Monday, November 26, 2012

Amos Riley Jr. and Josiah Henson, the Real "Uncle Tom"

This is an article published in the Owensboro Messenger & Examiner in 1884. It was an interview of Amos Riley Jr., son of Amos Riley and nephew of Isaac Riley, the two owners of Josiah Henson, on whom Harriet Beecher Stowe based her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin". It's a very interesting read, and certainly has a number of differing accounts of stories than relayed in Henson's auto-biography. Who was telling the truth, and who was embellishing? It's impossible to know. I recommend Henson's auto-biography as a fascinating read and you can decide for yourself.

I descend from Amos Riley Jr.'s sister, Elton Riley, a daughter of Amos Riley Sr. She married Howard Taylor and had several children, including the A. R. Taylor mentioned in the article.

                                Reverend Josiah Henson - Source: Wikipedia

This article was transcribed by me, Nathan Vaughan Marks, on November 26th, 2012.

Owensboro Messenger & Examiner
September 10, 1884
Page 1



An Interesting Interview With Judge Amos Riley, to Whose Family Henson Belonged—The Real Character of Little Eva’s Friend

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch.] “No sir; it isn’t every one [sic] who has enjoyed the distinction of being talked about in the most exalted circles of the English nobility—by royalty itself, for that matter. Yet that is what has happened in my time, and no fault of mine, either.”
The speaker was Judge Amos Riley, of New Madrid, Mo., who is sojourning in the city for a few days with his nephew, Mr. A. R. Taylor, the attorney. In response to a suggestion that he explain himself, the judge continued:

“It is some eight or ten years ago that I received by mail a copy of the London Times containing an elaborate story of a negro named Josiah Henson who was the ruling sensation in the metropolis, and had been received by Lord Palmerton, and even the Queen, as an object of the highest interest. The secret of his attractiveness lay in the fact that he was the original of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s world-famous “Uncle Tom.” Henson was talking pretty fluently to every one [sic] and every one [sic] was listening with the greatest interest to what he said. The Times had a long interview with him made up largely of what purports to be the story of his early life. It told of his rearing in Maryland; of his removal to Kentucky, and of a trip down the river to New Orleans, which formed the nucleus of the famous journey with St. Clair and Little Eva in “Uncle Tom.” The story was told in full detail and made a rather spirited narrative, but you will guess the extent of my interest when I tell you that I at once recognized in Henson a negro who belonged to my uncle, and whom I, myself, had known intimately for years. There could be no possible doubt about it, for my uncle’s name and my own were given in the article; and a number of anecdotes with which I was familiar were told with the greatest particularity. In short, the identification was complete. I will tell you about it:

The Judge’s hearers drew up their chairs in anticipation of a good story.

“My uncle, Isaac Riley, and his fathers before him for generations, lived in Montgomery county, Maryland. His brother Amos, my father, came West in early life, and settled in Daviess county, Kentucky, near Owensboro, or, as it was then called,


on the banks of the Ohio. He sent back to his family accounts of his new home so glowing that Isaac was fired with the idea of going West himself. Accordingly, in 1826 or ’27, he got together a lot of his slaves and sent them ahead by way of the river, intending to follow with his family after awhile [sic]. He put the negroes in nominal charge of a young friend named Middleton, but the party was really under the command of Josiah, or, as he was better known, ‘Si Hensen [sic], then a strapping fellow of 28 or 30, with a wife and two or three children. Si had been my uncle’s body-servant for years, and, being a shrewd, trusty fellow, enjoyed his master’s full confidence. The party arrived at Owensboro safely and ‘Si and his family went to work on my father’s farm. Si proved himself fully deserving of the character my uncle had given him and soon came to be trusted and indulged as a favorite servant. He was a large, well-built man, who would tip the beam at 175 or so, and was remarkably powerful, especially in the arms and shoulders. Many is the time I have worked with him in the wheat field. I was about 20 years old at the time and pretty stout myself, but when I tried to keep up with Si with a cradle, I invariably got left behind. By reason of his great strength he was able to use a cradle with a blade about a foot longer than mine. He would start out with this and by cutting an enormously wide swath, walk away from me in a way that I despised. ‘Come ‘long boss;” [sic] he used to shout back at me, ‘nevah do fo’ you to git lef’ behin’!’ After ‘Si had been with us a year or more (my uncle still postponing his removal to Kentucky) my father came to me one day and said: ‘If you and ‘Si want to take this cargo of hogs down to New Orleans, I’ll give you all you can get for them over $400.’ We both jumped at the proposition, and, loading the hogs into a flatboat, were under way as soon as possible. The trip was a long one and almost without incident. I remember we got off at Memphis, and ‘Si, in prowling around the town, got into a trouble with police, out of which he extricated himself by giving leg bail, escaping with no further loss than that of a big white beaver hat of which he was very proud.

“What did New Orleans look like in 1828? Oh, I couldn't begin to tell you. I remember one thing, though. All along the levee there was a row of frame shanties covered in front with a sort of canvas booths. This was the home of ‘the tiger’ in those days. Here the gamblers most did congregate to lay for the unwary ‘up river’ man. I was walking along there one day with the proceeds of the sale of the hogs in my pocket (which, by the way, didn't pan out so as to net my father anything to speak of), intending to deposit the money in bank. But it was after banking hours, and I had to take my money back in my pocket. As I was passing in front of one of these booths, a fellow rushed out of the door, grasped my hand and expressed himself as delighted to see me. I was pretty green, but when he asked me to walk in and hold stakes on a bet which he and a friend had made, I suspected that there was something wrong. I found the ‘friend’ seated at a little table manipulating an apparatus consisting chiefly of three cups and a little ball. I have since heard the game described as ‘thimble-rigging.’ My friend kept betting and losing a dollar at a time and all the while he was urging me to go in with him to the extent of $5 or $10. I kept clear of it, however, and finally bolted out of the door on an urgent call to meet an imaginary friend. Before I got away, though, I am free to say that one of the fellows got me to change a $10 bill for him, which afterwards proved to be counterfeit.


home and resumed our duties on the farm. Before long, however, there came a message from Maryland from my uncle, who had finally concluded not to come to Kentucky. He wanted all his negroes sold except ‘Si and his family, from whom he was unwilling to part. So my father gave ‘Si the money necessary for the trip and packed him off to Maryland with his family, which by this time was swelled by the accession of two or three more wooly heads to five or six. Some months afterwards we got another letter from my uncle, asking why ‘Si didn’t come. This question remained unanswered for a long time. It came to our ears though, after many years, that when ‘Si got as far as Cincinnati and found himself on the upper side of the Ohio river, the idea struck him that Canada was a might pleasant place to live, and, having a sum of money in his hand, he concluded to make the trip. We made inquiry, but neither I nor any member of the family ever saw the fugitive again. Nor would we ever have heard from him, perhaps, except for the article in the London Times.”

“When did Mrs. Stowe meet him?” asked one of the audience.

“I can only conjecture as to that. As I have said, ‘Si was a keen, sharp fellow, and I don’t imagine he stayed in Canada very long. He had a considerable gift of speech, and was much given to exhorting among the negroes. There was very little, as you have seen, in his real history upon which to base Mrs. Stowe’s conception of Uncle Tom, but he was sharp enough to tell a story that would sound well, and I don’t believe he would scruple to do so. I know that the yarn he told the Times reporter was full of inaccuracies, to say the least. Thus, he said that his master, meaning my uncle, was a wild, passionate man, given to sprees, and that he (‘Si) often had to tide the old gentleman over the difficulties incident to a debauch. This was pure fiction. He said, also, that my uncle sold him away, which, of course, was not so, because, if for no other reason, ‘Si didn’t give him a chance to do so. I think it likely he met Mrs. Stowe somewhere in the States, probably in Ohio, while she was getting material for her book, and told her just about such a story as she needed for her leading character. He was equal to it.”

“What was he doing in England?”

“Well, as nearly as I can make out, he went over there to lecture and ‘star’ the country with the very laudable purpose of making a living. He knew, doubtless, of the popularity of Mrs. Stowe’s book in England, and that the nature of his association with its history would be enough to bring him into prominence.”

“Where is he now?” was asked.

“I don’t know positively,” the Judge answered, “but I have been told that he died in Ohio some years ago.”


if he were alive now—nearly ninety, I should should [sic].”

The judge pushed back his chair at this point and insisted that his story was over.

Judge Riley, aside from his association with the historic Henson, is himself a character of no ordinary interest. He is a well preserved old man of 75, sharp-featured, gray-bearded and keen-eyed. He talks with fluency and has an unbounded fund of anecdote covering more than a half century of varied experience. He passed through St. Louis in 1837, and after roaming over the State for some years, took up his abode in New Madrid county, where he has lived ever since. The war swept away his slave property and the greater part of a large estate. He is still the owner of 1,500 good acres, the cultivation of which he superintends in person. He sat for one term as Judge of the New Madrid county court.

Of his family, which once numbered thirteen, six still live. Of them four sons are at home on the farm. One, H. C. Riley, was chairman of the Congressional convention in the Fourteenth district, which distinguished itself by balloting 479 times without a choice. Camden Riley, another son, was killed at Mt. Dallas in Northern Georgia, while serving as colonel of the First Missouri—the famous Bowen’s—regiment. 

