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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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Moses Woosley

Moses Woosley was my 4th great-grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family through his mother Jessie Doss, better known to most of my family as Mama Jessie.  Moses was born in 1758 in Buckingham County, Virginia the son of Thomas Woosley and Elizabeth Waters.  I only know the year of his birth, not the month and day unfortunately.   I also don’t know a lot about his childhood, but I do know that he came from a very large family.  Moses was number 4 of the 15 children born to Thomas and Elizabeth and also the 4th of 14 sons born to them and finally a daughter who was the 15th child.  Can you image having 15 children and all boys but one.  I have 5 grandsons and you would think there were ten times that many when they all get going, 14 boys is just mind boggling to say the least.  None of these 15 children died young either, which is an amazing feat back in those days when infant mortality was so high.

This families surname has been spelled many different ways over the years and a lot of the family that left Virginia and went to Ohio tended to spell it Owsley, Ousley or Oosley.   There is an Owsley family in Kentucky that is a completely different line from our Woosley/Owsley/Ousley/Oosley family though, so you have to make sure you aren't following one of them.   Also a lot of people have thought that the Woolsey family is the same family, but from my research I do not believe that is true.  Some have tried to link our family back to Cardinal Woolsey of England, but I just don’t think that can be our line from what research I have done.  Most people that do try to connect us to Cardinal Woolsey of England, do not have any documentation to go with their theories, so until I can find something myself, I am not linking our lines to him.

Moses’ siblings were the following: Aaron Walden Woosley 1753-1831 in Bedford County, Tennessee; Joshua Woosley 1755 - ? , William Woosley 1757-1838 in Davidson County, North Carolina; Thomas Woosley, Jr. 1760-1856 in Christian County, Kentucky; John Owsley 1762 – after 1811 possibly in Ohio; Benjamin Woosley 1764-1841 in Tazewell County, Virginia; Samuel Woosley 1765-1844 in Grayson County, Kentucky; Marion Woosley 1768 - ? , David Woosley 1770-1852 in Grayson County, Kentucky; Nathan Woosley 1770-1856 in Crawford County, Arkansas; Elisha Woosley 1772 - ? , Elijah Woosley 1774-1859 in Bedford County, Tennessee; James Woosley 1778-1847 in Clark County, Ohio; and the only daughter, Elizabeth Woosley 1780 – before 1850 in Clark County, Ohio.

Another amazing fact about this family is that Moses, his father, Thomas and six or seven of his brothers, Aaron, Joshua, William, Thomas Jr., Benjamin, Samuel and possibly Marion were all supposed to have served in the Revolutionary War.  I know Moses did for certain as well as Aaron, William and Thomas Jr., but so far I cannot find the others listed as serving, though they are a perfect age to have done so.  Mama Jessie always said that her mother, Nancy Lougena Woosley Doss, talked about Moses and his brothers and his father as having served in the Revolution and how proud she was to have come from such fine stock.

We do have every reason to be proud of Moses and the service he gave during the Revolutionary War though.  I have a copy of his pension file which states that he joined up in December of 1776 in Amelia County, Virginia and served for three years.   He was put in Colonel Mason's company and the whole company was inoculated with the small pox and after everyone became well, they marched through Alexandria and Georgetown, then on to Baltimore and Philadelphia and from there to the White Plains of New York.   

At White Plains they joined up with General, George Washington and Moses was at the battles of Germantown, Stoney Point, Camden and Yorktown.  What I have always loved though was the fact that Moses was at Valley Forge during that terrible winter with General, George Washington and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis.  Moses saw so many of the defining moments of the Revolutionary War, what a proud heritage we can claim from the service of Moses and also of his brothers and possibly his father as well.

After the war Moses returned to his occupation as a farmer and soon was married.  Something that wasn't that common especially in the southern states was the fact that Moses and most of his brothers did not get married until they were over 25 years old and Moses was 31 before he got married, even his sister was 24 before she got married.   On May 7, 1789 in Amelia County, Virginia Moses married Elizabeth Butler, daughter of William Butler and Rhoda Ann Thomas of Dinwiddie County, Virginia.  They became the parents of eight children.

These eight children were: Sally Butler Woosley 1790 - before 1844; Rhoda Walters Woosley 1792 - before 1838; Moses Martin Woosley 1793-1815; Holman H. Woosley 1796-1856; Samuel S. Woosley 1800-1875 (my ancestor); Elizabeth F. Woosley 1803 - before 1843; Nancy Warfield Woosley 1805-1876 and James Thomas Woosley 1807 - before 1880.

By 1790 or so Moses and his family had moved over into Halifax County, Virginia and he and his wife and five of their eight children continue to live there until their deaths.  My direct line Samuel S. Woosley and two of his siblings, Rhoda Walters Woosley Perkins and James Thomas Woosley and their families moved to Christian County, Kentucky and settled near the Sinking Fork Community in the early 1830’s.

