Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Monday, February 8, 2016

52 Ancestors: Nancy Florence "Nannie" Stanfill 1861 - 1956

Nannie Stanfill was the eldest child of Lewis Stanfill and Ellen Faulkner, born in Campbell County, Tennessee in December of 1861.  Nannie began grammar school, but shortly after, her mother died, leaving her to care for her three younger siblings and ending her formal education.  Her two younger brothers and younger sister were able to attend school, while Nannie stayed home and cared for the house.  And while Nannie had virtually no formal education, she was bright and curious and she continued to read and learn and teach herself the things she wanted to know.  As an adult, she was described as "a woman of culture, fine tastes and high ideals."

At 16, Nannie married Thomas Evan Breckenridge Siler in Whitley, Kentucky.  He was only 20, but Thomas was ambitious; he bought some land from his father and began farming, as well as working in real estate and lumber in southern Kentucky.  He helped form the Birds Eye Coal Company in the 1880's and advocated for railroad expansion in the area.  The financial panic in 1893 resulted in the collapse of the company, putting Thomas some $30,000 in debt (close to $800,000 today).  He and Nannie vowed to repay his debts, and in 1900 he sold his farm and moved the family to LaFollette, Tennessee, where he worked in real estate and insurance.  Nannie seems to have played an active role in her husband's business affairs and was often consulted about decisions he made in business.  They repaid their debts and Thomas became successful in his businesses, eventually moving the family to Charleston, West Virginia, where he formed several coal companies and became very financially successful. 

The Silers had 11 children in the 22 years after their marriage; two died shortly after birth and another at age 2.  A son named Sampson Lafayette died at the age of 19.  The other children were educated at least through high school, and some, including the girls, attended college.  While Nannie had virtually no formal education and Thomas only through about the 8th grade, they must have made their own children's educations a priority. 

Thomas and Nannie were devoutly religious members of the Congregational Church and were passionate about the cause of prohibition.  Thomas helped make Tennessee a dry state while presiding over the Campbell County Civil Association, and Nannie was a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  Before his death, their son Sampson had been the Secretary of the Prohibition League at the American University at Harriman, an institution that allowed no alcoholic beverages.

Several of the Siler children and sons-in-law worked for Thomas in his various businesses.  Thomas died in January 1930.  Nannie died in July 1956 at the age of 94.  They are both buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Charleston, West Virginia.

Thomas Siler and Nancy Stanfill Siler with children:  (back, l-r): John, Josephine, Sampson, Ella & her husband George Smith, Edward (on his father's lap), Thomas, Mary and Arvid.  Taken between 1901 - 1905

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Mary & Mattie Huddleston and Dolls

Sweet photo of sisters Mary Edith (b. 1902) and Mattie Sue (b. 1904) Huddleston of Campbell County, Tennessee.   Judging by the ages they appear to be, this was probably taken about 1906-07. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

There's an Indian Princess in our Family Tree

How many people have heard the story of the long ago Indian Princess that exists in their family tree?  I actually never heard that story in my own family, and while I do have Native Americans in my family, they are not biologically connected (my mother's stepfather).  Few of these stories seem to be true. 

Recently, I've returned to do more research on family  I know arrived in this country in the early 1600's and were among the inhabitants of Jamestown.  Col. Thomas Pettus, born in Norwich, England in 1598, came to Virginia as the commander of 40 soldiers, brought over to help the colonists fight the natives.  He was from a very prominent family in England and would have likely had a fairly comfortable life there, but he made the decision to stay in Virginia and help establish the new colony.  He became a prominent member of the Jamestown community in the 1640's - a large landowner and vestryman of a local parish.  He has a land grant documented in 1643 for 886 acres, in part by marriage to Elizabeth Durant, widow of Richard Durant, who originally patented it in 1636.  He also purchased land called "little town," whose owner had died. 

Thomas's first marriage is not well-documented; he may have married Elizabeth Durant in England or in Virginia.  There are several children listed for him that were born prior to his second marriage.  In 1645 he married "Elizabeth Mourning," aka Ka-Okee Patamwomeck, purported daughter of Pocohantas and her first marriage to Kacoum!  We don't just have any old Indian Princess, we have Pocahontas!

