Saturday, June 29, 2013

FTDNA's Sizzling Summer Event

I'm not trying to promote one company over the other but Family Tree dna has a special going on their family finder tests. They've reduced the price from $300 to $100. I've used them for the Y-dna test and even started one of their Surname projects. The family finder test will trace all your family lines.

Here is the link

Below is the email they sent out:

We have been working with Illumina to offer our Family Finder autosomal test for only $99 during our summer event. In fact, if we receive enough orders at $99, Illumina may be able to help us keep it at this extremely low of rate of $99!

As you take advantage of our summer event, remember that the permanency of the $99 Family Finder test is actually in your hands!

Beginning on Thursday, June 27, 2013 and running until Friday, July 26, 2013, we will offer the following:
Family Finder
was $289
Now $99
mtDNA Full Sequence
was $289
Now $189
was $169
Now $129
was $268
Now $208
was $359
Now $308
Family Finder + Y-DNA37
was $368
Now $228
Family Finder + Y-DNA67
was $467
Now $307
Family Finder + mtDNAFullSequence
was $398
Now $288
Comprehensive Genome (Y-DNA67, FMS & FF)
was $666
Now $496

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fisherman's Fatal Feud

John E. Ezell (1862-1897) was the 2nd cousin 3x removed of my Dad. He was killed on November 9, 1897 in Cortez, Florida and the local story is that he was shot by his brother in law Cornelius Washington Thigpen.

His grandfather, Alexander Ezell was the brother of one of my great grandmothers, Holly Ezell Blanchard. The family was originally from Duplin County North Carolina but moved to Taylor County Florida in the 1850s.

John Ezell was working on a farm in Taylor County on the 1885 census but within a couple years had moved to Manatee County and was fishing in Cortez. He married Julia Thigpen there in 1895.

November 12, 1897
 The story about his death was front page news in the Tampa paper at the time.  The "Sensational Story Suggested" then and later had to deal with a brother in law who didn't like him and a hog killing. There was also a trial against a local man charged with illegal fishing and John Ezell was supposed to testify in it the next week.  The State had to drop the charges when their star witness turned up dead.  My cousin Doris Adams Green wrote about the murder in her 1992 book. Her account and the newspaper articles I found tell the story better than I can, so I am just copying them here.

From the book "Fog's Comin' In" by Doris M. Green:

Cornelius W. Thigpen Family:

Cornelius W. and Mattie Thigpen were the first recorded settlers living on nearby Tidy Island (called Thigpen Island) and were a part of the village.

He and Mattie and three children from his first marriage moved to Cortez from North Florida about 1890 and became squatters on the island. They had eight other children while living there.

Their house was a 20x20 foot building with a separate kitchen, wooden shutters over the windows and mosquito netting instead of screens. "Neil" farmed, raised hogs, cut wood for the steamships, hauling it in his wagon and ox team. Elbert, Sam, Jap and Lola were remembered in the village and attended school here. Mis' Eunice Guthrie told of the children walking to school and wading in the shallow water. In the winter, she would often have Lola come in to warm her bare feet before going to school.

Sid Guthrie remembered the "woods full of his wild hogs" and they would come into the village year round to eat and "pester" people whose yards were not fenced in. The killing of some of his hogs was the final blow that supposedly led to a murder.

There was an on-going family feud between Thigpen and John Ezell, who married into the Thigpen family. Ezell rounded up several of Thigpen's hogs and tied them together and threw them into the bay and they were killed after becoming entangled in a boat propeller.

Thigpen was accused of killing Ezell with his shotgun. His body was found on the "Shell Road" that led to the Indian Mound on the point. Thigpen was arrested and a grand jury summoned. During the fall term of the Circuit Court in 1897, he was indicted for the murder which occurred November 9,1897. He was charged with "force and arms, in and upon John W. Ezell feloniously, willfully, unlawfully, of his malice aforethought, and from a premeditated design to effect the death of John W. Ezell an assault did make; and that Cornelius W. Thigpen, a certain gun then and

Tampa Tribune November 20, 1897
there loaded and charged with gunpowder and divers leaden bullets, with said gun was then and there armed and in his right hand then and there held to, against and upon John W. Ezell, then and there did shoot and discharge the aforesaid gun in and upon the head, did strike, penetrate and wound John W. Ezell. The mortal wound was the breadth of one inch and the depth of six inches and caused him to die instantly." 

His trial was set for the spring term of Circuit Court in 1898. Thigpen was released on bond of $300 on November 18, 1897, supplied by Clarence Harrod, Wiley B. Coarsey and John Page 78 F. Jackson. The sheriff, T. R. Easterling, was paid $1 .80 for delivering the summons to nine witnesses and $2.00 for the mileage. Thigpen's attorneys were Stewart and Curry.

He offered an alibi that he was elsewhere when Ezell was murdered. After hearing all the evidence presented, the jury returned with a "not guilty" verdict. It was signed by John Coker, Foreman.   

Uncle Nate Fulford was called to serve on the grand jury and after dismissal was walking home from Bradentown and was overtaken by Thigpen in his wagon. He offered Uncle Nate a ride but he was afraid of Thigpen!   

