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Irish immigrant, accused murder conspirators among family-tree birthdays for week of Aug. 10

Birthdays from my family tree for the week of Aug. 10:

Aug. 10

William M. Wilson Jr., (my second cousin four times removed on my mother's side), b. 1841 in Madison County, Ohio; d. uncertain. William was a grandson of Valentine Wilson, a well-to-do landowner in Ohio during the early- to late-1800s. William was the son of William Delano Wilson and Nancy Moore Wilson.

Simpson Thornsberry, center, is photographed with his wife, Amanda Kidd, and his son, William Thornsberry. I'm not sure of the date, but William looks pretty mature to me, and he was born in about 1885.

Simpson Thornsberry, (my 2G uncle-in-law on my father's side), b. 1857 in Letcher County, Ky.; d. Aug. 29, 1935, in Rowan County, Ky. I have several connections to the Thornsberry family, on both my mother and father's side of the family. Census records indicate several Thornsberrys lived in close proximity to my relatives, as well. I don't think that was the case with Simpson, however, whose immediate family lived in Carter County, according to the 1870 census. In 1878, he married Amanda Kidd, the sister of my great grandfather Edmund Kidd. They were living in neighboring Rowan County at the time.

Simpson and "Mandy" had 12 children. Among them was James Thornsberry, whose daughter, Ina, married Arvil Jennings, listed among the Aug. 13 birthdays. Arvil and Ina lived just down the road from my maternal grandparents and were close friends.

Alafare (or Allie Fair) Winkleman Kidd, (wife of Saul Kidd, my first cousin twice removed on my father's side), b. 1883 in Elliott County, Ky.; d. Feb. 20, 1953, in Morgan County, Ky. Allie married my Saul Kidd, a cousin of my grandfather Elmer Kidd. She grew up in Elliott County and lived most of her adult life in Morgan County, Ky.

Kaylynn Paige Wilson, (my first cousin once removed on my mother's side). Happy birthday, Kaylynn. Hope you have a great day.

Aug. 11

William Ferguson, (my 5G grandfather on my mother's side), b. 1755 in Belfast, County Down, Ireland; d. Aug. 10, 1839, in Grape Creek, Morgan County, Ky. William Ferguson was the son of Irishman Josiah Ferguson. William and his brothers Joseph and Robert came to America in about 1771 from Ireland or Scotland. They first settled in Westmoreland Co., Pa., then moved to North Carolina, then to Kentucky, according to a Magoffin (Ky.) Historical Society biography of the county's early settlers.

In August 1776, while living in Pennsylvania, William enlisted in the Continental Army and was in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment. He served three years in the Revolutionary War, fighting under Gen. George Washington. He is said to have been present when British Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

He married Catherine Lemaster in 1783. On the 1793 tax list, William had no slaves but had several horses and four children. By 1818, when he filed for a pension, they had migrated to Floyd County, Ky.

William and Catherine were buried under a favorite tree on their farm overlooking the mouth of Grape Creek in what was then Morgan County, Ky., and today is in Magoffin County.

Ferguson's daughter Phoebe married Squire John T. Williams, my mother's 3G grandfather on her mother's side.

Sarah Ann Caudill Gregory, (my 3G aunt on my mother's side), b. 1849 in Letcher County, Ky.; d. April 19, 1920, in Rowan County, Ky. Sarah is the eldest of 15 children of the Rev. Henry C. Caudill and Elizabeth Jane Short Caudill. Not only was Sarah the daughter of a minister; in 1968, she married one — the Rev. James Henry Gregory. One of Sarah's younger sisters, Rebecca, married William Washington Williams, my 2G grandfather.

Mattie Blanche Brown, (my first cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1914 in Kentucky; d. June 24, 1981, in Cincinnatti, Hamilton County, Ohio. Mattie was the granddaughter of the aforementioned William Washington Williams. Her parents were Amanda Melvina Williams Brown and Rufus Humphrey Brown.

