Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Child- Remembering Elizabeth Octavia Harrison, 1858- 1876

               Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

"Plucked By God To Bloom In Heaven"
E. Octavia- Daughter of John M and Mary J Harrison
Born Dec'r 10, 1858 - Died August 15, 1876
"No Sin Could Blight Or Sorrow Fade. Death Came With Friendly Care."
"The Opening Bud To Heaven Conveyed, And Bade It Blossom There."

So reads the original inscription on the headstone of my grand-aunt Elizabeth Octavia Harrison, who passed away barely past her 18th birthday in 1876. She was the daughter of my great-grandparents, John Milton Harrison and Mary Jane (Coppedge) Harrison, and sister of my grandfather John P Harrison.

Though worn by time and barely legible now, the headstone inscription was thankfully earlier recorded by local historians and transcribed in a booklet entitled: "The Cemeteries and Headstones of Maries County, Missouri- A Personal History", compiled by Gail Howard and Mozelle Hutchinson.

Hers was one of the first headstone inscriptions I came across when beginning to research my ancestry several years ago.  I have always wondered what took the life of the young lass called Octavia, whose headstone bore such a touching inscription of tenderness. She was apparently the eldest sibling in a family of 11 children, the first-born child of my great-grandparents.  "Plucked by God as an opening bloom in heaven".  Next to her lies her father, the Civil War Veteran who outlived her by 23 years.  This week, with the help of a cousin who lives near this country cemetery that is now on private property, a new headstone is being placed for her father John Milton Harrison, to replace his worn and badly deteriorated stone. I hope in the coming year that we can manage to get Octavia's stone cleaned and restored as well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

11th Missouri Infantry in the Civil War- Great-Grandpa's Regiment

             Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Book Review:  11TH MISSOURI INFANTRY IN THE CIVIL WAR- The Unit of my Great-Grandfather John Milton Harrison, Company H, Union Veteran, Civil War.

Recently I obtained a copy of a book detailing the history of my Great-Grandfather John M. Harrison’s military regiment during the Civil War.   I will post a brief book review here, and some of what I found interesting about the book.

The book is entitled “The 11th Misouri Volunteer Infantry In The Civil War, A History and Roster”, by Dennis W. Belcher, published in 2009 by McFarland and Company Publishers Inc. The author has a PhD from Mississippi State University and is a descendant of a soldier in the 10th Kentucky Infantry of the Civil War.  I am not sure why the author took such an interest in my great-grandfather’s military unit from a different state that his own ancestor, but I am glad he did. 

The author’s own words say it beautifully and far better than I can, so I will use direct quotes from the book frequently in this post.  The book is “the story of the 11th Missouri Infantry” that “needed to be told.  One day a group of men proudly put on their blue uniforms, and for four and a half years willingly paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect their country. Let us never forget the men of the 11th Missouri Infantry, and may their flag forever fly. “These were men who proved again and again that they would fight, even when they were outnumbered and victory was not possible”.  ‘The 11th Missouri never broke in any engagement, and the engagements were many, beginning with the Battle of Fredericktown, Missouri and ending at the Battle of Spanish Fort” in Alabama.

The book jacket contains the following description of the regiment, again quoted verbatim because I think it is a wonderful description: “The 11th Missouri Infantry distinguished itself as just the type of regiment the Union needed in the Civil War. Hard as nails and loyal to a fault, the men of the ‘Eagle Brigade’ would follow their commanders to hell if ordered. They battled two Confederate regiments at Iuka, turned the tide at Corinth, assaulted the impossible Stockade Redan at Vicksburg as whole ranks of soldiers were cut down, and broke Hood’s line at Nashville.”   The author states on page 229 that “When the 11th Missouri Infantry mustered out in 1866, they left a proud history.  They were a fighting regiment, and they were rough and rowdy. They were not a group that would have been pleasant to be around, but they were given a difficult and bloody job. There was none better than the 11th Missouri.

The book includes a detailed account of the history, movements and battles of the regiment and the various companies; with many photos of officers as well as privates, camps and battle locations, and transcripts of some of the letters written by soldiers in the unit. My great-great-grandfather is listed as a Veteran of Company H on page 290 in Appendix B of the book (though I note his middle initial is listed incorrectly as “W”, which is probably due to a transcription error).  Every known member of the regiment is listed, based on records the author obtained from the National Archives and the Missouri State Archives.   There are many brief biographical sketches of some of the officers as well as lesser-known soldiers. I did not find a photo or biographical information on my ancestor in the book, but learned a lot about what his experiences must have been like from reading this book.  I already have a copy of my ancestor’s complete military pension file from the National Archives which provided me with lots of biographical information.  For a fortunate few descendants, this book will supplement what they may already know about their soldier ancestors from the 11th Missouri Infantry, and some will even be lucky enough to find their ancestor’s photo among the several in the book.

