Category Archives: Family Stories

Hall Monument In Machpelah Cemetery – Montgomery County

I thought this monument quite interesting since there was so much detail written on the stone.  It gives a good picture of the life of this family.  James Hall was born on the Isle of Wight in England, as was his son, George.  James was a plasterer and George followed in his father’s footsteps.  They eventually moved to Weston, West Virginia, to work on an asylum.

Evidently the wife and mother had passed on before this move to the United States.  In the 1870 census of Montgomery County James is listed as 55, a plasterer, born in England.  His son George was 21, same work and birth place.

In the 1880 census Mrs. James Hall is listed as head of household.  She was 40, born in New York, both parents born in Ireland.  She is listed as an astrologist.  I’ll have to admit I never thought to see that as an occupation during the 19th century in Kentucky!  James is 60, still a plasterer, born in England as was both parents.  George is not listed.  Perhaps he was married, or died young working for the fire company as noted on his gravestone.  James died in 1896, and Frances within two years.

James Hall, born on the Isle of Wight, England.  Was an ornamental plaster, worked on the London Palace and other public buildings.  Came to Weston, West Virginia, to work on the asylum, removed to Mt. Sterling, and from there to Lexington, Kentucky.  Died June 19, 1896.  Machpelah Cemetery, Montgomery County, Kentucky.

Frances, wife of James Hall and widow of Charles Jennings of Louisville, Kentucky.  Born in Troy, New York, came to Mt. Sterling 1870, moved to Lexington, Kentucky, 1892.  Died February 11, 1898.

George Hall, born on the Isle of Wight.  Emigrated to Canada with his father, and then went to Weston, West Virginia, to work on the asylum and came to Mt. Sterling with his father where he joined and was buried by the Fire Company.

Two Civil War Soldiers From Scott County

Today we are going to Scott County.  Just in case you are a little unfamiliar with the counties of Kentucky, Scott is in the north central portion of the state, just above Fayette and Woodford.

The Frazer family is buried in the little cemetery of St. Francis Catholic Church, first settled by Marylanders who arrived in 1786.  Many Irish are also buried here.  Robert Frazer was born in Comber, County Down, Ireland June 19, 1800.  He married Catherine Miller about 1832, since their first child was born in 1834.  Catherine was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the 1850 census of Scott County Robert is 51, a watch maker; wife Catherine is 34.  Children in the family are John C., 16; James K., 12; William K., 8; Frank, 6; and Mary, 2.  Daughter Susan was born in 1852.  Robert was a son of James Frazer and Susannah Kennedy (the initial ‘K’ in James and William’s names is for Kennedy, in honor of their grandmother).  In the 1860 census Robert is listed as a jeweler.

But then the Civil War upended the lives of all those who lived in the United States.  Two sons of Robert and Catherine entered the war – James Kennedy Frazer and William Kennedy Frazer.

Robert Frazer, born in  Comber, Ireland, June 19, 1800; died January 23, 1863.  ‘A kinder father and husband, a truer friend and a better christian, never lived.’  St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Scott County, Kentucky.

Robert Harris died in January of 1863.  He was spared the sorrow of knowing that both sons who entered the war were killed in the same year.  James Kennedy died May 21, 1863; William Kennedy died December 24, 1863.  Their mother, two brothers and two sisters were left to mourn them.

J. K. Frazer, born March 31, 1838, died May 21, 1863.  W. K. Frazer, born June 18, 1841, died December 24, 1863.

Catherine Miller Frazer lived a decade after the deaths of her husband and two sons.

C. E. Frazer, wife of Robert Frazer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 15, 1813, died December 9, 1873.  ‘During life she praying said, oh Lord, I suffer grievious pains, but I am well content to suffer because I fear thee.  Thus she died leaving the memory of her death an example of virtue and fortitude.’

Bennett Greenwell Revolutionary War Pension Application

Sacred to the memory of Bennett Greenwell, born December 7, 1761, died July 12, 1838, aged 77 years.  ‘May he rest in peace.’  Revolutionary Soldier, Bennett Greenwell, 1777-1781, placed by Lady Washington Chapter, DAR, Houston, Texas.  St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Scott County, Kentucky.

Bennett Greenwell, a citizen of Scott County, Kentucky, was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, in 1761, and served his country during the American Revolution years of 1777 to the close of the war in 1781.

