John Cotton Taylor

John Cotton Taylor

This photograph looks very old and ragged – much the way John Cotton Taylor must have felt before he died.  This man is my great-great-great-grandfather.  He was part of the contingent who moved westward to Kentucky with Captain John Linton.

John Cotton was a member of the Loudoun County, Virginia, Militia.  In the journal entry for November 21, 1818, he is listed as having three fines with “Gone to Kentucky” written beside his name.  All able-bodied male citizens over the age of eighteen were required to enroll in the militia.  Men who missed drills or musters could be fined seventy-five cents for each offense.  John Cotton owed $2.25.  But since he never returned to Virginia I guess the debt is still owed today!

After moving to Washington County, Kentucky, John Cotton waited ten years before marrying Susan Clark Edwards, a granddaughter of Captain John.  It was said he took boats of goods for sale down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and down to New Orleans.  During one of these trips he contracted scarlett fever and was away from home for some time.

John Cotton and Susan married November 25, 1828.  They had four children – Catherine Elizabeth (from whom I’m descended), Edward Edwards, Benjamin Springer and Margaret Ann.  Six months after the birth of Margaret, Susan died.

It wasn’t until twenty years later that John Cotton married again – this time Susan Kimberlain, on February 4, 1848.  Having the same first name as his first wife was very confusing, and I didn’t realize until much later that this was his second wife.  John and Susan K. had two daughters, Mary Louisa and Sarah Susan.

In 1859 the west once again lured John Cotton and he and his family moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He and his wife Susan, his sons Edward and Benjamin – along with Benjamin’s wife Martha Janes and infant son John – his daughters Margaret Ann, Mary Louisa and Sarah Susan made the trip through Kentucky, just across the Mississippi to Cape Girardeau.  The only one remaining in Kentucky was his daughter Catherine Elizabeth, who by this time was married to Edward Edwards Linton and had two small children.

This is much the pattern of Captain John Linton – at the age of 67 (Captain John was 68 when he moved from Loudoun County, Virginia, to Washington County, Kentucky) John Cotton Taylor moved his family westward to a new state, a new beginning.  But that is where the similarities end.  What turned out to be a good move for Captain John, turned out to be a catastrophe for John Cotton.

Before leaving John’s sister, Elizabeth, wife of Judge Benjamin Springer, his good friend and business associate, died in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in February of 1859.

When the family arrived in Cape Girardeau, crops did not grow as well as expected.  John Cotton’s daughter Sarah died July 11, 1862, at the age of ten.  Son Edward Edwards Taylor died one month later at the age of thirty.

Son Benjamin’s wife Martha died January 9, 1866, leaving two small daughters.  Two of Benjamin and Martha’s children, John and Susan, also died while in Missouri, but I have no dates for their deaths.

On May 15, 1869, John Cotton’s daughter Mary Louisa, died at the age of 19.  Four months later, John Cotton Taylor, himself, died September 12th at the age of 77.

The remaining family members were devastated.  Of the original nine who made the trip west and three more born in Missouri, a total of twelve, only five were left – less than half.  The family was broken-hearted.  They buried their dead and moved back to Kentucky – Benjamin and his two young daughters, Etta and Margaret, his sister Margaret (who helped him raise them) and his stepmother Susan.  What a sad, miserable trip it must have been.



Crow and Coulter Marriage Bond

Crow-Coulter Marriage Bond

Mansfield Crow and Nancy Jane Coulter are my great-great-grandparents.  There has always been confusion concerning their marriage – or perhaps their life after their marriage.  I know they married August 19, 1855.  Mansfield and Nancy had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Crow, born in September of 1856.  Quite simple so far.

In the 1850 census, before their marriage, Mansfield, 12,  is living with his parents Mansfield and Mary A. Crow.

In 1860, after their marriage, Mansfield, 21, and daughter, Mary Elizabeth, 4, are listed with his mother Mary A. Crow – evidently his father had died by that time.  Nancy Jane, in 1860, is listed with her parents, Harrison and Elizabeth Coulter.

