Tag Archives: Lexington Cemetery

Emilie Todd Helm – ‘Little Sister’ to Abraham Lincoln – Obituary

Emilie, daughter of R. S. and E. L. Todd, and wife of Genl. Ben Hardin Helm, born November 11, 1836, died February 20, 1930.  Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Friday, February 21, 1930

Half-Sister of Abraham Lincoln’s wife dies in Fayette County

Lexington, Ky., Feb. 20 – Mrs. Emilie Todd Helm, 93 years old, half-sister of Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and the last surviving person intimately associated with the murdered president, died at 2 o’clock this morning at her home, Helm Place, on the Bowman’s Mill Pike.

Mrs. Helm was the widow of General Hardin Helm and the daughter of Robert Smith Todd and Elizabeth Humphreys Todd.  She was born at the Todd residence on West Main Street, here, which is pointed out as the birthplace of Mary Todd Lincoln.  She was known as the ‘Mother of the Orphan Brigade.’

Mrs. Helm’s husband, at the outbreak of the War Between the States, was called to Washington by President Lincoln and offered a commis-

sion in the Union Army, but declined, and returned to the South, where he accepted a commission in the Confederate Army in the brigade formed by Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, an old friend of his father.  He rose rapidly in rank until he became a brigadier general.  He was killed September 20, 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga.

Following the death of General Helm, President Lincoln sent for the widow and invited her to the White House, where she spent several weeks.  As a girl, she had visited the Lincolns when they lived at Springfield, Illinois.

For almost twenty years Mrs. Helm had lived at Helm Place, the colonial residence built by Col. Abraham Bowman, Revolutionary War officer, with her children, Ben Hardin Helm, Miss Katherine Helm and Mrs. Elodie Lewis.  Miss Helm is an artist and the author of ‘Mary, Wife of Lincoln.’

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 o’clock Saturday morning at the residence, the Rt. Rev. H. P. Abbott, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, officiating.  Burial will be in the Lexington Cemetery.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, February 22, 1930

‘Little Sister’

It was a happy turn of fate that Mrs. Ben Hardin Helm, Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister, should have been spared these many years and that she was able, both verbally and by her diary and correspondence, to correct many false impressions of circumstances surrounding the lives of Abraham Lincoln and his wife in a day when public interest in them runs high.  Many books have been written about the Lincolns, husband and wife, in these last ten years, and not the least of them was that of Katherine Helm of Lexington, based largely on her mother’s recollections, letters and writings.

Mrs. Helm’s death, at the age of 93, removes a woman who was well beloved by the ‘boys’ in gray, at many of whose reunions she had been an honored guest.  She was an impressive figure at that time when, after General Helm was killed at Chickamauga and she was granted a pass through the lines from Atlanta.  Union officers at Fortress Monroe sought to force her to take the oath of allegiance.  Tearfully, yet firmly, the young widow refused.  The authorities communicated with Lincoln, who had granted the pass.  ‘Send her to me,’ wired the President, and Mrs. Helm went to the White House, to be reunited with her sister.

‘I had just lost my husband,’ she wrote in her diary, ‘Mary had lost her son, Willie, and we both had lost three fine, young brothers in the ranks of the Confederate Army.’

Lincoln was very fond of ‘Little Sister,’ as he had called Emilie Helm ever since that day in 1847 when, returning from Congress, he visited the Todd home at Lexington and gave her that pet name as he caught her up and held her at a terrifying height from the floor.  Mary Todd was very fond of this child, and because of her confidences, the younger sister was able in later years to refute the cruel story first told by William Herndon that Lincoln had failed to appear at his own wedding, supposedly planned for January 1, 1841.

It was in April, 1861, that Lincoln offered Ben Hardin Helm, then 30 years old and ten years out of West Point, a paymaster’s commission in the Union Army, with the rank of major.  That same day in Washington Ben Helm talked to Robert E. Lee and learned he had resigned his commission.  Helm’s father, Gov. John L. Helm, was a slave owner, but a Union man.  Mary wanted her beautiful sister to live in the White House with her.  The place offered was much coveted and Helm realized his opportunity might readily lead to advancement.  He thanked Lincoln and asked for time.  Returning to Kentucky he was convinced by Simon Bolivar Buckner that he should cast his lot with the Confederacy, and so he wrote the President, after ‘a bitter struggle with myself.’  Two years later Lincoln broke the sad news of Ben Helm’s death to his wife, then in New York, and Senator David Davis described the President as much moved by the tragedy.  ‘Davis,’ he said, ‘I fell as David of old did when he was told of the death of Absolom.’  Lincoln’s affection was even deeper for ‘Little Sister,’ even though while at the White House and until the surrender she remained a ‘loyal little rebel’ to the last.

