Tag Archives: Livingston County Kentucky

Susan Stringer Bennett – A REAL Daughter of the American Revolution

Leonard Stringer, Sr., 1761 – 1843, Revolutionary War Veteran, Miller Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky

About four years ago my husband, Ritchey, was able to connect with his Jolly family through DNA testing.  This was quite a find, since we knew his grandfather was James Jolly of western Kentucky, but that was all we knew!  Since then we have researched, visited Livingston County where the Jolly’s lived, visited cemeteries there and elsewhere in Kentucky to connect the dots.  Yesterday I found some very interesting articles on his 3rd great-grandmother, Susan Stringer. 

Her father, Leonard Stringer, was born in Washington County, Georgia, about 1760, and drove a provision wagon when the Revolutionary War began.  As soon as he was old enough he became a soldier and served under General Elijah Clarke and was in service until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown – he had been captured and was in prison when the surrender took place.  He was given a land grant in the county of his birth by Edward Telfair, dated January 20, 1786.  He later moved to Tennessee, living near the Hermitage in Davidson County, where he was a close friend of Andrew Jackson.  Later he came to Livingston County, Kentucky, as a pioneer citizen.  Moved to Alexander County, Illinois, the next year; then back to Livingston County to live out the remainder of his days in the household of his daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, Alfred Bennett.  In the 1830 census of Livingston County he is listed in the 60-70 age group under Alfred Bennett.  In addition to his work as a soldier, Leonard Stringer was also a doctor, minister and school teacher.  There remained in the family, as of 1904, a pair of scales on which he used to weigh drugs.  He had charge of the school in Livingston County and taught Alfred Bennett, who would one day become his son-in-law.

Susan Stringer’s mother was Dolly Ware, the second wife of Leonard Stringer.  Susan was born April 27, 1810.  In October of 1904 Susan Stringer Bennett was inducted into the Daughters of the American Revolution as a Real Daughter.  This special privilege was reserved for those women entering the D.A.R. through the revolutionary service of their own fathers.  In all, about 760 women were given this privilege.  The D.A.R. was founded October 11, 1890.

Susan, wife of Alfred Bennett, April 27, 1810 – November 26, 1904.

The following article gives the history of this most interesting father and daughter.  Father, daughter and husband all buried in Miller Cemetery in Livingston County, Kentucky.

The Owensboro Messenger, Daviess County, Kentucky

Sunday, November 13, 1904

 Mrs. Susan Stringer Bennett, of Livingston County, Kentucky, enjoys the distinction of being the only surviving Real Daughter of the American Revolution in Kentucky, and one of the few and perhaps oldest in the United States.  Mrs. Bennett is 95 years of age and resides in the same place to which she came with her husband, a young bride, over 70 years ago.  Her home is six miles from Smithland, the present county seat of Livingston County, and two and one-half miles from the Tennessee River.  It is a substantial log house in the heart of the woods, and has escaped, in a measure, the ravage of time.

Mrs. Bennett has just been admitted to the D.A.R. Chapter of Paducah.  A telegram from Mrs. Augusta Danforth Greer, register general at Washington, announcing that Mrs. Bennett’s record has been verified and that she was eligible to be enrolled as a Real Daughter of the Revolution, was received by the regent of the Paducah chapter, Mrs. H. S. Wells, where she was at the Kentucky State D.A.R. convention in Louisville recently.  A telegram was read to the convention and created great enthusiasm, as a real daughter was a novelty in Kentucky.  She was elected by the national society October 5.

Mrs. Bennett’s Father

Mrs. Bennett is the daughter of Leonard Stringer, who was born in Georgia in 1760, and entered the revolutionary army at about the age of fifteen.  He drove a provision wagon until he was considered old enough to enter the regular service.  A grant of land for his services was given him by Edward Telfair, captain, governor and commander in chief of Georgia, and is now filed in the secretary of state’s office in Atlanta.  It is dated January 20, 1786, and calls for 287 acres in Washington County, Georgia.

The following certificate is attached to the document:

‘State of Georgia.

‘This is to certify that Leonard Stringer was entitled to serve as a soldier in the battalion of Minute Men raised for the defense of the state, by resolve of the assembly, passed the 3rd day of June, 1777, and that the said Leonard Stringer was not at the time of his enlistment an inhabitant of this state, nor had he resided in any part thereof for six months previous to his enlistment.  And further that he was in the service at the time the said battalion was reduced by a subsequent resolve, March 1, 1778.

‘Given under my hand at Washington this first day of April 1787.

‘Elijah Clarke, Col.’