I admit that most of my knowledge of Pocahontas and Kocoum comes from the Disney movie, and I was unaware of any marriage she made prior to the one with John Rolfe.   The National Park Service's Historic Jamestown biography of Pocahontas says she married Kocoum in 1610 when she was 15.  Ka-Okee was supposedly born about 1615, but Pocahontas had been kidnapped in1613 and married John Rolfe in 1614, so that birthdate could not be correct if she was the daughter of Pocahontas and Kocoum.  In fact, Pocahontas gave birth to Rolfe's son, Thomas, in 1615.  The NPS biography says that the couple had a son after moving to his home village following their marriage.  Kocoum is said to have died during her kidnapping, but their son was spared because he was with another woman in the village. 

The Potowomecks today believe that Pocahontas and Kocoum did have a daughter named Ka-Okee, who was raised by the tribe after her father's death and mother's abduction.  Encyclopedia Virginia states that she married Kocoum in 1610, but there are no records of children from this marriage.

Whether or not Ka-Okee was the daughter of Pocahontas and Kocoum, or whether or not she is actually "Elizabeth Mourning," wife of Thomas Pettus, is still not clear to me.  I'll have to do some further investigating before I can really claim to be a descendant of Pocahontas, but it's a fun story to tell.  Who knows?

Powhatean woman 1600's

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Family Recipe Friday: Purefoy Hotel Creamed Corn

Someone asked me several months ago to post the recipe for The Purefoy Hotel's  (Talladega, Alabama) recipe for creamed corn.  Sorry so tardy.  Here it is.

Purefoy Creamed Corn

12 large ears corn
1/2 cup bacon drippings
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt

Cut corn very lightly, then scrape with a dull knife.  Put in a porcelain lined vessel with four cups of boiling water and 1/2 cup bacon drippings.  Cook until half done, add butter, sugar and salt.  Cook from 30 - 40 minutes over slow heat, stirring constantly to keep from burning.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

52 Ancestors: Rachel Baird Stanfill 1823 - 1910

Photo from the Madison County Genealogical & Historical Society.  Seated:  Rachel Baird Stanfill.  Back  row:  Doyle McCarver, Bruce McCarver, Louisa Stanfill McCarver, Onno McCarver, William Stanfill, Lassie McCarver, Otto McCarver, Lewis Stanfill, Sallie Stanfill, Martha McCarver
Rachel Baird Stanfill, my great-great grandmother, was born in December 1823 in Whitley, Kentucky.  At that time, northeastern Kentucky was still a frontier; Rachel's father, Lewis Millard Baird, had moved there from North Carolina before 1819, when he married her mother, Elizabeth Woosley, who had recently come from Virginia with her family.  Rachel grew up with 11 siblings in the Cumberland mountains of southeast Kentucky.

Rachel married Milton Stanfill in 1842, when they were just both 18.  Milton's father had also come to Kentucky from North Carolina, and had a farm in Campbell, Tennessee (which borders Whitley, Kentucky), where Milton spent his childhood.  In 1844, Rachel and Milton had the first of fourteen children, a daughter named Nancy.  Eight more daughters and five sons followed over the next 15 years.  Two daughters, Hannah and Rhoda, appear to have died in childhood.

Milton had a prosperous farm in Jacksboro, Tennessee for the next few years.   When the Civil War broke out, he joined the Union Army and served in Co. B, Tennessee National Guard.  Like many in Upper East Tennessee, the Stanfills and Bairds were Union sympathizers and their men served in the Union Army.  Rachel's brothers also fought for the Union; in October 1862, while they were away from home, Confederate guards arrested their father, Lewis, because it was well-known that his family were Union sympathizers.  He was taken to Salisbury Prison in North Carolina, where he remained until his death in May 1864, refusing to ever take an oath in support for the Confederacy.

After the war, Milton continued farming in Campbell County until his death in 1887 at the age of 64.  In the late 1880's, the farmland in this area was beginning to be less productive, and Arkansas was offering free land in exchange for a commitment to farm it for five years.  Many of the Stanfills chose to leave Tennessee for Madison, Arkansas, a community in the Ozark mountains in the northwestern part of the state.  Some of Rachel's children chose to make the move; others remained in Tennessee (son Lewis moved to Arkansas, but later returned to Tennessee).  Rachel chose to go to Arkansas and by 1900, she was living with her sons Lewis and William in Richland Township, where they had a farm.  It must have been a hard choice to leave the only place she had ever lived, as well as many of her children and grandchildren, at a relatively late stage of life.

Rachel was living with her daughter, Louisa Stanfill McCarver, a widow, and Louisa's children in April 1910, when the census was taken.  Her son Jesse (my great-grandfather) and his family lived next door.  She died later that year at the age of 87.  She is buried at Drake's Creek Cemetery in Madison, Arkansas.  Milton is buried at Jacksboro Cemetery in Campbell, Tennessee.