Monday, February 1, 2016

FM Baldwin DNA Project

FM Baldwin DNA Project 
When I first started DNA testing, one of my main goals was to break through the Baldwin brick wall.
You can read about Baldwin brick-wall and the Jane Baldwin Mystery here.  My line descends from Jane’s son, FrancisMarion (FM) Baldwin.  The paper trail back to FM Baldwin is solid – with vital records, census records, land records, cemetery records, county histories, family histories, obituaries, and now with DNA proof.  But, there are still a lot of questions and holes in the research going back just one more generation past FM Baldwin to his mother, Jane Baldwin (maiden name unknown).   
Image courtesy of GenealogyInTime Magazine
Breaking though the Baldwin brick wall has not yet happened…but we may be getting close.
I have enlisted the help of Baldwin relatives to help solve this mystery through DNA testing.  
For this blog post I will share the results I have found thus far with the autosomal DNA testing for descendants of Francis Marion Baldwin.  

First, let’s discuss Autosomal DNA. 
Autosomal DNA is inherited from our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, etc.  When two or more people share segments of the same DNA then that means they share a common ancestor.  The more DNA a person shares with another person, the closer they are related and the closer their shared most-recent ancestral couple.  First cousins will share more DNA than third cousins and the most recent common ancestors for 1st cousins would be grandparents.  The most recent common ancestors for third cousins would be 2nd great-grandparents.

Autosomal DNA is inherited equally from both parents - 50% from each parent.  The average amount of DNA inherited from our grandparents is around 25% - but it can vary because of mixing (recombination) every generation. According to the ISOGG Wiki, “The amount of autosomal DNA inherited from more distant ancestors is shuffled up in a process called random recombination and the percentage of autosomal DNA coming from each ancestor is diluted with each new generation.” 
I like the chart below that shows DNA recombination and how we might match with a cousin.
Diagram courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The goal of DNA testing is to find genetic cousins (meaning those who share DNA with you), and then determine the ancestral couple from whom shared DNA is inherited.  Below is a chart made by Blaine Bettinger that shows expected shared percentages in autosomal DNA relationships.
Many of my cousins have tested with AncestryDNA.  I like AncestryDNA because matches will sometimes have family trees connected to their DNA test results, and that makes it is easier to figure out who the common ancestors might be.  And, AncestryDNA shows the amount of shared DNA with matches, but AncestryDNA does not have a chromosome browser.  This means I cannot see where or on what chromosome I share my DNA with my match.  Because AncestryDNA does not have a chromosome browser, it is important for those who test at AncestryDNA to transfer their raw DNA data to FamilyTreeDNA ($39) or to GedMatch (free).  In addition to finding more matches, these other sites have tools that help to analyze the data and matches to determine who the common ancestor may be. 

DNA from my grandfather, Jess Baldwin

To start the FM Baldwin DNA Project, I encouraged as many of my mom’s generation to test as possible, and five of my mom’s siblings were willing to participate in DNA testing.  I also have four first cousins on the Baldwin side who tested their DNA.  The DNA I share with all of my aunts and my uncle (from 1387 cM to 1727 cM) is within the expected range for an aunt or an uncle.   I also share DNA with my cousins (from 683 cM to 1374 cM) within the expected range for a 1st cousin.  Below is a chart showing how much DNA I share with my mom, uncle, aunts, and cousins.  The ICW (in-common-with) ancestral couple for this group would be my grandparents, Jess Baldwin and Mabel Leffel Baldwin
In genetics, a centiMorgan (cM=centiMorgan) is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. 
I want to show what a chromosome browser looks like, so below is the chromosome browser from FamilyTreeDNA showing my matches from my mom, my uncle, and my 3 aunts.    My mom is the top match (orange color), and since she is my mom we match along the entire chromosome.  As you can see, I match my uncle and aunts in varying amounts (as also noted in the table above).  My uncle is the blue match.  It is interesting to look at the X chromosome (Chromosome 23).  Since my uncle received his X from his mother not his father (he received the Y from his father), the segment he shares with me had to come from his mom – my grandmother.  

