Monday, September 29, 2014

Old Yearbooks on Ancestry

It looks like Ancestry has had old yearbooks on their site for awhile, but I think they recently added some new ones including one that is useful to me: Arkansas City High School in Kansas. My grandmother, Hazel Peters, graduated from there in 1928.

Hazel Peters (1910-1975) (married to James Edward Stewart)
Senior Photo - original in possession of family
I don't know what is legal to post from Ancestry, so I'm thankful that Hazel's senior photo is on the possession of my family. (Note: the hair looks odd because it was digitally colored & I changed it back to black & white.) So, I'm not going to post other photos from the book, but I encourage you to look! Here are some interesting things I found in Hazel's yearbook:

  • Hazel's senior photo
  • A page entitled "Interpretive Reading" that says Hazel tied for 4th place
  • A page entitled "The Play: Barry Corners" about the senior class play where "Hazel Peters, as Grace, Pat's (the main character) older sister, haughty and disdainful, lent a decided contrast to the merry Patsy. Hazel was 'in' her part from start to finish and her acting was outstanding." I was thrilled to find out that my grandmother acted as I was in plays in high school and I didn't know my grandmother was, too!
  • A photo of the school play, though I'm not sure which one is Hazel. I'm going to take this photo to Kansas next month and see if I can find out!
  • The photo of the cheerleaders... they were all guys!
  • The photo of the band... they were all guys! (But, the orchestra had females, too!)
I absolutely loved 'reading' through this old yearbook. I've also found them for a few of her cousins and aunts and uncles so I'm going to keep digging!

Have you found your ancestors in these old yearbooks? Did you find anything surprising?

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Praise for Miracle Drug!

I found the following newspaper advertisement twenty-two times in the Arkansas City Daily Traveler. I guess Eckert (Eckard) Peters (1845- 1915) was sold on this miracle drug! Eckert was a brother of my great, great grandfather, Charles Peters (1847 in Germany - 1910 in Comanche County, Oklahoma). In 1894 they both lived in Sumner County, Kansas which was near the county line of Cowley County, Kansas where Arkansas City ("Ark City") is located.

Eckert (Eckard) Peters praises Lagrippe Remedy for coughs and colds
Lagrippe Remedy, Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas, 08 Nov 1894, page 3, column 2;
digital image accessed 20 Sep 2014)
Two years ago I bought a 25-cent bottle of Lagrippe Remedy for coughs and colds and it cured when all others failed. I buy it by the pint now and am never without it. - Eckert Peters, Ashton, Kan." For sale at Simmons' drug store.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Monday, September 22, 2014

"One Lovely Blog" Award!

I was pleasantly surprised to receive two nominations today for the "One Lovely Blog" Award! A big thank you to both Carla Lee at Sassygenealogist and Elise Ann Wormuth at Living in the Past for these nominations! My genealogy blog is still quite new and this award means a lot!

Here are the 'rules' for this award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
2. Share seven things about yourself
3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!)
4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you've tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award

So, again, thanks again to Carla Lee and Elise Ann Wormuth! (See links above.)

7 things about me:

1. I have a degree in Biology Education and worked in a research laboratory as an undergraduate student.
2. I have played the piano since I was very young and was an accompanist both at school and at church.
3. I love to travel and have (so far) visited 9 countries: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, France, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Mexico, & the Bahamas.
4. I started doing genealogy in 1998 when you still had to use a microfilm reader to view the censuses.
5. I just moved from the house we lived in for over 17 years! I've also lived in two other houses for about 10 years each. I don't move around much!
6. I've been married for over 20 years to my high school sweetheart.
7. I'm an avid reader and just finished reading my 60th book of the year.

Nominate 15 bloggers.... So, in no particular order...

1.  Midge Frazel of Granite in My Blood
2.  Michael Lacopo of Hoosier Daddy?
3.  Diane Hall of Michigan Family Trails
4.  Harold Henderson of Midwestern Microhistory
5.  Lorine McGinnis Schulze of The Olive Tree Genealogy
6.  Kenneth R. Marks of The Ancestor Hunt
7.  Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky
8.  Jill at Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journey
9.  Karen Blackmore at Karen's Genealogy Oasis
10. Kris Stewart at My Link to the Past
11. Sheri Fenley at The Educated Genealogist
12. Lynn Palermo at The Armchair Genealogist
13. Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist
14. Miriam J. Robbins of Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors
15. Debi Austen at Who Knew?

Contact the Bloggers you nominated... I'm heading off to do that now!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do/Did Your Children Know Their Great-Grandparents?

Randy posted his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge... and it's based on one of my posts! Neat! So, here are the rules:

1) Dana Leeds on the Enthusiastic Genealogist blog asks "Did/Do Your Children Know Any of Their Great-Grandparents?"

2) I thought that would be a great Saturday Night Genealogy Fun question - so please share your response with us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

3) For extra credit, or in case the answer is "No," then please answer the question for yourself, or your parents

Randy, I'm so glad you used my post as a SNGF challenge! Since I already did the challenge for my daughter (& myself), I thought I'd use my husband instead. So, here goes!

