Monday, February 19, 2018

Will of William Kavanaugh; Madison Co., Kentucky

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

As we eagerly search through microfilmed records of counties, it is easy to forget that the records held by the county courts are copies. People took their land deeds and wills and marriage licenses to the courthouse to be copied into the county records. Prior to typewriters and photocopiers, all of those records were hand copied. As a result, we are lulled into thinking that we are looking at the originals, but the originals went home with their owners. What happened to them after that is anyone's guess. Initially, they may have been tucked away into a document or trunk. Eventually, thought, many of them were lost or thrown away or burned in a house fire or blown away in a storm.

Or maybe, just maybe, they eventually find themselves auctioned away two hundred years later.

This seems to be the case of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather William Kavanaugh's will, which auctioned a year ago (sigh) in Cowan's Auctions, an online auction house. I can't help but wonder where this has been for the last two hundred years. William Kavanaugh died in Madison County, Kentucky in October, 1829.

I'm going to post the actual link here on behalf of those who come later and want to see it in the Way Back Machine:

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Page one:

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Page two:

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Charles Duncan's Revolutionary Land Warrant

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Land Warrant 1473 can be found in the Kentucky Secretary of State's web page:


No patent for this land was ever issued. Since there is no other identifying information with this warrant, it is difficult to say for sure at this point that this warrant was issued to my ancestor, Charles Duncan. So far, there seems to be two Charles Duncans, who served in Virginia. One who received his pay for service in Regiment 11, and one who received his pay for service in Regiment 7.

Charles Duncan, resident of Giles County, Virginia, stated in his Revolutionary War pension application that he enlisted in Faquier County, Virginia on 12 January 1777 and served in William Blackwell's company in Regiment 11 commanded by Col. Daniel Morgan. They were attached to the Brigade of General Woodford. He was discharged on 12 January 1780 in Fredericktown, Maryland. This Charles Duncan died on 24 October 1838, and his widow Margaret applied for a pension based on his service. A bible record was produced which listed their children as Buford, John, Elizabeth, Thornton, Ezekiel, Braxton, Margaret, Elsby, Nancy, Judith, and Sarah.

This would seem to rule out Charles Duncan of Regiment 11 as my ancestor.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Charles Duncan, Revolutionary War Service

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

My cousin Debra just asked me how we know that among all of the Charles Duncans in Virginia during the Revolutionary War that our Charles Duncan is, in fact, one of those Charles Duncans who served during the war. In other words, how do we, without a shadow of a doubt, correctly match our Charles to his service records? In essence, this question boils down to "how do we know what we know?"

That is the best question to ask, and one that we should never stop asking. Tradition says that our Charles Duncan of Culpeper County, Virginia served as "a Private in Company 6, Captain Blackwell's Regiment. He was granted land warrant #1473 on August 1, 1783 for 100 acres for three years service as a soldier on the Virginia Continental Line" (Charles Duncan, Wiki Tree). This source also provides a reference to the service records of Michael Burk, which supposedly state the Michael Burk and Charles Duncan served together under Capt. James Browning.

That sent me in search of Michael Burk's pension records, which are readily available in Heritage Quest.

In Michael Burk's pension S1174, there is an affidavit given by John A. Wright of Madison County, Kentucky on 9 January 1833 on behalf of Michael Burk. John A.Wright stated that Michael Burk and Charles Duncan, the father-in-law of Robert Covington of Madison County, Kentucky served together under Capt. James Browning. The following is the second page of his affidavit:

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The portion of the letter that pertains to Charles Duncan reads as follows:

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"He [John A. Wright] knows that said Burk served in the militia from said county of Culpepper in the service of the United States with Charles Duncan who is now dead, and who was father in law to Robert Covington a resident of said county of Madison. That said Charles Duncan was a messmate of said Burke and a man of unexceptional good character, that said Duncan and Burke were commanded by a Capt James Browning --"

Robert Covington also provided an affidavit for Michael Burk. Checking the actual file yielded yet another bonus nugget of information--Isaac Duncan, a son of Charles Duncan's, provided an affidavit as well. Isaac Duncan happens to be my great-great-great-great grandfather.

