Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Photographs of the Photographer

My mother talked about her grandparents quite a bit, all except for her paternal grandfather, Robert Noah Runyan. Mom never knew him and neither did her dad. Mom's grandmother divorced Robert when her youngest child, my grandfather Lawrence, was three years old. The older children knew their father a little bit though and there are the one about him getting caught photographing a nude model when his oldest daughter came by the studio to bring him lunch. Of course she ran home and told. You can see that story by clicking on this link.

I hate it that I don't have a photograph of him. I'm pretty positive none of his children had any to pass down. I think my great grandmother, Mary Darling Runyan, tore them all up. I wish she hadn't done that but I can't say that I really blame her. Alas, he's the only recent ancestor that I don't have an image of.

William N. Runyan
A distant cousin sent me two photos of Robert's only sibling Willie who died at the age of 25. Willie never married or had children so Robert's four children (there was a fifth who died in infancy) were the only descendants of Robert's parents, Michael and Frances Ann Whitley Runyan. William is buried in the Spiceland Friends Cemetery in Spiceland, Indiana.

Robert and Mary divorced in 1896 and Robert left for Indianapolis not long afterward and set up his photography shop there. I was able to find him listed in several of the city's directories. According to the 1902 directory his widowed mother was living with him in this tiny little house on Elm St. which we were able to photograph on June 3, 2011. 

I find that a little odd since his mother died in May of 1902 in Spiceland, however, the listing was probably from the year before and hadn't been changed.

The same day we were also able to find and photograph the building Robert worked out of and now I know why the address changed to the next residence from one year to was a single building with two shops, two entry doors, two addresses, so I guess he was in one side part of the time and either moved to the other side or used both...maybe. 

Photography shop was in this red duplex
brick building on Prospect St. for quite a few years.
Robert remarried in 1907 to Celia B. White. He was her third husband. As far as we know, they had no children.

When he died in 1915, Robert's body was donated to the Indiana College of Medicine, but when his son Lawrence (my grandfather) married in 1917 the marriage records state his father was living in Indianapolis.

Apparently none of his family even knew he had died.

*Update! Correction: Robert resided at the house on Elm in 1907. His mother is listed at his place of business in 1902.
1902 Indianapolis City Directory


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Reconstruction of Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace

Descendants of Austin Gollaher call this the Gollaher cabin!
Reconstructed birthplace of Abraham Lincoln
south of Athertonville, Kentucky on road 31E
Article from the Louisville Courier-Journal hand dated 1981 - Click to enlarge.
"The cabin was reconstructed in 1931, using logs from the Austin Gollaher cabin that stood a mile away."
Benjamin Austin Gollaher
Benjamin Austin Gollaher was my husband's maternal third great grandfather and responsible for having saved Abraham Lincoln from drowning in Knob Creek when they were boys. See my previous article: "Boy Hero Saves Life of Young Abe Lincoln".

The photo of the cabin above was taken by me on May 20, 2011. The newspaper clipping was given to me by relatives of my husband Mike. The photo at the right was given to me by Lou Lucas about a dozen years ago.
Gollaher cabin with modern addition. Framed in red is the original part used minus the rock fireplace.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Benjamin and Elizabeth Miller

Benjamin B. Miller
b. 1814  Pennsylvania  -  d.1892  Illinois
Elizabeth [Smith] Miller 
b.1814  Ohio  -  d. 1858  Illinois
married January 14, 1835 in Holmes Co., Ohio
My paternal third great grandparents
buried Post Oak Cemetery, Louden, Fayette Co., Illinois
This stone is, I assume, replacing an old or missing stone and appears to have been put in place by a grandchild, considering the inscription below the names. There are more complete birth and death dates to be found on various family trees but are somewhat suspect because none seem to be sourced. If anyone reading this has that source information I hope you will consider e-mailing me at the g-mail link towards the bottom of this page.

Photos were taken May 31, 2011.

Descendancy Chart

Miller tombstone and me


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Clotilda Vincent Bean

Daughter of Lord and Lady Francis Vincent of Ireland
b. March 14, 1769 - d. September 13, 1864

Wife of Edward Columbus (John) Bean
Buried St. Joseph's Cemetery, Bardstown, Nelson Co., KY

Clotilda Bean
Clotilda was the paternal fourth great grandmother of my husband, Mike. She has an interesting history which I summarized a little over a year ago in my blog: Irish Ancestors: Clotilda, Daughter of Lord and Lady Vincent

On Friday, May 27, 2011, Mike and I visited the Bean Cabin which has been preserved and moved to Historic Old Bardstown Village's Museum Row in Bardstown, Kentucky. As stated in my previous blog, Clotilda's husband was killed by Indians while returning to Maryland for supplies. John Bean was also of Irish heritage. 

