Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Murder and Marriage

~Not your average shotgun wedding~

I suppose it's stories like this that gave my Indiana grandmother her disdain for Kentucky folk but, if she were alive today, I might have to challenge her on that as I have unearthed some pretty shocking stuff in her neck of the woods too.

William A. McKinney, was the son of William Logan McKinney. They are neither one related to me. I have them in my database because of William Logan's wife, Mary Ann Collier, the sister of William Green Collier who was the father of  Willie Frances Collier who was married to Andrew Jackson Wallen who was the son of Isaac Newton Wallen who was the brother of my great, great grandfather, William M. Wallen. Some of you know how that works. Sort of like connecting the dots and trying to make some kind of picture out of it.

Anyway...I found other tidbits leading up to this story and while the murder itself was certainly tragic, the time and place of the marriage will likely be considered somewhat humorous to those of us with good imaginations. I love scrounging through old newspapers. The stories they tell help to fill in bits of white space so the connected dots can form a more colorful panorama!

Interior Journal, May 14, 1880, pg. 2 under the Rockcastle Co., KY section.

"--Our Circuit Court did not close without a bit of a sensation. About eighteen months ago W. A. McKinney, a young son of W. L. McKinney, began paying his addresses to Nannie Smith, a daughter of Alfred Smith. Willie and Nannie soon became too intimate, and the intimacy resulted in Nannie's giving birth to a little stranger. The advent of the baby made old man Smith look with disfavor on William's visits. There grew up a bad feeling between them, and last Christmas day, while they were under the influence of liquor, McKinney shot Smith and killed him. The killing was done at Smith's house. McKinney was arrested and held to answer by the Examining Court. He was indicted by the grand Jury at the last term and tried for murder. His trial resulted in an acquittal. Immediately after the verdict William and Nannie (the latter had been an important witness for her seducer) marched arm in arm into the Court House, and, standing just outside the bar, Judge McClure went through the usual legal ceremony, and pronounced them man and wife. The marriage took place in the presence of Judge Randall, the attorneys and the jury which had tried McKinney. It was regarded as a fitting denouement to the tragic history of their love. I hope McKinney will avoid trouble in the future."

My great grandfather, Oliver Morton Wallen, was 10 years old when this happened and since my family lived just a short distance away from both parties, they were likely acquainted with all involved and certainly aware of the murder trial and all the sordid details. Some of them may have even been on the jury.

Oh..and McKinney's murder weapon was a pistol, not a shotgun, and McKinney only discharged it on Smith after Smith gave him a nasty wound in the back with a knife. (See Interior Journal, January 2, 1880, image 2). William and Nannie had at least 3 more children after they married. Nannie died in 1915 and William died in 1937. Both are buried in the Blue Springs/McKinney Cemetery in Rockcastle Co., Kentucky.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Lizzie and James S. Martin

Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Testerman) Martin 
b. August 30, 1865 d. August 26, 1951
Daughter of John T. and Celia (Bloomer) Testerman
James Daniel Sherman Martin 
b. June 27, 1864 d. February 12, 1946
Son of James Monroe and Susannah (Grabeel) Martin

Woodstock Cemetery, Pulaski Co., Kentucky
James was the brother of my paternal great, great grandmother, Ursula Ann (Martin) Davis Burnett.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Jonas Sutton, Sr.

Jonas Sutton Sr. was my paternal 5th great grandfather. He married Elizabeth Runyan, daughter of Peter and Providence (Blackford) Runyan and granddaughter of Vincent and Ann Martha (Boutcher) Rongnion. This is one of two Sutton lineages of my father's that ties into my mother's Runyan lineage. My parents were 7th cousins.

