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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Monday, February 12, 2018

52.6: Favorite Name; Pettypool

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

Ursula Wilkerson Wilson, daughter of the subject
Martha Pettypool Wilkerson

The prompt this week is "Favorite Name." I've already blogged about my ancestor with the best first name. You can read about Cinderella McIntyre Wilson here, in my post about her brother Daniel Boone McIntyre (also a cool name).

Like many others participating in this challenge, I am plagued with the usual Johns, Marys, Williams, and Henrys. So, I turned to last names. I recall the delight I had when I discovered an ancestor with the surname Pettypool.

It's fun to say. Pettypool. I've never met anyone with that name in all my travels. I learned early on that many Pettypools shortened the name to "Poole" or "Pool" as time went on.

There is an excellent website on the early Pettypools; if you are interested in this family it is a must-read. At this site there is a direct link to an article written in the Virginia Genealogist about the Pettypools with great documentation.

My last Pettypool ancestor was Martha "Patsy" Pettypool. Patsy was born February 6, 1787 according to her gravestone. Her parents were Stephen Pettypool and Margaret Halliburton.  Although the 1850 census lists her birthplace as Virginia, her father Stephen Pettypool was living in Granville County, North Carolina around that time, and I think it is likely she was born there.

While still in Granville County, Martha Pettypool married Joseph Pumphrey Wilkerson, son of Francis and Ursula (Satterwhite) Wilkerson. The following marriage bond was executed by Joseph Wilkerson and Logustin Pool on November 8, 1804.

Marriage Bond of Joseph Wilkerson and Martha Pool
Source: Granville County, NC Marriage Bonds on
The Logustin Pool giving bond was Martha's uncle, Logustin Pettypool. Logustin married first a Satterwhite and later a Wilkerson, and joined in the multi-family migration to Kentucky.

Like most women in my family, Patsy's life was measured out by her marriage and the births of her children. She should appear by name in two federal censuses; I've found her in the 1850 but not yet in the 1860.  I don't have any pictures of her, nor do I know of any that exist.

However, she did one thing a little unusual for her time. On August 12, 1864, she wrote a will. Well, she dictated her will. It was signed with her mark, indicating her illiteracy.

Martha died two months later, on October 2, 1864. Her will was recorded on October 10th, in the Breckinridge County, Kentucky Will Book 1, pp. 308-309. I have transcribed it here:
"Know all men by these presents that I Martha Wilkerson of the county of Breckinridge and State of Kentucky being of sound mind and disposing memory do make and constitute this my last will and testament.
1st: I will and bequeath to my son A.J. Wilkerson my entire estate interest in and to the farm upon which I now reside and said interest being one eleventh part of said farm said A. J. Wilkerson is to have the said interest upon the following conditions to wit: that he shall pay to my other legatees hereinafter to be named the sum of eighty five dollars six months after my death said eighty five dollars I desire shall be equally divided among my legal hereafter to be mentioned. I also give and bequeath to my son aforesaid my old slave woman Mima it being her desire to be with him. I request that he shall take special care of her during his life.
2nd: I desire that all the rest of my property of evry discription whatsoever after the payment of all my just debts funeral expenses &c shall be equally divided among the following of my children to wit: Polly Milner, Ursula Wilson, Jane Wilson, A.J. Wilkerson, Joseph P. Wilkerson, Anslem W. Wilkerson, and Joannah Carden. It is my wish will and desire that my slaves shall not be sold out of my family. I desire that my body shall be interred by the side of my husband's grave, and that my executor shall have both enclosed in a good stone wall arched over. This I make as a charge on my estate to be paid as part of my funeral expenses. 
I hereby appoint and constitute my son A.J. Wilkerson my Executor, hoping that he will faithfully carry out my last wishes in regard to my worldly affairs. Witness my hand this 12th day of August 1864.
                                                                       Martha  X  Wilkerson
Wm. Davison"
Concerning her property, I still need to investigate deed records on this family. As to her slave woman Mima, I wonder if this is the same person name Jesseminah or Jessemimah willed to her by her father in 1837?  I have the 1850 slave schedule for Martha Wilkerson, and her oldest slave at that time is a black female aged 45. If this is Mima, she would have been born about 1805, making her almost 60 when the will was written.  Less than one year later, the ending of the Civil War would have given Mima her freedom. I wonder if she lived to see that?

