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  • Writer's picturethatsbug2u

Mystery relative(?) is among those in my family tree with birthdays this week

Birthdays in my family tree from the week of Sept. 21:

Sept. 21

Anna Martin, (my 4G grandmother on my mother's side), b. 1801 in Morgan (now Rowan) County, Ky.; d. June 1870 in Morgan County, Ky. One of the more interesting stories I've plucked from my family tree concerns Anna and her family. According to the 1870 census, she was widowed and living with her son, John Martin. Not an uncommon circumstance, then or now, right?

Anna was living with her son because, after the passing of her husband Isaac Jacob Hall Sr., one of their eight children, Isaac Jacob Hall Jr., ran her and the rest of her family off the family farm. And that didn't sit well.

So Anna, some of her other children and their spouses conspired to take back the property from the younger Isaac — a "notorious desperado" who had "been a man of evil habits all through his life acting in disregard of the Law shooting officers when they attempted to arrest him," according to an account on the RootsWeb website. Upon returning home after fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War, Ike drove his two youngest brothers, his sister, and his brother-in-law from the home, then used the home as a refuge for his band of robbers and their women.

So they hatched a plan to "arrest" Ike Jr., and shoot him if he resisted. "It was better he be kilt than to cometo the gallows," Anna was said to have uttered.

Teri Pettit, a distant cousin, writes in her account "The Isaac Hall Murder Case or The Family that Slays Together, Stays Together":

When the actual confrontation came (Jan. 3, 1868), though, they simply called out to Ike to give up as he walked unarmed to the barn to tend to his horse and mule. When he ran back towards the house (presumably to get his gun), they interpreted it as "resisting arrest", and opened fire from under cover of the woods. Ike was not killed immediately, but was able to retreat to his house, gravely wounded and unable to return fire. Towards midnight the vigilante band returned and shot him again in his bed, killing him.

The family members were accused of murder, but apparently, all were acquitted. There are court records of an inquiry, but no records of a subsequent trial. And remember that 1870 census — Anna and all others involved were listed as living free at that time, more than two years after young Ike's death.

David A. Kendall (my 2G grandfather on my mother's side and my 3G uncle-in-law on my father's side), b. 1859; d. June 20, 1892. In 1887, he married Miriam Francis Lewis (incidentally, the aunt of my paternal great-grandmother Louise Lewis Kidd.) They had a daughter — my great-grandmother Nora Ellen Kendall Williams.

Nora was born in 1889 and not yet 3 when David died tragically. While digging a well, he and his best friend, L.E. Templeman, were overwhelmed by poisonous gas. (Templeman was likely an in-law, as Miriam's mother was Rhoda Templeman Lewis.) The friends were buried in the same plot of Ditney Cemetery in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky.

Tragedy visited my great-grandmother again just five years later when she died at age 23. (I do not know a cause of death.) Nora was raised by her maternal grandparents, Rhoda and her husband Isaac Lewis, who were about 40 years older than their granddaughter.

Dr. Burwell Clefford Wilson, (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1876 in Jeffersonville, Montgomery, Ky.; d. Feb. 22, 1926, in Louisville, Jefferson County, Ky. The son of a doctor, Burwell followed his father into medicine. The Wilsons were a prominent family in Morehead, Ky. Father Jeremiah was one of the town's few doctors. His brother Bunyan was the town's first mayor; his sister Cora Wilson Stewart was a world-renowned adult-literacy advocate.

Burwell passed away in his hotel room while attending a conference in Louisville, Ky.

Mary Valenti Coffey Wilson, (wife of Bunyan Spratt Wilson, my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1887 in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky.; d. March 27, 1986. Mary shared a birthday with her brother-in-law, Dr. Burwell Clefford Wilson. She was the second wife of Bunyan Wilson, whose first wife, Harriet Caywood, died in 1906 at age 31. If they had children together, I do not have a record of it. Mary is buried in the Lee Cemetery in Morehead.

I'm not sure what year Mary and Bunyan were married, but they had three children and moved to Ashland, Ky., in about 1916, lured by the opportunities created by the steel industry boom there. Bunyan became a prosperous attorney in Ashland, where he died in 1938 at age 60.

Remarkably, Mary outlived him by 48 years, living to age 98.

Sept. 22

Franklin Pierce Blair, (husband of Osia Mae Hall Blair, first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1887 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. June 12, 1976, in Ashland, Boyd County, Ky. Franklin married Osia Mae, the granddaughter of George Martin Hall and Susannah Downing Hall, my 3G grandparents. George was a son of Anna Martin, who celebrated a birthday Sept. 21, and he took in his family when brother Isaac Hall Jr. ran them off the family land after returning from fighting in the Civil War.