Will of Jonas Sutton, Sr.
Amwell Township, Hunterdon Co., Pennsylvania 
dated 25 March 1797 

"Wife Elizabeth, what movables pleaseth her to keep; also use of lands jointly with son Amos, while widow. Son, Amos, remainder of personal and all real; he paying legacies. Daughter, Prudence 120 pounds. Sons, Jonathan, and Jonas each 120 pounds. Son, Nathan 75 pounds. To grandchildren (children of William), 120 pounds to be divided between them, when of age, except Elizabeth. Grandchildren (children of John) 120 pounds divided between them, when of age. Grandchildren (children of daughter Sarah) 120 pounds when of age except the son who appears not to have common sense. Grandson, Joshua (son of son Jonas) 120 pounds when 21." 

Executor - son Amos Witnesses - Joseph Lequear, George Trout and Adam Bellis, Jr. 
Proved Nov 11, 1797  

Descendants from Jonas Sutton, Sr. to Lisa Wallen

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday's Child: Pauline Shelley

Pauline Shelley b. and d. 2 June 1928
daughter of Milton and Nannie (Adams) Shelley
bur. Woodstock Cemetery, Pulaski Co., Kentucky
Pauline was the niece of Alexander Shelley, son-in-law of  Harvey and Mallie (Davis) Colyer. Mallie was the sister of my great grandmother, Sarah Francis (Davis) Wallen Livesay. I didn't realize until I uploaded my photos to my computer that this tombstone was in the background of another tombstone that I photographed.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Edna (Metcalf) Melvin Price


Edna Emona (or Amona) Price
daughter of Silas Jefferson and Mary Emily (Cundiff) Metcalf
b. 29 May 1874 - d. 10 Dec 1957

Wife of Mike Melvin, Albert Smithson, and Thomas Jesse Price
Maternal great grandmother of my husband, Mike
Buried Evergreen Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky


Monday, July 18, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Daniel Bloomer

Will of Daniel Bloomer (my paternal 5th great grandfather)
May 23, 1838

         In the Name of God, Amen. I, Daniel Bloomer of the State of Tennessee, Hawkins, County, being very low in body, but in perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say: principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executor, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:
         First of all, I give and bequeath to Lucy my dearly beloved wife, half of this plantation or the benefit thereof, my dwelling house and kitchen and all the furniture belonging to them and all the property that I now claim during her life, and for her to pay all my just debts and further for her to pay my daughter Lucy one hundred and sixty dollars at her marrying or coming of age.
         Also for the land I have in Scott County, Virginia, I will and bequeath to four of my sons which is William Bloomer who is to have from the lower end of the survey up to a beech and hickory. Thence a southeast course with a conditional line between him and Nehemiah Bloomer, and Nehemiah Bloomer is to have from that conditional line up to two beeches near Joseph Bloomer's field, thence a southeast course across the creek between Joseph and Nehemiah Bloomer's field. Joseph Bloomer is to have from the last conditional line up to a cucumber and back near the upper end of Joseph Bloomer's field. Thence southeast course to the creek. Thence running with the creek to a double lyne. James Bloomer is to have from this conditional line to the upper end of the survey; these lines are also to extend across Isham Young's entry that I have made.
         The house where Jesse Bloomer now lives, I bequeath to him; also the other half of this home plantation and at the death of my wife, the whole of this plantation is to be his.
         I bequeath at the death of my wife all the personal property, household and kitchen furniture, money and negroes to my six girls: Mary, Elizabeth, Milly, Phebe, Marthy, Lucy, and I further request my wife to have full power to sell or convey these negroes at any time for her decent support. I further bequeath Lucy have one falling leaf table and corner cupboard extra of her one hundred and sixty.
         And I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and disannul all and every other former testament, wills, legacies, bequeaths and executions by me in anywise before named, willed and bequeathed--ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament.
         In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, and I appoint for my Executors, William Walling, Jr. and James Bloomer.

attest:                                                                                     his
         his                                                                        Daniel X Bloomer (Seal)
Ezkiel X Sullivan                                                                     mark
Claiborne Roberson

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Aunt Jane Bloomer

Jane (Payne) Bloomer
b. 14 Oct 1831 d. 1 Dec 1912

More like a death announcement than an obituary...

