Census Changes

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Census Changes within The Federal Census contain a huge amount of information for research. The census is/was taken every ten year period beginning in 1790. From 1850 to 1940, details are provided for all individuals in each household. From 1850 to 1940, details are provided for every individual in each household. The Census Changes have affected how lineage is determined. The information below relies heavily on information from the U S Census Bureau and the National Archives. The Census Bureau collects the census every ten year period. The records are turned over to the National Archives who hold them for seventy two years before they can be released to the public.

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Census Taker, From The Library of Congress
Census Taker, From The Library of Congress

Census Changes listed on the 1790 Census;

  • The name of the (white, male) householder
  • Free white males who were at least 16 years old
  • Free white males who were at least 16 years old
  • Free white females
  • All other free persons
  • Slaves. Slaves were counted as 3/5th of a person
  • Indians were not counted until 1870

Census Changes listed on the 1800 Census;

  • The name of the Head of household.
  • Number of free White Males under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Males of 16 years but under 26 years
  • Number of free White Males of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Males 45 years and upward
  • Number of free White Females under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Females of 16 years but under 26 year
  • Number of free White Females of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Females 45 years and upward
  • Number of all other free persons
  • Number of slaves

Census Changes listed on the 1810 Census

In 1810, the slate of questions asked by assistant U.S. marshals was identical to the 1800 census. This census recorded the name of the county, parish, township, town, or city in which each family resided. Each family was listed by the name of the head of household and asked the following questions:
  • The name of the Head of household.
  • Number of free White Males under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Males of 16 years but under 26 years
  • Number of free White Males of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Males 45 years and upward
  • Number of free White Females under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Females of 16 years but under 26 year
  • Number of free White Females of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Females 45 years and upward
  • Number of all other free persons
  • Number of slaves

Census Changes listed on the 1820 Census

The 1820 census built on the questions asked in 1810. The age questions were the same, except for the addition of a 16 – 18 years category for males.
  • The name of the Head of household.
  • Number of free White Males under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Males of 16 years but under 26 years
  • Number of free White Males of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Males 45 years and upward
  • Number of free White Females under 10 years of age
  • Number of free White Females of 16 years but under 26 year
  • Number of free White Females of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Number of free White Females 45 years and upward
  • Male Slaves under 14 years of age
  • Male Slaves of 14 years but under 26 years
  • Male Slaves of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Male Slaves 45 years and upwards
  • Female Slaves under 14 years of age
  • Female Slaves of 14 years but under 26 years
  • Female Slaves 45 years and upwards
  • Free Colored Males under 14 years of age
  • Free Colored Males of 14 years but under 26 years
  • Free Colored Males of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Free Colored Males 45 years and upwards
  • Free Colored Females under 14 years of age
  • Free Colored Females of 14 years but under 26 years
  • Free Colored Females of 26 years but under 45 years
  • Free Colored Males 45 years and upwards
  • Number of foreigners not naturalized
  • Number of persons (including slaves) engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufactures

Census Changes listed on the 1830 Census

The 1830 census counted the population only. After the failures of the past two censuses, no attempt was made to collect additional data on manufacturing and industry in the United States.
  • Name of the Head of Household
  • Free White Males under 5
  • Free White Males of 5 and under ten
  • Free White Males of ten and under 15
  • Free White Males of fifteen and under twenty
  • Free White Males of twenty and under thirty
  • Free White Males of thirty and under forty
  • Free White Males of forty and under fifty
  • Free White Males of fifty and under sixty
  • Free White Males of sixty and under seventy
  • Free White Males of seventy and under eighty
  • Free White Males of eighty and under ninety
  • Free White Males of ninety and under one hundred
  • Free White Males of one hundred and beyond
  • Free White Males under 5
  • Free White Females of 5 and under ten
  • Free White Females of ten and under 15
  • Free White Females of fifteen and under twenty
  • Free White Females of twenty and under thirty
  • Free White Females of thirty and under forty
  • Free White Females of forty and under fifty
  • Free White Females of fifty and under sixty
  • Free White Females of sixty and under seventy
  • Free White Females of seventy and under eighty
  • Free White Females of eighty and under ninety
  • Free White Females of ninety and under one hundred
  • Free White Females of one hundred and beyond
  • Male Slaves under ten
  • Male Slaves of ten and under twenty four
  • Male Slaves of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Male Slaves of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Male Slaves if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Male Slaves of one hundred and upwards
  • Female Slaves under ten
  • Female Slaves of ten and under twenty four
  • Female Slaves of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Female Slaves of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Female Slaves if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Female Slaves of one hundred and upwards
  • Free Colored Males under ten
  • Free Colored Males of ten and under twenty four
  • Free Colored Males of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Free Colored Males of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Free Colored Males if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Free Colored Males of one hundred and upwards
  • Free Colored Females under ten
  • Free Colored Females of ten and under twenty four
  • Free Colored Females of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Free Colored Females of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Free Colored Females if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Free Colored Females of one hundred and upwards

Census Changes listed on the 1840 Census

  • Name of the Head of Household
  • Free White Males under 5
  • Free White Males of 5 and under ten
  • Free White Males of ten and under 15
  • Free White Males of fifteen and under twenty
  • Free White Males of twenty and under thirty
  • Free White Males of thirty and under forty
  • Free White Males of forty and under fifty
  • Free White Males of fifty and under sixty
  • Free White Males of sixty and under seventy
  • Free White Males of seventy and under eighty
  • Free White Males of eighty and under ninety
  • Free White Males of ninety and under one hundred
  • Free White Males of one hundred and beyond
  • Free White Males under 5
  • Free White Females of 5 and under ten
  • Free White Females of ten and under 15
  • Free White Females of fifteen and under twenty
  • Free White Females of twenty and under thirty
  • Free White Females of thirty and under forty
  • Free White Females of forty and under fifty
  • Free White Females of fifty and under sixty
  • Free White Females of sixty and under seventy
  • Free White Females of seventy and under eighty
  • Free White Females of eighty and under ninety
  • Free White Females of ninety and under one hundred
  • Free White Females of one hundred and beyond
  • Male Slaves under ten
  • Male Slaves of ten and under twenty four
  • Male Slaves of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Male Slaves of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Male Slaves if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Male Slaves of one hundred and upwards
  • Female Slaves under ten
  • Female Slaves of ten and under twenty four
  • Female Slaves of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Female Slaves of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Female Slaves if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Female Slaves of one hundred and upwards
  • Free Colored Males under ten
  • Free Colored Males of ten and under twenty four
  • Free Colored Males of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Free Colored Males of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Free Colored Males if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Free Colored Males of one hundred and upwards
  • Free Colored Females under ten
  • Free Colored Females of ten and under twenty four
  • Free Colored Females of twenty four and under thirty six
  • Free Colored Females of thirty six and under fifty five
  • Free Colored Females if fifty five and under one hundred
  • Free Colored Females of one hundred and upwards

Census Changes Listed in 1850 Census

The 1850 census saw a dramatic shift in the way information about residents was collected. For the first time, free persons were listed individually instead of by family. There were two questionnaires: one for free inhabitants and one for slaves.

Schedule No. 1 – Free Inhabitants

Listed by column number, enumerators recorded the following information:
  • Number of dwelling house (in order visited)
  • Number of family (in order visited)
  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color
  • This column was to be left blank if a person was White, marked “B” if a person was Black, and marked “M” if a person was Mulatto.
  • Profession, occupation, or trade of each person over 15 years of age
  • Value of real estate owned by person
  • Place of Birth
  • If a person was born in the United States, the enumerator was to enter the state they were born in. If the person was born outside of the United States, the enumerator was to enter their native country.
  • Was the person married within the last year?
  • Was the person at school within the last year?
  • If this person was over 20 years of age, could they not read and write?
  • Is the person “deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict?”

Schedule No. 2 – Slave Inhabitants

Slaves were listed by owner, not individually. Listed by column number, enumerators recorded the following information:
  • Name of owner
  • Number of slave
  • Each owner’s slave was only assigned a number, not a name. Numbering restarted with each new owner
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color, This column was to be marked with a “B” if the slave was Black and an “M” if they were Mulatto.
  • Listed in the same row as the owner, the number of uncaught escaped slaves in the past year
  • Listed in the same row as the owner, the number of slaves freed from bondage in the past year
  • Is the slave “deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic?”

Census Changes Listed in 1860 Census

There were multiple questionnaires used for the 1860 census. These including a separate slave questionnaire that collected the same information as in 1850. Listed by column, the free inhabitant questionnaire collected the following information:
  • Number of dwelling home in order of visitation by the enumerator
  • Number of family in order of visitation by the enumerator
  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color, Enumerators could mark “W” for Whites, “B” for Blacks, or “M” for Mulattos.
  • Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each person, male and female, over 15 years of age
  • Value of person’s real estate
  • Value of person’s personal estate
  • Place of birth, Enumerator could list the state, territory, or country of the person’s birth
  • Was the person was married within the last year?
  • Did the person attend school within the last year?
  • If the person was over 20 years of age, could he not read or write?
  • Was the person deaf and dumb, blind, idiotic, pauper, or convict?

