Friday, April 27, 2012

Jeptha Dudley Moxley

Grandfather of Jeptha Hayden Moxley
Grover Head once told my father that whenever it rained, the boys in his neighborhood would head to Jeptha Moxley's house to hear tales of the Civil War.  This would have been in the late 19th century/Turn of the 20th.

Jeptha Moxley at the time of the Gold Rush
Jeptha Dudley Moxley was born July 9, 1829 in Franklin County, Kentucky. His parents, William Cox Moxley and Nancy (Welch) Moxley were also of Franklin County. Family lore tells us that he and his older brother, Joseph, traveled by ship around Cape Horn to California in search of gold. Apparently, the prospects weren't as good as they had planned, and they decided to return home. On the ship back, disease struck the passengers. Those stricken were thrown overboard to protect the others. Faced with a long sea voyage under such circumstances, they disembarked at Panama. There, they walked through the Malaria-ridden jungle across the small narrow isthmus to the Caribbean Sea.  On from there, they travelled by boat to New Orleans. They stopped off and had some fancy pictures made for their mother. At this time, photo portraits had only just become available.  I assume that Jeptha and Joseph took a riverboat up from New Orleans to Smithland.

By 1850, the family had moved from Franklin County to Livingston County. The family farm was valued at $1000 that year. The family also purchased a hotel in Smithland (then, a bustling river town). It was called the Gower House and the brick structure was damaged in a fire, but some of it still remains overlooking the river.  In 1852, Jeptha's father, William, died of dysentery.

Jeptha married Nellie in 1850. By 1860, his farm at Moxley's landing was worth $2500, and they had three little girls, Emily, Rebecca, and Nancy. Their son, William Henry, had died of meningitis at the age of 1 in 1859. Another son, Jeptha L., was born in 1862. He died at the age of 15 due to pneumonia.

Jeptha Moxley was a slave owner.  Perhaps, this was what compelled him so for the confederate cause.  Whatever his reasons, within a week of Lincoln's inauguration, Moxley enlisted in the 2nd Ky Cavalry (Woodward's) on March 10, 1861.  This was the day before the Confederate constitution was ratified and before the war began the following month.  He had to travel to Huntsville, Alabama to enlist as Tennessee was still a part of the USA at the time.  Jeptha's older brother, Joseph, was in his late 30's during the war and remained in Livingston County to manage the family farm and hotels.

Jeptha served with company E.  When researching the war, one must be careful because there were multiple regiments named "2nd Ky Cavalry."  The members of his troop had to supply their own horse and saddle.  Jeptha was in his early 30's and literate.  He moved up through the confederate ranks.  He was listed as a Corporal by 1863 and was a Sergeant by the end of the war.

Woodward's Cavalry was respected and well used by commanding generals due to their tenacity and courage under fire.  Early in the war, command of the regiment was transferred to millionaire-general Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Many in the regiment were reluctant due to their loyalty to Woodward, but most continued with the 2nd Ky.  They fought throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama.  He was involved in the battle of Chickamauga.

Jeptha had a minor bullet wound to the shoulder.  He was with a group of soldiers set up for an ambush.  They were in a small southern town with white picket fences and mossy oaks.  They climbed up into the dense trees hanging over the street.  Eventually, when the Yankee soldiers came down the street beneath them, they opened fire on the unsuspecting men.  Jeptha received his wound in the fire fight.

Jeptha surrendered in May 9, 1865 in Washington, Ga.  Stories say that the unit was transporting Jefferson Davis after the end of the war.  Upon capture they were repatriated and allowed to keep their horses.  However, at Nashville, they were under the whim of another commander who seized the horses.  The soldiers were then allowed to leave and head for home on foot.  In Nashville, he took his oath of allegiance on May 22.  He was described as 5' 8", fair complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.  Thus, Jeptha served and survived the entirety of the war in active service.  He enlisted before the CSA was officially formed and was captured after the war was considered to be over.

Jeptha and his second wife Maggie,
and their sons John Given and Clyde

The family was not as prosperous after the war.  Near the end, Joseph was forced to sell some of the land they owned.   When Jeptha returned home, he no longer owned the land on which his cabin sat near Sandy Creek at the Cumberland River.  He dismantled the cabin and used the wood to build a two story home.   In 1870, the farm was valued at $800.  Emily had been married earlier that year, at the age of 16, to John Harris.  Although Jeptha and Nellie are listed as being able to read and write, 14-year-old Rebecca could not.

