Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful Thursday Thanksgiving Day




  • I'm MOST Thankful for my family's good health and well-being
  • I'm Thankful for my friends both in person and online
  • Thankful for all Veterans and current service members, all medical professionals, firefighters and police for doing the work I couldn't possibly do
  • Thankful that the work I do never requires going in on a holiday
  • Very Thankful for sunshine and occasionally Thankful for rain
  • Thankful for the beauty of fall, good roads in winter, fresh air in spring and no storms in summer
  • Thankful for every day I don't see a spider
  • Always Thankful for all meals prepared by someone else
  • Thankful for any chance to watch a movie
  • Thankful that the Golf channel and Turner Classic Movies were in the same Dish package
  • Thankful for all the treasures I've been blessed with from the old trunk in the attic 
  • Thankful for the space to keep a little grade-school art 
  • I'm Thankful that I'm free to pursue my hobby of family history
  • Thankful for all searchable digitized old newspapers
  • SO Thankful for all the old family photos I've been given
  • Thankful for the help I've gotten from other researchers
  • Thankful for all who take time to read my blog
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Martha Bell


I always knew my Grandpa was born in Kentucky and his family came from there.  He moved with his parents to Giltner, Nebraska when he was about 16.  But I was very surprised when I found that his Grandmother, Martha Bell, had also moved to Nebraska and died in Giltner. She was buried in the Giltner Cemetery only 30 miles from where I live.  I don’t even think my Mom knew that, but she did know there was something about someone in the family not being married.  Martha had 3 children, but she was never married.  My Great Uncle Virgil Bell, her grandson, didn't know who the father was.  He said it was something they never talked about.  He thought Martha may have told her daughter Laura Alcorn.  If Laura never told her daughters, the secret has gone to the grave.  I’m not desperately seeking to find the answer. 

In Wayne County, Kentucky in 1870 Martha is 25, still living with her parents, most of her siblings and "Siserow" - or "Simon" as Ancestry has it - who because relationships aren't noted in the census looks to be another sibling, but is in fact Cicero, her son.  That's what I believe (I've ranted about this one before in my post ""Cicero's Census").  

In the 1880 census, I can only find Garner, Elizabeth and Emily in Wayne County.  John Silas had died, and Rutha, Martha and her 3 children should be there somewhere.  I've searched page by page, I've searched the Soundex for both Kentucky and Texas for the children and I cannot find them.  Texas because by 1900 Elisha Bell had moved to Smith County, but I haven't found him in 1880 either.  

In 1900 Rutha, Martha, and Laura are living together.  This is the year with the question of how many children were born and how many living.  There is no mention of children on Martha's line there.  Rutha answered that question as 2 children born and 2 living and Laura is listed as her Granddaughter.  Cicero had gotten married and moved to Smith County, Texas. 
After Rutha's death in 1907, Martha lived with Carson & Laura Alcorn and family.  They moved to Ionia, Kansas, by 1910.  In 1920 she is listed as Eveline, age 79, Carson Alcorn's mother-in-law again in Ionia.  By 1925, Carson moved his family, including Martha, to Giltner.  Carson & Laura Alcorn are on my MOST WANTED PHOTO list.

John William Bell was a mystery.  In 1920 he was also in Ionia, Kansas, then there was the mention of him in Martha's obit where he was in Huntington, West Virginia in 1928, but nothing more.  Uncle Virgil didn't know whatever had happened to him either.  On Rootsweb's Mailing List for the Bell surname, I posted a message in January, 1998 with all I knew about him.  In April, 1999, I got an email from Carla Smith who was the Great Granddaughter of John William Bell.  It was such a thrill to find a descendant of his!  Uncle Virgil was thrilled too.  Carla filled me in on John, who died in Jamestown, Kentucky in 1938, and I filled her in on Martha and her ancestors.  She sent me this copy of a photo of John, it's from a tin-type.  He reminds me a little of my Grandpa.  Carla & I kept in touch for a long time, but as it goes, I can't reach her anymore.  Emails bounce and snail mail gets returned. Carla I hope we reconnect someday!

My husband has family in Marion County, Kentucky and on a trip there in 1996, he and I took a day (not near enough time!) and drove down to Wayne County.  We spent some time in the Monticello Public Library and found a few records in books and on microfilm to copy.  There were cemetery listings and the librarian gave us a map to help look for them.  So we ventured around the county finding cemeteries, some of which were off the beaten path.  We stopped at one house to get a little more help finding one cemetery and got invited onto the porch for some iced tea (but we declined).  They gave us explicit directions that included “turn down there where the store used to be.”  They apparently didn't notice our Nebraska license plates.  Seriously, there was nothing but a cement slab that I assumed "used to be" the store.  Must have been, we found the cemetery.

