Posted in Ancestor Stories

Love – Alice Disney

Who doesn’t love a good love story?  While I seem to be destined for a life of single-hood, that does not mean that I don’t love stories about how people met their forever person.  I especially love the stories that are unusual.  Either they met by random circumstance or maybe they had whirlwind romance.  Whatever the case may be, I love to hear them!

I especially loved learning the story of my 1st cousin, 5x removed, Alice Disney.  Alice was born on Jun 25, 1869 in Knox County, Kentucky to Thomas Balton and Rebecca Donaldson Disney.  She was one of eight children born to Thomas and Rebecca.  Alice was considered one of the more popular girls in Knox County, however this didn’t translate to finding herself a husband.  She watched many of her friends and family become married and still did not have that special someone.

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At the age of 21, Alice decided to take things into her own hand when it came to marriage and took a bit of a risk.  She wrote an advertisement for a gentleman correspondent and placed it in a matrimonial newspaper based out of Chicago.  She did it for fun more than anything else, but if something were to come of it, even better!  Alice received numerous responses, but the one that stood out the most was from a gentleman who lived in Texas, Clarence Van Ness.

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Alice and Clarence began writing each other and continued to do so for about six years.  Through the years they developed a friendship which blossomed into a romantic relationship.  Not long after reaching the six-year mark, Clarence wrote Alice a letter proposing marriage.  Alice was now creeping closer to her 30th birthday (she was about 28 years old at this point) and was eager to settle down.  She happily accepted Clarence’s proposal.

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For some reason, Alice decided to keep this proposal a secret from her parents.  It’s unknown the reason why, but she came up with a plan to marry Clarence without her parents knowing.  How exactly does a single lady in the late 1800s get herself to Texas to marry a stranger?  Alice called upon the assistance of her brother, George Madison Disney, who at the time lived in Oklahoma.  Now, if George really knew what was going on, nobody knows.  What we do know is that Alice contacted her him to arrange for her to come visit him.

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Alice made her way to Oklahoma to her brother, and then made her way down to Texas to marry Clarence.  Alice and Clarence were married in Canadian, Texas in May 1897. This was the first time they had ever met! Clarence owned 600 acres of land and had numerous herds of cattle.  Not too shabby of a pick!  After they married, Alice and Clarence moved to Tecumseh, Oklahoma where they had three children.  Alice passed away on April 17, 1944 in Tecumseh.

I’m sure at some point, Alice’s parents found out about her secret marriage.  It’s unknown how they reacted.  It can be assumed that once Alice made her way out west that she never returned, at least to live, to Kentucky.  I think it’s safe to say that Alice knew, without a doubt, that Clarence was the one for her!

Alice Dizney and Clarence Vanness marriage announcement
Hopkinsville Kentuckian, Tuesday, June 1, 1897 Volume 19 Page 11

 

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

The Baker/Arthur connection

Genealogy is full of surprises.  It could be finding out that you are related to someone famous.  I have also seen where two friends ended up being distantly related!  There are all kinds of fun surprises and for the most part, that is what keeps a genealogist going.

What happens, though, when those surprises seem a little off-putting?  What if you’re related to the biggest traitor in American history?  (Yeah, let’s not talk about that one).  What do you do if you find out your parents are related?  Yep, this was my big surprise moment.  What in the world do I do now?  Does this explain why some of my joints a double-jointed?!  Genealogy is just like life, you have to take the good with the bad.

*Cue the Facts of Life theme song here*

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First of all, let me start by explaining that where my parents are connected is far enough down the line that it really doesn’t matter.  They are somewhere in the arena of 8th cousins and many, many, many times removed.

I began this discovery by researching my maternal Baker line.  My 2nd Great Grandmother was a Baker (Stella Alice Baker) and her line had me researching in the Eastern Kentucky area.  I was curious to see where exactly this line would take me. I found Stella’s father John William Baker who lead me to his father John Baker and then to George Thompson Baker and on to Brice Baker.  It was my discovery of Brice Baker that gave me a little pause.

