Family Stories

Andrew McMahan Paxton, Two Wives, Sixteen Children, Green County Farmer

When I started this post, I went to Green County because it appealed to me at that moment.  Within my Green County files, I have photos take from four cemeteries within the county – Bethlehem Baptist, Greensburg, Longhunter and Pleasant Run.  I chose Bethlehem Baptist and the first stone that caught my eye was that of A. M. Paxton and H. B., his wife.  Their birth and death dates are on the stone – 1830-1906 for him, and 1846 to 1905 for her.  Thinking about it was a surprise that I found anything at all – but then again, that’s the joy of research.  We start with just little bits of info and turn them into mountains of information.

Father – A. M. Paxton, January 31, 1830 – September 11, 1906. Mother – H. B., wife of A. M. Paxton, April 13, 1846 – September 15, 1905. Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery, Green County, Kentucky.

My first task was to find an obituary for A. M., since in the early years of the 20th century most people did have an obituary to announce their death, at least to the local community.  I found the following:

The Adair County News, Green County, Kentucky

Wednesday, September 9, 1906


Mr. A. M. Paxton, age 76 years, died at his late home on Russell Creek, on Tuesday, September 11, death due to diseases subject to old age.  He had been twice married.  His first wife was a Miss Partum and to her four children were born, three of whom are still living.  His second wife was a Miss Craddock, who preceded him to the grave one year ago.  To her were born twelve children, and six of them are now living.  He was a member of C. P. Church and had been an earnest supporter of that denomination for many years.  Having lived here all of his life this excellent and highly respected citizen will be sadly missed by his many relatives and friends.  The funeral services were conducted by Rev. W. H. C. Sandidge and the remains laid to rest in the Rollingburg Cemetery.

Okay, that wasn’t what I expected.  We still do not have a Christian or middle name.  Only the last names for his two wives were given.  Even though it says he had 16 children and 9 survived him, it gives no names for any of the children.  Even the cemetery is suspect since I couldn’t find Rollingburg Cemetery on Find a Grave. 

Time to go to Ancestry.  I searched all records for A. M. Paxton, 1830-1906, with wives whose last names were Partum and Craddock.  To my great surprise quite a bit came up!  Let me introduce you to Andrew McMahan Paxton, born January 31, 1830, to John Moore Paxton (April 2, 1806 – 1870) and Catherine Ann McMahan (February 9, 1808 – December 7, 1842).  Andrew married Catherine Jane Patrum, daughter of William Patrum and Susanna Brewer, March 9, 1854, in Green County.

In the 1860 census Andrew, 30, and Catherine, 26, have two children in the household.  John Richard, 4; and Samuel William, 2.  Catherine died in April of 1864. 

Two years later on September 1, 1866, Andrew married Harriett Birdie Craddock, the daughter of Creed Heizer Craddock and Elizabeth Graves Sandidge.  Harriett, who may have gone by Birdie, was born April 13, 1846, making her sixteen years younger than her husband. 

In the 1870 census Andrew is 40, Birdie, 23.  Living with them were John Richard, 14, Samuel William, 13, as well as two other sons of Catherine, born after the 1860 census, but before her death in 1864 – James Henry, 10; and Hugh Jasper, 8.  Two children had been born to Andrew and Harriett – Catherine Bird, 3, shown as Kittie B. in this census; and Theodore W., 1.  Little Theodore must have died between 1870 and 1880, because he appears in no other records.

By 1880 the two older boys were living on their own.  Children living with Andrew and Harriett were James Henry, 19; Hugh Jasper, 17; Catherine, 12; Andrew Woodson, 8; Sarah Susan, 6; Louvina, 4; Annie E., 2; and Mary L., 8/12. 

Twenty years later in 1900, Andrew is 70, Harriett, 54.  Children living with the parents were Louvina, 23; Martin L., 17; Cora Emma, 16; Mary, 11; and Earl, 3.  The one son who is not listed in any census is Archie Lewis Paxton.  He was born July 18, 1881, missing the 1880 census by one year, and was 19 in 1900, evidently living on his own.

What a large family!  This was a family of 16 children.  What a wonderful resounding, hectic, fun life they must have had!  Andrew was a farmer his entire life, and I’m sure some of the boys followed in his footsteps, although that may have led to other occupations.   

