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Hi, My name is Vickie and to tell you a little bit about myself, I was born and raised in Kentucky and the majority of my ancestors have been in Kentucky since the 1790’s. I have always loved history, a good mystery and puzzles and that is what Family History Research is all about. As a child we would take day trips on Saturdays and head down some dirt road looking for old cemeteries. A lot of the time we weren't looking for anyone in particular, we just like to read the epitaphs. We would have a picnic lunch packed and have lunch at whatever cemetery we were at. If the weather was bad my Dad and I would go to a court house and dig through old records in musty old basements looking for our ancestors. So as you can see I have had an interest in Family History for quite some time.View my complete profile

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Matthew Parker

Time for the next ancestor in my weekly ancestor bios for the year.  This time from my Mom’s side of the family, through her mother, Daisy Loftis Fraley.  This ancestor was my 4th great-grandfather and his name was Matthew Parker.  Matthew was born in about 1801 in Gates County, North Carolina the son of James Parker, but I have yet to find what his mother’s name was.  The following map shows where Gates County is located in the state of North Carolina.  I find these state county maps at the following link: http://www.censusfinder.com/county-maps.htm


Sometime after 1805 and before 1808, Matthew’s parents left Gates County, North Carolina and moved west to Smith County, Tennessee to the Dismal Creek area of that county.  The first official record that I have found so far, for his father, James Parker, states that James Parker bought two sows and some pigs at an estate sale on Dismal Creek in 1813.  Tennessee was still pretty much a wilderness area at this time and so Matthew would have learned all the basics of living on the frontier, things such as hunting, fishing, farming, blacksmithing, etc., basically everything you would need to know to stay alive and feed your family, because there wasn’t a neighborhood market to go to.  The following map shows Smith County, Tennessee today and circled in purple is approximately the area where the Dismal Creek and Smith Fork area was that the Parker family lived in and which became part of DeKalb County in about 1837.  The next map shows where these counties are located in the state of Tennessee.



Matthew’s known siblings were the following: Lewis/Louis Parker, 1799-1848, married Elizabeth Yeargin; Ephraim Parker, 1803-1837; Elizabeth Parker, 1805-1882, married Jonathan Fuson; William Parker, 1807-after 1860, married to Clarissa; Lemuel Parker, 1811-before 1870, married Catherine and John Parker, 1816-after 1880, married Sarah Claybarn.

Matthew married fairly young in about 1819 when he was 18 years old, approximately.  He married a young woman named Cynthia or Catherine Ross, according to different descendants.   Unfortunately, although Smith County is not a burned county and was formed in 1799, marriage records do not start until 1838.  Cynthia or Catherine Ross, was my 4th great-grandmother and was born about 1799, maybe in Tennessee and died before 1838, probably in Smith County, Tennessee.

Matthew and Cynthia became the parents of at least eight known children, the last of these being twins and that maybe when Cynthia died, but like I said I know hardly anything about her so I can’t say with any certainty.  These eight children were: James Parker, 1820-after 1846, he went to Texas and may have fought in the Mexican War according to family stories; Eliza Ann Parker, 1822-1917, married Volentine Floyd in 1840, these were my 3rd great-grandparents and they came to Crittenden County, Kentucky in 1873 and this is the county I was born in; Nancy Ann Parker, 1824-after 1870, married Robert Sandlin; Louis Jordan Parker, 1826-1895, married Marilda Warford; William Smith ’Whig’  Parker, 1828-1903, married Mary Ann Midgett, he may have fought in the Mexican War according to family stories with his brother James and he also fought for the South during the Civil War, although according to family stories he sympathized with the North on the issue of slavery; Elizabeth A. Parker, 1830-1904, never married and she helped her brother, William, raise his two children after his wife, Mary died; Jasper Jackson Parker, 1832-1909, he married 3 times first to Mary Elizabeth Willoughby, then to her sister, Martha Amanda Willoughby and finally to Eliza Jane Talley and his twin was Newton Carroll Parker, 1832-1863, married Louisa Midgett, sister to his brother William’s wife.  Newton and his family went to Illinois with his father, where he joined up and fought in the Union Army during the Civil War and died of yellow jaundice and river complaint, on board the steamer "West Wind" between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Helena, Arkansas on the way to the army hospital in Helena, Arkansas according to his pension files.

Sometime after 1832 and before 1840, Matthew next married Levertious Sarah Spence.  Her maiden name has been given as Spence, Spencher, Virch, Felton and McCernen.  Also Bert ? (no last name), Forcus (as the first name) Felton & Sarah Spencher.  All of these different names were given on her children's marriage or death records throughout the years, so I just used the two first names and last name that were used the most often in records talking about her.  So far I have not located a marriage record for Matthew and her, so I don’t know what name was listed at that time, but if they were married before 1838 in Smith County, Tennessee I may never find one.

Matthew and Levertious became the parents of at least nine known children and these were: Matthew Parker, Jr. 1842-after 1850; John M. Parker, 1845-after 1880, married Susan F. Chapman; Sarah Parker, 1847-1918, married William Carroll Morris; Mary Jane Parker, 1849-1925, married Charles Harvey and John Yates; Aletha Parker, 1852-before 1920, married N. S. Richeson and a Mr. McDonald; Elvira Lydia Parker, 1854-1933, married Andrew J. Durfee then his brother Lewis Durfee; Ephraim Parker, 1856-after 1860;  Zachary/Zachariah Taylor Parker, 1858-1936, married Emily Jane Baker; Julia Carolyn Parker, 1862-1945, married Reuben Baker in 1877, then they were divorced and she married her nephew William Parker in 1879, then they were divorced and she remarried Reuben Baker again in 1885.  I don't know if she and Reuben were divorced again are not, but in about 1909 she married John William Baker.