"Papa Booger" in middle & "Big Granny" on far right with 3 of their daughters

My husband, like my daughter, knew four of his great-grandparents! And, all of them lived nearby!
  1. Thomas Harrison Leeds (1887-1975)
  2. Benjamin Harrison Payton (1887-1985)
  3. James Vernon Miller, aka "Papa Booger" (1890-1978) & his wife...
  4. Leatha Ellen (Moore) Miller, aka "Big Granny" (1896-1981)
We aren't sure where either of the nicknames came from!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Friday, September 19, 2014

Do Your Children Know Any of Their Great-Grandparents?

Paula Stuart-Warren posted about the birth of her first great grandchild. Then, she talked about how many great-grandparents her children knew, and how many great-grandparents she knew. That got me thinking about the relationship my daughter has had with four of her great-grandparents. (I only had one great-grandparent living when I was born, but she lived across the country and died when I was less than 2 months old.)

One of my husband's grandmother's died when my daughter was about 14 months old. Sadly, she had an advanced case of Alzheimer's. She kept thinking my baby girl was a baby boy! We only have a few photos of them together. I love this photo!

This is Grandpa H holding my daughter. He turned 80 years old two days after she was born. They first met when she was about 1 month old and I surprised him with this homemade shirt that says "I [heart] my Great Grandpa." He passed away last May in his mid-90's.

And this is my baby girl with Grandpa H's wife, Grandma H. She is still living and we get to see her quite a few times each year. If Grandpa H would have lived until August last year, they would have celebrated 70 years of marriage!

We recently moved and I can't find a photo of my daughter with her other great grandmother - my Grandmother K. We lived far apart, but they got to see each other three times before my grandmother passed away when my daughter was about 3 1/2. I have a lovely 4 generation professional photo taken of the two of them with my mom and myself.

What about you... did you know any of your great grandparents? Or did your children know theirs?

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My 4x Great Grandfather Had a Pet Bear!!!

As a child, I loved to watch Grizzly Adams on television along with his pet bear, Ben. I had no idea that my own ancestor, Robert Stewart, also had a pet bear! His bear's name was "Bruin" (which means "bear") and they lived in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800's. While doing research, I uncovered an article titled "Mike Swartz and the Black Bear" in "History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania" which was published in 1883. The "black bear" in this story was Bruin, and I'm assuming things turned out alright. Robert died about 30 years before this book was published, but I can imagine the stories of him & Bruin being told at gatherings throughout the county. I'm thankful this story was preserved in print.

Grizzly Adams & his pet bear, from Wikipedia

Mike Swartz and the Black Bear

A tame bear belonging to the family of Robert Stewart was missing one morning, whereupon a man by the name of Mike Swartz and Mr. Stewart went in pursuit of him. After a while he was discovered in a tree a short distance from the house. One of the men, who had a gun, fired at the bear, and succeeded in bringing him to the ground, but slightly wounded. In order to prevent Bruin from escaping Mike ran up and caught hold of the bear, which in turn Bruin caught Mike by the hand with his mouth, at the same time giving him a hug such only as bears can give; at which Mike called out to his companion, who was at a safe distance, to come to his assistance, but Stewart, who no doubt thought "self-preservation the first law of nature," coolly replied, "Mike, if you were my own born dear brother I could do nothing for you under the circumstances."

For Sale, Public Ledger, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10 Sep 1845, page 2, column 5;
digital image, ( accessed 18 Sep 2014)
As I looked for any newspaper article about my ancestor and his bear, I came across a lot of pet bear stories even into the 1900's. As could be expected, many of them did not have happy endings. Above is one clipping from Pennsylvania in 1845 offering a pet bear for sale. I wonder if Robert bought his bear or found an orphaned cub and raised it.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Following a Confederate Soldier Through the Civil War: Battle #4 The Battle of Perryville

William Porter Dickson enlisted in September of 1861 to fight as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. In the supplement to his 1911 Civil War Questionnaire he listed eight battles in which his company, Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, took place. I am going to learn more about his company's role in the Civil War by researching these eight battles.

from William Porter Dickson's 1911 Questionnaire
The fourth battle on his list is The Battle of Perryville in Kentucky. Along with battle #3 in Richmond, Kentucky, this was a part of the Kentucky Invasion.

Kentucky, as a border state, had an unusual role in the Civil War. Kentuckians owned slaves, but they also wanted to preserve the Union. In 1861, they declared themselves a neutral state. But, both Union and Confederate armies were raised there. The capital in Frankfurt then declared itself loyal to the Union, but others in the town of Russell voted to secede.

On this map, you can see William's 3rd battle, Richmond, on Aug 30th, 1862
You can also see the 4th battle, Perryville, Oct 8th, 1862 (images from Wikipedia, public domain)
I've already discussed one of the battles that took place during the Kentucky Invasion: the Confederate win at the Battle of Richmond. But, the next battle William fought in was at Perryville, the bloodiest and largest battle fought in Kentucky.

