Saturday, August 30, 2008

James Lonnie Webb

James Lonnie Webb was born March, 1931, in Glenmary, Scott County, Tennessee. He was the only son of John Henry Webb and Virgie Belle Grimes, the middle child. The Webbs moved to Ludlow, Kentucky shortly after Buddy was born. Although he was named after his parents' brothers, his sister called him Buddy, and that's what stuck.
Buddy lettered in varsity football, but he wasn't a particularly great student in school. He graduated from Ludlow High School in 1950, and shortly thereafter, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Reeves. He joined the U.S. Marine Corp right after high school and served his country in the Korean conflict.
Buddy and Dorothy had three children; Steve, Jeff and Rhonda. After Buddy got out of the Marines, the family settled in their hometown of Ludlow, Kentucky. Buddy took a job on the N&W Railroad where he worked until he retired some thirty years later, true to his railroading heritage.
Buddy was a member of the First Baptist Church of Ludlow. He was a very well read man and loved a great debate. Sometimes he would take a position just to get everybody riled up, and then he'd walk away laughing. He was always something of a prankster.
Following a tornado that damaged his sister's house in 1972, Buddy was the first person on the scene. He was the first person the following morning to start with the clean-up. He remained close to both his sisters, Reba and Shelba.
Buddy was my uncle and in many ways, my second father. He died from complications that followed a stroke on April 6, 2008. He is interred in the Hebron Lutheran Church Cemetery, Hebron, Kentucky.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sam Dodson

Sam Dodson was my great-great grandfather. He was born in White County, Tennessee, June 2, 1831. He was married twice, the second time to Emily Bolin. Together they produced my grandmother, Belle.
Sam is the son of Jesse Dodson of White County. The Dodson clan goes back to the Jamestown Settlement, or so legend has it. Actually, it does go back deep into the foundation of Virginia, but much has not been documented.
Another such legend is that Sam was 3/4 Cherokee. From 1895 until 1903, Sam ran a boarding house in what was Oklahoma (Indian) Territory. My grandmother, Belle, spoke often about her days living next to "the reservation," and it was there that she met her first husband, Lonnie Grimes. However, at this point, our Cherokee heritage has not been documented. It isn't hard to imagine it, though, when one looks at his deep set dark eyes and enormously high cheekbones.
To date, we have not found any documentation as to where Sam was during the Civil War, although, he would have been of age to have served. Sam had a son, Frank, from a previous marriage, and Belle and Frank were close until his death in the 1970s. Emily Bolin Dodson raised her children in the Baptist tradition. It is not known whether Sam Dodson had any tradition of religion. Sam Dodson died on June 22, 1908 and is buried in the Bon Air Cemetery, White County, Tennessee.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Aunt Lucy!

This is a picture of Aunt Lucy and Aunt Annie. Lucy is on the left and Annie is on the right. It's amazing how these faces keep repeating themselves. I have two cousins, one who is spitting image of Lucy and the other, Annie. My mom looks exactly like Annie.
They are great-aunts on my mother's side, sisters to my grandfather, John Henry Webb. I think every family in the south has an Aunt Lucy! Lucy was born March 17, 1906 in Glenmary, Tennessee. She died on May 10, 1978 in Holiday, Florida.
Aunt Lucy was a character! She could do anything. She sewed beautiful clothing. She could knit and crochet and was an avid quilter. I have some beautiful quilts that she made. I don't know anything about quilts, except that they are beautiful.
Lucy married Fred Bieber in 1937. Fred was a widower and 13 years her senior. Lucy had never been married. Fred was the perfect uncle! He was a talented painter, and in his later years, he made jewelery. He used to make necklaces and earrings our of sea shells. I have so many of them in my jewelery box, but none of the earrings are for pierced ears.
Lucy moved to Northern Kentucky in the 1930s with her mom and dad. It was there that she met Fred. They lived in Erlanger, Kentucky, where Lucy raised chickens. Legend has it that she supplied several restaurants with fresh chickens. She loved dogs and hated cats, a trait that I did not inherit. (I love cats.) The Biebers moved to Florida in 1955.
We visited Lucy's house every summer. My mother and I took the train from Union Station in Cincinnati to Columbia, South Carolina. My aunt Shelba would meet us at the station and we'd spend a week at her house in Charleston. Then my dad would come down and we drove down to Tampa and onto Lucy's house in Plant City. Lucy would have supper waiting, and she always had watermelon! That was the main thing.
I didn't see as much of Aunt Lucy in her later years after I got up into high school. She died when I was in college, and I didn't get to go to her funeral. She left me a ring that I wear on my right hand and will someday pass down to one of her great-great nieces. Lucy is interred beside Fred in Hillsborough Gardens in Brandon, Florida.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wealth Is In the Spirit