So as you can see Matthew became the father of at least 17 known children.  Three of these children may have died as young children, but this would still leave at least 14 children to feed and clothe.  How families did that back then I do not know, Matthew wasn’t a wealthy man.  Maybe that is why at least two of his sons may have gone off to Texas and ended up possibly fighting in the Mexican War.

According to another descendant, Matthew Parker grew up in the Dismal Creek/Smith Fork area which became part of DeKalb County in 1837.  He was elected the first local Magistrate or Justice of the Peace for the First Civil District of the new county of DeKalb when it was formed and served for at least eleven years.  He would have been responsible for handling minor civil and administrative affairs, administering oaths and performing marriages in his district.  His name appears regularly on the marriage records up to 1849.  Because Matthew sympathized with the north on the question of slavery, he and his second wife and children moved to Southern Illinois, probably around the spring or summer of 1861, since their last child was born there in January of 1862.  Matthew’s wife, Levertious, died possibly in child birth with their last child and was buried there in either Gallatin or Saline County, Illinois.  The following map shows the counties in Illinois circled in red where Matthew and his family lived.


The war ended in April of 1865, and sometime after that Matthew and the children headed back to Tennessee by boat, but somewhere along the way he contracted smallpox and he and the children were put off the boat.  Matthew died in about 1866 and some stories says he died in Cairo, Illinois and yet another account says he was put off the boat and died somewhere in Kentucky and the children were sent back to Illinois.  Either way these young children were left by themselves with no father or mother to care for them.  The baby, Julia, was only about 4 and the older of the second set of children was about 22 years old, if he was still living that is.  The next two girls were married in 1865 and 1866 so maybe this is who the younger children were living with, after being sent back to Illinois.

I don’t know a lot about this ancestor of mine, Matthew Parker, but he left a lot of descendants all across this great country of ours, I know of some today in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Washington.  No matter how much or how little we know about an ancestor, if we know them at all even if it is just their name, we are remembering them and the sacrifices they made for us to be here today.

Monday, October 19, 2015

John Clarke

Here comes my next ancestor for the week, my cousin Sheena, has been wanting me to write about him since I started this journey of writing about a different ancestor every week this year.  So for week #43 here he is, John Clarke, master’s mate and navigator of the Mayflower and my 10th great-grandfather on my Daddy’s side of the family through his mother, my grandmother Jessie Doss.

I do not have an actual birth date for John Clarke, but I do have his christening date which was March 26, 1575 in Rotherhithe, Surrey, England.  Most children in England were christened within a few weeks of their birth up to the age of two, though you will find some christened when they were older as well, so I am assuming for now that John was born between 1573 and  1575 before his christening date of March 26th.   John was the son of William Clarke and Margaret Walker and grandson of Sir Thomas Clarke who was a knight in the courts of England.  Since this is so far back I have not really done any looking yet to see what if any brothers and sisters, John might have had.  John’s parents were probably born in the mid to late 1540’s as they were married January 22, 1570 in Fowlmere, Hertfordshire, England.  I have yet to find any christening dates for John’s parents, but the records do start to get a little slim once you are back this far.  John’s grandfather is as far back as I have gotten to date on this line, and since John’s grandfather was a knight, his line is bound to tie back into royalty somewhere, but I just don’t have the time to search right now to see if I can find such a link.

I don’t know much about John’s growing up years, but again I am assuming that he went to school and when he was old enough he must have started his maritime/naval training.  Since his grandfather was a knight the family would have had a little better set of circumstances in which John would have been privy too.  Again, assumptions, but I figure he finished his training and then probably got assigned to his first ship.  Then, after this time, he met and got married to Mary Morton on February 18, 1598 in Stepney, Middlesex, England.  I do not know anything about Mary Morton yet, she was probably born about 1575 to 1577 in England, but who her parents or any siblings were I do not know at this time.

Just a little history about what a Master’s Mate/Navigator was and what his duties would have been was found at www.Wikepedia.com and reads as follows: “Master's mates was a rating for experienced seamen, and were usually selected from the ranks of the quartermasters, who they supervised, or from the ranks of midshipmen who wanted more responsibility aboard ship; they were less commonly selected from other mates of warrant officers and able seamen. Master's mates were allowed to command vessels, walk the quarterdeck, and mess in the gunroom with the other warrant officers.

Master's mates were responsible for fitting out the ship, and making sure they had all the sailing supplies necessary for the voyage. They hoisted and lowered the anchor, and docked and undocked the ship. They would examine the ship daily, notifying the master if there were problems with the sails, masts, ropes, or pulleys. They executed the orders of the master, and would command in his place if he was sick or absent.

Normally master's mates worked on a three-watch system, with the lieutenants, so that one served as the deputy to the lieutenant on each watch. Master's mates generally assisted the master in navigating the ship and directly supervised the quartermasters in steering the ship. The master's mate with the highest seniority was appointed the head of the midshipman's berth and was responsible for teaching mathematics, navigation, and sailing lore.  Master's mates had to keep detailed logs similar to midshipmen.  They were also responsible for the division of the crew that included the petty officers.”  That seems like a lot of responsibility for a young man.

John Clarke and Mary Morton soon became the parents of at least two known sons, Thomas Clarke 1599-1697, who married Susan Ring, and then Mrs. Alice Hallett Nichols.  Thomas Clarke came to Plymouth, Massachusetts from England in the ship Anne, in 1623 and he was also one of the original proprietors of Harwich, Massachusetts.  John and Mary’s other known son was my 9th great-grandfather, Edward Clarke, 1602-before April 1666, I have yet to find his wife’s name and I know of only one child, Michael Clarke who was my 8th great-grandfather.  Edward was listed as a planter of Virginia in February 1623.  In 1624, he was awarded 200 acres by the Virginia Company, as a result of his late father's service.  He evidently returned to England for some reason, settling at Thriplow, Cambridgeshire, England where he died before April 1666.

