Tag Archives: Jefferson County Kentucky

1894 Weddings, Parties and Luncheons

I always enjoy reading the announcements in old newspapers of weddings, dinner parties and other affairs.  It is a moment, frozen in time, for us to enjoy. 

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 4, 1894

Society News

The brilliant nuptials of Mr. B. F. Watkins, of New York, and Miss Shirley Chenault, of this city, took place last evening at 9 o’clock at the College Street Presbyterian Church.  Long before the hour a large crowd of friends had assembled, and when the doors were opened they soon filled every available space in the pretty church.  The decorations were most tasteful.  Potted plants of waxy magnolias and palms formed the background for the banks of annunciation lilies.  The bride was loveliness itself, and her brunette beauty was never more pronounced than it was when she appeared last evening in her bridal gown of ivory satin, which was cut low in the neck, around which was a bertha point of lace.  A bridal veil was held on her brow with a tiara of diamonds.  The bridal bouquet was of orange blossoms and white roses, covered with white tulle, and entwined with a bowknot made from a white lace handkerchief, according to the latest Parisian idea.  The maid of honor, Miss Milbrey Watterson, wore a pink silk gown, and made a contrast to the other attendants, who entered in twos and were uniformly gowned in white moire, around the full sleeves, rounded corsage and revers of which was a trimming of otter.  They carried shower bouquets of Catherine Mermet roses.

The groom and his best man, Mr. Robert Harrison, of New York, met the bridal procession at the altar, and formed the central figures of the semi-circle composed of the bridesmaids and the ushers.  These were Misses Laura Brand, Abbie Goodloe, Maud Yandell, Florence Beckley, May Brockenbrough, Annie Chenault, of Richmond; Mary Chenault, of Lexington; and Messrs. John Snedecor, Preston Carson, of New York; Roger Ballard Thurston, Raphael Semmes Colston, Burton Vance, Ben Leight, Edwin Whitney and Spencer Graves, of St. Louis.  The flower girls were Nellie Chenault, Hattie Montgomery, Ethel Chenault and Maud Montgomery, all beautifully dressed.

As the wedding part moved down the aisle, Mrs. Maggie Ward Bell, the organist, played the march from “Lohengrin” and “Traumerei” during the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of the Warren Memorial Church, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Herbener, the pastor of the College Street Presbyterian Church.  At the conclusion of the ceremony the opening march from Wagner’s “Tannhauser” was played for the retrocessional.

After the ceremony a reception followed at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jason W. Chenault, of 908 Second Street, at which only the bridal party, the relatives and a few intimate friends were present.  The decorations at home were not elaborate, but were of the same kind as those at the church, in the parlors the mantels and mirrors being banked in palms and annunciation lilies.  The bridal supper was served from small tables about a large center one, where the wedding party was seated.  It was covered with a white silk cloth, and had in its center a mound of lilies surrounded by ferns.

At midnight Mr. and Mrs. Watkins left for their future home in New York City, where they have taken a residence on West Seventy-Third Street.

Among the guests from a distance were Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Nash and Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Aldrich, of New York, who came here especially to attend the wedding.


The wedding of Dr. W. Ewell and Miss Ella Belle Perry, of Taylorsville, took place Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, at the residence of the bride’s mother, Mrs. L. G. Perry.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Dr. W. W. Gardner, of Taylorsville.  The groom was formerly a resident of Louisville, where he has a large number of friends.  Miss Annie Moore, of Shelbyville, and Mr. Clarence Money, of Finchville, accompanied the bridal pair to this city.  Dr. and Mrs. Ewell are on their way to New York, where the groom expects to take a post-graduate course in surgery at the Polyclinic Hospital.


Mrs. Paul Cain, of St. James Court, was the hostess of the L.D.W. Euchre Club last evening.  The following were among those present:  Will Lyons, Kenneth McDonald, A. Leight Monroe, Donald McDonald, J. C. Burnett, John Hughes, Harry McDonald, George Avery, Henry S. Tyler, Miss Atmore.


