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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Now I hate to make any of y’all jealous, but my next ancestor for the week from my Daddy’s side of the family is one very well know man.  He is my 4th cousin 3 generations removed from our common ancestors who were, Christopher Clark and Penelope Johnston.   Christopher and Penelope were my 6th great-grandparents and Samuel’s 3rd great-grandparents.   I loved reading his books when I was a kid and still have a love for them to this day.  I have been to the town of Hannibal, Missouri and walked the same roads he did and I have gone to Tom and Becky’s cave.  Have you guessed yet who my relative this week is?  Well hang on and I will tell you just a little about his family.  Those of you that read my blog and are related to Mama Jessie through her mother, Nancy Lougena Woosley Doss will be related to this man as well.

The man I am talking about is none other than Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known to most of you as Mark Twain.  The author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many more too numerous to mention.  Sam was born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Monroe County, Missouri the son of John Marshall Clemens and Jane Lampton.   The relationship between Sam and myself is through his father’s, mother’s line, Sam’s grandmother, Pamela Goggin’s Clemens.

The following picture I found online is a drawing by Norman Rockwell depicting Tom & Huck. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3649/3693963383_99ed8f43e2_o.jpg

Sam was the sixth of seven children born to John and Jane.  His siblings were: Orion Clemens 1825-1897, Pamela Clemens 1827-1904, Pleasant Clemens 1828-1829, Benjamin Clemens 1832-1842, Margaret Clemens 1833-1839 and Henry Clemens 1838-1858.

When Sam was around four years old his parents left Florida, Missouri and moved about 35 miles east to the small river town of Hannibal, Missouri.  Here Sam learned his love of the river and the tales told by slaves and others.  His father was a judge in Hannibal and died of pneumonia in 1847, when Sam was just twelve years old in Hannibal, Missouri and his mother passed away in 1890 in Keokuk, Iowa.

I found online at Wikipedia three different pictures of Mark Twain at different ages.

Sam met and married a young woman by the name of Olivia Ione Louise Langdon who he courted for about two years before they were married on February 2, 1870 in Elmira, Chemung County, New York.  They were the parents of four children, namely: Samuel Langdon Clemens 1870-1872, Olivia Susan ‘Susy’ Clemens 1872-1896, Clara Langhorne Clemens 1874-1962 and Jane Lampton ‘Jean’ Clemens 1880-1909.  Sam and his family lived abroad in Europe for a while as well as in New York and Connecticut.  All are buried in the family plot at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, Chemung County, New York.

From the Wikipedia article online about Mark Twain, I found the following:  “In 1909, Mark Twain said: I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835.  It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.  It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet.  The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together'.  His prediction was accurate, Mark Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.  Upon hearing of Twain's death, President William Howard Taft said: "Mark Twain gave pleasure – real intellectual enjoyment – to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come ... His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen.  He has made an enduring part of American literature."

There is so much more that could be written about this man and his life, but just do a google search and see what all you can find about him for yourself.  He was truly an American icon and a person I am very proud to say I am related too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Isham Floyd

My ancestor this week is from my Mom’s side of the family and is my 5th great-grandfather, Isham Floyd.  Isham was born in about 1756 in Virginia possibly in Amherst County, the son of William Floyd and Abadiah Davis.  Isham parents, William and Abadiah, had at least thirteen children and Isham was number eight of those thirteen.

Isham’s twelve siblings, all born in Virginia and also possibly in Amherst County, were the following: John Floyd 1745-1783, William M. Floyd 1745-after 1821, Sarah Floyd 1747-after 1824, Elizabeth Floyd 1748-1833, Robert Clark Floyd 1750-1807, Jemima Floyd 1752-????, Nancy Floyd 1754-before 1791, Abadiah Floyd 1758-????, Charles Floyd 1760-1828, Abigail Floyd 1762-1834, Miss Floyd 1764-???? And Nathaniel Floyd 1766-1842.

Isham came from a fairly prominent family, not wealthy, but more than most at that time, with a good size plantation and slaves.  I am sure Isham learned at an early age to help with the farming, and the day to day chores around the home place.   Isham’s father was a surveyor and Isham may have even helped his father when he was out surveying land for different people.

