Sunday, March 22, 2015

A SMALL SLAVE CALLED JULIE

Of all the Immortal Nobodies I have placed here, none has fit that title so perfectly as Julie.  I learned of her when a distant cousin sent me some documents she had found in an old purse belonging to her great-great grandmother who died in 1917.  She knew that through my genealogical research I might be able to tell her what these documents were about.

I could.  Here is the setting.... and then Julie appears.

Nancy Corel was 18 when she came with her family from Virginia to Douglas County, Kansas in 1854.  She soon met and married a young man, Francois "Frank" E. Lahay whose family had moved over into Douglas County from St. Genevieve County, Missouri, with the intention of helping to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state.  Nancy married him in 1857, but he died in 1862.  In 1867 Nancy married again - this time to a veteran of the U.S. Kansas 11th Cavalry, Company M. Nancy and her new husband were my great-grandparents and my distant cousin's great-great grandparents..

The document below, a transcription of the original document my cousin has, is a handwritten Bill of Sale from T. and M. Lahay to their son, Francois Lahay, dated 9 December 1853.

***

Know all men by these presents that we, Toussaint Lahay and Marie Lahay, of the county of Ste. Genevieve and state of Missouri, for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty dollars, to us in hand paid by Francois Lahay, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do by these present bargain, sell, and assign a negress slave for life, called and known by the name of Julie, now of about the age of nine years, of a black complexion, together with all our right, title, interest, claims and demands of, in and to the said negress slave, to have and to hold said negress slave, above bargained and sold, as intended so to be, to the said Francois Lahay, his executors, administrators, heirs and assigns forever.  And the said Toussaint Lahay and Marie Lahay, for themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators, does hereby covenant to and with the said Francois Lahay, his executors, administrators, and assigns, that the said negress slave is a slave for life and that she is perfectly sound both in body and mind.

In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this Ninth day of December, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Fifth Three.

[Signed]    
Tousssaint Lahay
Mary Lahay 



Saturday, March 21, 2015

WHAT HAPPENED TO POOR OL’ SHADRICK MCGLOTHLIN?



Son of David & Jemima Corel McGlothlin

Documents tell a story!
   
8 Feb 1906       OBITUARY -  SHADRICK McGLOTHLIN.  Died last Sunday of pneumonia. The public schools were adjourned for the day in memory of Shadrick McGlothlin, who was janitor of the school building.  Born in VA April 11, 1847.  Father and family moved to KC, MO in 1849, lived there 3 years when in 1852 they moved to Kentucky.  Nickname “Shade” Spent 32 years in KY and one of his favorite pastimes was telling tales of life in old KY.  Generous-hearted and accommodating to all.  Took life easy and did not attempt big things in a business way.  Pleasure to take a hand in politics, having received his early training and desires along this line during his residence in the Blue Grass state, where politics were lively much of the time.  “Shade” had many friends and few, if any, enemies.  Married Miss Nettie Spears in Nov 1881 in KY.  In 1884 came to Kansas, lived in Pleasanton ever since.  Has wife and four children: Mrs. Cora Callins of Guthrie, OK, Mrs. Pat Liston (Julia) of Enid, OK; Mrs. Louisa Hull of CA, and Henry, at home.  One child died.  Mrs. McGlothlin extends sincere thanks for kindness of friends.
* Cora and Julia were children by his first wife, Martelia Preston, who died about 1878.