1870 Census

Census Changes Listed in 1870 Census

For the 1870 census, enumerators recorded demographic information on the following topics, organized by column number:
  • Number of dwelling house, by order of visitation from enumerator
  • Number of family, by order of visitation from enumerator
  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color, Enumerators could mark “W” for White, “B” for Black, “M” for Mulatto, “C” for Chinese [a category which included all east Asians], or “I” for American Indian.
  • Profession, occupation, or trade
  • Value of real estate
  • Value of personal estate
  • Place of birth
  • State or territory of the United States or foreign country
  • Was the person’s father of foreign birth?
  • Was the person’s mother of foreign birth?
  • If the person was born within the last year, which month?
  • If the person was married within the last year, which month?
  • Did the person attend school within the last year?
  • Can the person not read?
  • Can the person not write?
  • Is the person deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic?
  • Is the person a male citizen of the United States of 21 years or upwards?
  • Is the person a male citizen of the United States of 21 years or upwards whose right to vote is denied or abridged on grounds other than “rebellion or other crime?”

1880 Census

Census Changes Listed in 1880 Census Including Census Changes

For the 1880 census, enumerators asked residents questions across several categories, including occupation, health, education, and nativity. Listed by column number, the following information was gathered:
  • Number of dwelling home, in order of visitation by the enumerator
  • Number of family, in order of visitation by the enumerator
  • Name
  • Color, Enumerators were to mark “W” for White, “B” for Black, “Mu” for Mulatto, “C” for Chinese [a category which included all east Asians], of “I” for American Indian
  • Sex
  • Age
  • If the person was born within the census year, what was the month?
  • Relationship to the head of the family
  • Is the person single?
  • Is the person married?
  • Is the person widowed or divorced? Enumerators were to mark “W” for widowed and “D” for divorced
  • Was the person married within the census year?
  • Profession, occupation, or trade
  • Number of months the person had been employed within the census year
  • Was, on the day of the enumerator’s visit, the person was sick or disabled so as to be unable to attend to ordinary business or duties?
  • If so, what was the sickness or disability?
  • Was the person blind?
  • Was the person deaf and dumb?
  • Was the person idiotic?
  • Was the person insane?
  • Was the person maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled?
  • Had the person attended school in the past year?
  • Can the person not read?
  • Can the person not write?
  • What was the person’s place of birth?
  • What was the person’s father’s place of birth?
  • What was the person’s mother’s place of birth?

1890 Census

Census Changes Listed on the 1890 Census

(The 1890 Census was destroyed due to a fire)

For 1890, the Census Office changed the design of the population questionnaire. Residents were still listed individually, but a new questionnaire sheet was used for each family. Additionally, this was the first year that the census distinguished between different East Asian races. Below is the questions asked;
  • Number of dwelling house in the order of visitation by enumerator
  • Number of families in the dwelling house
  • Number of persons in the dwelling house
  • Number of this family in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Number of persons in this family
  • Christian name in full, and initial of middle name
  • Surname
  • Was this person a soldier, sailor, or marine during the Civil War (U.S.A. or C.S.A.), or the widow of such a person?
  • Relationship to the head of the family
  • Race, Enumerators were instructed to write “White,” “Black,” “Mulatto,” “Quadroon,” “Octoroon,” “Chinese,” “Japanese,” or “Indian.”
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Was the person single, married, widowed, or divorced?
  • Was the person married within the last year?
  • How many children was the person a mother of? How many of those children were living?
  • Person’s place of birth
  • Place of birth of person’s father
  • Place of birth of person’s mother
  • How many years has the person been in the United States?
  • Is the person naturalized?
  • Has the person taken naturalization papers out?
  • Profession, trade, or occupation
  • Number of months unemployed in the past year
  • How many months did the person attend school in the past year?
  • Can the person read?
  • Can the person write?
  • Can the person speak English? If not, what language does he speak?
  • Is the person suffering from an acute chronic disease?
  • If so, what is the name of that disease and the length of time affected?
  • Is the person defective of mind, sight, hearing, or speech?
  • Is the person crippled, maimed, or deformed?
  • If yes, what was the name of his defect?
  • Is the person a prisoner, convict, homeless child, or pauper?
  • Depending on the person’s status in the questions in rows 22, 23,or 24, the enumerator would indicate on this line whether additional information was recorded about him on a special schedule
The following questions, located at the end of each family’s questionnaire sheet were asked of each family and farm visited:
  • Was the home the family lived in hired, or was it owned by the head or by a member of the family?
  • If owned by a member of the family, was the home free from “mortgage encumbrance?”
  • If the head of the family was a farmer, was the farm which he cultivated hired or was it owned by him or a member of his family?
  • If owned by the head or member of the family, was the farm free from “mortgage encumbrance?”
  • If the home or farm was owned by the head or member of the family, and mortgaged, what was the post office address of the owner?

1900 Census

Census Changes Listed on the 1900 Census Including Census Changes

For 1900, the Census Office dropped the “family questionnaire” form style and reverted to filling entire sheets of information on residents. The information gathered by enumerators for the 1900 census, organized by column, is:
  • Number of dwelling home in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Number of family in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Name
  • Relation to head of the family
  • Color or Race, Enumerators were to mark “W” for White, “B” for Black, “Ch” for Chinese, “Jp” for Japanese, or “In” for American Indian.
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Age
  • Was the person single, married, widowed, or divorced?
  • How many years has the person been married?
  • For mothers, how many children has the person had?
  • How many of those children are living?
  • What was the person’s place of birth?
  • What was the person’s father’s place of birth?
  • What was the person’s mother’s place of birth?
  • What year did the person immigrate to the United States?
  • How many years has the person been in the United States?
  • Is the person naturalized?
  • Occupation, trade, or profession
  • How many months has the person not been employed in the past year?
  • How many months did the person attend school in the past year?
  • Can the person read?
  • Can the person write?
  • Can the person speak English?
  • Is the person’s home owned or rented?
  • If it is owned, is the person’s home owned free or mortgaged?
  • Does the person live in a farm or in a house?
  • If a person lived on a farm, the enumerator was to write that farm’s identification number on its corresponding agricultural questionnaire in this column.
Indian Population Schedule
Enumerators were instructed to use a special expanded questionnaire for American Indians living on reservations or in family groups off of reservations. The first 28 questions on the schedule are nearly identical to those asked to the general population. The only difference is that enumerators were instructed to mark “Ration Indian” in the occupation column for those American Indians who were wholly dependent on government aid for support. Enumerators were to mark “R” next to the occupation of those who were partly dependent on government aid. The following additional information, listed by column number, was collected from persons listed on the Indian population schedule:
  • Indian Name
  • Tribe of this person
  • Tribe of this person’s father
  • Tribe of this person’s mother
  • Fraction of person’s lineage that is white
  • Is this person living in polygamy?
  • Is this person taxed? An American Indian was considered “taxed” if he or she was detached from his or her tribe and was living in the White community and subject to general taxation, or had been allotted land by the federal government and thus acquired citizenship.
  • If this person has acquired American citizenship, what year?
  • Did this person acquire citizenship by receiving an allotment of land from the federal government?
  • Is this person’s house “movable” or “fixed?”
  • Enumerators were to mark “movable” if the person lived in a tent, tepee, or other temporary structure; they were to mark “fixed” if he or she lived in a permanent dwelling of any kind.

1910 Census

Census Changes listed on the 1910 Census Including Census Changes

The 1910 census questionnaire was similar in design to that used in 1900. The most notable change was the late addition, at the behest of Congress, of a question concerning a person’s “mother tongue.” It was so late, in fact, that questionnaires for the census had already been printed. Information on “mother tongues” was to be added into “nativity” columns 12, 13, and 14. The following information, listed by column number, was gathered from each resident:
  • Number of dwelling house in order of enumeration
  • Number of family in order of enumeration
  • Name
  • Relationship to head of the family
  • Sex
  • Color or Race, Enumerators were to enter “W” for White, “B” for Black, “Mu” for mulatto, “Ch” for Chinese, “Jp” for Japanese, “In” for American Indian, or “Ot” for other races
  • Age
  • Is the person single, married, widowed, or divorced, Enumerators were to enter “S” for single, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “M1” for married persons in their first marriage, and “M2” for those married persons in their second or subsequent marriage
  • Number of years of present marriage
  • How many children is the person the mother of
  • Of the children a person has mothered, how many are still alive
  • Place of birth of the person
  • Place of birth of the person’s father
  • Place of birth of the person’s mother
  • Year of immigration to the United States
  • Is the person naturalized or an alien
  • Can the person speak English, if not, what language does the person speak
  • The person’s trade, profession, or occupation

Census Info on the 1920 Census Including Census Changes

For the 1920 census, individuals were enumerated as residents of the place in which they regularly slept, not where they worked or might be visiting. People with no regular residence, including “floaters” and members of transient railroad or construction camps, were enumerated as residents of the place where they were when the count was taken. Enumerators were also instructed to ask if any family members were temporarily absent; if so, these people were to be listed either with the household or on the last schedule for the census subdivision. The 1920 census did not ask about unemployment on the day of the census, nor did it ask about service in the Union or Confederate army or navy. Questions about the number of children born and how long a couple had been married were also omitted. The bureau modified the enumeration of inmates of institutions and dependent, defective, and delinquent classes.
The 1920 census included four new questions: one asking the year of naturalization and three about mother tongue. There was no separate schedule for Indians in 1920. Because of the changes in some international boundaries following World War I, enumerators were instructed to report the province (state or region) or city of persons declaring they or their parents had been born in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, or Turkey. If a person had been born in any other foreign country, only the name of the country was to be entered. The instructions to enumerators did not require the individuals to spell out their names. Enumerators only wrote down the information given to them; they were not authorized to request proof of age, date of arrival, or other information. The determination of race was based on the enumerator’s impressions.
  • Street of person’s place of abode
  • Enumerators were to write the name of the street vertically in the column, so that they only had to write it once for all of the enumerated persons living on that street
  • House number or farm
  • Number of dwelling house in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Number of family in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Name
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Is the person’s home owned or rented?
  • If owned, is it owned freely or mortgaged?
  • Sex
  • Color or race, Enumerators were to enter “W” for White, “B” for Black, “Mu” for mulatto, “Ch” for Chinese, “Jp” for Japanese, “In” for American Indian, or “Ot” for other races.
  • Age at last birthday
  • Single, married, widowed, or divorced? Enumerators were to enter “S” for single, “Wd” for widowed, “D” for divorced, “M1” for married persons in their first marriage, and “M2” for those married persons in their second or subsequent marriage.
  • Year of immigration to the United States
  • Is the person naturalized or alien?
  • If naturalized, what was the year of naturalization?
  • Did the person attend school at any time since September 1, 1919?
  • Can the person read?
  • Can the person write?
  • Person’s place of birth
  • Person’s mother tongue
  • Person’s father’s place of birth
  • Person’s father’s mother tongue
  • Person’s mother’s place of birth
  • Person’s mother’s mother tongue
  • Can the person speak English?
  • Person’s trade or profession
  • Industry, business, or establishment in which the person works
  • Is the person an employer, a salary or wage worker, or working on his own account?
  • If the person is a farmer, what is the farm’s identification number on the corresponding farm schedule?