Isham soon met and married Lydia Hardin on January 28, 1775 in Amherst County, Virginia.  There were at least two sons born to this couple, first David Floyd born in the winter of 1775 or early 1776 and then Isham Floyd, Jr. born in about 1781.  There may have been other children born after David and before Isham Jr., but at this time I have found no records to say this for a fact.  Isham’s wife Lydia ended up in Williamson County, Tennessee where she died in about 1820.  My direct line was David Floyd and his line settled in Smith and DeKalb Counties in Tennessee.   David Floyd’s son Volentine Floyd left Smith County, Tennessee and came to Crittenden County, Kentucky in 1873 and Crittenden County is the county I was born in.

Isham fought in the Revolutionary War and was with General, George Rogers Clark at Kaskaskia in 1778 and also served as a sergeant in Clark's Illinois Regiment of Artillery, enlisting in this company on November 26, 1779.  Isham’s brother, John Floyd was a Colonel in Clark's Illinois Regiment of Artillery as well.  Isham was also in Captain, Robert George’s Company of Artillery and was at Fort Nelson on September 1, 1782.  Isham is on a pay roll receipt dated up to April 8, 1783 but I have not found any pay rolls for him after that date, nor for his brother John Floyd who was supposed to have been captured at the same time by the Indians.

Isham died young sometime between the ages of 27 to 35, leaving at least two young children.  I do not know for certain when Isham died as there has been at least three different years given for his death.   Most stories say that he and his brother John Floyd were captured by Indians and that Isham and John were tortured in April of 1783, before being murdered by the Indians.  The source I tend to believe the most is from Filson’s Quarterly, Volume 15, No. 1, page 22, which says the following: "The Indians captured Isham Floyd across the Ohio River, north of the Falls in April 1783.  They scalped him, cut off his ears, fingers and toes and, after torturing him for three days, cut out his heart and threw it to their dogs."  According to some sources he was killed by Indians in Mercer County, Kentucky in 1790, still another source says it was in June 1782 at ‘Crawford's Defeat’.   I know Isham was at Fort Nelson in September of 1782 and is on pay roll receipts up to April 8, 1783, so there is no way he was killed at ‘Crawford’s Defeat’.  Either way it sounds like Isham met an untimely and possibly excruciating death on the dark and bloody grounds of Kentucky.

As you can see from the stories I have written so far my roots run deep and early in Kentucky, a fact I am very proud of.  I know this is a short ancestor story this week, but unfortunately, Isham Floyd did not live long enough to make a longer story possible.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rev. William Harrison Bigham, Sr.

My ancestor this week is my 4th great-grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family, William Harrison Bigham, son of James B. Bigham 1763-1817 and Sarah Margaret Freeman 1766-1836.   This line is through my Papaw Beard’s side of the family.  William was born in 1796 in Madison County, Kentucky where his parents had come in the summer or fall of 1793, from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.   

My ancestor William was the sixth of eleven children born to James and Sarah, the first four being born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and the rest being born in Madison County, Kentucky. I am not sure how many families came with the Bigham’s, but family stories say that they came through the Cumberland Gap and I doubt very seriously they would have come just by themselves.  William and his family were in Madison County for about ten to fifteen years before they moved over to Caldwell County, Kentucky in the western part of the state sometime before 1810.

Can you image living in the wilds of the dark and bloody grounds of Kentucky, with Shawnee Indians, outlaws like the Harp’s and any other numerous problems that would have been around in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s of Kentucky.  You would have had to have been of some pretty serious pioneer stock to come through the Cumberland Gap in to an almost unknown land.

The following is a picture taken from the pinnacle overlooking the Cumberland Gap that I found online at: http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/348/cache/landmark-national-pinnacle-overlook-cumberland-gap_34821_600x450.jpg

William’s ten siblings with birth and death years and cause of death if known were: David Freeman Bigham 1788-1858 (cancer of the tongue), James Hayes Bigham 1789-1856, John Madison Bigham 1791-1872, Joseph Bigham 1793-1874, Jennett F. Bigham 1794-1876, Robert C. Bigham 1797-1832 (cholera), Samuel Young Bigham 1800-1887, Peninah Q. Bigham 1802-????, Martin Van Buren Bigham 1804-1854 and Harvey Washington Bigham 1806-1849 (A passenger who was killed in the explosion of the steamer ‘Louisiana’).

After the family came to Caldwell County, the older children soon started to get married and move out on their own.  William’s father James did not live long after the move to Western Kentucky, for he soon died sometime after August of 1816 and before October of 1816 when letters of administration were given to his two oldest sons David and James.  William’s mother lived on for a few more years, but moved with some of her children down to Carroll County, Tennessee where she died in 1836.