Feb 9, 1906         OBITUARY – Sick one week with pneumonia.  Funeral service Monday at 3 held at home.  Officiant Rev.
R. M. Cullison, pastor of Methodist Church.  In attendance were the school board, teachers, members of the city council, Knights and Ladies of Security, Jewell post, G.A.R., citizens, relatives and friends.  Born in Virginia, April 14, 1847.  Died February 4, 1906.  Father and mother moved to KC, Missouri in 1849 and resided there until 1852 when they moved to Kentucky where Shadrick grew up.  He joined in the 45th Kentucky Cavalry where he served three years.  He married Miss Nettie Spears Nov. 23, 1881 and in 1884 they came to Pleasanton.  “Known as an upright and honorable gentleman, a whole-souled, kind and charitable, honest, cheerful and always happy – one of the boys whom everybody liked and respected for his excellent traits of character.”  Was member of the city council, M.E. church, Jewell post of G.A.R., Knight & Ladies of security, in which order he carried a policy of $1,000.  Leaves loving wife, son, three daughters and a brother, H.H.McGlothlin.  Says brother is inconsolable. 

MILITARY                        
31 May 1879   Resident of Paintsville, Johnson Co., KY.  Enlisted at Catlettsburg, Boyd Co., KY
                        on 1 August 1863 as Private in Co. F of the 45Th KY Mounted Infantry commanded
                        by Thomas Russell; discharged Catlettsburg 24 December 1864.  He is 34 years
                        of age, 5’6” tall, light-complexioned, with light eyes and light hair.  That at Catlettsburg
                        on 20 Sept 1863 he took a severe cold caused by exposure, which settled in his left*
                        shoulder.  It now affects in such a degree that he is unable to use his right arm, and
                        can hardly provide support for himself and family.


This file was not held at the National Archives but rather was at the Veterans Administration headquarters in San Diego, California.  The original claim for pension (above) was filed but subsequent investigation revealed the injury may not have occurred as presented.  Below is a letter sent from the examiner to Hon. John C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions in Washington, D.C. dated April 27, 1886

Sir

I have the honor to return herewith the claim #293,837 of Shadrick McGlothlin, late Pvt. Co. F, 45 KY Infantry whose P.O. is Pleasanton, Linn Co., KS

The claim is for lameness in right shoulder, resulting in rheumatism, contracted at Ashland, KY about November 25, 1863.  It was examined in Kansas, then referred to F.C. Griffin, Special Examiner for further examination and subsequently to me, for yet further examination.

I gave a verbal notice to Judge J. F. Stewart, of Paintsville, Johnson Co., KY as requested by claimant.  He was personally present only during the interrogation of the witnesses at Paintsville, KY.

Original witness, Dr. John Hinkle is dead and Dr. W. G. Wells, who had testified to prior soundness could not be reached by reason of the destruction of roads by flood.  They are both of good reputation.

This claim is a palpable fraud.  I recommend its rejection on two grounds.  First that the disability to his shoulder is not due to the service but is due to the hurt he got while climbing Emanuel Spence’s apple tree, either just before or just after enlisting.  (See statement of Spence and his wife Zilpha) and second, because as long as this evidence pursues him, he is not found to be suffering from any pensionable disability but is engaged at some of the hardest kind of work.

I am of opinion that this man should be prosecuted for attempt to practice fraud on the government.  He enlists in August of 1863.  In September  ’63 complains of his shoulder and charges it to rheumatism, when he knew, as well as this evidence shows, that it was the same disability he received by having his shoulder strained in Spence’s apple orchard, either just before, or just after he enlisted and he knows that he spoke to the Spence’s about it.  His intent is guilty and plainly so, and I recommend that he be selected as a suitable person to make an example of.

The claim was denied.  In the pension file there are appeals and declarations and supplementary claims dating right up to his death.  Apparently at some point he was given a small monthly pension.  The man was truly in poor physical shape, but his early indiscretion haunted him and the government was not overly sympathetic to his ills.  The examinations are very inconsistent in their findings as well. 

Considering that Shadrick is a very collateral relative, I do not find it necessary to sort through all these files and get a blow-by-blow description of what transpired.  Suffice it to say, whether he was simply lazy and didn’t care to work, or couldn’t work hard because he was sick, what the obituary stated – “Took life easy and did not attempt big things in a business way” was surely true.