Moses became a plantation owner with around 564 acres of land and also up to 20 slave’s at one time or another in Halifax County, Virginia.   I know some of his land he received as bounty land for his service during the Revolutionary War.   From an old record my Dad, Frank Beard, found many years ago we read the following:  “The following is from a copy of the original financial records of Moses Woosley, but does not say where it came from.  A Record of Advancements made by Moses Woosley to his children in his lifetime.  To William Keeling & Sally his wife formerly Woosley = 1 carryall $45.00 June 14 - cash for receipt $100.00 total $145.00.  To John Perkins & wife his Rhody formerly Woosley = May 11, 1828 - cash for receipt $100.00 January 8, 1835, cash $30.00 & house $35.00; January 8, 1835, 1 negro woman, Judith & 2 children Lee & Harold $600.00; total $765.00.  To Holeman Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes, Morgan & John $750.00, January 8, 1835 - $100.00 cash; total $850.00.  To Samuel S. Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes, Joshua & Isaac for $535.00; also on January 8, 1835 - $47.00 in cash; on October 21, 1835 - $200.00 cash; total $782.00.  To James T. Woosley = September 18, 1829 - cash $97.00, January 3, 1835 - one negro man named Isham $600.00; January 8, 1835 - $33.00 cash; total #730.00.  To Johnson M. Hancock & Elizabeth his wife formerly Woosley = January 3, 1835 - one negro woman named Keziah $475.00; December 1, 1837 - cash $50.00; December 9, 1838 - cash $50.00; total $575.00.  To David Tribble & Nancy his wife formerly Woosley = January 3, 1835 - 2 negroes Fanny & Hiram $600.00; January 8, 1835 - cash $70.00; total $670.00.  Martin Woosley has (cannot read rest).”

I have found Moses on the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census records in Halifax County, Virginia.  I don’t know exactly when his wife Elizabeth died, but I do know it was before the 1840 census was taken and that Moses passed away in September of 1843.  They are both apparently buried in unmarked graves and I don’t even know the name of the cemetery but I think it could be the Tribble Cemetery where his daughter Nancy and son-in-law David Tribble are buried in Halifax County.  The reason I believe this might be true is because in Moses’ will he states the following: “I Moses Woosley leaves and wills all my property to David Tribble, my son-in-law, for the sum total of $1.00.  David is to manage the estate and care to the needs of said Moses, and on his death pay any of his outstanding debts.” 

The following is a picture of the home of David & Nancy Woosley Tribble and it could be possible that Moses Woosley lived here before he died.  The next picture is of the Tribble Cemetery where Moses and his wife Elizabeth could possibly be buried.



I am so proud of my Woosley family who were part of the growing country of America, having come to these shores at least by the 1680’s into the Virginia colonies.  I wish so much that I knew exactly where Moses Woosley was buried, because their definitely needs to be something to mark the grave of a soldier that helped win American Independence.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Karen Karoline Sorensdatter

Karen Karoline Sorensdatter was born September 8, 1833 the oldest child and only daughter of Soren Jespersen and Frederikke Olesdatter at Åby, Århus, Denmark.   Karen’s other siblings were: Ole Sorensen (came to America), Jens Sorensen (died young), Niels Sorensen (came to America) and Rasmus Sorensen (stayed in Denmark).  Not much is known about Karen’s early years unfortunately.

Karen was married November 14, 1855 to Hans Adolph Thomsen in Åby and also here their first four children were born to them, namely: Mette Marie on June 24, 1856; Ane Marie on May 17, 1859; Jens Adolph on October 22, 1860 – October 16, 1926 and Sofie Frederikke on February 18, 1862.
From a journal kept by Hans Adolph Thomsen, Karen’s husband, we learn that he and Karen joined the Mormon Church in 1861 in Åby.  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 Århus Conference.  Karen was baptized and confirmed on the 6th day of September that same year, by her brother, Ole Sorensen.  Hans and Karen then became active members of the Åby Branch.

Soon the family decided to come to America and join the Saints in Zion, so Karen with her husband and four small children left everything they knew to start a new adventure in America.  Hans Adolph Thomsen’s journal states that: “on the 30th of April 1863 traveled from Århus with my family.”   Also from Hans’ journal we know that 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.   From a journal record kept of that voyage we read, “Friday, May 8th, 1863 sailed for Zion aboard the ship, B. S. Kimball, Captain H. Dearborn, with 648 other passengers under the direction of Hans Peter Lund.  After six weeks of rugged sailing landed in New York the 15th of June and then continued by rail to Florence, Nebraska.”

It was here that Karen and Hans were greatly saddened by the death of their baby, Sofie Frederikke who died on June 28, 1863 just 8 days before their group, John F. Sanders Company, left Florence, Nebraska.  They left from Council Bluffs on July 6, 1863 for the Salt Lake Valley.  The other children, much worn from travel and strangeness of their 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 easier.   Tragedy again befell the family when on the 22nd of July, little Ane Marie died and was buried on the trail near Sandy Bluff, along the Platte River in present day Wyoming.  The wagon company, 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 little treasure and hurried to catch their group, as their only safety was in numbers.

