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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Joseph Clark

My ancestor this week is my fourth great-grandfather, Joseph Clark, who comes from my Dad’s side of the family through his mother, Jessie Doss.  Joseph Clark was born in 1770, in Bedford County, Virginia and was the son of Bowling Clark and Winifred Buford.  I have yet to find a full birth or death date for Joseph, just the years.  Joseph was the youngest child, of the nine known children, born to Bowling and Winifred.  The children of Bowling and Winifred were born in Hanover, Louisa, Albemarle and Bedford Counties in Virginia.  Why so many different counties I do not know, it could be they were just moving on to different properties.  I know that the Clark family owned a lot of land throughout Virginia.  The following map shows the counties they lived in circled in red.  The first children were born in Hanover then Louisa, Albemarle and the last two in Bedford County.  You can find the following map and other United States county maps at this link: http://www.censusfinder.com/county-maps.htm

Joseph’s siblings were: Christopher Clark born February 28, 1743-????, Elizabeth Clark November 12, 1744-????, Bowling Clark 1747-????, Micajah Clark December 3, 1749-December 22, 1838 married Lurna Johnson, Edward Clark 1751-????, Zachariah Clark 1753-????, David Clark 1755-August 15, 1825 married Charity Boone and Jonathan Clark May 20, 1759-March 19, 1851 married Jane Rogers.  You will probably notice that there was eleven years between Joseph and his brother Jonathan, so there could have been other children born to Bowling and Winifred that I know nothing about.  The majority of my Clark’s were Quakers in Virginia, and that is where some of the birth dates came from is from old Quaker records.  I know they were starting to fall away from the Quaker Church though and so that could be why I haven’t found other birth dates or children and the records may no longer exist either.

The Clark family, as I said previously, owned quite a bit of land in Virginia with large plantations and a number of slaves.  Joseph would have had to learn the day to day dealings of running a plantation, farming, trading, etc.  Sometime around 1790, Joseph met and married a young girl by the name of Mary Ann Golden who was a daughter of Richard Golding/Golden and Sarah Wilmoth.  The Golden family had lived in Orange County, Virginia where Mary Ann was born in about 1774, but sometime before 1784 the Golden family had moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina where Richard Golden had been granted 640 acres of land.  Family stories have always called Richard Golden, Chief Golden, believing he was an Indian, but DNA is not showing any kind of Indian blood in me or others who descend from this man, that I am aware of at this time.  From what I have found so far, I believe the Golding family was from England.  I have yet to find the actual marriage date for Joseph and Mary Ann, but I am assuming they married in South Carolina, since that is where their first six children were born in what was then Pendleton District, but is now part of Anderson and Pickens Counties.

Joseph and Mary Ann had at least eleven known children, six of which were born in South Carolina before they left and moved to Christian County, Kentucky in about 1803, where their other five children were born.  The eleven children were: James Cansler Clark 1791-1875 married Hannah Henderson and then Tyressa Johnson, Lemuel Marion Clark 1793-1847 married Anna Henderson, Rachel Clark 1795-after 1841 married her cousin David Clark, Alfred Clark 1798-1809, Susannah Clark 1800-1809, Eusiba Clark 1802-1822 married Dr. John M. Brown, Jonathan Clark 1804-after 1841 married Miss Journegan, Joab Clark 1807-1882 married Elizabeth Brasher, Mary A. Brasher and Nancy B. Brasher, Lucetta Clark 1809-1883 married Reed Renshaw (My direct line), Samuel Clark 1810-before 1839 married Marcella P. Pennington and Harriet Clark 1811-1869 married Larkin Tarrence Brasher. 

I don’t know a lot about Joseph, but I know he owned a plantation and was Sheriff of Christian County, Kentucky from 1826 to 1827.  Some family stories say that he set his slaves free after coming to Kentucky, but I have yet to find any record of that fact.  I do have a copy of Joseph’s will and he mentions lands and property, but he doesn’t mention any slaves by name, so he may very well have freed any he had after coming to Kentucky.  Joseph’s son, Joab’s three wives and daughter Harriet’s husband, were siblings and children of Thomas Brasher and Catherine Croft.  Also Joab Clark was one of the first Universalist preachers west of the Alleghenies and a Kentucky State Representative in 1846.   The following is a picture of Joab Clark that was in the History of Christian County, Kentucky.  I wish I had a clearer picture, but he was a handsome man.  The next picture is of James Cansler Clark which I found on www.findagrave.com added by David Sterling May.  James Cansler Clark in the year 1833 or 1834 was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature, serving one term and he also served as Justice of the Peace in Kentucky for many years.  The next picture I posted in a previous ancestor story on Reed Renshaw and maybe of Lucetta Clark and her husband Reed Renshaw.  I wish I had pictures of some of the other children of Joseph Clark, but at least I have the following ones.

In 1809 there must have been some type of epidemic going on because two of Joseph’s children, Alfred and Susannah, died just a couple of weeks apart from each other, Samuel in August and Susannah in September.  I cannot imagine losing a child, but to lose two of them in a matter of weeks must have been heart wrenching, for Joseph and Mary Ann.   Joseph lost another daughter, Eusiba in 1822, and then before 1838 he lost his wife, Mary Ann.  I have yet to find the actual date or year for Mary Ann or Eusiba’s deaths.  Then sometime after February of 1830 and before January 1839, he apparently lost his son, Samuel Clark as well.

Joseph left a will in Christian County, Kentucky and from Will Book L, pages 275-276, we read as follows: I Joseph Clark of the county of Christian and State of Kentucky do hereby make my last will and testament in manner & form following that is to say, 1st - I desire after my decease that my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid.  2nd - having given in my lifetime land and other property to my Sons James C., Lemuel, Johnathan and Joab Clark, it is my will and desire that the Residue of my property both real and personal be sold at the discretion of my executors and that in addition to what I have given my daughters the proceeds thereof be equally divided between my daughters, Rachel Clark, Lucetta Renshaw, Harriet Brasher and my granddaughter, Eusiba Clark Brown making her an equal legatee with my three daughters.  Lastly I do hereby constitute my sons Lemuel Clark & James C. Clark executors of this my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 21st day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred & thirty nine.  Signed Sealed published and declared as and for the Last Will and Testament of the above named Joseph Clark in presence of us.  Jos. Clark (seal), P. H. Clark, Jos. H. Clark & Minerva Clark. 

