Monday, June 12, 2017

Dad Sat in Reagan's Chair!

Dad's birthday celebration 2014


With Father's Day coming it is a good time to reflect on our paternal lines in our genealogical research.  It is also a good time to visit Dad and get some of his stories down on paper. We can also review our paternal DNA matches.  My most recent visit to my dad uncovered a story that I never recall hearing before about dad visiting Ronald Reagan's office with an old girl friend.

Sometimes other friends and family members are in a better position to ask the questions and make note of the significant answers. I have interviewed my Dad numerous times at length over the last three decades.  I have my wife, Robin, to thank for eliciting this wonderful story about Dad sitting in Ronald Reagan's chair.  Dad and Robin were talking about our daughter in Los Angeles.  That made dad remember the time that he was in Los Angeles with an old girl friend that worked for Ronald Reagan in his Los Angeles office. His friend, Barbara Smale, took Dad on a tour of her workplace and took him into Mr. Reagan's office and encouraged him to sit in the chair of a former governor and future president.  That moment was indelibly etched in Dad's brain despite his current short term memory issues.

While reviewing the new Shared DNA Matches tool at Ancestry.com for my dad and myself, I noticed that my dad's first cousin, Sam Cimino, has taken a DNA test. Even better, Sam and I have some shared DNA matches as shown in the image below.

Shared DNA Matches between myself and dad's cousin, Sam Cimino.
I fired off a message to both men on the match list to see if they were aware of any Sicilian ancestry. One of the gentlemen responded immediately to say that he was not aware of any ancestors in Sicily. As far as he knew his ancestry was in Campobasso and the other side of his family came from the Naples area.  So I can add this one to the long list of mysteries that I need to solve.  Father's Day is a great time to take advantage of the special sale prices being offered at all of the major DNA services.

It was both ironic and serendipitous that while I was with my Dad, I read his morning newspaper and found an opinion column by Leonard Pitts Jr entitled Family Roots Run Deeper Than We Think. Mr. Pitts spoke volumes to me with the following words:

I wrote about Aunt Millie and her decline from dementia three years ago in this space. As these words are written, I’m preparing to go to Chicago to bury her. And thinking about what it means when a generation dies.
I have no more blood aunts and uncles. Not on either side. My sisters and brother and cousins and I, we are it. We are the "grownups" now. We are the family.
It is a sobering realization familiar to many of us of a certain age. Firsthand memory of the Depression, the war, the Holocaust, is dwindling at a sobering pace, disappearing one heart attack, cancer diagnosis and stroke at a time. But those of us who are of a certain age and also African American are losing those things, and other things specific to us.
We are losing firsthand memory of you can’t walk here, and you can’t eat there, of you can’t try that on and you can’t look that man in the eye. We are losing our exodus, how it felt to flee Greenville, Jacksonville, or Shreveport on the first bus or train heading north or west, toting suitcases tied with rope and cold chicken in grease-stained paper bags.
You can read the full column here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article154174689.html

While you are at it please take a look at Mr. Pitts Recommended Reading list:  http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article141507489.html

We are losing a unique perspective on history as each generation passes.  Make sure that you spend some time listening to the previous generation and recording their oral histories.  Then write and reflect on what those memories mean to you.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Early KY Ancestral FAN Club

While researching Thomas Clark, I have found that he was associated with a very interesting FAN club including George Rogers Clark, John Crittenden, Elias Tolin, William Lynn, Andrew Lynn, Edward Worthington, Jacob Myers and several others.  In addition he was known to have traveled to a variety of geographic locations including Fort Wheeling, [West] Virginia,  Boonesborough, Harrodsburg and Lexington, Kentucky.  While being in these localities, he was likely to have crossed paths with people like Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton and John Harrod.  We have documentation of his FAN club from several depositions in Fayette County, Kentucky.

For background on Thomas Clark please review this previous blog post:

http://www.ancestorpuzzles.com/2017/05/thomas-clark-kentucky-patriot-or-early.html

FAN Club Defined

When the paper trail left by our ancestors is minimal we often have to turn to other people that are near or dear.  In the words of Elizabeth Shown Mills:

When those we study left no document to handily supply the information we seek, we often find it in the records created by members of their FAN Club—their Friends, Associates, and Neighbors.

For a more detailed explanation,  read more here:

https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-11-identity-problems-fan-principle


Documents Related to the Key Players in this FAN Club
Deposition of ELIAS TOLIN (taken at WILLIAM FARROW's improvement in Montgomery County, on February 27, 1806): On July 23, 1775 deponent joined the company with WILLIAM LYNN, THOMAS CLARK, ANDREW LYNN, THOMAS BRAZER and JOHN CRITTENDEN at Wheeling fort to come to Kentucky, to improve and take up land and on the Ohio River, near the mouth of the Little Kanawha, was overtaken by THORNTON FARROW, LUKE CANNON, WILLIAM BENNETT and others who informed us they were coming to Kentucky to take up lands for themselves and some gentlemen in Virginia and informed us that the hand they had under their direction were sent by those gentlemen in Virginia as assistant in taking up land for those gentlemen in Virginia and we proceeded on in company to the mouth of the Kentucky where CANNON and BENNETT and their hands parted with us and proceeded on down the Ohio river.  THORNTON FARROW and a man of the name of GUY who appeared to be a servant, joined and we proceeded up the Kentucky to Leestown which place GEORGE ROGERS CLARK joined our company and we proceeded to Boonesborough, from thence to Sommerset and encamped at or near the place known as Severn's Lick... [SOURCE: See citation in the full transcript of the Fayette County depositions at the end of this article]

Here is an explanation of how George Rogers Clark met up with the Crittenden, Lynn and Clark party:

Another man who arrived in Kentucky in 1775 was George Rogers Clark. On May 4 he secured a passage at Wheeling in the canoe of James Nourse and Nicholas Cresswell. The men traveled down the Ohio together, then up the Kentucky River, but Clark joined another company headed by Michael Cresap near Drennons Lick. When Cresap headed back up the river, Clark moved to Leestown. By mid-July he had joined another company headed by Maj. John Crittenden, who had also come down the Ohio from Wheeling. This party included William and Andrew Linn, Thomas Clark, and Thomas Brazer. They were later joined enroute by Thornton Farrow, Luke Cannon, William Bennett, and a man named Guy, who appears to have been a servant. Together they visited Boonesborough,then went northwest to make improvements at Somerset and Grassy Lick Creeks. Above the lick, Farrow, Clark, and Crittenden built cabins, and Clark surveyed 15,360 acres. On July 20 Clark passed through Boonesborough, again enroute to Leestown.

