30 May 2010

Paper, Flowers, Rocks & Trinkets

compiled by Teresa Martin Kaiber Memorial Weekend 2010

Paper, flowers, rocks and trinkets all are part of remembering.

Today I visited three cemeteries in northeastern Kentucky. All were full of people tending their loved ones graves. Best of all, I saw older family members talking to the children telling them stories about loved ones so they will also remember.

Some reading this post will recognize portions of this article as threads that I have posted on a social network the past week, as the United States Memorial preparations have gotten under way.

Let me make this clear, I love God's natural flowers. This weekend the cemeteries are beautiful with thousands of flowers gracing loved ones earthly resting place. Because I am a trustee of a cemetery, I sometimes think beyond the immediate emotional moment. Within a few days the artificial flowers will fade, wires will rust and mowers will be damaged when little pieces get caught in the blades. I tend to think about the cost of maintaining the equipment, gravel for roadways, fences that need mending, trash removal and in smaller cemeteries the fact that animals can be seriously injured and even die from the wires if tossed into the fields.

Having said that, placing items, whatever they may be at graveside is a show of respect for those we love. It teaches those small children about love and giving and remembering. It gives the living a sense that they are doing something and sharing something with those that have left us. This is one of the reasons that folks in Eastern Kentucky tend to call it Decoration Day.

Our first official Memorial Day was in 1868 following the Civil War and was actually created because of Southern Ladies honoring Confederate deceased soldiers. A Hymn was published in 1867, Kneel Where Our Loved Ones are Sleeping. The sheet music was published in New Orleans and the top reads "To the ladies of the South who are decorating the graves of the Confederate dead." Memorial Day honors all our American Soldiers. In Eastern Kentucky we honor our military and all our loved ones. It is truly Decoration Day.

Burial rituals and traditions have existed for thousands of years. For some reason, possibly knowing that I have Jewish heritage, I love the tradition of placing a pebble on the tombstone. It is small, natural and will go back to the earth. When I place a stone I feel like I am saying "I am honoring you. I have been here." However, being raised a Christian, I decided I would like to know a little more about why this is a traditional Jewish custom. I found a wonderful article "Question: Why do we place pebbles on grave stones?" by Rabbi Tom Louchheim. The Rabbi gives several theories and practices that led to the tradition of placing the stone. But what struck me in the article was a quote by Louchheim's colleague: "Ritual is a way of expressing our emotions and spiritual needs. We need physical acts to express these things for us, to make them concrete."

Today I expressed my emotions and spiritual needs. I placed pebbles on the graves of my loved ones. When I grew up I did not realize that the street I lived on in Ashland, Kentucky was predominately Jewish. My neighbors were the Josselson family, Polinski's, Stones, Metzlers, and Koros family among others. As I drove around Ashland Cemetery today, I stopped and remembered my childhood, and left a few pebbles for them as well.

When I stopped to visit my great uncles and my great grand parents I smiled as well. Live flowers had been carefully planted and tended by another family member. It flooded me with more memories. When probing for downed tombstones I often find a bit of glass from a fruit jar or a piece of crockery. Older family members told me that they would cut flowers, fill the fruit jar with water, and with trowel in hand dig a small hole so the jar would not topple and place it at the grave. Around Memorial Day the day lilies, roses, daisies and peonies are in full bloom in Eastern Kentucky.

My mother-in-law talked to me about crepe paper flowers. Live cut flowers would droop so quickly. It took hours to create crepe paper flowers. There were even detailed booklets on how to create them. All of them were made with love and with a special person in mind.

Besides multiple colors of crepe that could be purchased at the 5 & 10 cent store, you needed thread, paste and water and some old wire which most farm houses had available. The problem was that the dew would cause the crepe paper dye to run. Rain ruined the creations immediately. By the late 1920's people discovered that you could dip the creations in paraffin wax and they not only looked more realistic, they lasted for a longer period. Plastic flowers soon evolved and in the 1970's new machinery allowed silk flowers [actually polyester] to become the rage.