They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on Saturday, September 5, 1863 and on the 7th, just two days later, their eldest child, Mette Marie died and was buried, close to where Camp Douglas was, leaving only their young son, Jens Adolph, to commence their family life in Zion.  The family left the valley shortly after their arrival for the little village of Fountain Green in Sanpete County, about 100 miles southeast of Salt Lake.   Here their fifth child, a daughter, was born on June 13, 1864 and according to Danish custom received the names of her sisters who had passed away, Ane Mette Marie Sofie Frederikke.   Ane married Rasmus Strate and had three children and died in childbirth when her third child, a daughter, Anna Marie Strate was born on January 28, 1886 in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah. 

There was much Indian trouble in the 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.  Karen I am sure was scared for her family and probably wondered at times, why they had ever left Denmark for this wild and savage land in America.  Hans was wounded during one of these attacks and carried the bullet to his grave.

Two more daughters and three more sons, soon came to bless Karen and Hans’ home, making ten children that Karen had all together.  These children’s names were: Karoline 1866-1868, Hanssina 1869-1939, Soren Christian 1872-1935, Hyrum Adolph 1874-1892 and my husband Roy’s grandfather, Peder Engmar (Peter Elmer) 1878-1951.  Karoline was born in Sevier County while they were at the fort in Monroe when the Indians were really bad, the other four were all born in Spring City in Sanpete County.

I figure the following two pictures one of Karen and one of Hans were probably taken in Spring City or maybe even Salt Lake in the late 1870’s or early 1880’s.  They were in a double frame that was in the possession of my husband’s uncle, Gilbert Thompson in 1984 when we stopped by his home in Fruita, Colorado after my father-in-law, Floyd Thompson’s passing.



By 1880 after 17 years in Utah, Karen and her family had a nice home in Spring City, and Karen was content and really starting to enjoy living in America.   Karen’s father, Soren Jespersen had come to Utah in 1874, but her mother, Frederikke would not leave Denmark.   This next picture is of Soren and Frederikke Jespersen which I am assuming was taken in 1874 shortly before Soren left for America.  Our family stories say that Frederikke wouldn't leave Denmark and the family in Denmark say that Soren deserted her and ran off with the Mormon’s.


The Indian troubles had pretty much settled down in Utah and things were going pretty good, but the following year in April of 1881, at General Conference, Hans was called to go and settle in St. John’s, Arizona.   Karen I am sure probably wasn't ready or even willing to make another move to an even a more dangerous area of America, but she packed up their belongings and went any way.   So in September of 1881 the family left Utah and headed for Arizona, arriving in St. John’s in November.

The Indians weren't quite as bad here as they thought they would be, but water was harder to come by and their animals would get run off quite frequently by the Indians.  I am sure Karen was ready to go back to Utah and her snug little home in Spring City, but instead Hans was called to go and settle in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico, just 4 years later.    Hans went down first and found them a place and then came back for Karen and their children.  Once again Karen packed up their few belongings and loaded their wagons and this time headed for Old Mexico.  I so wish Karen had kept a journal so I could have known her thoughts, but if she ever did it did not survive.

They first lived in Colonia Juarez until Hans was able to find the family a place to rent.  Hans was able to rent a ranch known as the Pratt Ranch which was located in Cave Valley in Chihuahua, Mexico.  From what I have heard and been told, it was off a ways from most of the other ranches in the area so I can just image how scared Karen must have been.   Their older children were starting to get married and so most of them stayed back in St. John’s or were still up in Utah, though some of them did come to Mexico for a short time.  The only ones really still living at home were Karen, Hans, their two youngest sons Hyrum and Peter and their granddaughter Anna Marie Strate.  Anna’s mother had died in childbirth when Anna was born and so Karen had taken her to raise.

Hans farmed and had a few cattle and as was the custom the men would come and help each other plant their crops in the spring and harvest their crops in the fall.  Karen cooked for her family and any of the men who would be there to help with the planting and harvesting, etc.   Karen would put up vegetables, make cheeses, sew and all the many other chores a farmer and ranchers wife would be called to do.  I can only image how lonely she must have gotten out there all by herself, with not another woman around to keep her company other than her little granddaughter.  I know that at least once and maybe twice she was able to go back up to Utah to visit with some of her family that lived up there.

Most of the Indians in the area were Apache and the majority of them in the states had been put on reservations, but every now and again some would sneak away and go raiding down in Mexico or hit a lonely ranch that the Indians knew no one would know about for some time, if they were to attack it.  As most of you know the Apache were a blood thirsty lot and didn't really care who they killed or burnt out.  All of these things Karen would have known about and worried about I am sure.  How she went to sleep at night thinking about all of these things is beyond me.

The following picture was taken of Karen and her granddaughter Anna Marie Strate in the spring of 1892 in Colonia Juarez, Mexico when Anna was 6 years old.


After this picture was taken was probably the last time Karen felt safe and secure.  The Apaches had been raiding more and more and the family was hearing of ranches being burnt, cattle being run off and people being killed.  By September of 1892 it was harvest time once again and Hans knew he had to leave to go and help gather in crops around the area.  The men who had come to help with their crops including Hans, all left Saturday evening after they were finished at Karen and Hans’ place, to go to the next ranch to help with the crops there.