During those years, at the age of 16-21, he risked his life guarding a portion of the Maryland coast along the Potomac River – from Poplar Hill Creek to Flood’s Creek (notated in purple in the middle of the photo).  He kept horses at the ready to take expresses of information to those troops nearby.  The British gun vessel Roebuck was very detrimental to American navy ships, so it was important to know its location.  I could not find information on the Foy, but Mr. Greenwell’s spelling of its name may not have been correct.  This was the most interesting revolutionary account by a pensioner that I have read.

State of Kentucky, Franklin County

On this 6th day of February 1833, personally appeared before the Honorable Samuel Todd, sole Judge of the Franklin Circuit Court, now in session in the capital in Frankfort, Bennett Greenwell, a resident of the County of Scott and State of Kentucky, aged seventy-one years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June the 7th 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States and served as herein stated:

That, on the 8th day of December 1777, he entered the service of the United States as a volunteer, in Captain John Greenwell’s company of volunteer militia, who acted as

minute men in the Maryland Militia, that Captain John Greenwell, with his company, was engaged from December 1777, until the close of the Revolutionary War, in guarding that part of Maryland, which lies between the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers on the Chesapeake Bay; that the said Bennet Greenwell was stationed, by Captain John Greenwell, on that part of the Potomac which lies between Poplar Hill Creek and Flood’s Creek, being about two miles on said river; that the duty assigned to him was to guard that portion of the Potomac, keep a good lookout for the British rebels and give immediate notice to Captain John Greenwell’s company of militia, or to Captain Shelton’s company of light horse, or to any other troops that might be nearest to his station when it should become necessary for him to give the alarm; that he kept two horses constantly in the stable, to be always ready to carry the expresses

during the whole of the time he was in the service, which was from the 8th of December 1777 until the close of the war, in October 1781; that he frequently carried expresses during the period intervened between December 1777 and October 1781; that whilst he as engaged in watching the Potomac and carrying expresses as aforesaid, several British vessels sailed up the Potomac and committed depredations on the inhabitants upon the Maryland shore, that he recollects particularly two British 174 gun vessels, the Roebuck and the Foy, which frequently sailed up the Potomac, that on one occasion they burnt the house of Hubert Blackstone at the mouth of Clement’s Bay (the other purple line), which empties in to the Potomac at Blackstone’s Island (the green island circled) and the crew took a great many beeves and nails from the island; at another time they burnt William Gwider’s house at Piney Point neck (circled bottom right); that on all of these occasions he carried his expresses to the nearest company to his said station; several of these expresses were carried to Captain John Greenwell,

several to Captain Charles Shelton, who commanded the light horse; several to Bennet Raighly, the lieutenant in said troop of horse and several to Bennett Coombs, the lieutenant of Captain John Greenwell’s company of volunteer militia.  During the whole of the period from December 1777 until the close of the war, as aforesaid, he was engaged as one of Captain Greenwell’s company, and by his orders, in watching the two miles on the Potomac and in all necessary occasions carrying expresses.  He further states that he never received any written discharge from the service; but that after the news was received of the capture of Cornwallis, Captain John Greenwell, who was his relative, told him that the war was over and that he was discharged.  He has no documentary evidence and knows of no person by whom he can positively prove the aforesaid services, except William Fenwick of Franklin County, Kentucky, who is about seventy-five years of age; whose testimony he will attach to this statement.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or

annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency of the United States.

Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

Bennett Greenwell

Questions put to the applicant by the Court:

Where and in what year were you born?  Answer, I was born in the County of St. Mary in the State of Maryland on the 7th day of December 1761.

Have you any record of your age and if so where is it?  Answer, I have none, but my father had which was in the possession of my brother Joseph in 1810 when I was last in Maryland, and I then took a copy from it, which I have examined and know it to be as stated above.

Where were you living when called into the service?  Where have you lived since the revolution?  And where do you now live?  Answer, I lived when called into the service in St. Mary’s County in Maryland, where I resided until 1795, when I moved to Kentucky and settled on the

waters of Elkhorn in Scott County, Kentucky, where I have resided ever since.

How were you called into the service?  Were you drafted?  Or did you volunteer?  Or were you a substitute and, if so, for whom?  Answer, I volunteered.

State the names of some of the regular officers, who were with the troops where you served; such continental and militia regiments as you can recollect, and the general circumstances of your service.  Answer, there were no regular officers with the troops where I served and no regiments wither of continental troops or militia.  The only troops where I served were the light horse cavalry, and volunteers or militia, to act as light troops, to fly from point to point, as occasion might require, to repel the predatory invasions from the British shipping along the Maryland shore of the Chesapeake Bay, between the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, and also along the Maryland shore of both those rivers.