It has occurred to me on several occassions that Belle Dodson Grimes McCloud Cole may never have realized how impoverished her family truly was. If ever there was a spirit filled with love, grace and joy, it was Belle.
You can see the little ramshackeled shack where she lived. Notice the windows had no glass! This was in Cumberland County, Tennessee; Winters do not pass over Crossville.
However, there was a wood stove in the middle of her living room and in the winter time, it provided just enough warmth. The stove in the kitchen was archaic, and used wood in its belly to heat the top. The wood stove in the living room was used for baking pies or cakes. Cornbread was usually fried in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove. If you got baked cornbread, you were very special company.
The bed linens were heavy cotton; the quilts were all handmade by Belle or her mother, Emily. The blankets were made from the wool of a neighbor's sheep. The shaving stand in the bedroom was where a person bathed for every day. On Saturday nights, the boys would carry enough water from the well so everyone could take a bath in a tub that was hidden away for the rest of the week.
The well water was ladened with iron and turned everything yellow. It tasted of sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs. It tainted nearly everything that came in contact with it, everything except her food. For some reason, her pinto beans were always mountain perfect, no doubt from all the salt and pure lard. The iced tea was loaded with sugar to camoflage the sulfur. Bottled cokes were usually on hand.
She did have electricity, because she had a Zenith console television in the corner of her living room. One had to look around the stove to see it, but it didn't matter because it was never turned on. There was a huge picture of her youngest daughter, Rilda Dean, hanging over it. Rilda was beautiful, and Belle was immensely proud of her.
The inside of Belle's house was always spotless clean. She swept her house daily and dusted habitually. Dishes were always washed and put away immediately following a meal. Clothes were always clean. The smell of clothes drying on the clothesline in the noonday sun could make one forget the outhouse which was at least 50 yards away from the house, but in the summer time, when the wind blew just right, sittin' on the front porch, one could get a wiff of it. It stunk to high Heaven! It was made of pine with three ports, two tall and one small.
Belle loved children, and there were always plenty around. From three marriages, Belle had five children, twelve grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren. She loved being around the children, and she would coddle and feed them. She'd laugh out loud, and when there was music, she would dance a jig. Literally, it was a jig, something never seen on Dancing With the Stars.
When Belle was 90, she moved into Crossville's City Limits, into a house that her son, Hubert, owned, not far from the hospital. It was the first time in her life that she had hot and cold running water, which meant an indoor bathroom. She left the farm and her little ramshackeled shack with her cornfields, chicken coop and outhouse; and she traded it for the modern conveniences of an electric stove and windows with glass.
If Belle knew how poor she was, it never showed. If she knew there was no money, her grandchildren who stayed with her in the summer time never knew it. We ate more than our share. We went to church on Sundays. We played in the cornfields and ran through the house with abandon. We used the outhouse and complained, but we still used it.
Grandma Virgie was Belle's first born, and she rarely spoke of her early life in Tennesee. She never wanted to go back and cried her eyes out when I moved to Nashville. Her memories of abject poverty stuck in her mind like peanut butter on a horse's tongue. When those memories surfaced, it took genuine fortitude for her to swallow them. She knew poverty. Virgie understood how hard she had worked to escape it, and Virgie always feared having to back.
Yet, she did go back every summer, often with me in tow. When I visited Great-Grandma Belle, I always slept with Grandma Virgie. When we were going off to sleep, Grandma would ask, "Did you have fun today?" For me, going to Belle's was an adventure. I loved riding the pony, chasing the chickens and running back and forth to the outhouse. I loved pumping water from the well and carrying it into the house. I loved sleeping in a bedroom where the windows were completely opened.
I didn't know Grandma Belle was so poor. It wasn't until she died that I really understood that. She didn't represent povery for me. She represented an adventure. Now, in my memories, she represents a very wealthy spirit. When she met the Lord, she knew that she had lived a very full life, measured by the love she had in her heart. She had children who had children, and all the children loved her. What's so poor about that?

