27 September 2011

The Williams House, Catlettsburg, Kentucky

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
September 2011

Much has been written about Mordecai Williams of Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  Williams was born 20 December 1835 in Greenup [now Boyd] County, Kentucky, the son of Marcus Lindsey and Elizabeth Williams.  A lengthy biography can be read in History of Kentucky and Kentuckians by E. Polk Johnson [1912], Volume III pp 1206-8.  The biography has been copied at several url's.  The original volume contains the following photograph:

Portrait from History of Kentucky & Kentuckians, Vol. III

His biography mentions  a "narrow escape from losing his life."  The biography tells of two burglars who entered his home, shooting him twice and escaping.  They were later captured and sent the penitentiary.

Articles of the incident appeared across the country in September 1903.   Most say there was only one burglar.  The Emporia Gazette in Kansas ran an article "Kentuckians Hot After a Man who Shot Up a colonel Contrary to Law."  The Atlanta, Georgia paper headline read: "Shot Down By A Burglar. Kentucky Colonel Is Desperately Wounded by Night Prowler.  But the most descriptive and closest article I found to home was in the Portsmouth Times several days after the incident on September 12th.

"USED SABRE - Honorable Mordecai Williams Chases a Bold Burglar - And is Shot Down by the Thief - Ashland Man in a Thrilling Midnight Encounter.
Mordecai Williams, one of the most prominent citizens of Eastern Kentucky, was shot through the chest by a burglar at his home in Normal, just north of Catlettsburg, Monday night. Mr. Williams was defending himself with an old sword, valued as a relic, when the burglar fired the shot.

Mr. Williams was awakened by his wife, who heard the burglar in the room.  He saw the intruder, and as there was no other weapon in the room he secured the sword and struck the intruder with it.  the burglar then fired, the bullet striking Mr. Williams near the heart and passing entirely through his body.

After he was shot, Mr. Williams did not fall but continued his pursuit of the burglar, wielding the old sword, and the latter was finally forced to jump from a second story window, without securing any booty.  A search was made for him after the alarm was given but he had disappeared.

Although the bullet passed entirely through Mr. Williams' body, coming out near the spine, no vital organs were hit and he may recover.  

Mordecai Williams is one of the most prominent and best known citizens of Northeastern Kentucky."

For the record Mordecai Williams did survive and lived twenty more years.  He died 17 May 1923 and is buried in what today is Williams Section of Golden Oaks in Boyd County, Kentucky.  It was known as Williams Cemetery and was up the hill behind the home referenced in the attack.  

His wife at the time of the attack was Penelope, "Neppie" the daughter of John P. Savage and Margaret Frizzell.   The Williams married 25 August 1875 after they were both widowed. Neppie died 23 January 1920 and is also in Williams Section of Golden Oaks. 

I chuckled a bit at a mis-spelling in the Atlanta paper.  That article stated that Sheriff John "Henne", with a posse was hunting a burglar.  It did go on to say that  Sheriff "Henne" was the son-in-law of Colonel Williams.    "Henne" is John Fisher Haney who married Ann Dickinson Williams.  The Haney family lived right next door to the Williams family.

The marriage of Haney to the colonel's daughter caused commotion.  The news reached Ironton and was posted in the paper there.  Haney was born February 1870 in Ohio.
"Ironton Weekly Register, August 26, 1893
Runaway Marriage. - An event occurred yesterday in Catlettsburg that has created considerable stir in social circles, being no less than the marriage of Miss Anna D. Williams to John Haney, of Normal. It is said that the young couple have been attached to each other for some time, but their marriage was opposed by the grandmother of the bride. The father accompanied them yesterday and the marriage was solemnized at Catlettsburg, by Rev. Mr. Carnahan. Mr. and Mrs. Haney left for Chicago after the ceremony and are now enjoying the sights at the World's Fair. - Ashland Signal"
Annie Williams Haney died in October 1901 of typhoid fever.  on 14 January 1904 John Fisher Haney married Gertrude Minor.

The Williams home was full of laughter  in June 1903 when the Haney's daughter Anna Williams Haney celebrated her 9th birthday at her grandparents.  It was such a big social event that the Catlettsburg Daily Press made note calling Mordecai's home simply the "Williams House."

Even as late as the 1990's when I first learned of the Klaiber connection to the home it was simply referred to as the "Williams House."

Three years before Mordecai's death, John Fisher Haney's father Joseph, who had been living with the Haney family at Normal, died in Boyd County.  John Fisher Haney died in August 1925 and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio.

During the early 1930's as people struggled with the Depression the James Matthew Klaiber family rented their own farm out on Big Garner and moved into the Williams home, renting from Gertrude Minor Haney.

The Klaiber family could make more money with this move during hard times.  James Matthew Klaiber plowed all the ground that now consists of Golden Oaks.    Son John Henry Klaiber drove a truck for the local feed company and helped his father farm.  In February 1931 they got a Federal Crop Mortgage for "all crops...now planted and growing...Boyd County...the farm of Mrs. John Haney located on the east end of Ashland near Catlettsburg...bounded on the north by school property...175 acres."  The Mortgage was filed by John Henry's sister Martha who worked as clerk at the Boyd County Courthouse in Catlettsburg.   The Klaiber family were able to return to their own farm by 1935.

John Fisher Haney's widow, Gertrude continued to live until 21 March 1970.  She also is resting in Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio.

The William's House was still standing in October 1974 when Evelyn Jackson wrote an article in the Press Observer [vol. 1 #35, 31 Oct.] on the Williams genealogy. Today nothing of the home stands except a set of cement steps going up the side of the hill.

