My Ancestors Signature #25 ~ Edward Hughes

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.
My 5th Great Uncle
Edward Hughes
1746-1817
From Land Sale of His Aunt, Rachel Hughes 1806
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Thursday at the Cemetery ~ Grace Episcopal Churchyard ~ Yorktown, York County, Virginia

This week I will be featuring the cemetery and headstone of my 6th Great Grandfather Thomas “Scotch Tom” Nelson. He is buried in the Grace Episcopal Churchyard, Yorktown, York County, Virginia.
Thomas Nelson was born on February 20, 1677, in Penrith, Cumbria, England. He is the only known son of Hugh Nelson (1647-1708) and Sarah Jackson (1655-1740). His father and Grandfather were clothiers and Thomas worked with them growing up. He emigrated to Virginia in 1700, In the next few years he had firmly established himself, and he built a frame house, where the current Nelson House is standing. He built a mercantile business across the street from his home. In 1710 he married Margaret Reade (1685-1717) and the had 3 children, 2 sons and 1 daughter. After the death of his wife he then married Frances Housden (1682-1766) and they had 1 daughter. Thomas was very successful in many business ventures. He died on October 7, 1745, in Yorktown, Virginia, at the age of 68.
The monument of his son William is to the left of this view and his grandson, Thomas Nelson, Jr. is to the left of that grave. Thomas Nelson, Jr. was the Signer of the Declaration of Independence.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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On The Map ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #38

A couple of months ago as I was researching an ancestor for the 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks prompt, I discovered that I may be related to one of my favorite explorers. So, I went to work researching this new possible connection. You can imagine my excitement when I found that I was indeed related to him. He definitely put a lot of America on the map!
Meriwether Lewis, my 3rd cousin 7 times removed, was born on August 18, 1774, in Albemarle County, Virginia. At an early age his family moved to Georgia. He had no formal education until he was 13 years of age, but during his time in Georgia he enhanced his skills as a hunter and outdoors man. He would often venture out in the middle of the night in the dead of winter with only his dog to go hunting. Even at an early age, he was interested in natural history, which would develop into a lifelong passion. His mother taught him how to gather wild herbs for medicinal purposes.
In 1801, at the age of 27, Thomas Jefferson recruited Lewis as his Secretary, and he resided in the presidential mansion, and frequently conversed with various prominent figures in politics, the arts and other circles. He soon became involved in the planning of the Corps of Discovery expedition across the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1803 Congress appropriated funds for the Expedition, and Lewis was commissioned its leader. With Jefferson’s consent, Lewis offered the post of co-captain of the expedition to William Clark. The expedition took almost three years and solidified the United States’ claims to land across the continent, and acquainted the world with new species, new people and new territory.
They returned home with an immense amount of information about the region as well as numerous plant and animal specimens. Upon the Corps’ successful return, Jefferson appointed Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory and granted him a reward of 1500 acres.
Because of this expedition, the territory beginning in my home town of Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri going Northwest through the Dakota’s, Montana, and into Oregon was mapped for future reference. Meriwether Lewis died on October 11,1809, at the Grinder House , near Nashville, Tennessee. At the age of 35, it was determined that he had committed suicide.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Hometown Tuesday ~ Charlestown, West Virginia

In 1780 Charles Washington, George Washington’s youngest brother, left his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and moved to the Lower Shenandoah Valley. Charles had inherited land in what was then Berkeley County, Virginia, from his older half-brother Lawrence. Upon arrival he began construction of his home, Happy Retreat, located on a rise overlooking Evitts Marsh. This area is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In 1786 Charles petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for permission to incorporate a town. The petition was granted and Charlestown, Virginia was founded. In addition to naming the corporation for himself, Charles memorialized the Washington family by the naming of the town’s streets. The main street, running east to west is named Washington Street. Cross streets are named for family members with the Town Square named in honor of his brother George, the streets to the east named for his brother Samuel and wife Mildred, and the streets to the west named for himself and his brother Lawrence. In a show of patriotism the streets parallel to Washington are named Congress and Liberty.
At the time of Charles’ death in September 1799, Charlestown was still located in Berkeley County. In his will, Charles indicated that Berkeley County should be divided and Charlestown named the county seat of a new county. He desired that the town lots on the Town Square, formed by George and Washington Streets, be used for public buildings.
Jefferson County was formed from Berkeley in 1801 and Charlestown became the new county seat. As the executor of his father’s estate, Samuel Washington acceded to his father’s wishes and deeded the Town Square to be used for public buildings.

In 1803 the Jefferson County Courthouse became the first public building to occupy the Town Square. This smaller brick structure was replaced by a larger courthouse in 1836. The 1836 courthouse was the setting for the trials of abolitionist John Brown and six of his followers. In October 1863, during the Civil War, the courthouse was heavily damaged by artillery fire rendering it unusable.
The Jefferson County jail was the second public building to occupy the Town Square. Completed in 1806, perhaps its most famous occupants were abolitionist John Brown and six of his raiders. The seven men were housed in the Jefferson County jail from the time of their capture in October 1859 until they were executed.