All of these facts from census records are interesting, but I have nothing that tells me what Martha was like.  She went to school, and I think she could read and write, although that answer varies on census records and she just "made her mark" on the Deed.  What was her favorite recipe, her specialty dish, or did I get my lack of interest in cooking from her?  Did she ever see a movie?  I liked "Sunrise" from 1927, wouldn't it be something if she saw it when it came out?  (Note to self:  check local movie ads in old papers)  To my knowledge there are no family heirlooms that were handed down to anyone from Martha's old trunk in the attic.  Newspapers in Wayne County weren't printed much before 1904. Ionia, Kansas might be a place to look for some gossipy news.  Maybe she was active with a local social group there.  My Grandpa died when I was 8 so I only vaguely remember him, but I think he was a quiet person.  Maybe he was like his Grandmother.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sibling Saturday - Emily and Elisha Bell

Several of my direct ancestors' siblings never married or some did but didn't have children.  They have no direct descendants.  I want to give them their 15 minutes here once in a while on Sibling Saturdays. 


Martha Bell's sister, born September 3, 1854, was named Emily E.  

At age 15, she attended school but could not read or write.  In 1880 at 28, she was living with John & Elizabeth Stringer and in 1900 I can't find her.  She is listed among the burials in the Stringer Cemetery with no birth or death dates. 


Martha's brother Elisha was married twice (and I only found that out because of writing this post!)  His first wife was N. C. Span, they were married May 15, 1873.  On September 18, 1875 he married Rebecca McFarland.  So I assume his first wife had died,  she was 17 years old when they were married.

Elisha or "Leish" and Rebecca moved to Flint, Texas in the 1890's.  Cicero took his young family out there and tried to make a living farming in Flint with little success.  While there his first wife, Mittie Ramsey, died of malaria after giving birth to a son who also died.  A month later their daughter Leavie also died.  They are buried in the Rather Cemetery.  Cicero and his 2 oldest sons, Frank and Oren, moved back to Kentucky.

Elisha and Rebecca both lived into their 70's in Flint, Texas.  They never had children. They may be buried in the Flint Cemetery in unmarked graves along with Rebecca's family. 

UPDATE:  A little more information on the deaths of Elisha and Rebecca has come to me, see it here. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Bells in Kentucky


""Rutha Bell" is etched in this stone, I could make out some of her name and "April" and "April 1907".  Rutha is Martha's mother, born April 22, 1822 and died April 11, 1907.  In 1996 I didn't know findagrave.com existed (it only had for a year).  I was a novice at taking gravestone photos.  My old Canon Sure Shot camera took great pictures or so I thought until digital came along.  This is good, but if I had had digital then, maybe the lettering would show up a little more.  My video camera was still a new toy and I took video here, too.  


This old stone was so hard to read, I apparently didn't take a snapshot of it.  But I did get it on video and I say how I can almost make out "John S Bell".  This is a screen shot from my computer I took from the paused DVD that had been transferred from the video, the extent of my photo skills (can blurry be photoshopped?).  This stone was to the left of Rutha's in the Stringer Cemetery on Cooper Ridge Road.  This cemetery looked like it was in someone's back yard and had not been mowed all year.  Also buried in this cemetery were Martha's sisters, Elizabeth, Emily and Ursula.



The sun was behind this one, makes for terrible lighting.  Polly's is one of the graves that I believe did get moved before the Wolf Creek Dam was built.  Her second husband, Garner Parmley, is buried beside her there and has a stone just like this one. They obviously are not that old.  This was in the New Bethel Cemetery behind the Parnell Methodist Church on Beaver Lodge Road.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Bell Deed 1887

126 years ago...