The historic counties of Great Britain are shown here in the following map which I found at this link: http://www.picturesofengland.com/mapofengland/historic-uk-counties.html  I have circled the counties/shires in England that my Clarke family lived in before coming to America.


John’s wife Mary Morton apparently died sometime before April of 1610 and possibly even in childbirth with my direct line Edward, since I only know of the two children she and John had together and no others.  I do know that John remarried on April 18, 1610 in Rotherhithe, Surrey, England to Sibil Farr.  If they had any children together I have yet to find any. 

As I stated previously John was a master’s mate, ship navigator and or pilot on a number of ships throughout his career.  At www.findagrave.com I found this little bio about him that states: “He made several voyages to Jamestown, Virginia as early as 1609.  On about June 21, 1611 just three months after arriving in Virginia from London, he was taken captive by the Spanish, at Point Comfort, whereupon he was taken to Havana and interrogated, and then on to Seville and then Madrid, where he remained a prisoner until January 26, 1616 when he was released in a prisoner exchange.  After returning to England, he piloted the Falcon in 1619, under command of Captain, Thomas Jones, a sometimes pirate, to Virginia.  After returning to England again, he was then hired as master's mate on the Mayflower, setting sail in August 1620, carrying the Pilgrims on their historic voyage to Plymouth Colony.  Clark's Island in Duxbury Bay is named after him, because he miraculously brought the shallop ashore during a strong storm on one of these expeditions.  He returned to England in the spring of 1621.   In early 1622, "for his good service in many voyages to Virginia", the Virginia Company bestowed upon him two shares of land there.  He again sailed to Virginia on April 10, 1623, on Daniel Gookin's ship, the "Providence" but died shortly after his arrival in Jamestown.” 

These two shares of land is probably what his two sons, Thomas and Edward received, since John did not live long enough to do anything with them himself.  For those that might not know what a shallop was, I found a definition in an online dictionary that states the following: “Any of various vessels formerly used for sailing or rowing in shallow waters, especially a two-masted, gaff-rigged vessel of the 17th and 18th centuries.”   I found the following picture of a replica of the Mayflower and its shallop at this link: https://www.woodenboat.com/pilgrim-shallop-ii


There are many, many sites that will tell you about the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and their voyage to America, so I won’t even begin to go there.  There are also tons of sites that talk about Jamestown and the things that went on there as well.  To think that one of my ancestors stood there when Plymouth and Jamestown were just starting is mind blowing to me and so exciting.  Don’t you wish you could have a time machine and go back and see your ancestors making history so to speak.  The following pictures I thought were kind of cool and were found at these links: http://aenet.esuhsd.org/citizenship_lessons/new/mayflower.gif & http://www.britannica.com/place/Jamestown-Colony



392 years since his death and I am sure his descendant’s number in the hundreds of thousands by now.  His descendants have been state governors, explorers, military leaders, teachers, farmers and I am sure a scoundrel or two as well, but what a legacy he left and the stories he could have told of his voyages across the seas and the people he met along the way.  Just think he would have met and known William Bradford, Edward Winslow, John Alden, Priscilla Mullens and John Smith to name a few and maybe even Chief Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas.  I mention Pocahontas because for years family stories said that she was one of our ggggg-grandmothers through one of her descendants, somewhere on this Clarke line, but unfortunately that is not the case, though it would have been pretty cool to call her our grandmother.  The following picture of Pocahontas I found at www.Wikipedia.com and was done by Simon de Passe in 1616.


John Clarke’s name is on a plaque called “The First Encounter Monument” and it is located at the end of Samoset Road at First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod Bay.  It reads as follows: On this spot hostile Indians had their first encounter, December 8, 1620 with Myles Standish, John Carver, William Bradford, John Tilley, Edward Winslow, John Howland, Edward Tilley, Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins, Edward Dotey, John Allerton, Thomas English, Master Mate Clark, Master Gunner Copin and three sailors of the Mayflower Company.  Provincetown Tercentenary 1620 commission 1920, John F. Paramino, sculpture, 1922 Boston, Massachusetts.  The following picture of that monument I found at this link and it follows: http://www.capecodgravestones.com/easthampixweb/firenccove.html


For such a short life span, only about 48 to 50 years old when he died, John Clarke saw and witness some of the defining moments in American History.  He was there for Jamestown, Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims, but he apparently missed that first Thanksgiving, as records say he left in the spring of 1621, to go back to England, and that first Thanksgiving was held in the fall of that year.  Records say that John Clarke, died shortly after his arrival back in Jamestown on April 10, 1623 and so he is probably buried somewhere near Jamestown in an unknown grave.  He is an ancestor I am proud to say belongs to me.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Robert Hosey Davis

This week’s ancestor is my 3rd great-grandfather, Robert Hosey Davis, from my Mom’s side of the family.  I wrote about his daughter, Anna Susan Hall Penninger Floyd, my 2nd great-grandmother on week 5, this year.  Robert Hosey Davis was born on November 20, 1825 in Wayne County, North Carolina and was the youngest child and son of William Davis and Lavina Hosey.

According to a history I found about Robert, he was one of ten children that his parents had together, but so far I can only find the names of two of these ten children, besides my grandpa Robert and they are the following:  George Washington Davis, 1815-1858, he married Elizabeth Hileman who was a sister to Susan Hileman, Robert’s first wife; and Mary E. Davis, 1821-after 1887, she married Elijah J. Cross in 1839.   The history said there were three of these ten children living in 1887, so I am assuming they are talking about Robert and Mary, but I don’t know who the third one was yet.  I have tried to locate a will for his father hoping to find children’s names listed, but so far I have not had any luck doing so.

