Saturday, November 16, 2013

Surname Saturday: THORNTON- Margaret "Peggy" Kitchen Thornton Coppedge

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Margaret Kitchen Thornton Coppedge, 1805- 1886

Burial  1886

Headstone Inscription: "Margaret, wife of Geo. H. Coppedge - died Oct 8, 1886, aged 81 yrs. Adieu my companion, adieu, How sadly I bid thee farewell". - Info provided by Jean Beckham in 1993. Find A Grave Memorial# 54005698

Margaret "Peggy" Kitchen Thornton was the daughter of Thomas Thornton III and Nancy Kitchen. She was my 2x-great-grandmother on the paternal side of my tree, though my father's grandmother's line. She was born about 1805 in Louden County,Virginia, and died 8 October 1886 in Maries County, Missouri.  The Thornton lineage has been traced back to Richmond, Virginia in the late 1600's and to Yorkshire, England in the early 1600's. There is still documentation work to be done to complete and verify the lineage of this direct line of Thorntons. 

Margaret was married to George Helm Coppedge. Their daughter, Mary Jane Coppedge married John Milton Harrison- these were my paternal great-grandparents. 

Margaret's direct-line paternal ancestry includes the surnames of Thornton, Peyton, Randolph, and Ryland; her maternal ancestry includes Kitchen, Harrison, Butler, Grayson, Wiggington, and Crume. Margaret's parents were Thomas Thornton III (1781- 1848) and Nancy Kitchen (1780- 1815). 

The reference book entitled "Coppage-Coppedge Family 1542-1955", on pg 81- indicates that Margaret was the "daughter of Thomas Thornton III by his 1st wife, a Miss Kitchen, sister to the 2nd wife of Thomas Thornton II".   If accurate, this means that her mother was the sister of  Elizabeth Kitchen, 2nd (or 3rd) wife of her grandfather, and that her father had married the sister of his own father's 2nd wife. 

Margaret's maternal grandparents are believed to be William H Kitchen and Nancy Anne Harrison. Nancy Anne Harrison was a descendant of Burr Harrison III, immigrant ancestor from London, England who went to Virginia about 1664 as an early settler and member of House of Burgess. He  died in Stafford, Virginia in 1706. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Family Recipe Friday- Scalloped Potatoes and Holiday Meal Traditions

          Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, thoughts turn to the traditional holiday feast.   There is comfort in enjoying favorite family recipes at holiday time, evoking warm memories of holidays past and the people connected with those recipes. 

When I was growing up, my parents typically hosted pot-luck family gatherings at our family home in Orange County, California;  where the extended clan and assorted friends who lived in our area of Southern California would gather at our house.  My parents would usually provide the turkey and ham main courses, rolls, one or two side dishes, tea, coffee, and soda; while everyone else would bring an appetizer and a side dish or dessert to share.  Kids would be running around noisily everywhere, chasing and playing games, while the grownups would gather into two groups- the men in the living room gathered around the tv watching football; the women alternately busily fussing in the kitchen or drinking coffee around the kitchen table as dishes baked in the oven. 

As my parents aged and my siblings and I grew up and married, starting families of our own, these holiday gatherings gradually shifted from my parents' home to one of the adult children's homes.  And so this pattern continued within our own families, as it has for many others.   Today our society is so mobile that families are scattered far and wide, from coast to coast, as ours is now.  These large clan gatherings just aren't as feasible anymore.  Everyone is busy with their own lives in different states; working, going to school, pursuing outside interests, juggling different schedules; as in mine and my husband's extended families, and we rarely all can gather together anymore in one location even at holiday time. 

Since we are now empty-nester retirees, my husband and I often choose to take a vacation over the holidays and enjoy a non-traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas, free from all the hustle and bustle.  We may visit with relatives before or after the holiday, but often just enjoy "escaping" for the actual event. Sometimes we got to a beach resort in Mexico, other times we may go to Las Vegas or Laughlin, or take a cruise.  We still have family in California, mostly on my husband's side now,  and sometimes go there for the holidays.   Sometimes we just stay home to avoid inclement weather and travel hassles of holiday-traffic snarls and jammed airports.  I usually say, every year, that I am not going to bother putting up a tree or any lights or decorations this year.   I say that every year, and yet I always end up doing the tree and decorations anyway, and I do still enjoy it. 

Whether we are eating out for the holidays, or on a non-traditional vacation somewhere, or at a relative's home, or just staying home; it is a time of year that  I do still enjoy cooking a few traditional dishes myself, even for just the two of us; decorating the house a little, and getting into the festive spirit of the season. I do not and never have enjoyed hosting big gatherings or company for dinners myself at our home, and all of the work involved, so I rarely do that and prefer the "let's eat out" option if it involves entertaining guests.  I leave the big feast holiday cooking and fussing to others who do enjoy doing it, and the younger generations who have the energy for it. My ideal Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner these days is on a cruise ship, traveling to someplace warm with tropical breezes, and with fruity-tooty froo-froo drinks on the side with little umbrellas in them.   Holiday joy!