Battle of Perryville - the extreme left - Stwarkweather's bridage
Associated name on shelfist card: Middleton, Strobridge & Co.
Source: Library of Congress (image from Wikipedia)
Led by General Braxton Bragg, about 16,000 Confederates met approximately 20,000 Union soldiers. Partly because many of the Union troops had never fought before, the Confederates had a tactical victory at Perryville. However, the Confederates had thousands of casualties: 532 killed, 2,651 wounded, & 228 missing or captured. With this huge loss, General Bragg retreated to Tennessee and the Union would control Kentucky for the rest of the war.

Abraham Lincoln had said, "'I think to lose Kentucky is to lose the whole game." The war might have ended a lot different if the Union had lost Kentucky.

One last note of interest: the Emancipation Proclamation, which took affect January 1st, 1863, did not apply to the slaves of Kentucky as they were a part of the Union! The slaves of Kentucky were freed with the 13th amendment which was adopted almost 3 years later on December 6, 1865.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fear of Rabies: 100 Years Ago & 1 Year Ago

I have been having a lot of success lately with, my favorite site for newspaper research. Their search engine seems to work better than than the other sites, or at least I've figured it out better! Or maybe they just have more newspapers that are relevant to my family!

Ben Payton & family take serum after attack by a mad dog
Ben Payton and family, Haskell NewsHaskell, Oklahoma, 04 Oct 1917, page 5, column 3;
digital image accessed 14 Sep 2014)
This weekend, I decided to research some of my husband's family members and I came across the above article about one of his ancestors, Ben Payton. It looks like the family was attacked by a mad dog and they were taking a serum to combat against rabies.

Mad Cat Wounds Three, Haskell NewsHaskell, Oklahoma, 13 Sep 1917, page 1, column 6;
digital image accessed 14 Sep 2014)

After a little more research, I was able to uncover an article about the actual attack. The father, Ben, and two children, Audrey aged three and Frank aged seven, had actually been attacked by a mad cat, not a mad dog! But, their dog had also been infected.

Last summer, I had a rabies scare, too. I was running in my neighborhood when two dogs came from behind me and the larger dog, a female pit bull, started jumping on me. The jumps were painful, but with the third jump she also bit me. I ran up to a house, and both dogs stood staring at me. At the time, I didn't understand it, but I've been told that I was no longer a target for them because I stopped running.

(Remember, you can't outrun a dog and it will be more likely to see you as a target if you are running! You are better off walking slowly away while keeping your eye on the dog. Do not make eye contact. Do not smile and show your teeth.)

The back of my upper leg the evening of the attack.
This is the bite mark and you can see the bruising from each tooth. 
The areas where she jumped on me with her nails bruised about the same amount.
The biggest light area on the bottom has a red spot - this was the only puncture wound
but it was enough that I could have gotten rabies is she had rabies.
The possibility that these two dogs had rabies is very low. They weren't exhibiting any symptoms and they had a reason to attack me... I was running. But, they didn't find the dogs and I ended up having to go through the rabies shots. I've heard the shots used to be incredibly painful, but now they are almost like normal shots.

(For more information on what to do if an aggressive dog threatens you, check out this CBS News link.)

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Was Your Ancestor Paroled at Appomattox Courthouse with Lee's Surrender?

On April 9th, 1865, General Robert E Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia after his 28,000 troops were surrounded by Grant's men. Lee and Grant met at the home of Wilber McLean in Appomattox Court House, Virginia. In the terms for surrender, all of the Confederate men and officers were pardoned. The very hungry men were also given food rations and allowed to keep their private property including horses to help in the late spring planting. Officers were even allowed to keep their side arms.

U.S. Postage Stamp, 1965 issue, commemorating the centennial anniversary of the
Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House (image from Wikipedia)
On April 12th, the formal surrender ceremony took place. The Confederate soldiers marched forward and stacked their weapons in pyramid formation (as in the stamp above) and laid down their flags. General Joshua L Chamberlain was the Union officer in charge of the ceremony.

Chamberlain, out of respect, ordered the Union army to salute their defeated countrymen as they came forward. Here are Chamberlain's words from his book, "Passing of the Armies":

Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond;—was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured? Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry"—the marching salute....On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead!
My husband's great, great, great grandfather, James Franklin Stewart (1840-1910) was a part of the Army of Northern Virginia, but he was either absent or already mustered out by this date. But, his wife's brother, Davault M Sigman (1838-1887), was present and must have took place in this end-of-the-war ceremony and laid down his weapons to the Union army. But he also would have received much needed food rations and been allowed to return home to his family.

Parole for Prisoners of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox
The Parole of Gen. Lee and His Army, The Times Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana, 10 Apr 1865, page 3, column 4;
digital image accessed 13 Sep 2014)
The newspaper clipping above gives the wording that was issued on a parole to the nearly 28,000 members of the Army of Northern Virginia who were being paroled:

I, the undersigned, commanding officer of ______, do, for the within named prisoners of war belonging to the Army of Northern Virginia, who have been this day surrendered by Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate States Army, commanding said army, to Lieut. Gen. Grant, commanding armies of the United States, hereby give my solemn parole of honor that the within named shall not hereafter serve in the armies of the Confederate States, or in military or any capacity whatever against the United States of America, or render aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.

Done at Appomattox Court-House, Virginia, this 9th day of April, 1865.

The within named will not be disturbed by the United States authorities, so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.

