Tag Archives: French Huguenot

Thomas Madison Lillard and Mary Bright

The Advocate-Messenger, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Sunday, April 24, 1983

According to a family history, Thomas Madison Lillard was born December 5, 1815, near the small town of Kirksville on Silver Creek in Madison County.  He was one of five children of Thomas Lillard, a native of Culpeper County, Virginia, and Elizabeth Rider, a native of Madison County, Virginia.  The Lillards moved from Culpeper County to Madison County, Kentucky, in 1808.

When Thomas Madison Lillard was three months old, his father died, then in 1829 his mother died.  He was 14 years old, without patrimony and with no legacy, except a clear head, an honest heart, a good constitution, and well-directed energy and industry.

He as described as six feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds.  He had dark gray eyes, a Roman nose, a good set of teeth and black curly hair.  He was a French Huguenot.  Because he only attended school three months, his reading was poor.

As a young man, Lillard worked as a drover and stock trader, spending winters in Charleston, South Carolina, and summers herding livestock to the markets in New York.

On October 23, 1848, at the age of 33, he married Mary Bright Williams, a young widow of 25 years of age of Stanford.  After spending the winter in Charleston, South Carolina, the couple returned to Kentucky on May 27, 1849.

Eight months later, Lillard purchased 200 acres of land in Boyle County, part of the present homestead.  He later added to the farm to bring it to 500 acres in Boyle and Lincoln counties.  After his marriage he turned to farming.  He raised livestock, hay, and orchard grass seed, his money crop.

The family lived in a log house on the farm un1860 when the new house was ready.

Mary Bright Lillard was born March 16, 1823, on a farm owned by her parents, John Bright and Elizabeth Morrison, in Lincoln County.  Mary Bright Lillard is described as short – about five feet two inches – and stout.  She weighed 120 pounds in her younger days and 20 pounds in her most vigorous days.  Mrs. Lillard had dark brown hair and eyes.  She was one of nine children.

Thomas M. Lillard and his wife, Mary Bright, had 11 children – Elizabeth, Sarah F., John T., Henrietta, Mary T., Pet, Katherine, Thomas, Nannie B., S. J. and William H.

The youngest sons, Thomas and Wiliam acquired Spring Hill farm at their father’s death in 1891 and kept it until 1901.

Thomas Madison Lillard, born in Madison County, Kentucky, December 5, 1815, died in Boyle County, Kentucky, May 7, 1891.  ‘The friend of man, the friend of truth, The friend of age, the friend of youth.  Few hearts like his with virtue warmed, few heads with knowledge so informed.’  His wife, Mary Bright Hillard, March 16, 1823 – April 6, 1907.  Bellevue Cemetery, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky.

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, May 8, 1891

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Monday, April 8, 1907

When Did Your Ancestors Come to America?

After watching Genealogy Roadshow on PBS last night I couldn’t help but think about the differences in family history and when our ancestors came to this great land.  All my family lines were here before the Revolutionary War.  I have no ancestors who came during the waves of immigration from 1815-1865 and then from 1880-1920.  Not one of my ancestors came through Ellis Island.

  • Nicolas Martiau was a French Huguenot who left France for England, was naturalized English, and then traveled to Jamestown in 1634 as an engineer to build defenses against the Indians.  He is my 11th great-grandfather.
  • My Linton family was in Virginia before 1700 and married into the Barton/Scarlett/Hancock/Lewis/Mason families.
  • Peter and Paul Montgomery set sail from France to Maryland in the early 1700’s. Peter was naturalized a citizen of Great Britain in the early 1740’s.  My Carrico family was also in Maryland by 1710.
  • John Hill, Sr., was in Garrard County, Kentucky, by 1790, was originally from Virginia.  My Crow family was also in Kentucky at that time, and the Ross’ were from Madison County by that date.
  • My Coulter family came from North Carolina to Kentucky – first to Mercer County, then Washington County – by the late 1700’s.

And so by before 1800 all these ancestors – or rather their descendants! – were in Washington County, Kentucky, and were joined by the Linton’s in 1818 and the Hill family in 1860.  All in one county.  I find that pretty remarkable!  And makes for easier research since you don’t have to go from county to county – much less state to state – to find records!

Ritchey, on the other hand, has ancestors that are spread more around the country.  Some of his great-greats have been here a long time.  His McKee and Ritchey families were in Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s – immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.  But they didn’t stay in one place.  The first stop was Hardin County, Kentucky.  But the urge to move on to newer places was in their blood.  It was on to Indiana, then Rushville, Illinois, where they lived several years.  On to Nebraska, where they lived in sod houses!

His Jewell family is found in Maine in the early days of settlement there.  They, too, finally found their way to Rushville and married into the Ritchey family.

Jacob and Christine Klein traveled from Darmstadt, Germany, to the mid-west; as well as the Jungbluth and Becker’s.  Henry Hertz came to America from Germany in 1835 with his parents Johann Daniel Hertz and Christine Heydt.  Johann died while on the journey and was buried at sea.  Christine arrived in the new world a widow, with five children; the oldest, Henry, was only eleven.  They lived in Philadelphia for many years, Henry married and had a family of his own.  His wife died, and he married Amelia Probst, and they moved their family to Solon, Iowa.  The Leuenberger’s also lived in Solon, having moved there from Switzerland.  And there the Hertz son, George, married the Leuenberger daughter, Rosa – Ritchey’s great-grandparents.

And finally there is the mysterious Jolly family – who we’ve found in Livingston County, Kentucky – James Edwin Jolly, who married Esther, daughter of George and Rosa – even though he had a wife and family in California!

Sometimes I think my genealogy is rather boring, but if you think about the sacrifices made by those first generation American’s – who fought during the Revolutionary War and worked to make our country into this great land where we live today, it is actually remarkable!  I am very proud of all my family lines – but I still think a Russian relative would be exciting!

What are your stories about your families?  This is what makes genealogy so fascinating – it’s what makes us spend hours in cemeteries and court houses, looking through old records, hoping to find that little piece of proof that helps make us who we are today!