Category Archives: Lexington MO

How We “Land”ed in Arizona ~ 52 Ancestors Week #17

Tucson 1955Have you ever wondered how you ended up living where you lived as a child? Outside of being born into a military family who naturally moves around a lot, how did we get here? Some people are born and raised in the town where their parents, grandparents or even generations of ancestors had lived. Others, like me, were raised thousands of miles from where they were born. I decided I would try to figure out how my family landed in Tucson, Arizona.

On my maternal lines, the Smith side can only be traced back to Missouri as my Great MO map 1850Grandfather Pleasant is a brick wall. On the McGowan, Page, and Walt side the lineages go back to Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. I have discovered the paths they took to get to America and how they eventually landed in Missouri. On my paternal side all the lines Hughes, Hayes, Ogan, and Register lines can be traced back to England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland. I have also discovered the paths they took to get to America and how they eventually landed in Missouri. They all came for a variety of reasons and both sides ended up here.

MissouriThat brings us to my immediate family. Both of my parents’ ancestors came to the State of Missouri in the early 1800s, even before it became a state in 1821. Their roots were firmly planted here. My parents married in 1948 and set up a house where they both had lived most of their lives, in the town of Lexington. My sister was born in 1951 and I came along in January 4 years later. By December of that year, we moved to Tucson, AZ. This was definitely a big change for our family. Missouri is beautiful! Trees everywhere, rivers and lakes abound and the land is dotted with quaint little towns with friendly people. The landscape is mostly flat File179or hilly. The weather is cold in the winter and humid in the summer. Arizona, although it has its own beauty, was the total opposite. Tucson is surrounded by desert. Cactus, mesquite trees and sagebrush makes up most of it. There are mountains surrounding the city, one being over 9000 feet tall. The winters are mild, kind of like spring and the summers are hot and dry. So, with these contrasts, why would they move here?

I was told growing up that it had been suggested by the family doctor that we should move to a drier climate. Apparently, my mother, sister and me had severe asthma and being in Arizona should make it easier. That sounded feasible. However, it was discovered later that the “asthma” excuse had been a lie that my mother fabricated. None of us had ever had it. My dad never accompanied my mother to the doctor and he just took her word for it. As a side note, my mother was a hypochondriac. My whole life I was told by her that she was sick and could die at any moment. Now back to the story.

circle a drI remember we used to visit a couple who lived on our street quite often. As kids, we had to sit on the couch and not move or talk while we were there. I listened to their conversations and realized that they must have known each other before because they talked a lot about Missouri and people I had heard about from there. During the summer before I started fourth grade the gentleman taught me how to play clarinet in preparation to join the school band. I remember that he told me they had lived in Lexington and had known my parents for many years, even before they got married. This couple had moved to Arizona first and bought their home in this subdivision about 6 months before my parents bought our home there. I was thinking maybe they missed their friends and wanted to be near them? Not very likely, at least as far as my dad was concerned. He hated it there.

I don’t think I will ever discover why we “land”ed in Tucson. All of my immediate family are gone now so I have no one to ask. I have never felt a connection to any place or felt like any place was “home’. From the time of my birth until now I have lived in 53 homes in 8 different states. I hope sometime in my life I will land in a place that feels like home!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Thursday at the Cemetery ~ Machpelah Cemetery pt. 3 ~ Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO

 

pic TATCMachpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.

 

Machpelah Cemetery map

 

During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battles of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1852. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.

 

Among the prominent citizens buried here are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (US Congressman), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express) and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).

 

Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire. Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.

 

Among those mentioned above are several of my beloved family members. Too many to feature in just one blog so, over the next few weeks, I will post between 3 and 6 headstones with a short bio of each person.

 

 

 

 

John Henry McGowan HSJohn Henry McGowan was born on May 10, 1863 in Henrietta, Ray Co, MO. He is my maternal Great Grandfather. He was raised on the family farm, helping with the chores and with the planting. He had 4 brothers and 3 sisters, In 1885 he moved to Lafayette Co and met Asenath Walt. They were married on May 30, 1887, and they had 5 daughters and 2 sons, one who died at birth. John worked his entire adult  life in the coal mines located around Lexington. He died on April 26, 1957. He had lived the last 8 years of his life in the Goodloe Rest Home located in Lexington. He died at the age of 93 of skin cancer with metastasis. He had the cancer for 5 years. He outlived his wife by 26 years.