My 6th Great Grandfather John Strother, was born on November 18, 1782, in Charlestown, Virginia. He fought in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain Jesse Naples regiment of the Virginia Militia. On November 1, 1814, he married Elizabeth Hunter Pendleton. They had 8 children with 5 dying in childhood. John was a farmer. He died in Charlestown on January 16, 1852, at the age of 79.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Here’s Your Sign #16 ~ Rosewell

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.
The Rosewell Mansion located in Rosewell, Gloucester, Virginia, was the finest example of brickwork in the English colonies. It was constructed in 1725 by my 8th Great Grandfather Mann Page I. The home remained in the Page family for more than one hundred years. The mansion stood three stories tall. It contained fine paneling and wood carvings. In 1916, a fire swept through it, leaving a magnificent shell that is a testament to 18th-century craftsmanship.

Mann Page I (1691-1730) was the son Matthew Page (1659-1703) and Mary Mann (1672-1707). He married Judith Carter (1694-1734) on July 16, 1718. They had 5 children, 4 sons, and 1 daughter. Many years later the Grandson of Mann and Judith, John Page, lived in Rosewell and was good friends with Thomas Jefferson. It is said that Jefferson completed the draft for the Declaration of Independence while staying at Rosewell.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Monday’s for Me ~ Family Reunions

Growing up over 1200 miles from my nearest relatives, I never heard the words, Family Reunion! When we moved to Missouri when I was 12 years old, I was in awe at how many relatives I had. We had a few of them come to Arizona to visit, but it was always one person or family at a time. Once we moved, we had a lot more visitors and the families seemed to get larger.
Growing up over 1200 miles from my nearest relatives, I never heard the words, Family Reunion! When we moved to Missouri when I was 12 years old, I was in awe at how many relatives I had. We had a few of them come to Arizona to visit, but it was always one person or family at a time. Once we moved, we had a lot more visitors and the families seemed to get larger.
At the end of the first summer, we attended my first family reunion. It was at a park in the small town of Oak Grove, Missouri. We got there a little late so when we pulled up to the park there was no place to park our car. Looking over the park I was really surprised to see all the people. I asked my Dad why would they have the reunion in a place so crowded. He responded that they weren’t just people, they were my relatives! I was so shocked.
To be honest, I think I only formally met about 20 people that day. I was a shy kid, and I was uncomfortable with all these strangers. This was my Dad’s side of the family. He had 10 siblings and most of those had at least 5 kids. His Grandparents had 12 children, and they all had over 6 kids each. I don’t think I had ever seen such a large variety of food before. Most of the food was foreign to me. Being raised in the Southwest most of our get-togethers were mostly Mexican food. It was a great day!
The next summer there was another Reunion. This time in a park in Higginsville, MO. I felt a little more comfortable this time as I had experienced a year of many visits with the family. I wasn’t shocked to see our family taking up the entire park and I looked forward to eating all of my new-found favorites. By the next summer, we had moved to California and I missed going to the yearly gatherings.
Fast-forward 20 years. My dad had passed away 5 years after we left Missouri. My mother had cut off both sides of our family, so I had no contact with any of them. I had gotten married to my current husband, and he wanted to make the trip to meet my family. I was so excited to see the family. When we arrived at my Aunts house, she came running out to greet us! I felt something I hadn’t felt in the last 20 years, I felt I was home. We were there a week, and we were fortunate enough to be there for the end of the summer reunion. I kept telling my kids that we had a lot of family, and when we arrived at the park in Independence they were stunned. Once again, the park was full of Hughes and Hayes family. I enjoyed watching my 3 kids get to know their family just as I had 20 years ago!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Sunday’s Salute ~ David Hunter Strother ~ Brigadier General