Did you ever receive a discharge for the service, and if so, by whom was it given and what has become of it?  Answer, I never received any other discharge than a verbal one from Captain John Greenwell

at the close of the war.

State the names of persons to whom you are known in your present neighborhood, and who can testify as to your character for veracity, and their belief of your services as a soldier of the revolution.  Answer, I am well acquainted with Col. Richard M. Johnson, who is now in congress; I am acquainted with Mr. William Fenwick, who can testify as to my service as a soldier in the revolution, and with Mr. Samuel P. Weisiger, Major J. J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick and many others who can testify as to my character for veracity.

We, William Fenwick, Joseph J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick and Joseph Smith, citizens residing in the county of Franklin and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that we are well acquainted with Bennett Greenwell, who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration; that we believe him to be seventy-one years of age; that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the revolution, and that we

concur in that opinion.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.

William Fenwick, J. Smith, Joseph J. Belt, Stephen Fenwick

And the said Court do hereby declare their opinion after the investigation of the matter and putting the interrogations prescribed by the War Department; that the above named applicant, was a revolutionary soldier and served as he stated, and the Court further certifies that it appears to them that William Fenwick, Joseph Smith, Joseph Belt and Stephen Fenwick, who have signed the preceding certificate are residents of the County of Franklin and state aforesaid, and as credible persons and that their statement is entitled to credit.

State of Kentucky, Franklin County

I, Philip Sargent, clerk of the Franklin Circuit Court, in the State of Kentucky, do certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Bennet Greenwell for a pension.

In testimony whereof, I have hereto set my hand as clerk and affixed the seal of said Court this 6th day of February 1833.

Philip Sargent.

Bennett Greenwell received a pension of $40 per year for his military service during the Revolutionary War.

George Rogers Clark and Locust Grove – Jefferson County

Locust Grove decorated for Christmas in the traditional manor of the 1810’s.

Information on the family of George Rogers Clark is taken from articles written for The Filson Club History Quarterly 1935-1940, by Rogers Clark Ballard Thurston.  In his latter years, General Clark lived with his sister, Lucy, who married William Croghan.  Their home was Locust Grove, located on Blankenbaker Road near the Ohio River.  Ritchey and I love to visit Locust Grove – in addition to being open all year, special events are held – a spring garden show in May, a Jane Austen festival in July, an 18th Century Market Fair the last week in October and Christmas at Locust Grove in December.  I will share some photos we’ve taken.

Tea during the Christmas festivities.

George Rogers Clark was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1752.  Within a few years his family moved to Caroline County, Virginia.  Parents John Clark and Ann Rogers had ten children, all born in Virginia:  Jonathan; George Rogers; Ann; John, Jr.; Richard; Edmund; Lucy; Elizabeth; William and Frances Eleanor.  Some of the general’s family moved to the Louisville area of Kentucky – including his parents.  His parents home, Mulberry Hill, was on the eastern outskirts of Louisville, on Beargrass Creek.  Of the six sons of John and Ann Clark, five served as commissioned officers and the youngest, William, was one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo whose famous expedition to the northwest was made 1804-1806.

Cooking Carolina rice and his Lordship’s beef – delicious together in a bowl – at the 18th Century Market Fair!

With bread and cheese we had quite a sumptuous meal!

George Rogers Clark was a surveyor and as early as 1772 made a trip down the Ohio River.  By 1776 he stayed in Kentucky and became the one to whom others in the state looked to for advice and leadership.  For a short time Clark was at Ford Harrod in Mercer County.

Ritchey talking about cannon and shot.

The general and I discussing his last visit to Washington City.

And jugglers!

In 1809 General Clark stumbled and fell at the fireplace and one of his legs was burned.  Erysipelas set in and his leg was amputated above the knee.  It was at this time that he came to live with his sister and brother-in-law at Locust Grove.  He lived an additional nine years, dying February 13, 1818.  Immediate survivors were his brother William, in St. Louis, and three sisters, Ann Gwathmey, Lucy Croghan and Fanny Fitzhugh.  He was buried in the Croghan family cemetery at Locust Grove.

General George Rogers Clark, November 9, 1752, died February 13, 1818.  Croghan Family Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In 1869, from a bequest from Isaac Clark, son of Jonathan, lots were procured in Cave Hill Cemetery, and many of the graves were moved to that location, including General Clark’s.

General George Rogers Clark’s burial spot at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.



James B. Davenport Confederate Soldier – Larue County

James B. Daveport, Pvt., Co K, 8 KY Cav, Confederate States, February 9, 1838 – October 20, 1919.  Red Hill Cemetery, Larue County, Kentucky.