SOURCE: Virginia's Western War: 1775-1786
Google Book Preview
Neal O. Hammon, Richard Taylor
Stackpole Books, 2002 - History - 279 pages

For an excellent profile of William Lynn, check out this World Connect page created by Stan Hendershot:

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=stanhendershot&id=I18847

Wikipedia describes their article about Major John Crittenden as a stub.  We have been invited to help expand it.  Major Crittenden is probably best know for his famous offspring.

John Crittenden Sr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Crittenden (1754 – 1809) was a Major in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1790 to 1805. He was the scion of a powerful family of politicians and military officers who played key roles in the politics of several southern states through the end of the 19th century.
Crittenden was born in New Kent, Virginia, to Henry Crittenden and Margaret Butler. On August 21, 1783 he married Judith Harris daughter of John Harris and Obedience Turpin. John and Judith had nine children including the statesmen John Jordan Crittenden and Robert Crittenden. He was an original member of the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati. He died in Kentucky.

Historical Context- Nicholas Cresswell Journal 1774-1777

Nicholas Cresswell unfortunately never mentions Thomas Clark in his journal so it appears they may have not crossed paths as his journal entries are quite detailed.  The Cresswell journal is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the early history of Kentucky.  He was favorably impressed with George Rogers Clark and mentions him several different times.  His descriptions of the exciting life of  early Virginia and the Kentucky frontier are not to be missed.  The story reads like a mash-up of the movies Tom Jones and Little Big Man. The Library of Congress has an excellent copy of the Nicholas Cresswell journals online here:

https://www.loc.gov/resource/lhbtn.30436


Key Fact from the Depositions filed  in Fayette County, Kentucky 

The most important key fact in the depositions filed in Fayette County was that Thomas Clark was deceased on March 20, 1801 when Josiah Collins gave his deposition  in Montgomery County, Kentucky.  This supports the supposition that the Thomas Clark that served as a "pilot" for the early surveys and land claims in the 1775-1786 period was the same Thomas Clark that was deceased in 1797 when his heirs were requested to appear in Fayette County Court in a public notice published in the Kentucky Gazette.



Historical citations related to Elias Tolin and Thomas Clark

Kentucky: A History of the State, Embracing a Concise Account of the ...
https://books.google.com/books?id=0dc_AAAAYAAJ
William Henry Perrin, ‎J. H. Battle, ‎G. C. Kniffin - 1887 - ‎
p.553 BATH COUNTY was the fifty-sixth organized in the State, and dates its formation back to January, 1811. ... Bath County was settled by Thomas Clark and his brother, Hugh Sidwell, Elias Tolin, James Wade, a man named Bollard, Francis Downing, and William Calk. A fort or block-house was built in 1786, on the slate ore bank, where the slate iron furnace was afterward erected. Nothing now remains to mark the spot where the furnace was located.

In Search of Morgan's Station and "the Last Indian Raid in Kentucky"
https://books.google.com/books?id=CXF5AAAAMAAJ
Harry G. Enoch - 1997 -
In 1776 Thomas Clark led another group of Virginians back to the Licking area of Bath County to locate lands. Tolin returned to Virginia and served in the army during the Revolutionary War. He later settled in Montgomery County...


Full Text of the Fayette County Depositions Mentioning Thomas Clark


Depositions of Elias Tolin AKA Tobin et al mentioning Thomas Clark extracted from "FAYETTE COUNTY KENTUCKY RECORDS, Volume 1" by Michael L. Cook, C.G. and Bettie A. Cumming Cook, Cook Publications, Evansville, Indiana, 1985. Copy inspected at the Clayton Center for Genealogical Research, a branch of the Houston Public Library in April 2017 by Nick Cimino

INTRODUCTION by Mr. and Mrs. Cook
This provides some of the most valuable source material in existence for both genealogical and historical researchers in the very earliest period of the area that became Kentucky. Disputes in land ownership resulted in hundreds of depositions taken of the earliest settlers as a part of these cases. These depositions, in the own words of the deponents, reveal when hundreds of these earliest settlers came to Kentucky, when they returned to Virginia, North Carolina, or Pennsylvania for return trips, where they lived, locations of the earliest stations, details of Indian battles and of those killed by Indians, burials, how they lived, and, important for genealogists, ages, birthdates, death dates, and family relationships. These are even fascinating just to read. These describe creeks and other places, number of settlers in the early stations, and operation of the system by which they obtained land. Many land entries, preemptions, warrants and patents are mentioned and described, as well. Some tell of their military experiences as well. There is much information here that is available nowhere else. Most of the depositions pertain to their lives during the period 1773 to 1780 throughout this volume, and as Fayette County covered a large area at that time, this is important to those researching families in many other counties as well.