Regarding the last part of her will, Martha gave instructions about her burial. I have not yet found a listing on the FindAGrave website for Joseph and Martha Wilkerson, but I did locate photos of their gravestones on Though they are closeups of the stones, a stone wall with metal fencing is clearly visible in the background. I am seeking permission to use those photos here.

Lastly, while googling for this post, I found I am related to the Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell! You can read her blog post on her Pettypool line here. Our lines diverge at her 6th great-grandparents, John and Sarah Sanford Pettypool; my line comes down through their son Stephen, above mentioned.

Monday, February 5, 2018

52.5: In the Census

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt for this week is "In the Census."  I know in my decades of doing genealogy, there must have been many "aha" moments while squinting at census records on the microfilm readers.  For the life of me, I can't bring any one to mind.

However, I recalled this census record had a lot to offer:

1870 Federal Census Orange County, Indiana
Jackson Township, p. 15
Found on
I was trying to find my 2nd great-grandmother, Martha Ann Tillery (born 1853) before her marriage to William Braddock Moore. Here she is! Great. But who are all the people with her, and why should I care?

The 1870 census does not state how members of a household are related, so don't make any assumptions.  People with four different surnames with ages spanning several decades are all living together (I'll also note, there is a James A. Dishon age 6 on the following page included as part of this household.)

This record actually represents a family matriarch, Rebecca Hobson, with several of her children and grandchildren living together on the same farm. She was born Rebecca Turner Kearby in 1815 in Kentucky. She married her first husband John Tillery (1810-1854) on March 30, 1833 in Dubois County, Indiana. Living with her in 1870 are three children from this marriage: Martha, Alfred, and Nancy Dishon. Alfred and his wife Catherine have two children at this time. Nancy Dishon was widowed and had four children living there. As of this time, I do not know who the two Lutrel children are.

The widowed Rebecca Kearby Tillery married her second husband, Mark Hobson, on April 24, 1858 in Orange County, Indiana. He died ten years later, leaving her a widow once again. They had one children together, the girl Rachel seen in this census.

So what at first glance looks like a boarding house is actually a pretty solid family unit. But what else can be learned? Don't just look at your family. Check out who is on the page with them, and the pages before and after.

1870 Federal Census Orange County, Indiana
Jackson Township, p. 15
Found on
You might just find a husband.

The orphaned William Braddock Moore is living right next door, working on the farm of his cousin James A. Moore. I guess this is how he met Martha Ann Tillery; they were married later that year on October 30, 1870 in Orange County, Indiana.

When searching the census records, figure out who everyone in the household is. Check out the families living nearby. A little detective work can uncover a previous generation to investigate.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

52.4: Invite to Dinner; Alys Dickey Hilyard

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt for this week is "Invite to Dinner". Meet my grandmother, Alys Dickey Hilyard.
Alys Duane Dickey 1924
What inspired me to choose her for this particular prompt are stories my parents tell of huge dinners she made for her family. Before I describe the dinners she made, I'll tell you a little about her.

About a year ago, my genealogy partner-in-crime Deidre asked the family to post on Facebook little things they remembered about Alys, along with a picture representing that memory. She got some great responses.

Lots of our memories revolve around food. Alys and her husband Vaughn always had a big garden, and she preserved a lot of foods.  Her oldest granddaughter, Rita, recalled she always had a bag of dried apples in her pantry.
Apples from the orchard
Deidre, her great-granddaughter, attributes her love of peanut butter and honey sandwiches directly to Alys.
Still yummy today!

My own memories of her big pantry include a jar of chewable vitamin C which I pilfered from regularly, and weird-looking quart jars of what I was told was delicious beef.
Canned beef? Not sure about that!

Her daughter-in-law Ruth recalls being lucky enough to visit on the days Alys baked homemade bread, and usually eating the whole warm loaf while they were there.
Can you smell it?

Another granddaughter, Jill, remembers tomato gravy, still a favorite of mine. I think it is an old German recipe.
Tomato gravy in a cast iron skillet

Ruth remembers this: "About the tomato gravy. Usually when she cooked a meal she left the pans on the wood stove to stay warm and save on dirty dishes. They didn't have water in the house until they were pretty old. But when she did put the meal on the table, she served the gravy in a beautiful German bowl that I would never have used. I still have it sitting safely in my cupboard."
Beautiful bowl Alys served her tomato gravy in

Jill also has memories of the flower beds being filled with pretty flowers. And of the clunky black shoes Alys always wore.