Sunday morning came bright and early and after the family kneeled down for morning prayers, the boys Hyrum who was 18 and Peter who was 14 went out to get all the chores done, milking the cow, gathering the eggs and feeding all the animals.  Karen and little Anna were in the house getting breakfast ready for them.  Suddenly shots rang out disturbing the quiet Sunday morning.  Karen ran for the door and saw Hyrum shot and killed as he was coming back from the corral, then next Peter as he came out of the chicken coop.  Both her boys dropped and she knew they were both dead.  She ran back in the house to little Anna, but an Indian came running through the door carrying out food and clothing and knocked her down.  Another Indian grabbed little Anna and was getting ready to kill her when another Indian shouted.   Little Anna ran back to her grandmother who picked her up and was turning back to the house.   Peter who was not dead, but severely wounded had somehow crawled over to the chicken coop and had crawled underneath it.   

The Indians probably thinking he had gone for help decided to get out of there quick.  They turned around to finish off Karen and little Anna but only saw Karen standing there.  An old squaw who was with the bucks came out of the house and picked up a large stone and hit Karen in the head with it.  As Karen was falling Peter, who could not save his mother, saw that little Anna was hiding under her skirts.  Somehow Karen kept her skirts down so that the Indians did not see the little girl, the old squaw bashed in her head once more with the large rock and that last blow ended the life of a wife, mother and grandmother, September 19, 1892 at the Pratt Ranch in Cave Valley, Chihuahua, Mexico.

After the Indians left, Peter got Anna’s attention and had her come over to the chicken coop and she crawled under there with him.  They stayed under there until they were sure the Indians were gone, then somehow Peter got up and started walking, holding on to little Anna.  Can you image how scared that little girl was and even that 14 year old boy.  Peter was only able to go so far, before he set down and leaned against a tree.  Little Anna set down beside him, all of a sudden their old dog showed up and set there with them.  Peter told Anna to take the dog and start walking towards the Williams Ranch for help.  Little Anna did that but how in the world a little six year old girl who had just seen her grandmother and uncle murdered was able to do so is almost mind boggling to me. 
James Mortensen who lived at the Williams Ranch had felt like something was wrong over at the Thomsen’s and had saddled his horse and was headed that way when in the evening dusk he saw the little girl and her faithful dog walking towards him.  Word was sent to Hans Thomsen and the next day his wife, Karen and son, Hyrum were buried.  Peter was laid up for over a month or more before he was able to regain his health and strength, but lived to be 73 years old.  Anna’s father Rasmus Strate came from Utah as soon as he could and took Anna back home with him, he had remarried and was able to now take care of her himself.  Anna was 71 when she passed away.

The newspapers in the area and even in Salt Lake said that the Indians that raided the ranch and some in the surrounding area were led by a renegade Apache, named the Apache Kid.  The following is a picture of him I was able to find online.


So ended the life of a remarkable woman, a wife and grandmother and mother of ten children who buried three of them in less than three months, another that wasn't quite two years old, and one who was murdered right in front of her.   How these pioneer woman did all they did and suffered all they did is a feat that I am sure most of us would fail at miserably.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Aunt Alice

Alice Smith, daughter of William Smith, 1824-1915, of Cheshire, England and Mary Hibbert, 1831-1921, of Lancashire, England was born November 18, 1868 in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah and died April 9, 1936 Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona.  Alice was number seven of the nine children born to William and Mary, her oldest sister Mary Ann wife of John Corlett McNeil, was my husband Roy’s, great-grandmother.

Alice’s parents had come to America from England in 1856 on the ship “Wellfleet” arriving in Boston, Massachusetts.  Shortly after their arrival, they moved on to New York City and lived there for a short time before heading west to St. Louis, Missouri where they lived for about 7 years while earning enough money to travel on to the Salt Lake Valley in present day Utah.  They lived in Kaysville when Alice was born, but by 1880 had moved to Bountiful just a few miles to the south of Kaysville.

Alice was married six times, but we know that at least two of her husbands were apparently physically abusive as that is the cause listed for her divorces from them.   Alice was married first to Heber Taylor Greaves, February 10, 1885 in Utah, second to Michael John Harrington, February 27, 1889 in Utah, third to John Sullivan, fourth to Frank Paul, fifth to Charles William Gatliff, July 31, 1903 in Mexico and sixth to John J. O’Laughlin, June 7, 1914 in Arizona.  I have yet to find the marriage dates or places for John Sullivan or Frank Paul, but I believe they were either in Arizona or Mexico.  Alice was buried by her fifth husband Charles William Gatliff, who was apparently good to her and it is his surname that she used and was using when she died.

The following journal entry of Alice's father's states: Friday, 10 Sep 1902 - Got a letter from our daughter Alice in Arizona with five dollars in it.  She stated that she was married to a mining man, his name is Frank Paul.  Another note received from Cindy Hayostek states: Alice was married to John O'Laughlin in 1914 and was divorced in May of 1917 because she says he was beating her.

The following is a picture of Alice with her second husband Michael John ‘Jack’ Harrington who she was married to for about 12 years, before they were divorced.  On the back of the picture Roy's great-grandmother Mary Ann Smith McNeil, wrote: "my sister Alice and her first husband Jack Harrington."  From records I have found Jack was born in Wales and his parents in Ireland and they had come to America before 1880.  Jack was still living in 1910 and had been married to a woman named Edith for 7 years and they were living in Chicago, Illinois.  Jack and Alice must have gotten a divorce before September 1902, since she is getting married to Frank Paul around August or September of 1902.