I don't know much about Franklin's life, except that he was the son of Ulyssis Grant Blair and Lucinda Blair. According to census data, he lived in Rowan, Morgan, Johnsonville and Boyd County, Ky., and in Cleveland, Ohio, at various times in his life.

Sept. 23

Dora Ethel Gregory, (my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1902 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. Feb. 16, 1993, in Shelby, Richland County, Ohio. Dora is a great-granddaughter of the Rev. Henry C. Caudill, who is one of my maternal 3G grandparents.

Sept. 24

Barbara Gail Brinson, (my wife Deborah Renee Ray's first cousin once removed on her father's side), b. 1954. Barbara is the daughter of James Ernest Brinson Jr. (1921-1976) and Lois Evelyn Crosby (1921-2010).

Sept. 25

Isaiah Wilson, (my 3G grandfather on my mother's side), b. 1812 in Greene County, Ohio; d. Aug. 17, 1877, in Camargo, Montgomery County, Ky. Isaiah married his sixth cousin, Sarah Jane Wilson Wilson, in 1851, when she was barely 14. His grandfather hailed from Virginia, emigrated to Kentucky and then to Greene County, Ohio. His father, Jeremiah, was born in Virginia, before the family's departure for Virginia, and died in Morgan County, Ky. It is possible he moved to Ohio and back to Kentucky, with Isaiah born in Ohio; it also is possible I have inaccurate information about the location of Isaiah or Jeremiah's birth.

Whatever the case, Isaiah was one of four children (that I know of) of Jeremiah and Elizabeth Davis Wilson. He and Sarah Jane had 14 children, including my 2G grandfather, Abijiah Wilson. Their other children included Dr. Jeremiah Wilson, the father of Dr. Burwell Wilson, who celebrated a birthday Sept. 21; and Dudley Boone Wilson, who became an accomplished civil engineer.

Henry Caudill, (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side and my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1870 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. Dec. 26, 1943. Another of the grandchildren of George Martin Hall, Henry was the son of Synthia Ann Hall Caudill (one of George's daughters) and Samuel C. Caudill. The Caudills and Halls intermarried quite a bit, and since my mom has Caudills on her mother's side and Halls on her father's side, many are my double relatives.

Henry's parents are one such couple. His Uncle Abel Caudill married his mother's sister, Mary Ann Hall Caudill. His Aunt Amanda Susan Hall married Samuel B. Caudill, Henry's first cousin.

Clinnie S. Anderson, (my wife Deborah Renee Ray's 2G step grandmother on her father's side), b. 1883 in St. John, Santee, S.C.; d. June 24, 1930. Clinnie married John James Brinson, my wife's 2G grandfather, in 1904, months after the death of John's second wife, Elizabeth Rachel Mitchum. John had children by all three of his wifes, including James Ernest Brinson, my wife's great-grandfather, who was the sixth of the nine children his father had by Elizabeth Rachel.

Sept. 26

David M. Caudill, (my 3G uncle on my mother's side), b. 1850 in Letcher County, Ky.; d. March 1, 1883, in Rowan County, Ky. David was the son of the Rev. Henry C. Caudill and Elizabeth Jane Short Caudill. The Rev. Henry C. Caudill is not to be confused with the Henry Caudill who celebrated a birthday Sept. 25, however, it is the same family.

Nettie A. Williams, (wife of Dewey Lee Stidham, my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1912 in North Carolina; d. Aug. 27, 1927, in Pineville, WVa. Her father-in-law, Jason Brackston Stidham, once owned a portion of the property that became the family farm where my mother grew up. J.B. sold to his son-in-law, Lee Wilson, who in turn sold to my great-grandfather Burl Wilson. Burl lived on the ridge at the end of Lower Oak Grove Road in (very) rural Rowan County, Ky., until the very end of his life and pass the property to his son, Oliver Wilson, my grandfather.

Mahala Susan Wilson Presley, (my cousin on my mother's side.) Happy birthday, Haley. Hope you have a great day.

Sept. 27

Elizabeth Jane Dedman Wilson, (wife of Millard O. Wilson, my 2G uncle on my mother's side ... maybe), b. 1898 in Fayette County, Ky.; d. March 23, 1950, in Fayette County, Ky. I'm quite certain Elizabeth indeed existed and that she was married to Millard O. Wilson. What I'm not at all certain of is that Millard was the brother of my great-grandfather, Burl Wilson. None of my living relatives — even Burl's grandson, my Uncle Kenny Wilson, whose knowledge of family history is encyclopedic — seem to have ever heard of him.