 

 

 

Asnath Walt McGowanAsenath “Dolly” Walt was born on February 27, 1863, in Camden, Ray Co, MO. She is my maternal Great Grandmother. Her father worked as a carpenter and a wheelwright so she was raised in town. She was the oldest of 10 children, she had 6 sisters and 2 brothers. She married John Henry McGowan on May 30, 1887, and they had 5 daughters and 2 sons, one who died at birth. She died on February 19, 1930 at the age of 67. The cause of death was labored pneumonia.

 

 

 

James D McGowan HSJames D. McGowan was born in 1837 in Madison Co, Tennessee. He is my maternal 2x Great Grandfather. His father came to America from Ireland and he was a proficient farmer. James had 8 siblings, 4 sisters, and 4 brothers. He was the middle child. In 1854 his family moved to Camden, Ray Co, MO. He married Lucy Reavis (1836-1878) and they moved to Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO, buying a farm. They had 8 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. When the Civil War broke out James joined the Tennessee Infantry CSA and reached the rank of Captain. His beloved wife died in 1878 just one year after their last child was born. James died on December 3, 1901, at the age of 64.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

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Freaky Friday’s ~  Once Upon A Murder

Freaky-Fridays-logo1-optimisedIn the early morning hours of Sunday, July 13, 1930, 21-year-old Virgil Bullard and his 3 brother-in-laws began a trip into town. Lexington Missouri was about 4 miles southwest of the farm they lived on. Traveling down the dirt road they soon passed by one of their neighbors’ farm and the owner, Irvan Menaugh came out to the road and stopped them. A few days earlier Virgil had borrowed a team of mules with a threshing outfit from Irvan. Along with the mules he also borrowed some new collars for a span of mules. He had returned them all the day before. Standing by the large wagon, Irvan began to accuse Virgil of swapping the new collars and harnesses with some old ones. Virgil stated that he had left the new collars in the wagon when he returned them all. “No, you didn’t,” Manaugh said. “There were two old collars in place of them, and besides you called my wife a b—- and I am going to kill you!” Irvan then pulled out his gun and fired one shot from the .38 caliber revolver. The bullet struck Virgil, penetrating the skull above his right eye. The 3 other men in the wagon, Mitchell Lee Willard aged 32, Leonard Hughes aged 17 and Douglas Hughes (my Dad) aged 15 tried to get Virgil into town to the Doctors as quickly as possible The Doctor tried to save him but he died a short time later.

It took the police 7 hours of hunting the Menaugh farm and the surrounding area to locate Irvan. They found him hiding in some bushes on his property. He was immediately arrested and was held on the charge of first-degree murder.

According to family stories, Charley Hughes, the father of 20-year-old Nellie Hughes Bullard, went down to the courthouse in Lexington with his shotgun and tried to get into the jail to kill Irvan. He was very distraught as Virgil had not only left behind a young wife but she was also pregnant. Because Charley was a well known and respected Horse and mule breeder and Horse Trainer in Lafayette County he was not arrested for his actions. Irvan Menaugh was found not guilty and was released.

This was a horrific event in our family history. All of my dad’s family disliked the Menaughs because of this. Not quite the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, but the feud still rages on today.

About 10 years ago I met a cousin named Cathy from my mothers’ side. I was put in Lexington MO Signtouch with her about a month before my husband and I made a trip to Missouri. She was almost as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. Because of the very strained relation I always had with my mother, I had spent the first 11 years of my Genealogy journey only researching my dad’s side of the family. When we met, Cathy gave me a packet of the research she had on the McGowan side of the family. We had such a full schedule while in Missouri and a 36-hour drive back to Arizona, I didn’t have time to look at the information until after I got home.