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It seems that Brice, my maternal 6x Great Grandfather, married a woman by the name of Mary Arthur.  Wait a second, I thought, I’m an Arthur.  Is it possible that I’m just related to Arthur surname on both sides of my family?!  This wouldn’t be the first time.  I have several surnames that appear on both my maternal and paternal side of may family.  As I’m sure most who are doing their family research have discovered.  So, just out of curiosity, I hopped over to Mary’s family to see what I could find out about her Arthur line.

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I didn’t find a connection anywhere until I found Mary’s 2x Great Grandfather, Thomas Barnabus Arthur (1680-1715).  When I attempted to enter Thomas’ information into my tree, it showed that he was already there.  That was strange!  When I looked at his children, it seemed that I was already related to his one son, John Arthur.  After connecting the dots, John was my 8th Great Grandfather on my paternal side.  That meant that Thomas Barnabus Arthur was the bridge that connected my maternal and paternal sides!  Talk about mind being blown!

After sharing this information with my family, a new joke started.  They like to tease me and say that if I keep researching, I’m going to be my own Grandma!

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

At the Library

I love to read and I love to learn.  These are not things that I have come to love by accident.  Education has always been something that my family has held in high regard.  Even when opportunities were not obvious, my family has always been the type to make the most of a situation.  Education to my family doesn’t necessarily mean school as it can come in many different ways.

Education was extremely important to my Great Aunt, Margaret Charlotte Robinson Jones.  Margaret grew up and lived in Harlan County, Kentucky, an area not known for numerous educational opportunities.  That didn’t stop Margaret from not only educating herself, but helping to educate the community.

Around the Harlan community, Margaret was known for her work on the Harlan County Book-mobile.  The Book-mobile was like a food truck of today, but with books.  Harlan County is a very rural and mountainous area and many people didn’t have the means or the time to come into town to go to the library.  For some, reading was a luxury that just wasn’t part of their every day life.  Margaret and her Book-mobile changed that.  She brought books and knowledge to people’s doorsteps.  The Book-mobile was used to reach children, elderly, disabled, and the poor.  The Book-mobile even visited the local prison.  Nobody was turned away from the Book-mobile.  If there was a way it could it to you, Margaret and her driver would make sure that it did.  It was opening the whole world at people’s doorsteps.

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Article from the Harlan Daily Enterprise

The Book-mobile was not all serious and no fun.  Margaret would tell the story of some of the elderly ladies in the community.  They would ask her to bring them some “dirty” books.  The ladies were too embarrassed to come to the main library to check them out.  The “dirty” books it turns out, were Harlequin romance novels.  I love this story and the fact that it shows the innocence of a time gone by.

In order to provide the people of Harlan County to be blessed with the Book-mobile, Margaret had to educate herself.  This required her to attend a conference at Moorehead University.  Through the Personal Development Institute she completed a certification process along with other public and book-mobile librarians.

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Article from the Harlan Daily Enterprise

Margaret had a deep passion for her work on the Book-mobile.  She loved being able to reach people who may not of otherwise had the opportunity to hold these books in their hands.  Sadly, Margaret’s life was cut short as she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and passed away at the age of 47.  Without a doubt, her legacy carries on through the many lives that she and her Book-mobile touched.

 

Posted in Ancestor Stories

Ancestor I’d Like To Meet

Asking me what ancestor I’d like to meet is like asking me what my favorite dessert is (and if you know me at all, you know I love all things sweet!).  As you can tell, it’s taken me a bit to make this decision.  I thought about narrowing it down to two, flipping a coin, and then just going with whoever fate told me to, but then I stopped and really thought about it.

I’ve decided that I’d really like to meet my 3x Great Grandfather, Elias Sheridan Carroll.  While I know quite a bit about Elias, I feel like there are so many questions I would have if I ever got to meet him.  So many questions that documents just can’t answer.  Also, since I’ve never seen a picture of him, I’d love to know what he really looks like!