Standing beside a portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the Civil War President, in Helm Place near Lexington is Mrs. Elodie Helm Lewis, Mrs. Lincoln’s niece, who resides there.

General Ben Hardin Helm and Emilie Todd had three children, Katherine, who remained single; Elodie, who married Waller H. Lewis; and Ben Hardin Helm.  All are buried in the Todd lot in Lexington Cemetery.

Katherine, daughter of Genl. Ben Hardin Helm and Emilie Todd, born September 2, 1857, died June 18, 1937.

Elodie, daughter of Genl. Ben Hardin Helm and Emilie Todd, wife of Waller H. Lewis, born March 7, 1859, died June 12, 1953.

Ben Hardin Helm, son of Genl. Ben Hardin Helm and Emilie Todd, born May 16, 1862, died May 28, 1946.


Major Daniel Branch Price Buried in Lexington Cemetery

Major Daniel B. Price, born May 1, 1789, died October 20, 1860.  Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky.

Major Daniel Branch Price was the son of John Price and Frances Branch, born May 1, 1789, in Powhatan County, Virginia.  His father came to Kentucky in the early years of the state, bringing his family with him.  At an early age Daniel Price was appointed deputy clerk for Samuel H. Woodson, Jessamine County Clerk.  Woodson resigned in 1816, and Daniel Price held the office until 1851 – a record of 35 years!

In 1813, Daniel Price married Eliza Crockett, a daughter of Col. Joseph Crockett.  Eliza died in the 1832 cholera epidemic.  Daniel married Mary Jane Stuart, daughter of Rev. Robert Stuart and Hannah Todd, in 1836.  He had several children from both marriages.  One son, by this first wife, Eliza, was Samuel Woodson Price (1828-1918).  Samuel was a Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General, a commander of the 27th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.  In the 1850 census of Jessamine County is listed as 22, an artist.  After the war, he became noted as a painter of portraits.

In the 1860 census of Jessamine County, Daniel B. Price is listed as 71, a farmer, born in Virginia.  His wife, Mary J., is 56.  They have the following children living with them:  Daniel B., 21; Eliza V., 19; Robert S., 17; and Margaret, 14.

Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge said of him, ‘Probably no citizen of Jessamine County was ever more favorably known, and certainly no one was ever more thoroughly respected.’  Daniel Price died October 20, 1860, and is buried in the Lexington Cemetery, in Fayette County.

Some Members of the Todd Family Interred in the Lexington Cemetery

Today I would like to share with you a few photos taken at the Lexington Cemetery in Fayette County, Kentucky.  These are members of the Todd family, beginning with David Todd and wife, Hannah Owen.

David Todd, born April 8, 1723, died February 3, 1785.

David Todd was born in Ireland in 1723.  He served as a private in the Pennsylvania State troops, 6th and 9th battalions, 4th and 5th Lancaster County PA militia, 1775-1780.  He died in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.

Hannah Owen, wife of David Todd, born June 3, 1729, died May 16, 1805.

David Todd married Hannah Owen in 1749.  She was born in 1729 and died in Lexington in 1805.

General Levi Todd, born October 4, 1756, died September 6, 1807.  ‘A youthful adventurer to Kentucky, and active in its defense in the most perilous times.’

General Levi Todd was the son of David Todd and Hannah Owen.  He first married Jane Briggs, in 1779.  After her death, in 1800, he married Jane Holmes.

Levi Todd was a defender of the fort at Harrodsburg; was in the battle of Blue Licks and aide to General George Rogers Clark.  He was born in Montgomery County, PA; died in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jane Briggs, wife of General Levi Todd, born June 3, 1761, died July 22, 1800.

Jane Holmes, wife of General Levi Todd, born August 7, 1770, died March 19, 1856.

James Clarke Todd, born August 9, 1802, died June 15, 1849.

James Clarke Todd was the son of Levi Todd and Jane Holmes.  He married Maria Blair August 6, 1829.  Before her death in 1834 they had two sons – Lyman Beecher Todd and Levi Holmes Todd (1834-1834).

Maria Blair, wife of James C. Todd, died March 8, 1834, aged 30 years; also, Levi Holmes, her infant son.

Lyman Beecher Todd, M.D.  April 1832 – May 1902.  In loving memory of a life that was a constant inspiration to truth and honor.

Lyman Beecher Todd was evidently a beloved human being.  When he died in 1902, The Kentucky Advocate, from Danville, Boyle County, gave the following information:

Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, aged 70, senior physician of Lexington, died Tuesday night.  He was a first cousin of President Lincoln’s wife and was present both when Lincoln was short and at his deathbed.  He was a member of the Filson Club, of Louisville, and had in articles made valuable contributions to Kentucky history.  He was the former postmaster of this city.