Mansfield is not listed in the 1870 census – could he have died during the Civil War?  I do know that he served.  Nancy is listed with her parents in 1870, along with Mary Elizabeth.

In 1880 they are still living with Harrison and Elizabeth, Nancy is listed as a widow, and Eliza listed as their granddaughter.  Later that year, in September, Nancy marries William Case – she is listed as a widow on the marriage bond.

One interesting fact is that in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census, Nancy is listed as a Coulter – not a Crow.  In 1880 her daughter is listed with the last name Crow.

In a video I watched about census records it said that when the census taker came by he asked for the names of everyone in the house on that particular day.  If Mansfield and his daughter were staying with his mother for a while – perhaps she needed help managing the farm, since Mansfield, Sr., had died, that may be why they were counted as part of her household.

Another one of those genealogy mysteries that just need a little more research!

Hospitality, Kentucky Style

Note by Phyllis Brown:  The following is a letter to my great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, a great-granddaughter of Captain John Linton.  Hugh Linton was her cousin, a great-great-grandchild of the Captain.  They corresponded for many years – with interspersed trips to Springfield – I’m not sure that Great-Grandmother Frances visited Hugh in Hopkinsville, she being older by sixteen years.

Two things I know about her – she loved genealogy – wrote to many of her cousins gathering information about their ancestors – and did what research she could by other means.  I have many of her genealogy notes – written in her own hand – stories about the Captain, family lists and other things.

The other thing I know about her is she was a true southern lady whose hospitality knew no bounds.  Frances loved to cook and entertain people in her home.  My mom tells the story that one day a salesman stopped by the house at lunch time and Frances invited him to stay for the noon meal.  Alice, her daughter (and my grandmother!) was so embarrassed that they had only salt pork, biscuits, greens and potatoes.  But the salesman declared it was the best meal he had eaten in quite a while.  Sometimes it’s not exactly what you eat, but who you share the meal with!

November 18, 1941

Dear Cousin Frances,

We arrived home about 5:30 to 6:00 Sunday afternoon, in good shape and having had a wonderful trip there.

I don’t know which of us three had the best time; we were all treated royally by you and your good family, and even the weather was perfect for us.  It was a most enjoyable trip and visit for us, and we want to thank you, Cousin Margaret and Cousin Bob and both the boys for it.  We have really found homefolks in your family; and it reminds us of the days when we would go back to the home of my father and mother in Logan County, when they had time to talk and live in the unhurried atmosphere, different from that of the last few years.

It was a treat to get all the information you had for us.  We enjoyed the old traditions that you and Cousin Maggie O’Bryan told us of the old Captain and his home life, and to see your old treasures in the corner cabinet there.

Lydabel was very much taken with your husband, and kept talking about what a kind expression he had and the twinkle in his eye, and was distressed that he had difficulty with his hearing and recalled her mother’s same trouble for many years.

We trust you all keep well and enjoy life.  Let as many of you as can get off, come down to visit us, and we will take you to see the Logan County kin, who by the way live some 40 miles closer to Springfield than we in Hopkinsville do.

With love from Lydabel and Frances and thanks for your many hospitalities.

Your Cousin,


Three Little Carricos

Robert, Rueben and Beulah Carrico

This is a picture of my mother’s three oldest siblings.  Robert, the oldest, sitting in the chair with his baby sister, was born 18 Sep 1921.  When World War II broke out he was called into service.  He was killed by friendly fire in Sicily, Italy, 14 Sep 1944, and is buried there.  He received a purple heart for his service to his country.  Robert looks so sad in this picture.  Mom remembers him as a very handsome man, going off to war – he was ten years older, making him about 18 at the time.