I am not sure exactly what William did when younger, but he more than likely helped with the family farm and other day to day dealings in the wilderness.  However, William soon received a call to preach and from the book, "A History of Kentucky Baptists from 1769 to 1885" by J. H. Spencer we read the following: “William Bigham, was a pious, zealous, and useful minister of Jesus.  He united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in Caldwell County, early in life; and was set apart to the ministry, by that fraternity, about 1822.  He labored several years, first in West Tennessee, and afterwards in the southern part of Missouri: but finally moved back to Kentucky, and settled in Livingston County.  Here he united with the Baptists, and was ordained to the pastoral care of Dyers Hill Church.  In August 1852, he was appointed missionary in the western part of Little River Association, and immediately left for this field of labor.  But he was soon attacked by a malignant fever, of which he died September 23, 1852 in the 56th year of his age.  He had labored in the ministry, with great success, about 30 years.”

This book states that he was set apart by that ministry in about 1822 and went first to west Tennessee.  However, I believe he may have been set apart even earlier then that date because on January 12, 1822 in Cooper County, Missouri he met and married a young woman by the name of Patience Clark who became my 4th great-grandmother.  If you look at a map of Missouri you will see that Cooper County is about halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis and in the middle of that state and not in the southern part of the state.  I have tracked him through census and other types of records and found him in 1830 in Dickson and Hickman Counties in Tennessee.  In 1833 he and Patience are on a deed record in Caldwell County, Kentucky.   In 1836 he is on a tax record in Carroll County, Tennessee and in 1837 William and Patience are selling some land in Tippah County, Mississippi.   By 1840 they are in Dyer County, Tennessee and in 1850 William and Patience and some of their children are in New Madrid County, Missouri.  So he was in West Tennessee and Southern Missouri, but at slightly different times then the book states.  He must not have joined with the Baptist faith until after the 1850 census because on that census it states that he was a Cumberland Presbyterian Minister.  He must have moved back to Kentucky shortly after the 1850 census was taken.

William and Patience moved around a lot and I know they had at least six children, two who were born in Kentucky and four who were born in Tennessee, but none in Missouri at least that I am aware of.  Their oldest child was my 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah Catherine Bigham 1825-1903, who married Samuel Henry Elder; the rest of the children were: Martha Bigham 1829-after 1850, Charles Christopher Bigham 1831-1900, Robert C. Bigham 1833-after 1860, Amelia P. Bigham 1835-after 1850 and William Harrison Bigham Jr. 1838-1922.  As you can see there could have been children born before my grandmother and in between some of the other children, but if there were I do not know their names or ages at this time.  I do have one picture of Sarah Catherine Bigham, which is shown below, but unfortunately none of her siblings or her parents, I wish I did.

As the book stated and thankfully I have the book or I would not have known, William Harrison Bigham, died of a malignant fever on September 23, 1852.  I still have not found when his wife, Patience died but she was still living in 1860 with two of their sons, Robert and William in Pemiscot County, Missouri.

I don’t know a lot about this man, my 4th great-grandfather, William Harrison Bigham, Sr., but I do know he served the Lord and he loved his family, what more needs to be said.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mary Belle Fryar

My great-grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family was Mary Belle Fryar who was born March 16, 1894 in Blackford, Webster County, Kentucky.  She was the oldest child of the ten children born to William Lonzo ‘Lonnie’ Fryar and Ida Ann Hart.  The following is a picture of her parents, my 2nd great-grandparents that I have always loved.  They just look so sweet and I know I was small when they died, but I can remember going to their home there in Crittenden County just outside of the town of Marion.