Virgil DCImagine my surprise when I was entering all the information I had received into my Smith/McGowan tree and when I got to my cousins’ immediate family I came across the name Menaugh! Cathy’s mom had married the son of Irvan Menaugh after the death of her husband. Cathy had never heard this story so I emailed her the newspaper article. We both agreed that the fact that her step-grandfather had murdered my aunt’s husband was indeed quite FREAKY!

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Thursday at the Cemetery ~ Machpelah Cemetery pt. 2 ~ Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO

pic TATCMachpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.
During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1952. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.
Among the prominent citizens buried at Machpelah are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (representative to US. Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).
Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.
Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.
 Among those mentioned above are several of my beloved family. Too many to feature in just one blog. So, over the next few weeks, I will post 4 or 5 headstones with a short bio of each person.

 Margaret Ruth Hughes was born on November 14, 1919, in Sweet Springs, Saline Co, MO. She died on November 26, 1988, in Buckner, Jackson Co, MO. She is my paternal aunt. She was the 10th child and the 5th daughter born to Charles Hughes and Virginia Hayes. She was married twice first to a sailor named Kenneth Smith with whom she had her 1st son. Her husband was shipped off to war and he never came home. Her 2nd husband was Paul Dwain Palmer. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Their 1st son died at the age of 7 months. She died from cancer at the age of 69. You may read about her incredible life here: https://wp.me/p4gvQU-wj

Margaret & Paul Palmer

Paul Douglas Palmer Sr was born on August 19, 1915, in Winona, Shannon Co, MO. He died on June 1, 1993, in Buckner, Jackson Co, MO. He worked for the Gulf Oil Corporation aboard the vessel “Gulfwave” as a fireman during WWII. After that, He worked for the Missouri State Highway Department until he retired in 1987. He loved the Kansas City Royals and he never missed a game. He died of a heart attack at the age of 78.

 

Paul Douglas Palmer JrPaul Douglas Palmer Jr was born on July 13, 1951, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO and died on February 19, 1952, from a viral infection and pneumonia.

 

 

 

Madonna Rose Palmer was born on January 1, 1964, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. She died on August 21, 2001, in Higginsville, Lafayette Co, MO. She married twice 1st to Raymond Darnell and had a son. 2nd to John Anthony Bell and she had a daughter. She died of colon cancer at the age of 36.

Madonna & Darrell

Darrell Dwain Palmer was born on November 15, 1955, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO and died on June 24, 2016, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. He never got married but he did have one daughter. He worked multiple jobs such as a truck driver, oil rigging, and too many other jobs to list. He died of brain cancer at the age of 61. BOTH MADONNA AND DARRELL WERE CREMATED AND PLACED ON TOP OF THEIR PARENTS.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday at the Cemetery~Machpelah Cemetery pt. 1~Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO

Machpelah Cemetery photoMachpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.

During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1952. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.

Machpelah Cemetery map

Among the prominent citizens buried at Machpelah are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (representative to U.S. Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).

Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.

Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.

 

Amongst those mentioned above are several of my beloved family. Too many to feature in just one blog. So, over the next few weeks, I will post 4 or 5 headstones with a short bio of each person.

 

DadBenjamin Douglas Hughes was born on August 15, 1915, in Hughesville, Pettis Co, MO. He died on June 24, 1974, in Hollywood, Los Angeles Co, CA. He is my Dad. He was the 8th child and the 4th son born to Charles Hughes and Virginia Hayes. He was married 3 times, the 3rd time to my mother, and he had 3 children. The 1st one by his 1st was a son who died when he was 2 months old. The other two were my sister and I. Starting at age 15 he had a variety of jobs. He worked on the family farm, trained horses, worked in the coal mine, was a butcher, worked for the railroad, participated in the CCC in 1935 and was a carpenter and bricklayer. He died from lung cancer at the age of 58.

 

 

Ellie Hughes Willard Hankins was born on February 5, 1905, in Pettis Co, MO and died February 25,Aunt Ellie 1973, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. She had a twin sister named Nellie. Ellie and her sister were both born with a hair lip which was eventually corrected when they were 10 years old. Her first marriage was to Mitchell Lee Willard when she was 17 years old and Mitchell was 24. They had 7 children, 3 daughters, and 4 sons. Mitchell died in January 1950 leaving Ellie a widow with 5 children under the age of 18. In November the same year, she married Chester Hankins. She died of heart failure at the age of 63.