The Future That Was?

Do you have one of these in your town? This little machine has its home inside of Dean's Pharmacy in the heart of Brooksville, Kentucky. For a quarter, you can get a character reading and at the same time find out about your future.
I haven't dropped my quarter into it. What if it says I don't have any character? That wouldn't be good.
I don't know how old this machine is, and neither does the pharmacist. It was here before he took over the store, and he just kept it, probably because he didn't know what else to do with it. It'll probably be in the building for another 85 years. Things change very slowly in Bracken County, Kentucky, USA.

Knowing that, I wonder if this little machine ever predicted the end of the Cold War, or the Beijing Olympics? I wonder what the future was that it predicted? I wonder... but I'm really afraid to ask.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Aunt Annie & Uncle Doc

Aunt Annie was born in 1908 and was the youngest daughter of John "Spoony" Webb and Sarah Hamby. She was the second to the last baby, born when Sarah was 43. That may not sound very old, considering women are now having babies well into their late forties. However, Sarah still had one to go!
Annie married Doc Beatty, but I have not confirmed the year yet. They married in Glenmary, and Doc was older than she by twelve years.
Family legend has it that Uncle Doc was big into the KKK, but he also considered himself a devout Southern Baptist. He attended church on a regular basis, using a mule and carriage to often take the family over a rising creek and down the mountain to get there. Now, I am sure the latter tale is true, because my mother often accompanied them in that carriage. However, I'm not sure I could ever find tangible proof that Uncle Doc was in the KKK; I thought that was a secret society.
This brings me to the point of this post: When you find out something about a family member that is this atrocious, do you hit it head on, as I just did? Or do you sweep it under a rug and look for evidence of his life elsewhere?
From what I've gleaned from family members, Uncle Doc is sort of a legend unto himself. He was the sheriff of Scott County at one time, which mean he had been sworn to uphold the law. Does that correlate to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan; or was that a normal occurrence for that part of the country? Oh my God! Did I just ask if that was normal? I hate it when historians make allowances for bad behavior by saying, "that was the way it was at the time." Have I now just had to confront my worst fear by uncovering that which I would prefer not to know?
Uncle Doc died in May, 1958, the same month I was born. Aunt Annie came to stay with us for a while when I was very little. I remember her as being very gentle, and I think I was very much a brat for her. Annie suffered from dementia in her later life. She was found hiding under the church steps, homeless, and a parishioner took her in and gave her a room. It's the family's understanding that Annie lived out her days here in the care of a stranger.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At Home in Glenmary

At first I thought this picture was taken around the turn of the century because of the dress that my great-grandmother, Sarah, is wearing. However, the younger daughter in this picture is my great-aunt, Lucy, who was born in 1906; and she appears to be about ten in this picture. Thus, I'd say it was taken around 1916.
I love this picture because this is the only picture I have found that shows Grandma Webb at a relatively young age. Since she was born in 1865, if this was taken in or around 1916, she and Grandpa (John "Spoony" Webb,) both, would have been 50 (ish.) Standing on the porch above and behind Spoony and Sarah are my great-aunt Laura and my great-aunt Lucy.
The back of this photograph says, "At Home in Glenmary," so it's safe to assume it was taken at the old home place. One can see the knots in the old chestnut logs, used to build the house. I would love to have the rocking chair and can visualize my great-grandfather sitting in it and looking out across the land.
The Webb farm, in Tennessee, was in the family for nearly a hundred years. It is the same property that John and Nancy Webb settled in what was Roane County. Then Willis, my ggg-grandfather, built his house on the farm. By that time, Morgan County came into being. When John "Spoony" Webb married Sarah Hamby, they moved in with Willis and Margaret. Willis died in 1890, and Margaret remained in the family home until her death in 1912.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Brenda Jean & Tom

