11 December 2014


Sorting out the Jeremiah Vanderpools

Shiloh National Cemetery

Two young Vanderpool men — both named Jeremiah — participated in the American Civil War. Neither survived it. One was from Missouri; the other was from Indiana. They were second cousins, but probably did not know each other since their families had not lived near each other since the early 1800s.

The older Jeremiah was born about 1837 in Ray County, Missouri. He was the surviving son of four and was the only provider for his mother as his father had died in 1858. In the 1860 census of Harrison County, Missouri, Jeremiah is shown with his widowed mother, Susanna, and three sisters.1

This Jeremiah enlisted 22 August 1861 in Daviess County, Missouri in the U.S. Army as a private, Co. H, 23rd Reg. Inf. Vols., commanded by Captain West. He mustered in on 22 Sep 1861 at Benton Barracks, in Saint Louis, Missouri. St. Louis, Missouri. His residence at the time was Edinburg, Grundy County, Missouri.

On the morning of April 6, 1862, 40,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston poured out of the nearby woods and struck a line of Union soldiers occupying ground near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. On that first day at the Battle of Shiloh, Jeremiah was killed. He is buried at Shiloh National Military Park, Hardin County, Tennessee. His remains could not be identified and a stone with only a number marks his grave. As a result of his service, his mother was able to draw a small pension.2

Jeremiah Vanderpool, 1837-1862

The other Jeremiah Vanderpool was born in 1844 in Monroe County, Indiana. He was the son of Samuel Vanderpool and his first wife, “Becky” Terry. 3

He enlisted in Co. G, 31st Infantry Regiment, Indiana, as a private on 22 February 1864. On 1 March 1864, he married Cecelia Todd in Polk Township, Monroe County, Indiana. It was a short marriage. He died of typhoid on 21 August 1864 at Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee and is buried there at the Nashville Nation Cemetery, Section: E, grave No. 2757. No known issue.

1. 1860 United States census, Harrison County, Missouri, population schedule, Sugar Creek Township, p. 219 (penned), line 35, Susanna Vanderpool; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Nov. 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 622; page: 711; image: 225; Family History Library Film: No.  803622.
2. Vanderpool Newsletter III:7, pp. 90-91, citing Civil War Pension Application #141,683; ctf #115,571.
3. Vanderpool Newsletter V:8, p. 114, extracting and citing 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana censuses. In 1850, Jeremiah is shown with his father, Samuel, and stepmother, Sarah. Samuel and Sarah had married 16 May 1850 in Monroe County, Indiana.

07 December 2014

#34—52 ancestors
Ponder(ing) in Kentucky

Edgar Allan Poe’s famous 1845 poem, “The Raven,” keeps running through my mind as I seek to untangle the intertwined branches in Clay County, Kentucky of my Kellys — via their many Ponder spouses.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary . . .
“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December . . .

It seemed so logical (at the time).

Unsuccessful in finding the maiden name of my John F. Kelly’s mother via him or his siblings' records, I decided to trace the Ponder children to see if one of their spouses (who were Kellys) gave their mother’s maiden name in death (or other) records.

Four of the eight children of John Kelly and his wife, Elizabeth [—?—] had married Ponder siblings, making their children double first cousins. Some of these children also are parallel (or ortho) first cousins. Parallel (ortho) cousins are the children of two/three/etc. brothers or two/three, etc. sisters. The kinship between these two families also includes cross (cross — not cranky — cousins) because that happens when a brother and a sister from say the Smith family marries a sister and brother of say the Jones family and as genealogists say, “has issue.”

Example of the intermarriages of my Kelly and Ponder families in Clay County, Kentucky:
Susan Ann Kelly married John Jackson Ponder in 1852;
Jane Kelly, married Robert Ponder in 1844;
Mary “Winnie” Kelly married Jacob Ponder in 1849;
Kinchen Kelly married Dorcas Ponder in 1847.

Susan Ann, Jane, and Mary “Winnie” are sisters; Kinchen Kelly is their brother.

John Jackson, Robert, and Jacob Ponder are brothers; Dorcas Ponder is their sister.

Now you know why I am Ponder-ing weak and weary.

06 December 2014

#33 —52 Ancestors —Perfect Obit
Lucy Emma Noble, wife of Abraham Vanderpool (1837-1878) and Solon Brower (d. 1932)

Sometimes golden nuggets of genealogical data just fall into our laps. Perhaps these treasures are rewards for the hours of negative research, blind alleys, dead-ends, and the piles of conflicting information that most of us encounter. I like to think so.

I wasn’t even looking for Lucy — in fact, I didn’t even know who she was. Had no idea she belonged in the ever-growing Vanderpool tree that my cousins and I have been working on for several years. However, finding her has answered a number of questions and helped to fill out a spotty, almost barren, branch. I found her via a random search in newspapers for Vanderpools. I was looking for someone else.

The lady died in 1933 and her funeral notice appeared on the front page of the Saint Cloud, Florida Tribune. Her obit ran a few days later. It noted that she was born in Delaware County, Iowa. She was not a Vanderpool, but her first husband was and she had two sons by him.

The obit noted that she was a descendant of “Thomas Noble, the first immigrant ancestor of the largest family in the United States bearing the name of Noble, who was born in England in 1632 and came to America in 1653.”

It provided the names of her father and paternal grandparents and on back to the first Noble ancestor born in America — in Massachusetts. It also gave the name of the genealogist who had compiled this Noble family history, how long it had taken (25 years), and the fact that it had been expensive.

The detailed obituary mentioned that Lucy Noble was born 11 March 1855 and lived in Yankee Settlement of Delaware County, Iowa with her parents, Dwight Noble and Lucy Lucretia Huff, until the war [Civil War] broke out in 1861. Her father passed away when she was about four years old. Then she, her mother, and younger sister went to Dearborn, Michigan. They lived there until she was eight years old and she went to Detroit, Michigan to attend school.

She married Abram A. Vanderpool, who was born 25 April 1837 in Medina, New York. Vanderpool was a conductor on the Michigan Central Railroad for 13 years. They had two children — Edward All [sic] Vanderpool and Harry Ellsworth Vanderpool, the latter dying in infancy. Her husband died October 10, 1878 in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 41 years and five months.

State Insane Asylum in Hastings, Nebraska

 After her husband's death, she took a course in nursing and for many years had charge of Dr. Griggs’ lying-in hospital. On January 17, 1893, her mother passed away. Next Lucy went into the dressmaking field where she worked her way up until she had her own establishment and was known to the trade as ‘Madame Vanderpool’ and had in her employ six to eight girls at all times."

In the winter of 1888, Lucy (Noble) Vanderpool went to Lincoln, Nebraska, and was appointed by Governor Thayer as head seamstress at the State Insane Asylum at Hastings, Nebraska. Later she moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and was appointed by Governor Holcomb as head matron of the Home of the Friendless, and was in charge of the institution, where she inaugurated many reforms.

Her son, Edward A. Vanderpool, became a conductor on the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad and first made his home at Green Bay, Wisconsin. He married Nina May Briggs, who died 20 August 1904 in Hudson, Lenawee County, Michigan. Later he was transferred to Big Spring, Texas and Lucy went to live with him there for 11 years, helping him raise his two daughters.

In 1916, Lucy removed to Florida where on November 1, 1917, she married secondly Solon Brower, who was born and reared in New York City. He was a veteran of the Civil War and an expert watchmaker. In 1924, Mr. Brower's health failed and “for eight years he was confined to his home where he lingered until 1932, being cared for by his kind loving wife.” On May 2, 1932, he passed away. Her son also died that year.

From this detail-rich obituary, I have been able to fill in some blanks on the family group sheet of Abram Vanderpool for whom we had only fragments of information. Now I can search for documentation, verify information in the obituary, and track his descendants.

It is like Christmas. Life’s good.

07 November 2014

#32--52ancestors -- Mayflower Links

Dear Grandsons,
Yes, you have ancestors who came over on the famous Mayflower in 1620 and celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621. No, their names were not Gormley. However, they are your 10th-great-grandparents — John Alden and Priscilla Mullins (also spelled Mullens).