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This affidavit is pretty standard stuff, but it appears to have Isaac Duncan's actual signature: 

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Plus, as an added bonus, this document places Isaac Duncan in Madison County, Kentucky as late as 6 May 1833. Since I know Isaac was in Cooper County, Missouri by 1840, this bit of information helps me with determining when he left Madison County, Kentucky...some time after May of 1833.

This document does not, however, tell me that Charles Duncan served in company 6 of Capt. Blackwell's Regiment although he is likely to have done so. It does suggest that he served for a time in Pendleton's Regiment of which Capt. James Browning was a part. Since Michael Burk served several enlistments for three months at a time, I would expect that is likely also the case with Charles Duncan.

This leaves more research to be done...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Iley Nunn Selph, Jr.

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Some news never makes it into the papers.

Andrea (Selph) Vigil, of Taos, New Mexico, wrote an obituary for her brother Iley Nunn Selph, Jr. that seems to have never made it into the local paper. The result is this unpublished obituary that was found among Andrea's papers after her death. The obituaries of his siblings appeared in an earlier post.

Iley Nunn Selph, Jr., son of Iley Nunn and Carolina (Sandoval) Selph died in 1990:

Thank you,  Marcelle for sharing.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Jose Rafael Antonio Sandoval, Possible Parentage

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

The ongoing dispute in Sandoval research is over the parentage of Rafael Sandoval of Taos County, New Mexico. Most confuse him with Lorenzo Rafael Sandoval, who was baptized in Santa Cruz in 1779. However, that Rafael died in 1781. Most overlook, Josef Rafael Sandoval who was baptized in Santa Cruz in 1782. While this Rafael Sandoval seems like a better fit, I am not sure that he is the Jose Rafael Sandoval for whom I am searching.

Possible parentage of Rafael Sandoval based on baptisms recorded in Santa Cruz de la Canada Church:

Sandoval, Josef Rafael, bap 24 Feb 1782, b. 21 Feb; son of Luis Sandoval and Polonia Medina; godparents - Pablo Sandoval and Lugarda Quintana.
[Source: New Mexico Baptisms Santa Cruz de la Canada Church, vol. 1 1710 - 1794 byVirginia Langham Olmsted]

Flawed, but generally accepted  parentage for Rafael Sandoval:

The generally accepted parentage for Rafael Sandoval cites the following baptism record in Santa Cruz de la Canada:

Sandoval, Lorenzo Rafael [Truchas] bap 21 Aug 1779, b. 10 Aug; son of Feliciano Sandoval and Antonia Fresquis; godparents - Juan Antonio Sandoval and Maria Josepha Romero.
[Source: New Mexico Baptisms Santa Cruz de la Canada Church, vol. 1 1710 - 1794 by Virginia Langham Olmsted]

However, Feliciano Sandoval and Antonia Frequis’s son Rafael died in 1781 and, therefore, could not be the father of Diego Antonio Sandoval who was born about 1815:

Sandoval, Jose Rafael: Santa Yglesia de Senor San Josede gracia Rio de las Trampas.
Buried 1 March 1781; Spanish, parbulo, son of Feliciano Sandoval and Maria Antonia Fresquiz, vec. LDS Film #016869.
[Source: New Mexico Deaths: San Lorenzo de Picuris Church, 17 April 1728 to 17 February 1861 by Betty Sanches Pacheco. Albuquerque Public Library]

This record would seem to rule out the son of Feliciano Sandoval and Maria Antonia Fresquis as the same Jose Rafael Antonio Sandoval who resided in Taos County, New Mexico.

