04 August 2010

Memories of Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 5, 2010

I am getting old. When I started genealogy I was a youngster. I have had many mentors along the way, corresponded with many good researchers who have now gone on to the great beyond. Each person taught me something new to put in my tool kit and carry forward in my own genealogical journey. Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara is still teaching me lessons even after her death.

Correspondence from Libby, [she requested we call her Libby] has been tucked in my files for 32 years. I recently renewed my research interest in the Peake/Peek family and opened those old files for review. Knowing that she was now deceased I began to wonder where all her wonderful materials ended up.

A quick Google search gleaned little and I was deflated when I read a genealogy query thread that asked who Elizabeth McNamara was and no one could give a definite reply.

I was able to ascertain that her last publication done in 1985 Descendants of Thomas Cruther is back in print. I was deeply impressed with a quick response from Kent Crutcher who explained that he had purchased the copyright from the lawyer following her death but did not know where her other materials might be housed.

That said I had a flashback and did remember that several boxes of her genealogy books had come to the Boyd County Library after her death which added to our collection. But again there is no original notes or research housed in the Boyd County library archives.

Libby also corresponded with Dr. Reba Neighbors Collins in Edmond, Oklahoma. Reba did thankfully add a section to her book History of the Janes-Peek Family on Elizabeth Weakly McNamara's Peak line in 1975. Unfortunately the publication does not give citations for Elizabeth's work and Collins is also now deceased. I cherish my autographed copy of the book.

Besides her contribution to Collin's book and her Crutcher publication in 1985 I am aware of three other publications compiled by her. In 1980 Gateway Press published Weakley, Scearce, Arnold Families of Kentucky: their descendants and ancestral families. In 1978 she did a 28 page typescript titled The Novinger family of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and Adair County, Missouri which is housed at the NSDAR library. The same year she published Old Letters and Documents from the Estate of James Crutcher 1755-1823. The Kentucky Historical Society and Library of Virginia have copies of this last publication.

Searching the catalogs of Kentucky libraries, Library of Virginia and NSDAR I found no indication that her original research notes made their way to a repository. I am especially saddened since I can now say she was a distant cousin through our Peak/Peek family and would love to see her citations for the information she wrote about in correspondence to my grandmother and myself.

Thankfully I have preserved the correspondence from 1978. In one letter she wrote "...Yes, I know that you are close to Ashland as that is where I was born [1911]. Dad and mother went there right after they were married in 1906 - Dad went into the law office of an uncle-in-law of mothers. We left there in 1915 and went to Covington, Ky., and in 1921 to Ft. Thomas, Ky., which is just across the Licking River from Covington and in Campbell Co. Might add that we still have many friends in Ashland."

Libby's childhood memories are good. I find the family living in Ward 6 of Covington in 1920 and in Fort Thomas for the 1930 Federal Census.

Libby shared her and her siblings full birth dates with another Peak researcher in the 1980's, J. B Hitt. But like others, Hitt would also love to know what happened to her original research. The full birth dates and place of birth for the Weakley children:

Sarah Ross Weakley 13 February 1907, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Leonard Adriel Weakley 21 October 1908, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Elizabeth Crutcher Weakley 12 March 1911, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky
Margaret Ann Weakley 3 Dec 1917, Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Margaret's birth is the only one that qualified to be recorded in the Kentucky Vital Records that began in 1912. Leonard applied for a delayed certificate for Boyd County.

Libby's mother Carrie/Caroline Frances Peak was born 27 October 1884. Collins states Carrie's birth place was Bedford County, Kentucky in her Janes-Peek publication. But Bedford is a town in Trimble County, Kentucky. Carrie was the daughter of Robert Francis Peak who was also an attorney. Her grandfather William Francis Peak was the president of several banks including the bank at Bedford. He died in Bedford, Trimble County 29 January 1911 [KY cert#2484].

By the time Carrie was 15 they were residing in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky. It was there that she married Calvin Simpson Weakley 20 January 1906 and then moved to Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky, where they resided for nine years.

The Ashland City Directory for 1908-1909 shows Calvin working in the office of Zerfoss & Weakley in the Thomas Building on 16th Street. The Weakley family resided at 209 Carter Avenue. In fact the house was quite crowded. The following Weakley family members were boarding at this residence: Effie a milliner, Jennie a clerk, Sallie a milliner, and Samuel S. a grocer.

The Zerfoss in Zerfoss & Weakley, attorneys was L. Frank and wife Lizzie who resided at 201 E. Central Avenue.

Libby was very small when they left Ashland. Her memories are in areas of Campbell County and surrounding Bluegrass region counties that would later help her with the genealogy research that she was interested in. She began her love of genealogy in the 1930's while still in Shelby County.

She went on to join the Women's Army Corp - WAC - during WWII. She attained the rank of Captain and served 2 1/2 years in England. Elizabeth married Harold Webster McNamara 30 June 1956 in Arlington, Virginia where she would live out the rest of her life. Both she and her husband are buried in Culpeper National Cemetery in Plot E-0155. Elizabeth Crutcher Weakly McNamara died 30 July 1998 and was buried 5 August 1998.

There are many Peake researchers that hope Libby's research has survived and is tucked away in a repository for our review.

The lesson is an age old one with genealogists. Be clear and concise about what is to become of your genealogical research materials. We can protect our work with a simple codicil to our will and pre-arrangement with a library of choice.

I think of others whose research was shattered, divided or lost after years of work and that it may include Libby's unfinished Peak materials. I am truly thankful that I am able to preserve several of her letters in my own collection. I would love to be able to add an addendum to this article that her Peak materials have been located.

Elizabeth Cruther Weakley McNamara [Carrie Peak Weakley- Robert Francis Peak - William Francis Peak - Thomas Peake - William Peake - Francis Peake - John Peake]

Teresa Martin Klaiber [John Geer Martin - Henry Kautz Martin - John Shouse Martin - Henry Foster Martin - Mary Ann Peek Martin - Thomas W. Peek - Francis Peake- John Peake]

1 comment:

  1. I am mnot certain if you are still searching for information on my aunt's research materials (Aunt Libby McNammara), but you might try contacting Leonard Weakley, Jr. as he handled the estate. he lives in Mariemont, Ohio and practiced law with a firm in Cincinnati. Good luck. I enjoyed your piece! Thank you.

    Norman F. Peacock