Sunday, May 31, 2009

Britton Wainright - Part I

One of the things I really enjoy doing is riding my bike on the Little Miami Bike Trail. I was riding along one day and they had placed a historical marker, about a mile up the trail from Miamiville. It spoke of what had happened on the railroad when Morgan's Raiders came through. I remembered that Britton had died in defense of his town in Indiana and I wanted to know more.

Britton was, and came from, a family of blacksmiths. He was born in Cincinnati in 1819. Several Cincinnati City Directories reference his father and later, Britton and his brother, as blacksmiths.

Cist Cincinnati Directory 1843

Wainright J. & B. wagon makers and blacksmiths, cor Front and
Wainright John, (J. & B. W.) Front bet Washington & Collord
Wainright Britton, (J. & B. W.) boards Wm Wainright
Wainright William, blacksmith. Front bet Washington & Collord

Britton married in 1847. In 1850 he was listed with Mary Elizabeth and their daughter Ruth Catherine still living in Cincinnati. Somewhere shortly thereafter, the family relocated to New Albany, Indiana where Britton continued to work as a blacksmith.

My first surprise was finding out that Britton was actually listed on the Civil War Pension Index. That enabled me to literally order a copy of the file from the national archives. It contained a wealth of information including a copy of the Marriage License for he and Mary Elizabeth Darby. It also listed the names and ages of his three surviving children at the time of his death and stated that he died of heatstroke in defense of New Albany from Morgan's Raiders.

I got a copy of the book The Longest Raid of the Civil War by Lester Horwitz, a Cincinnati author who became interested in Morgan after buying a home near Loveland that had been raided by Morgan and his men during the Civil War. On July 9, 1863, Morgan and his band of 2200 men confronted approximately 450 home guards at the Battle of Corydon in Indiana. Being badly outnumbered, the town was quickly surrendered. The locals lost nine men and the Confederates lost eleven. The weather was extremely hot that day and two women who were carrying water to the soldiers died from the effects of the heat. No mention was made of Britton, despite my knowledge that he, too, had died on that day.

I spoke with the author and he suggested that I review the correspondence between the Union and Confederate generals. Unknown to me our library had a complete set of this correspondence. I quickly discovered that Gen. Burnside predicted that Morgan and his raiders were going to attack New Albany. In fact the newspaper in Indianapolis for July 9th reported:

It is supposed the rebels are marching on New Albany and Jeffersonville, where large quantities of supplies are stored. Troops are being organized throughout the State and sent forward as rapidly as possible.

The generals got it wrong. Instead of heading east to New Albany, the raiders headed north to Palmyra and Salem before turning east. Therefore, Britton was not listed as one of the casualties of war. Yet there was the issue of the pension. How did Mary Elizabeth get a pension which clearly stated that Britton had died in defense of his country against Morgan's Raiders? This puzzled me for more than seven years -- and only this year did I find the definitive answer. I'll discuss it in Part II.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Darby Connection

I debated when I started this project as to whether or not I should go straight down the descendant lines (Alexander Jones to Charles Henry Jones, Charles Henry to Charles Fred, Charles Fred to John Thomas, John Thomas to me) or should I also include information on the collateral lines. I went with the latter. I'm a firm believer in not ignoring the contributions of the women that the Jones men married. So let me tell you about Mary Elizabeth Darby who was the mother of Rachel Wainright Jones (Pop's mother).

Mary Elizabeth Darby emigrated with her family from Selby, Yorkshire County, England. She was 13 years old at the time. They sailed from Liverpool and arrived in New York on March 20, 1841.

When I first started researching my family, I was really fascinated by Rachel Wainright and her father Britton -- more about him later. When you have a last name like Jones, researching can be incredibly challenging -- but then there was a unique name like Britton Wainright. I decided to "google" his name on the computer and he immediately came up in a family tree married to Mary Elizabeth Darby who came from England. In addition, there were several other previous generations listed. The family tree had been submitted by Martha Darby Rutter of Oklahoma.

I googled Martha and was able to find a phone number and called her up. What a conversation that was! When I told her who I was she went and got the family history record written by her g-grandfather, Edwin Cyrus Darby. She quoted this paragraph to me:

Father's oldest sister married a man named Wainwright. They had three children, two daughters named Ruth and Rachel and a son Thomas. He was killed in a railroad accident. Ruth married a Dr. Hutchison, had a son and daughter, then he died. The daughter was a nurse in the World War and went to France. Ruth died several years ago. Rachel married Harry Jones. They had two or three children. She died young, then he died and the children were put out in private homes. I lost track of them.

