This tall monument stands in the Maysville Cemetery in witness of the Green-Ranson family that lived in Mason County, Kentucky. It wasn’t until I found the last piece of the puzzle that all my facts aligned and I could pinpoint how these three people were related!
The first side of the stone is a tribute to a woman born 17 and 29 years, respectively, before other two. Until the last moment of this genealogy hunt I thought she was the mother of one of them. I will save my conclusions until the end – keep you in suspense! I love the the last line on the stone “We all owe so much” – she must have been steadying force in several lives.
Well, now we have a husband and wife. My first thought is to go to the census records. Richard and Achsah are living in Boone County, Kentucky, in 1850. They had married the previous year in June. Matilda C. Green is living with them, along with four boarders. Richard is a farmer, with real estate amounting to $17,500.
According to his gravestone we know he died in 1858. Achsah must have been devastated – such a short time together. Richard Ranson’s will was written three days before his death. Was he ill? Did he write his will since he was traveling to Covington – where he died? I think it odd he died three days after the will was written. The beginning of the will has no usual start with ‘being weak of body but sound of mind’. He starts with a bequest to Matilda Green of $1,000, followed by one of $50 per year for Sarah Durham. His wife, Achsah, is then left the household and kitchen furniture. Richard notes that his son Joseph H. Ranson had previously received $3,000 and this must be charged to his portion of the estate. Joseph is not the son of Achsah, hence she must have been a second wife. The only other direct bequest is to his son Franklin Bedinger Ranson, a young son of four, ‘my gold watch and chain’. The rest of the estate is divided between his wife and children now living.
In the 1860 census Achsah, 37, is living in Mason County with her brother, John G. Hickman, a lawyer, 39. Matilda Green lives in the household, 69, along with Achsah’s children – Matilda, 10; Franklin, 6; and Elizabeth, 3.
In 1870 the household is much the same, except for the addition of John Hickman’s young son – Samuel, aged 6 six years. Evidently John married shortly after the 1860 census, but his wife must have died soon afterwards.
In the 1880 census we have the same household, less Franklin Ranson. He would have been 26 at this time and quite possibly married with a family of his own. Achsah, instead of her brother, is head of household. Matilda is listed as 90 years of age – and as aunt! My first thought had been that Matilda was Achsah’s mother, but after finding this census with her listed as Achsah’s aunt, I found Achsah was the daughter of Caroline Green and David Hickman. Caroline and Matilda were sisters! Their father was Captain John F. Green, who fought in the Revolutionary War. Their mother was Achsah Burgess.
Now we know why the beautiful epitaph was chosen for her. She lived with her niece, Achsah, most of her life – helping raise her children after the death of her husband, giving her time and love. She must have been a remarkable woman!