Since Feliciano Sandoval’s wife was a Fresquis, would that eliminate the possibility that "our" Rafael is their son based on his marriage to Apolonia Fresquis? Would the two women be too close in blood for this marriage to be approved? Is there a letter to the church, asking permission for Rafael Sandoval and Apolonia Fresquez to marry?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

James Solomon Reese, son of Solomon Reese

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

James Solomon Reese, son of Solomon and Mahala Reese, was born c. 1834/35 in Lincoln Co., Tennessee and died 30 Jan 1891 in Carroll County, Tennessee. He married Narcissa Ann  Phipps on 7 May 1867 in Carroll County, Tennessee and was the father of three living children at the time of his death. His widow, Narcissa Ann Reese, received a Confederate pension in Carroll Co., TN. Her widow’s pension reveals that she was born 14 July 1837 in Carroll County, Tennessee and been a resident of that county all her life. James Solomon Reese enlisted in Co. H, 55th Tenn. Infantry in April 1862 in Carroll County. His company was originally known as Jones Battalion and later as Green’s Company. He was captured at Island No. 10 and exchanged five months later. He was present in Greensboro, NC when Gen Johnston’s army surrendered. After the war he was a member of Stonewall Jackson Bivouac #20 in McKenzie, TN.   In her pension application, Narcissa Ann (Phipps) Reese stated that she was the mother of three daughters and one son, one daughter having died in infancy.  At the time she filed for her pension, 1905-1906, Narcissa Ann Reese was living on her husband‘s land, located 27 miles east of McKenzie, TN. [Source: TN CSA Widow‘s Pension #W432]. Census records reveal that Narcissa Ann Phipps’ father was probably deceased before 1850 since he does not appear on any subsequent censuses with his wife and children.

An 1875 piece of correspondence from J.S. Reese of McKenzie, TN was filed in the Lincoln County, Tennessee courthouse which needs further examination. J.S. Reese was writing to inquire about the settlement of affairs for a Thomas J. Reese who is termed a son of Solomon Reese, dec’d. The transcript of the document states that Thomas, a minor, died about 1860 and that Robert Reese, son of Hiram was administering his estate. This Thomas, if he died in 1860, could not be James Solomon Reese’s son since according to Narcissa’s pension record, they did not have a son who died in infancy; therefore, this Thomas could not be a son of James Solomon. Logically, James Solomon would only be interested in the estate of a deceased brother. There is possibily an unidentified son of Solomon and Mahala Reese--Thomas J. Reese may be him. However, according to the 1860 mortality schedule a Thomas J.Reese, aged 1 year, died in Sept of hives. That Thomas could not be the son of Solomon Reese and either of his wives. Robert Reese was administering the estate of a Thomas P. Reese on 29 Mar 1860. It may be that the death date of Thomas J. Reese mentioned in this letter from J.S. Reese is actually 1840 instead of 1860.

Old Letter in the Lincoln Co. Archives:
McKenzie, Tenn.
August 14, 1875
County Court Clerk
Dear Sir,
I take the liberty of writing you in regard to an old matter; which is this.
One Robert Reese administered on the estate of Thomas J. Reese in 1860 or about that time.
Thomas J. Reese died a minor and the property administered on was from his fathers, Soloman Reese's estate. Hiram Reese the father of Robert was security to him (Robert) as admr. They are both now dead and James McGee or MaGee is administrator of est. of Hiram Reese. Now will you be so kind as to examine your books and see if the money can be made ie. that which belonged to the estate of Thomas J. Reese; If you think that there is any chance will you please write me, and if you think advisable refer responsible lawyer who will attend to it for me if necessary. One Lem Suggs of your county can tell you the circumstances better than I can. Write if you can see him.
By doing this you will oblige.
Yours respectfully,

J. S. Reese  

Known children of James Solomon and Narciss Ann (Phipps) Reese:

1.         Ida Jane Reese
2.         Charley Reese
3.         Lewonia Reese
4.         A daughter, died in infancy

Census records of James Solomon and Narcissa Ann (Phipps) Reese


Solomon Reese was at home with his mother and step-father Isaac Weaver in Barry Co., MO.