When Martha read this to me the hairs on my arms stood up. I told her that I was part of the family that her g-grandfather had lost track of. He wrote his family history about 1937, the year Alwilda died.

Her next statement was the biggest shock of the conversation. Martha said, "You know where they are buried, right?" I replied that I couldn't possibly know that, because until this conversation I didn't even know they existed. She then proceeded to tell me that many members of the Darby family were buried in the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Imagine my shock because I've lived in Pleasant Ridge the majority of my life and even went to kindergarten at Pleasant Ridge School, directly across the street from the cemetery. Martha told me she had come to Cincinnati and found the graves and found the church office to be very helpful. Based on her information, I was able to retrieve copies of their cemetery records. Tim and I made a visit and you can see the picture below.

I plugged the information into my Family Tree Maker program and it said that Martha and I are fourth cousins. We are related through Jonathon Darby, father of Mary Elizabeth. Martha and I have stayed in touch. She has pursued her family's genealogy for more than three decades and provided me with a lot of information. I have a copy of the Darby passenger list when they emigrated from England. I know the family was very musical and brought their instruments with them to the states. There are several members of the family who fought in the Civil War. Martha also sent me a picture of Mary Elizabeth, mother of Rachel and my gg-grandmother. She was one of many strong women from whom we are descended.

For more than eight years, Martha and I have emailed back and forth. When I became frustrated with my genealogical "brick walls", Martha was always there to suggest another approach to solving the problem. I attribute to her my love of this hobby and much of what I've learned. We always promise to meet, but so far we haven't done so. Like me, Martha is a retired teacher. We've both had our fair share of health issues -- but you can't keep a Jones/Wainright/Darby woman down.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cemetery Surprises

When I started doing research I had some underlying assumptions. For instance, if a grave marker said someone was buried there, I assumed that meant they were buried there. How naive! As stated earlier, Rachel Wainright Jones (Pop's Mom) is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky. Interestingly there are grave markers on the plot for her father Britton, mother Mary Elizabeth, her brother Thomas, and her grandparents, Ruth and William Wainright. The people that run the cemetery office tried to help me out. They keep pretty good records. They told me that they had no record for the burial of William. They even had a sketch of the plot showing who was buried where -- still no record of William.

By the time I found Rachel, I had substantial information about her father, Britton. He had an interesting history I'll discuss in another posting. I knew he died "in defense of his country against the rebel John Morgan" of Morgan's Raiders fame. I knew he died of heatstroke near New Albany, Indiana in 1863. I had a copy of his Civil War Pension Index. I knew his widow, Mary Elizabeth, brought the family back to Cincinnati. I wondered how someone's body from the Civil War who died in Indiana made its way back to Cincinnati. The plot sketch says that Britton was buried in Evergreen in April, 1864 (a year after his death). I've read of families spending quite a bit of money to recover the bodies of their Civil War dead, but I wondered if Mary Elizabeth actually brought his body to Cincinnati when the family returned. The Cemetery Office could not locate a card for Britton in their file. But there was the grave marker -- spelling out all of the details about Britton's life.

Then there was William -- Rachel's grandfather. They had a record for the burial of Ruth, but not William. Again, William had a grave marker. Ruth was living with her daughter, Rachel Lusk, in Newport at the time of her death. Apparently, William and possibly Ruth had been living with another daughter in Athens, OH when William died. It wasn't until October 2008 that I was able to find William buried in the South Canaan Cemetery outside of Athens on the family plot owned by his daughter, Ann Eliza Broadwell. There was a wonderful verse engraved on his marker, yet his wife was not buried next to him when she died a few years later. Lesson number one: Sometimes it's not a grave marker, it's a memorial to a loved one they would have liked to be buried near.

Then there is the mystery of Charles Jones monument in the Walnut Hills Cemetery. I was fascinated from the first time I saw it. There was a symbol on the monument that referred to the "Golden Lodge" and "70". I've scanned in a copy so you can see the crossed swords, ivy, etc. I could not seem to identify a Golden Lodge.

A couple of years ago I found the Death Notice for Charles Henry. There was my answer! Again I found it interesting that the notice would acknowledge that he was a "Member of Golden Lodge, K. of P." but not mention that he was the father of Fred, Leo, and Edith. I guess Alwilda placed the Death Notice.

