Tag Archives: Orval w. Baylor

Hugh McElroy’s Diary

Hugh McElroy, born September 19, 1795, died February 8, 1877.  Susan Frances, wife of Hugh McElroy, born December 29, 1807, died June 22, 1844.  ‘She had a smile for the joyous, an ear of sympathy for ill, and in act of kindness for all within her reach.’  Cemetery Hill, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky.

If only all ancestors left diaries with the everyday happenings and the history they remember about their ancestors!

Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky, by Orval W. Baylor and Others, from newspaper articles

Hugh McElroy’s Diary

January 1, 1870.  This day I have read a long account of my grandfather, Anthony Hundley, and his family in the Christian Observer of December 22, 1869.  They moved from Charlotte County, Virginia, to this country in the year 1793, seventy years ago.  He settled on Pleasant Run near Sandusky’s Station.  The Indians were very troublesome on the road which they traveled.  They traveled with a large number of emigrants, as alone was very dangerous.  There was not a human habitation except a fort at Laurel River beyond the Cumberland Mountains and between Beams station at Crab Orchard in Kentucky.  Indian deprivations along the line were frequent.  On the route they saw the newly made graves of a large number of persons who had been massacred at night while encamped after a day’s journey.  My mother, then a young lady, and seventeen, was one of the company.  About the same time, my grandfather, Hugh McElroy, moved from Pennsylvania to this place and built the first brick house in the county.  Many of the bricks are now in this house I now live in, between the weatherboards and plastering.  My father helped to make them before I was born.  He married my mother in 1794 and I was born in 1795, 74 years ago.

June 30, 1873.  Sixty years the 20th of next November I came to this town (Springfield) to live, as a store boy with Mr. Elias Davison.  I lived with him six years.  I commenced my fourth year with him before I lost my first whole day.  My salary the first year was $50, the last year $100.  This has been a very wet, rainy Sabbath day and the first time I have been detained from Sunday School this year.

Deaths, 1873.  Ben E. Montgomery died last October, age 80 years.  Judge Booker on May 11th, age 87 years.  May York Sandusky on May 21st, age 80 years.  All these were neighbors.  Old Mrs. Briles died on the 9th June, age 97.

November 1, 1874.  Died this day, cousin William McElroy, 99.  July 18th Mr. Charles Powell died, age 83, and Presley Briles, age 74.

This day, September 19, 1873, I am 78 years old, have lived in Springfield 60 years, have been a school teacher over 40 years and superintendent over schools 20 years.  The cholera has been bad in several counties.  Lebanon and Marion County has suffered much, 84 deaths, most in the county.  Our town has escaped and very few cases in the county.  The Yellow Fever is very bad in the towns south, particularly in Memphis and Shreveport.

In October 1871, while at Louisville, I met an old uncle, Joel Hundley, which I had not seen for 20 years, he had come to Louisville to see his sister, Aunt Jane Thomas.  Courier Journal describes the meeting as follows:  A Romantic Meeting.  Mr. Joel Hundley and Mrs. Jane Thomas, as brother and sister, met in this city at the house of John H. Thomas, son of the venerable lady on Saturday last, after an absence of 54 years.  Mrs. Thomas was born in Virginia at the Charlotte Courthouse, in 1793, he was born in 1791, making her 78 years old and him 80.  She arrived here from her residence in Litchfield, Kentucky, and he, being informed of the fact, started from his home in Mt. Washington, after a late breakfast, and walked to Louisville, a distance of 21 miles to see her.  The meeting of so long a separation was a happy one.  His walk is remarkable, considering his advanced age, but it is not the first long tramp he has taken.  In olden times, before steam boats and railroads were known, and when flat boats were the only means of transportation down the river, he often made the trip from New Orleans to Kentucky on foot.  Mrs. Thomas is the mother of O. W. and J. H. Thomas.  Mr. Hundley is the father of Doctor Hundley.

September 19, 1874.  This day is my birthday, 79 years old.  How thankful I ought to be.  I never had better health in my life and have no pains in my limbs, yet I cannot walk without help, owing to my getting crippled ten years since.  I ride to my counting room in town every day and have missed but one or two days from Sunday School this year.

Taxpayers for Lots in the Town of Springfield 1817

I thought this list was interesting – those who owned lots in the town of Springfield in the year 1817.  I do not have any relatives on the list, but am familiar with the Booker’s, Montgomery’s, Lancaster’s, McElroy’s and Rudd’s.  Do you have anyone on this list?