I don't know why my dad called Brenda "Jeanie;" he just did. Jeanie is my first cousin, the daughter of my dad's sister, Thelma. She is a little older than I am but not by much.
I remember when I was in grade school, Jeanie came out to my house and helped me with my algebra homework. A lot of the answers were wrong. Whatever! So math wasn't her strong suit either.
I also recall her and her brother, Al, throwing darts with me and playing with me. Al used to call me brat all the time and sometimes still does, but Jeanie always took up for me. If I was a brat, she'd never tell on me. Jeanie gave me a hamster once. It died of old age.
Jeanie is married to Tom. He's a great guy, smart and soft-spoken. He teaches Sunday School, and they're both devout Christians. They love cats and have two beautiful black "Halloween" cats. They also have a son, Todd, who is married to Mindy. Jasmine is a beautiful little granddaughter.
Jeanie and I may have the most in common of all the Goff cousins. We have many of the same afflictions, bad kidneys, arthritis, fibromyalgia. We can talk for hours laughing - that's right! laughing - about our pain. Nobody wants to hear us complain. God has been good to both of us, and we have a huge family that loves us. I'm thankful Jeanie is in my life though.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My First Pet

I don't think I was two years old yet, but I remember my first cat. My dad brought it home from the railroad; he had it under his coat. He pulled it out and held it up, and it was the neatest thing I'd seen up to that point. That started my love affair with the cat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All Aboard!

My family is a railroad family. The railroad is "in the blood," so to speak, on both maternal and paternal sides of my family.
My mother's parents moved to Northern Kentucky for the railroad. My father's parents moved to Northern Kentucky for the railroad. My uncles worked for the railroad, and I have cousins who work for the railroad.
My grandpa Goff was a foreman on the Southern Railroad. My grandpa Webb was a yardman on the Southern Railroad. My father was a pipe fitter for the Southern and then the B&O Railroad, which eventually became the Chessie System, which eventually became CSX. My uncle, Buddy, was a yardman for the N&W Railroad, which later became part of Conrail. My cousin works for CSX in Jacksonville, Florida.
When my father retired from the railroad, he began building an N-gauge model railroad. It takes up half of my mom's basement! We don't know what to do with it. My dad loved the railroad. He used to buy video tapes of railroad history. I used to tease him that the train wasn't really moving; it was really the backdrop. He'd get really mad.
Many of my dad's friends were also railroaders, and they often travelled together to visit railroad museums and displays. Whenever I see a train, I think about my family - a true railroad family in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mary Ellen Stephens