Drake Family Buried At Lexington Cemetery

IMG_1471_1Col. Abraham S. Drake, born September 22, 1781, died September 8, 1831.  Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky.

Col. Abraham Stout Drake was born in New Jersey in 1781.  His parents were Nathan Drake, a Revolutionary War soldier, and Tamar Jones.  Nathan and Tamar moved their family to Fayette County, Kentucky, after the war, where  Abraham married Hannah Prall, October 26, 1805.  An interesting note about the marriage – Jedidiah Stout is not only the bondsman, but was the guardian of Hannah.  Stout is the last name of Abraham’s paternal grandmother!  There must be a connection there!

Abraham Drake served as Captain (beginning February 4, 1814) of a company of militia in the War of 1812, which was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Francisco, and served until the end of the war.

IMG_1474_1Hannah, wife of Col. A. S. Drake, born November 5, 1781, died October 26, 1869.

I believe the children of Abraham Stout Drake and Hannah Prall are David S., Benjamin Prall, Mary A., Elizabeth, William M., Julia Rachel, Simeon N., James F. and Abraham Stout Drake – but I found no census records or will to confirm these names.

IMG_1469_1David S. Drake, M.D., born September 29, 1832, died May 18, 1858.

David must be a grandson of Abraham and Hannah – and most likely the ‘S’ stand for Stout!  Such a short life!

IMG_1467_1Laura Drake, wife of ? O. Drake, born November 28, 1811, died July 20, 1877

What do you think the first name of Laura’s husband could be?  My thoughts are Homer, Roger – any ideas?  The rest of the stone is fairly easy to read!

IMG_1470_1Ann, wife of David Drake, died June 26, 1867, aged 50 years.

Another stone that is difficult to read!  Could this be the wife of Abraham and Hannah’s oldest son?  Hopefully you can answer some of the questions we have about the Drake family!

Thaddeus and Adelia Miles Smith – Lexington Cemetery

IMG_1504_1Thaddeus Smith, born at Lexington, Kentucky, August 1, 1827, died at Pelee Island, Canada, June 11, 1902

When I first looked at the gravestones for Thaddeus Smith and his wife, Sarah Adelia Miles, at the Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky, I was amazed to find they died at Pelee Island, Canada.  That sounded like such a far distance from Woodford County, Kentucky, where they lived until their marriage.  Thaddeus was the son of Byrd  and Elvira Smith; Sarah Adelia was the daughter of Samuel Issac Miles and Elizabeth W. Hawkins.

They are both listed in the 1850 census of Woodford County.  In addition to his parents, Byrd, 63, and Elvira, 41, Thaddeus, 23, William, 21, and Mary M., 4, make up the household.  In the Miles household are Samuel, 47, Elizabeth, 50, John E., 28, William, 20, Elizabeth, 22, Sarah, 18, Mary H., 14, and Samuel J., 9.  Thaddeus and Adelia married within the year.  By 1860 Byrd Smith had died.  Elvira is listed as head of household, 51, with son Thaddeus, 33, Sarah A., 25, and grandchildren Lilla, 8, and Bertha, 3, and her youngest daughter, Mary M., 14.

Then the family made an unusual move – to Pelee Island, Ontario, Canada.  It is the most southerly community in Canada, 10,000 acres.  Over 1/2 of our United States states are north of Pelee Island!  Well, I was intrigued!  Thank goodness for Google!  Pelee Island is located in Lake Erie.  If you were to come straight south you would land at Sandusky, Ohio!  Can you guess what Thaddeus did for a living on Pelee Island?  He was a grape grower!  More research turned up that Pelee Island is at the same latitude as the wine growing regions in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Portugal!  How fascinating!

In the 1871 Canadian census are Thaddeus, 43, Adelia, 39, Lereta, 14 (could this be Bertha?), and Minnie Rood, 9.  In 1881, Thaddeus, 53, Delia, 49, Minnie, 19, Effa Miles, 22, and Thomas Davison, 15.  In 1891 only Thaddeus and Adelia are listed, with T. V. Sanford, 53, a bookkeeper, Mary Sanford, 44, and Elvira, 16.  This must be Thaddeus’ sister Mary – with a daughter named for their mother.

