23 October 2010

Treasures From Our Father's Past

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
October 2010

I recently read that the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland, Kentucky is developing a wonderful display with World War II memorabilia and will be host to a traveling exhibit as well.

During and after the war soldiers families received advertisements to submit their picture and information for publication in a book. The books were published across the country. Today we tag these type of books as "vanity books." You paid to submit your information and got a copy of the book.

But the World War II books and many other of these historical submitted publications are truly jewels for family and genealogists today.

The Boyd County Public Library received a worn and tattered copy of Patriots of Kentucky WW2 as a donation the other day. You can tell the book has been used over and over again.

I found no publisher listed nor date of publication. But the dedication says "To those who have died for their country - 2nd WW." It does not appear to be the same series as the WWII Young American Patriots 1941-45 series. But the publication is similar.

Another quirk of the publication is the use of 2 vs II throughout the publication. And unlike the Young American Patriots Series the photographs are not alphabetical. The book is organized by town and then by soldier. The book states "Look for your hometown and refer to the page indicated where you will find your picture and historical sketch..."

I spent some time just reading the list of cities and towns in the front of the book. Many of our soldiers were from rural Kentucky and I did find a few entries for Kentucky's unique rural burgs. Most entries, of course were for Louisville, Lexington and a large group from Ashland.

Since this blog is based in the postal service area of Rush, Kentucky I of course looked to see how many entries were from this area. I found two entries. Many more served from this area of Boyd County but these two were submitted:

Charlie C. Coburn Pvt 20, Entered US Army Inf. European Theater. Attended Boyd Co. School. Member of the Methodist Church. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Coburn. Rush, KY.

J. H. Lambert, Pvt. 22 US Army. Mediterranean. Attended Canburg High School and Baptist Church. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsey Lambert.

Canburg is the Boyd County High School that was then held at Cannonsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky.

Three more entries caught my eye from northeastern Kentucky. Having raised three sons my heart went out to the mother who waited back home for word from three of hers. Under Flatwoods, Kentucky I found the entries of Charles Kenneth Clarke age 20 in the US Army and a POW in Germany. Lemuel Morton Clarke age 35 in the US Engineers and Leonard G. Clarke age 21 in the US Army. All three gentlemen the sons of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Clarke.

William R. Clarke and wife Stella are listed in the 1930 Federal Census in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky. Kenneth and Leonard are 5 and 6 years old and Lemuel Morton is listed as Morton age 20. The Clarke family was large with a total 0f ten children that year. It was no surprise to see that William R. Clarke supported his large family by working at the steel mill.

My generation grew up surrounded by silent hero's. They did not talk much about their service until the past few years. Now they are leaving us. This wonderful book was not about vanity but pride in being an American.

This treasure can be viewed in the Minnie Crawford Winder Genealogy Room at the Boyd County Public Library.

12 October 2010

A Chance to Win the Lottery

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
October 2010

With the economy in shreds, I hear people in Eastern Kentucky joking daily that when they win the lottery they are going to do this or that. Well in our immediate family you have to play to win. Our budget does not have any wiggle room for even a scratch off ticket. We tend to look at this form of gambling as a very bad habit.

Not that I don't have some bad habits. I do. My youngest son suggests that my antiques are "clutter." He sadly prefers chrome and glass to sentimental or historical doo-dads. When hubby and I watched a show about hoarding the other day I did take a look around and sighed with relie
f. I can see all my furniture and there is nothing on the floors thus I think I am safe to say I don't fall into that category. But as I took stock of my surroundings I spotted an item that I have meant to research for some time.

I have a tattered old broadside th
at we found in the smokehouse on the farm we own. Our farm, Deliverance Farm, is a historical genealogists dream. I am not sure how many other genealogists have their own cabin that is on the Kentucky Landmark Register or their own cemetery. But I must tell you the day we finally broke the lock on the old smokehouse and discovered piles upon piles of old papers I had the biggest thrill of all.

Among the treasures in the smokehouse was a broadside titled the "Official Drawing of the Louisiana State Lottery, drawn at New Orleans, La. on Tuesday, July 10th 1888." The paper is signed by G. T. Beauregard and J. A. Early. It is labeled the single number drawing class "G."

For the past 12 years the paper has languished waiting my ever questioning mind to find out more about that lottery. These scraps of papers were a window into everyday life here on the farm.

The first thing was to confirm who was living on the farm in 1888 when this particular lottery was taking place. Henry Powell Sexton born 24 April 1835 married 2 March 1854 in Carter County to Julina McCormack. They had eleven children. By 1888 several were married but William Vincent, Martha E., James McClelland, John D, Jasper Newton, Henry Powell and little Julina Leota age 10 were still all living at home. The house on the farm was grand and was even mentioned in one deed as the "mansion house."