Census Info on the 1930 Census Including Census Changes

For the 1930 census a change in the way racial classification was recorded was made a part of the record.
Enumerators were instructed to no longer use the “Mulatto” classification.
A person with both White and Black lineage was to be recorded as Black, no matter the fraction of that lineage.
A person of mixed Black and American Indian lineage was also to be recorded as Black, unless he was considered to be “predominantly” American Indian and accepted as such within the community.
A person with both White and American Indian lineage was to be recorded as an Indian, unless his American Indian lineage was very small and he was accepted as white within the community. In fact, in all situations in which a person had White and some other racial lineage, he was to be reported as that other race.
Persons who had minority interracial lineages were to be reported as the race of their father.
For the first and only time, “Mexican” was listed as a race. Enumerators were to record all persons who had been born in Mexico or whose parents had been born in Mexico and who did not fall into another racial category as “Mexican.”
1930
  • Street the enumerated person lives on
  • House number of enumerated person (in cities and towns)
  • Number of dwelling house in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Number of family in order of visitation by enumerator
  • Name
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Is the person’s home owned or rented?
  • Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
  • Radio Set
  • Does this family live on a farm?
  • Sex
  • Color or Race, Enumerators were to enter “W” for white, “Neg” for black, “Mex” for Mexican, “In” for American Indian, “Ch” for Chinese, “Jp” for Japanese, “Fil” for Filipino, “Hin” for Hindu, and “Kor” for Korean. All other races were to be written out in full.
  • Age at last birthday
  • Marital condition
  • Person’s mother’s place of birth
  • Age at first marriage
  • Has the person attended school at any time since Sept. 1, 1929?
  • Person’s place of birth
  • Can the person read and write?
  • Person’s father’s place of birth
  • Language spoken in home before coming to the United States
  • Year of immigration into the United States
  • Is the person naturalized or an alien?
  • Is the person able to speak English?
  • Trade, profession, or particular kind of work done?
  • Industry or business in which at work
  • Class of worker
  • Whether the person is actually at work?
  • Record line number for unemployed
  • Whether the person is a veteran of the U.S. military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition?
  • If yes, which war or expedition? Enumerators were to enter “WW” for World War I, “Sp” for the Spanish-American War, “Civ” for the Civil War, “Phil” for the Philippine insurrection, “Box” for the Boxer rebellion, or “Mex” for the Mexican expedition.Number of farm schedule
Enumerators were instructed to fill out an additional questionnaire for all gainful workers who were not at work the on the workday before enumeration. This special schedule collected the following information, organized by column number:
  • Date of enumeration
  • Sheet number of person’s corresponding population schedule entry
  • Line number of person’s corresponding population schedule entry
  • Name
  • Does this person usually work at a gainful occupation?
  • Does this person usually have a job of any kind?
  • If this person has a job…
  • How many weeks since he has worked at that job?
  • Why was he not at work yesterday (or the last regular workday)?
  • Enumerators were instructed to be as specific as possible. A list of examples provided to enumerators included: “sickness,” “was laid off,” “voluntary lay-off,” “bad weather,” “lack of materials,” “strike,” etc.
  • Does he lose a day’s pay by not being at work?
  • How many days did he work last week?
  • How many days does he work in a full-time week?
  • If this person has no job of any kind…Is he able to work?
  • Is he looking for a job?
  • For how many weeks has he been without a job?
  • Reason for being out of a job, Enumerators were instructed to be as specific as possible. A list of examples provided to enumerators included: “plant closed down,” “sickness,” “off season,” “job completed,” “machines introduced,” “strike,” etc.
Supplemental Schedule for Indian Population

The additional questions asked of American Indians were much less numerous than in past censuses. The following information, listed by column number, was collected:

  • Sheet number of person’s corresponding population schedule entry
  • Line number of person’s corresponding population schedule entry
  • Name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Is the person of full American Indian or mixed lineage?
  • Tribe
  • Person’s Post Office address
  • Agency where the person is enrolled

Census Info listed on the 1940 Census including Census Changes

Besides name, age, relationship, and occupation, the 1940 census included questions about internal migration; employment status; participation in the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and National Youth Administration (NYA) programs; and years of education. Separate pages for people living in a hotel, tourist home, or trailer camp were used. Their census information begins on page 81A for each enumeration district. Information listed;
1940
  • Street, Avenue, Road, etc
  • House Number
  • Number of household in order of visitation
  • Home owned (O) or rented (R)
  • Value of home or monthly rental if rented
  • Farm? (Yes or No)
  • Name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household.
  • Relationship of this person to the head of the household
  • Sex
  • Color or Race
  • Age at Last Birthday
  • Marital Status
  • Attended school or college at any time since March 1, 1940?
  • Highest grade of school completed
  • Place of Birth [Note: supposed to list the state or foreign country]
  • Citizenship of the foreign born
  • City, town or village having 2,600 or more inhabitants. If less, enter “R”
  • County
  • State (or Territory or foreign country)
  • On a farm? (Y or N)
  • Was this person at work for pay or profit in private or non-emergency Govt. work during the week of March 24-30? (Y or N)
  • If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public Emergency Work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during the week of March 24-30? (Y or N)
  • If neither:
  • Was this person seeking work? (Y or N)
  • If not seeking work, did he have a job, business, etc.? (Y or N)
  • Indicate whether engaged in home housework (H), unable to work (U), or other (O).
  • Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940
  • Duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940 – in weeks
  • Occupation
  • Industry
  • Class of worker
  • Number of weeks worked in 1939 (equivalent full-time weeks)
  • Amount of money, wages, or salary received
  • Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary (Y or N)
  • Number of Farm Schedule
  • Name
  • Birthplace of father
  • Birthplace of mother
  • Language spoken in home in earliest childhood
  • Is this person a veteran of the United States military forces; or the wife, widow, or under 18-year-old child of a veteran?
  • If child, is veteran father dead? (Y or N)
  • War or military service
  • For persons 14 years old and over:
  • Does this person have a Federal Society Security Number? (Yes or No)
  • Were deductions for Federal Old-Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made from this person’s wages or salary in 1939? (Yes or No)
  • If so, were deductions made from all, ½ or more, part but less than 1/2, of wages or salary?
  • Usual Occupation:
  • Usual industry
  • Usual Class of worker
  • Has this woman been married more than once? (Yes or No)
  • Age at first marriage
  • Number of children ever born (Do not include stillbirths)

Written By Marty Wyatt

Direct quotes as well as paraphrasing created this document from information derived from the following;

Kentucky Settlement

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Kentucky Settlement and The Revolution

Kentucky Settlement

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Bridge to Revolutionary War monument. Kentucky Settlement was in large part caused by the revolution.

Bridge to Revolutionary War monument, Concord, Mass

Courtesy of the Library of Congress Digital Collections
Kentucky Settlement was in large part caused by the revolution

Kentucky Settlement and The Revolution

A very fascinating and misunderstood part of Kentucky genealogy and history research are the Revolutionary War Veterans. The veterans impact on Kentucky Settlement is vital to understand migrations. Many a researcher, when tracking their descendants, will come upon an individual that once lived in Virginia or Pennsylvania, North Carolina or another colony. Everyone asks themselves the same question, “what in the world brought them to Kentucky”? Their birth-dates give a bit of evidence as they are usually in a date range of about 1735 up until around 1760. These birth dates are important because it will put the individual at the right age at birth that would allow them to be of an age to be able to serve in the Revolutionary War during the time period.

The Revolutionary Veterans are an essential and rewarding part of your family tree. Kentucky Settlement was in large part caused by the revolution. The research involves many aspects, perceptions and ideologies of this early time period that will explain a lot of why they did what they did. Much of the reasoning is both heartfelt as well as heartbreaking and has come from common practices and notions from a bygone time.

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Kentucky Settlement was in large part caused by the revolution.

 Courtesy of Library Of Congress

Why They Came to America

There were a number of reasons our colonial veterans, or their lineage, came to America. Some of the reasons were religious beliefs, lack of work, poverty, discrimination, wars, Britain’s philosophy that the impoverished should be used for migrant work needs, famines ( a potato famine in particular), the prospect of owning your own land, criminal and political crimes and last but not least, primogeniture. We will discuss the primogeniture reasoning in this article. So what is primogeniture?