The National Park Service has a website with an "alphabetical listing of parole passes" which can be searched online to see if your ancestor was paroled at Appomattox!

Other websites used:

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Friday, September 12, 2014

Following a Confederate Soldier Through the Civil War: Battle #3 Battle of Richmond

William Porter Dickson enlisted in September of 1861 to fight as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. In the supplement to his 1911 Civil War Questionnaire he listed eight battles in which his company, Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, took place. I am going to learn more about his company's role in the Civil War by researching these eight battles.

from William Porter Dickson's 1911 Questionnaire
William Porter Dickson's third battle was the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, which took place on August 29th & 30th, 1862. This was a battle over the state of Kentucky. Kentucky, a border state, started the war officially neutral. The Confederates wanted to gain control of the state and get more men to fight for the cause of the South.

About 6,000 Confederate soldiers met approximately 6,500 Union soldiers near Richmond, Kentucky. Fortunately for the South, most of the soldiers for the North were new recruits. The South won this battle and captured more then 4,000 men.

Fifty-one Years Ago, The Richmond Climax, Richmond, Kentucky, 02 Sep 1913, 
page 3, column 6; digital image 
accessed 12 Sep 2014)

Fifty-One Years Ago
The Bloody Battle of Richmond Fought, Aug. 30, '62

Saturday was the 51st anniversary of the Battle of Richmond, one of the bloodiest in the Civil War. [I think this is an exaggeration - I checked a few "top 10 bloodiest" lists and it isn't on there.] It was also Saturday and a beautiful summer day. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, with 6,000 Confederates was en route from Kirksville to Lexington. He reached Kingston late in the afternoon of the 29th. Gen. William Nelson was in command of the Union forces, with headquarters at Lexington and had 9,000 men. with Gens. Manson and Craft in charge of brigades. Gen. Manson moved out the Big Hill pike and found the trouble he was looking for, being repulsed and forced to retreat, with heavy loss. Gen. Nelson had arrived by this time and rallying his disheartened men, made a stand at Rogersville, when the federals were again routed, falling back to Richmond in wild disorder. Gen. Nelson again rallied the thoroughly dispirited men, and they took position in the Cemetery. They only fired three volleys before flying in panic rout. Gen. Nelson was wounded, but continued to try to stem the tide of retreat, and is said to have killed several of his men with his sword in his efforts. The rout was complete, however, and the terror-stricken army rushed pell-mell along the Lexington pike and other routes eager to seek safety. The Confederate loss in the battle was 78 killed and 272 wounded, the Union loss 206 killed and 844 wounded, with 4,650 taken prisoners. In addition, the Confederates captured nine pieces of artillery, 10,000 stands of arms, 378 supply wagons, the teams and many supplies.

Gen. Nelson and a remnant of his men finally reached Louisville, where a few days afterwards the General was killed in the Galt House by Gen. Jeff C. Davis whom he mortally insulted. He was a brave man, but had and ungovernable temper, which was finally his undoing.

The number of citizens who remember the famous battle are very few, showing the ravages of time. The generation that has been born since know very little of the battle, which was one of the bloodiest and most decisive of the Civil War.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or write me at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Does a Penitentiary Record Look Like?

After discovering Ephraim P Bennett in the Missouri State Prison on the 1900 census, I emailed the Missouri State Archives about his penitentiary records. First of all, they were incredibly helpful and emailed back within hours. And, they explained how to order his two-page record. The cost: only $1!

I had never seen a penitentiary record before and wasn't sure what it would contain. It is actually quite interesting and helpful! The record book is obviously a large book as I got two 11x17 pages. I don't have a scanner that can scan that will scan those, so I'm going to share 4 images which are really a two-page spread.

I thought the physical descriptions were really interesting. My favorite columns were the "length of foot", "whiskers worn", "habits of life", and "education."

  • Register No: 12163
  • Name; Ephraim P Bennett
  • Age: 53
  • Nativity: Tenn[essee]
  • Trade: farmer
  • Height: 5 ft 10 1/4 in
  • Length Foot: 10 1/2
  • Hair: Dark
  • Eyes: Gray 

  • Complexion: Dark
  • Whiskers Worn: Full Beard
  • Religion: None
  • Habits of Life: Temp[erance] [everyone on the page says the same thing]
  • Education: R & W [Reading & Writing]
  • Former Imprisonment: None

  • Marks and Scars: 
    • Single Parent Compton Mo. [Missouri] 
    • Scar left side neck
    •   "     muscle left arm
    •   "     back first finger left hand
    •   "     inside right wrist
      • Wright 172 [everyone on page says this & I wonder if it is a mark for whoever is describing the person]
  • Offense: T. C. - Murder 2nd Deg.  [everyone else says "P. G.", not "T. C." but I don't know what these mean... maybe it relates to the offense?]  
  • County: Dallas
  • Sentence: 10 Ten Years from Oct 16 1894

  • Term of Court: Oct 1894
  • When Received: Oct 20 1894
  • Expiration of Sentence:
    • Full Time: Oct 16 1902
    • Three-Fourths Time: April 16 1902
  • Discharged: [stamped] Discharged under 3/4 law [not all readable] [stamped] APR 15 1902
P.S. I am new to doing citations and have both looked in Elizabeth Shown Mill's "Evidence!" and searched the internet and cannot find an example of a way to write this source. Any help would be appreciated!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding a Murderer in My Family Tree

Let's face it, when we research our family histories we don't know what we'll uncover. And, when you get beyond the names, dates & places, you might find some incredible stories. You might find stories of an ancestor who was a war hero or someone who abandoned his friends. You might find true love and Christian sacrifice, or someone who disappeared and is later found with another wife and additional children. You might find a Civil War nurse or a prostitute. And, you just might find a murderer. I did.