Elias Sheridan Carroll was born on February 8, 1838 in Anderson County (what would become Union County) Tennessee. His parents were Jesse Carroll and Catherine Wilson.  There is some debate on if Catherine is actually his mother, but all research that I have points to this being the case.  Elias had one brother, James, and three sisters; Elizabeth, Sarah, and Emiline.

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Marriage record of Elias S. Carroll and Rachel I. Sharp

On November 13, 1865 in Union County, Tennessee, Elias married Rachel Irene Sharp.  Rachel was the daughter of Alfred Sharp and Elizabeth Loy.  The Sharp family name held a lot of weight in Union County.  Rachel’s father Alfred was considered a prominent member of the community.  Not only did Alfred own several hundred acres of land in the county, but he also served as Judge.  According to Alfred’s probate records, it appears that he was the one in the community that people came to when needing to borrow money.  There are approximately five pages listing people who owed him money.  This list included his son-in-law, Elias Carroll.

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A snippet from Alfred Sharp’s probate inventory.  Notice the highlighted entries at the bottom show where Elias Carroll borrowed $20.00 and $30.33.

Elias’ family was not as well off as Rachel’s.  That’s not to say that Rachel married down, necessarily, but I think it does help to paint a picture of what their life was like.  When the Civil War started, Elias, like many other men in East Tennessee, joined the Union Army.  What was different in Elias’ case, was that when he enlisted, he entered the Army as a 1st Lieutenant.  This was unusual for someone without a high economic standing.  My guess is that Elias wanted to join the cause, and to keep him safe, Alfred pulled some strings to get him enlisted as an officer.  Even though Elias and Rachel were not married at the time of his enlistment, Union County was a small enough community to say that Elias and Rachel were more than likely involved at the time.

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Elias Carroll Muster Roll

If keeping Elias safe was Alfred’s goal, he didn’t succeed.  In February 1864, Elias was stationed at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and doing communication work for the Union Army.  While no major skirmish took place at Cumberland Gap, it was a very popular thoroughfare for both sides during the war.  While the details are not known, somehow Elias found himself captured by Confederate soldiers.  He was taken to Bristol, Tennessee and then on to Richmond, Virginia where he was confined.  A few months later in May, the Confederate army decided to move their Richmond prisoners to Macon, Georgia.  While making the long trip, Elias escaped custody of the Confederate army near Columbia, South Carolina.  By March 1865, a little over a year later, Elias was back with his Company in Tennessee.

Elias submitted his resignation in December 1864, but stayed with the Army until June 1865.  To me, this shows that loyalty was an important virtue to Elias.  After everything he had been through, it would have been easy for him to just walk away.  It is also safe to say that Elias was eager to get back home and marry Rachel.  He had more than proved himself worthy of her hand.

Together, Elias and Rachel had 10 children; Perilana, Alfred B, Florence, Sarah Elizabeth, Susan Jane, Cansadia, William West, Lafayette Hauk, Harriett, and Jesse Leroy.  After the war, Elias went back to Union County and began farming.  Life was not easy for Elias and his family.  In 1880, two of his children, Perliana and Alfred, had typhus fever.  Fortunately, it appears that both children survived.  By 1890, Elias had developed lung disease.  This was just the first of Elias’ illnesses.  In 1902, Elias applied for an Invalid Pension.  According to his application, he was “totally unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of disease of lungs, disease of heart, general debility and scurvy.”

Elias was already receiving his pension for serving with the Union Army and had already borrowed multiple times from his father-in-law. It seems that the Invalid Pension may have given him more money, therefore he was now doing whatever he had to do to provide for his family.  His application stated that he still had four children living at home that he needed to be able to take care of.  It’s unknown if Elias received an Invalid Pension as there is no record that I have found that shows he received this money.

Elias Sheridan Carroll died on July 8, 1911 in LaFollette, Campbell County, Tennessee.  To provide for herself, Rachel applied for a Widow’s Pension.  The 1910 census shows that Elias was no longer working and that his sons, William and Lafayette (who were both working at the iron furnace) were still single and living at home.  One can assume they were living there to help to provide for their parents.  I would love to meet Elias and talk to him about everything that he experienced in his lifetime.  From his relationship with his father-in-law, to being a prisoner of war, to his struggles to make ends meet after the war, I feel that his life is full of important lessons.