Still, I like to have the traditional foods for us at home also during the holiday season.  Aside from the traditional ham and turkey, there are side dishes that have always found their way into our holiday meals, year after year since I was a kid.  These are probably the same dishes that many others look forward to, and there is comfort in this tradition of familiar foods:   Deviled eggs, green bean casserole, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, fresh-baked rolls. One dish that never failed to grace the holiday table when I was growing up was that of home-made scalloped potatoes.  I must admit, I am not one for a lot of cooking-from-scratch these days.   There are good quality frozen prepared versions that suffice, with a lot less work involved, they just need to be popped into the oven or microwave.   But, if the mood strikes...I have been known to peel some potatoes and do a baking dish full of the homemade version. Here is a link to a good recipe, from the website "Taste of Home", for scalloped potatoes either plain or incorporating leftover ham from the holiday meal. This is very much like the traditional family recipe version I grew up with. Double or triple this recipe for a larger gathering.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour 20 min.
MAKES: 4 servings


  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 6 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fully cooked Boneless Carving Ham
  • 1 small onion, grated


  1. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, thyme and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  2. Combine potatoes, ham and onion; place half in a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Top with half of the sauce; repeat layers.
  3. Cover and bake at 375° for 65-75 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

November 2013- Being Thankful, and Looking Forward

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

I seem to have taken a few months hiatus from writing in this blog, or else posts I did write have disappeared.    Nevertheless, I am back.  We approach the holiday season of yet another year's end.  November is traditionally a time when we focus on what it is we have to be thankful for.  Facebook friends have been posting their daily "I am thankful for....." status updates.   I too, have much to be thankful for, and try to remind myself to focus on the positives and not let the irritating negatives get out of proportion.   Looking back, I cannot say that 2013  has been a spectacularly great year on a personal or economic level or for this country, but it has not been a horrid one either. Some horrid things did happen in this county and in the world in 2013, it is true....some were natural disasters, some were man-made tragedies.  These types of things do happen, it seems, every year, that affect us deeply; much as our ancestors were affected by tragedies beyond their control in their own time.  It is part of the human existence.   Loved ones are lost, babies are born, and life goes on.  Things are looking up, and I am optimistic that 2014 will bring further recovery of the U.S. economy and to the region where I live in particular, with new growth and construction once again taking place.   I will refrain from overtly-political comments since this is primarily a Genealogy blog, but will say that I believe the current administration in the White House has made some positive changes that will benefit all Americans in the long term.

Back to the subject of Genealogy:  There is a new ongoing genealogy project among my Facebook group of genealogy associates, that I intend to begin working on soon; along with many among my genea-friends who are also participating.   It is called "The Book of Me, Written by You"....the brainchild of genealogist Julie Goucher. It is intended to be a series of prompts to help genealogists and journalists everywhere take the time to sit down and write their own life stories.   We spend so much time delving into the life stories of our ancestors, to document those as much as we can for posterity, that we tend to forget that each of us has our own story to tell.  Each of us will eventually become "the ancestor" that future generations of descendants and kin will be curious about.    Who better to tell our own stories, than ourselves?   And so, I encourage each and every one who may read this Blog post, to journal about yourself.    Whether in a paper notebook, pen to paper the old-school way, or typing it into an online Blog or private journal, or recording your voice telling your story....just do it.  Record and share your life stories and experiences, before they are lost forever.  No one knows the facts and nuances, trials and tribulations, tragedies and triumhs of what really happened along your pathway in life, better than yourself.  I may be sharing the "Book of Me" prompts in future Blog posts, along with some of my responses. I have a lot of catching up to do on that project!

My hopes for the coming year include enjoying my new early-retirement status, and hopefully being able to do a little more traveling.    One or two genealogy-research trips are on the tentative agenda, including a big genealogy conference in Richmond, Virginia in 2014 that I "hope" to be able to attend.  I have a great deal of ancestry in Virginia going back many generations to colonial America, and in the Richmond area in particular. I'm greatly looking forward to that adventure. More time for socializing with friends locally is also on the agenda.  Much work remains to be done on my family tree, and more time devoted to this Blog as well.  Perhaps I will finally make that long-dreamed of genealogy trip back to Missouri to visit my roots there as well, and meet distant-cousins that I have connected with over the past few years who share my interest in genealogy and our family history. So, here is my toast to a happy and thankful Thanksgiving season, followed by a spirited Christmas and Hanukkah season, and finally to a most welcome New Year in 2014!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: LEES OF VIRGINIA Family Crest

Geneablogger's theme "Wordless Wednesday" post:   Family Crest from the "Lees of Virginia",  published in 1967 by the Society of Lees of Virginia.