Of these children John D. Sexton, according to the family bible, would die in 18 October 1888 just months after the lottery sheet arrived by mail and was delivered to the farm here on Garner in Boyd County, Kentucky. His brother William Vincent Sexton was 19 years old and I wonder if he would be allowed to participate in this vice.

According to Robert M. Ireland in Kentucky Constitutional History "following the Civil War a number of state and national lotteries conducted flourishing business in Kentucky. Foremost among these was the nation's largest lottery, the Louisiana State Lottery, which ran almost daily advertisements of its monthly drawings. Kentucky reformers joined a growing chorus of complaints about lotteries especially the Louisiana State Lottery, which had allegedly corrupted its home state..."

This particular lottery already had a bad reputation and had many anti-lottery proponents on the campaign trail. A lawyer in a case in the Michigan Supreme Court, just months after the lottery sheet found its way to Garner, Boyd County, stated that "there is, in Kentucky, a lottery in which every day there are thirteen numbers drawn by lot out of seventy-eight. These numbers are wrongful and unlawful sale of a certain share or shares in a certain lottery and device in the nature of a lottery, known as the Louisiana State Lottery...{State v. Kaub, 1 West. Rep. 411, 19 Mo App. 149, Lawyers Reports Annotated Book 3, 1889}.

This makes me wonder if Henry Powell Sexton was a betting man or did the paper just get tossed aside as a lark? We found no ticket among the papers in the smokehouse, only the official drawing list. Did he think and dream of winning to help maintain the house and farm here on Garner, Boyd County, Kentucky?

An article Gambling In The South: History [medscape.com] says that during the post Civil war era Kentucky and other states held lotteries to finance projects including such things as fire fighting equipment. Kentucky did have a legal lottery of its own at this period in history. But the Louisiana Lottery seemed to dominate the states and reaped huge financial benefits. Wiki points out that it was a monopoly that bribed legislators and paid no state taxes by "donating" $40,000 a year to the state of Louisiana. An article in the New York Times said that the $40,000 was contributed directly to the Republican campaign fund in 1888. In fact the lottery was syndicated originally out of New York. From all that I read if anyone played this lottery in Eastern Kentucky they would not reap benefits for the good of family or community. The money all went south - or was that north?

The billboard signatures of G. T. Beauregard and J. A. Early were gentleman paid by the lottery for little more than theatrical value when the drawing took place. Beauregard and Jubal Early were former Confederate Generals that were paid grandly for their time. Did a small farmer in Eastern Kentucky have a chance to gain financially? Probably not.

By 1892 the New Orleans Anti-Lottery League was supported by the Democratic Party and the Louisiana Farmers' Alliance. Why? Because it appears that the lottery targeted farmers by sending out massive mailings and billboard advertisements. [The Alliance and the Lottery: Farmers Try for the Sweepstakes by Henry C. Dethloff, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Louisiana History. The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association Vol 6, No 2 1965]. President Harrison wrote a letter to Congress concerning lotteries with special reference to the Louisiana group saying "The people of all the states are debauched and defrauded..." He went on to say that it would be practically impossible for this type of company to exist if the "public mail system shut down their advertisements and remittances".

The Louisiana Lottery Company was successfully shut down in 1893. Just how deviant were they? The company transferred it domicile to Honduras and continued to sell tickets in the United States until 1906 when the United States Department of Justice finally shut them out for good. Some of the Louisiana State Lottery Company Records are housed in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We probably will never know how much money, if any the Henry Powell Sexton family may have gambled on the Louisiana Lottery, if any. I do know they worked hard farming and logging to maintain a living in the county. H. P. helped the county build the poor house, worked as required on the roads and was well known in the community. It was back breaking work and we all have dreams of a better life.

It is easy to see who actually benefited from the lottery in 1888. I think it is a valuable lesson. I will continue to keep my dollar in the piggy bank and let someone else dream of riches from the lottery.

11 October 2010

"Sawdust, Spangles & Dreams"

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
October 2010

Genealogists come from all walks of life. Like other fields, genealogists have their own network. Within that network I am known by some through my research business, Family Lineage Investigations; some through genealogy organizations; others recognize me during my time as a staff genealogist for the Boyd Library; or by many simply as the cemetery lady. But I also have another past.

My past is full of wonderful animals, and to borrow from the musical Jumbo, it has had a share of "Sawdust, Spangles & Dreams."