I found especially moving the transcripts of some of the actual letters written by young soldiers in the regiment to their loved ones back home.   The men who wrote the letters ranged in age from 18-34. Many were farm boys who had never traveled far from the farm or been away from home and loved ones before. Many wrote a few letters home, and then were killed in battle or died of sickness contracted in camp. Their descendants and the author kindly share those letters with us in this book. The letters told of the feelings, hopes, and fears of these young men;  as new recruits first arriving at camp, their experiences on marches,  their fears when preparing for the battles they knew lay ahead, and their worries about their own futures and the welfare of the loved ones they left behind.  Reading these letters really makes one aware that not a lot has changed over the years, relevant to sending our young men off to war, and the wartime experiences of these young men.  Today as then, our soldiers may be fighting for a different cause and in a different land, but their emotions and fears are the same. Duty, honor, and love of country are coupled with their loneliness and worries for their families and their own safety, and their sadness at seeing a best friend wounded, maimed, or killed in battle.   Dying of infectious diseases or dysentery contracted while serving under primitive and deprived conditions was especially worrisome during the Civil War. Service-related disease and sickness killed a large number of Union and Confederate soldiers, while leaving others with permanent disabilities and life-long conditions from which they never fully recovered.  My great-grandfather was among the latter group.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)
My ancestral roots in Missouri and Kentucky during the Civil War years saw many of my kin fighting in the war, sometimes on opposing sides, brother against brother and cousin against cousin.  In Missouri in particular, another problem was the Bushwackers and Guerrillas. A previous blog post I wrote dealt with the half-brother of my great-grandfather Valentine Allen, who shared the same mother with Bushwacker Bill Wilson (different fathers). While Bushwacker Bill was (and remains) a folk-hero of sorts, said to be avenging the harm that befell his own family during the war, not all Bushwackers were thought of fondly by the local folks...most in fact were considered ruthless outlaws.     
The following military report filed by Lieut. Col. Jos. A. Eppstein "describes a good bit of robbing and plundering" during the Civil War in the vicinity of Rolla, Missouri (where many of my kin lived) in early February of 1864. The report is located on Pages 280 – 281 in Series I, Vol. 34, Part IV of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion:
“Headquarters District of Rolla,
Rolla, Mo., February 9,1864.
Maj. 0. D. Greene,
Assistant Adjutant General,"
"I deem it my duty to inform you that GUERRILLAS & BUSHWHACKERS are getting very troublesome in this district, in the last few days. I hereby advise you of some of their doings. One man by the name of Robert Wade, a good, inoffensive Union man, living 25 miles west of here, on Spring Creek, was attacked by a band of 7 rebels & received two mortal wounds near his own house. On receipt of this intelligence I sent a Scout (Patrol) with an ambulance & had him brought to this place. The man was buried today. The scout was not successful in capturing any of these scamps. On the 4th instant 1 private on duty as provost guard, on his way from here to Little Piney to serve a subpoena was captured by a party of 4 men about 7 miles from here. They relieved him of his horse & equipments, arms & a portion of his clothing & released him & allowed him to return. On the 6th instant an extra stage coach from Springfield was stopped & robbed of the mail 1 mile west of Little Piney. They stripped a soldier who was on the stage of his clothing & money & allowed them to proceed on their way. A party of laborers, employed by the quartermaster, were attacked, robbed of their provisions & dispersed while at work about 8 miles southwest of here."
"I have just been informed of an attack made upon a party of Union men on their way to this place with their teams; one of them was killed & one mortally wounded. I dispatched a scouting party after them immediately & will send another after them tonight in a different direction. I hope they will be successful in killing some of the gang before they return. This last gang numbered about 10 men & were DRESSED IN FEDERAL UNIFORM! This same gang ATTACKED & PLUNDERED another party of road repairers. You will see from the enclosed report of Major Fisher, from Waynesville, that his neighborhood is INFESTED with MARAUDERS in the same manner. By the report of Lieut. Bates you will see he was successful in killing 7 of them & wounding several more & capturing a lot of property. A Sergeant just in from Waynesville informs me that a small escort belonging to that post en route from Gasconade to Waynesville & 9 miles west of the latter place, were attacked & 1 man severely wounded & 1 captured. I shall be able to give particulars when a scout after them returns."
"This list of depredations will show that there is plenty of work for one small command to attend to. I have at the present time six scouting parties out in this district & shall endeavor to HUNT DOWN and EXTERMINATE these bands wherever they may be found, but I anticipate a continuance of these depredations as long as the weather will permit these bands to lie out in the woods. The country south of Springfield is nearly exhausted of all kinds of supplies. These bands are therefore compelled to rely on their ROBBING & WAYLAYING wagons on the roads for subsistence. We have a large number of rebel sympathizers living in this district, who are on every opportunity aiding & abetting these marauders, otherwise it would be impossible for them to do all this mischief. As this communication is somewhat lengthy, I hope that I have not intruded too much on your patience. I shall continue to keep you advised of things transpiring in this district during my term of command."
"Very respectfully, your obedient servant,"
Lieut. Colonel, Commanding District.”