October 1, 1985

TRANSCRIPTIONS:

Complete Record Book A p.536, Deposition of ELIAS TOLIN (at his house in Montgomery County on August 17, 1804) by consent: That in 1775 himself in company w1th WILLIAM LINN, THOMAS CLARK ANDREW LINN and THOMAS BRASIER traveled and built cabbins on the largest creek between Upper Blue Licks and Slate creek on west side of Licking and we called it Flat Creek and I have never heard of any other name for it. In the year 1780 I was part of the time in the Northern Army and part of the time in Virginia.
Question by THOMAS SINCLERE for defendant: When did you return to Kentucky after you first left it.
Answer: In the year 1786. Question by same: Did not yourself, Clark and company make a number of improvements on the waters of Flat creek? Answer: We did.

p.537, Deposition of JOHN McINTIRE (taken in Montgomery County April 8,1803, before JOHN ROBERTS and JEREMIAH DAVIS: That he went to Harrodsburg in spring of 1780 and there met with THOMAS CLARK at which time he informed this deponent that he had made a number of entries on waters of Flat Creek and Slate creek and that he has entered 500 acres in name of FORRESTER WEBB on waters of Flat Creek and others adjoining the same, which he was to have a part of the land and deponent says Thomas Clark came to STRODE's in fall of 1783 and he set out with Clark, JOSHUA BENNET and others to Flat Creek, in order to survey lands and as they passed down Flat creek and came near to the mouth of the branch, that JOHN DOWNING now lives on that said Clark pointed over the creek and said - up that branch he had entered 500 acres of land for Webb at a spring and improvement and they continued on down said creek and went up the branch that is now called Rogers branch and surveyed 400 acres of land in name of WILLIAM SCOTT and while they were at said place this deponent enquired of said Clark where and how far Forrester Webb's land lay from that place, and if he intended to survey the same at that time and Clark made answer that he did not, nor never would until they gave him a part of the land for entering the same.

p.537, Deposition of GEORGE BALLA [GEORGE BALLOU ?] (taken August 15, 1804, before a single Justice, BENJAMIN SOUTH): In the year 1776 there was [blank] of us came down the Ohio river to improve lands. THOMAS CLARK was our pilot and we came up Licking River in our canoes to the Upper Blue Licks and after resting ourselves there some days, we started on by water and landed near the mouth of a small branch that now goes by the name of Little Flat Creek, and we went up said creek until we came to a Buffalo road and followed that over a ridge to another creek that is now Big Flat Creek and crossed over and camped at what is now Macks Run and we allowed it to be 10 miles to the Blue Licks, and then we began to hunt for land and to build cabbins which we called our improvement cabbins, and one day we went out to improve we went up creek until we came to mouth of a branch now called Rogers and built a cabbin and returned down creek passed a spring which we called Elm springs for a Big elm that growed over same, and we built a cabbin there, a little way below the spring and then we divided into two companies. THOMAS CLARK and 3 men went down near the creek, myself and three other men returned back to spring and there we built cabbins. I think about as high as my head or shoulders thence we went down said branch some distance and built a cabbin, I think 3 or 4 logs high, then we met THOMAS CLARK at a cabbin they had built near the creek. The cabbins of both parties belong to Our company undivided. Question by defendants: Did you know the name of the creek in the year 1780? Answer: in the year 1776 our company called it Broad creek but I do not know when the name was changed to Flat creek.

Question by complainant: Do you know how many of the cabbins that you built were springs at - over the ten miles from the Upper Blue Licks?
Answer: I know of but one on west side and two on the east side at which we built cabbins.

Question by same: How many cabbins did you build on Flat creek and its waters?
 Answer. Fourteen as well as I recollect.

Question by same: Do you know that the creek was called Flat creek in the year 1782?
Answer: I was not in the country in that year - in the year 1782. I was on the south side of the Kentucky [River] but do not remember to have heard it called Flat Creek at that time. I had a preemption on it which in the year 1783 I entered and called for Flat Creek.

Question: On what side of the branch is the cabin and spring?
Answer: The cabbin is on the north side - the sprlng is on the north side of the right hand fork as we go up the creek. The cabb1n stood on west of lower side of left hand fork.

p 538 Deposition of JOHN DOWNING (taken on April 18, 1802 before JOHN ROBERTS and JEREMIAH DAVIS in Montgomery County): He removed to the place called FORRESTER WEBB's Elm spring improvement in the year 1795 which he, the said deponent, had purchased a part of, from said Webb. and the same time saw a small improvement at said spring and the appearances of cabbins below said spring.

p 538 Deposition of JOSIAH COLLINS (taken on March 20, 1801 before DAVID HUGHES and WILLIAM ROBINSON, in Montgomery County): He was present when FORRESTER WEBB's survey was made on a branch of Flat creek which survey includes the Elm spring. He came in company with THOMAS CLARK, deceased, BENJAMIN BERRY, ROBERT PARKER, surveyor, and others. THOMAS CLARK was pilot from Strode's station to the place where said survey was made. We struck Flat creek at or near the mouth of the branch which is included in part of WILLIAM SCOTT's 400 acres survey and Clark informed the company that the next branch above was the one alluded to. We went up the creek to the mouth of said branch and up same to the Elm spring and said Clark informed said Berry and Parker that that was the spring alluded to in Forrester Webb's entry. Said Berry directed the surveyors to survey said Webb's land in that place. I remember to see a cabbin or pen at the Elm spring. I am not interested in this claim now but was once. I gave the bond I had for part of the land to Mr. BROWN. I had received bond for part of this land for assisting in making the entries of land which depended on Forrester Webb.

p.540, Deposition of PATRICK JORDAN (taken at the house of ELISHA WOOLDRIDGE in Woodford County on May 23 1801 before Elisha Wooldridge, Justice of the Peace): Sometime in the spring of the year 1780 he was with Thomas Clark at a spring which he called Elm spring where there were a number of trees deadened and what was called a cabbin in them days. Clark told me he meant to make an entry for Forrester Webb on this improvment - did not tell me distance it was from Blue Licks. I was also present when Mr. Clark made the entry in the office on this improvement. Mr. Clark and I were the only ones present at the spring. The deadening of the trees looked to be three or four years old and the cabbin was breast high and without a door but it was not covered. We had started to this place from my improvement three miles west of Paris and we went directly to this spring. It took us about one and one-half days to make the trip. I saw a number of improvements which Clark said he and his company had made some years previous. It was eighteen years before I visited this spring again.

p.542, Deposition of THOMAS CARTMELL (taken April 8, 1802 in Montgomery County, before JOHN ROBERTS and JEREMIAH DAVIS): In the year 1793 Thomas Clark came to his house where he now lives on Flat creek in search of Forrester Webb's land - inquired for the Elm spring and a cabbin below the same and improvement, and the day after he came to said deponent's house when he got up in the morning said Deponent directed him, the said Clark, where to go and find it, and described the place by some trees marked at a spring and a cabbin below the same and said Clark set out and found it by this description, and when he, the said Clark, returned to said deponent's house he informed deponent that it was the same place he was in search of.

p.542, Copy of Certificate dated May 19 , 1780, FORREST WEBB enters 500 acres of land on a treasury warrant on a branch of a creek running into Licking, known by the name of Flat Creek,
including a cabbin and improvement at a spring, about 12 miles nearly a south east corner from the Upper Blue Lick...