Leonard Stringer was married three times and Mrs. Bennett is a daughter of his second marriage with Mrs. Dolly Ware Williams, a widow.  She was born in Georgia in 1810, but her earliest recollection is of living with her parents near Nashville, Tennessee.  She says that her father and Andrew Jackson were intimate friends at that time, and she remembers to have frequently seen them riding on horseback together.

Her father moved to Kentucky when she was about 10 years of age.  He settled in Livingston County, and after remaining there a year went to southern Illinois, where his daughter stayed until her marriage, when she returned to Kentucky.  Her husband was Alfred Bennett and he was born in Livingston County in 1808.  He, too, went to Illinois when quite young, but brought his wife to Kentucky a year after their marriage and passed the remainder of his life near his birthplace.  He died about 17 years ago and was buried in an old cemetery near his widow’s home.

Alfred Bennett, husband of Susan Bennett, born Feberuary 7, 1803, died March 3, 1883, aged 80 years, 26 days.

Leonard Stringer was a man of versatility.  Besides being a soldier, he was a doctor, a minister and a school teacher.  Reminisces of him in each capacity survive in the family history.  A pair of scales on which he used to weigh drugs have been preserved.  As a school teacher he had charge of a school in Livingston County and Alfred Bennett, afterwards his daughter’s husband, went to school to him.

He preached in the pulpit of the church John Wesley, the father of Methodism, established in Savannah, Georgia, and got into a controversy with the followers of Wesley on the subject of baptism, Mr. Stringer being an ardent Baptist.

Had a Good Memory

Mrs. Bennett is remarkably well preserved and delights to talk of other days.

We called to see her recently with Mrs. Wells, the regent of the Paducah Chapter D.A.R., who had been instrumental in establishing her eligibility to become a Daughter of the Revolution.

She was propped up in an old four-poster bedstead, which must have been more than 100 years old, in a quaint room in the old log house.  She looked at us in a glazed sort of way but extended her thin ladylike hand and greeted us with great cordiality.  She wore a black lace cap over her scant grey hair and her bright, small black eyes beamed with intelligence and included all around her.  ‘I am always glad to see visitors, ‘she said.  ‘I see so few people these days.’  It took little encouragement to get her to talk of her recollections.  ‘I came to Kentucky,’ she said in answer to a question, ‘when I was but a girl.  ‘I remember driving along the road with my father, when an old darkey asked me where I was going.’

‘“I am going to Kentucky,” I replied.’

‘“Why, you are already in Kaintucky,” he said.

‘“Why,” I said in surprise, “I do not see any cane,” for I thought the state got its name because cane grew here.’

‘Yes, my father was in the revolutionary war.  I often heard him tell about it.  He knew George Washington very well.  He was in prison once, or in a sort of barricade, rather.  The prisoners were not given enough to eat.  Just a morsel of bread and a morsel of meat was given them – just enough to keep them alive.  A lot of parsley grew inside of the prison wall, though, and the prisoners thought of putting it in a pot and cooking it with their bits of meat, like greens.  Then they lived high.  My father learned to like it so much that I had to cook it for him as long as he lived.’

He was in prison when Cornwallis was taken at Yorktown, and Mrs. Bennett tells of a song which the prisoners sung in which every verse ended with the statement that Lord Cornwallis was taken.

‘The English ladies who heard it were very mad and they would say, “Ye lie, my lord is not taken,” but sure enough he was,’ she ended in triumph.

Father Buried In Livingston

Leonard Stringer came to live with his daughter after her marriage, since his last wife was dead.  He died in Livingston County and is buried in the same old cemetery in which others of Mrs. Bennett’s family are laid to rest.  His death occurred in 1843.

Mrs. Bennett can remember distinctly when her stepbrother, Peter Williams, and her half-brother, Joe Stringer, returned from the War of 1812.  She was then five years of age.

She is a very devout church woman and is the only living member of the original ones of Friendship Baptist Church, within a mile of her home, established in 1840, and she and her husband were the first people baptized between Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, at the point where she lives.

‘They tell me,’ said Mrs. Bennett, laughingly, ‘that the reason I have lived so long is because I have been good.  Now,’ she continued, putting her hands up to her face in coy fashion, ‘I guess I will have to get bad to die.’

Interesting Relics

A flax wheel over 100 years old has been preserved in the Bennett household.

‘I have spun many a hank of flax on that wheel,’ Mrs.  Bennett said, ‘woven into cloth and made it into clothes, and things for the house.  It did not wear as well as cotton, though, and we used cotton more. This we spun and wove, too.’

A spoon presented to the National D.A.R. in recognition of her as a real daughter, with a flax wheel and a woman on the handle, and a hank of flax in the bowl, is, therefore, signally appropriate.