Primogeniture

Primogeniture (English: /praɪməˈdʒɛnɪtʃər/) is the right, by law or custom, of the paternally acknowledged, firstborn son to inherit his parent’s entire or main estate, in preference to daughters, elder illegitimate sons, younger sons and collateral relatives; in some cases the estate may instead be the inheritance of the firstborn child or occasionally the firstborn daughter. The descendant (often the son) of a deceased elder sibling (typically elder brother) inherits before a living younger sibling by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age (subject to substitution). Among siblings, sons usually inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order (e.g. male-preference primogeniture, Salic primogeniture, semi-Salic primogeniture).

The principle has applied in history to inheritance of real property (land) as well as inherited titles and offices, most notably monarchies, continuing until modified or abolished.

Variations on primogeniture modify the right of the first-born son to the entirety of a family’s inheritance or, in the West since World War II, eliminate the preference for males over females (absolute primogeniture). Most monarchies in Western Europe have eliminated male preference in succession: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The law of primogeniture in Europe has its origins in Medieval Europe; which due to the feudal system necessitated that the estates of land-owning feudal lords be kept as large and united as possible to maintain social stability as well as the wealth, power and social standing of their families.[10]

Adam Smith, in his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, explains the origin of primogeniture in Europe in the following way:

When land was considered as the means, not of subsistence merely, but of power and protection, it was thought better that it should descend undivided to one. In those disorderly times, every great landlord was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were his subjects. He was their judge, and in some respects their legislator in peace and their leader in war. He made war according to his own discretion, frequently against his neighbors, and sometimes against his sovereign. The security of a landed estate, therefore, the protection which its owner could afford to those who dwelt on it, depended upon its greatness. To divide it was to ruin it, and to expose every part of it to be oppressed and swallowed up by the incursions of its neighbors.

Primogeniture

The law of primogeniture, therefore, came to take place, not immediately indeed, but in process of time, in the succession of landed estates, for the same reason that it has generally taken place in that of monarchies, though not always at their first institution.

Even up until WWII the policy of inheritance remained intact in many instances as related by FDR’s response to Winston Churchill; When Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met at Placentia Bay in August 1941, FDR said he couldn’t understand the British aristocracy’s concept of primogeniture, and he intended to divide his estate equally between his five children; Churchill explained that an equal distribution was nicknamed the “Spanish Curse” by the British upper classes: “We give everything to the eldest and the others strive to duplicate it and found empires. While the oldest, having it all, marries for beauty. Which accounts, Mr President, for my good looks” (1)                     

{1. Primogeniture on Wikipedia,  “The original work has been modified.”;  LINK of Original }                                      

The inheritance by the eldest son or child created descendants that inherited very little. This made the promise of a better future in America appear to be a better opportunity for these non-inheritance.

The vast majority of eventual settlers worked and toiled everyday on property that was owned by a Lord. They owned nothing and the Lord took a portion of their labor for his protection. The Irish residents were no better off in their arrangements. They owned none of the land they tended and were forced to rent everything from their landowners. Any improvements that the renters made to the farms would mean an increase in rent from the landowner who was renting to the Irish farmer. Very little was done as far as improvements on the rental properties.

It appears that the prospect of ownership of land and the greater ability to grow food to feed their family was the most tempting promise that would convince settlers to come to the colonies. The offer of indentures to pay for the fare of a ship would put in a type of bondage but offered a convenient way to move them out of the despair they were living in. Many took the offers, gave up what little they had, and made the voyage to America.

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Colonist boarded ships to America and then were indentured for the payment.

Courtesy of Library Of Congress, Clipper Sailing ship

How They Got to America and at What Cost

Settlers, for the lack of a better definition, came to America in different ways under different circumstances and reasons and in several ways. Some came as slaves, some came as political prisoners but the biggest majority of colonists who migrated came under a type of bondage called indentured servants. It is the latter of these that we will detail a bit. In order to get passage to America it would have been by ship. The ships would transport people coming to America and their ship passage would be owed. The passengers would sign a contract of indenture for the cost of coming “across the pond”. The passengers would then be indebted for this money and the debt could be sold by the owner of the indenture to someone who needed a source of labor in the colonies.

When the passengers arrived to their new home in the colonies the plantation or land companies would purchase the indebted contracts and the person indebted would be required to work for a certain length of time, usually five years, for the owner before they were freed from their debt and their contract. No wages were paid but only to satisfy the debt. The owner of the contract was required to provide food, housing as well as clothing for the indentured servants. The owners were also required to teach them a trade, of which farming was the usual trade by a huge majority. At the end of their contract they were free to go as they wish usually with a small piece of property. For a brief description between indentured servants and slavery this article on the Library of Congress details much of the laws of early Virginia. The vast majority of settlers to America originally came as indentured servants and worked off their contracts over a period of years to become free landowners. The majority, estimated at sixty five percent,  of the Revolutionary War veterans enlisted as soldiers in the Revolution in order to be freed of their indentures.

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Daniel Waldo, a Revolutionary Veteran.

The Revolution

More than one reason can be given for the Revolutionary War but most agree that the colonists expected a voice in what laws were enacted for the colonies. The colonists also hated taxes especially when they had no voice in deciding them. They wanted protection but were indifferent when taxes were placed on necessities they used everyday, sugar and tea to name a few. Some colonists felt the King had the right to make laws but they felt no one else had that right and felt as though they had no representation in the process. As the desire of independence from their British control gained ground, a division between the colonists had already began to appear and would later create a split in loyalties with some colonists in favor of independence from Great Britain while others wished to remain loyal to Britain.  

Many colonists wanted to and attempted to remain faithful to the monarchy and were referred to as Loyalists, Tories or King’s Men. Tories came from the old tradition of Tory, a political belief of loyalty to ancient traditions. The believed in God, King and Country. They considered themselves as part of the Royal Crown and did not want independence in the sense of what the rest of the colonists view of independence was. Often looked down upon by the British because of the uncertainty of their loyalty and Britain’s inability to protect them, very few supported the British. After the war many of these loyalists were awarded for their service by receiving land in Canada. Many of the southern loyalists fled to Florida. Louisville Kentucky was at first deeded to a Loyalist, the town was laid out and began to be established, after which he lost possession of the huge land grant because of his political leanings and his support of the British.

The Patriots were citizens who supported the cause of the Revolution and often discriminated against the Tories. The Patriots were rewarded for their service by acquiring land grants, called military patents, in the territories of the colony they had served. The colony they had served would determine the location of their land grant. Virginia owned the territory of Kentucky and military patents (Land Grants) were surveyed in what would become Kentucky.

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Kentucky Settlement was in large part caused by the revolution.

Courtesy of The Library of Congress, Digital Collections           
Virginia and her territory in 1776

Virginia in the Revolutionary War

As you can see in the map above that Virginia took in all the territory of what is now Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. During the war, in order to have a continuous group of soldiers for battle, there had to be a way to encourage young able bodied citizens to enlist and remain in service. The government’s at that time existed in such a manner that the federal government had very little power. The power was vested in the colonies. The colonies would furnish troops as needed but they were reluctant, say for instance, Georgia to send troops all the way to New York to fight since it seemed far away and of no importance to Georgia. The soldiers were eventually recruited by buying out their indentures. When their service was ended or the contract paid up the soldier was given a piece of property and the indenture was considered paid.

Virginia would give that property to the soldier in what is now Kentucky because it was their territory. North Carolina gave land in what is now Tennessee and the other colonies did the same with their territories. That is what brought these veterans to Kentucky and created Kentucky Settlement. They served in the Virginia Militia and received their military patent in Kentucky.  They earned the land grants by serving the militia and therefore “paid off” their indentures with their military service and became free landowners in return.To ensure the claim wasn’t lost there needed to be a house built and a garden planted in order to “stake the claim”. It is estimated that sixty five percent of all Revolutionary War Veterans were indebted servants.

There are records that exist for these veterans and are a very useful part of genealogy research. Below are some very good links to find that information. Many Veterans would be become a part of the Kentucky Settlement.

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1776 map of Virginia and her territory

Where to find Information on Your Revolutionary War Relative

  1. Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements
  2. Collins History of Ky
  3. Virginia Militia in The Revolutionary War
  4. Revolutionary War Veterans in Kentucky  
  5. Observations on Slavery and Indentured Servants and Military Service  1777
  6. Indenture Contract of William Buckland , 1755
  7. US Department of Labor, The Emergence of American Labor
  8. 1619 Virginia Decisions in Regards to Indentured Servants

Articles

Kentucky Settlement and the Revolution

Birth Death Analysis

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An Early Birth Death Analysis of Rockcastle County Ky

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Lindsey Cook, Rockcastle County, Birth Death Analysis
Scaffold Cane Cemetery, Rockcastle County

Birth Death Analysis

By Linda Ashley

This is a little Birth Death analysis I made of death certificates in Rockcastle County from 1915. We can compare that to what might be expected today.

Birth Death Analysis in Rockcastle County, KY, 1915

I was interested in learning the causes of death in Rockcastle County, Ky, in 1915. We often hear “Why is there so much cancer today?” and “Why are there so many heart attacks?” Of course, the answer to that is that so many things that people used to die of have been controlled, that there are fewer things left to take us. To confirm that, I have made an analysis of the causes of death exactly one hundred years ago, in 1915.