Monday, February 23, 2015

RAILROADS & GENEALOGY



HOW THE RAILROADS AFFECTED MY FAMILIES

Genealogy isn't all birth, marriage and death dates.  We can learn lots of interesting things about our "long since" ancestors.  I have uncovered a train in almost everybody's life.  Enjoy!

1860s:  General Stephen Hurlbut, one of General Grant’s officers in the civil war, served first in militias in Illinois and then in Missouri guarding the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad.

1864:  Serena Stevens Loop and Sophronia Stevens Hurlbut, both elderly ladies and sisters, were riding in the last car of the morning mail train heading east out of Belvidere, Illinois.  The flange on one of the wheels broke and the car “was precipitated down an embankment 20 or 25 feet high without a moment’s warning.  The car in its descent turned completely over, smashing the top and sides but landing right side up.”  Luckily all the passengers survived, but were badly bruised.  The newspaper article says the new car was very new, with many new amenities, one of which was a new type of wheel.  It added “It is hoped the builders don’t always furnish that style of wheels.”  

1873:   John G. Davis and his neighbors in Schuyler county, Missouri filed lawsuits against the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Railway Company because they didn’t fence their tracks properly, allowing “property” to be killed.  That property was probably a “cow” and Davis was awarded $30.00. 

1873Frank Stevens’ first job at age 15 was learning telegraphy in the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad office in Raymond, Kansas.  In 1874 he was given charge of that station and remained with them until 1891.

1876James S. Dobbins paid to have 1 box of household goods, weight 200 lbs., shipped from Lawrence, Kansas to Las Animas, Colorado.

1884:  Jim & Nannie Dobbins had to give up their ranch in Colorado.  They no sooner got their house and corrals built than they learned the Santa Fe railroad tracks would come directly through their property.

1887:  The first picture of my Grandma Jessie Ryland was taken in Pueblo, Colorado in a Railroad photo car.  

1893:  Aunt Lillie was widowed when her husband, an engineer on the Midland Railroad in Colorado, was killed in a head-on crash in the Rocky Mountain foothills.  As Ben McCammon  lay dying he willed his house to his widow, as attested by three of his co-workers.  This oral will was discovered during a 1977 title search. 

1898:  In the late 1890s Scott Dobbins played cornet in the Midland Railway Band.  In weekly concerts in Colorado Springs he met – and began wooing -  the lady who later became his wife.  

1903:  Frank Stevens’ son, Roland Humphrey Stevens, was killed in a train accident in 1903 in Cimarron, Kansas.  

1906:  In 1906 Byron Hall, aged 30, took the railroad home from a business trip.  The conductor, sensing that apparently the passenger was having some kind of a mental problem, notified the next station of his odd behavior.  At the station Byron got off and walked to a nearby hotel, where he shot and killed two policemen before he himself was killed.

1916Bruce Kirkpatrick, a 16-year old in Tennessee, went with a buddy one evening to try to jump aboard a moving freight trains, the type of unsafe things young men often do.  When Bruce jumped, he bumped into his buddy. This caused Bruce to fall to his death beneath the wheels.  Bruce’s parents, while acknowledging that there was no malicious intent in the death, nevertheless had “Murdered” inscribed on his tombstone.  

1940s:  In the 30s and 40s, many homeless men “rode the rails” to California looking for a job. Julius Title was the head of the Transit Committee for the local Elks club and as such his job was to give to hobos jumping off the train in Pomona a bus ticket to either Los Angeles or San Bernardino, “where jobs were more plentiful.”

*****
And just in case you wondered about my own train experience, that is me in the picture above with my hand shielding the sun from my eyes as I had my first train ride in a little amusement park in Long Beach, California.   My baby sister was with me.  I'm guessing it was 1938. Oh, it was FUN!





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DID HE OR DIDN'T HE? ONLY NARA KNOWS!

STEVENS FAMILY


Chester Dana Stevens - 1862

Almost everything in genealogical research starts out as a theory.  You may know a fact for sure but really it is just a part of your "theory" until you can find definitive proof.