Codicil: Whereas my son James C. Clark this day, to wit, the 21st  January 1839 Executed to me four notes of hand for the sum of thirty four dollars & fifty cents each the first due 21st January 1840 the 2nd 21st January 1841, the 3rd 21st January 1842 and the 4th note due 21st January 1843 it is further my will and desire that after my decease whatever may remain unpaid of the aforesaid note be forgiven my son James C. Clark and that he shall be entitled to said note without paying anything more than what may have been paid at my decease provided I reside with him when that event takes place, but if I shall reside elsewhere so much of the aforesaid notes is excepted as may be sufficient to remunerate those with whom I may reside at the time of my decease Signed Sealed published & declared as a Codicil to the last will and testament of the above Joseph Clark in presence of us.  Jos. Clark (seal), P. H. Clark, Jos. H. Clark & Minerva Clark

Commonwealth of Kentucky, County of Christian to wit: I Abraham Stiles the Clerk of the County court of Christian County aforesaid do hereby certify that this Last Will of Jos. Clark deceased was on this day produced in Open Court & having been proven by the Oaths of Presley H. Clark and Jos. H. Clark two of the subscribing witnesses and Ordered to be recorded --- Whereupon the said will together with the foregoing certificate hath been duly admitted to record in my Office Given under my hand the 8th day of March 1842.  Abraham Stiles

I don’t have the actual date of Joseph Clark’s death, but I know it had to be after he wrote his will on January 21, 1839 and before it was probated in open court on March 8, 1842.  Family records have always said that he died in 1841, but no month or day was ever recorded, at least not that I have found.

From Virginia to South Carolina to Kentucky, Joseph traveled well-worn trails, following land or family it is not known for sure.  He left a very large posterity, many of whom became, doctors, lawyers, judges and political figures, serving in state legislatures in Kentucky and Illinois that I know of for certain.  I am sure he would be proud of the things most of his descendants have accomplished over the years.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

John Corlett McNeil

I am going to be telling about another one of my husband’s ancestors this week, instead of one of my own.   This man is just my husband’s great-grandfather, his father’s grandfather, whose name was John Corlett McNeil.  John was born January 10, 1823 in Santan in the sheading of Middle on the Isle of Man, and was christened at St. Ann’s in Santan, January 12, 1823.  John was the son of Richard McKneale and Ann Corlett.   For your information the Isle of Man is divided into six sheadings: Ayre, Glenfaba, Garff, Michael, Rushen and Middle.  Sheadings could be compared I guess you could say to counties here in America or a shire in England, Scotland or Wales.   The Isle of Man for those that might not know is an island located between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea and is a British Crown dependency today.

The following is the christening record from the church at St. Ann in Santan, for John McNeil.  My husband’s grandmother, Annie Francis McNeil Thompson, said her father’s middle name was Corlett, but I have yet to find a record where he uses that name or the initial C.

John’s parents were married May 22, 1820 also at St. Ann’s and John was the oldest son and the second child of his parents.  John’s siblings were: Jane Eleanor McNeil 1821-before 1829, William McNeil 1825-1882 in Cleveland, Ohio; Richard McNeil 1827-after 1852 possibly in Australia; Jane McNeil Caine 1829-after 1850 probably on the Isle of Man; Harriet McNeil Kissack 1833-1916 on the Isle of Man and Ann McNeil Sayle Fayle 1838-1902 on the Isle of Man.  According to family stories, John’s father Richard McKneale 1795-1861 was a master linen weaver, as was John’s grandfather, Richard McKneale 1762-1848.  If you have ever heard about Irish linens and know how fine they are, and what it takes to make them, then you will know what a master linen weaver was. 

I have been able to trace the McNeil/McKneale/Kneale line back to 1705 and they were still on the Isle of Man.  I do not have a picture of John’s father, but I do have one of his mother Ann Corlett McKneale, 1797-1872, and it is the following. 

From a life sketch that was written by either one of his children or grandchildren, there is not a name with it, we read that: “John went to school on the Isle of Man, and at a very early age became an apprentice to a shoemaker, however, he had a desire to become a sailor, and at the age of fourteen, went to sea as a cabin boy, visiting South and Central America, the West Indies, the British Isles, and other countries.  He sailed the seas for eight years and at the age of twenty-two returned to the Isle of Man and took up the shoe making business, as well as giving private music lessons on the side”. John is not on the 1841 census with his parents and siblings, nor can I find him anywhere else on the island, so it is possible he was still at sea.   If John was twenty-two as the story says when he returned to the Isle of Man, then that would make it around the year 1845.

I can only imagine the kind of life he led and the things he saw while sailing around the world as a young man, but can you imagine the stories he could tell his future children and grandchildren?  Anyway, after coming back to the island, he soon met his future bride, Margaret Cavendish, 1827-1854, and they were married October 9, 1847 in Malew in the sheading of Rushen on the Isle of Man.   The following year their only child, John Edward McNeil was born.  John Edward McNeil, 1848-1915, lived in Utah, Arizona and Mexico and was a scout for General Blackjack Pershing during the Mexican Revolution.  The following is a picture of John Edward McNeil.