From the Mount Vernon Signal Newspaper dated Friday 13 Dec 1912

My paternal great grandfather, Oliver Morton Wallen, mentions "Aunt Jane Bloomer" only once in his diary. Jane was his paternal great grandmother's sister-in-law, wife of Nehemiah Bloomer, daughter of Moses and Nancy (Rucker) Payne. This is one time Oliver calls a person by a relationship name that is incorrect. Jane would have been a cousin by marriage, however, I suspect Jane was known to many in the Wabd area as "Aunt", perhaps because of her great age. She was quite likely an important member of our family.

Excerpt from Oliver's diary:

July 7, 1903 – Clurked and worked in the garden. About 9 o’clock P.M. Sarah gave birth to two babies, a girl and a boy. We christened them Sula Susan and Thomas Miller. Grandma Wallen waited on Sarah. J. C. Renner went after her for me. Aunt Jane Bloomer, N. J. Sercy and Carrie Renner were present.  

~Relationships of those mentioned in the above excerpt~
Sarah - Sarah (Davis) Wallen, wife of Oliver Morton Wallen
Sula Susan and Thomas Miller - twin infants of Oliver and Sarah Wallen
Grandma Wallen - Louisa (Tyree) Wallen, Oliver's paternal grandmother
J. C. Renner - John C. Renner
N. J. Sercy - Nancy J. (Payne) Searcy - daughter of Jane's brother John Payne
Carrie Renner - Carrie (Searcy) Renner, wife of J. C. Renner and daughter of N. J. Sercy

I'm not sure what they mean by "died of Paralysis". Jane's death certificate says cause of death was "Congestion of Lungs" with contributory cause as "organic heart trouble". Jane is buried in the Skaggs Creek Cemetery, Wabd, Rockcastle Co., Kentucky.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Surname Saturday: BLOOMER

England to America

Descendant Chart: Robert Bloomer 1634 to Lisa Wallen 1952

A brief description of each generation from my 9th great grandfather, Robert Bloomer, to my 4th great grandmother, Elizabeth Bloomer Wallen, where the Bloomer line daughters out. 

1) Robert Bloomer b. ca. 1634 in Birmingham, England - Early (mid 1800s) family histories coincide on certain details: Robert was a foundling, adopted in infancy by the Bloomerings. He was kidnapped from the streets of England as a teenager and sold in America into four years of indentured service. Married Rachel ca. 1670. Lived in New York.

2) Robert Bloomer b. bet. 1671-1673 - Miller. Married Elizabeth Sutton (The Sutton lineage is where my father is twice descended from my mother's ancestor, Vincent Rongnion/Runyan). Lived in Rye, Westchester Co., New York. Filed a will on 12 March 1738/39.

3) John Bloomer b. bet. 1705-1710 - Mentioned in Rye, Westchester Co., New York from 1735 to 1740 and was justice of the peace in 1746. He married Berthia Fowler, daughter of John and Mary (Tatum) Fowler.

4) Nehemiah Bloomer b. ca. 1754 - Taylor. Left New York just before the Revolution and is found in Pennsylvania by 1777 and appears in tax records (Pennsylvania Archives, 3rd series p. 53) for Hampton Township in Cumberland Co., NY in 1778. By 1790 Nehemiah was in Wilkes Co., North Carolina. He married Elizabeth Ketcham, of Welsh descent, in New Jersey in 1773.

5) Daniel Bloomer b. ca. 1778 - Married Lucinda. Her maiden name is recorded by some as Defoe and by others as Looney. Neither name has been verified. In May of 1821 Daniel made an entry for 86 1/2 acres on the North Fork of the Clinch River in Hawkins Co., Tennessee. On 30 Nov 1836 Daniel bought 432 acres of land laying on both sides of the North Fork of the Clinch river near Wallen's Bend in the same county. His children are listed in his will.