Over the years I have photographed, repaired and documented thousands of graves in New Jersey, Ohio and Kentucky. There is nothing so frustrating as to find a photograph of a loved ones grave, only to have the valued dates blocked by flowers. I have moved and replaced many flower containers to get a good photograph. I am careful to dust grass clippings from the flowers before replacing them exactly where they were prior to the photograph.

I think the most moving tributes I have seen standing at an Eastern Kentucky graveside are the tiny toy cars, or a small toy soldier. I have seen glass boxes built with memorial items placed inside and marbles embedded in homemade gravestones.

It is a privilege, as a genealogist, to also be the trustee of an active cemetery in Eastern Kentucky. It has been one of the most moving experiences of my life. Yes, it is the 21st century and there is modern equipment. But I have seen graves dug by hand with simply a pick and a shovel in the 21st century in Eastern Kentucky. If you were to ask why, the answer would be simple "to pay respect." There is nothing more moving than to see a whole neighborhood gather to help. This evening I sat and watched car after car climb the gravel hill to pay their respects and place their tributes on loved ones graves.

Family reunions used to be held at the cemetery. Picnic baskets were packed with wonderful foods and wagons filled with tools to clear and clean the cemetery. One lady described Memorial weekend as a child on Clay Jack, Boyd County, Kentucky. She said the wagons were like a parade when the Vanover family went down the road each year to their cemetery. She wished she was a member of that family because they had such a big party.

Today I saw so many visions. Families gathered for pictures at loved ones graves. I saw an elderly gentleman artistically arranging flowers, stepping back to make sure they were placed just so. One tiny boy and his father knelt by a grave while the little boy worked very hard to push the wooden flag into the ground beside a soldier's grave. I placed my peebles and shed a few tears. Then I smiled because I remember.

Sexton Cemetery, Pigeon Roost, Boyd County, Kentucky

The type of ritual item or way we honor our loved ones is a very personal, emotional action. A tiny toy, a giant floral arrangement or a tiny pebble all are saying "I am honoring you. I have been here."

May Memorial Day live in our hearts every day.

24 May 2010

J. D. Garrett Touched Many Lives in Eastern Kentucky

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

Recently I wrote about preserving the early records of Garrett Chapel Church, located in Lawrence County, Kentucky. I mentioned that while J. D. Garrett, John Martin and J. C. Crooks were not on the minister's list for the church they had received many into the Garrett Chapel flock.

These minister's all traveled great distances sharing their Methodist Episcopal faith. I have heard the story many times that John Martin stayed so much at the Sexton/Klaiber home on Long Branch in Boyd County that one of the upper rooms in the home was simply called the Martin Room.

Of all the entries in the Garrett Chapel Ledger, J. D. Garrett's name appears repeatedly. Time and again I have run across marriage entries in Greenup, Boyd and Lawrence County where J. D. Garrett was the minister. The entries are always signed with given name initials: J. D. Garrett.

Strangely enough, J. D. Garrett never resided in Eastern Kentucky. J[ames] D[oliver] Garrett was born in Wayne County, Virginia [now West Virginia]. He appears consistently on the Wayne County, Virginia/West Virginia census from 1850 thru 1910. The only census that lists his occupation as "preacher" is 1900, all others list him simply as a farmer.

J. D. Garrett grew up in the household of Benjamin Garrett born about 1733 in North Carolina and wife Sarah. A simple Google search shows multiple entries listing J. D. Garrett as the son of Benjamin and wife Sarah Bloss Garrett who had settled in Wayne County. James Doliver Garrett married Mary Helen Staley 5 April 1864 according to Wayne County, West Virginia marriage records. Census records show eleven children all born in West Virginia.

Not only did J. D. and wife Mary Helen have 11 children, J. D. was one of 14 children of Benjamin Garrett. The Big Sandy News published that the surviving sons and daughters of Benjamin had a reunion at Reverend J. D. Garrett's four miles below Wayne in the 8 November 1901 issue. Busy in Wayne County West Virginia, J. D. Garrett still allotted valued time in Eastern Kentucky.