Mary Ellen Stephens was born on the 11th of June, 1861, the first child of Andrew Jackson Stephens and Susan Smiley of Pulaski County, Kentucky. Mary Ellen is my great-grandmother on my father's side. Her son was my grandfather, Andrew Montgomery Goff.
The Stephens family is an interesting one to study, because the Stephens and the Smileys appear to be so different. Susan's father was a Baptist preacher, Eliphalet Smiley. Her mother, Eleanor (nee Holmes,) must have been the classic preacher's wife, moving with him from Virginia to Kentucky to plant churches and spread the Gospel.
Andrew's father, Ebenezer Stephens, however, was entirely different. Ebenezer apparently couldn't be without a wife. He married often and always younger. On his deathbed, Ebenezer sent a letter to the Justice Of the Peace to hurry on to his house so they could get the marriage on with, because he was too tired to make the trek into town. I'm not entirely sure yet who Andrew's mother is. I'm still working on that one.
Andrew, however, by all indications was a strict disciplinarian with the children who came after Mary Ellen; however, the war would take him away the following year, and he would not return to Somerset until the Civil War was over. By that time, his one and only child, Mary Ellen, would have been five years old. From that point on, family lore has it that Mary Ellen was demonstrably spoiled.
Mary Ellen was married a first time to a man from New Jersey, an apparent travelling salesman. This was a shotgun wedding, but I have not been able to document what exactly happened to her son. I do believe that Andrew and Susan reared him but as yet cannot prove it. The family is also not sure what happened to her husband. She left the state for awhile, but she came back and married again. That marriage ended in divorce.
Mary Ellen married my great-grandfather, Richard Goff, in 1891. She gave birth to Andrew Montgomery on June 28, 1892 and Icy May in 1984. I remember my grandfather talking about his mother. His father, Richard, died on November 23, 1906, when he was 14. Mary Ellen moved back in with Andrew and Susan. Andrew played the fiddle, and he's the one who taught my grandfather to play. They were very poor, and that was their only form of entertainment.
At some point, Mary Ellen started taking her children to church at Pittman Creek Baptist Church. The lived in a little patch of dirt called Strawberry, Kentucky. When Andrew turned 16, he got work on the barges moving on the Cumberland River. Icy married Colonel Heath in 1910. Andrew married Nellie Hughes on April 29, 1913. I know from my father's recollection that Mary Ellen became ill in the fall of 1917 and died on January 3, 1918.
I have only superficial documentation of her death, at this point, but she is interred in Love's Cemetery next to her mother and father. However, this is a detail that puzzles me. The only reason I can think of why she isn't buried along side of her husband is that he is buried along side of his first wife. This would be reasonable if we knew that Richard's first wife, Dicey, had died and was buried in Rushbranch Cemetery. This throws a wrench into the idea that Dicey divorced Richard and moved to Iowa. Regardless, Mary Ellen is interred in Love's, and the name on her tombstone says, Stephens, not Goff. I can only suppose that since her mother outlived her, Susan put her name on the stone, not thinking it should have said Goff. I can't really be sure until I find more documentation. The last time I visited Love's Cemetery, however, Mary Ellen's tombstone had been damaged by a falling tree. Sadly, I'm certain it has not been repaired.
Mary Ellen, by all indications, was a head strong woman with a mind of her own. Andrew and Susan spoiled her, and she probably spent more time that most building her Christian testimony. Legend has it that she was musical like her father and son, and she could also read and write. I can also see that Mary Ellen is where Dad got his square jaw and ears that stick out at the top. I can't wait to meet her someday soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

That DNA Thing

I'm a little blogging challenged today in that I could not seem to get three pictures into one post. I'd go to move one around and then lose it. When you get past 45 it happens.
Anyway, the point I was going to make in one post is this: That DNA thing sure is something, isn't it? I was looking at these pictures and was suddenly shocked to see the face that kept repeating itself.
I never knew my great-grandfather, and I was four when my grandfather died. I do remember him. He sat in what seemed like a big comfy chair by the door of grandma's living room. Grandma kept magazines inside the footstool that went with the chair. We called him Pop! Whenever I would run in the door and try to run past his chair, he would always grab me and kiss my face. He'd turn me upside down, and I remember laughing and screaming.
Uncle Buddy was a wonderful uncle. He would always talk politics or history with me, and he never ever made feel bad if I disagreed with him, unlike a couple of his kids. I always knew he cared deeply for my mom and her family. Our families always spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together, and when I was younger, we would always try to get together several times during the summer. I always felt close to his children; his daughter, Rhonda, was the matron of honor at my wedding. I would post a picture of Steve, Buddy's oldest son, but I haven't asked him for permission yet. That Webb face continues to repeat itself.
That DNA thing surely is amazing.


John "Spoony" Webb, father to John Henry Webb, grandfather to Buddy Webb.

John Henry Webb

Uncle Buddy

James Lonnie (Buddy) Webb, son of John Henry Webb.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Where Is Dicey?