Yet, there is the historical record.

There are at least five children of Abijiah B. Wilson and Martha Royse Wilson, including sons Burl, Alvin Lee and Bun Clifford; and daughters Myrtle and Sara. All but Bun are listed as living together in the 1900 census.

Oddly, Bun was born in October 1899 and should have been present. But not only is he missing, Millard (7 months at the time) and a sister, Vesta (age 4) are listed.

However, by the time the 1910 census rolls around, Abijiah, apparently divorced, is living as the head of the household with only Burl and his wife Mahala Susan Hall Wilson also listed. Kidds, Jenningses, Thornsberrys and McBrayers — surnames that appear frequently in my family tree — are neighbors, but there are no other Wilsons on the same census sheet.

Meanwhile, there is a Sarah Wilson, listed as a widowed head of household, living with son Bun, 10, and daughter Sarah, 17, and a host of boarders and servants. (There also is one roomer — a B.S. Wilson, lawyer, who could quite possibly be Abijiah's nephew, Bunyan Spratt Wilson, who is mentioned in the Sept. 21 birthdays under the entry of his first wife, Mary Velenti Coffey Wilson.)

The ages of Bun and Sarah match the ages of my great-grandfather's siblings. Was Martha running a boarding house in town? If she is widowed, how to explain Abijiah in the other census documentation from 1910, quite alive. (In fact, he didn't die until 1928.)

So Bun magically appears, and Millard and Vesta magicially disappear. I can find no likely matches for them in the 1910 census.

It is possible that the person listed as Millard in 1900 is indeed Bun and that his name was either erroneously recorded or changed. While I never pick up Vesta's trail again, the Millard listed in my genalogical records reappears in the 1930 census as a postal clerk near Lexington, Ky., living in the home of his mother-in-law, the widowed Edna Dedman.

So Elizabeth didn't marry a ghost; I'm just not convinced she married a relative. I've entered her into my family history on the off chance that she did, however.

Corra Brooks, (my half uncle Ronnie Jackson Brooks' aunt on his father's side), b. 1902 in Lee County, Va.; d. Jan. 18, 1997, in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. Corra was the daughter of William Tipton Brooks and Margaret Alice Estep Brooks. She also was the sister of Otis Brooks, my Uncle Jack's father and my maternal grandmother's first husband. Corra was the oldest of 10 Brooks children and the only one born when the family lived in Virginia. They later moved to Tennessee, then to Ohio.

Ora Pike Hall, (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1903 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. Dec. 14, 1968, in Clearfield, Rowan County, Ky. Ora was the youngest of eight children born of the Rev. James Henry Hall and Clara Johnson Hall. James was a brother of my 2G grandfather, George Washington Hall.

Madison Lee Wilson, (my second cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1907; d. in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky.; d. Jan. 17, 1935, in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky. Madison was the daughter of Dr. Homer Lee Wilson, who was a dentist, and Lena Carey Wilson. Madison also was the niece of Dr. Burwell Wilson, whose birthday was Sept. 21. She died at age 27. I do not know the cause.

Bertha Kidd, (my first cousin once removed on my father's side and my third cousin one removed on my mother's side), b. 1925 in Rowan County, Ky. Details of death uncertain. Bertha was my the niece of my grandfather, Elmer Kidd. Her mother, Dora, was Papaw's sister. Dora married John William Kidd, a second cousin from a branch of the family that originated in North Carolina. John William's grandmother was a Lewis, related to my mother through her maternal grandmother, thus he was related to me on both sides of my family.

Mary Frances Brinson Mill, (my wife Deborah Renee Ray's first cousin once removed on her father's side), b. 1943 in Charleston County, S.C.; d. May 23, 1995, in Charleston, Charleston County, S.C. Mary was the daughter of Emile Roscoe Brinson and Dorothy May Grayson Brinson, and the cousin of my father-in-law, James Kenneth Ray.

Sept. 28

Myrtle Kidd, (my first cousin once removed on my father's side and my third cousin once removed on my mother's side), b. 1917 in Rowan County, Ky. Details of death uncertain. Whenever I have siblings born in different years but on the same or nearly the same day, it always makes me wonder if I've got accurate information. Myrtle was the older sister of Bertha Kidd, who celebrated a birthday Sept. 27.

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