Monday, August 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Kentucky Trails, part 2

Perhaps this is unusual for the Tombstone Tuesday theme, but, in the end, it really is about a tombstone.

Day 3 of the Kentucky adventure (see: Kentucky Trails, part 1) was a day off from research. DH had spent 3 days driving and sitting (and driving and sitting), so we planned a visit to Mammoth Cave, about 2 hours south of where we were in Frankfort. Lots of hiking, impressive cave formations, truly a welcome change of pace.

The plan for our last day was to spend two or three hours at the Kentucky Historical Society library, and then drive two or three hours toward home. I was still hoping for something “special” to take home from this trip. I had collected documentation for several marriages, a couple of wills, sorted through the surname folders, and started on county histories. My plan was to make copies of some land records to take home and study later, and look through the online card catalogue for anything I might have missed.

At about 1:30, while waiting for my DH to return from a tour of the old capitol building, I began to browse through the Bourbon County shelf. One book caught my eye. It was produced by the Bourbon County Genealogy Society and was a record of old graves, many of which were on private land.

There was a listing for 4g-grandfather David Jameson, not a picture, but a transcription of who was with him, his wife Hannah, a previously unknown daughter Susanna, a John Jameson SR, and 3 infant children of his son Wesley that were also previously unknown to me. The grave was located on a farm in Paris, KY, and the address was also noted.

Here was a find! I wondered if I could locate the grave. Paris was (more or less) on the way home. We packed ourselves up and headed for the car and the GPS. An hour and a half later we were watching a threatening sky and making our way down one of those 2 lane, 55 mph, ditches on both sides country roads, looking for the farm.

We had no trouble finding the address, a lovely farmhouse surrounded by acres of pasture, some with cows grazing in the late afternoon. I knocked on the farmhouse door, but no one was home. In fact, it looked from the cobwebs as if no one really lived there. Maybe you could see the graves from the road? No luck here. I really didn’t want to trespass on someone’s land, besides there was just too much land there.

I was pretty disappointed, and not quite sure what to do next. DH pointed out that there was a little bobcat tractor on the property, and it was almost 5:00, maybe someone might come home from work. He tilted his seat back to take a nap, but I wasn’t very hopeful.

Not 10 minutes later, a truck turned into the driveway. Oh my goodness, maybe we would have some luck after all! A wonderful gentleman, Mr. Clemmons, with two kids in the back, rolled down his window. I told him why we were here and asked if he knew of any graves on the property. It turned out he did! It wasn’t his land, but he took care of it for the owner. Bless his heart, he offered to unhook the trailer from the back, let us pile in the truck and ride out where the tombstone was! It was a good thing he did…we went through several gates and fields before reaching the right one. We would never have found it without him.

And there they were, just as described. Behind a barbed wire fence,next to a stout young tree, amongst a lot of brush, the final resting place for David and Hannah Jameson. The inscriptions on the 4-sided obelisk were:

David Jameson,died Jun 23, 1833, Aged 76 yrs.
Hannah,wife of David,died Aug 19, 1814, Aged 52 yrs
John Jameson Sen.,died Jan 5, 1824, aged 72 years
Susannah Jameson,died Apr 1, 1820, aged 24 years; daughter of David and Hannah

At thy feet lieth these three children of Wesley and Mary Jameson
David T. Jameson,died May 30, 1831, aged 2 months
Azubah K. Jameson,died Aug 12, 1833, aged 5 months
Jonathan R. Jameson,died Oct 11, 1834, aged 2 days

This was the prize. This made the trip special, one of those moments when I am sure the ancestors are leading me. David and Hannah had been whispering this whole trip… in the records that I found….in the decision to spend half of the last day back at the library….in the last source checked that identified the grave….in Mr. Clemmons’ decision to bring the mower to the farm at exactly that moment.

Maybe it is all in my imagination. Then again, maybe it’s not….


Monday, August 22, 2011

Kentucky Trails, part 1

My wonderful DH made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Would I like to spend a week doing research in Kentucky? You betcha! A number of my families came through Kentucky during the 1780-1840 time period, as part of the westward migration. There was so much to be documented, hints from the Ancestry trees to be proven. What a treat!

But, my people were stubbornly hiding. All that I know about my ggg-grandmother Susannah Huffman came from her obituary in 1899. She was “born near Kingsport, TN, in Hawkins County” and came with her brother to Indiana about 1836. A brief stop at the Kingsport Public Library provided few clues. I learned that Sullivan and Hawkins counties lost records to burning during “the late Unpleasantness”. I did find a few Huffmans in tax records that I hadn’t seen on census records, so they are saved for future reference.

Luck was better in Kentucky. The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives sits atop a hill on the outskirts of Frankfort, looking very much like a fortress. Their microfilm collection yielded a few marriage records, but there weren’t many wills for my Walker, Carr, and Mauzy families. Probate records are my favorites when they appear. I didn’t find a likely candidate for Sallie Gooding’s father, nor Mary Reed. But, gggg-grandfather David Jameson left a lovely will naming his children. A lovely find! And also, there was a will left by a previously unknown (to me) brother Samuel 20 years earlier. So there was more family in Kentucky with him.

The next day took us to the beautiful Martin F. Schmidt Library at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, home to the resources of the Kentucky Historical Society. On their shelves was a volume of Mauzy research by Ben Mozee, someone I had communicated with many years ago. The early pages describing research into the Huguenot ancestor were definitely worth copying. Most of this day was spent combing the extensive surname files that include research contributions collected over years. Fairly common names like Carr and Walker certainly accumulated a lot of requests for research over the years, but nothing new on my folks. But here in the Jameson file is a copy of what appears to have been a Jameson family group newsletter, with a new clue! “Besides Andrew in Rockingham County records have shown the following: David, Samuel, and James Jamison. David and Samuel Jamison were the sons of Robert and Sarah (McKee) Jameson (see JN, June issue, 1992, page 630)…These two men along with a brother John resided for a short time in Augusta county, then later in Greenbrier co. now West Virginia before moving on to Kentucky.” This is my David! Well, you know I looked madly for “JN, June issue, 1992” in the Jameson file. Not there. Well, at least I have some more breadcrumbs to follow. The Jamesons were certainly speaking to me this trip!