                                                  Judge Amos Riley Jr.

Note: I got this picture off of and am not 100% sure of its origin, but I am fairly confident it originated in Godspeed's History of Southeast Missouri by Godspeed Publishing Company (1888), where biographical sketches of Amos and two of his sons are written. They can be viewed here:

Monday, August 13, 2012

John Lafayette Vaughan & Belle Starr

So for years in my family, it was a rumor that my great great grandfather, John Lafayette Vaughan, had some personal connections to and/or was a friend/associate of the infamous outlaw Belle Starr and her family. This bit of family lore was shared with me at a young age, and after asking my great aunt and one of her first cousins, I ended up with solid proof of this friendship/association, and after that, came into even more information.

Recently, I met a 2nd cousin once removed who had heard similar stories about John Vaughan being associated with Belle Starr, stories which were relayed by his grandmother, John Vaughan's daughter Lou Ona Vaughan White. But he was under the impression that certain factions of his large extended family (Lou had many children, and subsequently many grandchildren) did not believe this family legend, and thought Lou was just making it up. So I thought I would begin sharing the information I have in hopes that anyone else descended from John Lafayette Vaughan wondering about his connection to Belle Starr could find this and enjoy it as much as I have.

Here is what I have:

1. A newspaper article published in the McAlester News-Capital [Oklahoma] titled "Death of Belle Starr Recalled", a piece by Baird Martin which was a revision of an article written by Charles H. Cowles 35 years prior to the revision. Cowles had actually interview John Lafayette Vaughan about Belle Starr and her death. Unfortunately, all I have is a photocopy of this revision, and the photocopy did not include source information as to the date it was published, but I am looking into finding that out. I also plan on tracking down the original article by Cowles as well. In the mean time, I will transcribe the version I have.

2. I have an original typed manuscript written by the aforementioned Lou Ona Vaughan White where she discusses many of her memories of the Vaughan family as she learned growing up, including details about her father's association with the Starr's.

3. Excerpts from one of the more well-known published works concerning Belle Starr titled "Belle Starr & Her Times: The Literature, The Facts, and the Legends" by Glenn Shirley (1990) which mention John, who is referred to as "Fayette Vaughan", a shortening of John's middle name, "Lafayette". (I've also heard of his middle name being shortened simply to "Fate".)

4. Six individual photographs of Vaughan, as well as several group pictures in which he is included.

5. The most distinct memory Vaughan's grandchildren have of him is that he always carried a Colt .45 pistol in a holster on his side. I was finally able to track down said pistol, in possession of one of the grandson's of Lou Ona Vaughan White, and he sent me a great picture of the weapon, which is still in pristine condition. Additionally, this cousin of mine who has the gun says he has an original portrait of John Lafayette Vaughan standing with Sam Starr, husband of Belle Starr. I am anxiously awaiting a copy of this picture, which I will share online everywhere once I have it.

Collectively all of this information paints an interesting picture of John Lafayette Vaughan, and convincingly proves his connection to the Starr family. The picture of him with Sam Starr will be the final piece of irrefutable proof that he had at least some sort of relationship with the family. The complete extent of the relationship will likely never be known; was he just an acquaintance, or was he close with them? Did he ever take part in any of Belle's infamous escapades, or was he simply a friendly neighbor and pal? The information we have leaves room for much speculation, and it's hard not to let your imagination have fun with theorizing about how close he was to the Starr's, and what his life among them was like.

"Death of Belle Starr Recalled" by BAIRD MARTIN [McAlester News-Capital]

This story has come down to us from the wildest days of the wild Indian Territory from the lips of one man through the writing of another, skipping generations like a thrown rock across a pond. But it is a story that will be forever reviewed, for it deals with names both famous and infamous, with emphasis on the startling career and abrupt death of Belle Starr.

Likewise, there's a report from out of the ages that concerns Belle's father-in-law, one Tom Starr, which the originator of this tale describes--or described--as the worst desperado that ever roamed the wilds of Oklahoma.

The original story of these two appeared in the News-Capital some 35 years ago, written by Charles H. Cowles, then a reporter here. His news source was John L. Vaughan, born in 1866 and a resident of Briartown, Scipio, and Indianola areas in later life. When interviewed by Cowles, he was a resident of the now almost dead community of Ulan. Vaughan died in [1944].

So this is the story of Belle as related by Vaughan who, among other associations with Indians of that day, saw the woman's body laid out and cleaned after she died of gunshot wounds Feb. 3, [1889]. 

According to Cowles' interview with Vaughan, the latter explained that Belle's death came about through the fact that her son got mixed up with horse stealing. She learned that the gang's leader was one Edgar Watson, a fast man one the draw and an eager man to employ these talents. It was his boast, the story goes, that he had killed seven men. He soon was to kill a woman--or so it was reported.

"Belle announced without trepidation that she was going to prosecute Watson for getting her son mixed up in a horse stealing affair. Watson, upon hearing this, vowed he'd get her."

Here's the description of the deed as Cowles reported Vaughan as reciting:

"Belle's horse was hitched at the fence of a family named Roe. Roe's folks saw Watson ride up close enough to recognize the horse and then ride off. Everybody in that country heard the report of the gun. They said it was the most alarming gun ever heard in that bottom.

"There was a small brush beside a walnut tree inside the fence. That is where Watson hid. He let her pass and then fired on her. I could see the place where she was shot and where the horse stove his hooves into the ground. Three buckshot ranged from her shoulder to her heart. She stuck to the horse 30 or 40 feet. She fell on her right shoulder and arm. There were tracks where he ran up and shot her in the side of the face with a load of fine shot."

That shooting took place at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Vaughan said he didn't hear the shooting. He was at Brooken, eight miles away. But he did go to Belle Starr's house.

"I saw the body washed and laid out. She had as beautiful a smile as I ever saw her wear when she was alive," he added. "We sat up with the body that night. Belle's husband, visiting in Fort Smith, was notified, and he rode 78 miles between dawn and 2 p.m. He rode a little brown horse. He had a bottle of whiskey and vowed vengeance."

Watson attended Belle's funeral and had the nerve to throw dirt on the coffin, the story continues, although he later was arrested and charged with the murder.

According to Vaughan, Tom Starr, Belle's father-in-law, was a giant, seven feet and three inches in height and weighing 270 pounds--big as he was dangerous.

"I lived on the place of Martin Crowder, 40 miles northeast of McAlester on the Canadian river," Vaughan says, "five miles from where Tom Starr lived." Crowder told Vaughan many stories about Starr, who lived around what is now Briartown. 

Crowder told Vaughan (note the chain from which the original story reaches reader) that Tom Starr had killed many Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles. He was half white and half Cherokee. He got away with his crimes because he moved fast. He'd kill at one place and be 75 miles away when the murder was discovered.

Finally, when Tom Starr's turn came to die, his boys gathered about him. He covered his face and said he did not want them to see him die--that he did not want them to think that a man as brave as he was had to die.

Vaughan concluded his remarks to Cowles: "I am satisfied that he was the greatest killer Oklahoma ever ever had."

So ends another review of episodes in the early and sometimes bloody history of Indian Territory.

The one-page manuscript written by Lou One Vaughan White is interesting, but contains a great deal of mixed up and incorrect information. For example, she lists her mother's father as John Waller, says he and his wife Frank [shot for Francis] had 4 children die during the Civil War, and that he fought in the Civil War for the North because he "thought it was right". Well, her maternal grandfather's name was actually James Waller, and he did not marry Frank until 1866, a year after the Civil War, so he most certainly did not lose 4 children during the war. And although no service record for him has been found, he almost certainly served for the South, as he was a resident of Mississippi and would have been about 20 years old at the time when the Confederate government passed the Conscript Act, and three of his older brothers and his one younger brother all have been proven to have fought for the Confederacy.

So based on the fact that I can prove her information is less than reliable at times, Lou's testimony should be taken with a slight grain of salt. However, since some of her information has turned out to be correct (for example, that her paternal grandfather, Stephen, was wounded in the Civil War as a Union soldier, and he had a brother named Reuben in the War), it's possible that what she says is true, or at least has some elements of truth. She writes:

"John Lafayett Vaughan [Note the different spelling--most of the family spells it with an 'e' at the end; however, John's mother actually spells it with only one 't', Lafayete, in her family bible record] rode a horse into Oklahoma when he was 14 years old1, he weighed 85 lbs. He lived with and around the Indians for 9 years, then he rad around with some outlaws2. He rode with Belle Starr, he was sweet on her daughter, Pearl3.

...This is what I, Lou Vaughan White was told by John Lafayett and Leona and I think it is true. It is good that I remembered, I am 66 years old and I leave this for my people." April 22, 1970

1He appears in the 1880 Census with his parents in Conway County, Arkansas, but his father died in July of 1880, so he likely set off for Oklahoma around that time.

