Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Robert Xenophen Zed Barkley Tombstone

This is the story of the tombstone of my paternal 5th great grandfather, Robert Xenophen 'Zed' Barkley, and the mistake it still carries 174 years after his death.

Robert Zed Barkely Tomb

Robert and his son, Richard Alexander Barkley both fought in the Dawson Campaign at the Battle of Salado Creek in Texas in 1842. Robert, nicknamed 'Zed,' serving the Republic as a Texas Ranger, was killed during the battle, and Richard was taken prisoner. Fifty-three men were involved in the Battle of Salado Creek, and thirty-six were killed that day. Two men managed to escape, while the fifteen others were taken prisoner. Only nine of the men taken as prisoners would survive, one of whom was Robert's son, Richard, who escaped much later. 

The remains of the men killed at Salado were buried on September 18, 1842. Six years later, in 1848, those remains were moved to Monument Hill Tomb south of La Grange, Texas. This crypt stands as a memorial to the brave men who died at the Dawson Massacre, and others at the later "Black Bean Incident." Among those remains is Robert Barkley, however his name on the memorial is reported twice on the memorial due to that error with his name.

Since Robert's middle name was Xenophen, his nickname, 'Zed' was the cause of the confusion. Both names were referenced and both ended up appearing on the tomb, though they are both in fact the same person: Robert Barkley. Even the standing marker that notes the names of the men's remains includes a postscript at the bottom that references 'Zed' Barkley as not being at the battle. This is an error that has been resolved by later researchers and historians--because 'Zed' IS Robert.

Dawson Massacer Marker Monument Hill


I'm really fascinated by this ancestor and his resting place, so I thought it was appropriate to share for this Tombstone Tuesday. I've been reading a lot about Robert and his family over the last few weeks. He was a very interesting man, whose life story would (in my opinion anyway) make an interesting movie. I only wish I had learned about Robert Barkley when I still lived in Texas, because I'd have loved to visit his grave.
Sunday, May 22, 2016

Missouri Digital Newspaper Project

I was Googling around the other day and came across the State Historical Society of Missouri website. I'm sure I've been on that site before because I have many ancestors from Missouri, but I guess it's been awhile. They have many wonderful resources, but one that I particularly like is their Missouri Digital Newspaper Project. It is a digital collection of their historic newspapers, and they are freely searchable to the public. 

Missouri Historical Society Digital Newspaper Project

Many of their newspapers are also available on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website, but I like the format the Missouri website has, listing each county and its related newspaper that you can search. Just click on the image above to be taken to the Missouri newspaper site. If you hover your cursor over each newspaper title, you can see the source for the link to see where it will take you. I use Firefox, so that source link appears in the lower left corner of my browser window. You'll see that some of the links go to Chronicling America, but some go to other pages in the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project website--so those sources are not likely to be on Chronicling America. Doing that should help you pinpoint which resources might be those that you haven't looked through before on Chronicling America. There were several I visited on the Missouri site that I hadn't seen before and I was able to find a couple articles that I might not have found otherwise. 

So if you have some ancestors from Missouri, this newspaper resource might prove helpful to you. 
Happy  Hunting!
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grandma Kepharts Frying Pan

For this week's Tuesday Treasures feature I'm spotlighting a simple little speckled enamel frying pan. It's not much to look at really, but it is something I truly treasure.

Grandma Kephart's Frying Pan

This little frying pan belonged to my great grandmother, Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart. Grandma Kephart was born in 1888 and died in 1976. She is the only great grandmother I ever knew--although my only memories of her are from phone calls and letters. I wasn't yet ten years old when she passed away, and I don't recall ever meeting her in person. So if I did I was much too young to remember. But she did write letters and send cards, and she did call from time to time too. I still have a bracelet that she made for me out of old buttons in my jewelry box. Perhaps I'll share that another time. 

This pan though, it's special. I inherited it after my grandmother, Della Maxine (Kephart) Hammersmith died in 1989. She was my 'Nana,' and I had grown up with her, so there was a special bond there. Nana was also the first person in my close family that I had ever lost, so that was a tough loss on many levels. I'd never really known grief until Nana died. I was 22 when I lost her, and looking through all of her belongings seemed so odd. My mom and my grandfather, Pappy, urged me to take some things to remember Nana by. That was a difficult thing to do for lots of reasons. But one of the things I did take was this little frying pan that I'd seen on Nana's stove many times. My mom told me that it had belonged to my Grandma Kephart, and that she used to fry eggs in it. It was her egg-frying pan, and my mom knew that because she was incredibly close to Grandma Kephart, so she'd seen her use that pan even as a little girl. That made it a perfect choice, a special keepsake that my great grandmother used, and so did my Nana.

This little speckled enamel pan has been sitting on my stove ever since Nana died in 1989. I use it as a spoon rest. I don't even know exactly how old it is, but it's got to be at least 60+ years. I think it's holding up very well for its age. To other people who look at it, they likely just see an old pan. But I see a timeless and priceless treasure that has belonged to two other generations of women on my mom's side of the family. And that's kind of wonderful.
Friday, May 6, 2016

Forget Me Not Friday - Mom and Nana

Since this weekend is Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a photo seems fitting for the occasion on this Forget Me Not Friday. This is a photo of my mother, Carolyne Ruth Kephart helping her mother (my Nana) hang laundry on the line. I'd say that my mom looks to be about three years old here. 

Mom and Nana
It was just a simple little everyday moment, caught on film and preserved in time. It's really nothing and everything in the world at the same time. Mom and Nana are both gone now, and I miss them both terribly, especially around Mother's Day. Mom's only been gone for four years, but I still cry if I let myself think about how much I miss her. And it's difficult not to do that around Mother's Day.

Still, photos like this also make me smile too. They're precious. And they guarantee I can't forget these two amazing women who helped shape the woman that I became.

Love you, Mom and Nana. NAIH