19 July 1870, Dist. 4, McKenzie, Carroll Co., TN, p. 325:

Reece, Janes 34 W M  Farmer $1,500 - 600 b. TN
---Narcissa 35 W F Keeps house b. TN
---Ida Jane 9/12 W F b. TN

1880, Carroll Co., TN:

Reese, Solomon  45 MW b. TN  fb. TN mb. TN
---Narsissa  41 F W b. TN  fb. TN mb. TN
---Ida 10 F W b. TN  fb. TN mb. TN
---Charley 5 MW b. TN fb. TN mb. TN
---Lewonia  6 F W b. TN fb. TN mb. TN
Bell, Baker 55 F W b. TN fb. unk mb. unk

The death of Solomon Reese was noted in the Carroll County Democrat, Huntingdon, TN:

Friday, January 23, 1891:
SOLOMON REESE of the 4th district was paralyzed last Tuesday after walking in the yard, talking, when he felt its first approach by a pain in his one of his wrists. His entire system is effected and he is in a very precarious position. Mr. Reese is one of the best men of the community in which he lives and it is to be hoped that he will recover.

30 Jan 1891:
Solomon Reese’s condition is critical.

B.P. Gilbert and wife, and Whig Gilbert returned from Martin where they attended the burial of Mrs. Reese.

Fri. 6 Feb 1891
Solomon Reese of the 4th Dist., stricken with paralysis two weeks ago, died last Friday evening. Mr. Reese was about 55 years old, a member of the C.P.Church at Shiloh, and one of the best men in the community. He was an industrious, hardworking man, honest in his dealings. He leaves a wife, one son and two daughters. His funeral was preached by Rev.T.W. Cannon and buried at Shiloh.

Personals - Solomon Reese, a well to do and highly respected farmer living in the 4th District near Shiloh Church died last Friday from paralysis.
[Source: Carroll County Democrat, Huntingdon, TN, 30 Jan and 6 Feb 1891]

Fri. 13 Mar 1891: Marriages license to W.E. Allen and Vonie Reese…

Fri. 20 Mar 1891:
McKenzie Items - Resolution of respect from the Stonewall Jackson Bivouac No. 20 at McKenzie…in honor of J.S. Reese…was among the first to respond to the call of his country, entered service as
member of Company H, 55th Tennessee, Regt. C.S.A., was captured at Island No. 19 [sic], remained in prison until exchanged and rejoined his command and served with distinction until surrender of Gen. Johnston’s army at Greenboro, NC…by James N. Null, G.W. Rogers, and R.D. Gwinn, Committee.

Census records for the family of Narcissa Ann Phipps:

2 Nov 1850, Dist. 9, Carroll Co., TN:

Mary A. Clever 80 F b. NC
Reganera Phipps  35 F b. TN
Malissa A.  17 F  b. TN
Daniel J.  15 M b. TN
Narcissa A.  13 F b. TN
Fredrick R.  10 M  b. TN

4 Oct 1860, Dist. 11, Carroll Co., TN, P.O.: Huntingdon:

Regena Phipps 46 F     - $175  b. TN
Narcissa A.  22 F   b. TN
Riley    21 M  - $125  b. TN
Charlotte  20 F  b. TN

Since Charlotte Phipps is not present on the 1850 census of the Phipps household, she is probably the wife of Riley Phipps rather than a child of Regena Phipps'.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cynthia Reese, wife of Jacob Hollis

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

The children of Solomon and Mahala Reese received a settlement from their grandmother, Mary (DeSha) Reese’s estate in 1857 in Lincoln Co., TN:

No. 1666 - 25 Jany 1857 - Peter G. McMullin, Admin. of Mary Reese, dec’d
- paid Jas Reese in full of his distributive share 19 Dec 1856
- paid Jacob & Cynthia M. Hollis in full of their distributive share as
per Receipt 19 Dec 1856    $11.97
[Source: Settlements, Administrations, & Exec’s Aug 1856 - 1861, Lincoln Co., TN, p. 136]

See also: Solomon Reese Estate Settlement Notes

In 1866, James Solomon Reese and Cynthia (Reese) Hollis, the children of Solomon and Mahala Reese began selling the land they inherited in Carroll Co., TN:

I, Solomon Reese, am held firmly bound unto John M. Covington in sum of $3,350 - sold Covington for $1,675 at $25 [per] acre a tract of land by Isreal Snead, Henry P. Gaines, Covington, George T. Ridley, and Phillip Turner. 22 Feb 1866. Attest: Luke Thomas, W.R. Snead. Signed J.S. Reese.
[Source: Carroll Co., TN Deed Bk P, p. 252]