She also has a large platter and an old sugar bowl of blue china which are a century or more old.

Mrs. Bennett was perfectly active until 17 years ago, when she had a fall, which injured her hip and she has never since left home.  She stays in bed most of the time, but occasionally walks around her room, and sits in a chair.  She will be 95 next April.

She has three children living, Mrs. Serena Walker, who resides near Benton, Kentucky, aged 61; Mrs. Amanda Moore, living near Princeton, aged 57, and Rowland Bennett of Livingston County, aged 54.  These are the three youngest.

She is the especial charge of two grandsons, whom she has reared, Zed Bennett, of Smithland, superintendent of public instruction of Livingston County, and Bryant Bennett, who lives with his grandmother and takes care of her.  They live alone, except for a housekeeper.

Mrs. Bennett’s parting speech when we left was like a benediction.

‘Be good,’ she said, ‘and do all of the good in the world you can.’

Such has been the rule of Susan Bennett’s long and useful life.  Begun amid the hardships of pioneer days and extending over nearly the entire history of her country, it has been passed in the secluded spot, sunny, sweet and helpful, an inspiration to all who came in contact with it.  And now, its simple duties almost done, it is drawing to a peaceful close, surrounded by the love it has fostered.

1846 Will of William A. Jones – Livingston County

William A. Jones is the fourth great-grandfather of my husband.  Unfortunately, I do not know the name of his first wife.  Ritchey descends from his son Thomas who married Rachel Margaret Walker.

This is a fantastic will because it names all the children – and tells us the wife, Mariah Jones, is a second wife.  Why didn’t everyone be so thoughtful?

Livingston County Will Book B, Page 117

In the name of God, amen.  I, William A. Jones, of the County of Livingston and State of Kentucky, being sick and weak in body, but of sound mind and disposing memory, for which I thank God, and calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with, I give and bequeath the same manner following, that is to say I give –

1st.  I desire that so much of my perishable property to be immediately sold after my decease and out of the money arising therefrom all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

2nd.  After the payment of my debts and funeral expenses, I give to my wife, Mariah Jones, the balance of my perishable property after the above named debts being paid and the tract of land I now live on I give to my wife during her natural life or remains my widow, and at her death or marriage the said tract of land to be equally divided between David Jones and Patsy Allen and Sarah Jones, James Jones and Isaac Jones, Edmond Jones and Elizabeth Jones, all of the above being the children I have by my last wife.

3rd.  I give to Thomas Jones and Jesse Jones and Joshua Jones and Fanny Gazaway and William W. Jones and Olive Barr, six hundred acres of land lying in Trigg County in this state, near the mouth of Little River.

And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my son Thomas Jones and my son David Jones executors of this, my last will and testament.  I do not request my executors to give security, hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this the 27th day of December in the year 1846.

William A. Jones

Signed, sealed and published and declared as the last will and testament of the above-named William A. Jones, in presence of us.  Witness, Jesse Wills, Jonathan McCandless, Elisha Biggs.

Kentucky, Livingston County

I, James S. Dallam, Clerk of the Court for the County aforesaid, hereby certify that the foregoing last will and testament of William A. Jones was on this day produced in open court and proven by the oaths of Jonathan McCandless and Elisha Biggs, two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Thereupon I have truly recorded the same and this certificate in my said office.  Given under my hand this 1st day of February 1850.

James S. Dallam

William A. Jones, born June 17, 1784, died December 29, 1847.  Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

1839 Will of Isaac W. Walker of Livingston County

Isaac W. Walker, born October 31, 1780, died August 10, 1839.  Deborah O. Walker, born October 24, 1779, died November 2, 1839.  Erected by G. S. Walker.  ‘Our father and mother are gone, they may become the sod.  Death awaits, tho we miss you, we know you rest with God.’  Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

Isaac William Walker and Deborah Oliver Walker are Ritchey’s fourth great-grandparents – twice!  He is descended from two daughters, Sarah H. Walker who married Andrew Ross, and Rachel Margaret Walker who married Thomas Jones. 

August the 8th 1839

I, Isaac W. Walker, of sound mind, do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and same following, that is to say,

1st After the payment of my debts and funeral expenses I give my wife, Deborah O. Walker, all of my estate, both real and personal for and during the time of her natural life and after her death give the same to my children hereafter mentioned.  To wit, Sarah H. Ross, Rachel Jones, George S. Walker, Martha A. Walker, Mary E. Walker and Jefferson Walker, equally, to be divided among them and to be enjoyed by them forever, with the exception of Martha A. Walker, who is to have one hundred dollars to be in a horse and other personal property, more than the rest of the children.