My great-grandfather, Richard Goff, was born in 1855, the only surviving child of William Monty Goff and Rebecca Gover. Rebecca died in 1857, five days before her infant son, Samuel died. Rebecca's death certificate says that she died of a cold, but since she died five days after Samuel's birth, in today's vernacular, we might say that she died of complications from childbirth. Rebecca is presumably buried in the Gover cemetery outside of Somerset, Kentucky. However, there is no marker and no way to pin point where she is interred.
Richard was two when William married Lucinda Cash, and from all indications from family members, he grew up a healthy, happy person. Richard married Dicey sometime around 1872; he would have been 17. They had five children, Barbara Ann, b. 1874, Mary (Mollie,) b. 1876, William G. (Willie,) b. 1877, Rebecca, b. 1880 and Oscar Eli, b. 1882. The 1880 U.S. Census, shows Richard as head of household, with wife, Dicey, and four children. The 1890 Census shows Richard with five children. Richard married Mary Ellen Stephens in 1891. Mary Ellen gave birth to Andrew Montgomery in 1892, and Icy in 1894.
The burning question is what happened to Dicey, and who was she really? One family historian says she was Dicey Stephens, but the only records I have found on Dicey Stephens were one born in 1830 who would be too old, and one born in 1875, who would be quite young. Although the latter Dicey Stephens would be a possible mate, it is unlikely, because she was the younger sister of Mary Ellen, Richard's second wife, and she would have been 15 at the time Richard and Mary Ellen were married.
Another family historian says emphatically that she was not Dicey Stephens. She was Dicey Emeline Ping. I tend to believe this historian who says Dicey left Richard for another man and migrated with him to Iowa, never to be seen nor heard from again. This is a plausible theory, but it's only that, culled from old legends as to what might have actually happened.
Andrew Goff was, of course, my grandfather. He remained somewhat close to Eli until Eli's death. My father, Paul, remained on terms with Charles, Eli's son, until my father died in 2005. My father and Uncle Richard had vivid memories of Willie paying visits to their home in Ludlow when they were younger. Yet in all their memories, none of them knew anything about Dicey. Charles knows nothing about Dicey, and she was his grandmother. He'd like to know.
There is no marriage record or divorce record for Richard and Dicey. There is, however, a marriage record for Richard and Mary Ellen. I asked my father if he thought it was possible that the travelling preacher just never made it through Burnside to "legally" marry Richard and Dicey. My father thought that was possible but not likely, since at that time, the Goffs were members of the Central Christian Church in Somerset. When Richard married Mary Ellen, the Goffs entered the Pittman Creek Baptist Church. Neither church has records of Richard and Dicey, but Pittman Creek has records of Richard and Mary Ellen.
The Goffs and the Pings are intertwined throughout family history. Two of Richard's aunts were married to Ping brothers. Richard's great-grandmother, Matilda, married a Ping following her divorce from John Pointer. (That must have been a scandal!) I do believe Dicey was a Ping. I believe that, however, with no shred of legitimate proof! Fortunately, for my line, it doesn't really matter, as my great-grandmother was Mary Ellen. I just want to know!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Olympic Games Are Open

How many of you watched the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing? I admit I was glued from beginning to end. The site of all those young people with the ancient drums mesmerized me with their synchronization. I loved the ballet artists painting as they danced, and the artistry of the Tao chi. I loved the costuming and fireworks. It was all amazing, and I found myself being sincerely happy for the Chinese people.
I was fortunate to have been able to attend an Olympic event outside of Atlanta back in 1996, the kayak and whitewater events in Chattanooga. I remember how genuinely connected the people were, yet from all over the world. We all sat there as one audience. When one athlete suffered a mishap, it didn't matter where he or she was from, what mattered was their safety. Were they okay?
A group of Slovenian nationals sat immediately behind my friends and me. Slovenia had recently separated from Czechoslovakia, and there were Czech Republic nationals near us as well. The Slovenians couldn't remember their national anthem, so they sang the old Czech anthem. The Czech visitors joined them, and it was truly a moving moment, that transcended the long security checks that had preceded the start of the games and the $5.00 Cokes!
For a brief moment, the world seemed very small. Not small in the way the Internet makes it small, but small in the way God made it small. The same God that I worship here in the United States is the same God that created the rest of the world, and some would say, long before He created this little part of it. What I am trying to say is, that in that moment, that brief little moment, the brotherhood of man was not just a noble idea, but it was reality. If only that reality existed between Olympic games, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