Admittedly, I have trouble doing truly "wordless" blog posts on Wordless Wednesday, or any other day!  The Lee line of Virginia is in my direct ancestry on the paternal side of my tree.  Other more "wordy" articles in this blog will explore that ancestry further.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Benjamin S. Fore 1823 - 1893

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

One of my 2x-great-grandfathers is Benjamin S. Fore,  born in 1823 in Kentucky and died 16 May 1893 in Phelps County, Missouri.  His wife was Sabra "Sabie" Stogsdill, (born 1828 and died 1912). They were married 1 Aug 1842 in Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky. Their daughter, Catherine Ellen Fore, was my paternal great-grandmother who married Valentine Allen. Catherine and Valentine's daughter Susannah Allen was my paternal grandmother who married John P. Harrison.

Benjamin S. Fore is buried in Jackson Cemetery in Phelps County, Missouri near other kin.  Benjamin came to Missouri from Kentucky in a covered wagon circa 1852, with his wife and their firstborn children.   Four additional children were born in Missouri.   Their first home in Missouri was a 2-room log cabin that later became known as the Ben Fore School.

There is a memorial page for Benjamin S. Fore on the Find A Grave website at .    The above photo is from Find A Grave, and was submitted by Jan and Harold Willis in 2008.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Military Monday- Memorial Day 2013: WILLIAM THURMOND, REVOLUTIONARY WAR

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

For Military Monday- Memorial Day 2013, I have selected to blog about William Thurmond, 1745- 1800, Revolutionary War Veteran, who was my 4x-great-grandfather on the maternal side of my family tree.  He was married to Maccarina "Mackie" Norvell in 1766 in Goochland County, Virginia. The National Archives file on William Thurmond indicates that he was born in Virginia, and  enlisted as Private in the 3rd Virginia Regiment, Continental Line, American Revolutionary  War. His DAR Ancestor National # is 103874. He was promoted to Sergeant Major. Additional sources of documentation on this William Thurmond is the Douglas Register, page 307, and his Will filed in St. Anne's Parish, Albemarle County, Virginia in 1800. He received a military pension, and his heirs were granted Land Bounty Warrants in 1831 in Amherst County, Virginia on his Revolutionary War service record. 

Following are copies of documentation from his National Archives file:

Following is information from the publication: "The Thurmonds: A Study In The Genealogy and History of Philip Thurmond of Amherst County, Virginia and His Descendants". Repository: . (Philip Thurmond was a son of William Thurmond). 

Following is a copy of a page purported to be the Will of William Thurmond, filed in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1800. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday's Child: Beulah A. Giesler 1884 - 1885

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

For the Geneabloggers weekly writing prompt topic "Wednesday's Child", I am posting this photo  of the gravestone of Beulah A. Giesler, born 15 Feb 1884 and died 12 Dec 1885. She was the daughter of Hugh E Giesler (1851- 1920) and Sarah Thomas Giesler (1853- 1894).  She is buried near several other members of the extended Giesler family, at Morning View Cemetery in Bluff City, Sullivan County, Tennessee.  Her siblings included Charlie M. Giesler (1874- 1898), Walter C. Gielser (1878- 1904), and Noah Hayes Giesler (1886- 1957).  I don't know the story of baby Beulah's short life, or what caused her untimely passing at only 10 months of age.  Rest in peace, little angel Beulah, you will not be forgotten.

This precious baby Beulah, and these Gieslers, are distant cousins who connect to my family tree through Sarah Eliza Harrison born about 1819, sister of my great-great-grandfather William Harrison born 1807.  Sarah Eliza Harrison married Noah Giesler who was born in 1818 in Piney Flats, Sullivan County, Tennessee. Both the Harrison family and a branch of the Giesler family moved to Missouri circa 1825-1830. Noah is a name that repeats often in this Giesler line through several generations. The marriage of Sarah Eliza Harrison and Noah Giesler is recorded in Crawford County, Missouri in 1839.  It appears that Noah and Sarah Eliza met after their families moved to Missouri, however there is a possibility that my Harrisons and these Gieslers were neighbors in Tennessee prior to Missouri.  The Harrison surname is prominent in Sullivan County, Tennessee in the early and mid 1800's. Two of the brothers of my ancestor William Harrison (Lewis and Tyree) stated on census records that they were born in Tennessee.  My ancestor is recorded as being born in North Carolina.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Tuesday: The FRISCO Railway and my Missouri ancestors