There are 155 death certificates for Rockcastle County that year. We can assume there are deaths for whom there is no certificate, and so they won’t be included here. One reason is that the requirement that there be a death certificate recorded for each death was only four years old, having gone into effect in 1911. Some people were not aware that they were required, and since there was often no doctor in attendance, the death was never recorded.

This is particularly true for newborns and children. Secondly, even if they were aware, if no doctor was in attendance, often the relatives or neighbors who cared for the individual and buried the body, just didn’t get around to reporting the death to the appropriate office. I have also discovered in previous research that in the case of a homicide, for example, where the person was dead when the sheriff or police arrived, then no doctor was called and no one reported the death to the clerk. I have found such deaths reported in the newspapers, but no corresponding death certificate. I have tallied the deaths by cause of death and by age.

Leading Death Cause, Tuberculosis

The leading cause of death in Rockcastle County, and in Kentucky in general, was tuberculosis. There were twenty-two deaths from TB. There were two children under 5 years old, one between 5 and 12, four between 12 and 21, thirteen between 21 and 50, and one between 50 and 70 and one over 70.

Those of us old enough to remember when TB was prevalent, recall that there were “TB families.” That was, of course, because it was so communicable. Since children often lived in the home where an adult had the disease, they often got it themselves, so seven people under the age of 21 died of TB in 1915.

The largest group, thirteen, died between 21 and 50 years of age. Some of those may have had the disease for some years and finally succumbed to it. Contracting the disease was so easy and it was so deadly, it was less likely for someone to get it past the age 50 and die of it, so only one between 50 and 70 and one over 70 did so. 

We can remember the national and state campaigns to eradicate the disease. There were testing days when the health department tested hundreds of people. If one tested positive, then they were sent to TB “sanitariums” or hospitals, such as the one in London, until it was safe for them to rejoin their families. That very quickly ended the “TB families” situation.

Eventually better treatments ended that necessity and closed the hospitals, and essentially ended TB. There have been outbreaks associated with drugs and HIV, but there has not been the threat we all knew before the 1950’s.

Age Impact

The largest number of recorded deaths per age group was for newborns and up to one year of age for a total of 42. The second leading cause of death in the county in the year was stillbirth, which is included in that group of 42. It is not clear how many of those we would call miscarriages now, but probably not many, as most people would not have reported a miscarriage. These are likely children who were full or near term, but who did not survive birth. There were 18 of those reported.

Childbirth was risky business then, and it is remarkable that only 3 mothers (all over the age of 21) are reported to have died of childbirth in 1915. In addition to the 18 children who were called stillborn, another 8 are listed as having died of “premature birth.” Again, some of those could have been miscarriages, or could have been stillborn but obviously too early, but it appears that most were children who actually were born alive but died because of prematurity. So 26 newborns died before or soon after birth.

In addition to the 26 who died near birth, there were a total of 16 other children who died before their 1st birthday. We can hardly imagine that today. Their causes of death were 1 of croup, 6 of digestive/dysentery complaints, 2 of meningitis, 1 of pneumonia or influenza. 1 of suffocation, and 5 for whom the cause of death was undetermined.

For 2 of those, the doctor specifically said the conditions were unhygienic and 2 mentioned malnutrition. Of course, there were no social programs to assist families or check on the children at the time.

Other Leading Causes

Twenty-four children between the ages of 1 and 5 died that year. Of those, 2 are listed as accidents, 1 as appendicitis, 2 of croup, 4 of digestive/dysentery, 1 of diphtheria, 1 of food poisoning, 1 of meningitis, 4 of pneumonia/influenza, 2 were mentioned above with TB, 4 undetermined, and 2 of whooping cough. The immunizations our children receive today would likely have prevented the deaths by diphtheria and whooping cough and perhaps pneumonia/influenza.

The 4 of digestive complaints might have included more cases of food poisoning. After one year, children began eating with the family, but had not built up immunity. “Summer complaint” and “second year sickness” were common, and were usually associated with improperly stored food. Refrigeration, properly canned food, and more choices for children’s foods, along with better hygiene, have all helped cut this number. Again, to have 24 children under 5 die in a small population would be unheard of today.

Age Impact

As we would expect, the largest number of people who died were over 70 years of age. Of those, 2 died of accidents, 3 of apoplexy or stroke, 1 of arteriosclerosis, 2 of cancer, 2 of digestive/dysentery, 4 of heart disease, 1 of infection/gangrene, 1 of old age (unspecified), and 9 of pneumonia/influenza.

I remember my mother saying if an old person would get through March, then they felt safe until the next winter. That was because pneumonia and influenza was the leading killer of the elderly. Those are still dangerous, but antibiotics and other treatments, as well as immunizations, have cut the risk for those diseases.

The 1 who died of gangrene would likely have lived today, but that was before antibiotics. Of the others, cancer, stroke, and heart disease are still leading causes of death. 

Of those between 50 and 70 years of age, 1 died of apoplexy/stroke (still a leading cause of death, but less likely in this age range today because of better prevention of high blood pressure and cholesterol),

1 of asthma, 3 of cancer (perhaps a similar percentage of death in the age range today, but more cases from which people do not died because of better treatments and the likelihood that people will have cancer today because they have not previously died of other diseases),

1 of diabetes, 1 heart disease, 3 of pneumonia/influenza, and one of rheumatism. (This could refer to rheumatic fever, rather than arthritis.) 

Other Statistics

There were only 2 homicides for whom there was a death certificate. However, there were likely more deaths of that cause, but, as explained above, they were not always reported to the clerk.

Besides the one person over 70 who died of infection/gangrene, there was 1 between 12 and 21. Six people, from age 5 to 50, died of typhoid. We rarely hear of typhoid today, thanks to immunizations. In addition, 1 person, age 21 to 50 died of tetanus (lock jaw), 3 children under 12 years of age of whooping cough and 1 under 5 of diphtheria.

Those who refuse to immunize their children don’t know this history. This was actually a light year, as there were sometimes epidemics of typhoid, whooping cough, and diphtheria.

The population of Rockcastle County in 1915 was about 15,000.

Linda Ashley, Author 2018

Birth Death Analysis


Night The Stars Fell

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A story of an Astronomical Event in the 1830s

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Night The Stars Fell

Night The Stars Fell

“On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the earth. North America bore the brunt of its pelting. From the Gulf of Mexico to Halifax, until daylight with some difficulty put an end to the display, the sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm. Their numbers, while the first fury of their coming lasted, were quite beyond counting; but as it waned, a reckoning was attempted, from which it was computed, on the basis of that much diminished rate, that 240,000 must have been visible during the nine hours they continued to fall.” (1)

The 1833 event was witnessed by Kentuckians across the young state and the reaction was utter panic.  The immediate reaction, by most residents, was that it was the beginning of the end of the world. This concept was related among the descriptions from the witnesses of the event and is also related in newspaper accounts evident in articles written from witness accounts.                                                                

Alfred Owens of Rockcastle County and an inhabitant of Mt Vernon in 1833 described the reaction at the time and gave a comment of his concerns during the shower;
“Just keep your eye on the main fugalment, if she starts, to hell in a handbag we go”. (Alfred Owens, 1833)  Reports that the inhabitants who lived to tell of the event began weeping and moaning. Many fell upon their knees praying to be spared, or saved. (3)                             

In Hopkinsville, Christian County, in 1899 the meteor shower was being received with great interest. The event had been dated back to 902 AD and occurred every 33 years. The 902 shower was described as fire showers as thick as rain. The 1833 occurrence was just as great with another occurring in 1866 and again in 1899. (4)

In those early times being in an event as unknown and as scary as this was, one can only imagine what the actual reactions were by the terrified witnesses. We now know what causes these spectacular shows through research and analysis over the years and we now find them fascinating and entertaining.

The Leonid Comets cross their trail of debris and deposit them in Earth’s orbit as we travel around in our orbit. As we meet these dust trails they enter Earth’s atmosphere and light up the night sky, giving us these wonderful alien light shows.                    

Science and research by scientists, experts in astronomy and scientific professionals have answered this mystical event with answers that now have changed the view of the mysteries of the outer limits.

Night The Stars Fell

The most famous depiction of the 1833 event, actually produced in 1889 for the Adventist book Bible Readings for the Home Circle – the engraving is by Adolf Vollmy based upon an original painting by the Swiss artist Karl Jauslin, that is in turn based on a first-person account of the 1833 storm by a minister, Joseph Harvey Waggoner on his way from Florida to New Orleans. (2)

Kentucky History and Genealogy Network Inc Social Media Groups

Credits

(1) The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century, by Agnes M. (Agnes Mary) Clerke;                                                                                        E-text prepared by Eric Hutton
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team,                                    
Release Date: March 4, 2009 [eBook #28247](http://www.pgdp.net)

(2)    “Leonids”, Wikipedia, Internet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonids,

(3)   “Rockcastle First Things”, Mt Vernon Signal, Mt Vernon Ky, Jan. 4th 1907, Page 4, Library of Congress, Chronicling America, Internet, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1907-01-04/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1789&index=0&rows=20&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&words=First+ROCKCASTLE+Things&proxdistance=5&date2=1963&ortext=&proxtext=rockcastle+first+things&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

(4) “Bright moonlight Will Somewhat Dim the View of  This Three-Times-A-Century Spectacle”, Chronicling America, Library of Congress Digital Collections,  Hopkinsville Kentuckian., November 14, 1899, Page 8, Internet, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069395/1899-11-14/ed-1/seq-8/#date1=1789&index=0&date2=1963&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&words=1833+falling+sky&proxdistance=50&state=Kentucky&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=1833%2C+sky+falling&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

Saturday Shopping Days

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A Time Before Shopping Centers and Malls when it was Saturday Shopping Days

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What Saturday Shopping Days looked like

Main Street Middlesboro 1930/40,  Courtesy Library of Congress

Saturday Shopping Days

When were young and growing up the term “shopping center” was never heard of. It was all about Saturday Shopping Days. In fact I am not sure if they were around in the 60’s, if they were the number of them must have been small, as in maybe located in some very large city somewhere. What I do remember are the Saturday Shopping Days. I would like to present just a short clip from my memories so I can put you back to those days in your memories and maybe it may remind you of those days for you as well.

