Saturday, February 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Whistle While You Work

This week in the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History blogging event is Week 9: Sounds. Describe any sounds that take you back to your childhood. These could be familiar songs, jingles, children playing, or something entirely different.

Whistles.  No, that THAT kind of whistle.  

There were two type of whistles that my sister and I grew up with.  Our mother had us trained like Pavlov's dogs with her's.  Her distinctive short 3 tone whistle could mean anything.  I remember getting separated from her in a store.  I was panicked!  Where was my mommy?!  Then, I heard that familiar whistle!  There she was!  I also remember hearing it when I was outside and she was in...or she was in the front yard and I was in the back.  Wow!  Could that whistle carry!  

Our father now, he was a master of the whistle.  Whether it was a short catcall or one of his favorite Glenn Miller recordings, our daddy was an artist.  And he whistled all the time.  We owned the lot across the street from our house and half that lot was a garden.  He could be heard there as he was hoeing or picking produce.  Doing odd jobs around the house, he whistled.  During hikes on our many camping trips, he whistled.  During good times or bad, work or rest, he whistled.  I remember one day, when I was visiting my parents and he was working outside.  The windows were open and his whistling came through the windows.  If I could name one consistent music of my childhood, it's my father's whistling.

Two very different types of sounds - one very special feeling.  Mother's been gone three years now, Daddy two.  

How I wish I could hear their whistles again.

Why Granny! What a Past You Had!!

Angeline Brinegar.  Beloved daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Hughes) Brinegar. 

Wife of Martillus Patton.....and John Henry.....and James Dunaway....and Taylor Sparks.

"Back in my day, we didn't act like that!"  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you, yes they did!

You see, Angeline Brinegar was my 3g-grandmother.  Neither her exact date of birth or date of death is known.  She was born about 1826 and died sometime between 1900 and 1910.  But it is her legacy through the Estill County Courthouse that will forever keep her in our memory.

Angeline's first foray into the world of matrimony was on December 21, 1841.  She married Martillus Patton in Clark County, Kentucky.  Given that her father didn't sign for her and this was in a different county than where she lived, one can only suppose that our girl decided love would conquer all and she'd have a runaway marriage.  Well, the only thing to run away was Martillus.  Angeline may have been a bit high spirited.  They divorced and he moved to Indiana.

Then came along John W. Henry, my 3g-grandfather.  John was the son of Moses and Elizabeth (Riddle) Henry.  I haven't found a marriage record for them, but do know they were married.  Why?  Read on!  The man-cold must have been to much for Angeline.  In October 1850, John filed and was granted a divorce because "she left me in time of sickness.  She went to her sister's.  I sent a horse there by way of my uncle and friend, but she wouldn't come back!"  Yes, folks...actual words from the divorce.  Anyway, John packed up and went to Indiana.  She was left with two children, Elizabeth Frances Henry and John Speed Smith Henry.  With a name like John Speed Smith, is it any surprise that his nickname was Bud?  But I digress.  Angeline and the kids are listed with her father on the 1850 census.

With the thought "Third time's a charm" surely in her head, Angeline married for a third time on February 26, 1852 to James Dunaway, son of Isaac and Sarah (Rogers) Dunaway.  James and Angeline had one child to survive childhood, Lycortis.  In twenty years of researching, I've never found what happened to James, but can only assume that there was yet another divorce.  She is listed as Brinegar again on the 1860 census.

Perhaps, Angeline decided to fulfill herself in other ways.  On September 4, 1855, she was allowed $12.00 by the Estill County Court  for twelve weeks of nursing and waiting on a cousin, William Melton, during sickness.  Getting paid for dealing with the man-cold was better than being married to someone with it.  

From 1860 to 1873, Angeline took a break from marriage.  Censuses show that she had two children during this time - Dillard, born December 1862 and James (nicknamed Bose/Boss), born December 1867.  According to the 1870 census, their last names are Brinegar, but, on the 1880 census, their last name was Neal.  This leads me to believe that their father was a Neal - unsure if it was the same for both children.  Unfortunately, there are no records to prove or disprove this.  It'll be one of those mysteries that'll be kept until the truth is ready to come out.

This time between husbands (at least her own) did not bring peace because on March 17, 1865, Angeline made another trip to the Estill County Courthouse.  James Maupin requested and received a peace bond against her, courtesy of Judge E. L. Cockrell.

Early fall of 1873, love (or something like it) came along to our Angeline.  On September 27, 1873, she married Taylor Sparks, son of Thomas Sparks and Martha Powell.  