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

My Harrison ancestors in Missouri had a long association with the FRISCO Railway in the late 1800's through the mid 1900's.   My paternal grandfather, John P. Harrison, had a lengthy career with the FRISCO, many of which were spent in the capacity of Engineer driving steam locomotives prior to his retirement in 1935 at age 70. He drove long-distance passenger trains on cross county routes to and from Missouri. He was very proud of his job, and wrote about it in his journal. What fun he must have had,  watching the scenery go by from his engineer's station in the cab of the locomotives.  I have written about my grandfather previously in this Blog- see

John had many other relatives who were employed in some capacity by the railroads in Missouri.  The railroad was in their blood.  John's own father, John Milton Harrison, had harvested trees and sold lumber from his own farm to make railroad ties for the FRISCO. John P.'s eldest son, David Essex Harrison, married the daughter of a FRISCO executive.  At least 2 of his daughters married men who worked for the railroad in St. Louis at the time of their marriages.   Many of John's nephews also had railroad jobs in various parts of Missouri.  John's youngest son, Marvin Milton Harrison (my father) worked for the railroad too for a few years, until the advent of diesel engines made the job he had been trained for (fireman on steam engines) obsolete and forced a career change and a relocation to California in the mid 1950's.  The FRISCO is no longer in existence today, having merged with another rail line after my grandfather''s retirement.

To this day, railroads are in my blood too.   From the time I was a little girl, train trips were a welcome adventure.  I have re-discovered train travel in my own "early golden" years.  One of my favorite adventures today is to hop a ride on a cross-country Superliner train, which today consists of Amtrak trains that are now government-regulated.   One of my favorite trains which services the area I live, is the Sunset Limited which travels east and west between Los Angeles and Chicago.  Another favorite is the Coast Starlight, which travels north and south along the coast between San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon.   I love nothing better than riding a long distance train, sitting in the sightseeing lounge watching the scenery go by.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Lucy "Fannie" Clark Allen 1860-1939

My maternal great-grandmother was Lucy Frances "Fannie" Clark Allen, who was born 24 June 1860 in Fulton County, Kentucky and died 24 Feb 1939. She is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Fulton County, KY; and has a memorial page that I posted for her on the Find A Grave website at memorial # 58405248. Rest in Peace, Fannie.
Fannie passed away several years before I was born. Her Kentucky Death Certificate is # 03730. She was married in 1877 to Thomas Calvin Allen, a Confederate Veteran of the Civil War. Their marriage took place in Troy, Obion County, Tennessee (which was the groom's home state) according to Lucy's deposition in her Widow's Pension application in 1912; but it was recorded in Fulton County, Kentucky (which was the bride's home state). It was the groom's 2nd marriage, but the bride's 1st marriage. Fannie was the daughter of William Calvin Clark (also a Confederate Civil War Veteran) and Harriet Angeline Gray.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Military Monday: Corporal George Helm Sr and Captain Leonard Helm, REVOLUTIONARY WAR, Father and Son.

              Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

My 4th great-grandfather George Helm Sr, and his father Leonard Helm (my 5th great-grandfather) both served as officers in the Revolutionary War from Virginia. They both relocated to Kentucky after the war.  They are ancestors on the paternal side of my family tree.
George Helm Sr. was born 22 August 1747 in Virginia, the son of Leonard Helm and Elizabeth "Betty" Calmes .  He married 1st wife Mary Frances Calmes about 1767 in Virginia,  who appears to have been a relative of his mother's (possibly his cousin). After Mary Frances died in 1783, he married 2nd wife Frances "Frankie" Coppedge (who was the sister of his daughter's husband Travis Coppedge). George was a Corporal under Captain Dunmore in the Revolutionary War. He enlisted under Captain Abe Shepherd in Colonel Rawlings Rifle Regiment from Virginia.  While living in Kentucky after the war, he served in Whitaker's Battalion, Mounted Volunteers. There is also a George Helm listed as having served in the War of 1812.  His Revolutionary War pension was approved in 1826, while he was living in Tennessee. He then returned to Lincoln County, Kentucky, where he died about 1831.  The Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots indicates he is buried at McCormack Cemetery in Lincoln Co, KY. He has a memorial page posted on the Find A grave website under memorial # 11519529.