George H. Boughton (1833-1905) painted the famous Pilgrims Going to Church (1867, originally "The Early Puritans of New England Going to Church"), a scene he interpreted from a quote in W. H. Bartlett's The Pilgrim Fathers (London:1853, p. 237).
They have become a famous pair — thanks in part to an 1858 narrative poem by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who also was a descendant of John and Priscilla. You have many cousins thanks to your connection to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. The poem focused on a love triangle between three Pilgrims: Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden. Longfellow claimed the story was true, but the historical evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the ballad was exceedingly popular in 19th-century America and immortalized the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Miles Standish and John Alden purportedly vied for the affections of Priscilla Mullins, who utters, according to Longfellow, one of the most famous retorts ever: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?"

John Alden married Priscilla Mullins on May 12, 1622. She was the only survivor of the Mayflower Mullins family. They had 10 children and built a home in what is now Duxbury, Massachusetts on the north side of the village, on a farm, which is still in possession of their descendants of the seventh generation. John Alden's House, now a National Historic Landmark, was built ca 1653 and is open to the public as a museum. It is run by the Alden Kindred of America (http://www.alden.org/) an organization that provides historical information about him and his home, including genealogical records of his descendants.


Alden House in Duxbury
Priscilla died in Duxbury between 1651 and her husband's death in 1687. Both were buried in the Myles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
John and Priscilla had the following children who survived to adulthood:

1. Elizabeth was born about 1624 and died in Little Compton, Rhode Island on May 31, 1717. She married William Peabody on December 26, 1644, and had 13 children.
2. John was born about 1626 and died in Boston on March 14, 1701/2. He married Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill on April 1, 1660, and had 14 children.
3. Joseph was born about 1628 and died in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on February 8, 1696/7. He married Mary Simmons about 1660 and had seven children.
4. Priscilla was born about 1630. She was alive and unmarried in 1688.
5. Jonathan was born about 1632 and died in Duxbury on February 14, 1697. He married Abigail Hallett on December 10, 1672, and had six children.
6. Sarah was born about 1634 and died before the settlement of her father's estate in 1688. She married Alexander Standish about 1660 and had eight children.
7. Ruth was born about 1636 and died in Braintree on October 12, 1674. She married John Bass in Braintree on February 3, 1657/8, and had seven children.
8. Mary was born about 1638. She was still alive and unmarried in 1688.
9. Rebecca was born about 1640 and died between June 12, 1696, and October 5, 1722. She married Thomas Delano in 1667 and had nine children.
10. David was born about 1642 and died in Duxbury between July 2, 1718, and April 1, 1719. He married Mary Southworth by 1674 and had six children.

You descend from their third child, Joseph Alden (1628-1696/7) who married Mary Simmons; they had a son, Isaac Alden (1666-1727) who married Mehitable Allen. They had a son, Captain Ebenezer Alden (1693-1776) who married Anna Keith. They had a daughter, Abigail Alden  (1721-1762) who married Ebenzer Byram Jr. They had a daughter, Mary Byram (1755-1819) who married Silas Ayres. They had a daughter, Hannah Ayres (1781-1832) who married Isaac Pierson. They had a son, Byram Ayres Pierson (1801-1886) who married thirdly, Catherine Hosslich. They had a son, Isaac Pierson (1847-1911) who married Katherine Maybee. They had a son, Claude Vernon Pierson (1886-1942) who took the Gormley surname of his adoptive parents who took him to rear when his mother died when he was a baby.  He was your great-grandfather. See my blog about him.

Your family tree names start with Alden and Mullins and then zigzag to Byram, Ayres, Pierson and finally to Gormley. Happy Thanksgiving and remember your heritage.

The sentimental postcard (above) was drawn by prolific card illustrator, Ellen H. Clapsaddle (1863-1934), who also did many other Thanksgiving cards.

04 November 2014

#31-52ancestors--Treasures in Old Letters

“Taken me a woman . . .”

Letter dated: 25 January 1885
Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas
Addressed to: E. C. and Nancy Anderson and family
(in Laurel County, Kentucky)
From: J. F. Kelley and Wm. C. and M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool,
Newton County, Arkansas
[note: J. F. Kelley is the father of M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool

J. F. Kelley writes:
“Dear Brother and Sister. I seat myself to write to you in answer to your letter that I received and was glad to hear from you and that you was all well and doing well. This leaves us all doing well. As for news I hant [sic] any more than times is hard and money is scarce. Corn is from 40 to 70 cents a bushel. Pork is 4 cts. per pound, wheat is $1.00 per bushel. Flour is $2.25 cts. per hundred. Horses is high and cattle is low. Store goods is reduced in prices in this country. So that will do on that.

“We have had some winter here for some time but I think we will have some milder weather in a few days. Well, I would like to see you the very best in the world, but as old age and time and distance will not admit [sic] just now. I can't tell when the opportunity will roll round but I would like for you all to come over and see me and look at the country. I will try to furnish you some to eat."

[The following evidently penned by either M.E. (Kelley) Vanderpool or her husband, W. C. Vanderpool]:
“Uncle Clayton, you spoke in your letter that your children was good scholars. I am glad to hear it, but not boasting at all but I think that we have got two children that learns invariably fast. John, our oldest can spell anywhere in the Blue Back Speller by heart. He and Elbert is [sic] going to school four miles from home. His studies is the speller, fifth reader and third part arithmetic, and our Nancy is a spelling near the back of (the) speller and can read in the second reader.

“Aunt Nan, I will tell you about Henry's folks. They are as well as common. They have three children. They have a pair of twins. They are both girls. They are one week old. The oldest one is just eleven months old. So enough on that. My baby is ten months old and is as smart as a cricket.

“Aunt Nan, I would love to see you all the best in the world. I wish that you and Uncle Clayton was out here to go to meeting with us next Sunday. We live in one mile of the church house. Aunt Nan, I want you to tell Aunt Jane that I hant forgot her that I would love to see her and I want her to write to me.

“As we haven’t said anything about corn crops, I will state to you that has been good corn crops in this country this year. Pap says that he has raised more corn and better this year than he ever did. Aunt Nan, I will send you one of Pap's pictures in this letter. So I will come to a close for this time hoping to hear from you all soon."

[Thanks to my cousin, Shirley Martin Chandler, who found the letters in her granny’s attic, transcribed and provided me with a copy.].

The family links:
“Aunt Nan” was Nancy (née Jones, 1847-1918), the wife of E. C. (Ephraim Clayton) Anderson. They married 1868 in Clay County, Kentucky and at the time this letter was written, they were living in Laurel County, Kentucky.

The family connection between J. F. (John Farmer) Kelley and E. C. Anderson was actually between Sarah (née Anderson), the wife of J. F. Kelley, and E. C. Anderson. They were sister and brother (children of Joseph Anderson and Mary McElroy). Sarah died sometime between 1870 and 1880 in Arkansas. J. F. Kelley calls them brother and sister although technically, E. C. Anderson is his brother-in-law, and Nancy is E.C.’s wife.

The second part of the letter, evidently by (or for) Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool contains some genealogical jewels. She mentions her children, John Vanderpool (my paternal grandfather) and Nancy Vanderpool (apparently the namesake of “Aunt Nan” as there are no other Nancys in these families. The Elbert mentioned is probably Mary Elizabeth’s youngest brother — Elbert Kelley. John Vanderpool was about nine years old and his sister, Nancy was seven. Elbert Kelley would have been a teenager, about 16 or 17 years old.

At first I thought it odd that Elbert would still be in school, but have discovered that children who lived in rural areas often went to school only when the crops and farm chores permitted—usually in the winter — and may have attended school only a few months each year. The four-mile jaunt to school postulates that they were indeed tough in the “good old days.” Walking eight miles a day provided plenty of exercise for those kids. They probably had chores after school, too.

In another part of the letter, Mary Elizabeth (my great-grandmother) records the only evidence we have about her “smart as a cricket” child who was born in March 1884 (and thus was 10 months old in January 1885). This child (sex unknown) died before 1900 and no other record has been found about him or her.

While the information about the price of crops, horses, store goods and the weather is of some interest, Mary Elizabeth, also gives us the exact birthdate of her brother Henry Kelley’s twin daughters — Dora and Cora —  and confirms that they are only 11 months younger than their big brother, Will Kelley.

Henry Kelley was born in 1857 in Clay County, Kentucky. He married 4 Feb. 1883 in Newton County, Arkansas to Mary Jane Henderson (1866-1920). Thanks to a letter that Henry wrote to this same uncle (E. C. Anderson) on 21 July 1883, we know more than just marriage facts. In it, Henry wrote:

“Uncle Clayton, I have taken me a woman. I was married the 4th of last February. My wife is 16 years old and she is black eyed, black hair and the same size of Sister Mary [who was my great-granny, Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool, who my dad said was a "tiny thing"] and the prettiest girl you ever saw.”

Ephraim Clayton Anderson (1847-1918) married Nancy Trosper Jones (1839-1917) in Clay County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Even Jones and Mary B. Weaver. They lived most of their lives in Laurel County, Kentucky. He was a surveyor, farmer and justice of the peace. They had six children, including a set of twins, but only three children survived childhood.

The “Aunt Jane” referred to apparently is a sister of E. C. Anderson and Sarah (nee Anderson) Kelley. If so, she is believed to have married a Sampson Wilder as his second wife.

Thanks to the family letter writers and those who preserve and share these treasures.

03 September 2014

#30 Long Road Back to Georgia


Francis Marion Hensley (1841-1923)

Long Road Back to Georgia

Word rippled through Phillip’s Legion that Gen. Robert E. Lee was coming to inspect the troops. Estimates were that nearly 12,000 horsemen and battalions of horse artillery awaited Lee’s arrival.

Jeb Stuart
Francis Marion (called Marion) Hensley was a 21-year-old private in the cavalry and he was among those awaiting the general on the grounds of John Minor Botts’ farm just outside the town of Culpeper, Virginia on June 8, 1863.

Pvt. Hensley  and his 200 or so Cherokee County, Georgia neighbors who made up Company I/C of Phillip’s Legion had been assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia’s Cavalry Corps back in April. It had seen plenty of action and adventure. They were under the command of the dashing 30-year-old Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart.

Down in the ranks many rumors flew contantly, but one of them was true. That one was that the Army of Northern Virginia’s infantry was scheduled to march north the next day, with Stuart’s horsemen leading the way, scouting and screening the infantry’s advance.

Gen. Wade Hampton

Gettysburg East Cavalry Field1 by Hal Jespersen--Engelsk, Wikipedia

However, the Confederates did not realize that as General Lee inspected his troops, 9,000 Federal cavalrymen lay just across the Rappahannock River preparing to attack the following morning. For Francis Marion Hensley, this was the start of long series of skirmishes and battles leading to Gettysburg, where on 3 July in the East Cavalry Field, Phillip’s Legion, and others would be confronted by the 1st Michigan Cavalry led by Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Then after a retreat back to Virginia, eventually he and 67 other Confederates would be captured at Milford Station and imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Steamer New York at Aiken's Landing, Virginia. Library of Congress

Imprisoned for nearly 10 months, Pvt. Hensley finally was released in a POW exchange on 14 March 1865. He boarded the steamer New York and was exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. Three days later he was admitted to the Jackson Hospital in Richmond for “gelatio” — apparently a term for freezing or extreme chill. He was there for a week.

His last army record notes he was furloughed on 24 March 1865 for 60 days. That was about two weeks before General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The official records and family story about this ancestor having been "with Lee at the surrender" conflicted, but are understandable now in light of the dates and events.

From Richmond, Private Hensley walked home to Georgia — about 550 miles. The former cavalryman of Phillip's Legion finally arrived home -- horseless and “looking like a scarecrow” shortly before his 24th birthday.

07 August 2014

#29-52ancestors: Capt. James Vanderpool

#29—52 ancestors

Capt. James R. Vanderpool (1831-1880)

 I have an ancestor, loved and hated, depending on one's political views of the Civil War. One Confederate historian described him as "mean, bull-headed and ruthless." Another historian, with a Union bent, refers to him as a "courageous, honorable, and beloved by his troops." They are talking about the same man!

Union Officer's
Civil War
James R. Vanderpool, born ca 1831 in Indiana, was a blacksmith, married (to Anna Henderson), and father of three living in Newton County, Arkansas, when he enlisted in the Union Army on 21 June 1862. He was assigned to Co. B, 1st Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry. He served in it until he was discharged on 27 February 1863 to become captain of Co. C, 1st Arkansas Infantry Volunteers in which he served until the war ended in 1865.

Newton County, Arkansas was an isolated area in the Ozarks and in the early years of the war it did not affect the local people much.  However, by 1864, every able-bodied man of military age was in some branch of the army. This left only women, children and old men at home and they soon became a prey of bushwhackers who robbed and plundered everyone. Families of men serving in the military lived in constant fear of both the roaming bands of Confederate guerrillas and the bushwhackers. It became so dangerous that Union soldiers were unable to return to their homes to visit family without great risk of being shot by guerrillas. The Civil War split many families in this county and some families resorted to living in caves.

Living conditions during the war became so terrible that Capt. John McCoy, of Newton County, secured permission from Major General Frederick Steele to escort a wagon train of Union families to Springfield, Missouri. McCoy had served as State Representative from Newton County in 1858; and later, in 1864, he would serve as an Arkansas Senator. He was a vigorous opponent of the secession ordinance, voting against the Act under open threats that he would be shot down on the floor of the legislature. 

To escort the caravan he was assisted by Capt. James R. Vanderpool. They took 20 wagons of families. Early on during this trip, Capt. McCoy’s horse fell and landed on him, breaking five ribs. The accident confined McCoy to a bed in one of the wagons and that put Captain Vanderpool in charge.  According to the History of Newton County, by Walter F. Lackey, “as they were passing some fine plantation homes, a woman came out and cursed them and called them names, saying that a Rebel Army was in their path and that every d—— one of the men would be killed and their women and children would be sleeping in tents in less than a week.”

The caravan camped on the bank of the river that night and soon after they’d pitched camp, some steers belonging to the Rebel woman who had yelled at them earlier came near their tent and began bellowing at the Union troops’ steers.  Captain Vanderpool ordered his men to shoot the steers, saying “no d—- Rebel steers could bawl at his oxen.”

Newton County “produced two famous leaders, fighting for different causes,” Rose Lacy writes for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. They were “James Vanderpool, a Union hero who returned home in August 1865, and John Cecil, the former sheriff of Newton County, who was known for showing off his twin pearl-handled pistols that he had worn as a guerrilla leader for the Confederacy.”

Old State House 1865 Little Rock, Arkansas
In the spring of 1864, James R. Vanderpool was serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives as representative from Newton County. He was absent several times (obviously due his military duties) but appears in the Special Session in April 1865 (Journals of the House of Representatives of the Sessions of 1864, 1864-65, and 1865 — Arkansas Constitutional Convention). His son, John Anthony Vanderpool, age 3, died while the family was in Little Rock in 1865.

James R. Vanderpool

Soon after military service and legislative duties were completed, James and his family went back home to Newton County. Before the war he had purchased a small farm located on the mountain south of Jasper, but the house had been burned and the fences destroyed. He quickly constructed a small cabin and the following spring attempted to plant a crop, but the hard physical labor of farming proved much too strenuous for his failing health. In early 1868, he opened a mercantile business in Jasper, but he sold it about four years later and moved back to his mountain farm. He became seriously ill with pneumonia and on March 22, 1880 died at the age of 49. Just five months later, on August 16, Anna, his wife, died giving birth to their 11th child — a baby boy neither would ever know.

It is difficult to look at the lone picture I have ever seen of him and realize he was only about 48 years old. He looks so much older. Life was difficult in the mid-19th century, but military service was extremely hard on those who fought during the Civil War. I admit that I’m proud to say he is my 2-great-grandfather and confess that I look at his war-time service with pride and bias.