12 September 2011

Eastern Kentucky Black Research After the Civil War

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
September 2011

[This article reflects word usage of period]

The Civil War was over.  The ratification of the 13th Amendment freed slaves in 1865.   Kentucky counties were already trying to determine how to handle taxation lists.  In 1865 Boyd County appended a list of eighteen free Negroes over age 16 but did not tax them in the handwritten tax book.  

Trying to integrate these families into the general economy and day to day life in Eastern Kentucky was problematic.   By 1866 counties were trying to abide by all new legislation and rulings. The Annual Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts of the State of Kentucky for the Fiscal Year Ending October 10, 1866  stated Boyd County  reported 118 which does not match the local tax book.

Obviously there was some confusion in taking tallies and who was to be counted.  This in large was because, without occupation, many of these newly free individuals were moving around trying to find a way to support their families.

The counties reported a tax of Negroes that varied. Most taxed $2.00 per Negro.   Greenup County reported taxing 143 Negros over 18.  Greenup also charged them tax on their property. 

Legal marriages were recognized in 1866 by the state of Kentucky.  But they were recorded by counties in separate books.  Many of the books for various counties have not survived.  The book for Boyd County, Kentucky has survived and is labeled “Register 1-1-A, Colored Marriages.”  Thus if you are researching your black heritage these marriages, as of this writing are not in the Marriage database at either FamilySearch or the Boyd County Public Library online site.  The marriages have been extracted in Boyd County, Kentucky, Monographs I.

By 1867 separate tax pages of “Free Negros” in Boyd County show the individuals being taxed for the same items of all individuals residing within the county.  A list of those persons being taxed in Boyd County can be found in Boyd County, Kentucky, Monographs I, by this writer, along with other  information on slavery and the Black population of the county.

Neighboring Greenup County had problems with taxation submitted to the Auditor of State in 1867. In March Kentucky passed an act to benefit "Negroes and mulattoes."  The taxes collected were to be set apart as a separate fund for the education of their children and paupers.  According to records, the sheriff, Joseph Pollock and Constable W. F. Harding and others had failed ot turn over the money to an appointed receiver, there being no county treasurer at the time.  The case went to Appeals Court and the judgment was affirmed. The case appears in Kentucky Opinions Containing the unreported Decisions of the Court of Appeals, compiled by J. Morgan Chill, Volume 5, published by Bobbs Merrill Co., Indianapolis. 

This writer wonders if this was Greenup's way of protesting the Freedmen's Bureau and the funds utilized to school the children? You can read more about the Freedmen's Bureau in A History of Blacks In Kentucky: From Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891 by Marion B. Lucas.

Two Kentucky marriages appear in the Freedmen's Records, one for Montgomery County and another for Hickman County in 1867.  None are listed for Eastern Kentucky.

In 1867 The Revised Statues of Kentucky stated that all freemen of the commonwealth excluding “negroes, mulattoes and Indians” would be armed and disciplined for defense.  This also meant they were excluded from the state militia.   In elections for representatives every male citizen with exception of “negroes, mulattoes and Indians” having reached 21 year of age and resided in the state two years could vote.  The forty-second chapter also stated that any free white person who played a game of cards or with dice or any game whatever involving money or a thing of value was disqualified from holding any office or serving on jury.  

The Freedmen’s Bureau office in Louisville Confidential lists for identification of claimants  shows at least one soldier from our area. So while they could not defend Kentucky in 1867 several served during the Civil War  from Kentucky.   Jackson Scott served in Company H of the 100th Regt. Of the United States Colored Troops.  He states that he was born in Carter County, Kentucky and enlisted the 16th day of May 1864 at Greenupsburg, Kentucky.  He enlisted for 3 years.  He was described as 21 years old and 5 feet, 9 ½ inches tall.  Black hair, black eyes, black complexion.  His occupation was farmer.  He was discharged 26 December 1865 at Nashville.  He stated that Alfred Gill and Jerry Lee enlisted about the same time he did.    At the time of his enlistment he was the slave of Stewart Scott of Floyd County, Kentucky.  The U. S. Freedmen Bureau Records of Field Offices 1865-1878 are available at Ancestry.com. There are 1032 images of the Confidential lists of 1872-3.    Beginning at image 97 you will find  form 24 for the surname beginning with Ahl and continuing thru the alphabet by browsing.

While these people fought for freedom, in those early years, for many years it was selective freedom.  Black’s would not be able to testify against white citizens until 1871 in Kentucky nor could they serve on a jury until 1882 in our state.  Thus if you are researching your Black heritage in Eastern Kentucky you will only find them in circuit court records if they are accused of a crime prior to 1871.  Utilizing and understanding the history and laws of Kentucky will also help you on your exploration and research.

You can find another article African American Research in North Eastern Kentucky written by this author 15 March 2010  at this blog.  Boyd County, Kentucky Monographs 1 includes several articles by this author on Black research in Boyd County.  Information for purchase of the cd can be found at FLI Publications.

07 September 2011

Neal Valley Grange

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
September 2011
On a hot muggy day the last shred of dirt and trash was shoveled from the old smoke house on the Sexton, Klaiber property, Garner, Boyd County, Kentucky.  The smoke house had yielded tons of papers, cards and documents, full of silverfish it was still a joy of discovery for this genealogist.   As we literally scraped dirt from the floor a corner of a paper caught my friend’s eye.  Everything stopped as I gently brushed away the dirt and carefully lifted the delicate paper.  With this final act the smokehouse gave up its biggest, oldest, most precious document.