Miss Selena Barrett, of 1212 West Broadway, gave a luncheon of twelve covers in honor of Mrs. Frederick Butler, of Detroit, yesterday morning.  The decorations in white filled in with the popular stevia flowers.


Miss Mary Swearingen leaves next week to attend the wedding of Mr. Lawrence A. Young and Miss Mabel Wheeler.  While she is in Chicago she will be the guest of Miss Katherine Baker.


A large party will leave next Wednesday for Chicago with Mr. Bennett H. Young in a private car to be present at the Young-Wheeler wedding, which takes place in that city at noon on Thursday.  In the party will be Mrs. Allison, Mrs. J. G. Cecil, Miss Mary Swearingen, Mrs. Burwell K. Marshall, Dr. Stuart Young and a number of others.


Yesterday a marriage license was issued to P. Bronger and Annie B. Lampton.


Miss Virginia Matthews gave a dance last night at her home to a number of her school friends.


Mrs. George F. Downs, who has been quite ill of la grippe, is now considerably improved and expects to be out in a few days.


Miss Julia Penn, of New Albany, who has been spending a few days with Mrs. J. Moss Terry, returned home yesterday.  Miss Penn will be one of a large theater party to hear Patti at the auditorium tomorrow evening.

Gilbert Ratcliff – WWI Soldier Killed Day Before Armistice

All casualties of war are sad, not only for the parents and family, but the rest of the country.  No one wants to lose a child, spouse, sibling, relative or friend.  But to be killed the day before the armistice took effect must have been an extra blow to the loved ones of Gilbert Ratcliff.  Since his parents were not informed until December 6, I’m sure they were ready to welcome their hero home from the war, sure that he had made it through. 

My uncle, Robert Carrico, was killed in Sicily in September of 1943.  My mother, her parents and siblings, never got over his death.  Even in her last years she would tear up talking about Robert.  I’m sure Gilbert Ratcliff’s photograph was hung on the wall, in prominent view, for all to see and remember – I know Uncle Robert’s was.

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th US Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, December 7, 1918

Six Gold Stars on Shelby’s Honor Roll

Gilbert Ratcliff’s Death Makes Total of 26 Casualties From the County

Shelbyville, Kentucky, December 6th.  Shelby County has given its sixth life to the cause of liberty and freedom.

Mr. and Mrs. Logan Ratcliff were notified by the War Department today that their son, Gilbert, who was in his twenty-seventh year, was killed in battle in France, November 10, the day before the armistice was signed.

Ratcliff went to Camp Zachary Taylor May 28 and sailed overseas the following August.  He was attached to a machine gun company.

Shelby’s other hero sons are:

Corporal Jesse N. Martin, who died April 7.  Private Luther Stevens, whose death occurred some time in July; Sergeant Frank Jesse, death reported July 23; Corporal Aaron Devine, who died in August, and Noah Wilmott who died October 14.

In addition to these six fatalities, four Shelby boys have died in France from disease, fifteen in training camps here and one in an airplane accident, making the county’s honor roll, unofficially, twenty-six.

A Historical Sketch of Mercer County for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904

Ritchey and I visited Glover’s Bookery, located at 862 S. Broadway, in Lexington, Saturday.  They have a very large section of books on the history of Kentucky, as well as county histories.  You never know what you will find.  It depends on which estate sales they visited, or who has brought books in to sale.  Let me just say we hit the jackpot.  My pockets are now empty.  But it was money well spent!

One of my treasures is a small booklet by A. B. Rue, the author and photographer of Historical Sketch of Mercer County, Kentucky (Illustrated) The Within Photographs Were Made For The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis – and the date is 1904.