 

 

Mitchel WillardMitchell Lee Willard, the husband of Ellie Hughes, was born March 25, 1898, in Kirksville, Adair Co, Mo and died January 30, 1950, in Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO. He worked as a Government River Worker and he was a farmer. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

 

 

John Henry McGowan, my mothers’ Grandfather, was born on May 10, 1863, in Henrietta, Ray Co, MOJohn Henry McGowan 2xGGrandpa and died April 26, 1957, in Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO. He married Asenath “Dollie” Walt on May 30, 1887. They had 8 children, 6 daughters, 1 son, and one child who died at birth. He worked in the coal mines around Lexington his entire life. His wife “Dollie” died on February 19, 1931. He lived alone in a home he owned until he was 85 years old. He lived the last 8 years of his life in the Goodloe Rest Home located in Lexington, MO. He died at the age of 93 of skin cancer with metastasis. He had cancer for 5 years. He also had Heart Disease.

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Popular ~ Margaret Ruth Hughes ~ 52 Ancestors Week 12

 

Margaret 14I love this week’s prompt as I will get a chance to write about my favorite Aunt! Although my times with her were limited I learned so much from just observing her life.  Margaret Ruth Hughes was born in Sweet Springs, Missouri on November 14, 1919. She was the tenth child born to Charlie and Virginia (Hayes) Hughes. Charlie and “Jennie” had a total of 11 children. The brothers born before and after Margaret both died by the age of two, leaving her the youngest child.

dad, margaret

The Hughes family moved to Lexington, Lafayette Co, Missouri when Margaret was 10 years old. Her dad bought a farm there and began farming and continuing to raise his prize-winning horses. She loved the horses and was very good at training them. Her mother taught her how to sew and she began making her own clothes.  She was like most young girls of those days learning to cook and do regular household chores. She was closest in age to my dad, Douglas. They were best friends and did everything together. She would follow him everywhere he went. This was also about the time that the Great Depression began. The family actually did very well during this time.  They grew an abundance of crops and had plenty of livestock so that they had enough for their large family, and they were able to share with those who needed help.

I believe that this is where Margaret developed her giving spirit. People just automatically gravitated to her. If you needed help. she was there. It seemed that no matter where she lived, she knew everyone! In the 1940 Census, we find 21-year-old Margaret living in Lexington with my dad and her older widowed sister Nellie. She and Nellie worked in the laundry. A few years later she was living in the San Francisco area working as one of the Rosie the Riveters. There she made shirts and gave them to some of oldies_0020the sailors as they deployed.  She baked cookies and pies for the men to help them with their homesickness. She met and married her first husband Kenneth Smith about 2 months before he shipped off at the end of 1944. Margaret discovered she was pregnant a couple of months later and she headed home to Missouri. Their son was born 18 days after the war ended but her husband never made it home. She moved into Independence and started working at the cafe on the square. President Harry Truman frequented this diner as it was only a few blocks from where he lived. He came at the same time every day and refused to be waited on by anyone besides Margaret!

oldies_0036

In 1948 she met Paul Palmer and immediately fell in love. They got married about 6 months later and moved into Kansas City. They had a son who died at 7months old from pneumonia. They went on to have two more children, a son Darrell in 1955 and a surprise daughter named Madonna 7 years later when Margaret was 43 years old.  She worked for a coat manufacturer in Kansas City designing and sewing jackets for over 30 years. She also designed a unique western shirt that was in big demand.

In 1987 my husband and I took a trip to visit her. She was 67 years old at the time and had more energy then we did. She took us sightseeing all over Missouri and everywhere we went someone knew her. She even took us to visit some of my mother’s family and all of them were thrilled to see her. She had always been popular, no matter where she lived because of her kindness. She treated everyone like they were the most important person in the world.  In September 1988 my wonderful Aunt Margaret passed away from cancer.