15 July 2014

#28-52ancestors: d'Anterroches-Vanderpoel


Surprising French Connection
Chevalier d'Anterroches and Mary "Polly" Vanderpoel

Julie d'Anterroches, wife of Warren Rogers--1839;
daughter of Louis-Joseph d'Anterroches and Mary Vanderpoel

Henry Knox (1750-1806) was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War. In 1787, he received a request from his former commander, General George Washington, to learn more about a particular Frenchman, whose “distressed” mother had written to Washington requesting assistance for her son who had come to America as a British soldier during the American Revolution.

Knox replied to Washington: New York 26th March 1787.

“I have attended my dear sir to your request respecting the Chevalier D'Anterroches and the following sketch is the result.

He is the son of a general officer in the French service, old and infirm; his uncle is the bishop of Condom [in southwestern France], rich, and miserly; besides which he is a relation of the Marquis de la Fayette. In the early part of his life, his father designed him for the church, and forced him to enter on studies necessary for the profession—as this business was his horror, he fled to England and enlisted as a soldier, but afterward became an officer, by what means does, not appear, but he came out to Canada with General John Burgoyne in the year 1776 or 1777, and was taken prisoner at Saratoga [New York].

On information that France had decidedly espoused the cause of America he [Chevalier D’Anterroches] left the service of England — whether he refused to be exchanged, resigned, or the precise means of leaving the British service, I cannot ascertain.

Some four or five years ago, he was at Chatham, Morris County [New Jersey],  in the house of a Mr. Pool, where he fell sick—Mr. Pool [David Vanderpool] is a shoemaker, his daughter was extremely attentive to the sick chevalier, who testified his gratitude on his recovery by marrying her. Two or three children are the fruits of the marriage. He lives on a small farm near Elizabeth Town, and is in great distress, but is in constant expectation of being relieved by his [wealthy] relations. His character is unexceptionable, and he is spoken of as a deserving man.

My own opinion is that nothing could more effectually please him than placing him in the French service, but his wife and children seems to be an insuperable bar to that idea — perhaps were you to write to the Marquis de la Fayette a letter calculated for him to show to the persons of influence, the poor chevalier might obtain some office in the customs, in the islands, or vice consul of these states by which he might maintain his family. I know of nothing in the gift of the United States at present which would relieve him — were it practicable for him to enter the service in a military line, the payments are so deficient that his family would starve.

I am my dear sir
Your respectfully & affectionate friend and very humble servt [servant]
HKnox [Henry Knox]”

It may be through the interposition of President Washington's influence that Joseph-Louis  D’Anterroches was made an adjutant general to the army commanded by General Henry Lee during the fall 1794 expedition to Western Pennsylvania in suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Joseph-Louis, Chevalier d'Anterroches was born at the Chateau of Puydernac, near Tulle, Limousin, France, on August 25, 1753. His parents were Jean-Pierre, Count d'Anterroches, and Lady Jeanne Francoise Teissier de Charnac. On his mother's side he was related to General Lafayette.

Chevalier d'Anterroches married Mary “Polly” Vanderpoel [as some of the family spelled the surname], daughter of Captain David Vanderpoel (1735-1821), at the Presbyterian parsonage in South Hanover, New Jersey on January 30, 1780 by the Rev. Ebenezer Bradford. The wedding ceremony was quiet and simple and not the usual large festive gathering, precluded by the severity of the weather and the unsettled condition of the country. Later an elegant trousseau was sent to Polly by her in-laws. The simple ceremony was not considered a sufficient compliance with the marriage laws of France, so seven years later a second ceremony was performed, according the rites of the Roman Catholic Church in the chapel of the French Legation in New York City.

The Vanderpoel family’s version of the meeting and courtship of Mary (called Polly) Vanderpoel and the chevalier differs somewhat from Knox’s, but these details are independently unverifiable. Her father, David Vanderpoel, was a tanner and currier by trade, and a soldier in the New Jersey militia. The family claimed he was a captain. Her mother was Deborah Lane (1739-1820). In the Dutch custom, their surname often was shortened to v. d. Pool (or Poel) or to just Pool. Her father objected to their marriage — some say because he was French, perhaps a spy, a paroled prisoner of war at the time, and had been fighting on the British side, but more likely it was a religious objection, since the Vanderpoels were Protestants.

By 1784, with the American Revolution ended and peace restored, the d’Anterroches settled down in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey. Years later, on a visit to his aging parents, his father died, and before Joseph-Louis  d’Anterroches could arrange affairs and get back to his wife and family in New Jersey, he died on 18 January 1814 — in his native land at the age of 60.

Mary “Polly” (Vanderpoel) d'Anterroches lived on in New Jersey and New York until 1844. When Lafayette revisited this country in 1824, she and her children were received at a private interview and embraced with the affection of a relative — as the children told their children.

They had 10 children, one of whom was Julie Francoise Gabrielle d’Anterroches (born in 1794) who married first Edward Griffith in 1811 and secondly, Warren Rogers in 1821. The 1839 watercolor-on-ivory portraits of Julie and Warren by the artist Theodore Lund (1810-1895) were donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the family.

07 July 2014

#27-52ancestors: Kimbro

Kimbros -- Gone to Texas?

George Kimbro (1779-1860)

Dear 4g-grandpa, I am sure you didn’t mean to leave such a tangled mess of branches. After all, with your tidy Germanic background, you were kind enough to make a detailed will, and it is not your fault that the courthouse in Shelbyville (Bedford County), Tennessee was burned down by the Confederate Army forces in 1863, taking with it your 1860 will.

Lucky for us descendants, in 1865, the will was reconstructed from the memory of the minister who originally drew it up and the estate was then probated. In it, your nine children were named and because four of your sons had predeceased you, their widows (if they were still living in 1860) are mentioned and their children are named as heirs.

Bedford County, Tennessee Courthouse

The problem is the reconstructed will has conflicting information (nothing is perfect in genealogical records, is it?) regarding the children of your son, James (my ancestor) and whether they lived in Tennessee or Texas. Thank goodness for tax records as I finally have been able to determine that James Kimbro was in Bedford County, Tennessee paying taxes from 1836-1839 and probably is the one listed in that county in its 1840 census. Evidently he died before 1850, but not a trace of him has been found after 1840 in Tennessee.  So perhaps he went to Texas as did a couple of his brothers.

That’s why I started digging deeper in Texas records since I knew his brother, William, had gone to Texas as early as 1831 and Neely was in Shelby County, Texas by 1849.

William fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and was a sheriff in San Augustine County, Texas. I was hopefully that my ancestor had settled near him or Neely so I could put my quest to rest.
I have not been successful and while a great deal has been written about Captain William Kimbro in various histories of Texas, it is claimed that he came to Texas with a wife and son in 1831.
However, his two known children (mentioned in their grandfather’s will) were Martha Ann Kimbro and Benjamin W. Kimbro. They were born ca 1833 and 1839, so if there was a son born prior to 1831 he must have died young.

So far, I have not found my James Kimbro in 1840 to 1850 --  and Texas is a mighty big state.
But I found the following about his brother, William, in the "veterans’ biographies" of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

“KIMBROUGH, WILLIAM (ca. 1810–1856). William Kimbrough (Kimbro, Kimbo), soldier and law officer, was born in Bedford County, Tennessee, and moved to Texas in 1831 with his wife, Sarah, and son. They settled in David G. Burnet's colony about five miles west of the site of present San Augustine.

“In September 1835, with the coming of the Texas Revolution, Kimbrough raised a company of volunteer infantry in the area and served as its captain in Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. After San Jacinto, Kimbrough was captain of the militia company of the Northwest Beat of San Augustine County.

He served as sheriff of San Augustine County from 1836 through 1838, was elected sheriff on February 1, 1841, and held the office until 1843. He was re-elected in 1847 but did not serve through his term.

“In 1850 he was farming in San Augustine County and was elected justice of the peace of Beat Four. In 1853 he moved to Anderson County, where he lived until his death, on September 14, 1856. He was buried in Palestine, and in 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission marked his grave with a historical marker.”

While my quest to find James goes on, it is nice to learn more about the adventures of his siblings who went to Texas.  I may stumble onto something yet about my ancestor in the Lone Star State.

01 July 2014

#26-52 Ancestors: Unmarked Graves

Unmarked Graves
Pyrene (Christian) Connally 1808-1891, Murray County, Georgia

“Someday I will buy a tombstone for him so he will not be forgotten,” my maternal grandmother use to tell me. She and I went to the local cemetery when I was child, placing flowers on the graves of ancestors and relatives. Back then it was called Decoration Day — now it is Memorial Day — and grandmother told me about each person on whose grave we placed flowers. She certainly gave me a head-start as a family historian for her side of the family and for her in-laws who were buried in that location.

My tough Indian Territory-pioneer granny, undaunted by snakes, wasps, rats and tornadoes, always cried when we came to that unmarked plot for Francis Porter Fricks, her two-year-old son, who died of the croup in 1909. Losing a child has to be one of the most painful things a mother has to bear. I have discovered many of my ancestors’ histories are rife with information about their children who died young — many victims of childhood diseases — and others who died in accidents and wars.

Pyrene Christian and Samuel Connally who lived in Murray County, Georgia, had six sons. They lost their son, Drewry, when he was about 21 in 1853 (the reason is unknown). In the 1860 federal population schedule, Samuel and Pyrene are listed with four sons, ages 13 to 24 at home and nearby is their recently married 31-year-old son, Thomas Connally with his wife, Mary, and a baby daughter, Pyrene (obviously named for her paternal grandmother). Then came the Civil War.

They lost their sons Thomas, Francis M., David and Samuel fighting for the Confederacy in Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia and then on 24 July 1864, their next-to-youngest son, John W. Connally, age 20, was captured by the Yankees not far from the family farm. Taken to a graveyard near Jasper in Pickens County, along with other captured Confederate soldiers, he was shot and killed. His death was recorded in the Southern Watchman (a weekly newspaper published in Athens, Georgia) on 17 August 1864.

“The prisoners, disdaining the idea of being shot in the back, tore blindfolds from their eyes and about faced, opened their breasts to them, and in a few minutes were in eternity.”

Within four years, five of Samuel and Pyerene’s sons were dead from disease or battle injuries.
Samuel Connally died in 1878 and Pyrene lived on until 1891. They are buried in the Mount Zion Methodist Church Cemetery in Murray County, along with their son, Drewry, their only daughter-in-law, and her three-year-old child by her second husband.

Like the grave of my grandmother’s son, there are no markers for these five young men who died during the Civil War, and one can only imagine the pain and grief that Pyrene must have borne all those years because none of those sons came home and none of them were properly laid to rest with the rest of that family.

Pyrene (Christian) Connally, 1808-1891 -- thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh.
Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery, Murray County, Georgia

Connally family stones in Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery
Thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh (Find-a-Grave)
Murray County,Georgia

23 June 2014

#25-52ancestors; Bad Girls

Bad Girls Baffle Researcher

• Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews (ca 1786-1860)
• Sarah (Pierson) Hixson (ca 1813-after 1859)

It must be a head-strong, stubborn or willful gene that runs rampant in my family's DNA because it is rife with naughty daughters who did (or didn't do) things that so displeased their parents, they were cut out of their wills. The reasons are not always spelled out, leaving me to wonder what happened.

For example, on 11 September 1838, Lawrence Bankston of Wilkes County, Georgia, made an alteration to his last will and testament (dated 10 April 1834) “for good reasons.”  [Had only he bothered to explain!]

“Whereas I did convey in said will to my daughter Priscilla Mathews an equal share with other three daughters, which said gift I do hereby absolutely and entirely revoke and instead thereof I do hereby of my good will place my said daughter’s full share as given in my said former will into the possession of my grandsons Griffin Mathews and Isaac Moore for them or either of them to act as agent or trustee [for] daughter aforesaid for her sole benefit during her life and at her death to descend or go to and belong to the heirs of her body.” 

Bankston had four daughters who were married and living at the time. He mentions two beloved sons-in-law — Isaiah T. Irvin and Caleb Sappington — but he does not mention Priscilla’s husband (William Matthews/Mathis) or daughter Elizabeth’s husband (Samuel G. Mosley), which leaves room for lots of speculation. Both of these daughters had moved away from Wilkes County, but that seems unlikely to be the reason for him to have made this codicil. Moreover, he penalizes only Priscilla.

What is most curious is the two named "grandsons" who were to act as agents or trustees for Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews. Griffin Mathews, the eldest son of Priscilla and her husband William Mathews, was born about 1809, so was an adult when his grandfather died in 1844. However, Isaac Moore was not a grandson by blood, but rather the husband of a granddaughter, Sarah Ann Mathews (another child of Priscilla and William Mathews). Sarah Ann was born about 1814.

Why did Lawrence Bankston pick those two to handle the inheritance of his daughter Priscilla? Curiosity is forcing me to go back to the records of that Georgia county and find out what happened to Priscilla's share of her inheritance.

Then there was Sarah (Pierson) Hixson, daughter of Isaac Pierson. In his 1859 will in Preble County, Ohio, Isaac said, “I will and bequeath to my daughter, Sarah and her children 30 acres of land off of the north side of my farm that I now own in Twin Township [Preble County]  . . .”

But in a later modification, he instructs his executor to give to his daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah, $25 to make them equal with what he had given their only brother. And, he adds “that Sarah is not to have any more after she gets what I have given to her  —  the 30 acres of land and the $25 she is to have from my estate. And she is not to have any more, the balance is to be divided among my other children and their heirs.” 

Sarah is not found with her husband (William Hixson Sr.) and their seven children in the 1850 census and so far I have not found her in 1860 or later enumerations. So that makes me wonder. Oh, Sarah, what on earth did you do to make your Papa so unhappy with you and where did you disappear to and why? Are you hiding in plain sight right under my nose or am I barking up the wrong tree?

#24--52 ancestors: Disappearing Act

#24-52ancestors; Disappearing Act

John Vanderpool (1794-ca1840)

I found him! Genealogists recognize that shriek. You hear it now and then at libraries and archives. However, I was alone in the dawn’s silvery streaks of light when I found him, with only my computer’s blinking cursor to acknowledge my cry of joy.

He evaded me for years, and it took technology and the wonders of the Web to track him down. Somewhere between 1835 and 1840 he disappeared. He being John, the older brother of my ancestor, William Vanderpool. John was the administrator of his father’s estate in Marion County, Indiana, and court records revealed some legal disagreements with a brother-in-law in 1835. John was also appointed guardian of his younger sister, Mary – an idiot (that’s a legal term rather than a sibling’s slur). Then John and his wife, Susannah, and their children disappear – vanish from the face of the earth. Or so it seemed.

Unable to find John and his family in 1840 or later censuses or in any Marion County, Indiana records after 1835, I finally stumbled upon his younger children in Missouri in the 1850 census – living with their older brother. So where was this family during this 15-year span?  What happened to John and Susannah? The trail was an icy-cold; I soon exhausted the few clues I had, including a search for Bounty Land Warrants (BLW). John served in the War of 1812, and under an 1842 act he could have chosen land in areas other than Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. However the search for a BLW was negative, and I came to one of those dead-ends that most family historians encounter at various stages of research. I put the hunt for John and Susannah on hold and worked on other problems. In genealogy, you never run out of problems to solve. At least I never have.

American land records are invaluable for tracing roaming, restless ancestors across the vast expanse of this huge country. I was well aware of these records, having solved a few genealogical problems with them before. However, without a clue to which county, even which state, John and Susannah might have removed to after they left Marion County, Indiana, there was not much hope of finding him -- not easily or quickly in any case.

The Bureau of Land Management -– Eastern Division established a website in 1998 where records may be searched online for the states whose records it hold. One early morning I decided to explore the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Home Page http://www.glorecrds.blm.gov/ -- and that is where I found him. In January of 1837 he purchased 80 acres of land in Shelby County, Illinois (for the princely sum of $1.25 an acre). A search in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri land patents at this website had turned up several John Vanderpools. However, armed with the narrow time frame I had, I was able to sift out unlikely candidates and turn my focus on the records of Shelby County, Illinois.

On 13 October 1838, John and Susannah sold this property and disappeared again. At least I've narrowed my search from 15 years to 12. Is that progress or what?

10 June 2014

#23 Surprise in the Old Will (James Putman)


The Surprise in the Old Will
James Putman (1743-1811)

Beginning genealogists are often warned to be prepared because you never know what you will find when you start probing in the past. Not all of our ancestors were perfect. Of course, they don’t listen. I didn’t. In fact, finding a number of family skeletons early-on in my digging only whetted my appetite to know more and the “real” story of my ancestors.

My paternal side is mostly Dutch, French and German, winding back to 17th century in this country and to early settlements in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. However, my mother’s ancestors (mine too, of course) are something else.

They all arrived years before the Revolutionary War with a mix of ethnicities — Swiss, Scots-Irish, Irish, French, Swedish, Scottish, Welsh, more Germans, and a purported English line or two. Most of them came through Virginia or the Carolinas and eventually headed west and kept on going.

A big surprise has been the diversity of occupations and economic levels among them — some were dirt poor, while others were well-fixed. They participated in all of America’s wars, some whole-heartedly and some were drafted. During the War Between the States, some fought for the Union, others were Confederates, some traded sides back and forth and a few headed to the Far West to escape it all. But the most difficult thing for me to deal with has been the discovery that a number of them were slave owners.

I’ve read my share of wills, probate records and inventories and spent plenty of time trying to figure out the name of some old implement or piece of furniture. While this information can be interesting and historically educational, usually the main reason for a search in these records is to ascertain genealogical relationships and to “prove” that your ancestor is the son or daughter of a certain person.

Recently a cousin sent me a note about a South Carolina will that named our common ancestor — Elizabeth (who was called Betsy). Another unknown cousin had found the information and posted it online. Our Elizabeth “Betsy” Putman married Hezekiah Ray about 1802 probably in Union County, South Carolina. They had four or five children before she died about 1811. Hezekiah soon remarried (see my earlier blog about Mean Patsy) and removed to Tennessee. According to this will, Betsy’s father was James Putman. Thanks to Bill Putman for finding this will and sharing it.

Will of James Putman of Union County, South Carolina
(Recorded and probated 6 January 1812; citing Will Book A, p. 269)

. . . to my beloved wife Joice, the Negro Lucy, a list of items . . . the land and plantation to be rented, all that is not rented to Ralph Jackson, to my son Amos Putman my Negro child Jerey that now sucks his mother, to my son Joseph Putman thirty dollars, to Hesekiah [sic] Ray's children had by his wife Betsy my daughter thirty dollars to be equally divided when they come of age, to my 3 grandchildren Bazel Putman, Jensey Putman and Zadock Putman ten dollars each when they are capable of taking care of it. My children William, Jesse, James, Jabel, Amos, Daniel Putman, daughter Nancy Lawson fifty dollars each. After the death of my wife, what she leaves of the Negroes and other property to be sold and equally divided amongst my children.
My sons William and Jabel Putman to be executors.
Dated: 11 December 1811

Well, there goes my summer of leisure. Research at the library calls loudly. The other day on Facebook I saw someone announce they had finished their family tree. I’ve been researching more than four decades, and with this new discovery that supposedly goes way back in England, I may be digging another 40 years, so pardon me if I LOL.

03 June 2014

#22-52ancestors: Jane Does

Jane Does (sort of)

Jane (Weibling) Vanderpool
Elizabeth Jane (Peacock) Connally

There are not many ancestors named Jane adorning my family tree. In fact, they are scarce as hen’s teeth as my granny use to say — one of her many Southern sayings that use to send me into fits of girlish giggling. I grew up on a farm and we raised chickens. I knew that hens did not have teeth. In fact, granny and grandpa didn’t have any either — teeth that is, but that’s another story.

At the most I have five Janes in my direct line. However, two of them are without any documentation — just the notoriously unreliable “family legend” and a third might just be a figment of someone’s imagination or because an earlier family genealogist became bored with all of the Marys, Elizabeths, Nancys, and Susannahs and decided to pull a “Gustave Anjou”
 (http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Fraudulent_Genealogies )
and spice up our tree with a “Mary Jane.”

Both of my provable Janes died young, which might be the reason I decided to write about them. One was probably in her early- to mid-30s when she died and the other was only 22. One was of Dutch or German origins (probably). Jane (Jannetje) Weibling married into my Dutch Vanderpool family in New Jersey or New York about 1733. The last written record I have of her is the 1741 baptism record of her daughter, Sara Vanderpool, in the Dutch Reformed Church in Smithfield, Pennsylvania.

From that area the family — at least my line — soon removed to wilds of Virginia and eventually to North Carolina by 1757. Records of Jane’s husband, Abraham Vanderpool, have been found in those localities, but nothing about Jane has been uncovered. Evidently she died between 1741 and about 1745 and her husband then remarried and had additional children by his second wife. What is sad (for me, the genealogist) is I have no clues to the names of Jane’s parents or any siblings, her ethnicity or when and where she met my Vanderpool ancestor. She is mentioned only three times  — in Dutch Reformed Church records, as the mother of three daughters, one of whom died at 16 months of age.

Didn’t Jane Weibling have any family in New Jersey or New York in the early 1700s? Or did their surname become so transformed or mangled along the way that I’ve been unable to figure it out or identify them? Hang on, Jane Weibling, I’m still looking for you. I have not given up.

The other story granny use to tell me which would make me giggle was one to remind me to be proud because I was a Peacock — a descendant of the Peacocks of Atlanta, in fact. Well, that didn’t mean much to me as a kid on a farm in Oklahoma. Even years later when I began to explore my ancestry seriously, my tendency was to brush aside the fancy family legends about any rich or illustrious lines and try to focus on the facts. I mean untangling our family legends and tall tales told by an uncle who never let any facts get in the way of a good yarn was a full-time job for many years.

However, you should listen to your granny, especially is she is as smart as mine. My granny knew what she was talking about — her mother-in-law — Elizabeth (Connally) Frick, a widow, lived with her son and his wife (my granny) for many years. Elizabeth was a descendant of Louis Peacock, an early Atlanta-area pioneer. The details about the Peacock-Connally-Fricks connections I did not learn overnight, or by clicking on an online tree, or figure it all out in a weekend, but eventually I discovered that my great-granny was the only child of Elizabeth Jane (called Jane) Peacock who married “Big Charles” Connally at the tender age of 15 — much younger than my other female ancestors. In 1849, my great-granny was born in Atlanta — and her mother — Elizabeth Jane (Peacock) Connally died in early 1852 at the tender age of 22 — the mother of only one known child.

I have no pictures of Elizabeth Jane Peacock (1830-1852) or of her husband, Charles William “Big Charles” Connally (1817-1886), but fate smiled on me and a double cousin shared with me some pictures of her ancestors — Thomas Whipple Connally (1809-1884) and Temperance Arnold Peacock (1818-1896). Thomas Whipple Connally is an older brother of my “Big Charles” and Temperance is an older sister of my Elizabeth Jane Peacock.

Thomas Whipple Connally (1809-1884) and his wife, Temperance Arnold Peacock (1818-1896).
Picture was taken about 1850 in or near Atlanta, Georgia.

Thank goodness for generous cousins who care and share.

27 May 2014

#21-52ancestors: Husband Breaks Rule No. 8

#21-52ancestors—Husband Breaks Rule No. 8

Nancy (Vanderpool) Baird (1805-1851)

There should be some laws that our ancestors have to obey —such as:
1. Leave a note at your old place as to where you are removing to and where you will be stopping for awhile along the way
2. Indicate which Thomas, Richard  or Harry is your namesake
3. Red flag all family legends and myths
4. Keep a journal or diary
5. Reveal who is inheriting the family Bible
6. Prepare a list of the nicknames of all of your children and if you call any of them by their middle name, rather than their first name, say so
7. Leave a will and spell out all names and relationships therein
8. Don’t even think about marrying two (or more) women with the same given name

It is Rule No. 8 that has me in a tizzy and working furiously updating files and alerting cousins about a problem. No wonder genealogies are never completed. There are those thoughtless husbands like Alexander Harmon Baird (1804-1884) who come along, perch upon your family tree, but don’t follow the rules. As a result I have recorded the wrong wife buried beside him. How dare him marry two women named Nancy!

I dutifully tracked Nancy Vanderpool, finding her 1826 marriage record to Alexander Harmon Baird in Ashe County, North Carolina and followed them through the various censuses, other records, and eventually to the Baird Cemetery in Valle Crucis in Watauga County, North Carolina. They died about a year apart or so I thought. The probate records indicated that the widow, Nancy, was to receive so much for a year’s support allowance. It was a small estate and all their children were then grown. In fact, only four of them were still living when Alexander died — two daughters were left in North Carolina, one son was in Tennessee, and another son was off “somewhere in Kansas.” This family lost three sons during the Civil War.

Earlier, the only indication I had had was that there might be something amiss in this genealogy was in the 1860 census when Alexander and Nancy were not enumerated together. He was listed as “widowed” but a few pages later I found a Nancy Baird of about the correct age with other family members and assumed (the fatal error of genealogists everywhere) that the couple might have been separated for whatever reason. When they don’t leave notes, it is difficult to be sure what is going on. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, Alexander and Nancy were back together and all appeared well.

Recently a cousin sent me a copy of an obituary for Alexander Harmon Baird from an 1884 newspaper in which it noted that his first wife, my Nancy Vanderpool, had died in 1851 and in 1870 he had remarried — to a Miss Nancy Brown. She must be the Nancy buried next to Alexander in 1885. So where did he bury his first wife — my Nancy Vanderpool (1805-1851) and why didn’t he leave me a note?

20 May 2014

#20-52ancestors: Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

#20-52ancestors:   Mystery Lady in Civil War Letter

William Clark Endicott (1839-1922)

Camp Rossville, Georgia
March the 8th, 1864

Ever Respected Father:
I take the present opportunity of sending you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I sincerely hope that when these few lines may come to hand that they may find you enjoying the same Blessing. We are back at our Old Camp. We found the boys all well, there is not a sick man in our Company and I do not know of one in the Regiment. We have plenty to eat and very light duty. We have just got things in working order. The recruits are drilling this morning. We have over 100 men in our company.

I wish that you would send me some Postage Stamps for I came to Chattanooga without any, intending to get them there and when I got there I could not get them for they had none in the town. If you can send me a dollar’s worth it will do me for a while. If not, the letters will be few and far between that I will write to any one for a while.

I want you to trade that sorrel off if you have not done it and work the bay all the time you can make them earn their feed if possible.

Tell the rest of the folks that I will write as soon as I can if not sooner . . . if they do not get disheartened and too soon. I got a letter from Aunt Vilet [sic] when I came back, but it was written before the one that you got while I was home and there was nothing interesting in it.

We have very plesant [sic] weather here now. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends and my love to grandmother and Aunts and Cousins.

Please write soon. Direct to Nashville, Tennessee, in care of Capt. Wilson, Co. E, 10th Illinois Infantry. [Capt. Wilson probably was Samuel J. Wilson, also of Henderson County, Illinois, who later was promoted to major].

Signed: William C. Endicott
To: Joseph Endicott (his father)

Henderson County, Illinois

About the author of this letter: William Clark Endicott enlisted as a private in Union Army in May of 1861 in Henderson County, Illinois. He served in the 10th Illinois Infantry, which went into forays into Kentucky and Missouri to break up Rebel camps; went to New Madrid, Missouri with Pope’s Army; to Nashville and supported General William T. Sherman in his attack on Missionary Ridge, pursued the Confederates to Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia; marched to the relief of Knoxville, Tennessee, returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee and winter quartered in the rear at Rossville, Walker County, Georgia from where he wrote this letter and also where re-enlisted. Later his outfit took  part in the campaign against Atlanta and was with General Sherman on his historic “March to the Sea” and until the close of the war. William Clark Endicott was mustered out 4 July 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sometime after the war he went to Missouri where he married Mary Jane Bass 17 September 1867 in Dallas County. They had 12 children and eventually removed to eastern Oregon. William Clark Endicott was the only known child of Joseph Endicott (1815-after 1870) and Lydia Clark, who died before 1850. A great deal of genealogical work has been done on Joseph Endicott and his New Jersey and New England lineage.

William's father, Joseph Endicott, had seven known siblings — four sisters and three brothers. Names of their spouses have been identified. None of them are named Violet. Not much is known about William's mother, Lydia Clark, who died young, or about her family. So who is this ‘Aunt Vilet” that William Clark Endicott refers to in the letter? She appears to be connected to the Endicott side of the family. Is her name Violet or is “Vilet” just a variant spelling, perhaps a nickname or a middle name? Is she a real aunt, a grandaunt or a cousin that he called aunt? Or none of the above? The name must have a special meaning for William Clark Endicott as he named his first-born child, Violet Ann.

The longer I’m engaged in genealogical research, the more I see its similarities to baseball. Our ancestors and their records are crafty pitchers, constantly hurling a variety of challenges at us. I think I just took a swing and missed a slurve ball on "Aunt Vilet."

12 May 2014

#19-52ancestors: Ida Hensley

#19-52ancestors: Ida Hensley

I Remember Mama

Two adjectives describe my maternal grandmother — or Mama as I called her (because that’s what her children called her) — feisty and loquacious.

Ida (Hensley) Fricks ca 1946 in Texas

I spent a major portion of my early childhood with Mama and Papa (my grandparents) on their little farm in eastern Oklahoma. I was their baby’s baby and they doted on me. It is Mama to whom I owe my love of family history, cooking, and an appreciation of music.

Mama loved to sing as she did her chores around the house or in the garden, and interspersed with the old songs, she’d tell me about when she was girl in Alabama, about coming to Indian Territory in a wagon when she was 15, meeting Papa at a dance where he was the caller and her older brother was a fiddler. On Saturdays when we went “to town” to buy groceries and shop, she’d visit with old friends and family members and talk about the “old days” and catch up about everyone’s families, their health and welfare. I was quiet child, listened well, took it all in, not knowing that someday I would write so much about my families or how important all this would be to my genealogical pursuits.

When her brothers and sisters came to visit her, they usually brought their fiddles and mouth organs (harmonicas) and the music and songs would fill the air as they sat on the front porch, often spilling out into the yard under the big locust and walnut trees. How they could sing and play — bluegrass, gospel, country, hillbilly — and wonderful old-time songs like “She’ll be coming 'round the mountain.” My favorite verse was about “killing the old red rooster and having chicken and dumpling.”

One of her brothers was a preacher and when he came to visit they’d play and sing the old Gospel tunes like “Life’s Like a Mountain Railroad” and “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” Mama had what was called “perfect (or absolute) pitch” and a beautiful alto voice and oh, how she and her siblings could harmonize. She amazed me with her ability to play almost any musical instrument — all by “ear.” I wish she had passed that gene to me.

Ida (Hensley) Fricks ca 1930

My Mother, like so many young moms, was usually too busy to let me “help” with chores. I was not the most coordinated kid in the county. But Mama had plenty of time and patience. She and I would sit at the kitchen table and shell pecans and smash walnuts, picking out the meats for cakes and pies. We gathered eggs, took care of the chickens; hoed and pulled the weeds in the garden and picked the lettuce, carrots, corn, cabbage, radishes, onions, and cucumbers. As they ripened, we’d pick blackberries, grapes, plums, apples, peaches and apricots and she taught me how to make jellies and jams.

Mama arrived in Indian Territory as a teenager in 1894 with her parents, siblings and three other wagon loads of her father’s brothers and their families. Over and over I heard the story of how they crossed the mighty Mississippi River on a ferry and in the hustle and bustle of getting all the wagons and everyone across, they left her puppy on the eastern side and couldn’t go back to find him and how she and her sisters cried “all the way to Indian Territory.”