“Resolution in favor of Brother Mark Sexton. Diseased. November 16th 1877.  At a meting of the Neal Valey Grange No. 1340 it was resolved whereas it has pleased the all wise  Creator to call one of our beloved brothers Mark Sexton from time to eternity on the 21st day of October 1877.  Resolved that Neal Valey Grange has lost a worthy member of our order and who was devoted to the cause the seat that he once occupied and our hall is now vacant. His wife has lost a devoted husband and his children a pious and affectionate  Father.  Resolved that while we bow to the will of our divine Father we deply regret the loss of our brother Mark Sexton and hereby simpathise with the bereft widow and children. Let us console ourselves that when we will mete Brother Mark Sexton where all will be joy and separation will be no more.  Resolved that the members of Neal Valey Grange – No 1340 weare the badge of mourning for thirty days. Resolved that we tender one coppy of the above resolutions to the widow and children and one to be reserved and kept by the Grange.  R. F. Rice, Wm. R. Webb, J. W. Shortridge.” [All spelling and punctuation as created in original handwritten resolution.]
Mark Sexton is buried on the farm overlooking the smokehouse.  Actually he was re-buried in Klaiber Cemetery after his remains were removed from Bell’s Trace, Lawrence County 16 years after his death.

“Powell Sexton of Garner passed thru Bolts Fork yesterday with the remains of his father who died 16 years ago and had been  exhumed and buried in the family graveyard beside his wife who died a short time ago.” [Big Sandy News, Nov 10, 1893]

Now I was holding a handwritten memorial to this gentleman.  The fact that there was a Grange in our area sent me on a quest.  Where was Neal Valley Lodge #1340 located?  While Granges are still extremely active and part of the heartbeat of Ohio  the history of Kentucky Granges is limited and slowly being lost.  

I started with a simple search for Neal Valley.  There is no Neal Valley in Boyd County, Carter and Lawrence County.  All three counties were counties that Mark Sexton had resided in and paid taxes in during his life time.  There is a Neal Valley mentioned in Selections from Morgan County History, Volume 1 [page 309].  Located at West Liberty, 300 acres were purchased in 1840 by Peter Kelly Neal [1804-1869] for 75 cents an acre.    Neal had migrated from Scott County, Virginia accompanied by two sons Bill and Harrison Neal.  Mark Sexton lived with his father Elisha Sexton in Scott County, Virginia in the early 1800’s.    But there is no indication that Sexton resided in Morgan County.   And to date this writer has not found anything written about a Neal Valley Grange in or near West Liberty and Neal Valley.

The next step was to contact the National Grange.  They have no record of a Neal Valley Grange No. #1340.  The National Grange was founded in 1867 to help rehabilitate the Civil War divided rural farm areas.  Histories of the Grange state that by 1874 there were 6000 Granges.  The Granges had been active for ten years when Sexton died.  The first Kentucky Grange was in Todd County in 1871.  The organization formed a corporation in 1875 with a bill passing the Kentucky Senate [Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1875, General Assembly, page 807].

Known as the Patrons of Husbandry and commonly called the Grange their objectives included maintaining laws, reducing farm expenses and fighting against the credit system.  According to Greg McKee, North Dakota State University, in his recently published Early Cooperatives the Granges even had stores to serve their members where they sold groceries, clothing , farm equipment and supplies. Members consisted of male and female, husband and wives.  All members of the Grange had to be interested in husbandry.

Was a Grange active in the Boyd County area or did Sexton belong elsewhere? A diary entry by William Lewis Geiger states a Grange met at Cannonsburg in February 1875.  No name of the Grange was cited.  The Grange closed in Boyd County 15 October 1884 when the Kentucky Democrat printed 

“Bolt’s Fork Oct. 9….Grange met last Saturday…We are informed that the Grange met at the Hazlett school house, last Saturday and distributed their little trinkets among the few members and finally closed up their business for good.” 
 Bolt’s Fork is on the Boyd/Lawrence County line.

The signers of the resolution include John W. Shortridge, a farmer residing in Lawrence County, Kentucky in 1880.  William R. Webb also resided in Lawrence County, a farmer, about 62 years old when he signed the resolution.  R. F. Rice is probably Robert French Rice born on Garner then Carter County  in 1840 [later Boyd County]  and died 30 April 1919 in Lawrence County.  He served in Company K of the 40th during the Civil War.  His obituary appeared in the Big Sandy News 30 April 1919.

 The Kentucky Historical Society has a small fragile pamphlet in the Special Collections from the Minutes of the Kentucky State Grange, 1874 [G30 G757].  At least 21 counties are cited, mostly in central and western Kentucky.  One statement did catch my eye: “…deputies assigned to form new Granges visited almost every county in the state…”  The booklet states that the state organization has 60 subordinate Granges.   

The State meeting was held at Louisville.   The secretary of the National Grange, Oliver Hudson Kelley resided in Louisville, had been a clerk at the Bureau of Agriculture and was a founder of the National Grange.  In 1875 he wrote Origin and Progress of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry.

One of the resolutions put to vote during the state meeting in 1874 reads: “Resolution on horse thieves. Whereas in many places in the Commonwealth horse thieves have become troublesome and annoying to people…resolved Patrons of Husbandry that each subordinate Grange…appoint a committee of sufficient number to serve such times…to assist brother Granges…by pursuit or otherwise whose property has been stolen…”  And another resolution allowed Subordinate Granges in any county to appoint a deputy who would be empowered to organize Granges within his own county and “also in counties where none exist…”

Did Neal Valley in Morgan County have a subordinate Grange that sent a deputy to Lawrence County and Boyd County?  The pamphlet goes on to state that there were 212 delegates in attendance with all counties represented accept a few counties including the following in Eastern Kentucky: Boyd, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson.  The delegate from Lawrence County is listed as O. D. Botner.  Oliver  D. Botner was a farmer born in Virginia and resided in Louisa, Lawrence County.  He served in Company G of the 14th during the Civil War. He died 14 June 1913 [KY D. Cert #16394] and is buried in Pine Hill Cemetery at Louisa.  