Another great-granddaughter, Amanda, too young to remember Alys, could vaguely recall a "green house on a hill?" (It was actually blue, and sat atop Grease Gravy Hill.
Vaughn and Alys Hilyard, showing the house, flower beds, clunky shoes, and Dandy the dog
Rita remembered, "She wore a white gown and matching bonnet to bed...I'm sure she handmade them. They only had one heater and a fireplace in the living room so that big room always stayed warm but the bedrooms were freezing cold in the winter. She stored much of her canned stuff under the beds to keep them cold." Ruth noted the gown and bonnet were made of white feed sacks.

There was a small box of old toys, including a book called The Little Red Hen. After posting my memory of it, my dad let me have it.
Not my copy, but very similar

Deidre asked the older generation to describe her personality. I noted that as a grandmother, she was "business-like." Rita, who knew her much better, had this to say: "She was a hardworking woman but she was pretty much no-nonsense. Very petite, always wore a dress and most times an apron. She taught school and had beautiful handwriting. She wore hair nets...she drove a car...ate cottage cheese and saltine crackers...played the organ and sang...maybe where I got my love of music."

The organ she referred to was an old pump style. I had it for awhile, and then my cousin Jack took possession of it. Ruth also noted she played the flat-top guitar. Her grandson Steve, a talented guitar player, treasures her guitars now.  This one she purchased new from a Montgomery Ward catalog in 1922.
Alys' 1922 guitar
Once we primed the well, memories started flowing. Rita recalled, "She would make a skillet of cornbread to feed the chickens...she tied one end of a string to the momma hen's leg and the other end to a stick so she knew where she and the chicks were...she gathered eggs and used her apron as a basket."
Alys' glass nest eggs
Her grandson Craig shared this memory: "One time me and her were in her chicken coop and saw a snake with a bulge halfway down its body. Somehow she knew it had swallowed one of her glass nest eggs. She got her hoe, chopped the snake in half, popped out the egg, wiped it off on her apron, put it back in the nest, then chopped off the snake's head. I was amazed. She was so humane she would shoo a fly out the door rather than swat it. Seeing her brutally murder that poor snake seemed very out of character."

Craig shared another memory, and oddly enough when I asked his brother (independently) for a memory, he recalled the exact same story.  "Us boys and paw were sitting at her table eating. For some reason paw hit me on top of the head with a spoon. Mammy came up behind him and cracked him really hard with a big wooden spoon and asked, "How do YOU like it?" In Steve's version, Alys hit their dad on the bottom, with a plywood hot pad grandpa Vaughn had made.

Alys was in her 30s during most of the Great Depression. Rita: "She took all the little pieces of bars of soap and tied them up in a nylon stocking to use completely up...she didn't throw anything away if it had a purpose.  They would butcher a cow or hog in the fall and would can or freeze everything but the oink or moo. She made her own lye soap with the fat I think."

Ruth:  "She made little cakes for her dogs (dog bread) out of old grease and leftovers. She kept them by the back door. I loved them and pinched off a bite quite often. That's the only time she ever got after me. For eating her dog bread! She never let the dogs come in the house, but Dandy was scared to death when it stormed, so she let her come in and lay under the cookstove, and she never moved. Laid right there till the storm was over.  When she did the laundry they had to haul the water, heat the water, and she used a wringer washer. We have it so easy!" She says this is just what the washer looked like.

Imagine the work!
She also cooked on a wood cookstove. This type of stove takes a lot of finesse to bake in it; you have to be able to get the oven up to the right temperature, and maintain that temperature consistently over the time needed to bake the bread. This is the only picture I can find of her actual cookstove.
Great-grandkids of Alys in front of her cookstove, about 1988
So, back to what inspired this blog post in the first place.  Alys would frequently have her family over for Sunday dinner. If both her sons were there with their wives and children, that would be a dozen or so people.

Now on a holiday, that number might swell to 35 or 40 people. She would make a traditional holiday dinner in her big country kitchen. The family ate in shifts around the kitchen table. The men got to eat first, then the kids, and lastly the women.  Alys was cooking these dinners when she was in her 50s and 60s.

I had planned to focus on the meals my grandmother made, but this turned into a little character sketch of her, and I like it.  This petite powerhouse of a woman, a well-educated school teacher with no running water and a wood-powered stove and oven, was compassionate to frightened dogs and houseflies but unafraid to mete justice upon egg-stealing snakes, and cooked in cast iron but could serve in beautifully painted ceramic. 

