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Those Places Thursday: Westfork Baptist Cemetery and The Roberts Family of Indiana

Christie family member at West Fork Baptist Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana, April 2015. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie. (Sarah Christie married William Roberts, son of John S. Roberts and Jane Salyers Roberts, in 1848.)
Christie family member near Preston Christie headstone, at West Fork Baptist Church Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana, April, 2015. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Westfork Cemetery is in Shelby Township, Ripley County, Indiana. Quite a few of our Roberts ancestors and cousins are “quietly resting” in this hallowed ground.

The RootsWeb description of this cemetery states it is 1 mile east of SR 421 and about 2 mi. south from Rexville, or 2.5 mi. SE of Haneys Corner, Indiana. It is in Sec. 31 of Shelby Twp., and 958 ft above sea level. Current address information is 10468 S County Road 450 W, Madison, Indiana. The phone number is 812-689-3124.

Sign at West Fork Cemetery, Ripley County, Indiana. Posted with kind permission of Doug Christie.

There is an “Old Westfork Cemetery” listed on Find A Grave (both old & new FAG) but it does not have any memorials.

Learning who else is in a cemetery may also give us clues as to relationships and residences of family. Knowing that our Roberts ancestors lived in Shelby Twp. helps to verify that these folks are the correct family, despite the common name.

Six person named Roberts are listed as buried at Westfork:

John S. Roberts (1805-1875), son of Edward Roberts and Rosy Stewart.

Jane (Salyers) Roberts (1806-1880), wife of John S. Roberts.

John B. Roberts ((1858-1880), son of Charles Roberts and Ammarilla (Reynolds) Roberts.

Amarilla ( Reynolds ) Roberts (1828-1880), wife of Charles Roberts (1828-1906) who was the son of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts.

David Roberts (1845-1892), son of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts. Listed as an “idiot” and lived with his sister Quintilla (Roberts) Mitchell and her husband Daniel Mitchell.

Susan M Roberts (1855-1879), daughter of Charles and Ammarilla (Reynolds) Roberts.

Quintilla (Roberts) Mitchell (1852-1887), daughter of John S. and Jane (Saylor) Roberts.

Alta Mitchell, daughter of Quintilla and Daniel Mitchell.

 

**NOTE: Please don’t forget that it takes money, work, and time to maintain the graves of our ancestors! Even if we do not live nearby, a donation, no matter how small, to the cemetery association is a great way to honor our ancestors.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Westfork Baptist Cemetery– http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inripchs/westfork.html
  2. Facebook page for Westfork Baptist Church Cemetery, with photos that include Christie headstones– https://www.facebook.com/pages/Westfork-Baptist-Church/117095501641756
  3. Shelby Twp., Ripley County, Indiana cemeteries- map–http://www.ingenweb.org/inripley/cemeteries/cem_shelby.shtml
  4. Old Westfork Cemetery- need to find out more about this cemetery, as older members of family may be buried here–https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/86280/old-westfork-cemetery/photo
  5. A special thank you to Doug Christie, who posted photos back in 2015 on Facebook (see note 2). He kindly gave permission for us to use his photos in this post. There is a good photo of West Fork Cemetery on Find A Grave as well, but there has been no reply from the photographer concerning my request to use the photo. (I particularly love the grain bins in the background.) See https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1965427/West-Fork-Cemetery?

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Church Record Sunday: The Roberts Family Migration and West Fork Baptist Church, Ripley County, Indiana

Indian County Map, current day, Wikipedia, public domain.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Finding that some of our Roberts ancestors were buried in Westfork Baptist Church Cemetery in Ripley County, Indiana, of course a next step would be to learn about the church and seek a list of members, hoping that our family would be included. Church records can be great sources for women, as women were sometimes the first of a family to join a church- or sometimes the only one of the family, but she would usually take the children to church with her. (Of course, one of a woman’s most important duties then was to be a ‘moral compass’ for her family, especially her children.)

Still a small congregation like most rural churches (especially as farms get bigger , more mechanized, and less people actually live on them, the population in rural areas is in decline), there is a Facebook page for Westfork Baptist Church but no webpage.

An old Baptist history book does provide us a bit of background on the church.

“In the year 1826, the West Fork Baptist Church, Ripley Co., Ind., was constituted, and eleven members of this church, (Indian Kentucky,) was granted letters to form that church… These churches are laboring to sustain the cause of Christ in their midst and to show forth the declarative glory of God among the children of men.”

