Tag Archives: War of 1812

The Life of Lucy Neville Blakemore Bragg

I’ve never been as interested in the life of a woman before meeting Lucy Neville Blakemore Bragg – metaphorically speaking.  We met at her gravestone in Vanceburg, Lewis County, Kentucky, two years ago.  Lucy died 156 years ago – but what a life she lived.  And the most important dates and information are on her stone for all to know a part of her story.

Lucy was the daughter of Thomas Blakemore and Ann Gibbs Neville, born in Frederick County, Virginia, April 8, 1764.  She married Thomas Bragg – a captain during the Revolutionary War.  They eventually moved their family to Lewis County, Kentucky.  Thomas Bragg died October 14, 1820.  Lucy lived on for another 42 years.

Lucy began life as a British subject, the daughter of Thomas Blakemore and Ann Gibbs Neville, born April 8, 1764, giving allegiance to King George III, and being a loyal subject until the war.  Her father and at least one brother fought during the Revolution, as well as her future husband, Captain Thomas Bragg, whom she married September 20, 1781.

Thomas and Lucy Bragg were in Lewis County before 1810, when they appeared in the census of that year.  This is twenty-seven years after the war, Lucy was 46 years of age.  In 1819 Thomas Bragg petitioned the court to open a tavern at his home in Vanceburg, and after his death in 1820, Lucy continued to keep the tavern.

In the 1850 census Lucy is head of her household, aged 86 years.  With her lives her son-in-law, Alexander Bruce, who married her daughter Amanda (who is deceased by this time).  Also in the household are two grandsons, children of Alexander and Amanda – Thomas J., 28, a boatman, and his new wife, Mary, 20; and Henry C., 26, also a boatman, and his new wife, Mary, 20.  Vanceburg sits right on the river and I’m sure many in the town and county worked on the water.  In the 1860 census Lucy is 96, Mary Bragg, 18, living with her – probably a great-granddaughter.

And she was living life to the very end.  In February of 1862, nine months before her death, she changed her will in favor of her grandson, Henry C. Bruce, in stead of grandson Horatio W. Bruce.  At first I thought there must have been a tiff in the family, but read that Horatio W. Bruce moved to Louisville, and perhaps Lucy decided Henry, living in the county, would keep the land and slaves in the family.  Just a guess.

Going from a British subject to a citizen of the United States, Lucy Blakemore Bragg lived through sixteen presidents!  From our first president, George Washington, down the line to Abraham Lincoln.  What an amount of history this woman experienced!  She lived through four major wars – Revolutionary War, 1775-1783; War of 1812, 1812-1815; Mexican War, 1846-1848; and the first two years of the Civil War. 

Think of the amount of changes and events that came about in her lifetime – a new country that was given ‘certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ – Lewis and Clark explored the Louisiana Purchase – the steamboat was invented – the city of Washington was burned by British troops in 1814 – James Monroe proclaimed his doctrine of manifest destiny – the California gold rush – the slavery issue is debated – the country grew from the original 13 states to 34 – the South secedes from the Union and the Civil War begins.  And that’s just to name a few.

Lucy outlived her husband, Thomas Bragg, by 42 years.  She outlived all but two of her children and they died within three years – John in 1863 and Harriet in 1865. 

How I would love to sit and talk with this woman!  What interesting things she could tell us about the infant days of our country and the way it changed in the ensuing 80 years!

Lewis County, Kentucky Will Book F, Pages 270-271

In the name of God, amen.

I Lucy Bragg, of Lewis County, State of Kentucky, knowing the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, being frail in body though sound in mind, do make the following disposition of a part of my property.  I give to my grandson, Henry C. Bruce, of Blackrock Bottom, my Negro woman Minerva, her three children, or more if she has more children, and all their increase.  Also I give to my said grandson Henry C. Bruce a piece of land adjoining the town of Vanceburg and bounded on the north by the town of Vanceburg, on the east

by the state road, on the south by the lands belonging to the heirs of my late husband at my death, and on the west by the land of W. C. Halbert; said parcel of land namely bequeathed to Henry C. Bruce is the same land heretofore claimed by my grandson H. W. Bruce, and I ever give and bequeath said land and slaves or other to said H. W. Bruce in any former will I may have made heretofore I hereby revoke said will as far as it gives any property of any kind to said H. W. Bruce and all gifts or bequests heretofore made by me to said H. W. Bruce are hereby changed and said property of every kind thus given or bequeathed to said H. W. Bruce is hereby given to my grandson Henry C. Bruce, hereby revoking all former wills and testaments so far as may conflict with this.

