing this throughout the war, but by wars end my grandma Hattie would have been close to 4 years old and so she would have been right there with her brother, probably close to that big old fire.  Thankfully when the war ended Richard and his brothers all made it back home safe and sound.  Richard must have gotten home before September of 1864, or stopped by for a minute or too, because Sarah had their third child, Alexander in June of 1865.  The war had ended in April of 1865.

Three more children were born to Sarah and Richard while living in Coffee County, before they left the state of Tennessee again, Robert Crow (ca. 1866 – before 1880), James Madison Crow (1868-1937) and Nancy Abigail Crow (1870-1943).  Before 1874, Sarah and Richard had moved to Christian County, Kentucky to the Bainbridge community.  There followed their last 4 children: Ernest Rastus Crow (1874-1914), William Murphy Crow (1877-1967), Sarah Frances Crow (1880-1910) and Nellie Iona Crow (1883-1962).  Just two years after the birth of their last child, Sarah’s husband Richard passed away on Christmas Day in 1885, he was only 55 years old.  He was buried at Mt. Carmel Cemetery there in Christian County.  I don’t know the cause of his death, but I have always wondered if perhaps he had contracted some kind of disease during the war or maybe even some kind of wound that finally took him down, wish there had been a family story about that.

Sarah continued to live on their farm there in Christian County and stayed a widow.  Seven of her children stayed close by and died there as well.  The other three including my 3rd great-grandma left Kentucky, Hattie went to Jarvis, Illinois; Nancy went to Birmingham, Alabama and Nellie went to Columbia, Tennessee where they all died.

When you look at the census records Sarah’s age fluctuates quite a bit from 1830 to 1841.  It tends to average about 1835 which is the year her husband Richard was born, so either she was born the same year as Richard or she really was born in 1830.  Sarah lived a very long life whether she was born in 1830 or 1840 or somewhere in between.  I have a couple of wonderful old newspaper articles where she was interviewed asking her how and what she attributed her longevity too.  I am out of town writing this and I thought I had scanned those old articles, but apparently not.  I will have to scan those when I get back home and add them to this story.

Sarah lived to the ripe old age of 106, if indeed she was born in 1830, and died just 3 months before her 107th birthday on January 18, 1937.  They say that the shock of losing her son, James Madison Crow just 10 days before is probably what caused her death, she took to her bed and pretty much stopped eating and basically pined away.  She was still going strong and would walk a little over a mile one way to his home almost every day to have lunch with James and his wife Malissa.  If the weather was bad James would come and get her in the wagon or buggy, he owned a car, but she would not ride in one of those new-fangled automobiles as she called them.  James had gone across the street to check the mail and was hit by a car and died almost instantly from a fractured skull and internal injuries.  

So ended the life of a remarkable woman, the things she saw from wagons and wild Indians, to trains, telephones and airplanes.  How I wish I could have set at her feet and heard the stories of the wildness of Texas in the 1850’s and 1860’s, the wolves howling during the day and into the night and a war that pitted brother against brother.  I can’t wait to meet her one of these days and find out all the truth and nothing but the truth.  Following are the few pictures that I have of her, one when she is about 70 and the others when she was over 100.