April 29, 2008

Looney Creek Photos

I ran across a group of photos on flickr today that show Looney Creek and the area where Robert Looney 1692 operated a ferry, built a fort, etc.




The gentleman who posted the photos also has a website with lots of information about the Looney Family.

April 26, 2008

Cosby Cavins

I ran across this document this week at the local library...



This is the Certificate of Death for Cosby Cavins (Dad's Grandmother). It lists her parents as George Bailey and Martha Hawkins, both born in Virginia. It indicates that she died of TB on Feb. 5, 1915 at the age of 35.

The Elisha Hawkins who provided the information on the certificate and served as 'Undertaker' was probably a cousin. The certificate lists her 'Place of Burial or Removal' as Jesses Br. This would be the little cemetery that Dad, Luci, Jeff and others visited a few years ago. Dad says that both Cosby and her mother, Martha are buried there, along with several more Hawkins relatives.

JessesBr03

April 25, 2008

Looney's Ferry

One of the landmarks on the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to the Carolinas was Looney's Ferry across the James River.

It is indicated on the 1751 Fry-Jefferson map depicting 'The Great Wagon Road to Philadelphia'.



I found it referenced in Emily McMullan Williams' account of John McMullan's Trek from VA:

The wagon trains moved slowly southwest from the counties of Rockingham (formed 1778), Augusta (1745), Rockbridge (1778), through Fincastle (1772-1777) and into Botetourt (1770). Reaching Looney's Ferry was a point of both anticipation and concern. Getting the horses onto the ferry could sometimes be difficult. Would the James River be frozen over? Would they have to wait a day or two for the right conditions to cross? Robert Looney operated the ferry and inn as early as 1745. The ferry license for this crossing was granted by the Orange Court at the time the road was blazed to wagon width.
Looney's Ferry is also mentioned in an article on the Birth of the Frontier Culture at the University of Virginia website...

In 1744 William Linville's father-in-law Morgan Bryan himself settled near his daughter and her husband. According to Moravian Leonhardt Grubb, who founded Bethabara (Winston-Salem, N.C.) in 1753, Bryan and William Linville were the first to take wagons from the 'Shanidore' to the 'Etkin' [Yadkin]" in 1748. It took them three months to get there. At one point Bryan even removed the wheels of his wagon and hauled it "peacemeal" to the top of a mountain.
Bryan wasn't ferried over James River as Moravian Lenohardt Grubb was in 1753 by Manxman Robert Looney, a Quaker from Conestoga Township, Pa. who prior to 1740 took his family from the Fairfax grant and established a mill on Looney's Creek. Bryan forded the river near where Moravians forded it in 1749 to the music of wolves, and where they found "few houses and no bread." When Grubb passed through in 1753 things had changed. Not only did Looney operate a ferry at Cherry Tree Botton (Buchanan, Va.), there was grain enough for Mrs. Looney to bake bread for the Moravians. Looney's decision to move to Cherry Tree Bottom may have been influenced in part by a 1749 flood that lifted the bed in which his wife and two of their children slept, and carried it about "until they woke up."
In addition to operating the ferry our ancestor Robert Looney and his sons ran an Inn where travelers could spend the night, operated a grist mill, farmed, hunted and explored the western frontier deep into indian territory. Due to the threat of Indian attack, a fort was ordered built in 1755 around the Looney homesite. This fort was named Fort Looney and was at the junction of Looney Creek and the James River. This fort was part of a series of forts ordered built along the frontier to protect settlers and to keep the French from claiming the territory. Fort Looney was visited in 1756 by Col. George Washington, future first president of the United States.
Robert Looney and his family defended the fort during the French and Indian War. George Washington references sending troops to the fort in some of his correspondence found in the National Archives. Fort Looney was also referenced in the writings of Col. John Buchanan in his letter of June 1756 to Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie. Col Buchanan wrote: "I have ordered ten men to Looney's Fort on James River." The importance of the fort diminished as the French and Indians were defeated and other more remote forts held the line. In 1758 it was renamed Fort Fauquier in honor of the newly arrived governor of the Colony.
The Looney house and parts of the original fort continued to stand until 1914. Two archaeological excavations were conducted at the "Fort Looney" site in 1968-69. The digs produced a number of artifacts and is discussed in an article by archelogist Howard A. MacCord, Sr. in the Quarterly Bulletin of The Archeological Society of Virginia, Vol. 26, No. 2, December 1971.