From the life sketch I mentioned earlier we read: “John McNeil possessed a deep spiritual nature and gave much thought to religion and the salvation of his soul.  It was this spiritual disposition that led to the investigation of the teachings of several churches such as, the Ranter’s, Methodists, and the Church of England, to which he belonged for some time, however he was not satisfied and did not find the comfort he sought in any of these beliefs.  One day he met and conversed with a Latter Day Saint Missionary, a Mormon.  He became interested at once and began investigating their doctrines, as he had the teachings of the other churches.  He was thrilled with the spiritual truths that this new doctrine brought forth.  When he spoke of these things to his wife, relatives and friends, he was met with sneers and ridicule.  He attended the meetings where the missionaries spoke and took part in the discussions, but thought it best not to join the church until his wife could be induced to at least be tolerant toward this new religion.  About this time, Margaret, who was always frail and often unable to go about her work, again became ill, and was taken once more to her mother's home.  It was feared she would not recover, however, she did become well enough to return to her own home.  One day the Mormon Elders came, and laid theirs hands on her head, promising that if she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and was faithful, she would never again be an invalid and bedfast.  The pain left her and she was restored to health.  This was a testimony of the power of God, and the efficacy of prayer, which she could not deny.  She was baptized April 4, 1851 and a month later on May 6, 1851 John McNeil was baptized.”  Why John joined a month later I am not sure, you would think he would have been baptized at the same time as his wife, but those are the dates that have been passed down as to his and Margaret’s dates of baptism.

The following picture of John, was supposed to have been taken when he was around 27 years old, so that puts it about 1850 to 1851 for the year.  The next picture is of my father-in-law, Floyd Thompson, age 27 in 1940, and next my brother-in-law, Dan Thompson at the age of 18 in 1968.  I have always thought they both looked so much like their grandfather and great-grandfather, John Corlett McNeil.

John and his family had a desire to come to America and join with the Saints in Utah and so worked towards that end.  In January of 1852 they left the Isle of Man and went to Liverpool, England where they worked to get the necessary funds to take a ship to America.  Finally on April 6, 1853 they left from Liverpool, England on board the ship ‘Camillus’ for America arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana in May, 1853.  John worked as a cook aboard this ship, during their travels to America, to help pay for his wife and sons passage.  John’s brothers, William and Richard McNeil, according to the family stories were also supposed to be on this ship, but they are not listed as passengers, so they may have been part of the crew.  Can you just imagine being at sea for almost two months with a four year old little boy.  My grandkids would be going bonkers, cooped up in a tiny place with nowhere to run around.  The following is the ship passenger list showing John, Margaret and John Jr.  You will notice they are using the spelling of McKneale here, but pretty much by the time they were in Utah, it was McNeil, which the family in America has carried on to this day.

I could not find a picture of the Camillus, but I did find a picture of what a typical packet ship would have looked like that would have brought emigrants from England to America in the 1850’s at this link: http://richardnelson.org/Parent-Frost%20Website/JournalofForsgrenCompanyMaster1.htm

The family left a short time after their arrival in New Orleans and went up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri arriving there in June of 1853.   While living here in St. Louis, John’s wife Margaret took sick and died on June 27, 1854.  I am not sure what the cause was or if it had something to do with the illness that she had suffered from while she lived on the Isle of Man.  I do know that there was a lot of malarial fever and cholera around St. Louis during this time period, so that may have been part of the problem.  John and his son John Jr. continued on without their wife and mother, until John met a young woman who had come from England with her family in 1849, they had also joined the church and wanted to go to the Salt Lake Valley.  On December 14, 1854 in St. Louis, John married Mary Jane Quinn 1840-1910 and yes she was just 14 almost 15 years old.   John and Mary Jane became the parents of eleven children with the first three being born while they still lived in St. Louis.  The three born in St. Louis and their names were: Thomas McNeil 1855-1913, William Richard McNeil 1856-1933 and Mary Jane McNeil Kirkham 1858-1892.

John and his family lived there in St. Louis and worked to earn the money needed to outfit themselves to continue their travels on to the Salt Lake Valley.  It took until April 1, 1859 before they were finally able to leave for Utah from St. Louis.  By the time they arrived at the outfitting post in Council Bluffs, Iowa the wagon company they were to travel with had already left for the Salt Lake Valley.  John did not want to wait another year to join the Saints in Utah, so they loaded up their wagon and journeyed across the plains all by themselves.  From what I have always heard and from what I have been able to find so far, this is the only known crossing by a single emigrant family. 

One of the stories told in the family about this journey is the following.  Somewhere in Nebraska or maybe in Wyoming a large group of Indians came charging up over a rise and completely circled the wagon.  John on seeing them coming, said to his wife Mary Jane, “Do not act afraid and be very quiet”.   The Indians circled and scream war cries at the terrified wife and children and then one of the Indians came right up to the wagon and ask them where the rest of their company was.  John apparently unafraid or a very good actor told the Indian they were traveling by themselves.  The Indian rode off and then they started circling and screaming war cries again, John set on the wagon seat and remained calm, but whispered back to Mary to get the large wooden bowl and fill it with the sea biscuits he had in his trunk.   John’s trunk he had used while a cabin boy was completely filled with sea biscuits, which Mary had thought was a waste of time to bring with them since she apparently did not like them.  There were so many Indians, so the story goes that the huge bowl of sea biscuits was passed around until the trunk was empty.  The same Indian rode back up to John after the last bowlful was passed around and said, “Crazy white man”, and then they all rode off as quickly as they had come up.  I am sure there are other stories that could be told about this trip, I know they were stuck in sand, almost washed away in the Platte River and I am sure there were others, but for now it is time to go on to something else.

John and his family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in August of 1859, first living in the area now known as Woods Cross and then eventually in the area known now as Bountiful.  John’s rock home in Bountiful is on the Utah Historical Homes register and the following are a couple of pictures we took of it last year in 2014.  The time before that we had stopped by, there was a man outside that we talked to and he was a descendant of John McNeil and Mary Jane Quinn and he said there had always been a McNeil/Quinn living in this home since the day it had been built.  We saw no one around this time, but I am assuming there is still a McNeil descendant still living there today.