DNA from my great-grandfather, Allen Baldwin 
The next generation back on the family tree is Jess Baldwin’s parents, AllenBaldwin and Mary Jane Stewart Baldwin.  In addition to the descendants from my line (mentioned above), I have found four other grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Allen and Mary Baldwin who have tested their DNA.  These four descendants are from two of the daughters of Allen and Mary Baldwin (sisters to Jess Baldwin).
Below is a chart showing DNA matches between the descendants of Jess Baldwin’s sisters to me and also to my mom and my aunts.  The cousins match me within the expected range for 2nd cousins (290 cM – 380 cM) and match my mom and my aunts within the first cousin once removed range (423.3 cM – 698.3 cM).  Since our shared DNA is within the expected range for our known relationships, we can determine that Allen Baldwin and Mary Stewart Baldwin are the closest common ancestors we received the shared DNA from.  Some of the DNA will be from the Baldwin family and some will be from the Stewart family.
The columns in purple show the relationship of these cousins to me (clm).  Columns in blue show the relationship to my mom and aunts.  My mom and her sisters would be first cousins to the children of Jess’s sisters, but since these matches come from the sisters’ children and grandchildren, they are first cousins once-removed and so on.  (c = cousin, r = removed, 2c1r = 2nd cousin once removed) 
Notice that Cousin A shares a lot less DNA with me than with my mom and less than half the amount of DNA with me than with my Aunt #1.  This is why it is important to test family members, because they may have more shared DNA matches on certain family lines than you might have.  Since my aunt#2 shares a quite a bit more DNA with the Baldwin cousins, I often use her DNA kit to search for additional Baldwin matches.
The above chart shows NO shared match between Aunt #2 and the Cousins B and D because they did not test at the same company (and have not transferred DNA data to Gedmatch), and so the DNA data cannot be compared.  The Aunt #2 tested at and the Cousins B & D tested at AncestryDNA.    If the cousins B&D had transferred their DNA data from AncestryDNA to, we could compare the shared DNA match information.  This is why it is important for those who test at AncestryDNA to transfer their DNA data. provides a place for those who test at any of the three companies to transfer their DNA data so it can be compared to others who originally tested at other sites.
Cousins A & C match each other, match me, and match all my aunts & uncle, who also match each other.   So these cousins form a triangulated group representing Allen Baldwin.

DNA from my 2nd great-grandfather, Francis Marion Baldwin

Allen Baldwin’s parents are Francis Marion (FM) Baldwin and Mary Sadler Baldwin, my second great-grandparents.  It was such a long time before I received any matches where the common ancestors were FM and Mary Baldwin, I was beginning to think that perhaps Allen was adopted or something.  But within this past year, there have been four 3rd cousin matches show up.  All four descend from Anderson Lafayette Baldwin (ALB).  He was the older brother of our Allen Baldwin and first child of Francis Marion and Mary Baldwin.  These four cousin matches each come from a different child within the Anderson Lafayette Baldwin (ALB) family. has a “Francis Marion Baldwin DNA Circle”, which shows DNA evidence that those within the circle are descendants of Francis Marion Baldwin(FMBaldwin).  Within each DNA Circle are family groups.  The Allen Baldwin Family Group within the FMBaldwin DNA Circle had 9 members: myself, my mom, siblings, aunts, cousins (all descendants of Allen Baldwin).  All four of the Anderson Lafayette Baldwin descendants have tested at Ancestry but only two from his 2nd wife show up in the ALB family group.  The other ALB descendant show up as single match.  Not sure why Ancestry has not included the other match in the FMBaldwin DNA Circle.

FM Baldwin Ancestry DNA Circle
According to, requirements to be included in and view a DNA Circle are: 1-you must be an AncestryDNA customer, 2-link your AncestryDNA test to a Public tree, and 3-subscribe to

If you have an AncestryDNA test and don't want to pay for a subscription to Ancestry, you can transfer your raw DNA data to Gedmatch for free.  Two of the above matches have transferred their raw DNA data from Ancestry to GedMatch and another has also transferred his raw DNA data from Ancestry to  FamilyTreeDNA has some great tools to analyze the data.  Below is FamilyTreeDNA’s chromosome browser showing how my mom and 4 of her siblings match KB, the grandson of Anderson Lafayette Baldwin. 

As more descendants of Francis Marion Baldwin and Mary Sadler participate in DNA testing we will be able to determine which segments of DNA belong to the Baldwin side and which belong to the Sadler side.  This will be especially helpful in going back to the next generation of Jane Baldwin. 