Not one of these genealogical entries shows the personality or a flicker of the person J. D. Garrett was. It is rather sad that our generated cut and dry data bases don't reflect the energy, vitality and personality of those we are trying to document.

J. D. Garrett was performing marriages in Wayne County prior to 1880. The "Rev." J. D. Garrett married Joseph P. Malcom and Sophia Sprecker at the home of Joseph McCormack's "all of Wayne County" 1 May 1879 according to The Central Methodist. When he married Henry B. Keyser and Ida Philbrick in Greenup County, Kentucky in 1885 he signed as "Elder M. E. Church" on the return filed in the courthouse.

The Big Sandy News proudly announced, 18 July 1889 that "The new Methodist church known as Cyrus Chapel on Durbin Road in Boyd County will be dedicated August 18, 1889. Reverend John W. Hampton of Ashland will preach. Dinner will be served on the grounds. J. D. Garrett, pastor." Colonial Dames XVII Century honored Cyrus Chapel a few years ago. I was privileged to sit among the members of this tiny rural church and enjoy a beautiful service followed by some of the best desserts you could put in your mouth. I can just imagine what that dinner was like in 1889.

The Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church published annual minutes. Several of these are readily available on line. J. D. Garrett is listed in the Prestonsburg District at Logan in 1889, the same year that he is cited as a pastor for Cyrus Chapel. Understand that travel back and forth across the Big Sandy River was and is done daily from West Virginia to Kentucky. The minutes in 1898 show him at Mt. Zion in the Catlettsburg District, as stated in my prior article. Mt. Zion is another pretty little white painted church on Route #3 just a few miles north of Garrett Chapel.

An inspirational story has been repeated at several religious web sites that involves J. D. Garrett. The story is found in Dying Testimonies of the Saved and Unsaved Part 3. It tells of a lady near death that had attended a revival conducted by Rev. J. D. Garrett. He visited her and as he entered she exclaimed "I am lost, lost, lost, lost, lost!" Thus the title of the segment. The ill woman felt that had she been saved during the revival it would have been ok but felt it was to late. The article quotes Garrett as saying "...it seemed as though hell were near them that night, and was uncapped as the poor, dying woman wept over her lost condition." ...."He went to her bedside, threw his arms about her, and told her of the Savior's love for sinners, but she cried, "It is too late for me...until her soul took its departure."

Garrett appears to have brought joy in marriage and stayed with many as they left our earthly home. As late as 1906 he presided over funerals. The Wayne News announced the death of Mrs. Lucy McComas near the Cabell County line who had died in April 1902 with the funeral conducted by Reverend J. D. Garrett.

A wonderful article about another circuit rider, Rev. John T. Johnson, appears in the History of Lawrence County 1991. The article submitted by Dallas A. Johnson states that John T. Johnson left a request for "a Rev. Garrett to preach his funeral..." There is no doubt in my mind that Rev. Garrett is J. D. Garrett. Johnson had been an active circuit rider in Boyd and Lawrence County even prior to the Civil War. He died in April 1906.

Knowing that J. D. Garrett's mother was a Bloss I turned to my office library and copy of Bloss, Pyles, Ross, Sellards published in 1990. I was hoping that the author Harry Leon Sellards had written more about Garrett's calling. The publication simply says "Rev. James Doliver Garrett. Born 22 March 1845 and died 12 February 1913 both on Garretts Creek in present day Wayne County, WV., son of Benjamin, Jr., and Sarah Bloss Garrett. ..." The publication gives data for his wife and children but no further acknowledgment on how he touched so many lives in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.

Many people were touched by J. D. Garrett at Garrett Chapel in Lawrence County, Kentucky as shown by the multiple entries in the copy of the ledger now on file at the Boyd County Library. Many were joined together in marriage and many blessed as they left this life by J. D. Garrett. The next time you fill out your genealogical forms take time to review information about the minister performing the many events in the lives of our ancestors and remember how they formed and touched their lives.