This article appeared in the March 19, 1936, Springfield paper.

from Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky, by Orval W. Baylor

A list of persons, with their improved Lots in the town of Springfield subject to Taxation for the year 1817.

Note:  In the following arrangement the person’s name comes first, then the number of tithes, number of lots and lastly the valuation of lots.

George McKay, 3 – 1 – $500; John Hurst, 1 – 2 – $800; Richard Phillips, 3; Samuel Robertson, 4 – 2 – $1200; Elias Davison, 6 – 1 – $6000; James Woods, 1; William B. Booker, 2 – 1 – $1200; Paul J. Booker, 2 – 2 – $500; William T. Phillips, 4 – 2-$4000; Hugh McElroy, 1; William H. Hays, 2 – 2 – $1500; Electius Mudd, 3 – 1 – $1200; James S. Simms, 1; Benjamin Montgomery, 1; Daniel McAllister, 1; Raphael Lancaster, 2 – 2 – $1000; Joseph B. Lancaster, 1; Daniel Thompson, 2; James Hughes, Jr., 1; George Wilson, 1; Anthony McElroy, 1; Christopher A. Rudd, 1 – 1 – $1500; Matthew Nantz, 1; Philip Barbour, 2 – 1 – $800; Jesse T. Riney, 1; John Bainbridge, 1; Nathaniel Whitehead, 1; Richard Biddle, 1; Benson Riggs, 1; John A. Montgomery, 1 – 1 – $500; Robert H. Nantz, 1; William Glasscocke, 1; Hugh Lunch, 1; John Viers, 1; Joseph Willis, 1; Charles Crossgrove, 1; James Rudd, (Teacher), 1; John Wilson, 1; Jonathan Riney, 0 – 2 – $1500; Thomas Houts, 0 – 2 – $600; John Hays, 0 – 1 – $300; Dudley Robertson, 0 – 1 – $200.

To Patrick Morgan, Collector of the Town Tax of Collection.  By Order of the Board of Trustees.  April 11th, 1817.  Attests.  John Hughes, Jr., CBT.

George W. Colvin – Civil War Letters

I was quite overwhelmed when I read these letters – first knowing that George Colvin never made it home to his wife Lucinda and two young children made them very poignant – and then reading his longing of wanting to be home with them, but still desiring to do his duty as a soldier, was another struggle.  He must have been in debt, asking Lucinda to pay what he owed, but wanting to change his life when he got home, making a fresh start with his wife and children.  There are two more letters from George Colvin in this newspaper article, which I will share with you are at a later date.

from Newspaper Articles by Orval W. Baylor

Has Old Letters of Civil War Days

Letters Father Wrote to Mother Are Cherished by Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield.  Was Soldier in Union Army and Died In Prison

Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield has a number of old letters that were written by his father, George W. Colvin, while he was a soldier in the Union Army.  They were addressed to Lucinda Lea Colvin, wife of the said George W. and mother of Enos I.

George W. Colvin, son of Joseph and Nancy Turner Colvin, was born in the Big North sector of Washington County, February 25, 1835.  His father was a native of Virginia, born there March 18, 1780.  He came to Washington County when a young man and settled near the little settlement of Cornishville.  He was married to Nancy Turner July 26, 1805.  The Turners were early settlers in the Big North.

Joseph and Nancy turner Colvin were the parents of 13 children and George W., was the youngest.

As a young man, George W. Colvin traveled about from place to place.  A brief memorandum in his handwriting and now preserved by his son, tells of his travels.  It reads:

“Copied the 8th of October 1857.  This is to remember the time when I first left Kentucky on the 9th day of April, 1855, and went to the county of Lee State of Iowa and I resided there until fall and then I returned back to Kentucky and remained there six or seven weeks and then made my return to Lee County Iowa.  Resided there twelve months and then I went to the State of Missouri.  Remained there one week and then returned to Kentucky.  I landed there 23 November.  Remained there until spring and then I went back to Lee County, Iowa, and from there to the State of Missouri, Noetowa County.”

After approximately three years of going and coming, George W. Colvin decided to stay in Kentucky.  On June 29, 1858, he was married to Miss Lucinda Lea, and from then until he entered the Union Army he resided in Washington County.  Three children were born to George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, viz., Amos Colvin, April 10, 1859, Enos I. Colvin; December 4, 1860; Martha Ann Colvin, February 6, 1863.