While Eastern Kentucky is well known for the Country Western Highway and music entertainers, our area is rich with other performers as well.

My first memory of a big top was as little more than a toddler when Coles Brothers Circus came to Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky. The canvas went up in the field that would later become Hecks and is now owned by Kings Daughters Hospital behind the famous Bluegrass Grill.

My mother, already friends with many performers, knew no strangers and my father, early in his veterinary practice was already becoming known for his skills with circus animals. While there were no official winter quarters for a given show in Boyd County, for over three decades performers were made welcome in the community by my family. By the time I was in grade school, in the 1950's, our tiny house on Algonquin Avenue already had a trapeze bar, tight wire and trampoline placed in the back yard for performers that wanted to practice.

I was taught how to twirl a baton by performer Rusti Delaney. Trapeze artist Jimmy Lloyd helped me with my roller skates. My first elephant ride was on Burma. I still have a letter in my collection from her keeper Lou Turner who taught me how to properly mount and dismount. Ironically Jimmy Lloyd would later be killed by a rogue elephant [while they are magnificent animals I have a great fear of them but always loved & trusted Burma].

In 1959 George Wolfford did an article for the Ashland Daily Independent titled "Circus Clowns Serve As Baby Sitters For Ashland". I made the newspaper seated between Victor Lewis and Coco the Clown. Under my picture it read "Real Life bedtime Stories - Terry Martin,...enjoys true-to-life bedtime stories read by two honest-to-goodness clowns." In the picture I am holding the latest edition of The Billboard as they look over my shoulder.

Victor Lewis encouraged my fledgling attempts at art. Coco, Michael Polakovs, born 1923 in Rega, Latavia married Hazel Fannin and became a resident of Boyd County, Kentucky. He designed the first Ronald McDonald outfit, headlined with Ringling Brothers and was a member of the Clown Hall of Fame. But to me he was my champion & part of my family. When troubled or in trouble he was always there with his gentle smile. In or out of greasepaint he made me laugh.

He was not my father's brother but they loved each other as such and in the world of sawdust it is an honor to give someone a "family title" which could leave genealogists pondering when doing research. He will always be my "uncle Mike".

The Fannin's have a long history and were pioneers in Lawrence and Boyd County. Hazel is the daughter of Harry F. and Madeline Davis Fannin. Madeline was the great grand daughter of David Davis and wife Catherine Bryson. Her maternal lineage includes John and Elizabeth Chadwick Eastham.

Harry Fannin was the son of George and Emma Lambert Fannin. Michael Polakovs came to America in 1953. He was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery, Ashland, Kentucky in December 2009. He leaves a legacy and wonderful family in Boyd County.

My first "gig" was with Coco and Victor around 1960 when they performed at the Children's Home in Ironton, Ohio. I was supposed to squirt water on Coco as part of the "busy bee" skit. Of course I botched it up which apparently made it all the funnier. I went on to do several more one night stands. I was the stooge for Narbu the guerrilla once. I was not supposed to hit him hard with the purse [as per instructions]. I konked him a good one! Again it apparently brought more laughs.

By the 1960's Ashland Oil was presenting a circus each Christmas for employees and family. The performers found their way to our new home. My parents place was named Jomar [for John and Mary Martin]. It also happens to be the name of the rail car that John and Mary Ringling North used. Today there are many homes on Jomar Road that receive mail with that street address but probably don't know the significance or link to circus heritage.

I was an only child but I felt I had siblings. The Wallenda children, Tino and Delilah Zoppe' spent summers with us. Many years later I would fill in for Tino's wife at a show in New Jersey. No laughs, but I am sure he was glad when it was over. All I had to do was smile, hand him props and "ta da." I think he got all his props ok and can only imagine the description he gave Olinka when he got home!

By the time I was 15 I went on the road for several weeks with Kirby's Chimps. The Kirby's were great and it was a wonderful vacation. I had no duties or cares. When I was 16 I traveled with Clyde Brothers Circus for the summer. This time I had to pull my own weight. The Toth's had a roly poly act and I quickly learned to help with set up. I was given a costume and immediately put in Spec and finale and allowed to carry baby Oggie the Orangatang. He was wonderful and I missed him at the end of the season. I also was given my first real job. Under the tutelage of Gee Gee Engesser Powell I became a hawker of cotton candy. Today, tucked away in my jewelry box, among my treasures, is a small silver disk that she gave me when I left the show. It is engraved "Cotton Candy Queen."

My father would later write Doc, My Tiger's Got An Itch which gives a wonderful overview of life and circus friends. Among his narratives he mentions elephant man "Captain K. Y. Seagraves". He was an elephant trainer with Mills Brothers Circus.