Mama was 5’3” with auburn hair and it was thick and coarse, so coarse she said it was like a “horse’s tail.” And she used a large comb that she called a “cornstalk” to untangle her mane. Of all the family treasures, I wish I had that comb, but Mama died while I was in Germany and by the time I returned to Oklahoma no one knew what had happened to it.

At 16 she had gone to work at Bacone College, the local Indian school, in the laundry department. She prided herself on being a good worker and she was, but she always preferred the work outdoors to indoor house work. Her yard and flowerbeds were beautifully kept and her garden was something to behold. She kept the house “respectably clean” but frequent dusting, mopping and window cleaning were not at the top of her priorities. The kitchen was immaculate, but it might take a while to find something in it as she suffered from a disorder she passed on to me — the organizationally impaired gene.

She met Papa at a dance soon after they came to Indian Territory and they were married when she was 20, although she had wanted to wait until she was 21 she told me. He towered one-foot and one-inch above her, but what a team they made as they worked hard on a farm and reared seven of eight children to adulthood.

I’m so glad she took me with her to the cemeteries to visit the graves of her parents and siblings and told me about stories about them. She imbued in me an appreciation of family history and made my childhood rich beyond measure. I know someday I’ll see my Mama again — “in the sweet bye and bye.”

05 May 2014

#16-52ancestors Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool


Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool

Identifying female ancestors properly especially when cousins marry

One of my pet peeves is finding family trees where the woman's husband's surname is given as her maiden name. Or her first husband's surname is recorded as though it were her maiden name with no clue that her maiden name has not yet been determined. Even worse is to find her listed as Mrs. John Smith. Novices are often guilty of not listing females correctly by their maiden names and when that name is unknown, many fail to list her as Mary [ —?—] Smith or as Mary [—?—] Jones Smith. It is especially important when cousins (or relatives) with the same surname marry to indicate that the bride’s maiden name is the same as her husband’s. The way to do this is to put parentheses around her maiden name and to include her married name when writing about her. You probably will have to tweak your computer-generated reports to produce these results. Cousin marriages are much more common than today's genealogists seem to think.

An article that includes the way used by many U.S. scholarly genealogical publications to show unknown maiden names (as well as other unknowns) can be found in the archives of the RootsWeb Review here: http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/pub/review/20030827.txt

These scholarly periodicals use em dashes rather than two hyphens, but because many genealogy software programs are unable to produce them (much like old typewriters’ incapability), it is acceptable to record an unknown given name or surname by using two hyphens separated by a question mark inside of brackets. If your word processor (or blog) has the capability to create em dashes, use them instead of two hyphens.

William VANDERPOOL was born in 1808 in Ashe County, North Carolina. He married first Mary “Polly” Fuson about 1828, probably in Tennessee, but no marriage record has yet been found. Born in 1803, probably in Smith County, Tennessee, Polly was the daughter of Thomas Fuson, a Revolutionary War soldier, and Rachel Permelia Roberson (Robinson). In the 1830 Campbell County, Tennessee census they (only the head of household is actually named, but William is shown with a female of the right age to be the wife and one young male are in the household) appear. William and Polly removed to Indiana in the early 1830s as William is mentioned in probate records of Marion County, (where his parents died) as of then being of Parke County, Indiana and his second son, James was born in that state about 1831. It was a short stay in Indiana as they relocated back Kentucky between 1835 and 1840 evidently to reside near where Polly’s Fuson family lived in Knox County.

In the early 1840s William and Polly moved again, this time to Missouri. In 1844 and 1846 he was Missouri State Legislature, representing old Putnam County, Missouri. What part the border boundary reorganization between Missouri and Iowa might have played in his Missouri political career ending is not known. Polly died 18 August 1849 near Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, probably in childbirth with her 10th child. She is buried there.

Less than three weeks after his first wife died William Vanderpool, 41, married his cousin, 20-year-old Mahala Vanderpool, on 3 September 1849 in Sullivan County, Missouri. Mahala is believed to be the daughter of Elijah Vanderpool (William’s uncle) and Hannah Bates Fuson, although no documentary evidence has been found yet to support this. However, if the genealogy is accurate, Mahala and William were first cousins via the Vanderpool line, plus Mahala was also the niece of William’s first wife, Polly Fuson. That made Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool a 1C1R (first cousin once removed) on the Vanderpool side and a first cousin on the Fuson side to her stepchildren.

Mahala Vanderpool was born about 1830 in Kentucky. In the 1850 census, William and Mahala are enumerated twice — first in Dade County, Missouri on 26 August and a bit later that year —on  6 November — just over the state line in Decatur County, Iowa. They appeared in the 1859 Kansas state census and in the 1860 federal enumeration in Davis County, Kansas at Fort Riley. Moss did not grow under William’s restless feet.

William, a blacksmith, served for a time during the Civil War in the Union Army shoeing horses in Missouri. However, in the summer of 1864 he was back in Decatur County, Iowa, according to a letter he wrote to Rachel, a daughter by Polly. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses he and his second family are in Newton County, Arkansas where James, one of his sons by Polly, had settled.

William (with a family of eight) last appears on a Cherokee Nation intruder list in the early 1880s with 20 acres and listed as residing in Sequoyah District of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. He died on 5 August 1884 in Redland, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, according to the Civil War pension claim which his widow, Mahala, filed. Mahala died about 1900, probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.
Mahala (Vanderpool) Vanderpool
William VANDERPOOL and Mary "Polly" FUSON had 10 children with seven of them surviving to adulthood. They have been researched extensively. By his second wife, Mahala Vanderpool, William had nine more children and additional research needs to be done on this family. They are:

 i. Isabella VANDERPOOL was born about 1852 in Dade County, Missouri and is listed as idiotic in the 1870 census Some claim (and a marriage record so indicates) that she married a Henry Rodgers in Laclede County Missouri on 18 March 1867. However, that marriage record also says the parties are of sufficient age, and Isabella would have been only 15. Moreover, she is enumerated with her family in 1870 and she always enumerated with her parents. Additionally, there is no indication that her family was ever in Laclede County, Missouri. They mystery of the marriage record has not been solved. Evidently Isabella died between 1881 and 1885 probably in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

ii. Josephine Ellen VANDERPOOL, born on 5 July 1854, Arkansas, married (as his second wife) John D. NIXON on 23 February 1877 in Newton County, Arkansas. She died 5 January 1940 in Boone County, Arkansas.

iii. Benjamin Franklin VANDERPOOL, born about 1857 in Missouri; married Lavina (or Lorna) Jane "Jane" GATLING (also spelled GATLIN), on 25 February 1877 in Newton County, Arkansas. He died after 1880, probably in Arkansas. No additional information about Jane.

iv. Henrietta VANDERPOOL, born about 1860 in Missouri, married J. T. "Lewis" HUGGINS (or HIGGINS) 11 July 1878 in Newton County, Arkansas; she died after 1910, probably in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma.

v. Hannah M. VANDERPOOL, born 22 October 1861 in Arkansas, married George William Henry KILE, about 1887, probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. She died 16 December 1894 in Redland, Sequoyah District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. Her two surviving children by KILE went to New Mexico.

vi. Doctor Martin VANDERPOOL was born about 1864 probably in Iowa. He died between 1881 and 1900 probably in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

vii. Arrena A. VANDERPOOL was born in 1866 in Missouri. Evidently she died young, probably in Newton County, Arkansas between 1871 and 1880.

viii. Jonathon Ellsworth “John” VANDERPOOL was born between 1867 and 1870 in either Missouri or Arkansas. He married first Elizabeth SULLIVAN on 30 March 1893 in Newton County, Arkansas; he married secondly Mamie HEATHCOCK, on 14 June 1898 in Vireton, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He died between 1921 and 1930 probably in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.

ix. Stephen Alexander “Steve” VANDERPOOL, born 11 March 1872 in Newton County, Arkansas, married first Hannah HARRIS, on 21 May 1900 in Vireton, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He married secondly Nancy MATHIS 19 April 1913 in Newton County, Arkansas. He died 5 February 1938 in Newton County, Arkansas.
Shaking Your Family Tree
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Additions and corrections are most welcome. Sources and citations are available upon request by contacting me: myravgormley@gmail.com