It is known, from her father, sister and brothers journals and other sources that many times, Alice sent money, when it was needed, as well as gifts to her parents and other family members in Utah as well as to her sister, Mary Ann Smith McNeil’s family in Showlow, Arizona.   My husband Roy’s grandmother, Annie Frances McNeil Thompson 1890-1989, told that many times while they lived on 4th Street in Douglas, Arizona just a couple of blocks from the Mexican border, that she would take her four young sons and go across the line to check on her Aunt Alice, to make sure she was okay.  The border agents at the line, always thought she was crazy for coming over herself, well off bringing little children with her, especially while bullets would be whizzing by and a revolution was going on.  Grandmother Annie would have had these four little boys with her, Gilbert Elmer 1908-1992, Harry Wilbur 1909-1961, Jess Lee 1911-2000 and Roy’s Dad, Floyd L 1913-1984, who would have been in the stroller she use to take things to Aunt Alice and to bring things back over too.  By 1918, Roy’s grandmother, Annie and her family had moved about 30 miles north of Douglas to the Webb/Whitewater area in Cochise County, now known as Elfrida.   

The following are a couple of pictures of gifts that have remained in the family to this day, a gold necklace in the possession of a Smith family descendant and a silk handkerchief in the possession of a Thompson family descendant.



The following is a picture, left to right, of Charles Gatliff his wife Alice Smith Gatliff a woman named Mrs. Davis and her dog Trouble standing by the Curio Café, which was a saloon while Charles Gatliff was still living.  Roy’s cousin Myrna sent this picture to us just this past week, it had been in her mother Lavine Thompson Fenn’s things.


The next pictures are of Alice standing in front of her Café in about 1911 and an ad from the Bisbee Daily Review from 1922 about her café.



I have found numerous newspaper articles about her life on the Mexican border especially during the Mexican Revolution.  As far as we know she never had any children of her own, but she did take care of a number of Mexican children who had been orphaned, mainly during the Mexican Revolution, as well as anyone else down on their luck.   She apparently owned a home and business in Douglas, Arizona but just across the border in Sonora, Mexico in the little border town of Agua Prieta she owned a café, hotel and curio shop, which at one time had been her husband Charles Gatliff’s saloon.  The name of her place in Agua Prieta was ‘The Curio Café’.    At Alice’s curio & café shop in Agua Prieta she also kept a little zoo of exotic animals, like the burro she is holding and the baby javelina she is petting in the following two pictures.



Alice became good friends with General Álvaro Obregón Salido and also with Plutarco Elías Calles, who became the 39th and 40th presidents of Mexico respectively.   Many times they came to her café and would talk and make plans involving the revolution.   In all the old family stories we had always heard it was Pancho Villa she had been good friends with and that she kept a table in the back of the room for him so that if the federales came he could make a quick escape.  However, according to all the newspaper articles I have found it was really Salido and Calles she was friends with.  Pancho Villa does make for a more interesting story though, but I have to report the facts and the facts were it was not Pancho Villa.  J   If indeed she really was friends with Pancho Villa, she must have kept it very, very quiet or she would not have been so very popular with Salido and Calles who always stopped in to visit with her while in Aqua Prieta.  If you would like to read more about Alice and her involvement during the Mexican Revolution you can send for the following 19 page pamphlet to the address listed below.



Not a lot is known about Charles William Gatliff, Alice’s fifth husband, but we do know he married Alice, July 31, 1903 in Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico and that he died December 11, 1907 in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona.  We also know he owned the saloon and some other property in Aqua Prieta, Mexico that Alice continued to own after his death.  From what research I have done on him he was born in Texas or New Mexico the son of Dr. Charles K. & Mary Gatliff.  He had 2 younger sisters, Anna and Emma and a younger brother named Leslie Gatliff 1873-1947, who also came to Arizona before 1905 and lived in Cochise County, Arizona until 1930, but by 1940 had moved over to Maricopa County, Arizona and died in Tempe in 1947.  The following is a picture of Charles Gatliff which Roy’s cousin Myrna sent to us just this past week.



Roy and I started a fund raiser when we realized Alice and Charles did not have tombstones to mark their last resting place.  Within just a few months we had enough money to have tombstones made for Alice and Charles as well as two other family members we had found who did not have tombstones to mark their place of rest as well.   We are so thankfully to all of the family members who donated and helped to place a fitting tribute to this woman, who helped so many of her family members and to those less fortunate, during her life time.  We had concrete borders placed around both graves and individual markers made.  Here are pictures of their markers after they were placed at the Douglas City Cemetery in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona in 2014.





