Monday, October 31, 2016

Whistle While You Work

Robert H "Babe" Cowley
Whistled While He Worked

Cowley's Ferry was on the Cumberland River 15 miles above Nashville, located at the mouth of Stones River.  The ferry was started in the 1850's by John B Cowley.  The early ferry was pulled by oars.  After John retired, his son, Robert H "Babe" Cowley operated the ferry.
In 1948, when Babe Cowley turned 85 years old, his daughter-in-law submitted the following tribute to the "Top O'the Mornin' " section of the Nashville Tennessean Newspaper. 
The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) Friday, March 19, 1948 

The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) Friday, March 19, 1948, page 8
Abstract of above article:
"From Mrs. Lee Cowley, Old Hickory, Tenn... I want to tell you about R H (Uncle Babe) Cowley who is celebrating his 85th birthday.  Many readers will recall Uncle Babe.  He operated the old horse boat at the mouth of Stones river.  Later the gasoline ferry, which was known as the Stone's Ferry.
Thousands have crossed with Uncle Babe.  He whistled while he worked and it never got too hot, too cold or the water too high for him to work -- or whistle.  He owned the first radio in his neighborhood and on Saturday night folks would come from miles away to listen to the Grand Ole Opry programs.  Back then only Judge Hay and Uncle Jimmy Thompson were the cast.
Uncle Babe is my father-in-law -- and though retired, still whistles."

Robert Howell "Babe" Cowley Obituary
The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) Friday, March 11, 1949
Robert H Cowley is related to us through through our Stewart and Medlin families.

Murder in the Family

Murder mysteries seem to be very popular on TV and in books, but finding a murder within the family is a little scary!
Murder of Fred Kibbe
Fred Kibbe, along with Albert Hilpot, was found murdered on September 17, 1910 at an abandoned stage station on the Fort Apache road.  Kibbe, 22 years old, was a businessman from Globe, Arizona, where he owned a grocery store.  He had married in 1908 to Martha Whalley and they had a year old baby daughter.
On Monday September 12, Kibbie and Hilpot left Globe on a deer hunting trip into the White Mountains.  They found shelter at Montano, a stage station which had recently been abandoned on the Fort Apache road.  On September 17, their bodies were found by a teamster hauling passengers from Fort Apache to Rice.  Kibbe and Hilpot had been shot in the head and robbed of all their possessions, including their horses.
Arizona Republic, Saturday, 17 Sep 1910, page 1.
Two ex-cavalry men, James Steele (whose real name was John Goodwin) and William Steward, from Fort Apache were suspected. The fugitives were pursued by Globe Sheriff Thompson, several deputies, hounds, and Indian trackers.  After a six-day chase and many miles from the scene of the killing, Steele and Steward were apprehended.

Most Cold-Blooded Murder in Eastern Arizona

Weekly Journal-Miner (Prescott, Arizona) - 28 Sep 1910 - Page 5

Steele and Steward confessed to the killing but said it was self-defense.  Later they blamed each other for the killing.  After years of court cases, both men were finally hanged for the murder of Kibbe and Hilpot.
Fred Kibbe was the son of William A Kibbe and Laura Jackman.  Laura Jackman was the daughter of W H Jackman and Sarah McNeil (sister of our ancestor, William S McNeil).

Murder of Fred H Baldwin
World War II Veteran
Fred Harmon Baldwin, born 26 September 1898 in Throckmorton, Texas, was the son of C. R. Baldwin and Della Choate.  When he was 27 years old, Fred married Geneva Estella Tyer.  She died the same year after giving birth to their daughter, Geneva Estella Baldwin.   Fred and his new baby daughter moved in with his parents.  Fred joined the Army Air Forces during WWII and after he was discharged in 1944, he got a job as a security guard at the South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock County.  On December 15, 1946, Fred stopped at a steak house to get some dinner after leaving work.  He had a half-month's salary in his wallet, along with $50 his mother had given him.  After leaving the restaurant, Fred was attacked and robbed.  His death was caused by blunt force upon the head, and his empty wallet was found next to his body.
Lubbock Evening Journal, Monday, December 16, 1946
Fred H Baldwin was the son of C R Baldwin and the grandson of Francis Marion Baldwin.