William Monty Goff 1833 - 1900

William Monty Goff was born August 17, 1833 to Richard Goff and Nancy Goff (nee Pointer.) Pulaski County had been carved out of Lincoln and Green Counties in 1799. The frontier was still untamed, and the Goffs lived on the south side of the Cumberland River, in the little village of Burnside.
The Goffs were farmers, and William was taught to work the land. William was the first of seven children. The family was probably not poor but was certainly not wealthy. They eked out an existence, and the children were educated at least to the sixth grade.
William married Rebecca Ann Gover on the 20th of November, 1853 when he was 20 years old, and Rebecca was two years his junior. Their first child, Richard, was born in November, 1854, but he lived for only a few months. One year later, Rebecca gave birth to another son, whom they also named Richard. The couple had one more child, Samuel, who died five days after his mother, on August 25, 1857. William was alone with a two year old little boy.
The Cash family lived north of the Cumberland River, closer to what became the Rockcastle County line. It is unknown how William made the acquaintance of one Lucinda Cash, but he did; and they were married on February 14, 1859. Lucinda gave William twelve more children; Andrew, Elvira, Nancy "Nanny," Malvina "Vinnie," Alice Belle, Wiley Addison, Amanda Sophia, Cordelia, Johnny, Elizabeth, Harvey and Sarah.
William and Lucinda worked the land that lies just south of the Rockcastle County line. Goff descendants still reside on their farm, and the footprint of their log cabin remains. William Monty Goff can be found in the U.S. Census from 1860 through 1890. Evidence of his life is also available through birth records, marriage records, tax records and death records.
William died on September 13, 1900 and is interred in the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery. Lucinda rests beside him. Their son Andrew lies beside Lucinda. All of William's children are interred in cemeteries in Pulaski County. Richard Goff is buried in Rushbranch Cemetery outside of Burnside. However, there was no tombstone, and his grave has not been located.
William's descendants are farmers, bankers, railroaders, machinists, doctors, lawyers and college professors. Although he lived a modest life, that was tragic in many respects, he gave his children a proud and noble heritage. The Goff family is scattered across the lower 48 states, but Kentucky will always be home.

Webb Ancestors at Home Reprise

I love to visit cemeteries, especially old cemeteries. The Webb Cemetery is not easy to get to, it's on the side of a mountain in Scott County, Tennessee, in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains. I couldn't begin to tell you where Carpenter's Cemetery is, but it's close to the Webb Cemetery. I've been there, but my father was driving. If I had to, I might be able to get there again.

My great-grandparents are buried in the Webb Cemetery, as are my great-aunts Laura, Martha and Annie. My great-uncles, Wil, Jim and Benny are also buried in the Webb Cemetery.

My great-great-grandparent, Martha Webb is buried in Carpenter's Cemetery.
She's actually buried in an old-style top of the ground crypt, with this lonely marker at the head of her grave. It simply says, Martha Webb, born, April 10, 1845, died 1876. The exact date is not decipherable. We know, however, that this is Martha the Mysterious because she is buried next to Willis and Margaret, her parents.

It was sad to find the graves of my ancestors in such disrepair. The stones are falling away from the walls. The pompous grass planted at the foot of each grave adds an element of hope, an exclamation mark that proudly says, "We are not here!"
I hold to that promise that I will meet them in the by and by, and we will know one another as family. All those things that fall away and decay will no longer stand in the way. Praise God! I can't wait to give them all big warm hugs and tell them how I do love them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Morgan's Raiders Historical Marker

Welcome to Augusta!

I thought I'd take a moment and write about my hometown, Augusta, Kentucky. Augusta is located on the Ohio River, 35 miles to the east of Northern Kentucky, and 12 miles from Maysville, Kentucky. Although it's the largest city in Bracken County, it is not the county seat, that would be Brooksville.

