Notes from the past…

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The Hill County marriage licenses arrived this morning, or… I’m DANCING ON THE CEILING!!!

The 4 Hill County marriage licenses arrived this morning, and I am beyond Happy Dance Mode! These are the original documents, folks! The oldest from 1882!

Here is the license for my great-grandaunt (an older sister of my great-grandmother Mary Tennessee Turner Rogers- I actually remember “MawMaw” Rogers, which makes this document even more precious!):

Wells/Turner marriage license (front)

Most interesting is the license for my 3GGM Susan William Lee Martin Kennedy. I just by pure luck happened upon a marriage index entry for Susan and 2nd husband J C Skipwith. I had no idea before that day that she had been married twice. No one in my family knew about it and I have numerous newspaper clippings of her after 1st husband Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy’s death in 1897, and her death certificate from 1918, and she is never mentioned as “Skipwith”.

Skipwith/Kennedy marriage license(This isn’t the entire document. It is too long for my scanner. Sounds like I may need a Flip Pal scanner for my birthday next week…)

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The Ancestors’ Geneameme

This one sounds really fun, as well as a great way to assess your research progress. Thanks, Geniaus and Randy!

The Ancestors’ Geneameme

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?
  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents- 14 out of 16 documented
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors- Yup!
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents- 5 (possibly 7) out of 8
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times- Oh, yeah! My great-grandmother Dovie McBurnett had 6 (and counting)!
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist- Not that I know of
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents- Yup
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents- My 2 great-grandmothers, Mary Tennessee Turner and Marie Mistrot Carrico
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor- Not exactly…my oldest daughter is Sarah, because I like the name…later found out that there are several Sarah’s in the family tree, the closest is my 2nd GGM Sarah Sharpe Vance
  9.  Bear an ancestor’s given name/s- I am named after my great aunt Ruth Ann Starr
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland- Suspicions….
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia- Not yet
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe- More suspicions…
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa- Not yet
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer- Most of my 19th century ancestors where farmers in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings- My Turner ancestors from DeKalb County, TN were prominent land-holders pre-Civil War
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi- My 2nd great-granduncle Daniel Brevard Vance was an ordained Baptist minister
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife-?
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author-Yes, my 3rd GGF Nathan Blunt Kennedy was a published poet!
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones- Several Smiths
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng- Nope
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X-Nope
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z- My great-grandaunt Zora Belle Turner!
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December- I actually have 4 ancestors born on Christmas Day!
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day- None…
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines- A couple of folks who seemed to think they were royalty… :)
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth- Nope
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth- Nope
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century- Yup, my earliest documented is 4th GGF Miles Chappell, born in 1790 in Amelia County, VA
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier- Working on that…
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents- Yup, from GGF Charles Arthur Rogers and GGM Dovie McBurnett
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X- Nope
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university- Several physicians in the family, including 3 GGF Nathan Blunt Kennedy (Tulane University School of Medicine, Class of 1860) and 2GGU Thomas Joshua Bennett (Tulane University School of Medicine, Class of 1883)
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offense- If they ever caught him! My 2GGU James Bennett, Jr (brother of Thomas Joshua) was a documented murderer, horse thief and bank robber in 1880′s San Saba, TX and Wyoming and Montana.
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime- My 2GGU Benjamin Bennett (James’ brother!) was murdered in Hobbs, New Mexico in 1930 and another 2GGU, Pat Carroll, was murdered in March, 1906 in San Saba, TX.
  35.  Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where)- Not yet…
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please)-Does this blog count?
  37.  Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries- No
  38.  Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family- No
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century- I wish!
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible- I really wish!


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Those Turner Boys From Tennessee

I know I’m a bit late here, but here is my contribution to Bill West’s CIVIL WAR GENEALOGY BLOG CHALLENGE:

To this point, I have identified 20 ancestors who fought in the Civil War. (Yes, Randy, you can borrow a few any time you need them!)

16 fought for the Confederacy and only 4 stayed with the Union.

My Loyalists from Tennessee, all soldiers with the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, are an interesting band of brothers. But first, a little background on Tennessee’s involvement in the bloodiest conflict in American history. This from Wikipedia:

To a large extent, the American Civil War was fought in cities and farms of Tennessee; only Virginia saw more battles. Tennessee was the last of the Southern states to declare secession from the Union, but saw more than its share of the devastation resulting from years of warring armies criss-crossing the state. Its rivers were key arteries to the Deep South, and, from the early days of the war, Union efforts focused on securing control of those transportation routes, as well as major roads and mountain passes such as the Cumberland Gap.