DNA has already helped to prove Mary Sadler’s father, John Sadler, was related (most likely the brother) to William Sadler – who came to Texas in the late 1850’s and settled in Frio, Texas. 

Thus far, we only have descendants from two of children of Francis Marion and Mary Sadler Baldwin in the FM Baldwin DNA Project.  So, “pretty please” if you are a descendant of FM Baldwin and Mary Sadler consider participating in DNA testing.  

If you have tested or plan to test with, you will need to link your DNA test to a public tree (that includes your direct line back to FM Baldwin) in order to be in the Francis Marion Baldwin Circle.  If you want to keep your main family tree private, you can make another tree just to link your DNA to.  It will need to be public (one of the requirements from  That family tree will only need direct ancestors back about 7-8 generations or so -- No need to put all the children or descendants.  The only people you got your DNA from is your direct ancestors.  And remember, if you test with Ancestry, please transfer your raw DNA data to GedMatch or to FamilyTreeDNA, so that you can access a chromosome brower.:)

Jane Baldwin's DNA Project and the Baldwin Y-DNA Project will be covered in separate posts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

War of 1812 - Britton Medlin

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d like to share the War of 1812 Pension File for Britton Medlin.  Britton Medlin is on our Baldwin/Stewart line.

Several years ago, the Federation of Genealogical Societies started the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project.  Their goal is to raise money to digitize all of the Pension Records from the War of 1812.  Please consider donating to help preserve this important part of history.  The records will be free to the public and can be found on

This past month while doing some research on my Medlin line, I found the War of 1812 Pension file for Britton Medlin.  Britton Medlin is thought to be the father (or perhaps a much older brother) of our Samuel Medlin and grandfather of Bettie Medlin Stewart.   Note that the Medlin name is often listed as Medley in census and other records.

The earliest record found for Britton Medlin shows him as a 16-25 year old male head of household living with a 16-25 year old female in the 1800 Census for Franklin County, North Carolina.  They appear to be young newlyweds with no children yet in the home.  The name of this first wife is unknown.  His probable children by this first marriage are Martha (Patsey) Medlin Richardson, Riley Medlin, and Samuel Medlin.  Sometime around 1804 the Britton Medlin family moved from North Carolina to Tennessee.

Britton Medley was listed on the 1811 White County, Tennessee tax list.  Also on the list were Samuel Medley, Richard Medley, John Medley, and John Medley Jr.

From the pension papers, we learn that Britton joined the Volunteers of the Tennessee Militia on 13 Dec 1812 at Sparta, Tennessee.  He served under Captain William J Smith in the 2nd Regiment of the Tennessee Volunteers commanded by Colonel Thomas Benton.   He served until the 20 April 1813.  

In the pension papers, there is a small piece of yellowed paper that is an honorable discharge by Andrew Jackson stating: "I certify that Britton Medlin enroled himself as a volunteer under the acts of Congress...under my command on a tower to the Natchez country from the 10th of December 1812 to the 20 April 1813 and is hereby discharged.  Andrew Jackson, Major Genl". 
Britton Medlin Discharge
Britton's first wife would have died sometime before 1823, when he was married to Margaret McDole(McDowell) on 18 Nov 1823.  The marriage was performed by Wm J Smith in White County, Tennessee. 

The Britton  family is enumerated in the 1840 Census for DeKalb, Tennessee.  Riley Medly is shown as living next to Britton Medlin.