“Beep, Beep, and an occasional ah-ooh-ga” breaks the busy day traffic as the thumps and bumps of cars pass by within three feet of us. The occasional sound of the squealing of brakes and tires skidding to a stop, trying to beat the light,  can be heard as we approach the crosswalk ahead. As I glance up and see an opening between the crowd and can now get a good look, I can see the shoppers are all walking along the sidewalks in single file much like the traffic in the streets who are also a part of all the hustle and bustle. I wonder if someone told them that they must always stay to the right as they pass shoppers going in the other direction. The sidewalk traffic is shoulder to shoulder with the kids kind of hidden down below in the midst. I see a lady at the corner waiting to cross on the light change and see her hat above the crowd. The pretty red and pink flowers stand out among the pretty ribbon that hangs from brim. As I look at other passersby it appears to me that about everyone is dressed as though they are going to a wedding. The older men are all wearing hats and shoes that are two colors, black and white.

All along the sidewalk are doorways that go to different stores. Daniels is just ahead with the green storefront banner towering above the street. Western Auto is across the street and I remember my first bicycle came from there.  Montgomery Wards and Sears stand across the street from each other. I remember looking through the catalogs they mailed out to us. Larger than four of our phone books stacked atop each other. (Telephone party lines are a story for another day)  I accessorized my bike from the Sears catalog right down to the light that worked off the wheel spinning do hitchy thing you put on the back wheel. The faster you peddled the brighter the light became.

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What Saturday Shopping Days looked like

Middlesboro, Bell County, 193/40 Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Growing up in the county of Knox we always went to Corbin, the adventure was called “Going to Town”. Only an eight mile trek but it involved a week long planning session for our family to get prepared for. Who was driving where, where we to meet up at and if you go to this store will you get this. It was a great thing for a kid riding in the backseat and peering out the windows at all the sights and people. Every town had a landmark, Corbin had the underpass. The underpass was very short but was lit up at night and made you think you were in New York to all of us kids. Dad would blow the horn as he went through to hear the echoes. We would roll down the windows and shout to hear it bounce back.

These were days when we first heard of Streakers. It was everyday when you would see it in the news. It was also happening in our communities. It was during this time the song The Streak came out. These were days of muscle cars and no one worried about how much “Gas” the car took to drive around.  Heck it was twenty three cents a gallon when I was a kid.

As I look around the area now I regretfully have to admit that most all of it is gone. Those were the days when everyone that went to the bank got candy handed to them for the kids. You could go to the country store and buy “penny candy”. It came with the little bitty brown paper bag handed back to you. The days when “pop” came in glass bottles and you got three cents back when you turned the empty bottle back in. It was called “getting your deposit back”.

Saturday Shopping Days

Thank you for listening,   Marty Wyatt

Early Divorce in Kentucky

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The Divorce in Kentucky Part 1

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Early Divorce in Kentucky

Cartoon parodying the circus-like divorce proceedings of Anna Gould (an American heiress and socialite) and Boni de Castellanein 1906 

Early Divorce in Kentucky

Divorce action was not unknown in early Kentucky, but it was infrequent. The Commonwealth stipulated that the Legislature, or General Assembly, was the only route to dissolution of marriage, through a special law for that specific purpose. Many early states faced the same burden, Kentucky taking her direction from mother-state Virginia. The original Kentucky constitution did not address divorce directly, partly due to pressures from ministers, and partly due to lack of vision, not recognizing the need for such measure.

Certainly, divorce was rare in early Kentucky, but the main reason was the difficulty in obtaining one. The concerned parties had to hire an attorney to apply for an act of the Legislature; the bill had to be drafted, a member of the Assembly had to introduce the bill and arguments had to be presented, showing the true need for divorce. Generally the act was passed, for if the bill was introduced, the action was nearly assured. A long and arduous process.

Reasons for Divorce

The only acceptable reason for divorce at the time was adultery. Some divorces were also granted upon the proven charges of cruelty or abandonment. Substantial proof had to be gathered and witnesses deposed before any actions could be taken. Only after such evidences could be obtained could a legislator be approached to introduce the bill. The more political, or financial, influence that could be mustered, the more likely the divorce would materialize.

An Act was passed on 31 January 1809 that gave the Circuit Court authority to grant divorces on certain grounds. The Kentucky Court of Appeals soon ruled that Circuit Courts had no jurisdiction except by Statute. So, for a number of years there were two avenues to be taken in obtaining a divorce—1) by legislative act, if both parties requested it; or 2) by filing a civil suit in the plaintiff’s Circuit Court. In some cases, the Legislature would refer a case for divorce to Circuit Court for legal expedition.

1840 Convention

The issue of legislative marriage dissolution came to a head in the late 1840s when, with the convening of the Legislature at Frankfort, the town would fill up with those seeking a special act to end the matrimonial bond. When the General Assembly met in 1848, one legislator described the session as more of a ‘court of divorcement’ than a meeting of lawmakers. The town, normally filled to near-overflowing during annual sessions, was more crowded due to those women, men and attorneys seeking special act for divorce. Ultimately, over 300 divorce acts were heard by the 1848 lawmakers.

The tide was stemmed as a result of a change in Kentucky’s Constitution. A convention to amend or re-adopt the Constitution was convened in January 1849. The following October, 1849, delegates met at Frankfort to reorder the general laws of the land. A change was made in the new Constitution that took the ‘act of divorce’ from the hands of the General Assembly:

‘The General Assembly shall have no power to grant divorce, to change the names of individuals, or direct the sales of estates belonging to infants, or other persons laboring under legal disabilities, by special legislation; but by general laws shall confer such powers on the courts of justice.’

So, with the Kentucky Constitutional Convention of 1849, the jurisdiction of the Legislature to grant divorces was taken away; all such actions would henceforth be within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. In 1972 the designation “divorce” was changed to “dissolution of marriage.”

Michael C. Watson, 2015

Early Divorce in Kentucky

IOOF and Knox County

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The IOOF and Knox County Kentucky

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IOOF and Knox County
IOOF Hall, from Wikipedia

IOOF and Knox County

The IOOF, The Three Link Fraternity

My legs feel like rubber bands as I climb the side of a huge mountain in Bertha Hollow in Knox County, in search of another abandoned cemetery where one of my family line is reportedly buried. The undergrowth is thick as I come upon a freshly cut road that circles through what first appears to be old stumps covering the area above and beyond me.

As I get closer I see the road has actually been cut through what is an old cemetery, pretty much lost in time. What first appeared as stumps begin to show themselves as old tombstones faded with age and covered with lichens. Some of the stones are broken, some crumbled while others are almost entirely covered with the leave debris that has accumulated over the many years of being neglected.

Dragging myself through the mess, I begin to take down information and record it in my diary from the stones as they come before me. I immediately recognize the names as past citizens that worked, lived and died while working for the North Jellico Coal Company, one of Kentucky’s largest coal corporations that began in the late 1800’s and operated into the early 1900’s.

An almost forgotten name from the past, at least for this area, began this company and is a name I have been researching for some time now.The late James Breckinridge (J.B.) Speed started the North Jellico Coal Company to fuel a major market for coal needed for steamers, heating, electricity and the huge railroad markets. The J.B. Speed College of Engineering at the University of Louisville carries his name as well as Speed Hall at Union College in Barbourville.

The tombstones here at this neglected cemetery are all that remains of an area that comprised several thousand citizens and would later be made into the North Jellico voting precinct in the early 1900’s. The town would include a white and colored school, several churches, a sawmill and a mining company. There was also a fraternity located there that at one time surpassed the Masons in membership many years ago.

As I continue my recordings of the burials, I notice strange markings on a couple of stones that are foreign to me at the time. I would research these later when I complete the work here today. Many of the tombstones we run into have symbols and markings that have a huge impact on researching our past.

One of these symbols is IOOF and a number sometimes listed below it (for instance 367.) Almost always is a carving with three chain links connected making an individual chain of three links. Three letters sometimes are placed individually into each link, F, L and T. The letters stand for Friendship, Love and Truth. The numbers that are sometimes listed below the symbol would have been the lodge number the deceased was a member of.  

The three chain links came to the fraternity being recognized as the Triple Fraternity or Three Link Fraternity. The fraternity was first began in 1851. The symbols on the stones were important during their time because it identified an individual as a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The IOOF would provide services to its members such as burials, helping the sick as well as the care of orphans and various other necessary basic humanitarian needs. These services were not a part of our social fabric during these early years because of the lack of life insurance and public programs that are in existence today brought on by the Great Depression

Early settlers and citizens struggled at best to provide for these services and many would be left out if not for the early fraternities, The IOOF being one of these main contributors. Funerals, the care of widows and the education of orphans were services few people were capable of supplying.

The IOOF pooled their funds from memberships and dispersed these funds for expenses as well as time donated by their members. Many women were involved as well. The fraternity was one of the first to admit women. The female portion of the fraternity came to be called the Rebekah’s and belonged to the Rebekah Camps, another part of the IOOF.  