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Leonard Helm Sr. was born about 1720 in Stafford, Virginia and died in June 1782 "of consumption or bad medicine" at Beargrass Creek near Louisville, Kentucky.  Leonard married Elizabeth "Betty" Calmes in 1746 in Frederick, Virginia. He served as a Captain in the Virginia State Line in the Revolutionary War under General George Rogers Clarke. A land bounty claim filed by his heirs 52 years after his death, was approved and concluded that he was "the only Leonard Helm on record" as having served in the Revolutionary War (file #S38021).  In 1779 he had received a commission as an Indian Agent from the State of Virginia. An article on his life and exploits was published by Fauquier Historical Society of Virginia, and is available online at   In it, Leonard Helm was described as "somewhat rugged, outspoken, abounding in wit and fun, fearless, intelligent, level-headed and trustworthy". Conversely, he was also described as "an intemperant man" who ran up large tavern bills and liked his whiskey.  Leonard died poor, and had not received payment, land or pension for his military services at the time of his death in 1782.  He died while on a trail in Kentucky, apparently acting in his capacity as Indian Agent. At the time, it had been thought that he had just vanished and was probably killed by Indians.   His widow applied for but was denied a Widow's Pension (file number R14982) because Leonard had not served until the end of the Revolutionary War (as rules for a pension required) but had accepted a commission as Indian Agent instead prior to the close of the war.  A sworn deposition of Edward Parker dated 5 Feb 1833 confirmed that Captain Leonard Helm had actually died in 1782 "of consumption or some other bilgious disease. John Jones, a nephew of Leonard's daughter Sara, confirmed this story and indicated that "bad medicine" might have contributed to Leonard's death. His burial place is unknown.  Following are pages from the Veteran's Land Bounty and Widow's Pension Application files verifying the service of Captain Leonard Helm.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Obituary Sunday: Frances "Fanny" Hudgens 1811- 1879

            Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Following is the obituary and headstone photo of my paternal 2nd-great-grandmother, Frances Hudgens (Wilson Allen Malone), who was born 6 Dec 1811 in Washington County, Kentucky and died 11 May 1879 in Phelps County, Missouri.  She is buried at Allen Cemetery in Phelps County, Missouri.  Her nicknames were "Fanny" and "Aunt Frankey". She had at least 3 husbands as she kept outliving the men she married.

Transcript of the Obituary of Mrs. Frances Malone-Source: Courtesy of Phelps County Genealogical Society, Rolla, Missouri- July 1995 Quarterly "The Rolla Herald, 15 May 1879""Frances Hudges Wilson Allen Malone, died at her residence on Little Piney, May 11th 1879. Frances, widow of the late George Malone, aged about 68 years. Mrs. Malone was married three times. The late Napoleon Wilson was her oldest son by her first marriage. Her second husband was father of V. Allen Esq., who was her only child by her second marriage. Mrs. Malone was mother on nine children, the most of whom survive her. She was the daughter of William and Susannah Hudgens, the eldest of twelve children, four of whome survived her, namely: Mrs. Nancy Bond, Mrs. Matilda Woolsey, Mrs. Martha Huskey, and Mrs. Mary A. Paulsell. It is a meloncholy pleasure to surviving friends in some way to give expression to their deep sorrow, and to pay some tribute of respect when one, who by familiar intercourse and intimate acquaintance for years, they had learned to love for her many virtues, kindly deeds and uncomplaining faithful discharge of life's duties, has passed away from earth away. Such a one in the feelings and estimation of the writer and many friends in Phelps County, was Aunt Frankie Malone. A number of years ago she embraced the Christian religion and at her death was a member of the Free Will Baptist Church. Her end was peace, and it is confidently beleived her future will be glorious. She was buried on Monday the 12th inst., near the residence of her son Esq. Allen. The regious services were conducted by the writer, J. J. Watts. " She is buried at Allen Cemetery, Phelps County, Missouri.  Source:genie-in-az (#46847723).

Mrs. Frances Malone, born in Washington Co, Ky, Dec 6th 1811, died on Little Piney, Phelps Co., May 11, 1879 aged 67 years 6 ms. and 5 ds."- Rev JJ Watts Journals. Frances Hudgens was the daughter of William Hudgens and Susannah Tucker. She was born in Kentucky but resided most of her adult life in Phelps County, Missouri. Frances was married 3 times: 1st husband Valentine Wilson, 2nd husband Samuel T Allen, 3rd husband George W Malone. Frances Hudgens Wilson Allen Malone had several children born of her three marriages. Among her children were "Bushwacker" Bill Wilson, infamous Missouri desperado during the Civil War years. Clint Eastwood portrayed the title character in a film entitled "Outlaw Josey Wales" based loosely on the life and times of Bill Wilson. Another of Frances' son's was Valentine Allen, half- brother to Bill Wilson. Frances' father, William Hudgens, was born in McMinn, Tennessee. Her mother, Susannah Tucker, was born in Ambrose, Virginia in 1792; the daughter of William Wofford Tucker and Nancy Lee. The Tucker ancestors arrived in Virginia, America in the late 1600's from Kent, England. The Lee family arrived in Virginia in the early 1600's from Worcestshire, England. Frances was also a descendant of the Penn family of Virginia; Frances' maternal great-grandmother was Frances Penn married to Ambrose Lee. Frances' ancestor George Penn was born in Sussex, England in 1571 and came to the Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, America in the early 1600's. The Penn ancestry was originally in Gloucester, England in the 1500's.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


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

Fall weather brings with it sights and sounds that I enjoy, including Oktoberfest ethnic festivals to celebrate our Germanic heritage and share it with others. On my list for “fun” activities in the coming month will be to attend at least one local Oktoberfest in my area.  I’m looking forward to sampling some grilled bratwurst with mustard and kraut, munching on a huge soft pretzel washed down with a german beer, and listening to some lively folk music while watching the colorfully costumed dancers perform the polka.