Friday, September 30, 2011

PENN ANCESTRY: MASSACHUSETTS AND PENNSYLVANIA ROOTS- and allied lines of Lee, Tucker, Allen, Hudgens

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison) 

MASSACHUSETTS ROOTS: DISCOVERING MY PENN ANCESTRYAnd connections to two famous Penn historical figures: the Founder of Pennsylvania and a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

This blog post examines more closely my Penn, Lee, Tucker, Allen and Hudgens inter-connected ancestry on the paternal side of my tree, specifically the Penn lineage with roots in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. While I have previously done quite a bit of research on the Virginia roots in the 1700’s of these surnames in my tree, and their westward movements into Kentucky and Missouri during the 1800’s, the Massachusetts connection in the Penn and Lee lineage is a “new” discovery for me. I am excited to discover there is apparently an early Plymouth, MA connection in my Penn line. This is something I will be exploring further, and will follow-up on in future blog posts.

For my own personal record and to help me keep the relationships straight and sorted out, I will now describe my kinship to the Penn and Lee families. Prepare to be confused, dear readers, because it does get confusing! That is one reason I am writing it down in other than standard tree-format, to serve as my own personal reference cheat-sheet guide to supplement my online tree.

My great-grandfather Valentine Allen, subject of an earlier blog post, was the 6th-great grandson of immigrant ancestor George Penn, son of William Penn I of England born 1548. William Penn I of Minety, Gloucestershire, England (father of my George Penn) was my 10th great-grandfather and also the great-grandfather of the historically famous William Penn, 14 Oct 1644 – 30 Jul 1718, founder and "Absolute Proprietor" of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future American state of Pennsylvania. George Penn, born 1571 in England and son of William Penn I of Minety, Gloucestershire, England, is my 9th-great-grandfather, and the grand-uncle of William Penn founder of Pennsylvania (who is my 2nd cousin 9 times removed). George’s brother was Giles Penn, the Pennsylvania founder’s grandfather.

Sir William Penn, 1644- 1718, founder of Pennsylvania

As of this point in my research, it is reasonably substantiated that the above George Penn born 1571 is my immigrant ancestor of this line, who came from England to Plymouth, Massachussetts circa 1623. He died in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1632. The names George, William, Moses, and John were used so frequently in the Penn family throughout multiple generations in the same localities and time periods that it is difficult to sort them out, and it appears that even some of the “reliable” source books documenting the Penn ancestry and used by genealogists for decades tend to confuse them in the citations. There is little doubt, however, that these families are connected.

                                           Though I still have much research to do on this lineage, my documentation to date suggests that this branch of my tree involving the Penn lineage is as follows, according to the published sources I have found as well as family records and marriage records supporting the links in the more recent generations: George Penn was born in 1571 in Sussex, England. He married Margaret Elizabeth (maiden name as yet unknown) and immigrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1623 at about age 52, and died in 1632. He was the son of William Penn born 1548 in Gloucestshire, England and wife Margaret Rastall. George Penn’s son was my 8th great-grandfather William Penn born 1609 in Plymouth, Massachusetts who moved to Westmoreland, Virginia and married Elizabeth Markham. William and Elizabeth Markham Penn had a son, John Penn born 1650 in Caroline County, Virginia who married Lucy Granville; these were my 7th-great-grandparents. John and Lucy Granville Penn had son George Penn born about 1706 in King and Queen County, Virginia who married Anne Fleming; these were my 6th-great-grandparents. John and Lucy Granville Penn had another son, Moses Penn II, who was the father of the John Penn signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Thus, my 7th great-grandparents John and Lucy Granville Penn were also the grandparents of the famous signer of the Declaration of Independence, if in fact it turns out that this lineage has been documented correctly.) If the lineage is documented correctly, it appears that the signer of the Declaration of Independence John Penn is my “1st cousin 7 times removed”.