David Hunter Strother, my 3rd cousin 5 times removed, was born September 26, 1816, in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia. He was the oldest of 8 children born to Colonel John Strother (1782-1862) and Elizabeth Hunter Pendleton (1786-1861). He was the only son that lived to adulthood. After receiving his schooling at the Martinsburg academy, as well as his father’s tutelage, David traveled to Philadelphia to study drawing in 1829. He also spent a year (1832) at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1835 David and his friend John Ranson took a 500-mile round trip hike in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, down to Natural Bridge and Rockbridge County, Virginia, and back up through the Shenandoah Valley, which changed his outlook on life. In 1837–38, David traveled to New York City to study painting under Samuel F. B. Morse, who later became more famous for inventing the telegraph. David first married Anne Wolfe (1830-1850) in 1849, and they had one daughter, Emily (1850), but mother and daughter died. David then married Mary Elliott on May 6. 1861, and they had 2 sons, with one dying at 5 years old.
At the beginning of the Civil War in June 1861 David volunteered as a topographer due to his detailed knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley. By March 1862 as West Virginia continued its drive toward statehood, he received a commission as captain in the Union Army and was assigned to assist General Nathaniel Banks in the Valley Campaign. In June 1862, he accepted a commission as Lt. Col. of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, and was the topographer on General Pope’s staff during the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Manassas. During the Antietam Campaign, he served on General McClellan’s staff until that officer was relieved in November 1862. He then returned to the staff of General Banks, again seeing action at the Battle of Port Richie in Louisiana. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was back to Washington, unassigned, but promoted to Colonel of his regiment (which he never commanded in the field).
During the war David documented his wartime experiences in a detailed journal, some of which Harper’s Monthly published after the war as “Personal Recollections of the War.” His articles won praise for their objective viewpoint and humor. On June 12, 1864, Colonel Strother was chief of staff to his distant cousin General David Hunter. He was involved in 30 battles, though never wounded. He resigned his commission on September 10, 1864, when General Hunter was replaced by General Philip Sheridan. In August 1865, David was appointed a brevet brigadier general of volunteers and remained Adjutant General of Virginia militia into 1866.
Due to his dedication to his home state, especially its rural character, he moved to Charleston for a short period in the early 1870s. There, he edited a newspaper and dedicated himself to furthering West Virginia’s growth and well-being. He convinced state leaders to prioritize infrastructure initiatives. David became one of the first writers to understand West Virginia’s unique place in both wanting to preserve its natural beauty while also encouraging growth, both economic and industrial.
In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed David as the General Consul to Mexico. In that capacity he hosted former General and President Ulysses S. Grant and dealt with the problems of various Americans in that country. He also dealt with the country’s relations with the government of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. He served until 1885, after which he returned to West Virginia. David died in Charles town, West Virginia three years later on March 8, 1888, at the age of 71.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Picture Perfect #15~ Douglas B. Hughes

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so, I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!
Douglas Hughes is my Dad. He was born on August 18, 1915. I absolutely love this photo. Here he is 20 years old and this was taken at the Rubicon Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Lake Tahoe, California. He looks so happy sitting on that horse. He had been raised riding horses so he has a confident air about him.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Freaky Friday’s ~ My Other Outlaw Cousin

In a previous blog I wrote about my outlaw cousin, John Wesley Hardin. Last week while researching an indirect line of my Hardin family, I discovered another cousin who became an outlaw.
Joseph “Joe” Hardin Clements, my 2nd cousin 3 times removed, was born December 1, 1849, in Gonzalez, Texas. He was named for Colonel Joseph Hardin (1734-1801), great grandfather of John Wesley Hardin. Hardin’s father’s sister, Martha (1817-1867) married Emmanuel Clements, and the Hardin and Clements cousins were close.
Joe enlisted in Company H of the 12th Texas Cavalry, (Parson’s Mounted Volunteers, Fourth Dragoons) CSA and served from 1861 to 1863. He was captured and sent to the Military Prison in Virginia, where he was exchanged back to the Confederacy. There is no further record for him after 1863. After the Civil War, he came back to Gonzales County, Texas where he married Sarah Jane Tennille (1856-1934) on August 5, 1870. They had one son, and one daughter. The family then moved to the Kimble County, Texas area. The marriage and the move did not deter Joe from his outlaw ways.
Little is known about Joe’s early years, but in 1871, he and his brothers Emmanuel and John “Gip” convinced John Wesley to accompany them on a cattle drive to Abilene, KS. Hardin admits to killing several men on that drive, and Emmanuel killed two of the Clements’ cowboys, for which he was arrested. Hardin had become acquainted with Wild Bill Hickok in Abilene, Texas, and he made arrangements with Wild Bill to let Emmanuel escape. John Wesley and Emmanuel often rode together, piling up indictments wherever they appeared. One or more of the other Clements boys occasionally joined the “party,” so much so that the individual activities are not clear. Joe seemed to have been part of the general mayhem perpetrated by the Clements clan for the next 25 years.
The Clement/Hardin cousins all fought on the Taylor side of the famed Taylor-Sutton feud. The Sutton–Taylor feud began as a county law enforcement issue between relatives of Texas Ranger, Creed Taylor, and a local law enforcement officer, William Sutton, in DeWitt County, Texas. The feud cost at least 35 lives and eventually included the outlaws John Wesley Hardin and Joseph Hardin Clements as two of its participants. It started in March 1868, not reaching its conclusion until the Texas Rangers put a stop to the fighting in December 1876.
In 1899, he moved to Hope, south of Roswell, New Mexico. By the 1920s he was a successful sheep rancher. He owned the Penasco River Ranch that sits between Hope, NM and Mayhill, NM, From there, he and his family moved to New Mexico, settling in the Lincoln and Chaves County areas where he became a prominent rancher. Joseph wanted his ranch to sit in Chaves County because that is where he did his business. Joe died on March 16, 1927, in Roswell, at the age of 77.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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My Ancestors Signature #27 ~ Colonel John Page

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 10th Great Grandfather
Colonel John Page
From Letter to his son Mann Page January 1, 1688

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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