That is, of course, if you are a really dedicated genealogist.  Some people don't want to work that hard, and their work is based on a lot of assumptions that may, or may not be right.  I want mine to be RIGHT!

So here's my Stevens theory:  Chester D. Stevens (1822-1902), my great-great-grandfather, was thought to have participated in the civil war.  On what do I build that theory?

Firstly, his son Frank wrote a short blurb for a Kansas County History Book: "He was a stanch (sic) Republican and served during the Civil war as an officer in the commissary department."  Now genealogists know that these county history books are notoriously suspect.  People paid to have their biography published in this book, and the money collected was what got the book published.  Of course, people writing their own bios tended to leave out the not-so-good stuff and puff up the truth, which might end up anywhere between a little mundane or a big fabrication.  With that possibility in mind, I use Frank's report on his dad as part of my theory.

Secondly, handed down in our family are bits of two letters that Chester wrote to his baby daughter, "Ellen", at the time she was born on 15 September of 1862.  The letters went to his wife in Mendota, Illinois, which is in northern Illinois where all the Stevens clan settled in the 1840s.  One of those letters is shown below.  Please note that Chester reports from Bolivar, Tennessee, puts "Commissary" on the letter and he definitely states that he is in the army, though he writes it with a lower case "a" (which may or may not mean something.)

An ancestor who serves in a war generally has a military record of some type residing in our country's National Archives and accessible to the public.  But lo, there is nothing there for C. D. Stevens, Chester D. Stevens, Chester Dana Stevens, or for any of those names with the variation "Stephens" as a last name.  I tried three different times over a four year period to find something that would indicate Chester's involvement in the Civil War.  But three times the National Archives said their records did not show a man by any of those names in any branch of the service.  Zilch.  Zero.  No military record, no pension, no nothing.

To cover all the bases, I looked for him in the Illinois militia, too.  Zilch there, also.

Mind you, I've been trying to prove my Chester theory since 1984.  Folks, that's 30 years!

Last year I had a new idea.

Chester's sister, Sophronia, married Steven A. Hurlbut, who at that time was an attorney in Belvidere, Illinois, near Mendota.  When the Civil War broke out, President Lincoln put General Ulysses Grant (also a friend of the Stevens family) in place, and guess what?  Grant appointed Hurlbut a Brigadier General and guess where he was in September of 1862 at the time Chester wrote his letter to his newborn daughter?  If you said Bolivar, Tennessee, you would be correct.

The 53rd Infantry Volunteers, headed by Gen. Hurlbut, arrived in Bolivar on September 13 and moved out of Bolivar on October 4.  My new theory now is heading toward the idea of General Hurlbut getting his brother-in-law (Chester) into the Commissary perhaps as a general contractor or the like.  Of course, I have to prove or disprove that one now.

Recently at a genealogy society meeting we had a superb presentation by Kerry Bartels, an Archives Specialist at the Pacific Region National Archives recently relocated from Laguna Niguel to Riverside in California.  After listening to Bartels, I am convinced that the National Archives holds the secret of my Chester's participation in the Civil War.  He may not have been an officer of the commissary department but I do believe he had something very important to do about getting supplies to the Union Army in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Now even with the newly found confidence that I'm heading the right direction with my theory, I can't help but be a bit discouraged.  As Bartels says, the National Archives has a huge amount of material and what is on line is only a miniscule part of it.  And as he showed us, it is possible to find where things are kept.  I try not to be negative, but I add: That may be so IF you are living right, IF you are smart enough, IF you have many years of life left in you, and IF you either can travel around the country to comb through millions of documents or have found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow to pay for hiring a researcher to do it for you. 

I wish I knew in 1984 what I know now.  If I had, and IF the stars were all in alignment, I might have had my theory proved by now, even understanding that sometimes what you fined is that you are left holding a theory blown to h--l by facts you didn't suspect.