 

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

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Luck ~ Trip to Missouri ~ 52 Ancestors Week 11

Missouri signTen years ago my husband and I decided to make a trip to Missouri. The main reason was so I could visit my dad’s grave. I had been working on my family tree for a little over 12 years and I had what I thought was a pretty good-sized tree. I realized that if we could spend a week there I might find some information at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence and then locate some graves. I got on the computer and started searching through my trees to find names and locations of some cemeteries where they may be buried.

The first one I looked up was my Grandpa, John Pleasant Smith. I remembered going to his funeral when I was 13 years old and I believed he had been buried in the same cemetery as my dad. Located in the small town I was born in, Machpelah Cemetery is one of the oldest ones in the State, The first burial was in 1839. I figured there had to be more than my dad and maternal Grandpa buried there, so I spent a couple of days and I was surprised how many ancestors I fond that were buried here. Bonus, they came from both sides of the family!

funeral home

I found the name of a funeral home in Lexington and  I called and asked how I could find out in which section my Grandpa and dad were buried. They gave me the name and phone number of a woman named Cathy who was on the Cemetery Board and had the master list. I called and was surprised she answered so quickly. I explained the reason for my call and she said she would love to help me. I explained that I had several names but my two main ones were Douglas Hughes and John P. Smith. She found my dad’s right away but after searching the list she said there was no one by that name in this cemetery. I was a little confused so I thanked her and I was ready to hang up when she asked if I had more names. I gave her my aunts’ name, check she was there, my 2 uncles’ names, check they were there. Then I gave her my maternal  Great Grandparents’ names. She got very quiet. She asked how I was related to them and I told her. She then informed me that we were cousins! She was almost as excited as I was as she hadn’t met many McGowan relatives. We made plans to meet at the cemetery and she would give me the tour.

I started looking for my paternal Grandmothers’ parents and I decided to google their names just to see what came up. The third entry down was a listing for the Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse and it said there was a photo of my Grandparents on this site. I had never seen a photo of them so I immediately clicked the link. The page had a long list of photos to view so when I found the correct link I clicked on it. The link was broken! I was so bummed. At the bottom of the page was the name and phone number of the writer of the monthly  “Coffey Cousins” newsletter. I figured I had nothing to lose so I called. A woman named Bonnie answered the phone and I explained the reason for my call. She got excited and told me we were cousins on my Grandmothers side. She invited us to come to visit her in Jefferson City while we were there. I couldn’t believe my luck. Two previously unknown cousins found in one day.

Bonnie CulleyWe made the 1200 mile one way trip in record time. I was driving and I couldn’t wait to get there. We got there on Monday and we had a meeting set for Wednesday in Jefferson City. Bonnie and her husband were such gracious hosts. Jim entertained my husband while she showed me around. Everywhere I looked were bookcases filled with binders, each one for a different ancestors’ name. We went into her office and she pulled out an old photo album that had belonged to my Grandmothers sister Rosie. She had never been married but she kept every photo that a relative had sent her and put it all in this album. Bonnie let me go through it and there were photos of me and my sister when we were young, some of my dad and his siblings when they were young and lots of photos of people I didn’t know. She spent two hours copying photos and making notes for me to take with me. She even gave me a packet with all the document proof I needed to join the DAR.

SONY DSC

On Friday we met Cathy at the Cemetery in Lexington. She showed me so many graves and explained who they were and how I was related to them. She had a huge accordion file with names and locations of all the graves there. We just walked and talked for what seemed like an hour! She had to get back to work so we walked her to her car and she pulled out a large folder and gave it to me. It was a copy of all her research on the McGowan side of the family. It went back to our immigrant 3x Great Grandfather Francis McGowan who was born in 1794 in Ireland and came to America in 1811. She also gave me a copy of my paternal Grandmothers death certificate! I had told her when we spoke on the phone I was going to go to the courthouse while in town to find it, so she went and got it for me! She had also called funeral homes in some of the smaller towns near her and found where my Grandpa Smith was buried.

As we left Missouri a few days later I think I cried for the first hour of driving. I felt so blessed by these two women who took the time to help me on this journey. We have kept in touch for 10 years now and I can’t begin to tell you how lucky I feel that I got to meet my cousins!