Many of the cemeteries and orphanages were owned and operated by the IOOF with some still in existence today, especially in Western Kentucky. Pineville, in Bell County,  had one at one time. Bertha, in Knox County, had an IOOF Lodge that began in about 1894 until it closed in the early 1900’s. A deed recorded in Knox County shows J.B. Speed heeding the top floor of a building to be used for the fraternities lodge.

The deed stated that if the lodge closed the property would revert back to J.B. Speed. When members of the IOOF would pass away, a declaration was made, almost always in local newspapers. It would also be recorded into the lodge records.

Many articles can be found that witness the work done by the organization. One article relates a fourth of July parade in Barbourville (1915) that describes a few thousand people who attended the parade that year. At the turn of the century, the Odd Fellows was the largest fraternity in the United States, surpassing the Masons in membership. During this period the Odd Fellows would often combine their lodge in conjunction with the Masons.

This was what happened in Barbourville in the Lawson Building. An article in the newspaper relates the story of a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone of that building. The capsule contains records from both the Masonic Lodge and the Odd Fellow lodge as well. The beginning of Social Security and life insurance began to take away the importance of the Odd Fellows and the fraternity began a period of downsizing for many years.

This was brought in large part due to the Great Depression and the inability of many members to pay dues. Although the Odd Fellows are now in a state of growth, many people do not know what they did in the past, and in most instances don’t know that the Odd Fellows even exist. The IOOF played a large part in creating the idea of what Social Security and life insurance would become today.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was created in Baltimore Maryland. Thomas Wildey and four other gentleman from the English Order, establishing the Washington Lodge 1. The organization was formed to help in what was then a huge yellow fever epidemic. It was set up for visiting the sick, burying the dead as well as education of the orphans left behind in the epidemic.

In the event of liquidation the members received what they had initially put into it. That is one of the reasons why many lodges have very little history to find. When the lodges shut down the original owner would regain the title in the property.

A memorial stands in Baltimore to Thomas Wildey to honor his accomplishments. The monument has a set of orphans playing at its feet. Thomas Wildey had grown up as an orphan himself and gave back to those less fortunate through his works. Many guilds hold members of certain crafts.

The IOOF was a guild of odd or different crafts. From a compassion of the betterment of humanity came forth an organization that would give hope to many where no hope existed. It is this drive for compassion that drives the IOOF int the future.

Author Marty Wyatt

IOOF and Knox County


{Did you know? Kentucky’s shortest serving governor was William Goebel.} Goebel served four days after being shot by an assailant.

Pap’s Milk Cow

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An Article About Growing Up In Knox County Ky

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A story passed down to me from my Mother’s side of the family.

Pap’s Milk Cow

My grandparents were much like early families. They worked hard and scraped by but were always happy, smiling and had some type of inspirational advice or a quick happy event to recall for anyone who may become discouraged along the way. It was a very loving family and we were taught to be helpful, understanding as well as compassionate to others. It was from these strong family bonds that we were taught to be prepared for the real world. I remember when we were nervous and uncertain about a dealing with someone who had some authority in some job that one of us were applying for and whether we were qualified in applying and being were afraid of being rejected. Papa would always say “They put their pants on the same way you do, one leg at a time” ” All they can do is say no they can’t eat you”. Such strong encouraging words of advice for a young person that really put the un-nerving situation into perspective. I could write about all these memories but it would be a very long article so I will share a couple memories that stick out to me the most.

My grandparents had a very large family, everyone did in those days. My grandparents had to plan for things and figure a way to pay for them ahead of time. I remember many times being told by one of the family about a cow papa had for many years. He milked the cow and she provided for the family this basic commodity. I remember the milk was stored in several glass, gallon sized Fischer pickled bologna jars and the cream always floated to the top. I would ask if one of my aunts remembered the cow and was always told the same story. Yes we remember her, every time she would have a calf we knew it wasn’t long afterwards that we would have a new brother or sister. Papa would always plan ahead and the calf would be just the right age to sell when mama would give birth. You see the calf was what payed for the doctor when the new baby came along.

Papa was always the one that had to do the discipline, if you want to call it that. We would be caught doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing and mama would send us to papa for the trial and verdict. Papa would smile at everything and had patience beyond belief. He would line us up in the living room and his “discipline” would involve this hour long planning of how we were going to spanked and how hard and how we need to brace yourself so we didn’t fall when we were spanked. He would be giggling under his breath and we were scared we were not going to come out of it alive the entire time. After all this hour long teasing and giggling he would tap you and say “Don’t do that again”. He would then explain why and what impact it would have on someone or ourselves.m That lasted another half hour. When it was over we knew what we had done and why it should not be done.

To this day I do not ever remember getting a spanking from him but I feel he taught me more than any other family member. Papa exerted this same pattern with dealings with others who “did wrong”. He could do it in such a nice way that when it was over you would just have to thank him for explaining it to you.

Pap’s Milk Cow

Columbia Adair County

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Columbia and Adair County, Moments in Time

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Columbia Adair County

An Article Entitled, Columbia and Adair County, Moments in Time authored by Mike Watson. Mr Watson presented this presentation before the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce, April 10, 2018

Columbia Adair County

This was an untamed wilderness, by our standards, two hundred and twenty-nine years ago when the first settlements were made here in what is now Adair County. Stout, fearless woodsmen and women made their way her under the direction of Col. William Casey and carved out a new life in this Eden of the West.

One mile from this spot a stockade or station was erected and inhabited by a Methodist minister, Rev. John Tucker, and his family, along with a handful of others. Rev. and Mrs. Tucker met untimely deaths at the hands of those who did not wish them here. That didn’t deter the settlers, it alarmed them for a time, but the flow was not stemmed.

Early Formations

Green County, our parent county, had been formed in 1792 soon after Kentucky statehood; it was a large, sprawling region destined to be cleaved multiple times to create new counties, Adair being one of these, in 1801.

Columbia might not have become the county seat, but it was an ideal location. Two game trails crossed on the nearby hill, where our historic courthouse now sits. Buffalo, the largest animals in this region, crisscrossed that hill as they roamed, and the ages-old trails were appropriated by the settlers and became the our primitive highways.

There was good water, springs and streams, so settlement was inevitable. Three men obtained title to the tract of land—Daniel Trabue, Creed Haskins and William Caldwell—and founded the town, which was named Columbia. And we were off…

Businesses

Business boomed in Columbia. There were shops of various types, a factory that made nails, an integral component for a growing community, nearby grist mills, and more. A post office was established by 1804, called Adair Court House, but soon changed to Columbia Court House, and eventually Columbia. John Field was the first postmaster, a merchant, and the first jailer, for from the beginning there was need for such an institution. Crimes of varying degrees will eventually emerge in any location where there are three or more people gathered. From petty theft to horse stealing, from swearing on the Sabbath to public brawls, from trespass to murder, we had them all. But generally the peace was kept.

A paper mill was located on Greasy Creek, then in Adair, now Russell County, which operated for many years, producing various grades of paper that was used locally and also shipped down river to Nashville and beyond. Tobacco, corn, whiskey, hides and various other products were shipped to New Orleans via the Green and Cumberland Rivers and with the coming of steamboats, trade goods were shipped back to Adair County, primarily through Creelsboro.

Nearly every large landowner practiced self-sufficiency, producing almost every item needed to operate a household and farm. that not used was sold to others. Many men operated a distillery for their personal use, and for sale to neighbors, some distilleries produced on a large scale. No stigma was attached to this venture in the pre-Civil War days.

Roads

Roads were rough and was travel slow, but a trip from the outreaches to the county seat could be made in a few hours by horseback. A day by wagon. Once each month Court Day was held. This was a day for the court to meet and conduct business therefore the town was full of men and boys, trading, etc. Horse racing was a common sport and the first race tract was located just over the Russell Creek in what is now White City. Men would bring racing stock from as far as Louisville, Lexington and Nashville to race here. Big money was won, and lost. The horse industry flourished in this county from the earliest days and continues to do so today.

Education

Education was important to our founders. The Adair Academy came to be known as Robertson’s Academy, for the Rev. Samuel Best Robertson, long-time head of the school. The Academy was located on High Street. Students came to attend the school from all across the region, and boarded in town. Students included Samuel Bell Maxey, Preston H. Leslie, and others. Many became practitioners of the law, medical doctors, and entrepreneurs. The Academy would morph into the Presbyterian College and was conducted under the direction of the Transylvania Presbytery. After that it was a Male & Female College and eventually became the Columbia School System. In the early 1870’s the Columbia Christian College was founded and grew stronger each year. Then came Lindsey Wilson Training School, supported by the Methodist Conference as well as the general population of this and surrounding counties.

Civil War Era

During the Civil War Columbia was location of a Union Army camp, Camp Boyle, and during the war many thousands of men were stationed here. being in a direct line between the railroad at Lebanon and the Cumberland River. Attorney and judge, Thomas E. Bramlette, resident of Columbia, was made a Colonel in the Army and later elected Governor of Kentucky. There were numerous incidents here and a skirmish along Burkesville Street. The courthouse narrowly escaped being burned by John Hunt Morgan’s forces. The Baptist and Presbyterian churches were used as hospitals for the sick soldiers as well as many other buildings and homes in and near town.

And all this came to pass here because buffalo trails crossed. Early settlers saw the significance of the location, a cross-roads for new civilization.

Did you know? 