If anyone deserves an invitation to dinner, it is Alys Dickey Hilyard. I'd want her to sit back and enjoy letting someone serve her. I could learn a lot from her.
Alys Dickey Hilyard 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

52.3: Longevity; John Summers

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt this week is longevity. The ancestor that immediately springs to mind is John Summers.  John Summer's provenance is a little sketchy, but I believe him to be my 6th great-grandfather. I have a clipping of unknown origin describing him here:
John Summers at age 112

I was able to locate another article, written after John's death at 116, that mentions him along with others:
Final paragraph: John Summers lived to be 116

This second clipping came from page 2 of The Evening Post, published in New York City on 18 Dec 1833.  This article notes he died in Kentucky; however, I found a census listing in 1820 that I feel sure must be this man living in Delaware County, Indiana:
1820 Federal Census Delaware County, Indiana, entry for John Summers
The census taker noted this about Mr. John Summers: "This man is 114 years old never lost sight or hearing has upward of 400 descendants and has had two wives by each had ten children."

I have a lot more work to do proving the statements about John Summers, but he is an interesting read if nothing else.

Monday, January 8, 2018

52.2: Favorite Photo; William H. Holtzapple

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt this week is Favorite Photo. This one is tough for me; I am blessed to have a lot of family photos, and many are treasured. The ones I enjoy most are where people are smiling or having a good time. So many old photos are posed and stilted and so...serious!

My father has this photo in his possession. It is his great-grandfather, William Harrison Holtzapple.
William H. Holtzapple (1848-1926) with...a cone?
There are many things about William I notice, and I hope will be the subjects of future prompts. For one, the facial hair! It went through many iterations over the course of his life. What about the missing finger (only recently spotted by my keen-eyed daughter)--what happened to it?

But in this photo, it has to be the ice cream cone. Why does he have an ice cream cone? Did someone make him hold it, or did he refuse to give it up for the photo? Did he have a special affinity for ice cream?

What makes me love this even more? The existence of a second photo.

I contacted a cousin that I found through findagrave. He shared several pictures of the Holtzapples I had never seen before, including this one:
Oh yes, it's a cone. And I think he likes it.

There seems to have been a photo shoot that day. I don't know of photos of any other family members taken then, with the cone or chair. But I'm so glad these were!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

52.1: Start! My Great-Uncle Ed

I'm participating in Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" to challenge myself to blog more. Each week she provides a prompt that can be interpreted any way the writer chooses.

Week 1's prompt is "Start". Amy gives a few suggestions as to what this might mean, and I want to talk about the person who got me started in genealogy. He was my great-uncle, Ed Moore.
Ed Moore
I think my first genealogy memory was of a thick manila envelope Ed mailed to my mother around 1980. It was full of what I now know to be pedigree charts and family group sheets. I was captivated from the first glance. I was 10 years old.

There wasn't a whole lot a 10 year old in 1980 could do from a research standpoint. I checked out every genealogy book I could from my town library. I wrote my own charts. I even got bold enough to write some letters to older relatives who are now all gone. 

About a decade later, I was married and far removed from my Indiana family, living on an Air Force base in California. I picked up my genealogy again, and ran with it, thanks to Ed.

I feel like I know so little about him, so I welcome the opportunity to write down the information I do have.  Edward Stewart Moore was born in Paoli, Indiana in 1916. He was the second of a set of twins; his sister Edna was stillborn.  I discovered where his middle name came from by his birth certificate; he was delivered by a Dr. Stewart. He had two older sisters, and an older brother Lee who was my grandfather. There was another son, Robert Clarence, born after Ed, but he died at the age of two from bronchopneumonia, two days before Christmas in 1921. Robert Clarence had always been just a name and two dates to me, but I got to visit Ed once, and asked him about the boy. Even as an old man, he got a little emotional when he talked about "Little Bob".  That really personalized the child in my mind.

Ed went to school in Paoli until 8th grade, which I think was pretty common at the time. My grandfather Lee did the same.
Ed Moore as a boy
In the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Ed lived at home with his parents, Fred and Della Moore. Fred was a laborer at various jobs and Della was a homemaker. By 1940, Ed had moved to Arizona and was working on a dairy farm.

I'm not sure what took him to Arizona (perhaps it was the CCC?), but he spent the rest of his life "out West", ending his days in northern California.

