08 February 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Sexton Spinning Wheel

Pregnant with my first child in 1971, Julina Leoto Sexton Horton Klaiber said she was "heiring me" her mother's spinning wheel. I was in the early stages of my genealogical journey. Julina told me her mother had brought it from Virginia to Kentucky with her. Over the years the spinning wheel would move with us from Ohio to New Jersey, back to Ohio before finally returning to Boyd County, Kentucky & the farm where it had been a functional household item. As tiny boys, my sons all learned how to get a rhythm with the pedal to make the wheel go round. A spinning lesson in New Jersey added to my appreciation of pioneer ingenuity.

Julina Leoto Sexton Horton Klaiber lived to 100 years of age and was buried in Klaiber Cemetery in 1978. She was born 30 June 1877 in Boyd County, Kentucky to Henry Powell Sexton and wife Julina McCormack Sexton. One day my mother-in-law produced a picture of Henry Powell & Julina McCormack Sexton. What a serendipty moment. Not only was I able to see these wonderful ancestors, I was looking at Julina using the spinning wheel while her husband was carding the wool. A look at the Carter County, Kentucky tax records for the late 1850's show that the Sexton's did own their own sheep.

Like most family stories there are few questions remaining. "Mamaw" [Julina Sexton Klaiber] had stated that her mother brought the spinning wheel from Virginia. Genealogical documentation shows that her mother was born and raised in eastern Kentucky. Julina McCormack was born in Lawrence County, Kentucky, Christmas Day 1836, the daughter of Lorenzo Dow McCormack and wife Emily Brumfield. Her parents were from Giles County, Virginia having settled in Lawrence County by 1833. Julina's husband Henry Powell Sexton was born in Virginia 24 April 1835. His father Marcus Sexton had migrated through Pound Gap into Letcher County and the family migrated northward to a portion of Carter County that would become Boyd County, Kentucky.

The photograph is easy to date. The child in the photograph is Julina Lorraine Sexton born 15 August 1907, daughter of Henry Powell Sexton [II] and wife Katherine Allen. By her size the photograph appears to be taken about 1909. Henry Powell Sexton [I] died 24 September 1912. His wife Julina McCormack Sexton died 14 January 1914. Both are buried in Sexton Cemetery, Pigeon Roost, Boyd County, Kentucky. The information I have gathered about the small wheel is that it was manufactured in the 1800's and may have been called a "Naomi."


  1. Wow! That is really cool.

  2. Hopefully you will keep it in use. I love spinning wheels.

  3. How wonderful to have the spinning wheel AND the photograph! Do you spin? I have a wheel that looks similar, but is new to me (at least new 30 or so years ago). Thanks for sharing.
    Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at www.nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com

  4. What a cool spinning wheel, and so awesome that you have a photograph of her using it, and her husband carding the wool. The photo looks posed that way, but if someone had them pose doing that, then it must have been a significant part of their life!

    So interesting to read and to see!