IMG_1503_1Adelia Miles, wife of Thaddeus Smith, born in Woodford County, November 3, 1832, died at Pelee Island, Lake Erie, age 62 years, 5 months

Sadly Adelia passed away in April of 1895 – according to the information on her gravestone.  In the 1901 Canadian census Thaddeus, 73, is living with his widowed daughter, Bertha Wray, 42.  He died the next year.  I suppose, since there are stones for them in the Lexington Cemetery, that their bodies were brought back to Kentucky for burial.  What an interesting story!  I think Pelee Island may make a great vacation spot!

Long Family at Lexington Cemetery

Long Family at Lexington Cemetery

Fayette County, Kentucky

IMG_1487_1James Long, native of County Donegal, Ireland, died January 28, 1857, aged 78 years

IMG_1488_1William Long, a native of County Donegal, Ireland, died March 3, 1856, aged 76 years

IMG_1489_1Ann Long, died April 5, 1860, aged 72 years

Bryan-Cartmell Family – Lexington Cemetery

IMG_1435The Lexington Cemetery has so much history buried in its grounds!  Today I will introduce you to the Bryan-Cartmell family.  After looking through the photos of the large stone, and smaller, individual stones surrounding it, I realized that Joseph Bryan, Sr., must have erected the large stone towards the end of his life.  For one thing, there is no death date for him on the large stone – as there is on his small stone in front.  Joseph was almost 90 years of age when he died in August of 1887.  He had lived through so much history, and his family had been a big part of it!  He was related to Daniel Boone!  And his grandfather was the first to settle in the area known as Bryan Station in Fayette County.  I believe he used this stone to bring all that rich history together.  Two sides of the large stone are dedicated to the past – his parents, and his twin brother and sister who died young; the present being the panel represented by himself and his wife, Margaret; and the future – his list of children and their spouses.

IMG_1437Joseph Bryan, Sr., and Margaret Cartmell are buried in front of the large stone, as you can see from the first photo.  Joseph was born October 30, 1797, in Rowan County, Kentucky.  He married Margaret February 11, 1823, in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.  She was born in Jessamine County, February 9, 1804, the daughter of Elijah and Mary Cartwell

IMG_1446Joseph Bryan, Sr., October 30, 1797 – August 6, 1887

IMG_1447Margaret C., wife of Joseph Bryan, Sr., February 9, 1804 – September 29, 1874

In the first photo, at the back of the larger stone, you can see the grave site of Joseph’s father, Daniel Boone Bryan, Sr., and mother, Elizabeth Turner.

IMG_1439Daniel Bryan, Sr., nephew of Colonel Daniel Boone, son of the first settler of Bryan Station, born February 10, 1758, died February 28, 1845.  Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Bryan, Sr., born November 13, 1761, died January 29, 1833. 

The father of Daniel Boone Bryan, Sr., first settler of Bryan Station, was Captain William Bryan, grandfather to Joseph.

IMG_1440Daniel Bryan, Jr., born June 15, 1791, died July 12, 1822

Elizabeth Vardeman, twin sister of Daniel Bryan, Jr., died September 27, 1822

Joseph Bryan, Sr., had a twin brother and sister who died young – each only 18 years of age, within a couple of months of each other.  What could have caused their deaths?  The cholera epidemic wasn’t until 1833.  But any number of illnesses could have taken them.  This side of the large memorial is dedicated to them.

IMG_1457Elijah Cartmell, born February 25, 1763, died August 26, 1831

Mary, wife of Elijah Cartmell, died August 8, 1832, aged 57 years

Elijah and Mary Cartmell were the parents of Margaret Cartmell who married Joseph Bryan, Sr.  Margaret’s sister, Mary Cartmell, married her husband’s brother, Lewis Bryan.

IMG_1438The children of Joseph Bryan, Sr., and Margaret Cartmell, were Elijah Cartmell Bryan and his wife Lucy J.; Daniel Boone Bryan, Jr., and wife Sarah; Mary C. Bryan and husband Dr. H. B. Blackburn, Theodore W. Bryan who died at the age of 5; and Joseph Henry Bryan and wife Mary G.  Some of their gravestones are pictured below:

IMG_1443Lucy Kay Bryan, wife of Elijah Cartmell Bryan, born November 7, 1830, died April 14, 1881.  A good woman.

IMG_1444Elijah C. Bryan, born December 5, 1823, died June 30, 1890.  A good man.

IMG_1448Mary C., wife of Dr. H. C. Blackburn, born March 14, 1828, died August 15, 1871.  “Our babe was laid in earth fourteen years before I did; And now slumbers sweetly by my side.”

Mary, the daughter of Joseph and Margaret Bryan, is buried at the side of her mother.

IMG_1450Henry B. Blackburn, born March 26, 1825, entered into rest, September 12, 1884

 So are the remains of a pioneering family.  We all have our place in history – let’s just live it to the fullest!