1880 Estill County Census, Irvine, Estill County, Kentucky; Roll 412,  Page 23B - Dated 4 Jun 1880
Above is the infamous census of 1880.  What a story it tells!  Taylor's information is that he was 29 years and a professional gambler.  Angeline's information is that she was 45 and a prostitute.  That's right.  A prostitute.  Now, whether the census taker didn't like her or she took out when Taylor lost in trade, I don't know, but I have never, in this small county, seen anyone's occupation listed as a prostitute.   What is also interesting is Angeline seems to have shaved about 10 years off her age.  Remember?  All other censuses show she was born about 1826.  Yeah, Granny had a past...and was a cougar to boot!  You'll also see, on this census, Dillard and James have the mysterious Neal name showing up.  But, now we get a new mystery.  Mattie Blackwell.  Born about 1876.  She's listed as a child of Taylor's, as is Dillard and James.  Obviously, the boys are not Taylor's, but Mattie is a mystery.  On Mattie's marriage to Isom Ballard, a man nearly 30 years her senior, she lists her mother as Angeline.  There are other sources that list Angeline as her mother, but there is no record showing Taylor as her father.  

It's anyone's guess what happened with this family between 1880 and 1900.  On the 1900 census, Angeline and her son, Dillard, are living together in Irvine.  She lists herself as widowed, but gives her age as 85.  Really, Granny?  Don't I have enough with you to figure out?  Next door is her son James and his family.

Since Angeline doesn't appear on the 1910 census and death records weren't required to be kept until 1911, it's assumed that she died sometime between 1900 and 1910.  Given the fact she was between 75 and 85 (depending on her actual death date), the argument could be made that she died as a result of old age.  But, you see?  There's one last chapter to the mystery that was Angeline Brinegar's life.

In 1901, her son, Lycortis Dunaway believed his half-brother, Dillard Brinegar, was having an affair with his wife.  On that fateful day in October, he took a gun and killed his brother.  He then found his wife and shot at her.  She dodged and he missed.  He then left and shot himself.  Was their mother alive to witness the death of her sons?  This I don't know, but I will be visiting the Kentucky State Archives in March.  Hopefully, I can find an answer.

Angeline has haunted me for several years now.  When I visit her grave or the area she lived, I can almost imagine her walking with me.  What was it like for this spitfire, living in a time when women had no rights.  And why was she buried away from the rest of the family?  Why was her grave unkempt for so long?  

Angeline, my Angeline - thank you for being my ancestor.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Confessions of a Computer Cougar

This week's challenge for the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is about technology.  "What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?"  I think it will be fairly simple as you read along.

I have to admit, I didn't have to let it in the door.  It was my mistake.  I invited it.  I welcomed it.  My first was simple - did odd jobs around the house and kept me entertained.

But I was fickle, fickle I say!  Within a few years, there it was!  Oh and it was beautiful!  This one was shiny (what?  don't give me that look) and was so much more knowledgeable than my first.  What did I know back then?  I was a fool, but there was something dangerous about this new one.  I'll admit, it was that factor that intrigued me.  Sure, it took up space in my living room just as my first had, but this one, I justified to myself...knew Windows.  Oh yeah, baby.  And this one knew something called...the Internet.  I told you the new one in my life was dangerous.

So, we settled into a comfortable routine, this one and I.  I checked my mail, chatted with friends, even trusted it with my beloved genealogy.  Oh, the games we'd play together and the songs we sang!  Well, I sang, but it played along with me.  But you see, this soon became not enough.  Sadly, we parted ways, but I had a new plan in mind.

Like Frankenstein, or perhaps Frank in Rocky Horror, I would build my perfect one.  Self-taught and with help from the other man in my life, I pieced together something that would have made Konrad Zuse green with envy!  Bits of data flew around inside with lightening speed.  Driving down the Information Superhighway with the wind in my hair had never been faster.  I had to replace parts here and there, but what's life without band-aids now and again?  After a few years, love and care just wasn't enough....AGAIN. What was it?  Was it me?  Why did I keep attaching myself to something that wouldn't fulfill me?

Then, one day, a few years ago, I spotted one that caught my eye.  "How you doin'?" it seemed to say from its box.  I know, I shouldn't have even been looking, but that's how it is sometimes.  Just when you don't expect it, there it is.  We've been in a lovely relationship now since that night.  It's showing a few signs the others did, but I'm determined to keep this one around for a while.  It might help that I also have a laptop and a notebook, but only use them when my back's turned to the Big Guy.  Oh...and on vacation!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Follow Friday - Appalachia Ponderings

Appalachia Ponderings is a wonderful blog celebrating the maddening and complicated Appalachian heritage.  There are also two wonderful tributes, one to her mother and one to her father.  

Stop by and visit.  It will be time well spent..

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry Plowman - Hoover Cemetery

Ok, I'm going to give you a two-fer today.  The first one is easy.  The second one, not so much.  I'll explain under the photo.