I've made multiple posts now about the brother of my great, great grandmother, Elizabeth (Bennett) Coppenbarger. Her brother, Ephraim, killed their sister's husband, Nathan L Buchanan. The sister, Louisa Jane, was reportedly abused by her husband to the point that she went insane from a blow to the head and was put in an asylum. In retaliation, Ephraim killed Nathan.

Or maybe he killed him for some other reason.

When I first found out I had a murderer in my family, I was apprehensive. Who did he kill and why did he do it? Then, when I learned that he had killed his sister's very abusive husband, I was actually kind of  proud! Yes, I believe murder is wrong. But, I still felt proud that this man would defend his little sister to such lengths and even face jail time. Then I read about how he calmly shot his brother-in-law five times and calmly walked away with his young nephew and boasted "I was too quick for him and fixed him." And, I read articles about a lynch mob ready to hang him from a limb, and I wondered about what had actually happened. Why was this mob so ready to kill him when they weren't after the hired hit-man who was also in jail?

I hope to one day uncover the court documents and learn more about his trial, but for now I keep looking for additional newspaper records. I'm hoping they'll enlighten me as to what really happened.

Here's another story about the lynch mob. In this newspaper, the mob is reported to be over 200 men! That's quite a different story than my posting yesterday which said 14 masked men entered the jail and 50-60 surrounded it. It goes to show that you can't always trust what you read!

A Disappointed Lynching Party, The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, Sedalia, Missouri, 
13 Jun 1893, page 3, column 5; digital image
( accessed 09 Sep 2014)

A Disappointed Lynching Party

Marshfield, Mo., June 8 - Ephraim Bennett, who killed his brother-in-law, Nathan L. Buchanan, was bound over to await the action of the grand jury Wednesday. After the preliminary trial small knots of men were seen gathering on different parts of the public square. In the meantime Sheriff James Goss became suspicious and managed to spirit Bennett out of jail. He also took with him Wesley Hargis, the self-confessed murderer of Lum Yandles, who committed his crime in the same neighborhood. With a posse Sheriff Goss took his prisoners to the woods. A little before midnight Deputy Smith, who was in charge of the jail, was aroused by repeated knocking on the door. Upon opening he was confronted with twenty masked men, who demanded of him the keys and ordered him to lead them to Bennett's cell. The deputy informed them that Bennett was not in the jail. Not satisfied, they searched the sheriff's living apartments on the first floor and then proceeded to the cells on the second floor, which they thoroughly ransacked. The jail outside was surrounded by almost 200 men. No noise was made and persons living a few yards distant did not know what had transpired during the night. The mob dispersed as quickly as it came. Wednesday afternoon the sheriff brought the prisoner from concealment and took Bennett to the Springfield jail on the evening train for safe keeping. 

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"A Mob was After Him: Ephraim Bennett's Narrow Escape from Violence": The Attempted Lynching of my 2nd Great Grand Uncle

If you've been following my blog, you've probably read my last two posts about my great, great grandmother's brother, Ephraim, who killed his sister's abusive husband, Nathan L Buchanan. (The posts are "A Reason for Murder" & "Sister to Asylum; Brother to Jail.") One of the newspaper articles I shared explains that Bennett was moved to a different county's jail "to escape the vengeance of a mob which was supposed to be organized for the purpose of lynching him."

(In case you haven't read the other articles and the family story that was passed down, Nathan L Buchanan was abusing his wife and hit her so hard that she went insane and had to be locked up in an asylum. Bennett loaned Buchanan the money to cover the cost, but Bennett eventually went out into a field where Buchanan was working and shot at him five times and killed him. Bennett says that Buchanan had been threatening his life and reached into his pocket so he shot before he could be shot. The prosecutors stated that Bennett had threatened Buchanan multiple times. After killing Buchanan, Bennett turned himself in.)

I have now found two more newspaper articles that are about this lynch mob. A few things really surprise me:
  • I'm surprised that this particular murder was thought hideous enough for a lynch mob, though I know I don't have a lot of the details. There was another man imprisoned with Bennett who had been hired by his brother to kill his lover's husband for $200. But, the lynch mob was asking for Bennett. 
  • I'm surprised the men who entered the jail wore masks, though I certainly don't know much about lynch mobs. I tend to relate the wearing of masks and lynch mobs to the Ku Klux Klan. 
  • I'm surprised at the size of this mob. It was HUGH! One newspaper describes 65-75 men while the other article describes over 200! Why were they so ready to kill Bennett?
The largest mass lynching in American history involved the lynching of eleven Italianimmigrants in New Orleans in 1891.
(image from Wikipedia)
My distant cousin, Chris Powell, told me that Ephraim Bennett remarried and moved to Colorado after being released from prison. It's now pretty clear why he didn't return home. I don't think he would have been very welcome in his home town! And, I'll have to do some research to see if other family members moved away.

