Tag Archives: St. Thomas Catholic Church

2017 Maryland to Kentucky and Beyond Genealogy Conference

How many of you have ancestors that moved to Kentucky from Maryland during the 1785-1810 immigration of families to the counties of Washington, Marion and Nelson – and, also, Scott County and Breckinridge County, as I have recently discovered?  Are you attending the 2017 Maryland to Kentucky and Beyond, Genealogy Conference in Owensboro, Kentucky, next weekend?  Ritchey and I will be there!  We will be in the vendor section, talking about genealogy and selling my CDs to those who are interested.

Holy Cross Catholic Church

In 1785 sixty families gathered in the Pottinger’s Creek area of Washington County (later to become Marion County).  Basil Hayden, Clement Johnson, Joseph Clark, James Dant, Philip Miles, among others, were those early settlers.  Holy Cross Church is the oldest Catholic church west of the Allegheny Mountains, built in 1792.

St. Charles Catholic Church

Some of these groups of families settled along Hardin’s Creek in 1786, worshiped in the home of Henry Hagan, until the first church was built in 1806 – my home parish of St. Charles Church located in St. Mary’s in Marion County, originally Washington County.  John Lancaster, James Elder, William and Andrew Mudd, Thomas and Ignatius Medley, Bennett Rhodes, and others made this area their home – and many of their descendants still live there today.

St. Francis Catholic Church

Also in 1786, a group of Maryland settlers intended to share the Pottinger’s Creek settlement.  They took flatboats down the Ohio River and landed at Maysville, known as Limestone at that time.  They found such beautiful land east of the river, in what was Woodford Count, later Scott, they decided to travel no further.  The first church was built in 1794, St. Francis.  It is the second oldest parish in the state.  The present church was built in 1820 at a cost of $3,600.  Names of those early settlers were Jenkins, Gough, Leak, Combs, Tarleton, Worland, Greenwell, and James.

St. Rose Catholic Church

In 1787 Philip Miles, Thomas Hill, Henry Cambron, Joseph and James Carrico, Thomas Hamilton, Basil Montgomery, many members of the Smith family, and others came to Cartwright’s Creek.  In 1798, they built a church known as St. Ann’s – and this is where many of the older members are buried.  The church was abandoned once St. Rose Church was built in 1806.  There is nothing in the field where St. Ann’s Church and Cemetery used to be.  This is the area most of my ancestors settled in – Montgomery, Carrico, Dillehay, Smith, Cambron and others – lived from those very early days until my grandmother died in 1986.  Such a rich heritage concentrated in one county – since my father’s ancestors also lived in Washington County from 1860.

Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church

The Rolling Fork settlement – today in Calvary, Marion County – was established in 1798.  Leonard Hamilton, Robert Abell, Clement and Ignatius Buckman, John Raley and others left their marks here.  Ignatius Buckman was killed by Indians and was the first buried where Holy Name of Mary Cemetery is now.  The older portion of the cemetery is on a small knoll, at the back of the church.  The newer portion is across the small road that leads back to the cemetery, a nice, flat area with many gravestones.

Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral

Captain James Rapier, with his sons Charles and William, settled on southeast of what is now Bardstown, on Beach Fork of Salt River (Poplar Neck).  A few years later Thomas Gwynn, Anthony Sanders and Nehemiah Webb (originally a Quaker) settled close by.  The home of Thomas Gwynn, now the site of the Nazareth Community of the Sisters of Charity, was used for church services until St. Joseph Church was built in 1798 in what is now St. Joseph Cemetery.  The cathedral was built in 1816.  McManus, Reynolds, Howard, Lancaster, members of the Hayden family and William McQuown were early settlers.  Thomas Howard lived in the vicinity where St. Thomas Church is now located.  His home was used for church, and in 1810 he willed the farm to the church.    In 1812 St. Thomas Church was established.  Many old settlers are buried in this cemetery.