22 May 2010

Garrett Chapel United Methodist Church Records

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
May 2010

Many years ago cherished friend, Hazel Fannin Polokovs, showed me an early ledger of records for Garrett Chapel Church. Knowing my love of history and all things genealogical Hazel graciously allowed me to make a photo copy which I have kept in Family Lineage Investigations office.

On a recent family visit Hazel said she missed looking at the old ledger because another relative had taken it to another state. I immediately told her I would provide her a copy. Then I began to muse about all the times I have been involved with "lost" records.

There was the time when I worked with New Concord, Ohio Village Council and later published a book of early village records. When publicity went out that I was getting all the available records microfilmed, a package arrived from Florida with the first minute book of the village. A note explained that when a new village hall was erected items from the old building were dumped and this person had salvaged the book. Thrilled that it "came home" it has been microfilmed and is now housed in the archives of Muskingum University.

When I physically moved from Ohio to Kentucky we moved approximately 30 ledger books and diaries that I had purchased at auctions while in Ohio. They were used in my office, some with the intent to possibly publish in the future. But once I became settled I knew they needed to "go home." Those Guernsey, Noble and Muskingum County items were donated to the Guernsey County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society so that anyone with roots in that area will have ready access to them.

I stand firm that records belong where they were created in a safe environment for historical purposes. All of my office records are tagged to go to the Boyd County Public Library, eventually, but now that I am aware that the Garrett Chapel Records are not at home anymore it is a time for action. While the copy that has been in my files is not the highest quality it is still clearly readable. The Garrett Chapel Church ledger has now been created in .pdf format and safely filed at the Boyd County Public Library, Minnie Crawford Winder Genealogy Room. A back up .pdf resides in the office of Family Lineage Investigations on dvd [several backups]. The photocopy has been given to Hazel Fannin Polakovs so that she can continue enjoying reading about our area pioneers.

Garrett Chapel United Methodist Church sits along the side of Route #3 at the corner of Route 3399, 2 miles from the Boyd County line. The church ledger is far from complete. Many of the marriages are just notations that they have married without even the year cited. But still it is a goldmine for research.

The first appointment of a Pastor recorded in the book is for R. F. Rice dated 12 September 1887. He ministered for a year and then was replaced by Isaac Fannin.

The first marriage is for James Taylor and Sophia Savage [no dates] followed by the marriage of George Fannin to Emma Lambert 3 July 1910.

The baptismal and member list contains notations such as "gone to Portsmouth," "gone to West Virginia," and "joined the Morman's." While not listed as Pastors J. C. Crooks, John Martin and J. D. Garrett received several members into the fold. J. D. Garrett is listed in the 1898 Minutes of the Annual Conferences of Methodist Episcopal Church South for Mt. Zion in the Catlettsburg District and John Martin is listed at Grayson also in The Catlettsburg District as ministers.

James and Sarah McGlothlin Buckley were members of the church. The Buckley's and Sarah's parents Robert and Rebecca Correll McGlothlin are laid to rest in Buckley Cemetery on a high point across the road from Garrett Chapel. Wade Chambers married another daughter, Martha, and is listed as a member of the church. Wade "went back into the old sinful world."

David Elswick and his father in law Walter Queen appear side by side with the date 29 February 1896. Because the page is a register of members it is unclear if this is a baptism date or date accepted into the church because the notation for both is in the column of "whom married." None the less from my own research David Wise Elswick [1866-1941] married Laura Adelaide Queen 3 April 1890 in Lawrence County, Kentucky. David's parent's Tolbert Birdwin and Margaret McGlothlin Elswick are also members of the church.

Thomas and Rebecca Elswick Enyart appear in the church register. Thomas and Rebecca are also buried in Buckley Cemetery. William N. Bostick and wife Mary Elswick Bostick are listed. Mary died 3 April 1935 in Cabell County, West Virginia.