Marjorie Frances Williams, (my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1919 in Cynthiana, Harrison County, Ky.; d. Aug. 22, 1940, in Mason County, Ky. I'm not sure if Marjorie's father, Earl Williams, is related to the Williams in my mother's maternal line. However, Marjorie's mother, who also was named Marjorie, was the daughter of Dudley Boone Wilson — one of my mother's 2G uncles on her father's side.

Aug. 12

John Boggs, (husband of Sarah A. Fannin Boggs, my first cousin twice removed on my father's side), b. 1863 in Lawrence County, Ky.; d. July 4, 1932, in Farmers, Rowan County, Ky. His death certificate records John Boggs, age 68 years, 10 months and 22 days, died 4 July 1932 in Farmers, Rowan Co., Ky. John's cause of death chronic periocarditis. He is buried in Alfrey Cemetery. He married Sarah Fannin in about 1890. Sarah's parents were John Fannin and Caroline Kidd, the daughter of my 2G grandfather Edmund Kidd.

Florence Ruth Porter Williams, (wife of William B. Williams, my first cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1902 in Carter County, Ky.; d. June 6, 1991, in Wheelersburg, Scioto, Ohio. Florence wed William B. Williams in 1920 in Elliottville, Ky. William's father was John Henry Williams (1875-1920) and the grandson of my 2G grandfather William Washington Williams (1848-1840).

Hobert Ray Williams, (my great uncle on my mother's side), b. 1921 in Kentucky; d. July 9, 2003. A younger brother of my grandmother, Leona Williams Wilson, Hobert was a World War II veteran. He married Ethel Click in 1942.

Mary Helen Wilson Hopwood Post Cooper, (my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1927 in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky.; d. 2011 in Georgetown, Scott County, Ky. Mary was the daughter of Marvin Holt Wilson Sr. and Juanita Helen Muetters. Marvin was the son of my 3G uncle Dr. Jeremiah Wilson and his second wife, Virginia Lee Crawford. ("Doc Jerry" had 13 kids by his first wife, Anna Eliza Halley, and two by Virginia.)

Mary Helen lived for a while in Maysville, Ky., and died Aug. 18, 2011, at Central Hospital in Lexington, Ky., following a short illness. She graduated from Breckinridge Training School in Morehead and later attended Morehead State Normal School.

She was survived by three sons, Douglas Hopwood of Georgetown, Ky.; Nelson Hopwood of Maysville; and Dan Hopwood of West Chester, Ohio; sisters Jerry Bradley of Springfield, Ohio; and Joan Turner of Nutters Fort, W. Va.; four grandchildren, two great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by husbands, Dan Hopwood Sr., Alton Post and Emmitt Cooper Jr., and a brother, Marvin Wilson Jr. After becoming a single mom in the late 1960s, she supported her family by working as a typesetter at The (Ashland, Ky.) Daily Independent and later running the canteen at Browning Manufacturing before retiring in 1992. She was a breast cancer survivor and was an active member of Mason County Seniors Citizens until moving into an assisted living facility in Georgetown the year she passed away.

Timmy Baker, (my wife Deborah Renee Ray's first cousin once removed on her father's side), b. 1951 in Kershaw County, S.C.; d. Oct. 11, 2002, in Cassatt, Kershaw County, Ky. Timmy was the son of Thornwell K. Baker and Mary Gladys Ray Baker. Mary was the daughter of James Huey Ray, my wife's great uncle.

Kara Bubp, (my first cousin once removed on my father's side). Happy birthday, Kara. Hope you have a great day.

Aug. 13

This (poorly photographed) page from The Rowan County News centennial edition of 1956 depicts Susan Downing Hall, left and George Hall. Susan was not implicated, but George was among the family members accused of conspiring to kill his neerdowell brother, Isaac Hall Jr., in 1968.

George Martin Hall, (my 3G grandfather on my mother's side), b. 1827 in Fleming County, Ky.; d. Nov. 22, 1900, in Rowan County, Ky. The older brother of murder victim Isaac Hall Jr., George Martin Hall played a pivotal role in one of the most intriguing stories I've stumbled upon in my genealogical research. Isaac apparantly was a neerdowell, who, after fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War, returned home and booted his mother and siblings out of the family homeplace. (Isaac Sr. passed away in 1861.)