2nd I wish for George S. Walker to have the place he lives on at this time, the price of it is five hundred dollars, to be out of his part of the estate.  And lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my friend, Henry S. Harman, and my son-in-law, Thomas Jones, my executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made.  In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and date above written.

Isaac Walker

Signed, sealed, published and declared as the last will and testament of the above named Isaac W. Walker in the presence of us.

Attest – Jesse Jones, W. W. Jones

Kentucky 0 Livingston County

I, James S. Dallam, clerk of the Court for the county and state aforesaid, do hereby certify that the within and foregoing last will and testament of

Isaac W. Walker, deceased, was on this day produced in Open Court and proven by the oath of W. W. Jones, subscribing witness thereto, and ordered to be recorded.  Whereupon I have truly recorded the same and this certificate in my said office.

Given under my hand this 7th day of October 1839.

James S. Dallam

Will Book B, Pages 69-70

Ritchey’s Elusive Jolly Family

James Jolly, 1828-1905, 77 years, 8 days.  Martha J. Jolly, 1831-1890, 48 years, 11 months, 25 days.  Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

James Jolly, the oldest of the Jolly line we have yet found, was born in 1828 in Montgomery County, Tennessee.  From The Paducah Sun Democrat of Wednesday, December 13, 1905, we know that James Jolly’s funeral was held on that day.  Martha Jane Ross, the daughter of Andrew Ross and Sarah Higgins Walker, was born in Caldwell County, Kentucky, in 1831.  James and Martha married April 22, 1855, in Livingston County, Kentucky.  They had six children – George William, Thomas Andrew, Mary Penola, William Elvis, Charles Homer and C. E. (who died at 18 months).

George W. Jolly, husband of S. A. Jolly, February 26, 1856 – January 24, 1930.  Dixon Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

George William Jolly, son of James and Martha Jolly, married Serena Annora Jones, daughter of William Owen Jones and Rebecca Jane Bennett, on March 4, 1877, in Livingston County.  Serena was born October 1, 1858 and died May 2, 1941, in Santa Clara County, California (after George’s death she moved to California to be near several of her children).  They had nine children:  Elvis Edgar, Gilbert Chaldron, Armitta Jane, Maude Penola, Lula Owen, James Edwin, Alfred Bennett, Londa E., and Georgie Esther Jolly.

James Edwin Jolly

James Edwin Jolly, born May 28, 1893, son of George William and Serena Annora Jolly, married Esther Myra Hertz, September 28, 1921, in Kansas City, Kansas.  The couple lived in Kansas City, Missouri, until James returned to California.  They had one child, Rex Edwin Jolly, who after his mother’s death in 1924, was adopted by Edwin and Ora Brown.  We do not know the death date of James Edwin Jolly.

We were fortunate to visit Livingston County and photograph gravestones in three cemeteries.  This is just the Jolly line, others will follow shortly.


18 Counties/36 Cemeteries/3,000 Plus Gravestone Photos

Melissa Williams, born October 25, 1851, died February 17, 1923.  ‘Gone to a brighter home where grief can not come.’  Stoney Point Cemetery, Allen County, Kentucky

The past eleven days have been more epic than I ever thought possible.  Ritchey and I traveled to western Kentucky for genealogy research.  We visited 18 counties, 36 cemeteries and took more than 3,000 gravestone photos.

James Jolly, 1828-1905, 77 years, 8 days.  Martha J. Jolly, 1831-1890, 58 years, 11 months, 25 days.  Landrum Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky.

Number one on our list was a visit to Livingston County to find out more about his Jolly family, and to photograph gravestones of all family members.  That was accomplished!

Drury Boyd, born May 6, 1827, died January 13, 1891.  Martha Boyd Cemetery, Christian County, Kentucky.

Number two was to visit cemeteries in as many of the surrounding counties as possible.  In addition to Livingston we visited 17 others – Allen, Butler, Caldwell, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Hancock, Logan, Lyon, McCreary, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, Warren and Wayne!

Father, Abner R. Terry, February 10, 1807 – November 29, 1847.  Mother, Eleanor Dyer, February 6, 1805 – December 9, 1892.  Daughter, Susan Emaline, wife of Judge John R. Crace, May 5, 1835 – January 20, 1860.  Infant daughter, Mary.  Terry-Pioneer Cemetery, Trigg County, Kentucky.

When we left Harrodsburg on Saturday morning, the 21st of October, we enjoyed breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe in Standford.  Then headed south to cover the southern counties that share a border with Tennessee – McCreary, Wayne, Clinton and Cumberland.