Further research allowed me to find out what the "K of P" was. It stands for the Knights of Phythias, a fraternal organization established by an Act of Congress in 1864. You can read more about the organization by following this link The organization was devoted to international peace. If only their goals had been achieved. It gives me one more clue as to who Charles Henry was. He obviously valued friendship and service. Wish I could learn more.

Alwilda, Alwilda

So what do we know about Alwilda (Pop's stepmother)? When I first started on this family research journey, I contacted Patty Scardina Volz. I had been to the Walnut Hills Cemetery and located Charles and Alwilda's graves. She asked me if I spit on Alwilda's grave while I was there. She said that Pop had always told Margaret Ann to spit on Alwilda's grave if she ever went to visit. Margaret Ann apparently repeated this instruction to her children. So is it a fair characterization to say she fit the description of the "wicked stepmother"?

Here's the evidence:

  • As I mentioned in the previous post, here is what Lillian's letter had to say: "His second wife was not a good mother to her children, mother said. . . the children needed Rachel's guidance. Had she lived she would have insisted on a good education for Fred, Leo and Edith."

  • When Charles remarried on December 24, 1898 (a respectful six years after Rachel's death), he married a woman 16 years his junior. She was 32 years old when she married.

  • My mother's notes say that "Pop", my grandfather, swam out into the river and "got a job on a boat as a cabin boy". I recall hearing that he did this when he was about 13. He would have been 14 when his dad remarried.

  • When Alwilda died in 1937 at the age of 71, her Death Notice referred to her husband, brother and sister. No mention was made of her stepchildren. She died of a cardiac embolism with arteriosclerosis and uterine cancer being contributory causes.

  • But by far the best evidence of how "Pop" felt about his stepmother is this picture.

Patty Volz is in possession of the original. We don't have any pictures of Alwilda and for good reason. Pop cut Alwilda out of the picture where she posed with his father. You can clearly see where he made the cut. I think this sums up his feelings. I also find it interesting that no survivor saw fit to pay to have her death date engraved into her grave marker. The poor woman was probably spared a lot of heartache as she died about the time of the '37 flood.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Charles Henry Jones

Charles Henry, sometimes referred to as "Harry" was born January 23, 1850 in Cincinnati. He was the third of six children and was our g-grandfather. I love what I know (and don't know) about Charles Henry. In Lillian's letter to Edith, she described him this way:

Charles Jones was a handsome, fair man, much like your Bob (my Dad's brother, father of Bob and Gina). Everyone liked him and people said he was the finest man who ever walked Eastern Avenue. He looked something like your father, (Fred --our grandfather) except that his coloring was different (blue-eyed and blond hair). See for yourself. Here is his picture.

I think we'd all agree -- he was handsome!
As a young man, Charles and his brother Tom, worked at the Crane Lumber Yard building caskets.

Once again Lillian's letter tells us "Your grandfather (Charles) and Uncle Tom (Charles' brother) worked for the Crane Lumber Co. on Eastern Ave. They manufactured caskets, and every noon the men would stretch out in a nice clean casket, before the satin linings were put in, and take a nap!"
In 1874 and '75, Charles' occupation was listed in the City Directory as a "sawyer". By 1876 he was a machinist. Eventually Charles made his living as a "carriage maker". On January 25, 1882 Charles married Rachel Adela Wainright in the Emanuel Episcopal Church.
Lillian's letter described Rachel this way:
Rachel was a very refined, intelligent woman who was slightly crippled, I think, walking with a little limp. Her health was delicate and she died early. Charles Jones remarried, but his second wife was not a good mother to her stepchildren, mother said. Charles was a kind man, very easy-going, but the children needed Rachel's guidance. Had she lived she would have insisted on a good education for Fred, Leo, and Edith.

Researching Rachel has been a labor of love. I have always felt drawn to her based on this description. I wanted to know more. Rachel was the daughter of Britton Wainright and Mary Elizabeth Darby. Believe me, each of them is a story in itself. Britton died at the age of 43, leaving Mary Elizabeth a widow with three children. They were living in New Albany, IN at the time of Britton's death. Mary Elizabeth brought the family back to Cincinnati. I'll write about each of their stories later.