K. Y. Sagraves was born Lonnie Virgil Sagraves 17 December 1920 in Boyd County, Kentucky. His father, James A. Sagraves was a boilermaker in the steel mill at Ashland. His mother was Katie Weaver Sagraves. James and Katie are buried in Dixon Cemetery, Boyd County, Kentucky. K. Y. died 24 November 1985 in Ashland.

Boyd County has been entertained by the circus for generations. The Boyd County Library Hanner's Photograph Collection contains ads and billboards for several shows including the announcement that the Forepaugh Show with its Wild West would be arriving in Ashland, October 2nd, 1890 by train.

1923 seems to have been an extremely popular year for circus entertainment in Ashland. An ad for Sparks Circus said they would be at the "circus ground" April 11th. Their ad said there were 350 performers, 2 herds of elephants and hundreds of thoroughbred horses. Two months later in June the Haag Show also played Ashland. The following month, July, the L. G. Heth show with 35 double length circus cars also arrived in Ashland. They were followed by the Al. G. Barnes Circus on August 16th. All these shows and later shows were at 35th & Winchester, the same lot that I remember in the early 1950's.

Nor are circus personalities limited to my life time in Boyd County. In the early 1900's many articles were written about the Nichols Brothers. Howard, Clyde, William, Walter and Millard were the sons of Thomas M. Nichols and his wife Lucretia. In 1910 the family is residing in Catlettsburg. Thomas is listed as an electrician and his sons are listed as traveling jugglers. Articles say that they learned to hoop juggle from their father who never did professional appearances. They played the Hippadrome Theatre in New York. After World War I the brothers scattered. Eventually there were three separate acts under the same name. Howard played in different areas of Europe. Millard, Bill, Walter and Millard's wife Birdie May of Ashland made up another act in the New York area while Clyde and his wife played the Chicago area. Thomas M. Nichols [1868-1945] is buried in Ashland Cemetery.

Gee Gee, my father and Coco have all passed away along with so many others. All have touched my life and left memories. And while the circus has evolved "Sawdust, Spangles & Dreams" never die. The Wallenda's carry on the circus tradition. The family friendships continue into new generations. Their children along with my children share pictures of our grandchildren [thanks to Facebook]. Another generation that have dreams and who can enjoy the wonder of the circus with all its sawdust and spangles.

01 October 2010

Joseph Kelley Goes To Prison

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
October 2010

In an earlier blog I wrote about Eliza O. Kelly's tombstone in Klaiber cemetery. Eliza was born 23 February 1849 and died 18 November 1895 "the wife of Joseph Kelly". [Kelly on the tombstone Kelley on many records.]

After writing about her I realized I did not know as much about her as others in our cemetery so the last two weeks, when time has permitted, I have been on a quest to learn more about Joseph and Eliza O.

There certainly have been serendipity moments with this new quest. I no sooner began researching and received my Kentucky Explorer which included a picture of Joseph and Eliza's son Robert Lee Kelley. Within a matter of hours I was in touch with two descendants who had hit several brick walls looking for this family and had no idea that Eliza O. was buried in Klaiber Cemetery.

Review of death and marriage records for the issues of Eliza list the spelling of her last name from Byran, Bryan, Barnes, Baum and Buiram. The tombstone lists her as Eliza O.

I have kept copious cemetery notes and was also able to get in touch with descendants of yet another issue Samuel Franklin Kelley who had visited with me in 1997. Sadly their father, Harry passed away in 2003 in Muskingum County, Ohio. I am so glad I was able to meet him but he had not been sure about his family history.

Harry's grandfather "Frank" married first Emily Alice Lucas who died in 1896 and is also in Klaiber Cemetery [Boyd County, KY]. After consulting with descendants and doing general background research it appears that Joseph died between 1900 and 1910.

In 1900 he was residing, age 84, with son Robert just a few miles from our cemetery in Carter County, Kentucky. Logically [one would think] family would put their father to rest next to Eliza. And there is the crux. There is a large expanse on either side with what appears to be unmarked graves. There is no writing on the other 3 sides of Eliza O.'s pretty pyramid stone.

We are able to track Joseph through various records but could not locate him or his family in either 1860 or 1870. One family theory was that he had been arrested after the Civil War as a guerrilla and was in the state prison in 1870. Certainly we did find a Joseph born 1826 in the Kentucky State Prison but confirmation that it was the correct Joseph was needed. Kentucky Legislative reports listed the crimes of inmates in 1870 and war fare was not among the items for incarceration at Frankfort. With the idea that a whisper of family tradition might have some merit, I decided to investigate.