Clotilda never remarried, she raised her family of 8 children and prospered. She was a charter member and an active church worker at St. Joseph's Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown. Clotilda was 95 years old when she died and the tombstone seen here was erected by her slave, Joe Bean. 
Mike Logsdon and Clotilda Bean Tombstone

Descendancy Chart


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Digging up Evans Cemetery

Evans Cemetery, Fayette Co., Illinois

I really hadn't planned on spending much time or taking many photos in the Evans Cemetery in Hagerstown, just outside of Vandalia. The main stone I wanted to see was that of my 5th great grandfather, Jeremiah Evans. Jeremiah donated the land for the cemetery long ago and there were many of his family buried there along with other townsfolk, but he and his wife Mary were the only "direct" (is there any other kind?) ancestors of mine that had stones there. I'd already seen the two stones on [FAG] so I wasn't all that excited. They weren't in good shape and were laying on the ground and Jeremiah's appeared to be just a little piece of stone, the bottom part.

Big, BIG tree!
It was Wednesday, June 1, 2011 and Mike and I went early to beat the heat and we were the only ones in the cemetery. There was a giant tree that had fallen and uprooted itself and someone had been sawing it in sections for removal. It did quite a bit of damage in the fall and standing next to the hole the roots made I wondered if I might see bones down there.
(Click on the photo and see for yourself!)

All that was showing of Jeremiah's tombstone
As soon as my eyes fell on Jeremiah's stone I recognized it from the sad little photo on his FAG memorial. Next to it was his first wife Mary (Larimer) Evans. Mary's was a full stone but we could barely see the top part because of all the grass that had covered it. Mike started pulling away at the grass until he had it mostly uncovered. It wasn't easy work since he only had a stick to loosen the grass before pulling it up. Next, we moved on to Jeremiah's stone. I could see there was more than was showing but I didn't think it was much. Mike said "Lisa, I think the whole stone is there, I'm going to find out." and he began to work away at removing grass with his little stick. I was hot so I went off to photograph some stones that were in the shade!

Mike...hard at work, uncovering Jeremiah with a stick.

I don't know how many years Jeremiah's stone has been covered but after at least an hour Mike had the entire thing cleared. It was broken in pieces and mostly unreadable but it was the whole stone. I photographed it many times and when I got home I uploaded it to Jeremiah's FAG memorial and let the creator know that a new photograph of the stone was there. 

Now, thanks to Mike all Jeremiah's descendants can see the full stone...and lucky for Mike, he got to spend the rest of the day in a cool, quiet library, reading to his heart's content about his Kentucky pioneers...and probably their moonshine stills!

My point here is...which is the Treasure, the Stone or the Man? Bet you know what my answer is!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Capt. Joseph L. Townsend: 1812 New Jersey Militia

I am certainly pleased that my husband and I decided to make a visit to the EVANS Public Library (named for a descendant of my paternal 5th great grandfather, Jeremiah Evans) on our recent trip that included a 3 day stop in Vandalia, Illinois. I am even more pleased that I had my trusty Flip-Pal portable scanner with me. I discovered the library houses a large collection of the Fayette County Historical Society's publication called "Fayette Facts". For over a dozen years I had owned all the Fayette Facts that had previously been offered by the FCHS as back issues to the public...about 25 of them. But when I looked on the library shelf there were a good 40-50 issues there and most of them were copies I did not have in my personal library. I pulled them all from the shelf and sat down at an empty table and started going through the indexes for my surnames: Evans, Miller, Owen, Patterson and Townsend. It was Wednesday, June 1 and being a week day morning it was quiet in there, but my Flip-Pal was smokin'!

By far the most surprising and exciting item concerned my paternal 3rd great grandfather's military service and was found in Fayette Facts, Vol. 38, No. 4, pg. 36:


            Joseph L. Townsend, born 1796 and died 1875 was a Captain in the New Jersey Militia. He married Christianna Wheaton and is buried at Howard's Point, Howard Township, according to Daughters of the War of 1812 records.

            Howard Township is now known as Avena and a check of these burial records indicated that Christianna Townsend, wife of J. L., died August 28, 1872, aged 74 years 10 months and 22 days and is buried in Yolton Cemetery. Joseph's grave is probably here as well."

Prior to seeing this short article I had found no clues of any military service for Joseph, not that I hadn't tried to find them. His family was from Quaker stock back in New Jersey but after they came to Illinois it appears they left that faith behind so there shouldn't have been a refrain from serving due to religious views, but I still failed to produce anything showing a service record for Joseph. This find was certainly a lucky break! It just goes to prove what I've heard over and over again: 95% of genealogical information is found in repositories other than the Internet.