Rachel had what we would now refer to as tuberculosis (they called it consumption). They lived in a two-family home on Gladstone which is just above the railroad tracks off Collins Ave. The house was just torn down a couple of years ago. Rachel's mother lived with them, I assume to assist in her care and help with the children. Rachel died in 1892 at the age of 41. At the time of her death, Edith was 10 years old, Fred was just short of 8 years old and little Leo was only 5 years old. After her death, I have some documentation that says the children were "put into private homes".

Charles married Alwilda Collins, who deserves her own posting. There seems to have been no love lost between Rachel's mother and Alwilda. Let me show you Rachel's grave in Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, KY. I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

Note the inscription at the base of the grave marker:
"Erected by her mother and children"

What about her husband?

Charles was only 59 years old when he died in 1909. On his Death Certificate, his son, Fred was the informant and apparently living at home at 2316 Gladstone. Charles' occupation was listed as a "millwright" and the cause of death was chronic nephritis.

He is buried next to his second wife, Alwilda, in the Walnut Hills Cemetery. I intend to blog on details related to that, too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Tribute to Lillian

When I first became interested in the history of the Joneses and my German and Irish lines, I had a couple of things going for me. First of all, my mother gave me a folder of family information she had collected over the years. A lot of her notes were the result of conversations she had had with Margaret Ann Scardina, my Dad's sister. (A few years back, Patty and I compared notes and found out that she had the same record -- her mother must have shared the information with mine). In the folder was a copy of a letter from Lillian Mears to Edith Breving.

As I was new to all of this, I called Rosemary Kramer and asked her to explain what she knew about the letter. Much to my surprise Rosemary told me all about Lillian, who was our grandfather's first cousin. She told me she lived in Harrison and was about 95 years old.

I called Lillian and despite macular degeneration and being somewhat frail, she invited Patty Volz and me to lunch at the home she shared with her daughter in Harrison, Ohio. She could practically quote all of the details in the letter, which had been written in 1978.

With a name like Jones, you need all of the clues you can get, and Lillian had a lot of them. Lillian was a retired school teacher who had graduated from Miami University. She had great stories about the lengths her parents went to to fund her education -- now I wish I had written them down. A lot of the things in her letter have now been documented. There were a few inaccuracies, but they were largely based on the recollections of her mother whose father (Alexander) died when she was only two years old.

As I write this history as I know it, I will often include quotes from her letter. Thank goodness that Edith Jones Breving asked Lillian to write down what she knew and my mother was given a copy. When Patty and I visited her she also gave us a photocopy of the Jones Family in 1916. Despite it's poor quality, it's one of my favorite items.

This picture was taken at Lillian's home in Harrison in 1916. The adults from left to right were:

John Lewis Amiss (husband of Elizabeth Jones Amiss)

Elizabeth Jones Amiss (daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth)

Leo Jones

Melissa Jones (wife of Leo)

Tom Jones

Norine Jones (wife of Charles Fred - our grandfather)

Ella Jones (wife of Tom)

Margaret Jones (wife of Harley)

Fred Jones (our grandfather)

Harley Jones

The children from left to right were:

Lillian Amiss Mears - daughter of John and Elizabeth

Edith Jones Breving - my aunt

Charles Jones - my uncle

Irma Jones - daughter of Margaret and Harley Jones

At least I had the good sense to have Lillian identify the people in the picture.

Lillian died just short of the age of 100 after suffering a fall in her home. She, too, is buried at New Haven Cemetery near Harrison.

More pictures from the luncheon:

Lillian, Patty Volz and Laura (Lillian's daughter)

Back Row:

Laura, Rosemary, Sue, Jeanne,

Front Row:

Patty, Lillian, Nan

Bottom Row: Kathy and Sue's son Spencer

Alexander and Elizabeth

So what is it we know about this pair? Elizabeth married Alexander when she was only 17 years old. According to Lillian Mears' letter, Elizabeth was born in Pennsylvania and was "Pennsylvania Dutch". This is supported by several census documents that confirm she was born in Pennsylvania. According to those same documents, both of her parents were born in Germany.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the two married July 6, 1840. Their ages are not consistent in census documents. However, Elizabeth's grave marker says that she was born in 1823. Their first-born son, William, was born in 1841. The 1860 Census says that William was born in Kentucky. We also know from the 1860 Census that Elizabeth could not read or write.

In Cincinnati, five other children were born to this union.