George and Anne Fleming Penn had daughter (my 5th great-grandmother) Frances “Frankey” Penn born 1735 in Caroline County, Virginia who married Ambrose Lee in 1752 , and married 2nd husband Drury Tucker in 1767. This part of the lineage is pretty well documented, but is also where it gets confusing. I am related by blood to Frances Penn and both of her husbands. My connection is two ways, (and the following is bound to give any reader a headache to sort it out because it certainly did me!): Frances Penn is the mother of my 4th-great-grandmother Nancy Lee, with Frances’ first husband Ambrose Lee. Frances Penn Lee’s daughter Nancy Lee born 1762 in Caroline County, Virginia married William Wofford Tucker (my 4th-great-grandfather and one of my Revolutionary War ancestors). Their daughter Susannah Tucker born 1792 in Albemarle, Virginia was my 3rd-great-grandmother who married William David Hudgens. ( To refer back to Susannah’s Tucker’s grandmother Frances Penn Lee, widow of Ambrose Lee, who married 2nd husband Drury Tucker, father of William Wofford Tucker and widower of Susannah Douglass: THUS, Frances Penn Lee married 2nd the father-in-law of her own daughter Nancy Lee who was married to William Wofford Tucker). Believe me when I say it was a Three Excedrin Headache Day to sort that confusing and overlapping branch of my tree out! Moving right along, the daughter of Susannah Tucker and William D Hudgens was my 2nd-great-grandmother Frances Hudgens, born 1811 in Lebanon, Kentucky who married Samuel T. Allen in Missouri. Their son, Valentine Allen born 1843 in Phelps County, Missouri was my great-grandfather who married Catherine Ellen Fore. Valentine and Catherine Fore Allen had a daughter, my paternal grandmother Susannah Allen born 1875 in Phelps County, Missouri who married my grandfather John P. Harrison.

So, in a nutshell, my branches of the Penn-Lee-Tucker-Hudgens-Allen lineage began in England in the 1500’s and earlier, to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in the 1600’s, to Virginia in the 1700’s, and to North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri in the 1800’s where it intersects with my paternal Harrison and Allen lineage. Most of the movement to Kentucky can be traced to Kentucky land bounty warrants received by members of these families for their participation in the Revolutionary War. Some of the land bounties were sold; others were passed down to descendants of the Revolutionary War patriots. My branches of all of these families eventually migrated westward and continued on into Missouri in the mid-1800’s. Though I still have family roots in Missouri today, the tree has further branched out westward to California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.

Regarding the Penn lineage, I do note there is some controversy in online message board posts as to the connection of a William Penn who married an Elizabeth Markham, and their son John Penn who married a Lucy Granville, and how they actually relate to the Penn lineage of the founder of Pennsylvania and to the John Penn, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Though the lineage is cited in multiple published sources that have been used by genealogists for decades, it seems some questions have more recently arisen as to availability of marriage records or other primary source documents to support that link in the tree. Further research is needed to prove or disprove the lineage, as these two individuals do appear to be the same ones associated with my tree. However, the link does not appear any more questionable than probably dozens of others in my tree that have equally been accepted as factual-based by fellow researchers, distant cousins and genealogists for decades. As we all know, actual “proof” in genealogy gets more difficult the farther back in time we go. Previously published lineage books do contain errors and are not infallible. Even DNA testing is not a sure-fire proof of a direct lineage connection. (I will reserve my comments concerning DNA for genetic genealogy and my experience with Autosomal DNA testing, for another Blog post). I have only recently researched my branch of the Penn family tree lineage back prior to the Virginia roots, to the very early Pennsylvania and Massachusetts colonial connections. Nothing is ever “written in stone” as far as I am concerned, regarding lineage that is more than 2 or 3 generations removed from ourselves. All we can do as family historians is base our findings on a preponderance of evidence, while making a commitment to update our records and notations accordingly if we do discover potential errors.

I have previously posted a biographical sketch of my ancestor William Wofford Tucker, Revolutionary War Patriot and Colonial Army Captain from Virginia (whose wife was Nancy Lee, daughter of the Frances Penn Lee Tucker as mentioned above). Future separate individual blog posts will further examine my Tucker-Hudgens-Penn-Lee kin. It is much too confusing to try to combine all of that in one blog post! I will suffice to say, for now, that many interesting connections pop up in those branches of my tree. One such connection is that my above-referenced 4th-great-grandmother Nancy Lee Tucker was a distant relative of the Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee (which of course makes me a distant relative as well; according to the relationship calculator in my genealogy program the famous Confederate General is my 6th cousin, six times removed). It will take a whole separate Blog article to discuss my Lee ancestry in greater detail. It is always fun to discover connections to famous figures from history in one’s ancestral tree, however distant that kinship might be. Ultimately though, my quest remains to discover more about the not-so-famous figures in my tree as well, and to try to learn about them as individuals who led interesting and challenging lives.