I had never heard of Mr. A. B. Rue.  There are Rues in Mercer County, but did not know one of them was a photographer – or that he had a wife who was a famous portrait painter!  The following biography gives us a good idea of the life of this couple.  In the 1900 census of Mercer County, Archibald Rue is 57, had been married 35 years, and was a photographer.  His wife, Jessie, was also 57, had six children, four of whom were living at the time, and she is listed as a portrait painter!  Their daughter, Lelia Linney, 33, divorced, a lady’s perfume saleswoman, was living with the couple, along with her three children, Jessie, Cleon and Margie.  Insco Rue and Margie Rue also live in the household with their parents – Insco is a photographer and Margie is in school.

The Danville News-Advocate, Boyle County, Kentucky

Tuesday, July 12, 1904

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 30 to December 1, 1904.  More than 60 countries and 43 of the 45 American states, claimed exhibition spaces at the fair.  It is remarkable that I hold a small piece of what was shown to the world as part of Mercer County, Kentucky.  The photographs shown by A. B. Rue gave my little corner of the state a wonderful and varied history to share with the rest of the world, including the right to call Harrodsburg the first town in Kentucky and the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Appalachians.

I will have so much more to share with you from the pages of this booklet!

Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, Battle & Kniffin, 1888

Jefferson County, Kentucky

A. B. Rue, formerly a photographic artist of high repute in Louisville, is a native of mercer County, Kentucky; was born in 1842, and is a son of Nelson and Margaret (Adams) Rue, both natives of Kentucky, but whose parents came from new jersey at an early day and passed their lives in this state on a farm. A. B. Rue is the fourth in a family of nine children born to his parents. He remained on the home farm until 1861, when he enlisted in Company F, Nineteenth Kentucky Volunteers, and was in active service the three years following, being promoted to second-lieutenant in the meanwhile, and mustered out as a first-lieutenant at Louisville in 1865.  He took part in the following engagements:  Mill Springs, Cumberland Gap (and the campaign from the latter to the Ohio River), Arkansas Post, and in all the engagements by Grant in the siege of Vicksburg.  At the latter place he was taken ill and was unfit for duty about four months, after which he returned to his regiment in New Orleans and remained with it until mustered out as stated above, when he entered college at Cincinnati.  In 1866 he learned photography at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and for seven years followed his vocation in various towns through the state.  In 1881 he located in Louisville at No. 341 Fourth Avenue, where his merits as an artist were soon recognized and where he was actively employed until 1888, when he moved to Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  He was married, September 5, 1865, to Jessie Anderson, a daughter of Henry T. Anderson, so well-known as a Reformed minister.  Mrs. Rue is celebrated as a portrait painter, and has studied under the best masters in America.  She has followed the art for many years, and is an artist of superior talents.  Mr. and Mrs. Rue are the parents of six children:  Lelia, Insco, Zoe, Letcher, Margie, and one dead.  Mrs. Rue is now a member of the Presbyterian Church, while Mr. Rue is a member of the Warren Memorial Presbyterian Church; he is a member of the G.A.R., I.O.O.F., K. of P., and K. of H.


Theodore Jennings Biography

from Kentucky – A History of the State; Perrin, Battle and Kniffin, 1888

Jefferson County

Theodore Jennings was born in Greencastle, Indiana, June 7, 1850, and is a son of Theodore C. Jennings, a miller, and an early settler of Indiana, who emigrated from Kentucky.  His mother was a daughter of Joel and Mary Yager, natives of Jefferson County, Kentucky.  The subject of this sketch was educated principally in the State University at Bloomington, Indiana.  In 1872 he engaged in a general merchandise business at Utica, Indiana, and in 1876 engaged in the drug business, which he followed until April, 1881, when he sold out and removed to Jeffersonville, and took charge of Lewman and Bros. drug business until 1884, when he came to Louisville, and engaged in the same business with F. Bender, on Shelby and Jefferson streets.  Having read medicine for ten years, he began attending a course of lectures in 1885, at the Louisville Medical College, graduating in 1887, and at once commenced practicing.  His office is at 909 East Jefferson Street, Louisville.  Dr. Jennings was married, in 1872, to Miss Maggie Summers, niece of James and Margaret Hobson, of Utica, Indiana, by whom he has three children: Anna, James and Maggie.  His wife died May 25, 1880.  He was next married, October 11, 1884, to Miss Maud Fogle, a daughter of Ebenezer Fogle, of Marion County.  By this second marriage he has one daughter, Nellie M. Jennings.

