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.

Friday, August 24, 2012

1869 Migration to Texas

Elijah Willis Wingo FamilyThe doctor in Graves County, Kentucky told Elijah Willis Wingo that if he wanted to live through another winter, he would have to go west. Taking the doctor's advice, in the fall of 1869, Elijah, accompanied by a few other Graves County families, took his young family and made the thirty-two day journey behind a team of mules to Erath County, Texas.

At times the caravan included as many as seven families along the route to Texas. Besides traveling over the rough roads, the travelers were frequently required to pay a toll for the privilege of crossing bogs and streams on piles of logs. They had decided to rent once they reached their destination, but when they arrived in Stephenville were only able to locate an abandoned log cabin with two rooms. The cabin was shared with his brother-in-law's family and each family was given one of the two rooms. In a 1927 article in the Denton Chronicle newspaper, Elijah's wife Elizabeth chuckled on recalling the memory of her husband joining the women in tears at the dismal outlook.

In another article from the Denton Record-Chronicle written in 1930 on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Elijah Willis Wingo and Almina Elizabeth Latta, Elijah recalled that as dismal as the living conditions were in those early days in Erath County, they were not as harsh as what they had left behind in Kentucky following the Civil War. Their home on the plantation of his father Jerman J. Wingo was at first confiscated as a hospital and later burned.

Five Generations of E. W. Wingo FamilyElizabeth Wingo recounted that for a year she cooked over a fireplace and slept on a bunk of limbs from trees with the bark peeled off and had neither milk nor butter for her small children.

Near Lingleville they bought a 100 acre farm for $3.00 an acre. Ordinary prairie land sold for 75 cents an acre, but this was choice bottom land. In the fall of 1870, the Wingos' house was built with logs Elijah felled and hauled to Stephenville to be sawed into planks. The house included the first glass windows in the vicinity of Stephenville - two tiny panes inserted in one room. At that time it was a daring thing to put in glass windows since the Indians were still menacing the settlements.

Having corn milled required a trip to Bremond, a center of culture and commerce five counties distant. Elijah recalled that one of the trips took 15 days. The first cookstove in the Stephenville neighborhood was brought from Bremond in 1870 and on his next trip, Elijah drove his mules 200 miles and returned with seven bedsteads. Two range cattle were added once the first grass appeared and the children then had milk. Hogs were also raised and varied the diet of venison and wild turkey.

Elijah and Elizabeth Wingo raised nine children in Erath County and after 70 years of marriage, the Wingos still recalled the days of county fairs in Mayfield, Kentucky when they were sweethearts. Elijah Willis Wingo died at age 94 on December 14, 1930 in Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas and Almina Elizabeth Latta Wingo on January 16, 1932, age 92, in Stephenville, Erath County.

(Many thanks to Suzanne, descendant of Elijah Willis and Elizabeth Latta Wingo for sharing the wonderful photos. And a posthumous thank you to my late aunt Ruby Reeves Johnson who made several trips to Stephenville to meet our Wingo cousins and in doing so obtained the source documents for this post.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reunion of Co. D, 2nd Kentucky

Richard Pryor
  Richard Pryor, son of
 Jonathan Pryor,Jr.
Richard T. Pryor was the son of Jonathan Pryor, Jr. and Frances Rozzell of Pryorsburg, Graves County, Kentucky. At the age of 21 on the 28th of July, 1861, Richard was enlisted by Capt. Lewis S. Slayden in the Second Kentucky Infantry, CSA, at Camp Boone, Tennessee. The 2nd Kentucky was part of the First Kentucky Brigade which in time came to be known as the "Orphan Brigade".

On December 2, 1862 he was taken prisoner at Hartsville, Tennessee. It is unclear how long he was a Union prisoner, but on the 30th of June, 1863, in Jackson, Mississippi, he received a medical discharge because of a gunshot through his right elbow which occurred during the battle in Hartsville. CSA records at the time of his discharge state that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair.

Twenty-seven years later a reunion was held at the home of Richard Pryor. On October 1, 1890 the Mayfield Monitor published the following article:

Reunion of Company D, Second Kentucky

A reunion of the above company at the residence of Mr. Richard Pryor, four miles southwest of here, on last Wednesday, notwithstanding the disagreeableness of the weather, was largely attended and proved a great success.

The following members of the company for which the meeting was arranged were present and took part in the exercises. Their ages, post office addresses and Christian names are also given:

Henry T. Wilkerson, age 49, Mayfield; T. F. (Dock) Mason, age 51, Pritchard, Graves County; Jas. D. Watson, age 46, Mayfield; Amos West, age 53, Mayfield; R. L. Usrey, age 57, Mayfield; W. W. (Wint) Potts, age 53, Pottsville; H. L. (Los) Jones, age 49, West Plains; J. V. (Jake) Canaday, age 59, Mayfield; Thos. F. Boaz, age 53, Kansas, Ky.; A. B. (Arch) Pullen, age 47, Lynnville; R. T. (Dick) Pryor, age 50, Mayfield; D. P. (De) Coulter, age 51, Mayfield.