Rueben, sitting on the arm of the chair, was born in 1922.  He died of appendicitis 25 Apr 1932 – my mother was only a year old at the time and doesn’t remember Rueben.  My grandmother said a few weeks before he died he came down one morning and said Jesus had come and sat on his bed and talked to him that night.  At the time she didn’t think anything of it, but after his death took it as a premonition.

Of the three, Beulah looks a little more mischievous than the other two.  Look at her cute little toes!  She was born 11 Jun 1924.  Beulah married and had eleven children.  She was an excellent cook – guess you would have to be with that large a family!  Mom loved her potato salad – and her cakes!  I especially remember her laugh!  She celebrated her 87th birthday earlier this month!

Across the Creek and Through the Fields

Hill Cemetery - Garrard County, Kentucky

This area of Garrard County, Kentucky, is very quiet now.  The sound of gunshots is very far removed by time.  The birds sing in the little copse of trees.  Cows moo and swish flies with their tails.  Corn grows in the fields surrounding the cemetery.  Queen Anne’s Lace grows in abundance.  It is so far away from everything that you don’t hear cars or other signs of civilization.  An idyllic place.

Scene From the Cemetery

To get here you drive through a creek, and a little way up the hill, stop and politely ask the farmer that lives on the edge of the property if you can visit the graveyard.  He gladly obliges, tells  you to drive back on his property about a mile, when you get to the barn climb over the fence – you are now on farmland that belongs to his neighbor.  Walk down the little hill and up the next and you’ll see it – on the edge of the cornfield.

Hill Cemetery

There are only two purchased stones in this cemetery.  Alex Hill, a Civil War soldier, no dates – and Lucy Hill, died 4 March 1850 in the 43rd year of her age.  Lucy was the wife of Isaiah Hill, killed in the Hill-Evans Feud, 13 March 1852, during the tobacco house fight.  Isaiah’s stone we found face down.  When we turned it over it was very brittle and crumbling.  Cows had walked through the cemetery and many stones were overturned.

Isaiah Hill

This is what we could read on Isaiah’s stone:

I.  Hill, Was Born, the 8 of      , And died, Mar

Isaiah and two brothers were shot on the same day.  Russell and Isaiah died immediately, Fred lived a few weeks, but eventually died of his wounds.  Their brother Jesse had been shot and killed three years previous, in March of 1849.

We found one stone that had some lettering – J. S. Hill Was Born – that’s all.  It’s almost as if this stone is frozen in time – no dates to possibly calculate who J. S. Hill was.  Why was it not finished?  Could this be the stone for Jesse?  Of course there were several John’s in the family; James was a popular name, also.  It is impossible to say for sure whose stone this is.

Lucy Hill and J. S. Hill

This photo was taken in 1981 – I was pregnant with my son when we went on this adventure! This is a better picture than the one taken during our visit in 1997.

Hill Cemetery

Another view of the cemetery – you can see some of the stones standing in the upper left-hand corner – and Ritchey diligently checking a stone for any name or date.  Other than the four stones I’ve mentioned, we found nothing written on any of the others.  There are about 30 graves in this cemetery – most having a headstone and a footstone.  Several are very close together – a child’s grave.  I made a drawing of the location of all the stones, and it has been very helpful through the years.

I think it’s time to make one more trip to the Hill Cemetery – it’s been 30 years!  Perhaps there will be something we’ve missed the first two trips!  And most of all, I just want to make sure it is still there!

Captain John Linton, Wife and Children

Note by Phyllis Brown:  This is the family group sheet for Captain John Linton and wife Ann Nancy Mason.  Ten children, ten original descendants.  But think of the number that would be now.  There are eight generations from Captain John to my children – my Linton who is named for him.  Except for his son, John Hancock, the son named for him, the Captain’s children all had at least five children of their own, who each had children, etc., etc.  That is a cascade of descendants!  I would love to find them all – I feel it may be an impossible task – but one definitely worth trying!
At one of the genealogy conventions I attended there was a talk on the unique, individuality of each person.  Consider all the ancestors you have – go back several generations on your family tree.  Then take out one great-great-great-grandfather.  Take out that one person and see all the holes that automatically pop up on that family tree.  You are no longer alive, no longer that unique individual.  Consider the shorter life span of years ago.  Consider the always pressing possibility of death during, or shortly after, childbirth.  Consider the illnesses that today seem minor, but at that time deadly.  What about death due to wars?  Doesn’t it seem remarkable that all these people on your family tree came together to make you into the person you are today.  It seems the least we can do is search for them and keep their memory alive.
Family Group Sheet for John Hancock Linton