**Added 8 Jan 2018**
After reading this post, my mom (Ed's niece) called her brother. He related that during the Depression Ed and his brother Lee went to join the Army. The Army physical revealed he had tuberculosis, and Ed was told if he didn't move to a different climate he would be dead in six months. The family pooled all their money to buy him a ticket. When he arrived in Arizona, he had $8.00 left to start his new life.

I have from his records that he married Emily May Turner in late 1940. They never had children together, but Emily had a child or children from a previous marriage. My mother said she was a Mormon, and I think this is what sparked Ed's interest in genealogy.
Ed and Emily Moore

When World War II started, Ed enlisted in the Army. I am fortunate enough to have received some of his memorabilia from that time.
Ed Moore in uniform
Ed was a tank commander and achieved the rank of corporal.  I have his shoulder patch from the 16th Armored Division. I know he attended reunions with his unit mates until late in his life. I was unaware until very recently that Ed received the Purple Heart during his time in the war. I learned this when I found his grave marker on findagrave.
Ed Moore and his tank "Beaugeard"
Ed Moore and Crew--Ed center back
Do you know any of these men?
After the war, Ed lived in Phoenix for some years, then in northern California in the Eureka area. At the time of his death in 1997, he lived in Kelseyville.

I met Ed a time or two as a child, though I don't really have any memories of those visits. I did make contact with him in the early 1990s when I was living in southern California and taking a more serious interest in genealogy. His notes were alway terse but friendly.
Letter from my uncle Ed prior to my visit

When I graduated from college, my mom flew out to California, and we made the drive up the state to visit her uncle. Ed was in the very early stages of Alzheimer's; a little forgetful but he still knew he was forgetting. He seemed truly glad to see his brother's daughter and granddaughter, and we had a good visit. He lived in a little trailer on his step-daughter's property that he called his wig-wam. The property had a gate, and he always opened and closed it for the cars coming and going. He struck me as a gentle, humorous, and very tall person (6'2", a full foot taller than me).

I wish I knew him better. Thank you, Ed, for introducing me to this wonderful lifetime hobby!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Brick Wall: BUSTED! The maiden name of of Pharaba Moore is...

Have you ever watched a mystery where the super sleuth is hunting diligently for a secret panel or switch to open up a passage, when the bumbling sidekick accidentally leans on it without even trying?

Enter me, the bumbling sidekick. Yesterday I stumbled on some documents on Ancestry that have solved, in my mind, a mystery that has eluded me since I started doing genealogy.

I have blogged about my ancestors Edward Windsor and Susannah Bryant Moore extensively.  Edward's parents were Edward and Pharaba Moore. This is proven by a family Bible belonging to Edward Windsor Moore's brother Thomas Moore.
Third page of Thomas Moore family Bible transcription,
listing his parents and siblings
Other than this, I can find only one other record in my possession that lists Pharaba (in its myriad number of spellings) by name. It is a deed where Edward sold a piece of land, and Pharaba, as his wife, had to be listed. This is a transcription of the deed provided many years ago by my cousin Phyllis Hill.
Deed from Edward and Pharaba Moore to William Wolfington, 1833
Beyond this, 27 years of research hasn't yielded a single clue as to who Pharaba was before becoming Mrs. Edward Moore.

Yesterday, I stumbled onto the metaphorical secret panel:
This document is a petition by Reuben Pearce, who was attempting to settle the estate of his maiden aunt Kiziah Pearce. She died without children so her estate fell to her siblings and their heirs. To quote from above:
"She had a sister named Ferabee who married Edward Moore, who removed from the county with his wife some twenty years ago and neither of them has been heard of for the past twenty years and your petitioner is advised that their long absence, not being heard from by their relatives, is presumptive evidence of their deaths."

This is the magical piece of the puzzle I always hoped to find. But not only this, the great internets yielded up to me the names of Pharaba's parents as well. Ready?
Will of Windsor Pearce, Randolph County, North Carolina
Down towards the end it says this:
"and to My Daughter Pherrebee More They give one Featherbed & Furniture and Two Dollars to her or Her's".

Windsor and Mary Pearce, the parents of Pharaba Pearce Moore. Pharaba Pearce Moore, the mother of...don't forget...Edward WINDSOR Moore! Huzzah! 

In my mind, this is proof. I hope my fellow Moore researchers will read over this, and rejoice with me!

I have much more to share with you, but I'm still processing all this.