General Robert E. Lee, CSA

The discovery of an early Massachusetts connection in these branches of my tree may also lead to breaking down a Brick Wall in my Allen lineage on the paternal side of my tree (I have Allen ancestors on both maternal and paternal sides). To date, I have been unable to discover the names of the parents of my paternal 2nd-great-grandfather Samuel T Allen who married Frances Hudgens. Very little is known about where Samuel T Allen came from, or what happened to him after he disappeared from Missouri circa 1850. However, a few vintage published sources I found on early Missouri history mention my Allen, Hudgens, and Harrison ancestors and state that Samuel T Allen came from Massachusetts. At least one of these published local history sources alluded to a “rumor” that Samuel’s disappearance from Missouri was due to either being killed by Indians, or that he may have returned to Massachusetts to reunite with family there, and where he possibly had another wife. Knowing that the Penn-Tucker-Lee-Hudgens-Allen families are so closely intertwined in my tree, and that at least one of those lines has documented early roots in Massachusetts, does lend more credence to the theory that my ancestor Samuel T Allen may in fact have had some family connections in Massachusetts.

So, the pursuit of further Massachusetts research on these family connections and surnames in my tree is now added to my Genealogy To-Do List. That list seems to keep growing, the more research I do. Lots of digging to do still; so many ancestors to chase down, so little time!

While it is not my intent to provide a research guide in this personal Blog, which is merely my own personal journal of my search for my roots; a few of the sources (among many others) of my information on Penn ancestry are listed below. (The bulk of my source citations are attached to my online tree, and include a stack of reference books I have collected in my personal library):

                                      Copyright, 2011

Source Information: Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

Original data:

Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965. Originally published in 1912.

Crozier, William Armstrong, ed. Virginia County Records - Spotsylvania County Records, 1721-1800. Being transcriptions from the original files at the County Court House of wills, deeds, administrators' and guardians' bonds, marriage licenses, and lists of revolutionary pensioners. New York, NY: Fox, Duffield & Co., 1905.

The will abstracts for Isle of Wight and Norfolk counties were taken from microfilmed copies of the original Will Books. Some of these records may be found at the Family History Library as well as other libraries and archives. The originals may be found at the appropriate county courthouses.

Gale Research. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2010.

Original data: Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. Farmington Hills, MI, USA: Gale Research, 2010.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Military Monday Musings: William Wofford Tucker, Revolutiomary War Patriot

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Military Monday:  A Look at Revolutionary War Veteran Ancestor William Wofford Tucker; and Other Genealogy Monday Morning Musings

I opened my email this morning and discovered a message from a new “cousin”, who is descended from a shared ancestor:  William Wofford Tucker, born 1752 in Amherst County, Virginia and died 1829 in Casey County, Kentucky.   This genea-cousin noticed my memorial page on this ancestor that I had posted on Find–A-Grave.    My newly-found cousin is descended from the same branch of the family tree that I am:  the Tucker-Hudgens lineage that migrated into Missouri from Virginia, by way of Kentucky.   Proof once again that making use of online sources to not only research but to share genealogy information will help grow your tree.   New cousins pop up fairly frequently as a result of my postings on Find-A-Grave, one of my favorite websites for genealogy.  I have found a lot of my “missing” ancestors on Find-A-Grave, as well as adding memorials for many who were not previously listed. Along the way, I have picked up a handful of living cousins too from contacts made via that website.

I don’t yet know a great deal about this ancestor.  He was not the easiest to document, so is not the ancestor I chose to join DAR under earlier this year.  What I do know is this:  William Wofford Tucker served in the Revolutionary War as a Captain in the 14th Virginia Regiment, Colonial Army, Certificate Number 17952, Pension Application Number S38447.  I also learned that his regiment “wintered at Valley Forge”.  Now, that certainly is an exciting discovery for any GeneAholic to make.  What a wonderful story this will be to add to my family tree book, when I do manage to compile all of his biographical information into a “story” format. I would love to learn more about his life, and how fabulous it would be to find a picture of a portrait painting of him, as I have been lucky enough to find with a few other ancestors of that era. My goal, now that I have filled in multiple generations of my family tree with names and dates and bits and pieces of biographical information, is to really start fleshing out the meat on the bones of these ancestors; to view them as the real people they were, and to learn about the interesting lives they led.