The Indian Kentucky Church was formed in 1814 originally, near Canaan, Jefferson County, Indiana. Records from this church are on microfilm and have been digitized at the Family History Library; unfortunately they can only be viewed at one of the LDS Church Libraries or affiliates. (Adding to To-Do list…) These records include minutes of the church meetings as well as membership lists

The above article does not include any names from the earliest times of the church that are familiar, however having the name “Indian-Kentucky” hints that some (all?) of the members were from Kentucky originally. The history of Indiana does support migration from Kentucky to the other side of the Ohio River in Indiana.

[Note: Subsequent research has shown that Indian-Kentuck Creek is in Jefferson County, Indiana, and has a West Fork as well as an East Fork- might this instead be the origin of the name? Must remember we can’t assume anything… also, county boundaries changed over the years between Jefferson, Switzerland, and Ripley.]

When the Roberts family migrated to Ripley County is unknown. The youngest child of Edward and Rosy (Stewart) Roberts, Mary Ann (Roberts) PRATHER, was born in Kentucky on 28 Jan 1817, so the family’s migration likely was after that date. We still have not sorted out information about their oldest daughter Elizabeth Roberts, but the second oldest child was Sarah Roberts and she married 6 Jul 1826 in Ripley County, Indiana, to William MILES.

The fact that William Roberts, the oldest child of John S. Roberts (son of Edward and Rosy) and Jane SAYLOR Roberts, was born 01 Feb 1827 in Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana, adds to the evidence of the family being in the county by 1827.

Additionally, court records prove that John S. Roberts was given guardianship of his 3 youngest siblings after the death of his father Edward (sometime between 20 Dec 1826 when his will was written and 1830 when it was probated in Ripley County). Thus all this information strongly suggests that the Robertses could have been founding or very early members of Westfork Baptist Church.

So we don’t even have the church records to review yet, but just this small amount of research provides many clues and reinforces what we think we know about the family:

  1. They lived in Kentucky then migrated to southeastern Indiana.
  2. The family’s migration was likely between 1817 and 1826-7.
  3. The family followed the Baptist religion, since they were buried in the local Baptist Church cemetery. (Most religions only allow members to be buried in their cemetery.)

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “History of the Indian Kentucky Baptist Church,” 1870, originally from Madison Baptist Association Minutes, 1870, posted at http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/indiana.indiankybc.html
  2. Old membership roll & minutes, 1931-1945, 1818-1852, 1862-1914 (Indian-Kentucky Baptist Church (Canaan, Indiana))- information for researching– https://ldsgenealogy.com/cgi-bin/FHL2-IN.cgi?128382_Old_membership_roll_&_minutes,_1931-1945,_1818-1852,_1862-1914_(Indian-Kentucky_Baptist_Church_(Canaan,_Indiana))
  3. “Indiana Counties and Townships” by Clyde F. Snider, Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp119-152, 1937.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Mystery Monday: The Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album

This entry is part of 1 in the series The Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album
Unknown Person #4-Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Jeremiah Roberts, also known as “Doc” (he was a doctor) or “Jerry”, was the son of John S. Roberts (1805-1875) and Jane (Saylor) Roberts (1806-1880). Born in Switzerland County Indiana on 6 January 1837, he married first, Sarah McClure, and after her death he married Rose B. Robison. Jeremiah passed away on 19 November 1918. Jerry lived in Switzerland, Jefferson, or Ripley County, Indiana for his whole life, except while serving in the Civil War. We will have more about “Doc” in upcoming posts, but today we want to focus on the mystery photos found in this family album.

Unknown Person #1-Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album
Unknown Person #2-Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album
Unknown Person #3-Jeremiah Roberts? Photo Album

 

Please contact us if you know any of these persons!

Hot News: There is a new Facebook group for “Descendants of Roberts Immigrants from Wales”.

We hope that you will join and help us connect-or disconnect when appropriate- these families!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Photos posted with kind permission from a photo album believed to have belonged to Jeremiah Roberts.
  2. Descendants of Roberts Immigrants from Wales” Facebook group–https://www.facebook.com/groups/142921706339121/?ref=group_header

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Sorting Saturday: Edward Roberts of Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana

Edward Roberts family, excerpt, unknown book, page 39. Handwritten notes by cousin Cindy B.