The rest of John McNeil and Mary Jane Quinn’s eleven children were born there in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah and their names were the following: Robert Corlett McNeil 1860-1916, Joseph Henry McNeil 1862-1921, George Quinn McNeil 1865-1943, Charles Hyrum McNeil 1867-1934, Margaret Jane McNeil Schmidt 1869-1937, Elizabeth Ann McNeil Fuller 1872-1961, David McNeil 1875-1912, and Harriet Jeannette McNeil Bradshaw 1877-1962.   The following is a picture of Mary Jane Quinn McNeil taken in Bountiful, but I am not sure what year and one of John McNeil taken in about 1874, so that could be about when Mary Jane’s was taken as well.

On September 12, 1868 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, John took as his plural wife, Mary Ann Smith 1853-1944 and yes she was also 15 when she married, who was from England and had come with her parents to Utah in 1862.  Mary Ann had been living with her parents in Porterville, Morgan County, Utah and after her marriage to John he brought her to live with his wife Mary Jane and her children.  Mary Jane wasn’t really thrilled with John taking a second wife and so John built a dugout in the hill behind their home where Mary Ann lived and raised her children.   John now had two wives and eight children and before long there would be even more children added to his family.  The following picture was taken after the funeral of Mary Jane Quinn McNeil in Bountiful, Utah in 1910 and is supposed to be of all of her surviving children and a picture of her daughter who had died in 1892, which would have been eleven children all together.  However, there are twelve people in this picture, so there are two of them that I am not sure of, possibly Mary Ann’s children.  If anyone sees this picture and knows who everyone is in it, I would love to find that information out.  John and Mary Jane are the little circles that someone added into the picture.

Mary Ann soon added to John’s children when the following children were born in Bountiful and they were: Sarah Alice McNeil Mills 1870-1958, Daniel McNeil 1873-1948, Ephraim Smith McNeil 1874-1962, Lillias McNeil Dalton 1876-1961 and Hannah McNeil Goodman 1878-1960.  In 1878 John was called to go and settled in Arizona and so he planned on taking his wife Mary Jane and her children since they were older, but Mary Jane refused to go.  So John took his five young children and Mary Ann who was pregnant with their sixth child and headed to Arizona in the summer of 1879.  John and Mary Ann’s son, Angus Smith McNeil, was born July 6, 1879 and died August 8, 1879 in Kanab, Kane County, Utah and was buried there in Kanab in one of Jacob Hamblin’s plots.

Soon after Angus died the family continued on to Arizona, going over the backbone and crossing at Lee’s Ferry and settled in Walker in Apache County, Arizona where they were living when the 1880 census was taken.  By December of 1880 they had moved over into Showlow, Navajo County, Arizona where the rest of John and Mary Ann’s fourteen children were born.  The rest of the children were the following: Benjamin McNeil 1880-1956, Althera McNeil Peterson Evans 1883-1912, James Hibbert McNeil 1885-1886, Jesse Smith McNeil 1887-1955, Annie Frances McNeil Thompson 1890-1989 (my husband, Roy’s grandmother), Willie Smith McNeil 1892-1892, Frederick McNeil 1893-1921 and Don Carlos McNeil 1896-1966. 

Things were hard for the family there in Arizona and there were Indian problems here too, even though the Apache were starting to be put on reservations, they were still wreaking havoc here and there.  John continued his trade as a shoemaker, but also was well known for his doctoring abilities and was often called upon by the white’s as well as the Mexican’s and Indians to come and doctor anyone from broken bones to regular every day colds, that back in those days could be fatal if not taken care of quickly.  They also raised and sheared sheep, as well as farmed to make a living and to feed his ever growing family.   John was known up in Utah as well as in Arizona and Mexico for his musical abilities too and was leading the music or helping make musical productions to entertain those in the areas where he lived.  I believe the following picture of John and Mary Ann may have been taken in Arizona before they went to Mexico, but I am not sure on the date of it.  We have an original of this picture hanging in our living room in an old oval frame.

John had gone back up to Utah, quite a few times to visit his wife and children there, but would always come back to Arizona as soon as he could.  In 1896 when John was 73 years old, his last child was born and soon after John was called to go and settle down in the Mormon Colonies in Old Mexico.  Again with Mary Ann and most of their children in tow, they packed up their belongings and headed towards Mexico and a new life down there.  The older boys herded the sheep which numbered over 100, John drove a wagon with their goods and John’s oldest son by his first wife, John Edward McNeil, who had already moved to Mexico with his wife and children, had come up to help his father and he drove another wagon with the family possessions.  Mary Ann, my husband’s great-grandmother, kept a journal of their travels to Mexico and their time there, and it is a wonder any of them survived.  Food was scarce, Indians would run off the sheep and steal anything that wasn’t tied down and they were always hungry she said many times throughout her journal.

The following picture I have always loved, is one of my husband’s grandmother, Annie Frances McNeil Thompson, standing, with her mother Mary Ann Smith McNeil who is setting.  I am not sure on the date of this one but I believe it could have been around the time of John’s death in 1909.

The family settled in Colonia Morelos in Sonora, Mexico.  John continued his doctoring, raising sheep and farming to support his family.   John’s health had been failing and he could not do too much and so had to rely on his wife Mary Ann and his children, John suffered a stroke and on August 20, 1909 he passed away at the age of 86 and was buried there in Colonia Morelos the following day.  Shortly after Mary Ann and some of her children moved up into Douglas, Arizona where she worked at all kinds of jobs to support herself and her family.  By 1920 Mary Ann and some of her children, moved back up to Showlow where she lived out the remainder of her days, dying there in 1944 at the age of 91 years.  The following pictures were taken at her funeral, of her surviving sons and daughters.

There are so many more stories that could be told about John and his family and I have lots of old pictures of this family as well, but I am already running behind getting this story out for the week that I need to bring things to a close.

John Corlett McNeil, cabin boy, shoemaker, doctor, musical director and husband to three wives and 26 children and too many grandchildren to count, without missing someone.   His daughter Annie Frances had 8 children and 39 grandchildren, if I counted correctly, so you can just imagine how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren there were all together for John. 

John was a stalwart in the new faith he had chosen to the very end and went where he was called to go without hesitation, may we as his descendants show just as much faith and perseverance.