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Elias S. Carroll is buried at Sharp Cemetery #3 in LaFollette, Campbell County, Tennessee

 

 

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update – February 2, 2019

This week I have been researching my paternal Arthur side.  I don’t know much about my paternal side, so this has been fun!  Finding new cousins, even the ones that are no longer with us, is always fun.

While researching this side, I found my 3rd cousin, 5x removed, Arthur Preston.  Arthur was born February 18th, 1858 (happy early birthday!) in Lawrence County, Kentucky.  His parents were Robert McDonald Preston and Matilda West.  Arthur had eight siblings; Alford, Edison, Malissa, Louisa, Joseph, George, Wallace, and Mary Preston.

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1870 U. S. Census – Lawrence County, Kentucky

On April 20, 1887 in Johnson County, Kentucky, Arthur married his cousin, Louisa Christina Preston.  Together they had six children, Lydia Eloise, Dora Augusta, Gussie, Georgia, Arthur and Paul C Preston.

Arthur made a living by owning and operating a general store in Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky.  When doing my research this week, I found a newspaper article that gave me a better picture of his business.  Unfortunately, the reason the story was in the paper is because someone had decided to rob Arthur’s store.

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Article from the Big Sandy News, April 29, 1910 on page five

Arthur Preston passed away on April 2, 1931 in Lawrence County, Kentucky.  I have yet to find if his children followed in his footsteps.  I’m hoping someone in the family took over his store!  I guess that’s research for another day!

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Arthur Preston is buried in the Preston-Burgess Cemetery in Patrick, Lawrence County, Kentucky
Posted in Ancestor Stories

In Remembrance – Mabel Owedda Leckie Strunk

This week our family lost Mabel O. Leckie Strunk.  Mabel was born on September 25, 1937 to Isaac Leckie and Delia Price in Harlan County, Kentucky.  She passed away on January 24, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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From L to R: Betty Jane Leckie, Delia Cansadia Price Leckie, Issac Hamiltion Leckie, Mabel Oweena Leckie

I wasn’t privileged enough to have met Mabel (my first cousin, 2x removed), but I have heard many wonderful stories about her from my grandmother.  My favorite is when my grandmother talks about their first tube of lipstick.  The girls were not allowed to wear lipstick, but they were able to buy one tube without their parents finding out.  My grandmother says that they would take turns carrying the lipstick and wearing it.  The girls loved to feel fancy and to pretend they were movie stars.

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Mabel is the loving mother of Betty (Bill) Miller, Norma (Dale) Boggs, Michael (Mary) Strunk, Joyce (Thomas) Ferris, and the late Patricia Strunk.  She is also survived by nine grandchildren and many other family and friends.

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Mabel was the light in her children and grandchildren’s lives.  She will be greatly missed.  Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days.  Rest in peace, sweet Mable.

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Weekend Update – January 26th, 2019

I’m starting this new category in order to be transparent on what I’m currently researching.  Here I will highlight some of the more interesting tidbits I’ve found during the week.

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This week I’ve been working to expand the tree on my Rogers line.  I’m related to the Rogers through my 5th Great Grandfather, John Rogers, who married Jane Eaton.  By doing so, I “met” my 2nd cousin 4x removed, Audrey Mae Barton.  Audrey was born in 1914 in Knox County, Kentucky.  She married a man by the name of Ron Hensley.  They moved to Harlan County, Kentucky where they raised four children; Evelyn, Gerald, Betty, and Genette.

Sometimes you find unpleasant things when trying to expand your family tree and so was the case when I looked for Audrey Barton in the newspaper.  I found the following article explaining how Audrey passed away in the Lexington Herald in 1952.

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Printed in the Lexington Herald on February 7th, 1952

Reading this article broke my heart, but so did reading her death certificate.

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Audrey Mae Barton Hensley Death Certificate

Check back next Saturday for the Weekend Update.  Hopefully I’ll have something a little more lighthearted!