William is on my list of Patriot Ancestors that I hope to add to my official DAR lineage records, now that I am a member.  I am in the process of ordering William’s military service and pension file records from the National Archives this week, along with Bounty Land Warrant application.  Hopefully it will all come together in one file, as I am ordering the “complete” package. Here is the website for ordering military service records and pension files, including historical records from the Revolutionary War era: 

I’ve also found this ancestor in the DAR data -base as a recognized patriot ancestor.  Here is a link to the DAR Patriot Lookup Service website:

 There are other members who have gone into DAR under this same ancestor, though one previously approved application is now showing with problems in the documentation. That pertains only to that individual descendant’s documentation, however.  This is something that alerts me to potential issues, but will not be a deterrent.   There are other descendant applications listed under this same ancestor that are not flagged with any problems, including one descendant from my same branch of the Tucker-Hudgens tree whose approved application documents I will be able to download and copy from the DAR database; and use to link to my own  lineage on my application.  So hopefully, I will not run into any roadblocks with my application.    Notice I said, “hopefully”.  I will still have to prove my lineage as far back is to where it connects to this person’s lineage as a descendant of the same branch of the tree.  I learned from completing my successful application to join DAR earlier this year, that you must document-document-document, up the ying-yang.   However, that really is a good thing.  It forces you to fill in the gaps in documentation in your tree, and to really prove (to yourself and to DAR) that the lineage in your tree is accurate.

For use with lineage society membership applications,  primary records such as marriage records, birth and death records are best.  When those are not available or do not exist, other records may suffice (notice I said “may”, it is at the discretion of the DAR board of certified genealogists whether to accept any form of secondary documentation as proof of lineage).  I am not an expert on the DAR application process, but here is what I learned from doing my own: You must establish a preponderance of evidence to support your lineage; with primary sources as well as any secondary sources such as census records, family bible records, printed sources such as books and newspapers, and/or whatever other types of paper and printed source documents you may have available or find during your research.

 They key is, that every generation in your tree must be fully documented in some way to establish the direct lineage between yourself and your Patriot ancestor.   Curiously, I am finding that most of my problems in gathering this type of documentation generally tends to be in the generations in my tree in the early 1800’s.  That is when there was so much pioneer movement westward in my family tree, with whole family cluster groups moving together from Virginia then to Tennessee and North Carolina, then to Kentucky, and finally into Missouri.  Once in Missouri, they tended to stay put for about 50 years from 1830-1880; then they took to wandering off westwards again towards California.   It seems to be during those years of just after the Revolutionary War to just prior to the Civil War where it is the most difficult to find marriage records, as well as sources to document births and deaths. That seems to be a typical scenario with other genealogists I have talked to, in searching for records on ancestors who followed the western migration trails.  
I have not been lucky enough to have any ancient Family Bibles pop up in my tree to, but am keeping an eye on Ebay in hopes that some of those might show up on there some day.  I have found a lot of other interesting stuff on Ebay connecting to my tree. 

Happy trails and many happy genea-discoveries!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Remembering Minnie Allen 1871- 1878

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

This Sentimental Sunday morning, I am remembering a discovery I made a while back when searching through Find A Grave records online, for headstone photos and burial locations on some of my ancestors.   I came across the gravesite for little Minnie Allen, daughter of my great-grandparents Valentine Allen and Catherine Ellen (Fore) Allen.  Here is a photo of Minnie's headstone, born 1871- died 1878, buried at Allen Cemetery in Phelps County, Missouri, USA:


Finding Minnie's gravesite prompted me to recall a story related to me by my Aunt Lona, as part of the oral family history she held onto.  Whenever my elderly Aunt got an urge to share stories of the past and could find someone who might listen, she would talk about the family history stories that had been passed down to her.    From the time I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated by the stories of generations past that my Aunt could tell.  We lived across the country from my Aunt, so I did not get to hear her stories very often.  Little did I know at the time that I would one day grow up to be a full-fledged GeneAholic!  Now that my Aunt is gone, besides missing her terribly, sure wish that I had listened a little more closely to those family history stories she had to share. My Dad (her brother) rarely talked of such things, but it was my Aunt who kept the memories of the past alive and passed them down to the younger generation.