As far as is known the following are the names of surviving members who were not present:

Newt. Anderson, Bushnell, Fla.; Wit. Boaz, Martin, Tenn.; Jack Pryor, East Prairie, Mo.; Bill Burton, Wingo; John Bourne, Pryorsburg; Charlie Haskell, Moscow; F. M. Handley, Melbourne, Ark.; Thos. Hopkins; New Mexico; A. T. Pullen, Pryorsburg; Wm. Bridges, Arkansas; Tup. Ryburn, Viola; Marshall Sullivan, Boaz; John Williams, West Plains; Tip. Myers, Wingo; Jim Touhey, Pryorsburg; Thomas Floyd, Wingo.

The company was organized with 110 men at Camp Boone, near Clarksville, Tenn., July 13, 1861. L. S. Slayden was chosen captain; H. B. Rodgers, first lieutenant; A. J. Pryor, second lieutenant; R. L. Usrey, third lieutenant. At the end of the war 36 of the company were paroled at Washington, Ga. The officers of the company at the time of the surrender were A. J. Pryor, captain; R. L. Usrey, first lieutenant; Amos West, second lieutenant; C. A. Haskell, third lieutenant.

Capt. T. M. Curtis, Company K, 50th Tenn.; Capt. R. T. Albritton, Company C, 8th Ky.; J. L. Rickman, Company K, 47th Tenn.; L. W. Bostic, Company A, 12th Ky., were also present, together with a number of Mr. Pryor’s friends.

A magnificent dinner was spread, to which it is needless to say all did justice; in fact it is said that one gentleman not only filled his stomach, but also his pockets, with the good things that were spread so lavishly before him. For any information on this point inquire of Bob Albritton, Amos West, Bill Bostic or Dock Mason.

All who went enjoyed themselves and returned home with nothing but good words for the hospitable manner in which they were treated by Mr. & Mrs. Pryor and their popular daughter, Miss Fannie Pryor.

(Photo courtesy of West Kentucky Genealogy from the Pryor-Hogue Album)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What became of Curtis Reeves' Children?

Curtis F. Reeves was the older brother of my gggrandfather, Sidney Preston Reeves of Ballard County. Sometime after their mother's death about 1836, Sidney Preston and his brother William Harrison Reeves left their childhood home in Warren County following their older brother Curtis to the Jackson Purchase.

Blandville Historical MarkerThe only marriage record that can currently be found for Curtis was to Eliza Bryant in Paducah on March 31, 1841. Eliza was around nineteen years old at the time but Curtis had been born in 1807 and was 34. It seemed reasonable to believe that Curtis was married prior to this 1841 marriage but none of the repeated searches of Kentucky marriage records produced any record.

Recently, I happened upon a listing in the McCracken County census of 1840 that had been incorrectly transcribed as Curtis J. Reares. The original census document could be construed as "Reares" but is actually Reaves. The household consisted of 2 males under 5, 1 male 5-9, 1 male 10-14, 1 male 30-39, 2 females 5-9, 1 female 10-14 and 1 female 30-39. Sidney Preston Reeves had married Perlina Hall in 1839 and they are listed in the same community on the next page of that census. So, obviously Curtis Reeves was married before he married Eliza Bryant in 1841 and had seven children with that first wife.

In the course of again attempting to find a record of that marriage and the identity of Curtis' first wife, I didn't find a marriage record, but did find a reference to his first wife Delilah Doolin. Curtis is named as Delilah's husband when the children of William Doolin of Butler County were listed on an 1833 deed selling William Doolin's land to Jesse Lee. Delilah's brother Archibald Doolin also moved to McCracken County after their father's death for he is recorded in that 1840 census living a few households from Curtis. Another brother, George W. Doolin, migrated to McCracken County as well, dying there in 1839.

Delilah appears to have died sometime in late 1840 and Curtis then remarried in March of 1841. Within the next few years, Curtis and Eliza had two sons both born in Blandville in Ballard County - Benjamin born in 1843 and William H. in 1844. By the 1850 census Curtis was deceased and Eliza was living across the river in Mississippi County, Missouri and remarried to an Edward Fleece. According to Goodspeed's 1888 Mississippi County biography of William H. Reeves, Curtis Reeves died in Wayne County, Missouri in 1845.

Curiously the seven children of Curtis and Delilah Doolin Reeves cannot be found in either Kentucky or Missouri. One possible child of Curtis' is a 16 year old George Reeves living in the household of William Harrison Reeves in Ballard County's 1850 census. Also found in the home of Sidney Preston Reeves that year is a female child listed simply as "J. Reeves" around age 8, who may be one of Curtis' children. If they are Curtis' children, that still leaves five missing children who seem to have disappeared into the Jackson Purchase.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Children of William T. Wingo

William Thomas Wingo, the youngest child of Thomas Wingo and Mary Holt Wingo, was born on April 14th 1818 in Virginia, probably in Nottaway County. By the time he was ten years old, he was an orphan for Mary died in 1827 and Thomas in 1828. William was then cared for my his much older brother Jerman and appears to have joined him on the migration to Kentucky.

