The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

James Nicholas Beadles

James Nicholas Beadles, son of Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan, was named for his maternal grandfather Nicholas Vaughan of Amelia County, Virginia. He was born on March 6th, 1825 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, before the Beadles with their extended family migrated to Kentucky's Jackson Purchase area around 1830.

Upon first arriving in Graves County, the Beadles' family along with the Wingo and other associated families settled around the area of the town of Wingo which was named for J. N. Beadles' brother-in-law Jerman J. Wingo. Reportedly, as a young man James began work in Mayfield, Kentucky in retail.

Gravestone of Margaret M. Beadles, Greer Cemetery, Wingo, KYOn September 19th, 1850, he married Macerina L. Eaker. A little more than a year later on November 8th, 1851, Macerina died, leaving an infant daughter Margaret. Thirteen days later on November 21st, six month old Margaret also died.

Besides his involvement in merchandizing, James Nicholas Beadles, also served as acting cashier of the Mayfield branch of the Bank of Ashland. On April 27, 1858, he was married to Catherine Chappel Mayes of Caldwell County who died on January 10, 1862. James and Catherine Beadles had one son, Robert Mayes Beadles, born on 26 July 1859 in Graves County.

On May 29, 1861, what is referred to as the "Mayfield Convention" took place at the Courthouse there. The extensive notes of the proceedings kept by James N. Beadles who was a Unionist, were later published in the Louisville Daily Journal. Secession was the primary topic and many Jackson Purchase residents favored a sectional military alliance with Tennessee. The final decision made at the convention was that, at least for the immediate future, the western Kentucky counties would follow the rest of the state and maintain neutrality.

His third marriage on the 28th of August 1866 was to the young widow of Col. Albert Perry Thompson, Mary Elizabeth Mayes, probably a cousin of his deceased wife Catherine Mayes. Col. A. P. Thompson served in the 3rd Kentucky Infantry of the CSA organized at Camp Boone, Tennessee in July of 1861. In 1864, the 3rd Kentucky Infantry was ordered to report to General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Col. A. P. Thompson was placed in charge of the 8th Kentucky Infantry during Forrest's assault on Paducah. Col. Thompson was killed by cannon fire while leading his troops through the streets of Paducah during that unsuccessful offensive.

Graves County Courthouse, MayfieldIn December of 1866, James N. Beadles went to New Orleans where he was recorded as being a commission merchant in census records. The 1870 census lists his household as including his widowed sister Letitia Beadles Slayden and her children. His own wife and children apparently remained in Kentucky for they are not listed with other members of the household. The ability afforded by the Mississippi River to travel easily between New Orleans and Kentucky appears to have allowed him to maintain residences in both locations throughout the 1870's. He was recorded in Mayfield in the 1880 census and is reported to have returned there permanently in Feburary of 1882. At that time, with other associates he organized the Bank of Mayfield, of which he became the cashier.

He and Mary had four sons - Lewis, James Nicholas Jr., Wiltz William and Locke Beadles. James Nicholas Beadles died in Mayfield, Kentucky on September 30th, 1894 and is buried there in the Maplewood Cemetery.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Pryors - Jonathan & James

There has been much debate and discussion as to whether Jonathan and James Pryor were children of Richard Pryor and Mourning Thomson formerly of Albemarle, Virginia. The fact that Richard left no will when he died in Logan County in 1797 has contributed to the uncertainty. The only document recording his heirs is an 1811 Logan County deed wherein ten heirs sold their portion of a tract of 250 acres in Logan County to Jonathan Pryor. The deed specifically states that the sellers are the heirs of Richard “Prior”. It was common practice for legatees to sell their portions of an estate to one sibling but the problem with this deed is that it does not make an assertion that Jonathan was also an heir of Richard Prior.

Although there is no absolute proof of the parentage of James and Jonathan Pryor, there is an abundance of documentation of their connection to Richard and Mourning indicating that they were members of that family. Both James and Jonathan state that they were born in Tennessee on the 1850 census. Richard and Mourning Pryor are known to have been residents of Tennessee before December 1787 when Mourning was recorded as one of the charter members of the Big Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church in Cocke County. When James Pryor died in Graves County in 1856, Richard Pryor was listed as his father on his death record although the name of his mother appears to be something closer to Miriam. By the time Jonathan died around 1862, Graves County had suspended the practice of filing death reports so there is no similar record for him. In Graves County where both Jonathan and James lived the rest of their lives and raised their families, it is generally accepted that they were brothers and local histories identify them as such.

