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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Mittie A. Grace




Arminta "Mittie Ann" Grace was the daughter of Richard Grace and Lorenna Antonette Wingo of Graves County, Kentucky. She died at the age of seventeen and is buried in the Camp Beauregard Cemetery outside of Water Valley, Kentucky.

Camp Beauregard was originally a Confederate training camp during the civil war. During the six months that it was an active military installation it was decimated by diseases such as pneumonia, typhoid fever and meningitis. By the time the camp was evacuated on March 1, 1862, 1000 confederate soldiers who had never engaged in battle were dead. The United Daughters of the Confederacy placed a large memorial there at the site of a mass grave of those soldiers.

In subsequent years, it has been a public cemetery and used by the families of the community. There are local legends that the site is haunted, but I have personally never encountered any malevolent spirits there. It's a lovely quiet hilltop with a view of the surrounding countryside.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pryor Ancestor - Mourning Thomson

James and Jonathan Pryor who settled in Graves County, Kentucky shortly after the area was opened for settlement were the children of Richard Pryor and Mourning Thomson originally from Virginia. Mourning Pryor was named as a daughter in the will of Thomas Thomson of Trinity Parish, Louisa County, Virginia written on 24 April 1774. Thomas Thomson died sometime before the 10th of October 1774 when the will was recorded.


Fanny Pryor,
daughter of Richard Pryor
grandson of Mourning
There has been much confusion regarding the identity of Mourning's mother who was previously listed in numerous online sources as Hannah McAllister. Based upon Thomas Thomson's will her name was Hannah but it appears that it was a Thomas Thomasson of Louisa County who was married to Hannah McAllister daughter of William McAllister (Mackalester) and Elizabeth Garland. Thomas Thomasson was the son of George Thomasson of Hanover County, Virginia. Thomas and several of his brothers moved to Granville County, North Carolina around 1777 where he died testate in 1818.

The identity of Mourning's grandfather, father of Thomas Thomson, previously believed to be Samuel Thomson who died in Louisa County in 1753 has recently also come into question based upon the name of slaves distributed to legatees of that will. This is an area that needs much research into the records of Louisa County to resolve.

Soon after the Revolutionary War ended, the Pryor family settled in the Greene/Cocke County, Tennessee area where Mourning Prier is recorded as being one fo the charter members of the Big Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church when it was constituted on the 6th of December 1787. In February of 1794, Mourning Prier made application for a letter of dismissal which was apparently in preparation for the family's move to Logan County, Kentucky.

Grave of Capt. A. J. Pryor
After their arrival in Logan County, Richard Pryor died in 1797 and Mourning is recorded as the administratrix of his estate. In Logan County on the 19th of June 1800, Mourning Pryor married widower Thomas White whose daughter Elizabeth was the future wife of Jonathan Pryor. When Thomas White died in 1806, Mourning was the executrix of his will.

As Mourning White, she was recorded in the census and tax records of Logan County, Kentucky until after 1810. There are unsubstantiated reports that Mourning, along with Jobe family relatives, attended the Old Mulkey Meeting House (Baptist) near Tompkinsville, Kentucky in Monroe County and that she lived to be past 100 years. There are no historical records that confirm these assertions. I have made several trips to Logan County searching the records as well as local cemeteries there, but was unable to find any further record of Mourning Thomson Pryor White. It seems far more likely that she died sometime before 1820 when her youngest children, James, Jonathan and Jeremiah left Logan County.


Picture of Fannie Pryor from the Pryor-Hogue Family Album courtesy of Don Howell of West Kentucky Genealogy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wingo Ancestor - Mary Holt


The mother of Jerman Jeduthan Wingo of Graves County, Kentucky was Mary Holt, daughter of Shadrack Holt and Judith Foster of Nottoway County, Virginia. Mary married Thomas Wingo sometime before September of 1800 when they executed a deed for land on Flat Creek in Nottoway County to her parents. Thomas Wingo had been associated with Shadrack Holt in Nottoway County deeds since 1796 when Shadrack and his son John had conveyed this same fifty-three acre tract to Thomas. Sadly all of the early marriage records of Nottoway County were either vandalized or burned by union forces during the civil war so there is no record of their marriage.

Signatures - 1800 Deed, Wingos to Holts
For many years there was great confusion because two Mary Holts married into the Wingo family. On the 23rd of November, 1783, Thomas Wingo's older brother William married Mary Holt. Obviously the Mary Holt born in 1778 was too young to have been the individual who married William in 1783 but this duplication of names confused many Wingo researchers for a very long time. The mystery was finally resolved by researching the Holt family. The Mary who married William in Amelia County in 1783 was found to be the younger sister of Shadrack Holt. When they married in 1783, her mother Mary Holt, widow of Richard Holt, gave consent for the marriage indicating that she was underage and born after about 1765. William Wingo's step-father John Foster signed the bond for the marriage.

As the county designations changed in the Amelia County area, William Wingo was found in the tax records of Prince Edward County in 1783 and after Nottoway County was formed in 1788, he was recorded in the tax records there in 1791. Sometime before May of 1792, Mary Holt Wingo, wife of William, died, for he married Fanny Shepherd in Prince Edward County on the 8th of May 1792. Shortly after their marriage, William, Fanny and the three young children born to he and Mary Holt Wingo, left Virginia migrating to Spartanburg County, South Carolina as his brother Obediah had done a few years earlier.

It is unlikely that any of these families actually moved from Amelia County. The area that became Nottoway County was originally Nottoway Parish of Amelia County. After the formation of Nottoway, Shadrack Holt is no longer found in the records of Amelia County and all historical records until his death in 1801 are in Nottoway County.

Map of Amelia & Nottoway Counties
To add to the confusion caused by two Marys of the Amelia County Holt family marrying two Wingo sons, Ancestry.com's system has repeatedly listed "hints" suggesting a Mary Holt, daughter of a Samuel Holt and Mary Rowe of New Haven, Connecticut as a wife to Thomas Wingo. I just found that of 34 individuals in Ancestry with Thomas Wingo in their family trees, 15 of those 34 list Mary Holt of New Haven, Connecticut as his wife with one other listing her birth in Tennessee. For anyone interested in genealogy, an understanding of United States geography is a must.

There is a wealth of information regarding our Holt family who came to St. Mary's, Maryland by 1646 and from there spread into Virginia and other southern states at the Holt Family site - A Journey to Christmasville.