...A farm road perpendicular to the river leads from the high ground south of the river valley to the river bank at the western edge of the site. A corresponding road leads north from the north bank of the river. The river between the two ends of the road is still and deep, and here was the only suitable place for miles for ferrying across the river. The present farm roads are the survivors of the "Carolina Road" along which so many pioneers moved during the mid-18th Century, and the ferry is the well-known Looney's Ferry.
Because of the ideal topography of the site and its proximity to the road and ferry site, it was almost inevitable that the site would have been settled at an early date. While the earliest history of the site is unknown, it is certain that on July 30, 1742, Mr. Robert Looney patented the site. Presumably, he also kept a tavern for lodging and feeding the travelers using his ferry and the Carolina Road.
With the growing threat of Indian attacks in 1754-55, Looney was obliged to fortify his homestead. He probably had enough men (he had 5 grown sons) at the tavern-ferry to run the fort for routine guard duty, and he could count on neighbors and travelers to augment this force if an attack came. The fort was already in existence in 1755 and was called Fort Looney. Apparently the fort was never attacked, possibly because it was too strong. In 1758 the fort at Looney's ferry was renamed Fort Faquier in honor of the newly arrived Governor of the Colony. The subsequent history of the fort is uncertain. We know that Robert Looney died in 1769, and one son (Absalom) pioneered into Tazwell County (Stoner, 1962). Looney's house continued to stand, with additions and changes until about 1914, when it was torn down. A solitary pear tree still stands as an indicator that the site was formerly a homestead. In addition, there are people in the neighborhood who can remember the house. The site is now a plowed field, and such debris from more than 175 years of occupation still litters the ground. Where the house formerly stood, the soil is filled with bricks and stones from the old foundations.
Today, the site of "Fort Looney" is found 15 miles west of Buchanan, VA, and .4 miles east of the crossing of the James River by Interstate 81. There is a historic sign on Route 11 just outside of Buchanan marking the spot. 






April 14, 2008

The Great Indian Warpath

The Great Indian Warpath — also known as the Great Indian War and Trading Path, or the Seneca Trail — was that part of the network of trails in eastern North America developed and used by Native Americans which ran through the Great Appalachian Valley.


The Great Valley, also called the Great Appalachian Valley or Great Valley Region, is one of the major landform features of eastern North America. It is a gigantic trough — a chain of valley lowlands — and the central feature of the Appalachian Mountain system. The trough stretches about 700 miles from Canada to Alabama and has been an important north-south route of travel since prehistoric times.

For white immigrants the Great Valley was a major route for settlement and commerce in the United States along the Great Wagon Road, which began in Philadelphia. In the Shenandoah Valley the road was known as the Valley Pike. The Wilderness Road branched off from the Great Wagon Road at present-day Roanoke, Virginia crossed the Cumberland Gap and led to Kentucky and Tennessee, especially the fertile Bluegrass region and Nashville Basin. Another branch at Roanoke, called the "Carolina Road" led into the Piedmont regions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Scot-Irish and German settlers traveling down the Wilderness Trail entered Botetourt County VA northeast of present day Buchanan, fording the James River at ferries located in the area. They were following the old Indian trails used for hunting and fighting. The trail followed present day US Route 11 from the Buchanan area through the eastern part of the county, exiting south of Cloverdale. Many of these travelers, seeing the fertile valleys, rolling hillsides and plentiful natural resources, settled in the region, with the first community life being documented in the 1740s. By the 1770s the population was sufficient to create a county government system. Descendants of many of these early families have remained in Botetourt County to the present day, helping to develop the business, industry and commerce that made Botetourt County a thriving community over the past two centuries.

Located near the base of Purgatory Mountain at a bend in the James River was Looney's Ferry, the earliest known ferry crossing in the region. Established around 1742, the ferry license was granted to John Patton (for whom the town of Pattonsburg was named) as a crossing point on the James River of the Wilderness Trail. The Ferry was operated by Robert Looney, who lived nearby. Near this location was established Fort Fauquier (1758), earlier referred to as Looney's Fort, that was established to protect local residents from attacks by Shawnee Indians.