I found a mention of Minnie's death in a brief entry in the log of itinerent minister, Rev. John J Watts, from the Watts Collection  of birth, marriage and death records in Phelps and Maries County, Missouri, a partial transcript of which can be found online at

"#6 Minnie Allen

Minnie, daughter of Valentine and Catherine Allen, born on Little Piney, Pulaski Co., July 28th 1871, died there Feb. 3rd 1878, aged 6 yrs, 6 ms. and 5 days, and Aug. 25th 1878, funeral services at his house by singing, prayer and remarks by Rev. J.J. Watts= Bro. T.E. Carr failed to come as expected. Relatives: Father and Mother, 2 brothers and 5 sisters survive. "

There was, of course, more behind this story.  It is a sad story.  Little Minnie died as a result of a tragic accident.   My Aunt remembered well hearing the story of what happened to Minnie,  as told to her by her own mother; "Susan" (Susannah) Allen Harrison, younger sister of Minnie.   Minnie Allen, not yet age 7 years,  was helping to tend to her younger siblings and the baby of the family early one winter morning, while the parents were out at the barn milking the cows.  Minnie was dancing around the room merrily singing and twirling, to entertain her little sisters, baby  Lula (age 5 months), and toddlers Susan (age 3) and Amanda (age 5).   No doubt the baby and toddlers were giggling at Minnie's antics.  Older siblings Sarah (13), Stephen (11), and Napoleon (9) may have also been in the little farmhouse, or perhaps they were out helping the parents at the barn with the morning chores.  Older children rarely were exempt from the many daily chores required to maintain the family farm, feed the livestock, and milk the cows. It was a freezing winter morning with a blanket of snow covering the ground outside, but a nice warm fire crackled in the fireplace inside the farmhouse cabin.  It was a typical large open fireplace with hearth,  also used for heating kettles of water and cooking as well as for a source of heat.   All was well as the little girls played merrily in the warm cozy cabin that bleak winter morning, until suddenly tragedy struck.  As will often happen when little children are playing and prancing happily about, Minnie lost her balance, tripped and fell...right into the flickering fire in the hearth.   Minnie fell straight into the flames.  Her clothes and hair caught on fire, and she raced screaming outside, calling to her parents to help her.  My great-grandparents came running up the hill from the barn, shocked at the sight of their little girl with hair and clothes ablaze, racing towards them, pleading for help.  They did everything they could to try to save their child.  They rolled little Minnie in the snow to douse the flames, picked her up an carried her into the cabin.  They tried their best to tend to the burns suffered by their mortally injured and dying child.  They tried to comfort Minnie, and her horrified little siblings who had witnessed the accident, but there was little that could be done. They had little with which to even ease their little daughter's pain.   After lingering for 2 or 3 days with severe burns over most of her body, that poor precious little girl succumbed and went to join the angels.  

Minnie rests in the Allen family cemetery, near her parents and other family members.  My great-grandparents Valentine and Ellen had already lost 3 other of their children to childhood diseases and epedemics, before this accident took Minnie from them. When doing genealogy, we are constantly reminded of the hardships and suffering our ancestors did have to endure on a routine basis.  Hardship and loss was a part of their daily existence. They went through so much.   It makes me feel ashamed to whine about my own trivial problems, whenever I think of all they went through.

I live too far away, across the country, to have the opportunity to visit Minnie's gravesite or the gravesites of other Allen kin buried there.  The best I can do for now, is to leave virtual flowers and a praying child-angel graphic on Minnie's online memorial on Find A Grave, and record a memorial to her here as well.   Rest in Peace, little angel Minnie Allen.  You are not forgotten.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Great-Grandpa's Link to the Legendary Bushwacker Bill WIlson

Copyright 2011, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

  The Life and Times of Valentine "Tine" Allen

Valentine Allen was born 9 Nov 1843 in Newburg, Phelps County, Missouri. He was the son of Samuel T. Allen and Frances Hudgens (Wilson)(Malone). Great-Grandpa "Tine" Allen ran a country store, and also served as the town postmaster.  He was the father of many children by his first wife, my great-grandmother Catherine Ellen Fore.  "Tine" Allen and his wife lost at least 4 of their children in infancy and early childhood to childhood diseases, epidemics, and accidents; including their daughter Minnie Allen who succumbed to burn injuries at age seven after a terrible house fire accident. Unfortunately, such losses were not uncommon in those days. Great-Grandpa remarried at age 58 after losing his beloved wife Catherine. Valentine's second wife was Cordelia Paralee Miller Hawkins, a widow.  My great-grandparents Valentine and Catherine Allen are buried together at Allen Cemetery, in Phelps County, Missouri.