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Getting back to researching a family after many years is exciting, with all the new information available online. Unfortunately, it also shows one’s sloppy research- or shall we more kindly say, ‘uneducated’ research? Many of us started our family history studies when very young, or when genealogy was more casual, and family resources were taken verbatim and sources were not cited well. That is the case this ‘Sorting Saturday’- these two pages of information need a citation!

Edward Roberts family and notes, excerpt of page 40 of unknown book. Handwritten notes by cousin Cindy B.

The pages were kindly received from a cousin in Indiana many, many years ago. Reviewing our emails, there is no indication of the origins of these pages, but we did  also talk on the phone and may have discussed the book that contained these pages. Sadly, I don’t believe I have notes from the phone conversation, and even more sadly, that cousin is no longer with us, so a quick email to her to find my answer just won’t work.

There is a clue on page 40: “The Descendants of Hester Violet Ligget” in the upper left corner- this may be the name of the book. A Google search did not come up with that title, but a search on Amazon came up with something similar: Ancestors of Hester Violet Liggett, 1904-1979, by Norma Holland, 1998. Unfortunately the book is currently unavailable on Amazon.com.

So WorldCat, where libraries provide their ‘card catalog’ to the online community, was the next stop, now that I had a proper title and author. The book, using “Ancestors” instead of “Descendants” was there, and shown to be in the collections of the Allen County Public Library, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City UT, and at the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, KY. So there is a possibility of getting the book via interlibrary loan (ILL) or contacting one of these groups to see if these pages are in that specific book.

FaceBook is another good place for genealogical help- I did post a query there at the Family History Center’s US-Midwest group as well as their southern group since the family lived in Kentucky before Indiana. One group member’s suggestion was that I contact the Ripley County Historical Society, and that will be another option to learn more about these pages as well as more about the Roberts family.

It is nice to have Cousin Cindy’s penciled-in notes on the pages. She had done a lot of research on the Roberts family in Indiana, and even into Kentucky where Edward Roberts/Robbards married Rosy Stewart before their migration to Ripley County, Indiana. We have no sources for her notes, so need to review and verify each of them. They are great clues to start with, especially since she was the one who found their marriage records in Kentucky!

Two other interesting points to note on this ‘Sorting Saturday’:

  • Migration from Kentucky to Indiana may be a clue that a Revolutionary War pension was involved.  As Edward Roberts was born in 1775, he would have been too young to fight in that war, but his father may have served. Land in the then far western state of Kentucky was given to many Revolutionary soldiers. For some reason they then had to move on to Indiana- why this happened will take more research, but another family that married into this line may have experienced this migration as well (the Honts family). We may be able to learn the parents of Edward by using this clue.
  • WorldCat includes a short summary on their page for every book. The information about Hester Violet Liggett (1904-1979) notes that she died in Rising Sun, Indiana- and that was where cousin Cindy B. lived per her email signature! Wonder if Cindy knew her, and that was how she (possibly) came to have this book?

So when sorting on a Saturday or any other day, read your clues very carefully, and make sure to look for connections and patterns. Put your ancestors into the context of their times, and research more about those events as needed. Now that we have an idea of where this information came from, while waiting on replies to confirm we can start looking for more information about the Roberts family and their early years.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Ancestors of Hester Violet Liggett, 1904-1979, by Norma Holland, 1998–https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hester+violet+liggett
  2. Ancestors of Hester Violet Liggett, 1904-1979, by Norma Holland, 1998. WorldCat entry–http://www.worldcat.org/title/ancestors-of-hester-violet-liggett-1904-1979/oclc/40763894&referer=brief_results

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Mystery Monday: Wiley A. Murrell and the Committee of Vigilance

Botetourt Co. VA Committee of Vigilance. See 2-3 lines down from highlighted area- “Wiley A. Murrell,” and “Jas. A. Murrell.” Richmond Enquirer, 12 March 1840, Botetourt County, Vol. 36, No. 102, Page 4, Col. 2, via VirginiaChronicle.com. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Our new, exciting find of the name of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1805-1885) in a newspaper gives us a bit of interesting information about him even though it is only a list. It also brings a bit of a mystery.

The heading of the paragraph in which we find his name is “Committee of Vigilance.” So what is this committee? And why are there so many- about 143 total- listed on the committee?

A Google search for ‘committee of vigilance’ indicates that these were groups of private citizens who helped maintain law and order, especially in frontier or sparsely populated areas where governmental law enforcement was insufficient.