Arizona Death Certificate State File #24 = Mrs. Alice Gatliff died 9 April 1936 at the Calumet Hospital in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona.  She was born in November 1868 and was 67 years and 5 months old.  Her brother William Smith of Morgan, Utah was the informant.  Burial was 11 April 1936 in Douglas.  She was the owner of the Curio Cafe in Aqua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico which was just across the border from Douglas.  The cause of death was from burns over her neck, arms and chest that were caused when she was starting a fire with kerosene and it exploded.  She only lived less then 24 hours after the accident.  The record also said she had lived in Douglas and Agua Prieta for the past 30 to 40 years.  (I have a copy of her death certificate.)

"Printed in www.mycochise.com/obitsg.pdf GATLIFF = April 9, 1936 = Mrs. Alice Gatliff Critically Burned By Kerosene Explosion in Curio Café In Agua Prieta As She Starts Fire. Mrs. Alice Gatliff, owner of the Curio café, one of the historic places of the Mexican border, was critically and probably fatally burned early yesterday morning from flames resulting from a kerosene explosion. The victim is a patient at the Calumet hospital where last night it was said by attending physicians her case is critical and, because of her age—Mrs. Gatliff is 66 years old—the chances were against her recovery. According to the best obtainable reports of the accident, Mrs. Gatliff had taken a can of kerosene, intending to add some of it to the fire in her cook stove in order to hasten the heat for her cooking. She lifted the can just above the fire and the unexpected happened—the flames ignited the oil and caused an explosion. The kerosene was thrown practically all over Mrs. Gatliff and the flames quickly ignited it so that she was all aflame instantly.  An employee of Mrs. Gatliff, Ed Juquy, was near at hand and did what he could to extinguish the flames. She did not become unduly excited but assisted in efforts to extinguish the flame.  She hurried to the bathtub, near at hand, and got into it and aids spread a blanket over her at the same time turning water into the bathtub.  Thus it was possible quickly to extinguish the blaze.  A runner was sent for Dr. Calderon and he hastened to the café and gave first aid.  But he suggested hospitalization of the patient and arrangements were made to bring her to the Calumet hospital.  Porter and Ames ambulance was called and brought the victim to the hospital.  The victim of the accident is possibly the best known business woman along the Mexican border because of her long residence here and her activity in affairs during the time of the revolution which brought General Plutarco Elias Calles into the political control of the republic of Mexico.  She has lived in Sonora or in Douglas for the last 40 odd years, some of the time at Fronteras but most of the time in Agua Prieta.  She has conducted the famous old Curio café ever since Douglas was founded and it has gained a place in the history of the republic of Mexico because of the fact it was the headquarters of General Calles when the revolution was brought to success, carrying Calles and Obregon into power and changing the political history of the southern republic.  Mrs. Gatliff has been personally acquainted with all the presidents of Mexico since Diaz and most of them have headquarters and dined in her café.  General Calles directed the revolutionary activities of Sonora from the famous Room 5, at the right of the entrance, from his bed and his meals both in that room during the period when he was winning for the revolutionists.  It was from there the electric connections with the fortifications and also the telephone system was tied in and personally operated by General Calles.  The high regard which General Calles held for Mrs. Gatliff has been manifested many times and in ways that left no doubt about the genuine respect he holds for her. He never comes to this part of the border that he does not call upon her.  In 1929 when the Topete revolution flared up, Mrs. Gatliff was served with peremptory notice to leave the republic. The notice was patently because of her friendship with the federal government which was controlled by General Calles.  She obeyed the order promptly and came to Douglas but within a short time her entry to Agua Prieta had been made easy and she was back at her Curio café.  When General Almazan marched into Agua Prieta in 1929 with his triumphant army of 12,000 federal troops that he had led through Fulpito pass, one of his earliest calls was at the Curio café and later, before he went away, he was the guest of local Mexican leaders at a dinner in the café attended by General Calles, who had come here for that purpose, the affair being personally arranged by Mrs. Gatliff. Mrs. Gatliff’s Curio café has been visited by every important person who has stopped in Douglas in the last 25 years.  The building in which the café is situated bears physical proof of the fact it has been a target to enemy bullets and Mrs. Gatliff always proved an entertaining person in relating the incidents connected with the various bullet marks in her home.  The ill luck of the owner of the café spread rapidly over the city yesterday and there was much interest in the development of her case. There were many inquiries at the hospital as well as at the Dispatch about her condition and all accompanied with expressions of sympathetic interest. It was said at the hospital last night that while the chances were largely against her, she was meeting the situation courageously.  So far as is known by her friends, Mrs. Gatliff has only one brother living, William Smith, of Morgan City, Utah.  He was advised by telegram yesterday and wired back immediately that he would start for Douglas at once and be here just as soon as he could travel the distance.  A report from the hospital last midnight carried a rather hopeful note, but the one giving it cautioned that it must be remembered it is a critical case and the age of the patient is a serious factor to be reckoned with. It was, however, said the patient was in fair condition at the moment the report was issued. The Douglas Dispatch."

We all need an Aunt Alice, someone who will help us when our luck is down, give us a place to sleep and a hot meal in our stomachs, a family character who everyone remembers, that was our Aunt Alice.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Anna Susan Davis Penninger Floyd

I am running a little behind with this post, but better late then never.