Charles Henry and Margaret Reynolds Fannin's daughters all attended Garrett Chapel. Their married names have been scrawled beside their maiden names. Emma Fannin Herald went to Columbus. Lewis P. Fannin's death date is entered as 1909. He is probably the son of John Fannin.

Robert C. Ross states "not baptized. Droped" Robert Crittenden Ross [1861-1931] was the son of John Davis and Martha Jane Leslie Ross. John D. Ross appears on the rolls with the notation of a baptism simply written as '40 [1840]. Much has been written about him as the first judge of Boyd County. He is buried in the J. D. Ross Cemetery, Bolts Fork Road, Boyd County, Kentucky.

Thompson Berry's entry says "d. 1898". Thompson was the son of Hiram and Kizziah Stewart Berry. This entry predates any vital records for our area.

J. S. McCormick [aka McCormack] has an entry stating "lost sight of." John Samuel McCormack lived most of his life around Boyd and Carter County, Kentucky. He is buried in Elijah Rice Cemetery Lawrence County, Kentucky. His wife Sarah Burke McCormack died 6 January 1935 in Carter County, Kentucky and was buried in Elijah Rice Cemetery. Two years later John Samuel died in Lawrence County, Ohio. Is this why they made the notation "lost sight of"? His daughter resided in Ohio.

The membership list is long. The handwriting is easy to read. With some genealogical research one sees that most are related to each other or close neighbors. I have only listed a few entries and comments from the material. The material is now available to be reviewed by anyone doing research in our area at our wonderful genealogical facility. The Boyd County Public Library is located at 1740 Central Avenue, Ashland, Kentucky.

18 May 2010

Mapping Eastern Kentucky

compiled by
Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

As the blog description states "as research crosses my desk" this includes emails that pop in and out for genealogy consultations. The other day I was asked if Fleming County was part of Eastern Kentucky.

It reminded me of a discussion a few years ago when the Eastern Kentucky Genealogical Society newsletter editor changed hands. The new editor created a map and list that is produced in the Tree Shaker each time it goes to print. In his compilation he included Mason County which lays northwest of Fleming County but did not include Fleming County.

Mason County was a parent county of Greenup so it is easy to understand why he included it in the list. Lewis County is also included in the Tree Shaker list of Eastern Kentucky. Lewis County was also formed from Mason County. Then again Fleming County was formed from Mason which is not included in the list. You have to draw the line somewhere. The line. Hmmmm.

What is the line, you ask? There are five distinct regions in Kentucky. We have the Jackson Purchase in western Kentucky, The Western Coal Field, The Mississippi Plateau better known as the Pennyroyal, the Bluegrass region and the Eastern Coal Fields aka the Cumberland Plateau. We who live here simply call this region Eastern Kentucky. Or if you are like me, simply God's Country.

If you do a Google map search you will find many physiography maps showing the regions of Kentucky. You will immediately notice that Mason and Fleming County are actually in the Bluegrass region. Eastern Kentucky, as defined by county lines today stops at the western border of Rowan County and midway into Lewis County. So now we have an ahaa moment. The editor included Mason County as the parent County and Lewis because it is partially in Eastern Kentucky and partially in the Bluegrass region.

Fleming county has been excluded because its boundaries, while a portion of Mason originally was never in Eastern Kentucky. Mason has been included because its boundaries originally did include portions of Eastern Kentucky.

But doing genealogical research involves time lines. In 1780 Eastern Kentucky was made up almost entirely by Fayette County while a small portion of south Eastern Kentucky records were filed in Lincoln County. By 1786 Bourbon County boundaries included Eastern Kentucky and Fayette boundaries had been pushed into the Bluegrass. It was not until three years later that Mason pushed the Bourbon line westward. But even then portions of Bourbon, Lincoln and even Madison fell over into southern areas of eastern Kentucky.

Genealogy can not be accomplished properly without historical maps. I have worn out several copies of The Handybook For Genealogists, have utilized a nifty computer program called Animap, have drawers and drawers of historical pieces and parts of maps and would be lost without the US Interior Geological Survey maps. By the way Geological Survey maps also have a history and change so you should try to locate older versions of them as well.