Meantime, on this Wonderful Wistful Wednesday morning, September 28, 2011, I am going to write about my maternal Kreider ancestors from Germany and Switzerland.


My maternal 5th-great-grandfather John Michael Kreider was born in Germany about 1715, and immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship “Samuel” in 1732. He was about age 17 when he arrived in Philadelphia.   He came with other members of his extended family, possibly traveling with an uncle while his parents remained in Germany for a few more years.  The Kreiders came from the area known as the Pallatine Province in Germany. John Michael Kreider is the progenitor immigrant ancestor of this family lineage in America, who came to Pennsylvania to begin a new life before the American Revolution.  He is the first in my line of Keriders to produce heirs born in the land that would become the independent nation of America.  His descendants participated in the Revolutionary War to help create the America that we all know and love today.

John Michael Kreider married Catherine Truseyen.  John, or “Johann” as his name appears in some records, became a Blacksmith and owner of a Grist Mill as a young man in Philadelphia.  In 1753 his name appears in land records as having purchased 100 acres in Upper Salford, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. That same year, his name appears in church records at Indian Field Lutheran Church, having attended a church supper with 2 female servants in his employ. In 1758 he is listed in records as a Road Overseer on a jury to help lay out a road in Philadelphia starting near Bucks County line and Brenner’s Plantation. His WILL was signed on July 7, 1761 in Hatfield Township, Philadelphia, PA. The Will was proved on Aug 1, 1761; naming his “loving wife Catherine” and children John, Jacob, Abraham, Daniel, Catherine, Magdelena, and David. Son Jacob was mentioned as "absconded, but if happens to return will receive 50 pounds, daughters Catherine and Magdalena and youngest son David to receive 100 pounds after they attain the age of 18".


My 6th-great-grandfather was Hans Jacob Kreider, father of the above John Michael Kreider.   He was born about 1695 in Germany. He settled in Strasser, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania circa 1740-1750.  He married Mary Barbara Christen, and died in Lancaster County, PA in 1768 at age 73. Some descendants of this line of Kreiders remained in the Lancaster County area for several more generations, while other moved to Virginia and then farther westward in the 1800’s. 

JACOB KREIDER circa 1667- 1745

My 7th-great-grandfather, father of the above Hans Jacob Kreider,  was Jacob Kreider, born about 1667 in Bern, Switzerland. He married Barbara Schenk about 1690 In Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, where he died in 1745 at about age 78. This branch of the family that remained in Germany while the sons and grandsons immigrated to Pennsylvania in America.

HANS KREIDER  1630-1705

My 8th great-grandfather, father of the above Jacob Kreider,  was Hans Greider (Kreider) who was born in Germany about 1630 and died in Switzerland about 1705.  He was married to Anna Schudin.

I will write future blog entries going into a little more biographical and historical detail about some of my Kreider ancestors, as I continue my research on them to learn a little more about their lives and experiences.  I am proud to include my German and Swiss roots into my typically American melting-pot genetic heritage. 

For further background information on the Germanic cultures and the origins of the polka dance, various online sources are available including Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, at, the polka dance originated in Bohemia as a dance performed by farm peasants.  It gained popularity as a ballroom dance in Prague in 1835, and was called the “Pulka” quick step. From there is spread across Europe, and was noted in Vienna by 1839 and to Paris by 1840.  Immigrants seeking a new life in America brought their homeland customs and traditions, including the Polka dance, with them to their new homes. In North American the "Polish-style polka," has roots Chicago, while the "Dutchmen-style" has roots in the American Midwest. “Conjunto-style" polkas have roots in northern Mexico and Texas, and are also called "Norteno".

Wikipedia defines the term Germanic, as being applicable to ethnic populations with roots in North Western Europe: including the Scandanavians (Danes, Swedes, Norweigians, Icelanders, and Faroe Islanders), Germans, Austrians, Swiss, Dutch, Flemish, and English).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

William Harrison (1807-1896) and his bride Nancy Shepherd Harrison (1815-1900)

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Above are photos of my great-great-grandparents, William M Harrison and Nancy Shepherd Harrison, taken in their late middle-aged years or early "senior" years. There are no known portraits in existence of them in their younger years. They were married on 24 November 1834.  Their marriage is recorded in Greene County, Missouri.....however it is not known if they ever lived there.   They settled in Maries County, Missouri. Not a lot is known about their roots prior to the time period when they settled in Missouri as newlyweds.   Nancy Shepherd's family was from Kentucky.   Her parents were John William Shepherd and Mary Polly Clayton Shepherd, of  Shelby and Mason County, Kentucky.