Husband: John Hancock Linton
Birth: 1750 in Prince William County, Virginia
Death: 04 Dec 1836 in Washington County, Kentucky
Burial: Washington County, Kentucky
Marriage: Bef. 1772 in Virginia
Father: Moses Linton
Mother: Susanna Hancock

Wife: Ann Nancy Mason
Birth: Virginia
Death: 14 Nov 1832 in Washington County, Kentucky
Elizabeth Berkeley
Father: Benjamin Mason
Mother: Elizabeth berkeley



Name: Elizabeth Rebecca Linton
Birth: 1771
Spouse: Richard (Dick) Keene

Name: Moses Linton
Birth: 1772 in Virginia
Death: Aug 1854 in Nelson County, KY
Marriage: 17 Dec 1800 in Orange County, VA
Spouse: Ann Nancy Pead

Name: Catherine Linton
Birth: Abt. 1775
Death: Aft. 1836
Marriage: Abt. 1795 in Virginia
Spouse: Henry Taylor

Name: Benjamin Franklin Linton
Birth: 16 Jun 1777 in Virginia
Death: 22 Feb 1861 in Washington County, KY
Marriage: 12 Apr 1805 in Fluvanna County, VA
Spouse: Lucy Crewdson

Name: Nancy Linton
Birth: 1778 in Virginia
Death: 1861 in Washington County, KY
Spouse: Edward Barber Edwards

Name: Susan Linton
Birth: 1782
Death: Aft. 1850
Marriage: 15 Mar 1812
Spouse: William Moran Jr.

Name: William Linton
Birth: 1790 in Virginia
Death: Aft. 1850 in Washington County, Kentucky
Marriage: 05 Apr 1817 in Washington County, Kentucky
Spouse: Elizabeth Lyon Moran

Name: Lewis Linton
Birth: 1796 in Virginia
Marriage: 21 Nov 1820
Spouse: Sarah Janes

Name: Martha Linton
Birth: 1793
Death: 06 May 1836 in Washington Co, KY
Marriage: 26 May 1823
Spouse: Horatio Mudd
Other Spouses: Charles E. Powell (03 Feb 1813)

Name: John Hancock Linton
Birth: Abt. 1795
Death: 1838 in Washington County, KY
Marriage: 16 Jan 1837 in Washington County, KY
Spouse: Julia Greene

Lucky To Be Alive

Isaiah Hill and Lydia Ross

My great-grandfather, Isaiah Hill, could write a book about his life!  His were truly the adventures you read about in books – in the comfort of your arm chair, not risking life and limb in the process!

Isaiah was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, about 1835, the son of Isaiah and Lucy Murphy Hill.  His was the Hill family involved in the Hill-Evans Feud, a relatively minor scuffle, more concerned with taking each other to court, until Hezekiah Evans shot and killed Jesse Hill (Isaiah’s uncle) on the courthouse steps in March of 1849.

March 4, 1850, Isaiah’s mother died – during or shortly after the birth of her 13th child, Lucy.  The feud continued to escalate until March 13, 1852, when his father and two uncles were shot and killed by the Evans faction.  This left all those children to fend for themselves.  Mary, the oldest daughter, was only 16 when she became mother to her younger siblings.

Isaiah and many of his brothers moved to Anderson and Washington counties to get away from the fight that put so many of their family in their graves.

