Monday, August 24, 2015


Not all is what it seems.  It's really hard to build a person from a few documents and a bit of speculation.  If this young man pictured above is truly Robert Livingston Jeffries, M.D., then he was my 2nd great granduncle, for what it is worth.

Apparently, if the document in the Provost Marshal's file at the National Archives is correct, he started out as a Rebel Spy in the Civil War.  He was a member of the well-known Achilles Whitehead Jeffries family in Union, Franklin County, Missouri.  His father was a prosperous farmer, attorney and slaveholder of 10 or 11 slaves.  The document referred to was related to his arrest by the Federal forces.

As one reads through the documents, it would appear that he spent some time in custody in Cincinnati, Ohio and then for health reasons he asked to be released.  He signed a loyalty oath in order to effect this release and apparently shortly thereafter, he became a spy for the U.S. Government.  He told his father in a letter (referred to in a different letter) that he was working for the Secret Service.

This was in late 1864.  At that time he headed to Paris, Kentucky, where after a short time he was set upon by some "guerillas," robbed and then shot, dying on the spot.  His body was taken to a nearby residence and he was given a decent burial.  The story is told by military documents flying back and forth between Kentucky and Cincinnati, and sad letters of inquiry from his father, Achilles W.

It appears in these documents that the guerillas were caught, 2 killed and 2 captured.  Those captured were tried and found guilty.

There are several interesting books that speak to Provost Marshal documents that are not yet digitized and that help this information to seem correct.  However, there also is a book written by Ellsworth (name appearing under the photo above) that varies so widely from the National Archive material that it is hard to even be sure that the picture above, which is in the holdings of the Thomas Henry Hines holdings at the University of Kentucky, is, in fact, Robert L. Jeffries.

It is true that both sides used lots of spies, and it is true that many spies changed sides - probably because it was in their own best interest to do so.  Because this relative is so distant from me -- his sister Martha Jeffries is my 2nd great grandma - I will not be doing any further research on Robert, or on his brother Benjamin Franklin Jeffries or his brother Andrew Jackson Jeffries - and other more commonly named siblings.  I'm moving on.... but I surely do think Robert Livingston Jeffries qualifies as an Immortal Nobody.

And in case you don't know who Robert Livingston Jeffries was named after, do a Google search on Robert Livingston and you will find he is right in there with the others - and he was in the right place at the right time to help secure the Louisiana Purchase for the U.S.

Monday, August 10, 2015


St. Louis [MO] Republican - July 22, 1862


A few days ago mention was made in the Republican of the killing of Miss Emily Hall, a  young lady of Union, Franklin county, by her brother, Legrand Hall, who shot her with a musket.  The following facts, which we learned yesterday from a gentleman acquainted with the circumstances show that the murder was one of the most cruel and cold blooded of any that has ever taken place.  It appears that the murder has for years been regarded as a desperate character. A few years ago he was convicted of the murder of Andrew Bullock, and sentenced to the penitentiary.  Shortly after he was pardoned out by Gov. Stewart, at the request of a Circuit Judge.  His father recently made his will, and gave $500 more to his two other children than to Legrand.  The latter took offense at this, and determined to have revenge.  He endeavored to make an arrangement with an old negro to kill the whole family on the 4th of July, but the negro declined.  Mr. Hall, the father, was on his death bed on the night of the murder, and his children, including Legrand, were present.

Late in the evening Legrand went out of the death chamber and soon after called his sister Emily to join him.  The sister had no sooner stepped outside the room than she was shot dead by her brother, who then fled.  The citizens of the vicinity soon after turned out and succeeded in capturing him, and he was lodged in jail.  The day was fixed for the preliminary examination, and he appeared in Court provided with law books and papers to defend himself.  The examination had progressed but a short time, when he was seized by the infuriated citizens.  A rope was tied about his neck, and he was swung up on the limb of a tree, and thus speedily and summarily executed.


Things you might need to know if this is YOUR relative:

The father's name was ABNER HALL.  He died shortly after Emily was shot.
The murderer's name was William LeGrand Hall. He was an attorney
Miss Emily's name was Caroline Emily.

William was Abner's oldest child.  John Hall (my great-great-grandfather), was Abner's 2nd child.
After William killed Emily, he set out for John's house (John was NOT at his father's bedside) intent on killing him next, probably because his father had appointed John executor of his considerable estate.  Obviously I would not be here if William had succeeded in killing John.

There is a slightly different version of this story in the well-known book on Franklin County by Herman Kiel.  That story ends this way:  "Hall's body was left to hang about three hours, when it was cut down and buried in the old graveyard about one-third of a mile northeast of Union.  There is no doubt in the minds of many of the best citizens that the victim of this lynching was insane."

It is possible that there was insanity in the family.  In an earlier blog I wrote of Byron Hall who killed two policemen - and he was the son of Abner's youngest son James A. Hall.