Map showing JOHN WILKINSON's 3,050 acres, under which the heirs of GEORGE NICHOLAS claim, which contained by survey 3,111 acres of land; FORRESTER WEBB's 500 acre survey, under which THOMAS BROWN complainant depends, which contains 511 acres by survey. Map by THOMAS MOSEBY shows Elm Spring to be 9 miles and 65 poles from Upper Blue Lick.
Complainant's Bill dismissed.

p.572, Deposition of ELIAS TOLIN (taken at a lick in Montgomery County on February 29, 1804 before JACOB COONS, Justice of the Peace): In the year 1775 deponent came to Kentucky in company with WILLIAM LINN, THOMAS CLARKE, THOMAS BRAZIER, JOHN CRITTENDEN, THORTON FARROW and GEORGE ROGERS CLARK, and we came on to Sommerset [creek] and there camped...

COMPLETE RECORD BOOK B

p. 478 Deposition of ELIAS TOLIN (taken at WILLIAM FARROW's improvement in Montgomery County, on February 27, 1806): On July 23, 1775 deponent joined the company with WILLIAM LYNN, THOMAS CLARK, ANDREW LYNN, THOMAS BRAZER and JOHN CRITTENDEN at Wheeling fort to come to Kentucky, to improve and take up land and on the Ohio River, near the mouth of the Little Kanawha, was overtaken by THORNTON FARROW, LUKE CANNON, WILLIAM BENNETT and others who informed us they were coming to Kentucky to take up lands for themselves and some gentlemen in Virginia and informed us that the hand they had under their direction were sent by those gentlemen in Virginia as assistant in taking up land for those gentlemen in Virginia and we proceeded on in company to the mouth of the Kentucky where CANNON and BENNETT and their hands parted with us and proceeded on down the Ohio river.  THORNTON FARROW and a man of the name of GUY who appeared to be a servant, joined and we proceeded up the Kentucky to Leestown which place GEORGE ROGERS CLARK joined our company and we proceeded to Boonesborough, from thence to Sommerset and encamped at or near the place known as Severn's Lick and while in that camp in the absence of THORNTON FARROW, some of the company was jokeing the man by the name of GUY about his master, and, that if the man who employed him, mentioning THORNTON FARROW's brother, had come out he would not have been treated with that indifference he now was and in the time while we lay in that camp THORNTON FARROW, JOHN CRITTENDEN and GEORGE ROGERS CLARK was absent from camp some few days and when they returned they informed us they had been making improvements while they were absent.  The next morning this deponent went down Somerset [creek] buffalo hunting and got lost from the company and wandered down on the creek now called Grassy Lick and found a burning camp near to the bank of the creek and no person in camp and this deponent followed a trail from said camp up the creek and come to the lick called Buck Lick, now called Grassy Lick, and then discovered a small cabin built and some trees belted and initial letter of "t f" cut on a tree and then proceeded from thence up the creek until the trail quit it and turned over to Somerset and to camp. In a few days afterwards we concluded to divide the company. Then JOHN CRITTENDEN, GEORGE ROGERS CLARK, THORNTON FARROW, a man by the name of GUY, another by the name of PAUL, formed into one company and WILLIAM LYNN, ANDREW LYNN, THOMAS CLARK, THOMAS BRANNON and this deponent formed the other company and about the time of parting the two companys concluded to meet again about three weeks after at or near the forks of the Somerset and Buck Lick, in order to travel to Boonesborough together and at the appointed time the company with this deponent came to the appointed place and found a written paper fastened to a buckeye informing us that the company of FARROW and CRITTENDEN was under the necessity of going to Boonesborough before the appointed time by reason of one of their company being badly scalded.  We then proceeded on to Boonesborough on their trail and came up Buck Lick and found improvement above this lick, we continued on to this place and found an improvement here which we supposed was made by FARROW, CRITTENDEN and company. Before we left Boonesborough it was agreed by JOHN FLOYD, who was then engaged in making military surveys, and our company, that we would be particular in making our marks that we might not interfere with each other. After discovering the improvement, we passed through the Sassafras grove near head but never fell in with that company of Crittenden and others any more as we went to Boonesborough and they went to Harrodsburg. I have lived in this neighborhood thirteen years. It was common to mark trees at an improvement with an ax or tomahawk and in some few instances with wet powder, but I know of no paint being used. This creek called Buck Lick in 1775. WILLIAM LYNN went out from the camp on Severn's lick and came back with two large buck skins and he said he killed them at a lick he meant to call Buck Lick. Never heard of GUY making any improvement or claiming any right to do so. He appeared to be a man under the subjection of THORNTON FARROW. This ridge was a place of notoriety both on consideration of the resort of Buffalo and the appearance of Blue Grass growing around it. It was in August 1775 when I first saw it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

DNA Delight!

I was delighted to learn that my Coffman and Clark research is being substantiated by DNA test results.  DNA is useful genealogical evidence that can enhance your paper records.  I received a promotional message from Ancestry.com stating that "We found new discoveries for Joan Ashley."

I am glad that I was able to have my maternal Aunt Joan tested to enable this discovery. Here is the shared ancestor chart that was provided by AncestryDNA.