In testimony hereby I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 14th day of February A.D. 1862.

Lucy Bragg

Signed, sealed, declared, published and delivered in presence of the undersigned who witnessed this in the presence and at the request of Mrs. Lucy Bragg:  W. C. Harnett, R. F. Waring

Lucy Blakemore, born in Frederick County, Virginia, April 8, 1764, married Thomas Bragg, September 20, 1781, and died in Lewis County, Kentucky, November 1, 1862, aged 98 years, 6 months and 23 days.  Vanceburg Cemetery, Lewis County, Kentucky.

 

Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter

Last weekend my son, Linton, and I had a day together in Louisville.  He lives in Indianapolis, not the ends of the earth, but not an easy day trip.  When our weekend was planned I told Ritchey and Kate he was mine on Saturday, but I would share him with the rest of the family on Sunday!  We had a huge family dinner and Julian had quite a day with Uncle Linton.

Most of our day together was spent at bookstores, record shops, eating and talking.  Beforehand I searched for those rare and used bookstores and the first we visited was A Book By Its Cover on Dartmouth.  When we turned in it was a residential area.  We searched again and came up with the same place.  Linton called, and, yes, we were in front of the business!  The gentleman told us most of his business is online, but he welcomes those who want to come and peruse.  And he had one room of Kentucky history and county histories – I was in heaven!

One book I found was Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter (1787-1827) by E. A. Jonas.  The book is in excellent condition, being No. 264 of 500 copies of the first edition.  About forty of his portraits are reproduced in the book.  Being a Mercer County resident and having a little knowledgeable about the history of our county, I recognized the last name as the same as the wife of Thomas Allin, our first county clerk.  Thomas Allin married Mary Jouett on February 16, 1789, at the home of her brother, Captain John Jouett, Jr.  Their parents were John Jouett, Sr., and Mourning Harris.  Captain John Jouett, Jr., better known as ‘Jack’, was the father of Matthew Harris Jouett.  Matthew was born in 1787, two years before his aunt’s marriage.

After a local education, Matthew’s father sent him to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, to be educated as a lawyer.  He studied and became a lawyer, but his free time was spent painting.  In 1812 he married Miss Margaret Allen of Fayette County.

He could not continue his law profession, gave up his business and started painting portraits as his livelihood.  His father was not happy, and that is an understatement.  The War of 1812 changed everyone’s lives, and Matthew Jouett volunteered his services and served valiantly.  He enlisted in Captain Robert Crockett’s Company, Third Mounted Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Allen commanding.  July 13, 1814, he was appointed paymaster, with the rank of captain of the 28th United States Infantry by President Madison.  At the battle of the River Raisin the payrolls and papers, in his care as paymaster, fell into enemy hands and were never recovered.  He found himself in debt to the War Department for $6,000.  That doesn’t sound like a huge sum today, but it would be about a million dollars.  This was not due to negligence or lack of prudence, just a fortune of war.  He was determined to pay the money back – and he did so through painting portraits.  His father was furious and called him a ‘sign-painter’, never realizing how great his talent truly was.

Matthew Jouett went to Boston in 1817 and studied for a year with Gilbert Stuart – who painted the famous George Washington portrait.  Back in Kentucky Matthew painted assiduously.  Those who sat for him sound like a Who’s Who of history – Henry Clay, Judge John Rowan, Andrew Jackson, Hon. George M. Bibb, Mr. Justice Thomas Todd, Captain Robeson DeHart, Colonel Edmund Taylor, Sr., General LaFayette, Hon. John Brown, Hon. Robert S. Todd, George Rogers Clark and many, many others.  It is said that in the ten years of his career he produced over 400 portraits – and there could be more.  In 1964, at an auction in Lexington, a gentleman bought a portrait of a child for $22 – and afterwards found out it was a Matthew Jouett painting, worth $1600-$2000!

Matthew Jouett died after a short illness, August 10, 1827, in his fortieth year and at the top of his professional success.  It is said he accomplished as much in ten years as many others were able to do only in a lifetime.  His fame as a great painter truly began at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.  His paintings were given the best place in the gallery by the Hanging Committee because of their recognized merit.  In 1928 fifty to sixty of Matthew Jouett’s portraits were exhibited at the J B Speed Museum in Louisville.  Some of his work is in the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center, and I believe one hangs in a New York museum.

Matthew and his wife are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.  I think there’s another road trip to plan – to the cemetery, J B Speed Museum in Louisville, and the old state house in Frankfort where the life-size portrait of General LaFayette hangs!  I will keep you updated!