I am sure the pioneers of Fleming County did not know where the regional line was drawn. They traveled and moved around like everyone else in this grand country of ours. Depending on the time line and the county line and state lines we each need to follow the journey of our individual ancestors carefully so we don't fall over a trip line.

10 May 2010

Cemeteries Targeted By Hatred.

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

While viewing the destruction of vandalism in a local cemetery a friend reminded me of another horrible destruction in Ohio a few years ago. While never openly discussed, that particular cemetery may have, sadly, been because of antisemitism.

It is hard for me to even put that into words or comprehend any deliberate act to monuments of our loved ones for any reason. Not one person who viewed or volunteered to repair the cemetery in Boyd County ever thought that the vandalism could be a hate crime.

But the conversation reminded me of yet another article among my collection of individual cemeteries in Boyd County, Kentucky. The 3 June 1929 Portsmouth Daily Times ran a small paragraph that left me gasping:

"The Ku Klux Klan, of Boyd County, Kentucky comes into print to deny that it had anything to do, as an organization, with the defacing of tombstones in the Catholic cemetery at Ashland. Probably that is true. But the vicious doctrine of hatred and intolerance preached by the Klan undoubtedly did inspire some deluded and crack-brained follower to commit the sacrilegious act. To that extent the Ku Klux Klan of Boyd County is responsible and must bear its share of the general indignation at the outrageous happening."

I applaud the author for not mincing words. And the recent vandalism may well be drug related giving a new meaning to the word used in 1929 "crack-brained."

Catholicism.org did an article 23 February 2009 about a victim of the Klan in Alabama. The article is well written and talks about the violence that had erupted by 1916 and even cites Kentucky. The article goes on to state that another anti-Catholic party called the True Americans had been formed that allied goals with the Klan.

I was even saddened more when I tried a simple google search for the terms KKK and True Americans because most of the "hits" involved the new Tea Party, strong politics and a hate driven KKK site. Made me wonder if people like Glenn Beck realize how the term "True Americans" was used in the 1920's. I pray our country is not taking steps backward. But this blog is about genealogy, not politics. I am so proud to be American but I shudder and shed tears when I stand in the middle of sacred ground and realize that the ugly act was done by another so called human being.

The Catholic Cemetery in Ashland is also known as Calvary Cemetery. The 1924-25 Ashland City Directory lists it as "The Calvary Cemetery. Roman Catholic, Pollard Rd." A majority of early death certificates simply state "Catholic Cemetery."

Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler visited Calvary Catholic Cemetery, as part of the Task Force on Preservation of Kentucky Cemeteries in August 2001. Maintenance workers of Holy Family Church oversee the cemetery. Sadly records maintained at the church were lost in a 1978 fire. Lazear Funeral Home helps the church assign lots and has records, except for the upper hill side from about 1948 forward.

It is a pretty, well kept cemetery on the side of a sloping hill. Standing among the pioneers of Ashland you feel the peace that surrounds the land. So I will tuck the hateful little article back within the depths of my files, putting it to rest. I will continue to look for the good and love within humanity and know that the people of Eastern Kentucky, no matter what faith, color or creed honor their loved ones.

05 May 2010

Dixie Compton, Take A Bow

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

A fellow genealogist and movie memorabilia fan, asked a simple question of me last week. She was excited that Dixie Compton had died in Ashland, Kentucky and would like to pay tribute to her by visiting her grave. She went on to explain that Dixie Compton played June in an early production of John Fox Jr.'s Trail of the Lonesome Pine and was an actress.

Trail of the Lonesome Pine's characters have been attributed to the her ancestor, "Bad John Wright" of southeastern Kentucky.

My first reaction was that yes the Compton's were from our area, especially Lawrence County and one of our neighbor's was a Compton. Sure enough click on any movie and acting web link and Dixie Compton was attributed with the birth date of 8 October 1899 and death date of 21 April 1986 in Ashland. These movie databases also added that she was born in Louisville. My "red flag" alarm bells started going off.