Entering the Union Army at the beginning of the War Between the States, George W. Colvin continued in the service until near the close of the conflict when he was captured and taken to the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia.  There, after he had suffered all the horrors for which that prison is known, he died.  He had been home to see his family a short time before he was captured and on the occasion of that visit he went to Louisville where he had his picture taken astride his favorite horse.  This picture is now preserved and cherished by his son.  It shows him in uniform with his sword at his side.  When he started south to rejoin his regiment he left his uniform and the sword with his family, fearing that he would be apprehended by the enemy.  The uniform was kept by the family for many years, but it later became lost.  The sword is yet preserved by Mr. Enos I. Colvin.

Enos I. Colvin is the sole survivor of the family of George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, and he has for many years resided here in Springfield.  He was married to Jane Kays, March 15, 1891.  About the year 1900 they moved from the northern part of Washington to Beechland and occupied the place where tradition says Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln commenced housekeeping in 1806.  The old cabin in which the Lincoln’s lived was still standing when the Colvin’s moved to the place and they tore it down.  The logs were piled up to remain there until about 1911, when they were seen by a person from Harrodsburg, secured by him and taken to that place where they are now enshrined and exhibited as “The Lincoln Marriage Cabin.”

The first letter of George W. Colvin to his wife and family – May the 31st, 1863.

Russell County, State of Kentucky, Jamestown, the County Seat.

Dear Wife, with pleasure I will inform you that I am well at present and I hope when these few lines comes to hand that may find you all well.  I would like very much to see you all, but Lucy, I don’t know as I shall come home any more until peace is made.  I have come to the conclusion that peace will be made against next Christmas.  We understand that the Union men has taken Vicksburg and the whole forces that were there and seventy pieces of canon, and we are looking every day for a fight to come off here.  The Rebels has a very strong force on the other side of the Cumberland River, and Jamestown is four miles from the river.

‘My regiment is at Green River, but there were thirty-three sent out of our Company to Columbia on detached duty and out of the 33, ten of us was sent from Columbia with the two regiments of infantry for their advance guards were at this time very comfortable.  Situated where we are in a first straight dwelling house in Jamestown.  Lucy, I don’t know when I will get back to my regiment, but I am as well satisfied here as I am anywhere in the army.  Lucy, I will tell you what we have been living upon.  We have had nothing but coffee and hard bread for better than a week.  But we will get some meat this evening.  Lucy I have not heard from you since Samuel Lambert brought a letter for me.  You said you had payed Jack Sims and also Graves with the exception of seven dollars, which I am glad to think that is so paid.  When I left the regiment they were talking of drawing two months wages which will help us a little towards paying my debts and I hope will get through after a while.  Lucy I have not heard if Molly has got well of the fistula or not, but is she has got well I want to sell her, as I told you in the other letter that I wrote to you.  I want all my little accouterments together if I ever get out of this war, I am going to a new country and take a new start for a living and lead a different life.  Lucy, you and my sweet little children is the last thing that I think of when I lay down upon the hard earth to rest with all the tormented insects to encounter with and you are the first thing I think of when I get up of a morning.  Lucy, I wish that I could send you and my sweet children some more apples, but it is so that I can’t send you anything this time.  Lucy, I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter and you will please write often.  I will write to you again, soon as I receive a letter from you.  I will now come to a close for the present.  So fare well for this time.

‘George W. Colvin to Lucinda Colvin, Jamestown, Kentucky, May 31, 1863.  Excuse my bad writing and awkward spelling for the drums and fifes bother me.  We have a good force here and can soon have more.’

John Thompson – Sarah Shipley Mitchell Family

IMG_0287John Thompson, born November 20, 1775, died March 8, 1850.  Sarah S., wife of John Thompson, born December 31, 1778, died July 18, 1855.  Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Cemetery, Washington County, Kentucky.

As I’ve said before, the information provided in newspaper articles in the 1930’s by Orval W. Baylor are absolutely priceless to us today!  He lived during the latter part of the lives of the early citizens of Washington County and their children and grandchildren, able to get information first hand!  What good luck for us that he was a veritable genealogist and historian! 

from Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky, by Orval W. Baylor

In the year 1800, Sarah Shipley Mitchell married John Thompson, son of Stith Thompson by his first wife who was a Miss Reeves. Stith Thompson came to Kentucky from Mecklenburg County, Virginia, about the year 1790. He had married twice before migrating to Kentucky. His first wife was a Miss Reeves, by whom he had John, born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, in 1775. His second wife was Elizabeth Park and by her he had a son, James, born in 1790.

Where Stith Thompson first settled when he came to Kentucky is not known. He came to Washington County in 1795 and settled on the Beech Fork. The land whereon he settled and lived is known as the Lucian Gregory place. He died in 1796.

John Thompson, son of Stith, after his marriage to Sarah Shipley Mitchell in 1800, settled on a portion of his father’s estate it being that part adjacent to the Pleasant Grove Church. In 1823 the family moved to the vicinity of Indianapolis, Indiana, but in 1837 came again to Washington County to settle about one mile from Thompsonville on the road from that place to Pleasant Grove. John and Sarah S. Thompson were the parents of twelve children, to wit:

  • Stith Thompson, Jr., born 1804. Lived at Thompsonville and for him the settlement was named. He married, May 18, 1835, Catharine McIlvoy, daughter of Daniel McIlvoy, and had William, Alexander, Sallie and Rose.

IMG_0284Robert Mitchell Thompson, December 4, 1811 – April 28, 1893.  Catharine, his wife, October 5, 1818 – July 17, 1855.  Mary A., his wife, January 4, 1812 – December 24, 1907.  Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Cemetery.

  • Robert Mitchell Thompson, born 1811. Married Catharine Pipes, of Boyle County, and had Andrew, born 1840; Nathaniel P., born 1844, m. Alice Leachman; Elizabeth married Simeon Graham; Margaret E.; Stith; John Warden married Eliza McClaskey.
  • William Reeves Thompson married Lizzie Bentley.
  • Starling Thompson.
  • Jane Thompson married Alexander Noe and had Isaac, Martha, John W., and James H.
  • Naomi Thompson married John Hobart of Indianapolis, and had Charlotte who married Vawter. She was a school teacher.
  • Nancy Thompson married John Peters.
  • Elizabeth Thompson married Isaac Brazelton. He was a kinsman of the wives of Francis and Edward Berry, cousins of Nancy Hanks.
  • Martha Thompson married Aquilla Noe.
  • John Wade Thompson married Martha A. Denny and had Kate.
  • Charles Thompson married Mary Alvey and went to Gentryville, Indiana, the same place where the Lincolns settled. Descendants are there.
  • Reeves Thompson married Sarah Davis and went to Union County, Kentucky.

James Thompson, son of Stith and Elizabeth Parks Thompson, was born in Kentucky in 1790. He married October 17, 1815, Nancy Litsey, daughter of Randolph Litsey. They had six children and descendants as follows:

IMG_0279Elias Booker Browne, December 9, 1829 – November 9, 1902.  Mary Thompson Browne, May 4, 1838 – March 1, 1900.  Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Cemetery.

  • Mary Thompson married Elias Brown. Their home was on the Maxville Road about one mile from Springfield. Issue: William, James, Beverly B., Jouett, Mary, Lucy, Viola, Nannie and Jane.
  • Emma Thompson married Thomas Leachman, son of Sampson Leachman, a native of Virginia. Sampson Leachman came to Kentucky and settled in Lincoln (now Boyle) County. His home was on the east side of Salt River, just over the bridge on the Danville Road. Of him and his family, more later. Issue of Thomas and Emma: William Henry, Elias, Nelson, Nannie, Alice, Mary and Elizabeth.
  • Sterling Parks Thompson married Elizabeth Brown, April 1, 1841. She was a daughter of Stephen Cocke Brown and Mary E. Davidson. Issue: 1. J. William Thompson married Matilda Raybourne and had Sterling P., Zelma, Sallie, Walter, Harry, Joseph Edward, William and Stephen B. Of these, Harry married Dolly Green, Zelma married Ben Lake, Sallie married C. D. Robertson, and Stephen B. married Betsy Thompson. 2. Stephen Brown Thompson married Ann Allen and had Naomi who married Theo Campbell. 3. Jane Thompson married John Adams. They first lived where Sterling Thompson now lives and then moved to Indianapolis.
  • DeWitt Thompson.
  • Nelson Thompson.
  • Dr. Stephen Thompson.