William's family is more of a mystery.    Generations of descendants have remained mystified as to the origins of this line of the Harrison clan, despite recent DNA testing of descendants (circa 2012 and 2013). An old  family bible was purported to be in existence which stated that William was born in a place called "Sura", North Carolina, about 1807, near the headwaters of the Dan River. William and Nancy's photos and other heirlooms were recently discovered to be in the possession of a female descendant of this line.   It is this distant cousin who provided the above photos of these ancestors, as well as a copy of a page taken from what we believe may have been the fabled family bible (see below). The page came out of a worn book that had been referred to as "Nancy's bible", and had been handed down through the generations to this descendant.
Unfortunately, the top left corner of the page is torn off, which would have indicated the county of William's birth.    Some descendant's have interpreted the often-quoted "Sura" as referring to Surry County.   However, my research has led me to believe that it referred to a settlement known as Suaratown.   This was a historic settlement near the ancient Saura Mountains in North Carolina, near the Dan River. In the 1700's and early 1800's, there was an Upper Sauratown and a Lower Sauratown, located approximately 2 miles south of what became known as Leakesville, and is the present-day town of Eden, in Rockingham County, North Carolina (at one period it was part of Stokes County). It also not far from the town of Walnut Cove.  The following information can be found on the Eden Chamber of Commerce website: 

Source:   Eden Chamber of Commerce
"Eden was so named by William Byrd in 1728 when he led a survey party seeking to establish the boundary line between North Carolina and Virginia.  Byrd called the area "Land of Eden" because of its beauty.  He had his own strong-minded ideas for its use: tillage; grazing; the growing of hemp, flax, cotton, grapes, peaches, apples and rice; and the cultivation of raw silk through the production of white mulberry trees for the feeding of silk worms. Eden, originally three townships known as Leaksville, Spray and Draper, was one of the first cities to be established in the Piedmont area of North Carolina as an economic center.  Here the Piedmont's textile boom began with the establishment in 1837 of the Leaksville Cotton Mill - Morehead's "Factory," it was called - by John Motley Morehead who was to be a two-term governor of the state from 1841 to 1845."
The above historical marker can be found on US 311 at Dan River bridge northeast of Walnut Cove, North Carolina.   It marks the site of part of the old historical settlement of Sauratown, which was originally inhabited by the Saura Indians, and later by American pioneer settlers.   With changing territorial boundaries over the decades, this region was at varying times considered part of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It may have even at one point been part of what was referred to as the early Kentucky territory. Settlers in the remote mountain regions often were isolated from communication with the rest of the country and lived in assumption that they lived in one territory or state, even after it had officially become part of another territory or state.    This could account for the varying responses to "birth place" give by William Harrison and his brothers Lewis and Tyree Harrison to census takers over the years.    While William appears to have consistently referred to his birthplace as being in North Carolina, his brothers sometimes indicated they were born in either Tennessee, Virginia, or Kentucky.    It is possible the family moved around a lot, but is more plausible that they were simply confused as the official name of the territory the family lived in at the time of their birth's.  DNA testing has connected our line of Harrison to Lineage # 1 on the Harrison DNA Patriarch's Study website, with roots in North Carolina and Virginia.  We are line H206 in that study. .  As yet, we have still been unable to identify the parents of William, Lewis, and Tyree Harrison and their sisters.  They remain known only as the mysterious "Widow Harrison" and possibly a William Harrison Sr.  Research continues on this Brick Wall in our tree. 

William and Nancy Shepherd Harrison are buried at Bowles Chapel Cemetery in Maries County, Missouri.  They share a headstone, with William's inscription on one side and Nancy's on the other. 
Memorial pages can be found for them on the Find A Grave website, with links to other family members. ( William's is Find A Grave Memorial# 53273047.  Nancy's is Find A Grave Memorial# 40376051).

William Harrison's Farm: Finding The Original Homestead Of My Great-Great-Grandfather

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

The above photos are recent pictures (taken April 2013) of some of the original farm land owned by my great-great-grandfather William Harrison, circa 1853 to 1896 in Maries County, Missouri.  The photos were taken by my distant cousin, T. Cadenbach, who shares some Harrison ancestry with me and still lives in the general vicinity of our Missouri roots.