Monday, June 15, 2015

John Thornton

The man I am talking about this week is another one from my Mom’s side of the family.  His name was John Thornton and he was born December 24, 1786 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and he is my fifth great-granduncle.  John was the oldest son of William Thornton and Sarah Jane Allison who were natives of County Donegal, Ireland.  John’s parents had left Ireland with their two oldest daughters and come to America sometime around 1783, in the midst of the Revolutionary War and the rest of their children were born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  John’s siblings were the following: Katherine Thornton 1780-1785, Marjorie Thornton 1782-1866 (She never married and kept house for her brother William.), Mary Thornton Treadway 1784-before 1814 (My direct line, she married Joel Treadway.) and William Thornton 1788-1872 (He never married and was a Judge in Ray County, Missouri.)

John along with his parents and siblings left Pennsylvania and were in Clark County, Kentucky by 1794, but apparently they had lived in Virginia for a time before coming to Kentucky.  According to the following deposition given by William Thornton, which was found in some Fayette County, Kentucky records we read: “Deposition taken August 24, 1796 before Philemon Thomas and Thomas Wood at a salt lick in Mason County called Fowler's Lick........ ‘In 1785, I lived within a half a mile of Frederick Fraley's mill in Castlewood (Russell County, Virginia) and moved to Clark County, Kentucky about Christmas of 1794’".   Even though this record says he was in Castlewood in 1785, I believe he hadn’t moved his family down there from Pennsylvania yet, because all the records I have found so far say that Mary, John and William were all born in Pennsylvania.  John’s father owned at least 200 acres in Clark County, Kentucky.  What I find so interesting about this record is that John and his parents lived by Frederick Fraley.  This Thornton line of mine is through my Fraley side of the family, but I have never been able to connect my Fraley’s with Frederick Fraley’s line, but I believe there may be a connection somewhere though.

After 1810 and before 1817, John along with his brother, William left Kentucky and headed to Missouri were they first settled in Howard County, Missouri.   John’s future bride, Elizabeth Trigg, who had also lived in Clark County, Kentucky came with her parents, Gen. Stephen Trigg (old Indian War veteran and also War of 1812 veteran) and his wife Elizabeth Clark to Howard County, Missouri in 1818.  John and Elizabeth were married on February 10, 1820 in Old Franklin in Howard County, Missouri.  Shortly thereafter John and Elizabeth and John’s brother William all moved to Clay County, Missouri.   They also owned land in Ray County, Missouri as well.

John’s mother Sarah Jane Allison Thornton died in Clark County, Kentucky in 1824.  The following year John’s father, William Thornton, left Kentucky along with his daughter Marjorie, and his two orphaned grandchildren, William Thornton Treadway 1806-before 1860 (my direct line) and Marjorie Treadway Adams 1804-1881 and her new husband Elkanah Adams 1806-1865, and headed to Clay County, Missouri to join his sons.  John’s sister, Mary Thornton Treadway had died before 1814 and her husband Joel Treadway had died before November of 1823.  John’s father, William Thornton Sr., died in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri in 1835.

John and Elizabeth settled down in Clay County and in 1829 they built a house which was called the ‘Western Farms Plantation’ and also known as the Thornton Mansion, it was located about 5 miles from the town of Liberty in Clay County.  This home was still standing and was relocated in the 1980's to Shoal Creek, Missouri according to a couple of different sources I have run across.  I need to see if I can find out if it is still standing and get a picture of it if possible.  I didn’t find this info until after I had been to Missouri last year so I wasn’t able to look for it myself at that time.

John and Elizabeth soon became the parents of eight children, seven girls and one boy.  These children were the following: Elizabeth Jane Thornton Doniphan 1820-1873 (wife of Gen. Alexander William Doniphan), Caroline Marjorie Thornton Moss 1823-1904 (wife of Capt. Oliver Perry Moss), Adeliza Tinmouth Thornton Morton 1826-1867 (wife of William M. Morton), Susan Melinda Thornton Baldwin McCurdy 1826-after 1901 (wife of James Harris Baldwin & Dr. James Darwin McCurdy), Mary Dinah Thornton Donnell 1829-1906 (wife of Robert Washington Donnell), Frances Anne Thornton Doniphan 1833-1914 (wife of Col. John Thornton), Col. John Calhoun Caldwell Thornton 1834-1887 (husband of Louisa Clementine Archer) and Theodosia Amanda Trigg Thornton Lawson 1836-1935 (wife of Leonidas Moreau Lawson).

Sometime in 1835, John and his wife Elizabeth, had their portraits painted by the up and coming Missouri artist, George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), who is renowned today as one of the classic artists of the early American West.  George Caleb Bingham painted a lot of landscapes and scenes from the American West, which was what he enjoyed doing the most, but he was also a fine portrait painter, which he said, ‘kept him from starving’.   One of my distant Thornton cousins, who lives in Missouri went and got me copies of these two pictures back in the late 1990’s and 1835 was the year he was told that they had been painted.  The following pictures once hung in the rotunda at William Jewel College in Liberty, Missouri and were on loan from a descendant of John and Elizabeth.  I stopped in at William Jewell College in May of 2014 to see if the portraits were still hanging there, but they had been given back to one of the family members who had originally loaned them to the college.  Unfortunately the lady I talked to at the college did not have access to the names of these relatives.

John Thornton was very prominent in Clay and Ray Counties in Missouri and served as a member of the Missouri State House of Representatives from 1824 to 1832 and again in 1836 and was also Speaker of the Missouri State House of Representatives from 1828 to 1830.  John also served in the militia as a Colonel, commanding the 28th Regiment of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division of the Missouri Militia, from 1824 to 1829 on the extreme western border of Missouri, during the Indian troubles.  He was one of the first county justices in Clay and Ray Counties, serving from April 1821 to March 1822 and had been appointed to this position by Governor McNair.