Criminal actions are filed in the county circuit courts in Kentucky. After reviewing the Boyd County records I found the indictment against Lafayette Lovejoy, Walker Rollin, Joseph Kelley Jr., Washington Bryan Jr., Taylor Bryant and Nat Edmonds for "breach of public peace". [Boyd Circuit Court, June 1869, page 286, 324, 364--Bryan and Bryant as spelled. Research confirms they are brothers].

Of these gentleman only Joseph went to trial and was convicted and sent to the penitentiary for a term of two years. The next step in this research exercise is to visit the Kentucky State Archives and review the surviving case packets to find out the details of the crime.

Now that we had determined where Joseph was in 1870 and confirmed that he returned to Boyd County where he appears on the 1873 tax records, I set out to fill in the previous 10 years. From issues records I knew that his first child, Samuel Franklin "Frank," had been born across the river in Lawrence County, Ohio in 1865. Their daughter, Maria J., was born in Kentucky 3 years later in 1868.

Being knowledgeable about locality and common surnames in a given area helps when formulating and processing clues and documents. Thus when I found the following New York Times article I immediately knew that members of the Shepherd family lived & still live in the neighborhood where Klaiber Cemetery is located. Not only does the article cite Carter County in Kentucky but Ironton is in Lawrence County, Ohio.

"16 Nov 1858: Another gang of Counterfeiters Broken Up - The Cincinnati papers of Wednesday state that an extensive organization of coin counterfeiters has been broken up in Lawrence County, Ohio. The police officers found at the houses of Joseph Kelly and Wm. H. Shepherd, near Ironton, a large lot of counterfeiters' machinery, tools and acids - a full and complete set, and all that was necessary to manufacture bogus coin - concealed in different parts of the dwellings. They then searched further for the men, who were absent at the time, and arrested them, Shepherd on Friday evening last, in Carter County, Kentucky, and Kelly not far from his own house, on Saturday morning about four o'clock. The apparatus is quite extensive, and includes almost everything necessary to the successful prosecution of the trade, although the implements are rather crude and awkward, just such as men in the country would be apt to construct or have constructed. there were exhibited at the examination implements of various kinds of mulling, stamping, galvanizing, polishing, chipping, etc., with muriatic and sulphuric acid, and various chemicals. A number of half finished coins were also shown."

So the question is posed: had Joseph been released from prison in Ohio only to return to prison in Kentucky? I decided to find William H. Shepherd. Yes, by 1870 Shepherd was back in Kentucky residing in Greenup County. To confirm that the family resided in the portion of north eastern Kentucky near Klaiber Cemetery I decided to see if I could locate his large family in 1860. My heart sank as I found William Shepherd listed with Margaret and children in 1860 in Carter County. The counterfeiter was in prison in Ohio. Had I jumped to the wrong conclusion? Was it another William Shepherd from Carter County? Was I on the right track?

It is extremely important to read every line of every document and not rely on extractions or indexes. In this instance, William Shepherd, age 44, born Kentucky, has a listed occupation as "counterfeiter." Following the census column to the right is a notation "convicted in Columbus."

The 1860 Federal Census for the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus lists William H. Shepherd age 44, born Kentucky and Joseph Kelly, age 34 [born 1826] born Ohio as counterfeiters.

Further work needs to be done on the exercise and several problems present themselves. First most records of Joseph in Kentucky, that we have located thus far, place his birth as Kentucky, not Ohio. So while William Shepherd is from "our" neighborhood and the age is exact, it is not conclusive, but circumstantial, that the Joseph Kelley who went to prison in Kentucky is the same one who went to prison in Lawrence County, Ohio. And while Joseph Kelley, the husband of Eliza O. interacted with Bryant's for the indictment in Kentucky further research is still needed to connect Eliza to her paternal family. Nor have I yet located Eliza and her two children [Samuel Franklin born 1865 OH and Maria J. born 1868 KY] while Joseph was in prison.

The descendants are excited to learn so many new things about the issues and burial of Eliza O., and like all good researchers they want to know more. As the trustee of the cemetery, it would be wonderful to be able to confirm another unmarked grave in our cemetery and add to the growing wealth of history on top of our hill.

And that 7 degrees of relationship - or is that six degrees of separation - holds true to the cemetery. Like the song "...the shin bone is connected to the leg bone..." the Kelley family is connected to the Lucas family connected to the Sexton family connected to the Klaiber family. Can you tell I am as excited as the descendants? Well of course! I love the genealogical hunt. And with open arms I await the next serendipity moment in this research exercise. I'll be watching the comment box!