A helpful tool provided by Ancestry.com is the ability to see a list of "Shared Matches."  This helps to narrow down to the specific ancestors that we share in common.



Further examination of the DNA tests that have trees attached, appears to confirm the Coffman and Clark connection.


You will notice that both of these DNA connections have Mary Coffman who is also known as Polly or Molly in their family trees.  Polly Coffman as we will call her from now on was the daughter of Christian Coffman and Elizabeth Clark(e).

Any time you collect information from another family tree, you must conduct an analytical process to verify the information contained in that tree.  You need to look at the sources attached and then determine what records might contain more information about the person(s) in the tree.  Using Polly Coffman as an example, I will show you my process of analysis for my fifth great aunt, who is a sister of my focus ancestor, Jacob Coffman.

It appears that there is some conflicting information about Polly Coffman from a variety of sources:

There appears to be several compiled sources which include information on Polly Coffman which provide widely ranging vital dates:

Polly Coffman  in the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
Name: Polly Coffman
Birth Date: 1780
Birthplace: Kentucky
Volume: 31
Page Number: 413
Reference: Gen. Column of the " Boston Transcript". 1906-1941.( The greatest single source of material for gen. Data for the N.E. area and for the period 1600-1800. Completely indexed in the Index.): 19 Mar 1934, 8159
Source Information
Godfrey Memorial Library, comp.. American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 1999.

Mary Coffman  in the U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
Name: Mary Coffman
Birth Date: 1778
Birth Place: Virginia
Death Date: 1855
Death Place: Washington, Kentucky
SAR Membership: 92627
Role: Ancestor
Application Date: 24 Feb 1965
Spouse: John H Hungate
Children: Adonijah Hungate
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Mary Coffman  in the North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
Name: Mary Coffman
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 1780
First Marriage Date: 1794
Death Date: 1855
Spouse: John Hungate
Child: Adonijah Hungate
Source Citation
Book Title: Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 114 : 1915

Mary Coffman in the North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
Name: Mary Coffman
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 1780
First Marriage Date: 1794
Death Date: 1855
Spouse: John Hungate
Child: Elizabeth Hungate
Source Citation
Book Title: Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 108 : 1914

Mary Hungate in the U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Name: Mary Hungate
Birth Date: 1778
Death Date: 1885
Burial or Cremation Place:  La Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
Spouse: John Hungate
Children:
Mary Lefler
Harrison Hungate
Adonijah Hungate
Elizabeth Hardesty
Salley Ray
William Hungate
URL: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-...
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

The birth date is shown as both 1778 and 1780 but the death date is shown as 1855 and 1885.  The death place is shown as Washington County, Kentucky but the burial place is shown as LaHarpe, Hancock County, Illinois.

Let's look for some original records with original images to see exactly what those records might say about Polly Coffman.

The first primary record that we have of Polly Coffman is the following:

1795- Hungate, John and Polley Coffman, January 25, 1795
Bondsman: Charles Hungate
Bride's mother: Elizabeth Coffman, who certifies bride's age is 21. [It is notable that the bride’s mother is described as Elizabeth Coffman rather than Elizabeth Veitch.
 Teste: Major Farris



If Polly Coffman was age 21 in 1795 that would make her year of birth actually closer to 1774.

Her husband, John Hungate was apparently a man of some note in Mercer and Washington County, Kentucky as he is often referred to as Col. John Hungate.  She married John Hungate and they had eight children together. John was a paymaster in the War of 1812 for the 5th Regiment of Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia from August 25, 1813 to November 9, 1813 when he died in service.

These facts are supported by an application for a military headstone as follows:


Apparently, this marker was placed in the LaHarpe, Illinois cemetery by a American Legion Post No. 301 even though John Hungate is known to have died in Kentucky in 1813 while in military service.

Now Polly Coffman is known as the widow, Mary Hungate. She married Joseph T Sweazy, a widower on 15 March 1816 and they had three children together.

The census records of 1820, 1830 and 1840 provide some of the few pieces of evidence about Polly Coffman after her marriage to Joseph Sweazy;

Joseph Swesey  in the 1820 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Swesey
[Joseph Sweeney]
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Lebanon, Washington, Kentucky
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 3
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1  [This is Joseph Sweazy born about 1781, age 29.]
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10: 4
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1  [This is Polly Coffman but she may have actually been about 46 if she was 21 when she was married first in 1795.]
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture: 3
All Other Persons Except Indians not Taxed: 12
Free White Persons - Under 16: 11
Free White Persons - Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 13
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 25
Source Citation
1820 U S Census; Census Place: Lebanon, Washington, Kentucky; Page: 50; NARA Roll: M33_29; Image: 71

Jos Swasey  in the 1830 United States Federal Census
Name: Jos Swasey
Home in 1830 (City, County, State): Eastern District, Nelson, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 2
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49: 1 [Joseph age 39]
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19: 2
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59: 1 [Polly age 56]
Free White Persons - Under 20: 6
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 9
Source Citation
1830; Census Place: Eastern District, Nelson, Kentucky; Series: M19; Roll: 40; Page: 132; Family History Library Film: 0007819

Joseph Sweasey  in the 1840 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Sweasey
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Nelson, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59: 1 [Joseph age 49 or 50]
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69: 1 [Polly age 66]
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4
Source Citation
Year: 1840; Census Place: Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: 121; Page: 44; Family History Library Film: 0007831

The census records appear to support that Polly Coffman was born closer to 1774.

By 1850 Mary "Polly" Coffman Hungate Sweazy is not in the household of Joseph Sweazy and he is now married to a much younger woman.  This is substantiated by a marriage record for Joseph Sweazy to Mary F. Hughes August 12, 1850 in Nelson County, Kentucky.