  • Martha was born February 3, 1848 and died December 6, 1938. She married (William) Henry Helmig in 1870.

  • Charles Henry, my g-grandfather was born on January 23, 1850 and died September 8, 1909. He had four children with Rachel Adela Wainright. Following her death, he married Alwilda Collins. There will be much more about this family in a later post.

  • Johnny Jones was born about 1852. I have no information about him.

  • Tom (Thomas) Jones was born about 1857 and married Ella. He died February 22, 1929 in Cincinnati.

  • Elizabeth Jones was born August 30, 1860. She married John Amiss on October 13, 1886 and died in Harrison, Ohio in 1952.

For years I tried to find out where Alexander was buried. One day I was visiting the Walnut Hills Cemetery office where many of the above family members were buried. Serendipitously I found out that Alex had originally been buried in the Radical Cemetery in Mt. Auburn. This was a couple of blocks away from the historic Vernon Manor Hotel. The cemetery was closed in 1891 and the majority of the bodies were moved to Spring Grove Cemetery. According to the Hamilton County Burial Records, Vol. 16 for the Walnut Hills Cemetery (1843-1993), Alex was reburied in a plot owned by Henry Helmig, husband of Martha.

Alex's wife, Elizabeth, eventually moved in with her daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, John Amiss. They lived in Harrison, Ohio near the Indiana border. When the elder Elizabeth died, she was buried in a family plot at the New Haven Cemetery near Harrison.

My favorite story about Alex and Elizabeth also comes from Lillian's letter.

When Elizabeth Kinley was 16 or 17 years old, she always wore a sunbonnet. She was blond, and I suppose sunburned easily. Alex Jones said, "I think I'd like to go with that Miss Kinley, but I never get a chance to see her face under the bonnet." Evidently he finally got a peek at her and liked what he saw. He was very dark, according to his picture. With his beard, he looked like Lincoln.

Alexander Jones

Alexander and Elizabeth had six children. The first-born son, William, was born in Kentucky. All of the others were born after the family relocated to Cincinnati, about 1843. The Cincinnati City Directories record Alexander as living in the following areas:

1843 - Jones Alexander, carpenter. Race bet 14th and 15th

1846 - Jones Alexander, carp, S s Court, bet Race and Elm

1849-50 - Jones Alexander, carp. w. s. Elm, 3 doors s. of Cooper

1856 - Jones Alex, carp. 502 E. Front

1860 - Jones Alex., carp., n.s. E. Front e. of toll gate

1861 - Jones Alexander, carp., s.s. Front below Foster

This was the height of the steamboat era in Cincinnati. We are fortunate to have a letter in our possession, written by Lillian Amiss Mears, granddaughter of Alexander and Elizabeth. Most of the information in the letter has proved to be correct. Lillian's letter says that Alexander died in 1862. "Doctors called it inflammation of the bowels". From the research I have done on the cholera epidemics in Cincinnati, it is no surprise to me that something like this took his life. There was no water purification or sewage treatment. A famous daguerreotype of the Cincinnati River Front was taken in 1848 by Fontayne and Porter. One of the panels shows children drawing a bucket of water from the Ohio River right next to sewage runoff making its way into the river.

The letter also states that Alexander worked on boats that sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans. Since he is listed as a carpenter and steamboat construction was a booming business in Cincinnati at this time, I am convinced that he participated in the construction of steamboats. Front Street later became Eastern Avenue and more recently was renamed Riverside Drive. After 1860, the family lived close to St. Rose Church. Researchers need to be aware that home addresses were renumbered in Cincinnati in 1896, so you cannot assume that was 502 Front St., for instance would correspond to what would be 502 Riverside Dr.

Cincinnati Skyline in 1848

To the right is the community of Fulton that stretched along the river for two miles. In 1848, Fulton had a population of nearly 3000 and its chief industry was steamboat building and repair.

During the year 1847, 34 steamboats, four steamships, two
barges, one brig and one ship were built here. Fulton had four churches, two public schools, ten ship yards, nine saw mills, one dry dock one foundry and a number of stores and groceries. The Little Miami Railroad passed through a great portion of it by its principal street (now Riverside Dr). Description provided by the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Marriage of Alexander Jones and Elizabeth Kinley

The Jones Family is blessed to have a letter from Lillian Mears (first cousin to our grandfather, Fred Jones) to Edith Breving written in February, 1978. In her letter, she said that our gg-grandparents, Alexander Jones and Elizabeth Kinley, got married in Maysville, KY on July 6, 1840.