In April 1844, while working in his fields, Britton Medlin died when a tree limb fell on him.  Riley Medlin's son, John H. Medlin,  was working in the field with Brittan when the accident happened.  A Nashville newspaper carried the following death notice:
Republican Banner; Nashville, TN; Monday, April 14, 1845
In January 1851, Britton’s widow, Margaret Medlin, applied for Bounty Land based on Britton’s service in the War of 1812.  She received 40 acres.  In the 1851 application, Margaret said she was married to Britton Medlin by William J Smith on 18 Nov 1823 in Sparta, White County, Tennessee.  She stated that Britton died on 4th of April 1844.
1851 Bounty Land Application
Again in 1855 when the government passed another bounty land act, Margaret applied for more land.
1855 Application
Then in 1878, Margaret applied for a pension.  In this application she gave a different date for her marriage and a different date for her husband’s death.  In the 1878 application, she said she was married in 1814 and that her husband, Britton, died in 1838.  This information differed from the previous 1851 and 1855 applications for bounty land.  Also in 1878, Britton’s widow, Margaret Medlin, gave the following description of Britton as she thought he looked like when he enlisted.  Make note that she did not marry him until ten years after he enlisted and did not give the description until 1878, over 30 years after he died.  Supposedly, Britton was 5’10” tall, fair complexion, and had blue or grey eyes.  She thought he was twenty years old at the time he enlisted and that he had been born in North Carolina.  She said he was a farmer.  
The pension board did not like the conflicting information in the different application.  As an explanation for the mistakes Margaret made in filling out this 1878 application, John H Elrod stated in a separate affidavit that Margaret was "old and forgetful" (in 1878) when she filled out this application.  Of course, since she could not read or write, someone else filled out the application and Margaret just signed her "X".
1878 Application
Because of the discrepancy in the dates Margaret gave for her marriage and death of her husband, she was required to give additional information in the form of affidavits from several witnesses.  John H. Medlin, son of Riley Medlin and most likely grandson of Britton, told of being with Britton Medlin at the time of his death.  And, the clerk of White County, Tennessee submitted an affidavit of the White County marriage record, as shown below:
Marriage Record
Below is John H. Medlin’s January 1880 affidavit and his account of the death of Britton Medlin.  John stated that the "discrepancy of the date of death" by Margaret in the 1878 application was caused by her forgetfulness, and "she being at the time of her application very old and forgetful."  As to Britton's death, John was helping to plow the fields, when a tree limb fell and killed Britton.  He describes himself as a "good size plowboy" who was 12 years old at the time.  (Transcription below)
John H Meldin Affidavit - 1
John H Meldin Affidavit - 2

John H Meldin Affidavit - 3

Transcription of above:
State of Tennessee Putnam County, Tennessee On this 12 day of January 1880, before me M J Isbell Clerk County Court of said County, personally appeared Granville C Maxwell, aged 49 years old and John H Medlin aged 48 years old, whose P.O. address is Cookeville, Tenn, are being first sworn depose and say, that they affiants have both been indirectly acquainted with Margaret Medlin, widow of Britton Medlin, who was a soldier in the War of 1812, and have lived near neighbors to her ever since the death of Britton Medlin and they know that she has never remarried that if she had re----marriage, this fact would have become known to affiants. Affiant John H Medlin further states that he was born on the 22 day of May 1831. And was plowing in the field with said Britton Medlin when he was killed by the falling of a tree. That the affiant was at the time of said Britton Medlin’s death 12 year old, was 13 years old on 22 May 1844 after his said Britton Medlin’s death which affiant thinks occurred in April 1844. Affiant thinks that the discrepancy of the date of his death was caused by forgetfulness of Margaret Medlin, she being at the time of her application very old and forgetful. The above is the true state of fact and the true date of his death according to the best recollections of affiant. He knows that he was just a good size plowboy at the time and was 12 years old and the date of his birth as above given. ---that the time is nearly correct and that he Brittan Medlin died about 1844. Affiants both state that they have no interest what so ever in the of said Margaret Medlin’s claim for Pension and that they are not interested in it. G C Maxwell J H Medlin Subscribed and Sworn to before me this 12th day of January 1880 

Margaret Medlin’s Maiden Name
In all of the records, Margaret gave her maiden name as Margaret McDole. She signed her name with an "X", meaning she did not write and most likely could not read. 
Her name given on the marriage record by the county clerk is Margaret McDowell (see below).  On one paper, McDole was corrected to McDowl. 
"Britton Medlin and Margaret McDowell" written by White County Clerk
After looking at all the records, I believe that although Margaret's maiden name may be McDole it is most likely McDowell.  There were both McDole and McDowell families in the vicinity where the Medlin's lived and they all seem to use both spellings interchangeably in census records and official records.   One of the main reasons I believe Margaret to be a McDowell, is that I believe she may be the sister of Elizabeth McDowell who married James Elrod.  Both, K Harrison Elrod and John Elrod, sons of Elizabeth McDowell and James Elrod, were witnesses for Margaret Medlin in the pension papers.  That would make both of them nephews to Margaret and explain why they were both witnesses.