6) Elizabeth Bloomer b. 12 June 1801 - d. April 1860. Married William Wallen/Walling, Jr. ca. 1820 in Tennessee. Family migrated to Rockcastle Co., Kentucky around 1851. Elizabeth gave birth to 10 children, two boys died as teenagers. This is where the Bloomer line daughters out and becomes Wallen all the way down to me. (click on descendant chart above to enlarge.)

For much more information on the descendants of Robert Bloomer I highly recommend the following book:

Bloomer, Robert John. The Bloomer Family in America, 1655-1988: a History and Genealogical Record of the Bloomer Family. Fountain Valley, CA: R.J. Bloomer, 1988. Print.

Sorry Michael, another "damned Anglish" pedigree in your bloodlines...but at least it's tempered with a wee bit o' Welsh!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Geneva (Metcalf) Luenz

Geneva Metcalf, wife of William Luenz
(Maternal great grand-aunt of my husband, Mike)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: The Little Blue River Browns

My husband Mike and I stayed in Indiana an extra day just so we'd have a chance to visit the archives of the Wayne county courthouse in Richmond, Indiana. As planned, on Monday, June 6th, we left camp early in the morning and drove for almost an hour before arriving at our destination. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the floor of the courthouse where the archives were located, I had a terrible headache. I never get headaches. For the life of me, I just could not focus efficiently and I finally gave up my quest after two hours of having no success at finding anything I'd come looking for.  I was deeply disappointed. A precious day of our vacation trip wasted

Or....maybe not completely wasted.

As we headed back to our campground we decided to take a detour and so we turned south at Cambridge City and drove through Connersville and then west again to Rushville. We drove around Rushville and snapped a few pictures of the rather gothic looking old courthouse and then we started back northward again on Road 3. I thought, since we were going that way, we might as well take a quick peek at the Reddick Cemetery where my maternal third great grandparents, Giles and Martha (Brown) Cook, were buried. I didn't need to as I'd been there with Mom in 1999 and had all the photos, but why not? I started giving Mike directions and suddenly realized we'd passed one of the roads I wanted to take so we detoured around this way and that and ended up coming upon another cemetery. I recognized the cemetery name but had never been to it before, Little Blue River Cemetery. Well, whaddaya know, another one of those "happy accidents"! My maternal 4th great grandparents, George and Rebecca Brown (parents of aforementioned Martha Cook), were buried here!

We pulled up to the cemetery and before the car came to a stop I had spotted their stone. Again (as in last week's Tombstone Tuesday blog), I had seen photos of George and Rebecca's tombstone so many times that it's familiar shape immediately caught my eye among all those other stones. It was not unusually shaped like the last one I wrote about, and it was a very plain and rather homely stone, but I easily recognized it from a distance, and, in my mind, it beckoned me...come hither!

This cemetery was surrounded by rich Indiana farmland. It was so peaceful and lovely all around that if it hadn't been so danged hot I would have pulled out a picnic blanket and stayed the rest of the afternoon. I did linger here a little longer and I walked among all the stones and photographed a number of them before we continued on our trek to the Reddick Cemetery.

Oh, how I wish I'd never gone back to the Reddick Cemetery! I would have been better off not knowing. But maybe I'll write about that awful mess next week. I'll have to call it something else though. Maybe "Tombstone-less Tuesday".....


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Sarah Samantha (Miller) Owen

Sarah Owen was my paternal great, great grandmother. 