The area that John and his family lived in is where members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon’s, had come to settle in the 1830’s.  There was much persecution towards this religious group during the time that they were there.  John, seemed to be fairly helpful to the Mormons during their trials in Missouri, but efforts to keep the Mormons out of Clay County failed, because of the influence of Alexander Doniphan, who was John’s son-in-law and who was also a lawyer for the Prophet Joseph Smith and other just men.  The increasing numbers of Mormon immigrants into the county continued to create a feeling of alarm amongst the Missourian’s.  On June 29, 1836 a citizens meeting was called and Alexander Doniphan and five other men, including Col. John Thornton and David R. Atchison, were chosen to draft a resolution asking the Mormons to leave the county before violence erupted.  The Mormon’s agreed to move at the first opportunity, and accepted an offer to help them select a new location.  John’s oldest daughter Elizabeth was married to Alexander Doniphan.  You can find many pictures of Alexander Doniphan online, but I took a picture of his statue that stands in front of the courthouse in Richmond, Missouri along with the plaque last year and they are the following.

I have been able to find a couple of pictures of two of John and Elizabeth’s’ children and they are the following, first Elizabeth Jane Thornton Doniphan and next, Caroline Marjorie Thornton Moss.  I even have some of their grandchildren and some of their great-grandchildren as well, but I will not be posting them at this time.

John and his family left a lasting footprint in the western frontier of Missouri, they were some of the founding members of the William Jewell College in Liberty, and they owned lots of land around present day Kansas City, Missouri.  John’s son John C. C. Thornton left Missouri and went to Butte, Montana where he found lots of silver and his family became very prominent in NYC and owned a mansion called Villa Memo at St. James on Long Island and had homes on Park Avenue.  Too bad none of that money came this way in my family.  The following is a picture of this mansion which was demolished in the 1950’s.

From the Liberty Tribune the local newspaper in Liberty, Missouri and from the issued dated, Sunday, October 31, 1847 we read the following: “Colonel John Thornton died on Sunday morning, aged nearly 61 years.”  You would think after having lived in the area for over 20 years and being as prominent as he was there would have been more written, but there wasn’t.  Col. John Thornton died in Liberty on Sunday, October 24, 1847 and was buried at the Fairview Cemetery.   The cemetery is in Liberty on the corners of W. Shrader and S. Terrace Avenues.  John’s wife Elizabeth followed him eleven years later when she passed away on February 17, 1858.  Also from the Liberty Tribune from the issued dated, Wednesday, February 10, 1858 we read the following: “Elizabeth Thornton wife of the late Colonel John Thornton, aged 57 years, died in Liberty and the funeral was held at the home of her daughter Mrs. Morton in Liberty.” 

The following are pictures of their tombstones that I took when I was there in May of 2014, the sun was really bright that day so it was hard to get really clear pictures.  Also here are a couple of pictures of the old cemetery gate entrance and to the left in the one that says Fairview Cemetery, you can see John and Elizabeth’s markers in the background.  Our grandson Elijah, who was 4 years old, was with me and it was pretty warm with lots of humidity, so he and I were really sweating a lot.   My husband, Roy, was in Kansas City for meetings so Elijah and I had been going every day and looking for ancestors, while Roy was in his meetings.  Before we left the area my husband wanted to go and see some of the things that Elijah and I had been seeing.  Anyway, as we were leaving Kansas City and heading out into the Missouri countryside we passed a cemetery, it wasn’t one that we had stopped at, but as soon as Elijah saw the cemetery, he said, “Hey Pop, look, that’s the cemetery me and Memaw sweated in yesterday.”  I will never forget that and how much we still laugh to this day about what Elijah said.   I was worried about taking a four year old across the country and how much family history I could get done, but he was wonderful company.  That’s Elijah in the picture behind the stone.

The following children and grandchildren of John and Elizabeth are all buried at Fairview Cemetery as well and they are: Elizabeth and her husband Alexander and their two sons, John & Alexander; Caroline and her husband Oliver; Adeliza and her husband William and their two sons John & Thomas; Susan’s first husband James Baldwin; Theodosia and her husband Leonidas and their son Robbie.  I took pictures of all of their graves when I was there last year.  Some of Elizabeth Trigg Thornton’s family are buried in this cemetery too.  Just a side note at this time, but Elizabeth Trigg Thornton’s mother is a relative of mine from my Dad’s side of the family.

It took a long time before I was able to find anything about this family.  My third great-grandmother Elizabeth Susan Treadway McDaniel, was as far back as I had for a very long time.  Elizabeth was the grandniece to John Thornton, but finally, after a lot of searching, I was able to piece together one very interesting family.  I still don’t know anything about Elizabeth Susan’s parents other than their names, but I will keep digging and one day hopefully I will know more about William Thornton Treadway and his wife Charlotte.

Monday, June 8, 2015

William Wesley Fraley

My ancestor this week is from my Mom’s side of the family and his name was William Wesley Fraley and he was my third great-grandfather.  Wesley as he is listed on most records was born in 1830 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia the son of David Fralick and Lucy Thompson.  The family surname in Virginia was mainly spelled as Fralick, but in Kentucky some of the family, mainly my direct line, started spelling it Fraley.  However, the Fralick/Frala/Fralic/Fralix in Caldwell County and the surrounding areas, today are all related and come from the same Fralick families from Pittsylvania County, Virginia. 

Wesley along with his mother, Lucy and all of his known siblings came to Caldwell County, Kentucky between 1835 and 1840.  From what I have been able to find so far it looks like David Fralick stayed in Virginia, because he is on the 1840 and 1850 census records in Pittsylvania County, but Lucy and her seven children, which I know of for certain, are not with him.  David and Lucy were either divorced or she just left him by 1834, and he stayed and lived and possibly died there in Virginia.  On the 1850 census there is a Sally Pemberton living in the same household with David Fralick in Pittsylvania County, Virginia but I don’t know who she was.