2While the general consensus within the family is that yes, he was at least acquainted with, if not friends with, various outlaw gangs, supposedly including the Dalton gang, no one is sure exactly what the extent of his relationship with these groups was. Some are adamant that he never participated in illegal activities, while others are sure that he did. There are several John Vaughan's who are arrested and tried (and some sent to jail) in Fort Smith, Arkansas from 1880 to 1900 for various illegal activities in Indian Territory and northwestern Arkansas, but it has not been confirmed whether any of these John Vaughan's were "our" John Vaughan or not.

3This is an incredibly intriguing tidbit, one that has led to much speculation in the family. In 1887, Belle sent her daughter Pearl away to have an illegitimate child she had been impregnated with, a girl named Flossie who was born in April of 1887. ( John would have been about 21 years old and still unmarried at this time, and as he was a friend of the Starr family and according to this statement by Lou, "sweet on" Pearl, some, including myself, have wondered aloud if it's possible John was the father of this child. Obviously, there's no evidence to substantiate this theory, but like a lot of these stories involving John and the Starr family, it has been hard not to let our imaginations wander into that realm of thought.

In 1990, Glenn Shirley wrote "Belle Starr & Her Times: The Literature, The Facts, and the Legends", published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Much of her information concerning Belle Starr's death stemmed from testimony of various neighbors of Starr, and residents of the surrounding area where she was murdered. Three of these testimonies mentioned John by name, who as previously mentioned is referred to as "Fayette". (

p. 237:
"Alice (Mrs. Joseph) Tate, who lived a mile from the ambush scene and a half mile from Edgar Watson, heard two guns [shots] in the evening about half an hour by sun. My husband & Billy England were standing out back of house talking when guns fired. Ben Statham came to our house about dark & told us, & me & my husband & Fayette Vaughn & Billy England went down from our house."

p. 237-238:
"Ray England, who lived two miles from the White place and a half a mile from Watson, was well acquainted with Belle but he not seen her for a month until I seen her dead at Alf White's. Fayette Vaughn on the 3rd day of February 1889 at after dark came to my house to let me know she had been killed and wanted the neighbors to go & take care of her. ..."

p. 239:
"Turner England also received news of the killing Monday morning: Fayette Vaughn brought me word...I went over there...seen blood in road, seen tracks of man I thought done shooting..."

Obviously these short excerpts don't give a lot of information as to the extent of Vaughan's relationship to Starr, but they still help flesh out his involvement in the scenes after her death and corroborate the statements in his interview to an extent, though it should be noted that these neighbors claim the shooting occurred in the early evening, while Vaughan said it took place at 2:00 in the afternoon.

As previously stated, I'll gladly share the picture of John Lafayette Vaughan and Sam Starr whenever I receive it, but until then, here are several pictures of John that span his lifetime.

This is John in his early-to-mid teens. This was probably taken about the time he arrived in Oklahoma. Courtesy of his granddaughter, Colleen Vaughan Allen.

John in his early-to-mid 20's. This is likely what he looked like at the time of Belle Starr's death. Courtesy of Colleen Vaughan Allen.

John in his late-20's-to-early-30's. Courtesy of Colleen Vaughan Allen.

John and his family, circa 1909. John is in the middle next to his wife, Leona Aden Waller. In the back are his children from his first marriage, Mattie Mae and William Riley "Bill" Vaughan. To his right are his sons Sampson Lafayette and John Dodson Vaughan. To his left is his daughter Lou Ona Vaughan, and on Leona's lap is his son Charles Teddy Vaughan.

John Lafayette Vaughan circa 1920 with a jar of moonshine.

John Lafayette Vaughan circa 1930. Note his earrings and the pistol strapped to his side, for which he well-known among his grandchildren.

John Lafayette Vaughan in the late-1930's-to-early-1940's.

This is a picture of John Lafayette Vaughan's son, John Dodson Vaughan. This picture is noteworthy because the 30/30 Winchester rifle John is holding belonged to his father, as did the 1897 Model Winchester Shotgun leaning up against the house to the left of the dog. When John Lafayette died in 1944, his pistol was passed down to his grandson J.L. White, the 30/30 to his son-in-law Tony White, and his shotgun to his son Sampson Vaughan. The pistol and 30/30 and now in possession of 2 sons of J.L. White, and the shotgun is now in possession of your's truly, a great grandson of Sampson Vaughan.

This is the Colt .45 pistol that belonged to John Lafayette Vaughan. He kept it at his side always, though none knew why with certainty. Most believe he was worried someone might come for him one day either because of something he knew or something he'd done, and he would have had to take care of them.

Biography of John Lafayette Vaughan by Nathan Vaughan Marks

John Lafayette Vaughan was born July 19th, 1866 in Pope County, Arkansas. He was the son of Stephen Clinton Vaughan and Amanda Smith Napier. His father contracted chronic diarrhea during the Civil War, and it ailed him so badly that he was hardly able to work, and thus his family lived at near poverty-level. His grandfather, Archibald Hubbard Napier, was a well-known doctor in the area and cared for Stephen until his death, at which time Stephen was cared for by a slew of other doctors, most notably a Henry Jones.

John was born at a time of great strife in Pope County, Arkansas. A year prior to his birth, his uncle Captain Archibald Dodson Napier was named sheriff at the end of the Civil War, and was subsequently murdered as the first victim of what became known as the Pope County Militia War, which essentially was a local guerrilla war fought between local Union loyalists and Southern sympathizers. The violence in the area became so intense that many families felt compelled to leave the area, including the Vaughan's, who settled in Conway County, where his father died of his ailment in 1880. His mother Amanda then became involved with and eventually married one of his father's previous doctor's, Henry Jones, and John left home for the Oklahoma Territory, where he lived with Indians and ran around with outlaws.

He married Sarah Ann "Eva" McCarty on July 9th, 1892 near Scipio; she bore him two children, Mattie Mae in 1892 and William Riley in  1895. When Eva went into labor with their third child, John left to get help, and returned to find her and the newborn dead. By this time, most of his family had moved to Oklahoma as well; his brother Stephen died in Haskell County in 1885 and his mother Amanda in Pittsburg County in 1891, and his brother Archibald settled nearby him in the Scipio area while his brother Thomas settled in McIntosh County. It was while visiting his brother Thomas that he met his brother's sister-in-law, Leona Waller. "[John] and Leona met and fell in love over the breakfast table the first day Leona was in [Oklahoma]. Leona was engaged to a boy named Wells in Arkansas. [John] and Leona ran away to get married, they swam the Canadian River on horseback, they were married at Hullowe, near Scipio [Note: There was a town named Hullowe in Pittsburg County, but they were actually married in Indianola, but the minister who married them was named Hugh Low, which is probably what led to the confusion]." (Source: Family History by Lou Vaughan White) They were married on February 23rd, 1898.

John and Leona became parents of seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. Their first, Early Coatner Vaughan, died in 1907 at the age of 8, and was buried next to John's first wife Eva, their newborn baby, and John's brother Archibald in Choate Prairie Cemetery near Ulan. The others were, in order: Sampson Lafayette, Lou Ona, John Dodson, Charles Teddy, Nicey Jewell, and Dewey Miles. After giving birth to Nicey in 1909, Leona became very ill; it took her years to recover. When she finally had, she became pregnant with Dewey. Giving birth to Dewey nearly killed her; she apparently actually died momentarily after his birth before being resuscitated.

Leona was never the same after that. She was able to nurse Dewey, but was unable to hold him during, so Lou would. She was able to cook for the family, but unable to do any lifting or major housework. In 1919, she was diagnosed with Pellagra, a devastating disease most common in 3rd world countries, typically caused by a vitamin deficiency; it can lead to a plethora of serious side effects, including but not limited to skin lesions, insomnia, weakness, sensitivity to sunlight, mental confusion, and eventually dementia. (Source: The doctors decided to try and cure her by cleansing her system with vials of rattlesnake venom. Her screams of agony proving too much to bear, John left the house mid-treatment to go down to the Scipio Creek to pray. When he returned, he found she had died on the second-to-last vial of venom with Lou by her side.

Always looked to by his family, John persevered and led them through these hardships. He re-married to Florence Bell Lytle, and continued to work on the farm, which he purchased with pension money he received for his father's Civil War service. He drew that pension from the time he was 14 until he was 21, and used the money to purchase his home near Ulan, Oklahoma; a small portion of the oil rights that land garnered remains in the Vaughan family to this day. He spent much time with his grandchildren, who all viewed him with awe and admiration.

In 1937, his son John Dodson came down with pneumonia, and died at his home, leaving behind a widow and three children. His death proved too much to bear for John. He was always the prototypical male role-model: strong and invincible, feared and admired; devout, stern, fair, and kind. He was not a man easily shaken. But after having buried two wives and two children on top of all the other losses he had suffered throughout his lifetime, the loss of his beloved son John Dodson Vaughan finally broke him. He had to be carried out of the funeral.

After his son died, John saw to it that his fatherless grandchildren were well-taken care of. They would often walk to his farm to hear him to tell his stories for hours, some of which were so scary that Dewey would have to walk them home afterword. He was a soft-spoken man, but one whose presence filled any room he was in, and a man who was immeasurably cherished by his family. He died September 20th, 1944 and was buried next to Leona in Ulan Cemetery.