Augusta was settled in 1781 as part of a Revolutionary War Grant by Virginia to Captain Philip Buckner. Buckner returned to Virginia, however, but came back to Augusta in 1796 with 40 families. In 1795, the Kentucky Legislature incorporated the City of Augusta, and trustees were established. Buckner deeded the City 600 acres.
Augusta was the county seat of Bracken County until 1830, when it was moved to Brooksville. The original courthouse is still standing and currently inhabited. In the early 1800s Augusta became a popular river port, with hemp, tobacco, corn, livestock and wine being its top trading commodities. The ferry service is one of the oldest operating ferries in the country, having been in operation since April 2, 1798.
In September 1862, Colonel Basil Duke led 350 of Morgan's Raiders against the city of Augusta with Colonel Joshua Bradford leading 150 of the home guard and three gunboats in the harbor. The gunboats, however, abandoned their posts, leaving Augusta vulnerable to the raiders. A hand to hand battle ensued in the middle of town where 35 men lost their lives. A monument to the 11 unknown Confederate Soldiers was erected in town.
More recently, Augusta has been a sleepy rural town. The ferry still operates, but it is no longer the trading port it once was. Agriculture is still king in the county, but tourism accounts for the largest part of the city's annual revenues. Clopay owns a manufacturing plant in Augusta and is a major employer.
As much as the river has aided in the development of Augusta, it has also been detrimental. The floods of 1937 and 1997 are far from memories. While many homes were washed away, the city held onto its character, turning much of the remaining green space into parks. The old southern architecture along Riverside Drive has been restored. The Rosemary Clooney Museum has been opened to the public since 2006 and draws thousands of tourists each year.
This is my hometown, Augusta, Kentucky.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sarah Hamby Webb

Sarah Hamby Webb was my great-grandmother, although I never knew her. She was born in 1865 and died in 1938.

Sarah was born to Elizabeth Cromwell Hamby and William Hamby at the end of the Civil War. She married John "Spoony" Webb about 1883, and she gave birth to Will, Jim, Martha, Laura, Lucy, Bertha, Annie and John Henry. John Henry Webb was my grandfather, my mother's father.

Sarah is described by the people who knew her as "a gentle soul" filled with grace and kindness. Not much is known about her childhood, except that she was raised on Hamby Mountain, and was probably no better or worse off than any of the neighbors around them. Bill Hamby was a farmer and Eliza was a homemaker. Sarah moved into the Webb family home when she and "Spoony" were married, and it was there that all her children were born.

Sarah & Spoony moved to Ludlow, Kentucky in 1930 to be closer to their children who had already migrated in search of work. Sarah moved on to be with the Lord in the spring of 1938, and she boarded a train one final time. The Southern Railroad that brought Sarah to Northern Kentucky took her home. Sarah lies in repose in the Webb Cemetery in Glenmary, Tennessee.

New Look For an Old Soul

It had never occurred to me that white print on a dark blue page would be difficult to read, and for that I do apologize. Sometimes I forget myself when I see something that resembles Kentucky Blue.
I may change the look some more before I get something that I really like, but ya'll, please hang in there with me. I got plenty more to say about the Goffs, Webbs, Grimes, Dodsons, Hambys, Cromwells, Stephens... oh my... I just might get back to Abraham iffin I keeps this up!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Webb Ancestors at Home in Glenmary

Glenmary, Tennessee is a small patch in the road. Located in the Cumberland Mountains, drive too fast, blink and you will miss it. I've only been there once in my life, but let me tell you, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Visiting the cemeteries where my ancestors are interred has to be one of the more emotional moments in my quest for family history. Standing there in Carpenter's Cemetery, looking at the graves of my gg-grandmother and ggg-grandparents, distant cousins, I had this sense that they knew I was there. No, I'm not talking about hearing voices or disassociating from my self. I'm talking about this serene feeling that I was standing in the presence of that great cloud of witnesses, and they were pleased that I paid them a visit.

This photograph is of my family in front of the old Webb home place in Glenmary. I haven't been able to date the picture yet, although I'm working on it. My mother and my aunts believe this is the only remaining picture of Margaret Webb (nee Stewart.) For that to be true, the picture must date back to the turn of the 20th Century, because she died in 1912. That would have been two years after my grandfather was born, and my mother believes that her aunts and uncles knew their grandmother, for she raised their father. My own grandfather would have been too young, of course, but his siblings were were much older than he.

My hope and prayer is that by putting this picture out there on the Internet, my extended Webb family, whom I've never known, may recognized someone in the photograph and get in touch with me. I want to know more, and I can't know enough or too much about these people who watch me run my own race.