Nancy married B. H. Leven in 1876.  She died still in her teens in 1879.  Mary Rebecca married Atha Head in 1880.  Jeptha Moxley passed his days as a farmer.  His wife, Nellie, died in 1884.  At that time, he had two adult daughters and grandchildren.  I think it must have been surprising when he remarried at the age of 56.  In 1886, He married Margaret Jane Champion a 30 year old widow who was just a few months older than Jeptha's daughter Mary Head.  John Given Moxley was born the following year.  His brother, Clyde, was born in 1889.  

Grave of Jeptha Moxley
"Our father has gone to mansions of rest,
from a region of sorrow and pain,
To the glorious land by the Deity blest,
Where he never can suffer again.
Erected by Mary E Head TO HER FATHER"
One day when my dad was logging with John Given Moxley,  Dad commented that they were cutting down some pretty big trees.  John said that he remembered long before dad was born that the trees were much bigger and took three men to reach around.  He said, one day, he and his dad were pulling three huge logs with oxen.  John was an adolescent and driving the wagon.  Jeptha was walking next to it.  John hit a rut or a hole and the wagon lurched.  The chain broke.  A log fell on Jeptha.  John said it smashed him as flat as a pancake from the waist down.  They didn't have a doctor.  They just put Jeptha in bed and he yelled for three days in agony.  He died on August 3, 1903.  He was 74 years old and buried in the family plot.   




His wife went on to marry four more times before dying of heart disease at the age of 80.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Abraham Merideth

Great-grandfather of Ranzel L. Merideth

Abraham Merideth was born on the 10th of September 1836 in Edmonson County. He was born to Joseph Abraham Meredith and Elizabeth Sanders Meredith who were both in their mid 40's at the time. The 1840 census shows the family settled in Edmonson County. In addition to the parents, there were 8 boys listed, no girls. One can only presume these were Abraham and his older brothers.

On Christmas Eve, 1861, Abraham mustered-in the Union Cavalry, 4th Kentucky, having enlisted a month earlier. On the 28th, he appears on the company roll at Camp Anderson which was located at Lebanon Junction, Ky. In March, the company proceeded toward Nashville, TN. Command was given to Col. Smith in May, and they engaged the Confederate cavalry several times. The most significant of these was at 4 am on May 5th at Lebanon, TN against Morgan. In the summer of 1862, Pvt. Meridith was promoted to corporal. However, in April 1864 he was demoted back to private. His enlistment described him as dark complected with black eyes and black hair.

The 4th Kentucky was involved in the pursuit of General Bragg into Kentucky as far as Bowling Green. In the winter of 1863, they returned to Nashville. In Tennessee, they engaged in several contests against the troops of Van Dorn and Forrest. At the Battle of Chicamauga, 9/20/1863, they were involved in heavy fighting losing 90 men and 4 officers.

For the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, Copl Meridith was assigned to the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry but eventually rejoined the 4th in April at the time of his demotion. He fought throughout Georgia and was sent home to Kentucky at the end of the year to be mustered-out.

He returned to the farm and in 1868 he married Minisa Crouch, the daughter of a James and Sarah Crouch. James was a farmer, Sarah, a midwife. Minisa picked up the trade of midwifery and herbs from her mother. When Minisa later would apply for pension assistance, Sarah testified that she delivered six children belonging to Minisa and Abraham in addition to the over 600 children Sarah had delivered professionally. These children were James E. Merideth (father of John Edsel Merideth) b. 1873, Flora Bell b 1874, Noah Clint b. 1876, Pernia Ann b. 1878, Leonard Bert b. 1880, and William A. born 1885.


Family lore tells that Abraham didn't get along with the other Meredith's in the area and so changed the spelling of his name. It appears as both Merideth and Meridith in his civil war papers. Although, he weathered many battles in the war, his life was still cut short at 56. On Nov 5, 1892 he was killed by an explosion at a sawmill. His grandfather had brought the clan to Kentucky almost 100 years beforehand and had operated one of the first Gristmills in the region. Some stories I have seen say that Abraham was just riding by on horseback at the time of the accident. Whatever the cause, he left 6 children ages 7 to 19. Mincy followed him six years later at the age of 52. They were buried in Old Cub Run cemetery in Hart County, Ky.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thomas F. Hall

Great-grandfather of Marshall A. Paris

Nelson Thomas Frazier Hall was born around Shelby County, Kentucky in 1840. His parents were Norman Franklin Hall and Naomi Hall. They were born in Virginia, but traveled to Kentucky at a young age. They were married June 27, 1834 in Shelby County, Kentucky. By 1843, they were living in Union County, Kentucky, eventually settling in the Grove Center area (then called Gum Grove). They had at least seven children together, of which, Thomas was the oldest known.