Murder of Riley C Medlin
One night five days before Christmas 1932, two men entered a small grocery in Nashville owned by Riley C Medlin.  Medlin was in the back room off the grocery, eating with his family.  One of the men called him to come forward into the grocery.  Medlin picked up his shot gun and walked forward.  Upon seeing the shotgun, one of the men raised a pistol and shot Riley Medlin in the center of his forehead while his wife looked on.  The men who entered the grocery ran away. It is not known if they were ever apprehended and charged with the murder.
Riley C Medlin (1873-1932) was the son of Isaac Pinkney Medlin and Mary Evaline Leaver, and the grandson of Samuel Medlin and Rebecca Morgan.  He married Mamie Lillian Randalls and they were the parents of seven children.  The youngest two daughters, Pearl and Ruth, were at the back of the grocery when their father was murdered.
The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) Wednesday, December 21, 1932

Murder Strikes Again to the Medlin Family
45 years Later
Riley Medlin's son, Elliot Columbus Medlin,  owner of the Happy Grill in Nashville was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of his head during a robbery at the restaurant.  A Tennessee State Prison escapee and two other men were charged with the murder.

Murder of Willie Cowley
Sometimes murder is committed by a family member which makes it even more horrific.  And, sometimes murder can be self defense.  Willie Cowley died after being hit over the head with an axe by his brother-in-law, John Heflin.  John Heflin was arrested and charged with murder.  But Heflin's father-in-law (and the father of the victim) posted bond.  Apparently, Cowley and Heflin became engaged in an argument over the division of crop money.  Cowley made several lunges at Heflin with his fists and then pulled out his knife to attack, whereupon Heflin snatched an axe from the ground and struck out in self-defense.  Members of the family said that Cowley had been hauling his and Heflin's crops to Nasville, selling them and spending most of the money on drinking.  When Heflin insisted on a fair division of the money the argument followed which resulted in Cowley's death.
Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) Thursday, October 22, 1931 - Page 1 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Joseph Stewart and Sarah Gilbert Family

The following story of the Joseph and Sarah Stewart Family was given to me by the author, JT Stewart of Watertown, Tennessee.  JT and I corresponded in 2001.  He had researched our Stewart family for years and knew more than anyone else about the early history of the Stewart family of Putnam County, Tennessee.  I originally posted this story in 2009 as part of the blog post entitled, Stewarts of Putnam County, Tennessee.  But, no one seemed to find it tucked away at the bottom of that post, so here it is again.:)

 By J.T. Stewart, a descendant of Jesse Stewart 

Joseph Stewart left Jefferson County and arrived with his family in Overton County, Tn. then Jackson about 1800. This makes him one of the county’s earliest settlers. Joseph’s parents were Samuel Stewart and Lydia Harrison of Augusta County, VA where Joseph was probably born about 1740. Joseph’s father Samuel received a grant of 508 acres from Lord Granville in Rowan County, NC and the family moved from Virginia to North Carolina about 1758. Joseph Stewart is listed in the Rowan County Tax List of 1761 when he came of legal age. Joseph and Samuel are mentioned in the "Wachovia Diary" under date of 24 Aug 1761 in Stokes/Forsyth Co., NC this being a diary of the German Moravian sect which settled in Stokes, Forsyth and Surry Co., NC.
In 1779, Joseph Stewart sold the land he had received by inheritance from his father in what was then Surry Co., NC and traveled westward. Tax lists show he was in Washington Co., NC now Tennessee for the years 1780 through 1783. By 1784 Joseph Stewart was in Jefferson Co., and court records show he was there as late as Aug 1796. The earliest date Joseph shows up in Overton/Jackson Co. is 1801. He and Thomas McBride are listed on old church minutes, 25 July 1801, as messengers from Roaring River Baptist Church to the Green River Association of Baptists in Barren County, KY. On 23 Sep 1823 Joseph Stewart received a land grant from the state of Tennessee. On 14 Feb 1824 an Overton Co. deed from Jesse Stewart to John Lee, refers to the will of Joseph Stewart wherein Jesse Stewart received land by virtue of the will. Thus it would appear that Joseph Stewart died between 23 Sep 1823 and 14 Feb 1824.
Joseph Stewart married Sarah Gilbert and they had 12 children, all of whom came to Overton Co. with Joseph about 1800.