These two articles about the attempted lynching are fairly long so I'll share one today and one tomorrow.

A Mob Was After Him, The Springfield Democrat, Springfiled, Missouri, 09 Jun 1893, page 5, column 4;
digital image accessed 07 Sep 2014

Ephraim Bennett's Narrow Escape From Violence.

Webster County Citizens Try to Lynch Him.

Brough[?] to Springfield - The Atrocious Murder Committed By the Prisoner

Last Tuesday night Deputy Sheriff McElwain of Marshfield brought in Ephraim Bennett, murderer of John [should be Nathan] Buchanan, and Wesley Hargiss, charged with the murder of Columbus Yandals and lodged them in the Greene county jail for safe keeping. The local authorities endeavored to keep the matter perfectly quiet, and succeeded so well that the facts did not leak out until yesterday morning. It then developed that both Bennett and Hargiss narrowly escaped a summary infliction of the death penalty at the hands of a mob.

Bennett's preliminary trial was held Monday before Justice Park, resulting in the prisoner being held without bond to await the action of the grand jury. The Marshfield Chronicle says that after the trial it was whispered around that an attempt would be made by citizens from the neighborhood in which Buchanan lived to lynch Bennett sometime during the night. Sheriff Goss hearing this decided to foil the attempt. He accordingly handcuffed Bennett and Wesley Hargis, one of the murderers of Lum Yandle, and in company with Prosecuting Attorney James Case quietly slipped the prisoners out of the back door of the jail at about 8 o'clock and took them to the outskirts of town where a deputy met them with a hack and the prisoners were taken to the country. About midnight J. B. Smith and William Prater, who had been left in charge of the jail, were aroused by a vigorous knock on the door. When the door was opened about fourteen masked men entered the jail, while some fifty or sixty stood guard on the outside. The masked men asked for Bennett and were informed that he was not there. They then made a thorough inspection of the jail, and when they were convinced their "bird" was gone they dispersed as quietly as they had come. Sheriff Goss returned with the prisoners early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Goss and Prosecuting Attorney Case came to the conclusion Tuesday afternoon that the best thing to do to save Bennett from being taken from the jail here and swinging from the limb of a tree, was to get him away and in a more secure jail. Bennett was taken out of jail about 4 o'clock and in charge of Special Deputy Sheriff McElwain took a round a bout way to the depot. Deputy McElwain, with the prisoner walked up to the baggage car in which the prisoner was transported, and he went into it like "greased lightning." Deputy Sheriff McElwain delivered his prisoner to the Greene county sheriff in good shape.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Sister to Asylum from Abusive Husband; Brother to Jail for Murder

As I mentioned yesterday in "A Reason for Murder", I had spent hours trying to find another newspaper article about my great, great grandmother's brother, Ephraim Bennett, murdering his brother-in-law, Nathan L Buchannan, in 1893. As I concluded the post, I went back to and tried again. And, this time I got a hit!

I don't know if I tried different search terms or not. I narrowed it to "Missouri" newspapers and set the year to 1893. And then I searched for "Bennett" and "murdered." Anyway, I have a lot more information now!

A Terrible Crime, The Springfield Democrat, Springfiled, Missouri, 09 Jun 1893, page 5, column 4;
digital image accessed 07 Sep 2014)
I then found a third story... and just now I found a fourth! The last two are about the lynch mob, so I'll save that for another post. But, for now let me share the article about the murder.

A Terrible Crime, The Springfield Democrat, Springfiled, Missouri, 09 Jun 1893, page 5, column 4;
digital image accessed 07 Sep 2014)
[Note: The image is just a portion of the clipping because it gets really small if I try to add the entire article]

A Terrible Crime

Ephraim Bennett murdered N. L. Buchanan in West Dallas township, Webster county, on May 30. Buchanan's wife was Bennett's sister and some time ago began to show symptoms of insanity and finally became a raving maniac. While in this demented condition she told that her husband had mistreated her. Buchanan was a poor man and did not have the ready money to defray the expenses of sending his wife to the asylum, so he borrowed a sufficient sum of Bennett, and the demented woman was taken to Nevada. In a few days Buchanan executed and delivered to Bennett a mortgage on some land securing him in the loan of money made.

On the 30th of May Ephraim went to Buchannan's house some time soon after noon and talked business matters over with him in a friendly manner, leaving, it seems, about 2 o'clock. When Bennett left the house Buchanan and his little boy, who is 10 years old, went to the field - Buchanan to plow, the boy to pull weeds. They had not been in the field long before Bennett came, and having walked up to within eight to ten feet, began shooting at Buchanan. He fired five shots, one entering Buchanan's head, one passing through his right hand, two through his right arm, and one entering his side, probably after it had passed through his arm. After the shooting Bennett turned and coolly walked away, asking Buchanan's boy to come with him. Bennett then went to parties living nearby and  told them what he had done, remarking, "Buchanan threatened to kill me and I went and asked him about it and he tried to put his hand into his pocket, but I was too quick for him and fixed him." Bennett then went to W. R. Brooks, a justice in west Dallas township, and surrendered himself.