Thigpen sold the island in the early 1900's and moved away. Patrick C. Grable paid him $65.84 for the entire property. When Grable and wife and children, Clara, Donovan, James, and Warren moved there, he built a more modern house consisting of several rooms and a separate "dogtrot" kitchen set up on high pilings to avoid flooding. The rooms had glass windows, fireplace and a screened porch."

C W Thigpen Grave in Hendry County

Thigpen moved to Desoto County Florida after selling his land on Tidy Island in 1906 and later to Hendry County where he died in 1946 at age 90. He is buried in the Fort Denaud Cemetery.

I don't know where John Ezell was buried. His wife Julia stayed in Cortez with her sons and died in 1938 at age 79. Her children were buried in the  Fogartyville Cemetery so assume she was too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

She married a dead man

On a visit to Florida a couple years ago we drove out to a desolated part of Taylor County to find the Sandhill Cemetery. A Rowell cousin had given directions and advise on how to avoid the Timber Company chains that blocked the roads. We were looking for the cemetery because my great grandmother Rebecca Hogan Green was buried there in 1916. The last family member to visit it had been my Dad's cousin, Hubert Horne, 15- 20 years ago.   
John H. Sutton Grave

When we finally found the cemetery I noticed the grave of John H. Sutton. I recognized his name but couldn't remember exactly how he was related at the time.

John Henry Sutton was born June 15, 1836 in Stewart County Georgia to Michael and Mary Ezell Sutton. (Mary was the sister of my ggg grandmother Holly Ezell Blanchard) He died on December 24, 1900 in Taylor County Florida.

His father Michael Sutton died in 1850 in Stewart County Georgia so his mother moved the family to Taylor County Florida a few years later with her sister and brother.

John Sutton served in the Civil War as 3rd Sergeant, Company L of the 2nd Florida Infantry. He was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, taken prisoner and ended up in a Union hospital where his right arm was amputated. He was later exchanged for a Union POW and allowed to return home on a medical leave where he stayed for the rest of the war.

John H Sutton Record
Also in the 2nd Florida Infantry at Gettysburg was the future Florida Governor Francis Fleming. He wrote an account of the battle and said the Florida 2nd replaced the defeated troops of Confederate General Pickett after his charge had been repelled. They attacked the same Union position with better results but still had heavy casualties. Both Sutton and Fleming were wounded in the battle.

After the war John Sutton farmed and also went into politics. He was elected in Taylor County as a State Senator, State Representative, County Sheriff and the County Tax Collector.

When he died in 1900 his widow, Christiana McCauley Sutton filed for a Florida Civil War pension. They had been married in Taylor County on July 14, 1869.

She had records to support her claim and was awarded a pension of $120 per year.

War Dept letter from Parker claim
Christiana Sutton died in September 26, 1920 and was also buried in Sandhill Cemetery although there is no marker for her.

A few years after she died a 2nd woman filed for a Florida Civil War Pension claiming to be the widow of John H. Sutton.

Florida Pension Application A10116 was filed by Mary Parker of Escambia County Florida in 1930 stating she was married to John H. Sutton on December 15, 1904, four years after he died.

Mary Parker Pension Claim
She used his military record for identification and War Department service record.

From the pension papers it looks like she was represented by a lawyer on the claim. There are several typed affidavits from people in Escambia County saying they knew John H. Sutton, that he served as a Sergeant in the 2nd Florida Infantry and that he had been married to Mary Parker in 1904 and died in 1920. Having typed affidavits in these claims is very unusual.

Pensacola is known as a hotbed for Ambulance chasing lawyers today but I didn't know they had them back in 1930. Either somebody got John H. Sutton mixed up with whoever Mary Parker married in 1904 or the whole thing was a fraud. In any event they used the military record of John H. Sutton of Taylor County to support her pension claim.

This was back before the day of indexes and I guess the State employees didn't check the storage cabinets to see if there was another file for John H. Sutton. If they had, they would have found that he died in 1900 and his widow had already been paid a pension.

In any event, Mary Parker's claim as approved by the State of Florida and she collected a $48 annual pension.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Florida Hospital

Abner B. Strickland was the brother of my great grandfather's second wife, Sarah Strickland . He was born in Decatur County Georgia on December 10, 1834 and moved to Taylor County Florida with his parents, Savage and Sarah Fain Strickland.

Florida Hospital 1865
He married Mary Ann Holton on January 21, 1860 in Taylor County Florida and they had two children Nancy Elizabeth and Abner, Jr.

I knew Abner died during the Civil War but only recently found records that tell what happened to him. Fold 3 is a genealogy web page that has a lot of military records.

During the Civil War men filled out a card every couple months to show someone was present or not in their unit and the cards were used for their pay vouchers. In the case of casualties sometimes the cards have information about where the person was if they were not with their unit. They will list them as AWOL, if a casualty the type of injury, hospital or if they were captured, at which POW camp they were being held.