Dixie Compton was born 8 October 1899 - not in Louisville, but in Lawrence County, Kentucky. Her delayed birth record is on file. She died in Ashland 21 April 1986 and is buried in Compton Cemetery, Lawrence County, Kentucky beside our neighbor Thomas Shannon Compton and along side parents and grandparents.

Tom and his wife never mentioned that his sister was a starlett. We have a close community and there would certainly be a buzz if there was a celebrity amongst us. Dixie's obituary, written in the Independent, 22 April 1986, is simple, giving her birth date and parents. She was a member of Greenhill Chapter Order of Eastern Star #567 and the Methodist Church. She was survived by nieces and nephews. She had never married. In fact she was NOT an actress.

Dixie, Tom and siblings were the children of John A. Compton [1847-1920] and wife Cora M. French [1869-1964]. Tom was a telephone lineman working with the railroad. He gave my mother-in-law a beautiful antique wall phone as a gift years ago. It is a prized possession in our home today. His wife Claudia Ellis Compton was a friend of the family and the Compton family took great pride in showing me their remodeled home many years ago.

But what about his sister Dixie? Dixie Compton is living with her parents in 1900 on Bear Creek, just across the Lawrence County, Kentucky line showing her October 1899 birth date. Had the movie buffs who published the birth date on their data bases taken the time to do a little math they would have realized that in 1914 when Trail of the Lonesome Pine was being produced in the woods of New Jersey, our Dixie was only 14 going on 15 years of age. Dixie Compton, the actress was attributed with another production Sisters in 1912 when Dixie of Lawrence County, Kentucky was 13 and was in a chorus line in 1910 when Dixie of Lawrence County was 11.

Dixie, daughter of John and Cora continued to live with her parents and in 1920 is listed with no occupation in Lawrence County, Kentucky, while Dixie Compton is enumerated in Manhattan citing her occupation as actress and birth year as 1885. Our Dixie continued to live with her mother and in 1930 is still listed with no occupation.

In fact Dixie Compton, daughter of John and Cora lived some of her adult life in Louisa [is that possibly where the database came up with Louisville - a misread?]. Dixie was living in Louisa when another brother, Chester, died in 1969.

I hope my fellow genealogist does visit Compton Cemetery in Lawrence County, Kentucky. It is a beautiful well kept family cemetery with pictures up at findagrave.com. My neighbors and family have reminisced about our relationship with the Compton's this past week. Several older than us remember Dixie. My in-laws and several neighbors were at the graveside rites for Tom and his wife Claudia as well.

Dixie Compton 1899-1986 has a first cousin once removed, Dixie Compton. Dixie was born June 1896 in Lawrence County, Kentucky and died 16 May 1967 in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia. She is the daughter of Albert H. and Rosa B. Little Compton. Her mother, Rosa was born in Ohio. Dixie married Albert Childers. In 1920 she is already married, utilizing the Childers surname and listing "no occupation" in Lawrence County, Kentucky. Not Dixie Compton, the actress.

And before anyone starts yelling that I missed the clue about Louisville, Kentucky, there is no Dixie Compton fitting the description BUT I do find Compton's residing in Jefferson County, Kentucky in 1900. Maybe our actress has an aka?

This has become a challenge. Before those movie databases multiple into eternity with the wrong dates for Dixie Compton let's see if anyone with the right sources can locate more information about her. Remember there is plenty of room for comments at the end of this blog! To get anyone started I do have some information that has been verified for Dixie Compton.

The earliest notation I could locate shows that she was in Manhattan in 1910 in the chorus on Broadway in the Belle of Brittany. I have not located her in the 1910 census.

As stated above, in 1912 she played in Sisters; 1913 A Woman Scorned and The Blind Composer's Dilemma; 1914 The Man o' Warsman; 1914 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and The Family Stain and The Senator; in 1917 The Brand of Hate.