Left to right: Charles Teddy Vaughan, Nicey Jewell Vaughan, John Lafayette Vaughan, Dewey Miles Vaughan, Lou Ona Vaughan, and Sampson Lafayette Vaughan. Taken circa 1940.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Genealogy Books/Look-ups

I was sorting through my genealogy book collection today, putting some away that I don't use very often, and decided I should make a list of the books I have so if anyone else is looking for these books and would like an a quick, easy look-up, I could provide that to them. I don't have an exceedingly large collection by any means, but I have some pretty solid reference books that have assisted me many times in my genealogy research and which may help others.

If someone comes across this post through searching online for a certain book and would like me to perform a look-up for them, please contact me.

These are in no particular order, just the order they are in on my shelf. Besides what is listed, I also have solid collections of books on Arkansas Civil War battles, Stand Watie and Cherokee Indians during the Civil War, the Dalton gang, and Kentucky feuds.

1. "The 9th Missouri Infantry C.S.A. & The 12th Missouri Infantry" by Jerr Ponder. 1996 - Ponder Books
2. "Pioneers of Eastern Kentucky, Their Feuds & Settlements" by Bernice Calmes Caudill. 1969 - Self-published
3. "Dr. Patrick Napier of Virginia and Related Families" by Vava Knepp. 1988 - Self-published
4. "Venne In America" by Udo Thorner. 2008 - Arbeitskreis Familienforschung Osnabruck e.V.
5. "Jacob Wolf - The Mansion & the Man" - by Bill D. Blevins. 1982 - Twin Lakes Printing and Publishing Co.
6. "Perry County, Kentucky - A History" Compiled by Eunice Tolbert Johnson. Written and Published by Hazard, kentucky Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
7. "Early Osbornes & Alleys" by Rita K. Sutton. 1978 - Historical Society of Southwest Virginia
8. "Clay County Family Roots & Beyond - Vols. 5A and 5B (Jacob and Mary Eversole)" by James E. Welch Sr. Welch Books.
9. "History of the Thirty-first Arkansas Confederate Infantry" by Ronald R. Bass. 1996 - Arkansas Research
10. "History of the Twenty-seventh Arkansas Confederate Infantry" by Silas C. Turnbo, edited by Desmond Walls Allen. 1993 - Arkansas Research
11. "The Fourteenth Arkansas Confederate Infantry" by Desmond Walls Allen. 1988 - Arkansas Research
12. "Andrew Meade of Ireland & Virginia" by Patrick Hamilton Baskerville. 1921 - Old Dominion Press
13. "Early Charles County Maryland Settlers 1658-1745" by Marlene Strawser Bates and F. Edward Wright. 1995 - Family Line Publications
14. "The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky" by Hon. Ben J. Webb. 1884 - McDowell Publications
15. "Legends of Loudoun Valley" by Joseph V. Nichols. 1961 - Self-published
16. "History of Baxter County - Centennial Edition 1873-1973" by Mary Ann Messick. 1973 - Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce
17. "Grayson County: A History in Words and Pictures" Compiled and edited by Bettye-Lou Fields, 1976 - Grayson County Historical Society
18. "Gathering Leaves" by D.M. DeBacker. 2008 - Self-published
19. "Mills, Frazier, and Allied Families" by Margaret Mills Frazier. 1979 - Self-published
20. "In The Saddle With The Texans: Day-By-Day With Parson's Cavalry Brigade, 1862-1865" Edited by Anne J. Bailey. 2004 - McWhiney Foundation Press
21. "Between the Enemy and Texas: Parsons's Texas Cavalry in the Civil War" by Anne J. Bailey. 1989 - Texas Christian University Press
22. "Our Kin - The Jeter Family of Virginia" by Mary Denham Ackerly and Lula Eastman Jeter Parker.
23. "The Eversole Families In America - 1727-1937" Compiled by Reverend Charles E. Ebersol. 1937 - Franklin Dekleine Co.
24. "Williford and Allied Families" by William Bailey Williford. 1961 - Self-published
25. "The Joseph Hunter and Related Families" by Stephen, Ben, and Mary Amanda Medley Hunter. Edited by Felix Eugene Snider. 1959 - Ramfre Press
26. "The Wilford-Williford Family Treks Into America, Part 1" by Eurie Pearl Wilford Neel. 1959 - Self-published
27. "The Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Jones and Celia Creech of Mouth of Wilson, Grayson County, Virginia" Compiled by Scott C. Jones. 1998 - Self-published
28. "John Templeton of Iredell Co., N.C. and Related Families of Handly, Marks, Folk, Pilcher, Colyar, Bate, and Beall" by Jay Norwalk. 1997 - Self-published
29. "The Shackelford Family - Its English and American Origins, And Some of Its Branches" 0 by Robert B. Shackelford. 1940 - Self-published
30. "Reverend John Marks 1716-1788 - His Descendants & Relating Families" Complied by Doris "Mickey" Hoover Colombatto. 1997 - Self-published
31. "The Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob Wilhoit, 1751 - 1821" Compiled by Jacob William Wilhoite, Sr. and Delle Faye Wilhoite. 1991 - Self-published
32. "The Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob Wilhoit, 1751 - 1831 - Volume II" Compiled by Jacob William Wilhoite, Sr. and Della Faye Wilhoute. 2001 - Self-published
33. "Tidewater Virginia Families" by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis. 1989 - Genealogical Publishing Company
34. "The Jeter Mosaic - Seven Centuries In the History of a Family" by Grata Jeter Clark. 1987 - Arcadia-Clark, Inc.
35. "The Descendants of Michael Holt" by Mrs. Arch Bruce Marshall (Maudie Marie Holt). 1967 - Self-published
36. "Bonham - 1631-1908" by Dr. Emmet L. Smith. Self-published.
37. "Origins of Clements-Spalding and Allied Families of Maryland and Kentucky" by J.W.S. Clements. 1928 - Self-published
38. "Genealogy and Some Descendants of Edward Fuller of the Mayflower" by William Hyslop Fuller. 1908 - Self-published
39. "Taylor, Hager, and Related Families" by Clara Sesler Genther. 1984 - Self-published
40. "Soaking the Yule Log - Biographical Sketches of the Brown, Cheshier, Sain, and Allied Families 1749 - 1995" by Katie Brown Bennett. 1995 - The Anundsen Publishing Company
41. "Richard Fancher (1700-1764) of Morris County, New Jersey - Richard Fancher's Descendants 1764-1992 - Fancher-Fansher-Fanchier-Fanshier" by Paul Buford Fancher. 1993 - Self-published
42. "The Powell Families of Virginia and the South" by Reverend Silas Emmett Lucas Jr. 1977 - Self-published
43. "The Colonial Riley Families of the Tidewater Frontier, Vols. I & II" by Robert Shean Riley. 1999 - Gregath Publishing Co.
44. "Imprints: 1608-1980 Hamilton, Allied Families" by Sister Mary Louise Donnelly. 1980 - Self-published

You'll find my e-mail address on the right of this page under my "About Me". Please try to make look-up requests as specific as possible.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Radfords of North Carolina and Kentucky & The Parentage of Jesse Radford

Many people make the mistake of merging their trees with other trees. Most do it without a second thought; some of the more experienced researchers at least look at their information, see if it fits and makes sense before merging. A good researcher doesn't merge at all, but uses someone else's information as a starting point, and then determining themselves through their own research if the information fits.

When I first joined, I was certainly a part of that first group. Since that time, I've deleted hundreds and hundreds of people from my tree that I'm not related to all because I merged with others' trees without doing my own research. Gradually, I evolved into the second kind, where I would look at other peoples' information, make sure it made sense and that at least the circumstantial evidence was present. Finally in the last year or so I've evolved into the final kind of researcher. Since becoming the kind of researcher who does his own research and only uses others' work as a starting point, I've made some pretty cool discoveries. One of my best discoveries so far was one that I made last night.

One of my 4th great grandfathers was a man named Jesse Radford. I've written about him on my blog a couple of times previously already. He was born in Kentucky, fought in the Civil War, married first Grace Holland, married second Sally Eversole; he also had a mistress named Mary Bowling with whom he had several children, and eventually he died in Madison County, Arkansas in 1919 after becoming the father of at least 26 children that I have identified ( Up until last night, I thought I knew that Jesse's parents were John Radford and Stacy Hornsby, but after some in-depth research last night, I believe I have found his actual parents (well, his actual father anyway).

My discovery differs from all trees I've found online to this point. Specifically, I have found:

8 trees on which list his parents as John Radford and Stacy Hornsby/Stacy Hornsby/Stacy Unknown
13 trees on which list no parents for him at all
3 trees on Rootsweb which list his parents as John and Stacy
16 trees on Rootsweb which list no parents for him at all

There are also a number of message board posts and online trees found through Google which list his parents as John Radford and Stacy Hornsby.