Henry Plowman
Son of Thomas Plowman and (possibly) Sarah Roach
Husband of Mary Jane Pursley

This unmarked grave is directly to the right of Henry's.  We do know that Jane died after Henry did in 1898.  Burial habits of that particular time/place tend to find the wife on the right of the husband.  Given this, is this Mary Jane (Pursley) Plowman's grave.  I *believe* so, but can't say with definite proof.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Toys

This week, GeneaBloggers poses the topic:  Week 7: Toys. What was your favorite childhood toy? Is it still being made in some form today?  I seriously doubt it.

While most of my childhood toys were "outside games", I had a few things to do indoors.  There were always books, board games and Barbie dolls.

It had to be seriously cold outside to stay in the house....or I had to be bleeding from the ears.  Ok, not seriously, but you remember that kind of childhood.  If school wasn't in session, the minute breakfast was done, I was out the door.  Came home for lunch and then out the door again.  My father got home from work at 4:25 and we had supper at 4:30 on the dot!  After that, more outside until the dreaded streetlights came on.  We scattered like ripples in a pond the minute the streetlight even looked like it was coming on.  Children ran in every direction because you didn't want your mom on the front porch yelling your name to the neighborhood. 

On those occasions that my playground was bordered by the walls of my bedroom, I would take my Barbies from their case in the closet.  Would they dress in the haute couture of 1970?  Of course not!  MY Barbies had specially made....calico long dresses made by my mother...and even had ric rac!!

Johnny West in his bachelor days
You see, while other little girl's Barbies were dining with Ken on Broadway in New York (this was before Malibu Barbie House so deal with it) or zooming around in a pretend sports car (that looked suspiciously like a shoe box), my Barbie was busy settling the frontier with Johnny West.  Yes, Johnny West.  Scourge of all  things bad in those thrilling days of yester-year.  She'd NEVER be seen with Ken, who'd idea of adventure would be changing his neck scarf!

And the best part?  The very best part?  Johnny West and Barbie (whose name was Barbara for these purposes) traveled in a scale model of a covered wagon.  That's right - carved wheels, bench seat, all the comforts that those early pioneers had.  Well, it would have been covered if Mother and Daddy figured out what to hang the canvas from.  You see, my Daddy could make pretty much whatever he wanted to.  He was a skilled craftsman and handyman.  He also had a wood working lathe, but I don't believe he used it on this.

By the way, Johnny and Barbara West also had a beautiful pair of horses to pull the wagon.  Their harnesses were of the finest leather and had silver buckles and fasteners.

They also had their family and friends about them as they blazed their way into the new frontier.  The same Christmas that Johnny West made his way to our home, Santa also brought along Jaime and Janice West and Geronimo even came along for the adventures.

Yeah, I was a history nerd even back then, but I blame it all on this man.  I know that my 7th great-grand uncle didn't look like this, but *swoon*

So, what was my favorite toy?  Imagination.  Thanks to Mother, Daddy and Daniel Boone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - John Will and Ida (Caylor) Hoover - Hoover Cemetery

Down a one lane road on a mountain in Estill County, Kentucky, you'll find my favorite spot in the world - Hoover Cemetery.  On this ridge, you'll find at least 200 (marked and unmarked) family and friends of Daniel and Dianah (McQueen) Hoover.  I've often wondered if Dianah's father, John McQueen, is there himself.  He was born in 1761, died in 1855 and fought in the Revolutionary War.  Just behind the cemetery was the cabin site that the Hoover family, who arrived in Estill County in 1840, called home.  The spring that Dianah drew water to cook and clean still runs.

Under some of the few trees that grow there, you'll find the above headstone.  This is my Great-grand uncle and aunt, John Will and Ida (Caylor) Hoover.

John William Hoover was born 13 Jan 1887 in Estill County, Kentucky, the son of Andrew Jackson "Andy" Hoover and Frances J. "Fannie Plowman.  He died 31 Oct 1967 there in Estill County as well.

Ida (Caylor) Hoover is a bit of a mystery to me.  I admit that I'm intrigued with her, but just haven't had a chance to seriously research her.  The birth date on the stone reads 13 Jan 1887, but there's evidence that she may have been born in May.  The circumstances of her birth are a bit suspect as well, but I'm going to leave that alone for now as well.

Every time I visit this cemetery (and I visit it every time I'm in Estill County...gotta tell the folks, "Hey!"), I visit Uncle John Will and Aunt Ida.  

The headstone, as you can see, was handmade.  A wooden frame was made and concrete poured in.  After it was smoothed out, crushed glass was sprinkled around.  Marbles were used to outline the hand etched name and dates for both of them.

In an area where so many graves went unmarked or marked with just a fieldstone, you can find several variations on the above design.  Rather than let their loved ones go without, they crafted one with their own hands.  And people say that mountain people are without imagination or ability....