A search on's War of 1812 Service Records turned up two entries for a Joseph Townsend in the New Jersey Militia.  One shows a Captain in Read's Battalion and the other shows a Private in Howell's Regiment. Nothing about the online records proves to me that either of these entries is for MY Joseph Townsend. I guess the Daughters of the War of 1812 have already done this investigation for me. I'd certainly like to see a copy of the records myself though!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Christianna Townsend

Christianna Wheaton Townsend  
October 6, 1797 - August 28, 1872

Wife of Joseph L. Townsend, daughter of Uriah Wheaton
buried Yolton Cemetery, Avena Township, Fayette County., Illinois

My paternal third great grandmother.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Horseshoe Bend Farm: The Logsdon Ancestral Home

Nearly a year ago in July of 2010 I posted an article on the maternal grandparents of William Logsdon and as a result of that article and one other earlier article,"Who the heck is Alice?",  I met Bernard Thompson, a half-cousin of my husband Mike. (See my blog post "Treasure Chest Thursday: The Perks of Blogging".) Bernie's and Mike's common ancestor was their great great grandfather, William Logsdon (1799 - 1882), but Bernie descends from William's first wife and Mike descends from William's second wife.

In an e-mail, Bernie told me he'd been to the Logsdon ancestral farm at Horseshoe Bend outside of the small town of Springfield, Kentucky. He said if we were ever up that way to let him know and he'd take us there. He had met and made friends with the wonderful old couple that had lived there for the past 60 years and was sure they'd be delighted to show us the home. Up to that point I'd had no idea that the farm was still in existence and Mike and I were both excited at the possibility of getting to see it.

Mordecai's on Main Restaurant
Plans were made and on Thursday, May 26 we met in Springfield with Bernie and his wife Mary Ann and another local genealogist couple, Gerald and Martha Thompson. First, Bernie treated us to lunch at Mordecai's On Main Restaurant on Main street there in Springfield.
(Notice the "o" in the name is a Lincoln head penny. President Abraham Lincoln's parents, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks were married in Springfield in 1806.)

After lunch we made our way to Horseshoe Bend Farm. I had checked this farm out from the description Bernie had given me of where it was and using Google Earth, it was easy to pinpoint.

Horseshoe Bend Farm, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

What I saw from Google Earth was somewhat deceptive though. It doesn't give a sense of the steep elevation! We turned onto a very narrow, nicely paved road that went up, and up, and UP! Looking down from the road you could see the original wagon road not far below. The Horseshoe Bend Farm was on a hill..or knob. I live in Florida so I call it a mountain!

closer overhead view
When we reached the top, we saw among the trees the quaint old farm house, built by William Logsdon in the early to mid 1800s. There were two large barns, the old original wooden barn and a newer barn.  As we stepped from the car we saw our hostess standing just inside the screened front door. There was a strong breeze scented with earth, animals, and honeysuckle and the surrounding scenery was breath taking! I was a little shy snapping that first picture so after I took it I handed the camera to Mike and he took the rest. I felt like I was invading privacy but I think he felt a sense of his ancestral roots and he wasn't the least bit shy about taking more pictures.

Front view from outside the gate

Front view closer up

Back view showing the 1950s addition (kitchen and enclosed porch).

We don't know for sure exactly when this house was built by William Logsdon. William had at least 10 children by his first wife, Nancy Worland (Bernie's ancestor), who he married in 1823. Nancy died in 1838 and William married Mike's ancestor, Alice McIlvoy, in 1840 and had at least 10 more children by her. The farm is several hundred acres and still a working farm with cattle and crops. Below are a few photos of the surrounding countryside. To get the full effect you really should click to enlarge!

Yes, we did tour the interior of the home but for the privacy of the present owners I will refrain from making those photos public. The home originally had four large rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs with a stairway in the center. I have since wondered, just how do you sleep that many in one family? Not that all 22+ family members were living there at one time, but there had to be a fairly large number of them living there at any given time just the same! I assume male children had one bedroom upstairs and the females had the other and the parents must have slept in one of the two rooms downstairs. The upstairs bedrooms must have looked like dormitories!

William Logsdon owned a small number of slaves and I'm not sure where they would have lived on the property. There may have been another building at one time. In the 1850 slave schedule William had three male slaves ages 60, 14 and 12 and one female slave age 42. In 1860 only the three male slaves are listed, ages 72, 24 and 21. I think Mike was a bit dismayed to learn he had an ancestor that owned slaves but of course it was common at the time, especially if you had a fairly large farm such as this one.

I believe the property known as Horseshoe Bend Farm may have been purchased originally by William's father Joseph and that William did not own it until after his father died. In the will of Joseph Logsdon he states: "I bequeath unto my son William Logsdon, the plantation he now lives on...". This will was written in 1839 so it is likely the farmhouse was built years before then.

I wish to thank Bernie publicly for making this visit possible. It was a memorable, enjoyable and informative day. To top it off, Bernie left us with a couple of wonderful parting gifts: The books "2008 Maryland to Kentucky Reunion - A Guide to the Kentucky Holy Land" and "Putting Meat on the Bones - A Tribute to our MD to KY Ancestors", Written by their Many Descendants, Compiled by the 2008 MD to KY Reunion Committee. It is my understanding that the couple that accompanied us, Gerald and Martha Thompson, were involved in making these books happen. They are absolutely priceless additions to my genealogy library! Our thanks to all four Thompsons for a wonderful visit!

Original barn at Horseshoe Bend Farm