George took in his displaced family and attempted in vain to negotiate a settlement with his brother, who brought wild friends — and wilder women — to raise hell at the old homeplace.

According to the research of one of my distant cousins, Teri Pettit — herself a genealogist and descendant of George Martin Hall — the family decided to take matters in their own hands, apparently confronting and shooting Isaac at the family homeplace. Old Ike didn't die right away, however. He lingered for much of the day, so some of the clan returned to finish the job.

Pettit's research is based on court records from pre-trial hearings. She writes: "The impression one gets on reading the hearing transcripts is that the members of Isaac's family did not think of the shooting as a crime," Pettit writes. "They were open in talking to everyone about what they were doing. That's why there were so many witnesses. They apparently thought it was legal to kill somebody, even when he was unarmed and outnumbered, as long as he was a well-known criminal and they first yelled 'Surrender or we'll shoot!'

"And they were given that counsel, or what they understood as such, by an honored judge who later became a representative to the Kentucky State Legislature! In fact, if they had killed Ike outright the first time, rather than coming back to finish him off as he lay wounded in bed, there might have been no trial at all."

George did not participate in the ambush, but the plan was hatched at gatherings at his house. His wife, Susana, was not indicted but was home at the time of the meetings, according to Pettit's research.

Pettit was unable to find a transcript, or any other record, of an actual trial. It's possible all involved were acquitted or pardoned, since all the accused were still living free by 1870.

Another of the accused conspirators is included in this birthday report — the the listings for Aug. 15.

Daniel A. Perry, (my second cousin four times removed on my mother's side), b. 1865 in Rushville, Ohio; d. May 26, 1948 in Pleasant Township, Ohio. Daniel is one of nine children of Solomon Perry and Mary Wilson Perry. Mary was a first cousin once removed of William M. Wilson Jr., who had a birthday Aug. 10.

Flem Charles Tarter, (husband of Maime Zenith Wilson Tarter, my second cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1905 in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Mo.; d. Aug. 29, 1970, in Albuquerque, N.M. Flem was born in Missouri and died in New Mexico. I don't know much about what happened in between. I do know he married the granddaughter of Abijiah Brooks Wilson, my 4G uncle, as well as my 4G uncle-in-law. (Abijiah married a sixth cousin. He is not to be confused with my 2G grandfather, who was his namesake and one generation removed.)

Hilman F. Fookes, (husband of Ruby Elliott, my second cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1913 in Kentucky; d. Aug. 29, 2003, in Covington, Kenton County, Ky. Hilman's wife, Ruby, was from my mother's Hall lineage (she was a great niece of George Martin Hall, whose birthday was on the same date). Hilman was a retired draftsman with William Lang & Sone in Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from Covington, according to his obituary.

Arvil Jennings, (my fourth and third cousin on my father's side), b. 1918 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. April 4, 1998, in Rowan County, Ky. Arvil's son Tillman married my father's cousin, Shirley Kidd. His wife, Ina, is the granddaughter of Simpson Thornsberry, who is listed in the Aug. 10 birthdays. Simpson married Amanda Kidd, who also is related to my father. Additionally, Arvil is a first cousin once removed of Jesse Franklin Jennings, who married my maternal great aunt, Vada Mae Wilson. So Arvil is related to me on both sides of my family.

Even without the blood connection, many in the family would consider Arvil a close relation. He lived a few miles down the road from my maternal grandparents, Oliver and Leona Wilson, and their neighbors were also good friends, socializing and helping each other through the difficult tasks that were part of rural, mountain life. Oliver and Arvil loaned each other tools, gave each other rides, and their families looked after each other during times of sickness.