SOURCES: Wikipedia and Botetourt County Tourism.

April 7, 2008

Census Data 1910

I'm still tinkering with the genealogy of our family. I've actually been able to find a lot more about Jennie's ancestors than I have about ours. I need to get with Willie one of these days and see what he has gathered.

I did run across something interesting today. Here is part of a page from the 1910 Census for Pike County, Magisterial District 8 Precinct 13. (NOTE: It will soon be a hundred years since it was written.)




It's difficult to read but the census taker has recorded the members of what he listed as family number 297. It included:
Name Relation Sex Race Age MaritalStatus
Bailey MarthaHead of Household
F
W
70
Wd
Cavins CosbyDaughter
F
W
29
Wd
Bailey AngelineGrand daughter
F
W
12
S
Bailey ArdalineGrand daughter
F
W
9
S
Bailey DeliaGrand daughter
F
W
7
S
Bailey MaryGrand daughter
F
W
5
S
Cavins RachelGrand daughter
F
W
2
S
Cavins EuniceGrand daughter
F
W
1/12
S

I can't imagine what it must have been like for Martha Bailey, 70 years old, widowed, living with her daughter, also a widow, and six grand daughters and trying to survive in rural Kentucky in 1910. I'm sure young 12 year old Angeline had her childhood cut short, having to help with all those little sisters.

Part of what I found interesting is that immediately following is family number 298 ...
Name Relation Sex Race Age Marital Status
Stalker GeorgeHead of Household
M
W
33
M1
-------- MaryWife
F
W
27
M1
-------- MalissaDaughter
F
W
13
S
-------- RissieDaughter
F
W
11
S
-------- FrankSon
M
W
10
S
-------- JaneDaughter
F
W
8
S
-------- JohnSon
M
W
7
S
-------- ClarenceSon
M
W
5
S
-------- LilburnSon
M
W
4
S
-------- LizaDaughter
F
W
2
S
-------- WalterSon
M
W
1+
S

I am embarrassed to admit that I had no idea Grandma Angeline and Grandpa John Stalker had grown up living in close proximity, if not side by side. The census doesn't indicate how far apart their two households were.

I also hadn't realized she was older than him. The ages in these census records have to be taken with a grain of salt though. Great Grandpa Joseph Looney is shown as being 25 years old in the 1880 census but, 20 years later he has aged 25 years and is recorded as being 50 in the 1900 census.






April 6, 2008

Genealogy Gems

Lately I've been playing around, looking into genealogy a little bit. There is a lot of information available on the Internet and in the local library. Most of what you find though is something like this ...

Mary Thacker b.ca. 1874 m 1894 David Coleman

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you find a little more ...

Mary Thacker was born Nov. 8, 1874 Pike, KY. Married Sept. 13, 1894, to David (Dave)Coleman. He was born July 10,1875

Every now and then you run across a real gem like this...

RileyColeman01

Mary Thacker was born Nov. 8, 1874 at Upper Pompey Creek. She was married at her parents home, on Sept. 13, 1894, to David (Dave)Coleman. He was born July 10,1875, a son of Riley Coleman and Lucy Ramey. Mary and Dave resided at Upper Pompey Creek, where they became the parents of five children. Dave supported his family by farming and logging. He and Mary attended the Primitive Baptist Church. Mary died Mar. 16, 1908 at the age of thirty-three, and was buried in the Coleman Family Cemetery at Lower Pompey Creek. When her father died in 1913, Dave paid a sum of one hundred dollars to Florina (Riney) and Bill Coleman, Elisha and Nancy Jane Thacker, Hibbard and Maggie Thacker, Isaac and Darcus Thacker, and Sophia and George Daniels for Mary's part of the estate. It was lot number three located on Upper Pompey Ck., next to the Nathaniel Coleman farm. On Nov. 20, 1914, he purchased an additional tract from Isaac and Darcus Thacker, for a sum of twenty- five dollars. Dave was remarried Sept. 30, 1909, to Eliza Blackburn, and lived until June 19, 1933. Before his death, he had requested to be buried beside Mary in the Coleman Family Cemetery, but Eliza had him buried in the Blackburn Family Cemetery on Levisa Fork. Thirty-one years later, when this area became part of the Fishtrap Reservoir, and all the bodies were taken up and relocated for reinterment, David and Mary's children had his remains placed in the Coleman Cemetery beside their mother, for his final resting place.