Belle as she was called had the following siblings: Leva Elmer Fryar born July 31, 1896 married William Franklin Gilland in 1914 and Otis Blanton in 1946 and died April 25, 1989 in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Johnny Virgil Fryar born October 2, 1898 married Levada May Armstrong in 1923 and died December 3, 1927 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Opal Vernon Fryar born May 3, 1902 and died that same year but I don’t know the exact date or if he died the day he was born.  Carrie Elizabeth Fryar born September 16, 1904 and was married at least four times, died February 12, 2001 in Winnsboro, Louisiana.  Lettie Washington Fryar born February 22, 1907 married Raymond Thomas Dickerson in 1924 and died July 2, 1980 in Paducah, Kentucky.  Vera Clama Fryar born August 31, 1910 and died of polio when she was 12 on February 8, 1923 in Livingston County, Kentucky.  Rose Ellen Fryar born December 10, 1913 married Lee Andrew Hunt in 1928 and George C. Kasman in 1960 and died September 11, 1996 in High Ridge, Missouri.  George Clement Fryar born April 29, 1916 married three times, died November 4, 1998 in Marion, Kentucky and the youngest, Ivy Larnie Fryar born November 9, 1920 married twice, died October 13, 1989 in Paducah, Kentucky.

I know I met Aunt Leva and Aunt Lettie when I was just a little kid, but I remember Aunt Carrie quite a bit as we visited with her a number of times and were able to get copies of old pictures she had of the family.  I probably met Aunt Rose and Uncle Larnie too when I was a kid, but I can’t remember for sure.   But my Uncle George, I remember really well and was in his home many times.  Me and my Papaw, Ermon Fraley, who was the son of Belle and therefore the nephew to George Fryar use to meet Uncle George at the Marion CafĂ© there in Marion, Kentucky and have lunch with him many times when I would go back home for a visit.  I remember when my Papaw died, Uncle George came up from Marion to Hebbardsville to see my Papaw and how he cried to seeing him lying there in bed, they were not only family, but best friends, being only 2 years difference in age.  Uncle George told us later that he had never thought Papaw favored the Fryar side of the family, until he saw him lying there in the bed and he said he looked just like his Daddy, Lonnie.

Belle had a pretty normal childhood, she attended school and helped with the chores around the house and with the younger children.  Pretty soon however, she met a young man who made her heart do flips and soon they were engaged to be married.  Belle was only 17 and Robert Ermon ‘Bob’ Fraley was almost 20 years old when they got married and so they needed their parents’ permission to marry, since they were both under the age of 21.   Lonnie gave permission for Belle to marry and Robert’s mother Levy Fraley gave permission for her boy to marry since his father had passed away when he was just 14 years old.  Belle and Bob were married at her parents’ home just outside of the town of Salem in Livingston County, Kentucky on June 18, 1911.  The witnesses to their marriage were David C. Loveless and Lewis J. Ross and they were married by C. R. Stevens a Justice of the Peace.  The following picture was taken on the day they were married.

Shortly after their marriage Belle and Bob loaded up their belongings and moved to New Madrid County, Missouri.  Bob’s brother, John and his family as well as some of the McDaniel family, his mother’s people, were living there too.  Bob knew there was work to be had and so they left Belle’s family in Kentucky and started their new life in Missouri.  Pretty soon Bob was cutting timber in the swamps and Belle took care of their little cabin and soon found she was pregnant with their first child, a little girl who was born on March 11, 1913 in Kewanee in New Madrid County and was named Corene.  A little over 18 months later a little boy joined their family who they named Ermon Edward Fraley, he was born October 19, 1914 also in Kewanee.  This little boy became my grandfather, my Momma’s daddy.

Life was moving right along for this little family, they now had two children, work was good and things were looking up.  This next picture was taken of Corene and Ermon probably late 1915, since my Papaw looks like he could be around a year or so old.

I know I have seen at least one other picture of my great-grandmother Belle, but I can’t for the life of me find it now.  I believe my Mom had it in one of her albums, so it could be in some of the boxes I have here at my house that I haven’t gone through yet since my Mom passed away.  I thought I had scanned most of Momma and Daddy’s old pictures but apparently I haven’t.  L

Life was soon to change for this little family.  Family stories say that Belle was pregnant with her third child, when the Influenza Pandemic hit the world in 1918 and ended up killing 50 to 100 million people worldwide, in one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.  The nickname of this pandemic was the Spanish Flu, since it was reported that Spain was especially hard hit.  My family was soon to join in that sadly unfortunate statistic.

I have the last letter Belle wrote, which was dated December 7, 1918 in Kewanee, Missouri.  She tells how sick everyone has been including her husband, Bob, their two children, Corene and Ermon, as well as others in the family that lived close by.  She never mentions that she had been sick or that she had a baby, but the family stories say that she had a little boy and the baby was really small and she was so sick that she couldn't feed him, and he died.  The story also goes that the ground was so frozen and it was so cold that no one had the strength to dig a grave so they put the baby and Belle in the front room until someone could bury them.  The letter is 5 ½ pages long written in pencil.  My great-aunt, Lillie Fraley Barnes, still had these old letters and gave them to my Papaw, her nephew Ermon, before 1974 and then my Papaw gave them to me in the 1980’s.  The following are the six pages of Belle’s last letter that I now have in my procession.