My 5th week ancestor is my 2nd great-grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family and her name was Anna Susan Davis.   Anna was born February 17, 1859 in Saline County, Illinois.  I have never been able to find Anna on a census record with her parents or before 1900.  The only reason I know her parents’ names is because they are named on the marriage registers in Illinois both times Anna gets married, as the daughter of Robert H. Davis and Polly Ann Tullum Hall.

Since I have never found Anna on census records before her marriages, I don’t know a lot about her early childhood.  I am not even sure her parents were married either.  I know her father, Robert Hosey Davis was married to four other woman and had children by at least two of them, four children with the first wife Hannah Hileman, none with the second wife Mrs. Martha Nash.  Third, but I can’t find a marriage date, was to Polly Ann Tullum Hall and they only had the one child, the subject of this sketch, Anna Susan Davis.  Fourth to Susan Gaskins and they had eight children and lastly to Mrs. Sarah Turner Travelstead and they had no children together.

So as you can see Robert had at least 13 children and at least 5 different women.  Anna’s mother may have been married to Henry Seal around 1861.  They had six children together, but again, I can’t find a marriage record for them, so I am not even sure she was married to Henry Seal either.  Either way that means Anna had 18 half-siblings that I have found so far.  A huge family to be sure but she is never with any of them in the census records.  Why can I find so much on her brothers and sisters and so little on her?  I know I am following the right lines because my DNA is matching up with the Davis and Hall families from Southern Illinois, plus I have other evidence as well to go along with what I am telling you about Anna and her family.

The following are the 18 half-siblings of my 2nd great-grandmother Anna Susan Davis.  Luticia Jane Davis ca. 1845 - before 1887, Mary Catherine Davis 1847-1931, Elizabeth L. Davis ca.1851 and Caroline Davis ca, 1852 - before 1887; Levi Davis 1861-1922, Harriett J. Davis 1864-1911, Juliet J. Davis 1865-1919, Hardinia Davis 1867 - after 1919, Eli Davis ca. 1869 - before 1880, Florence Mana Davis 1872-1956, Delia A. Davis 1875-1962 and Warren Ewing Davis 1880-1905; William Fountain Seal ca. 1862 - after 1910, George Seal ca. 1868, Frona Seal ca. 1870 - after 1945, James Seal 1873-1898, Florence Marion Seal 1875-1959 and Lula O. Seal 1879-1968.  All of these children were born in Southern Illinois in different but surrounding counties to each other, Saline, Pope and Union Counties.  One of the Seal children’s death certificate states she, Florence, was born in McLean County, but I can’t find anything on them in that county.

I had found where Anna first married Miles Giles Penninger on July 26, 1878 in Stonefort, Saline County, Illinois.  When she married Miles G. Penninger she said she was 19 years old and the daughter of Robert H. Davis and Polly Hall.  I found her second marriage to my 2nd great-grandfather, John Henry Floyd on August 13, 1885 and again she said her maiden name was Davis, and that her father was Robert H. Davis and her mother was Polly Ann Tullum Hall.  She also stated that she had been married once before she married John Floyd.  On the marriage register to John Floyd she says her name was Ama Hall and that she resided in Cottage Grove and that she was born in Saline County, Illinois and this was her second marriage.  When she and John were married they got married at George Joyner's and the witnesses were Martha Hall and Sarah Joyner and they were married by John C. Mahan.  George Joyner was Anna’s mother’s brother-in-law and Martha Hall was his wife and Sarah Joyner was their daughter.

Until I went with my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, to visit her Aunt, Ethel Lewis Floyd in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky I did not know anything much about Anna other than the two marriages and the children she had with my 2nd great-grandfather.  Aunt Ethel was 100 years old, when we went to see her and was living in her own home and still taking care of things for herself for the most part.  Aunt Ethel had been the wife of Volentine Hall Floyd who she had married in 1911 and therefore the daughter-in-law of Anna Susan Davis.  Aunt Ethel had been in the Floyd family for almost eight years before her mother-in-law, Anna passed away.

After visiting for a little while, I started asking Aunt Ethel what she could remember and tell me about her mother-in-law, Anna.  I told her about the marriage I had found to Miles Penninger and Aunt Ethel said she knew she had been married before but she had never heard his name till I told it to her.  What she told us next my Mamaw and I had never heard before.

It was kind of funny, but Aunt Ethel leaned forward, looked around like she was afraid someone might hear and whispered, “She had a child before she married John”.  Now the people she was talking about had been dead for many, many years, but she didn't want to speak ill of any of them even if they had been dead for over 50 years and the child had been born over 100 years before.

Aunt Ethel told us that Anna had a son who was named Frank Durfee who lived in Cottage Grove in Saline County, Illinois.  She said her husband Vol and his little brother, Luther Floyd use to spend summers working for Frank on his farm near Cottage Grove.  She also said that at least once, sometimes twice a year, John would take Anna across the river and she would stay for about a month with Frank and his family and then John would come back and get her and bring her back home.  So my 2nd great-grandfather John Floyd knew all about his wife’s son as did her children, but for some reason my Mamaw and her siblings never knew about him and so I did know about him either.

Now I know that by 1885, Miles Penninger was living in Kansas and married to a woman named Mary Catharine Boynston and they had three daughters.  Their first daughter was born in Kansas, but their other two daughters were both born in Stonefort in Saline County, Illinois in 1889 and 1892, so he did come back to Illinois for a little while.  So far I cannot find a divorce from Anna or a marriage date for Mary.  I do know that Miles left Illinois before 1900 and went to Missouri for a short time, before moving to Beaumont, Texas where he died in 1931.

John Franklin Durfee was born January 16, 1883 in Pope County, Illinois.  Anna, his mother had been married to Miles Penninger in 1878 and in 1885 married John Floyd.  So I don’t know if Frank Durfee was Miles son or someone else’s and Aunt Ethel didn't know either.  She did know that Frank had been raised by and took the surname of Lewis Durfee and his wife Elvira Lydia Parker.  Lewis and Elvira never had any children of their own that lived and the 1900 and 1910 census states that Elvira was the mother of two children but none living.  Now just to make this a little more interesting is the fact that Elvira Lydia Parker Durfee was John Floyd’s aunt, his mother’s half-sister.   Aunt Ethel speculated that Lewis Durfee may have been Frank’s father, but I have no proof of that either.

Now when Frank Durfee died in 1959, his obituary stated that he was survived by two half-brothers and four half-sisters and I know they were: Vol Floyd, Luther Floyd, Eliza Floyd Sullenger, Amy Floyd Loftis (my great-grandmother), Telia Floyd Yates and Sarah Floyd Yates.  I had meet and known all of these people except Eliza, Telia, Luther and of course Frank.  The following is a picture of Frank with his half-sister Eliza, which one of Frank’s granddaughters sent to me.


Anna and her husband John Floyd moved almost immediately after their marriage across the river to Crittenden County, Kentucky and lived in the Sisco Chapel area of that county where all of their six children were born.  Volentine Hall Floyd 1887-1977, Eliza I. Floyd Sullenger 1889-1968, Amy Susan Floyd Loftis 1893-1968, Telia Jane Floyd Yates 1895-1961, Sarah Elizabeth Floyd Yates 1901-2003 and Luther E. Floyd 1904-1960.  John and his sons ran a well digging company and dug wells for people all over Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois and farmed on the side.  Anna raised her family, saw her son, Frank a couple of times a year, but no one in our family ever really knew anything about her parents, their families or Anna’s 18 siblings.

Anna and John were married for almost 34 years when one cold January morning Anna died from what they figured was a massive heart attack.  My Mamaw’s oldest sister, Marguerite Floyd was living with her grandparents Anna and John, she was not quite 5 years old when it happened and told me the following story many times. 

Friday, January 31, 1919 - started out just another typical day for Anna.  She made breakfast for the men before they headed out to dig a well across the river, they were planning on being gone at least two days.  She cleaned up the kitchen and then headed out to feed the animals and milk the cow.  She had promised her granddaughter, Marguerite, that she would show her how to milk the cow this morning, now that she was getting to be a big girl.  The mist was just starting to burn off the ground, as they made their way to the barn, but colder then blazes, as Aunt Marguerite recalled.  Anna ask Marguerite to go and get a fleck of hay for the cow as she placed her in the stall, placed the pail down and set on the milk stool.  Marguerite ran to get the hay, then threw it over the stall and came around to where her grandma should have been setting.   Anna was laying on the ground beside the cow and was not moving, Marguerite tried to wake her because she thought she was sleeping.   Marguerite told me why she thought she was sleeping she will never know, she thought maybe it was her defense against actually realizing the truth. 

It was bitter cold and Marguerite laid by her grandma in the barn all day trying to stay warm until someone got home.   She eventually went in the house either that day or the next she couldn't really remember how long before she did, and got a quilt off one of the beds and came back out to the barn and covered herself and her grandma up.  Every now and again she would shake her grandma trying to get her awake, but unfortunately she never did.  My Aunt Marguerite never forgot about laying there beside her grandma on a couple of cold January days, when she was just a little girl.  I believe I would have never forgotten something like that either.

Other family members have told me that it was two days later that John and Luther got back from their well digging job.  When they pulled their wagon up in the yard, they knew something was wrong, for there was no smoke from the chimney and the barn door was wide open and the cow was making a lot of noise as well.  Luther ran to the house and John ran to the barn, I am sure seeing his wife and granddaughter laying on the ground by the old milk cow about made his heart stop to, I know it would have made mine stopped.  Anna’s funeral was held the next day at the Sisco Chapel Cemetery just down the road from their home, she was just 59 years, 11 months and 13 days old.  Here is a picture of the graveyard and her marker that I took a few years ago.



Aunt Marguerite told me there used to be an big oval framed picture of her grandma, Anna, hanging in the front parlor of the house, but when Marguerite was around 12 or 13, the house caught fire and everything was lost, including that picture and I am sure quite a few more.  The first time my Aunt Marguerite saw a picture of my daughter Rachel, she said, “that is my grandma Floyd, she looks just like the picture of her that hung in the parlor”. The following is a picture of my daughter Rachel, taken about the time my Aunt Marguerite saw her picture and Rachel is with her great-grandma and my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, and Marguerite’s half-sister.  I would like to think that my grandma Anna looked a little like both of them.