Kentucky History and Genealogy Conference

While at the Maryland to Kentucky Conference in Owensboro last month, I met the fine people from the Louisville Free Public Library announcing their two day Kentucky History and Genealogy Conference.  The conference will be held at the main library in Louisville, at 301 York Street, on August 25th and 26th.  And it’s free!

This looks like a wonderful conference – eight conference tracks with such interesting topics as

  • Researching Your Revolutionary War Era Ancestors
  • Using Google Earth to Pinpoint Your Ancestors’ Locations on Current Maps
  • History of Navigation on the Ohio River
  • Genealogical Gems of the SAR Library Collection
  • Digging Up Grandpa Without A Shovel – Parts 1 & 2
  • Walking the Paths of Earth No More:  Finding Your Civil War Ancestor
  • 18th and 19th Century Burial Practices
  • Developing Your Library Collection
  • Comings and Goings:  Migration Routes of Your Ancestors

and many more!  There are seven choices during each of the eight time periods.  A few are repeated.

A plus for any librarian, you earn continuing education units (CEUs) for each session you attend – a total of nine for the two days!

Visit their website for more information and to register online.  See you there!

1782 Will of Zephaniah Blackford of Jefferson County

So many interesting things about this will!  Fort Nelson became Louisville, Kentucky.  In 1781 Colonel George Rogers Clark was stationed there where he led expeditions against the Shawnee Indians.  Zephaniah Blackford evidently knew him well enough to purchase land from him.  

Since no wife is mentioned, Zephaniah Blackford was not married, so he chose the daughters of his brother Reuben to receive his legacies, as well as his brothers and sisters.  The mention of his nursery on Fish Creek, and the number of apple trees he gives make me want to call him an early Johnny Appleseed!  Fish Creek is off Nolan River, now located in Mammoth Cave National Park, in Edmonson County. 

Zephaniah must have been a religious man, setting aside $200 for the use of the Baptist Society to preach the gospel ‘where none but darkness to be found.’

The land purchased of Captain George Rogers Clark on the mouth of the Kanawha is now located in West Virginia.  Fort Jefferson was constructed upon instructions by then Governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, he putting Clark in charge.  After the fort was built a small settlement by the name of Clarkville had some settlers make it their home, but the Indian raids caused the fort and settlement to be a disaster.  It was to have been built at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, today near the town of Wickliffe, Kentucky, in Ballard County.

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Zephaniah Blackford, Conductor of Military Store in the Interior Department, now residing at Fort Nelson, being of sound and disposing mind and memory and understanding and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof, I do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner following.  First and principally I resign my soul to God Almighty, and hope for salvation thro the merits of my blessed redeemer Christ.  As to my temporal estate I dispose thereof as follows.  I do name and constitute my brother, Reuben Blackford, to be my sole executor.  I will that all my just debts and funeral charges must first and immediately be paid.

Imprimis.  I give my Birth Right and all my property of whatever kind in East Jersey unto my brother and sisters that may be in that provenance at my decease be equally divided between them in quantity and quality to them.

Item.  I give unto my brother, Reuben Blackford, my wearing apparel and surveying instruments and all my bills and receipts from the state of Virginia and also here my settlement and presumption at Fish Creek and the six hundred acres of land I have up the Kanawha that was bought of John Savage, and two town lots I bought of Captain George R. Clark at the mouth of Big Kanawha and all rights to two town lots and appurtenances that was Jacob Shillings at Clark Ville, Fort Jefferson, to him and his heirs and assigns for him or them to sell or dispose with at phases, my just debts to be paid out of the same and two hundred dollars for burial and likewise for the use of a Baptist Society that may for future years be used in the Illinois Country and in support of the Gospel where none but darkness to be found, if demanded five years from the present date.