If anyone has additional information on this family, please share.  It would be interesting to see if the descendants of Margaret and Britton Medlin share DNA with the descendants of Elizabeth (McDowell) and James Elrod.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14th - Maymie's Birthday

Maymie Pearl Wilson Martin  1905-1993

Maymie's Birth:
On July 13th, 1905 (the day before Maymie was born) Charlie Hatfield took his very pregnant sister, Pearl Wilson, in a wagon to their mother's house.  Pearl's parents, Martin and Nancy Hatfield, lived near the little town of Estelle, Oklahoma.  As Charlie loaded up Pearl in the wagon a storm was moving into the area.  Soon after starting on their journey, they had a tornado following in their path.  Charlie had to get out on the double trees of the wagon to whip the horses to out-run the storm.  Luckily the storm veered off in a different direction and they were able to safely arrive at the Hatfield homestead.  Maymie was born early the next morning, at 2:00 am on the 14th of July, 1905. It was a comfort and blessing for Pearl to have her mother (Nancy McNeil Hatfield) help her with the birth of her new baby daughter, Maymie Pearl Wilson.  But the little town of Estelle was not so lucky.  The tornado tore through the town and it was blown away and never rebuilt.
Below is a photo of the log home Maymie's grandparents lived in and where Maymie was born.
Hatfield Home in 1905
Maymie on her 50th Birthday:
This next photo was taken of Maymie on her 50th birthday - July 14th, 1955.  It appears to be taken outside of their Cortez home.
Maymie's 50th Birthday
Additional posts about Maymie Wilson Martin:
Maymie's Picture Show
Maymie and Elmer
Fixin' Supper - the "Minnie Pearl" Style
Wilson Family Pictures
Maymie Wilson Martin

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Anthony Leffel's Will and Probate, part 3

Anthony Leffel Probate
David Miller Leffel Heirs

Of special interest to the descendants of David Miller Leffel, is page 4 of the Distribution of the Will in the previous post on Anthony Leffel's Will part 2.  Since David Miller Leffel died prior to his father, all of his heirs are mentioned in the will of their grandfather, Anthony Leffel.

All of David's children moved to Texas except for the oldest son, William Jefferson Leffel, who lived in Miami County, Ohio.  William was given Power of Attorney by his siblings to act in their behalf in the estate of their grandfather.  This created all kinds of documents back and forth between the heirs in Texas and the administrator of the estate in Ohio.  Below is just one example of a receipt found in the probate file.  This receipt shows that "George L. Leffel one of the children of David M. Leffel, deceased late of Texas" received his final distribution of his share of the estate through his brother, William J. Leffel, acting as his attorney in fact.

Prior to finding this probate file, David's daughter, Sarah Ann Leffel was a mystery.  She was listed in the 1850 Census in Champaign County, Ohio with her parents, but that had been the only record I had of her until she showed up in her grandfather's will.  Once I found her married name, I was able to locate her marriage record in Grayson County, Texas.  The name on her marriage record was different -- Elizabeth S. A. Leffel instead of Sarah Ann Leffel.  Probably one of the reasons she had remained a mystery.
By the time of the final distributions of the estate in 1880, the papers refer to the heirs of Sarah Ann Counts, so she had passed away by that time.  And, since she never showed up in any census record as a married woman with her husband and/or children, her family was unknown to present Leffel family researchers until being mentioned as heirs in grandfather Anthony Leffel's will.

Sarah Ann Leffel Counts had three children that are known:  Eliza Jane Counts, Joseph F. Counts, and David Counts.  Because their mother Sarah Ann Leffel Counts and grandfather David Miller Leffel had passed away before the distribution of the estate was completed, each is mentioned in their great-grandfather's probate documents.

In this first document, Eliza J. Quirk (daughter of Sarah Ann Leffel Counts) and J H Quirk her husband appoint an attorney to represent them.

The document below is an affidavit signed by J. H. Quirk of Cooke County, Texas stating that "David Counts...died at the residence of his sister, Mrs. Eliza J. Quirk, in the city of Gainesville, Texas on the 31st day of August 1883... said Counts died without issue." 

In the guardianship document below, Anthony M. Leffel of Hood County, Texas was given guardianship of Joseph F. Counts, a minor.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anthony Leffel''s Will and Probate, part 2

Anthony Leffel wrote his will on 16 January 1869 and died one year later on 28 January 1870.   At the time of his death, he was married to his second wife, a widow named Lydia Ann Mayne Harris. Anthony married Lydia in 1851 when he was 60 years old and about 7 months after the death of his wife, Mary Polly Miller.
This post contains the account of the distribution of Anthony Leffel's estate.  There were some disbursements of Anthony Leffel's estate starting in 1871.  After Anthony's widow, Lydia, died in 1879, the remainder of the estate was settled.