From the story my great-grandfather, Bob told to my Mom, after he and the children got better, Belle who wasn't as bad, took a turn for the worst and she died late one evening.  They laid her body in the front room with the baby and covered them both up, but sometime later, someone brought out a coffin and placed the mother and baby in it, so that they were no longer laying on the table.  Apparently it was a few days before there were enough men strong enough to go and dig a grave.  

My great-grandfather, Bob, told my Mom that Belle was buried over in Sikeston in Scott County, Missouri.  Papaw, told me that he went with his Daddy, after he was grown to see the grave and have a marker placed on it, but that his Daddy could not remember exactly where it was so they did not get a marker made for her after all.  Papaw, said that his Daddy stood there in the cemetery and cried because he couldn't remember the location of her grave.  I wish I knew the name of the cemetery so I could do some digging of my own and see if I could find some kind of a record for her burial.  There was never an official death certificate for Belle either unfortunately.  If I didn't have this old letter I wouldn't even know what month or year she had passed away.  My great-grandfather could never remember when she had died just that it was winter time and very cold.

My Papaw never liked funerals and I can only assume it was because he had to see his mother and baby brother’s bodies lying in that front room for a few days, before they were buried.  Can you just imagine a little four year old boy, losing his Momma and then not understanding why she wasn't taking care of him like usual, even though she was still in the house with them?

I don’t know the exact date of Belle’s death, but I do know it was in December of 1918, sometime between the 7th and the 17th, because one of Bob’s cousins found Belle’s letter that she never got the chance to mail and then wrote her own two page letter to the people Belle was writing to let them know that Belle was gone.  Belle had been writing to Bob’s sister Lillie Fraley and her husband Bennett Barnes back in Kentucky.   Bob’s cousin was Oma Ready Mays, daughter of Arthur Robert Ready and Sarah Elizabeth McDaniel and Oma’s husband, William Claude Mays, had also died of the influenza just the month before in Sikeston.  They had only been married for two years and had a little girl who was just one when he died.  The following is the two page letter that Oma wrote.

My Mom really favored Belle a lot, at least I have always thought so, and the following picture was taken of my Mom, Erma Jean Fraley, when she was 17 years old, the age Belle was when she got married.  My Mom was also 17 when she married my Dad, Duell Franklin Beard and this is their wedding picture in 1957, 46 years after Belle and Bob's marriage.

At least I was able to meet Belle’s parents and some of her siblings so that I have a little idea of what she may have been like.  I remember her Mom as just a tiny little woman, who was always smiling and seemed really happy and her Dad as always twirling his mustache and smiling too.  Belle’s son, my Papaw, was my idol and I was his little shadow and followed him everywhere till the day he died and I still miss him to this day.  I know my Papaw never got over losing his Momma and neither did his sister, Corene, who I also knew really well.  

Oh how I wish I could have known her too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Alexander Baird/Beard

My ancestor this week is Alexander Beard, who was my 2nd great-grandfather on my Dad’s side of the family, which you probably figured out all ready since my maiden name is Beard too.  J

Alexander Baird was born March 25, 1811 in Abbeville County, South Carolina the son of John Baird born in South Carolina and Catharine McKinney born in Ireland.  The Beard surname was spelt Baird in Ireland and also during the time they lived in South Carolina, but after my line of the Baird family came to Kentucky in the summer of 1817, the surname started being spelled as Beard instead for the most part and especially for my direct line.   Alexander was the 4th child of the 11 children that John and Catharine had together.

I have the names of all eleven children with their full birth dates, because back when I was a kid my Dad, Frank Beard, talked to an older woman in Marion, Kentucky named Nina Ordway who had the old Beard family bible.  I wish I knew whatever happen to that old bible.  I would love to have copies of the bible pages with all the dates listed.  The siblings of Alexander and the other children of John and Catharine listed in the old family bible were: Robert McKinney Beard born January 28, 1806 died before 1880 in Hamilton County, Illinois; Hugh Beard born August 6, 1807 died before 1900 in Crittenden County, Kentucky; John F. Beard born May 14, 1809 died before 1860 in Massac County, Illinois; Simon Beard born April 15, 1813 died 1878 in Crittenden County, Kentucky; William Beard born January 28, 1817 died 1859 in Hamilton County, Illinois; Matthew Beard born December 12, 1818 died before 1880 in Hamilton County, Illinois; Margaret Beard born August 28, 1820 and she may have died young because all I have is her birth date; Catharine Beard born June 30, 1822 died after July 1870 in Pulaski County, Missouri; James Beard born December 12, 1824 and he may have died young because all I have is his birth date and finally, Nancy Agnes Beard born January 21, 1827 died April 18, 1904 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.

Alexander’s father John Baird only lived about 15 years after they came to Kentucky and died when he was about 53 in 1832 in Livingston County in the area which became part of Crittenden County in 1842.  Alexander’s mother Catharine continued to live on for quite some time and two of her children Hugh and Nancy never married and lived with their mother until her death when she was about 93 years old in January of 1873 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Hugh and Nancy continued living in the old log cabin out by the Coleman/Donakey Place.  Not sure when Hugh died but he was still alive in October of 1892 but was dead by 1900.  Family stories say that Nancy was found one afternoon unconscious by the spring, she was 77 years old.

In 1838 Alexander was married and the marriage record reads this way: Alexander (made his X) Beard to Huldah Ford, married February 21, 1838 by William Pippin a Justice of the Peace.  Bond dated February 19, 1838 and bondsman was Cutchings Council.   Alexander Beard of lawful age and Huldah Ford daughter of Lucy Ford whose consent was proven by Cutching Council dated February 20, 1838.  "Mr. James A. Dellem pleas to let Alexander Beaird have his lisons." signed Lusy (made her X) Ford, witnessed by John F. Beaird.   Notice all the different spellings going on in just one record.

Alexander and Huldah soon set up housekeeping and Alexander set up farming for himself and continued in that occupation until his death.  I am not sure if they had any children that died young before the first one I know about, but it was four years after their marriage before their first child was born that I am aware of.  Alexander and Huldah’s children were: Julia Ann Beard born February 22, 1842 who married first James Sisco in 1850 and after his death possibly during the Civil War, she then married George B. Clark in 1865, she had seven children and died July 4, 1911 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Next was, Charlotte Beard and she was born in about 1845, married Lynn Burrell Anderson in 1861, and had three children before she died in 1879 in Hardin County, Illinois.  Next was, Nancy Agnes Beard born about 1847, married Francis M. Knight in 1864 and they apparently divorced before 1880 and she died after 1880 possibly in Logan County, Kentucky.  Next was, William J. Beard born March 1, 1848, married in 1871 to Sarah C. Thompson, they never had any children, he died November 21, 1897 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Next was, Sarah P. Beard born May 14, 1854 and died December 24, 1856 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  Next was, Mary Ann Beard born November 1, 1856, married first Layton Bradford Powell in 1872 and they had six children, he died before 1920 and Mary then married second William Wallace Harness in 1920 and she died March 19, 1940 in Crittenden County, Kentucky. 

This following is a picture of Mary Beard Powell Harness, probably taken in the 1920’s or 1930’s.  I don’t have any pictures of any of the older children of Alexander and Huldah, but I sure wish I did.  Doesn't she look like such a sweetheart…

Alexander and Huldah’s last child was my great-grandfather, George Anderson Beard who was born April 14, 1859, married first to Nellie Elder in 1889 who died in childbirth with their first child in 1890.  George then married my great-grandmother Rose Etta Daniel in 1891 and they had eight children together, before George died in 1924 in Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas.  I don’t have any pictures of Alexander or Huldah, but the following is a picture I have of George Anderson Beard and I would like to think he looked like his Daddy, Alexander.  I think this picture could have been taken around the early 1890’s or so and as you can see George and his sister Mary looked a lot alike.  So was it their father they favored the most or their mother?

Alexander and Huldah probably led a pretty ordinary life, farming and raising their family on a little farm in Western Kentucky.  From everything I have found I don’t believe they ever lived any place else, though some of their children and some of their siblings, did leave the area and went to some of the surrounding states.   I just don’t know a lot about their lives, other than what I have been able to find in a handful of records, I wish I knew more.

I do know from family stories that Alexander was supposed to have died in 1872 in Crittenden County, Kentucky and maybe buried in an unmarked grave at the Coleman/Donakey Cemetery, just like his mother Catherine, brother Hugh and sister Nancy are supposed to be.  To get to this cemetery from Marion you take Hwy 60 West about 4 miles to Hwy 297 and follow that road to the Siloam Church Road then go to the Aldridge Road and turn onto this road, the cemetery is located behind a house on the right.  Alexander’s wife Huldah remarried in 1875 to Anthony Franklin an older gentleman who was 23 years older than her and who was also widowed.  Huldah died in 1905 and was supposed to be buried at the Hurricane Cemetery and apparently is also in an unmarked grave.  Alexander and Huldah’s son William J. Beard and his wife Sarah Thompson are both buried at Hurricane Cemetery and they do have a tombstone.

If anyone that reads this knows more about Alexander and his family I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Levi Bridgewater

My ancestor this week is my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, from my Mom’s side of the family.  Levi was the son of Emanuel Bridgewater, but so far I have not been able to find out who his mother may have been, but I do know Levi had at least three older brothers, Samuel Bridgewater 1749-1827, Isaac Bridgewater ca. 1751 and Elias Bridgewater ca. 1755 and all four fought in the Revolutionary War.   Levi Bridgewater was born in 1761, possibly in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  Everything points to him having been born in Fayette County and I know he enlisted in the Revolutionary War from there in 1776 when he was 15 years old and was married there in 1783 or 1785 when he was 22 or 24 years old, and he is also on the 1786 Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Septennial Census as well.

Here is what I do know for a fact, is that Levi enlisted January 20, 1776 according to his pension records in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania under Captain James Neil, commanded by Colonel William Russell of the 13th Virginia Regiment for 3 years.   Levi was only 15 years old at the time of his enlistment.  Levi’s pension record goes on to say that early in the spring they marched down and joined General George Washington’s Army at the Cross Roads in Pennsylvania.  He also says that he was discharged at Pittsburgh by Colonel Richard Campbell.  Unfortunately he doesn't state any of the battles he may have been in, but after looking up information about his regiment online, I found that they fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and they were at Valley Forge that terrible winter.  I also found that Levi had become part of the 9th Regiment of Muhlenberg’s Brigade when he was at Valley Forge that winter.   He was also a drummer boy and was standing guard in April of 1778 at Valley Forge before his company moved out.  Levi’s company entered Valley Forge as part of Greene’s Division and left Valley Forge as part of Stirling’s Division.   Levi ended up serving for three years and 2 months by the time he was discharged at Pittsburgh. 

The following picture and info were found at: http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/landon.html

Often dismissed as a minor function, the Regimental or Company drummer was a key and critical member of his unit. During the American Revolution, the drum served the same purpose as does the bugle today.  It was the regimental drummer that transmitted the orders by means of his drum. Numerous drum calls existed.  An officer could summon his officers, sergeants, or the entire Regiment just by having his drummer sound the appropriate drum beat.  During battle, the sound of the drums actually communicated between different units engaged.  A drum beat could order a withdrawal or an attack, it could speed the men up, or slow them down.   It was most important.

Until I started writing this bio about my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, and a drummer boy to boot, I did not know he had been at Valley Forge, just like my 4th great-grandfather, Moses Woosley that I wrote about last week.   I had never stopped and taken the time to research what battles or places Levi may have been in.  It is so cool to know that I have two ancestors that were at Valley Forge that winter, one from my Mom’s side and one from my Dad’s side and to have found that out the month that has President’s Day in it is even better, since General George Washington was there with both of them.   It makes me wonder if Levi and Moses could have meet and known each other while they were there and if they did I am sure neither of them could have ever fathomed the fact that they would share a granddaughter 180 years later.

I found the following picture and because there was a drummer boy in it I wanted to include it in this bio of Levi Bridgewater.  I found it online at: http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/ValleyForge.html

George Washington astride his charger, as depicted by painter Edward P. Moran.

You can also go to the following website: http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/index.asp and put in my two ancestor’s names, Levi Bridgewater and Moses Woosley, to see what it says about both of them.  By the way I just found this website myself, there are so many websites for searching that it is hard to keep up with all of them.  The website I just mentioned above is dedicated to the men who were at Valley Forge and it has the following about that winter and spring.  “There were no military battles fought here” is a sentiment expressed by many that know of and visit Valley Forge.  However, that is only a part truth and misleading at best. Washington noted in his journal that he fully expected to be attacked by the British, a mere day’s march away in Philadelphia.  What took place during the encampment at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778 dramatically altered the future course of events in the fight for independence.  On June 19, 1778 George Washington’s Continental Army marched out of the Valley Forge encampment, having endured six months of challenging hardships. Yet positive changes also took place during the winter encampment.  The army was larger, more unified and officially trained for battle than when they arrived.  The new newly trained army was prepared to engage the British Army that had departed Philadelphia and were now in retreat to New Jersey.”   I am so proud of the service my ancestor gave to this growing country.

Also found this map of Valley Forge to give you an idea where Levi and his regiment would have been encamped and I circled in red his company.  ("Encampment at Valley Forge 1778" by George W. Boynton (engraving) - Sparkes, Jered "The Life of George Washington" Boston: Tappen & Dennet 1843" The Cooper Collections of American History" (uploader's private collection) Scanned by the uploader, Centpacrr.. Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Encampment_at_Valley_Forge_1778.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Encampment_at_Valley_Forge_1778.jpg)

On June 1, 1783 or 1785 both years are given in Levi’s pension records in Beesontown, later named Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania Levi married Patience Stillwell.  I tend to believe the year of their marriage was 1785, because if the year of birth Patience gave in her widow’s pension is correct she would have only been 13 in 1783, but 15 in 1785.  However if they were married in 1785, then their oldest child Elias Bridgewater was born a little over 3 months later, which by the way was not an uncommon occurrence.   Patience also stated in her widow’s pension, that they had been married by Isaac Sutton a Minister of the Gospel and banns were published three weeks earlier.  Patience I believe was the daughter of Joseph Stillwell and Patience Brewer (Brauer).  I still need more research to verify this fact, but everything points to them as her parents.  The following map of Pennsylvania shows the county that Levi and Patience lived in circled in yellow.

Levi and Patience lived in George’s Township in Fayette County, Pennsylvania at least until 1789 and had their first three children born there.  By 1790 they had moved to Kentucky and settled in Nelson County where their next two children were born, then by 1794 they were over in Shelby County where the next two were born, then to Hardin County for another child’s birth, then to Jackson County for one more, then back up to Shelby County for the last three children’s births.  The following map of Kentucky shows the counties they lived in circled in yellow.

Levi and Patience Bridgewater’s 12 children were: Elias Bridgewater 1785-1855, Eleanor (Ellen) Bridgewater 1787-before 1860 (my direct line ancestor), Jack Bridgewater 1789 - ? , Isaac Bridgewater 1790-1874, Daniel Bridgewater 1792 - after 1850, Polly Bridgewater 1794 – after 1822, Rebekah Bridgewater 1797 - after 1860, Joseph Bridgewater 1880-1881, Solomon B. Bridgewater 1803 - after 1850, twins Elisha Bridgewater 1805 - after 1829 and Elijah Bridgewater 1805 - after 1860 and John Bridgewater 1807 - after 1830.

By 1812 Levi and Patience and most of their children had moved up into Indiana and lived first in Clark County, then Scott County, then Orange County and Washington County.   They were moving up in there while Shawnee Indians were raiding and killing settlers left and right.  One of Levi’s nieces and her family were completely wiped out during the Pigeon Roost Massacre in 1812 in Scott County, their names were Kesiah Bridgewater, her husband Elias Payne and their seven children.  The following map of Indiana shows the counties they lived in circled in yellow.

Levi received bounty land warrants for his service during the war, so until I can dig further into land records in Kentucky and Indiana I am not sure where exactly his land might have been located.  In 1830 Levi and Patience were living in Orange County, Indiana according to the census records, but the pension record states Levi died on September 30, 1831 in Washington County, Indiana which is right next door to Orange County.  Patience continued living in Orange County and was living with their son, Elijah Bridgewater in 1850, but sometime after September 1851 and before March 1852 Patience also died.  The cemetery which Levi and Patience are both buried in, is the Trimble Cemetery in Northeast Township in Orange County, Indiana.   Their son Isaac Bridgewater and his wife, Mildred Akers are also buried in this cemetery.

Thus ended the life of a drummer boy during the Revolutionary War and another American Patriot, my 6th great-grandfather, Levi Bridgewater, what a heritage to descend from.