Monday, August 31, 2009

Where I've been . . .

August left me little time to blog. The first week of August I was involved in implementing a new course for teachers -- it was a great success. In addition to this, I didn't know what direction to take next. I'm to the generation of Joneses that includes my grandparents -- Jan and Pop as we knew them. I realized I just didn't know as much about them as I would have liked. I contacted Rosemary Kramer and Fred Breving and will post what I learn in a later post.

Meanwhile, I had the itch to get away and decided to go down to the Kentucky Archives in Frankfort, KY. I've been there before. It's an interesting place. You can pull up original documents, musty and moldy as they are, from Mt. Sterling, KY that were filed by T.H. Probert, Jan's grandfather (and our gg-grandfather). For years I've tried to research both William Dailey and John Cronin to determine who was Jan's father.

I was able to find some tax records from the 1880s, but no answers to my questions. I decided to drive over to Mt. Sterling and take some pictures. In an earlier visit to Mt. Sterling I had found the grave of T.H. (Thomas) Probert at the MacPhelah Cemetery on the outskirts of Mt. Sterling. I had a death record for him. He and his wife, Catherine Richardson, had lost three children as infants. The infants are buried on the same site.

There is one tall monument to the family. It is located in Section 9 and is near the top of a hillside that overlooks the entire town of Mt. Sterling. I always seem to be there just as the "golden hour" is upon us. I was touched by the quotation that was carved into the side of the marker.

My plan was to leave MacPhelah, take pictures in the heart of Mt. Sterling, photograph the grave of William Dailey in St. Thomas Cemetery and head back to Cincinnati. That's where things got really fun. I went to the center of town near the Court House and started taking pictures of the location where I know Thomas Probert had once served as the town jailer. In the 1870 Census, the Probert family is listed along with the names of the prisoners and a cook. Although I know the exact location of the jail, it is now the site of what is now the Historical Society for Mt. Sterling.

When I got there, there was a group of about 100 people attending a pot luck dinner. I found the door was open and went in to photograph a picture of the site when it was used as a fire station and then left. I was followed out by Miles Hoskins who is the president of the society and invited me in. They were having a speaker from the University of Kentucky, Becky Ryder, who was going to pick up originals of the Kentucky Sentinel, a weekly newspaper published in Mt. Sterling. She was going to take the originals, purchased by Miles in an estate sale, and have them digitized at the University of Kentucky. Once this process is completed, the papers will be posted on the web and be fully searchable. As someone who had just spent three hours at the library scanning microfilm of these historic papers, I can't imagine how helpful that will be.

Miles Hoskins is pictured with a copy of the Kentucky Sentinel, soon to be digitized and searchable online.

We all exchanged business cards and it was great fun sharing common history with Mt. Sterling residents. I know this will not be my last visit to Mt. Sterling. In fact I very much look forward to learning what I can and sharing what I have with the members of the Historical Society.

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