 

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Hometown Tuesday ~ Lexington, Lafayette Co, Missouri

hometown tuesdayI thought I should probably do a Hometown Blog about my hometown, Lexington Missouri. When talking with other people I usually refer to myself as being “older than dirt” so I figure, with my advancing age it would be wise to write it now LOL!

Lexington was founded in 1822 and became the County Seat in 1823. It is locatedMadonna of the Trail along the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. It became the largest city west of St. Louis in the 1830s and ’40s. John Aull built the first Mercantile store there in 1822 and it became a booming business. This quaint little city was the starting point for those traveling westward. The beginning of the Oregon, Santa Fe, California, and Mormon Trails was here. It is estimated that by 1843 there were over $450,000 of goods that had been sent west.

SONY DSCLexington boasts the oldest, continually used Courthouse west of the Mississippi. It was built in 1847. This building saw a lot of changes over its 173 years of standing guard over the town. It survived the Battle of Lexington 1861, with only a cannonball lodged in one of its columns. The cannonball is still there today.

There are numerous historic homes, buildings, and sites in this town, the most famous one is the Wentworth Military Academy which was founded in 1880. It drew students not only from the United States but from all over the world.

Now for a more personal take on this town. In the 1950s the population of Lexington was 5071. It was a close-knit community made up mostly of families who were farmers. I was born here at the Lexington Hospital. My family moved to Arizona a year after I was born for health reasons. SoHousein Lexington it is sad to say I was not raised here. I did live there shortly in the mid-’60s and I loved it there. It was so full of history and things to do. When we moved back there we rented the top floor apartment of a large historical home on Highland Street. The street in front of the home was made of original bricks from when the town was first built. I loved the sound the road made when someone drove over it. I played clarinet and I would take it out in the backyard and practice with it. The yard was on top of one of the many bluffs along the Missouri River and I could watch the activity on the river as I played. I had many relatives that lived in town and I finally got to meet them.

I guess it is now confession time. There was one thing I did not like about the town. It was the “chiggers”. I was raised in the desert and had never encountered those nasty little bloodsuckers before. I learned quickly to wear long pants and socks to avoid being eaten alive!

 

cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Courthouse, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hometown Tuesday, Lexington MO, Missouri, Personal Stories, Uncategorized

Another Internet Surprise

computer-image-ort-hiOnce again, the internet, specifically Facebook has helped me to fill in some holes in my Family History. I wrote a blog ( tinyurl.com/y8c99wur  ) 3 years ago about my Aunt Nellie whose husband was murdered in Lexington Missouri in 1930. I had tried to do research before I wrote it but there wasn’t much information available. My sources were a newspaper article and the story told me by a cousin. Yesterday, I received a message on my Authors Facebook page and I was astounded!

The Great Grandson of the man, Irvan Menaugh who murdered my Uncle Virgil, sent meLexington MO Courthouse information about it and the trial. He told me stories he had heard from his Dad and from a Grandson of Irvan. He even took the time to give me the dates and the outcomes of the proceeding trails associated with the murder. There are still a lot of questions about the entire case, ones like “Why wasn’t Irvan convicted of this murder?”, “Where are the missing court records?” and “Was the presiding judge bribed with a land deal to find Irvan not guilty?” I plan on writing a new blog on this new information and maybe more facts can be found.

I have read a lot of arguments between Genealogists about whether to allow our Family Trees to be seen by the public and to limit the information we use in our Blogs or to make it all public. I understand both sides, the pros, and cons etc. All I know is several times, because of a Blog I have received vital pieces of information I needed to fill in the gaps. 20 years ago, when I first started researching my Family History this could never happen. I would have never known this kind gentleman even existed. My advice is to use the internet to its fullest extent, reaching out to others with any information you may have or to ask others if they have additional information that could help in your research. All I know is I am so thankful to the generous Genealogy Community.

Have you had someone contact you with much need information about an Ancestor because of the internet?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also                              connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Death, Facebook, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hughes, Lexington MO, Memories, Missouri, Personal Stories, Research, Story telling, Uncategorized