Notes from the past…

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There it is!… or Jane is not your aunt or your wife, SHE IS YOUR MOTHER!!!

I was working on my Kennedy line last night. My 3GGF, Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy was born in Sumter County, Alabama and moved to Hill County, Texas in about 1875. Nathan had six siblings and 2 of his brothers also became physicians. According to an old Hill County history book, Nathan’s sister Jane also married a physician, a man named Edward Tandy Easley.

Trouble is, that old book has been the absolute only reference to Jane Kennedy that I have been able to find. The earliest census record I have of the specific children of the Kennedy family is the 1850 enumeration, and she is not listed with her family. I have always thought she had probably married and moved out of the house before 1850.

I had searched and was however able to find quite a bit of data on Edward Tandy Easley. He was prominent in the early years of the American Medical Association and died in 1878 while helping victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to going to Memphis, he had practiced in Dallas, Texas and Little Rock, Arkansas. I have census entries, his Civil War records, numerous references to him in medical journals of the time (again, Google Books!), even a tax listing from Dallas County, Texas.

And not one documented connection between Dr Edward Tandy Easley and Leah Jane Kennedy!

I had about decided that Jane Kennedy was one of those ancestors who simply vanishes. The one that you know shoulda been there, but wasn’t. And last night, I was just fixin’ to shut it down and go to bed….

But before I give it up for the night, one last search… A Google Books search… and…


If you click on the first page, you will see a larger, readable page from Transactions of the State Medical Society of Arkansas, dated 1879:

Jane Kennedy didn’t marry Edward Tandy Easley… SHE GAVE BIRTH TO HIM!

Jane Kennedy married Tandy Walker Easley, also a physician, in 1840. Edward Tandy Easley was born of that union in 1842.

Well, I guess I gotta update my RootsMagic database. I wonder how difficult it is the change a woman’s husband into her son… Anybody got Bruce’s cell number?



Mr Stanley Goes To Washington!

Well, not the flesh and blood Mr Stanley, but the testimony of my second great-grandfather Miles Francis Stanley did make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court!

As long as I have been doing genealogy, I still get so tickled when I make a new discovery! Such a rush!

I have begun to review my 2GGF Stanley’s file. As I always do when I research a person, I plug that name into Google to see what’s out there. You never know. So this afternoon, I did just that, but didn’t find anything new.

Then I went to Google Books, to see what I could find. My 2GGF was a County Commissioner in Hill County, Texas in the late 1890′s, so as a public person, perhaps I might find mention of him or his political activities in some old book.

Well, guess what I found: Miles F Stanley testified on behalf of a women whose husband, a local physician, was killed in a gunfight in 1905 Texas, for Heaven’s sake!

From Cases and points of the Supreme Court of the United States, printed in 1908:

The good doctor had a $20,000 life insurance policy, which the insurance company refused to honor upon due notification of his death. Apparently this case went all the way from the local Hill County jurisdiction to the Dallas, Texas District Appeals Court and then onto the United States Supreme Court!

Wow, this is great! (Sorry, you gotta hear how my daughter pronounces “great”. More like “gg-rr-aa-tt-e”, spoken in a low, flat, sarcastic voice.)

This article came from the 27 Jun 1905 edition of the Dallas Morning News (via GenealogyBank). I’m trying to read through all of the legalese of the court case, but apparently Dr F B Maner and E E Griffin got into an extended argument, possibly over Dr Maner’s alleged abuse of a woman. The argument escalated to violence and a shoot-out ensued, with Dr Maner being killed by E E Griffin. This occurred in downtown Itasca, Texas in front of numerous witnesses!

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia refused to pay the $20,000, since the death was the result of Dr Maner’s participation in a criminal act (the gunfight).

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905b

Mrs. Maner then took Penn Mutual to court and lost the initial court decisions, as the case was appealed and eventually reached the Supreme Court:

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905d

My 2GGF Stanley testified as to a conversation that he had with Dr Maner over the original incident with the woman in question, apparently as a witness to the doctor’s good character. (Click on each page to read his testimony)

page1 page2

page3 page4

So, what happened with the trial of E E Griffin, accused of murder in the gunfighting death of Dr F B Maner?

The 13 August 2005 edition of the Dallas Morning News:

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905x

And the law suit? The Supreme Court ruled that the insurance company must pay $5000 plus attorney fees:


From the 7 May 1908 edition of the Dallas Morning News.

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Bennett finds at Wyoming Newspaper Project, Google Books

Last night, I was looking for an interesting image to post for Wordless Wednesday. I ended up at Wyoming Newspaper Project:

Discover the stories that formed Wyoming, through the Wyoming Newspaper Project. For the sheer volume of information they contain, newspapers are the single most important printed record of human activity. Historians, genealogists, and other scholars rely on them to provide a first-hand and sometimes the only account of local news. Available through this website are all the newspapers printed in Wyoming between 1849 and 1922, in an easily searchable format.

I first searched this database several months ago and was thrilled to find the obituary of Charles Bennett, my fraternal second great granduncle. So last night, I decided it was time for another visit.

After about 45 minutes of searching, then browsing, I was able to find two more Bennett obits, this time Alice Bennett and Jennie Bennett:


Jennie was the second wife of Charles Bennett.

I also found several articles concerning the estate of Charles Bennett. His third wife Daisy requested the sale of property to meet financial obligations, and then later notices of sale of land due to nonpayment of taxes. Interesting…

A few years ago, I found a reference to older brother George Bennett in a Wyoming history book, Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming, printed in 1901. A reference only, as I haven’t been able to locate the actual book. But last night’s searches led me to Google Books, and guess what I found?

Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming! And there on pages 605 and 606, was the story of George Bennett:

GeoBennettbioThis entire book is available at Google Books, and as a .pdf download. Of course I downloaded it!

I realize that this book has no sources or original documents, so it’s not gospel. But it is still interesting and valuable, as it discusses names, places and events that I have already verified through other sources.

I will continue to periodically revisit both the Wyoming Newspaper Project and Google Books, as each site continues to add to its database.