James B. Davenport was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War.  In the 1860 census, just before the beginning of the war, he lived in the household of Daniel W. Dyer and his family, along with four others.  Mr. Dyer was a dry goods merchant and I believe several of these men worked for him.  James, at the age of 21, was a stove merchant.

James Davenport was 24 years of age when he joined Company K, 4th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry.  He joined October 1, 1862, in Danville, Kentucky, for a three year period, and mustered in at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, November 6, 1862.

He was taken prisoner at Cheshire, Ohio, July 20, 1863, and was not released until towards the end of the war on February 24, 1865.

James took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on February 24, 1865, at Camp Douglas, Illinois.  He was fair of complexion with dark hair and grey eyes, five feet eight and one-half inches in height.

After the war James Davenport returned to Larue County.  He married Fannie E. Barnes on October 7, 1869.  The records show that the gentleman was of age and the guardian of the lady gave consent in person.

One interesting note is the witnesses for their wedding – Ben Dyer and Nannie Dyer.  I’m sure these were members of the family James lived with before the war.

In the 1870 census for Larue County the newlyweds lived in their own household, James was 31 and Fannie 20.  James was a dry goods merchant with a personal estate of $7,500.

In 1900 the couple are 61 and 50, respectively.  They have been married for 30 years and have had four children, two living.  With them is daughter Florence, 23.  Florence must have married shortly afterwards, since in 1910 the couple are living alone.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, July 24, 1912.

Fannie Davenport succumbed to tuberculosis on July 22, 1912.  She was survived by her husband and two children, Florence and Ernest.  Daughter Florence died of the same disease two years later.

James lived another seven years.  I could find no obituary for him.

J. B. Davenport, September 9, 1838 – October 20, 1919.  Fannie E., his wife, November 11, 1849 – July 22, 1912.  C. N. McGill, March 3, 1869 – August 2, 1937.  Florence D., his wife, March 28, 1877 – April 19, 1914.

Beside this gravestone are those for Daniel W. Dyer and his wife.



Major John Y. Hill – Early Settler of Elizabethtown – Hardin County

from Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County – 1776-1976, McClure, 1979

Major John Y. Hill

Samuel Haycraft uses the title ‘Major’ in describing John Y. Hill, who came to Elizabethtown about the year 1818.  The Elizabethtown community was settled by immigrants from Virginia and Pennsylvania almost entirely, John Y. Hill coming from the first named.

John Y. Hill was a tailor by trade and training, but in the little frontier town, there were several tailors and the demand for his service was not sufficient to support him and he turned his energies into other pursuits, for a while as horse trader, and then into the burning of brick and building houses.  He built the brick structure standing today at the corner of North Main and Poplar Streets, the present Brown-Pusey Community House.  It was the residence to which he took his bride, the former Rebecca D. Stone, who was born in Bloomfield, Washington County in 1804.

John Y. Hill was the outstanding builder in the town for more than a quarter-century, as evidence of his ability and integrity, several of the buildings which he erected are standing and being used as of the time of this writing.  When he quit building it was estimated that he had built over one-fourth of the houses in the town.

He built the first brick house of worship used by the Severns Valley Baptists (still standing on Popular Street), the Hardin Academy (long since torn away), the present Community House, the McKinney house and the Wintersmith house (still used today as homes, Mrs. J. W. Hodges living in the McKinney house and the Wintersmith house occupied by Miss Minnie Patterson until her death).

About 1850, John Y. Hill gave up the building of houses; he remodeled his residence and with some alterations and additions, converted it into a hotel (tavern, inn), known as the Hill House.  It soon gained a wide reputation for hospitality, good food and good management.  He died August 1, 1855, his death said to have been due to over-exertion.  The town was saddened by his passing, he was very popular, and as evidence had been elected to the State Legislature in 1832.  Following Hill’s death, his wife, who was known as ‘Aunt Beck’ continued to operate the Hill House during the remainder of her life.  She died in 1882.  Her abilities were such that the business continued to thrive.  Many of the prominent people of the time stopped at the Hill House.  During the period 1871/73 when units of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry were stationed in the town, General and Mrs. Custer and a number of the officers of the regiment had rooms and took their meals with Aunt Beck.

That has now been a century ago, but the appearance of the brick house at the corner of North Main and Poplar Street has changed so little that one might expect to see rugged officers in their blue uniform, boots and spurs, emerge from the front door and stride across the street to their offices, which were located in the two-story brick building, which also contained the offices of some of the county officials.  This building was for years the home of the Will Sprigg family.  The Phil Watkins family lived there at one time; the building was torn away some years back, and another landmark was gone.