Remember the Raisin!!

This marvelous tale of Larkin Nicholls Akers during the War of 1812 is discussed in Otto Rothert’s 1913 book, A History of Muhlenberg County.  I have an original copy, which was dedicated ‘To the memory of the Pioneers of Muhlenberg, who by their resolute deeds and heroic lives made possible the achievements of a later day, this History of Our Own Times and of theirs is dedicated.’  This book was given by Bettie J. Earns, to her mother, Effie Earns McNary, on January 1, 1914.  When looking at county history books it is always best to find the early ones.  The people that wrote these early books – 1870’s through 1930’s – generally knew the people they were writing about, or knew them through their parents or an older generation.

Today I want to share information with you about Larkin N. Akers.  He is listed as a hero of the War of 1812, and is buried in Old Liberty Cemetery in Muhlenberg County.  His gravestone has been painted to represent the flag of our country, the one he served so well.  I have not seen anything similar.

Larkin Nichols Akers, born 1794, Shelby County, Kentucky, died 1865, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.  War of 1812 – Private.  Old Liberty Cemetery, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

From the book –

A century has passed since the War of 1812 began.  It is said that for many years after this war accounts of daring deeds performed by Muhlenberg men were told by the soldiers who participated in some of the battles.  With the exception of a few, all of these old stories, although handed down for a generation or two, are now forgotten.  Most of the men who saw service in the second war with England passed away before the close of the Civil War.  George Penrod, who died January 22, 1892, at the age of about one hundred, was the last of the Muhlenberg veterans of 1812.

Practically all that is now told in local traditions of this war forms part of the story of the life of eight well-known local men:  Larkin N. Akers, who ran the gantlet after the battle of the River Raisin; Charles Fox Wing and Mosely Collins Drake, who took part in the battle of the Thames; Ephraim M. Brank, Alney McLean, Isaac Davis, Joseph C. Reynolds, and Michael Severs, who took part in the battle of New Orleans.

Larkin Nicholls Akers came to Greenville about twenty-five years after his miraculous escape at River Raisin.  He was a private in a company organized in Central Kentucky, where he lived at the time he enlisted.  The famous massacre of River Raisin took place in Michigan on January 23, 1813, and was one of the most cruel and bloody acts recorded in all our history.  The American forces, mainly Kentuckians, after fighting a fierce battle against a superior number of British soldiers and their Indian allies, surrendered under promise of protection from the Indians.  But the British made no attempt to carry out their promise.  On the contrary, they encouraged the bloodthirsty Indians by offering them pay for all the scalps they would bring in.  The unprotected and defenseless American prisoners, who were crowded into a few cold houses and pens, were soon in the hands of the merciless savages.  Some of them were killed outright or cruelly burned to death; a number were scalped alive.  Many were tortured in various ways, some by being compelled to run the gantlet.  In the confusion not many made their escape.  But of those few who ran the gantlet and came out alive, Larkin N. Akers was one.

Akers often told the sad story of his River Raisin experience to his family and friends while sitting around the fireside or while working in his tailor shop in Greenville.  The treatment he received during that massacre was almost beyond human endurance.  His body was virtually covered with scars.  Up to the time of his death, which occurred in July 1865, he frequently suffered intense pain from a fractured skull and other wounds inflicted by the Indians.

This surgeon’s affidavit was made in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on February 23, 1828.  It says that Larkin N. Akers was a Private in the Company of Captain Thomas Lewis in the 13th Regiment of the United States Infantry, and is rendered incapable of performing the duty of a Soldier.  It continues that on May 5, 1813, ‘being engaged in a fight with the British and Indians, at or near a place called the Rapids of Miami, in the district or territory of Michigan, he received four wounds in his head, seemingly with a tomahawk.’  He was considered three-fourths disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.

Larkin N. Akers married Sally Harrison, who was related to General William Henry Harrison.  Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Akers were the parents of five children:  Anna Akers, who married John A. Stembridge; Jane Akers, who married William Lindsey; Matilda Akers, who after the death of her first husband, David Donevan, married Joseph Randall, both of whom lived in Hopkinsville; Thomas Akers, who married Lera Boswell, of Princeton; Sarah Catherine Akers, who married Charles W. Lovell, of Muhlenberg.