Bartels gave a wonderful talk.  I'm old enough, after researching for so many years, to appreciate what he said and not so old that I can't dream of possibilities.  But I'm also realistic enough to know that it isn't likely going to happen in my lifetime.  Maybe at some point down the line one of my descendants will become interested enough to take on the challenge of hunting for and locating the very box at the National Archives Branch that contains the Commissary Records pertaining to Bolivar, Tennessee in September of 1862 that will prove the role of Chester D. Stevens in the Civil War. Perhaps that person will even be able to access those records from the computer at his or her home.  No, I'm not discouraged, just a little sad that it won't be me.

I hear you asking why we put ourselves through all this?  Hey, I do it for no other reason than because it is great, great fun.  The side benefit is that it is the kind of mental exercise that is supposed to ward off senility in old age!  What a hopeful outcome that is for simply having fun!


Monday, February 9, 2015

SPECTACLES TALK!

Dobbins Family

REV. ROBERT B. DOBBINS



Excerpt from a letter to me dated September 27, 1997 from Carl H. Peterson, Ph.D. - a friend, a cousin, a descendant in-law of Robert B. Dobbins and a retired college History Professor:


"…I learned something yesterday that may be of interest to you.  I was lecturing on New England church history and had prepared an overhead of the 1670s woodcut by John Foster of the Rev. John Davenport of New Haven.  I asked my colleague Larry Bryant what it was that Davenport was holding between his fingers.  As I had guessed, Larry identified them as spectacles, but he added that they were a "signature gesture," an iconographical convention intended to identify the subject as a studious clergyman.  He showed me a painting by Van Eyck which is supposed to have been the first painting of eyeglasses ever done and which was the origin of this convention.  It seems that when the Rev. Robert B. Dobbins had his picture taken he knew exactly how it should be done."


Rev. Dobbins (whose middle name was Boyd, as shown on a deed he executed in Fulton County, Illinois) was active in the ministry from his Ordination in 1804 until his death in 1854.  He will be given a blog write-up soon.  He was my 4th great grandfather.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WILLIAM McGLOTHLIN - SADLY, IN THE WRONG PLACE.....

In 1867 my great-grandmother, Nancy Corel Dobbins, wrote a letter to her nephew, a 25 year old man named William McGlothlin, and sent it to him in the gold fields near Virginia City, Montana.  In December of this year, that very letter was sent to me by a distant cousin, who didn't know who William was and thought maybe I did.

I'm going to let the documents I have tell the story.  I'm posting the original envelope that it came in because it is interesting and readable.  The rest of the story will be from transcribed documents.  Old letters and old newspaper articles are difficult to read.  And you'll want to read this:

This envelope was addressed to James S. Dobbins, Nancy's husband.  Here's what the letter inside said:

P. O  Virginia City
Montana Territory
Feb. 27th, 1867

Dr. Madam:

I take the liberty of addressing you and returning your letter to your nephew, the late William McGlothlin  To find the address, I was obliged to open the letter.  This I am sure you will excuse under the circumstances. 

Mr. McGlothlin was murdered on Sat. the 16th of Feb'y near this city.  His body was found on Sunday following, and been decently buried.  Every effort is being made to discover the murderers with a present prospect of success, when they will, in a very few hours, pay the forfeit of their own lives.

I can only add that his friends have the hearty sympathy of this entire community in their bereavement.

You can probably best break the sad intelligence to his mother from whom he had, only a short time before his death, received a letter which was found on him.

I am                 Very Respectfully yours,
                                      A. M. S. Carpenter

                                        Depty Post Master

                                                        * * * * * 

Searching the internet via Ancestry.com and professional genealogist I know who is also a Corel turned up these two newspaper articles.

MONTANA POST 23 FEB 1867

HORRIBLE MURDER!