At the age of 22, Thomas enlisted in Company D, 10th Kentucky Cavalry (Johnson's Calvary) as a private, Sept 3, 1862. He was recruited by confederates in Union County and signed up for three years. Census records for his family do not indicate that they owned slaves. Perhaps his strong Virginia roots were his motivation for choosing sides. Recruitment in this regiment was helped greatly by Johnson's victories in capturing Newburg, Madisonville, Slaughters, etc, in the region during the summer of 1862.

Within a few months of enlisting, Thomas was promoted from private to 3rd corporal. Colonel Johnson, the commanding officer, originally intended the regiment to be a band of guerilla fighters in Western Kentucky. However, soon after formation, the regiment was called to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There, they were attached to Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's cavalry division.

Morgan led 4000 confederates (90% ky natives) from Alexandria, TN, on December 22, 1862.
They quickly marched about 50 miles to Tompkinsville, Ky, by the next night. On a cold Christmas Eve, the men continued on to Glasgow and took the city from a small Federal garrison. They then continued and camped in Upton for a few days while small detachments took out bridges and telegraph lines. The rebels marched on to Elizabethtown on the 27th where 650 union troops were garrisoned. After a troop and artillery assault on the town, the confederates took the town. They were welcomed by the residents with whiskey and Christmas festivities.

Morgan moved his troops north toward Bardstown. It was only the next day that Union troops arrived in Elizabethtown in chase. Amazingly, the confederates were able to stay out of the federals grasp and snuck from Bardstown to Tennessee in a snow storm at the close of the year.

Morgan led an even bigger venture in the summer of 1863. Against the orders of his commanding officers, he led a raid from Tennessee and through Kentucky to Indiana and Ohio. He raided the garrison in Lebanon, KY and moved on through Bardstown. They eventually crossed the Ohio River at Brandenburg and moved on to Corydon, IN where a battle was fought with militia. He crossed toward Ohio, looting small towns along the way. They then proceeded to a ford over the Ohio River to West Virginia. The Union Army anticipated his attempt to escape south and were ready with militia, cavalry and gunboats. In the Battle of Buffington Island, Morgan attempted to make a crossing but 750 of his remaining 1150 men were captured in the attempt. A second attempt caused many men to drown. With only 300 men eventually escaping to West Virginia.

Morgan succeeded in terrorizing the region and damaging bridges and rail. He also captured and parolled 6000 Union troops. Most of the men that followed him on this raid were sent to Camp Douglas in Illinois.

Thomas' war records are spotty. He was with Johnson's cavalry for the November and December rolls in 1862. This confirms he was most likely a part of the Christmas Raid. However, I have no attendance information for him until he was captured Sep 9 1863. At that time he was still with the 10th Ky Cavalry. So, I assume he stayed with them the whole time. It is only a theory that he was a part of Morgan's largest raid. In any event, he was not one of the men captured crossing the Ohio River. He made his way to Cumberland Gap. A garrison of 2300 men collected there with self dug trenches. On Sep 7th, large Union forces arrived and began demanding surrender. The confederate commander surrendered facing poor odds and the very low moral of his troops after news of Gettysburg and Vicksburg. So, at 3pm on Sep 9th the rebel forces surrendered unconditionally.

On Sep 26, 1863, Thomas Hall arrived at Camp Douglas, the most notorious prison camp in the North. 1 in 6 prisoners died there. This was largely due to poor sanitation, overcrowding, and inadequate food and clothing. Stories abound of rations being withheld and blankets taken away from prisoners. Many died of disease or froze to death in the bitterly cold Chicago winters. Still, Thomas survived two winters there. He was part of a prisoner exchange between North and South. He was released at Point Lookout, Maryland on Feb 24, 1865.

Thomas returned to Union County. In 1866, he married Susan Livesay. They had three children Ollie, Laura, and Charles. He got started making Wagons and working as a Blacksmith. Eventually, he took up farming like his father. He died in 1922 of dysentery and was buried in Bethel Cemetery.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

William Brooks and Elizabeth Basil

Family of Bobbie Cabell Merideth

Today I'm going to talk about William Brooks. William is my husbands ggg grandfather on the Merideth side of the family.