Wesley’s parents David and Lucy, were married February 17, 1817 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia by Shadrack Musteen and they became the parents of at least seven children.  Namely: LeMary Emiline Fraley Beavers 1817-before 1880, she married Samuel Beavers in 1834, James Fraley 1819-after 1871, he married Margaret Robertson in 1842, Anna Fraley Hughey 1822-1877, she married William Robert Hughey in 1838, Senia Fraley Johnson 1824-1907, she married William Washington Johnson in 1842, Edmond Fraley 1825-1880, he married Senia Dixon in 1848, Mary Fraley Dixon 1828-1881, she married Tilford Dixon in 1848 and my William Wesley Fraley 1830-before January 20, 1874.  I don’t have any pictures of this family, but I sure wish I did.  I have some pictures of four of their tombstones, the others are all in unmarked graves, but that’s it.  The following are Lucy’s, Anna’s, Edmond’s and Mary’s tombstones.

Wesley farmed but he also learned the blacksmithing trade which he mainly followed and it usually paid a lot more then farming ever did, back in those days.  I am fortunate enough to have an clothes iron that Wesley made and that was passed down in my family.  Wesley’s son James Edward Fraley got the iron, then it was passed to his son Robert Ermon Fraley who passed it to his son Ermon Edward Fraley who was my grandfather, his son Guy Edward Fraley said that he wanted me to have the iron, so my grandfather gave it to me in 1992.  I have it in my office and it continually reminds me of my Papaw, who was the world’s most wonderful grandfather.  The iron is very heavy and I know I would have hated having to iron my clothes with that iron, especially since I don’t like to iron to begin with.  The following is a picture of that iron.

Wesley soon meet a young girl from one of the surrounding farms, they both lived in the Fredonia area of Caldwell County.  Julia Ann Nelson 1830-before 1910, was the next to the youngest of nine children of David Nelson and Elizabeth McKinney who had come from Washington County, Tennessee to Caldwell County, Kentucky before 1845.  Wesley and Julia were married July 13, 1848 in Caldwell County and soon became the parents of twelve children who were all born in Caldwell County, Kentucky. 

These twelve children were the following: Rebecca Jane Fraley Groves 1849-1917, wife of James Thomas Groves, Mary Frances Fraley 1851-1852, James Edward Fraley 1853-1902 (my direct line), husband of Susan Wormelsduff and Levy Margie McDaniel, David H. Fraley 1855-1917, husband of Sarah Margaret Ames, Susan Fraley 1857-before 1860, Lucy Katherine Fraley McDaniel 1858-1921, wife of James William McDaniel, Sarah Elizabeth Fraley Vinson 1859-1936, wife of Robert V. Vinson, John Hugh Morgan Fraley 1862-1947, husband of Viola Ann Groves and Mattie Bell Beason, Eliza Ann Fraley Veal 1866-after 1910, wife of Augustus Veal, Martha Fraley 1868-before 1880, William Wesley Fraley Jr. 1870-1940, husband of Ida M. Burns and Ida P. Southern and Senia C. Fraley Wormelsduff Wade 1872-before 1930, wife of Thomas D. Wormelsduff and George William Wade.   Again I have very few pictures for this side of my family but I do have the following three, and they are Rebecca Jane Fraley Groves, James Edward Fraley (my direct line) and John Hugh Morgan Fraley.

I am not sure of the cause, but Wesley up and died sometime before January 20, 1874 before his youngest child was even two years old.   In the Caldwell County court records in Order Book L, dated Tuesday, January 20th, 1874 we read: Ordered that the estate of Wesley Fralick deceased be and the same is hereby confided to the care and custody of Jas. H. Leech, Public Administrator for Caldwell County, and it is further ordered that W. P. Black, T. M. Dalton and S. B. Wigginton (any two of whom being first sworn may act) be and they are hereby appointed appraisers to view and appraise the personal estate of said decedent and report thereof to this court.

I don’t know when Julia died either, she was on the 1900 census but by 1910 she is not listed, so sometime between these two census years she had died too.

William Wesley Fraley and his wife Julia Ann Nelson are both supposed to be buried at the Livingston Cemetery near Fredonia in Caldwell County, Kentucky.  It is told that some old flat rocks marked their graves at one time, but now are unmarked.  Wesley and Julia’s son John Hugh Morgan Fraley, showed his daughter, Lillie Bell Fraley Deason, where the graves were located before he passed away, but years later when she went back to show her family, she could not remember where the graves had been exactly.   One of John’s granddaughters, Diana, told me this story, almost 25 years ago.  The following are some pictures of the Livingston Cemetery, one that I took and a couple I found on findagrave.

I don’t know a lot about the man I am writing about this week, but I sure wish I did.  Would he have been a wonderful grandfather too, just like his great-grandson, my Papaw was?  Wesley never really got the chance to try, since his first grandchild was only born less than six months before he passed away.  My Papaw never knew his grandfather either, because James Edward Fraley, died before even having any grandchildren.  I bet Wesley was good looking though, my Papaw was and so was his Daddy and the only picture I have of James Edward Fraley, shows that he was as well.  One of these days I hope to meet these ancestors and I will have lots of questions for them I am sure.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Drury Daniel

Time for my next installment for the year and this time it is from my Daddy’s side of the family.  The man I will be talking about this time is from my Papaw, Aubrey David Beard’s side of the family and he was Aubrey’s great-grandfather and my third great-grandfather.  This man’s name was Drury Daniel and he was born in about 1809 in Rowan County, North Carolina son of Peter Daniel and Sarah Lofton.  I know he had a brother named John T. Daniel who was born in about 1819 and died sometime after 1850, and a sister named Susannah Daniel Clark who was born in about 1807 and died before 1880 in Arkansas, but other than these two sibling, I do not know the names of any others.  I do know there may have been at least one other brother and three other sisters though.  Drury’s parents are on the 1830 census in Fayette County, Tennessee and they have 2 males and 3 females all under the age of 20, but unfortunately I do not know who one of these males and the three females were, but more than likely they were Drury’s brother and sisters.