Joseph Sweazy in the 1850 United States Federal Census
Name: Joseph Sweazy
Age: 67
Birth Year: abt 1783
Birthplace: New Jersey
Home in 1850: District 2, Nelson, Kentucky, USA
Gender: Male
Family Number: 517
Household Members:
Name Age
Joseph Sweazy 67
Mary Sweazy 29
William A Sweazy 9
Sarah L Sweazy 4
James M Sweazy 2
Source Citation
Year: 1850; Census Place: District 2, Nelson, Kentucky; Roll: M432_215; Page: 374A; Image: 205

There are two possible scenarios for what happened to Polly Coffman:

  1. Polly died between 1840 and 1850
  2. Polly divorced Joseph Sweazy and went to live near her children in LaHarpe, Illinois and died in either 1855 or 1885.

What records might exist that might help us to answer this question?
  1. a biography for one of her children or grandchildren 
  2. vital records for children 
  3. a probate case for John Hungate in Washington County, Kentucky
  4. a probate case for Mary or Polly Sweazy in Nelson County, Kentucky
  5. land transactions involving Joseph Sweazy may include a dower release by Polly Coffman
If you have any ideas to add to this list, I would be most appreciative.  

DNA matches have certainly given me a lot more encouragement to pursue all of the descendants of Christian Coffman and Elizabeth Clarke for more information about the Coffmans and the Hungates.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Thomas Clark- Kentucky Patriot or Early Sheriff?

Would you rather have a Revolutionary War veteran for an ancestor or one of the first sheriffs of Fayette County, Kentucky? This is the dilemma I have encountered when researching the maternal grandfather of Jacob Coffman, Thomas Clark.  I am still hoping that Thomas Clark might be both a patriot and a sheriff.

In previous posts, I have provided information on Jacob Coffman being bound out as an apprentice to a hatter by his mother, Elizabeth Coffman, widow of Christian Coffman.  After the death of Christian Coffman, Elizabeth marries William Veach in 1787 in Mercer County, Kentucky.  William Veach and Elizabeth Coffman had a daughter, Elizabeth Jane Veach who married Andrew Vance. Here are the vitals for the Vance family:

Descendants of Andrew Vance and Elizabeth Jane Veach

1. Andrew Vance (b.1778- Bourbon, Kentucky,; d.1831- Commerce, Hancock, Illinois)
   sp: Elizabeth Jane Veach (b.1787- Kentucky; m.1804; d.1856- Potosi, Grant, Wisconsin)
  2. William Vance (b.1805- Washington, Kentucky; d.1889- Rockwood, Randolph, Illinois)
  2. John H Vance (b.1810- Kentucky; d.1887- Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, California)
  2. Samuel Herchel Vance (b.1812- Cynthiana, Harrison, Kentucky; d.1904- Hunnewell, Shelby,     Missouri)
  2. Andrew J Vance (b.1814- Kentucky; d.1893-Iron, Missouri)
  2. Mary Clark Vance (b.1817- Lexington, Bourbon, Kentucky; d.1880- Madison,Lee,Iowa)
  2. James Ramey Vance (b.1824- Nauvoo,Hancock,Illinois; d.1898- Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California)
  2. Eliza Jane Vance (b.1828- Hancock, Illinois,; d.1893- Madison, Lee, Iowa)
  2. Parmelia Vance (b.1829- Commerce, Hancock, Illinois,; d.1893- Keokuk, Lee, Iowa)


Several of the Vance descendants applied to be members of both the Daughters and the Sons of the American Revolution (DAR and SAR).   The DAR has established a great service to genealogists by creating a patriot database on their website. We are also fortunate that Ancestry.com has digitized applications of the SAR.

Based on the application materials submitted to both DAR and SAR it appears that the Vance descendants where told that the father of Elizabeth Coffman Veach was Thomas Clark and that he was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.  I am hoping that the living Vance descendants may have further information in their family archives to help me sort out this mystery but in the meantime I have been busy researching a vast array of documents related to the early history of Kentucky.

Based on the submittals to DAR and SAR we have information about our ancestor, Thomas Clark as follows:

Name: Thomas Clark
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 12 Jan 1736
Birth Place: Elizabethtown, Essex County, New Jersey
Death Date: May 1810
Death Place: Clarksburg, Harrison County, Virginia [Now West Virginia]
Spouse: Betty Spencer
Child: Elizabeth Clark




When you look at the image above from the DAR Ancestor Rolls you see the warning in red letters that "FUTURE APPLICANTS MUST PROVE CORRECT SERVICE."  Apparently the DAR has noticed a mistake in their records.  It appears that the Vance descendants may have latched onto the wrong Thomas Clarke.



 There have been at least eight women who have entered the DAR based on genealogical research that was apparently faulty.


The men that entered the SAR appear to have made the same mistake.  The genealogical error becomes even more apparent when you read the following articles from the Kentucky Gazette:

Elizabeth Veach et al Kentucky gazette 27 Sep 1797, page 3

Elizabeth Veach and her husband, William Veach are being sued by Joshua M'Dowell and Daniel Workman in September of 1797. The other defendants are Christopher Bryant, Jacob Myers, Edward Worthington, Thomas Shepherd, William Shepherd and Mary Shepherd.

Elizabeth Veach et al Kentucky Gazette  30 May 1798, page 3
Several months later in March of 1798 we see that Thomas Clarke who is presumably the son of Thomas Clarke, Sr. has been named as an additional defendant but Thomas Shepherd is no longer named.  The defendants are described as the heirs and representatives of Thomas Clark, deceased. The public notice further states that "it is ordered that Sarah, Roanna and Elizabeth Shepherd, daughters of Sarah and William Shepherd, late Sarah Clarke, be made defendants and Levi Todd, the clerk of this court is appointed guardian to the said Elizabeth who is under the age of twenty one years..." However, if you look at the previous notice it appears that the wife of William Shepherd was Mary Shepherd.

The recommended course of action when you have a court case like this is to get copies of the complete file.  However, there was a fire at the courthouse in Lexington in 1803 which destroyed everything recorded prior to that date. Despite the best efforts of the Kentucky Department of Library and Archives, there was nothing more to be found on this case.

