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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

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.

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