I believe, however, I can provide enough information to convince anyone who reads this article that it is is much more likely that Jesse is the son of another Radford from the Clay County area. I'm going to start with reviewing the facts about John Radford and Stacy Hornsby:

John Radford was born about 1813 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. There is a faction of Radford's from this area of North Carolina (Buncombe County, Yancey County, and Madison County) who migrated there from Virginia. Several of these Radford's, as well as dozens of other families, migrated from North Carolina to eastern Kentucky in the 1830's, '40's, and '50's.

John Radford is found in the 1800 Census in Buncombe County, North Carolina with his wife and a family of 4 boys. He is found still residing in Buncombe County in the 1810 and 1820 Censuses. In 1810, it appears his sons Richard and Jesse are still living with him, which is why they don't appear in the census and he still has 2 boys 16-25 in his household; he and Joseph are on page 10, while John Jr. is on page 31. In 1820, he, Richard, and Jesse are all on page 16 of the Census, and John Jr. is 2 pages away on page 14. John Sr. is not found after 1820. However, a 70-79 year old woman, and an 80-89 year old woman can be found in the households of Jesse Radford in the 1830 and 1840 Censuses, respectively; the woman is almost certainly either Jesse's mother (John Sr.'s wife) or his mother-in-law. I believe his four identified sons are:

1. John Radford Jr. (born about 1781 in Virginia) - Found in the 1810, 1820, and 1830 Censuses in Buncombe County; Found in the 1840 and 1850 Censuses in Yancey County; Will filed in Madison County in 1852. In 1850 Census, his wife appears to be a Nancy, also from Virginia. Many have assumed she and John are the John Radford and Nancy Crawford who were married in Franklin County, VA in 1799, but since John appears to be in his father's household in 1800 and still single, I believe that is a different John and Nancy. Many online trees have also assumed that this John Radford is the father of the John Radford who married Stacy Hornsby. According to his will, John Jr. did have a son named John, but I believe his son John is the John Radford found in Buncombe County in the 1840 and 1850 Censuses, who was born about 1815 in North Carolina. Nothing in John Jr.'s or his wife Nancy's wills indicate that any of their children, including their son John, had moved to Kentucky. Also, the John of Buncombe County's family also moved to Madison County, NC, which is where John Jr. and and his wife Nancy had moved and where there wills are filed in 1852 and 1853, respectively.

2. Joseph Radford (born between 1780 and 1790 in Virginia) - He is found in 1810 Census in Buncombe County. He is listed as age 16-25 with 2 sons under 10 and a wife. He is 6 households away from John Sr. He is not found after this Census. Since no female Radford head of household is found in the area in 1820, it's likely either Joseph died and his wife remarried, or they moved out of the area.

3. Jesse Radford (born about 1790 in Virginia) - Jesse's Census records more or less follow the pattern of his brothers and father. He is in Buncombe County in 1820 and 1830, and in Yancey County in 1840 and 1850. I believe Jesse is the father of John Radford who moved to Clay County and married Stacy Hornsby. This is based on the family lore that Jesse had a son named John, and that John and Stacy named their first son Thomas after Stacy's father Thomas Hornsby, and named their second son Jesse, presumably after John's father. While that's not a lot to go by necessarily, since John Jr. is almost certainly not the father of the John Radford, husband of Stacy Hornsby, and depending on when Joseph died or moved away, he is most likely not the son of Joseph, that leaves Jesse and Richard as potential candidates. [For those wondering how we know if the John Radford of Clay County and later Hancock County is connected to the Owsley and Jackson County, KY Radford's, look no further than the fact that the Hornsby family which John married into also migrated from Buncombe County, NC.] While it is certainly possible that Richard is the father of John, especially since they both migrated from Buncombe/Yancey to Clay/Owsley, the fact that John's second son was named Jesse, and it does not appear he ever named a son Richard, leads me to lean toward Jesse as the likely father, while still leaving open the possibility that it is Richard. More research would be needed to reach any solid conclusion.

4. Richard Radford (born about 1792 in Virginia) - One of the first things I found while digging for Richard was a claim that he married Mary Ward in Wayne County, Kentucky on 21 Nov 1811. I thought this was preposterous because Richard is clearly in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 Censuses in North Carolina. Yes, in the 1850 Census he is married to a Mary, but that doesn't make her Mary Ward; I figured it could easily have been 2 different Richard Radford's. However, I then found Mary's death record in Owsley County, Kentucky, where she died on 2 Jul 1856, and wouldn't you know it? Her parents are listed as John and Canady Ward. (According to this tree, it should be John Ward and Nancy Cannaday: Isn't that something? Now, why Richard went from living with his parents in the 1810 Census in North Carolina, to Wayne County, Kentucky by November of 1811, and back to North Carolina by the 1820 Census (living next door to his parents) is a complete and total mystery to me at this point, one that hopefully someday I'll figure out.

Richard can be found in the 1820 and 1830 Censuses in Buncombe County, 1840 in Yancey, 1850 in Owsley County, Kentucky, and 1860, 1870, and 1880 in Jackson County, Kentucky. Richard's son, Nathaniel, is living 3 households away in Owsley County in 1850 [There are 4 Radford households listed in a row, Richard's being the first, and Nathaniel's being the last.] Nathaniel will be discussed further in this article.

Now back to John Radford (b. 1813) who married Stacy Hornsby on 16 Jan 1834 in Clay County, Kentucky. As previously mentioned, he was probably the son of Jesse Radford (b. 1790), but could certainly be a son of Richard (b. 1792). He is found in the 1840 Census in Clay County, Kentucky [It should be noted he is next door to a Hensley, and 2 households from another Hensley. This is relevant because Grace Holland, the first wife of the main subject of this piece Jesse Radford, was a daughter of a Hensley. John's close proximity to these Hensley families is a mark in his favor as potentially being Jesse's father.] In 1850, John and Stacy can again be found in Clay County. There household includes children:

Thomas (b. 1836 in KY)
Martha (b. 1838 in KY)
Elizabeth (b. 1840 in KY) [Married Thomas Hornsby on 30 Oct 1856 in Clay County, Kentucky. He was either Stacy's brother or nephew. He appears in her father Thomas Hornsby's household in 1850, but it is unclear if Thomas is his father or grandfather considering his age.]
Jesse (b. 1842 in KY)
Joseph (b. 1844 in KY)
Jacob (b. 1849 in KY)

This Jesse is who many have assumed is "our" Jesse. What apparently has not been taken into account is that by 1860, John, Stacy, and their children, including their son Jesse, had moved to about 250 miles away from Clay County to Hancock County. This Census includes the previously listed children, Jesse, Joseph, and Jacob, plus children Daniel (b. 1852 in KY), Robert (b. 1854 in KY), and a female "C. Radford", b. 1858 in KY.

Strangely, I have never been able to locate any of the children of John and Stacy Hornsby Radford in Census records ever again after that 1860 Census. They could have gone off the grid; they could have died from a Civil War-related cause. It's really hard to say, but the fact that none of John and Stacy's children ever re-appear after 1860 seems to lead to the conclusion that something happened to the family. I don't think that if "our" Jesse were "this" Jesse that he would be the only one of his siblings to ever re-emerge after the 1860 Census, and all the way 250 miles back from Hancock County where he is in 1860 to where he was prior to that, in Clay County.

"Our" Jesse Radford enlisted in the 8th Kentucky Infantry on November 13th, 1861 in Manchester [Clay County], Kentucky. For the Hancock County Jesse to be this Jesse he would have had to have moved 250 miles away back to Clay County where he would have had little family other than some extended cousins. So who could this Jesse Radford, "our" Jesse Radford, be?

Now we come back to the aforementioned Nathaniel Radford, son of Richard Radford (b. 1792). Nathaniel first appears in the 1840 Census in Clay County, Kentucky; he is a few pages away on the Census from John Radford and Stacy Hornsby. He appears in 1850 as an apparent widower in Owsley County, Kentucky, with the following children:

Richard (b. 1836 in NC)
Fanney (b. 1837 in NC)
Elizabeth (b. 1839 in NC) [Married Thomas Hensley on 8 Oct 1856 in Clay County. He was most likely a son of Robert Hensley, who was most likely a son of James Hensley, which most likely makes him a cousin of Grace Holland, Jesse's first wife, because her mother Margaret is most likely a daughter of James. I use "most likely" in reference to the Hensley clan because they are a large, complex, confusing, complicated family, and few relationships can be definitively confirmed beyond circumstantial evidence. Jesse and Elizabeth being siblings who married a pair of 1st cousins makes this contributes to the argument that "our" Jesse was a son of Nathaniel. Elizabeth's death certificate lists her mother as "Sallie Radford", which is the only documentation located so far indicating Nathaniel's wife name was Sallie/Sally, and which is consistent with other online research I've come across.]
Jesse (b. 1842 in KY)
Mahala (b. 1846 in KY)
Phoeba (b. 1847 in KY)
Nancy (b. 1849 in KY)

Nathaniel appears to have died by 1859, when his 10 year old daughter Nancy died. Her death record says her parents were "Nathan Radford and wife" indicating it was most likely not her father providing the information. Nathaniel does not appear in the 1860 Census, but most of his kin by 1860 had moved from Owsley County to Jackson County, which is where Nancy died.