William Harrison's Land Patent:

 In 1853,  my ancestor William patented 40 acres in Section 20, Township 39-N, Range 7-W, 5th Meridian, Maries County, Missouri.  He later added to this land, and his brothers Lewis and Tyree Harrison owned adjacent farm lands and acreage.  With the help of a plotting tool utilized through Google Earth, and the legal description coordinates from the original land deeds, we were able to pinpoint the exact location of the original farms of these three Harrison brothers, as shown below. 
My cousin has recently met the current owner's of my ancestor's original acreage, who gave their permission for photos and further exploration.   The acreage is kept in immaculate condition by the current owners, and is still undeveloped rural farm-ranch acreage, much as it was back in my ancestor's time. The difference would be that the land is now far less forested.  Though many beautiful trees do remain, in my ancestor's era most forested acreage was cleared for planting of crops,  as well as later to sell the wood for railroad ties to the Frisco Railway. There is a large modern home now inhabited by the current owners.  However, remnants of historic buildings and foundations still remain, to be further explored and documented.  One of the brothers of my ancestor, Lewis Harrison, deeded part of his land that encompassed the Harrison family cemetery for the formation of what is now known as Rock Spring Cemetery. It is there that many of our Harrison ancestors and kin are buried.  We believe it may be the final resting place of our mysterious Brick Wall ancestor, the "Widow" Harrison and possibly her husband (parents of William, Lewis, and Tyree Harrison and their sisters) who may rest there in now unmarked graves.

Below is William's farm is it looks today (2013):
Below is William's farm, the only known photo of the old original old farmhouse, taken circa 1883.

Marker for a Great-Grandmother: Mary Jane Coppedge Harrison 1840 - 1923

Copyright 2013, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Mary Jane Coppedge Harrison 1840 - 1923 
We don't know if my paternal great-grandmother ever had a marker for her gravesite, or if she may have originally had some sort of wooden or stone marker that has long since deteriorated into oblivion.  But, at long last, this ancestor in my tree has a legible headstone to mark her final resting place next to her husband, John Milton Harrison, Civil War Veteran.  They were my paternal great-grandparents, long passed before I was born.
Mary Jane Coppedge Harrison (1840 - 1923) and John Milton Harrison (1836 - 1899) are both buried at Dillon Cemetery in Phelps County, Missouri. Mary Jane also has a memorial page on ,  Find A Grave Memorial# 53272446 . She was the daughter of George Helm Coppedge and Margaret "Peggy" Kitchen Thornton Coppedge. She was the granddaughter of Travis Coppedge and Elizabeth Helm Coppedge, and Thomas Thornton III and Nancy Kitchen Thornton. Her great-grandparents were Moses Aaron Coppedge and Mary Jane Catlett Coppedge, George Helm and Mary Frances Calmes Helm, Thomas Thornton II and Lucinda Waters Thornton, and (possibly) William Harrison Kitchen and Nancy Anne Harrison Kitchen. Among her great-great-grandparents were Charles Coppedge and Lucy Sarah Lunsford Coppedge, John Catlett and Mary Ann Grayson Coppedge, Captain Leonard Helm (Revolutionary War) and Elizabeth Calmes Helm, Thomas Thornton I and Lettice Peyton Thornton, and Thomas Harrison V and Mary Ann Butler Harrison.  It appears, thus, that Mary Jane was a Harrison descendant herself as well as marrying a Harrison, her distant cousin several generations removed. I doubt that she even realized there was a chance that they were distant cousins.
The cemetery where May Jane and John Milton Harrison are buried is on private property in Phelps County, Missouri. It is a small country cemetery that is well-maintained by the current owner of the property. For generations, John Milton Harrison had an original Civil War Veteran's headstone that was gradually deteriorating from age and exposure to the elements, but there was no visible marker for his wife who was laid to rest beside him.  At the time of Mary Jane's passing, her husband had already been gone for a few years. Mary Jane died as a resident of the Soldiers Home hospital-nursing home in St. James, Missouri.   She had been placed there for long-term care after being found incapacitated by a local court. This appears to have transpired when her senility became too much for her caretaker daughter, Georgia Ann Harrison Finn, to deal with. We may surmise that she may have been afflicted with something akin to Alzheimers disease as we know it today. As a tragic side note, George Ann Harrison Finn died of a heat stroke or heart attack while walking to visit her mother in the Soldier's Home on one hot summer day. Mary Jane passed away shortly thereafter.   We can only guess that financial constraints may have been a reason that no individual permanent marker was placed on Mary Jane's grave. The death certificate confirms that she is buried at Dillon Cemetery.
In 2012, with the assistance of my 4th-cousin on the Harrison side of my tree who lives in Phelps County, Missouri; we were able to get a new headstone placed for John Milton Harrison (see above photo).   His original headstone had deteriorated beyond repair and was no longer legible due to being covered with algae, mold, and fungus.    Recently, in 2013 we were able to set a new marker in place for his wife, Mary Jane, as well.   Their markers now stand side by side, as their souls rest for all eternity.