On the 19th of June 1800, Mourning Pryor married Thomas White in Logan County, Kentucky and the following Smith County, Tennessee deed confirms that she was Richard Pryor's widow:
10 May 1802 - Smith Co., TN Deed Book 1801-17 p. 94
Between Thomas White and Mourning White, formerly Prior (Pryor) admx. of Richard Pryor, decd of Logan Co., KY and James Ewing of Smith Co., TN...During the lifetime of said Richard Pryor, he bound himself in the penal sum of 200 pounds to execute a deed to William Pryor for 400 acres of land, his choice of 1280 acres part of 3000 acres lying on the Caneyford of Cumberland River, Mourning White (formerly Pryor) widow of Richard obtained letters of Administration of said decedent and said William Pryor has sold to James Ewing his rights to 200 of the 400 acres of land etc.
Five years after Mourning married Thomas White, on September 28, 1805, Jonathan Pryor married his youngest daughter Elizabeth. When Thomas died in 1806, he named Mourning as the executrix of his estate in his will dated 18 Mar 1805. She is recorded, as Mourning White, in Logan County tax records after Thomas’ death and in the 1810 census. Presumably she died sometime before 1820. Trips to Logan County to search extensively for more information have failed to produce any further record of Mourning or a gravesite.

1825 Grant to Jonathan Pryor
Jonathan and James Pryor with their young families left Logan County around 1820 moving further west into the newly opened Jackson Purchase. They reportedly first settled in Callaway County for a short time but by the 1830 census they were located in Graves County. Jonathan’s daughter Eustacia's marriage to Burrell Williams on April 15, 1824 is said to be the first marriage recorded in Graves County. The first grants west of the Tennessee River to Jonathan and James Pryor are both dated July 7, 1825. Over the next 10 years, there are additional grants totaling more than 3,000 acres to each of them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - J. J. Wingo, Jr.

J. J. Wingo, Jr. Gravestone

J. J. WINGO, Jr.

Jan. 7, 1845

Mar. 6, 1866

Jerman J. Wingo, Jr. was the son of Jerman J. Wingo and Ann Yancey Beadles Wingo. He is buried in the Greer Cemetery at Wingo, Kentucky with his parents and brother John William. Very little is known of him, even his cause of death at only 21 years old is unknown. Although he died shortly after the Civil War, there is nothing to indicate that he served during the war or that his death was the result of wounds received during it.

On my first visit to the Greer Cemetery over 30 years ago, this stone was broken and the upper portion, the obelisk, was lying on the ground. Thanks to the Wingo Homemakers Club's efforts in the 1980's it has been repaired and now stands a few feet from his parents' graves.

Greer Cemetery, Wingo, Kentucky

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Charles Morgan Hall Family

Charles Morgan Hall, the son of Adam Hall and Edith Ann Morgan, married Mary Elizabeth Wingo, the daughter of Jerman J. Wingo and Ann Beadles so I am related to that family through two different lines. My grandfather referred to them as being his "double cousins".

Charles M. Hall's grandfather was Charles Morgan who served as a militia Captain in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. His other grandfather, William Hall was also reportedly a soldier of the Revolution but since the name William Hall is far too common in revolutionary records, no one has confirmed his service to date. Charles Morgan applied for a RW pension in 1832 in Warrick County, Indiana but died soon after his statement was given. Thankfully he did make that application before his death because there is information contained in it that would never have been available otherwise. That will probably be material for another post.

Charles' father Adam Hall was a keel and flat boatsman on the Mississippi River, trading in pork and salt, but after steamboats came into existence, in 1837 he quit boating and purchased 366 acres of land just across the Mississippi River in Missouri. He resided there on his farm at Cape Girardeau till his death in January of 1849.