"Gossip of the Film World" a column appearing in many newspapers announced that Dixie Compton had left Universal to work for Broadway Picture Producing Company in 1914. In 1914 she had to be in New York or New Jersey where the Broadway Picture Producing Company was filming in the woods. Broadway Picture Producing Company paid taxes in New Jersey as well. Publicity for The Trail of the Lonesome Pine stated that Dixie had "every advantage in her favor of portraying the primitive girl of the hills for she herself is of the blood and bone of the southland."

The [February] 1920 Manhattan, New York census shows her living in District 13 in the home of Oscar Boehm and wife Jenny. Oscar Boehm was from Germany and made glass ornaments. He also had several patents for glass. Dixie gives her age 35 placing her birth year as 1885 not 1899. It states that she and her parents were born in Kentucky. She gives her occupation as actress. There is another boarder in the household named Frank Forester born in California who gives occupation as a clerk. The family resides on St. Nicholas Avenue.

In May 1920 the New York Tribune announced that she along with others had been in an automobile accident in New York. The paper gives Dixie Compton's age as 20 and residence of 528 West Seventy-fifth Street. The article states she is a motion picture actress. She was with Mrs. Bertha De Mesquita age 40 of 155 West 162d Street and Mrs. Franklin Shuster, fifty five of Fort Washington Avenue. The chauffeur, Arthur Beatty was also injured.

Mrs. De Mesquita's husband was well known for his patents dealing with surgical knives and razors. Arthur Beatty the driver, was single born in Washington DC and in the census gives his occupation as a chauffeur for a private family. Another chauffeur Edwin Bartha, [in the 2nd vehicle] employed by Paul G. Simon was arrested and charged with assault.

Dixie Compton, the actress again makes the news 28 August 1924 still in New York City where police caught and arrested two men in the act of holding up and robbing her. She is described as a well known motion picture actress and the incident happened on Riverside Drive. No age is cited.

The Silent Era ended in 1929. Even more silent is Dixie Compton. I find no glossies of her. She has incorrect birth and death dates attributed to her on internet movie databases. While Dixie is swimming in my head, I also have dusted off my first edition, John Fox Jr. Trail of the Lonesome Pine to read again. There is nothing like a good classic and a cup of tea.

01 May 2010

Kavanaugh Chapel, God, Faith & Community Restored

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber 2010

Several weeks ago I reported the horrible vandalism of Kavanaugh Chapel Cemetery in rural Boyd County, Kentucky. Today I witnessed the faith of God and the love of community, as all came together to restore our counties loved ones graves.

Driving down US #23 everyone could see the jumble of parked cars that filled the church parking lot, overflowed to the adjoining farm and lined the railroad tracks. Every inch of the cemetery was covered with individuals working on hand and knees to repair the damage caused several weeks ago.

As I stopped to chat with jailer, Joe Burchett, I noticed another miracle. Unlike the morning after the incident was discovered, today everyone was smiling, full of love and uplifted.

As we took people's hands we heard the stories. All wanted to commend others f
or the volunteer work they had done. I quickly grabbed a pad and pencil and know that I have still left many individuals out who donated many hours to see this restoration through to the end. Among the groups that participated were Carpenters #472, the Steel Workers #1865, the Iron Workers #769, Marathon Oil, The Boyd County Detention Center, The Boyd County Cemetery Board, and the Louisa Methodist Church.

s from the church from children to elders were working side by side with inmates. The church handed out water and even ice cream cones to relieve the workers throughout the morning and afternoon. As tombstones were repaired teens were lovingly brushing away soil and moss from each stone. 

Lou Dunn, shovel in hand, stated his relationship with the Hattons and Turman's. Mr. Cox reminisced about the time a tombstone fell and broke his leg, pointing out the exact stone and then saying that all his family was laid to rest in Kavanaugh Chapel.

Another lady, like myself, expressed how different the atmosphere was today from just a short time ago. If the vandals thought they could destroy faith, they did not. In fact just as Jean Preece had predicted our community came together. My heart soared to see the monuments standing tall once again.