Ella Victoria Coleman b. Apr.24, 1896; d.Jan.30, 1974; m. Oct.31,1912 Peter Daniels b.Jan.26, 1886; d. Aug. 30, 1979. Son of Sam Daniels and Elizabeth Adkins. Ella and Peter resided at Raccoon Creek and later moved to Louisville, KY.

Riley Coleman b. Sept. 29, 1897; d. Sept. 26, 1967; m. Dec. 25, 1924 Carrie Adkins b. Sept.11, 1905; d. Oct. 16, 1993. Daughter of Hayse Adkins and Martha Justice. Riley and Carrie resided on Russell Fk. of Big Sandy River, near Daniels Creek.

Green Coleman b. Dec. 4, 1900. Died during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

George Coleman b.Oct.30,1902;d.Jan.4,l991;m.Feb. 10, 1933 Bertha Thackerb. Sept. 15,1911; d. Feb. 4, 2000. Daughter of Elisha Thacker and Anna Kendrick. George and Bertha resided at Raccoon Creek ,where they owned and operated a country store. See Index.

Anthony Coleman b. Mar. 26, 1905; d. Apr. 26, 1982; m. Sept. 16, 1926 Bessie Justice b. Nov. 8, 1905; d. Aug. 1, 1983. Daughter of Albert Justice and Dorcas Thacker. Anthony and Bessie resided at Upper Pompey Creek, and later moved to Ratliffs Creek.

The young boy in the upper right of the photo was Aunt Hula's father Riley Coleman, Patty, Randy and Sandra's grandfather. This information is from a book entitled "THACKERS OF PIKE COUNTY KENTUCKY" by Glen Adkins & Paul Chaney. It is not available on the internet, as far as I know, but can be purchased from Glen Adkins, Phone (606)432-5418. I don't know what it costs, I borrowed a copy from a friend.

April 2, 2008

Uncle Dow Chaney

Sherry - Ask Dad if this looks like his Uncle Dow Chaney?




Dad said his initials were L. D. and this is supposed to be Lorenza Dow Chaney. I'm just not sure if it is the right L. D. Chaney.

April 1, 2008

About This Site

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Diggin' Up Bones....

WHO?

The people found in the postings here will be ancestors or relatives of the families that frequent the StalkerClan. There will be quite a bit of information about the ADKINS, JUSTICE and LOONEY families because there have been books written about them. I hope to find some information on the many other families that we call relatives. A list of surnames for this site could grow quite long and may someday include BAILEY, CHARLES, CHILDERES, FARMER, HAWKINS, HERRING, JONES, MARRS, MATNEY, MULLINS, PHILLIPS, POTTER, RATLIFF, SMITH, WALKER and many more.

WHAT?

I am mostly interested in stories about our ancestors lives, where and how they lived, what they did for a living, any historic events they took part in or witnessed, their triumphs and their tragedies. I will include genealogical data when I find it and will try to give credit to the researcher who compiled it. Personally though, I am not so much interested in the date someone was born and the date he died as I am in what happened between those two dates.

WHERE?

Here, of course. I am also trying to compile separate data pages for some of the families on our family tree. I am maintaining an index to the currently available family pages at Diggin' Up Bones - Family Pages.

WHEN?

Oh, ... whenever. Whenever I find something interesting. Whenever I find the time. Actually, I would like to be able to post at least one story a week, that would allow us to do something I'll talk about in the last paragraph.

WHY?

Because I got interested in this stuff and found a lot of interesting information available on the Internet and...

NO! WHY ANOTHER WEBSITE? DON'T WE HAVE ENOUGH ALREADY?

OK, I know some of these stories would fit on the SeriouslyLooney site, in fact the first few are some I copied from there. I still want to try to get away from Zoomshare if I can though. I would like to turn the SchellShocked site over to Michelle someday, even though she seems to have gotten hooked on MySpace. I hope someday to have enough stories to be able to turn them into a book like was done with 'Remember When' and 'When Its Family'. If we can come up with about one story a week, and if Luci will someday retire and help me, we could maybe put a book together in about five years, maybe ten. Having the stories on a separate website will make that a lot easier to do.