However, these newspaper articles present a much more complete picture of the descendants of Thomas Clark. I still question some of the details provided by the Vance descendants and much more work remains to be done to verify all of the following information.

1. Thomas Clark (b.1736-USA;d.1797-,,Kentucky,USA)
   sp: Betty Spencer (b.1736-USA;m.1753;d.1836)
  2. Sarah Clark (b.1757)
     sp: William Shepherd (b.1755)
    3. Sarah Shepherd
    3. Roanna Shepherd
    3. Elizabeth Shepherd
  2. Elizabeth Clark (b.1760-Elizabeth,Union,New Jersey,United States;d.1820-White County,Illinois,USA)
     sp#1: Christian AKA Christopher Coffman (b.1750;m.1775;d.1787-Mercer County,Kentucky,USA)
    3. Mary Polly Coffman (b.1778-Augusta,Virginia,United States;d.1855-Nelson,Kentucky,United States)
       sp: John Hungate Col. (b.1774-,Washington Co.,Kentucky;m.1795;d.1813-Tatum Springs,,Kentucky)
    3. Jacob Coffman (b.1780-,,Germany;d.1852-McDonough County,Illinois,USA)
       sp: Eary Fowler (b.1785-Baltimore,Baltimore,Maryland;m.1805;d.1855-La Harpe,Hancock,Illinois,USA)
    3. Sarah "Sally" Coffman (b.1787-Mercer County,Kentucky,USA;d.1860-Hamilton,Hancock,Illinois,United States)
       sp: William Hungate (b.1780-Colony,Laurel,Kentucky,United States;m.1800;d.1845-Knights Prairie,Hancock,Illinois,United States)
    3. Christopher Christian Coffman Jr
    3. Ann Coffman
    3. Isaac Coffman (b.1775-Virginia,USA;d.1812-Pigeon Roost,Scott County,Indiana,USA)
       sp: Mary Calvert (m.1796)
     sp#2: William Veach (b.1749-Prince George's,Maryland,USA;m.1788;d.1835-Burlington,Iowa,USA)
    3. Elizabeth Jane Veach (b.1787-Kentucky,United States;d.1856-Potosi,Grant,Wisconsin,United States)
       sp: Andrew Vance (b.1778-Bourbon,Kentucky,United States;m.1804;d.1831-Commerce,Hancock,Illinois,United States)
       sp: Luther Whitney (b.1777-Marlboro,Windham,Vermont,United States;m.1831;d.1854-Hancock,Hancock,I,United States)
    
It is also clear that Thomas Clark must have died before September 1797 when this court case was first mentioned in the Kentucky Gazette. 

One of the sources that support the fact that there was a sheriff named Thomas Clark in Fayette County, Kentucky is the following:

History of Lexington, Kentucky : its early annals and recent progress including biographical sketches and personal reminiscences of the pioneer settlers, notices of prominent citizens, etc., etc.
Statement of Responsibility: by George W. Ranck
Authors: Ranck, George W. (George Washington), 1841-1900 (Main Author)
Format: Books/Monographs
Language: English
Publication: Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, 1989
Physical: 443 p. : front.
ISBN: 1556131933
Subject Class: 976.947/L1 H2
Notes
Reprint. Originally published: Cincinnati : Robert Clarke, 1872.
SOURCE: https://books.familysearch.org
Page 71- The justices of the county court were successively sheriffs of the county until the law was changed in 1792.  The first sheriff under the succession rule was Charles Carr. Mr. Carr was a native of Virginia, and emigrated to this state when he was but ten years of age. He was a private soldier in the American army, under General Anthony Wayne, in 1794, and took an active part in his celebrated campaign against the Indians. In the war of 1812 he served as captain, and was at one time a prisoner. Subsequently he was a member of the state legislature. He died in Fayette county, at an advaneed age. His successors as sheriffs were THOMAS CLARKE, J. 0. Richardson, Leonard Young, A. Young, James Wood, W. R. Morton, Edward Payne, John Bradford, G. W. Morton, Waller Bullock, A. Thomson, Oliver Keene, T. S. Redd, R. S. Todd, T. A. Russell, M. Flournoy, J. R. Sloan, Moses Ellis, J. B. O’Bannon, aller Rhodes, Abraham Dudley, Joseph Gross, C. S. Bodley, Thomas Nichols, W. W. Dowden, R.S. Bullock.
Thomas Clark may have also served as a jailer but unfortunately we may never know for sure since the first name of Mr. Clark is not given.
Page 164- The following is an incomplete list of those who have filled the office of jailer, viz: Innis B. Brent, --- CLARK, Barker, Wm. Bobbs, Nathaniel Prentiss, Richard Sharp, Joseph R. Megowan, T. B. Megowan, --- White, Ben. Blincoe, W. H. Lusby, and Thos. B. Megowan. Including all the terms he has served, Mr. T. B. Megowan has been a jailer for nearly forty years.

The Kentucky Gazette gives us an exact date that Thomas Clark was elected sheriff:

Thomas Clarke was elected Sheriff of Fayette County in May of 1792
Kentucky Gazette, 5 May 1792, page 3
If this date is accurate and the information from the History of Lexington is also accurate that the law was changed in 1792, it is possible that Thomas Clarke was actually the first sheriff of Fayette County.


The caveat as always is that this is a work in progress.  This is the genealogical conclusion based on the available evidence but hopefully there is more evidence to be found.
   

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Other Jacob Coffman

Do you ever find yourself going down a rabbit trail in search of your ancestors?  It happens to me with regularity. You get excited thinking that you may have found another ancestor only to realize that you have been tracing someone else's ancestor.  With so many people with the same names in the same localities, this is bound to happen to every genealogist at some point in their research.

Another object lesson in the research below is that the boundaries of counties were constantly changing in Kentucky before it became a state in 1792 and for several decades after.

While exploring some of the records that I recently found in Mercer County, Kentucky, it happened to me.  The Jacob Coffman that I found in the early Mercer County records appears to have died before 1793 as described in the road survey below.  I hate to see all of this research go to waste, so I post it here in hopes that it will help others  to avoid making the same detour and also to help the descendants of that other Jacob Coffman that we know from Anderson County history that died in 1792.