As a young man, Charles Morgan Hall had also piloted flat boats down the river to New Orleans. After Adam Hall's death, he brought his mother and the younger children back to Kentucky where he had the care of the family. In 1856, he married Mary Elizabeth Wingo, a young widow, who had previously been married to a William Hall who was said to be of no relation. C. M. and Mary Elizabeth Hall raised their eight children not far from Blandville in Ballard County, Kentucky.

According to information published in 1885 by Battle, Perrin & Kniffen in Volume I of Kentucky: A History of the State, C. M. Hall was a leading farmer and fine stock breeder. Charles Morgan Hall died on the 28th of January 1895 and Mary Elizabeth Wingo Hall died on the 10th of November 1911.

(Thanks to Charles M. Hall descendant, Jay, for the wonderful photo above.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jerman J. Wingo of Wingo, Kentucky

Jerman Wingo's parents, Thomas Wingo and Mary Holt Wingo died in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1828 and 1827, respectively. Shortly after their deaths, sometime in 1830, Jerman with his wife Ann, their three small children and his younger brother William Thomas Wingo left Pittsylvania County migrating to the newly opened territory of Kentucky west of the Tennessee River. They came west with Ann's parents Lewis Yancey Beadles and Martha C. Vaughan Beadles, and were joined by most of her siblings.

On the 21st of November 1831, Jerman J. Wingo received 2 land patents of 160 acres each and on the same day, his father-in-law Lewis Yancey Beadles received 8 patents of 160 acres each, all located in Graves County.

Land Patent #2338

Patent 2338 had previously been #2113 which was granted to Levi Tucker

Reverse-Land Patent #2338

Reverse side showing Levi Tucker's assignment to Jerman J. Wingo and
Lewis Y. Beadles' signature as witness.

Aunt Molly Wingo Peal, granddaughter of Jerman J. Wingo, repeated stories she had been told as a child by older slaves of the family's migration from Virginia to Kentucky. The men herded the cattle while the female slaves and children herded geese and chickens as they traveled west through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. Jerman Wingo was an amateur horticulturist and they told her of his bringing fruit tree cuttings from North Carolina and Virginia to be planted in Kentucky.

For those who have traveled along this route even on modern roads, it is all too evident what a monumental task it must have been to travel from Virginia thru the Cumberland Gap all the way across Kentucky to the Jackson Purchase area in wagons bringing all their worldly possessions as well as livestock.

Within the next decade, Jerman's only other sibling, sister Lucinda with her husband George Bolinger and their family followed, migrating from Virginia to the Jackson Purchase.

Welcome Sign - Wingo KYThroughout the next 50 years, the Wingos, Beadles, Bolingers and other allied families such as the Slaydens developed prosperous farms and plantations on the Jackson Purchase land grants. The Beadles, Bolingers and Slaydens became involved in business such as banking and manufacturing in addition to holding public office. After Jerman Wingo gave right of way to the railroad as well as land for a depot, the town that grew there was first called "Wingo Station" and later shortened to Wingo.

During the Civil War, the effort to control the two great rivers, the Mississippi and Ohio, brought the presence of the Union Army to the Purchase. Ulysses S. Grant and the Union army captured Paducah which gave them control of the Ohio and the Tennesseee Rivers. Since the majority of the residents of the Jackson Purchase were southern planters and sympathized with the Confederacy, it was an extremely difficult time in the Purchase area. Many years later, Jerman's son, Elijah Willis Wingo told of their home on the Wingo Plantation having first been confiscated for use as a hospital and then later burned.

In a newspaper article from Denton, Texas in March 1930, Elijah Willis Wingo described the move from Kentucky in 1869 to Stephenville in Erath County, Texas. He said that in spite of the hardships of the 32-day trip to Texas and the dismal living conditions in the early days, it was not as bad as those they left behind in Kentucky after the Civil War.

Jerman J. Wingo, Sr.'s GravestoneJerman and Ann both survived the trials of the Civil War in the Jackson Purchase. Even after the losses of the war and reconstruction, the 1870 census lists Jerman's worth in real estate property at $8,000 and $4,000 in personal property. They raised their eleven children in Graves County and nine of the eleven survived them. Jerman died in Wingo, Kentucky in 1873 and Ann died there in 1879. Both are buried in the Greer Cemetery of Wingo, Kentucky with other early settlers to the Jackson Purchase such as the Plumlees and Bosticks.