That within the bounds of Columbia there was erected a pillory and stocks? 
That there is a complex cave system that runs under the entire area?
The first electricity produced for the town was at Feese’s Mill?
There was a ‘wake-up call’ every morning at 3 a.m. when a tin bugle was blown?


Columbia Adair County

Gray Kentucky History

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An article on the history of Gray Kentucky

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Gray Kentucky History
Gray Kentucky History

Gray Kentucky History

This article is about of my hometown that involves a post office, a castle, a judge, a law Suit, a Louisville capitalist and a place called Brafford Store. Hope you enjoy it and learn a great deal of our heritage.

Brafford Store and a Post Office   

Brafford Cemetery sets upon a high hill and is lush and green during the summer and spring. The sun beams down upon the gravestones in the summer with the trees off in a distance and unable to shade most of the plots. The cemetery is very well-kept with an overseer and is mowed regularly. There are large empty areas between the new stones and the older ones and one must wonder why this is. It is as if there are two cemeteries that were later combined, and they were.

The new area in the cemetery was once the location of the church that sat there and the older area was the cemetery that sat below it on the hill. The newer part of the cemetery was started just before 1906. In 1906, a newer church had been built and as years went by it came to be called Rossland Church.  Mary Victoria Surgenor Dizney described how she was giving birth to her son, Edward Dizney, while the first church meeting was in session. Edward Dizney was born in 1906.

Rossland Church

The Rossland Church was donated by the Brafford descendants. The Old Rossland Church is listed as a Kentucky Historical Site and bears the distinction of being one of the first historical sites in Knox County to be recorded. It still stands at Rossland but is in dire need of restoration. 

A newer church has been built on the main road and the old church stands idle.  The old church and the cemetery was at one time the center of a forgotten area once named Brafford Store. At one time a thriving agricultural area, little is left of it other than two separate cemeteries, an old run down church, some forgotten people and the small communities of Gray and Rossland.

Brafford Store

Gray Kentucky and the Rossland area surrounding it was once part of a town that was called Brafford Store. Brafford Store had a U S Post Office that was located at Alfred G Brafford’s general store in the early 1800’s and therefore carried his name. A G Brafford was the first postmaster of the area that lay between the Barbourville and Lynn Camp post offices.

Lynn Camp lay between McHargue Cemetery and Collier Hill. The second postmaster at Brafford Store was Thomas Balton Dizney with his wife Rebecca Donaldson as his assistant, beginning their service sometime before 1872 after returning from a trip to California and the gold rush there.

The Tavern

Apparently the post office worked as a tavern, general store and a restaurant. Newspaper articles of the time period speak of Rebecca Donaldson Dizney cooking for patrons in the 1880’s.   Alfred Brafford was a descendant of Lafayette Brafford, a revolutionary soldier who gained his plantation from a military grant from Virginia for his service to the nation. Many land grants were paid in this way. The amount of land was based on your rank in service and the length of time you served. Military grants for Virginia soldiers were granted in Virginia’s territory of what would become Kentucky.

The earliest land records show the property that comprised Brafford Store and the surrounding area was once part of a huge plantation composed of at least one to two thousand acres owned by Moses Foley Sr.  Moses Foley was a preacher and a founder, from the late 1700’s into the 1800’s, of many churches from Virginia (Holston River), Tennessee and Kentucky and was one of the early founders of the First Baptist Church in Barbourville.

The Squire

Several of his sons would establish churches of their own. Squire Foley would start one at Indian Creek.  Moses Foley J started as a minister at Crab Orchard.    Moses Foley Sr. married Elizabeth Green, the daughter of Elizabeth Lauderdale Green. The Lauderdale’s and Maitlands are the descendants and original owners of the Thirlestane Castle in Scotland. Moses would become his mother-in-law’s administrator and therefore had access to huge amounts of capital. Through his descendants the Foley property would eventually be divided and the different farms sold or settled by the heirs, with the Foley home place becoming the area called Indian Creek.

The Foley Family Cemetery is located at Indian Creek and it now bears the name “Chance Cemetery”. One of Moses Foley’s daughters, Winnifred, would marry Pearson Duncan and the area of Brafford Store would be formed from that estate. Parks Daniel “P D” Brittain would marry one of the Foley/Duncan heirs and he would become the cornerstone of the community.

A Judge

P D Brittain lived near Brafford Store and would become the first Knox County Circuit Court Judge traveling from one place to another, bringing his own staff along and holding court. About 1850, Knox County decided to establish the Circuit Court Judge position because of the time it took to travel to Barbourville for court and other business. Brittain married Melinda Foley, granddaughter of Moses Foley.

The title Circuit Judge came from “Riding the Circuit”, an imaginary circle that covered the outskirts of the county, a practice that became customary in the early days. Circuit preachers would do the same thing, traveling from one church to another to have services. P D Brittain was buried at Rossland “Brafford Store” and his grave was soon forgotten as well as his work for the county.

Brittians Resting Place

His final resting place was discovered and made known in the summer of 2011. He lies beside his wife Melinda Foley Duncan Brittain in what is now called the Phipps’s Cemetery. The children of the county attorney, a Tidwell, who assisted him in his work are buried nearby, a testament to old days forgotten.

The School

P D Brittain’s home place became the first graded school for Gray after Brittain’s death, a huge building sitting upon a hill that overlooked his vast estate.  Forest Products now sits across the street from where the old school once stood. Parks Brittain was the son of Levi Brittain, and grandson of Nathaniel Brittain, a soldier who died along with his brothers in the Revolutionary War. Levi’s brother, George Brittain, is referred to as the “Father of Harlan County”

A Louisville Capitalist

 In 1883, articles of corporation were filed and recorded for The North Jellico Coal Company at Rossland. The officers were James Breckinridge “J B” Speed of Louisville, W. N. Culp of Louisville, John P Byrnes of Louisville, William E. Grinstead of Louisville, A. P Speed of Louisville, Ancil Gatliff of Williamsburg and Green A Denham of Williamsburg.    J B Speed and John P. Byrnes were owners of a coal shipping yard on the Portland Canal in Louisville. J B Speed held many companies including one of the first cement plants. He was an owner of what would become Louisville Gas and Electric.

His relative was the United States Attorney General under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Speed’s family was instrumental in keeping Kentucky from joining the ranks of the Confederates. Speed Hall is named for J B Speed for his donations there. J B Speed’s wife also donated money to Union College in Barbourville and Speed Hall is part of their campus. Speed’s estate started the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Speed’s son-in-law would become an officer for the company later on but would soon leave after becoming an ambassador to Germany.

The Executives

W. N Culp was an L& N Railroad executive. William E. Grinstead was an investor in the tobacco market among other things.  Ancil Gatliff started Cumberland College and the Bank of Williamsburg during his career. The formation of the corporation started a huge community near Gray and at Rossland and Indian Creek. The company was instrumental in Gray Kentucky History. The company embarked upon a land buying binge in 1883 that would amount to about 4 billion dollars in today’s dollars.

The Mines

The mine at Bertha and Wilton were state of the art with an electrical plant for power, air compressors for machinery and electrical powered rail cars to haul the coal to the mining tipple. The mine was union and provided their employees and families with a commissary, churches, housing, a paycheck, a doctor, as well as a white and a colored school and almost all of the other comforts needed survival. The camp had an I.O.O.F. lodge and was eventually made a voting precinct. A railroad spur was brought in on the south boundary and north boundary.

J T Gray

These were good times for a land that had struggled for many years.   When the mining camp was worked out, James Tillman Gray, a son of the founder of Gray Kentucky, took over and worked at what they would call “Robbing the coal”. This was a term used for cleaning out the last remains of the leftover coal. These were the dangerous times for coal mining.

Remnants

The only remnants of the old camp today is a cemetery that is almost completely overgrown and difficult to access. A few homes that set at the mine and some memories that fade each day are all that is left. A law suit  would cast doubt upon the proper ownership of the first  settlers of Gray proper.  Upon Melinda Foley’s death the bulk of her estate went to her sister’s son. William Gray’s child inherited the estate but it was administered by his grandmother until her death. Winnifred once tried to change the will which would cause some problems later on. The Gray descendants established a town which was named Gray after Colvin Gray.

Gray Kentucky History

Melinda inherited her huge estate from  Pearson Duncan. She had been taking care of him and his wife and her mother, Winifred Foley Duncan. Melinda and her sister were step children of Pearson Duncan but he claimed them both as his daughters. The deed executed on his death was recorded but only part was recorded and handed back to her. Only after P D Brittain died would the unrecorded remainder of the deed be found. All these factors would cause a lawsuit to be filed around 1900. The lawsuit was to establish the legitimacy of the deed and paternity. It also decided if a portion of a recorded deed be held legit. It also answered whether a brother was entitled to any of the estate.

Suit

At one time there was concern that the lots sold in Gray proper were not legal. This threatened to put the community in jeopardy. This was settled in court but was re-filed again in appellate court. The final court proceeding held the first judgment to be proper. Gray would begin to thrive from that time on. Only the downturn in coal sales would begin to bring it where it is today.

Conclusion

The town of Gray has had up and downs. At times the existence of the town itself have been questioned but it has always bounced back.  Ghost towns exist around her and have come and gone several times while the hills whisper their silent secrets. You just have to take the time to listen closely if you want to hear them. There are people who have come and gone in our community. Many of their accomplishments and struggles have been forgotten. Lest not that we forget.

Author, Marty Lain Wyatt

{Did you know? Gray at one time had a whiskey distillery. (Parks Brittian, P. B., Farris once had one in the town of Gray.}


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