When the Civil War began Isaiah answered the call to duty and enrolled at Camp Robinson in Captain Downey’s Company E, 19th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, September 25, 1861, for a three year term.  My grandfather told me war stories that his father told him – having to hide in the rafters of covered bridges – not daring to breathe until the Confederate troops passed below.  Or being in the midst of battle and having first your fellow soldier to the right drop with a bullet wound through the heart, then the one on the left shortly afterwards.  He never knew if his turn would be next.

From enrollment to mustering out, Isaiah held the rank of private.  During that time there were several six-week periods when he was on detached service with the Chicago Mercantile Battery.  When the company’s term of enlistment had expired they returned to Louisville, Kentucky, to be mustered out.  The company remained in the barracks for some time, and it was at this point that Isaiah, along with several others in the company, contracted small pox.  He was ordered to the hospital by John A. Brady, US Surgeon, and taken by his captain, John Barnett, on January 22, 1865, and remained there until March 27, 1865, and was at that point mustered out.  George W. Hammack, one of his company who also had small pox, died while in the hospital.

As you can see by the picture, small pox caused great problems for Isaiah.  He was blind in his right eye, deaf in his left ear and badly scarred over his body.  The rigors of war left him with scurvy and piles – which was worsened by the addition of having small pox.

He applied for and received a pension from the Record and Pension Office of the War Department.  How do I know this?  I requested records of his military service from the National Archives and was sent an inch-thick pile of legal size copies.  Affidavits by Isaiah, his captain, his fellow soldiers; pension applications, letters, doctor’s statements, widow’s application, etc., etc., were included!  An absolute mountain of information!  One of the applications lists the names and birthdates of his children, another lists only those alive in 1898 – by that time two had died.  But the most important paper to me was the affidavit he made on February 18, 1908, concerning his age.  It is as follows:

Inability Affidavit, State of Kentucky, County of Marion

In the matter of Isaiah Hill, Pension Claim No. 266.175, of additional evidence wanted as to age, on this 18 day of February, A.D. 1908, personally appeared before me a notary public in and for the aforesaid county, duly authorized to administer oaths, Isaiah Hill, a resident of Lebanon, in the County of Marion, and State of Kentucky, whose post office address is Lebanon, Kentucky, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case, as follows:  That he is unable to comply with the requirement of the Pension Office as to his age.  There being no public record of his birth, no baptismal record to be found and the Family Bible is lost.  My parents died when it was said I was 17 years old.  For that reason I have always counted my age from date of my parents death, who I heard say just before their deaths I was 17 years old.  My mother died in the year 1850 and my father died two years later in 1852.  and it was from that date I claimed to be 17 years old; and being 17 years old in 1852 when my father died would make me 72 years old in 1907, this is the best record I can give.  Isaiah Hill, Attest Y. J. Bailey, J. G. Bard

This is a very important document since it is proof positive that this Isaiah Hill is the son of Isaiah and Lucy Murphy Hill, who died in Garrard County in 1852 and 1850 respectively.  I have known for years that he was – my genealogy intuition told me so from the first moment I looked at the 1850 census of Garrard County with Isaiah Hill listed, with son Isaiah ten years old.  And I was even more sure when my grandfather’s marriage certificate listed place of birth of both his parents as Garrard County.

There is always the possibility of finding just the proof you need in any corresponding record of your family member.  Leave no stone unturned – look through all the possibilities – it is amazing what you might find!

Oh, and just in case you had a question about his pension application, Isaiah did receive a pension from the United States government for $4.00 per month beginning on June 25, 1866 (which would be $58.83 a month in today’s money – try feeding your family on that!).  Each and every year he had to fill out applications.  This increased to $8.00 per month in 1884, $12.00 per month in 1891, $25.00 per month in 1912 and a grand total of $40.00 per month in 1918 until his death September 8, 1919.  His widow Lydia, then received his $40 pension until her death in 1931 (she was approximately 20 years younger than Isaiah).