Tag Archives: Asenath Walt

My Ancestors Signature #40 ~ Asenath “Dolly” Walt

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations. This is another rare female signature!

My Great Grandmother

Asenath “Dolly” Walt 1863-1931
From her “Marriage License” dated 1887

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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My Great Grandma was Superstitious ~ Tales from the Dark Side

I thought I would spend these next 3 weeks leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood, but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs the ones she tried to pass down to my sister and me. I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

My Great Grandma, Asenath “Dolly” Walt was born February 27, 1863, in Camden, Ray County, Missouri. Dolly was said to be a very superstitious woman. Anyone who visited her home knew that she did have what they considered unusual quirks.

It is said that Dolly was petrified of “demons”. She believed that at night they would creep around her home and try to gain access. She kept a large container of salt by both the front and back doors for when visitors came. Upon answering the door she would take a scoop of salt and place it across the doorway. If the person was not a “demon”, they could cross over the salt with no problem. The salt would have kept out any non-human who wanted to enter. I guess she never thought that a “demon” would probably not come knocking on her door, he would just kick it open and come in!

Machpelah Cemetery

Dolly’s fear of “demons” began at a young age. She had lived her entire life within the 16-mile radius between Camden and Lexington Missouri. Most of her relatives who had passed away were buried in Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington. Even as a young girl, this cemetery was considered an old one as the first burial there was in 1839. When Dolly was about 6 years old, her younger sister Naomi passed away at the age of 1. In those days visiting a cemetery, especially one that was so far away, was an all day event. This day was no exception. After the small service for Naomi the women went about laying out the picnic lunch for the mourners on the edge of the grounds. Dolly and her other siblings were racing around, darting in and out of the nearby woods. Dolly, in an attempt to hide from the others ran out of the woods and hid behind a large Headstone. That is when she saw it! A large man/beast come out of a grave and began walking slowly towards her. She ran terrified, screaming, all the way across the cemetery and into her Mother’s arms. When Dolly calmed down enough to speak, she told the adults what had happened. They tried to convince her that what she saw was the grave digger climbing out of the hole he had just dug. Try as they might no one could convince her that she hadn’t just seen a “demon”.

After this experience she refused to set foot in the Machpelah Cemetery. When her own daughter Ella (My Grandmother) died in 1921 she pleaded with her son-in-law not to bury her in Lexington and so Ella was buried in the Buckner Cemetery in the town of the same name about 25 miles west. Dolly spent 61 years of her life afraid of the “demon” that came out of the grave and was convinced that he was out to get her. Upon her death on February 19, 1931, Dolly’s husband John McGowan, had her buried in the Machpelah Cemetery.

Here are some more Superstitions that my mother had:

If your nose itches, you will soon be kissed by a fool.

If your house is clean on New Year’s Eve, you will have a clean house all year.

If you get a chill up your back or goose bumps, it means that someone is walking over the place where your grave will be.

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

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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