"Whereas John S. Bell, of Wayne County, Ky, departed this life leaving certain lands to his children and heirs at law, and whereas the said children and heirs have divided the said lands among themselves by mutual consent and agreement, and whereon there has not been any deeds made to the several heirs conveying to them the title to them severally to the parts laid off as aforesaid.  Now therefore in consideration of the foregoing promises and to further establish and confirm the aforesaid division of the lands of the said John S. Bell, dec'd, Ira Garner Bell & Martha E. Bell, Martha E. Bell, Henry Reynolds & Ursula J. Reynolds, Elisha Bell & Rebecca A. Bell, Emily E. Bell, Elizabeth Stringer and Rutha Bell do hereby convey unto James Hutchinson & Lean Hutchinson his wife all our right, title and interest in and to a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the County of Wayne and State of Ky, it being the part that was laid off to the said Hutchinson & wife in the division of the lands of John S. Bell, dec'd, as above stated on the waters of Beaver Creek, and is bounded as follows viz:  Beginning at a White and Black Oak, Garner Bells beginning corner, running with his line N 48 E, 108 poles to a Red Oak, Maple & Gum, N 15 W with John Haynes line 20 poles to a Hickory S 63 W 165 poles to two White Oaks S 58 E 24 poles to two Black Oaks S 87 E 51 poles to the Beginning, containing 40 acres more or less.  All our right, title and interest in and to the above described tract or parcel of land conveyed as aforesaid, we will warrant and defend unto the said James Hutchinson and wife and their assigns forever, against the claim or claims of our selves, our heirs, and the claims of all other persons whatsoever.  In testimony whereof we have set our seals and signed our names this the 15th day of November 1887.

Attest:  Gemima E. Blankenship

J. W. Wright
Garner Bell
Martha E. Bell
Elisha Bell
R. A. Bell
Rutha Bell
Martha E. Bell
Emily E. Bell
Elizabeth Stringer



Henry Reynolds
Ursula J. Reynolds

State of Kentucky
County County of Wayne
      I Jas. H. McConnaghy, Clerk of the Wayne County Court for the County aforesaid, certify that the foregoing deed from Garner Bell and Martha E. Bell his wife, and Elisha Bell and R. A. Bell his wife, and Rutha Bell and Martha E. Bell and Emily E. Bell, and Elizabeth Stringer and Henry Reynolds and Martha J. Reynolds his wife, to James Hutchinson and Lean Hutchinson his wife was on the 15th day of November 1887, produced to me in said County and acknowledged before me by Garner Bell and Martha E. Bell his wife, and Elisha Bell and R. A. Bell his wife and Rutha Bell and Martha E. Bell and Emily E. Bell and Elizabeth Stringer and Henry Reynolds, and Ursula J. Reynolds to be their act and deed, this the 15th day of November 1887.


Jas. H. McConnaghy, Clerk
By J. W. Wright D. C.

State of Kentucky
County of Wayne
     I A. Fairchild Clerk of the Wayne County Court do certify that on the 22nd day of August 1898, the foregoing Deed was lodged in my office for record.  Whereupon the same together with this and the foregoing certificate have been duly recorded in my office.  Given under my hand this 24th day of August 1898.
A. Fairchild, Clerk"


Martha Eveline Bell's parents were John Silas and Rutha (Simpson) Bell, and her siblings were Ira Garner, Mary Elizabeth, Elisha S, Saphronia, Emily, and Ursula Jane.  From this Deed, it looks like Saphronia may have died before 1887.  Ira Garner married Martha E. Simpson in October, 1868, her father was Thomas Simpson, brother of Rutha.  Elisha married Rebecca A. McFarland in September, 1875.  Mary Elizabeth married John Stringer in February, 1870. I have not found that Emily ever married, and Ursula married Henry Reynolds in about 1878 and died in 1890.  

Why is there no mention of how much the 40 acres were sold for?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Cumberland Lake

Somewhere along Hwy 127 I took this photo of Cumberland Lake in 1996.  Wolf Creek Dam which created Cumberland Lake was completed in 1951.  The US Army Corps of Engineers moved some cemeteries before the land was flooded, but they weren't aware of all burials.  Some were unmarked, others were on private land.  David Bell, my 4th Great Grandfather died in 1818 and was buried somewhere under what is now Lake Cumberland. David was married to Mary "Polly" Adair and their son John Silas Bell was Martha Bell's father, my 3rd Great Grandfather.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Martha Bell's Birthday

Giltner Gazette, Nov. 6, 1928
Today, November 3 would be Martha Bell's 170th birthday.  It might seem odd on her birth anniversary to post her obituary, but what's interesting here is that the next day is the anniversary of her death in 1928. 

Martha was my Great Great Grandmother, Cicero ("C. C.") was my Great Grandfather. Mrs. C. A. Alcorn's name was Laura, but I wasn't named after her.  The information here on John Bell was all I knew about him at that point, a clue to work on.

It takes a little bouncing around to read that third paragraph.  Marie Dieckmann, one of the "quartette", later married Cicero's son Ben.  More about Martha and her family in the next couple of weeks.