On January 10th, 1840 in Hickman County, Kentucky, William married Harriet Lochridge, daughter of James Lochridge and Rachel Hicklin. In the Hickman County census of 1850, the family was living in the Baltimore community just north of the Tennessee state line and included James T. Wingo age 6, Rachel age 5 and one year old California. By the 1860 census, the family was absent from all census listings in the area. According to Jerman Wingo's bible, W. T. Wingo died on 17 October 1857 and Harriett died on February 12th, 1860. William's cause of death was recorded as "fever" on his Hickman County death record but no record could be found for Harriet's death.

I discovered the births of two more children after the 1850 census was taken. A birth record for a "no name" Wingo was recorded on the 27th of June 1853 and Mary Ellen Wingo on 19 April 1856. The child listed as "no name" later was found to be George Newton Wingo

As I attempted to locate the children, I even began to research Harriet's Lochridge family. When the 1860 census was taken, a J. T. "Bingo" was listed in the Graves County household of William Pryor, husband of Caroline Lochridge Pryor, Harriet's sister. In the Baltimore community of Hickman County, California was living in the household of John & Sarah Coates and a few residences from the Coates, 4 year old Mary Ellen was living with the family of G. W. Sellars, a constable. Newton was also living in Hickman County in the home of Harriet's brother Marshall Lochridge. Only Rachel couldn't be found in that 1860 census. Then, by the 1870 census, none of the children could be found other than a possible John T. Wingo living in a boarding house in Mayfield who might have been James and his name listed incorrectly.

Periodically I would think about these lost children and make another attempt to find them but always unsuccessfully. I did find that the John T. Wingo living in Mayfield in 1870 really was James. At that time he held the position of the Graves County Clerk. He had served in John Hunt Morgan's Cavalry during the Civil War and was seriously injured before being captured. He died before November of 1870 possibly as a result of those injuries. From the History of the First Kentucky Brigade By Edwin Porter Thompson, pub 1868:
THOMAS WINGO, Graves County, Ky., was sick when the regiment marched to Donelson, but recovered and joined Morgan’s cavalry, with which he fought until he lost a leg in battle. He was wounded at Lebanon in one of his eyes.
Finally, I happened upon the 1952 death record of James Rudy Blalock which named his father as Levi Blalock, Jr. and his mother as Mary Ellen Wingo. From that point, I continued to find them one after the other, Rachel, then George Newton who had married Ellieander Blalock, Levi's sister, but not Callie. I used all my most successful methods, even searching by first names but could never find her. Then one day when reviewing some Graves County census pages for the Pryorsburg area, I saw the name of the wife of James Knox Polk Pryor was Callie and she was exactly the right age. On that same page Levi and Mary Ellen Blalock were listed. I had finally found Callie and once I found her obituary, it confirmed her maiden name as Wingo.

After all my searching for William Thomas Wingo's children, it seems that they were hiding in plain sight all along. In the tax records of Graves County, I eventually learned that William Pryor had been the administrator of his sister-in-law Harriet's estate and the children were all living in close proximity to him in Pryorsburg - about 5 miles from Wingo, Kentucky.

(Photos property of Raymond Wingo, descendant of George Newton and Ellieander Blalock Wingo.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Robert L. Reeves of Paducah

Robert Lee Reeves was born on 3 Sep 1865 in Ballard County, Kentucky, the son of William Harrison Reeves and Penelope White. Although a farmer, William Harrison Reeves was also sheriff of Ballard County at one time. During his final years, he moved to Paducah where he was involved in a warehouse business.

Mrs. Weil & Annie  
Robert completed his education at Transylvania University in Lexington and returned to McCracken county where he read law. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced law in Paducah for eight years.

On November 21st, 1888, Robert married Annie Weil, the daughter of Paducah merchant Jacob Weil and Frances Asilee Dallam Weil. He became president of the First National Bank of Paducah in 1895. The Reeves were often mentioned in the society columns of the local paper, the Paducah Sun. Their only child, Asilee, was born in August of 1893.

From the Paducah Sun on Wednesday Evening, January 19, 1910:

The condition of Mrs. Robert Reeves, of Eighth and Jefferson streets, wife of president Reeves, of the First National Bank, is extremely grave today. It was learned from members of the family that her condition is practically the same as yesterday. Much apprehension is felt. Mrs. Reeves has been confined to her bed several weeks and her condition became precarious yesterday, when she lost consciousness. The family is grouped about her bedside and death is expected at any time. Dr. J. G. Brooks, her physician, said today she could not recover, although every effort has been exerted by medical skill. Mrs. Reeves is a member of one of the most prominent families of Paducah and of high social standing and her illness has caused sorrow among her many friends.
Anna Weil Reeves died on the 19th of November and a year later on the 25th of October, 1911, 18 year old Asilee also died.

In 1912, at age 47, Robert married a second time to Mary Belle VanLiere of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Robert and Belle Reeves' children were Robert Lee Reeves, Jr., George Willis Reeves and Lucia VanLiere Reeves.

Robert L. Reeves lived to 86 years of age, dying in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky on November 30th, 1951.

Photos from West Kentucky Genealogy at WKG's Facebook Page and Jackson Purchase Yahoo Group