At the preliminary hearing the defendant did not introduce any evidence but submitted his case after the state had introduced its evidence. It is understood that the state has evidence to show that Bennett made several threats against Buchanan. After the trial Bennett was again lodged in jail.

This killing occurred within two and one half miles of the place where Lum Yandles [Columbus Yandell] was so dastardly murdered last spring, and excitement is running high.

So, what did I learn? 
  • Ephraim Bennett loaned money to his brother-in-law, Nathan L Buchanan, so Ephraim's sister could be committed to an asylum in Nevada (which is a town in Missouri)
  • Eprhaim might have killed his brother-in-law not as retaliation or revenge because of the abuse he'd done to Ephraim's sister, but in self-defense (as Nathan reached into his pocket) or for some other reason
  • Ephraim shot at his brother-in-law five times at close range, including a shot to the head
  • Nathan's 10-year-old son, who was Ephraim's nephew, was likely a witness to this shooting [this makes me sick to my stomach, but I also wonder what kind of abuse he'd seen his dad do to his own mom.... and perhaps he & his siblings were abused]
  • Ephraim immediately turned himself in to the authorities
Do we share common ancestors? If so, I'd love to talk! please leave a message or email me at

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Reason for Murder

The day I discovered my great, great grandmother's brother, Ephraim Bennett (abt 1841-?), had been convicted of 2nd degree murder, I hoped it was for a 'good' reason. I had recently watched two episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?" Cynthia Nixon had discovered her female ancestor had killed her abusive husband after he told her she wouldn't see another sunset. Maybe she could have ran away with her two young children or gotten to safety in some other way, but this was better than Jesse Taylor's discovery that his ancestor probably killed his aunt over an inheritance!

About a week ago I received his penitentiary record from the Missouri State Archives (who only charge $1!) Now that I knew when he was imprisoned, I had a pretty good idea of when the murder took place. So, I tried to find a newspaper record, and I was successful! I almost cried when I found it, because it was a pretty 'good' reason for murder if the article was true. And, although I believe murder is wrong and there was probably a better way to handle things, I had a respect for this brother who evidently loved his sister to the point he was willing to commit murder and spend time imprisoned for it.

Ephraim P Bennett trial for 1st degree murder - killed sister's abusive husband
Taken to Marshfield, The Springfield Leader, Springfiled, Missouri, 20 Mar 1894, page 1, column 1;
digital image accessed 28 Aug 2014)
Taken to Mansfield
E. P. Bennett Charged with Murder in the First Degree

Deputy Sheriff R. P. Winningham of Webster county took E. P. Bennett to Marshfield today to appear for trial for murder in the first degree. Bennett was brought from Webster county and lodged in the Greene county jail on June 5, 1893, to escape the vengeance of a mob which was supposed to be organized for the purpose of lynching him.

A short time prior to Bennett's arrest N. L. Buchannan was murdered at his home on Guy creek, in Webster county, and Bennett is charged with the crime. It is said that the motive for taking the life of Buchannan was the abuse of his wife, who is a sister of Bennett.

Attorney Dickey, of Marshfield, is Bennett's lawyer and will make a strong fight for his client. The officers here speak in high terms of Bennett's good behavior during his imprisonment. 

[The date of the article is 20 March 1894, so Bennett has been imprisoned for about 9 1/2 months waiting for his trial.]

I have recently started exchanging emails with a Bennett cousin (Chris Powell) and he had been told of this murder through older family members! Here's what he told me: "Nathan Buchanan, husband of Louisa Jane Bennett, was abusive and at one point he hit Louisa Jane in the head with a piece of stove wood, causing a brain injury that left her debilitated. In retaliation, Ephraim killed Nathan Buchanan and was sentenced to prison. Ephraim, called 'Eph' with the long E sound according to Uncle Henry, was divorced by his first wife. He remarried after he got out of prison and went to Colorado."

As far as the threat of a lynch mob, our best guess is that this mob was Nathan's family members. I have spent hours looking for additional newspaper accounts of the murder and/or trial. I would also like to get a copy of the court records for this case.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Best Genea-Prize in August 2014

Randy posts a weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge over at Genea-Musings. Tonight's challenge is about your August genealogical "finds." Here are the rules...

  1. Did you do some genealogy research during August 2014? Did you find a great record or story pertaining to an ancestor or family member?
  2. Tell us about the BEST genea-prize ("record") you found during August 2014. What was it, where did you find it, and how does it help advance your research?
  3. Share your genea-prize in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post. 
  4. NOTE: If you didn't find one in August, tell us about a recent genea-prize from another month.
So, here goes!

The past 4 or 5 weeks have been incredible for me as far as genealogical finds. But, I decided to chose the newspaper notices for Lena Tremlett's estate as my "Best Genea-Prize in August 2014." I already posted about this prize, but I will add a bit about how I found it and how it helps to advance my genealogical knowledge of my family.