The city was startled yesterday, about 1 p.m. by the information that a man was lying about three-fourths of a mile north of the now, shot through the head, and had been dead some time.  There was an immediate rush of people to the place, and, no doubt, many more would have gone, had it not been conjectured that the report was a "sell."  We joined the throng, and on reaching the place, found it to be true.  Dr. Yager, coroner, immediately empanelled the following named persons as jurors: N. J. Davis, foreman, and Messrrs Culver, Bartlett, Ousterhouser, Pfouts and Shannon.  After a preliminary examination of the deceased man, the body was conveyed to the city, and the jury adjourned to meet in the Probate court-room at half-past four in the afternoon, where the inquest was held in secret.  "The following are the particulars, as far as we are informed:  The deceased was named William McLothlin; was a laboring man, about twenty-five years of age, and unmarried.  He came here from Lawrence, Kansas, where his parents reside, during last autumn, and has since been employed as a common laborer.  In such occupation as he could find.  He, in company with another man, occupied a cabin on Jackson street near the upper end of town.  He was temperate in his habits and had no personal enmity with anyone.  On Thursday last his cabin was closed and no one knew anything of him until he was found today by Mr. McCloskey.  When found, he was lying on his face with a bullet hole in his head, the ball having entered through the back part and lodged in the brain.  The hat was still on his head, and, where the ball passed through, was powder-burned.  On examination of the body, a navy revolver with all the chambers loaded was found upon him.  In his pocket was $3.15 in currency which, it is supposed, is all the money he had.  His pockets had not been disturbed, nor was there any sign of a struggle in the snow.  He lay almost perfectly straight on the ground and had not moved from the position in which he fell.  The suggestion of a suicide is an impossibility.  There were two tracks in the snow to where he lay – but one away from it.  This also explodes the suggestion of him being murdered in the city, and conveyed there.  The entire affair is, as yet, shrouded in almost impenetrable mystery, and it is to be hoped that the coroner's jury will elicit information that may lead to the detection of whoever committed this brutal deed.  The jury is still in session at the present time.

                                                          * * * * *

MONTANA POST 2 March 1867

VERDICT – The Coroners Jury empanelled on the inquest of Wm. B. McLothlin, returned a verdict on Saturday that: "The deceased came to his death from the effects of a pistol shot, fired by some person or persons unknown to the jury."  After the rendering of the verdict, the jury were discharged by the Coroner.  We believe we are correct in saying, that after hearing all the evidence on the matter, the jury were fully justified in the decision they gave.  The numerous reports current about the implication of certain parties and no indubitable evidence of their guilt, could not be sustained when the witnesses were examined under oath.  The murderer of McLothlin is still alive but we hope not at liberty, as the villain, whoever he is, is an adept at murder.  His success in decoying the deceased to the out of the way place where he was killed, and in killing him before he had time to draw the loaded revolver in his suit?, shows that he is treacherous, crafty and had thoroughly planned the "deep damnation of his ____ off."  While a heartless villain remains in our midst, no man's life is safe, and it is nothing more than justice requires that some inducement should be offered to competent persons to ferret him out and bring him to justice.  This thing should not be forgotten until another and another is added to this list of victims, as it seems likely to be from the apathy that is shown in the matter.  Justice to the living and the dead alike requires action – and __ offering a premium to crime to abandon the attempt to discover the perpetrator.

                                                              * * * * *

I am not closely related to William; his mother and my great-grandmother were sisters so I am a distant cousin.  I knew what happened to his brother Henry, and I knew what happened to his brother Shadrick.  I did not know until yesterday what happened to poor William.  The oldest cemetery in Virginia city has many unmarked graves, and though the letter-writer said he was given a decent burial, I'd guess that did not include a headstone.  I've got a few good Corel researchers looking further with me to see if we can put a confident "finis" on his life.  