Obituary taken from the Fayette County Genealogical and Historical Society publication:
"Fayette Facts" Vol. 31, No. 2, pg. 30 at the Evans Public Library in Vandalia, Illinois.
           "OWEN, Sarah Samantha b 18 May 1839 Holmes Co., OH died at her home 4 May 1927 age 88y 1m 16ds. She was the dau of Benjamin and Elizabeth MILLER and came to this county at age 6. She m 30 Dec 1858 David B. OWEN and they were parents of 7 children - George Winfield, Ben McClellan, James and David B., Roxana E. DURBIN, Mrs. Dellas SIMPKINS and Lucretia TOWNSEND who died 7 Nov 1905. Her husband died 5 Oct 1919. Also surviving with the 6 children were 2 sisters, Mrs. Talitha ROBERTS of St. Elmo, Selecta OWEN, Aurora, MO and bro Ayres OWEN, 15 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren. Burial was in Fairview Cem. Vandalia Union 12 May 1927."

[A correction to the above obituary: "Selecta" should be "Electa".]


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - 1955 First Communion - St. Cecilia's Catholic School - Louisville, Kentucky

Joseph Michael (Mike) Logsdon (8 yrs. old)
Top row, 4th boy from the left.

St. Cecilia's School - May 30, 2011


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Serendipity in Centerville

Joseph Grunden 1812 - 1855

I'll admit it, finding the tombstone of Joseph Grunden certainly falls under the definition of "serendipity". A definition of serendipity is when someone finds something that they weren't expecting to find....something they discover, by accidents and sagacity, that they were NOT in quest of. In the simplest of words, it means a "happy accident". 

But how many of these instances of serendipity can happen within a 20 day period before you get suspicious? I lost count of how many happy accidents I had on our trip through Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana earlier this year. Most probably had to do with tombstones but there were others, and then there was that one "accident" that didn't even have anything to do with genealogy. But I digress, so back to the tombstone of my maternal 3rd great grandfather, Joseph Grunden.

I already had a photo of Joseph's tombstone given to me by my very dear cousin Dorothy Hildreth (now deceased) about a dozen years ago. There is another photo of it on Joseph's FindAGrave memorial. I'd seen the photos at least a hundred times. I didn't need a photo and I just wasn't prepared to go looking for the tombstone. I didn't  have a clue as to the whereabouts of the cemetery anyway and I gave it no real thought. Somewhere in Centerville.

My husband Mike and I were through Centerville, Indiana along Route 40 three different times. On the first visit on Sunday, June 5th, we took our time and drove around looking at the wonderful historic homes and enjoying the rich history which is prevalent in all the small towns along the Old National Road. We spied a huge antique mall and thought we would come back to it, browse around and maybe eat our sandwiches in the parking lot before we moved on towards Richmond. I wasn't in Centerville to do genealogy. My ancestors had been there for only a short time on their move from Ohio. Joseph died there and afterwards his wife, Martha (Dungan) Grunden moved her family further west to Knightstown in the next county.

As we passed by the antique mall we saw straight in front of us a large cemetery. Out of curiosity we drove up to it. Did I mention it was large? I puzzled...was this the cemetery where Joseph's stone was? What WAS the name of that cemetery he was buried in? I said to Mike: "I'm not walking that whole cemetery looking for one stone that I already have a photo of." So, we slowly drove by and came to the next cross road. The large cemetery was on my right and as I looked to my left I saw another smaller cemetery a block away. I had a good view of it and even from that distance I immediately spotted the tombstone of Joseph Grunden. I knew it was his stone. It had a distinct shape because a large corner was broken off. I couldn't believe it! As we drove closer we saw the cemetery sign, "Centerville Cemetery". Aha, my memory of the cemetery name came back. This was it alright! I hopped out of the car with my camera in hand and walked straight up to that tombstone, Joseph Grunden's tombstone, broken and perfect.  I took my very own photo, paid my respects, took a few more photos of the whole cemetery, and we went back to that antique mall.

Tombstone of Joseph Grunden, Centerville Cemetery
Centerville, Wayne Co., Indiana

It was suspiciously odd in my opinion, that that stone stood out to me, among all the others, from that it had a halo around it or something. It stood there and beckoned to me like a lighthouse. "Come here, little girl."

Just a happy accident.