Thomas Corwin Anderson Biography

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

Montgomery County

Thomas Corwin Anderson, one of the most noted short-horn cattle breeders of the United States, was born August 24, 1845, in Montgomery County, Kentucky, at ‘Side View’ farm, where he now lives, on the turnpike between Paris and Mt. Sterling, and which is one of the most beautiful tracts of land in the Blue Grass region.  He is the only child of John Jay and Margaret (Mitchell) Anderson, both of pioneer families of Kentucky.  His grandfathers were Captains in the War of 1812, and his great-grandfather Anderson a conspicuous officer in the war of the Revolution.  Between fourteen and fifteen years of age the subject of our sketch enlisted in the Federal army, where, by his youthful acts of bravery, quick intelligence, and manly deportment, he soon won the admiration and esteem of officers and men.  He attracted the attention of General Nelson, who suggested that he should receive a military education.  This meeting the approval of his family, he was recommended to the U.S. Naval Academy, and received the appointment through Colonel William H. Wadsworth, Representative in Congress from his district.  he remained at the academy some three years, but, preferring an independent life on a farm to that on the ocean wave, he gave it up, and finished his education at Yale College.  October 12, 1870, he was married to Miss Annie English, of Louisville, Kentucky, daughter of Colonel Sam S. English, a prominent lawyer of that city.  He has two children, handsome, intelligent boys:  English and Jay; the fifth generation who have occupied this farm.  From early childhood Mr. Anderson has been a sufferer from weak lungs, yet he is a man of great energy and nerve.  He is thoroughly informed in regard to his business, and having a library well supplied with herd books, Short-horn histories, etc., no one is better posted in knowledge of pedigrees.  He is very fond of reading, and is a man of varied information.  He is pleasing in manner, exceedingly hospitable, and has many friends.  Mr. Anderson owns the largest individual herd of Short-horn cattle in the United States.

James C. Miller Biography

from History of Daviess County, Kentucky, Inter-State Publishing Company, 1883

Masonville Precinct

James C. Miller resides on the same farm in Masonville Precinct where his father settled in 1824, and where he was born August 26, 1830.  His father, Fleming Miller, was born in Henrico County, Virginia, November 1, 1791.  He followed teaming until the outbreaking of the War of 1812, when he enlisted in Captain De Val’s company.  After the war, he returned to Virginia and married Elizabeth Ally, and they came to Shelby County, Kentucky, where they had a family of four children, one living – Pleasant J., a tobacco merchant of Owensboro.  The mother died in Shelby County, and Mr. Miller then married Rosa Boswell, and then moved to Daviess County in 1824; soon after his arrival here she died.  He then married Sallie Crawford in 1829, a native of Shelby County, Kentucky.  He died June 28, 1860, and his wife died December 23, 1844.  James C., subject of this sketch, was the oldest of their eight children.  He was married to Amy S. Miller, January 23, 1852.  She was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, and was a daughter of James and A. (Anderson) Miller.  After his marriage, he settled on the old homestead with his father one year; then moved on a farm in Ohio County, Kentucky.  His wife died July 22, 1854, leaving one daughter – Sallie C., born February 27, 1853, now the wife of Dr. J. C. Sutton, residing in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky.  After his wife died, he returned to Daviess County with his father.  He married Frances Y. Haynes, February 12, 1856.  She was native of Ohio County, Kentucky, born December 20, 1832, and was a daughter of Josiah and Frances Y. (Howard) Haynes.  After his marriage Mr. Miller settled on his farm in Ohio County and remained until 1870, when he returned to Daviess County and settled on a farm, two miles east of Whitesville, in Boston Precinct, where they remained until December 1878, when he purchased the old farmstead farm in Masonville Precinct, where he and family still reside.  Mr. and Mrs. Miller have had seven children, six living – Emma N., born March 14, 1857; Josiah H., born April 12, 1860; Henry C., born June 26, 1862; Fannie R., born July 12, 1866; Mary E., born January 27, 1869, and Amy B., born Jun 11, 1872, all residing with their parents except the eldest son, Josiah H., who is teaching school in Western Kentucky Normal School at South Carrollton.  Mr. and Mrs. James C. Miller are members of the Baptist church at Bethabara, as are all their children.  Mr. Miller is a member of Hodges Lodge, A. F. & A. M., at Whitesville.  He was Justice of the Peace in Ohio County four years; was appointed in Daviess County in 1880, to fill out an unexpired term, and elected in 1882 for whole term.  He was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Daviess County in 1875, and held that office three years.  He has held various other local offices of trust in his precinct.  Mr. Miller owns a fine farm of 165 acres where he resides, 125 under cultivation.  In politics, he is a Democrat.  He is of Irish and German descent.  Mrs. Miller’s family was English and Welsh decent.