What makes tying Nathaniel's Jesse and "our" Jesse together is the fact that it does not appear that Nathaniel's Jesse is in the 1860 Census. Many researchers consider a person who is an absentee for a Census to be deceased, but this is not always true. It's actually not uncommon at all for someone to be missing for one census, sometimes even two censuses in their lifetime. Someone could be in the Census for 1850 and 1860, gone for 1870, and then are back for 1880, gone again in 1900, and then are back again in 1910. So Nathanial's Jesse not appearing in the 1860 Census is not a completely sound argument against "our" Jesse being Nathaniel's Jesse.

Clearly, researchers are going to reach their own conclusion about who the Jesse Radford who married Grace Holland's parents are. There were obviously two of them who were almost exactly the same age who appear in almost the same place at the same time in 1850, and who are clearly either 1st or 2nd cousins, so it's going to get confusing. And the fact that John's Jesse in the 1860 Census and Nathaniel's isn't is going to lead many to automatically conclude that Nathaniel's Jesse is dead and John's Jesse married Grace Holland. But would John's Jesse really travel 250 miles back to Clay County from Hancock County, away from his parents and siblings, just to en-list for the Civil War in late 1861? It seems a little far-fetched, but anything is possible. In the end, it will be up to each individual researcher to decide.


Oh, wait. Did I forget the most convincing piece of evidence that "our" Jesse was the son of Nathaniel and Sally Radford, not John and Stacy Radford?

Well, take a look at the names of Jesse's first daughter and first son in the 1870 Census, and let me know what you think.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
Precinct 4, Clay, Kentucky
Jesse Radford (b. about 1840 in KY)
Gracy Radford (b. about 1844 in KY)
Sally Radford (b. about 1864 in KY)
Malisseyan Radford (b. about 1866 in KY)
Nancy Radford (b. about 1868 in KY)
Nathaniel Radford (b. about 1870 in KY)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Albert Moose; COKER et al. v. MOOSE et al.

My great grandfather's brother, Albert was a World War I veteran who was killed while driving his brother Paul's motorcycle by a drunk driver. His widow and child sued the driver and his mother and won. The mother's appeals eventually reached the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict that she was guilty of negligence.

COKER et al. v. MOOSE et al.

No. 25747.


180 Okla. 234; 68 P.2d 504; 1937 Okla. LEXIS 631

February 2, 1937, Decided


PROCEDURAL POSTURE: In a wrongful death action brought by plaintiff survivors against defendants, a mother and a son, the mother appealed from the judgment of the Superior Court, Seminole County (Oklahoma) that awarded damages in favor of the survivors.

OVERVIEW: The survivors were the widow and another relative of the decedent who was killed after being struck by a car that was driven by the son. The evidence revealed that the son was a known alcoholic and that at the time of the accident empty beer bottles were found in his car. The complaint alleged that the mother knew that her son was a careless, reckless, and incompetent driver and that she knew of a number of serious accidents that he had had. However, the mother gave the son free access to an automobile and paid the repair bills after his accidents. A jury awarded damages in favor of the survivors, and the court affirmed. It held that an error in the jury instructions was harmless and could not have prejudiced defendants in view of the evidence in the case. The court further held that there was no evidence that the jury ever was aware that either defendant was protected by insurance. The court reduced the amount of the verdict, however, because it found that the award was excessive based upon the decedent's history of earnings.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the judgment, but it reduced the amount of damages permitted.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wolf men of the Ozark Region in the Civil War

Michael Wolf, the son of a German immigrant, came from Pennsylvania to the Ozark region in the early 1800's and became the progenitor of a large, storied family of the area. He was the father of the famous Major Jacob Wolf of the Wolf House, now the oldest standing structure in Arkansas. Many of his grandsons and great-grandsons served for the Confederacy in the Civil War. This is a "Master List" of sorts of Wolf men who have service records. It is completely possible, and very likely, that there were others than just these, but these are the ones I could find records of. A total of 18 descendants of Michael (with the last name Wolf) can have their service confirmed by records, with another 2 who possibly served but do not appear on official records, 1 who received a pension but has no service record, and 1 who was said to have served in the pension of his son but for whom no service record exists.

You'll notice several of these names are repeated throughout the family, so it was a bit of a chore to determine which records applied to whom, especially when it came to identifying the "J.M. Wolf" of the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, differentiating between the two George W. Wolf's in the 14th, differentiating between the two Michael H. Wolf's, who were both officers, and differentiating Jacob and Jacob H., as well as John, John B., and John H.B. There was also another Charles who could have been (and actually, could be) the Charles of the 27th. This family would be much easier to research if they didn't all have to name their children the same names.

Major Jacob Wolf, son of Michael, had 5 sons and 7 grandsons who served.
1. Joseph Marion Wolf - 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles & 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')***
2. John H.B. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
3. Andrew Jackson Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
4. Jesse Wolf - Fristoe's Missouri Cavalry
5. Martin J. Wolf - Freeman's Missouri Cavalry (No service record or pension, but an affidavit in his son Edwin Wolf's pension by his daughter Jennie Wolf Strickland states he served with Edwin in Freeman's Missouri Cavalry. Edwin received a pension based solely on affidavits, so it is fair to assume the same affidavits can be applied to his father.)
6. James Madison Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
7. Jacob H. Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers') & 1st Consolidated Arkansas Infantry*
8. George W. Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
9. James M. Wolf (s/o James) - 21st Texas Infantry
10. Asa Wolf (s/o George) - 27th Arkansas Infantry**
11. Jacob M. Wolf (s/o George) - 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles & 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')***
12. Edwin M. Wolf (s/o Martin - Freeman's Missouri Cavalry (No service record, but receives pension from Texas.)

Reverend John Wolf, son of Michael, served as a Chaplain for the 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers'). He took ill while on duty and died in 1863. He had 1 son who served.
1. Michael H. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers') & Fristoe's Missouri Cavalry

Michael Wolf, son of Michael, had 4 sons who served.
1. John B. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
2. George W. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
3. Charles S. Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry
4. Jacob Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry

Lorenzo Dow Wolf, son of Michael, had 2 sons who served.
1. Michael H. Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry
2. Azariah Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry

These 2 Wolf's likely served as well, according to family stories, but no service records have been found at this time.
1. Charles Wolf (s/o Lorenzo)
2. Robert L. Wolf (s/o Reverend John) - His son John Q. Wolf's auto-biography mentions his father's service.

Also, according to "Jacob Wolf - The Mansion & The Man" by Bill D. Blevins, John R. Wolf (s/o William, s/o Major Jacob) and George Wolf (s/o Major Jacob) also served in the Confederate Army, but he does not specify where they supposedly served and I did not find service records for them. George would have been fairly old to serve (but clearly not too old, since his uncle John served as a Chaplain), and no record of John R. has been found after the 1850 Census.

*He does not appear on the muster rolls for either of these regiments, but does apply for a Confederate pension as a member of these two units and his pension is approved.

**He does not appear in the muster rolls for the 14th, but he is mentioned in multiple letters of John M. Casey, husband of Major Jacob's daughter Mary, who was a member of the 14th, and Casey's references to him appear to imply he was a member of the unit. Many of the 14th's early muster rolls and records are lost. Casey's letters also reflect Richard "Dick" Hutcheson, son of Nancy I. Wolf who was a daughter of Michael Wolf, was a member of the unit, but he also does appear in the early muster rolls.

***These two men switched units. Apparently Joseph, as a member of the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, was unsettled by the carnage of Wilson's Creek. He requested a transfer to the 14th and traded places with Jacob, who was a member of the 14th and then mustered into the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles. This "substitution" is noted in Jacob's and Joseph's service records with the Mounted Rifles, but is not noted in Joseph's records with the 14th, and Jacob does not appear in the 14th's records at all. This is because of the aforementioned problem of most of the regiment's early records and muster rolls having been lost.

Much of this research was previously put together by Dorothy Boynton, whose information I took, analyzed, added to, and adjusted.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kentucky Eversole Men in the Civil War

All but one of the men with the last name Eversole who fought in Kentucky units during the Civil War can be traced back to Jacob Eversole, whose last documentation is found in the 1810 Census of Clay County, Kentucky. Jacob had 5 sons, and those 5 sons led to his having 17 grandsons and 7 great-grandsons who served in the Civil War. Two them were Confederate soldiers, while the rest were Union. Two of them were killed while serving, while another and his brother were killed on furlough by guerrillas. This is a summary of the Eversole men who fought in the Civil War, which will show what unit(s) they served for and establish their biological relationships with one another. I spent the last several hours going through various service records, pension abstracts, and interviews to make this as complete and accurate a list as possible.