Joshua F. Bell, Pvt. Co. D., 30 Regt.  Ky Vol. Inf.  1844-1930.  Alexander Cemetery, Wayne County, Kentucky.

Our home base was Logan County, staying in Garwood Linton’s beautiful cottage farm house – large old trees surrounded the house, leaves of gold, green and red, many fluttering down with the breeze.  The old, old cedars that his gr-gr-grandfather, John Wesley Linton, planted after the Civil War, in memory of his company that didn’t make it home.  The farm house is so comfortably decorated, but with great style and pizazz!  Across the road is Corinth Country Market, with homemade bread, pies and cakes, sandwiches, canned goods, and many other yummy things (we stopped by quite often).

Aquilla M. Starks, December 28, 1799 – September 13, 1855.  Antioch Cemetery, Todd County, Kentucky.

From Logan County we fanned out to the other counties, generally visiting three counties per day.  One day was spent at the Logan County Historical Society.  Most of the towns we visited were small, with restaurants that concentrated on good food, and people that were so very friendly.  It was a wonderful trip – and now I have so much to share with you!

T. W. Lowery Biography

from Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, 1885

Livingston County

T. W. Lowery was born September 15, 1837, in Caldwell County, Kentucky. He is the seventh of a family of eleven children born to John and Grace (Ordway) Lowery, natives of Virginia and New Hampshire, respectively. James Lowery, subject’s grandfather, moved from Virginia to Kentucky in an early day, and settled in Caldwell County, where he lived a number of years.  He afterward moved to Hopkins County, and died in 1854, at the age of eighty-three years.  John Lowery came to Kentucky when a small boy, and lived in Caldwell County until his death, which occurred about 1874.  He was a farmer and during his life accumulated a large estate and became quite wealthy.  Subject’s mother, Grace Lowery, is a daughter of Daniel Ordway.  She was born in New Hampshire, and is still living, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. Charles Miles, in Caldwell County.  T. W. Lowery was reared on a farm and spent the first twenty-three years of his life in his native county, and after attaining his majority chose farming as his life’s work.  He was married October 23, 1862, to Sallie Butler, a daughter of D. A. and Matilda A. (Green) Butler, of Crittenden County.  One year after his marriage, Mr. Lowery moved to Livingston County, and located in Salem Precinct, where he purchased a farm of 160 acres.  He has been a very successful farmer and now owns a farm of 600 acres, the greater part of which is in cultivation.  His first wife died in March, 1879, aged thirty-four years.  She was the mother of six children:  Alice, wife of D. R Stewart; Willie, deceased; Emma L., John H., Mary D. and Leonard.  September 14, 1882, Mr. Lowery married Mrs. Sallie Madlock, daughter of James and Ellen Isbell, of Warren County, Kentucky.  One child has been born to this union – Ollie.  Mr. Lowery gives his attention to his business affairs and is considered one of the best farmers in the precinct.  He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, belonging to the New Salem congregation.  Mrs. Lowery is an active member of the Christian Church.

J. H. Rutter Biography

from Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, 1887

Livingston County

J. H. Rutter was born in Dyer’s Hill Precinct, Livingston County, March 10, 1852, and is a son of James L. and Julia A. (Hodges) Rutter. The father was probably born near Salem, Livingston County, in the winter of 1813. His parents came to Livingston County from North Carolina.  He was a farmer by occupation, and was also engaged at one time in merchandising and tobacco speculating at Marion, Kentucky.  His death occurred in this county in 1855.  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The mother was born in this county in 1812, and is still living at Evansville, Indiana.  Our subject is the younger of two children: Susan, wife of R. C. Robenson, and J. H.  The latter, at the age of sixteen, turned his attention to farming, and followed it for about seven years.  In 1876 he went to Marion, Kentucky, where he embarked in the grocery business, which vocation he followed for about fifteen months.  He then turned his attention to farming in Livingston County, and followed it for about four years.  In the fall of 1881 he came to Hampton, and embarked in the general mercantile business.  He now carries a stock of about $2,500, and also speculates some in tobacco.  Mr. Rutter was married in Livingston County, February 12, 1871, to Miss Belle Olive, a daughter of Jesse and Barbara Ann (Gray) Olive who were probably both born in Livingston County; their parents were emigrants from North Carolina.  The father died in 1864.  The mother is still living, with subject.  Mrs. Rutter was born February 14, 1853, and is the mother of six children, of whom five are living: Harry D., Jesse O., Fannie N., Louis V. and James R.  Mr. Rutter has been acting as postmaster at Hampton for over three years; he has also served as school trustee, being chairman of the board.  Mrs. Rutter is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.