The history I mentioned in the above paragraph, reads as follows and was taken from the "History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties of Illinois"  -1887-  "Robert H. Davis, farmer, was born in 1824 in Wayne County, North Carolina the youngest of ten children (three living) of William and Lavina Hosey Davis.  The father, of English-Irish descent, born about 1765 in Georgia, left home at twenty-two, and went to North Carolina, where he married.  When our subject was three years old they went to Union County, Illinois and engaged in farming, but in 1828 finally settled in Alexander County, where he died two years later.  The mother, of English origin, born in North Carolina about 1775, then lived with her daughter, Mrs. Cross, in Union County, until her death about 1840.  Our subject was, after his father's death, hired out to squatters to support the family until he was eighteen, when he married Hannah Hileman and settled eighty acres in Union County.  Two of their five children are living------Elizabeth, wife of W. (William P.) Marshall and Mary, wife of L. (Levi Cowan) Pettinger (It is actually Penninger).  After his wife's death in 1852 he moved to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri where he bought a 100 acre woodland tract on the Mississippi River, near Hamburg Landing and established a wood yard for furnishing fuel for steamboats.  About a year and a quarter later he went to Pope County, Illinois and settled on 110 acres.  In 1860 he married Susan, daughter of Howard and Juliet (Pierson) Gaskins, near Harrisburg.  Their seven children are Levi; Harriet, wife of George Burnett; Juliet, wife of Augustus Bright; Ardenia, wife of John Smith; Florence; Delia and Warren E. and a boy and girl both deceased.  In October 1873, he traded his Pope County farm for his present farm of 110 acres, well improved, and has become one of the first farmers of the county from his beginning as a squatter's servant.  Formerly a Democrat, he has since 1860 been a Republican, first voting for Cass.  He is also a Prohibitionist.  In 1882 B. & Thomas Garner made him their manager for clearing and buying $7,000 worth of land, and he now has charge of 700 acres for them, 65 acres of which are cleared.  He has also loaned money for the Saline County Bank, with the same success in managing as he has shown in his other enterprises."

You will notice the above little bio does not mention all of his children by name, nor all of his wives, so I will do that now.  Robert’s first wife and I don’t have a date for this marriage but probably around 1843-1844 and possibly in Union County, Illinois was to Hannah Hileman, 1826-1852, and they had at least five children according to the history, but I only know the names of four of them all girls, named: Luticia Jane Davis, 1845-before 1887; Mary Catherine Davis, 1847-1931, married Levi Cowan Penninger in 1864; Elizabeth L. Davis, 1850-after 1918, married William P. Marshall and then Lyman W. Wilcox; and Caroline Davis, 1852-after 1860.  I am assuming that Hannah died in childbirth or shortly thereafter with their daughter Caroline.

Second, Robert married Mrs. Martha Nash, 1820-before 1858, on January 16, 1853 in Union County, Illinois.  Martha apparently died or they were divorced, but I know nothing else about her, maybe they had a child together and she died in childbirth too.

Third, Robert possibly married and then divorced, my ancestor Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, 1839-after 1879, around 1858, and they had their only known child, a daughter who was my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Susan Davis, 1859-1919.  Anna married first in 1878 in Stonefort, Miles Giles Penninger, 1857-1931, he was a younger brother to Levi Cowan Penninger who married Anna’s half-sister, Mary Catherine Davis, and they were divorced before 1885.  She then married second in 1885, to my 2nd great-grandfather, John Henry Floyd, 1853-1937.  Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, was also supposed to have been married to Henry Seal(s) in about 1861, but again I cannot find a marriage record for her to him, but I know they had at least six children together, William Fountain Seal, George Seal, Frona Seal, Florence Marion Seal, James Melvin Seal and Lula O. Seal.

Fourth, Robert married Susan Gaskins, 1840-1890, on April 15, 1860 in Saline County, Illinois.  They became the parents of nine children according to the history, but I have the names for only eight of them.  These children were: Levi Davis, 1861-1922, married Mary Florence Clarinda Gaines in 1884; Harriet J. Davis, 1864-1911, married George Ewing Burnett in 1880; Juliet J. Davis, 1865-1919, married Augustus Henry Bright in 1884; Hardinia Davis, 1867-after 1919, married John Matthew Smith in 1884; Eli Davis, 1869-before 1880 (family stories say he wondered off into the woods and was never seen again); Florence Mana Davis, 1872-1956, married John William Lindle in 1899; Delia A. Davis, 1875-1962, married James Wise in 1893; and Warren Ewing Davis, 1880-1905, census records say that he was mentally handicapped in some way.

Fifth, Robert married, Mrs. Sarah E. Turner Travelstead, 1836-after 1900, on December 4, 1890 in Saline County, Illinois.  They did not have any children together, but she had at least eleven children by Mr. Travelstead according to the 1900 census anyway.

When Robert got married for the last time, he said he had only been married 3 times.  I only have marriage dates for three of these women, but there were at least five women he was with throughout his life.  How Robert had time to work with all the wives and children he had is beyond me, J  but he apparently did quite well for himself, for the time period and the area he lived in.

I am going to concentrate on my direct line and not all of the other children that Robert had, for this little bio.  In 1860, Robert is listed in Stonefort, the part that was in Pope County and Robert’s daughter Mary Catherine Davis and her husband Levi Penninger are buried in the Joyner Cemetery in Stonefort in Saline County.  The Joyner’s tie into the Hall family as George Washington Joyner married Martha Ann Hall, sister to my Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall.  These families definitely knew each other and when my Anna Susan Davis married, both times she said her father was Robert H. Davis on the marriage register.   I also have a copy of a letter written by William Marion Joyner, 1851-1946, son of George Washington Joyner and Martha Ann Hall that he wrote to Louise Floyd, daughter of Luther Floyd, and granddaughter of Anna Susan Davis and John H. Floyd, which was written on March 12, 1945.  William tells about the Hall family, where they were from and who was still alive of his first cousins in 1945.  He said he was the oldest living cousin and that Lula Seal, was the youngest living cousin.   I met Louise and her sister Helen Floyd at a Floyd family reunion in Kentucky in 1995 and she mailed me a copy of that letter that she had kept all these years.  If I hadn’t gotten this letter from Helen I would not have ever known about the Seal(s) children.  Following is the letter I am talking about.