Division of the Lands of Jacob Coffman
Dec 1804
Lawrenceburg, Franklin, Kentucky, USA [Lawrenceburg is now the county seat of Anderson County, Kentucky and was previous to 1794 in Mercer County.]

The map shows the division of the estate of Jacob Coffman among his wife and five children. The map accompanies the probate court record in Franklin County. The land shown is the center of present-day Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

SOURCE: gmoore70 originally shared this to Ancestry.com on 05 Sep 2010

The following report describes the records that I found on the Jacob Coffman that died in 1792.


Mercer County Kentucky Records, Vol. 1,
Michael L. Cook, 1987
Book viewed at
Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
A Branch of the Houston Public Library
5300 Caroline
Houston, Texas 77004
April 28, 2017



TRANSCRIPTION:  p. 210, Ann Shiell, Executrix of HUGH SHIELL, dec’d, v. WILLIAM SHEPHERD and JACOB COFFMAN, on debt. Defendants relinquished former plea; plaintiff to recover 7 pounds, 3 shillings and 6 pence, and costs, to be discharged by the payment of 3 pounds, 11 shillings, 9 pence with interest of 5% from August 2, 1786, and costs.
SOURCE: Page 72, Mercer County KY Records, Vol. 1, Michael L. Cook, 1987; Referencing page 210 in Court Book #1, March the 27th, 1788;
ORIGINAL SOURCE: LDS Microfilm # 7899116, Digitized Image 123 of 555;


TRANSCRIPTION: p. 473, On the petition of sundry inhabitants, ordered that JOHN ARNOLD, ROBERT ARMSTRONG, JACOB COFFMAN, BENJAMIN ARNOLD and JAMES McGUIRE, or any three of them, view the best way for a road from KIRKHAM’s Ferry on the Kentucky River to the road leading from Danville to Louisville and to Drennon’s Lick, also the way proposed for a road to lead from the place where HENRY MILLER proposes to have a ferry, into the above mentioned roads and report.

SOURCE: Page 168, Mercer County KY Records, Vol. 1, Michael L. Cook, 1987; Referencing page 473 in Court Book #1 dated February the 23rd, 1790;

ORIGINAL SOURCE: LDS Microfilm # 7899116, Digitized Image 261 of 555;


TRANSCRIPTION: p. 486, The persons appointed for that purpose, report that they have reviewed the way for a road from LILLARD’s Cove Spring to Frankfort, and that a good way may be had by running through the land of the said Lillard, with his consent, thence through the land of JAMES KNOX and HOLMES, thence through CALEB WALLACE, thence through the land of JACOB COFFMAN, dec’d, with consent of his widow, thence through the land of DAVID TILFORD, thence through the land of PETER STURGIS’s heirs, thence through the land of JOHN ARNOLD with his consent, thence through the land of JOHN ROBINSON, and thence through the land of ARCHIBALD HAMTILTON [sic] with his consent. Ordered that summons issue to the proprietors who have not given their consent.

SOURCE: Page 346 and 347, Mercer County Kentucky Records, Vol. 1, Michael L. Cook, 1987; Referencing page 486 in Court Book #2 dated March the 26th 1793;

ORIGINAL SOURCE: LDS Microfilm # 7899116,  Digitized Image 545 of 555;
URL: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS42-GSN8-Q?mode=g&i=544&cat=434368

The dotted line that runs from Cove Spring to Frankfort is the road that is described in the 1793 road survey.
The land of Jacob Coffman was on the waters of Hammonds Creek and
surrounded Lawrenceburg shown here as Laurenceburg.
SOURCE: A map of the State of Kentucky : from actual survey, Luke Munsell, 1818
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3950.ct003777a/


Google Books gives us a preview of a book entitled, History and Families, Anderson County, Kentucky
Turner Publishing Company, 1991 - History - 180 pages.
On page 7 of this book we find the following reference to Lillard’s  Cove Spring:

In 1873 [sic should be 1773], James, Robert and George McAfee led a party out of Virginia to explore and survey lands in Kentucky.  In their exploration they came upon the spring at the head of Gilbert's Creek.  They referred to it as either Cove Spring or Cave Spring, later called Lillard's Spring from the pioneer Thomas Lillard, and presently called McCall's Spring. The spring is located in [sic should be on] US 127 about five miles south of Lawrenceburg.

Another reference to Lillard’s Spring is found on Google Books:
Lillard: a family of colonial Virginia - Volume 2 - Page 821
David Hicks Lillard, ‎Raleigh T. Green - 1991 - ‎Snippet view
During the 1790's Thomas Lillard built his home, which came to be known as "Spring Hill... was located immediately east of a continuously flowing spring originally named the Cave or Cove Spring by the McAfee brothers, also pioneer settlers ...

Given the above reference to Anderson County, the Jacob Coffman described in these early Mercer County records is probably the Jacob Coffman who was the first settler on the site of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

JACOB COFFMAN, FIRST ANDERSON COUNTY PIONEER"Jacob Coffman was one of the first, it not the first, to build his cabin or fort, in what is now Anderson county. His fort, or strong cabin (It was not one of the large stations or forts), stood on the corner lot made by what is now Woodford and Main streets, the lot now (1928) occupied by the Presbyterian church. This cabin was put up between February 3, 1780 and June 23, 1780, the time he made his 1,000 acre entry, the second entry using the term, "adjoining his settlement and around the same." Here Coffman lived from 1780 until his death by Indians in 1792." 
SOURCE: Ancestry.com. A history of Anderson County [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: McKee, Lewis W.. A history of Anderson County. Baltimore: Regional Pub. Co., 1975. The 1975 version was a reprint of A History of Anderson County Begun in 1884 By Major Lewis W. McKee, and concluded in 1936 By Mrs. Lydia K. Bond; Published by Roberts Printing Co., Frankfort, 1936.