I have set no requirement for those whom I choose to be my Immortal Nobodies.  Some are my family and some are not.  Some are "good" and some are not.  I am ok with adding poor William to the list.

The picture by Shar (above) is one of an unidentified stone in the Old Union Poor Cemetery.  I do not believe William got a stone.  I do not know where any of the Halls who lived and died in Union, Missouri were buried.  There's much I know, and a whole lot I don't know, which is just the way genealogy is.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


OBITUARY:  Amador Dispatch May 4, 1906, Volume 47, Issue 33 

Mandana Rice died on 4/29/06 between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. in her home about 4 miles east of Jackson.  She was born Mandana Bradley on August 11, 1822 in Randolph County, Missouri.  She married David B. Rice and crossed the plains in 1853.  One year later they moved to Amador County and since 1858 she lived in the same house near New York Ranch.  Her husband died 25 years ago.  She had 8 children, 2 deceased, 15 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.  She was 83 years, 8 months and 18 days of age.  Funeral services were held on May 2, 1906.

INQUEST HELD ON April 29, 1906, Jackson, Amador County, CA
State of California, County of Amador

Documents held by Amador County Archives, Jackson, California; Larry Cenotto, Archivist.
An Inquisition upon the body of Mandania Rice who was found dead on April 30(sic), 1906 near New York Ranch, Amador County.

April 30, 1906 She was found dead in bed.  Questions asked of her son W. C. Rice:
Q: What is your name
A:  W. C. Rice
Q:  Are you a son of the deceased?
A:  Yes, sir
Q:  Were you living in the house at the time of her death?
A:  Yes, sir.
Q:  When did you last see her alive?
A:  About 8 o'clock April 29, 1906.
Q:  Did she seem to be in good health?
A:  She seemed to be as usual.
Q:  Would you please explain to the jurors how she talked last evening?
A:  It was about Eleven O'clock when she called me and said, "I am sick.  I am afull (sic) sick and I want some Salatiras (?) water and I said can I do anything for you and she said "no, don't bother yourself" and I went back to sleep and I got up at five o'clock and went out and fed the chickens and then came in the kitchen and started the fire, and came in to kindle the fire in the sitting room and called to her and called again and got no answer so I went in the room and I found her dead, partly in bed and feet resting on the floor.
Q:  What did you do when you found her?
A:  I ran up to Amos Harman and then I went to Jackson.
Q:  Is there any questions for the jurors to ask the witness?

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of April 1906


Mandana was the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Susan A. Bradley Davis.  It took me about 30 years of researching before I located her -- and then it was because of a Power of Attorney entered into a Schuyler County, Missouri Deed Book in 1852.  Her father Thomas Bradley had recently died, and her mother Elizabeth wanted to sell the old home place but needed all the heirs (their children) to go on record as approving of the sail.  Mandana had moved to California; the family knew but we researchers didn't have a clue.  She gave her Power of Attorney to her brother-in-law John G. Davis, and in it she indicated that she and her husband, David Rice, now lived in Amador County, California.  This Power of attorney was entered in the Deed Book, along with the signatures of all the other heirs.

Mandana didn't know that she was lost and found, but I did some 100+ years later.  

Monday, July 20, 2015


This sailor is/was someone's husband, son, brother, uncle, grandfather or friend.  His picture was owned by one of the people listed below, all of whom died in San Bernardino County, California between the years of 1988 and 2004.  No identifying information was on this picture.  I do believe he could be called an Immortal Nobody if he himself has passed on, but as you know there are some WWII vets still living so there is always a possibility that his time has not come yet.

But who is he?  He was known by one of these people listed below.

  • Betty Carson
  • Veldra Kirk
  • Betty Benedict
  • Gracie Solomon
  • Betty Walsh
  • Mari Graves
  • Etiennette "Ann" Bernier Bean
  • Bernice Dale
  • Ethel Ivy Marie Beckel Carpenter Bridges
  • Edward Vintus
  • Muriel Ruth Johnstone Walker
  • Paul Blaine Reveal
  • Ethel Jane Knapp
  • Bernice Beitzel Vieau
  • Virginia Cowan Henderson
  • Dorr Stuart
  • Clarence Bennett
  • Velma Helms
  • Dale Hathaway
  • Mildred Beach
  • Alice Becker
  • Helen M. Peterson
  • Victor Corey
  • Margaret Morrison
  • Emma Karstens
  • Eva Greco
  • Joe Atton
  • Fred Knodel
  • Marjorie A. Clagett Woosley
  • James Torres
  • Douglas J. Bryant
  • Myrtle Dieckmann
  • Paul and Virginia Tenney McCoy Nordby

Friday, July 17, 2015


San Bernardino CA Daily Courier, Wednesday, June 14, 1893

The Careless Handling of a Revolver Causes the Wounding and Probable Death
of a Promising Young Man
The Shooting Entirely Accidental

Word was received in this city late yesterday afternoon that Ed Hadden, son of Thomas Hadden, and Grandson of Judge J. M. Morris, had been accidentally shot on the train at Riverside by Capt. Jack A. Mellon of Yuma.