For years I’ve tried to find their marriage record. Many old records are posted online, but I could never find a listing. On August 31, 2007, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and drive to the Mason County Courthouse in Maysville and see if I had better luck in person.

The employees there were very helpful, directing me to their Marriage Index for that year and the corresponding marriage licenses, all carefully saved in plastic sheet protectors. We could find no record of their marriage. Although I strongly suspected they did not own land, we reviewed the deed books and again found nothing. As I was leaving, one of the clerks suggested that I go across the street to the local Historical Society. Perhaps they would know something.

The local Historical Society had recently moved to a new, modern facility. They directed me to their Genealogical Research Library. When I told the librarian about my quest, she immediately said she thought that perhaps it was a “Gretna Green” marriage. This term was unfamiliar to me. Luckily for us, within two minutes, she found the marriage of our gg-grandparents in the “Marriages of Squire Thomas Shelton, 1822-1854, Aberdeen, Ohio, Vol. 1”. The only discrepancy was that Elizabeth’s last name was spelled “Kindley” vs. “Kinley” which is probably just a transcription error from reading the original handwriting. Since most of the marriages performed by Squire Shelton were never recorded, this was a lucky stroke for our family.

As it ends up, Gretna Green is a small town in Scotland, just across the border from England. It has had the reputation, apparently for centuries, for marrying eloping couples. If you “google” the term, you’ll find comparisons to Las Vegas and numerous other places.

The Ohio town of Aberdeen, directly across the river from Maysville, is known as the “Gretna Green of the Ohio Valley.” In 1822, “Squire” Thomas Shelton was “elevated to the office of Justice of the Peace” in Huntington Township. He, in fact, had the authority to perform marriages, except he married over 20,000 couples who did not have a marriage license. He was succeeded in his death by “Squire Massie Beasley” who continued the lucrative practice until his death in 1892. He kept excellent records that prove he married 7228 couples.

Home of "Squire" Thomas Shelton

The couples were issued “Certificates of Marriage” that, in fact, held no legal standing. There were several reasons why couples chose to be married by the “Squires”. For one thing, Kentucky at the time required a “bond” guaranteeing that the marriage would “work” that could be quite costly. Many could not be legally married because they were too young. Others chose to be married by the Squires because of the perceived “romance” of being married in this way and the acceptance of many in this vicinity as common practice. Often the “illegality of marriage” ran through three generations.

None of this appeared to be a problem until after the Civil War. “Immediately after the war a serious trouble arose in this State (Kentucky) regarding the validity of these marriages. When widows and orphans of soldiers made application for pensions, it was discovered that they were not entitled to them; the Government holding that the marriages were illegal and the children illegitimate. . . . So universal was the illegality of marriage, and so grave and complicated was the situation, that the Legislature of this state (Kentucky) was obliged to pass an act legalizing all marriages of Kentuckians performed by Shelton prior to the close of the war.” (This may in fact have legalized the marriage between Alexander and Elizabeth).

The stories surrounding the marriages of Squire Beasley are great fun. During the summer, six eight and ten bridal couples landed on their shore every day, “to say nothing of several exciting chases each week of the year.” The ferry boat which plied between Aberdeen and Maysville was called the Gretna Green.

“When an agitated and breathless couple came hurrying down to the ferry boat, with an infuriated father or guardian following close at their heels it was Thomas Beasley who calmed their fears by the assurance that he would see them safely over, and that he would not give their followers an opportunity of boarding the boat. . . .Everybody knew when the Gretna Green emitted six, short, sharp shrieks of her whistle that there was a chase to Aberdeen, and it was then a race between Squire and people to see who would get to the landing first. Long before the boat had touched shore, every man woman and child in the town, who was able to run, walk or crawl, had congregated about the Squire, who was taking in the situation through the immense ‘spyglass’ which he always carried for that purpose. He was always ready for such emergencies, his vest pocket containing a goodly stock of blank marriage certificates and as his marriage ceremony was short he made quick work of an elopement once he stood face to face or even within earshot of the refugees.”