Valentine "Tine" Allen's half-brother was "Bushwacker" Bill Wilson, son of Frances Hudgens and her first husband Valentine Wilson. I have already written about Bushwacker Bill on this blog, so won't go into great detail about him again.   For those of you who may have seen the old Clint Eastwood film "The Outlaw Josey Wales", you will be familiar with the story of my Great-Grandpa's half-brother Bushwacker Bill, on whom the film's story is loosely based.  The Outlaw Josey Wales character is actually a composite of several known Bushwackers who lived in the area during the Civil War.  While it is true that some Bushwackers during the war were vicious murderers, such as the one known as "Bloody Bill Anderson"; others were regular family men who banded together to try to protect their families and properties during the War. Bushwacker Bill Wilson, my great-grandfather's half-brother, was one of the more sympathetic figures who actually became a folk hero in Missouri.   There was a book written about him by George Clinton Arther, entiitled: "Bushwacker, Missouri's Most Infamous Desperado".   The book is based on first-hand accounts of those who knew Bill Wilson.   The story goes that Bill was simply avenging the harm and atrocities that befell his family and property at the hands of renegade soldiers. Whether the "bad guys" were Union or Confederate soldiers is not entirely clear.   There was some wrong-doing on both sides during the war.   Missouri was technically a neutral state, but sympathies were dividied among families....some were for the Confederate cause, and others supported the Union cause.  It was not unusual for brothers within the same family to join up and fight on opposing sides during the Civil War. This happened within my own family tree.  I have not found a record that Tine Allen served in the military during the Civil War, though several other ancestors and relatives living in the area at the time did serve.

  Perhaps Tine Allen preferred to try to remain neutral and go about his life, operating his store and providing for his family. He would have been a young man in his early twenties during the war, having married very young at age 17 to my Great-Grandmother Catherine Ellen Fore. We are not sure whether Great-Grandpa "Tine" Allen ever rode with his half-brother and their band of Bushwackers.   Indications are that he probably did not, though there is little doubt that he probably aided and abbetted his outlaw half-brother.  There is a well-known cave in the area where legend has it that Bushwacker Bill hid out, and was brought food and supplies by various family members.   Tine Allen's store was very likely a primary source of such supplies.

Valentine "Tine" Allen, 1843- 1919

I don't have a lot of first-hand knowledge of my Great-Grandfather, Tine Allen.  He of course died long before I was born.  However, my Aunt Lona, (also now gone and dearly missed) did remember visiting her grandfather's store as a small child.  She remembered riding on the train from St Louis to Phelps and Maries Counties, Missouri to visit relatives with her mother, my paternal grandmother Susannah ("Susan") Allen Harrison. Aunt Lona told me stories of  remembering her maternal grandfather Tine Allen as being a tall, dark haired man with a long handle-bar mustache.  The highlight of those visits for her was getting to reach into the candy jars at Grandpa Tine's store and take out sweet treats.   In those days, that must have been quite a treat indeed. Aunt Lona was the original family historian in my clan.  She saved everything over the years like pack rat.  I now have copies of photos of Valentine Allen and other ancestors in my tree, thanks to her.  The originals now belong to a family member who inherited them from her as her direct descendant, and who unfortunately has little interest in genealogy or sharing those photos with others, even cousins. This partiuclar descendant seems to have inherited the "intense privacy gene" that is so prevalant among my ancestors, and which contributes to so many of the Brick Walls I encounter today in doing my genealogy research. They seem to have been intent on making it hard to trace their movements, especially in the branches of the tree prior to Missouri in the early 1800's. I wish that I had had the foresight to make better copies of the photos and records that were in my Aunt's possession while I still had access to them, however at the time I was not thinking about preserving the family history so much as just listening to my Aunt's stories.   I am one of the few descendants in my branch of the tree who takes any interest in genealogy; and my quest is to try to preserve some of those memories, photos, and stories of the past to be enjoyed by future descendants.

   Valentine Allen and Catherine Ellen (Fore) Allen

Valentine Allen's beloved wife with whom he was laid to rest was Catherine Ellen Fore, born 1843 in Kentucky; daughter of Benjamin Fore and Sabra Stogsdill. Valentine and Catherine Fore Allen had many children, including my grandmother Susannah "Susan" Allen who married my grandfather John Pettis "Pinkney" Harrison. Catherine died in 1900, leaving Valentine a widower at age 57. Valentine had two other marriages, to Cordelia Paralee Hawkins Miller and Susan Wilson, with whom he also had children. The Allens and Harrisons have deep roots in Missouri in the 1800's, and many descendants still live there today.

 Susan Allen Harrison, 1875- 1933

Above is a photo of Tine Allen's daughter, my paternal grandmother Susan Allen Harrison. I never met Susan or her father; all of those generations of my family tree had passed long before I was born.  Perhaps that is one reason I am so interested now in reconstructing the past and learning about the people who all contributed to making me the person I am today.   I often wonder what they would think about our world today, with such things as Blogs, Internet, Facebook, and cell phones.    I do know that most from those generations in my family tree were intensely private individuals, and perhaps would be horrified that I am seeking out and publishing for posterity bits and pieces of their lives today.  However, I prefer the beleive that they are pleased that I am playing a small part in making sure they are never forgotten.