St. Thomas Catholic Church

The Cox’s Creek settlement in Nelson County was begun about 1792.  Some of my ancestors came to this area – Gardiner, Elder, Montgomery – along with Thomas Higdon, Richard Jarboe, Valentine Thompson, Hezekiah Luckett and Charles Wathen.  This is the oldest parish in Nelson County, located in Fairfield.  Unfortunately we have not visited this church and cemetery.

The County of Breckinridge was formed in 1799, but eight years previously, when a portion of Hardin County, it was settled by Leonard Wheatley, and soon followed by Richard Mattingly, Elias Rhodes, Barton Mattingly, Ignatius Coomes, William McGary and others.  Richard Mattingly’s house was used as a church until 1811, when St. Anthony was built.  Just found out about the Breckinridge settlement during my research – another to add to our list to visit!

There are many more settlers who came from Maryland to Kentucky in those early years.  It would be impossible to name them all.  This conference first began in 1990 when it was held at Nazareth, Kentucky.  In 1992, it was held in St. Mary’s at St. Charles Church; in 1994 in Cape Girardeau, Perry County, Missouri; and back in 1996 at St. Charles – the first time Ritchey and I attended.  In 1998, Owensboro, Kentucky, was the location, and we attended again.  In 2000 the gathering was held at Leonardtown, in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  2002 found the conference at St. Catharine Motherhouse in Washington County, which we attended; 2004 in Hannibal, Missouri.  2008 at the St. Thomas Farm in Bardstown; back in Leonardtown in 2010.  The last reunion was held at St. Catharine College in Washington County in 2014 – which was my first time to attend as a vendor.  This has been such a wonderful group of people!  I’ve made so many friends and found much information for my families!  If you have any family members that originated from Maryland, especially the counties of Charles, St. Mary and Prince Edward, you may want to come.  Perhaps I will see you there?

St. Thomas Baptisms – Nelson County, Kentucky

St. Thomas Catholic Church Baptisms – Nelson County, Kentucky

  • Mary Jane Archibald, born October 4, 1822, baptized October 26, 1826
  • Margaret Eleanor Archibald, born October 18, 1824, baptized October 26, 1826
  • Dennis Archibald, born October 24, 1826, baptized October 26, 1826
  • Charles Ignatius Abell, born February 23, 1827, baptized April 26, 1827
  • Thomas Avis, born March 23, 1829, baptized April 23, 1829
  • George Robert Abell, born August 7, 1829, baptized September 24, 1829
  • John Abell, baptized August 2, 1832
  • Mary Ellen Avis, born June 3, 1837, baptized November 2, 1837
  • Sarah Ellen Acors, born May 23, 1838, baptized July 2, 1838
  • Eliza Ann Avis, born April 14, 1839, baptized May 11, 1839
  • Athanasius Aud, born March 28, 1842, baptized March 30,1842
  • Edward Avis, born December 23, 1843, baptized August 11, 1847
  • George Washington Avis, born September 24, 1846, baptized August 11, 1847
  • William Joseph Anderson, born February 16, 1851, baptized March 25, 1851
  • John Anderson, 12 years of age, baptized May 15, 1853
  • Francis Anderson, 12 years of age, baptized February 12, 1854
  • Thomas Anderson, 10 years of age, baptized February 12, 1854
  • Mary Frances Susan Abell, 6 1/2 years of age, baptized March 27, 1854
  • Margaret Ellen Avis, born July 26, 1856, baptized September 8, 1856
  • Mary Elizabeth Avis, born April 20, 1858, baptized August 16, 1858
  • John Thomas Allen, born April 12, 1866, baptized April 3, 1867
  • John Horace Alley, born October 4, 1867, baptized November 12, 1867
  • Mary Etta Avis, born December 2, 1869, baptized April 30, 1870
  • James Mosey Avis, born April 2, 1872, baptized May 21, 1872

Henry A. Miles Family – Nelson County, Kentucky


Ritchey and I spent two days at St. Thomas Catholic Church Cemetery in rural Nelson County, Kentucky, taking photos of the older portion of the cemetery.  The church is lovely, the setting serene, the only sounds are chirping of birds and perhaps a chipmunk scampering across the ground.  Of all the gravestones we photoed there was none so heartbreaking as those of the family of Henry A. Miles.  The loss of children is always so very sad.


John Barton Miles, June 6, 1775 – July 29, 1833, born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and moved to Nelson County around the turn of the 19th century, was Henry’s father.  December 23, 1802 he married Sarah Howard, February 20, 1782- November 15, 1860.  Sarah was also born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.


Henry married Ann Eliza Read June 5, 1855.  He gave his age as 42, but actually was 38 at the time.  Ann was 17.  They both lived on Beechfork in Nelson County, Kentucky.  Henry and Ann were the proud parents of fifteen children!  All girls, except one son, William Henry, born in 1872.  Of the fourteen girls, four died at a young age.


Ann Catherine “Kate” Miles was born October 1, 1857, and died three months later, December 23, 1857.  This was their second daughter, their first, Sallie, born in 1856, was named for her paternal grandmother.  The Miles took the death of their children very hard.  Another daughter, Mary, was born April 20, 1868, and died six days later.  This is the first of the monuments that would be dedicated to their deceased children.


The third daughter was also named Kate.  It was quite normal at that time for parents to name another child for one that had passed on early in life.  This daughter Kate survived for eleven years, but passed away in 1870.  Our Kate, daughter of H. A. and A. E. Miles, born November 20, 1858, died March 27, 1870.


Another gravestone was erected when daughter Maggie died in 1879, listing all four daughters.  Maggie D. Miles, born June 11, 1874, died December 2, 1879.

In the 1860 Census of Nelson county Henry is listed as 43, a farmer, with wife Ann Eliza, 20, Sallie M., 4, Kate A., 1, Sarah, 80, (his mother), and Lewis Boone, 24, laborer.

In 1870 are Henry and his wife, and six daughters – Sallie M., 14, Fannie, 9, Lillie, 7, Josie, 5, Eliza, 3 and Annie, 1, along with Emma McGill, 16, a nurse.

In 1880 in addition to Henry and Ann Eliza are Sallie, 24, Fannie, 18, (teaching), Lillie, 16, Josie, 14, Eliza, 12, Hadenia, 10, Henry, 8, and Manie (Mamie?), 3.  Daughter Maude was born in 1884.

Henry died in 1889, Ann Eliza living on until 1920.


Their only son, William Henry Miles, married Mary F. Wilson in 1897.  They had five children – two daughters and three sons.


William Henry Miles, 1871-1920


Mary E. Wilson, wife of Henry Miles, August 5, 1873 – June 23, 1911.

All are buried at St. Thomas Cemetery.

New CDs!!!!!


In the mad rush to get ready for the Maryland to Kentucky and Beyond Conference, I finished two additional CDs, but have had no time to add them to the blog!


The first is St. Thomas Catholic Church Gravestones.  St. Thomas is a beautiful little church in Nelson County, Kentucky.  This CD contains the older stones – 432 names, 454 photos.


The second CD is Holy Cross Catholic Church Gravestone Photos.  Holy Cross is located in Marion County, Kentucky.  There are a total of 1,098 names and 986 photos.  All but the very newest stones are included.

I hope these two new CDs will help you with your research!


St. Thomas Catholic Church, Nelson County, Kentucky


St. Thomas Catholic Church in rural Nelson County, Kentucky, is a small church begun by Maryland emigrants to Kentucky at the end of the 18th century.  From the above picture you can see the church is beautiful – small, but quite beloved by its parishioners and visitors alike.  There are 16 stone tablets within the brick walkway, commemorating important dates in the history of the parish.


  • C. 1787 Edward and Thomas Howard settle on Popular Neck of Beech Fork River.
  • C. 1795 Thomas and Ann Howard construct log house.
  • 1810 Thomas Howard wills farm to Catholic Church.
  • 1811 – 1869 St. Thomas Seminary operates.
  • Site of time capsule to be opened July 3, 2052, St. Thomas Church.
  • 1812 St. Thomas Parish is established.  Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth begins.
  • 1814 – 1822 First Nazareth School operates.
  • 1816 St. Thomas Church dedicated.
  • 1850 – 1889 St. Thomas Orphanage operates.
  • 1914 – 1931 St. Thomas Parish conducts schools (in log house)


  • 1957 – 1998 St. Thomas Parish conducts school in brick building.
  • 1998 St. Thomas Parish embraces mission of lifelong formation and education.
  • 2002 re-dedication of St Thomas Church facility.
  • 2006 St. Thomas Church altar consecrated.  bishop Flaget log house dedicated.
  • 2008 St. Thomas Parish commemorates 200th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
  • 2012 July 1 commemorates the bicentennial of St. Thomas Parish.  July 14 dedication of the Parish Life Center.

The cemetery is a mixture of old and new stones.


James M. Norris, 1843 – 1925.  His wife, Mary F., 1842 – 1917


Our Kate, daughter of H. A. and A. E. Miles, born November 20, 1858, died March 27, 1870


Sacred to the memory of John Miles, born the 6th day of June 1773, died the 29th of July 1833.


To the memory of John M. Vowels who was born 3rd August 1812 and died June 7th 1817.


To the memory of Margaret Abell who died January 1818, aged 59 years.  This tribute is inscribed by her children.


Henry Greenwell, born April 10, 1837, died February 27, 1891

Baptisms of St. Thomas Church in Nelson County, Kentucky

St. Thomas Church, Nelson County, Kentucky

January 20, 1826 – I baptized Thomas, son of Ignatius Greenwell and Mary Rapier, his wife, born January 6 of said year.  Godmother:  Ann Rapier.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

April 3, 1826 – I baptized James Henry, son of Robert Hagan, Jr., and Christina Dyer, his wife, born March 31 of said year.  Godmother:  Louisa Hagan.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

April 6, 1826 – I baptized Aloysius, son of Thomas Peak and Louisa, his wife, born February 20 of said year.  Godmother:  Catherine Brian.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

May 1, 1826 – I baptized Michael, son of Michael Byrne and Mary Lucas, his wife, born April 2 of said year.  Godmother:  Harriet Byrne.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

May 2, 1826 – I baptized Ann, daughter of Joseph Johnston and Nancy Stevens, his wife, born March 29 of said year.  Godmother:  Catherine Peak.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

June 1, 1826 – I baptized William Prosper, son of William Buckman and Ann Vowels, his wife, born March 9 of said year.  Godmother:  Mary Byrne.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

July 6, 1826 – I baptized John, son of Ignatius Dawson and Elizabeth Ice, his wife, born December 24, 1825.  Godmother:  Ann Ice.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

July 6, 1826 – I baptized George, son of Joseph Ice and Mary Dawson, his wife, born May 5 of said year.  Godmother:  Eleanor Smith.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

July 25, 1826 – I baptized Mary Eleanor, an adult, daughter of Alexander Hunter and Frances, his wife, born September 20, 1806.  Godmother:  Anne Bean.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

July 25, 1826 – I baptized Frances Jane, daughter of Thomas Mattingly and Minnie Hunter, his wife, born January 8 of said year.  Godmother:  Lucretia Stewart.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

September 23, 1826 – I baptized Mary, daughter of Francis Thornberry and Caroline Abell, his wife, born August 26 of said year.  Godmother:  Emilia Abell.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

October 26, 1826 – I baptized three children of Archibald Toole and Elizabeth Morgan, his wife, namely, Mary Jane, born October 4, 1822.  Godmother:  Ann Ice.  Margaret Eleanor, born October 18, 24.  Godmother:  Mary Byrne.  Dennis, born October 24, 1826.  Godmother:  Ellen Smith.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

December 19, 1826 – I baptized Julia Ann, daughter of Ignatius Metcalf and Eliza Vowels, his wife, born October 28 of said year.  Godmother:  Emily Abell.  Signed:  Edward McMahon

Burials, St. Thomas Church, Nelson County, Kentucky

Burials, St. Thomas Church, Nelson County, Kentucky

(These are burial dates, not death dates.)


  • February 16th –  Laura Gilkey, wife of Richard Ballard, about 28 years old
  • April 8th – Jemima Mattingly, daughter of James Mattingly and Laura Hagan, about 5 months old
  • April 22nd – John Speak, 66 years old
  • May 17th – George, son of Richard and Matilda Rapier, 3 years old


  • March 12th – Fielder Wilson, son of Turner Wilson and Mary Burch, about 25 years old
  • July 23rd – David H. Gilkey, son of John and Sarah Gilkey, about 12 years old
  • July 27th – George Avis, son of Basil Avis and Matilda Hagan, about 5 years old
  • July 27th – John R. Ballard, son of Richard Proctor and Laura Ann Ballard, about 9 years old


  • March 10th – Nancy, wife of Hardin Crow, about 21 years old, buried in grave yard of Mr. Walton Smith
  • May 18th – Abel Hagan, about 50 years old
  • June 1st – Milly Abell, about 55 years old
  • October 6th – Marcelline Metcalf, daughter of Charles and Frances Loomis Metcalf, 16 years old


  • September 5th – William Joseph Boone, son of Joseph and Lucretia Boone, 8 days old
  • September 7th – Julia Ellen Leeman, daughter of Bridget Leeman, about 17 years old
  • October 10th – Margaret E., daughter of William and Elizabeth Rapier, about 3 years old
  • October 24th – Jane Hill, daughter of William and Mary Hill, about 18 years old
  • November 7th – Mrs. Maria Wimsatt Barnes, wife of Thomas Barnes, about 46 years old
  • November 18th – Henry Avis, son of Basil Avis and Matilda Hagan, 19 years old
  • November 22nd – Patrick Welsh, 53 years old
  • December 21st – Mr. James Tewell, about 78 years old


  • March 5th – Ignatius Wheeler, about 20 years old


  • March 20th – Johnnie Lally, an orphan boy, 6 years old
  • May 24th – John Payne, 70 years old


  • April 17th – Baxter, an orphan boy of St. Thomas Institution, about 19 years old
  • December 24th – Ann Catherin Miles, daughter of Edward Miles and Ann Eliza Reid, 3 months old


  • July 26th – Charles Rapier, about 70 years old
  • August 25th – John Avis, about 25 years old


  • May 18th – Ann, infant daughter of Valentine Holtshouser and Letitia Mahoney
  • May 21st – Martin John Wheeler, infant son of John F. Wheeler and Christina Hagan


  • January 18th – Margaret Ellen Hill Tewell, wife of Martin Tewell, age about 20 years
  • January 20th – Stephen Brian, son of Francis Brian and Susan Edelen, died January 19th, age 11 months
  • February 27th – Lawrence Englert of Lanesville, Indiana, a student of St. Thomas, who died at St. Thomas of inflammation of the bowels
  • March 4th – Francis Felix, student of St. Thomas, a native of Cincinnati, who died at St. Thomas of piles terminating in ulceration of the bowels
  • April 27th – Sally Cambron, a daughter of Stephen Cambron, about 3 weeks old
  • May 29th – Amy Rapier, wife of William Rapier, age about 83 years
  • June 8th – A son of John and Kate Mattingly, born May 26th
  • July 1st – Harriet Eliza Rapier, daughter of William J. Rapier and Elizabeth Ball, age 6 months