Abner's enlistment records show he joined Company A, Florida 8th Infantry on April 1, 1862 in Taylor County Florida. He transferred into Company D, 5th Infantry on May 20, 1862. In December of that year the was sent to the hospital in Richmond, Virginia due to illness. He was admitted to Florida Hospital  General Hospital # 11 in Richmond on December 27, 1862 and died on New Year's Eve of pneumonia.

Florida Hospital Building today
I wondered about him being sent to Florida Hospital and being in a Florida Infantry unit, if it was connected to his regiment. As it turns out it was just a coincidental name.

I Googled the confederate hospitals in Richmond and found this about it:

Florida Hospital was also called Globe Hospital. Formerly the tobacco factory of James H. Grant and Company. Built 1853. Still standing partially. Records cover June 1862 through September 1863. Capacity seems to be about 150. Location: west side of first block of north 19th Street, near Franklin. Present site of 8-10-12 North 19th Street

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Looking for the Colonel

Colonel David Glenn was my wife's 5th great grandfather. Glenn is her mother's maiden name and David her brother's, but they didn't have this family member in mind when they named him. The first David was born in Ireland in June 1754 and arrived in South Carolina around 1773. He settled on the Enoree River in Newberry County South Carolina and built a Mill on the river. The area was named Glenn's Mill originally and is now in the area of Brazleman's Bridge. He was a Colonel in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War and was elected to the first South Carolina Legislature immediately after the war ended.   

The Annals of Newberry was published in 1858 as a history of Newberry County. The book was written by Judge John Belton O'Neall who interviewed many family members and locals and then wrote in the flowery language of the day many stories about those who settled the area. He has several accounts of David Glenn's life, which without his book would have been lost. In many of the cases his stories were about Glenn's misfortunes.

The war in South Carolina didn't really start until 1780 when the British attacked Charleston. Those who had volunteered for militia service lived at home unless they were called up for some temporary duty. The following excerpt account tells of local British loyalists who came to Colonel Glenn's house to arrest his friend and because they were assaulting the man, Glenn voiced objections. 

"The men who had hold of him (Colonel Glenn) ordered him "hold your tongue; your turn will be next." In an instant after, feeling that the grasp of his keepers had relaxed, he, undressed as he was, by a violent effort, jerked loose, and sprang through the crowd, and out at the door, and notwithstanding it was a clear moonlight night, he made his escape through his peach orchard. Several guns were fired, none took effect. In his race, he passed one of the party, who had retired for a few moments, and was in the corner of the fence, near to which the colonel passed; hearing the cry of shoot him, he snatched up his gun, which was lying by his side, and aimed it at the colonel; fortunately, it snapped; and before he could again prepare to shoot, Colonel Glenn had jumped the fence, and was sheltered by the trees of the wood!"
This story on page 239 tells of another time when they came to arrest Glenn after he had returned home from military service and because a friend rode out to warn him he was able to hide in the river

In the next section it tells the story of him in a sword fight with a Loyalist and after he thought it over, the man sliced him across the face.

At the bottom of page 240 O'Neall tells of Glenn's death in June 1784.

He reports Glenn travelled to St. Augustine, Florida to try and retrieve a slave who had been taken by the British. Failing to arrive in time he left to go home by a small boat but became ill from exposure and died in Savannah, Georgia.

In a DAR application from the early 1900s a family member stated he was buried in Savannah. Most of his family, wife Rosanna and children are buried in the Kings Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Newberry County.

I decided to try and find out where David Glenn was buried. I contacted several folks in the Savannah area to see which cemeteries were in use during this time. The best guess is Colonial Park Cemetery which was created in 1750 and was closed to new burials in 1853. It is the 2nd oldest in the City but was being actively used at the time.

General Nathanial Greene, the Revolutionary War hero, who one of my dna matching cousins says I am related, was originally buried there in 1786.

Rosanna Glenn grave 1825
The City only took over maintenance of the Colonial Park in 1896 so the old burial records are not available. There are many markers that are not legible and many more have been destroyed or removed.

The original boundaries of the cemetery were taken over for construction of nearby buildings without moving the bodies, just the markers. There are only 600 legible markers but over 10,000 known burials. Locals also blame General Sherman and his Union troops for damaging grave markers after their March to the Sea ended in Savannah.

The City has attached broken and unidentified grave markers to a brick wall on one side of the cemetery.

The Savannah tourism folks claim Colonial Park is haunted and businesses offer tours but on the City web page they say it is "inappropriate to sensationalize these sacred sites."

A web page called Grave Addiction visited and wrote this about it:

Colonial Park salvaged grave markers attached to wall

"Many people believe that Colonial Park Cemetery is haunted. Perhaps it's because many of the graves were destroyed and built over? Or maybe it's the mass graves at the back of the cemetery where victims of the Yellow Fever outbreak are buried? The most common haunting people experience is that of a ghostly couple. Both of these ghosts are decapitated, and missing their arms from the elbow down."

In the paranormal fan world Colonial Park is famous for a 2008 tourist captured video that is supposed to show the ghost of a young boy running across the cemetery, leaping into a tree and then disappearing as a woman walks by. You can see the video at this link.

I don't think we will ever find his grave but it might be interesting to walk around the place one night with a full moon overhead.