I know that my direct line wife, Mary ‘Polly’ Anna Tullum Hall, lived in the Stonefort area in Saline County, Illinois and Robert also lived in the Stonefort area for a time, but he ended up in the Texas City (Plainview area) area of Saline County by 1880.  Now when you map quest these two little towns they are only about 26 miles apart, Stonefort is in the southwest corner of the county and Texas City is in the northeast corner of the county.   The following map shows just Saline County and the major towns in that county as well as a state map showing all the counties circled in red that Robert lived in.



Why my Anna Susan is never with her father, Robert Hosey Davis, on census records I do not know.  She is also not with her mother on the 1870 census either when her mother is with Henry Seal and their first two children.  I have found a Mary Hall on the 1860 census that would work to be my Mary Hall, but she doesn’t have my Anna Susan with her there either, if that is indeed her.  I have my Anna Susan’s two marriage records and I have her on the 1900 and 1910 census and her 1919 death certificate, but other than these records and the old letter, I really don’t know anything about her childhood or her parent’s exact relationship.  My grandmother was not quite two years old when her grandmother, Anna Susan died, so she did not remember her and really did not know anymore then what I have found.

Robert acknowledge and named nine of his children in the little bio that was published in 1887, but if the totals were correct in that bio he had 12 children, since he said that three of them were deceased at that time.  However, with all of the children I have names for, plus the three deceased ones mentioned but not named, he ended up having at the least 13 or 14 children with all of his wives, but he only acknowledge having children with wife number one and wife number four.  This makes me believe that he may not have ever been married to my, Mary Hall and that may be why she was never listed with him on the census records.

While I was getting ready to write this bio, I always do some more digging first to see if any new records have come to light since my last searching for an individual on the different ones I have written about this year and so I did the same with Robert.  I am glad I did, because I did not know when Robert had died, except that it was before 1910 in Texas City.  I found him listed on www.findagrave.com with this picture of his tombstone and the full dates on the stone for his birth and death.  I knew he was born in November of 1825, now I know the day was the 20th and now, I also know that he died on March 15, 1902.  He was living in Texas City at the time of his death and was buried at the Poplar Church Cemetery which is located just across the Saline County line in Gallatin County, Illinois up by Texas City.   His fourth wife, Susan, and at least four of his known children, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law are also buried there.  Thanks goes to those who go through cemeteries across the country and post these pictures and information, it is very much appreciated.


Sometimes we have a hard time finding information, sometimes we find things we wish we hadn’t and sometimes we find things that make us scratch our head and wonder what in the world were they thinking.  But if things were all straight down the line and no one ever did anything wrong or out of the ordinary we probably wouldn’t keep looking, and so it is with my Robert.  He apparently didn’t like to be alone, so he would up and marry almost before the last one was cold in the ground.  But you do have to take into consideration the fact he was left with little children, some just babes in arms and so he had to do what he had to do and if that meant marry almost immediately, that is what he did and maybe for whatever unknown reason he didn’t marry my 3rd great-grandmother.  I at least hope they loved each other at the time and that it wasn’t something else that may have happened.  Somethings I guess are best left unknown or to the imagination.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Anna Marie Strate

Here is my next ancestor story, which is taken from my husband’s side of the family again.  Little Annie as she was always known in family stories, was in reality, Anna Marie Strate the youngest child of her parents and the daughter of Rasmus Strate, 1857-1914, and his wife, Ane Mettie Marie Sofie Frederikke Thomsen, 1864-1886.  Annie was born January 28, 1886 in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah.  Annie would have been my husband’s first cousin, one generation removed from their common ancestors.  Her mother was my husband’s grandaunt, and was one of his grandfather, Peder Engmar Thomsen, anglicized to Peter Elmer Thompson, older sisters.

Annie’s mother died from complications following Annie’s birth, almost a month later on February 25, 1886 and so she of course never knew her mother.  Her grandparents, Hans and Karen Thomsen had left Spring City in September of 1881 and gone to the Arizona Territory and were living in St. Johns until February of 1885 when they moved to Old Mexico.  After they heard about their daughter’s death they came back up to Utah and took Annie back to Mexico with them to raise.   They were living at the Pratt Ranch in Cave Valley in Chihuahua, Mexico when Annie came to live with them. 

Annie had two older siblings, a brother and a sister, both born in Spring City as well named, Rasmus Adolph Strate, 1882-1970 in Porterville, Tulare County, California who married Katherine Groves Thompson (no relationship) and Velettie Caroline Strate, 1884-1964 in Sacramento, California who married Thomas Jackson Thomas and then Phillip Andrew Biesinger.  Their father kept these two children with him, but he could not take care of the baby too and that is why he let her go with her grandparents.  I have a picture of Annie’s father Rasmus, her brother Rasmus and her sister Velettie, but not one of her mother and they are the following.  I wish I had a better one of Caroline, and I do have a picture of Annie’s, mother’s, tombstone though and it follows as well.