In 1879 The 2nd Annual Report of the State Bureau of Agriculture, Horticulture and Statistics in Kentucky,  reported that there were numerous county Granges with several hundred subordinate Granges and that a great many held monthly meetings in different counties reporting quarterly to the State Grange.  The Journal of Proceedings of the National Grange of Patrons of Husbandry reported  for Kentucky the same year that the subordinate Granges within the state were not reporting as they should have.  And an interesting final comment for Kentucky was “…a fair proportion of the members of the subordinate Granges are ladies, those Granges are in the most flourishing condition.”

While researching any clues to Neal Valley Grange I did discover another Grange tie to Boyd County, Kentucky.  On 8 July 1878 Thomas Clark Atkeson [some mis-spell it Atkinson] married Cordelia Meek the daughter of Zephania Meek [editor of the Central Methodist]  at Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky [Boyd Marriage book 6A-230].   The newspaper reported the marriage in the 13 July edition “ married…at the residence of the bride’s father by Rev. JF Medley, T.C. Atkeson of Buffalo, WV to Cordelia Meek, oldest daughter of the editor of the Central Methodist. After marriage they resided at Buffalo, West Virginia.  Two years later Thomas Clark Atkeson joined the Grange in West Virginia.  For twenty-four years he was Master of the West Virginia State Grange and eight years was Overseer of National and eventually became a member of the Executive Committee. Atkeson wrote  The Semi-Centennial History of the Patrons of Husbandry in 1916 and included biographical sketches.    He wrote the following about his wife:

“Mrs. Atkeson has been a devoted wife and mother, and has been very largely responsible for her husband’s success by her helpful encouragement.  She served one term as Ceres and two terms as Pomona in the National Grange, and has held the same offices in the State Grange….”   

Cordelia was about 10 or 11 years old when her father Zephania Meek moved from Johnson County, Kentucky to Catlettsburg.   Cordelia and Thomas Clark Atkeson are buried in Atkeson Cemetery, Putnam County, West Virginia. {For those interested Ceres is a degree in the Grange and named for the Goddess of Food Plants.  Pomona is the fifth degree administered by the Grange.}

The University of Kentucky houses the Guide to Kentucky Patrons of Husbandry Records 1873-1939.   It was very disappointing after reviewing the minutes and records that only a scant few Granges with emphasis on Christian County and Church Hill are in this collection.  There was no mention of Eastern Kentucky Granges.  Cornell University, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections houses a Guide to the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry Records 1842-1994.  The summary states that it includes the personal papers of Oliver H. Kelley, founder and first National Secretary.  But a review of the box descriptions shows no descriptive information for Kentucky Granges.

A list of National State and Local Commericial Organizations in 1903 does list a few Granges throughout Kentucky, none in Eastern Kentucky.  The Grange number’s are three digit not the four listed for Neal Valley.

These tiny pieces of information do not answer all the questions.  All involved with the resolution do have ties with Lawrence County and at least two, Sexton and Rice, have ties to Garner, now Boyd County.  But it does not answer if Neal Valley was the Grange that closed at Hazlett School House.  Hazlett School House was located just a few miles north of the Lawrence line and considered part of Bolt’s Fork.  

This file has remained open on my office desk for many years now as I continue to find tid bits that add to the history of our area.

29 July 2011

The Ebb & Flow of Genealogy

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
July 2011

Over the years I have encountered enthusiastic people who are interested in a family tree but quickly fade away because they are not enthralled with the technical research that is required to properly document their line.  On the other hand there are others who incorporate genealogical research into their life.

Avid hobbyists and seasoned professionals alike have a love of family and history.  They love the quest for more knowledge and information and make it a lifelong adventure.

There has been an ebb and flow to my journey in the world of genealogy and historical research.  Right now I am in one of those low tide moments where immediate family needs come first and genealogy endeavors come in little golden moments.  This ebb and flow of my life, which has incorporated research in it for many years, gives me pause with my morning tea to think about the journey.

Each genealogist has a personal reason for what they do.  No two people, like snowflakes, are alike. My journey began with a tattered bible and grandmother who encouraged my journey.  It glowed intensely when I held my first born son and began to fill out his baby book.  It started at the kitchen table with a small file folder and has grown into an office that when built has extra supports underneath to hold the file cabinets.  

Family Lineage Investigations developed and over the years moved to three separate states.  The moves were part of the flow of family life.  Along the way clients and fellow genealogists became lifelong friends.  

The first word in my business name says it all – Family.  Over the years my children thought that vacation always included cemetery visits. They learned to be proud of country and heritage by tagging along.  One son restored a cemetery as his Eagle Scout Project.

The years have included stints of speaking engagements, book projects, cemetery restorations, log house documentation, an antique shop and five years as genealogist for our county library.  Each and every adventure in my journey has been an education.

There have been bumps along the way.  Sometimes I have had to temporarily close the books for respite.  One such ebb was major back surgery because I lifted a tombstone to see what it said on the other side.  I smile warmly at a high tide moment. I remember slipping away from an OGS Conference and driving the many miles home to check on teenage sons and missing the surprise presentation of the McCafferty Award.    I visualize them looking under tables for me having seen me only moments earlier.

I think the most amazing, wonderful thing about our research is that it only gets better.  You can pause on your journey and come back and find that technology has opened new doors.  Genealogists are preserving the memories while creating new ones.   We researchers are caught in the ebb and flow of history of this thing we call life.    Wikipedia says “there is no unequivocal definition of life.”   I see it as the ebb and flow of each generation.  

Image courtesy of:   http://www.clker.com/clipart-44788.html

15 July 2011

Fox News - Rabies in Eastern Kentucky

Rabies in Eastern Kentucky
Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
July 2011

When I was about 12 years old a beautiful red fox lingered near our house.  I stood on the porch and watched for many minutes before calling my father.  He quietly asked me to go get his gun.  I knew something was seriously wrong when he said that.  My father, you see, was a veterinarian and while an avid hunter for food, loved all creatures and would not harm one unless necessary.  

After it was over he stated that he would send the head off to Frankfort.  No other explanation was needed. I was well versed by that time about Rabies.  The only way to test for Rabies was to send the complete head to the laboratory.  I had seen it many times and knew the routine.  And of course he was correct the animal was sick and was in early stage Rabies.  I now know the many signs to look for in animals.

I was only about 3 years old when I saw my first rabid dog.  The dog was in full blown distress with jaws locked pressed against the cage in our clinic.    I was well protected and not allowed to cross the room, as my father gently gave me the first of many lessons in life about God’s creatures.  I also remember my father going through a series of shots not once but several times so that he would not get “lock jaw” after being bitten by an animal he was trying to save.

Even before the state of Kentucky and Board of Health passed a bill in 1952 proposing all dogs be vaccinated my father was campaigning to inoculate all animals. In time the state organized clinics so that the shots were affordable for everyone with an animal.  By the time I was a teenager I helped set up clinics from the back of the Martin Veterinary Clinic white pick up truck.  We had a table, folding chairs, state forms, tags, pliers to attach said tags, and ink pens.  We were in business.  Many were set up in parking lots, or country fields.  No matter where they were held people came with truck loads of animals to get their shots.  If they did not have the required fee my father would reach in his pocket and slip me the money and say “fill out the form.”  Many times I would hear “Doc, I am a little short, but I’ll pay you later.”  Eastern Kentucky folk are good for their word, and they did.  My father gave so many shots in a day that in his book Never a Ho Hum Day he says “By the days’ end, my fingers were sore from pushing the plunger of the syringe.”

By the late 1960’s Rabies was not the horrid experience and most people in the hills of Kentucky knew that they could protect their herds and animals with a simple vaccination.  Those mass immunization programs helped decrease the instance of Rabies in Eastern Kentucky. 

While I knew the effect on animals and the torture of those shots my father took, the full impact of what the disease did to humans had not emerged in my girlish head.  As an adult the reality makes me cringe. I  have researched death certificates in Eastern Kentucky and from time to time I will find one with the cause listed as “Rabies,” “bitten by rabid animal” or simply “lock jaw.”  Every time I read one I see visions of that dog at the clinic. The vicious animal with no control, snarling, foaming at the mouth, eyes maddened and jaw uncontrolled beginning to freeze in place.  This is a horrible, horrific way to die.  

In Klaiber Cemetery, in a peaceful quiet corner, overlooking the most beautiful piece of God’s country I have ever seen are the graves of two brothers.  Charles and Arthur Eugene Jones.  They are the sons of John and Goldie Ellen Walker Jones. Their sister Lottie Marie Jones Lucas is one of the quietest and nicest ladies I have had the privilege to meet.  She and her husband Norman have been faithful visitors to Klaiber Cemetery and their loved ones for many years.  I remember the day Lottie stood by the brother’s grave marker and told me their story.

Charles, three years younger than Lottie, was born 16 June 1928 and died 11 January 1942.  He was 14 ½ years old and attended Oakview Public School.  His death certificate states that he died from “rabies due to dog bite about November 26, 1942.”    Lottie said he was out hunting and a follow up notation on the death certificate confirms “dog bite while hunting rabbits.”   Lottie says that the family knew he had been bitten but did not realize nor understand how serious this could be until it was too late.  Her brother lingered through December into January and the doctor was not called until it was too late.  

Their brother Arthur Eugene was born 14 December 1941, contracted measles and pneumonia and died in a matter of three days on 1 March 1944.  Lottie’s voice was but a whisper as she finished her sad tale.  

I have always thought, as every little girl, that my father was a hero.  He was and I can’t help wonder how many lives did he save by getting a sore finger pushing that plunger?

29 June 2011

Catlettsburg Pottery

Compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
June 2011

About twelve years ago hubby and I attended an auction in Russell, Kentucky.  The auction ran into the wee hours of the night but there were some exciting items that kept everyone alert.  The item that brought the most attention and bids was a 5 gallon salt ware crock marked Catlettsburg, Kentucky.  We have inherited a Cecil crock from Catlettsburg and also have a more widely known Hamilton & Jones crock from Greensboro, Pennsylvania.  Since, at the time, we were living in the heart of pottery country in Muskingum County, Ohio,  I made a mental note to someday research the early potteries of Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky.

The clay utilized for salt ware has a white grey appearance.   The term salt ware is applied because salt would be tossed in the kiln at the highest temperature.  As it vaporized it created a shiny glaze.  Salt glazed ware began to replace wood vessels for food storage in the mid to late 1870’s.  The pottery is also referred to simply as stoneware.

The compound cobalt can also withstand extreme temperatures produced in the kilns. The decorators would either free hand or stencil the name of the pottery or an advertizing firm’s name on the piece, using slip made with the cobalt, creating a beautiful blue that is prized by collectors.  Since clay has variations because of locale and firing results each piece of crockery is unique.  My love of all things with a history combined with my favorite color blue makes these beautiful historic pieces one of my favorites.

William Ely mentions potter’s clay along the banks of Big Sandy in his book The Big Sandy Valley.  The United States Geological Survey Bulletin 1896-1905 talks about clay used principally in the manufacture of fire brick and locally suitable for pottery in Catlettsburg.  It goes on to cite that the product was also obtained near Amanda Furnace in Greenup County and shipped to Cincinnati for the same purpose.  The 1906 Kentucky Geological Survey says that clay rests on Ferriferous limestone and has been found in the cliff between Ashland and Catlettsburg.  “The color of the clay varies from dark near the top to a light drab below.”  The article goes on to state that “Forty feet below the clay opening, at the base of the cliff-forming sandstone, coal number four is now being mined and used at the pottery plant.  … Underneath the coal is a deposit of fire clay three feet in thickness…”

Local newspapers are housed at the Boyd County Public Library, many of which have not been microfilmed.  The first advertisement mentioning pottery at Catlettsburg indicates it is being shipped on the river to the wharf.  The ad indicates that there must not be a producing pottery large enough to meet buyer demand locally and thus is being imported.  The ad appeared in the Big Sandy Herald December 1869 and involves Colbert Cecil who will be cited later in this article.

The Catlettsburg Centennial 1949, page 14 states “James Le Grand McLean operated a pottery on what is now Oakland Avenue…produced jugs, churns, jars...the pottery was torn down in 1890. Work continued for the Weaver Pottery in the lower end of town in …1888…Above McLean Pottery and facing the railroad was John W. Dillon’s Machine Shop.”  The article provides great clues for further research.    Early Sanborn maps show that James L. McLean does have a lot next to Mrs. J. W. Dillon’s Pottery on Louisa Street which would later become Oakland Avenue. No kiln nor pottery is shown on McLean’s lot.  But the Dillon property shows a substantial building with another building housing a kiln on Mrs. Dillon’s property which borders John W. Dillons Machine Shop.   John L. Vance in his History of the Great Flood of 1884 made a list of “sufferers” from the Ashland Democrat. The list appears to have been compiled as they went from location to location and includes the following names in the order given: “…J. W. Dillon, A. Borders, A. P. Borders, Catlettsburg Pottery Company, Stein & Son…”  

James McLean does not appear in the Federal Census in 1880 in Catlettsburg.  The 1892 Wiggins Directory for Catlettsburg lists James L McLean at 320 Louisa Street and the Foundry of J. W. Dillon at 336 Louisa Street.  By 1900 McLean gives his occupation as brewery man.  James Le Grande McLean was born in 1851 in Ohio and died in 1907.  He married Minnie F. Price 17 November 1886 in Boyd County, Kentucky.[i]  He and his family are buried in Catlettsburg Cemetery.  The lot that McLean lived on had been a small portion of property owned by Archibald Borders.  It appears that McLean worked next door at the Dillon’s pottery operation.

 I have not located any person listing their occupation as potter in the 1880 Federal Census.  John Dillon lists his occupation in  both the 1870 and 1880 Catlettsburg census as Machinist. Having reviewed records from the formation of the county in 1860 including IRS tax records of the early 1860’s I find no one paying tax on pottery manufacturing during the years leading up to the 1880’s.    John W. Dillon married Julia Ann Borders, the daughter of Archibald Borders 19 April 1863.  There is no indication that they had a large pottery until the 1880's.  Thus it is this writer’s theory that the first significant pottery production in Catlettsburg did not commence until between 1880 and 1884.

The Dillon couple received property on Louisa Street from Archibald Borders[ii] the year after they married where they settled and John W. Dillon built his large machine shop and an excellent reputation.

The first advertisement for Catlettsburg Pottery Company that I have located from the scattered newspaper collection is from the 27 August 1884 Kentucky Democrat, the same year as the flood.  The ad clearly states that in 1884 John Dillon, J. W. Dillon and Thomas L. Marr are partnering and manufacturing pottery as the Catlettsburg Pottery Company on Louisa Street.

Julia’s father and brother A. P. Borders shipped goods via steamer along the Sandy River. Their goods include crockery. Her husband, John W. Dillon, was the son of John Wesley Dillon [1801-1891] from Burlington, Lawrence County, Ohio.  The elder John Dillon purchased a pottery from Joshua Hambleton[iii] in Burlington.  Thus John W. Dillon was more than familiar with the working and running of a pottery business. 

Captain Ellis Clarence Mace born 1862 near Burlington wrote an autobiography[iv] and mentions a boat the Sandy Fashion that blew up at the mouth of Sandy in 1879 and killed two people.  “I was at this time working for the Burlington Pottery.  John Dillon would give us boys seventy-five cents to take a skiff  load of jugs down to Catlettsburg and ship on one of these boats.  That day we had just delivered a consignment to the Sandy Fashion and we left for home at the same time she left for Pikeville.  We were about half a mile above the point when she exploded her boiler. Joe Newberg and Alfonzo Osborn were killed. Osborn was pilot.”   It is easy to see that the Dillon pottery on Louisa Street was an extension of John Dillon’s pottery across the river at Burlington, Ohio, and did not start firing until after 1880.   Maybe the cost and hardship of skiffing the pottery from Burlington to Catlettsburg was the catalyst for encouraging the younger Dillon to open a pottery on Louisa Street where shipping was thriving.

The other partner involved, according to the ad, in the earliest Catlettsburg Pottery was Thomas L. Marr.  Marr married Matilda Williamson, daughter of Benjamin and Easter Deskins Williamson in Lawrence County, Ohio. In 1880 he was working as a clerk on a wharf boat in Catlettsburg.    He would be one of the first people to notice how productive pottery was as it was shipped in and out of Catlettsburg. The 1892 Wiggins Directory of Catlettsburg lists him as a bookkeeper living on Penola Avenue.  In all probability his contribution to the pottery was keeping books.  When Matilda died in Cabell County, West Virginia Thomas moved back to Catlettsburg living on Front Street in 1910.  Thomas L. Marr died 30 December 1920.  The couple is buried in Catlettsburg Cemetery.

 A social news article appeared in  April 1891 at Burlington stating that “John W. Dillon, of Catlettsburg, was in town a few days ago”[v].  John’s father, the elder John W. Dillon died in 1891.  A newer and larger pottery was established in the north end of  Catlettsburg in 1889.  With the death of the elder Dillon, his own age and the growth of the newer pottery the demise of the Dillon works was eminent. The 1901 Sanborn map still shows the Dillon Pottery works but has added “not in operation.”    John W. Dillon died 9 October 1902 and is buried in Catlettsburg Cemetery.  Julia Ann Borders Dillon lived until 19 July 1909 and is buried beside her husband.

For Catlettsburg pottery lovers narrowing down exactly which pottery produced a pot marked “Catlettsburg Pottery Company” may be difficult.  On 5 September 1889 D. D. Gieger and A. L. McDyer went to the courthouse and filed incorporation papers under the name of Catlettsburg Pottery Company.  It is unclear at this point in my research if Dillon gave them permission to utilize the name or not.  Did he sell his pottery wheels, molds and other equipment to the new pottery?  What is clear is that Dillon was the first to use the company name.  

Capital stock, at $100.00 per share, in the new Catlettsburg Pottery Company was held as follows: D. D. Geiger 2 shares; A. L. McDyer 30 shares; C. W. Berger 1 share; C. Cecil Jr. 1 share; John McDyer 4 shares.  The purpose of the said incorporated company was the manufacturing and sale of stoneware, sewer pipe, tiling and paving bricks.  The incorporation was stipulated to commence on the 16th of September 1889 and continue in said manner for 25 years.  I found no renewal which indicates the Corporation of Catlettsburg Pottery Company would be defunct by 1914.

Incorporated as such, the pottery ran under various name changes throughout it’s life.   First called McDyer & Co. Pottery it was built on the Ashland and Catlettsburg Turnpike “one mile north of the courthouse.”[vi]  It appears prior to the filing of Incorporation on the Sanborn Map in 1885. The detailed drawing shows a large furnace within the building that is brick lined.  Extending back from the furnace is a large kiln.  Notations state that there is no watchman, no hose, no lights, heat live steam and fuel wood.

John McDyer, son of John and Laverna Hutchinson  McDyer, married Nellie Geiger in Boyd County 20 April 1881.[vii]  Nellie was the daughter of D. D. Geiger and Anna Eliza Henderson. Prior to John’s marriage the 1880 census lists his occupation simply as merchant. The Ashland Independent 24 November 1881 writes “Rev. I. B. Hutchinson ceased cutting calico long enough the other day to join in matrimony Joshiah Bush of West Virginia to Miss Elizabeth Smith of Ohio, who were married among the bales, boxes and bundles of goods in John McDyer & Co.’s store in which the Reverend is chief clerk.”[viii]  Among those boxes and bundles one can visualize a crock or two.  But there is no mention of the word “pottery” when referencing the store.

John McDyer was one of the twelve jurors selected for the murder trial of William Neal in January 1882.[ix] In August 1887 William Geiger wrote in his diary that he voted for John McDyer for Legislature against Jim Hughes.  By 1900 McDyer is listed as a surveyor. [x]   He acted as the county engineer, was instrumental in forming the Catlettsburg Chamber of Commerce, and bid on a bridge over the Big Sandy River.  When John McDyer died 13 December 1914 his death certificate lists him as a civil engineer.[xi]  Well known and community active, sadly his wife, Nellie Geiger McDyer, who lived until 28 November 1940 died alone in the Masonic Home of Kentucky for Widows and Orphans in Jefferson County, Kentucky.[xii]  Both John and Nellie are buried in Ashland Cemetery.

There is no mention in any materials reviewed for this article of John’s interest in the Catlettsburg Pottery other than his 4 shares in the corporation.  The main shares of Catlettsburg Pottery Company were held by  A. L. McDyer. As of this writing no information has been located for A. L. McDyer. 

Shortly after the 1900 census the pottery name changed to the K. B. Cecil Pottery Company.  The 1901 Sanborn map once again indicates that they have no watchman, no lights and no hoses.  The map shows no expansion of the pottery nor the kiln.  The grounds appear the same.  Kinzie Berry Cecil was the son of  Colbert Cecil Jr. and wife Arabella “Belle” Miller Cecil.    Another son William Cecil is listed as a pottery manufacturer, living with his mother in 1900 making it highly probable that the brothers worked together utilizing their father’s share in the pottery.

Colbert Cecil Jr. along with John McDyer were among nine gentleman that formed the Catlettsburg Cemetery Association in 1882. Colbert Cecil Jr. was a wholesale dealer.  Ads appear in early Catlettsburg newspapers as C. Cecil, Jr. selling stoves, grates, mantels, hollowware, glass and Queensware.  An ad in the Kentucky Democrat 12 January 1887 states that he is also a manufacturer of tinware.  The store was on Front Street in Catlettsburg.  Potteries made good profit by taking orders for advertising. Cecil took advantage of this advertising opportunity.