In the above advertisement from The Louisville Daily Courier, Saturday, July 16, 1859, for a fun day of travel to Grayson Springs passengers leave Louisville at 6:00 a.m., stopping for breakfast in Elizabethtown, at several hotels, including ‘Hill’s Hotel, John Y. Hill, proprietor; at either on of which past named houses the most sumptuous fare will always be found.’

At first, I thought it strange that John Y. Hill was still named as proprietor of the hotel in this 1859 article, since according to Mr. McClure he died in 1855.

John Y. Hill came to Elizabethtown 1818, died August 1, 1855.  Elizabethtown Cemetery, Hardin County, Kentucky.

Even his gravestone lists the date of his death as August 1, 1855.

But I found a newspaper article from The Louisville Daily Courier, dated Wednesday, August 10, 1859, that announces his death – The Elizabethtown Democrat announces the death of Major John Y. Hill, he well-known hotel keeper of that place.

Also, in the 1859 Hardin County deaths is listed John Y. Hill, 59, Inn Keeper, August 2, pneumonia.

You can tell the gravestone was placed there in more recent years.  Perhaps it was written incorrectly in the family bible.  Who knows?  But since it was in the newspaper from 1859 and in the county death records for that year, I think we can safely say that is the year John Hill died.

Monument to Minnie Key Wilder in Cave Hill Cemetery – Jefferson County

Located in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, is a beautiful monument designed by Robert E. Launitz, ‘the father of monumental art in America’, and was erected in memory of Minnie, the Wilder’s only child, who died at the age of seven.  The child is at the top of the monument, standing on a cloud, shoulder level to her parents, with angel wings, signifying her status as a member of the heavenly fold.  The grieving mother has her hand to her head, while the father points to heaven where his child now resides.  The free hand of the husband is on his wife’s shoulder, trying to ease her sorrow.  Two angels are on a lower portion of the memorial, with their torches fallen to the ground, a life extinguished too soon.

Edward Wilder was originally from Maryland, his parents were Edward and Susan Key Egerton Wilder.  Ruth Sevier was born in Alabama, the daughter of John and Mildred Merrill Sevier.  Her great-grandfather, John Sevier, was a Revolutionary hero and the first Governor of Tennessee – Sevier County in the state is named for him (now famous for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge).  Edward and Ruth married in 1853 and Edward brought her to his home city of Louisville, Kentucky, where he was a wholesale druggist.

Their daughter, Minnie Key Wilder, was born January 28, 1854.  Tragedy struck the family in 1861 when Minnie became ill with scarlet fever, and due to an unfortunate accident died February 21st of that year.  A young Negro girl living with the family accidentally caught her clothes on fire in the room where Minnie lay sick.  Being frightened she jumped on the bed where Minnie lay.  Mrs. Wilder doused both girls with water and extinguished the flames, but the cold water enhanced Minnie’s illness and she passed away a week before her seventh birthday.

The Louisville Daily Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 19, 1861

In memory of Minnie Key, only child of Edward and Ruth Sevier Wilder, born January 28, 1854, died February 21, 1861.  Edward Wilder born December 31, 1825, died March 25, 1890.  With pity behold our hearts, dear Lord.  Ruth Sevier, widow of Edward Wilder and C. G. Collins, born March 21, 1833 and died February 22, 1915.  Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In the years following this accident the couple continued their life, living at the same address at Fifth Street and Broadway, sometimes with other family members being part of the household.  Edward Wilder was a wholesale druggist and his many ads in The Courier-Journal in the mid to late 19th century give us a clue to his sales – paper dated Tuesday, March 5, 1867.

His famous ‘Stomach Bitters’ would cure dyspepsia, liver complaints, fever, ague, colic, flux, ‘a mild and delightful invigorant for delicate females’, an excellent appetizer, etc.

His Sarsaparilla and Potash cured scrofula, Syphilis or venereal disease, neuralgia, skin diseases.

The compound extract of Wild Cherry was beneficial for coughs colds and catarrhs.

And his Family Pills worked wonders for constipated and sluggish bowels.

His drugstore was at 215 Main Street (Marble Front).

The Courier Journal, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Friday, March 28, 1890

Edward Wilder died March 25, 1890.  His obituary gives no cause of death.

After Edward’s death Ruth married Charles Collins, who lived only a few years.  She lived at least an additional twenty years after the deaths of both husbands.

The Courier Journal, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 23, 1915

Back of monument.

Front of monument – difficult to photograph with sun in back.