I, Synthia M. Hollis of the County of Barry and state of Missouri have for the sum of $1,000 paid by James S. Reese of Carroll County in the state of Tennessee sold a tract of land bordered by Thomas Hamilton, G.T. Ridley, Phillip Turner, H.P. Gaines. 1 Oct 1866. Signed Cynthia M. Hollis.
[Source: Carroll Co., TN, Deed Bk P, p. 348]

Cynthia M. Reese, daughter of Solomon and Mahala Reese, was born 25 May 1835 in Tennessee. This birth date is the one reported to be on her tombstone. If accurate, then she is the child that Solomon thought Mahala was or might be pregnant with at the time of his death in October 1834. That would mean that there is an older unknown sibling who may or may not have died young. Cynthia married Jacob Hollis by 1856 when she received a settlement from her grandmother, Mary (Desha) Reese’s estate. Barry County, Missouri records reveal that Jacob Hollis married Cinty Read [sic] on 15 June 1856 in Barry Co., MO. Most of Cynthia and Jacob Hollis’s children died in infancy and are buried in the Old Corsicana Cemetery in Shoal Creek Twp of Barry Co., MO.

Jacob Hollis was a member of Capt. William Ray’s [Union] company of State Militia, which was organized at Cassville in 1862. “Jacob Hollis, a member of this company, returned to his home in the fall of 1862, and shortly after was called to his door and killed.” [Source: Goodspeed’s History of Barry County, Missouri, p. 81.] This Jacob Hollis would seem to be the same Jacob Hollis who died in Feb of 1863 and who married Cynthia M. Reese. So far, I have not found any additional information regarding the murder of Jacob Hollis.

After the death of Jacob Hollis, Cynthia married William E. Gifford on 22 March 1885 in Barry County, Missouri. They do not seem to have had any surviving children although William appears to have had children by a previous marriage.

Census records of Cynthia M. (Reese) and Jacob Hollis:


Cynthia M. Reese was at home with her mother Mahala and step-father Isaac Weaver in Barry Co., MO.

14 July 1860, Shoal Creek Twp, Barry Co., MO, P.O. Gadfly:

Jacob Hollis  22 M    Farmer $250-$200 b. IL
Cynthia  26 F     Domestic  b.  TN
Narcissa T.  1 F  b. MO
Ginsey  6/12 F b. MO

This is the only Jacob Hollis in Barry Co., MO in 1860.

1870, Shoal Creek, Barry County, Missouri:

Hollis, Cynthia 37 F W $200-$125 b. b. TN
----Narcissa 11 F W b. MO

In 1870, Cynthia Hollis was living next door to her step-father and mother, Isaac and Mahala Weaver.

On 4 April 1875 Narcessus T. Hollis, daughter of Jacob and Cynthia (Reese) Hollis,  married Thomas Alonzo Gurley in Barry County, Missouri.

Census records of Cynthia M. (Reese) and W.E. Gifford:

1900, Liberty Twp., Barry Co., MO:

Gifford, William  Head  M  Feb 1841 59M-15  b. WV fb. WV mb. WV
---Cynthia M.  Wife  F  Nov 1836  63M-15  1-1    b. TN  fb. TN mb. TN
---J. Wesley Son M Apr  1866 34 S  b. WV  fb. WV mb. WV
---Gertrude  Dau F  Jan  1833  17 S  b. MO  fb. WV  mb. WV

Cemetery records:

Old Corsicana Cemetery, Shoal Crk., Barry Co., MO:

Jacob Hollis  10 Aug 1835 - 14 Feb 1863
C.M. Gifford  25 Nov 1835 - 2 Mar 1901
 J.S. Hollis s/o J. & C.M.  9 Apr 1857 - 30 Dec 1857
Mahala Jane Hollis  21 Jan 1860 - 18 Dec 1860

Solomon Reese Estate Settlement Notes