There are several humorous stories of angry fathers and others in hot pursuit of the Gretna Green trying to prevent the marriage. In one case “The girl’s father and brother were in hot pursuit of the runaways and were heavily armed. There had been a feud between the families of the contracting parties for generations and the father of the bride vowed that he would kill the lover rather than permit him to marry his daughter.” It is said that the Squire “mumbled over a hasty marriage ritual at the conclusion of which the new-made husband flung him a well-stuffed wallet and dashed away toward the hills with his hard-won bride. The fugitives disappeared in a cloud of dust just as their pursuers came dashing up the street to find that they had been foiled.” Ah, the romance of it all . . .

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a family tree filled with a boring bunch of names in boxes that have no flare. The Joneses have provided me with a great deal of entertainment and admiration over the years --- and it’s true. A river really does run through us.

Kathleen (Jones) Reed
September 1, 2007

Note: Most of this information came from an article that originally appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal. It appeared in the Sunday, August 4, 1897 issue and was written by Dorothy Richardson of Maysville, KY.

Maysville as it appeared in the 1850s.

Living on the Ohio

St. Rose Church
From the Collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Recently I've tried to solve the mystery of exactly where Elizabeth Kinley Jones (widow of Alexander) and her family lived on the banks of the Ohio. Family stories as well as the 1880 Census and numerous Cincinnati City Directories showed the family living on Lumber St. off of Eastern Ave. Lumber St. is right next to St. Rose Church which was built in 1867. It was originally known as St. Rosa and was built to serve the German population of the area.

A few years back I went to the Hamilton Co. Recorder's Office and did a property search. I discovered that the property occupied by St. Rose Church was originally part of the George Torrence Estates. He divided his property among his children, and his daughter Nancy inherited Lots 10 and 11. The Church is on Lot 11.

The deed states that Nancy Torrence sold Lot 11 for $10,000 to Bishop John Purcell. She then donated $1000 back to help fund the construction of the Church. This was in 1867. No mention was made of any part of the property being used for a home.

This had frustrated me for years because Elizabeth Jones, widow of Alexander, is listed in the 1868 City Directory as living in a house, east of Lumber St. The 1880 Census lists Elizabeth and her children as the only Justify Fullresidents on Lumber St. besides the three priests serving St. Rose and their housekeeper.

Last Thursday, my husband Bill and I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Graver, volunteer for the Cincinnati Historical Society. He showed us a map with the house located 250' from the southeast corner of the Church on the river bank. The house was a two-story frame house with an iron chimney. It was located on Lot 10 of the Torrence Estate on property that is currently occupied by the Cincinnati Water Works Pumping Station and owned by the City of Cincinnati.

Note:  Map should read Cincinnati Water Works, not Cincinnati Gas Works.

Last Thursday evening my brother Tim, sister-in-law Dusty and I went with tape measure in hand to find the exact location of the "Jones Homestead." The river level in 2009 is much higher than the level in 1880 but you can get a distinct feel for their closeness and love for the Ohio.

Tim marking the spot where the house was located.

Riverbank as it looks now with a wall surrounding the Water Works plant to prevent flooding.

View from St. Rose Parking Lot.

A River Runs Through Us

I recently attended a conference sponsored by the Hamilton County Genealogical Society. They brought in a speaker, John Phillip Coletta, who works with the National Archives and conducts workshops on preserving your family history. He encouraged us to lay out our documents and try to come up with a theme.

That advice struck a chord with me because I've always known that as far as the Jones Family in Cincinnati is concerned, the Ohio River and boats ties all of us together over six generations. The picture at the left is one of my Dad, Johnny Jones, who grew up on Eastern Ave., now renamed Riverside Dr., in the East End of Cincinnati. His home was right across from the river and he passed on his love of the river to all seven of his "river rats". This picture is loved by our family because we know he had to sell this canoe to buy a sewing machine for my mother. They had four children in less than four years of marriage, and I'm sure they were looking for every way they could save money.

The more I research my Jones line, the more aware I've become of the role that this river and boats have played in each generation. The first Joneses in Cincinnati came here about 1843. Alexander Jones married Elizabeth Kinley in Aberdeen, Ohio across from Maysville, Ky. in 1840 (and boy is there a story about that). When they arrived in Cincinnati, Alexander got a job as a carpenter building steamboats, a booming occupation at this time. They lived in the area called Fulton, a neighborhood that spread east along the river for about two miles. This was just the beginning of the Jones family connection to boats of every shape and size and the Ohio River.

As I am new to blogging, I hope you are patient with me as I learn about this wonderful tool
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