William Brooks was born in Pennsylvania in 1855. Both of his parents were also from Pennsylvania. Depending on the record, they were either born there or in Ireland. They died when he was quite young, and he was raised by a relative (perhaps a sister). Later, he moved to Tennessee where he met and married Elizabeth Basil. Elizabeth was at least part Native American. She was born about 1851 in Tennesee. Both of her parents were from Tennessee as well. Together, William and Elizabeth had seven children and eventually moved to Kentucky. First, they lived in East Fork, Metcalfe County, Kentucky. They are found there in the 1880 census. William is listed as a "laborer." Eventually the family moved to Adair County. The four youngest girls are found enrolled in school there in 1895.

Children of William and Elizabeth Brooks
  1. Marion Brooks born c. 1869 in Tennessee
  2. Charles Brooks born c. 1874 in Tennessee
  3. Dina Brooks born c. 1876 in Tennessee
  4. Margarett "Maggie" Brooks born c. 1878 in Tennessee
  5. Anna B. "Annie" Brooks born c. 1882 in Kentucky and died c. 1906. She married Loren Washington Tabor in March 1901. They had three children together. 
  6. Lou Ella Brooks born c. 1883 in Kentucky
  7. Victoria "Bunch" Brooks born in April 1886 in Metcalfe, Kentucky and died Jan 1 1981 in Adair County. She married Joe F. Gadberry of Adair County Nov. 19 1903.
Elizabeth died before or after the family moved to Adair. William also married Clemma Melson. She died in childbirth and the baby didn't survive. William later married Ella Francis Floyd (Powell) 24 Nov 1893. She was a native of Adair County and the wedding took place there. They lived in Columbia, Kentucky. William worked as a stonemason. He built several walls around Columbia. Some are still standing. William and Ella had four children together. They are found in Columbia in both the 1900 and 1920 census.

Children of William and Ella Brooks.
  1. Mike B. Brooks born August 31, 1896 in Columbia. He married Mabel J. Hall on April 19, 1919 in Indianapolis.
  2. Cary Brooks born December 15, 1898 and died June 7, 1911, both in Adair County.
  3. Rollin Brooks born c. 1901 in Kentucky.
  4. Ida Mae Brooks born c. 1909 in Kentucky and died January 9, 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She married Vernon Holt, Dec 22, 1923 in Indianapolis.
Cary died of Typhoid fever and pneumonia in 1911. Sometime after that the family moved to Indianapolis. In 1920, they lived on Concordia Street. William was a Fireman in a factory. He also had living with him his 18 year old grandson Earnest R. Tabor (son of Annie B. Brooks and L.W. Tabor). Earnest, Mike and Rollin were all working in an auto factory. By 1930, William and Ella are living with their daughter Ida Mae and her family. William listed his age as 75 and was still working at a Hosiery Mill. William died March 25, 1938 and was buried in New Crown Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rody Lynn (c.1855-1896)

Family of Jeptha Moxley

Rody Lynn is my great great grandmother. She is an ancestor in our Moxley family tree. Rody was born about 1855 in Warren, Tennessee. Her parents were William Riley Lynn and Nancy Hobbs. Her family eventually came to Hurricane, Crittenden County, Ky. They are listed in the 1870 census there.

Rody married William E. Lynn on August 10th, 1874. He was born in Warren County as well and was 20 years old. I do not know if or how they were related. She was 19. The marriage was performed at Rody's house by Thomas Riley. Rody and William "Buddy" Lynn had at least four children together.
  1. Richard Lynn
  2. William Thomas Lynn b. March 1885. He married Mildred Hagger. They lived in Michigan.
  3. Lacy Ellis Lynn b. March 4, 1889
  4. Jennie Lynn b. Dec 1889, quite soon after Lacy, and d. May 13, 1965. She married Robert Earnest Guill
There is a gap between the next child and family has reported that Buddy Lynn had died before Katherion Lynn was born.
  1. Katherion Lee Lynn (Dec 12, 1894- July 24, 1941) She married John Given Moxley in 1919. They had six children before she died at the age of 46 from diabetes.
  2. Ada Mae Lynn b. May 1896.
Rody Lynn died sometime between 1896 and 1900. Her six children were left behind and distributed amongst relatives in Crittenden County. In 1900, they are found in the local census as follows. William T. Lynn is a servant in the home of William and Victoria Nation. Lacy Lynn is a servant in the home of Joel and Lorne Taber. Jennie Lynn was in the home of her uncle Richard and aunt Elizabeth Lynn. Richard was Rody's brother. Katherine was raised by George Barley and Catherine Beanblossom Barley. Ada lived with her second cousin Mary Isabelle Lynn and her husband William H. Riley.
To Do: locate birth and death records for Rody if they exist.
I always appreciate help from others. If you have additional information or a relation to the folks above please leave a comment.