Distribution of Estate 1

Distribution of Estate 2

Distribution of Estate 3

Distribution of Estate 4

Distribution of Estate 5

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Anthony Leffel's Will

In 2008, I had the opportunity to visit Springfield, Ohio, where our Leffel family lived.  A cousin on the Leffel side of the family who lived near Cleveland, met me in Springfield.  We spent the afternoon doing research in the Heritage Center.  About 30 minutes before closing time, we located the probate file for our 3rd great-grandfather, Anthony Leffel. It was a large file with probably 100's of pieces of loose papers - will, codicils, receipts, correspondence, etc. We were hurriedly going through trying to copy everything that was of importance - especially pertaining to Anthony's son, our David Miller Leffel's family.

Anthony Leffel wrote his will on 16 January 1869 and died one year later on 28 January 1870.   At the time of his death, he was married to his second wife, a widow named Lydia Ann Mayne Harris. Anthony married Lydia in 1851 when he was 60 years old and about 7 months after the death of his wife, Mary Polly Miller.  Anthony and Mary had been married 40 years when she died and they were the parents of  10 children, although only four were still living in 1870 when Anthony died.  Two children, Frederick (1821-1830) and Delialha (1824-1830), died young so there were no offspring.  Four of Anthony's children (Joel Leffel, Rebecca Roller, Eveline Jones, David M. Leffel) died leaving heirs.  Our family descends through their son, David Miller Leffel.

Below is Anthony's will written on 16 January 1869 and an attached First codicil signed on 24 April 1869.  
Anthony Leffel Will 1

Anthony Leffel Will 2

Anthony Leffel Will 3 plus 1st Codicil
These two pages of Anthony Leffel's will can now be viewed on and is part of their database: Ohio, Wills and Probate Records. 

This post will be the first of several posts containing information and documents from the probate file for Anthony Leffel.
Anthony Leffel's Will, part 2

Horse Racing - A Family Tradition

I spent a lot of my youth going to the horse races with my family.  Both of my parents' families were involved in racing horses.  And, it seems as if this tradition of horse racing has a long history in our family.

When I was very young, my grandma Maymie was always telling me stories of her Wilson side of the family.  Some of the stories were handed down to her by her father, Charles B Wilson.   Charles told Maymie stories of  his dad William Wilson, and his brother Bill Wilson, racing horses around Denton County, Texas with their friend named Sam Bass.  Story goes that after William Wilson returned home from the Civil War, he could never settle down to farming and he spent his time gambling, horse racing, and drinking.  And, Charles' brother Bill Wilson was supposedly an outlaw with some of the same habits of gambling, horse racing, and drinking.

And, on the Baldwin side of the family there is the following story written in 1881 about our early Whitley family.  The Whitley family were early settlers in Moultrie County, Illinois.  John Whitley was our Grandpa Jess Baldwin's 3rd great-grandpa.
"The Whitleys were followers of horse racing and hunting almost to the exclusion of all else. The story was told that the elder Whitley journeyed to Kentucky and purchased a racing filly from a breeder named Dodge and returned here to win almost all the races he entered he in. Thinking to make some easy money, he entered her in a claiming race in which all entrants have a price set before the race and may be claimed afterwards at the price. John set a low price on her thinking to win an easy race and none would claim her. To his dismay she was claimed and to avoid losing her at a give away price, he slipped her out and hid her in a grove of trees north of Mattoon until the search died down. (The grove then became know as the Dodge Grove because the Dodge filly had been hidden there. It is now the Dodge Grove Cemetery.)"
      Combined History of Shelby & Moultrie Counties, Illinois: and biographical sketches of  some
      of their prominent men and pioneers; Philadelphia : Brink, McDonough and Co., 1881. 333,209

So, you could say horse racing is in our blood.  Perhaps, there is a DNA marker for racing horses.:)

In 1990, when Grandma Baldwin turned 90 years old, the family had a big party for her in Chickasha.  Family came from all over the country to be there for her birthday. After the dinner and party, someone asked grandma what she wanted to do special for her birthday.  Her response was to go to the races.  So the next day, we all went to Remington Park race track in Oklahoma City with Grandma for her 90th birthday celebration.
Mabel (bottom left) at the horse races with family for her 90th birthday celebration.