Item.  I give unto my niece Hannah Ruth, daughter of brother Reuben Blackford, it is my desire to use her as if she were my own daughter, I give unto her my land that is known by the falls of Blackford Manor on the Wabash River two leagues at Vincennes consisting of fourteen hundred and forty acres and appurtenances and land as entered in that office by the name of Levi Blackford, William Blackford, Oliver Blackford, George Blackford,

Richard Blackford, Moses Blackford, Isaac Blackford and Henry Blackford, to remain her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give unto her five hundred apple trees to plant on the above land out of my nursery at Fish Creek of the second choice, she to take possession of all the lands at eighteen years of age.

Item.  I give unto my niece, Phoeby, the second daughter to my brother Reuben Blackford, as a token of my friendship to her, land opposite to the town of St. Vincennes over the Wabash, containing three hundred and sixty acres of land entered in that office by my name and forty acres of this being what I bought of John Cardinne, to remain her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give unto her five hundred apple trees for the use of the said land out of my nursery aforesaid, the third choice, she may take possession at the age of eighteen years.

Item.  I give unto my niece Elizabeth, the third daughter of my brother, Reuben Blackford, as a token of my friendship to her, my land I bought of Randall White and one lot of my father, John Blackford, entered in that office, the whole containing three hundred and twenty acres of land to her and her heirs of blood forever.  I give her five hundred apple trees, of the fourth choice.  She may take possession of the premises at eighteen years of age.

Item.  I give unto my friend, Yates Conwell, as a token of the friendship I always had for him, seven hundred apple trees of my nursery at Fish Creek, the first and best choice of the said nursery.

I do deny all wills, testaments, legacies, before this time and this only do I maintain to be my sole will and last testament.  Perhaps I may add one or more codicils to this hereafter, but the rest and residue of my real and personal estate whatsoever after payments of my debts, funeral charges and legacies, I give to my brother, Reuben Blackford, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever.  In witness where of I hereunto set my hand and seal the 12th day of May in the year of our Lord 1782.  Amen.

Zephaniah Blackford

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Zephaniah Blackford, for his last will and testament in the presence of us who have hereunto set our names, as witnesses, in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other.

Buckner Pittman, William Pritchet, George Shepherd


Jefferson County, April Court 1784

The last will and testament of Zephaniah Blackford, deceased, was proven by the oath of William Pritchet, one of the subscribing witnesses and being also proven by the oath of George Walls to be the handwriting of said decedent, was admitted to record.

Teste.  Will Johnston, Clerk Jefferson Court

Jefferson County Will Book 1, Pages 3-4

Old Photo From Louisville Kentucky

Today I share this photo of a very distinguished looking gentleman from Louisville, Kentucky.  Any photo from Kentucky I find I buy.  This gentleman’s hair blends with the background, but you can definitely see his kind eyes and his patrician nose.

I would date this photo to the late 1890’s due to the collar of this gentleman, as well as the embossed name and address at the bottom of the photo.

And the advertisement covering the back of the back of the card was also used during the 1890’s.  E. Klauber, Photographer and Art Dealer, 332 Fourth Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.

Edward Klauber was a photographer for many years in Louisville.  The first instance I could find was for his shop located on 403 Main in 1864.  In 1868 he moved to 58 W. Market, and remained there through 1870.  1871-1883 his shop was at Third Street at the NE Corner of Jefferson Street.  In 1884 he moved to 332 Fourth Street and remained there through at least 1907.

I read online that Edward Klauber was considered by many to be one of the best photographers of his time.  He came from Bohemia at the age of eighteen.  His ‘large and elegant studio was compared to the studio of Matthew Brady in New York City.  The studio was lavishly furnished.  Stage personalities like Mary Anderson enjoyed having portraits done by Klauber when they were in Louisville performing at the Macauley Theatre.  Klauber’s studio closed in 1913 and he died in 1918.’  (From The Cabinet Card Gallery)  Since his first photography studio opened in 1864, he was at his job for 50+ years!