The children are listed as follows with a few lines of biographical data when known.
Lydia Stewart b. ab. 1762 m. to Abraham Howard. Abraham died in Jefferson Co. 1795. Lydia had 8 children and she and the children moved to Madison Co., Ill before 1820. The Howards are prominently mentioned in "History of Madison Co., Illinois" Saline Township as being some of the earliest settlers.
Joseph Stewart Jr. b. ab. 1764. He may have been married twice, 1st to Sarah Copeland as LDS records show and 2nd to Jane or Jennie Davis. He left Overton Co. and lived in wilderness area of Bledsoe Co. in the 1820’s on land he had surveyed. In Aug 1827 he bought 55 acres of land on Roaring River from Caleb Willis. In Apr 1828 he sold the 55 acres to James Dodson, his brother-in-law. About this time he reportedly went to Johnson Co., Ark. The names of his children are not known but David K. Stewart b. Overton Co. 1813 and William H. Stewart b. Overton Co. in 1823 may have been two of them.
Margaret (Patsy) b. ab. 1768 m. to James Dodson. Very little is known about James Dodson except he seems to have been fervently religious as the minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church had this entry for Apr 1845: "Brother James Dodson liberated to sing, pray, and exhort when he feels like doing so in the bounds of the church." Names of the children are not known except John Larkin Dodson who m. Mary Ann Curtis may have been connected.
Benjamin Stewart b. ab. 1772 d. 1847 Overton Co. m. twice 1st Sarah Davis 2nd Polly ? not Polly Mayfield as some sources show. Benjamin Stewart was a farmer and Baptist preacher and is mentioned several times in minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church. He lived in Bledsoe Co. for a while on land he had surveyed in the wilderness area. He had 12 children, 9 by his 1st wife. His will is recorded in Overton Co. deed K-333 July 1841 which was later proven in Nov 1847, he left all his property to his wife Polly, but deeds do not show how Polly disposed of the lands she received. None of the children were in the will, and to date their names are not known.
John Stewart, b. ab. 1772 d. 1846 Overton Co., m. 1st Elizabeth Norris 2nd Keziah ?. They had at least 4 children: John C.; Melinda m. Wm. K. Wyatt; Robert; and Margaret m. Benjamin Whitehead. All of John’s descendants appear to have left Overton Co. shortly after he died. A descendant of Benjamin and Margaret Whitehead has turned up in Vine, Cal.
Nancy Stewart, b. 1775 d. in Overton Co. after 1850, did not marry.
Elizabeth Stewart b. ab. 1778 m. 1798 to John Raney, a Rev. War veteran. Elizabeth was his second wife. There were 6 or so children. One son William b. 1812 was married to Elvira Gist a daughter of Russell and Nancy Isham Gist. The John Raney family went to Independence Co., Ark. where he died in Feb. 1847, age 92.
Sarah Stewart b. ab. 1780 m. 19 Dec 1802 James Matthews. James was in the War of 1812 and his military records show he was killed in the battle at Talledega, Ala. On 9 Nov 1813. Sarah applied for a pension and listed 7 children. The children were: John Matthews m. Sarah Shookman-Shoukman; Sarah m. William G. Roberts an early tax collector of Overton Co.; Cynthia d. young; Lawrence m. Agnes Poston; Elizabeth m. Peter Fite; Nancy m. Caleb Cooper; and Dorcas m. Hiram Pitts. Other sources list other children as James, William, and a son who accidentally shot himself, but Sarah made no mention of them in her pension application of 12 Feb 1817. A Richard Matthews, 59, b. NC appears on the 1850 Pulaski Co., Missouri census. He is probably the same Richard Matthews who on Overton deed F-208 Apr 1830, deeded 150 acres on Roaring River to David Stewart and expected "one square rod including the grave of my father." The father may have been Lawrence Matthews and James and Richard brothers sons of Lawrence.
Samuel Stewart b. 15 Mar 1781 d. Overton Co. ab. 1822, m. Polly Kitchner. Children were: Sarah J. b. 1802 m. Joshua Stapp; John Gilbert b. 1811 m. 3 times 1st Margaret Copeland, 2nd Sarah Ruth Allison and 3rd Amanda Tennison; and Samuel B. b. 1815 m. Elizabeth W. Matthews. There was also a Benjamin K. Stewart b. 1808 closely connected with this family who quite likely was a son of Samuel also.
David Stewart
William Stewart b. ab. 1786 died in Lee County, Iowa in 1837 m. 1st Elizabeth VanHooser and 2nd Rebecca Lewellyn. Children of first wife were: Squire, Riley, Levi, William Jackson, and Urban Van. This family went to Madison County, Illinois, where some of the children joined the Mormon movement in its earliest stages and went on to Utah. A great number of descendants are to be found in the western part of the country. Levi Stewart for instance had 28 children by 3 wives although his second wife, Margery, and five children perished in a fort fire at Kanab, Utah. Morris Udall former Senator from Arizona and one time presidential candidate was a descendant of Levi Stewart.
Jesse Stewart, youngest child of Joseph and Sarah Gilbert Stewart b. July 1790 died ab. 1862, m. to Jemima West daughter of Stephen and Mary Belk West. Jesse Stewart was an early Baptist preacher and was ordained to preach according to Rev. J.H. Grime Baptist Historian at the old Roaring River church also known as "Twelve Corners." Incidentally the name "Twelve Corners," according to Mr. Mark Copeland who was familiar with the old church before it was torn down came from the architectural shape of the church that being in the shape of a cross, which of course has twelve corners. Children of Jesse Stewart and Jemima West were as follows: Janey b. 26 Feb 1813; Preston Stewart b. 12 July 1815 d. 20 Mar 1875 bur. Stewart Cem. In Putnam Co., Tn m. 10 May 1835 Jane Brown; Harrison b. 7 May 1817 d. 1 Jan 1893 bur. Smellage Cem., Putnam Co., Tn m. Sarah Brown; Hirum b. 30 Mar 1819; Enon b. 6 May 1821 m. 4 Jan 1845 White Co. to Sarina Cordle; Ceburn b. 10 Feb 1823 d. 19 Mar 1879 m. Dorinda Brown; Asa b. 19 Feb 1825 m. 17 Oct 1855 Sarah Davis; Anthony D. b. 21 Jan 1827 m. Mary A. ?; Erviney b. 22 Oct 1829 m. T.A. Porter; Levashure b. 17 Oct 1831 m. 5 Oct 1853 Angeline Finley; Almarinda b. 14 Jan 1834; Jemima b. 19 Jan 1836 m. 9 Dec 1864 in Todd Co., KY Francis Marion Seger; Mary b. 21 Feb 1838 d. 10 Aug 1874 m. B.A.W. Davis; and Sarah b. 1839.