Colbert Cecil Jr. died in 1896.  It is conjecture that his sons would have received his share in the Catlettsburg Pottery Company Corporation.  The information  helps date the  crock prior to 1896 in the picture above. 

Kinsey Berry Cecil was only 24 years old when the pottery was named the K. B. Cecil Pottery Company.  With great flair the Catlettsburg Pottery Company with K. B. Cecil as owner was published in the Annuaire De La Verrerie Et De La Ceramique in 1906.  Yet after only five years the K. B. Cecil Pottery Company  had changed hands in 1905 before the publication reached readers.  By 1910 Kinsey/Kinzie Berry Cecil along with a brother named Colbert Cecil III were involved in banking. Brother William had become proprietor of a hotel on Penola Street. Kinsey Berry Cecil was a cashier at the Catlettsburg National Bank while Colbert was employed as a bookkeeper in the same bank. In  April 1916 Colbert Cecil Jr.  was convicted of “misapplication” of funds while working at the Catlettsburg National Bank. He received a five year sentence.[xiii]   By 1920 Colbert was back in Catlettsburg residing with his mother on Louisa Street with no occupation.  Divorced and still listed with no occupation Colbert Cecil III died 17 February 1953 in The C&O hospital at Huntington, West Virginia.[xiv]     Kinzie Berry Cecil’s life was a success story.  He had moved to Philadelphia by 1920 and unlike his wayward brother became a bank examiner for the United States Treasury.[xv]  Kinzie died in 1954 and is buried in Catlettsburg Cemetery  William also died in 1954 and is buried along with his brothers and parents.

The pottery became Weaver Pottery in 1905. The Brick and Clay Record reported that the Weaver Pottery Co., of Catlettsburg, Kentucky was considering the advisability of increasing the capacity of its pottery in March 1905.  The Sanborn map for 1907 shows that the kiln had been damaged by fire and the word “dilapidated” is written across the plat showing the grind room and brick lined furnace.  But the pottery was updated as shown on the 1912 Sanborn map.  They still had no lights and no fire apparatus but were using steam coal and gas for fuel. The 1906 Kentucky Geological Survey describes the plant as “near Cliffside Park, between Ashland and Catlettsburg…in the manufacture of jugs, churns and similar wares…The plant has one round, down-draft kiln of 4,500 gallons capacity. It requires sixty hours to burn the ware.  Coal is used as the fuel.” 

John Weaver was a potter operating in Fayette Township, Lawrence County, Ohio in 1880.  It is unclear if he owns his own pottery in the Burlington area or if he was possibly connected with John Dillon. What is clear is that he migrated from Roseville, Muskingum County, Ohio, the heart of all things pottery to Lawrence County, Ohio shortly after the birth of his son Earl Morton Weaver in July 1877. John L. Weaver married Martha J. Thomas in 1866 in Perry County, Ohio.[xvi]

By 1910 Earl Weaver is listed as the owner of a pottery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky.   Earl married Mayme B. Williams 14 January 1906 in Boyd County, Kentucky.[xvii]  When Earl died in January 1934 an obituary states that his father was the founder of the Weaver Pottery Company of Catlettsburg.[xviii]  Under the guidance of Earl Weaver and the knowledge of the Weaver Potteries the business flourished until 1922.  In 1921 The Chilton Hotel Supply Index listed Weaver as one of their suppliers along with Weller Pottery in Zanesville, Ohio.  Then in 1922 Albert Foster Crider wrote “…pottery plant located near Cliffside Park between Ashland and Catlettsburg…which was still in operation in 1912, but is no longer.  It made stoneware jugs, etc. At the present day there are few potteries in operation within the state…” [xix]  By 1924 Earl is listed as an employee of the Ashland Fire Brick Company. Earl Weaver died in Boyd County 1 January 1934[xx]  His simple will was written in April 1926 leaving all real and personal estate to wife Mayme.[xxi]  Both are buried in the Williams section of Golden Oaks Cemetery.

While  the fire in the kiln went out a legacy of wonderful salt glazed pottery still tantalizes collectors of stoneware and local history buffs, leaving tangible evidence of the craftsmanship and ingenuity of our ancestors.

[i] Boyd County, Kentucky Marriage Book 9A page 175
[ii] Boyd County Deed book 2 page 4
[iii] Ironton Register, Thursday, Aug 29, 1895
[iv] http://incolor.inetnebr.com/raydar/notiongoing/dox/ellis1big.htm
[v] Ironton Register, April 16, 1891
[vi] Sanborn Map, Catlettsburg, KY 1907
[vii] Boyd County, Kentucky Marriage Book 7A page 57
[viii] Jackson, Evelyn, Bygone Bylines, page 42
[ix] Daily Evening Bulletin, 17 Jan 1882
[x] Ker, Charles, History of Kentucky, Volume #4
[xi] Kentucky Vital Statistics, Boyd County Death Certificate 1914-30764
[xii] Kentucky Vital Statistics, Jefferson County Death Certificate 1940-26439
[xiii] Hartford News, Hartford, Kentucky 12 April 1916
[xiv] West Virginia Vital Certificate, Cabell County #1255
[xv] Census, 1920, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 24-WD Series T625, roll 1627 page 71
[xvi] Perry County, Ohio  Male Index to Marriage Records 1818-1914, Marriage book 4 page 434
[xvii] Boyd County, Kentucky Marriage Book 24A page 83A
[xviii] Portsmouth Times, 3 Jan. 1934
[xix] Clays of Kentucky, Series 6, Volume 8 Kentucky Geological Survey, 1922
[xx] Kentucky Vital Record, Death Certificate Boyd 1934 - 168
[xxi] Boyd County Will Book 4 page 276