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Sunday, February 22, 2009

1864 :: Mollie remembers Nathan Bedford Forrest

Mary Annie (Mollie) West Nettles (1852-1939) and her great-granddaughter, Mary Beth (daughter of Miss Ruby), ca. 1938

This ca. 1938 image is a photo of Mary Annie Mollie Nettles nee West holding one of her great-grand-daughters . . . as of ca. 1932, this Mollie (1852-1939) still had very specific memories about what was happening on the 22nd day of February during the 12th winter of her life (1864) in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi . . .

Closer came the fighting until one day we could hear the cannon booming as a battle was fought over a bridge maybe twelve miles from our home. I remember what they called that bridge, though I don't know how you would spell it ... Sookietoncha, it sounded like [i.e., Sakatonchee].

It made cold chills run over you to hear that cannon. We had already had several wounded soldiers to take care of . . . Aunt Mary [Mary Valentine nee Carter (1814-1892)] and Mother [Sally West Thomas nee Carter (c. 1820-1868)] were fine nurses ... but now they really poured into the house.

I remember that Col. [Jeffrey] FORREST had come by the day before and asked Aunt Mary for a horse to ride. She had told him to take his pick, only leave her old Tom to ride, since he was real gentle. But he insisted on using Tom, and in anger she told him, "I hope he does you no good, Sir!"

Late the next day, after the battle at the bridge, old Tom came home riderless with blood all over the saddle. Col. FORREST had been killed on him. Aunt Mary wept in remorse and never again rode old Tom. Col. [Jeffrey] FORREST and Gen. [Nathan Bedford] FORREST were brothers, and we saw them often.

Assuming the above family story is true . . . then Old Tom is mayhaps depicted in the painting, Vengeance at Okolona, by John Paul Strain . . . these recollections of the years of the war between the states were told to Ruby Vance nee Nettles (1910-2003) by her paternal grandmother, Mollie . . . this same Mollie is a 2nd great-grandma to the keeper of this family history blog . . .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma & Grandpa

In this ca. 1952 photo, Robert E. Henry (1905-1976) . . . aka Grandpa Henry . . . is holding the Keeper of this family history blog . . . the lady in the photo is Ann (Howard) Henry (1904-1994) . . . Robert's 1st wife, Elizabeth Marilla Henry nee Smith (1912-1932), is actually my maternal grandma . . . but she died when my Mom was born . . . and this Ann was always my Grandma Henry . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

1846 :: 1st Legislature of State of Texas

On this day in 1846 . . . the 19th day of February . . . the First Legislature of the state of Texas convened in Austin. The flag of the Republic of Texas was lowered, and the flag of the United States was raised. The Lone Star Republic had become the Lone Star State.

The Evolution of a State Or, Recollections of Old Texas Days
By Noah Smithwick, Nanna Smithwick Donaldson

". . . The first legislature met on the 16th of February, 1846, and three days later the curtain fell on the last, and in many respects, the most touching scene in the brief drama of the republic, when Anson Jones, its last president, standing on the steps of the old capitol, lowered the old flag from the mast and reverently furling it, announced amidst breathless silence,
"The republic of Texas is no more."
Many a head was bowed, many a broad chest heaved, and many a manly cheek was wet with tears when that broad field of blue in the center of which, like a signal light, glowed the lone star, emblem of the sovereignty of Texas, was furled and laid away among the relics of the dead republic.
But we were most of us natives of the United States, and when the stars and stripes, the flag of our fathers, was run up and catching the breeze unrolled its heaven born colors to the light, cheer after cheer rent the air.
Methinks the star in the lower left hand corner should have been especially dedicated to Texas. . . ."

Assorted ancestors of ours who are known to have been in Texas during this time period include . . .

Also in 1846 . . .
  • ICE CREAM FREEZER. New Jersey. Americans' love of ice cream should soon become an everyday affair thanks to a new hand-cranked ice cream freezer for home use. With some ice, rock salt and a little muscle, anyone can now make ice cream. The portable, hand-cranked ice cream freezer was invented here by Nancy Johnson.
  • Washington, D.C., September 10th. Elias Howe granted patent for sewing machine with eye-pointed needle.
  • Failure of potato crop sends thousands of poor Irish to America.
  • Boston. October 16th. Surgery performed with use of ether. Dr. William T. G. Morton plans to patent the method.
  • Washington, D.C., May 13th. The U.S. has declared war on Mexico.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

1885 :: Death in Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 12th day of February . . . in the year 1885 . . . Colonel Thomas Buford dies in the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum . . . this Colonel Buford was a 2nd cousin once removed to my 2nd great-grandpa, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912) . . . Colonel Tom was born on the 18th of September 1824 . . . in Woodford County, Kentucky . . . and would have been 11 years old when our William was born a few counties to the southwest . . . in Green County . . . in February of 1836 . . . Tom's parents were 1st cousins, and he was one of the youngest of 13 children believed to have been born to William Buford, Sr. (1781-1848) and Frances Walker Kirtley (1787-1866) . . .