Annie was barely a year old when her grandparents took her to Mexico and for the next five years she followed her two young uncles, Hyrum and Peter all over the place, as they were the only two still living at home.  She was their little shadow, but stayed closed to her grandmother for the most part.  In the spring of 1892, Annie and her grandmother Karen had their picture taken in Colonia Juarez and this is the only picture I have of Annie as a child, but none yet of her as an adult.  Annie was six years old and her grandmother was fifty-eight in this picture.  My youngest daughter Amy, looked a lot like Annie when was she was this age, and so we had a copy of this picture made and hung in Amy’s bedroom.  Her favorite bedtime story was when I told her the story about the little girl who survived the Indian attack.


That spring was probably the last time for quite a few years that Annie still felt like a little girl, for that fall on what started out to be a beautiful Sunday morning on September 19, 1892 the quiet was shattered as renegade Apache Indians, raiding off the reservation, came running down into the farm yard of the Pratt Ranch, shooting and screaming war cries, as first Hyrum, then Peter fell from gunshots.  Hyrum they believe died almost instantly, Peter, my husband’s grandfather, was shot at least twice in the chest, but somehow managed to crawl away, after the Indians went into the house, over to the chicken coop and crawl underneath it.  Karen hearing the sounds I am sure went running out to see what was happening.  I am also sure she probably saw her sons lying dead, as I am pretty sure she was probably thinking that, and then to feel the tug of her little granddaughter, which brought her back to the reality of what was happening around here.  The Indians seeing her standing there shot her and she fell and then they grabbed Annie, but then put her down as they raided through the house and took food, and whatever else they thought they needed.  While the Indians were tearing the house apart Karen who was not dead yet, took Annie and hid her under her long skirt.  When the Indians came back out they didn’t see Annie, but they realized that Karen was still a live, so a squaw took a large rock and bashed her head in, this time she was dead.  I wrote about Karen’s story for Week #7.

Thinking the little girl may have gone for help and then realizing that one of the boys was no longer lying where he had fallen, the Indians mounted up and took off, leaving death and destruction in their wake.  After they left, Annie looked out from under her grandmother’s shirt and saw that she was dead, I can only imagine the horror that little girl endured seeing her beloved grandmother with her head all bloody.  My husband’s grandfather, Peter, motioned for Annie to come to him and I am sure she must have run as fast as lightening towards him.  They laid under the chicken coop until they were sure the Indians were really gone and then 14 year old Peter, told 6 year old Annie that they needed to go for help.  Their old dog had somehow stayed out of the ruckus and showed up right when they needed him.  Somehow Peter stood and while holding on to Annie and with the dog there to warn them of any danger, they started walking towards the Mortenson ranch which was a few miles away but the closest to their ranch.

Peter soon stopped weak from the loss of blood and set and leaned against a tree.  He told Annie that she needed to continue to walk down that road and she would eventually see the Mortenson ranch.  Annie was so frightened that she at first refused, but Peter finally convinced her to take their dog and she would be safe, while he stayed there at the tree.  Peter said in later years that he thought for sure he would be dead before Annie got out of his site and he didn’t want her to be setting by him when that happened, she had already seen more than any little girl should have ever had to see.

Meanwhile at the Mortenson ranch something just didn’t feel right, James Mortenson went and saddled his horse and headed towards the Thomsen ranch and the closer he got the more that feeling increased.  It was coming on to dusk when out of the evening mist he saw a tiny figure and a large dog, he recognized Little Annie almost immediately and he knew that things were bad, she was covered in blood and while he checked her over to see if it was hers, he finally got her to talk.  She said everyone was dead and that Peter had told her to walk towards his ranch.  James put her on his horse and took her back to his ranch and then raised the alarm about Indians in the area.  He hitched up his wagon so that he could collect the bodies at the Thomsen ranch, Annie had told him that Peter wasn’t at the ranch, but against a tree on the road towards his ranch.  As James was going down the road he kept his eyes open for Indians and for the tree, Annie said Peter was by.   When he saw the boy against the tree he knew he was dead, but as he picked him up to lay him in the wagon, Peter’s eyes opened and he ask if Annie had made it to the ranch and then he passed out, alive, but just barely, and so James went back to his ranch with the boy so they could start trying to save his life.

In the mean time someone was able to find Annie’s grandfather and he came to the Mortenson ranch where his wife, sons Hyrum, Peter and his granddaughter Annie were.  They buried the two bodies the next day and as soon as Peter was able to travel they put him in a wagon and took him and Annie to Colonia Juarez where they stayed with Aunt Sena.  Word was sent to Annie’s father, Rasmus Strate in Utah, I am not sure how long it took, but he did come and get Annie and took her back to Utah with him.

Annie soon met her two older siblings, and her father for basically the first time, since she had been less than a year old when her grandparents took her to Mexico.  Annie’s father remarried in 1894 and now she had a stepmother and soon Annie had half-siblings being born, all in Spring City, starting with, Maybert ‘R’ Strate, 1895-1968; Andrew Everette Strate, 1897-1961; Rulon Alfonzo Strate, 1899-1983; Fredolph McKinley ‘Mack’ Strate, 1901-1988; Christie Marie Strate Beck, 1904-1992; Don Carlos Strate, 1909-1983 and Dora Geneva Strate Madsen, 1912-1984.  All of these half-siblings were buried at the Spring City Cemetery, just like Annie’s father, mother and step-mother were.

Annie was living with her father on the 1900 census in Spring City, but sometime between 1902 and 1904 she met and married Gabriel B. ‘Gabe’ May who was born in Owen County, Kentucky on May 2, 1876.   Why he was in Utah, I have not been able to figure out yet, but on their first child’s birth record it does say he was a soldier, so maybe he was stationed at Camp Douglas and the 1945 state census in Florida says he was a Spanish War Veteran.   All the old family records say that Annie and Gabe were married in Spring City on November 17, 1904 but so far I have not been able to find an official record of that marriage.  They became the parents of four known children, two boys and two girls.  Their first child, Gabriel Allen ‘Harry B.’ May was born in Salt Lake City on January 28, 1906.  Before August of 1908 they had left Utah and gone back east to Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana where some of Gabe’s family lived.  Their next child, a daughter, Dolly Marie May was born in Indianapolis on August 30, 1908 as were their next two children, Marie Geneva May on September 22, 1915 and Walter Gene May on November 19, 1919.