John Eversole, son of Jacob, had 1 son and 3 grandsons who served.
1. Hiram Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. John C. Eversole (s/o Hiram) - 53rd Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. John Eversole (s/o Rolin) - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
4. Irvin Eversole (s/o Absalum) - 13th Kentucky Cavalry (CON)

Peter Eversole, son of Jacob, had 3 sons who served.
1. Theophilus Eversole - 7th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
2. Woolery Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN) - Died sick in Nashville on 9 Oct 1862
3. John Eversole - 49th Kentucky Infantry (UN)

Abraham Eversole, son of Jacob, had 6 sons who served.
1. Joseph W. Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. Abraham Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. James Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
4. John Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Enlisted but never mustered in
5. Elijah Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
6. Lewis Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)

Woolery Eversole, son of Jacob, had 3 sons and 4 grandsons who served.
1. William Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. Joseph Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Killed by guerrillas at home on furlough in 1864
3. John C. Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Killed by guerrillas at home on furlough in 1864
4. William B. Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 6th Kentucky (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
5. Abner Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
6. Anderson Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
7. George Eversole (s/o William) - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)

PLEASE NOTE: Though it is commonly accepted that Joseph Eversole, son of Woolery Eversole and brother of Major John C. Eversole, was killed in the 1864 ambush of his brother's home, it has been incorrectly reported that he is the "Joseph W. Eversole" who was a member of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, the same unit his brother is in. This is not correct. That Joseph Eversole was the son of Abraham Eversole; he survived the war and later drew a pension from his service with the 14th. He appears in the 1890 Veterans' Schedule as a member of the 14th. This Joseph Eversole, son of Woolery, registered for the U.S. Draft in 1863 while the rest of the 14th was serving and did not report any prior U.S. Military Service. Therefore, I have concluded that the Joseph W. Eversole of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, Company L, with the 1st cousin of Major John C. Eversole, and not the Joseph Eversole who was Major John's brother.

Joseph Eversole, son of Jacob, had 4 sons who served.
1. Elihu Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
2. Henderson Eversole - 7th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. William B. Eversole - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Died of typhoid on 30 Apr 1862
4. Wilson Eversole - 5th Kentucky Mounted Infantry (CON)

The only other Eversole who served in Kentucky during the Civil War was not a descendant of Jacob. A Walter Eversole served in the 1st Kentucky Infantry, but he was a native of Ohio.

There is one other Eversole, Thomas Eversole, son of a Woolery G. Eversole, who also served in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry. It is unknown who the father of this Woolery is, though it is clearly one of the 5 sons of Jacob. It is most likely John Eversole, as John has 2 sons in the age range of this Woolery who are unaccounted for. In the1830 Census, he has 1 son 10-14 (Rolin), 2 sons 5-9 (neither have been identified), and one son under 5 (Hiram). In the 1840 Census, he has 2 sons 15-19 (neither identified), 1 son 10-14 (Hiram), and 1 boy 5-9 (this might be a son, but is more likely his grandson, Irvin son of Absalum, who was deceased at this time). The unidentified boys in both of these censuses are in just the right age range to be this Woolery G. Eversole (born about 1825). He is living next to Joseph Eversole, son of Jacob and brother of John, in the 1850 Census, but all of Joseph's sons are accounted for in each census.

On a somewhat-related note, I found a picture of my 4th great uncle, the aforementioned Henderson Eversole, online yesterday. A great-granddaughter of his posted it.

The French-Eversole War

The French-Eversole War was one of several violent blood feuds that took place in eastern Kentucky throughout the last half of the 19th Century. This particular feud took place in Perry County, KY. My connection is that the father of Joseph C. Eversole (Major John C. Eversole), the leader of the Eversole clan in the conflict until his murder, was a first cousin of my great great grandfather, Robert Eversole (who was born in Perry County, and lived in the general area for years before moving to Arkansas a few years before the war began). Major John's father, Woolery, and Robert's father, Joseph, were brothers, both sons of Jacob Eversole and Mary Kessler. So although I haven't found any direct ancestors that have been documented as being directly involved with the fued, family lore indicates that some were involved to some minor extent, and many of their cousins were heavily involved. Robert's older brother, Henderson, and several of Henderon's sons lived in Perry County throughout the conflcit, so they could have been involved in any of the skirmishes that included dozens of nameless Eversole loyalists. The many courthouse fires that have been experienced in Perry and its surrounding counties have destroyed much of the information which could have indicated who exactly was involved with the feud.

What one needs to understand is that these Kentucky feuds were, for the most part, virtually nothing like the stereotypes accompanying the folklore of Kentucky family feuds, perpetuated in large part thanks to one of the more tame but infamous fueds, the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Thanks to sensationalizing by the newspapers of the time, many began to associate Kentucky feuds with 3-toothed mem lugging their shotgun in one arm and their jug of moonshine in the other, slurring their words and shooting anyone who could read a book; unfortunately, those stereotypes have continued to the present day, but they hold little basis in fact. Most of the leaders of the clans involved were well-educated businessman, sometimes even politicians. The leaders in the French-Eversole War were both lawyers and succesful business-owners, and even the brutal murderer, "Bad" Tom Smith was a well-read poet and songwriter. And these feuds did not begin because one man gave another man's wife a funny look or one stole another man's prized goat; in the case of the French-Eversole Feud, it began because of one man's corrupt greed in the county's timber industry, and another standing up to him.

I've collected several summaries of the feud, including full chapters dedicated to the conflict in John Ed Pearce's Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky (1994) and Kentucky's Famous Feuds and Tragedies by Charles G. Mutzenberg (1917). The following are excerpts from a summary included in Clay County Family Roots and Beyond, Vol. 5 A: Jacob and Mary Eversole compiled by James E. Welch Sr; it was originally written by Mary Brewer as part of her book Rugged Trails To Appalachia:

"Hazard, Kentucky became the center of the French-Eversole Feud, which raged from 1887 to 1894. It began between two friends, Joseph C. Eversole and Fulton French, both able lawyers and merchants.

The quarrel began over a disagreement the two men had concerning land lease transactions. Companies outside Perry County and Leslie County were buying timber in Perry County, and Mr. French represented one of the companies. Mr. Eversole thought the people were being underpaid for their timber and land. Every time the interested parties held a meeting, the quarreling became more intense and feelings rose to a high pitch.

A clerk, who worked in Mr. French's store, became jealous of Mr. French over a woman and saw the quarrel as a means to get rid of his rival. He sought out Mr. Eversole and told him that Mr. French had hired an assassin to kill him. Mr. Eversole doubted this and asked the clerk to prepare an affadavit affirming what he had told him. This, the clerk skillfully rigged and presented to him. Believing his life to be in jeopardy, Mr. Eversole began recruiting and arming friends and relatives. Mr. French saw the armed gathering and also recurited and armed forces, some because of kinship or friendship and others for hire."

The aforementioned summary of how the feud began seems to be fairly well-agreed upon across the board. After this point, however, there are many different variations of what happened concerning the first victim of the feud, and the various retaliations that followed up. In an attempt to keep this brief, however, I'm going to skip ahead to the stories regarding Joseph Eversole's murder, and several years later, Fulton French's murder.

The following is an excerpt from The Hanging of "Bad Tom" Smith and the Events Leading to His Hanging Including a Brief Account of the French and Eversole Feud by Charles Hayes (1969). The 
event occurred on April 15th, 1888 in the valley of Big Creek in Perry County. The only variable of this story that seems to be disagreed on is whether or not Judge Josiah Combs, father-in-law of Joseph Eversole and uncle of Nic Combs, was also present at the time of the assassination. (Pearce and Mutzenburg contend that he was riding with Eversole and Nic Combs; Brewer and Hayes make no mention of his presence) Beyond this factor, the events summarized here are fairly well-agreed upon.

"In 1888, another more indescribable murder occurred. Again Smith was the principal. However, on
this job he had three members of the French Gang to aid him in carrying out a double killing. The
gang had tracked Joe Eversole for several days trying to get within bullet range, but always found
Eversole well protected. However, since Eversole was unaware that four manhounds were on his
trail, his usual carefulness slipped one bright summer morning. He and young Nicholas Combs [age 21] were riding from the Eversole stronghold into Hazard this fair morning when sharp sounds hushed the birds' songs. 

As the bullets sunk into their intended targets, both men slumped to the ground. At once Smith jumped from his ambush hiding place and began searching the dead body of Eversole. He took everything from the dead man's pockets worth having and turned to search young Combs' body. However, when he began searching the pockets of the young man's coat, Combs regained consciousness and recognized Tom Smith. Very weakly he asked Smith why he had shot him since the
two were somewhat distant friends? Smith answered by shooting the boy through the head killing
him instantly. Even his comrades in crime turned away from this foul deed. However, Smith was
heard to say in an undertone that he could not afford to leave any living witnesses."

The following is an excerpt from Days of Darkness by John Ed Pearce summarizing Fulton French's 
final end:

"One last episode remained to be played out as a finale to the French-Eversole war. Fult French, though wealthy and a fairly prominent attorney, feared that he might still have enemies and took to wearing a bullet-proof vest. Conscience is a merciless master, and he was still wearing it in the winter of 1913 when, in the entry hall of a boarding house in Elkatawa, he ran into Susan Eversole [wife of Joseph Eversole, daughter of Josiah Combs], the death of whose husband and father he had probably ordered. Mrs. Eversole was still in black, as was the custom of the time for widows, and was accompanied by her son Harry, a slender, one-handed man (he had shot himself in the hand, necessitating amputation). Startled, Susan stumbled slightly. "Good morning, Mrs. Eversole," he said and put out his hand. Susan stared, then turned her back on him. French turned to leave, but Harry pulled a pistol, and French bolted out the front door and jumped a low fence surrounding the yard. As he did, Harry shot him, hitting him just below the vest, apparently puncturing his liver or spleen. Harry's second shot missed, and French kept running. Since the shot had not killed French, Harry could not be tried for murder, so the judge fined him $75 for disturbing the peace. Susan paid the fine.