Tom Buford was known all over Kentucky. He belonged to the proudest of the proud aristocracy of the blue-grass region, and he inherited a fortune. The Bufords were a historic family, scarcely less famous than the Breckinridges, the Clays, or the Marshalls. He was a typical Kentuckian in his powerful physique, his handsome face, his intellect, and the prodigality of his life. Few men were better read than he; his manners were the perfection of grace and courtesy, and he was a brilliant conversationalist. He was an old bachelor, devoted to the ladies and to wine. He played cards and bet on horse-races with the boldness and dash so characteristic of Kentuckians, and whether at poker or on horses he won and lost with a touch-and-go freedom. [This is an excerpt from the New York Times article of 09 June 1884 (see link below).]

By the time the following incidents occurred, our grandpa William had been living in Texas 20+ years, and was married with children . . . I do wonder if he ever knew of these tragic family happenings . . . 

[Update as of February 2018 . . . the New York Times articles linked below are now behind a paid wall . . . I am currently able to find them via ProQuest as well as Newspapers dot com.]

    New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 27 Mar 1879]
  • Click > HERE < to read a 10th July 1879 newspaper article regarding the beginning of the 1st trial of Tom Buford [COL. BUFORD'S TRIAL BEGUN.: AN INTIMATION THAT THE PRISONER'S SANITY WILL BE QUESTIONED. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 10 July 1879]
  • Click > HERE < to read a 19th July 1879 newspaper article about the day-long speech of Col. Breckinridge during the trial of Col. Buford [COL. BUFORD'S TRIAL.: THE ARGUMENT OF COL. BRECKINRIDGE SPECULATIONS AS TO THE VERDICT. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 19 July 1879]
  • Click > HERE < to read a 20th July 1879 newspaper article regarding the murder trial of Tom Buford [A CHIVALROUS MURDERER: NEAR THE END OF THE TRIAL OF COL. BUFORD. THE ARGUMENTS NEARLY FINISHED THE CASE PROBABLY TO REACH THE JURY ON TUESDAY BUFORD'S CRIME REMARKABLE EVIDENCE AS TO INSANITY. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 20 July 1879]

As mentioned above, on July 20, 1879, on page 1, the N.Y. Times wrote about the "chivalrous murderer," Col. Buford, who stood trial for his life after killing Judge Elliott. The Judge had before him an appeal involving the loss of the family farm which had been operated by Buford's sister, who died after protracted litigation. The N.Y. Times wrote that "the trial which has been thus ended will take a prominent place in the history of criminal jurisprudence in Kentucky, not simply on account of the social positions of the prisoner and his victim, and the more than dramatic circumstances attending the killing of Judge Elliott, but also because, in the progress of the trial, the insanity plea on behalf of the murderer has been carried to what may be deemed its extreme limit."

  • Click > HERE < to read a 9th December 1879 newspaper article about the 2nd trial of Tom Buford [NEW TRIAL FOR COL. BUFORD.
    New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 09 Dec 1879]
  • Click > HERE < to read a February 1882 newspaper article about Tom's brother, Abe, which mentions the results of Tom's 2nd trial [GEN. ABE BUFORD OF KENTUCKY. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 10 Feb 1882]
  • Click > HERE < to read a December 1883 newspaper article regarding Tom's escape from the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum [TOM BUFORD AT LARGE.: FEARS THAT HE HAS MURDEROUS INTENTIONS AGAINST THE BENCH. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 21 Dec 1883]
  • Click > HERE < to read an 09 June 1884 newspaper article regarding Tom's return to the asylum [TOM BUFORD'S SURRENDER.: BROKEN DOWN IN BODY AND SPIRIT JUDGE ELLIOTT'S SLAYER RETURNS TO THE ASYLUM. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 09 June 1884]
  • Click > HERE < to read a 10 June 1884 newspaper article about the suicide of Tom's older brother, Brig. General Abe Buford (1820-1884), which is partly attributed to the choices made by Tom [SUICIDE OF ABE BUFORD: REVERSES AND FAMILY TROUBLES TOO GREAT A BURDEN. SENDING A BULLET THROUGH HIS HEART WHILE VISITING HIS NEPHEW AT DANVILLE, IND. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 10 June 1884]
  • Click > HERE < to read a February 1885 newspaper article about the death of Col. Tom Buford [DEATH OF COL. THOMAS BUFORD. New York Times (1857-1922); New York, N.Y. 14 Feb 1885]

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