Now I don’t know what is going on, but in Jefferson County, Indiana on November 11, 1911 Annie and Gabe are getting married, again???, and both are saying it is their first marriage, and it has the wrong birth date for Annie.  Jefferson County is almost 100 miles southeast of Indianapolis, so why they went that far to get married, when the marriage record says they both live in Marion County, is beyond me at this time.   The only thing I can think is that maybe they weren’t really married in Utah in 1904 and they have finally decided they might want to make themselves legit, so to speak and so they go 100 miles away so no one knows what they are doing.  The following is a copy of their marriage license from 1911.


In 1914, Annie’s father Rasmus Strate had died in Spring City, and I doubt Annie was able to go back for his funeral.  Annie and Gabe and their children continued to live in Indianapolis, but things were to get heart breaking again for Annie when on March 8, 1930 her oldest child, Gabriel Allen May, Harry as he was known, was killed in a car accident where he suffered a fractured skull and broken neck, when the car he was a passenger in was hit by a train.  His fiancĂ©e Ina Smith, was setting in his lap and suffered internal injuries, but apparently survived as I have not found any newspapers stating that she had died.

Annie’s other three children married, Dolly Marie May married Samuel Raymond Pullen, 1901-1965, on July 15, 1928 in Indianapolis and after his death in 1965 she married a Mr. Kern, and I have yet to find his first name or their marriage date.  Mary Geneva May married Robert Delmas Thrasher, 1911-1966, on March 30, 1937 in Shelby County, Indiana and Walter Gene May married Velma Pauline Palmer, 1920-1990, on June 19, 1939 in Indianapolis.  I don’t know if it was just the memories of her son’s death or if they just decided to leave Indianapolis for some other reason, but sometime before December 1938, Annie and Gabe moved to Miami, Florida and their three living children and their spouses also moved there as well around the same time.

Annie and Gabe from everything I have found to date only had two grandchildren, a grandson by their daughter Dolly, named Robert Thrasher and a granddaughter by their son Walter, named Judith Ann May.  I have been trying to track these two down to see what pictures or stories they may know about their grandmother, but so far I have not had any luck in locating them.  They were just a year or so apart in age being born in the early 1940’s.  I did find a picture of Annie’s granddaughter, Judith Ann May from the Manatee Junior College in Bradenton, Florida year book in 1962 and it follows.


I don’t have any pictures of Annie when she was an adult, nor do I have any of her children, but I do have a couple of her husband that were sent to me by one of his grandnieces from the May side of this family, and they are the following, taken on the beach in Miami in December of 1938.



Annie’s children passed away, Gabriel Allen May on March 8, 1930 as I stated earlier; Dolly Marie May Pullen Kern on June 9, 1989; Mary Geneva May Thrasher on March 28, 1993 and Walter Gene May on June 27, 1990; all in Florida except for the oldest child.  Annie’s husband Gabe was 10 years older than Annie, but died 10 years after her in December of 1967 in Miami, Florida.

No one had followed Annie, genealogy wise, at least that I am aware of, after she left her grandparents and went back to her father.  My mother-in-law, just a couple of years before she passed away in 2007, ask me if I could find out whatever happen to Annie, so that is when I started looking for her.  I wish I had started looking sooner and then maybe I could have talk to one of her children.

Little Annie, Anna Marie Strate May, passed away in Miami, Florida on December 26, 1957 and was laid to rest at Lincoln Memorial Park in Allapattah in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  Her husband and two of her children and their spouses, Dolly and Walter, are also buried there as well.  I have yet to find the cemetery that Mary and her husband were buried in.

What a life Little Annie led, from her mother dying when she was barely a month old, to her grandmother and uncle being murder right in front of her when she was six years old.  Then to be taken back by a father she didn’t even know, to siblings she never remembered seeing and then a new step-mother, it makes you wonder if she may have suffered any kind of abandonment or depression with the things that she endured at such a young age.  Then to top it off to have her oldest child be killed in such a tragic accident when he was only 24 years old.  She must have had real strength and fortitude of spirit to help her get through all she had to endure, through her almost 72 years of life.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mary Ann Golden/Golding

One of my first cousins just ask me a week or so ago about this ancestor and what I knew about her and so I thought well here is the next week’s ancestor story #40 for the year.  The ancestor I will be talking about this time is from my Daddy’s side, through his mother Jessie Doss.  Mary Ann Golden/Golding was my fourth great-grandmother and she was born about 1774, probably in Orange County, Virginia.  Mary Ann was the daughter of Richard Golden/Golding and Susanna Wilmoth.  Family stories say that Mary Ann was Cherokee and the daughter of Chief Golden of the Cherokee Tribe.  However, from all the research I have done I do not believe that was the case.  Also, my DNA and my Daddy’s did not show any Native America, but the amount Mary Ann may have had in her may have been small enough that it does not show up in our DNA mixture, if she did indeed have Indian blood in her that is.  I believe if there were any Native American it may be on her mother, Susanna Wilmoth’s side, because so far I have not been able to find out anything about Susanna’s ancestry.   Another old family story says that Mary Ann’s father, Richard Golden/Golding was a large land owner and was stabbed to death by one of his German renters in 1788.  The man was brought to court, tried, found guilty and was hung by the neck that same afternoon.  I have not looked for any actual court records, but that is something I need to do, to see how close to the truth this story may be.  On week #27, I wrote about Mary Ann’s husband, Joseph Clark.