Note:  There was a John Stewart family in Overton Co. living on Ashburn Creek in the early 1800’s but no relation to Joseph Stewart. This John Stewart’s children were: Josiah; Gibson; Fleming; Levina m. John McDonald; Nancy m. Obadiah Hickey; Lucinda also m. Obadiah Hickey when Nancy died; Penelope m. William Payne; and Jane .m Benjamin R. Harrison.

Note: This sketch does not include David Stewart who is listed on the family group sheet prepared by JT.

Related Posts: 
Jesse Stewart, Baptist Preacher
Jesse Stewart, Baptist Preacher - part 2
Stewarts of Putnam County, Tennessee
Henry Stewart - Civil War Veteran

This Day In Our Family History

October 19

I always get a sad feeling on October 19.  It was on this day in 1862, that our 2nd great-grandfather, David Miller Leffel, was hanged by a confederate mob. 
The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas 1862
David 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, Texas in October 1862, and then hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville.

Four other extended members of our family were also killed by the Confederates as a result of the Great Hangings in Gainesville. They were Richard N Martin, Barnibus Burch, William Boyles, and John Mansil Crisp.  To see how they are related to the family, click here.

It is not known exactly what happened to David's body after he was hanged.  For 152 years there had been no known headstone or memorial marker for David Miller Leffel and most of the men who died in the Hangings.  That changed in October 2014 when a memorial marker was placed in Gainesville for the men who lost their lives in the Great Hanging.  To see photos of the memorial, click here.

To learn more about the Great Hanging, go to the Great Hanging Blog called: