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.