James Whitecotton, Kentucky Soldier

James Whitecotton was born March 14, 1750 in Stafford, Virginia to George Whitecotton and Mary Harris. James married Ruth Newton Hudspeth about 1771, there is some confusion about Ruth’s name, but it appears Newton was her maiden name and Hudspeth a married name. Ruth was also born about 1750 and died sometime after 1840 when she signed an affidavit in which she stated she was then 75 years old, but that date does not match up with the birth of her children so it is more likely she was at least 85 years old in 1840. There are no records found of Ruth Whitecotton after 1840.

James and Ruth had 10 children, all of whom lived to adulthood and married. They have thousands of descendants roaming around the world. My own circle of known descendants numbers in the hundreds itself.

In 1776, James enlisted as a Private in Captain William Fountain’s Company in Virginia. Serving under Colonel Charles Scott, this company marched across Virginia near what is now Norfolk, at that time it was known as Long Bridge or Great Bridge. On December 9, 1775 the company engaged in battle with the British. The bridge was on the main road connecting Virginia to North Carolina, a very important and strategic holding for the Continental Army. James Whitecotton fought in this battle and was part of the victory forcing the British to evacuate Norfolk and later to totally retreat from Virginia. This defeat caused the British to lose their supporters in Virginia and was a huge victory for the Continental Army.

In 1778, James Whitecotton re-enlisted under General George Rogers Clark. If you are not from Indiana or Kentucky, the name George Rogers Clark probably has no great meaning, but in those areas Clark is revered to this day. General Clark was the brother of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame). Under Gen. Clark, James Whitecotton was in the company that marched from Kentucky to Kaskaskia, Illinois. They were then able to capture Vincennes, Indiana from the British. George Rogers Clark and his company of men fought on the Northwestern frontier and marched across much of Indiana and Illinois fighting the British and their allies, the Native Americans.

By 1800, James and Ruth with their children, had moved to Kentucky. They settled in Washington County, near Bardstown. James and Ruth did not own slaves, but I doubt it was for ideological reasons, but more likely because of lack of funds and resources. From 1800 through 1840, James can be found listed in the U.S. Federal Census in Washington and later Marion Counties (Marion was formed from part of Washington County in 1834).

When we think of James marching across Virginia to Kentucky to Illinois, I think many times we picture these places as we’ve seen them today. However, once we realize that there were no troop transport trucks, no airships, no roads, we see things differently. In 1776, these men walked hundreds of miles through brush and briars, finding their food along the way. They rowed boats down the Ohio River and waded through creeks and swamps, evading both human and animal prey. The hardships were enormous and difficult as they spent days and nights in the open and endless time away from their families.

While in Kentucky, I visited Lebanon National Cemetery where James Whitecotton was laid to rest. I stood on the Ohio River bank and tried to imagine crossing it in 1778. I visited the home of George Rogers Clark and wondered if James had been there at some time in the past. I wonder what James and Ruth thought as their children began to move from Kentucky to Missouri and their descendants moved even further west. James Whitecotton, a Kentucky soldier, died on June 7, 1849 in Pleasant Run, Kentucky. He was 99 years old. James and Ruth Whitecotton were my 6th Great-grandparents. Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Patriot Index #1966, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Patriot Index #P-318654. I obtained much of my information through my own research, however I did also use the resources provided by Bettysgenealogyblog.

Featured image     Featured image   Featured image

Advertisements

My 5 Murphy’s Laws for Genealogists

1. The records you want are held in the next county over.

Experienced researchers know that when they are ready to travel to another state for research they should come prepared. Have a list of families with names and dates of those who lived in that area. This way we make the most of our time. Preparing also means knowing what records are available at the location. Umm, it also helps to know if the county you are researching was broken off from another county (or two) and the records for the two years you actually need are kept in the original county which is a two-hour drive away. This is a case of do as I say, not as I do. Don’t be like me, be prepared.

2. The cemetery you are looking for closed and all the records were lost when they reinterred the bodies at the new cemetery.

My 5th Great-grandmother Abigail, married 1st Russell E Post and married 2nd James Withrow in 1827 in Oxford, Ohio. She died sometime between 1850 and 1858, she was in the 1850 Federal Census in Oxford and family letters written between her grand-children in 1858 mention her estate. Armed with this information I traveled to Butler County, Ohio in search of a will, probate records or death information. I found none.

So I went to the library in Middletown and found a cemetery book written by Hazel Stroup. I glanced through the index, I found no family names, however the introduction looked interesting so I read it thinking I might gain some historical understanding of the area. And that I did. Turns out there were 2 Oxford Cemeteries. The original one was closed in 1855 and the land sold for a new rail line and most (note that word) of the graves were disinterred and moved to the “new” cemetery. The next line in Stroup’s book was the most interesting to me, “and Abigail Withrow was one of the first 5 burials in the new cemetery on March 7, 1856″. I drove to Oxford and went to the oldest section of the cemetery and there was a section with her son, son-in-law, and some grandchildren. And there was one extremely old stone, the writing too worn to read and I knew I had found Abigail.