But in the strange if slow way in which the mills of justice sometimes grind, Fulton French died of the wound more than a year later."

For more information on this feuds and others, I recommend both Pearce's and Mutzenberg's books. There are many more fascinating events that occurred during the feud, especially the Battle of Hazard.

Originally written by Nathan Vaughan Marks 22 Nov 2011; revised 8 May 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Captain Archibald Dodson Napier

Archibald Dodson Napier, who went by Dodson, was a Captain in the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry (Union) during the Civil War. Prior to that, he was Captain of the Arkansas 15th Militia of Pope County, which disbanded at the beginning of the war. He became a 1st Lieutenant in the 3rd Arkansas, and was later promoted to Captain. He was dismissed from duty on October 15th, 1864. He became sheriff of Pope County following the war and was killed as a result of a "militia war" that began in the county between those of Union loyalty and those of Confederate loyalty. I spent much of today collecting as many references to Dodson as I could find in preparation of my biographical sketch of him for my book.

Dodson was a son of Archibald Hubbard Napier and Jane Carter. I descend from his sister, Amanda Smith Napier, who married Stephen Clinton Vaughan. Dodson married one of Stephen's sisters, and also fathered children with another one of his sisters. I am awaiting copies of his pension files which I'm certain will have some interesting information. Until then, I am going to share here all the mentions I could find of him online.

Report of Maj. gen. Frederick Steele, U.S. Army, commanding the Department of Arkansas.
Headquarters Department of Arkansas, Etc., Little Rock, Ark., August 15, 1864
Record of military operations in the Department of Arkansas for the month of July, 1864:
...29th, Captain Napier, Third Arkansas Cavalry, returned from scout to Greenbrier, having killed the rebel Captain Birr near Red River.

September 2, 1864 - Skirmish near Quitman, Ark.
Report of Col. Abraham H. Ryan, Third Arkansas Cavalry (Union)
Lewisburg, September 7, 1864--7 p.m.
Detachment of forty men with ammunition for Shelby crossed at Dardanelle on Monday last. On the 2d instant Captain Napier and Lieutenant Carr had a skirmish with Colonel Witt, eight miles from Quitman, killed 7, and captured Captain Livingston and 4 men of Witt's command.

Both of these can be found in the "Congressional Serial Set" here:

Dodson is mentioned a couple of times on the website, which summarizes reports from the Red River Campaign. One entry mentions his skirmish with Witt, and later the dismissal of Captain Herring; it does not mention the fact that Dodson and multiple other officers were dismissed the same day. Another entry mentions a scouting report from Dodson.

The entry referring to Herring's dismissal alludes to the possibility that it was because of a skirmish that occurred on September 7th, 1864. The details given of said skirmish say:

"On Wednesday, September 7, 1864, General Price and his command and the wagon train crossed the Arkansas, completing this phase of the operation, and they moved to meet Shelby. Shelby was just ordering his scattered command to converge on Pocahontas, Arkansas, where they would join Price, and move towards St. Louis.
General Steele (USA) in Little Rock was dependent on his cavalry. He had sent a dispatch to Major General Canby that he had some 600 cavalry looking for Price. This would have been most of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry. Steele continued to build up Little Rock. He also makes the statement that the general impression is that Price "intends making a raid into Missouri". He speaks of his defenses as being secure, but no mention of any attempt to engage Price.
In the meantime at Lewisburg things are happening rapidly. Col. Ryan sends dispatches that he has started four flat boats for Little Rock and one to Cadron Ferry, taking out all the government stores there. In a later dispatch he asks for any information about Shelby. In the afternoon the 2nd Arkansas Infantry left Lewisburg on a forced march to Little Rock. Years later John D. Pruitt, in filing for a pension, would state that his disability was due to a heat stroke suffered during the forced march and retreat from Lewisburg, September 7, 1864.
Sometime during the late afternoon or evening of September 7, 1864, Lt. Col. Fuller with 130 men, evidently F and G Companies of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, met Price's army somewhere on the Dover to Springfield Road, as they were returning to Lewisburg. A sharp skirmish ensued and from the evidence it appears that F Company was cut off from the rest of the unit. The survivors of the skirmish did not reach Lewisburg until next day when col. Ryan sent two dispatches, which are crucial to our history:
Lewisburg, September 8, 1864 - 7.00 PM
Lt. Col. Fuller, with a scout of 130 men, met Cabell in cavalry and infantry force twenty miles from here, on Springfield and Dover Road, en route for this place. Fuller was surrounded, but cut his way out; Lieutenants Wishard, Carr and Greene, and 30 men missing. Have sent word to Col. Stephenson to start the train for Little Rock immediately. Have sent courier after the other scouting parties. I have everything in readiness to advance or retreat as soon as the scouts get in.
Col., Commanding
Almost 2 hours later Col. Ryan sent another dispatch:
Lewisburg, Sept. 8, 1864, - 8.40 P.M.
Lts. Carr, Wishard and Greene have come in, Greene slightly wounded. I do not think our loss will exceed 15 killed, wounded and missing. There are three brigades of the enemy- Dockery's, Cabell's and I think Fagan's. I presume the enemy will move to Springfield and try and cut us off from the Cadron, Our horses are pretty well used up; am giving them a few hours. If there are any horses to spare in Little Rock, I trust we can get some, as we need them badly.
Col. Commanding
Brig. Gen. E.A. Carr

Lt. Wishard was Second-in-Command of F Company, and may have commanded the Company that fateful day. As will be later shown, there were problems with Captain Herring. There is no other record of the skirmish, and no detailed report of it, save that on September 9, 1864, General Steele (USA) at Little Rock sent a dispatch to Major General Canby in which he states "The rebel cavalry, or at least three brigades of them have crossed at Dardanelle. Price and Fagan are both present with this command. Cabell's brigade and some dismounted men were sent to attack Lewisburg. A scouting party under Lt. Col. Fuller of the Third Arkansas Cavalry, fell in with them and had a skirmish."
No muster roll of F Company would be taken until October 31, 1864, and regimental papers say nothing about the skirmish. Jim Nunnally and many other soldiers went home, and were charged with desertion. There was a great deal of confusion in the skirmish. Cpl. Nathaniel Page and Sgt. Thomas M. Jones were listed as killed in battle. Page was later to return -much later. On a muster roll dated February 28, 1865, he is listed as "returned to Company February 1. 1865, incorrectly reported killed". Nothing further was heard of Sgt. Jones, although on the muster roll his status was changed from "killed in battle" to "missing after battle".
The only report of the battle and it's aftermath came from what Nunnally's wife reported he told her. She told the family that the men were surrounded and cut off and told to scatter and rejoin the Company when they could. No doubt many went home, to check on their families as Prices army had just moved through Yell County. Many were later to return to the Company. Jim Nunnally would never have the chance."

 If the results of this skirmish is what led to Captain Herring's dismissal, it is possible that this was the reason for Dodson's dismissal as well. Herring's charges were "neglect of duty and inefficiency". Dodson in charge of Company I, and [Bright W.] Herring of Company F. Captains James F. Clear (Company D), Thomas Boles (Company E), and James H. Reynolds (Company G) were all dismissed the same day, October 15th, 1864. Another Captain, Anthony Hinkle of Company L, was dismissed a week before, on October 7th. It seems likely that all of these dismissals are closely related, but I have not been able to determine the precise reason.

An account of a man named James Bratton, a member of the 3rd Arkansas, was shared here:

"Napier found easy recruiting in Searcy County, according to James Bratton, "Myself, John Bratton and France Bratton were all conscripted into the Confederate Army (Captain Sam Leslie's Co. F, 32nd Arkansas Infantry), and was with the Army until after the Prairie Grove Battle. Ran away and came home and worked in a saltpetre works on Buffalo and Big Creek, until in December, 1863, when Capt. Naypner [sic Napier], out recruiting for the Union Army, came into the cave, and I and John and France went out with him and stayed with the Federal Army until we were discharged."

A comment from a user on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website provided the first mention of Dodson's brother, Isaac, also dying during the Militia War. 

"Grandmother told me that Isaac C. Napier, brother of Archibald Dodson Napier, fought with Archibald in Co. H, 15th Ark. Militia, and he, too, was killed the same year,1865, by “bushwhackers” while plowing a field at home.
She said there was a big rock in Pope County that had blood stains of a Civil War soldier, where he fell. She saw it as a little girl and said that it was well known by all that saw it. She also said that all the rain that came never washed the stain away."

I've also found Dodson referenced in several books, most of which are brief mentions of him being the first victim of the Militia War. I am still trying to find evidence of Isaac being a victim of the "war" as well, but it seems possible based on the fact he was deceased by the time his wife re-married in January of 1869.