But I’ve saved the best for last!  I found Andrew McMahan Paxton’s will.  When he died in 1906, we find that daughter Louvina Ellen Paxton was unmarried and still at home.  She is first to receive a legacy – a feather bed and bedstead, along with the usual quilts, sheets, blankets and such that go with a bed.  Daughters Cora Emma Paxton and Mary Craddock Paxton were given the same.  It is quite possible that he gave the bed and all its accoutrements to each of his daughters as they married.  The youngest surviving son, Archie Lewis, was given a two-horse wagon, the one owned by his father.  And this is the best part – after those four legacies he willed that all the rest and residue of his estate be divided equally between his sons and daughters – and he names all of them!  John Richard Paxton, Samuel William Paxton, James Henry Paxton, Hugh Jasper Paxton, Andrew Woodson Paxton, Archie Lewis Paxton, Katie Bird Wilkinson, Sarah Susan Shirrell, Louvina Ellen Paxton, Cora Emma Paxton and Mary Craddock Paxton.  Of his 16 children, 11 survived and outlived their parents.  The five children that died before their father were Theodore W. Paxton, Annie Paxton, Mary Lucy Paxton, Martin L. Paxton and Earl R. Paxton.

Will of Andrew McMahan Paxton

Green County Will Book 4, Pages 297-298

I, Andrew McMahan Paxton, of the County of Green and State of Kentucky, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made, and as to my moveable estate and all the property, rent, personal or mixed, of which I shall die seized and possess of, as to which I shall be entitled at the time of my decease, I devise, bequeath and dispose thereof in the manner following, to wit.

My will is that my just debts and funeral expenses shall by my executor hereinafter named be paid out of my estate as soon after my decease as shall be them be found convenient.  I give, devise and bequeath my beloved daughter Louvina Ellen Paxton, one feather bed, one bed stead and quilts and sheets, blankets and such things as usually go with a bed to have and to hold the same to her and her executors, administrators and assigns forever.

I also give, devise and bequeath to my beloved daughter Cora Emma Paxton, one feather bed and bed stead and blankets and sheets, quilts and such things as usually go with a bed.  I also give, devise and bequeath to my beloved daughter Mary Craddock Paxton, one feather bed and bed stead, quilts, blankets, sheets and such things as usually go with a bed.

I give, devise and bequeath my beloved son Archie Lewis Paxon one two-horse wagon, the one I now own.  All the rest and residue of my estate, real, personal and mixed, of which I shall die seized and possessed of or to which I shall be entitled at my decease, I give, devise and bequeath to be equally divided between and among my sons and daughters, to wit:  John Richard Paxton, Sam William Paxton, James Henry Paxton, Hugh Jasper Paxton, Andrew Woodson Paxton, Archie Lewis Paxton, Katie Bird Wilkinson, Sarah Susan Shirrell, Louvina Ellen Paxton, Cora Emma Paxton, Mary Craddock Paxton, to have and to hold the same to the said sons and daughters, their heirs and assigns, from and after my decease to their use and behoof forever.

And lastly, I do nominate and appoint my son Andrew Woodrow Paxton to be Executor of this my last will and testament.  In witness whereof I, the said Andrew McMahan Paxton, have to this my last will and testament, consisting of three sheets of paper.

Subscribed my name and affixed my seal this April 9, 1906.  A. M. Paxton

Signed and sealed and delivered by said Andrew m. Paxton, as his last will and testament in the presence of us who witnessed at his request in his presence have

subscribed our names – Creed E. Paxton, E. E. Coffey

At a county court held for Green County at the courthouse in Greensburg, Kentucky, on the 8th day of October 1906, the foregoing writing purporting to be the last will and testament of A. M. Paxton, deceased, was produced in open court and fully proven by E. E. Coffey and Creed E. Paxton, the subscribing witnesses thereto, who after being duly sworn stated that the said A. M. Paxton signed and acknowledged said writing in their presence to be his last will and testament, and that they signed the same as witnesses thereto in his presence and in the presence of each other, and that they believed him to have been of sound mind and disposing memory at the time of signing the same, and the same was approved and accepted by the court and ordered to be recorded, which is truly done this October 10, 1906.  P. F. Monnall, Clerk, Green County Court

1 reply »

  1. I enjoyed reading about this large family. I slept on a large feather bed as a young girl. I’m sure a lot of work went into making a feather mattress. My own Grandma born in 1879 gifted me 2 feather pillows when I married .

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