Drury’s parents were married March 28, 1803 in Rowan County, North Carolina and sometime after 1820 and before 1830, they had moved to Tennessee and were living in Fayette County.  The Daniel family were all farmers for the most part and so was Drury.  Back then you would have to clear the land, watch out for Indians and hope your crops did well or you would starve to death.  My grandfather, Drury Daniel married for the first time in Tennessee in about 1827 to Sarah Gaines when he was 18 and she was 17 years old.  Sarah may have been the daughter of Joseph V. Gaines and a mother with a possible last name of Graves who were from Orange County, North Carolina but who ended up in Jackson County, Tennessee.  Drury and Sarah became the parents of at least seven children before Sarah died in about 1844 in Bedford County, Tennessee.

The seven children of Drury and Sarah were: Mary Melvina Daniel Chadwick 1828-1911, John Daniel 1831-before August 1861, James Albert Daniel 1832-1914, Peter R. Daniel 1835-before 1865, Joseph M. Daniel 1838-before January 1869, Martha Ada Daniel Chadwick 1840-1908 and Jane Waxter Daniel Arnold 1843-1908.  The three boys who died in the 1860’s, I believe all died from the effects of their service during the Civil War, though I can’t find anything yet to substantiate that so far.  I don’t have a lot of pictures for this family, but I do have one each of Mary Melvina Daniel and her husband, Rev. John Louther Chadwick, Martha Ada Daniel and her husband William King Chadwick and Jane Waxter Daniel and her husband, James Henry Arnold and they are the following.  John and William Chadwick were brothers, sons of Matthew Chadwick and Charity Elizabeth King.

Drury Daniel married second to Catharine Margaret Gaines in about 1846 in Tennessee and who I believe was possibly a younger sister to Sarah Gaines, Drury’s first wife.  Catharine became my third great-grandmother and Drury and Catharine became the parents of at least eight children.  Catharine died sometime after March 1861 and before June of 1865 probably in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  I wish I could find the actual marriage dates for Drury to Sarah and to Catharine, so I could know for certain whose children are whose.  Uncle Bud’s death certificate says his mother was Sarah Gaines not Catharine and the other death certificates for some of the other children of Catharine state the parents’ names are unknown so that doesn’t help me either.

The eight children of Drury and Catharine were: Dr. Drury Marion Daniel 1847-1935, Francis James ‘Bud’ Daniel 1849-1928, Thomas Jefferson Daniel 1852-1902, Collin Graves Daniel 1855-1882 (my direct line), Newton W. Daniel 1856-1938, William Gaines Daniel 1857-after 1870, Melton H. Daniel 1859-1869 and  Sarah Catherine Susannah Nancy Emily Daniel Chadwick 1861-1942 (Can you believe that long name?  By the way, her husband was a nephew to her two older half-sisters, husbands.).  Again, I don’t have many pictures for this part of my family, but I do have this one of Uncle Bud.

Drury next married two more times and he apparently never had any children with either one of these ladies and their names were: Mrs. Susan Varnoy Johnson on June 22, 1865 in Crittenden County, Kentucky and then Mrs. Nancy C. Bates Davis Rushing on October 4, 1867 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.  I believe Susan probably died before October 1867, but Nancy and Drury must have been divorced, because she isn’t living with Drury in 1870, she is living with one of her Rushing step-sons and she doesn’t die until after 1880.

For the final time, Drury Daniel gets married again in Arkansas, possibly Izard County since that is where he was living in 1880.  This time he marries Julia Ann Taylor in about 1875.  Julia had, had a daughter out of wedlock named Melinda C. Taylor Bone Turner 1872-1968, who Drury raised.  Drury and Julia had at least three children together before Drury passed away.  These three children were: Stephen Grant Daniel 1876-1943, Ulecia Daniel 1879-before 1882 and Charlie Daniel 1881-???? (I know he lived to adulthood, and lived in Newport, Arkansas but I haven’t found his death date yet.).  Julia remarried on July 22, 1890 in Izard County, Arkansas to Joseph Moneyham who was 23 years older than her, Drury Daniel had been 37 years older than Julia.

Drury had a lot of children, at least eighteen, that I know of for certain, between three different wives, Sarah, Catharine and Julia, and he helped raise at least one step-child.  No wonder he never had any money and worked from dawn to dusk farming, he had to feed a lot of mouths, can you even imagine?

I didn’t know when Drury Daniel died for certain or where until I received the following information, from Betty McCollum on the Izard County Board on the internet: “Vickie, when I began reading your comments about Drury Daniel, I kept thinking that sounded familiar.  So, I checked my records and in Down Memory Lane #2, Mrs. Clara Twilley Tate states: "Elsie Coleman, Robbie Condrey's mother, I'm not sure if the next one was born between Elsie and my brother Alfred or not, but they had a baby that died and it's buried over there in the field on the Warnett place.  This was just recently sold and it had been in the family since it was patented and the patent was signed by President Buchanan.  There's three graves over there.  An old man, Uncle Dewey Daniels is buried back there, and his baby, and then my little brother was buried back there."  I believe the man she refers to as Dewey Daniel, was probably your Drury Daniel.  Also in Carroll Hayden's Cemetery Record Book for Izard County, Arkansas he lists Dewey Daniels (unmarked), and Baby Daniels (child of Dewey and Julia Daniels) unmarked.  Carroll got this information from Mrs. Twilley's statement.”  So I now know where Drury was buried as well as his and Julia’s little girl, Ulecia Daniel, just wish I knew the dates for certain.  I know Drury died after the 1880 census was taken in June that year and before Julia gets remarried in July of 1890.

Drury started off in North Carolina, moved to Tennessee crisscrossing that state as a young man, then on to Crittenden County, Kentucky and Izard County, Arkansas going back and forth between these last two states a few times, before passing away in Izard County, Arkansas.  We tend to think that people would not have done that kind of thing back in those days because of so many different reasons, but it happened so much and why some of these people did it we will probably never know.  As my Papaw Fraley use to say, “Some people just have itchy feet”.