Here's a photo of me at the horse races in Arizona when I was only three years old.  Satin Charley was my favorite -  I remember that I loved that horse.  He would put his head down so I could give him hugs.

Race day was always a family affair, with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  There are four generations of  family in this next photo taken at San Juan Downs in Farmington, New Mexico.   Grandma Maymie is right in the middle next to Aunt Alma Barnes, who is in the red plaid shirt. Maymie loved to go to the horse races! There are aunts, uncles, and cousins from both sides of the family in this photo -- Joe, Arlene, Muffy & family, etc.

And, here I am in 1986 with some friends, when my brother was racing at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Memorial for David

Our ancestor, David Miller Leffel, now has a memorial.  

David Miller Leffel was one of forty Union sympathizing citizens of North Texas who were charged with disloyalty and treason against the Confederacy by a “Citizens Court” in Gainesville, Cooke County in October 1862 and then hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville.  After the men were hanged, their bodies were thrown into an empty warehouse building on the west side of the town square. A few of the families claimed the body of their loved one, but most were left for the court officials to bury. Some of the executed men were buried in hurriedly made coffins, but when the scrap lumber from the torn-down house was used up, the rest of the men were wrapped in old blankets and buried in shallow graves along the banks of Pecan Creek, not far from where they were hanged. It has been said that rains washed away the dirt covering some of the graves and that wild pigs dug up some graves.  One of the most disturbing aspects of the Hangings was the total disregard for the bodies of the victims following the executions, most did not have a decent burial and or a headstone.
Up until now there has been no memorial or headstone for the majority of men who died.  That changed this past month with the Dedication of the Great Hanging Monuments at the Georgia Davis Bass Memorial Park in Gainesville.

In the close-up view of the monument with the names of the men who were hanged, you will find David's name in the bottom group that were hanged on Sunday, October 19, 1862.  While we still do not know where exactly David was buried after he was hanged, we now have a memorial with his name on it.

I ordered pavers for David Miller Leffel and his wife, Susan West Leffel.  In the second photo below, you can see the placement of the pavers.

At the dedication, David Miller Leffel was well represented by his descendants. In fact, three of David's great-granddaughters were able to attend the dedication.  They are the daughters of Mabel Leffel Baldwin, who was the daughter of Charles Leffel and granddaughter of David Miller Leffel.
Great-granddaughters of David Miller Leffel

Leffel descendants looking at the pavers

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dedication of the Gainesville "Great Hanging" Monument

The dedication of the Gainesville "Great Hanging" monument took place on Saturday, October 18, 2014, a beautiful fall day in Texas.  And, it was a memorable day for those of us who were able to attend.  
We started the event with an excellent luncheon at the Lions Field House of the North Central Texas College in Gainesville.  The luncheon was provided by the Texas State Historical Association and the Lone Star Chair in Texas History.   I was able to meet and visit with many people who previously I had only had the chance to correspond with.
After the luncheon, we attended a theatrical reading called "October Mourning" at the Center for Performing Arts on the NCTC campus.  “October Mourning” was a 45 minute theatrical reading of the events of that terrible October in 1862, by local actors portraying historical characters connected to the events of the hanging. We were able to hear the story of the Great Hanging from the perspective of those who were there.  The program helped all of us better understand the feelings, emotions, and fears of the time from both perspectives. 
Following the reading,  Dr. Richard B. McCaslin answered questions from the audience about the Hanging.   
Dr. McCaslin answering questions
After the program, everyone met at the Georgia Davis Bass Memorial Park for the monument dedication.  The monuments were covered when we arrived.   Most took the time to check out the names on the pavers that were placed next to the monuments.
Checking out pavers prior to unveiling
Master of Ceremonies was Dr. Richard "Rick" McCaslin.  Gainesville Mayor, Jim Goldsworthy, gave the welcome address and then we heard from guest speakers.  
Mayor Goldsworthy at podium
There was a reading of the names and bell ringing for all the men who died during the "Great Hanging."  

Finally, the unveiling of the Monuments

 I wish to Thank the committee for all their hard work to make the memorial a reality.