The facts of the case, so far as could be obtained, were these:  Mr. Hadden had secured a position on the ranch of Dan Freeman in Los Angeles county and had taken the 4 o'clock train to go to the ranch to commence work.  When the train reached Riverside, he got out on the platform and talked to some acquaintances, getting on again as the train was about to start.  He took a seat directly in front of Mr. Mellon.  That gentleman was at this particular time just in the act of removing a revolver from his valise to his pocket for some purpose, when, just as Mr. Hadden sat down, the revolver in some unaccountable way went off, the ball going through the back of the seat and penetrating Mr. Hadden's back about two inches below the heart.  The ball went clear through him, striking the tenth rib.

The injured man was at once removed from the train and his parents, who reside in this city, sent for.

The report last evening was that Mr. Hadden was mortally wounded and could not probably live until morning.  It is sincerely hoped by his many friends here that this view of the case is incorrect.

Most of the citizens of this city will remember Mr. Hadden, who several years ago moved with his parents to Fresno where he lived until quite lately, he having reached San Bernardino only a few days ago.  He is about 24 years of age and is a very bright young man, well thought of wherever he goes.

Captain Mellon, the accidental cause of the shooting, is captain of the steamer Gila, plying on the Colorado river.  The captain has a summer residence at Santa Monica and was on his way there for a few days' rest and recreation when the unfortunate accident occurred.  Captain Mellon is described by some of his friends in this city as a most kindhearted gentleman, who makes friends wherever h goes.  He will suffer nearly as much as the wounded man on account of the accident.

Altogether it was a most unfortunate affair.

Colorado River Steamboat "Gila"
Carlton Watkins, Photographer
Owned by J. Paul Getty Museum 

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Someone in Jerry Title's family knew these people, but by the time we found the picture in an old cardboard box that had been kept by Jerry's elderly aunts, no one could remember who they were. But as IMMORTAL NOBODIES they still can speak to us.

Obviously the setting for the picture is Germany, and it has to be pre-WWII.  The signpost behind our unknown IMMORTAL NOBODIES, translated from German into English, reads "Jews Not Wanted."  On the back of the picture in lovely English handwriting is a single comment:  "Isn't this silly?"

Even now whenever I see this picture I get a cold chill and a catch in my breathing.  There may have been someone in Jerry's family or among their friends innocent enough not to take this warning sign seriously.

But the Nazis meant it..


Saturday, June 20, 2015


The death of Henry Ross on 10 Dec. 1861 was reported in a letter from the American Consul in Constantinople:  "He was discharged by me from the Hermaphrodite Brig "Hugh Barclay" of Chicago on December 2 and sent at once to the hospital on application of Charles T. Chadwick, Master, having arrived at this port November 30 from Sulema at the mouth of the Danube where he contracted dysentery of which he died."

Before we go any further, let's find out what a Hermaphrodite Brig looked like and a description of its rigging:

So this ship came into port at Istanbul with a young man near death.  Let's continue with the American Consul's letter:

"I visited him daily and found that he received every possible attention from the Protestant Sisters who manage that Institution.  Yesterday I attended his funeral at which one of the American Missionaries officiated.  He was decently buried in the Dutch Protestant Cemetery in Pera.  The flag of his country accompanying his remains to the grave.  It appears by the Ship's Registry that the deceased shipped at London on 8 Jun 1861, aged 23.  He informed me he was never married and has no parents living unless a brother, John Ross, from whom he has not heard for 5 years.  His protection from the Collector of Boston and Charleston dated 13 Dec 1860 certifies that he was a native of Buffalo, New York which he considers his residence.  He leaves nothing but his clothing and the balance of his wages and extra pay, for which I will account.  Under the circumstances I have not deemed it necessary to publish a notice in any newspaper here."

                                                Signed:  C. W. Goddard, Consul General."

I lived in Istanbul for almost two years and one of the things I did was to try to identify all the Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  Until I came home from Turkey I had no idea who Henry Ross was, but I had learned that when an American dies in a Foreign Country the State Department in America receives a notice of his or her death.  Early on it was just a written notice; later it was called a Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.  All such reports are eventually turned over to the National Archives.  So in 1995 I went to the College Park Branch of the National Archives where the state department's material to be archived is kept, and after a week of searching I found a Consular Dispatch file from that time period (1861) and in it was the letter from the Consul General.  No other information on Henry is available, but there surely was a great deal of information on other Americans buried in that cemetery.

As it happens, the cemetery that Consul General Goddard speaks of is no longer there and those buried in that cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy. Unfortunately the man does not have a tombstone.

I was never able to locate any family for him here in the United States using simple genealogical tools, but perhaps with this exposure someone who has been looking a long time for young Henry Ross will recognize him here.  Until then, keep in mind that there are a lot of Immortal Nobodies buried in cemeteries all over the world.

Rest in Peace, Henry.

American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy-Istanbul