You can see Orange County, Virginia circled on the following map and you can find this map and other United States county maps at this link: http://www.censusfinder.com/county-maps.htm


I do know that before 1776, Mary Ann and her family are leaving Virginia and moving down to South Carolina around the area that would become the Abbeville District.  Her father Richard Golden/Golding had served in the Revolutionary War in the 9th and 13th Virginia Regiment’s and may have gotten land warrants for his service, but so far I do not have any records to prove this.  I have found the following records in Land Grants of Abbeville County, South Carolina Book A, page 94 where we read: “Richard Golding as a citizen, granted 640 acres of land situated on 12 Mile River bounding on all sides on vacant land surveyed by John Martin on the 24th day of June last as appears by his certificate with the form and marks as platted and recorded this 17th day of August 1784, signed Robert Anderson”. 

From what I have found so far, I believe the Golden/Golding family was from England, but my Golden/Golding line has been here in America starting out in Virginia, since at least the 1660’s, possibly even a little earlier than that and by 1775 or so in South Carolina, before scattering all around the United States.  The Foster/Forster family that my 6th great-grandfather, William Golding married into goes back to Royalty lines in England.

Mary Ann was the second of the seven known children of Richard Golden/Golding and Susanna Wilmoth and these children were the following: William Golden 1772-1848, who married Sarah Newbourne; Richard Golden 1776-????, who married Ann Walton; Reuben Golden 1778-????; Elizabeth Golden 1780-1837, who married James Nathaniel Henderson Cansler; and Foster Golden 1782-????.   Another family story I have heard says that Mary Ann’s sister, Elizabeth Golden Cansler, was supposed to have smoked a corncob pipe and slept on the floor and somehow that translated to some, that she was an Indian and that is why she never slept on a bed.  Unfortunately, smoking corncob pipes and sleeping on the floor does not always mean someone was of Indian birth, quite a few people did that and they never said they were of Indian blood.

I have Richard Golding’s letters of administration for his estate after his death, granted to his wife Susanna Golding on October 7, 1788 in Abbeville County, South Carolina.  So far I have not been able to locate his actual will, to see what other children may have possibly been mentioned, I also have the inventory papers for his estate, the following are these papers.




I have found Mary Ann’s grandfather, William Golding’s, will which was written on September 4, 1777 in the Old Ninety-Six District of South Carolina.  William Golding’s will mentions the following sons and daughters in this order: John Golding, Reuben Golding, Anthony Golding, Richard Golding (my direct line), Mary Golding Leonard (Wife of Capt. Laughlin Leonard who was killed by Tories at Hays Station during the Revolutionary War.), William Golding, MIlly Golding Griffin (wife of James Griffin), Sarah P. Golding Foster (wife of Anthony S. Foster, Sr., possibly her cousin), Elizabeth Golding Tinsley (wife of Isaac Tinsley) and Robert Golding.  I don't know for certain these children are listed in birth order, but it is a good possibility.  William’s sons John and Reuben are made the executors to his will.  This will was brought to probate on September 23, 1782.  His wife Elizabeth is not mentioned because she had died in about 1775.  Following is a copy of that will and I have underlined in red every time he mentions one of his children by name.


Mary Ann soon met and married Joseph Clark, a son of Bowling Clark and Winifred Buford.  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.   Marriages for South Carolina especially during this early time period are few and far between, some being lost from fire, flood, war or just plain old neglect.  The following map shows where these counties are located in the state of South Carolina.


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.  These 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 Betsey Journegan; Joab Clark 1807-1882, married Elizabeth Brasher, then Mary A. Brasher and finally 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.  These Brasher spouses were all siblings and children of Thomas Brasher and Catharine Croft.  Also, Alfred and Susannah both died in 1809, less than a month apart, which has always made me wonder if perhaps there was some kind of an epidemic or something going on at that time.

I don’t have many pictures for this part of my family but the following pictures I posted in the story on Mary Ann’s husband, Joseph Clark, and so I am posting them again here in case someone didn’t see them there.   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 a distant cousin.  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 (week #18) and may be 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.




From her birth in Virginia, to her growing up years in South Carolina, to the wilds of the growing state of Kentucky, Mary Ann endured and saw quite a bit during her short life.  She had lost at least four of her children before she passed away.  Her father had fought in the Revolutionary War, some of her uncles died during that war, other family members fought in the War of 1812, namely her oldest son James Cansler Clark, who received a pension for his service during that war.   What these women went through while their men were off at war is probably hard to understand unless you have gone through something like that yourself.  One of my daughters had to go through that while her husband served a tour of duty for a year in Afghanistan.  I know she was a nervous wreck and probably didn’t show us half of the emotions she was probably feeling while he was gone.  My daughter was strong and I am sure our ancestors were too, they did not have time to set and bemoan their lives or their fate, they just had to get up and go every day no matter what.  One of my first cousins son is Special Forces and is gone again into the fighting, for at least his fourth or fifth tour overseas.  She has no idea where he is except that he is not on vacation, but she is staying strong too.

I do not have a death date for Mary Ann, but I know it was after 1830 and before 1839 in Christian County, Kentucky.  She was not even 65 years old, but life on the frontier was hard back in those days, especially for the women.  You worked from dawn to dusk, making sure your family was fed and clothed, and you worried constantly about the threat from Indians, highwaymen and the like.  A lot of the times your husband would need to go off hunting for food or work and I am sure you probably wondered when he left, if you would ever see him again.  Such was the life of frontier women, but without them none of us would be here, not all our family were born in big cities or lived the life of luxury, just poor honest working people trying to raise their families and stay alive. 

She is another ancestor I can be proud of, my 4th great-grandmother, Mary Ann Golden Clark.