William did what so many young men of that day did - looked to make their fortune in the gold fields of the west.  James Dobbins himself, before he became Nancy's husband, went for Colorado gold in 1860 but came back home mostly empty handed.  Like William, Tim Madden, brother of my great-great grandmother Ellen Madden went to California from Boston in 1850 and never was seen again. No one knows what happened to Tim.  At least now, we know the story of the short life of William McGlothlin, son of David & Jemima Corel McGlothlin. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

I SPY!


On the Fourth of July, 1865, a prosperous farmer, John Breckenridge Preston McConnell, and Frances Narcissa Wright, daughter of a Church of Christ preacher, married in Barren County, Kentucky.  It was his second marriage, his first wife having died, and her first.  She was 20 years old. John and Fannie, as she was called, ultimately had 8 (or 9) children, but sadly, only three of them lived to maturity.  In the late 1870s the family left Glasgow, Kentucky and settled in Limestone County, Texas.  Later they moved to Colorado.  John died in 1898 and Nannie lived until 1915. These two people were my great-grandparents.

One of them was a Confederate Spy.

In 1905, the Colorado Gazette newspaper had a feature story on page 15 of the Sunday October 22 issue that reads
"FAMOUS WOMAN SPY WAS FROM BARREN COUNTY"

Get a good look at her in her wedding picture above.  It's 1865 and she's 20.  She obviously was a teenager when she was spying.  Let me share some of the details from the newspaper.

"I was a spy under General Bragg," she said, "and I made more than one visit to General Rosecrans' headquarters on one pretext or another when he invaded Kentucky and I carried information back to General Bragg.  Men could not go anywhere in those days unless they were with an army, and so I, like many other southern women, rendered much service in bearing dispatches.

"When Bragg concluded to send the raider, John H. Morgan, through Kentucky to destroy bridges and railroads in order to cut off Rosecrans' supplies, it was I who carried him the message to report at General Bragg's headquarters.  After that I aided Morgan by bringing him quinine and percussion caps.  These articles were sewed in a quilted skirt which I wore, and the dispatches were sewed between the soles of my shoes.  I made trips across the Ohio river to Indiana towns where a confederate furnished the skirts filled with caps and quinine.

"Often the skirts were loaded so heavily that they became a burden.  I usually went on horseback across the country and had several narrow escapes from being captured by the Yankees.

"I cultivated the acquaintance of Captain George Stone, a Union officer.  He gallantly showed me around his camp.  Then I told him I wanted to see what a fortification looked like and in his innocence he took me over the breastworks and I mentally noted the weak places.  That night I rode 40 miles to inform Magruder and at noon the next day his cavalry dashed in where I told them to and captured the camp, as well as a large quantity of supplies without the loss of life.

"When the Federals were in Glasgow, I was suspected on several occasions of being a spy.  They had my hair searched for dispatches.  One day I got mad and had a barber cut if off and I threw it in a Union Colonel's face who chanced to be present.  He laughed and seemed pleased to get it.  This made me madder still and I took it away from him.

"My duties led me to Shiloh and I shall never forget the horrors of that battle scene.  The dead and dying lay in windows and the wounded were piteously begging for water.  There were so many of them, and so few of us to attend their wants, that I took off a new pair of shoes and carried water to them from the creek to the poor fellows in both the blue and the gray who were only too glad to drink from anything."

There is a bit more to the article, but not about spying.

Did any of this story filter down to my generation?  Not a bit of it.  She died in 1915 when my dad was 7 and his sister was 11.  Nannie's daughter Susan Maud was my grandma and she never told any stories about her mother being a spy.  I found out about it through the kindness of a Kentucky genealogist who saw a reprint of the article in the "Hart County [KY] Historical Society Quarterly and wondered if she might be able to find descendants researching her.  Her curiosity was satisfied when she found my name on the Internet as a descendant of John and Narcissa Frances Wright McConnell and sent me an e-mail.

And I think that while all the people I write about in this blog are truly Immortal Nobodies, my "SPY" is probably as close as I will come to having an Immortal Somebody!