A large number of important battles occurred in Tennessee, including the vicious fighting at the Battle of Shiloh, which at the time, was the deadliest battle in American history (it was later surpassed by a number of other engagements). Other large battles in Tennessee included Stones River, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Franklin.

Although the state became a part of the Confederacy, pockets of strong pro-Union sentiments remained throughout the war, particularly in the mountains in East Tennessee. The Vice President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was a loyalist, as were a number of congressmen and state politicians. On the Confederate side, significant leaders included noted cavalryman Nathan B. Forrest and corps commanders Leonidas Polk and Benjamin F. Cheatham, as well as Governor Isham Harris.

Well, it looks like my Turner boys belonged to those “pockets of strong pro-Union sentiments” in Tennessee. But those must have been very difficult days. You see, my 4 Unionist Turner brothers also had 4 sisters who had 4 husbands, all of whom fought for the Confederacy. And the father of all these folks, Francis Turner, was a prominent and well-to-do planter in DeKalb County, Tennessee. A slave-owning planter! And one of the brothers, Isaac was married to Sarah Vance. Sarah’s younger brother John Hugh Vance, a member of the 18th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, CSA,  was killed at the Battle of Murfressboro. Difficult days indeed!

The 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment was organized on September 29, 1864.

The first mention of this regiment in the Official Records was dated March 11, 1865. On that date the following order was issued: “The Fourth Tennessee Mounted Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Blackburn commanding, will report to Alexandria, Tennessee, and take post at that place. Colonel Blackburn will exert himself to restore confidence to the people, and destroy the guerrillas now infesting that region. All of the latter which his forces may capture will be turned over to the civil authorities of the counties in which they are captured, provided there are such civil authorities organized; otherwise they will be tried by military commission.”On April 25, Colonel Blackburn was instructed to detach four companies to LaFayette, Tennessee, to assist the civil authorities in exterminating the guerrillas who were infesting that region. On the same date, the regiment was assigned to the 4th Subdistrict, District of Middle Tennessee. On May 25, 1865, the regiment was ordered to make an expedition “through White, Overton, Fentress and Montgomery Counties, to Morgan, Tennessee,” for the purpose of restoring quiet to that region, “now so much infested by guerrillas.” At Morgan, it was to meet a similar force sent out by Major General Stoneman, commanding in East Tennessee; and, after having met with Stoneman’s command, to return to Alexandria, and report. The order evidently should have read through Morgan County to Montgomery, Tennessee, as there was no town called Morgan, and Montgomery County is not in the same area as the other counties mentioned in the order. This was the last mention of the regiment in the Official Records.

Dyer’s Compendium states the regiment was mustered out August 25, 1865.

May I introduce my “Yankee” Turners of DeKalb County, Tennessee:

(please click on the images to enlarge)

George Turner US Army enlistment, 23 Sep 1864

George Turner (1822-1877), born in Warren County, Tennessee, enlisted at age 40 in Company E of the 4th Tennessee Mounted Regiment at Liberty in DeKalb County on 23 Sep 1854 and was promoted to Sergeant on Nov 1st. He survived his war experiences and was mustered out on 25 Aug 1865. Married in 1849, George and Talitha Cumi Forester had 8 children. He and his wife are buried at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in Liberty, Tennessee.

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Isaac Turner (1827-1888) was my 2nd great-grandfather. He also enlisted on 23 Sep 1964 at Liberty, Tennessee. A 36-year-old private, he survived the war and was mustered out on 25 Aug 1865. Isaac married Sarah Vance in 1855 and the couple had a litter of 14 children. He died in Hill County, Texas at age 60 from Typhoid Fever. Isaac and Sarah are buried at Chatt-Jessie Cemetery in rural Hill County, Texas.

Page 11Joseph B Turner (1845-ca 1920) joined the 4th Tennessee on 5 Sep 1864 at age 19. Joseph also survived the carnage and he and wife Susy White, married in 1874, had 7 children. He is last documented in 1910 in Atoka County, Oklahoma, widowed at age 65 and living with son Percy and his family. The 1920 Federal Census enumerates the Percy Turner family living in Tarrant County, Texas with no Joseph to be seen.

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The last Turner brother to serve in the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment was William Jasper Turner (1848-1918). He joined up on 1 Nov 1864 at age 18. The luck of the Turners protected William as well, as he survived the Civil War and later became a cattleman in Texas. Marrying Eunice Roberts in 1875, the couple had 4 children. William died in Fort Worth, Texas from kidney disease and is buried in Big Spring, Texas.