Aug. 14

Harriet P. Wilson, (my second cousin four times removed on my mother's side), b. 1851 in Clark County, Ohio; date and details of death uncertain. Harriet is one of 10 children of Washington J. Wilson (1811-1885) and Mary Ann Foreman Wilson (1820-1885). Our common direct ancestor was Jacob Wilson (1759-1813) — her great-grandfather and my 5G grandfather. Jacob Wilson, the earliest ancestor of the Wilson family in Madison county, Ohio, was an Irishman who had married a German wife. In 1790, he left the south branch of the Potomac river in Virginia, not far from Harper’s Ferry, and emigrated to Kentucky, to what is now the county of Clark. He later moved to Greene County, Ohio, where his descendants became propserous landowners.

Lydia Alice Hall Quesenberry, (my 3G aunt on my mother's side and my 4G aunt-in-law on my mother's side), b. 1870 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. March 15, 1953, in Knightstown, Henry County, Ind. Lydia is a daughter of George Martin Hall, whose story is told in the Aug. 13 birthdays. She married Isaac Quesenberry, the son of Oliver Quesenberry (1842-1918) and Mahala Slusher Quesenberry (1841-1922) and the brother of my 2G grandmother, Nancy Abigail Quesenberry Hall. And Nancy married George Washington Hall, Lydia's brother.

Paul Ray, (my wife Deobrah Renee Ray's great uncle on her father's side), b. 1926 in Kershaw County, S.C.; d. Nov. 8, 1926. Paul was the child of James Huey Ray and Jessie Elezbat Boone Ray, my wife Debi's great-grandparents. Paul died in infancy.

John Kidd, (my second cousin twice removed on my father's side), b. 1929 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. Aug. 14, 1929, in Morgan County, Ky. John was the son of John Booth Kidd and Ada Lykins Kidd. He either died the he was born or was stillborn.

Carolyn Mullens, (my step-cousin on my father's side). Happy birthday, Carolyn!

Aug. 15

Florence Geraldine Alfrey, (my first cousin four times removed on my mother's side), b. 1887 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. June 1966, in Indianapolis, Ind. Florence was one of 11 children of Franklin Alfrey and Jane Elly Hall Alfrey. Jane was a sister of George Martin Hall and of the slain Isaac Hall Jr. She was also charged as a conspirator because she was present while her husband, one of the leaders of the vigilante band that shot Isaac, was planning the ambush. The Alfreys had been living in the Isaac Hall home until evicted by Isaac Jr., and at the time of the events were staying with George.

Harrison Mills, (husband of Edith Opal Wilson Mills, my first cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1905 in Herndon, Wyoming County, WVa.; d. Feb. 5, 1980, in Helen, Raleigh County, WVa. Harrion married the daughter of my 2G uncle Alvin Lee Wilson and his wife, Mary Merida Stidham. Lee Wilson purchased land from the Hall and Stidham families that became my mother's homeplace.

Aug. 16

Millie Prather Hall, (my 3G aunt-in-law on my mother's side), b. 1878 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. July 18, 1929, in Rowan County, Ky. Millie married Albert David Hall, my 3G uncle and a son of George Martin Hall — yet another August birthday for a person connected directly or indirectly to the killing of Isaac Hall. Albert was the first of Millie's three husbands. They were wed when she was just 13, but the marriage didn't last long — they were divorced or annulled not long after. Albert remarried in 1893, and she in 1897 at age 19. She either divorced again or was widowed, for she married a third time in 1908.

Clester Burns Williams and Mattie Pearl Williams, the two oldest of the nine children of Andrew Jackson Williams and Nora Kendall Williams. My grandmother, Leona Olive Williams, was their sibling. Pearl died in 1913, before my grandmother was born. I think my grandmother resembled her big sister. See the phot inset with Pearl's birthday entry.

Mattie Pearl Williams, (my great aunt on my mother's side), b. 1909 in Kentucky; d. Sept. 5, 1913. Mattie was the older sister of my grandmother, Leona Olive Williams Wilson, as well as Hobert Ray Williams, who had a birthday Aug. 12. Little Pearl died before my grandmother was born, however — she passed away at age 4 of diptheria.

Joe Russell Brunson III, (my wife Deborah Renee Ray's first cousin once removed on her father's side), b. 1994. Happy birthday, Joe.

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