In 1840, the County of Botetourt (pronounced “Bot-ih-tot” by locals) had a population of 11, 679 persons. The county had actually lost about 28% of its population since the previous census year (1830), but that was because the county of Roanoke was formed out of Botetourt, taking about 30% of the land. So the population likely did not become more sparse during that decade.

Doing some rough calculations for square miles, the population may have been about 15 persons/square mile. That may have been sparse enough that law enforcement would have needed help by the citizens. Since the county is bounded on the northwest by the Appalachian Mountains and on the southeast by the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is some rugged land there despite the majority of the county being in the Roanoke River Valley. Some of the mountains rise over 4,000 ft., so that was a lot of land for law enforcement to control.

Politically, abolition was one of the great divisors of our society even back in 1830-1840. The Nat Turner Rebellion, a Virginia uprising of slaves in which 57 whites were killed, occurred in 1831, and other violence across the country occurred between slave owners and those who were anti-slavery. The Panic of 1837 occurred when New York City banks failed and unemployment levels were high, and climbing higher. (History repeats itself.)

“Aftermath of the Panic of 1837”- caricature by Edward Williams Clay, 1837. Lithograph image in public domain, via Wikipedia.com.

This Botetourt Co. Committee of Vigilance was formed at the Democratic State Convention on 22 Feb 1840. Other counties also had their own committees.

A man’s politics (women could not vote, of course) was important back in those days, and known to all the neighbors. The Democrats had elected Martin Van Buren as President in 1836, and he was to become the candidate again in 1840 at the national convention. The convention was unable to decide on a Vice-Presidential candidate, however, and three men divided that vote within the Electoral College.

The Whigs- there were no Republicans as we know them at that point- for the first time decided to support one candidate instead of several. They chose William Henry Harrison, who, although born in Virginia, was considered a Northerner since Ohio was his residence. Harrison was wealthy and well-educated, born of wealthy planters and himself a slave-owner, and a ‘hero’ of the Indian Wars. Despite all this, he was promoted as a ‘common man’ with a ‘log cabin’ image.

The Harrison campaign painted Van Buren as snobbish and out of touch with his constituents, wealthy, and extravagant with the taxes of the American people. Van Buren, however, was of ‘common’ stock in reality, as his father was a tavern-keeper. As President, he had refused to admit Texas to the Union as it would have upset the balance of slave and free states. (He later ran as an abolitionist.) Van Buren was the first American President who was born an American citizen, not British.

Rather than talk about actual important national issues, in 1840 the Whigs focused on the failed policies of the President’s Democratic administration. This was the first election in which a candidate actually campaigned, and the Whigs did well, utilizing many of our modern ‘obfuscate the important things’ and ‘create the myth the people want to hear’ campaign strategies.

Virginia, which, in 1840, included West Virginia, did vote for Van Buren, but Harrison was more able to convince voters ranging from high-powered bankers to poor western settlers that he was the better choice for the country. He won both the Electoral College and popular vote, although it was much closer in the popular vote than predicted- Harrison won only by 146,000 votes, out of 2.4 million cast. So the citizens of the US remained quite divided over the large issues of the day, such as a national bank and slavery.

So where does this leave us with Wiley Anderson Murrell and the Democratic ‘Committee of Vigilance’? Going into the 1840s and with a change in the national political power, it was important that the Democrats have some control in Botetourt County. Law enforcement concerning runaway slaves,  debts unpaid to a bank, etc. would have been influenced by the local party in control, possibly even after the Presidential election. Although Van Buren won Botetourt County 50.65% to Harrison’s 49.35%, we do not know what changes may have happened after Harrison took office. Having the Democratic Committee of Vigilance in place may have made a difference in how the county was run. (We should check on whether or not there was a Whig Committee of Vigilance.)

It has been exciting to finally find Wiley A. Murrell’s name in the newspaper after so many years of searching, and it would be wonderful to maybe find more about his time with this committee or in Virginia.  Having James A. Murrell listed also gives us a clue that he might have had a brother, cousin, or uncle or father living in the area in 1840- that too may open some research doors. And of course, it is always interesting to place our ancestors in the context of their times!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “Committee of Vigilance,” Richmond Enquirer, 12 March 1840, Botetourt County, Vol. 36, No. 102, Page 4, Col. 2, via VirginiaChronicle.com.
  2. Virginia County maps by year: http://www.mapofus.org/virginia/
  3. “United States presidential election, 1840” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1840

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.