Featured image

3. The Family Bible, Pension Records, Will, lists all the marriages except the one you need.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to whom this has happened. You learn that someone out there in “internet-land” has the family Bible. You send an email, and oh so nicely, ask for a copy of all the handwritten pages. And to your shock, it shows up in your in-box within days. You are excited when you open that email and then… Every child’s marriage is listed except your ancestor’s. Why? I asked when it happened to me. Why couldn’t someone list John Allen’s marriages? Is it because he had so many? Fourteen children that I know of and not one of them could write down their mother’s name. I have to write my mother’s name whenever I want to access my bank account and these people managed to live their entire lives without telling anyone the name of their mother. Oh the humanity!

4. Unless they come from two entirely separate continents, your parents are related.

I was living in Kentucky and having a late-night phone conversation with my mother on the West Coast. She was telling me a story about an in-law of her ancestor who was supposed to be the mid-wife at Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Confused, I looked at my tree and said, “Hendrick Enloes had a daughter, not a son.” I looked closer at the daughter, Hester, and said, “Oh my gosh, Mom. She’s Dad’s line, you are the son’s line!” Since then, we’ve found other times where they are interconnected so I’ve had to learn to live with it. Does that make me my own Grandma?

5. Your family line is not listed in the History of (fill in the blank) Family. 

There are many wonderful family history and local history books out there. For my family lines I have the Doty book (it stops right where I need to make the connection). In the Chaffee book, William H Chaffee lists my ancestor as Rhoda An Fluery married to Ambrose Worthington Chaffee, not Rhoda An Doty as her children and husband name her. In the Allen book, Your Royal Lineage, Valerie Larson lists my ancestor John Allen married to Marion Hurd, Marion didn’t seem to exist (just like Alford Abner Sisley).

Don’t let those Murphy’s Laws hold you back. When happenstance seems to come against you, renounce Murphy, keep strong and don’t let him discourage you as that seems to be his goal. As you work those family lines and things seem to be falling together easily, watch out. Murphy is hanging out just around the corner. He’s peeking at your work, smirking as he says to himself, “They think Catherine is the same lady, haha, it’s a new wife and they can’t tell.” Keep alert for Murphy and his laws. You can work around him, just be prepared.

Cemetery Addict

Hi, my name is Susan and I’m a Cemetery Addict. Whew, glad that’s out. I’ve been a cemetery addict since I was a small child. On family trips we would be driving merrily along when someone would say, “There’s a cemetery” and the car would stop and we would all pile out to explore. Exploring an unknown cemetery was fun because you never knew who you would find. We would make up stories about the names we read and we wondered about their lives. That childhood love of cemeteries is with me still today.

Not too long ago a few of us decided to take a drive to Whiskeytown Lake in Shasta County, California. A friend of ours suggested we also stop at the Whiskeytown Cemetery. And armed with that information off we went. We stopped first at Old Shasta and did a little exploring and then we came upon a highway sign that said simply, “Pioneer Baby’s Grave”. So we walked down a short hill and came upon a small grave of a young baby buried in 1864, the only body buried in this old Jewish Cemetery. So sad, but his life is remembered each year by the members of Temple Beth Israel in Redding, California.

Featured image

We continued our drive into Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. How beautiful. The lake was dedicated in 1963 by President John F Kennedy, a fact I was completely unaware of until we happened upon the site dedication. They have a small parking area where you can overlook the lake while listening to a recording of JFK’s speech. From there it was just a couple of miles to Whiskeytown Cemetery.

Featured image

Wow! How can I explain Whiskeytown Cemetery? The sight of it left me absolutely speechless. I had never in all my years of cemetery walking seen one that looked like this. Each grave was decorated and I don’t mean the stones. Every single grave had toys or flags or tools spilling across it. There were fire trucks and gardens. There were beer cans and garden wind spinners. There were old graves and recent ones. But they all had one thing in common. The decorations. Some of the graves had lawn chairs for family to sit and remember, others had wooden benches. Each grave was filled with mementoes of lives that were lived. But what I saw most was a place to celebrate and not just mourn those who are buried there. I was awe-struck by all the love I saw as I walked past each grave.

Just across the cemetery road is a small pet cemetery with all the same decorations and remembrances.

I’ve been to some amazing cemeteries across the United States, some of the most memorable are Crown Hill in Indianapolis, Arlington in Virginia and Cave Hill in Louisville and now I can add Whiskeytown near Redding. Are you a cemetery addict too? What are your favorites in case I get a chance to visit your area?