After returning from GRIP in Pennsylvania, I thought I'd try one of the sites that Debbie Mieszala had shared with us in her newspapers class: Chronicling America. I typed in one of my more unusual surnames, Coppenbarger, and came up with only a handful of hits. One of the hits had a long lists of names and I recognized quite a few of them.

Order of Publication, Weekly Graphic, Kirksville, Missouri, 16 Mar 1888,
page 1, column 6, (accessed 06 Sep 2014)
It took some work but I finally realized these notices were concerning the estate of Lena (Randolph) Tremlett, a daughter of William Randolph & Matilda Kearns/Keeran. She didn't have any children, so the land was being distributed between her remaining siblings and the  nieces and nephews of deceased siblings and all of their spouses.

Although I blogged about this 'find' before, I thought I'd include a list of those family members here. The last 6 people I couldn't fit into my tree... UNTIL I was writing this post! (I discovered they were 3 sisters & their spouses - additional children of one of Lena's siblings which I hadn't discovered before.) Now, I have placed all of these people on my tree! Blogging helps!!! And, it's wonderful to have this additional 'proof' that my tree for this family is correct!

Here's the list and how they are related to Lena's parents, William Randolph & Matilda Kearns/Keeran:
  • A. J. Randolph (Adoniram Judson) (1839-1895), son of William & Matilda 
  • W. H. Randolph (Willoughby Harrison) (1820-1899), son of William & Matilda
  • J. H. Randolph (Jehu H) (1828-1900), son of William & Matilda
  • Matilda (Randolph) Hukill (1833-1898), daughter of William & Matilda
  • Charles B. Hukill, son-in-law of William & Matilda
  • Kendall B(rooks) Randolph, granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased son, Moses (1834-1862)
  • Francis W(ayland) Randolph, grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased son, Moses (1834-1862)
  • Joseph M Canary (1848-?), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased son, Moses (1834-1862)
  • Ella (Randolph) Canary (1858-?), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased son, Moses (1834-1862)
  • Tazwell Merrill (abt 1848-?), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Susan (Allsup) Merrill (1850-?), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • William Heckman (1844-?), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Mary (Allsup) Heckman (1852-?), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Thomas Allsup (abt 1861-?), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • George N Daughtery, Jr (1839-?), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Mary "Polly" Randolph (1818-1885)
  • Joseph [Josiah] R Coppenbarger (1844-1934), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • William Coppenbarger (1846-1921), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Robert Barnett (1843-1912), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Matilda C (Coppenbarger) Barnett (1848-1899), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Ulyses G Burton (1865-1949), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • John [Joseph] Eninger (1855-1950), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Vina [Louvina] (Burton) Eninger (1857-1932), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Lovina "Love" Matilda Randolph (1816-1880)
  • Levi T Regan (1842-1933), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • William W Regan (1845-?), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Milton R Regan (1860-1928), grandson of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Daniel [Daniel] Hunter (1851-?), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Lena (Regan) Hunter (1852-1943), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • John Howard (1846-?), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Martha (Regan) Howard (1850-?), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Nathan Foreman (1841-1912), grandson-in-law of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
  • Louisa A (Regan) Foreman (1855-1892), granddaughter of William & Matilda through their deceased daughter, Sarah Randolph (1822-1862)
Do we share common ancestors? If so, I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Not My Family" Friday: The Notrious Martin Brawdy Comes to an Untimely and Miserable Death

As genealogists, we come across some really interesting items that don't directly relate to our family tree. I decided to start a series called "Not My Family" Friday where I can share some of these amazing finds. If you'd like to join along, please post a link to your post! I'd love to see what you've found!

I've written four previous posts about the "notorious Brawdy family" which was our class project at GRIP this summer. We uncovered some amazing newspaper articles! Family members were accused of larceny, assault, running a "bawdy" house (brothel), and even murder! The article I'm sharing today is about the death of the father, Martin Brawdy. It is a sad ending to a sad life. The newspaper articles were all found at Elephind, a great newspaper resource! (I will transcribe it at the bottom of the post, though it is pretty legible.)

Death from Intemperance, Waynesburg Messenger, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 14 Sep 1864, page 1, column 4;
digital image accessed 05 Sep 2014)
Death from Intemperance

Martin Brawdy, the head of the notorious Brawdy family (which for years has been a curse to this community,) came to an untimely and miserable death on Thursday evening. The family have been residing in East Birmingham for some time past, and so on Thursday one of the children died. Mr. Brawdy, in company with one or two boys, started in a wagon to visit the graveyard beyond White Hall, for the purpose of making arrangements for the burial of his child. After having given orders for the digging of the grave, he started home, stopping at White Hall and imbibing freely of liquor. He also stopped at a tavern on this side of White Hall, and got two more drinks. Being unable to sit in the wagon, he lay down on some hay and fell into a drunken sleep. On arriving home, about six o'clock in the evening, the boys concluded to let him sleep off the effects of the liquor, as he was cross and troublesome when in that state. He lay in the wagon until eleven o'clock at night, and when an effort was made to wake him he was found dead. Coroner McClang held no inquest upon the body, and the jury found a verdict of "death from the effects of i[ntemperance]." [The title is missing from this clipping but is on the full paper and I am guessing at the last word from the title.]

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...