Peter Jett – Culpeper County, Virginia, to Franklin County, Kentucky

Just an interesting tidbit, I’m now reading Capital on the Kentucky by Carl E. Kramer, a two hundred year history of Frankfort and Franklin County – absolutely fascinating!  William L. Jett, son of the Peter Jett of this biography, is mentioned in the book as being a law partner of Patrick U. Major, in the late 1870’s to 1880’s.

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

Franklin County, Kentucky

Peter Jett was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, June 3, 1804, and is a son of Matthew and Susan (Tapp) Jett, also natives of Culpeper County, and of English origin.  Matthew Jett was born about 1776, served in the War of 1812, came to Kentucky in 1830 and settled on a farm between Frankfort and Lawrenceburg, in Franklin County, and died in 1854.  Peter Jett was reared a farmer, but also learned carpentering, and for years was a contractor and builder.  He settled in Franklin County, Kentucky in 1827, was appointed county assessor, and after the adoption of the new constitution was elected to that office, in which  he served eighteen or twenty years.  May 27, 1829, he married Miss Julia Ann, daughter of Stephen Arnold of Franklin County.  Mrs. Julia Jett died in 1865, and in 1871 Mr. Jett married Mrs. Caroline Cromwell Giltner, a native of Fayette County.  To the first marriage of Mr. Jett there were born three children:  Martha J. (Mrs. Reid), Matthew Edgar and William L.  The last named was born in 1841, and was a Confederate soldier, married Miss Susan Gresham, of Monroe County, Georgia, and was appointed post office inspector under Cleveland.  Peter Jett has been chairman of the Franklin County Democratic County Committee for twenty years.

Franklin Gorin Obituary

img_6009Franklin Gorin, May 3, 1798 – December 8, 1877.  Glasgow Municipal Cemetery, Barren County, Kentucky.

from The Glasgow Kentucky Weekly Times, Barren County

13 December 1877

Hon. Franklin Gorin

With the death of the venerable gentleman whose name heads this article almost the last of the first inhabitants of the county have passed away. Franklin Gorin was the son of Gen. John Gorin, one of the first settlers of this part of Kentucky, and was born in this place on the 3rd of May, 1798. Around him clustered many memories of the past, as he was the first white child born in Glasgow, if not in the county, and the best part of his long and eventful life was spent among the scenes of his boyhood and friends of his youth. When he reached the years of maturity and assumed the responsibilities of life he chose the profession of law, and soon by his diligence, backed by his native brightness of intellect, won for himself an enviable name and fame in those days when no man of mere ordinary ability could hope to make much mark in the State, and when Kentucky was in her palmy days of great lawyers and intellectual men. He for a while lived in Nashville, and while there entered into a partnership with Judge Bell, who afterwards ran for the presidency of the United States on the celebrated Bell-Everett ticket, and was by many thought to be even the sounder and abler lawyer of the two. In the course of his long career at the bar he measured swords in forensic debate with some of the ablest of Kentucky’s lawyers and never with discredit to himself, and formerly was the peer of any lawyer in the State. He represented this county in the Legislative halls more than once and could have done so oftener had he wished, as he was at one time the most popular man in the district and as well-known as any in Kentucky, and always until his retirement from active life took a leading position in the political struggles of the day. While he was a man of great and varied knowledge of all branches of his profession, he was also a lover of society, and wealth had no higher purpose with him than to minister to the wants of his family and many friends. His tastes were emphatically of the cultivated and social order, and no one can say aught against his charity, while many will remember with pleasure his plain and lavish hospitality. He was once the owner of the world renowned curiosity, the Mammoth Cave, and of much years ago was numbered among the wealthy as well as brilliant men in the district. A man of bright intellect, cultivated and polished by continual association with the highest classes of society he adorned the circle of his friends and associates and was looked up to and respected by all. Many will hear of his death with regret and drop a tear of sympathy and remembrance of the times of long ago when he was in the zenith of power, and many who have long since been laid to rest were playing their part on life’s checkered board. He was buried at the old family burying ground in this place, verging at the time of his death upon the close of his four-score years. Few men have been more prominently before the people and sustained a more unblemished character for a longer period than Franklin Gorin.

img_6010Deborah P. Gorin, wife of Franklin Gorin, born in Cherry Valley, New York, 1820 – 1900.

img_1288John Gorin, Sargent Continental Line, Revolutionary War, War of 1812.  May 15, 1763 – August 5, 1837.  Father of Franklin Gorin.

Since it mentions that Franklin Gorin was buried at the old family burying place in the obituary, I believe the graves were moved the municipal cemetery at some point, or the family cemetery became the city municipal cemetery.